NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: The Economic Opportunity In The Climate Fight
  • Weekend Video: The Future Of Energy
  • Weekend Video: Advances In BioEnergy
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CLIMATE CHANGE – IT GETS WORSE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-WHERE AND HOW WIND IS GROWING IN THE WORLD
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CHINA TO LEAD SOLAR MARKET GROWTH DESPITE OBSTACLES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE ENORMOUS POTENTIAL OF WORLD GEOTHERMAL
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 28:

  • TTTA Thursday-PRESIDENT TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE
  • TTTA Thursday-BIRDS AND ENERGY, THE BIGGER STORY
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW CA LAW STREAMLINES SOLAR PERMITTING
  • TTTA Thursday-DATA CENTER EFFICIENCIES CAN SAVE U.S. $3.8BIL/YR
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE RISKIEST ENERGY IN THE WORLD
  • QUICK NEWS, August 27: VERIZON’S $40MIL SOLAR BUY; WIND PRICES HIT RECORD LOWS; NUKE INSPECTOR SAYS DIABLO CYN IS UNSAFE
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: U.S. WIND RIGHT NOW
  • QUICK NEWS, August 26: CLIMATE MODELS PROVE RIGHT AGAIN; ABOUT INVESTING IN SOLAR; GM VS TESLA IN THE 200 MILE RACE

    THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: NEW CALMER WINDS AHEAD FOR EUROPE
  • QUICK NEWS, August 25: JULY’S U.S. ENERGY BUILD WAS ALL NEW ENERGY; CLIMATE CHANGE FOR ENERGY INVESTORS; WIND CAN GROW FASTER THAN NUCLEAR
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    NEW ENERGY TAX CREDITS: SOLAR STOCKS DROP, BLUE DOGS HOWL

    Solar stocks, reacting to news about the New Energy tax credits, were already dropping when the news broke that Congress rejected the rescue package. The news did no good for any sector of the market, much less solar stocks.

    There was a moment some months back when news of toxic waste dumping by solar manufacturers in China set off a short panic in solar stocks. NewEnergyNews suggested taking a deep breath, waiting the day out and buying low at the end of it. Solar stocks came back the next day, as predicted. This is different.

    Here’s the good news: It’s always darkest before the dawn.

    There are going to be sessions Thursday and Friday, and maybe even over the weekend again. And there is every reason to think Congress will then pass a bailout package.

    As for the New Energy tax credits: Staffers on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the House confided to NewEnergyNews that the market was telling the truth: There is no reason to believe lawmakers will put through a bill extending the New Energy tax credits before the November 4 election.

    As reported here yesterday, House Democrats have brought forward revised versions of the legislation but the word on Capitol Hill is that H.R. 7201 and H.R. 7202 are not radically different than H.R. 6070, the House bill the Senate refused to consider in place of its bill, H.R. 6049.
    (See ENERGY TAX CREDITS – COMPROMISE OR R.I.P. UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION?)

    Both the House and Senate bills approved extension of the New Energy tax credits and both bodies passed their bills by large majorities. Extension is expected to fail for the 7th time in 18 months, however, because the House and the Senate cannot agree on how to fund extension in a way that will not force President Bush, who claims to want to approve extension, to veto.

    The Senate passed its version of the extensions 93-2, along with a general package of revenue “pay-fors” on September 23. The House Democratic majority, pushed by the fiscally conservative
    Blue Dog faction, altered the Senate bill, taking very specific tax breaks away from the oil industry and very specific tax-havens away from the financial sector to create additional pay-fors, passed the new version 226-166, and sent it back for Senate approval September 27.

    Click to learn more about the Blue Dog Coalition.

    The House will not approve the Senate scheme for funding the tax credit extensions and the Senate will not approve the House plan.

    Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee: “The House and Senate just don’t talk to each other enough and work on trust and understanding…That’s what this really is. They’re in their little world. We’re in our little world, instead of just sitting down like adults, both sides, House and Senate and working out solutions.”

    Maybe. Or maybe this is all part of the solution to a different problem, the election.

    By handling the legislation like this, everybody who wants to can now say they voted for extending the New Energy tax credits. And it gives both parties something substantive to run on. Liberal Democrats will tell their base to actively support their candidates if they want New Energy. Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans will tell their base to actively support their candidates if they want New Energy but not new taxes.

    That’s why they call this “the silly season.”

    It’s also why solar stocks are likely to plummet farther, for longer, this time. Buying low this time is only for those who can afford to hold the stocks for some time, possibly until well into 2009, before seeing any significant upturn in value.

    Last caveat on solar stocks: Those who can buy solar stocks as they bottom out, and hold them, will eventually be glad they did.

    Why? Because while the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the House are leading the pack now, there is every reason to believe a compromise can be reached after the election.

    The current stalemate benefits all the players politically. After the election, however, the two parties are likely to hold a “lame duck” session, one last hurrah, according to hill insiders. Speaking off the record, one Congressional staffer told NewEnergyNews Congress is likely to suddenly realize the New Energy tax credits are far too important and far too non-controversial to NOT extend for next year.

    Jim Cooper (D-Tenn), member House Blue Dog Coalition: “We’re all for the legislation, but it needs to be paid for…”

    They have until December 31 to come to their senses and find a way through the partisan mire.

    And, finally, even if this Congress decides to stonewall New Energy, the next Congress could extend the credits retroactively.

    Either way, a lot more is now riding on the November 4 outcome.

    From “the big picture is brighter” file: The fall of solar stocks was particularly pronounced because the major news of the day would otherwise have driven stock values higher.

    Although there was disappointing news of a toxic spill at a silicon plant in China (no injuries, controlled quickly), Spain announced new feed-in tariff caps of 100 megawatts per quarter plus a bonus hundred megawatts. This constitutes 100 extra megawatts for this year and 100 more megawatts for 2009 than was expected, adding 15% to the total number of megawatts to be subsidized through 2010. It will mean bigger solar energy industry volume. Bigger volume drives costs down. Lower costs means more volume. Etc.

    Implication: Beyond this contentious silly season, there could be a constellation of factors both in the U.S. and abroad conspiring to drive renewed growth.


    Solar Stocks Clobbered; No ITC Extension Before Election
    Eric Savitz, September 29, 2008 (Barron’s)
    and
    House Won’t Consider Catchall Tax Extenders Bill Passed by Senate
    Richard Rubin (w/ Bart Jansen and Emily Ethridge), September 29, 2008 (CQ Politics)

    WHO
    The U.S. House of Representatives; The U.S. Senate; Leading stocks in the solar energy sector: First Solar, Evergreen Solar (ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), Suntech, SunPower, JA Solar, Canadian Solar (CSIQ), Solarfun (SOLF), LDK Solar (LDK), MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR)

    WHAT
    Solar stocks, reacting to the likely failure of the solar energy industry’s investment tax credit (ITC) to be extended by Congress, were dropping ahead of the news that Congress rejected the financial markets bailout package.

    H.R. 7060, The Renewable Energy and Job creation Tax Act of 2008 and the 2 more current revisions, H.R. 7201, The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and H.R. 7202, Temporary Tax relief Act of 2008, are all expected to be ignored by Congress between now and the election, leaving the vital New Energy tax credits without extension.



    WHEN
    - One version of the tax credit extensions passed in the Senate September 23.
    - Another version of the tax credit extensions passed in the House September 27.
    - Solar stocks fell September 29 as it became apparent the tax credits would not win extension in the current session of Congress
    - Congress expected to adjourn for the election as soon as the financial markets bailout package is settled.
    - December 31: The existing New Energy tax credits expire.

    WHERE
    Until extended, the tax credits and the New Energy industries remain in limbo.

    WHY
    - First Solar (FSLR): Down $26.82, 12.95%
    - Evergreen Solar (ESLR): Up 18 cents, 3.02%
    - Energy Conversion Devices (ENER): Down $7.39, 12.2%
    - Suntech (STP): Down $6.29, 16.35%
    - SunPower (SPWR): Down $22.41, 26.95%
    - JA Solar (JASO): Down $2.06, 16.68%
    - Canadian Solar (CSIQ): Down $4.00, 17.57%
    - Solarfun (SOLF): Down $1.90, 15.70%
    - LDK Solar (LDK): Down $5.41, 15.05%
    - MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR): Down $2.65, 9.08%



    - Research from Navigant Consulting shows the 8-year tax credit extension means 440,000 new solar industry jobs and a doubling of new solar capacity to ~630 megawatts in 2009.
    - H.R. 7060:
    (1) extends the production tax credit (PTC) for wind 1 year,
    (2) extends the PTC for biomass, hydrokinetic and geothermal energies 2 years,
    (3) extends the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar systems and small wind turbines 8 years,
    (4) has an 8-year extension on energy efficiency building improvement tax credits,
    (5) has tax benefits for buying electric vehicles (EVs), has tax benefits for producing cellulosic ethanol and advanced biodiesel,
    (6) includes many of the same benefits (to veterans, teachers, Native Americans, hurricane victims, etc.) that were in the package passed by the Senate September 23,
    (7) includes tax credits for “clean” coal development,
    (8) extends major R&D tax credits,
    (9) excludes tax credits to oil shale producers and coal-to-liquid producers,
    (10) removes the controversial tax credit to New York City to help redevelop the World Trade Center zone.
    - H.R. 7060 pay-fors:
    (1) freezes an oil industry deduction on earnings (raising $4.9 billion over 10 years),
    (2) changes the way stock sales are accounted for (raising $6.7 billion/10 years),
    (3) extends existing taxes on unemployment income and the oil spill liability fund ($3.2 billion/10 years),
    (4) redefines foreign oil earnings and expenses ($2.2 billion/10 years),
    (5) postpones a cut in taxes on foreign interest earnings ($18.6 billion/10 years),
    (6) closes a loophole on deferred compensation from tax haven corporations ($24.8 billion/10 years).

    QUOTES
    - Dan Ries, analyst, Collins Stewart: “[T]he ITC extension looks stalled until after the election and possibly until a new president is sworn in…[It is] a setback for the solar industry…”
    - Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah): “That’s a tragedy because there was a lot of good stuff in there that really would help our industry at a time when they need it…”
    - Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Minority Leader, U.S. Senate: “The Senate is not going to pass those components in a different configuration.”
    - Congressman Thomas M. Reynolds (R-NY): “The Democrats have failed to produce a result with tax extenders that are vitally important to our economy moving forward…They run the Senate. They run the House. And they couldn’t get it done.”
    - Monica McGuire, executive secretary, R&D Credit Coalition: “The political virtue of compromise is absent in the waning days of the 110th Congress, marked in part by failure to restore and strengthen the R&D tax credit that is included in tax extenders legislation…”

    BIG BOOM IN SMALL WIND

    Small wind turbines are big business in the U.S. and getting bigger. 9,092 small turbines were sold in the U.S. in 2007, 14% growth over the previous year, generating $42 million in revnues. 2008 sales figures to date suggest this year’s growth may reach 20%.

    Ron Stimmel, small wind advocate, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): "The interest is just skyrocketing. People are looking for ways to seize their own energy future, so to speak, and become personally energy independent while helping to protect the environment…"

    Hundreds of models on the U.S. market, 100 kilowatts and less, range in cost from $14,000 to $60,000.

    A common estimate of average U.S. household power is in the ~1,000 kilowatts/month range. Small turbine power generation is dependent on seasonal and diurnal winds and placement.

    Example of small wind in action: Dr. Carlos Fernandez, transplant surgeon and turbine seller, uses 4 small turbines on his Paso Fino horse farm north of Washington, D.C. He is not energy independent but his utility purchases have dropped from 5,400 kilowatts/month to 2,000 kilowatts/month. He recently built an indoor training ring that is completely independent of the grid.

    Dr. Fernandez: "I think sooner or later I am going to be producing more than I use here, because I am always tinkering with more power production…Figuring out how I can get every ounce out of those turbines. Whether it is a taller tower, whether it is better electronics. My goal is to be totally energy independent."

    More than a footnote: Based on changes in New Energy sales after 2005, when residential solar photovoltaic systems began qualifying for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC), a provision making small wind eligible for a comparable ITC (included in the currently pending New Energy incentives legislation unlikely to be passed by Congress) would probably add 40-to-50% to annual small wind growth.


    More info at AWEA Small Wind

    Also see the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Glbal Market Study 2008

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    Small Wind Energy on the Rise in U.S.
    Jeff Swicord, 24 September 2008 (Voice of America)

    WHO
    Dr. Carlos Fernandez, transplant surgeon & breeder of Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses; American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

    WHAT
    With small wind turbine installation booming in the U.S., Dr. Fernandez’s use of small wind turbines to power his horse farm exemplify what is possible.

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Fernandez has been developing small wind for “…the past several years.”
    - 2001: 2,100 small wind units installed in the U.S. with a capacity of 2,100 kilowatts.
    - 2007: 9,092 units installed with a capacity of 9,737 kilowatts.

    WHERE
    - 8,905 of the 9,092 turbines sold in the U.S. in 2007 were manufactured in the U.S.
    - There are at least 49 U.S. small turbine manufacturers and at least 84 non-U.S. small turbine manufacturers.

    WHY
    - The market in 2007: 9,092 units sold, 98% (8,905) were from U.S. manufacturers; 14% growth (9.7 megawatts of capacity added); $42 million in 2007 sales; Cumulative U.S. installed capacity is now 55-60 megawatts.
    - On-grid: 1,292 units, 5,720 kilowatts.
    - Off-grid: 7,800 units, 4,017 kilowatts.
    - There are an estimated 350-to-400 full time jobs and 95 part time jobs from the small wind industry.
    - Costs: $3-to-5 per watt of capacity; 10-to-15 cents per kilowatt of production.
    - Dr. Fernandez has 20 horses in two barns, 2 houses, an indoor training ring and other structures, all fully powered.
    - Dr. Fernandez uses 4 small turbines, 2 modern designs made specifically for small scale power production and 2 designed to pump water from deep wells, to drop his utility-purchased electricity from 5,400 kilowatts/month to 2,000 kilowatts/month. His systems include batteries for the storage of excess generation.

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Dr. Fernandez: "Our own lives have been turned upside down by the cost of gasoline going up in the last two years…I think we would have a lot more freedom if we were to make our own power."
    - Dr. Fernandez: "This particular one was manufactured in 1905. I found it basically in a yard sale. I brought it home and started playing with it to make a conversion to make electricity…"
    - Dr. Fernandez: "For wind power, the main issue is site, you know - where you are going to locate the tower? Obviously trees are not very friendly to windmills unless you can get 20 or 30 feet above them…"

    1ST EMISSIONS AUCTION N U.S., A VIEW OF THINGS TO COME

    Looking for a market that’s holding its value? Here it is.

    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc (RGGI, nicknamed “Reggie”) held its first emissions permits auction, the first emissions permits auction in the U.S.

    The program is regarded as a trial run in anticipation of a national cap-and-trade system to be legislated under the next administration. Many assume Reggie credits will transfer to the national market when it is created.

    Robert Stavins, director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program: “This is the first major successful auction in the world of CO2 allowances…More importantly, that a future U.S. federal cap- and-trade system is likely to use allowances that are at least partially auctioned off, it is important to observe RGGI's auction and learn from it.''

    Reggie’s goal is to cut GhGs 10% by 2019.

    Although the permits, good for the offsetting of 1 ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions in the course of generating power or otherwise conducting business, sold at auction for only $3.07, this was 65% above the $1.86 floor price, indicating buyers believe the right to emit will gain value over time.

    This is considered especially good market performance because Barclays Bank, a veteran of the EU credits market, expected Reggie to be oversupplied and predicted a price of less than $2.

    Annual allowances available will be ratcheted down yearly to 10% below current levels by the end of 2018. There are 2 goals: (1) To cut GhGs and (2) to drive the development of New Energy. The latter cannot happen, according to experts, until prices for emissions rise, making it more expensive to continue generating them than to invest in New Energy.

    Kate Hampton, policy head, Climate Change Capital: "[The clearing price] will provide a learning opportunity...You do need a higher price than [$3.75/ton of CO2e] to provide a significant incentive for efficiency…"

    Seb Walhain, head of environmental markets, Fortis Bank in Amsterdam, says utilities are unlikely to change their behavior until allowances are at least $10/ton of CO2e.

    Comparison: European Union (EU) emission allowances on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) were at 23 euros ($33.10)/tonne.


    The futures price has jumped to $3.76 on the CCX. (click to enlarge)

    First U.S. Carbon-Dioxide Permits Sell for $3.07/Ton
    Jim Efstathiou Jr., September 29, 2008 (Bloomberg News)

    WHO
    Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc (RGGI)

    WHAT
    The RGGI kicked off its effort to fight global climate change through market-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. The first price for credit to offset one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) was $3.07.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - First auction was September 25 in anticipation of a trading regimen that opens January 1, 2009.
    - The next auction will be Dec. 17.
    - The first stage of Reggie is scheduled to run 3 years.
    - Reggie is the first U.S. market for allowances.

    WHERE
    RGGI incorporates 10 northeastern states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

    WHY
    - The first RGGI auction saw 59 bidders.
    - The opening price is far lower than the price of permits on the EU ETS but 65% higher than the base rate, suggesting there is demand for them on the expectation their value will increase.
    - RGGI intends to supply permits for 188 million tons of CO2e/year, 9% over 2007 emissions in the 10-state region.
    - All 12.57 million permits offered were sold in the auction that received bids for 51.7+ million allowances.
    - Reggie allows utilities, investors and other buyers to acquire and hold permits.
    - If increased levels of GhGs are reported, it would be expected to trigger higher demand for permits.
    - The auction raised $38.6 million for the states to use to cut electricity demand and build New Energy capacity.

    There is a world of emissions trading waiting for the U.S. join in. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Steve Schleimer, energy and environment market regulation director, Barclays Plc.: "People are probably seeing value in buying and holding… If you look at the back end of the program, it does become a short program …"
    - Schleimer: "Over time, as load in the region is growing and new plants are coming on line, there's going to be a point where there are 188 million tons made available and emissions will exceed that…That's one reason to see value in it."
    - Seb Walhain, head of environmental markets, Fortis: "I'm not a big fan of RGGI…"
    - Pete Grannis, commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: "The first RGGI auction has successfully used market forces to set a price on carbon and this will send a clear market signal to support the investment in clean-energy technologies…"

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    ENERGY TAX CREDITS – COMPROMISE OR R.I.P. UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION?

    Refusal by Congress and the President to extend vital New Energy industries tax credits is looming.

    One place the story being followed closely is wind-rich West Texas, home to such disparate characters as President Lyndon B. Johnson and President George W. Bush.

    The House-amended version (H.R. 7060) of the Senate-approved bill (H.R. 6049) hit what one House leader called “the wall” in the Senate over the weekend. Though both bills extend the New Energy tax credits, differences about how to fund them make the bills irreconcilable.

    Max Baucus (D-Mont), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee: “This move in the House endangers tax relief that American businesses and families need right now…While I commend the House’s effort to fully offset the cost of this needed tax legislation, it is clear to me from discussions in the Senate that even this new package of bills will not pass in this body.”

    Though leaders are struggling to draft compromise legislation (H.R. 7201, H.R. 7202), differences do not yet appear near resolution.

    The cutoff of New Energy’s vital tax credits will hit hard in the President’s West Texas stomping grounds. Some around there are not feeling patient with the political leadership. Greg Wortham, executive director, West Texas Wind Consortium/Mayor, Sweetwater: "Support America or don't…Do their job or get out of office."

    The local Congressman is more optimistic than most. U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Midland): "But I think it will get done this year…"

    The fight for New Energy’s vital tax credits, chronicled in detail by NewEnergyNews since the summer of 2007 and especially during the last 2 weeks, is hanging in the balance.

    The traditional power-generating energy industries have long benefited from subsidies and incentives provided by the taxpayer through acts of Congress (as calculated in a study done at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration,
    Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007). In recent years, New Energy has begun to get a share of support. There could easily be a debate over whether it deserves more. But to refuse to allow it even what it has been getting is just plain nonsensical.

    A GE Financial Services study shows investment in New Energy already pays for itself. Numerous other studies show New Energy will, in a carbon-constrained future, be the key to energy independence and world energy dominance.

    If Congress does not extend the credits, they will expire December 31. With them will go the boom in the New Energy industries, one of the few sectors in U.S. financial markets that has continued to expand through the sadness of the current financial failure.

    In West Texas, this is not a matter of stock market prices. Mayor Wortham: "There are plenty of projects that are being planned for 2009 that will step back...[People] want to have a good Christmas this year and buy toys for their kids...people that want to have a job in February..."

    Ironically, both the House and Senate have approved extension of the New Energy tax credits by large majorities. Extension is expected to fail in Congress, for the 9th time in 18 months, because the House and the Senate cannot agree on how to fund it in a way that will not force President Bush, who claims to want to approve extension, to veto.

    No, this is not the
    NPR Sunday Puzzle, this is political reality in an election year or, as it is known in Washington, “the silly season.”

    The Senate passed the extensions 93-2, along with a general package of revenue “pay-fors” on September 23. The House Democratic majority altered the Senate bill, taking very specific tax breaks away from the oil industry and very specific tax-havens away from the financial sector to create additional pay-fors, passed the new version 226-166, and sent it back for Senate approval September 27.

    Fiscal conservatives in the House and Senate, members who coincidentally represent many in the oil industry and financial sector, call the House pay-fors “raising taxes.” Their opposition cannot stop a bill containing such pay-fors in the House. They have, though, used – and probably again this week will use – the threat of a filibuster in the Senate to block such a bill from being voted on.

    The irony: Everybody who wants to can now say they voted for extending the new Energy tax credits.

    Example: Charles Rangel (D-NY0 Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee, on the version of the bill he knows will produce rejection in the Senate: "With this bill, we can tell our kids and our grandkids that we encouraged energy production from wind and solar to make sure that future generations aren't hooked on foreign oil like we have been…"

    The cynicism: Handling the legislation like this gives both parties something substantive to run on. Democrats will tell their base to actively support their candidates if they want New Energy. Republicans will tell their base to actively support their candidates if they want New Energy but not new taxes.


    click to enlarge

    It’s a sorry state of affairs. Keith Johnson, energy blogger extraordinaire, Wall Street Journal: “The legislative stalemate will just prolong the agony for America’s clean-energy sector…The breakdown will also affect people who aren’t building massive wind farms, but just wanted to get solar power or a mini-wind turbine for their house…”

    The market had no doubt about the meaning of the situation. From MarketWatch: “Solar stocks fell Friday after the U.S. House of Representatives OK'd a measure to extend billions in tax credits for renewable energy, but the measure faces an uncertain future because it differs from the Senate version…”

    The NY Times’ Tom Friedman was his usual eloquent self on the situation and, as always, pointed in exactly the right direction: “Many things make me weep about the current economic crisis… I fear all it will leave behind are a bunch of empty Florida condos that never should have been built, used private jets that the wealthy can no longer afford and dead derivative contracts that no one can understand…

    “…[W]e don’t just need a bailout. We need a buildup. We need to get back to making stuff, based on real engineering not just financial engineering…The exciting thing about the energy technology revolution is that it spans the whole economy — from green-collar construction jobs to high-tech solar panel designing jobs. It could lift so many boats…”

    There are 3 possibilities left, 2 rather feathery (“Hope is the thing with feathers…”) and 1 that depends on the wisdom of the voters:

    (1) The House and Senate could get caught up in the emotion spilling over from bipartisan cooperation in developing the financial crisis legislation and work out a compromise this week. (A smart bettor wouldn’t even check the odds on this one.)

    (2) A lame duck session of Congress could be called after the election in which a compromise is forged. (So many things are up in the air right now, from the presidency to the economy to the war, that smart bookies probably wouldn’t give odds on this one.)

    (3) Next year’s Congress could retroactively extend the tax credits. (The smart bet.)

    In his despair, The Times’ Friedman turned to Van Jones, a longtime inspiration to NewEnergyNews
    (see A GREEN NEW DEAL): “It’s time to stop borrowing and start building. America’s No. 1 resource is not oil or mortgages. Our No. 1 resource is our people. Let’s put people back to work — retrofitting and repowering America...You can’t base a national economy on credit cards. But you can base it on solar panels, wind turbines, smart biofuels and a massive program to weatherize every building and home in America.”

    Have a visit with Van Jones below. No feathers there. It’s the kind of substance they like in West Texas.


    Play it loud. From LCVheatison via YouTube.

    Wind energy tax credit facing vote; Conaway says he expects House to continue working through weekend on bill
    Trish Choate, September 26, 2008 (Abilene Reporter)
    and
    House OKs extending renewable enrgy tax credits
    Russell Blinch (w/Matthew Lewis), September 26, 2008 (Reuters)
    and
    Dept. of Futile Gestures: House Passes Energy Tax Credits, To No Avail
    Keith Johnson, September 26, 2008 (Wall Street Journal)
    and
    Solar stocks fall on uncertain outlook for tax credits
    September 26, 2008 (MarketWatch)
    and
    Green the Bailout
    Thomas L. Friedman, September 28, 2008 (NY Times)
    and
    House to Try Again Monday on Tax Extenders
    Richard Rubin, September 28, 2008 (CQ Politics)

    WHO
    The U.S. House of Representatives; The U.S. Senate

    WHAT

    H.R. 7060, The Renewable Energy and Job creation Tax Act of 2008
    is unlikely to see the President's desk. H.R. 7201, The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and H.R. 7202, Temporary Tax relief Act of 2008 are compromise versions.

    This GE study proved the wind tax credits, like other New Energy incentives, create revenues in the long run. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - One version passed in the Senate September 23.
    - Another version passed in the House September 27.
    - 7201 or 7202 to be debated, passed by the House?
    - Taken up again by the Senate?
    - December 31: Both houses of Congress must approve the measure or the existing tax credits expire on the last day of the year.
    - Any day now: Congress expected to adjourn for the election.

    WHERE
    In limbo in the House.

    WHY
    - Research from Navigant Consulting shows the 8-year tax credit extension means 440,000 new solar industry jobs and a doubling of new solar capacity to ~630 megawatts in 2009.
    - H.R. 7060:
    (1) extends the production tax credit (PTC) for wind 1 year,
    (2) extends the PTC for biomass, hydrokinetic and geothermal energies 2 years,
    (3) extends the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar systems and small wind turbines 8 years,
    (4) has an 8-year extension on energy efficiency building improvement tax credits,
    (5) has tax benefits for buying electric vehicles (EVs), has tax benefits for producing cellulosic ethanol and advanced biodiesel,
    (6) includes many of the same benefits (to veterans, teachers, Native Americans, hurricane victims, etc.) that were in the package passed by the Senate September 23,
    (7) includes tax credits for “clean” coal development,
    (8) extends major R&D tax credits,
    (9) excludes tax credits to oil shale producers and coal-to-liquid producers,
    (10) removes the controversial tax credit to New York City to help redevelop the World Trade Center zone.
    - H.R. 7060 pay-fors:
    (1) freezes an oil industry deduction on earnings (raising $4.9 billion over 10 years),
    (2) changes the way stock sales are accounted for (raising $6.7 billion/10 years),
    (3) extends existing taxes on unemployment income and the oil spill liability fund ($3.2 billion/10 years),
    (4) redefines foreign oil earnings and expenses ($2.2 billion/10 years),
    (5) postpones a cut in taxes on foreign interest earnings ($18.6 billion/10 years),
    (6) closes a loophole on deferred compensation from tax haven corporations ($24.8 billion/10 years).
    - H.R. 7201 and 7202 are reported to have (1) restored tax credits for coal-to-liquid. tar sands and oil shale development, (2) changed the credits to wind energy and plug-in vehicles and (3) reduced the pay-fors from oil tax breaks and financial tax havens.

    Money invested in New Energy pays itself back in jobs and revenues. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on what passage means: "You're going to see national markets open up for residential solar…"
    - Lyndon Rive, CEO, SolarCity: "Without [the ITC], we're not going to have scale that brings solar to grid parity, and investors aren't going to be interested…"
    - Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich): "It's about what is going to be enacted into law, and the shelf life on this bill is very, very short…"
    - Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tx): "We've got a bill that has passed the Senate ... that is there for us to vote on and then get to the president…"
    - Keith Johnson, energy blogger extraordinaire, Wall Street Journal: “Both presidential campaigns are heavy on clean-energy rhetoric, and “green collar” jobs has become a mantra this election year. Will a lame-duck Congress be able to make that rhetoric a reality, after so many failures?”
    - K.R. Sridhar, the founder, Bloom Energy (quoted by Friedman): “Infants and the elderly who are disabled obsess about survival,” said Sridhar. “As a nation, if we just focus on survival, the demise of our leadership is imminent. We are thrivers. Thrivers are constantly looking for new opportunities to seize and lead and be No. 1.”
    - Bonus video: The Voice of Van Jones

    ”There’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with America.” Bill Clinton. From VanJonesDotNet via YouTube.

    PICKENS STILL PITCHING

    Kicking off what he promises will be a new PR blitz, energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on September 22.

    He sure can talk.

    By now the Pickens Plan is plenty widely known. In spots all over the network and cable airwwaves, in personal appearances on everything but
    This Old House, and at a website attracting millions to see charts and YouTube videos, Pickens has explained how the U.S. is too dependent on foreign oil and how he believes it can break the dependency by filling the midwestern plains with wind installations to generate electricity and transitioning the natural gas now used in electricity genertion to fuel for a large portion of the U.S. transportation fleet. So why the new campaign?

    The megabillionaire says his new splash is designed to push the presidential candidates on THEIR energy plans.

    Pickens: "I can tell you that we're going to turn up the heat…I've had over six and a half million people come in on that Web site. And I've signed up 400,000 of them. ... We call them an army, (and) we will march together…And we'll force plans out of both of these candidates by the time we get to election day. That's the way this is going to unfold, that they're going to have to have a plan. If they didn't, I failed what I started out to do.”

    That Pickens is reaching his audience comes as no surprise to those aware of the reach of the PR firms the oil man hired,
    Patton Boggs and Benjamin Ginsberg.

    Energy mavens around the internet and around the world are debating the practicality of building enough wind to meet 20% of U.S. power generation needs (completely doable, as affirmed by a U.S. Department of Energy study published in May) and the practicality of building a transportation infrastructure around compressed natural gas (CNG) (not so much).

    Skeptics are wondering what is driving T.Boone. Is his motive political? Is he trying to expose a flaw in one of the candidate’s energy plan?

    Pickens has met with both candidates, contributed to the Republican 2004 cause and went to the 2008 Democratic National Convention to push his energy plan.

    Pickens: "Either one of them are fine with me…But they've got to have an energy plan for America.”

    In fact, for all its potential impracticalities, there is political genius in the Pickens Plan because it brings together the interests of the oil-and-gas industry and the wind industry instead of putting them in opposition.

    Pickens did say he’s troubled by Republicans convinced they can "drill their way out" of the current energy circumstances.

    Many say Pickens is in it for personal gain. He is building the biggest wind installation in the world in Texas and owns a lot of natural gas. Pickens answer is that he is 80-years-old, has enough money and wants to do something for his country.

    "What do I want? I want both of these candidates, and we are going to press it up, you are going to see a new series of ads…I am going to press it up to them that we want a plan, an energy plan to reduce, at least reduce, our foreign oil by 30 percent in 10 years."

    Footnote: At the Press Club, Pickens told a great story about the mythical complaints against wind frequently mentioned by knowledgeless controversialists. A journalist, he said, went looking for somebody in a Texas region booming with wind installations who would complain. He spotted a guy on a street corner. “You know anybody who complains about the turbines?”

    “Yep.”

    “You know why they complain?”

    “Yep.”

    “Why?”

    “Cause they ain’t got any turbines.”

    Finally: Governor Brad Henry of oil-rich Oklahoma endorsed the Pickens Plan as a kick-off to the new campaign. Oklahoma is building wind as fast as it can get turbines.


    T. Boone explains the "Plan." From pickensplan via YouTube.

    Henry endorses Pickens Plan
    September 22, 2008 (AP via Houston Chronicle)
    and
    Pickens will push hopefuls on energy
    Chris Casteel, September 23, 2008 (The Oklahoman)
    and
    Oil Man T. Boone Pickens Pressures Presidential Candidates on Energy
    Cindy Saine, 23 September 2008 (Voice of America)

    WHO
    T. Boone Pickens, energy entrepreneur and wind energy activist; Brad Henry, Governor, Oklahoma;

    WHAT
    The Pickens Plan condemns the U.S. dependency on foreign oil imports and proposes to change it by building wind installations across the Midwest for power generation and converting a part of the U.S. transportation fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG).

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - September 22: Oklahoma’s Governor Henry signed the “Pickens Pledge.”
    - Yearly: $700 billion is transferred from the U.S. to oil-producing nations.
    - By 2030: Pickens’ plan would substitute the 20% of U.S. electricity will be generating for the natural gas used to generate that electricity now and use the natural gas to run a significant portion of the U.S. transportation fleet.

    WHERE
    - Pickens’ recent appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., generated yet more publicity for his “Plan.”
    - Governor Henry’s endorsement should help Pickens win converts in Oklahoma.
    - The richest source of U.S. onshore wind power is in the Midwestern corridor from the Texas panhandle to the Canadian border.

    WHY
    - Pickens, like many others (including both major presidential candidates) believes it is unsustainable for the U.S. to go on spending $700 billion a year for foreign oil.
    - Pickens believes the $60 billion new national transmission system investment necessary to obtain the fullest production from new wind installations can come from entrepreneurial investment if the government will set a long-term policy supportive to wind development.
    - Govenor Henry says the Pickens Plan is necessary to protect national security and provide for the U.S. economic future. Between Oklahoma’s natural gas supplies and wind assets, the plan also provides pretty well for Governor Henry’s state’s economic future.
    - Pickens intends to mobilize an army of 400,000 believers he has signed up at his website in pursuit of a commitment on national energy policy from the two major presidential candidates. He obviously is seeking an endorsement but even if he doesn’t get it, he draws more attention to his plan by elevating himself into the national debate.
    - Carl Pope of the Sierra Club has been quoted as taking an interest in Pickens’ idea to run the trucking sector, which cannot run on battery power, on compressed natural gas.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    T. Boone Pickens, petroleum geologist/energy entrepreneur/visionary: "You go 10 years, you are going to be importing 75 percent of your oil…And I promise you the price will be $200 to $300 a barrel, I promise you that. And I keep my promises. I know what I am talking about. And you are going to be spending $2 trillion a year."

    OREGON LOOKS TO OCEAN FOR NEW ENERGY

    Wave energy, the final frontier – these are the voyages of a whole host of exciting, ambitious ideas, one or more of which will change the way the U.S. gets electricity.

    If there is an echo, in that opening sentence, of the William Shatner titles voiceover for the original
    Star Trek TV show, it is intentional. Wave energy developers are venturing into a virtually undiscovered realm seeking a huge potential energy discovery.

    In another way, though, every story these days about hydrokinetic energies (wave, tide and current) is very similar: Testing is on-going, trials are imminent, there are a lot of regulatory hassles and there is opposition from environmentalists and the fisheries industries.

    Case in point: Tillamook County in Oregon, seeing the gold rush going on in nearby Coos County, has jumped into the wave energy industry with goggles, wetsuit and flippers.

    There are a few real wae eenrgy installations in Europe, none in the U.S. Competition along the east and west coasts is presently hottest to lock down parcels of ocean with powerful waves through pilot project applications. Buoy-style and cylinder-shaped concepts are still competing for superiority.

    The West Coast, with a shorter drop off from the continental shelf into deep waters, holds more wave energy capacity potential than the East Coast, where the continental shelf is broad and offshore waters are shallow (ideal for the development of offshore wind installations).

    Oregon’s wave energy gold rush began just barely 2 years ago. With small, economically ambitious seaports, coastal transmission networks and accommodating state regulatory policies, Oregon is prime wave energy territory.

    Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has been active in Coos County with a buoy device. Tillamook County, with partner with Pelamis Wave Power, is working on a cylindrical technology.

    A Tillamook County fisherman, describing the Pelamis wave energy device: "It looks like a piece of salami with a 16-foot diameter…"

    Regulators in the region are struggling to keep up with the developers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversees projects inside a 3-mile line, and the Department of Interior’s Mineral Management Services (MMS) is responsible for projects outside those waters. It makes the permitting process – interesting?

    Des McGinnes, business development manager, Pelamis Wave Power: "To use nautical terms, I'd describe the regulatory process as 'confused' and 'changeable…'"

    Beyond bureaucratic complexities, confrontation with questions of environmental impact introduces another level of difficulty. There isn’t nearly enough yet known about the impact on marine life and habitat, on fisheries industries or on seabeds and shorelines.

    The natural result: Opposition from fisheries industries and environmentalists.

    With at least 2 inevitable levels of hoops to jump through (regulatory and environmental), getting into the wave energy game requires time, money and almost inexhaustible patience.

    Example: Having sailed through the raging seas of federal and state regulation and completed some successful trial runs, OPT announced earlier this year it wanted to expand a small pilot project into a 200-buoy, 5-mile long project. It got a lot of outrage as a response.

    Nick Furman, executive director, Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission: "That's five miles of productive habitat we can't put pots in."

    Example: Tillamook County and Columbia Energy, its development partner, got its permits and financing set up. They are planning trial projects at Garibaldi, in the middle of important chinook fisheries, and at Netarts, in prime crabbing grounds. They are trying to prepare the locals. In response, the locals are trying to prepare the wave energy developers.

    Linda Buell, Garibaldi Charters co-owner (with husband Mick) and co-chair, fisheries industries advisory committee: "They can't just come in here and grab up fishing grounds without offering anything in return…"

    The developers have to get the idea across that local power production means a big local pay day: Jobs, tax revenues, and energy independence through clean New Energy.

    Locals have to get the idea across to the developers that they’re happy to have the benefits if they don’t come at the expense of ocean habitats, traditional lives and livelihoods and treasured recreational resources.

    Furman, Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission: "[The Reedsport 10-buoy project is] smack dab in the middle of crabbing grounds…We feel like we're struggling to keep up with the process…Let's put the brakes on a little."

    It’s a classic confrontation: Energy developers versus locals. Each side has always learned from the other.
    (See Local Hero)

    The burning industries were always fired by black gold fever. New Energy developers feel the heat of climate change and rising world energy hunger.

    The folks in the coastal counties wonder why the big city folks are in such a hurry.


    A Pelamis installation. (click to enlarge)

    Off Oregon’s coast, wave power makes a splash
    Gail Kinsey Hill, September 21, 2008 (The Oregonian)

    WHO
    Tillamook County officials (Paul Levesque, chief of staff); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); Wave Energy Trust; Columbia Energy Partners (Jon Norling, Vice President); Pelamis Wave Power (Des McGinnes, business development manager); Ocean Power Technologies (Len Bergstein, spokesman)

    WHAT
    Tillamook County is joining Coos County in Oregon’s wave energy gold rush.

    An OPT installation. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - 2006 to 2008:The Oregon gold rush has developed over the last 2 years.
    - 2013: Tillamook County large-scale installations are at least 5 years off.
    - 2025: Wave energy projects in Oregon could be generating 500 megawatts of electricity.

    WHERE
    - Oregon’s Tillamook County will develop 6 sites from Newport to Coos Bay.
    - Neighboring Coos County’s wave energy projects are in a 5-mile stretch, north to south, less than three miles from shore off Coos Bay, prime crabbing territory.
    - There are a few operating wave energy projects in Europe, none in the U.S.
    - Pelamis Wave Power is based in Scotland.
    - Columbia Energy Partners is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    - Ocean Power Technologies is based in New Jersey.

    WHY
    - Columbia Energy Partners will do the Tillamook County feasibility study and handle the financing.
    - Each of the 6 Tillamook County sites is seaward three miles from a utility transmission substation.
    - The potential 500 megawatts of power capacity Tillamook County could generate is 3% of the state’s present consumption.
    - The Garibaldi and Netarts projects will each be 30 megawatts, small by the standards of Columbia Energy Partners’ wind installations but a crucial beginning in the wave industry.
    - The big OPT 200-buoy project would have an estimated 200-megawatt capacity.
    - OPT also has a more advanced 10-buoy project off Reedsport which could begin selling power in the next 1-2 years.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Paul Levesque, chief of staff, Tillamook County: "We can either wait until someone runs roughshod over us, or we can make sure we have a say in what happens…"
    - Len Bergstein, spokesman, OPT: "[We want to] show we're relentless in our willingness to sit around the table and discuss this project."

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    WMD IN KURDISTAN

    Could it be the Kurds have finally had enough of their land being the place where the world comes to fight for oil?

    The Kurdistan Regional Government is inviting bids for the opportunity to do a study on the feasibility of building wind energy installations in the 3 Kurdish provinces.

    The Kurds are sophisticated people, knowledgeable in the ways of the energy world and anxious to go to work build a better tomorrow.

    They are also sharp businesspeople. From the announcement of bidding for the feasibility study: “All bids must be accompanied by a bid security of 100,000,000 (one hundred million) Iraqi Dinars [$84,206] or an equivalent amount in a freely convertible currency consigned in any official bank in the Kurdistan Region.”

    For Iraq and the region, it would be a new kind of WMD: Wind as a Major Development.


    More information is at: The Kurdistan Region: Invest in the Future

    The KRG, north of Baghdad, is rich in energy resources. (click to enlarge)

    Invitation to tender: Wind energy detailed feasibility study in Erbil, Dohuk & Suleimaniah governorates

    WHO
    The Kurdistan Regional Government(KRG)/Iraq Ministry of Electricity

    WHAT
    The KRG wants to have a detailed feasibility study done on the potential for development of wind energy in Kurdistan.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - English-language bidding documents for an application to do the wind energy feasibility study became available 20 September 2008.
    - Bids for the opportunity to do the wind energy feasibility study must be delivered no later than 12pm, 20 October 2008.
    - Bids will be opened at 12:05pm on the deadline date.

    WHERE
    - Feasibility studies will be for the 3 governorates that make up the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
    - Obtain English-language bidding documents from:
    Ministry of Electricity
    Kurdistan Regional Government
    General Directorate of the Diwan, Commercial Department
    Brayaty, 60 Meter Street
    Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.
    - Bids will be opened at the Ministry of Electricity.

    WHY
    - The plan: (1) Identify sites; (2) Collect/analyse wind data; (3) Designate the appropriate parameters for a wind installation at each selected site; (4) Complete a detailed feasibility report for each installation/site.
    - Bidders for the opportunity to do the feasibility study are required to have experience in wind energy and to have done at least 3 previous detailed wind energy feasibility studies.
    - English-language bidding documents cost a (non-refundable) payment of payment of 500,000 Iraqi Dinars ($425) in any convertible currency. The documents can be delivered by international courier for an additional $100 fee.
    - Late bids will be rejected.
    - Bidders’ representatives are invited to attend the opening of bids at the announced time and place.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - From the announcement of bidding for the feasibility study: “The method of payment will be by cash to the KRG Ministry of Electricity Accounts Department.”
    - Inquiries:
    Attention Mr Hama Amin Hawramany
    Ministry of Electricity
    Kurdistan Regional Government
    Directorate of Hydropower & Renewable Energy
    E-mail: hawramany1@yahoo.com
    Tel: + 964 (0)750 445 0665

    LIFEVILLAGE FROM ENVISION BUILT IN COTE D’IVOIRE

    "Infrastructure in a crate."

    Designed by architects, LifeVillage(TM) is a self-contained building that can be shipped in 2 containers and rapidly assembled at any location, no matter how remote. It is powered by solar panels and contains a battery system for energy storage. It also has its own water treatment system.

    LifeVillage(TM) is the product of Envision Solar International, the company founded by architects Robert Noble, AIA, LEED AP, and William Adelson, AIA, to further their goal of making solar energy more available and more aesthetically appealing.

    Noble: "The LifePort(TM) and LifePod(TM) products were always intended to be enabling technologies for photovoltaics and other clean technology. The LifeVillage(TM), by including energy storage and water treatment, adds utility for an off-grid solution for remote areas without access to traditional infrastructure."

    Adelson: "We were captivated by what occurred in Africa with the telecommunications industry…With the use of mobile telephones, the system is highly decentralized; effectively, satellite technology evolved more quickly than did the ability to install infrastructure in Africa."

    Noble: "The goal is to plant LifeVillages(TM) anywhere decentralized critical infrastructure is needed, starting in Western and Central Africa…"

    A demonstration project is planned for Cote d'Ivoire, on the west coast of Africa. An entire village will be built.

    To demonstrate that LifeVillage(TM) is not only possible but practical, the demonstration project, at the specific request of the Cote d'Ivoire Ministry of Energy, will have both a small medical clinic and a schoolhouse. There will be housing for a resident doctor or nurse and housing for a teacher. Envision Solar is working with Scripps Health and Hospitals of San Diego on the clinic.


    click to enlarge

    Envision Solar Creates LifeVillage(TM) Modular Structures with Self-Contained Electricity and Water Treatment for Use in Areas with Limited Infrastructure; Demonstration Project Planned in Cote d'Ivoire, Africa
    September 25, 2008 (Envision Solar/Business Wire via MarketWatch)

    WHO
    Envision Solar International; (Robert Noble, AIA, LEED AP, and William Adelson, AIA, founders); ZBB Energy Corporation; Other partners (Nucon Steel, Kyocera, McElroy Roofing, Worldwater & Solar Technologies)

    WHAT
    LifeVillage(TM), created by Nobleand Adelson, is "infrastructure in a crate," a modular self-contained, multiple use structure that can be delivered where shelter is needed to provide community buildings powered by solar energy with battery backup and with their own self-contained water treatment system.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    A LifeVillage(TM) structure can be assembled and activated within two weeks of arrival.

    WHERE
    - Prototype will be constructed/tested in the U.S. prior to deployment at 100 villages in Cote d'Ivoire.
    - Envision Solar and its founders/architects are based in La Jolla, Calif
    - ZBB Energy is based in Wisconsin.

    WHY
    - LifeVillage(TM) includes:
    (1) LifePort(TM) modular steel-frame structure,
    (2) LifePod(TM) modular steel-frame structure,
    (3) 1.5-to-4 kW solar panel capacity,
    (4) Long-lasting ZESS-50TM zinc battery storage system from ZBB Energy Corp.
    (5) A self-contained water treatment unit that will capture and recycle water.
    - LifeVillage(TM) can be shipped in 2 shipping containers and assembled on-site.
    - Nucon Steel will provide the structure framing.
    - Kyocera will provide the solar panels.
    - McElroy Roofing will provide the standing seam metal roof.
    - Worldwater & Solar Technologies will provide the water purification and pumping components.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Noble: "The LifeVillage(TM) structures can be used to create medical clinics, schools, housing for doctors and teachers, cell, mobile telephone, radio, TV, WiFi, and WiMax facilities and transmission. The combination of international building code engineered buildings, solar energy generation and battery storage provides all that is needed to improve health, safety, education, economics and general quality of life around every project or team has planned…"
    - Adelson: "We hope that the LifeVillage(TM) product will provide renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure for growth and advancement of underdeveloped areas."

    WILL ITALY TURN TO NUCLEAR?

    In the absence of an economy large enough to initiate a massive move to New Energy, governments have 3 choices for large-scale power generation: coal, nuclear or natural gas.

    In the carbon-constrained society that Europe’s unblinking recognition of global climate change has turned it into, coal is not an option until “clean” coal is proven and becomes financially viable (if that ever happens).

    Europe’s natural gas supplies must come from Russia or Persian Gulf nations. Europeans do not want to build their energy future around dependency on uncertain supplies from hostile governments.

    That leaves nuclear.

    Everybody from Vladimir Putin to John McCain touts the potential of nuclear energy but nobody is actually financing new plants. The problem with nuclear: Cost. As verified in
    Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) studies by Amory Lovins, investment is not presently going into nuclear energy because (1) plants are expensive, (2) extended construction guarantees long payback delays, (3) risks associated with accidents, spills and terrorism require unaffordable levels of insurance and (4) there is still no satisfactory solution for what to do with radioactive waste.

    Italy’s renewable Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently signaled a change of direction for the country with pontifications about building new nuclear. The preceding, center-left Prodi government, in 2007, instituted a feed-in tariff to drive solar energy development along with wind energy and biomass energy quotas to drive development those areas. As intended, New Energy capacity is rising.

    Italy has suffered brownouts and power shortages in recent years and takes the question of power supply seriously. It has just brought on line a world class LNG terminal. Will it stand for empty rhetoric about the feasiblity of a financially impractical nuclear future? Or will it push ahead with the development of its sun and wind and recycled waste resources, the real New Energy of tomorrow?


    These pay back periods and rates of return make nuclear a poor place to put dwindling liquid assets. (click to enlarge)

    Berlusconi launches nuclear and renewable energy plan: report
    September 20, 2008 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister, Italy;

    WHAT
    Berlusconi’s “national energy plan” calls for new LNG, New Energy and, most of all, new nuclear.

    From Amory Lovins' RMI. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Berlusconi returned to power in April
    - In May, the Italian government said it would begin building nuclear by 2013, the end of the current parliamentary term.
    - 1987: Italy responded to the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl with a referendum banning nuclear power for 20 years.

    WHERE
    Italy depends on foreign sources for 87 percent of its energy needs. (Oil 43%, natural gas 36%)

    WHY
    - Italy has 4 operating nuclear plants and gets 10% of its electricity from them. They were in service before the Chernobyl incident.
    - Berlusconi claims his plan will lower the cost of electricity in Italy.
    - Italy expects assistance from the nuclear industries in France and the UK in developing nuclear.
    - Opposition to nuclear expansion is expected from the political left and from anti-nuclear activists.
    - Italy’s 2007 solar energy feed-in tariff has just this year begun attracting investment from solar producers and installers all over the world.

    Italy's FiT has started a boom in its solar industry. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister, Italy: "From now until next spring, the government will present a national energy plan…[that will include] the launch of nuclear and renewable energy."

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    The Circle Of Life

    AKA What goes around comes around (and the theme song). It’s not the Disney version of “The Circle of Life," it’s the Brazilian World Wildlife Fund version, the version Disney would make if its rainforest was being destroyed at the rate Brazil’s is. From dabugattas via YouTube.

    Architectural Wind

    A "building integrated energy system." It does for wind what solar panels do for solar. The slogan is "Ride the winds of change." It is certainly change you can believe in. In fact, it's change you can buy. From diamondsolar via YouTube.

    Sad Earth, Happy Earth

    Interesting mix of image and sounds. It starts a little harsh but has a happy ending. Let's hope things turn out as well for the real Earth. Better yet, let's WORK to MAKE it turn out as well. From anitasancha via YouTube.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    THE NEW ENERGY INCENTIVES, OR THERE AND BACK AGAIN

    There and Back Again was the name Bilbo Baggins gave to his true account of the adventure most now know by its more famous name, The Hobbit.

    The fateful adventure of the New Energy tax credit extensions, though without dragons or swordplay, is only slightly less harrowing than Bilbo’s adventure and – like Bilbo going home to The Shire – appears headed once again back to the Senate.

    Just 3 days ago, the Senate affirmed the tax credits by passing a bill that sent waves of exhilaration through the New Energy world and set New Energy stocks soaring on Wall Street.

    All the New Energy tax credits in the Senate’s bill needed was ratification by the House of Representatives. No problem. The House originated the legislation last week and passed it then handily. Why wouldn't the House affirm it?

    The Senate asked only one thing of the House: Pass it the way it was amended in the Senate. The compromises in the reconstructed measure were delicate. Pulling at the slightest thread could cause the whole thing to unravel.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev): "Don't send us back something else..It will not pass. If they try to mess with our package, it will die.''

    But the House has something called the ‘pay-go” rule: For passage, any and all spending must have “pay-fors” from budget revenues.

    The Senate legislation had lumped the tax credit extensions with a set of large revenue items. That wasn’t good enough accounting for House leaders. They broke the Senate legislation into 4 pieces. One is the
    Renewable Energy and Job creation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 7060).

    The House bill, which is the rewrite of the Senate bill, which is the rewrite of the House bill (still with this?) appears to now be headed back to the Senate (although a procedural dispute at the end of Thursday left even the final vote uncertain). And nobody yet knows how or where or when the Senate will take it up.

    “Everything is up in the air, everything is on the table…” a Senate staffer told NewEnergyNews Thursday.

    The vital New Energy tax credits will expire December 31 if the legislation does not pass. Expiration will likely drive the New Energy industries into recession for 2009.

    Greg Wetstone, senior director (governmental/public affairs), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): “We’re watching closely and hoping the House and Senate come together very soon…This is crunch time, and I hope we see things get down to business very quickly.”

    When NewEnergyNews questioned a House staffer on whether he thought the new House measure has a chance in the Senate, his answer was challenging. “You don’t think a bill that passed 96-2 has a chance with these changes?”

    Just as the staffer overestimated the “yes” votes on the Senate measure (it was 93, not 96), he overestimates the chances of anything in this fight going the way it seems likely to go. The fate of the New Energy tax credit extensions is as much in doubt as Bilbo’s fate when he came face to face with the dragon.

    Since the middle of 2007, this battle for the fate of New Energy in 2009 has been burning like a fire signaling the partisanship now on display in the more prominent financial market bailout fight. It is the same as it has been all along: The House won't pass the extensions without the "pay-fors" and a filibustering minority in the Senate may block any legislation with them.


    A conference committee is supposed to work out differences but it may be too close to the election to do that. (click to enlarge)

    Some speculate Congressional hesitation is due to a fear there will be no revenues to fund the credits in the wake of the financial crisis bail out. New Energy advocates say failure to extend the credits will make the crisis worse while passage will resuscitate the New Energy sector and drive recovery.

    H.R. 7060 is probably the best (though largely the same) version of the tax credit extensions. It extends the production tax credit (PTC) for wind a year, the PTC for biomass, hydrokinetic and geothermal energies 2 years, and the investment tax credit for solar and small wind 8 years. It has an 8-year extension on energy efficiency building improvement tax credits as well as tax benefits for buying electric vehicles (EVs) and for producing cellulosic ethanol and advanced biodiesel. It also extends major R&D tax credits.

    The bill includes many of the same benefits (to veterans, teachers, Native Americans, hurricane victims, etc.) that were in the Senate package.

    From an environmental point of view, H.R. 7060 improves the previous Senate bill. It still has tax credits for “clean” coal development. But it no longer provides tax credits to oil shale producers and coal-to-liquid producers. While this will please environmentalists, these removals could add to the difficulty of winning Senate passage.

    The new House measure also removes a controversial benefit to New York City although why any patriotic citizen would object to a tax credit to help rebuild the World Trade Center zone baffles NewEnergyNews.

    The pay-fors: H.R. 7060 freezes an oil industry deduction on earnings (raising $4.9 billion over 10 years), changes the way stock sales are accounted for (raising $6.7 billion/10 years), extends existing taxes on unemployment income and the oil spill liability fund ($3.2 billion/10 years), redefines foreign oil earnings and expenses ($2.2 billion/10 years), postpones a cut in taxes on foreign interest earnings ($18.6 billion/10 years) and closes a loophole on deferred compensation from tax haven corporations ($24.8 billion/10 years).

    The pay-fors are said to have come at the insistence of the conservative “Blue-Dog” Democrats. In combination with fiscally conservative Republicans, they represent enough of a factor to steer legislation.

    Steny Hoyer (D-Md), Blue Dog and Majority Leader, House of Representatives: "…it is simply wrong to pay for [the tax extenders package] by once more whipping out the national credit card…Fiscal responsibility is not something we can compromise on, especially not now…”

    Fiscal conservatism is no doubt a factor but it is also the case that many Blue Dog Democrats, like many Republicans, have big oil industry and financial institution constituencies and the pay-fors come largely from oil industry and financial institution tax breaks.

    Point of tangential interest: The AMT (not relevant to energy) is not a sticking point. It was discharged earlier.

    With all the turmoil over the financial market stabilization legislation, it is impossible to know when the House will finish with the New Energy tax credit extension legislation and when the Senate will take it up. If the market stabilization proposal remains embattled, Bilbo Baggins may come into the fray on Friday. If the Princes of partisanship resolve their differences over how to deal with the financial crisis, New Energy could get tacked on to bigger legislation or get put off until after the Jewish holiday.

    The White House said Tuesday President Bush would sign the tax extenders package passed in the Senate. That was before House pay-fors, to which the President is known to object, were added in. Now a veto is more likely.

    So, like the man said, “Everything is up in the air, everything is on the table…”


    Contact Congress and demand they pass the tax extenders package at: the American Wind Energy Association’s POWER OF WIND or the Solar Energy Industries Association’s TAKE ACTION.

    click to enlarge

    House still going its own way on tax extenders
    September 25, 2008 (CQ Politics)
    and
    Tax breaks in the House: battle with Senate awaits
    Jim Abrams, September 25, 2008 (AP)
    and
    House Sticks with Offsets for Tax Extenders
    Richard Rubin, September 25, 2008 (CQ Politics)

    WHO
    The U.S. House of Representatives; The U.S. Senate

    WHAT
    H.R. 7060, The Renewable Energy and Job creation Tax Act of 2008

    This GE study proved the wind tax credits, like other New Energy incentives, create revenues in the long run. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Passed in the House September 25.
    - Taken up by the Senate ???
    - December 31: The House must approve the measure before the existing ITC expires on the last day of the year.
    - Congress was expected to adjourn for the election September 26 but the financial crisis leaves that in doubt.

    WHERE
    In limbo.

    WHY
    - Research from Navigant Consulting shows the 8-year tax credit extension means 440,000 new solar industry jobs and a doubling of new solar capacity to ~630 megawatts in 2009.
    - H.R. 7060:
    (1) extends the production tax credit (PTC) for wind 1 year,
    (2) extends the PTC for biomass, hydrokinetic and geothermal energies 2 years,
    (3) extends the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar systems and small wind turbines 8 years,
    (4) has an 8-year extension on energy efficiency building improvement tax credits,
    (5) has tax benefits for buying electric vehicles (EVs), has tax benefits for producing cellulosic ethanol and advanced biodiesel,
    (6) includes many of the same benefits (to veterans, teachers, Native Americans, hurricane victims, etc.) that were in the package passed by the Senate September 23,
    (7) includes tax credits for “clean” coal development,
    (8) extends major R&D tax credits,
    (9) excludes tax credits to oil shale producers and coal-to-liquid producers,
    (10) removes the controversial tax credit to New York City to help redevelop the World Trade Center zone.
    - H.R. 7060 pay-fors:
    (1) freezes an oil industry deduction on earnings (raising $4.9 billion over 10 years),
    (2) changes the way stock sales are accounted for (raising $6.7 billion/10 years),
    (3) extends existing taxes on unemployment income and the oil spill liability fund ($3.2 billion/10 years),
    (4) redefines foreign oil earnings and expenses ($2.2 billion/10 years),
    (5) postpones a cut in taxes on foreign interest earnings ($18.6 billion/10 years),
    (6) closes a loophole on deferred compensation from tax haven corporations ($24.8 billion/10 years).

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on what passage means: "You're going to see national markets open up for residential solar…"
    - Lyndon Rive, CEO, SolarCity: "Without [the ITC], we're not going to have scale that brings solar to grid parity, and investors aren't going to be interested…"
    - Charles Rangel (D-NY), chairman, House Ways and Means Committee: “We can wrap this up today if they don’t insist it’s their way or the highway…They should not miss this opportunity to pass this bill so we can make law and provide this tax relief to families and businesses.”
    - Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Speaker, House of Representatives: “I’m optimistic we can come to an agreement. These extenders have to pass.”
    - Harry Reid (D-Nev), Majority Leader, Senate: “It would be a terrible shame to the American people that a small group of members of the House or Representatives would hold up this extremely important package…”

    COAL COUNTRY, NATION AGREE – NEW WIND, NEW SUN & NO NEW COAL

    From the heart of coal country, comes news of a cry for New Energy. A newly released poll shows 52% of West Virginians want the next President and Congress to achieve energy independence by relying on clean energy sources, rather than coal, oil and nuclear power plants. "…their number one [2009] energy-related priority for the nation [is] promoting energy sources such as wind or solar, more conservation of energy, and hybrid or other highly fuel-efficient cars…"

    Nationally, 59% hold this position.

    71% of West Virginians (73% nationally) want new coal plant construction stopped for 5 years if New Energy development is stepped up.

    90% of West Virginians (92% nationally) see solar energy as a power source of “tomorrow.” 86% of West Virginians (88% nationally) see wind as a power source of “tomorrow.” 64% of West Virginians (67% nationally) see oil as a power source of “yesterday.”

    Graham Hueber, Senior Researcher, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC): "What we see in our survey work is that national and state-level attitudes about energy and climate action vary relatively little, even when you drill down into views of the coal state of West Virginia. In fact, in some respects, the residents of West Virginia are even more inclined than other Americans to look beyond coal and other carbon-based fuels to renewable energy sources."

    58% of West Virginians (52% nationally) want subsidies/tax breaks/incentives for wind and solar power equal to those for coal-fired and nuclear power plants. 22% of West Virginians (30% nationally) go even farther and want government to "shift all or most [subsidies/tax breaks/incentives] from nuclear power and coal-fired power plants to energy sources such as wind and solar."

    45% of West Virginians (40% nationally) have “a small degree of confidence" that political leaders will act. 26% of West Virginians (27% nationally) have "no confidence" they will act.

    Pam Solo, President/Founder CSI: "West Virginia residents and other Americans deserve credit for understanding that more investment by the state and federal governments in coal and nuclear power is essentially the same thing as investing in subprime mortgages. If U.S. taxpayers are going to directly or indirectly underwrite energy development and energy-intensive industries - such as the auto industry - we need to insist that state officials in Charleston and the next Congress and President make good, solid investments that make sense for the long-term of our country. The only energy investments that rise above the 'subprime' level today are wind, solar and other clean renewable energy in concert with enhanced energy efficiency."

    87% of West Virginians (91% nationally) believe reliance on fossil fuels is the product of the 19th-and-early-20th-century industrial revolution and it is time to phase them out in favor of New Energy.

    84% of West Virginians (78% nationally) think it is necessary to “take timely and decisive steps” to deal with global climate change by building New Energy, believe it will require “tough choices” but agree we “…cannot afford to postpone decisions since there are no perfect options."

    Grant Smith, national project coordinator, CLEAN: "Investments in coal and nuclear power are the Countrywide Financial subprime mortgages of the energy world. What the public is saying in this survey is that we support government making investments in the energy sources of tomorrow, but we have to stop flushing money down the drain by propping up the failing energy sources of yesterday…After the current financial debacle on Wall Street, it is hard to imagine that Americans are going to allow more dumb investments by Charleston and Washington on the wrong energy sources."

    One last point, a warning to political leaders: 93% of West Virginians (91% nationally) consider candidates’ views on energy important in their voting decisions. 65% of West Virginians (58% nationally) consider the candidates’ views on energy "very important."


    click to enlarge

    W.V. Energy/Climate Survey: Most In State Do Not Favor More ‘Subprime’ Investments In Carbon-Based Fuels, Nuclear Power
    September 25, 2008 (PR Newswire/COMTEX via MarketWatch)

    WHO
    Opinion Research Corporation (ORC); Clean; Civil Society Institute (CSI); Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OHVEC)

    WHAT
    ORC’s Clean Energy Attitudes of Americans and Clean Energy and West Virginia reveal that public opinion nationally and in coal country favors moving away from coal and nuclear and toward the building of New Energy.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    The surveys were taken September 12 through 17.

    WHERE
    The surveys were made nationally and in West Virginia, the heart of coal country.

    WHY
    - 62% of West Virginians (50% Republicans, 69% Democrats, 68% Independents) oppose blasting the wind farm site at Coal River Mountain for mountaintop removal coal mining. (15% strongly support the action, 39% strongly oppose it.)
    - W.V. Governor Manchin favors the mountaintop removal mining of Coal River Mountain.
    - More than three out of five West Virginia residents prefer that tax breaks/incentives either (1) be divided "between renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and coal-to-liquid plants" (49%) or (2) go entirely to "support (for) renewable energy such as wind and solar" (27%). Only 23% want tax breaks/incentives solely for coal-to-liquid plants.
    - W.V. Governor Manchin is directing ~$200 million in state tax breaks/incentives to developers of a coal-to-liquids plant.
    - Only 38% of West Virginians (26% nationally) favor promoting more coal-fired power plants, oil from offshore drilling and nuclear power. Only 8% (10% nationally) think the U.S. needs no change from its present dependence on foreign energy sources.
    - Only 16% of West Virginians (10% nationally) would leave subsidies/tax breaks/incentives for nuclear power and coal-fired power the same.
    - 62% of West Virginians(63% nationally): "global warming is a problem and we have limited time to figure out the solutions to it."
    - 18% of West Virginians (18% nationally) see “a positive or neutral economic impact” from making changes to deal with global climate change.
    - 56% of West Virginians (67% nationally) pick New Energy over coal or nuclear. 4% of West Virginians (8% nationally) want nuclear and 18% of West Virginians (3% nationally) want coal.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Janet Keating, executive director, OHVEC: "It's great to know that the majority of West Virginians are in step with the rest of the nation when it comes to energy and climate issues. Now is the time for our state-level and national political leaders to begin the transition to a new energy future…"
    - Grant Smith, national project coordinator, CLEAN: "It makes no sense to be making 50-year investments in new coal-fired power plants. Energy efficiency and renewable technologies already have overtaken, in many instances, or will soon overtake, in other instances, coal-fired power in terms of direct cost and are far superior in terms of financial risk, economic benefit, and the ability to address global warming. There is no viable model under which new nuclear power plants can be constructed as anything other than multi-billion-dollar public works boondoggles…"

    *