Climate & Energy

Did you know the word 'gullible' isn't in the dictionary?

Climate change skeptics fall for hoax paper

UPDATE: I have to put this up top, because it’s so deliciously delightful. Turns out Rush Limbaugh fell for this scam, hook, line, and sinker. He bought it because he misunderstood a warning from notorious …

Progress in renewable energy infrastructure

Wind power installations set to soar 63 percent this year

Some good energy news: US wind power installations are projected to jump 63 percent this year amid concern about global warming and rising fuel prices, an industry group said on Wednesday. The US wind industry is on track to complete a total of 4,000 megawatts worth of installations in 2007, or about enough to power 1 million average homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association [AWEA]. Tip o' the hat to state renewable energy standards and the federal production tax credit. You can get more details from the AWEA website, including the third-quarter market report. Here are some state highlights: Texas again added the largest amount of new wind power generation (600 MW). Colorado installed 264 MW and now ranks as the state with the sixth-largest amount of wind power generation. Washington, with 140 MW of new wind capacity, pulls ahead of Minnesota into fourth place. So yes, climate progress does occur, when the government works at it. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Portland, Ore., will pay builders to build green

Portland, Ore., has unveiled an innovative plan to slash greenhouse-gas emissions. The city will require an energy-efficiency inspection of new homes, then levy a tax on builders who have merely complied with Oregon’s efficiency requirements. …

Waterways downstream from oil sands are full o’ toxins, says study

Fish, water, and sediment downstream from the gigantic oil sands projects in Alberta are chock-full of carcinogens and other toxins, says a new study. While the research does not make a direct link between the …

Green is the new blah

NBC sitcoms universally … unfunny

Last night I watched the TNSFKAMST (Thursday Night Shows Formerly Known as Must-See TV). To be honest I’d forgotten it was Green Is Universal week; I was just indulging in a little sitcom sitdown. But …

Renewable energy on the ropes

Hound your representative to add an RPS to the energy bill

If scientists could take the repeated dashing of hopes for a better future and harness it to make electrons, we'd have electricity too cheap to meter. If the crushing of expectations were a renewable resource, this Congress is truly on the cutting edge of the clean energy revolution. Apparently, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi met on Thursday morning and decided to move an energy bill that does not include an RPS [see this post]. Or a tax title. No tax title means no extension of the investment tax credit for solar, and no extension of the production tax credit for wind. Let's see ... nothing for solar, plus nothing for wind, ... add no RPS, carry the zero ... yep, that adds up to nothing for renewable energy. Got that? Congressional leadership is moving an energy bill with nothing in it for renewable energy. We've got maybe 24 hours to turn this around. I suggest a phone blitz. Melt the %$@*! switchboard. Call your representative. Suggested script:

The Lieberman-Warner full committee markup …

… will take place on Dec. 5 (sub. rqd.). Lieberman says he’s open to some changes, as long as they don’t splinter the coalition: Lieberman said he didn’t expect the bill’s 2020 emission target (about …

No coal? OK, then what?

Beware the allure of liquefied natural gas

Two years ago, one of us (Jason) was at an energy industry conference planning committee and he made the point that whether or not everyone around the table agreed on global warming, the issue was just about to break out and dominate the public conversation on energy. Because of global warming, he went on to say, getting a new coal-fired power station built was just a "prudency review waiting to happen." For those of you that remember, it was, in many ways, the prudency review process that killed the nuclear industry back in the 1980s. In the past several weeks, several announcements suggest that this situation has indeed come to pass. Here's what's going on: the Kansas Department of Health and Environment turned down a permit for 1400-MW of coal-fired power based on emissions of global warming gases. This is arguably the first time a coal plant has been denied for this reason. Let's repeat the state: Kansas. It's not California, Florida, New York,or Oregon. Kansas has historically been a coal-friendly state. Another story revealed that even in Montana, a coal-producing state (or at least one with significant coal reserves), coal plant permits are being fought by bipartisan coalitions, and that electric utilities concede that these groups are effective. In other reports that cross our desks regularly, we note that more than 10,000 MW of coal plants recently have been canceled or postponed around the country. No doubt many are of you are cheering! But there are trade-offs in all things -- especially in energy, environmental, and economic issues. As enthusiasm for coal wanes, it grows for nuclear, even among some that have fought tooth and nail against nuclear in the past. However, there's a problem. The fastest any nuclear plant can come online, given regulatory and financing hurdles, is around 2015. Meanwhile, electricity demand continues to grow. As much as the rewewables camp wants to believe it, solar and wind are not going to supply all or even most of the necessary power anytime soon. (We strongly believe in renewable energy, but also believe that we need energy storage to make it work on a scale that will be able to replace a significant amount of fossil fuels.) So what's going to replace coal as the dominant fuel for electricity production?

Bye, bye, Ms. Renewable Pie

Dem leadership considers axing renewable energy from the energy bill

OK. I'm still trying to report this out. What I have for now comes from environmental advocates, off-the-record conversations, and, for what it's worth, my own speculation. The situation is very fluid, and can change at any time (as in, by the time you read this). Near as I can tell, though, this is how things look going into tonight: I've learned from concerned advocates that Democratic congressional leadership is considering stripping the production tax credits for wind and solar, along with the federal renewable portfolio standard, from the conference bill. Losing the RPS and the PTC would mean jettisoning basically every measure that the White House has complained about. Apparently, Reid and Pelosi may have decided that a bill with a Renewable Fuel Standard (i.e., monstrous subsidies for ethanol) and a boost in CAFE standards is enough to secure Democratic bragging rights on energy. If this happens, it will mean there's bupkis in the energy bill for renewable electricity, imperiling probably billions of dollars in solar and wind contracts that have been written with the expectation that the production tax credits will lower costs to investors and consumers.

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