NewEnergyNews: MORE NEWS, 11-30: CAP&TRADE SIMPLIFIED; MICHIGAN LOCALS GET READY FOR WIND; EVER MORE AFFORDABLE SUN; INSURERS FRET OVER CLIMATE CHANGE

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

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YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Crisis Is The World’s Biggest Worry – Survey
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Record New Energy Global Growth In 2020
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY, April 7:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Search For A Successor Solar Policy
  • TTTA Wednesday-Local Governments Still Driving New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Monday Study: PG&E’s Plans To Mitigate Wildfires
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Denial Goes Oh So Wrong
  • Weekend Video: Solar On Schools Can Pay For Teachers
  • Weekend Video: DOE Secretary of the Solutions Department Jennifer Granholm
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-‘Gotta Have Hope’ To Beat The Climate Crisis
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Prices Win China’s Energy Market
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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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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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, SApril 10-11:
  • New Energy Means New Jobs
  • Better Communication About The Climate Crisis
  • VW Affirms Driving Is Ready To Go Electric

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    MORE NEWS, 11-30: CAP&TRADE SIMPLIFIED; MICHIGAN LOCALS GET READY FOR WIND; EVER MORE AFFORDABLE SUN; INSURERS FRET OVER CLIMATE CHANGE

    CAP&TRADE SIMPLIFIED
    FACTBOX-How emissions trading works
    David Fogarty (w/Gerard Wynn and Sanjeev Miglani) November 24, 2009 (Reuters via Forbes)

    "…Following are some facts on carbon trading…

    "WHAT IS THE AIM?…Carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels or through deforestation, is the main greenhouse gas that scientists say is heating up the atmosphere, causing seas to rise and greater extremes of weather…Putting a price on every tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by industry and transport or saved from being emitted by being more efficient or locking away carbon by growing trees provides a cash incentive to curb carbon pollution."


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    "HOW DOES IT WORK?…Carbon markets allow polluters to buy rights to emit CO2 and are often seen as more politically acceptable than carbon taxes…[A] cap is created by making it illegal to emit greenhouse gases, such as CO2, above a certain level…A government issues a limited quantity of emission permits for polluting companies or operations. At the end of each year, firms will be required to surrender permits equivalent to their emissions.

    "If companies exceed their limit they can buy allowances from other polluters which stay under their cap or from a government auction…Over time the cap is toughened and the amount of permits also decreases, pushing up the carbon permit price and forcing companies to become more efficient and invest in cleaner technology…Under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, 37 industrialised nations face greenhouse gas limits, creating a multi-billion dollar market in offsets from clean-energy projects in developing countries."


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    "WHAT'S THE POTENTIAL FOR THIS MARKET? …[T]he global carbon market could be worth $2 trillion by 2020, from $125 billion last year…Europe's [Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)] is the largest and the only domestic cap-and-trade system operating. The separate…[Kyoto Protocol/UN system] called the Clean Development Mechanism is worth about $6.5 billion.

    "The [ETS]…launched 2005, is mandatory for all 27 member states and covers nearly half of all EU carbon emissions…The target is to cut emissions 21 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Member states allocate a quota of carbon emissions allowances to 11,000 industrial installations…[M]ost permits [are] free now but many electricity generators will have to pay for all these from 2013…Companies can buy carbon offsets from developing countries if that works out cheaper than cutting their own emissions…"



    MICHIGAN LOCALS GET READY FOR WIND
    Study says large wind turbines to be local decision
    Dave Alexander, November 29, 2009 (Muskegon Chronicle)

    "…[H]ow “big” wind will become in Michigan’s energy future is still an unknown…Whichever way the industry turns, it will be up to local governments to decide where and how the big turbine towers will be built…

    "A group of Grand Valley State University researchers has begun a wind energy study on the potentials and pitfalls of renewable power production in a four-county West Michigan shoreline region. The three-year study comes on the heels of a state mandate that 10 percent of Michigan’s electrical generation must come from renewable sources by 2015."


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    [from Regional Response to a Statewide Renewable Energy Standard; Status and Trends of Wind Energy Development in West Michigan, the Grand Valley State University first report:] “The demand for renewable energy, and wind energy in particular, is growing rapidly…The challenge will be to supply the quantity of renewable energy needed to meet this demand in a manner that is economically, socially and environmentally appropriate…Though state government issued the renewable energy mandate, managing the deployment of wind energy facilities is left to local governments…While one wind turbine might be viewed as a curiosity, the deployment of thousands of wind energy facilities required to meet various renewable energy targets will bring changes to the nation’s landscapes, communities and economies…”

    "Many township governments in the four counties — Muskegon, Oceana, Ottawa and Allegan — have responded with ordinances regulating utility-scale wind turbines. Thirty-seven of the 73 townships in the four counties have wind tower ordinances…"

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    "GVSU researcher Erik Nordman — head of the Natural Resources Management program and chief wind study investigator — said public reaction to plans…are key to the technology’s future in West Michigan…

    "As GVSU researchers continue to work on their wind study, public opinion will begin to be collected. The study team will have workshops and public meetings throughout the region next summer…and will establish social networking outreaches through Facebook and Twitter…The next report is scheduled to be released in November 2010 and final reports in February and May 2011."



    EVER MORE AFFORDABLE SUN
    A Competitive Boost For Solar Energy; With expanded production bringing down panel prices, a green energy outfitter claims price parity with grid power is near.
    Christopher Helman, November 25, 2009 (Forbes)

    "The dream of every green energy acolyte is that there will come a time when it is no stranger for homes to have solar panels than to have air conditioning units…John Berger, chief executive of Standard Renewable Energy, thinks that in the next decade the U.S. could get well down the road to making that a reality

    "Houston-based Standard Renewable got 75% of its $35 million in revenue this year from installing solar systems. Just 10 months ago it was buying solar panels from the likes of Kyocera, BP, SunPower and First Solar for $4 per watt. Today, prices have plunged to $1.90 a watt."


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    "It's not for lack of demand. What's brought prices down is a surge in worldwide manufacturing capacity. New plants have opened across China. Factories are even coming to the U.S…[S]olar power is starting to look affordable and even competitive with grid power…Berger says Standard has installed residential solar systems for as little as $4 per watt. [Berger has expanded Standard…Revenues have tripled in the past year and profitability is in sight…He's hired 130 new employees since July…bringing his total staff to 330…[and] Berger says now's the time to buy solar, as many state and local rebates will run out over the next year or so…]

    "…[F]or 31 metropolitan areas, factoring in average sunshine and cloud cover, applying the federal government's 30% investment tax credit…assuming that a homeowner can finance a system at the going mortgage rate of around 5%…[and amortized] over 20 years, the effective rate that a homeowner would pay for [solar] electricity in the New York metro area is 12.7 cents per kilowatt/hour. In Dallas it's 11 cents/kwh, and in Las Vegas, just 9.3 cents…The nationwide average residential electricity price is 12.05 cents…"


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    "Add in generous subsidies on municipal and state levels…and the cost goes even lower…And…All this new panel production online is squeezing margins of big players like First Solar, whose shares have fallen 40% since May. Berger thinks that panel makers' profit margins, now around 15%, will fade closer to 7% in the years to come--in line with the makers of other kinds of silicon-based chips…[S]olar would also be helped by any carbon emissions legislation that might pass Congress…Carbon cap-and-trade would inevitably add costs to power generated from coal and natural gas…

    "…[Solar] is a distributed source of power generation…No need to build new transmission lines…[But the] average home system that Standard Renewable installs is a 3.5 kw system that will produce, on average, 4,900 kwh of electricity a year, or less than a third of the average home's electricity usage. It'll cost roughly $14,000 installed…If your utility charges, say, 13 cents per kwh, the system will pay for itself in 22 years."



    INSURERS FRET OVER CLIMATE CHANGE
    Avoiding Catastrophic Costs of Climate Change Requires Fast-Action Strategies
    Alex Viets, November 23, 2009 (Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development)

    "…[Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector] by Dr. Tim Lenton and colleagues published…by the World Widelife Fund (WWF) and Allianz, a global financial service provider, puts a dollar value on the damages the world faces from passing fast-approaching tipping points for abrupt climate changes…The amounts are staggering:

    "…[1] A hurricane in the New York region: “Potentially the cost could be 1 trillion dollars at present, rising to over 5 trillion dollars by mid-century” …[2] Die-back of the Amazon: “Beyond ~2 °C the costs of committed die-back rise very rapidly and more than double to around $US 7,800 billion and $US 9,400 billion NPV [net present value] for 3 °C and 4 °C respectively…” …and [3] Changes in Asian monsoon patterns: “future costs (in today’s prices) might be expected to double from around $US 21 billion to $US 42 billion per decade in the first half of the century…other factors are likely to act to increase these costs and consequences in the same period.”


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    [Durwood Zaelke, President, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development:] “Putting a dollar value on the damages we’ll suffer provides strong motivation for fast-action mitigation to reduce the risk of passing these devastating tipping points…Fast-action mitigation may still save us from the worst of the abrupt climate impacts, but we’ve got to start immediately. This includes action in Copenhagen to phase down HFCs, which can provide a decade of delay in CO2 forcing by avoiding up to 200 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent.”

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    "Action on black carbon (soot) is another priority. This aerosol is responsible for up to 25% of total climate warming, and can provide cooling in days to weeks. Reducing other short-lived climate contributors such as methane and tropospheric, or ground-level, ozone is also important. Storing carbon in soil through biochar production is another key strategy and one of the only safe carbon-negative technologies available."

    [Zaelke:] “Cutting CO2 is essential to the long-term battle against climate change, but it won’t save us from the immediate threats of passing the tipping points for abrupt climate change – for that, we need the fast-action strategies for the 50% of warming that is not from CO2.”

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