Devashree Saha

Author Articles

In states across the country, few topics are as hot with state policymakers as grid modernization. From California and New York to Ohio and Nevada, states and utilities are investigating how best to upgrade the electric power grid to enhance its efficiency and integrate more clean energy technologies. At the same time, large scale investment in grid modernization triggers key questions: Is it worth it? How can states maximize the potential benefits of grid modernization? As utilities come to the table for grid modernization funds, state policymakers have an opportunity to plan now to get ahead of the process and generate the most benefits from those investments. This session will explore strategies for wisely designing a grid modernization program that can guide utility investment and increase the chances that customers get the most out of grid modernization efforts.

Water issues are some of the most important policy questions facing state officials across the nation. Hurricane Harvey unleashed more than 9 trillion gallons of water and dumped more than an average year’s worth of rainfall in some places—leaving underwater as much as 30 percent of Harris County, home to Houston, our nation’s fourth largest city. Science tells us that flooding is becoming more common and severe, meaning that hurricanes like Harvey and Irma are likely harbingers of disasters to come. The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, resulted in an estimated $385 billion in social costs, stemming from toxic levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. Other water issues, including water quality improvements, droughts, water resource management, integrated water planning and the impacts of new federal regulations, raise a host of policy concerns for state leaders now and in the future. This one-day policy academy will explore a variety of these topics and highlight innovative policies being adopted across the country.

Climate Adaptation

The states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island released three reports (see here, here, and here) last week that together set out a roadmap for the development of offshore...

Climate Adaptation

We are living in an era of “big data,” with big data and evidence-based decision making transforming the world, from energy to health care sector—and increasingly in the public sector as well. We have access to monthly and annual energy consumption by the residential and commercial sector, which together account for 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. We know what is the monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data across U.S. states, counties, metropolitan areas, and even cities. If we want to know how...

Climate Adaptation

Twenty-Three regulators and legislators from around the country attended the CSG “Building Relationships Between Regulators and Legislators” Policy Academy on September 13-15 in Washington DC. The policy academy provided a forum for state regulators and legislators to engage and collaborate with each other on energy resource planning. In addition to participating in breakout discussions, attendees heard from representatives of the electric utility industry, industry associations, academics, think tank researchers, and others about...

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced on Monday that the Trump Administration would begin the official process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Speaking at an event in eastern Kentucky, he said, “Here’s the President’s message: The war on coal is over.”

The CPP would have required states to devise plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan gave states specific targets for reducing...

Climate Adaptation

Three major hurricanes have hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico recently and the damage was far extensive than had been planned for. The unprecedented catastrophic disasters are projected to have stunning price tags—anywhere from $65 billion to $190 billion for Harvey, $50 billion to $100 billion for Irma, and $40 to $80...

The coal industry has been on a bumpy ride in recent years. The industry has seen a wave of bankruptcies and mine closures in the face of falling demand and efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Jobs losses in the industry have led to economic devastation in already struggling communities across eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia.

Bringing back coal mining jobs and reviving the coal industry is at the top of President Donald Trump’s energy agenda. But it is unclear whether the federal government has the power to disrupt a complex set of trends that have to do with market forces and technology, in addition to regulations.

This brief first looks at the current state of the U.S. coal industry. It then discusses a variety of trends that have impacted the coal industry over the past several decades as well as in the last few years. While environmental regulations have certainly played a part, this brief argues that there are other, likely stronger influences at work. The brief closes by discussing the outlook for coal’s future.

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