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But that still didn’t live up to expectations.
March 31, 2015
By the end of 2014, total installed capacity for solar PV globally amount to at least 177 gigawatts, up from nearly 140 gigawatts in 2013, according to the International Energy Agency's Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS).
Countries in the IEA-PVPS network that are engaged in collaborative efforts to grow the PV market reported 155 gigawatts of cumulative solar installations at the end of 2014. Countries outside of the PVPS program, which the IEA tracks through industry groups as opposed to official government bodies, installed at least 22 gigawatts of additional capacity.
There is at least 10 times more solar PV installed around the world today than in 2008. These global installations are now producing more than 1 percent of the electricity used on the planet.
Source: IEA PVPS
But while the global solar PV market continues to grow, last year's performance didn't quite meet expectations.Share This Post
Obama’s Strategy on Climate Change, Part of Global Deal, Is RevealedBy CORAL DAVENPORTMARCH 31, 2015WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday introduced President Obama’s blueprint for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by nearly a third over the next decade.Mr. Obama’s plan, part of a formal written submission to the United Nations ahead of efforts to forge a global climate change accord in Paris in December, detailed the United States’ part of an ambitious joint pledge made by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping of China in November.The United States and China are the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters. Mr. Obama said the United States would cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi said that China’s emissions would drop after 2030.
Mr. Obama’s new blueprint brings together several domestic initiatives that were already in the works, including freezing construction of new coal-fired power plants, increasing the fuel economy of vehicles and plugging methane leaks from oil and gas production. It is meant to describe how the United States will lead by example and meet its pledge for cutting emissions.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/us/obama-to-offer-major-blueprint-on-climate-change.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
March 31, 2015 | 10:04 AM | By state of health
Advocates say the San Joaquin Valley Air District should focus on sources it can control, like farming machinery. (David McNew/Getty Images)
By Alice Daniel
California’s Central Valley grapples with some of the dirtiest air in the nation. The culprits range from its vast agriculture industry to trucks on Highway 99. But one local air district is tagging a source far away: Asia.
“The world in so many ways is getting smaller in respect to what we always thought was our own backyard issue: ozone,” says David Lighthall, the health science advisor for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
Lighthall is one of the organizers of an ozone pollution conference starting Tuesday where scientists from California, China, Colorado and other places will discuss trends in global ozone.
Scientists say pollutants from fast-growing Asian countries like China are blowing across the Pacific Ocean and increasing ozone levels in vulnerable areas that include parts of California. But how much of a difference that foreign — or “transboundary” — ozone makes in the Central Valley is debatable.Share This Post
Ahead of December climate talks in Paris, the US today committed to cut its greenhouse emissions 28 percent. Mexico and the EU have made their pledges, reluctant nations and the GOP still stand between Obama and a climate deal.
By Jared Gilmour, Staff writer MARCH 31, 2015
Obama's pledge is the latest in a series of executive-led efforts to bolster US climate policy ahead of this December’s international talks in Paris – widely seen as a last-ditch opportunity to foster unified global action to curb heat-trapping emissions.
Mr. Obama’s strength on climate policy is also his weakness. Cuts to meet his 28 percent reduction goal will come largely through the president’s power to regulate emissions from power plants, cars and trucks, and sources like methane leaks. The president circumvents Congressional opposition by going it alone on domestic and international climate policy, but he also risks foregoing a more consensus-based approach to global climate efforts. That could leave some in the international community wondering if they can rely on a ten-year commitment from an executive who will be in power for less than two of those years.Share This Post
By John Light on 30 Mar 2015
Mexico is the first developing country to formally make its climate action pledge ahead of U.N. negotiations to be held in Paris later this year. And its plan is actually pretty ambitious, analysts say.
Mexico on Friday said it intends to have its greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2026 and then begin to decline. It will cut its “black carbon” emissions — particulate pollution generated by burning fuels like wood and diesel — in half by 2030. The net effect is that, by 2030, Mexico’s emissions will be 25 percent lower than if the country had continued without making any changes, and by 2050, emissions will be 50 percent below 2000 levels. The country is also working on reducing its “carbon intensity” — the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of GDP.
“That would make Mexico’s announcement a bit more ambitious than what is expected from China, but not as ambitious as what the U.S. will offer,” InsideClimate News’s John Cushman notes, referring to the November 2014 agreement between the Obama administration and China. Developing countries like China and Mexico are expected to allow their emissions to keep rising for a few years while their economies grow and their people rise out of poverty, whereas rich nations like the U.S., which have done most of the polluting in the past, are expected to start cutting emissions right away.Share This Post
Christopher Coats Contributor
I write about energy and policy issues facing the Mediterranean region
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ENERGY 3/31/2015 @ 5:29PM 338 views
Despite hints of a global recovery for renewable energy investment, Europe saw their progress stall over the last year, recording a little less than 1% growth for the period, according to United Nation data released this week.
According to a EuroActiv report, the data showed a dim view of Europe’s renewable aspirations, with China and the United States dwarfing their progress. The report stated that while global investment in renewables had grown 17% to €290 billion in 2014, led by solar and wind projects, Europe stood still
In some corners of the continent, renewable energy remains a toxic option for investors, with many scorned by erratic and unsteady regulations over the last several years. Despite some recent commentary that Spain – once Europe’s poster child for a renewable future – had begun to finally recover, many foreign investors remain cautious about the prospect of returning.Share This Post
9:01 PM PDT March 31, 2015
(Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s industrial overhaul rests in part on a piece of machinery that’s larger than a Winnebago and weighs as much as a Boeing 747. Now, it just needs to work.
GE plans to deliver its newest gas turbine in July, a decade after the rollout of an earlier model that was hindered by performance issues and sold poorly. The company is investing $2 billion developing the new 433-ton unit, which can churn out enough electricity to power 400,000 homes.
That investment reflects the turbine’s importance to Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt’s plan to strengthen GE’s industrial business while shrinking the volatile lending arm. It’s also needed to fend off rivals Siemens AG and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. as global population growth drives greater demand for electricity.
“This is one of the main events for GE,” said Victor Abate, 50, chief executive officer of power generation for GE Power & Water. “Eighteen months ago, the machine wasn’t in our catalog. Today, we have $1 billion worth of orders.”Share This Post
By STEPHANIE STROMMARCH 31, 2015
An oil palm plantation in Colombia. A number of large commodities companies are working to curb tropical deforestation.
Credit Ricardo Maldonado Rozo/European Pressphoto Agency
Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest commodities suppliers, has joined the growing number of major agriculture and food companies promising to take steps to conserve forests that are threatened by the global demand for commodities like palm oil and soy.
The company, known as ADM, offered a brief outline of its commitment on Tuesday, including its intention to work with third-party environmental experts to assess the impact of its supply chains on forests and other areas that have high conservation value. It will formally announce details of its policy at its annual meeting on May 7.
“We are confident that our No Deforestation policy is both strong and appropriate for our company,” Victoria A. Podesta, chief communications officer for ADM, said in a statement. “It combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains.”Share This Post
Brazilian builder OAS SA filed for bankruptcy, making it the largest company to seek protection as a bribery scandal involving state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA engulfs the construction industry.
OAS, which missed a local debt payment in January, said in a statement that it submitted documents Tuesday in Sao Paulo to restructure 7.03 billion reais ($2.18 billion) of debt in a process known locally as judicial recovery.
Brazil’s biggest builders have been struggling to make payments to creditors as they defend themselves from allegations that they bribed the oil company for contracts. As investigations proceed, OAS and more than 20 other companies have been banned from bidding on new projects with Petrobras.Share This Post
Crews continued to work into the night near the site of the explosion, where two bodies were found.
Credit Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times
As firefighters worked on Sunday afternoon to pull two bodies from the scene of an explosion that demolished three buildings in the East Village, a brother of one of the men reported missing in the blast urged his friends and relatives not to give up hope.
Neal Figueroa clambered partway up a police barrier, kissed a white rose he held and tossed it toward the rubble. “Nicholas, come home,” he shouted to his missing brother, 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa. “We’re here for you! Don’t give up!”
Within hours, the Figueroas would learn that one of the bodies — found after three days of sifting through the wreckage at Second Avenue and Seventh Street — had been identified as their Nicholas, who had been on a date at Sushi Park, a restaurant at 121 Second Avenue. Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said on Sunday evening that “everyone who was reported missing has been found,” appearing to confirm that the second body was that of Moises Ismael Locón Yac, 27, a busboy at Sushi Park, who was the only other person reported missing.
“We continue to search,” Mr. Nigro said at a news conference at the site, although “the likelihood of anyone else being here is very small.”Share This Post
Utility workers determined that gas intended for the restaurant Sushi Park was being siphoned where an explosion and fire destroyed three buildings on Thursday.
VICTOR J. BLUE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
By PATRICK McGEEHAN and JIHA HAM
MARCH 28, 2015
More than seven months before an explosion and fire destroyed three buildings in the East Village on Thursday, utility workers discovered that the gas line to a restaurant in one of them had been tapped in a dangerous way, Consolidated Edison and the restaurant’s owner said on Saturday.
After detecting a “strong odor” of gas in the basement of 121 Second Avenue on Aug. 6, the utility workers found “multiple leaks” in hoses that had been connected to the line, creating a “hazardous situation,” said Philip O’Brien, a spokesman for Con Edison. That discovery led Con Edison to shut off all gas to the building for about 10 days, until the utility deemed it safe to restore the service, Mr. O’Brien said.
City officials said they suspected that leaking natural gas was the source of the explosion and fire that destroyed 121 Second Avenue and two neighboring buildings. More than 20 people were injured, four critically. Two people who were in the restaurant, Sushi Park, were still missing on Saturday.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the city’s Department of Investigation are among the agencies looking into the explosion. The authorities were focusing on plumbing and gas line work being done at the building, and officials said they were exploring whether a gas line in the building had been tapped inappropriately.
On Saturday, the owner of Sushi Park, Hyeonil Kim, provided more details about the gas leak Con Edison responded to last summer. “We smelled gas, so we dialed 911,” he said.
He said firefighters and Con Edison employees arrived and the utility workers determined that gas intended for the restaurant was being siphoned off — he called it illegal gas-tapping — for use in the newly renovated apartments upstairs in the five-story building.Share This Post
BY DAVID SIDERSDSIDERS@SACBEE.COM
03/29/2015 4:57 PM 03/30/2015 12:05 AM
On Sept. 9, 2010, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, the result of a gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people. MICHAEL SAH ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE
Michael Peevey’s announcement last fall that he would not seek reappointment to the California Public Utilities Commission appeared to offer closure to years of controversy surrounding his tenure.
The commission, which regulates California’s massive energy and telecommunications industries, had been shaken by revelations of back-channel communications with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. following a fatal gas line explosion in San Bruno in 2010.
On the same day critics assembled in San Francisco to call for his ouster, Peevey relented. In a prepared statement, he said, “Twelve years as president is enough.”
Then, at his final meeting in December, Peevey closed with a laugh.
“Don’t shoot,” the commission president said. “I surrender!”
In the months since Peevey left the PUC, however, the scandal that ushered him out of office continues to erupt.Share This Post
Former PUC President Michael Peevey has been criticized for emails and other communications with utility officials.
BY MARC LIFSHER
March 29, 2015, 8:01 p.m.
A scandal at the Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco has reached across the bay to UC Berkeley.
Money raised by a $250-a-plate retirement dinner for Michael Peevey, the former president of the California Public Utilities Commission, has become too hot to handle for the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. The school was designated as the dinner's charity.
But after PUC critics condemned the dinner and criticized the school's role in it, Goldman's dean announced that the school would not accept the contributions generated by the Peevey affair.
Peevey, who retired Dec. 31 after two six-year terms as PUC president, is at the center of a scandal involving improper communications between top PUC officials and regulated electric, natural gas, water and other utilities. Peevey has denied any wrongdoing but has not responded to requests for comment.
After Peevey's departure, longtime friends — Marin County public relations executive Don Solem and Susan Kennedy, a former commissioner and top aide to Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis — organized the testimonial. The event drew several hundred guests to a ballroom in San Francisco's financial district Feb. 12.
http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-83175196/Share This Post
March 29, 2015 Updated: March 29, 2015 7:21pm
A tribute dinner for the embattled former president of the state Public Utilities Commission may have seemed a good way to help bolster funding for UC Berkeley’s public policy school, but the event turned into a nightmare that ended only when the school rejected the proceeds, e-mails released by the university show.
More than 300 pages of e-mails — obtained by a San Diego citizens group under the Public Records Act — show how the Goldman School of Public Policy had moved from first welcoming the proceeds from the Feb. 12 event honoring Michael Peevey to rejecting $30,000 and severing ties with him.
At first, Goldman Dean Henry Brady seemed stunned at the reaction to the dinner for Peevey — a large donor and member of the school’s advisory board. But his views appeared to change when a top official at the commission the 77-year-old Peevey ran for 12 years portrayed his former boss as an arrogant autocrat whose ethical lapses made his fall “inevitable.”Share This Post
By Jaxon Van Derbeken Updated 6:53 pm, Friday, March 27, 2015
The state Public Utilities Commission’s legal tab related to the ongoing state and federal corruption probes of the agency will probably top $5.1 million, documents show — more than 100 times the sum specified in the original contract.
Last year, the state agency signed a $49,000 attorney representation contract with the Sheppard Mullin law firm — just below the level that would require full commission authorization — to represent current and former officials during federal and state corruption probes of the agency. The firm offered a 10 percent blanket discount but never sent a single invoice for representation.
But the new contract, signed Thursday by Timothy Sullivan, the commission’s executive director, lists actual or expected billings for 2015 that would total $5.18 million, including more than $2 million in the first three months of this year. The discount is much more limited in the new deal, with a graduated scale and the 10 percent kicking in only for billings that top $5 million.
As part of those probes, state investigators searched the commission’s headquarters and the homes of former commission President Michael Peevey and Brian Cherry, a disgraced Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive.Share This Post