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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/20/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on November 20th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (11/20/14).

  1. CNBC reports, “Energy and mining companies are ignoring the ‘existential threat’ from climate change and must change the way they operate, the former head of BP warns.”
  2. According to Wired, “Amazon’s cloud computing division—Amazon Web Services—said it has a ‘long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.’”
  3. Climate Progress reports, “Google, IKEA, And SunEdison Bought A Lot Of Wind Power This Week.”
  4. The Washington Post argues, “The Senate should revive a bipartisan energy efficiency bill.”
  5. Renewable Energy World reports, “SunEdison/TerraForm Power Buy First Wind For $2.4 Billion To Achieve Renewable Energy Dominance.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/19/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on November 19th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (11/19/14).

  1. Climate Progress reports, “The U.S. Senate has narrowly rejected a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial project that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States.”
  2. RenewEconomy explains “How Australian utilities will cope with solar and storage.”
  3. Greentech Media has “5 Slides That Show Why SunEdison Bought First Wind.”
  4. The Checks and Balances Project asks, “Is Virginia Tech’s Coal Center Director Evading Questions to Shield Donors?”
  5. Politico reports: “Never mind the cliffhanger defeat for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Even if the Senate had passed the bill Tuesday, hints are mounting that President Barack Obama has hardened his stance against the $8 billion project and would veto any legislation greenlighting it, whether it comes from the current Democratic Senate or next year’s Republican Senate.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/18/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on November 18th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (11/18/14).

  1. Greentech Media reports: “SunEdison and its YieldCo TerraForm just acquired wind developer First Wind for $2.4 billion. It means SunEdison is in the wind business and can now add wind projects to the solar project pipeline of its YieldCo, TerraForm. The purchase price was comprised of $1.9 billion in an upfront payment and a $510 million earn-out.”
  2. According to Renewable Energy World: “The new era in Congress may mean trouble for some old tax breaks. The wind energy tax credit, championed by environmentalists, Democrats, a few Republicans and companies including General Electric Co. and Siemens AG, may be imperiled as its most important backers in Congress lose clout.”
  3. The Washington Post reports, “The U.S. Forest Service has backed off a proposal to ban fracking in the George Washington National Forest, a move likely to upset conservationists who oppose the controversial drilling practice.”
  4. According to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, “Another reason to be outraged over Congress’ Keystone bill: It gives one company special treatment.”
  5. The New York Times reports: “In detailed proposals submitted in May and August, the public relations firm Edelman outlined a plan to investigate groups that had opposed Energy East, a pipeline in development by TransCanada. Edelman urged TransCanada to develop its own sympathetic supporters and spread any unflattering findings about the opposition.”
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Study Shows Clean Energy Creates Lots of Jobs; Fossil Fuel Industry Allies Hide It

Posted By Lowell F. on November 18th, 2014

Clearly, fossil fuel forces will go to great lengths to denigrate renewable energy. For instance, we’ve seen them hype false “scandals,” like Solyndra, which turned out to be untrue on every level.  We’ve also heard their repeated refrains about how clean energy supposedly requires heavy subsidies (in fact, fossil fuels receive many times the subsidies that clean energy get) to be competitive with fossil fuels, even as the costs of solar and wind plummet, to the point where they’re now cheaper than new coal or nuclear power plants.

In fact, according to a recent Deutsche Bank projection, solar power will reach “grid parity in 50 U.S. states by 2016… setting the scene for a dramatic increase in the uptake in household and commercial rooftop solar.” Which is, of course, exactly what the fossil fuel industry is afraid of: that solar, wind, energy efficiency, and other forms of clean energy are poised to out-compete them and ultimately drive them out of business.

It’s in that context that we read this article by the Columbus Dispatch.

A state agency paid almost $435,000 for a survey to tally clean-energy jobs in Ohio but never released the results.

The Ohio Development Services Agency says the study went unused because it was based on dubious methods and came to flawed conclusions.

Others, including experts in survey methods, disagree with this assessment and are perplexed by the criticism.

The report, not seen by the public until today, sat on a shelf at a time when its subject matter was relevant to a heated legislative debate about whether to change standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

As it turns out, the shelved study found encouraging news for renewable energy jobs in Ohio. For instance, the state “had 31,322 jobs in the state’s ‘alternative energy economy’ as of 2012, a number that is larger than other commonly cited studies.” Why does this matter? The  Columbus Dispatch explains.

Each one of those points could have been relevant in the recent debate over Senate Bill 310, signed by Gov. John Kasich in June. The measure puts a two-year freeze on state standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and it makes a variety of other changes that critics say will damage the state’s green economy.

During the debate over the bill, opponents repeatedly said that 25,000 jobs were at stake, a statistic from a 2012 study commissioned by a trade group for green-energy companies. The opponents did not know that the state had paid for a survey that says the industry is 25 percent larger.

What all this demonstrates it that the fossil fuel industry, and the politicians they fund, are nothing if not audacious.  Other words for their behavior would be “shameless” and “dishonest.” In this case, the fossil fuel folks’ claim that clean energy doesn’t create many jobs was proven totally false, apparently causing their allies to scramble to hide evidence showing the exact opposite. Does that sound like an industry confident in its arguments — or, for that matter, in its very future?

Posted in Fossil Fuels
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (11/17/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on November 17th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (11/17/14).

  1. Bloomberg reports: “Buying a solar rooftop in Wisconsin will become a lot less affordable under fees and utility rate changes approved today for a Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC) unit. State regulators today approved fees on any home or business that installs solar in the Milwaukee-based utility’s service area, said Nathan Conrad, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.”
  2. According to DeSmogBlog, “A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has found that, through their Walton Family Foundation, the Waltons have given $4.5 million dollars to groups like the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Americans for Prosperity—groups that are attacking renewable energy policies at the state level and, specifically, pushing for fees on rooftop solar installations.”
  3. Politico reports: “Republican oil mogul Harold Hamm says Congress is wasting its time debating the Keystone XL pipeline. ‘It’s not relevant at all in my opinion. And here we are making it relevant now? Forget it,’ the billionaire CEO of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources told POLITICO in an interview Friday, just before the House passed a bill aimed at approving the pipeline.
  4. The Daily Beast writes, “The Pipeline From Hell: There’s No Good Reason to Build Keystone XL.”
  5. Shauna Theel writes at The Energy Collective, “[The] U.S. and China reached a historic agreement to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, providing a strong signal for investors that wind energy, among other clean electric power solutions, is a smart economic decision.”
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