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To: Brumar89 who wrote (30093)3/2/2012 8:50:17 AM
From: Brumar89
   of 59684
 
Permanent drought in TX?



Take a look - there is no trend over a 100+ year period. But rainfall varies from 16 inches to 40 inches per year. And yes, 16 inches, as in 2011, is a drought. They happen.

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Climatologists tell us that 2011 was by far the driest year in Texas history, except for 1917 – which was drier. The non-trend in Texas precipitation since 1895 is a sure sign that they are headed for doom.



TEXAS Climate Summary

real-science.com

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To: Eric who wrote (30090)3/2/2012 8:51:57 AM
From: Brumar89
2 Recommendations   of 59684
 
Don't forget the sea is rising ... that acidic sea is coming to dissolve your house:

Romm 2010 : “Sea level projections will need to be revised upward.”
Posted on March 2, 2012 by Steven Goddard

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Good call, Joe!



real-science.com

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To: russet who wrote (30087)3/2/2012 9:05:09 AM
From: The Jack of Hearts
   of 59684
 
That fracking news is bad news for oilsands and Canadian energy in general.. which I have been eschewing for quite a whil except fr some service plays and a swing trade on ECA... we'll all be working in tourism soon for tips :O(

Canada’s economy loses steam in fourth quarter



Reuters and The Globe and Mail
8:53 AM, E.T. | March 2, 2012
Canadian, Economy

Tags: Canadian GDP

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Canadian economic growth slowed to an annualized 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a sharply upwardly revised 4.2 percent in the third, as positive temporary factors faded and as government stimulus continued to wind down.

Statistics Canada said on Friday consumer spending, exports and business investment had contributed the most to the quarter's growth. But growth in exports, housing investment and business inventories were much weaker than in the third quarter, and government capital spending fell by 5.1 percent.

The 1.8-percent real growth rate was exactly as expected in a Reuters survey of analysts but fell short of the 2.0 percent the Bank of Canada had predicted in its January Monetary Policy Report. U.S. growth was 3.0 percent in the fourth quarter.

The third quarter had been especially strong as a rebound to a 0.6-percent fall in the second that was partly due to Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Statscan revised third quarter growth to 4.2 percent from 3.5 percent as consumer spending and business investment were stronger than first thought.

For 2011 as a whole, growth came in at 2.5 percent after a 3.2 percent rise in 2010. The most striking contrast between the two years was that government capital investment on things like roads fell 2.9 percent after jumping 17.9 percent in 2010 due to the government's economic stimulus program.

The economy did better than expected in December, advancing by 0.4 percent from November instead of the 0.3-percent forecast, with half of the gain due to oil and gas output. Manufacturing, wholesale, finance, insurance and construction also rose while retail and utilities fell.


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From: Eric3/2/2012 1:35:17 PM
   of 59684
 
MX Group Building Massive 1 GW Solar Park In Serbia

by SI Staff on Friday 02 March 2012

Italy-based MX Group, a PV module provider and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, says it has signed a 1.75 billion euro agreement for the construction of a 1 GW solar park in Serbia.

According to the company, the installation, called Onegiga Project, will be the largest PV plant in the world. It will consist of 100 plants, 10 MW each, that will be installed between 2013 and 2015.

MX Group will serve as EPC contractor for the project, which will cover an area of 3,000 hectares. Luxembourg Securum Equity Partners Europe SA, the client, has signed a framework agreement with the Republic of Serbia.

solarindustrymag.com

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From: Eric3/2/2012 1:46:59 PM
   of 59684
 
Facing costly fuel, US airlines push fares higher

'You'll see gradual increases and then a much bigger jump in April and May...'

DALLAS — Airfares are up and headed higher this summer.

U.S. airlines blame soaring fuel prices, which could cost them billions more than last year. That means fares, which normally rise as the summer travel season nears, could increase faster than normal.

Airlines have already pushed throughout two major price increases this year, and it's only February, when leisure travel is slow.

It's a sign of things to come.

"You'll see gradual increases and then a much bigger jump in April and May when people start shopping for the summer travel season," says Rick Seaney, CEO of travel website FareCompare.com.

The average fare rose 9 percent between January 2011 and January 2012, according to Airlines for America, a trade group of the biggest carriers. Fuel is driving the increases. The spot price of jet fuel rose 18 percent over the same period, according to government figures. Airlines burn 48 million gallons per day, making fuel their biggest expense.

There's little that airlines can do about fuel prices. They hedge, which is like buying insurance against big price spikes, and they've been adding more efficient planes, but it takes years to replace a whole fleet.

The simplest response is to raise fares, which they did nearly a dozen times last year.

Airlines will respond to higher fuel prices this year by boosting fares, running fewer sales and cutting some flights, predicts Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg. He noted that despite a weak economy last year, the seven carriers in Airlines for America used the same moves to boost revenue by $14.1 billion, more than offsetting a $12.2 billion increase in fuel spending.

If they aren't careful, airlines could price more passengers out of the market.

Vacationers are usually the first to cut back on travel if it becomes too expensive. Americans are already paying an average of $3.72 a gallon for gasoline, up 30 cents in just the last month.

Even business travel, which accounts for an outsized share of airline revenue, could be affected. Corporate profits rose strongly in 2011, which helped prop up business travel. But research firm FactSet, which surveys analysts, estimates that first-quarter earnings will barely rise.

Kevin Mitchell of the Business Travel Coalition, which represents corporate travel managers, says big corporations have set their travel budgets for the year. But at smaller firms, he says, "if it feels like it's getting more expensive, they'll cut back or look for cheaper ways to do things."

The big airlines have tried to raise prices four times this year and succeeded twice.

When they failed, it was because discount airlines such as Southwest and JetBlue declined to go along. Consumers will change airlines just to save a few dollars, and the Internet has made comparison-shopping much easier.

Still, when it comes to setting prices, the airlines are dealing from a position of strength. Since 2008, mergers have eliminated three major U.S. airline companies and reduced competition. That's made it easier for airlines to limit flights, charge higher prices, and return to profitability after losing money for most of the 2000 decade.

At higher fuel costs, more routes become unprofitable and targets for the chopping block. That will make it harder for passengers to get where they want to go.

Delta Airlines will end flights between Miami and London in April. Demand was inconsistent, but "fuel is by far the biggest culprit there," says spokesman Trebor Banstetter.

In announcing that AirTran Airways would stop flying to several cities later this year, Bob Jordan, the executive who runs Southwest Airlines' AirTran unit, says, "there are some markets that we simply cannot make work" at current fuel prices.

The airlines say that over the long term, airfares have increased far less than other consumer goods and services. And although most U.S. airlines made money the last two years, there have been many years since 2001 in which they lost money. The industry's current recovery is tenuous.

Net profit margins at U.S. airlines fell to 0.3 percent last year from 1.6 percent in 2010, according to Airlines for America. The group's chief economist, John Heimlich, says that in the last decade airlines increased revenue by packing more people on the plane, but there just aren't many empty seats left anymore. Airlines need to raise more money to cover fuel, labor costs, and other expenses — and that means higher fares.

The airlines' latest attempt to raise fares — by up to $10 per round trip — failed this week. But they won't stop trying.


msnbc.msn.com

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From: Eric3/2/2012 1:55:59 PM
   of 59684
 
Wind Powers California Utility's Clean Energy Portfolio Increase

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) reports that 20.8% of the energy delivered to retail customers in 2011 was provided by renewable sources, such as wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric and solar energy.

Surpassing the 20% mark represents SDG&E's largest single-year increase in renewable power in proportion to overall power sales - 9% over its 2010 results, the utility says. In 2010, the company reported renewable energy deliveries representing a total of about 12% of its retail sales.

The 9% increase was due to the delivery of wind and geothermal power agreements. Of the overall 20.8% in retail renewable energy sales, geothermal, biomass, biogas, and solar projects accounted for almost 40% of the power. The remaining 60% of this total can be attributed to wind power.

In 2011, SDG&E signed 17 new power contracts, mostly with wind and solar developers, representing almost 1.5 GW. These contracts put SDG&E in a position to maintain California's 20% renewable portfolio requirements in the 2011 to 2013 time frame and achieve the 25% renewable power requirement by 2016. The utility says it is on track to meet the state's 33% by 2020 mandate.

SDG&E expects that five new renewable energy projects within its energy portfolio will become operational this year. A key factor contributing to the 2012-2013 development of new renewable power projects in California's Imperial Valley is the anticipated completion of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line later this year, according to the utility.

renew-grid.com

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From: Eric3/2/2012 4:54:35 PM
   of 59684
 
Must-Read: Economist William Nordhaus Slams Global Warming Deniers, Explains Cost of Delay is $4 Trillion

Yale economist William Nordhaus has eviscerated the 16 scientists who wrote a disinformation-filled Wall Street Journal piece in late January. Yes, three dozen climatologists already debunked the posers (see “Dentists Practicing Cardiology”), as did I. But Nordhaus’s blunt piece — “ Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong” – is worth reading because he is no climate hawk. You may recall his October article that found “Oil and Coal-Fired Power Plants Have Air Pollution Damages Larger Than Their Value Added.” It use an uber-low, uber-lame, uber-outdated “price” for CO2:

We use the social cost of carbon for the year 2000.This cost will rise over time as greenhouse gases accumulate and marginal damages increase. We assume that the central estimate of the social cost of carbon is $27 per ton of carbon (Nordhaus 2008b).

The actual social cost of carbon today is at least 5 times that price and more than 10 times that in the near future (or now, see here). The International Energy Agency (IEA) noted back in 2008 that just to stabilize at 550 ppm (roughly 3°C or 5.4F warming), which would likely still be catastrophic for humanity, you’d need a price of “$90/tonne of CO2 in 2030,” which is to say $330 a metric ton of carbon. You need a 2030 CO2 price of “$180/tonne in the 450 Policy Scenario” — $660 a metric ton of carbon.

So when a guy like Nordhaus slams disinformers hard, that’s a big deal. Let me excerpt his key rebuttals and then his economic analysis:

  1. The first claim is that the planet is not warming…. The finding that global temperatures are rising over the last century-plus is one of the most robust findings of climate science and statistics.
  2. A second argument is that warming is smaller than predicted by the models…. In reviewing the results, the IPCC report concluded: “No climate model using natural forcings [i.e., natural warming factors] alone has reproduced the observed global warming trend in the second half of the twentieth century.”
  3. The sixteen scientists next attack the idea of CO2 as a pollutant. They write: “The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant.”… In short, the contention that CO2 is not a pollutant is a rhetorical device and is not supported by US law or by economic theory or studies.
  4. The fourth contention by the sixteen scientists is that skeptical climate scientists are living under a reign of terror about their professional and personal livelihoods…. The idea that climate science and economics are being suppressed by a modern Lysenkoism is pure fiction.
  5. A fifth argument is that mainstream climate scientists are benefiting from the clamor about climate change…. One of the worrisome features of the distortion of climate science is that the stakes are huge here—even larger than the economic stakes for keeping the cigarette industry alive. Tobacco sales in the United States today are under $100 billion. By contrast, expenditures on all energy goods and services are close to $1,000 billion. Restrictions on CO2 emissions large enough to bend downward the temperature curve from its current trajectory to a maximum of 2 or 3 degrees Centigrade would have large economic effects on many businesses. Scientists, citizens, and our leaders will need to be extremely vigilant to prevent pollution of the scientific process by the merchants of doubt.
Snap.

Nordhaus’s final point concerns himself and the 16 poser-dentists misrepresentation of his own work, where they claimed “economics does not support policies to slow climate change in the next half-century.” They wrote:



A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.

Not. As the International Energy Agency explained last year, the world is on pace for 11°F warming, and Even School Children Know This Will Have Catastrophic Implications for All of Us.

Here is Nordhaus’s answer in full:

On this point, I do not need to reconstruct how climate scientists made their projections, or review the persecution of Soviet geneticists. I did the research and wrote the book on which they base their statement. The skeptics’ summary is based on poor analysis and on an incorrect reading of the results.

The first problem is an elementary mistake in economic analysis. The authors cite the “benefit-to-cost ratio” to support their argument. Elementary cost-benefit and business economics teach that this is an incorrect criterion for selecting investments or policies. The appropriate criterion for decisions in this context is net benefits (that is, the difference between, and not the ratio of, benefits and costs).

This point can be seen in a simple example, which would apply in the case of investments to slow climate change. Suppose we were thinking about two policies. Policy A has a small investment in abatement of CO2 emissions. It costs relatively little (say $1 billion) but has substantial benefits (say $10 billion), for a net benefit of $9 billion. Now compare this with a very effective and larger investment, Policy B. This second investment costs more (say $10 billion) but has substantial benefits (say $50 billion), for a net benefit of $40 billion. B is preferable because it has higher net benefits ($40 billion for B as compared with $9 for A), but A has a higher benefit-cost ratio (a ratio of 10 for A as compared with 5 for B). This example shows why we should, in designing the most effective policies, look at benefits minus costs, not benefits divided by costs.

This leads to the second point, which is that the authors summarize my results incorrectly. My research shows that there are indeed substantial net benefits from acting now rather than waiting fifty years. A look at Table 5-1 in my study A Question of Balance (2008) shows that the cost of waiting fifty years to begin reducing CO2 emissions is $2.3 trillion in 2005 prices. If we bring that number to today’s economy and prices, the loss from waiting is $4.1 trillion. Wars have been started over smaller sums. 1

My study is just one of many economic studies showing that economic efficiency would point to the need to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions right now, and not to wait for a half-century. Waiting is not only economically costly, but will also make the transition much more costly when it eventually takes place. Current economic studies also suggest that the most efficient policy is to raise the cost of CO2 emissions substantially, either through cap-and-trade or carbon taxes, to provide appropriate incentives for businesses and households to move to low-carbon activities.

See, for instance, “ IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy.” Nordhaus continues:

One might argue that there are many uncertainties here, and we should wait until the uncertainties are resolved. Yes, there are many uncertainties. That does not imply that action should be delayed. Indeed, my experience in studying this subject for many years is that we have discovered more puzzles and greater uncertainties as researchers dig deeper into the field. There are continuing major questions about the future of the great ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica; the thawing of vast deposits of frozen methane; changes in the circulation patterns of the North Atlantic; the potential for runaway warming; and the impacts of ocean carbonization and acidification. Moreover, our economic models have great difficulties incorporating these major geophysical changes and their impacts in a reliable manner.

See, for instance, Harvard economist: Climate cost-benefit analyses are “unusually misleading,” warns colleagues “we may be deluding ourselves and others.”

Policies implemented today serve as a hedge against unsuspected future dangers that suddenly emerge to threaten our economies or environment. So, if anything, the uncertainties would point to a more rather than less forceful policy—and one starting sooner rather than later—to slow climate change.

The group of sixteen scientists argues that we should avoid alarm about climate change. I am equally concerned by those who allege that we will incur economic catastrophes if we take steps to slow climate change. The claim that cap-and-trade legislation or carbon taxes would be ruinous or disastrous to our societies does not stand up to serious economic analysis. We need to approach the issues with a cool head and a warm heart. And with respect for sound logic and good science.

Precisely.

Kudos to Nordhaus for speaking up and setting the record straight.

thinkprogress.org

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From: Eric3/2/2012 5:19:29 PM
   of 59684
 
Nine More Dirty, Aging Coal Plants Set to Close, Bringing Total U.S. Retirements to 106 Plants Since 2010

By Stephen Lacey on Feb 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm



Today was a big milestone for people who care about public health and a livable climate. Two utilities announced the planned closure of nine coal plants in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, bringing total retirements (executed and planned) since January 2010 past the 100 mark to 106.

Two plants in Chicago owned by Midwest Generation, the Fisk Plant and the Crawford Plant, had been a key target for local activist groups. These two plants have been in operation since the early 1900's and were last updated in the late 50's and 60's. Along with violating “grandfathered” (i.e. lax) air quality standards and causing hundreds of emergency room visits each year, the two plants represented the largest source of local greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.

Local and national activists groups, along with the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, put intense pressure on Midwest Generation to shut the plants down.

The second set of plant closures come from the wholesale power provider GenOn Energy, which said it will close 3,140 MW of aging plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. All of the plants are coal, except for one that is oil-fired. GenOn said new air quality regulations would make it difficult for the company to keep the plants operating.

A confluence of factors is making it very difficult for owners of coal plants — particularly old coal plants — to compete. A combination of high domestic coal prices, low natural gas prices, new air quality regulations, coordinated activist pressure, and cost-competitive renewables are making coal an increasingly bad choice for many power plant operators. Along with the 106 announced closures, 166 new plants have been defeated since 2002.

So just how much of an impact have these factors had on coal closures? Bruce Nilles, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign sent along these numbers:

EXISTING COAL (ANNOUNCED/RETIRED SINCE JAN 1 2010)

  • 106 coal plants, 319 units
  • 42,895 MW (13% of fleet)
  • 150 million MWh (8% of fleet)
  • 162 million tons/year of CO2 (9% of fleet)
  • 921,417 tons/year of SO2 (16% of fleet)
  • Average age: 55 years old
  • (For plants with available data – Data from Clean Air Task Force): 2,042 pre-mature deaths, 3,229 heart attacks and 33,053 asthma attacks prevented each year (about 15% of total health impacts from fleet). All together these plants retiring will save about $15.6 billion in health care costs.
So what’s going to happen to the lights when all that coal gets phased out? According to a group of forward-thinking power providers, there’s already enough unused combined cycle natural gas capacity installed to make up for over 100 GW of closures.

Of course, with questions about the life-cycle emissions of natural gas still unanswered, it remains to be seen how environmentally effective all that gas will be. But with record amounts of investment pouring into renewables and efficiency, and progressive utilities calling increasingly cost-competitive solar “the next big thing in the industry,” the forces are coming together to close the gap.

thinkprogress.org

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To: Eric who wrote (30101)3/2/2012 6:00:58 PM
From: i-node
4 Recommendations   of 59684
 
Obama can really pick 'em.

================

GM halts production of Volt

By Keith Laing - 03/02/12
thehill.com



General Motors has temporarily suspended production of its Volt electric car, the company announced Friday.

GM, which is based in Detroit, announced to employees at one of its facilities that it was halting production of the beleaguered electric car for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.

A GM spokesman told The Hill on Friday that production of the Volt would resume April 23.

"We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand," GM spokesman Chris Lee said in a telephone interview.

Lee noted that sales of the Volt were higher in February than they were in January, and added that California recently decided to allow the electric car to qualify for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in the state.

"We see positive trends, but we needed to make this market adjustment," he said.

The Chevy Volt has come under criticism from Republicans in Congress because of reports of its batteries catching on fire during testing. President Obama gave the electric vehicle a vote of confidence in a speech to the United Auto Workers union this week, promising he would buy a Volt "five years from now, when I'm not president anymore."

But Republicans have argued that the Volt was being pushed by the Obama administration for political reasons instead of consumer demand.

“Is the commitment to the American public or is the commitment to clean energy, that we are going to get there any way we can?” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) asked in a hearing in the House in January about the Volt's reported battery fires.

“When the market is ready … it won’t have to be subsidized,” Kelly said.

Chevy has argued the debate about the Volt has become too political.

"We did not develop the Chevy Volt to be a political punching bag," General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson testified before Congress in the same January hearing. "We engineered the Volt to be a technological wonder."

Chevy has sought to give a boost to the public image of the Volt, releasing a commercial in January tying the Volt to the effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

"This isn’t just the car we wanted to build,” a narrator says in the commercial over footage of Volts being manufactured in Hamtramck, Mich. “This is the car America had to build.”

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From: Eric3/2/2012 7:07:25 PM
   of 59684
 
EPA Defends Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to U.S. Court

U.S. regulation of interstate air pollution will have “dramatic” health benefits for 240 million people and should be implemented, the Environmental Protection Agency told a federal appeals court.

The agency today urged the U.S. Appeals Court in Washingtonto uphold the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was put on hold by the court in December while it considered the legality of the regulation. The EPA said in its filing that it“reasonably projected” what areas of the country should be included in the rule.

“The transport rule represents the culmination of decades of congressional, administrative and judicial efforts to fashion a workable, comprehensive regulatory approach to interstate air pollution issues that have huge public health implications,”according to the 116-page filing.

The EPA rule, which apply to Texas and 26 eastern states, impose caps on sulfur dioxide, which can lead to acid rain and soot harmful to humans and ecosystems, and nitrogen oxide, a component of ground-level ozone and a main ingredient of smog.

More than three dozen lawsuits were filed challenging the rule as “one of the most costly, burdensome and arbitrary”ever issued under the Clean Air Act, according to court filings.

April Arguments Arguments in the case are scheduled for April 13 before judges Judith Rogers, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh.

Southern Co. (SO), EME Homer City Generation LP, a unit of Edison International (EIX), and Energy Future Holdings Corp (TXU). units in Texas are among the power companies challenging the rule. The state of Texas, the National Mining Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers joined in parallel cases, saying the rule puts an undue financial burden on power producers and threatens electricity reliability by forcing companies to shut some older plants.

The rule, issued in July and revised in October, applies to emissions that cross state lines.

“EPA refused to consider real-world air quality data contradicting its own implausible air quality projections that were the basis for subjecting upwind states to” the regulation, Peter Keisler, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP who represents opponents, said in court papers filed Feb. 9.

He said the agency also set “unprecedented, truncated”compliance deadlines that “assumed that industry should have begun installation of costly controls even before the final rule had issued.”

The case is EME Homer City Generation LP v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11-1302, U.S. Court of Appealsfor the District of Columbia (Washington).

bloomberg.com

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