Renew On Line (UK) 66

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 166 March-April 2007
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Energy Policy: White paper delay, EAC blown away

2.Wind power : Micro-wind doubts, Offshore wind boom

3. Carbon Policy: Zero Carbon Houses, Carbon rationing

4. NCC: Green power reality check

5. Regional policy: Wales and Scotland

6. FoE say no to Severn Barrage: it could crowd out alternatives

7. News Roundup: Biofuels, Planning, Solar Fine, Clean Coal plant

8. Global Climate Worsens: IPCCC 4th report

9. European Roundup: EC on Energy Efficiency

10. USA: Bush unmoved on Climate

11. Around the world: Australia, China, Asia-Pacific Climate Pact

12. Nuclear News: UK, US, Germany and Bulgaria

USA: Bush unmoved on Climate

California, Arizona and 7 NE states may have by-passed President George W. Bush and set their own emission limits, but the Bush administration has no plans for mandatory national limits on greenhouse gas output. A White House spokeswoman said: ' The president has continually said that one of reasons he doesn' t like a mandated cap is because it has the potential to move jobs overseas and hurt the economy' .

Instead, in his State of the Union address in January, Bush stuck with the ' reducing oil import' line he announced last year- calling now for a 20% cut in gasoline use by 2017- with 15% of this being via a switch to biofuels like ethanol (a fivefold increase is envisaged) and 5% via new vehicle fuel economy standards- the first regulatory change in decades, but only an annual average of a 4% emission cut for new cars from 2010. Otherwise it' s a voluntary technology-led approach. Whether this will work is unclear- in 2004 US greenhouse gas emissions rose 15.8% from 1990 and they look set to continue to rise.

but big on ethanol

However in his State of the Union address, Bush certainly reaffirmed his commitment to ethanol- and called for £3.6bn in funding for new fuel development, including £2bn in loans for cellulosic ethanol plants.

Last year, at a conference in St Louis on ' Advancing Renewable Energy: an American Rural Renaissance' , hosted by the Dept. of Agriculture and Energy, he claimed that ethanol was critical to the nation' s energy future, and good progress was being made- annual ethanol production was up to five billion gallons from 1.6 billion in 2000 and 40 new ethanol refineries were being set up. It was announced at the conference that nearly $17.5m in USDA/UNDoE funding would be available for 17 biomass RD&D projects. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns, commented ' This is a new era for America' s farmers, ranchers and rural communities as they seize this moment where opportunity meets need, and where American ingenuity breaks a century-long addiction to oil' .

However Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, disagreed with this approach: ' Even if our country pursues an aggressive ethanol development and deployment plan, ethanol will not be able to reduce our oil consumption nearly as quickly or as nearly much as raising fuel economy standards' .

US strategy

At the St Louis meeting, Bush was adamant that ' This country has got to use its talent and its wealth to get us off oil. And I believe we will do so, and I believe- I know- the best way to do so is through technological breakthroughs. It' s time to get rid of the old, stale debates on the environment and recognize new technologies are going to enable us to achieve a lot of objectives at the same time. Technology will enable us to be able to say we can grow our economy and protect our environment at the same time. It' s not a zero-sum game anymore.'

He also re-stated his support for nuclear power. ' If we want to keep this country competitive, if we want to make sure we can compete globally, we must promote civilian nuclear power. We must have more energy coming from nuclear power.' The DoE is to award $8m to 3 companies for engineering studies & a pre-conceptual design to guide research on the ' Next Generation Nuclear Plant' programme.


USA: 25% from renewables by 2025?

A report from the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center/Environment California, ' A New Energy Future: The Benefits of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy for Cutting America' s Use of Fossil Fuels,' claims that: ' A variety of studies and industry projections suggest that tapping America' s abundant supplies of clean renewable energy could fulfill 22% of our energy needs by 2025 and we could reach 25% renewable energy with technology advances that would enable us to fully tap our renewable potential' .

Biofuels could supply 4.5% of total transport energy and wind 30% of electricity by 2025, ' and possibly more as new technologies and practices allow for us to successfully integrate more wind power into America' s electricity mix' . It adds ' Solar and geothermal power can combine to produce another 12% of America' s electricity, while an assortment of other renewable technologies, ranging from solar hot water heaters to geothermal heat pumps, can also make an important contribution' . It continues: ' Additional renewable energy could be generated using new technologies such as wave and tidal power or by achieving technological improvements that would enable us to expand our use of other renewable energy sources' . At present renewables account for 6% of total US energy use, of which 40% is used in power plants to generate electricity and 28% in transportation. Since 1990, U.S. consumption of energy has increased 18% but imports of energy have more than doubled and the U.S. now relies on foreign nations for 30% of its energy.

* Eight companies have committed to invest a combined $10 billion-plus in new wind projects in Texas- as long as the state' s Public Utility Commission builds the necessary transmission lines..

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