Library filed under Pollution from USA

California’s Greenhouse Gas Policies: Local Solutions to a Global Problem?

Californias_greenhouse_gas_policies_csem_thumb California is in the process of implementing a broad portfolio of policies and regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This paper summarizes the initiatives likely to impact the electricity generating sector. We present calculations showing that there is a substantial risk that two of the most prominent policies could simply result in a reshuffling, on paper, of the electricity generating resources within the West that are dedicated to serving California. This reshuffling is different from the conventional leakage problem as it involves no physical changes to the way electricity is generated across regulated and unregulated regions, but is instead driven by a contractual reshuffling of who buys power from whom. The problem is similar to an ineffective consumer boycott. The problem is still present but less severe if more Western states adopt carbon limitations. We also show that some of the least market-based initiatives, the renewable portfolio standards (RPS), are likely to have the biggest near-term impact on the carbon-intensity of electricity generation in the West. Thus the scale of RPS programs may be limiting the potential role of non-renewable options in reducing carbon emissions from the electricity sector.
1 Apr 2007

Hollywood’s Climate Follies

The actual politics of global warming defies Hollywood's stereotypes. It's not saints vs. sinners. The lifestyles that produce greenhouse gases are deeply ingrained in modern economies and societies. Without major changes in technology, the consequences may be unalterable. Those who believe that addressing global warming is a moral imperative face an equivalent moral imperative to be candid about the costs, difficulties and uncertainties.
21 Mar 2007

Scientists must keep passions in check

The environmental movement has begun to approach scientific issues with a similar zealotry typically found in religious fanaticism. A case in point: global warming................We need skeptical scientists to keep public and political passions in check. Otherwise, we devolve in our thinking to the point where unverified beliefs, held strong enough, can become idolatry.
12 Mar 2007

Scientists must keep passions in check

The environmental movement has begun to approach scientific issues with a similar zealotry typically found in religious fanaticism. A case in point: global warming................We need skeptical scientists to keep public and political passions in check. Otherwise, we devolve in our thinking to the point where unverified beliefs, held strong enough, can become idolatry.
12 Mar 2007

Only Moonlight for Vermont?

A truly "bold," environmentally conscious state would go nuclear even more. Burlington will only really be the "best of" Green Places when local postcards show its charming leafy streets, with a view of Lake Champlain -- and a nuclear power plant looming in the background.
9 Mar 2007

Renewable mandate alone is no CO2 fix: WoodMack

Any U.S. law requiring renewable power sources to provide a greater portion of the country’s total electricity would not be enough to plug a rapid rise in emissions of the main gas linked to global warming, according to a new report. Amid rising concerns about fossil fuel supplies and emissions of greenhouse gases, several recently proposed U.S. bills called for a national renewable portfolio standard, a requirement that renewable energy sources, like wind, solar and small hydro, provide about 15 percent of U.S. power in about 20 years. Nearly half of U.S. states have passed their own renewable portfolio mandates. But if the country enacted such a law — without mandates that also cut power demand — U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would still rise 18 percent above current levels by 2026, according to the Wood MacKenzie report, titled “The Impact of a Federal Renewable Portfolio Standard.”
6 Mar 2007

Study Questions Prospects for Much Lower Emissions

As Democratic leaders in Congress prepare to put climate change legislation on the agenda, some in the utility industry are arguing that it will take decades of investments and innovation to get substantial reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric power companies, which emit about one-third of America’s global warming gases, could reduce their emissions to below the levels of 1990, but that would take about 20 years, no matter how much the utilities spend, according to a new industry study. The report, prepared by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit consortium, is portrayed as highly optimistic by its authors, who will present the findings on Thursday at an energy conference in Houston.
15 Feb 2007

Global Warming Smear- The political campaign to shut up an American think tank

Mark Twain once complained that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth gets its boots on. That's been the case of late in the climate change debate, as political and media activists attempt to stigmatize anyone who doesn't pay homage to their "scientific consensus." Last week the London Guardian published a story headlined, "Scientists Offer Cash to Dispute Climate Study." The story alleges that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative-leaning think tank in Washington, collected contributions from ExxonMobil and then offered climate scholars $10,000 so they could lobby against global warming legislation.....Here are the facts as we've been able to collect them. AEI doesn't lobby, didn't offer money to scientists to question global warming, and the money it did pay for climate research didn't come from Exxon......One can only conclude from this episode that the environmental left and their political and media supporters now believe it is legitimate to quash debate on climate change and its consequences. This is known as orthodoxy, and, until now, science accepted the legitimacy of challenging it.
9 Feb 2007

Lempster Mountain Wind Power Project: Direct Pre-filed Testimony of Lisa Linowes

Linowes_prefiled_testimony_070207and_cover_thumb Why did you petition to become an intervenor in this matter before the NH SEC? With New Hampshire’s recent reinstatement of PILOT agreements and legislative efforts to a Renewable Portfolio Standard, the regulatory groundwork is being laid for more wind facilities to enter the state. Yet, New Hampshire, like many states, has no consistent regulatory process in place for reviewing these projects to ensure our environmental, societal, and economic interests are protected. The work the NH SEC has agreed to undertake in reviewing this application is precedent setting. How the committee approaches its review and the weight it places on arguments presented by all sides will impact other developments in the State as pertains to renewable energy projects. There are a multitude of conflicting issues at play when considering any wind project. My commitment to this process is to help provide, to the best of my ability, valuable and timely information that will assist the Committee in making an informed decision on this application.
7 Feb 2007

Climate of Opinion

While everyone concedes that the Earth is about a degree Celsius warmer than it was a century ago, the debate continues over the cause and consequences. We don't deny that carbon emissions may play a role, but we don't believe that the case is sufficiently proven to justify a revolution in global energy use. The economic dislocations of such an abrupt policy change could be far more severe than warming itself, especially if it reduces the growth and innovation that would help the world cope with, say, rising sea levels. There are also other problems -- AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example -- whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.
5 Feb 2007

Wind energy and the environment

To those who think that the installation of a wind plant, whether it be 4 turbines or 40, in what will become known as “formerly the beautiful seaside resort town of Eastham, Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore” will cut down on the carbon dioxide load, please think again. According to an investigation by the New York Times (12/28/06), wind power generates a big problem: it is unpredictable and often fails to blow when electricity is most needed, for example, on the hottest days when there is peak demand for air conditioning. According to Williams Bojorquez, director of system planning at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, “power plants that run on coal or gas must be built along with every megawatt of wind capacity.” That is because, when the winds don’t blow, the grid must buy electricity from the next cheapest source of power, otherwise there would be rolling black-outs. Frank P. Prager, managing director of environmental policy at Xcel Energy, which serves eight states from North Dakota to Texas and states it is the nation’s largest retailer of wind energy, says that the higher the reliance on wind, the more an electricity transmission grid would need to keep conventional generators on stand-by - generally low-efficiency plants that run on natural gas or coal and can be started and stopped quickly. A study by Elfam, Denmark’s largest utilities company, in March, 2005, found that wind plants had not reduced the country’s carbon dioxide emission levels, because it has to be backed-up by conventional energy. A report by the Royal Academy of Engineers in Britain around the same time suggested that a conventional power station produces higher emissions when it is turned down to make room on the grid for wind-derived energy, and then ramps up when the wind power is insufficient.
31 Jan 2007

Power companies endorse emissions cap bill

In a sign that US electricity companies are recognising that the Democratic-controlled Congress will seek to impose aggressive climate change initiatives, six companies, including Exelon, one of the largest utility companies, on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would reduce their projected emissions by 25 per cent below projected levels by 2020.
17 Jan 2007

Do carbon offsets live up to their promise?

In theory, the idea is simple. The consumer pays a third party to remove a quantity of carbon (in the form of a greenhouse gas) equal to what he or she emits. But how voluntary carbon offsets actually work is unclear at best, and potentially fraudulent at worst, say experts. The problem: No current certification or monitoring system has any teeth, and there is no easy way to confirm that offsetting companies are doing what they promise. Now, various organizations are scrambling to provide standards for what experts call a fragmented market with a product of drastically varying quality.
10 Jan 2007

Emissions-Cutting Costs Could Exceed $6 Million

County officials estimated that, in addition to spending $5 million in the next five years to improve energy efficiency in its public buildings, Arlington will spend more than $400,000 in the coming months to plant 1,200 trees, buy more wind-generated power, hand out more than 2,000 fluorescent light bulbs at fairs and other events and provide free energy audits of more than a dozen homes. County officials want to give residents who buy hybrid cars a break on their personal property tax — an unusual perk for a Virginia community. Cost estimates on the tax break are not available. The tax break would require approval from the Arlington County Board, but other elements of the plan, such as distributing light bulbs, can go forward without board permission.
3 Jan 2007

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

CPUC Preliminary Ruling on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard

Cpuc_prelimary_ruling_emissions_standard_and_attachments_thumb Today, we adopt an interim greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions performance standard for new long-term financial commitments to baseload generation undertaken by all load-serving entities (LSEs), consistent with the requirements and definitions of Senate Bill (SB) 1368 (Stats. 2006, ch. 598).2 Our adopted emissions performance standard or “EPS” is intended to serve as a near-term bridge until an enforceable load-based GHG emissions limit is established and in operation.......Under SB 1368, the EPS applies to “baseload generation,” but the requirement to comply with it is triggered only if there is a “long-term financial commitment” by an LSE. The statute defines baseload generation as “electricity generation from a powerplant that is designed and intended to provide electricity at an annualized plant capacity factor of at least 60%..........Pursuant to SB 1368, the performance level of the EPS must be “no higher” than the emissions rate of a CCGT powerplant.11 However, the statute does not specify the emissions rate for a CCGT. Based on our review of emissions rates associated with a broad range of CCGT powerplants of varying vintages, we adopt an EPS emissions rate of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour (MWh).Editor's Note: This provides interesting insight into the rationale behind establishing 1,000 pds of CO2/MWh as an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for baseload generation. Please note that in Figure 1 "Net Emissions Comparison Data' the net emissions accorded 'wind electricity' should have been accorded to 'solar thermal with Gas Assist'.
16 Dec 2006

CPUC Preliminary Ruling on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard

Cpuc_prelimary_ruling_emissions_standard_and_attachments_thumb Today, we adopt an interim greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions performance standard for new long-term financial commitments to baseload generation undertaken by all load-serving entities (LSEs), consistent with the requirements and definitions of Senate Bill (SB) 1368 (Stats. 2006, ch. 598).2 Our adopted emissions performance standard or “EPS” is intended to serve as a near-term bridge until an enforceable load-based GHG emissions limit is established and in operation.......Under SB 1368, the EPS applies to “baseload generation,” but the requirement to comply with it is triggered only if there is a “long-term financial commitment” by an LSE. The statute defines baseload generation as “electricity generation from a powerplant that is designed and intended to provide electricity at an annualized plant capacity factor of at least 60%..........Pursuant to SB 1368, the performance level of the EPS must be “no higher” than the emissions rate of a CCGT powerplant.11 However, the statute does not specify the emissions rate for a CCGT. Based on our review of emissions rates associated with a broad range of CCGT powerplants of varying vintages, we adopt an EPS emissions rate of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour (MWh).Editor's Note: This provides interesting insight into the rationale behind establishing 1,000 pds of CO2/MWh as an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for baseload generation. Please note that in Figure 1 "Net Emissions Comparison Data' the net emissions accorded 'wind electricity' should have been accorded to 'solar thermal with Gas Assist'.
16 Dec 2006

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=USA&p=4&topic=Pollution
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