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Stephen Lacey's Posts

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Bachmann pledges to have the EPA's 'doors locked and lights turned off'

Michele Bachmann.Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from Climate Progress. If Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann can't abolish the Environmental Protection Agency like she promised in June, she may just try to lock employees out of the building. Speaking at campaign rally in Iowa last week, Bachmann made it clear that she'll do anything it takes to stamp out environmental protection efforts -- even if that means padlocking the front door and switching off the breakers, according to a report from the Des Moines Register: "I pledge to you I'm not a talker. I'm a doer," she said ... "And I guarantee you …

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Beyond budget cuts: top five policy priorities for clean energy

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. With major cuts to funding for federal clean energy programs coming over the next decade, the industry will need to lay out some clear priorities for the coming years. How can the industry balance the need to deploy projects with existing technologies while helping spur more innovation for new technologies and business models? Energy Secretary Steven Chu recognizes the immense challenge that coming budget cuts will represent. In an interview with Greenwire, Chu explained his new approach to helping deploy renewables and efficiency: "Now, since the amount of money one is going to have for doing …

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EIA releases skewed energy subsidies report to Congress

By focusing on one years' data, the report underestimates the long-term benefits of subsidies to renewables.Cross-posted from Climate Progress. As House lawmakers consider spending cuts that would eviscerate energy and environmental programs, a narrowly focused report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is likely to add fuel to the debate over subsidies to renewable energy. After delaying release of the study, which compares 2010 subsidies for fossil fuels and renewable resources in the electricity sector, the EIA sent the document to three members of Congress last Friday. Climate Progress obtained a copy of the report from the Checks and Balances …

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Obama fuel efficiency deal could leave loophole for Detroit

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. The Obama administration is set to announce aggressive new fuel efficiency standards tomorrow, scoring a rare victory on the environmental front. But the details of the agreement may weaken the standards and allow automakers to delay action on improving the efficiency of America's fleet of vehicles. At issue is a "technology reopener" that allows auto manufacturers to fight the standards after 2021, in the hopes that they can renegotiate rules with a future administration that may be more lenient on the industry. The reopener potentially gives auto companies an incentive not to develop technologies immediately so …

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Been there, tried that: 'Climate Pragmatism' pushes failed strategy

I'll bet you didn't know that: What recent history shows us is that the only politically pragmatic climate strategy for the U.S. should be built around a big new federal spending effort of $15 billion a year or more for low-carbon technology. A "no regrets" voluntary emissions reduction effort is a "new framework" for addressing climate change that hasn't failed to produce results for decades. The science doesn't make crystal clear that reducing emissions aggressively now is an scientific imperative. "Alone again among present low-carbon technologies, nuclear power can approach cost competiveness with fossil-based energy and it remains the low-carbon …

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Green jobs growing even as economy wilts

Image: Indeed.comCross-posted from Climate Progress. Last month's bleak jobs report is a reminder of just how deep our economic troubles are: With only 18,000 jobs created and the unemployment rate creeping up to 9.2 percent, the hangover from 2008's financial implosion is still with us. But a look at the increase in postings for clean energy and sustainability-related jobs anecdotally suggests that the "sustainability" sector is faring better than most, according to the Wall Street Journal: In the past two years, the number of online job postings containing the keyword "sustainability" has more than quadrupled to 8,245 in May, according …

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Industrialized countries are now losing the clean energy race

Slow and unsteady does not win the race.Cross-posted from Climate Progress. For the first time ever, developing countries lead yearly investment in clean energy -- representing about $72 billion in spending in 2010, versus $70 billion in rich countries. So while U.S. lawmakers argue about efficiency standards in lightbulbs, the 800-pound dragon, China, is dominating. Meanwhile, Brazil, India, and various Middle Eastern countries are catching up. The figures, which were put together by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the U.N. Environment Program, show that total global investment grew by 30 percent in 2010 to $211 billion: China, with U.S. $48.9 …

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In dimwitted move, GOP set to repeal lightbulb standard that saves billions

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is behind the bill. Cross-posted from Climate Progress. In a move that could be called anything but conservative, Republican lawmakers are set to bring a bill to the House floor next week that will repeal state and municipal rights to set efficiency standards for lightbulbs. The bill would unravel a piece of federal legislation that was strongly supported by lightbulb manufacturers and has spurred innovation in the lighting industry. The bill, sponsored by Texas Republican Joe Barton, would strip away any "federal, state or local requirement or standard regarding energy efficient lighting" that uses lightbulbs containing …

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Anatomy of a solar PV system

Photo: Jaydee! Cross-posted from Climate Progress. Clean energy professionals often complain that solar photovoltaic (PV) receives too much attention compared to other sectors like solar hot water, geothermal, and biomass. I'm sympathetic to that sentiment. But I also think the attention is deserved. Solar PV is unique. Because manufacturing can scale so quickly and the technology can be deployed so rapidly on existing infrastructure, the rate of innovation in PV is arguably faster than in any other energy sector. The digital age has made us accustomed to constant change, which is probably one reason people get so impatient with the …

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Groundbreaking solar plant in Spain generates 24 hours of power

Photo: Torresol EnergyCross-posted from Climate Progress. While Americans celebrated U.S. history on the Fourth of July yesterday, a company in Spain celebrated an historic moment for the solar industry: Torresol's 19.9 megawatt (MW) concentrating solar power plant became the first ever to generate uninterrupted electricity for 24 hours straight. The plant uses a Power Tower design which features a field of 2,650 mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a boiler in a central receiver tower. The plant also utilizes molten salt as a heat transfer fluid that allows it to generate electricity when there's no sunlight. Recharge News reported on the …