Impact on Economy and USA
Texas billionaire and wind energy developer Boone Pickens said at a hearing in Washington Tuesday that the U.S. is exporting about $700 billion a year to feed its oil addiction, as he joined the call from energy leaders to use nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind, biofuels and solar to wean the country off imported crude.
According to the Department of Energy, an investment of $60 billion in new transmission capacity is needed between now and 2030 to enable wind power to supply 20% of U.S. electricity.
"The math is simple and indisputable," IECA President Paul Cicio said. "The EIA's natural gas price assumptions used to determine the cost of S. 2191 are about one-half of today's real-world forward prices." The IECA recalculated the study using forward price figures as of May 30.
EIA found that, if passed, the legislation would increase average annual household energy bills between $30 and $325 in 2020 and between $76 and $723 in 2030, excluding transportation costs. EIA found that the increasing cost of using energy reduces real economic output and purchasing power and lowers demand for goods and services, causing real gross domestic product to fall $444 billion to $1.308 trillion over the 2009 to 2030 period.
A study paid for by a group that represents oil refiners found that the global warming bill, co-authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), would raise pump prices by around 48 cents (in 2007 currency) by 2030. It also found that the bill would increase gas prices by as much as 13 cents over the next four years.
The debate highlights the difficulty lawmakers will face in trying to tackle global warming as they simultaneously try to provide economic relief to the nation's drivers. ...Opponents will use more than costs to lobby against the Warner-Lieberman bill. The NPRA study also questions whether the emissions curbs called for in Warner-Lieberman are achievable.
The reason solar, wind, geothermal and power conservation stocks crashed largely comes down to fears of recession and to politics - as opposed to a major bubble across the green industry.
While there are exceptions like waste-to-energy, most alternative energies depend on federal tax credits. The production tax credit (PTC) provides 19 cents per kilowatt hour for renewable energies, while the investment tax credit (ITC) offers a 30 percent rebate on the cost of a solar system.
But the tax credits "sunset" every year or two and must be renewed, creating a boom-and-bust cycle. ...And with the PTC and ITC going the way of the dodo on Dec. 31, fears of recession and a credit crunch have all conspired against green investors.
A draft utility industry analysis of comprehensive climate change legislation awaiting Senate floor action concludes that the bill would sharply raise electricity prices, force many utilities to switch from coal-fired generation to natural gas, and impose an average cost of $1,500 on every U.S. household beginning in 2015. ...Fuel-switching by 2020 would increase natural gas wellhead prices by 22% above projected levels, while prices for coal, which now produces roughly half of all electricity, would fall to 30% by that year as more than 37% of existing coal-fired generation would be retired, CRA said.
Wind energy is booming in Iowa, and backers say it's only the beginning. ...But the jobs could blow away, economists warn, just as other manufacturing jobs have disappeared because of competition and technological change. Other states want to attract manufacturers, too. Wind power depends on subsidies, and changes in government policies could dampen the enthusiasm for wind. ...John Solow, a University of Iowa economics professor, is cautiously optimistic about the future for wind generation and turbine manufacturing.
Future policy decisions and technological innovations could change that, he said. A breakthrough in clean-burning coal, for example, could reduce interest in wind energy and biofuels, he said.
...global investment bank Lehman Brothers agreed to advise and finance the $700m Cape Wind project, the US’s first offshore wind farm located near Nantucket Island and a landmark cause for many environmentalists.
This March, Goldman Sachs sold its investment – redubbed Horizon Wind Energy – to Portugal’s largest utility, EDP, for more than $2.1bn, making a profit of $900m. But Lehman Brothers’ project, despite early state-level approvals, has been stuck in bureaucratic purgatory from which it is unlikely to emerge soon.
The problem: Nantucket’s millionaire residents oppose the wind farm, which they claim would ruin their ocean views.
The contrast between the outcome of the Zilkha investment and the Cape Wind project illustrates the unpredictability of the clean technology sector. “There is no doubt in my mind that renewable energy is like other tech start-ups, where some will succeed and many will not.”
After two years of studying the economic impact of climate change, asset management firm AllianceBernstein has come to a seemingly paradoxical conclusion: one of the dirtiest fuels around--coal--has a bright future.
Its findings, released Friday, are one of several reports issued by investment firms over the past two years which explore how industries can benefit or be harmed by climate change.
Champions of renewable energy tout the jobs angle as another reason why the government should pour money into subsidies and other incentives for the industry. But economists are split as to whether these projected jobs will ever materialize. ..."I don't understand what people are looking at to say there would be all these gains on the job front," he said. "It sounds kinda phony to me."
Nimby-ism (Notin My Back) is almost understandable when talking about a gas pipeline or an ugly McMansion. But when it comes to environmentally friendly, quiet and- some say- beautiful windmills, an astonishing number of people are saying "no". Melanie Wold asks, "Why? Is it all the dead seagulls?"
Editor's Note: This article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Shattered Magazine. The pdf version is available via the link below.
BOSTON, March 9 (UPI) -- Alternative energy sources, including wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels, are being talked up in Congress, but clean energy isn't yet seen as a job-producing industry.
ALBANY -- Executives from two state agencies testified Wednesday before an Assembly committee in support of a $741 million renewable energy program being paid for by the state's electric customers.
(TRENTON) – The Blue Ribbon Panel on Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters today announced their interim report is publicly available and a public meeting has been scheduled to solicit feedback on the report. Acting Governor Richard J. Codey established the Blue Ribbon Panel by executive order last December. The panel is charged with studying the costs and benefits of developing offshore wind turbines. The interim report represents the progress to date toward meeting Codey’s mandate.
Seven Grant County residents have filed suit to try to block construction of 200 giant wind turbines proposed near their homes.
Jerome E. Burch and six other residents sued developers of the $150 million Mount Storm wind project.
In their 14-page complaint, the residents allege that the NedPower Mount Storm LLC project will be a “nuisance” and “an eyesore” that creates excess noise and kills birds and bats.
The suit also alleges that the project will generate little power but receive lucrative federal and state tax breaks.
A Science Unit report on the controversy over a proposed wind farm to be built off the coast of Massachusetts in the middle of Nantucket Sound.
Carpinteria CEO envisions a future powered by turbines.
With oil and gas prices relentlessly rising -- and the cost of producing power from sustainable energy sources continuing to fall -- it appears the time is fast approaching when alternative energy begins to make good economic as well as environmental sense.
SHEFFIELD – Residents here are gearing up for a public showdown to determine how registered voters feel about the proposed Sheffield Wind Farm.
Rose Bacon, member of the Governor's Energy Task Force and a rancher who owns property in the Flint Hills, spoke about the vulnerability of communities facing proposals from international companies that want to build commercial wind farms in rural areas. She pointed to the lack of “teeth” in regulations, and the attractive tax write-offs granted to wind energy companies, and the inexperience of local officials in dealing with such monstrous deals, depicting a state-wide scenario akin to the “wildcatter days in the oil business.”