Scott Rosenberg writes an interesting piece in Grist on how effectively the House Republicans have used Clean Energy to bait the President and the Democrats in Congress. I am not sure I necessarily agree with him, but because I cannot understand why energy has gone from regional to stridently partisan, his arguments do make sense.
Senator Reid told the Huffington Post this morning, "no negotiations until Boehner follows through and passes the compromise that Senators Reid and McConnell negotiated at his request, and which received 90 percent support in the Senate. It's shameful that he won't even give it an up or down vote. Hopefully fellow Republicans can prevail upon their wayward colleagues in the House." By refusing to appoint conferees for negotiation, Senator Reid is rendering Speaker Boehner's challenge a mute one. There is little hope either party will be able to bridge this disagreement in the next 11 days that remain before the payroll tax cut ends.
Concentrated solar thermal power sits alongside photovoltaic electricity solar energy as a commercially available renewable energy technology which is capable of harnessing immense solar resources. A new study by the European Academies Science Advisory Council examined the current status and challenges of CSP and at the same time evaluated the potential contribution of CSP in the Europe and the Middle East region in the first half of this century. The findings report that with significant investment CSP could offer a cost effective way of enabling signigicant contribution to meeting this regions need for clean energy.
Renewable Energy Activists are fighting to keep tax and grant programs alive, but it doesn't appear that this GOP controlled Congress is inclined toward their efforts. The Solar industry is fighting to renew the 1603 Treasury grant program which gives renewable and solar developers cash payments of up to 30% of their project costs in lieu of future tax credits. At the same time the wind industry is actively working Congress to extend their Production Tax Credit which pays wind farm owners 2.2 cents for every kilowatt hour of energy it produces during the first decade of operation. Both solar and wind industries argue that a decision needs to be made sooner than later for future planning purposes, but it looks like Congress will adjourn for 2011 without consideration of these programs.
Energy Storage Systems are considered a crucial component of the future energy system, enabling the widespread adoption of everything from renewable energy, smart grid technologies and backup power, to electric vehicles and portable devices. A New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the development of electric energy storage technologies is currently being driven by factors such as grid stability and reliability, the need to integrate intermittent renewable energy generators, and the push to limit greenhouse gas emissions and use energy resources more efficiently.
In a last minute deal, the House GOP successfully killed new energy efficiency rules for light bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the year-end spending bill. Normally, industry loves it when GOP fights business regulations. but companies like General Electric millions of dollars prepping for the new rules and say pulling the plug now could cost them. The looming possibility of the new standards, signed into law by President Bush in 2007, and the fact that places like Europe, Australia, Brazil and China have already put similar measures in place has already transformed the industry. For years I have stockpiled hundreds of what will soon be illegal 'incandescent bulbs'. The legal energy efficient bulbs' ugly and cold light are a bane to good decorating and a happy home.
An Op-Ed by Michael Webber, University of Texas energy analyst, states that the oil and gas industry has flourished under the Obama Administration and is experiencing the largest growth since the 1950s. U.S. oil production is up 14% since Obama took office while foreign oil consumption is only 45%. Obama opened up offshore drilling and continued this even after the BP oil spill, Administration investments energy and research resulted in filling the innovation pipelines with new devices and entrepreneurial opportunities.
House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reformheld a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The hearing aired complaints from all five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Gregory B. Jaczko, chair of the committee and an ally of Senator Reid, has had trouble with the the four members in terms of information flow to other commissioners.
Daniel Yergin, arguably the most prominent oil expert in the world, points out in his Wall Street Journal piece that foreign oil now only meets 45% of domestic consumption in the United States, down from 60% in 2005.
Solar Parity is here today. Solar material prices are down, financing is more accessible and technology haas extended the life of solar panel. The result is that the price of solar energy generated electricity is now competitive in many regions with conventional sources.
Today the Senate Finance Subcommtittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure is holding a hearing on "Alternative Energy Tax Incentives" The renewable energy community has put out a study from Navigant Consulting, which found that next year there will be 78,000 jobs supported by wind, but that this would fall to 41,000 in 2013 without an extension of the tax credit, which is 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has instituted a new energy systems integration facility (ESIF) currently underconstruction to take on the challenge of helping utilities keep the grid functioning as our national grid infrasturcture is challenged by integration of new generation technologies such as wind and solar power and smart meters are rolled out across the nation.
According to the recent MIT study, while the grid is not in any imminent danger, the current regulatory framework, largely established in the 1930s is not capable of giving the country the grid of the future to support new technologies and consumer services for a strong and competitive U.S. economy. MIT recommends a series of changes in the regulatory environment designed to facilitate and exploit technological innovation which should include federal authority over decisions on the routing of new interstate transmission lines.
The technical report includes ways to evaluate the potential for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) connections, whereby power flows both ways, from grid to vehicle batteries and from batteries to grid. The test procedures evaluate EVs to determine their ability to connect and disconnect and to store and provide power to the grid, according to a NREL press release.
If you say 20,000 jobs often enough – does that make it true? No, it doesn’t. The "20,000 jobs" came from a study funded by TransCanada, the company building the pipeline. The original State Department review, however, found that the actual number would be more like 5,000 annnnnd most of these jobs will be temporary. Which makes the number 20,000 untrue and unfair – given the reality of unemployed people in our country. But that won’t stop the Chamber of Commerce and some Republicans for repeatedly using that number, even if it means by their own admission that his includes ‘modern dancers choreographers and dancers who would move to the high plains area to reap the benefits of this economic boon' As might be expected, the Administration's money for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry has experienced some bumps in the road particularly in the area of batteries and battery storage.
However, leaders in the United States are not so pessimistic. According to Politico Morning Energy, Senator John Kerry wants to help lead a Senate effort to come up with bipartisan energy proposals that can find their way through the legislative gridlock next year. Kerry and Barbara Boxer have restarted weekly Tuesday gatherings of a group of fellow Democrats that they had led during the cap-and-trade talks.
"Older politicians will have to get beyond their ideological blinders to recognize the opportunity waiting for any candidate or political party that can embrace both halves of the Millennial era civic ethos paradox."