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May 17th, 2012 Archives
By Howard Pankratz The Denver Post 05/16/2012 - 10:12 PM EDT
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, in Denver on Wednesday, called on Congress to act on extending clean-energy tax credits, which he said will help American companies create jobs and produce clean, renewable power.
"America can't afford to miss out on the clean- energy opportunity," Chu said. "We have an opportunity to create a second Industrial Revolution that will provide clean energy and put us on a path to a sustainable world."
Chu was in Denver to address the World Renewable Energy Forum. The week-long biennial meeting is being attended by about 3,000 renewable-energy representatives, advocates and policymakers from 66 countries .
The wind-energy tax credit has stumbled in Congress despite wide support among Republicans and Democrats in Colorado. But the production-tax-credit extension — which costs $4.1 billion over 10 years and includes some other renewables such as geothermal — has repeatedly failed in the U.S. Senate.
To read the entire article go to: http://business-news.thestreet.com/denver-post-energy/story/us-energy-chief-pushes-extension-tax-credits-renewables/1Share This Post
State rebates could offset electrical sticker shock, finds a new study
May 16, 2012 | 10:00 PM | By Craig Miller
Original source: http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/05/16/cap-and-trade-and-your-electric-bill/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29
Forcing utilities to pay for their carbon emissions, as California plans to do, will mean more costly megawatts. Six months before formal compliance with the state’s new cap & trade system begins, regulators are still sorting out what to do about that.
One of them is to provide rebates to offset hikes in electric bills. A new report from the clean-economy advocates, Next 10 attempts to sort out the options and put some concrete numbers on them. For example, the authors estimate that for PG&E customers, pricing carbon will add somewhere from two-to-seven dollars a month to summer electric bills, and anywhere from $2.50-to-more than $10 for customers served by Southern California Edison. Where you fall in that range depends in part on which of California’s many climate zones you live in. Places like the Inland Empire, which rely more on air conditioning, would fall in the upper end of the range.Share This Post
Bee Correspondent Published Thursday, May. 17, 2012
Businesspeople and workers from the state's burgeoning solar industry gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday to call for a change in state policy to allow more solar projects to be built in California.
Utilities are opposing the policy change, saying rooftop solar installations have grown so rapidly that non-solar electricity customers are now subsidizing the cost of delivering power to those who have solar panels.
The state Public Utilities Commission will decide at its meeting next Thursday whether to extend "net energy metering," a 15-year practice allowing homeowners, school districts and businesses to offset the cost of installing solar by selling any excess power to the utility grid.
Under net metering, utilities give solar customers a credit on their monthly bill during sunny months when they produce more solar power than they use. Those credits are used to offset higher electricity use during the less sunny months.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/17/4495916/capitol-gathering-urges-state.htmlShare This Post
May 15, 2012
In a sweeping 453-page decision approved by the California PUC at its May 10 business meeting, the commission is looking to fundamentally alter the state's approach to energy-efficiency programs.
The decision provides guidance to utilities on 2013 and 2014 efficiency programs, which the commission considers transition years -- a break from the past method of providing "bridge" funding. The bridge years have been characterized by diminishing returns on existing programs and squabbles between utilities and ratepayer advocates over actual energy-efficiency savings, the method used to calculate them, and utility incentives earned for programs [D12-05-015].
"No one here is interested in perpetuating the adversarial posturing between utilities and consumers," said the CPUC's Mark Ferron, the assigned commissioner in the proceeding [R09-11-014].
The decision thus provides quantitative guidance -- a non-controversial method of calculating energy savings and efficiency goals -- as well as qualitative guidance on specific programs, such as deeper retrofits, expanded on-bill financing, third-party implementation of programs and statewide marketing.
Shift Away From IOU Programs
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energyprospects.com/cgi-bin/package_display.pl?packageID=3807Share This Post
By Don Bauder, May 16, 2012
Did Sempra Energy pass bribes to officials in Mexico to grease construction projects there? Then, when a whistle-blower complaint was filed, did the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation permit Sempra to investigate itself by hiring friendly law firms that — of course — exonerated the company?
A lawsuit filed in federal court in late April may shed light on those questions. Rodolfo Michelon, who had a high Sempra accounting position in Mexico, filed suit against the SEC and FBI, stating that they did not respond adequately to information requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
In 2010, Michelon filed a still-pending suit against Sempra, alleging wrongful termination and that the company passed bribes in Mexico, among other things. Later, Michelon filed a whistle-blower complaint with the FBI and SEC incorporating the information about alleged Mexican briberies. However, those two agencies deferred any investigations to law firms hired and paid by Sempra, according to the April suit.
Three law firms exonerated Sempra on the bribery charges, and neither agency conducted its own investigation, according to the suit. Sempra’s vice president and general counsel, Javade Chaudhri, had once been a partner in two of the three firms: Jones Day and Winston & Strawn.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2012/may/16/citylights1-did-sempra-bribe-mexicans/Share This Post
By EDWARD WELSCH May 16, 2012, 9:02 p.m. ET
CALGARY—Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday it is moving ahead with 3.2 billion Canadian dollars (US$3.2 billion) in pipeline expansions, mostly to send more crude oil from Canada and North Dakota to the U.S. Midwest and eastern Canada.
The expansions include a full reversal of the Line 9 pipeline from Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal, where crude oil produced in North America will replace imported crude oil.
The expansions are another step in the reshaping of North America's energy infrastructure to accommodate rising crude-oil production in Canada and the Western U.S.
Pipeline companies are building or expanding pipelines south, west and east from the center of the continent to the coasts. The cheaper North American production is starting to displace foreign oil imports, which are more expensive than U.S. benchmark prices.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303360504577408892726239780.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
The root of the problem at the nuclear plant is still a mystery. A key issue is whether Edison or ratepayers will have to cover the cost of replacement power.
By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
May 17, 2012
On Jan. 31, alarms alerted the control room at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that a radiation leak was occurring in one of the nearly 39,000 tubes that carry radioactive water in the steam generators.
That failure led to an unparalleled shutdown of one of California's two nuclear power plants and triggered more than three months of detective work by Southern California Edison officials and federal nuclear regulators that has yet to determine the problem's root cause or when San Onofre will reopen.
Since then, the outlook for the plant has gotten worse.
Now, about 1,300 tubes — more than 3% of all the plant's tubes — have been taken out of service because of unexpected wear. And Edison has said that even when San Onofre reopens, it probably won't run at full capacity.
Figuring out the exact cause of the wear is crucial.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-san-onofre-tubes-20120517,0,2343216.story?track=rssShare This Post
By Steven Mufson, Published: May 16
The troubled United States Enrichment Corp., on the brink of closing a Kentucky enrichment plant, has been bailed out in a complex Energy Department accord designed to keep that facility open one more year.
But USEC, a Bethesda-based firm that provides fuel for nuclear power reactors, is seeking more federal money to carry out research and development for the American Centrifuge Project, a more efficient enrichment plant in Ohio that the company calls vital to its future.
USEC’s supporters in Congress have inserted language in versions of three different spending bills that would provide as much as $150 million — an example of how a small piece of complicated legislation can acquire powerful political allies and foes.
Without new government aid, USEC says it will have to halt work at the Ohio site by month’s end, and that has created a rare moment of bipartisanship in Washington. Democratic and GOP members of the Ohio delegation, including House Speaker John A. Boehner, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu support the authorization or transfer of research money for USEC’s new facility.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/united-states-enrichment-corp-bailed-out-once-seeks-more-federal-money-for-new-project/2012/05/16/gIQAjOu2UU_story.htmlShare This Post
Proposes tax-credit limits for power products from China.
By Steven Bennish, Staff Writer Updated 11:50 PM Tuesday, May 15, 2012
An ongoing trade fight over which nation will dominate the emerging solar power industry took a new turn Tuesday when U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced a proposal to prohibit Chinese products from taking advantage of U.S. tax credits.
The bill would bar Chinese-made solar panels from qualifying for a 30 percent tax credit for buying and installing solar panels. The IRS allows tax breaks for solar panels regardless of where they are made.
Brown and Schumer said new solar wattage installed in the U.S. has grown more than 70 percent per year since 2008, “yet the vast majority of those solar panels have been made in China and have undercut U.S. producers and jobs.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.daytondailynews.com/business/brown-backs-solar-fight-1376170.htmlShare This Post
Capacity has doubled in each of the past two years
Bill Opalka | May 16, 2012
States that extend from the Mid-Atlantic coast to the Midwest in the PJM Interconnection territory have surpassed 1 GW of solar generation.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/05/pjm-exceeds-1-gw-solar-power&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=RB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
May 16 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Mary Landers Savannah Morning News, Ga.
Row after row of solar panels sat soaking up the sun Tuesday on the roof of the senior residence at Sustainable Fellwood.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24605414Share This Post