MORE NEWS, 9-29: CHINA TO TEST CAP™ SCIENTISTS LIKE MINN CLIMATE PLAN; NEW ENGLAND HAS WIND RICHES; SUN ON THE ROOF
CHINA TO TEST CAP&TRADE
China sees emission trading pilot in next economic plan
Emma Graham-Harrison, September 28, 2009 (Reuters)
"China plans to include a pilot emissions trading system in its five-year plan for economic development until 2015…[though it is not yet clear] whether it would cover carbon dioxide.
"The government is already experimenting with small-scale schemes to tackle acid-rain causing sulfur dioxide and other pollutants using market mechanisms…[and has not stated] the potential for expanding these, or adding greenhouse gases to the list of pollutants that can be controlled and traded, but is apparently keen to at least continue exploring their potential."
China will soon be on the Big Board of emissions trading. (click to enlarge)
"A trial system for trading in permits to pollute was listed as one of four main emissions reductions goals in official comments about a blueprint for growth in China from 2011 to 2015, which bureaucrats are still thrashing out…The country's top climate change official, Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, declined to clarify how large the trial would be, or whether it would cover greenhouse gases.
"China is now the world's top annual emitter, and President Hu Jintao pledged at the United Nations to take on a "carbon intensity" goal that would oblige it to cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each dollar of its economic output…[C]arbon traders hope this could pave the way for a market like the one currently used in Europe, and have been rushing to secure a potentially lucrative foothold in China even though it is unclear how easy it will be to make money there."
China is risking these price advantages to cut back its fossil fuel dependence and incentivize New Energy. (click to enlarge)
"The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), owned by UK-based Climate Exchange Plc, has signed a deal to set up a Chinese emissions exchange, but has declined to say how much it will invest or when trading might start.
"French emissions exchange BlueNext has taken steps toward a carbon trading platform in China, joining with the China-Beijing Environment Exchange to offer clients a database of Chinese carbon-cutting projects and a carbon market standard."
SCIENTISTS LIKE MINN CLIMATE PLAN
Report touts Minnesota's energy policy as model for nation
Larry Bivins, September 27, 2009 (St. Cloud Times)
"A report that paints a dramatic picture of climate change impact in the Upper Midwest also applauds Minnesota for its renewable energy policy.
["Confronting Climate Change in the Midwest-Minnesota] by the Union of Concerned Scientists…says the record heat of the summer of 1988 could become the norm if Minnesota emissions causing global warming are not curbed…[and] cites Minnesota’s requirement that 25 percent of electricity come from renewable resources by 2025 as a model for Washington lawmakers to follow…"
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"The House in June passed a bill that calls for a cap-and-trade program, a renewable-electricity standard and greater energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions — the primary pollutants warming the Earth. The debate now shifts to the Senate.
"Skeptics of climate change science say what’s happening is more an evolutionary phenomenon than a result of emissions from burning fossil fuels…[They] doubt that the long-term impact will be as serious as predicted…Opponents of the House bill — including Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who voted against it — cite that skepticism as reason to reject the proposed legislation."
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"They and others also contend that a cap-and-trade system would cause job losses and higher fuel costs for consumers, while having a negligible impact on climate change.
Supporters counter that the costs of doing nothing are far greater…Kevin Reuther, legal director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy…said that while the new UCS report confirms what policymakers have heard for years, state and federal leaders have failed to respond with due attention…Reuther said the House bill was a good start…
"The Midwest study looks at eight states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin…The combined emissions of those states are double the output in the United Kingdom and would make the Midwest the world’s fourth-largest polluter if it were a nation…"
NEW ENGLAND HAS WIND RICHES
Windpower A Key Source Of Energy In New England, Report Says
Harlan Lev, September 27, 2009 (Hartford Business Journal)
"Windpower can be a significant resource for electricity for Connecticut and the rest of New England, according to a blueprint for developing renewable resources adopted by New England’s six governors and premiers from Eastern Canada at their annual meeting…Windpower is the area’s major renewable resource, a months-long study that is the basis for the blueprint says.
"The study, by a team of engineers and economists from ISO New England, the region’s electricity grid coordinator, analyzed more than 40 scenarios to integrate primarily large-scale wind resources onshore and offshore into the grid by 2030."
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"[Key findings:] …Offshore wind resource integration offers the most cost-effective use of new and existing transmission. The study considered and tested wind resource integration scenarios from 2,000 to 12,000 megawatts…[into New England’s] 31,400 megawatts of electricity…New transmission investment would be required to integrate wind resources…"
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"[Further key findings:] …Annual wholesale electricity prices would be generally lower with the addition of renewable wind resources and demand response resources (paying businesses for conservation, voluntary energy cutbacks, and off-peak energy use) because they have low or no fuel costs…Lower levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon dioxide result when low-carbon-emitting-resources are used or when older fossil-fueled generators are either retired and replaced by new, natural gas combined-cycle units or repowered with more efficient combustion technologies incorporating new natural-gas fired technology with portions of the existing unit’s infrastructure.
"The study also considered resources such as plug-in electric vehicles, expanded imports, and energy storage…[It] advocates that the states synchronize power procurement and long-term power contract activities and coordinate reviews of proposed interstate transmission facilities needed to reach renewable resources distant from population centers…"
SUN ON THE ROOF
Solar Power, Without All Those Panels
Annie Eisenberg, September 26, 2009 (NY Times)
"The main way for homes to harness solar power today is through bulky panels added to the rooftop or mounted on the ground…But companies are now offering alternatives to these fixed installations, in the less conspicuous form of shingles, tiles and other building materials that have photovoltaic cells sealed within them…
"…[C]alled building-integrated photovoltaics…Companies are creating solar tiles and shingles in colors and shapes that fit in, for example, with the terra cotta tile roofing popular in the Southwest, or with the gray shingles of coastal saltbox cottages."
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"SRS Energy…is making curved solar roofing tiles designed to blend in with Southern California’s traditional clay tiles…A solar tile system that met half the power needs of a typical California home would cost roughly $20,000 to install after rebates…about 10 to 20 percent more than solar panels… U.S. Tile…a maker of clay tiles, will be selling SRS’s Solé Power Tiles …It will be taking orders perhaps as early as November for shipment in January… SRS Energy buys the photovoltaic cells that cover its roofing from United Solar Ovonic, a maker of flexible solar modules…[and] bonds the silicon cells to the curved Solé tiles, which are made of the same basic material as car bumpers…
"The cells have been installed at several demonstration sites…Rather than creating an entire new roof with the solar tiles, [one homeowner]…chose to insert them in his existing roof, replacing about 300 square feet of terra cotta tiles; the job took about four hours…The solar insert in the roof will generate about 2,400 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to cover a quarter to a third of a typical electric bill…"
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"A different solar material for the roofs and sides of buildings is being produced by Global Solar Energy…Atomized layers of a photovoltaic coating called CIGS are deposited in layers on a thin sheet…Crystalline photovoltaic cells, the same type as in fixed panel installations, are used within the ceramic tiles available from, among others, the Italian company System Photonics. The cells are held in place and sealed from moisture by a clear plastic protective layer made by DuPont…The tiles come in 13 colors…[B]uilt-in solar power [is] just starting in the United States, where the bulk of the installations [are] still experimental. But that will change…[T]he market for the building-integrated products [is] promising…[but depends] on when the construction and real estate markets…recover. The best time to install the photovoltaics in terms of cost and design is during building construction…
"…[G]overnment subsidies [could] speed adoption of building-integrated photovoltaics in the United States, as they already have in Europe…In France, Germany and other countries, building-integrated solar markets are growing quickly because of subsidies and programs that pay homeowners for the electricity they generate and feed back to the power grid…[T]he incentives help homeowners in repaying the systems’ costs in five to seven years…[Experts believe aesthetics also] will be crucial to the popularity of building-integrated solar cells…"