QUICK NEWS, 7-28: PRESENTING THE NO-ENERGY BILL; CALIF MEGA-WIND LIVES AT LAST; SCE SITES MORE SOLAR ROOFS IN SOCAL; OIL’S PROPOSITION
PRESENTING THE NO-ENERGY BILL
Reid unveils pared-down energy and oil bill
Frederic J. Frommer (w/Ken Thomas), July 27, 2010 (AP)
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled a draft of energy and oil spill legislation…a far less sweeping bill than the cap on carbon emissions he had hoped for…[because] he didn't have the votes to pass it.
"The new bill would require oil companies to pay higher fees into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and would eliminate the $75 million cap on economic liability from an oil spill. It calls for spending $5 billion for the Home Star program, which would provide rebates to consumers to encourage energy efficiency upgrades. It also would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund."
No amount of liability insurance can cover these costs. (click to enlarge)
"The American Petroleum Institute assailed the elimination of the cap on economic liability…[claiming high liability costs] would force American companies out of U.S. waters…
"On vehicles, the measure has portions of an electric vehicle bill introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., including $400 million to encourage the deployment of electric cars in certain cities and a competition run by the federal government to develop a battery that will power a car for 500 miles on a single charge. The bill also encourages federal agencies to buy electric drive vehicles for their fleets and offers incentives to retrofit heavy-duty vehicles for natural gas."
How can there not be 60 votes for something with polling numbers like these? (click to enlarge)
"The bill does not include a renewable electricity standard, despite a last-minute push by some senators, businesses and clean energy advocates. Such a standard would require utilities to produce a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources…[Reid said] supporters' contention that there were the necessary 60 votes for the renewable electricity standard [was wrong]…
"On oil, the bill would speed up claims processes for people harmed by spills and would overhaul government regulation of offshore drilling to prevent conflicts of interest...Reid plans to introduce the bill on Wednesday and bring it to the floor later this week, with an eye on a vote next week…"
CALIF MEGA-WIND LIVES AT LAST
Wind farm 'mega-project' underway in Mojave Desert; The Alta Wind Energy Center — with plans for thousands of acres of turbines to generate electricity for 600,000 Southern California homes — officially breaks ground…
Tifffany Hsu, July 27, 2010 (LA Times)
"It's being called the largest wind power project in the country, with plans for thousands of acres of towering turbines in the Mojave Desert foothills generating electricity for 600,000 homes in Southern California…
"The multibillion-dollar Alta Wind Energy Center has had a tortured history, stretching across nearly a decade of ownership changes, opposition from local residents and transmission infrastructure delays…[and] is officially breaking ground in the Tehachapi Pass, a burgeoning hot spot for wind energy about 75 miles north of Los Angeles. When completed, Alta could produce three times as much energy as the country's largest existing wind farm…"
Tehachapi wind (photo by NewEnergyNews - click to enlarge)
"The project will probably be a wind power bellwether, affecting the way renewable energy deals are financed, the development of new electricity storage systems and how governments regulate the industry…The project's developer, New York-based Terra-Gen Power, plans to coax three gigawatts of power from the wind farm over the next eight years. It has led some industry experts to predict that California might have a shot at reclaiming the wind energy crown from competitors such as Texas and Iowa…
"Southern California Edison agreed in 2006 to buy 1,550 megawatts of electricity from Alta over 25 years, one of the heftiest power purchase agreements ever signed. That would be enough energy to serve 275,000 homes and is twice the capacity of the country's largest existing wind farm, a 735-megawatt project in Texas…Terra-Gen is building Alta as a collection of wind farms; it has finished funding and started building the first group of five…290 turbines will be scattered across 9,000 acres, most of which are leased from private landowners."
Transmission is the key to growth. (photo by NewEnergyNews - click to enlarge)
"As early as next year…the turbines could start producing enough power to boost California's wind energy output more than 25% while creating thousands of local jobs…By 2015, another batch of farms, with roughly 300 turbines…is expected to be producing an additional 830 megawatts…[Initially conceived] in the early 2000s…[permitting] took about three years…
"Edison has been making headway on its Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, connecting alternative-energy projects such as Alta to electricity-hungry city centers. The utility is trying to meet a statewide goal for investor-owned utilities to use renewable energy for 33% of all power supplied to customers by 2020…Previously tight-fisted investors also are more confident about financing renewable energy projects. Terra-Gen recently secured $1.2 billion in funding for the Alta project…the Alta project seems to be on track…"
SCE SITES MORE SOLAR ROOFS IN SOCAL
Southern California Edison Awards 36 Contracts for Utility-Scale Solar Rooftop Project
July 27, 2010 (Southern California Edison)
"Southern California Edison (SCE) awarded 36 contracts to independent power producers for a total of nearly 60 megawatts from photovoltaic solar panels that will produce emission-free energy for SCE customers. The panels will be installed on 31 unused rooftops and five ground-mount sites in SCE’s service territory.
"…[SCE’s] solar rooftop project…calls for a total of 500 megawatts of solar generating capacity, most of it on otherwise unused large warehouse rooftops. Half of the 500 megawatts will be from independent power producers who respond to SCE’s request for offers under competitive solicitations; the remaining 250 megawatts will be owned and operated by SCE. It is expected that this project will create about 1,200 jobs for Southern Californians… The [36 new ] contracts… are the first executed under the competitive solicitations for independent power producers…"
Installing rooftop solar (photo from SCE - click to enlarge)
"SCE believes that its solar rooftop project will be a boon for the solar industry and consumers alike, with the resulting cost per unit significantly more cost effective than more common residential photovoltaic installations…[T]his could help drive down installation costs…When complete, the solar panels will cover an area totaling 4 square miles…The total power production will rival a utility-scale power plant, enough electricity to serve 325,000 average homes…SCE has already installed panels on three rooftop warehouses in California’s Inland Empire that are delivering – or are in line to deliver – electricity to the grid."
Installing rooftop solar (photo from SCE - click to enlarge)
"SCE is the nation’s leading utility for renewable energy. In 2009, SCE delivered 13.6 billion kilowatt hours of renewable power to its customers, about 17 percent of its total power portfolio."
[Marc Ulrich, Renewable and Alternative Power vice president, SCE:] “These contracts make significant strides toward distributed renewable generation for one of the most innovative solar programs in the country…We’re working to help California meet its Million Solar Roofs goal and supply even more renewable energy to our customers where and when it’s most needed, without the added time and expense to construct major new transmission facilities.”
Report: California's Prop 23 Would Jeopardize Cleantech Sector
26 July 2010 (Renew Grid)
"Investment and business leaders have warned that passage of California's Proposition 23 (Prop 23) this November would jeopardize a half-million cleantech jobs, 12,000 companies and billions of dollars of private investment in California. Moreover, it would signal an end to the state's global leadership in clean technology as nations in Asia and Europe surge ahead."
"The report - Going Backward - issued by the Clean Economy Network (CEN), says Prop 23 would suspend efforts to increase electricity produced from renewable sources, stifle energy-efficiency standards for homes and office buildings, and prevent cleaner tailpipe emissions. More than 250 businesses and organizations across the state have signed up to oppose Prop 23, which seeks to overturn Assembly Bill 32, a law passed in 2006 that triggered an explosion of cleantech investment and entrepreneurship by requiring a transition from polluting sources of energy to clean ones."
From NRDCflix via YouTube
[Jeff Anderson, executive director, CEN:] “Prop 23 should be viewed for what it is: a mechanism for regulatory and investment uncertainty that only benefits its backers - big out-of-state oil companies Valero and Tesoro - while putting the economic health of the rest of California at risk…Sending jobs and investment overseas is a no-win proposition for all Americans and must be defeated.”
"According to the report, private equity and venture capital investors are already feeling skittish with the uncertainty created by Prop 23, fearing that much-needed stable policies and clear market signals… would disappear. Consumers in California are also put at risk, because it would increase healthcare costs due to continued air pollution, as well as raise electricity bills by up to 33% over the next decade…[Prop 23 also] has the potential to cause a rollback of energy and climate policies in other states…"