MORE NEWS, 4-28 (HOUSE CLIMATE BILL TO HAVE FREE ALLOWANCES; TEXAS WILL SPEND FOR SUN; HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCIES)
HOUSE CLIMATE BILL TO HAVE FREE ALLOWANCES
U.S. House climate bill to include free carbon permits
Ayesha Rascoe (w/Christian Wiessner), 23 April 2009 (Reuters)
"A U.S. House of Representatives bill aimed at fighting global warming will allow some polluters access to free permits to emit greenhouse gas emissions in its cap-and-trade system, Democratic Representative Edward Markey said…
"Markey and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman unveiled climate-change legislation last month that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and require companies to acquire permits to emit carbon dioxide."
They called it a "discussion draft" because they intend to negotiate. (click to enlarge)
"U.S. President Barack Obama has supported auctioning all carbon permits, essentially making big polluters such as coal-powered power plants pay heavily for their emissions. The White House has indicated flexibility on this point, however.
"Markey said backers of the bill are talking with all members of the Energy and Commerce Committee on how to structure the carbon allowances…[I]nfluential committee member Democrat Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia is planning to unveil a proposal that would give 40 percent of carbon allowances to utilities and 20 percent to industrial companies and refineries…"
They've long known the debate would hinge on the percent of credits auctioned. (click to enlarge)
"The issue of how carbon permits are distributed will be key to the success or failure of the bill…Republicans have been strongly opposed to the measure…Democrats from heavy industrial states have voiced concerns about placing too much burden on companies by forcing them to buy permits…Representative Jay Inslee said lawmakers are working to find consensus…Obama's climate change plan would use the revenue from the sale of carbon permits for investments in clean energy technology and to offset higher energy costs for consumers through tax breaks."
"…Democratic leaders want [the bill] approved by the panel by Memorial Day, with a full chamber vote later this year…U.S. utilities…urged lawmakers… to provide power companies with free permits to emit greenhouse gases, at least initially….[T]he Edison Electric Institute…supports a gradual transition to a full auction system, with utilities being allocated 40 percent of all allowances annually until technology that can trap and store carbon emissions from coal power plants is commercially viable…"
TEXAS WILL SPEND FOR SUN
Texas Senate passes $500M solar incentive bill
Jim Vertuno, April 22, 2009 (AP via Forbes)
"Texas would develop a $500 million solar energy rebate program to help make it easier for homeowners and businesses to tap into the power of the sun under a bill passed in the Senate.
"Environmentalists hailed the 26-4 vote…[B]y getting more Texans use solar power, consumers can reduce dependence on foreign oil, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Troy Fraser, a Horseshoe Bay Republican."
Time to develop this asset. (click to enlarge)
"The fund would be paid for with fees built into monthly electric bills. Homeowners would pay 20 cents, commercial users $2 and industrial users $20 a month.
"It's a small price to pay for a program that could let Texans recoup thousands of dollars through rebates, federal tax incentives and lower energy bills, said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas."
click to enlarge
"The bill also requires developers to offer solar as a standard option in developments with 50 or more homes, creates a loan program for schools and prohibits neighborhood associations from banning homeowners from installing solar projects.
"Although solar is becoming more mainstream as an energy source, the cost of installation can be too much for homeowners or businesses without rebates and tax incentives…Fraser's bill is designed to collect up to $100 million annually over five years. It would pay rebates of up to 30 percent of the cost of installing solar technology. The federal government also allows tax credits of up to 30 percent."
HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCIES
Help in finding energy savings around house
Bill Lahay, April 26, 2009 (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"These days, the consensus on climate change suggests that, contrary to the old saying, we're all doing something about the weather…For homeowners, the indictment is even harsher. The potential environmental damage from most vehicles pales in comparison with the energy and resources consumed by the typical American house.
"To keep us and our belongings dry, well-lighted, and within the fairly narrow temperature range required for comfort, our houses consume fossil fuels and emit pollutants virtually around the clock, and are otherwise hard on the environment…"
click to enlarge
"…Two renewable-energy experts, Dave Bonta and Stephen Snyder, have summed up a host of practical strategies in their book, New Green Home Solutions: Renewable Household Energy and Sustainable Living (Gibbs Smith Publishers, $24.99).
"The authors specialize in solar-energy systems, but their approach here is deliberately broader, expanded to include approaches ranging from simple conservation measures to wind-turbine generators and entire new home designs…"
The ultimate authority. (click to enlarge)
"…Common inefficiencies allow corrective measures that can reduce energy consumption of the typical home by as much as 60 percent, largely without circumscribing the comforts and convenience of modern life…Drafty doors and windows, insufficient insulation, old appliances, and our own bad habits are all targets…Together, these factors increase the biggest energy loads in our homes - lighting, heating and cooling space, and heating water. Some common-sense suggestions include installing window-wrap kits and weather-stripping, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, and arranging for your local utility company to perform an energy audit to pinpoint the biggest energy losses…
"…[O]ther details are not so self-evident. Roof-mounted solar sky tubes…low-emissivity glass…south-facing windows…Extended roof overhangs and strategic landscaping and tree placement…Not every solution is right for every home or homeowner, but the a la carte approach lets you look at individual options to find a good mix."