Clean Energy

DRIVING BOLD AND MEASUREABLE ACTION TO CURB CLIMATE CHANGE AND TRANSFORM OUR ENERGY FUTURE

Through our Clean Energy Program – a portfolio that includes our Clean Energy Initiative and support for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign – we’re helping to combat climate change while also protecting public health and transitioning the economy to cleaner energy sources.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Clean Energy Program works across sectors and with a variety of partners globally to actuate change in existing energy systems, forcing dirty fuels out of the energy mix and lowering the policy and market barriers to renewables, efficiency and other clean, low-carbon energy solutions.

As innovative businesses and entrepreneurs continue to drive down the cost of clean, low-carbon energy, Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping to move the economy beyond coal and other polluting energy sources and towards a safer, more sustainable future.

 

APPLYING THE BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES APPROACH TO A CLEANER POWER GRID

 

With the Clean Energy Program, we’re helping to end the world’s reliance on dirty coal and shift the power sector to a cleaner future. We work community-by-community to bring about practical solutions to the climate and energy challenge.

Beginning in the United States through our support of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, we’re shutting down more coal plants. We have already secured commitments to close more than 265 coal-fired power plants, and these retirements have driven U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels in over two decades, cutting air pollution and protecting public health in the process.

In the United States, our Clean Energy program also includes support for a pioneering effort to ensure that natural gas is drilled, transported and consumed as safely as possible. When extracted and burned responsibly, natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, and releases far fewer toxic pollutants such as mercury, smog and soot. Bloomberg Philanthropies works with the Environmental Defense Fund and a variety of partners, including local organizations, universities and research institutions, to lead on this issue.

And with our Clean Energy Initiative, we are bringing together dozens of local and state partners, as well as regional and national groups including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, to limit carbon pollution from the power sector and spur new clean energy investments.

We have now expanded our support and commitment to shifting global power systems beyond coal in Europe. We partnered with the European Climate Foundation who is helping expand our efforts across the Atlantic where a network of civil society groups is leading a similar effort to support efforts to move the European Union Beyond Coal. As of 2016, coal was responsible for 18 percent of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and led to 19,500 premature deaths annually.

 

 

  1. EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS

    Bloomberg Philanthropies works with a range of partners on federal, state and local initiatives to retire coal-fired power plants and replace their capacity with cleaner power sources like solar and wind energy.

  2. METRICS AND DATA

    Bloomberg Philanthropies and our partners place a strong emphasis on accountability and results by using outcome-driven performance metrics and setting clear goals to measure and evaluate progress.

  3. LOCAL ACTION

    Our partnerships with groups like the Sierra Club, which has members and volunteers in cities and towns across the country, reflect our vision of tackling climate change through local action at the community level.

CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVE: LIMITING CARBON POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS, IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH & SPURRING CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Clean Energy Initiative supports a range of partners, including national organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and regional and local groups, to ensure strong federal and state carbon pollution standards that will help further drive the transformation of the power grid to a low-carbon, clean energy future.

The Clean Energy Initiative supports state-based solutions that will ensure a 21st century energy system that is clean, affordable, and reliable, paving the way for improved air quality and fighting the damaging impacts of climate change.

IMPROVING AIR QUALITY AND CREATING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for a third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon pollution is already causing long-term impacts on our economy, including rising global temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. Climate change also exacerbates health risks due to worsening smog, causing a range of respiratory illnesses.

With coal plants increasingly retiring, states will be investing billions of dollars in energy infrastructure improvements over the coming decades. Now, America’s power system can deliver electricity that is affordable, reliable, and clean. New technology developments in solar and wind, as well as energy efficiency innovations, demand response programs and smart grids, are already making it possible to do all three at once. And the transformation of the power grid will create jobs and drive economic growth for decades to come.

The Clean Energy Initiative aims to help states transition to clean, profitable energy systems that reduce air pollution, protect public health, combat global warming, and ensure America’s technological competitiveness.

Through technical support, research and advocacy, the Clean Energy Initiative will fund work that helps states take advantage of new clean energy technologies while curbing climate change.

PHASING OUT COAL AROUND THE WORLD

Many countries around the world are moving to phase out coal power entirely. Globally 23 countries, states and cities have already phased out coal power or set a timeline to do so by 2030 or sooner, including Canada, France, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK. Most recently Italy announced plans to phase out coal power plants by 2025. Some including Israel, New Zealand, Norway and Portugal have only one or two coal power plants left in operation. Belgium’s last coal plant closed in April 2016.

Perhaps most iconic in the United Kingdom, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, coal supplied just 9.2% of electricity in 2016, down from more than 35% only three years earlier. In August 2016 coal fell to just 2% of total power generated over the month. The UK exit from coal has resulted in a big drop in the UK’s carbon emissions, which fell 23% between 2010 and 2016.

In 2016 Europe’s coal plants provided 22% of the EU’s electricity – a smaller share than either nuclear power or renewables. More importantly, EU coal plants also caused 19,500 premature deaths – a far higher public health impact than in the United States.

However, many EU coal plants are nearing the end of their normal operating life, and some are more than 40 years old.  At the same time, the European Union has just passed strict new air quality standards that will force these old dirty power plants to clean up they are emissions and reduce public health impacts. Enforcing the standards and cleaning up Europe’s air is a key strategic priority.

Working closely with the European climate foundation we are supporting a network of civil society organizations across the European Union focused on hastening this transition, closing down coal plants, and expanding clean energy. The goal for European advocates is to reinforce the continents leadership on climate change and public health.

BEYOND COAL IN THE US: A GAME CHANGER IN THE SHIFT FROM COAL TO CLEAN ENERGY

The coal industry has had a tight grip on U.S. energy policy for decades, with devastating consequences for both public health and our environment. Overreliance on fossil energy is also keeping solar and wind out of the market, delaying the transition to a power grid fueled by cleaner energy sources. As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Clean Energy Program, our partnership with the Sierra Club, which began in 2011, is changing the energy landscape by helping to accelerate the U.S. transition from dirty to clean energy.

BEYOND COAL IN NEBRASKA

CLOSING A COAL PLANT IN NORTH OMAHA TO SECURE A CLEANER ENERGY FUTURE

Read the Case Study

THE HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES OF COAL ARE DAMAGING OUR HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY

Coal burning power plants are a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This pollution is causing climate change, damages our land, air and water, contributes to thousands of deaths and serious health problems every year, and stands in the way of clean energy technologies.

 

FOUR REASONS TO END THE COAL ERA NOW:

 

  1. CARBON EMISSIONS

    Burning coal is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and a key contributor to climate change, which is causing damage to public health and the economy through extreme weather, rising sea levels, and other ecological disasters.

  2. ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION

    Climate impacts are already wreaking havoc in ecosystems around the world, from melting alpine glaciers to sinking coastlines. Meanwhile, toxic pollution and coal ash residue from coal-fired power plants has polluted air, rivers and drinking water in hundreds of local communities.

  3. TRAGIC COSTS TO HEALTH

    Coal pollution contributes to heart disease, cancer, stroke, and respiratory illness. Coal-fired power plants also emit almost half of all U.S. mercury pollution and lead to more than 7,500 deaths every year. In Europe they lead to 19,500 deaths and create health care costs of as much as 54 Billion Euros annually.

  4. SHUTTING OUT CLEAN ENERGY

    Continued financial support for coal-fired electricity generation makes it harder for clean energy to compete on a level playing field. Cleaner fuels and energy efficiency present huge economic opportunities for American workers and businesses.

Beyond Coal on the Ground: Chicago

WINNING A 10-YEAR BATTLE TO CLOSE TWO DIRTY COAL PLANTS IN CHICAGO

Read the Case Study

TRANSFORMING THE ENERGY SECTOR WITH PARTNERSHIPS THAT WORK

Powered by support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and a broad coalition of allies are working to retire much of the nation’s existing coal fleet and replace it with new, clean energy sources. Efforts include making sure current environmental laws are enforced, giving local communities a voice for their concerns, and encouraging the use of clean fuels and more efficient energy use. Since our partnership with Sierra Club was announced in 2011, more than 265 coal plants have committed to close.

Now that work has expanded to include our support for the European Climate Foundation and European civil society. With 293 coal plants in existence but 16 already retired we believe the transition beyond coal will happen just as swiftly across Europe.

ENDING THE COAL ERA AND USHERING IN A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE

The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign has become one of the greatest success stories in the modern American environmental movement, effectively halting the construction of new coal plants and bringing about a major shift in U.S. energy policy as the coal era is brought to an end.

 

WHAT THE BEYOND COAL CAMPAIGN HAS ACCOMPLISHED SINCE 2002:

 

  1. 260+ DIRTY US COAL PLANTS SLATED TO RETIRE

    As coal becomes more uneconomic and the costs of coal pollution become clearer, the owners of specific coal plants have either retired them or announced that they will be retired soon.

  2. MORE THAN 115,000 POLLUTING MEGAWATTS ANNOUNCED FOR RETIREMENT

    An average coal-burning plant uses 500 megawatts of energy, which powers roughly 260,000 houses a year. Our goal is to retire nearly 300,000 more polluting megawatts from coal plants and replace them with clean energy to power American homes and businesses.

  3. MORE THAN 75,000 CLEAN ENERGY MEGAWATTS INSTALLED

    As old coal plants retire, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign is working to make sure that clean energy such as wind and solar step in to replace them, providing many new jobs for American workers.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

  1. SPREAD THE MESSAGE

    @Bloombergdotorg is helping to drive the transformation of our economy from dirty to clean energy. Follow us and help spread the word.

  2. GET LOCAL

    The grassroots campaign to move beyond coal has seen outpouring of support and victories that no one thought possible just a few years ago. Visit beyondcoal.org and beyond-coal.eu to learn more.

  3. SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

    Get quick and easy tips from the Sierra Club, the European Climate Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council on how to help.