These are rough times for carbon taxes, aimed at mitigating climate change. Australia recently repealed its carbon tax. South Korea delayed a carbon-based tax on vehicle emissions. South Africa put off a planned carbon tax until 2016. And yet, for environmentalists, a sliver of hope exists in the shape of Chile, one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, which last month approved the first carbon tax in South America. The measure, due to take effect in 2018, was part of a broad overhaul of the tax system. “Chile is one of the countries that is getting much more serious about climate change, and developing something that’s much more robust in terms of policies,” said Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, a forest ecologist at Columbia University.
Harvesting energy from the tides is hard to do, and the development of a new generation of sea-based power arrays lags far behind more widely used renewable technologies like wind and solar. But the company pushing a new project on the coast of Wales thinks its twist — a 21st-century update of traditional dam-based hydropower — will be much easier to bring to fruition. If it wins government permission to go forward, Tidal Lagoon Power Limited says the approach, known as tidal lagoon generation, could provide as much as 10 percent of Britain’s power from six of its projects within a decade.
The growth rate of wind and solar energy in China, India and other developing countries is outpacing those in some of the world’s richest and most developed countries. It was previously thought that many poorer nations couldn’t afford such renewable energy technologies and had to rely on coal-fired power plants and diesel generators.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said today that a dozen Senate Republicans privately support action on climate change but are afraid to discuss it openly for fear of political reprisals. Speaking at a forum sponsored by New York University Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity, Whitehouse blamed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission for silencing Republicans who back climate action.
U.S. EPA air chief Janet McCabe today asked for public comments on alternative approaches to key parts of the Clean Power Plan, including its near-term targets and the way it treats renewable energy and natural gas. McCabe told reporters that the notice of data availability (NODA) was mostly “routine” and did not mean EPA was either strengthening or loosening its June 2 proposal for existing power plants. “I want to emphasize that the NODA does not change the proposal we put out in June, it simply discusses some key ideas that we’ve been hearing from a diverse set of stakeholders,” she said, adding that the agency does not expect to extend its Dec. 1 deadline for public comment to allow extra time to comment on the newNODA.
Nebraska’s wind and solar industry brings its annual conference to the Omaha metro area for the first time this week. The event will be Wednesday and Thursday at the La Vista Conference Center, 12520 Westport Parkway, and features national and local experts in renewable energy. Among the 56 speakers are top officials with the American Wind Energy Association, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy
Earlier this month Grinnell College formally abandoned its vision of building a 5.1-megawatt wind farm that would meet about half of the college’s electrical needs. However, Alliant Energy, which serves the college, said it likely would have to curtail much of the project’s energy production because another wind developer had applied for an interconnection agreement first. The combined production, according to Alliant, likely would overload the local distribution circuit. And according to state regulations, the earlier applicant, Optimum Energy, had effectively snagged “first dibs” on providing power to the rather small load served by that particular substation.
Broken Bow II, a 75-megawatt wind farm developed by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power Co., in central Nebraska, was dedicated Monday. The farm’s 43 turbines generate enough clean electricity to power about 30,000 Nebraska homes, the company said in a news release. Nebraska Public Power District has bought all of the electricity that will be generated by the wind farm under a 25-year contract.
Broken Bow dedicated its second wind farm Monday, where forty three wind turbines now grace the skyline northeast of the Custer County community. “For the year they were in construction there was an average of 300 construction workers here from outside the area. If you think about it in terms of rural Nebraska that’s an entire community,” said Custer Economic Development Corporation Executive Melissa Garcia. Governor Dave Heineman helped dedicate the $110 million wind project called Broken Bow II.
Heather Zichal eloped last month in Croatia, where she also biked about 30 miles per day, went sailing and chatted up winemakers about global warming’s toll on their industry. Zichal, who resigned late last year as President Obama’s top climate and energy adviser, called the trip a badly needed break after a six-year marathon that started on the campaign trail and ended with a top White House post.