Friday, April 23, 2010

Renewable Energy News, April 23, 2010

Green Mountain College installs biomass plant -
Vermont's Green Mountain College celebrated Earth Day by opening a new $5.8 million combined heat and power plant fueled by wood chips from area forests.
New energy powers up lobbying | Alexandra Arkin -
Alternative energy used to be just a speed bump on K Street. In 1998, the entire sector spent only $2.4 million lobbying the federal government, compared with $142 million spent by the oil and gas, electrical utilities and mining industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political spending. A little more than a decade later, the advocacy class for wind, solar, ethanol and a host of other alternative and renewable energy sources is growing exponentially — much as the sector hopes its market share will in the coming decades. In 2009, alternative energy spent $30 million on lobbying, 12 times its 1998 amount.
Eyes on the Prize: Federal Climate Policy Should Preempt State and Regional Initiatives
Should federal climate legislation preempt existing state and regional efforts, such as the New England Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)? Harvard Professor Robert Stavins argues that it should:
In just a few days, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman will release their much-anticipated proposal for comprehensive climate and energy legislation – the best remaining shot at forging a bipartisan consensus on this issue in 2010. Their proposal has many strengths, but there’s an issue brewing that could undermine its effectiveness and drive up its costs. I wrote about this in a Boston Globe op-ed on Earth Day, April 22nd (the original version of which can be downloaded here).

Government officials from California, New England, New York, and other northeastern states are vociferously lobbying in Washington to retain their existing state and regional systems for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even after a new federal system comes into force. That would be a mistake – and a potentially expensive one for residents of those states, who could wind up subsidizing the rest of the country. The Senate should do as the House did in its climate legislation: preempt state and regional climate policies. There’s no risk, because if Federal legislation is not enacted, preemption will not take effect.

Kerry: Three Big Oil Companies Likely to Back Climate Bill | Mother Jones
When Sens. John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman release their climate bill on Monday, they expect to have the backing of three of the five major oil companies, Mother Jones has learned. In a conference call with a coalition of progressive business leaders on Thursday evening, Kerry said he believes those companies will "actively participate in supporting this bill." He hopes the other big oil companies will at least hold their fire on the bill, and added that he believes the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry's major trade group, will call off its ad campaign attacking the legislation.

The Mother Jones article also has more details on the provisions the new climate legislation is likely to contain.
Hill Heat : New Nationwide Poll and Surveys in Five Moderate States Shows Majority Support for Energy Reform, “Clean Energy Refund” Preferred by Republicans
Public Opinion Strategies released a new survey on clean energy legislation yesterday. The poll was based on a national survey of 800 likely voters on April 11-13, 2010. According to the Hill Heat report, survey highlights include:
* Based on polling in five states that are politically moderate to conservative, a majority of voters across party lines want to overhaul the nation’s energy system to reduce polluting emissions and increase the use of renewable energy sources. * For elected officials looking to address the issue, a clean energy refund has the best potential to attract Republican support. * When we tested a description of a specific clean energy refund policy, similar to the Senate CLEAR Act, in a national survey, there is strong support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
Hill Heat : Lugar And Voinovich Float Alternative to Comprehensive Climate Reform
Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham are working with the White House, environmentalists, and industry to craft comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, which they plan to unveil on Monday. But Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), both of whom have admitted the threat of global warming, today announced “a narrower competing bill” that resembles the weak legislation passed out of the Senate energy committee last year: George V. Voinovich of Ohio and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana are developing an energy-only bill that would mandate new renewable and nuclear power production without imposing cuts on carbon emissions.
Productive Uses of Social Media for Energy Efficiency Pros, from the ACI2010 Conference. | Energy Circle
Great presentation on the use of Twitter by folks in the energy efficiency profession.
F.D.R.’s Brief Dip Into Tidal Energy - Green Blog -
Eastport, a city of about 1,600 people that is about as down east in Maine as you can get, has seen better days. At one point in its history it was the sardine capital of the East, but overfishing and resulting catch restrictions led to that industry’s long slow death. The old canneries along the shore are shuttered and decaying, and the last one in the region — indeed, in the country — about 50 miles to the southeast in Prospect Harbor, closed just last week.

Now, as I write in Thursday’s Business of Green section, a start-up company, Ocean Renewable Power, is hoping to bring some economic renewal to Eastport with a tidal energy project. Their goal is to install underwater turbines that would spin in the tidal currents, generating power.
Department of Energy - Secretary Chu Announces more than $200 Million for Solar and Water Power Technologies
On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department will invest more than $200 million over five years to expand and accelerate the development, commercialization, and use of solar and water power technologies throughout the United States.

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