QUICK NEWS, 7-29: NO-ENERGY BILL MAY GET NO-GO; WIND IN PAIN; EV BATTERY BREAKTHROUGH; THE STORAGE BILL
NO-ENERGY BILL MAY GET NO-GO
Senate Dems, GOP squabble may sink spill bill
Darren Goode, July 28, 2010 (The Hill)
"Senate Democrats and Republicans appear on a collision course that would sink chances of passing oil-spill and energy legislation amid disagreements over both substance and process…Democratic leaders…[foresee] the likely failure of the package and [blame] Republicans for obstructing it and other legislation."
[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev):] “…[The Senate Republican approach was] as if you were in Alice in Wonderland…Black was white, up was down, sideways was vertical…It’s just too bad that we can’t have cooperation to get something done ... on a bipartisan basis…This bill, I repeat, is bipartisan — it creates jobs, and lessens our dependence on foreign oil…A pretty good combination.”
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"Republican leaders [say] they cannot support the bill in its current form — mainly due to language retroactively removing a liability cap for oil-and-gas producers — and also want assurances they can offer amendments…Reid said he would discuss amendments if an initial vote limiting debate just to proceed to the bill receives the necessary 60 votes…
"But it does not seem likely that Reid would have enough support to start debate, given both Republican and some Democratic concerns over the liability cap issue…Since the spill and energy package is sandwiched in between consideration of small-business legislation and a debate over Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, there may only be one or two days available to debate the package…[and] Reid does not seem to have corralled all of his Democrats…"
The rumor is they just want these issues to campaign on in the fall. (click to enlarge)
"[Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)] and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are trying to find a compromise between the Democrats’ unlimited liability cap and the Republican idea of giving the president the authority to set liability limits based on 13 criteria, including a company’s safety record and the risk involved in an offshore drilling project.
"Landrieu and Begich have suggested an idea — modeled after federal nuclear energy regulations — that require all oil-and-gas producers to collectively share the liability responsibility for a spill."
WIND IN PAIN
AWEA Announces ‘Dismal’ Numbers for 1H 2010; The lack of support for a long-term mandate from Congress has brought the wind industry to the edge of a cliff.
Herman K. Trabish, July 28, 2010 (Greentech Media)
"The numbers are impressive -- but not in a good way. ‘It is dismal and getting worse,’ said American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode about the numbers in the just-released AWEA Mid-Year 2010 Market Report...
"It is now irrefutably obvious, according to Bode, that the failure of Congress to provide a long-term mandate for renewable energy is causing utilities across the country to choose natural gas and coal over wind…The 700 megawatts (MW) of new installed capacity in the second quarter brought the wind industry's 2010 total to 1,239 MW, a remarkable 71 percent below the 2009 number and 57% below the 2008 number."
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"The report comes just as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is poised to bring forward a starkly scaled back energy bill proposal for debate. The renewable energy industries and a broad coalition of supporters ranging from the United Steelworkers to the Union of Concerned Scientists are up in arms because Reid's legislation does not include a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) mandating that utilities obtain a portion of their power from renewable sources over the next ten years…[Bode said the] wind industry needs an RES to provide a long-term market signal to manufacturers and developers…
"…There are over 5,000 MW of new wind power capacity under construction right now…largely because Recovery Act funding…[but there is little] pipeline development behind that…[like the industry] is on a cliff…"
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"AWEA expects the total for 2010 to be 25 percent to 45 percent below 2009…[suggesting] an even worse 2011 if Congress does not act. Though Recovery Act provisions held the industry up in 2009, only longer-term policy supports will alter the current pattern of faltering new demand, disappearing new power purchase agreements (PPAs) from utilities, and dwindling plans for new manufacturing facilities.
"The pending Senate legislation…is not expected to contain an RES, despite the fact that both former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), now working as a consultant to AWEA, and Bode refute Reid's claim that there are not the filibuster-breaking 60 votes to pass it…[Bode also] challenged the speculation that the 60 votes backing an RES might conflict with obtaining 60 votes for the Reid bill…AWEA had no comment on the speculation that both parties are happy to keep the renewables…[as] a campaign issue in the upcoming November midterm elections."
EV BATTERY BREAKTHROUGH
Car Makers Eye Toshiba Tech Breakthrough; New Battery Charges to 90% of Capacity Within Five Minutes
July 28, 2010 (CBS News)
"…Toshiba’s Super-Charge Ion Batteries, which reportedly lose hardly any capacity after thousands of charges, could be coming to cars next year.
"…In 2007 Toshiba announced the creation of the SCiB, and unveiled the prototype the next year. It lasts 5,000 to 6,000 cycles as opposed to the 500 for standard lithium-ion batteries, and charges to 90 percent of capacity within five minutes. Earlier this month, the company announced it has been working with car maker Mitsubishi on electric vehicle batteries, and could be making SCiBs for cars staring next year."
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"…For EV applications Toshiba has developed a new anode material and a new electrolyte to improve safety and rapid recharging…[T]he long life will promote reduction in the waste that results from battery replacement, reducing the impact on the environment."
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"…[C]urrent batteries‘ limitations have held back electric car development. But [Toshiba] is far from the only one working up new ideas for Japan’s car makers…Panasonic Corp. supplies batteries for Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s top automaker, while NEC Corp. does it for Nissan Motor Co. Sanyo Electric Co., a Panasonic subsidiary, has deals with Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota.
"Presuming Toshiba succeeds in scaling up the SCiB, the company wants to use the idea not only in cars, but also in smaller vehicles like electric motorcycles and in large projects like storage on the power grid, another place where the lack of a worthy battery system has held back the development of renewable energy sources…"
THE STORAGE BILL
U.S. Senators Introduce Renewable-Energy-Storage Legislation
21 July 2010 (Renew Grid)
"U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeanne Shaheen, D.-N.H., have introduced legislation to offer tax credits for the creation of renewable-energy storage. The Storage Technology of Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2010 (STORAGE 2010) would offer up to $1.5 billion in tax credits to support grid-connected energy-storage projects.
"The act offers a tax credit for three categories of energy-storage facilities and will also provide tax credits to businesses and homeowners who install energy storage on their own properties to help serve their own energy needs or capture energy from on-site renewable-energy generation…[It] will provide a 20% tax credit of up to $30 million for storage systems connected to the electric grid…a 30% tax credit of up to $1 million to businesses and a 30% tax credit for homeowners for on-site storage projects…"
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[Senator Jeff Bingman (D-NM):] "The increased use of these cutting-edge storage technologies is essential to modernizing our electrical grid and to meeting our clean energy goals…Expanding our storage capacity will improve the efficiency, flexibility and reliability of our electric grid, allowing us to wring the most power out of it, while adding large amounts of new renewable energy resources like wind and solar."
"The legislation is a revision of S.1091, the  STORAGE ACT - a bill Wyden introduced in the last session of Congress."