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Adam Browning's Posts

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Arizona introduces bill to redefine renewable standard to include nukes

In Arizona, a new bill has been introduced that would kill renewable energy progress in the state. HB 2701 would establish a legislative version of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s regulatorily-implemented Renewable Energy Standard of 15% by 2020, but with some tragic differences. For one, the bill would redefine renewables to include large hydro and nuclear. The problem—in addition to the obvious—is that this would simply redefine the goal as something that already exists. Arizona Public Service, the largest utility in the state, gets 27% of its retail energy from nuclear in 2009. Salt River Project projects that 17% of its …

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Show solar some love

My colleagues at Vote Solar thought that making a viral valentine (two words, by the way, that really shouldn't go together) would be a great idea. Something campy, something funny, something that also makes the point that a relationship with solar -- like one with a special Valentine -- can have a lot of benefits. This YouTube classic was the inspiration. Note to self: taking cues from YouTube can be hazardous to your dignity. I can't even watch the result.  But, for the cause, I post it here:

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San Francisco sets the PACE

Today, San Francisco Mayor Newsom signed the final piece of legislation necessary to get the city's PACE (municipal property tax financing for energy efficiency, renewables, and water conservation) program off the ground. My colleague Rosalind Jackson recorded the moment for posterity. By summer, if all goes as scheduled, 70-80% of California will have access to a PACE program. That's good news for property owners and the carbon cause. Signficantly, most of the state's PACE programs will require some sort of loading order -- a certain level of energy efficiency first before you can do solar PV or solar thermal. This …

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Anti-jobs ‘California Jobs Initiative’ crew threatens suit over name change

This is funny. A group in California is working on a ballot initiative to suspend implementation of AB 32, the state's global warming law, until California's unemployment drops below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. No big fans of green jobs, one presumes. Their proposed title? The "California Jobs Initiative." The Luntzian nomenclature reminds me of Bush's "Healthy Forests Initiative," which did have its own perverse logic, in that a clearcut forest and denuded hillsides are significantly less at risk for major fires. In any event, California Attorney General Jerry Brown gets final say on ballot initiative naming, and he prefers: …

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California net metering battle, v2

The California legislature is considering whether to lift caps on net metering, a key policy that allows solar system owners to get full credit for generating solar electricity. As legislators consider this policy choice, they may want to look into how solar benefits California's public schools--who are getting into the solar business in a big way.  If fighting the climate crisis isn't motivation enough, and if creating new jobs or establishing leadership in the next global industrial revolution doesn't float your boat, then how about supporting solar for the sake of schools? The federal government has made special financing options …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Freeway in LA…for bikes?

Advocates in famously car-centric Los Angeles are advocating for a new freeway system.  For bikes. The weather is great, the streets are gridlocked, and the city is flat-ish.  No brainer.

Read more: Cities

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Let the era of solar wholesale distributed generation begin

David Roberts wants to see distributed generation taken seriously. He's getting his wish. Let the era of solar wholesale distributed generation begin. Last Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a resolution to implement the auction portion of Southern California Edison's Distributed Generation PV program. This is a big deal--the door is now open for a competitive bidding process for 250 MW of solar photovoltaics from independent solar developers (of 1 to 2 MW in size, 90% of which must be rooftop) over the next few years. First auctions should begin in the next month or two. More importantly, this …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Wild and Scenic

If you are reading this, you are likely sitting in front of a computer.  Which will make it easy to do yourself this favor: open your calendar, scroll forward about a year, and circle the date of the next Wild and Scenic film festival.  I just spent the past few days in Nevada City, CA--and recommend that next year, you do too. Reason number one: the town is awesome.  It's a Hallmark-perfect (literally) former mining town in the California goldcountry that's handled touristification with grace (still more dive-bars than scented-candle shops, burgeoning sustainable ag movement to keep it real, tons …

Read more: Uncategorized

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2010 outlook for solar in California

Felix Kramer of Calcars thinks 2010 will be the year of the plug-in car. He's got a good case: after years of advocacy and technology development, 2010 is the year that major manufacturers will finally make plug-ins broadly available, and rapidly decreasing battery costs are helping the conversion industry reach new customers and help retrofit the existing fleet at scale. After years of work and promise, 2010 is the payoff year. I see a similar trend in solar in California, where years of policy and business development are all coming together to make 2010 an extraordinary year for solar development. …

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Freeing the grid

It's that time of year again ... no, not when turduckens appear on dinner tables nationwide and it becomes somehow acceptable to call the marshmallow a vegetable. It's time for the 2009 edition of "Freeing the Grid," an annual report card to states on their net metering and interconnection standards. Together, these two key policies empower energy customers (that's you) to go solar and reduce your utility bills. Although there is still plenty of room for improvement, this year's report shows solid progress across most states -- an indicator that these once-obscure policies are becoming accepted best practices. Oregon was …

Read more: Climate & Energy