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30Jul/14Off

Climate Change and the American Way

Nick Desai

Serial entrepreneur, innovator, political thinker and new dad

Posted: 07/29/2014 2:35 pm EDT Updated: 07/29/2014 6:59 pm EDT

We Americans, myself included, are carefree users of energy. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, we have enjoyed abundantly available and affordable energy so we're spoiled. Given that, a large degree of apathy toward the climate change crisis is neither unexpected nor intolerable. We want our lights to turn on, our homes to stay cool, and our cars to go, and we don't particularly care how the "sausage" is made.

What is troubling, however, is the alarming number of Americans big oil has deluded into not only denying basic science, but also becoming actual defenders of fossil fuels as somehow protecting the American way of life. On Earth Day, more and more "deniers" turn on extra lights and run their A/Cs extra long, running up their own electric bills just to spite the climate change movement. So called Coal Rollers burn secondary coal exhaust in front of fuel-efficient cars to, I don't know, protest another person's right to spend less on gas. Some Southern states now have laws specifically disallowing climate change considerations in their thinking. Even in our Congress, Michele Bachmann famously introduced legislation to protect a particular kind of light bulb.

The irony of this tragically misguided and dangerous "patriotism" is that it is a direct affront to one of the best parts of "American Exceptionalism," which is innovation.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-desai/climate-change-and-the-am_b_5631139.html

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30Jul/14Off

Energy Department takes steps to plug methane leaks

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Natural gas, Pipelines

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled out a series of initiatives meant to help pare the amount of methane escaping the nation’s natural gas pipelines, following a government report that faulted the Environmental Protection Agency for doing too little to plug the leaks.

The administrative actions include plans to write efficiency standards for energy-hungry natural gas compressor units and launch a new research and development program aimed at devising better ways to find and plug leaks.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider ways it can give gas transmission companies the certainty that they will recover the costs of replacing leak-prone pipes, swapping out inefficient compressors and making other retrofits. Right now, most of the financial benefits of stemming gas leaks in the transmission sector are felt by consumers, not local distribution companies, and the payoff times for upgrades can be long.

To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/07/29/energy-department-takes-steps-to-plug-methane-leaks/

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30Jul/14Off

PG&E hit with new federal felony charges in San Bruno explosion

By George Avalos

Oakland Tribune

Posted:   07/29/2014 05:28:26 PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal grand jury on Tuesday issued a new criminal indictment against PG&E in connection with the fatal 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, leaving the utility to face dozens of charges, including obstruction of justice.

All told, the U.S. Department of Justice filed 27 charges accusing PG&E of willfully violating the pipeline safety act, and one charge of obstructing an investigation of the explosion by the National Transportation Safety Board, with prosecutors alleging the company lied to federal investigators about the policies it was using to fix its pipeline system. The new indictment replaces one filed April 1 that charged PG&E with 12 felony counts.

The charges, filed in what's known as a superseding indictment, significantly increase the financial penalty the utility faces, with the company now subject to a fine of up to $1.1 billion. Prosecutors are also charging the company with a crime that purportedly took place after the explosion; up to now, all of the charges against the company targeted actions it took before the explosion.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26239670/pg-e-hit-new-federal-felony-charges-san

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30Jul/14Off

How One Agency Could Threaten Obama’s Climate Goals

by Tom Kenworthy Posted on July 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/29/3461304/obama-climate-goals-coal/

Even as giant U.S. coal companies bemoan the Obama Administration’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, a federal agency’s long history of protecting industry interests could hand coal companies a victory and threaten an otherwise impressive climate record.

The coal industry has loudly and publicly decried the administration’s Clean Power Plan, saying it would “place the U.S. economy at serious risk,” while quietly working to convince the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to sell off billions of tons of coal owned by the American public at below-market rates.

If the coal industry succeeds, and if the Obama administration doesn’t step in to curtail major new coal lease sales proposed by the BLM in a region of Wyoming and Montana known as the Powder River Basin, those sales could lock in decades of massive carbon dioxide releases. Combustion of that coal — if not here in the U.S. then quite likely abroad in places like China — will undermine White House climate goals and achievements.

Two new reports, one by the Center for American Progress, the other by Greenpeace, highlight the costs of the BLM’s coal leasing program.

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30Jul/14Off

Obama’s coal-leasing program is costing taxpayers more than $50 billion

By Ben Adler

Original source: http://grist.org/climate-energy/obamas-coal-leasing-program-is-costing-taxpayers-more-than-50-billion/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520July%252029&utm_campaign=daily

It is common for the coal industry and its conservative allies in politics and media to complain that President Obama is waging a “war on coal.” It is certainly true that the share of American energy that comes from coal is declining. Obama doesn’t actually deserve much of the credit for that. It’s mostly due to the natural gas boom, helped along by the rise of solar and grassroots organizing efforts such as the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Still, Obama is trying to move the energy sector further away from coal in the years ahead through his proposed CO2 regulations for power plants.

But coal extraction keeps chugging along, with much of the coal being exported to Asian countries that are hungry for energy to fuel their growing economies. And a lot of this mining is taking place on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management sells leases to coal companies at far below their market value, and even farther below the cost of their pollution on society. As we’ve previously noted, this is one of the ways the federal government subsidizes fossil fuel production. Such subsidies have actually grown during the Obama administration. Environmentalists say that Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy contradicts his professed commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, and undermines his efforts to do so.

Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change,” a report released on Monday by Greenpeace, attempts to quantify the scope and social costs of federal coal leasing. Here are the most important statistic-filled bits:

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30Jul/14Off

In 2014, Colorado Oil And Gas Spills Are Happening Twice A Day

by Tom Kenworthy Posted on July 29, 2014 at 11:53 am Updated: July 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Original source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/29/3465290/colorado-oil-gas-spill/

The more they drill, the more they spill. And the part about telling residents about it, not so much.

A Denver Post analysis of Colorado oil and gas spills so far in 2014 reveals that they are happening twice a day “and usually without anyone telling residents.”

That rate, 467 spills for the first 7 months of this year, suggests that the state will surpass last year’s record of 575, the paper reported, due to a surge in oil and gas development and more stringent reporting rules. The state oil and gas commission said that tougher enforcement is also a factor.

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30Jul/14Off

Denver protests over proposed EPA power-plant rules stoked by politics

By Joey Bunch and Thad Moore

The Denver Post

Posted:   07/29/2014 04:17:53 PM MDT

Updated:   07/30/2014 02:46:04 AM MDT

Hundreds of people, many of them coal miners and power company employees, rallied near the Colorado Capitol Tuesday against proposed rules to cut power-plant emissions, saying the regulations would kill coal jobs and raise power bills.

"This is about protecting our American way of life and our life in Colorado," Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association, told the fired-up crowd protesting during the two-day EPA hearing in Denver.

Three other hearings on the proposed rules — which would force power plants to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide by 2030 — will be held. The Denver hearing is the only one scheduled for a location west of the Mississippi River.

Opponents to the rules say they will kill jobs and jack up consumers' electricity bills. Supporters say clean air and more jobs will be lost if emissions from coal-fired plants exacerbate climate change and hurts Colorado's winter tourism industry.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26238611/denver-protests-over-proposed-epa-power-plant-rules

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30Jul/14Off

Viewpoints: Ban on fracking would cost jobs

By John Kabateck

Special to The Bee

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 30, 2014 - 12:00 am

When it comes to oil regulation, California’s rules are the toughest in the nation. One would think that these stringent protections, adopted last year by the Legislature and governor under Senate Bill 4, would be a cause for celebration among the environmental community.

But instead of claiming victory, extremists are pushing for energy bans that would make our state more dependent on costly imported oil.

Bans against oil extraction techniques such as hydraulic fracturing would force California to rely more on energy from other states or foreign countries. California currently uses all the oil produced in our state, but this only covers 37 percent of our total need. The remaining 63 percent is imported from other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Iraq.

Further restricting the amount of oil produced within the Golden State would increase our reliance on outside sources, hurting our energy independence and potentially penalizing California consumers with higher prices at the pump.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/30/6591089/viewpoints-ban-on-fracking-would.html

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30Jul/14Off

Alabama state officials: We won’t comply with the EPA because God gave us coal

Alabama state officials say that EPA carbon standards violate God's law. Seriously.

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 01:03 PM PDT

Joanna Rothkopf

On Tuesday, Alabama state officials said they refused to comply with the EPA’s new carbon pollution measures because God gave them coal.

I mean… what?

Alabama.com reports:

At their news conference today Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God’s plan.

“Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” he said.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.salon.com/2014/07/29/alabama_state_officials_we_wont_comply_with_the_epa_because_god_gave_us_coal/

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30Jul/14Off

Export-Import Bank faces danger from all sides


By ERIC BRADNER | 7/27/14 10:13 PM EDT

Conservatives may be headlining the opposition to the Export-Import Bank, but the efforts of coal-friendly Democrats to change the little-known agency’s rules could further jeopardize its future.

Two competing proposals would reform the U.S. export credit agency as part of a reauthorization deal, but they have been stymied by party infighting and leaders’ procedural disputes.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is set to introduce legislation that would extend the 80-year-old bank’s charter for five years, raise its lending cap and provide one major reform: a coal provision that could attract Republicans but has infuriated the left.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/export-import-bank-congress-109422.html

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30Jul/14Off

Energy reform advances in Mexico

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm by Robert Grattan in Latin America

Mexican lawmakers took a step Tuesday toward ending a decades-old state monopoly on oil and gas.

HOUSTON–Mexico’s lower house on Tuesday approved a key component of legislation to end the government monopoly on the country’s energy sector after more than 75 years and to open the industry to foreign and private investment.

The bills codify last year’s amendments to the Mexican constitution that reverse the tight control of the nation’s oil and gas reserves by state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

The newly approved package of about 30 bills will require another vote by the Senate, which approved a version of the legislation last week.  Final approval is expected by  early August.

State-owned Pemex has drawn criticism for being slow to invest in new technology and infrastructure. Over the past decade, the nation has registered a drop of about 23 percent in crude output.

To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/07/29/energy-reform-advances-in-mexico/

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30Jul/14Off

Batteries, flywheels, hydrogen and thermal energy storage in mandated mix

Jeff St. John

July 28, 2014

California may have the world’s biggest grid-scale energy storage mandate -- but Canada’s Ontario province may have the world’s most varied one.

Last week, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announced it had awarded five companies a total of 34 megawatts of energy storage projects. Winning projects include some large-scale batteries, similar to projects underway in California, New York, Hawaii and other states with energy storage mandates or incentives. But the awards also include flywheels, thermal energy storage, and what's described as North America’s first large-scale hydrogen energy storage project.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ontario-contracts-34mw-of-all-of-the-above-energy-storage

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30Jul/14Off

Huge power company Exelon to finance Bloom Energy fuel cell projects

By Katie Fehrenbacher

Summary:

Power companies are becoming more interested in Bloom Energy’s fuel cells, while customers are asking Bloom for the PPA-style power-as-a-service deal.

Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy announced an important financing deal early Tuesday morning with one of the largest power companies in the U.S. Exelon plans to fund the deployment of 21 MW worth of Bloom Energy fuel cells — which is over 100 individual fuel cell units — for two customers across 75 commercial locations. While the deal isn’t that large in terms of units, it’s interesting because it shows how Bloom Energy’s fuel cells are becoming more bankable and more compelling to power companies interested in a distributed clean power option.

To read the entire article go to: http://gigaom.com/2014/07/29/huge-power-company-exelon-to-finance-bloom-energy-fuel-cell-projects/

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30Jul/14Off

Green Charge Networks Gets $56 Million Infusion

Contributor

Heather Clancy

I write about technology for conservation, efficiency and reuse.

Energy storage company Green Charge Networks, which sells its GreenStation technology under a financing model similar to the one that has boosted distributed solar, just got another $56 million to help finance installations in commercial accounts and schools.

Green Charge customers already include 7-Eleven, Walgreens and UPS, as well as school campuses and cities in New York and California.

The round was led by K Road DG, which is run by several former K Road Power executives as well as the founder of the Intel Capital organization. “K Road DG believes that Green Charge’s technology solutions respond directly to a global demand for intelligent energy storage,” said William Kriegel, CEO of K Road DG, in a a statement.

Green Charge sells its GreenStation technology under what it calls a power efficiency agreement, similar to the long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) that are used to deploy solar, wind and other renewable energy technologies.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/heatherclancy/

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30Jul/14Off

Cuomo says state is taking to SolarCity

Jul 29 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - David Robinson The Buffalo News, N.Y.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday he is optimistic an expanded incentive package for Silevo and its potential acquirer, SolarCity, to build a sprawling solar panel factory in South Buffalo will be worked out. "It's not done yet, but I have a good feeling," Cuomo said Monday during a stop in Buffalo.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/14/07/cuomo-says-state-taking-solarcity?utm_source=2014_07_30&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=RB_DAILY&utm_term=D&utm_content=243426

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