Archive for Global Warming

Off topic: How Do the Candidates Stack up on Clean Energy?

A trip down to the local national party offices to participate in a press conference asking the presidential candidates to pledge their support for clean energy legislation got me thinking about the candidates… I wasn’t sure which candidate has the best clean energy platfom. So I spent a day reading thorough thier platforms, and came to a surprising (to me answer).2008 Election

You can read how I think the candidates’ platforms compare on clean energy here.

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July 20th–Denver–The Science of Climate Change

Please Join Us on July 20th-9-4 at the Adams Mark Hotel, Denver—Colorful Poster
Attached—Please Post—Thanks!

Take Advantage of Colorado’s Amazing Experts
on Climate Change Science!

 

If we
are going to address the problem of climate change we have to be clear on what
the scientists are telling us—and there is much more to the story than the
media have told us. Please join us on July 20th for a day long
workshop of essential information delivered by some of the world’s top
climate change scientists. Poster and Agenda attached and Agenda copied below.
Please join us—and pass the word!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citizens Working to Bring Clean Energy Solutions
to
Colorado

www.cleanenergyaction.org

 

The Science of Climate Change and
Leadership in

the Greenhouse Century

 

Friday July 20, 2007,
9am-4pmAdams
Mark Hotel,
Denver, Colorado

How Urgent is the Problem? How Long Do We
Have to Make the Needed Changes?

These World Class Scientists Will Bring Us
the Latest Information

Confirmed Speakers in Bold

 

 8:15– 8:45   
          Registration

 9:009:15   
          Welcome and
Introductions

 9:15-10:00  
          “Leadership in the Greenhouse
Century: A Citizen’s Perspective”

                            
                  
Leslie
Glustrom, Clean Energy Action

10:00-10:15 
          Break

10:15-11:00 
          “CO2—Where Does it Go
and How Long Does It Stay There?”

                            
                  
Dr.
Pieter Tans, NOAA

11:00-11:45           
“Coming Climate:
Thresholds, Feedbacks and Predictable Surprises”

                            
                  
Dr.
James White, CU-Boulder
 

11:45-1:00            
Lunch (On Your Own)

1:00 – 1:45            
“Leadership in the Greenhouse Century”

                            
         
        
Governor Bill Ritter or
His Representative—Invited

1:45  –2:30            
“Leadership in the Greenhouse Century—A Republican Perspective

                            
         
        
Mike Bowman  25 x25

2:30-2:45              
Break

2:45-3:30              
Climate
Impacts and
Colorado: Bringing it All Home”

                            
                  
Dr.
Martin Hoerling, NOAA

3:30:4:00               
Wrap-Up Discussion

                            
                  
Members of Clean Energy
Action

                            

Registration–$30/person–before July 17t;
$50 after July 17th

Call 303-245-8637 or send an e-mail to lglustrom@gmail.com to reserve a seat

Organizational Pass for NonProfits, State Agencies and
Companies with Fewer than 15 Employees–$150

Organizational Pass for Companies with More Than 15 Employees–$300

Organizational Passes Provide Unlimited Attendance for the
Organization; Must be Reserved by
July
17, 2007

 

If you live on this planet you should be
there!

 

Comments (1)

Stocks for High Waters

My AltEnergyStocks column this week is about preparing yourself financially for the possibility of rising sea levels due to global warming.

I’ve been rather gloom-and-doom recently, with this and my article from a fortnight ago about preparing for Peak Coal.

Let’s hope that I’m just moody because of all the studying I’m doing for the second CFA exam (which is why entries here have been short and far between.) I plan to get back in the swing of things in late June, after the exam, the Colorado Renewable Energy Conference (there will be a session on “Investing in Renewable Energy”, led by Yours Truly), and a vacation. My wife and I want to see Glacier National Park before it becomes The National Park Formerly Known as Glacier.

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TXU goes Nuclear- (rant)

A Wall Street Journal article today reports that TXU is planning on using nuclear power to replace the coal plants which they shelved recently.

This drives me batty. I do think that nuclear power is better than coal, and even better than IGCC, but basically substituting nuclear power for coal power is just replacing one nasty externality (CO2 emissions) with another: adding to the risk of nuclear terrorism and waste disposal problems.

When expected costs of CO2 are factored in, the price of nuclear power does looks good. But I ask the same question people are finally asking about global warming: “What’s the business case for destroying the planet?”

Here’s what we should be thinking for our baseload energy needs:

  • Energy Efficiency…. 1-3 cents per kWh
  • Concentrating Solar Power with thermal storage…. 10-15 cents per kWh (and dropping)
  • Wind power, combined with pricing mechanisms to shift demand…. 4-6 cents per kWh
  • And for peaking power:

  • Demand Response
  • Time of Day Pricing
  • Concentrating Solar Power with large scale thermal storage and an oversized turbine
  • Eight steps forward… six steps back. Do we really need to dig up mountains for uranium instead of decapitating them for coal?

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    Colorado News: Doubling of Colorado’s RPS

    Colorado House Bill 1281, which doubles Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio standard (RPS) (as well as the solar set-aside) passed the state Senate on Friday, and is certain to be signed into law by state lawmakers.

    Here’s how the new requirements stack up against the old Amendment 37 requirements (passed by a popular vote in 2004.)

    rps.GIF
    Not exactly a “doubling,” but is there a better way to describe it?

    “A37” are the old requirements for investor owned utilities (affectionately known as IOUs,) “HB 1281” are the new requirements for IOUs, and “Co-ops” are the new requirements for Rural Electric Co-ops (which previously had an opt-out, although a few decided not to opt out.)
    The opt-out contained a provision that each Co-op’s members (i.e. customers) vote to opt out, which most of them proceeded to do (one exception is Holy Cross, which chose not to opt out, however, this has led to some contention with Xcel as to whether or not their existing power purchase agreement with Xcel included the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with Xcel’s generation of electricity from renewables… since both utilities use these RECs to meet their requirements.)

    While the opt-out elections all seem fair and democratic, that is before you realize that all the information most members were getting was coming from their co-op’s management. This is fine with progressive co-ops like Delta-Montrose and Holy Cross, but when it comes to troglodytes such as the management of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), it’s a little more Orwellian.

    In the recent House and Senate hearings, IREA was arguing for another opt-out from HB 1281, arguing that IREA’s members had voted against it in the first election, and that it would force IREA to raise rates (despite the fact that the bill specifically states that rural co-ops only have to meet its requirements if they can do so with less than a 1% rate increase (the more stringent requirements for IOUs can be met with an up to 2% rate increase.) In some ways IREA’s failure to get their opt-out into HB 1281 was due to their own maneuverings. In response to IREA’s funding of a global warming skeptic this summer led many of IREA’s members to wonder what else Stan Lewandowski was doing with their money that they did not know about. They founded IREA Voices to try to get a greater say in how their customer-owned utility is run. (If you know anyone who lives in IREA territory (just south of the metro Denver area, make sure they know to vote for the IREA Voices candidate in their district. (Mike Kempe, Mike Daniels, or Jake Meffley, if one appears on the ballot that came with their last IREA bill.) If you don’t live in thier districts, they are funding their campaigns out of their own pocket, plus any donations. Help out if you can!

    It’s ironic that co-ops, which supposedly exist to serve the best interests of their members (as opposed to shareholders) are often the laggards (and in IREA’s case, even deniers) of the environmental effects of our reliance on coal for electricity. I believe that Stan Lewandowski believes he is doing the right thing by trying to keep rates down, and damn everything else, but in the end, the farmers he feels he is serving will be the ones who suffer some of the worst effects of global warming.

    Anyway, it looks like momentum is finally on the side of those of us that realize the magnitude of the disaster facing us, but time is also of the essence, and the faster groups like IREA Voices can catalyze change, the better for all of us.

    So let’s cheer Colorado’s doubling of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, but let that one victory inspire us for the struggles ahead. We’re a long way from the time when we can declare victory and go home.

    Comments (1)

    MIT Study: IGCC may not be better for Carbon Sequestration

    There’s a new study out from MIT which questions the received wisdom that IGCC or “Clean Coal” plants “will make it easier and cheaper to capture carbon dioxide, compared with collecting it from the smokestacks of conventional power plants.” The study calls for “large-scale demonstration programs that would, for the first time, capture carbon dioxide from coal plants, transport it, and store it at a large scale.”

    While I disagree with the assertion that “coal… will continue to be a major source of electricity,” the reason I think that coal will not make the cut when the true costs of the associated emissions and environmental damage from mining are taken into account, the reason I believe this is that the costs of carbon capture and sequestration are likely to be much higher in reality than they are in theory, especially when we are attempting to sequester a “volume of compressed carbon dioxide … similar in scale to the amount of oil consumed in the United States,” and so we will no longer be able to use it only in places where it is actually useful, such as in enchanced oil recovery.

    For this reason, I totally concur with the conclusion that we need to start doing large scale CO2 sequestration now, so we can decide if there is any hope of it working before we throw tons more money at cola plants (either conventional pulverized or IGCC) in the hope that some time in the future we’ll figure out some economic way to shove the carbon that we should have left underground in the first place back underground.

    On the bright side, it looks like American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is trying large scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). I hope they can get it to work at reasonable cost… if CCS could be made to work cheaply, we could start capturing CO2 from biomass power plants, and have carbon-negative electricity.

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    How Your Money Made the TXU deal happen

    Most of the readers of this blog are not investors in the Texas Pacific Group or KKR, but you did have a role in making the private equity deal that has everyone in the environmental community (not to mention the private equity world) talking.

    Here’s what you did: You didn’t invest in TXU Corporation (NYSE:TXU). As any regular reader of this blog knows, I’m a big proponent of putting your money where your mouth is, especially when it comes to staying away from companies whose operations would increase the severity of climate change. And, until a couple weeks ago, TXU with their 11 planned pulverized coal plants was public enemy #1 when it came to future carbon emissions.

    My readers, socially responsible mutual funds, other like minded people, and other investors who were worried about carbon risk stayed away from TXU in droves, and because of that, the stock was lower (how much we’ll never know,) which made it easier for Texas Pacific and KKR to offer a 25% premium, which in turn should be enough to entice current TXU investors to give up their stock in the buyout.

    It’s easy to see this deal is a back room affair between a bunch of filthy rich folks, TXU management, and the leaders of a couple national environmental groups, with the little guys (like the New York Times, who originally saw the merger as a private equity endorsement of TXU’s high-carbon generation strategy left in the dark.

    The greatest risk for those of us fighting climate change is despair. Climate change is a giant problem, but we can make big changes if we all pitch in to help. To all of you who did your little part to make the deal happen (even if there are still some doubts as to the final results), I want to say,

    “Thanks, and keep up the good work.”

    Comments (6)

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