Library filed under Energy Policy

Be green, stop talking about it

There are so many other questions out there that need national answers. Are biofuels in general really worth the cost to the environment and the economy? Does wind power cut it when you compare the rising cost of oil with the construction costs of a large scale wind farm? Can we make more effective use of photovoltaics, lowering the price and producing solar energy in bulk for the grid? And, how much do we need to spend on energy efficiency to make it really effective without blowing a gaping hole in our gas and electric bills? This nation will be better served if our candidates spend more time proposing the development of a national Green Energy Agenda. Simply saying you're Green doesn't make it so.
1 Mar 2008

Officials: NY renewable energy program needs money

New York's ambitious plan to rely on windmills, hydropower and other renewable energy sources for a quarter of its electricity by 2013 is a bit behind schedule and short on funds. The money consumers pay through their electric bills to help support projects like wind farms is simply not enough to meet the goals set out in 2004, according to Spitzer administration officials. They say they want to see the program fully funded -- a move that would likely cost consumers slightly more. ...Gavin Donohue, executive director of the Independent Power Producers of New York, said ...Eliot Spitzer is left trying to meet an aggressive target set by his predecessor that is both complicated and expensive. "I don't think we should give up striving for it," he said. "But I don't think we're as far along as some would paint the picture."
1 Mar 2008

Progress sees shift to renewables; Customer demand and carbon gas limits will force changes, the utility warns investors

Progress Energy's customer surveys, presented at a conference for Wall Street analysts that the company hosted in Florida, show how far public opinion has swung in this state on combating climate change. Progress Energy, which has 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida, said public opinion virtually eliminated coal plants as an option. ..."It's important to know where customers stand, because policymakers are going to be responding to public opinion," John McArthur, the company's general counsel and senior vice president, told the analysts. ...Now Progress officials say they have a new challenge: The public may be overly optimistic about the potential for renewable energy. Though environmental advocates have said alternative energy is cheaper than building power plants, Progress executives said renewables are costly and not as dependable as power plants. "The public has unrealistic expectations about renewables," McArthur said. "They think it's twice as important as reliability."
1 Mar 2008

Hampton fears monopoly is blowing in the wind

The province should scrap its new system for allocating wind power sites on Crown land, NDP Leader Howard Hampton says. "They should stop it now and start over with a process that's fair," Hampton said in an interview yesterday, after the Star reported the "winner-take-all" format might let Toronto-based SkyPower Corp. tie up the best remaining sites on provincial land, as well offshore sites in lakes Ontario, Huron and Erie. ...Most wind power sites should be kept in public hands to be developed on a not-for-profit basis, as the hydroelectric power resources were in the last century, he said. "If they're going to turn it over, the process must be one that doesn't result in the creation of a monopoly. You're not supposed to give public assets to one or two private companies to make them rich."
1 Mar 2008

The way the wind blows

The centrepiece of the strategy, which was released by the Government late last year, is a target that at least 90 per cent of the country's electricity generation will come from renewable resources, such as wind, hydro and geothermal, by 2025. "These are lofty goals," Dr Turner said. "You can already see resources starting to mobilise toward them. But the biggest challenge will be the government response and how much teeth the Government gives it. It's one thing to say what we should do. It's another thing to give us the tools to enable us to do it." ..."The amount of wind is going to be limited by the cost of things we have to do to the grid. In my honest opinion, everyone is running around saying 'yes, we need a robust grid' and 'yes, we should develop it' but no one has thought it through carefully in terms of what it means and how we are going to get approvals for some of these issues.''
1 Mar 2008

State regulators clear Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm

State regulators have granted a waiver to a Houston firm allowing construction of a $600 million wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties. Construction is scheduled to begin this year on Horizon Wind Energy's Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm. The developing will consist of 182 turbines spread over 60 square miles near the Minnesota border. ...Regulators noted in granting the waiver that the two lines only exceeded the 25-megawatt threshold by 1.4 megawatts each, and that Iowa's economic development policies encourage renewable generation. Reducing the regulatory burden is one way to advance that public interest, the ruling said.
29 Feb 2008

Wel's windfarm critic has plenty of hits at hearing

With a mix of pointy-headed science and gratuitous insults, he delivered a 212 hour dissertation on the problems with wind farms, Wel Networks, the Resource Management Act process, and new trends in the energy sector. Earlier Wel Networks had painted him as an unreliable witness who lacked credibility, but Mr Cox scored plenty of hits in concluding the wind farm was "an economic and power supply disaster". "If it had been built a year ago it would not have earned enough in the last year at wholesale power rates to get close to covering its interest payments," he said.
29 Feb 2008

Protection sought for utility customers

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on Iberdrola SA to create a trust fund to offset rate increases to consumers if it succeeds in acquiring Energy East Corp. Schumer's call to action comes as Iberdrola and state regulators are involved in talks to see if they can reach a settlement on the $4.5 billion merger. ...Schumer is also advocating that Iberdrola be allowed to retain its wind farm assets in the state. Iberdrola, the largest wind energy developer in the world, is a part owner of Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, the largest wind farm in the state, and is developing more.
29 Feb 2008

House members ask PSC to reject NYRI filing

Three Democratic New York House members have written to the state Public Service Commission urging it to rule as incomplete NYRI's recent application re-filing because it lacks a thorough examination of the Thruway alternative for routing the company's 190 mile power line.
29 Feb 2008

Ridge Protectors letter to VT Gov. Douglas

The Vermont Legislature has now passed S.209 with amendments objected to by Northeast Kingdom Senators Coppenrath, Kitchel, and Starr and by several other senators with industrial wind energy proposals in their districts. As Sen. Coppenrath noted in consideration of an amendment to S. 209, recorded in the Feb. 26, 2008 Journal of the Senate, "I vote No because, although there are many very good provisions in this bill, I believe that Section 25 clearly allows the destruction of our mountain tops and ridgelines while providing subsidies for wind developers at the expense of the Vermont resident property tax payers."
29 Feb 2008

Germany could suffer blackouts, energy boss warns

A German energy boss has warned the country could experience long blackouts this summer due to a lack of power stations. Some government officials and renewable energy experts say he's needlessly spreading panic. ...In Germany, though, people expect that when they flip a switch or plug in an appliance, power will be in ready supply. This notion was put in doubt on Thursday, Feb. 28, when Juergen Grossmann, the head of German power giant RWE, warned that Germany and the rest of Europe could experience power outages lasting several days this summer due to a lack of power stations. "Power is growing short all over Europe because there are not enough power stations,"
28 Feb 2008

Vt. lawmakers back energy bill

The bill contains a break on property taxes for wind power developers, calls for an expansion of "net metering," in which people who make power with solar or small wind generators can sell some of it back to their utility and sets a goal of producing 25 percent of the state's energy from in-state, renewable sources by 2025. It also takes other steps to promote energy independence. But its centerpiece is a new effort to help Vermonters tighten up homes and other buildings. A study done for the state Department of Public Service determined that $480 million could be saved in Vermont over the next 10 years by adding insulation, replacing drafty windows and other "building shell" improvements alone.
28 Feb 2008

UK clears 3 wind farms in clean energy target chase

British energy minister Malcolm Wicks has given the all clear to three wind farms in England as the government tries to clear a backlog of clean energy projects and hit ambitious renewable energy targets. Two of the projects are onshore wind farms in North Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, while the third is an offshore project planned for the Thames Estuary. "These three new wind farms will add a further 215 megawatts of green energy to the renewables revolution that is sweeping through the UK," Wicks said in a statement.
28 Feb 2008

EEI analysis predicts economic shock from Senate climate

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.
27 Feb 2008

Wind issue won't go to voters

An issue that has been drawing controversy - the development of wind energy in Logan County - will not be decided by voters in Tuesday's election. ...Reames said calling them "farms" is deceptive. "We're not farming anything here," she said. "When you're talking about a 400- or 500-foot machine, you're talking industry." Among opponents' concerns, she said, is safety and allowing the community to have input, which she said they do not have. "These are not even a safe distance from home," she said. "Wind turbine accidents happen around the world."
27 Feb 2008

Renewable energy task force update

New York lawmakers want the Empire State to be a renewable energy role model for the rest of the nation. Members of the state's Renewable Energy Task Force insist that environmentally friendly initiatives need to be economically viable also. Carol Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York explains, "Simply put: unless we make it easier to build clean-energy facilities, they will not get built in New York."
26 Feb 2008

Local leader not a fan of state plans

It's a race against the clock for leaders in Hamlin. Town supervisor Denny Roach hoped to have regulations for wind turbines in place earlier this month. On Tuesday morning, Roach says it could be another two months before the board sets standards. ...The Senate and Assembly are expected to take action on what is called Article X. The legislation would streamline the approval process for electric generating facilities, like wind farms, that exceed a power threshold of 30-thousand kilowatts. Article X could possibly affect all municipalities in the state. "It could allow for municipalities that have regulations in effect to grandfather those regulations, and allow us to keep them," Roach said, "or it could pre-empt us."
26 Feb 2008

Energy report offers more hot air than significant solutions

"While renewable energy technologies can be more expensive than conventional sources in the first instance, the environmental, economic growth and public health benefits from their use justify the public investment," the Paterson report states flat-out. I would argue that this statement should be viewed as a working hypothesis, and doesn't deserve yet to be considered a proven fact. How expensive is too expensive? Which conventional sources? Some are far more polluting than others, for example. That quote from the report shows us the zeal of the alternative energies movement. With that zeal comes a touch of arrogance, because if you read through the Paterson report recommendations, there are thinly veiled justifications for running roughshod over local zoning and the opinions of those who actually have to live with solar panels, wind turbines or whatever. "The greater good" argument is just beneath the surface, and that makes me very nervous.
26 Feb 2008

CO2 regulation could crush building construction

Under CAA, should CO2 be deemed "regulated" under the act--even if the regulation is for vehicles or fuels and is specifically not directed at stationary sources--no new or existing "major" stationary source of CO2 can be built or modified, if the modification increases net emissions, without first obtaining a PSD permit. ...This latter category is particularly troublesome because most large buildings heated by furnaces using fossil fuels (office and apartment buildings, and even some very large homes), or buildings of any size using natural gas as a cooking source in a commercial kitchen (such as restaurants, hotels, for-profit hospitals and nursing homes, malls, and sports arenas), or businesses that generate or use CO2 naturally as a component of their operations (soda manufacturers, bakers, breweries, wineries) may exceed the 250 tons per year threshold for CO2 emissions.
25 Feb 2008

http://www.windaction.org/posts?p=232&topic=Energy+Policy
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