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"At a time when the price of energy continues to rise, affording to keep homes warm becomes an issue that unites a broad range of families, but the burden is disproportionately devastating to low-income residents. MHC is dedicated to ensuring safe, fair and affordable housing choices for all residents, which includes utility costs."

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Jun 02, 2010

New Study Says Coal-Free Future Possible (without a price on carbon)

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Jun 02, 2010 07:44 AM

By Carrie Traud

 

America can achieve a coal-free (and nearly nuclear-free) future by 2050, even without a price on carbon. With federal climate legislation stalling in Congress - and giving billions away to the fossil fuel industry - the Civil Society Institute and Synapse Energy Economics investigated the possibility of a clean energy future without climate legislation. The report, "Beyond Business as Usual: Investigating a Coal- and Nuclear-Free Future for America," reveals how, with smart investments and the right incentives, the United States can transition to an energy mix based on efficiency and renewables. while saving money and achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions at the same time.


The report compares "business as usual," which assumes a continued reliance on traditional energy sources, like coal and nuclear, with a transition scenario that phases out those energy sources while phasing in wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. By 2050, the transition scenario has retired all coal-fired power plants and a quarter of nuclear plants. At the same time, while costing more in the short term, America would save $5 billion per year by 2040 and $13 billion by 2050.


The energy and financial savings of the study are conservative, for two reasons. First, the Business as Usual scenario assumes the cost of coal remains relatively flat. Even without a price on carbon, this is unlikely to be the case, as coal becomes increasingly difficult to mine and the supply, particularly in central Appalachia, declines. Second, the study is based on existing renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. It does not account for any new breakthroughs or advances, which could lower the cost and increase the capacity of renewable energy significantly.

 

The study is useful for Kentucky mainly from a macro-perspective. It does not consider individual states and largely ignores the potential of distributed, small-scale generation potential. It has the southeast region generally relying on imported sources of electricity.

 

Although the report assumes there is no cap-and-trade or other price on carbon enacted in Congress, we still need smart energy policies that invest in and deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. To read an executive summary or the full report, please visit http://theclean.org.

 

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Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Helps Families Thrive Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Helps Families Thrive

People's Self Help Housing has been providing affordable housing opportunities to families in Lewis County since 1982. PSHH knows that "affordability" is defined by more than just the mortgage. If a home is energy inefficient, the utility bills become too high for a low-income family to afford. As a result, PSHH has long-built highly energy efficient homes, helping the families they serve to thrive. PSHH has also recently built some of the first affordable homes in the region with renewable energy systems. Given that so many low-income KY families live in energy inefficient homes, combining affordability, efficiency and renewable energy is a recipe for success that benefits everyone.

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