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June 20th, 2012 Archives
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
A state appeals court on Tuesday upheld California's plan to combat global warming with a market-based cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, rejecting some environmental groups' arguments that the rules are too weak and could worsen certain types of air pollution.
The state Air Resources Board, which adopted the plan in 2009, gave adequate reasons for rejecting alternatives such as binding limits on emissions and a tax on carbon-based fuels, said the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.
"It is not for this court to re-evaluate ARB's judgment call," which came after "knowledgeable input from industry, academia, environmental organizations, and members of the general public," said Justice Stuart Pollak in the 3-0 ruling. He said the board can make future improvements based on "further research and experience."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/20/BASU1P4MFB.DTLShare This Post
National lab considers alternatives
Bill Opalka | Jun 19, 2012
How much renewable energy can the United States accommodate over the coming decades is the subject of a new report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).Share This Post
Historic Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act Introduced in Congress for Mountaintop Removal Moratorium
Posted: 06/19/2012 5:06 pm
Jeff Biggers: Author of forthcoming book, State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream
Recognizing the mounting humanitarian crisis from mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian coalfields, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) joined Congressional representatives from across the nation today and introduced H.R. 5959, The Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act. The historic bill places "a moratorium on permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining until health studies are conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services."
"The ACHE Act will stop new mountaintop removal coal mines until the science clearly demonstrates the mines will not cost these hard working communities their health or their lives. It will also fund some of the best researchers in the world to carry out that science," Kucinich said.
Over the past few years, as impacted coal mining residents have pleaded for basic civil rights and environmental protection, around 20 peer-reviewed studies have suggested higher risks and links between reckless strip mining and devastating health impacts, including birth defects, cancer and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease. (A report released last week noted that strip miners are even subjected to unacceptable levels of black lung disease.)
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/ache-act_b_1609958.html?utm_hp_ref=greenShare This Post
Financial risks, attitudes examined at NIC conference
06/19/2012 By Wayne Barber
Despite its high capital costs and the regulatory unease from the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan, Wall Street seems to view nuclear power more favorably than it did a few years ago, consultant Bruce Lacy told a Nuclear Infrastructure Council conference June 19 in Washington, D.C.
Lacy, who heads his own consulting firm, is a former Alliant Energy manager with a 29-year nuclear career. For the past few years his firm has been doing a Nuclear Financial Survey, which attempts to gauge the U.S. financial sector’s attitude toward nuclear power in the United States.
Despite increasing concern on nuclear risks, Fukushima does not appear to have had a major impact on overall expectations of new nuclear power in the United States. Lacy noted that the full report is available for sale from his firm.
An interview-based survey of 40 banking, investing, analyst and rating agency officials taken during the first quarter indicates that Wall Street expects four new reactors to start construction in the United States by 2015.Share This Post
Jeff Wilkinson | Raleigh News & Observer
State and regional officials on Tuesday continued their push to build support both here and in the nation’s capital to build the first small, modular nuclear reactors at the Savannah River Site in Aiken County.
The U.S. Department of Energy has given the green light for three companies to partner with SRS to potentially develop the nation’s first mini-reactors there. The three companies are competing with other plant design companies across the nation – and each other – for federal matching grants totaling up to $452 million to support engineering, certification and licensing for up to two mini-reactor designs. Winners are expected to be announced later this summer.
The mini-reactors, which could be a small as a double-wide trailer and power factories, small cities or remote areas, have been called the nuclear technology of the future. They can be built at a fraction of the cost of large reactors at a central location and transported to wherever they are needed.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/06/19/152912/support-for-mini-nuclear-reactors.htmlShare This Post
Jun 18 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Dave Toplikar Las Vegas Sun
John Bettencourt smiled from under his wide-brimmed hat as the Southern Nevada sun blazed across the 25-acre solar array he has been installing in northeast Las Vegas.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24947933/Las-Vegas-plugging-into-solar-energyShare This Post
A huge market globally, solar hot water is an almost untapped market in the U.S. that’s still innovating and cutting costs.
Herman K. Trabish: June 19, 2012
There are about 200 million solar water heating (SWH) systems in the world. There are about one million systems in the U.S. Year-on-year numbers, even during the recession, showed SWH to be an expanding domestic industry.
There are approximately 100 million residential water heating systems in the U.S., according to Sunnovations CEO Matt Carlson, and just under half use electricity, fuel oil or propane. “I’m looking at a market of 50-million-plus homes that don’t use natural gas to heat their water,” he said. “That’s a pretty sizeable market, and that’s where the opportunity is.”
In the U.S., natural gas is cheap and the infrastructure to deliver it is in place. Though many market watchers expect increased competition from liquid natural gas (LNG) exporters to soon drive the domestic price up, Carlson and other SWH proponents admit they cannot compete with natural gas at its present low rates.
Eight million water heaters are sold yearly in the U.S., Carlson said, at a cost of $1,000 to $1,500. The yearly water heating bill of a typical family of four with an electric system, he said, is $400 to $500, the second biggest energy cost to homeowners. It is more than “all of the load from the lighting and electronics of a home,” he added, and a solar system “is going to substitute for a good three-quarters of that, depending on where you are.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Sunnovations-Solar-Hot-Water-is-Where-the-Money-Is-/Share This Post
Posted: 06/18/2012 6:11 pm
Director of the SunShot Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Program
Ramamoorthy Ramesh is the director of the SunShot Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Program. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Ph. D. in 1987. He then returned to Berkeley in 2004 and is currently the Plato Malozemoff Chair Professor in Materials Science and Physics. Previously, he was a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland College Park.
In my two years as the director of the Energy Department's Solar Energy Technologies Program, I have often been accused of being an eternal optimist. I see our nation's energy challenges as an incredible opportunity -- one that has the potential to revolutionize our economy, environment, and national security.
That's why, back in 2010, we established the SunShot Initiative to decrease the total installed price of solar energy by 75 percent by 2020. We took our inspiration from President Kennedy's 1962 "moon shot" speech that set the country on a path to regain the lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. Many thought a manned lunar mission was beyond NASA's capabilities, but this bold move ultimately united the country when it proved successful.
There were plenty of naysayers when we launched the SunShot Initiative -- even within the industry -- who said that subsidy-free, cost-competitive solar couldn't happen in this decade. But we didn't listen to them. And now -- as the price of solar panels decreases and America's solar energy industry explodes -- many of those same naysayers are changing their tune.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ramamoorthy-ramesh/solar-energy-systems-_b_1606427.html?utm_hp_ref=greenShare This Post
Expanding ownership models are growing the solar industry.
Herman K. Trabish: June 19, 2012
Along with the emergence of three distinct ownership models (customer-owned, third-party-owned, and utility-owned), the U.S. photovoltaic (PV) market has grown, over the last ten years, at an average annual rate of approximately 70 percent, according to GTM Research.
The bulk of national solar growth has been in rooftop installations. More than 62,000 systems were installed in the U.S. in 2011, bringing the national cumulative total at the end of the year to over 203,000 distributed PV systems making up an installed capacity of almost 2,700 megawatts (AC).
A 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), put in place for eight years in 2008, and net energy metering (NEM), in place in 43 states and D.C. that assures system owners are reimbursed at retail rates for the electricity they send to the grid, have both inclined home and business owners who can manage the rapidly falling upfront costs to make a commitment to rooftop solar. It makes up the largest segment of the PV solar market.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/who-owns-solar/Share This Post
Jun 18 - Asbury Park Press
Solar energy's growth in New Jersey is being tested by reluctance from business interests and consumer advocates to keep feeding the industry enormous subsidies and government incentives.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24958041/Solar-subsidies-raise-questionsShare This Post
Will CPV make it? Checking in with one of the leading concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems companies
Eric Wesoff: June 19, 2012
Soitec, the French-headquartered CPV manufacturer, just scored $25 million from the DOE's SUNPATH program to help to support its new North American solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, California.
SUNPATH, a nice acronym, stands for the awkwardly named "Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home" and is intended to foster a competitive American solar manufacturing base. Soitec's new 176,000-square-foot factory on 15 acres is meant to support CPV projects in the San Diego and Imperial County region with a 200-megawatt capacity of Soitec's CPV systems.
The factory is under construction, is creating hundreds of jobs, and "the first phase is scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2012," according to a release from the company. Solar Junction and 1366 Technologies also received funding as part of the SUNPATH program.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Soitec-Gets-25M-DOE-Funding-For-CPV-Solar-Factory-in-San-Diego/Share This Post
Posted: 06/14/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 06/14/2012 02:11:56 AM MDT
By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post
Two Colorado start-up companies aiming to cut the cost of residential solar panel installations received a total of $1.8 million in federal grants, the Department of Energy announced Wednesday.
The two companies Boulder-based Concept3D and Parker-based Simply Civic are focusing on cutting the so-called soft costs, such as permitting and inspections.
Those soft costs make-up twice as much of the price for a residential installation as the solar panels themselves.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking at the SunShot Conference in Denver today, said that such administrative costs have to be brought down to make solar energy competitive.
The Shotshot initiative is aiming cut the cost of solar energy by 75 percent by 2020, making it price competitive with low-cost, natural gas electricity generation.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_20852088Share This Post
Mimi Whitefield and Taylor Barnes | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: June 20, 2012 06:43:52 AM
RIO DE JANEIRO -- ]
Indigenous people with painted faces and plumes have competed in the "Green Games" to highlight the need to preserve the natural world, a mock favela has been built on the beach as a reminder not to forget the poor and the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior has pulled into Guanabara Bay.
And all of that has taken place before the main event - three days of high-level talks among world leaders that begin Wednesday at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio(plus)20 because it marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Some 50,000 people - an expected 120 heads of state or government, environmentalists, business leaders, social activists, artists and protestors - have gathered for this global extravaganza on the future of the planet.
To read the entire article go to:http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/06/19/152973/un-summit-in-brazil-could-shape.htmlShare This Post
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: June 18
Four dozen of the world’s largest cities have taken steps to cut 248 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, according to a report issued Tuesday, an announcement aimed at demonstrating that environmental progress can continue in the absence of a broad international climate agreement.
The news, which New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will deliver along with Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes at this week’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, highlights the fractured policymaking landscape that defines environmental issues today. While more than 130 world leaders will try to hammer out a negotiated statement in Rio by week’s end about their sustainable development goals, many of the concrete steps are being taking by community leaders.
“We’re not arguing with each other about emissions targets,” Bloomberg told reporters in a teleconference Monday. “What we’re doing is going out and making progress.”
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — a network of 59 cities, including Los Angeles; Tokyo; Bogota, Colombia; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — was launched in 2005 to provide support for mayors hoping to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in urban centers across the globe. The group analyzed data from 48 cities to determine a suite of policies that are now in place to cut 248 million tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of taking 44 million passenger vehicles off the road for a year.Share This Post
Posted: 06/19/2012 3:09 pm
For NGOs at Rio+20, a palpable air of pessimism has hung over the summit. Initial perceived failures to reach agreements on issues integral to a new era for sustainable development have been compounded by an inability for NGOs to project their voice. However, this appraisal of initial pessimism was not one shared by governments keen to project progress.
At the end of last week it was announced that delegations negotiating on the conference outcome document before heads of state arrive in Brazil tomorrow -- Wednesday -- had failed to reach agreement. While a paltry 37% of the outcome document was agreed upon -- a 15% increase on the amount agreed at the end of three separate negotiations held in New York this year -- government delegations none the less rose to report "considerable" or "significant" progress. Realism was conspicuous by its absence.
To salvage an agreement, and consequently its own image, the Brazilian government drafted a new compromise document, the 'Brazilian text', the final version of which was released today -- Tuesday. The document is by and large supported by the G77 and China. The EU and "JUSCANZ," however, have concerns over many elements of the text.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-dearn/pessimism-pervades-ngos-a_b_1609706.html?utm_hp_ref=greenShare This Post