Archive for February, 2012

Michael Butler: Growth of Solar Will Continue to Accelerate in 2012

Posted By mikec on February 22nd, 2012

Over at CleanEdge, the co-founder of Cascadia Capital, Michael Butler, has some interesting predictions for clean energy in 2012. The entire article is well worth reading, but here’s just one of his predictions we thought was worth highlighting:

As the cost curve of panels continues downward, we predict the growth of solar will continue to accelerate and reach price parity with traditional energy sources in certain geographic regions such as California and areas in the Southwestern United States. While many are weary of the solar market due to Solyndra’s failure, it’s important to keep in mind that the company did not fall victim to a weak solar market, but failed to prepare for a decline in panel pricing. While solar projects have bright futures, investors will still look for sound business models, technological innovation, and continued cost reduction. Policymakers must also provide the kind of regulatory stability that attracts investors and encourages these projects to develop. We believe the current situation is part of an industry maturation process, and that the category has significantly outperformed all expectations and will emerge stronger than ever.

Posted in solar energy
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What to make of new poll on global climate disruption?

Posted By mikec on February 22nd, 2012

An article at Huffington Post points out that, “If you follow the popular polls, you might think that Americans are growing ever more skeptical about man-made climate change — despite the consensus among published climate scientists.”  However, according to new research by Jon Krosnick of Stanford University, that’s simply not the case:

Gallup and Pew polls show that the percentage of Americans that believe in climate change now hovers around 50 percent, but Krosnick’s latest poll – which asked the question in a more detailed way — suggests the figure is 83 percent — up from 79 percent in 1997. Of the global warming believers, the majority also reported thinking that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities play a role. The trend held after the researchers broke the data down by political party: 66 percent of Republicans said climate change is happening.

Further, not a single U.S. state had a majority opinion on the skeptical side, noted Krosnick. Even in Oklahoma, the home of one of the country’s most outspoken skeptics, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a large majority of the people polled agreed with the scientific consensus.

So, if the vast majority of Americans agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, then why does it often seem the “message is not getting across to Washington,” as Krosnick puts it?  We suspect that the denial themes are driven by the dirty energy interests that are threatened by the obvious solutions to climate disruption. After all, these industries are no strangers to heavy spending on anti-clean energy propaganda. I don’t know where public opinion really falls on global climate disruption, but this latest poll is interesting, to say the least.

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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/22/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 22nd, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/22/12)

  1. Bloomberg reports, “Solar-power capacity in Ukraine is forecast to double this year, spurred by the completion of Europe’s biggest photovoltaic plant in December and incentives a third higher than anywhere else in the region.”
  2. Stephen Lacey of Climate Progress provides his “top three reasons why natural gas won’t be the death of renewables.”
  3. According to Politico, “Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers still aren’t giving up on extending the wind production tax credit, which expires at the end of the year.”
  4. CBS News reports, “Apple plans to build to America’s largest privately owned solar facility…Improvements to the massive data center in Maiden, N.C., which was commissioned by Apple in 2011, will include the 100 acre solar farm, green building design and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.”
  5. Per The Guardian: Environmentalist, “energy expert and physicist” Amory Lovins says that “fossil fuels are the new whale oil,” and describes “his vision of how the world can attain a green energy future by 2050.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/21/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 21st, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/21/12)

  1. According to DeSmogBlog, “Climate scientist Peter Gleick has acknowledged that he was the person who convinced the Heartland Institute to hand over the contents of its January Board package, authenticating the documents beyond a doubt and further exposing the disinformation campaign Heartland has pursued in the last week, trying to discredit the information.”
  2. Bryan Walsh argues at Time Magazine’s Ecocentric blog: “it’s not the price of gas the President should focus on — it’s the effect high gas prices can have on the economy. A more energy-efficient economy — from gas mileage on up — is naturally more resilient to high energy prices.”
  3. The Washington Post reports, “The coalition that has come together in Maryland to back wind power includes more than Sierra Club types. Churches, labor unions and groups of doctors and nurses have joined the push to bring wind farms to the waters off the state’s coast.
  4. At Climate Progress, several analysts from the Center for American Progress recommend that America “[t]ap the geyser of oil company earnings by imposing a tax on imported oil and ending antiquated federal subsidies for oil companies,” that doing so “will pay for an environmentally and fiscally sound plan to upgrade our crumbling transportation, water, and energy infrastructure.”
  5. Huffington Post reports, “As millions of pounds of explosives from mountaintop removal strip mining operations continue to devastate historic mountain communities in central Appalachia, a powerful new music video released this week by the beloved American Roots band Magnolia Mountain captures the haunting grief and stories of stricken families in America’s cradle of roots and country music.”
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Bjorn Lomborg Remains Silent About Wasteful Fossil Fuel Welfare

Posted By mikec on February 19th, 2012

Here’s Bjorn Lomborg, apparently trying to curry the favor of fossil fuel funders with another piece that talks down clean energy and that wholly ignores the staggeringly large dirty energy welfare.

This is not the first time that Lomborg, a discredited “skeptic” around global climate disruption, has plunged into the world of clean energy policy. See what he had to say last April, for instance.  But what you can be certain of is that Lomborg has, and will remain, silent about the incredibly wasteful fossil fuel welfare programs in Europe and the U.S.. The IEA Executive Director has called these programs “a significant economic liability.”

How ironic that Lomborg has chosen yet again to run down clean energy programs, just as  pro-dirty energy politicians in the U.S. Congress aggressively blocked a common-sense extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), triggering the start of a potential 75,000-person round of layoffs.  Too bad it’s Lomborg who won’t be among those losing their jobs.
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