The bill...proposes a market-based "carbon trading" plan that mirrors a European system initiated in 2005. This plan requires polluters to obtain government-issued "carbon credits," which then allow them to pollute above the agreed-on limit....the Waxman-Markey plan...gives 85% of the pollution credits to the biggest polluters for free....
In Europe, the distribution of free pollution credits to industries failed to establish a strong carbon market. In turn, the weak market in carbon credits failed to generate the money needed to fund new technology. And because there was a glut of free credits, polluters that went over the emissions limit could buy the necessary credits cheaply. So important states, such as Britain, continue to exceed the pollution limits.
Faced with disappointing results, Europe began auctioning off more of the credits in 2006. But the damage was done....The complex European trading scheme, started with free pollution credits, has not produced dramatic cuts in pollution or dramatic developments in technology or a robust market in carbon credits. The Financial Times of London was blunt: "Carbon markets leave much room for unverifiable manipulation. [Carbon] taxes are better, partly because they are less vulnerable to such improprieties."
Legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers sat down for an interview at the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and shared some thoughts in this video from ZDNet (click here or on embed below):
The money quote:
The most important thing (President-elect Barack Obama) has got to do is kick start a huge amount of innovation and research in energy. We invest less than a billion dollars a year in renewable energy research and that's contrasted with health care which is $32 billion, and I think we've just scratched the surface in terms of clean ways to use energy, to create energy. It's the challenge of our generation. It's the scourge of our economy.
Doerr also said the nation must figure out ways to increase the number of graduates in science and engineering and ensure that foreign nationals educated here in those fields are able to stay here as legal residents and help address clean-tech challenges such as renewable energy.
Developing vehicles that can run on clean electricity and second-generation net-green bio-fuels remains a high priority despite sharp drops in the price of gas from this summer's record highs. Cascadia Senior Fellow Steve Marshall and Bullit Foundation President Denis Hayes explain why in a recent Seattle Post-Intelligencer op-ed on the promise of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Five years ago oil cost $23 a barrel. Despite the recent wild swings, oil prices remain historically high. Last year the U.S. paid $300 billion for imported oil, and this year we will double that. According to Henry Kissinger, our foreign oil purchases have resulted in the "largest transfer of wealth in human history." What's worse is that a major share of the world's oil revenues ends up in countries hostile to our interests, undemocratic or both....With 97 percent of all transportation fueled by oil, we have had no choice other than to pay up until now. But with recent advances in more powerful, lighter-weight and durable batteries, we can begin to replace oil with electricity in light-duty transportation.
Every new internal combustion car that's sold will make it more difficult for us to reduce our oil dependence. And over its lifetime each such vehicle will also generate several tons of global warming gases a year. Around Puget Sound, transportation produces more greenhouse gases than all other sources combined.
....Cleaner, cheaper domestic electricity offers our best available opportunity to move beyond oil in transportation. A (state fleet) moratorium on buying new gasoline vehicles with a plan to buy the coming plug-ins would be an added incentive to automakers to speed up the transition we need for the economy, national security and the environment.
Earlier this fall, Cascadia Center - with co-sponsors including Idaho National Laboratory and Microsoft - staged a conference titled "Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation," which explored new paradigms in transportation and energy. A rich archive page of the event is here, including speaker presentations, videos and media coverage. Under "Day Two Video Segments," don't miss electric car visionary Shai Agassi; former CIA director James Woolsey; and Microsoft's Chief Environmental Strategist Rob Bernard.
Seattle isn't always the first stop for U.S. Cabinet officials. But if U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters' visit today is any indication, when the issue is transportation, Seattle is a natural top of agenda locale.
With the help of Cascadia Center and others, Secretary Peters swept into town on Friday for a series of meetings with business and policy leaders. The Cascadia Center, with its growing leadership in the alternative energy and plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle space, played a critical role in the visit by coordinating several meetings for the United States' 15th transportation chief.
Today's closed meetings and work sessions focused on the question of transportation technology, innovation, finance and the Northwest's leadership role in finding solutions to regional and nationwide transportation challenges. Phoenix Motorcars, an electric car company based in California, brought one of its prototypes to Seattle for Secretary Peters and others to see.
Cascadia Center has long argued that the U.S. reliance on foreign oil is not sustainable. As former CIA director James Woolsey has said, it's an addiction that funds both sides of the war on terrorism. Based on our research and analysis, the most sensible way to move beyond oil is to use clean electricity to power vehicles.
We'd like to see the Northwest lead in the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It's the best way to: achieve greater energy independence, cut greenhouse gases and help reduce our trade deficit. It's clear to us that a Northwest pilot project that showed the successful adoption of PHEVs by commercial and government fleets as well as consumers could set a workable, realistic example for other regions and the country.
We're working with the state and U.S. transportation departments on proposals that would test how to recharge PHEVs at park and ride lots. (The illustration to the right is one vision.) And we're also collaborating to encourage transit use and to introduce congestion pricing to replace lost gas tax revenues when gas consumption declines with the move to alternative fuels and electricity.
Today's visit by Secretary Peters is evidence that the nation's leaders are willing to look to the Northwest for ideas and examples of how to confront transportation challenges now and down the road. We believe the region's political and business leaders are up to the challenge.
It seems the global oil market isn't immune to at least one law of nature: The apex predator has the most voracious appetite.
The New York Times reports that the very oil-exporting countries that are experiencing remarkable domestic economic growth because of the global demand for oil may soon become victims of their own success.
Experts say ... several of the world's most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth. ... The report [by Canada-based CIBC World Markets] said "soaring internal rates of oil consumption" in Russia, in Mexico and in member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reduce crude exports as much as 2.5 million barrels a day by the end of the decade.
While unstable, undemocratic regimes are one thing (and not all oil exporters fall into the category), no one is going to begrudge the actual citizens of developing, oil-exporting nations the affluence and quality of life improvements that might come from global demand for the black gold burbling deep below their jurisdictional terra firma. Certainly, the United States, which relies on oil to drive its own economic engine, can't. (The New York Times says that although U.S. demand is flat, it continues to account for nearly one-quarter of the world's oil consumption.)
That said, reports of demand strains should raise the antennae of any American consumer who finds her purse or his wallet increasingly light after filling up at the pump. Internal domestic demand in oil states could tighten supply even further, especially if production capacity were to remain constant. Ergo, prices at the pump in Peoria are given even less reason to decrease as the number of oil-exporting countries gets comparatively smaller.
And for those of us who find it troubling that our addiction to oil props up and sustains many of the same rogue regimes that threaten American interests at home and abroad, the idea that supply will be in even fewer hands -- not necessarily of Uncle Sam's choosing -- is highly problematic.
Luckily for an oil-addicted America, our options aren't simply to acquiesce. Aside from only pursuing the politically charged (and depending who you ask, the environmentally damaging) option of opening up new areas for exploration, we have other options. Good options.
While not a panacea, supporting the development and use of vehicles that, with the flip of a switch, dramatically reduce our dependence on oil for transportation and simultaneously address environmental concerns, is perhaps the single best option we have. And it might work for our neighbor to the south too. In Mexico, according to The New York Times, the number of cars has "nearly doubled...in the last decade, and gasoline consumption is growing 5 percent a year."
The answer, of course, isn't to stop driving, but to change the way we power our vehicles. (Don't just take our advice; none other than America's de facto international affairs professor, columnist Thomas Friedman, writes about it often, including in this column one week ago.)
Then I got together with three engineering undergrads who helped launch the Vehicle Design Summit...These kids are building a hyper-efficient car, which, they hope, "will demonstrate a 95 percent reduction in embodied energy, materials and toxicity from cradle to cradle to grave" and provide "200 m.p.g. energy equivalency or better." The Linux of cars!
We'll keep watching closely reports and analyses about global oil consumption habits. But we'll also keep pushing our ideas on electrifying transportation. Wouldn't it be nice to know that studies and reports about consumption demand or instability in oil states weren't such a concern for the United States? And wouldn't it, paraphrasing former CIA director, R. James Woolsey, be even better to know that driving to get groceries and that your daily commute didn't help fund both sides of the war on terror?
TECHNORATI TAGS: >OIL, FOREIGN OIL, OIL SUPPLY, UNITED STATES, TERRORISM, ALTERNATIVE FUELS, ELECTRICITY, PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES, JAMES WOOLSEY, CASCADIA CENTER>
A new study issued by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by consumers and fleet managers could by 2050 cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 163 to 612 million metric tons, and total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 3.4 to 10.3 billion metric tons.
The study shows that if plug-in hybrids are adopted widely in the United States, and if measures are taken to clean up power plants, by 2050, plug-in hybrids could reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 612 million metric tons, or roughly 5 percent of the total U.S. emissions expected in that time frame, according to Marcus Sarofim, a researcher at MIT's Joint Program for the Science and Policy of Global Change. That's a significant amount, he says, considering that transportation accounts for only about a third of the total greenhouse-gas emissions.
But if plug-in hybrids account for only a small part of the total vehicle sales in 2050 (about 20 percent, compared with 80 percent in the first scenario), and if little is done to improve pollution from power plants, the vehicles will still reduce greenhouse emissions by about 163 metric tons, according to the study.
The NRDC, a prominent environmental group, stipulates (p. 10 of Executive Summary section) that it supports introduction of PHEVs "accompanied by substantial improvements in power plant emission rates." That's an appropriate caveat which highlights the need for an intensified focus on acheiving a cleaner electricity supply.
Today's hybrid electric vehicles, such as the popular Toyota Prius, have helped generate a growing interest in making personal transportation cleaner, something that's an important societal objective because despite a worthy focus on improving metropolitan region transit services, the majority of vehicle trips nationally will continue to occur in privately-owned vehicles.
Current hybrids such as the Prius are not plugged into a wall socket overnight but use electricity generated through an on-board battery to intermittently power their ride, along with conventional fuel when necessary. Hence the name "hybrid."
The EPRI/NRDC study reports that the lower the carbon dioxide emissions in the national electric power sector, and the longer the range of the PHEV, the greater the reduction in overall greenhouse gases versus a conventional hybrid vehicle in 2050. The GGE improvement, for medium and longer range PHEVs versus hybrids, will range from 27% to 46% per vehicle, according to table 5-3 on p. 5-6 of the study.
Imagine a national fleet with an increasing proportion of plug-in hybrids that run one-quarter to one-half cleaner than an advanced conventional hybrid electric vehicle. Imagine that truck fleets are plugged into the grid too, with corresponding decreases in diesel fuel emissions.
To get there will take not only a cleaner electricity supply, but advances in developing and distributing truly green biofuels, as well. Should the path to widespread use of green vehicle fuels include a carbon tax or a higher federal gasoline tax? Syndicated columnist Steve Chapman thinks so.
TECHNORATI TAGS: >PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, CARBON DIOXIDE, ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, GREEN ELECTRICITY, BIOFUELS, CARBON TAX, FEDERAL GAS TAX, AIR POLLUTION, PUBLIC HEALTH>
The Columbian reports this morning that an affiliate of a Swedish-Norwegian shipping concern has announced its preliminary intent to build a big vehicle import center as part of the Port of Vancouver, Washington's Columbia Gateway industrial development.
On Tuesday, port officials signed a letter of intent with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Americas to develop the $453 million facility that would dwarf the port's existing Subaru operation and match the Port of Portland's auto business.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen would build a marine terminal and processing facility on 344 acres that the port would make construction-ready, according to the deal. The facility, projected to generate a $62 million annual payroll, could be operational by late 2010 or 2011.
...the facility will be able to handle more than 500,000 cars annually....At the Port of Portland, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota moved 463,557 vehicles in 2006 through two terminals. It was a record year, up 31 percent from 2005....Wallenius Wilhelmsen Americas signed a deal last summer with Subaru of America to process the automaker's vehicles in Baltimore. The agreement was part of Wallenius Wilhelmsen's larger expansion plans in the Eastern city.
Earlier this month, Rappaport Energy Consulting of Olympia, Washington, announced plans to build at Columbia Gateway a biodiesel processing plant and a wood-based ethanol refinery.
As the Columbian reports today, both projects depend heavily on retention of a special six-year, non-renewable Industrial Development District levy approved by the port to purchase riverfront acerage for Columbia Gateway tenants and build an east-west train freight line considered critical to the project. Local voters aggrieved that state legislation obviated their veto powers over the special port tax have successfully placed a yea-nay measure on the Aug. 21 primary election ballot. If the special tax is rescinded, the Gateway project is at least temporarily stymied, and the two initial tenants either cool their heels or go elsewhere.
Even if that happens, there's a larger lesson to be drawn. The American yen for purchasing new Asian cars shows no signs of abating, and vehicle miles traveled continue to trend upward. That has implications for the push to develop "green" fuels; and efforts to expand mass transit in locales such as Central Puget Sound.
Meanwhile, many putative progressives eye the whole alternative fuels scrum warily, thinking that anything which makes driving cars more environmentally palatable will ultimately discourage transit use, enhance sprawl and worsen global warming.
Let's take these one by one.
To the extent current global warming is caused by man's activites, it will require far-reaching efforts by major nations - especially huge players such as China and India, and yes, the United States - to develop and implement comprehensive clean energy initiatives, in addition to boosting alternative fuel usage. All rhetorical chest-beating aside, the challenge of replacing conventional with clean energy sources is rather bracing, as illustrated by a recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration titled, "Annual Energy Outlook 2007 - With Projections To 2030." As the report notes on page 2 of the "Overview" section:
Despite the rapid growth projected for biofuels and other nonhydroelectric renewable energy sources and the expectation that orders will be placed for new nuclear power plants for the first time in more than 25 years, oil, coal, and natural gas still are projected to provide roughly the same 86-percent share of the total U.S. primary energy supply in 2030 that they did in 2005 (assuming no
changes in existing laws and regulations - itals added). The expected rapid growth in the use of biofuels and other nonhydropower renewable energy sources begins from a very low current share of total energy use; hydroelectric power production, which accounts for the bulk of current renewable electricity supply, is nearly stagnant; and the share of total electricity supplied from nuclear power falls despite the projected new plant builds, which more than offset retirements, because the overall market for electricity continues to expand rapidly in the projection.
Books by candlelight, and woodstoves, anybody? Or microwaves and plasma screens, plus a carbon tax?
For its part, "sprawl" is a somewhat loaded concept, reducing to a disease-like term the proclivity of actors in the free market to decide where to live based on laws of supply, demand and consequent household costs.
Just as people cannot be hectored into pricey and pinched urban townhomes merely to suit the objectives of planners and environmentalists, they cannot be browbeaten into taking mass transit. It will work for some on a daily basis, but not for many others, based on their daily travel patterns.
If those 463,557 vehicles don't end up passing through Wallenius Wilhelmsen's envisioned distribution center in Vancouver, Washington, they will likely come - along with all their economic benefits and environmental and public policy implications - into some other regional port. Of course, they're only a fraction of the new imported passenger vehicles regularly landing in Northwest and other U.S. ports.
To shape metropolitan region transportation policy accordingly, governments, business and stakeholders should develop a multi-pronged approach which includes: system-wide time-variable tolling on major highways and state routes; greater emphasis on public-private partnerships to cost-effectively provide transportation infrastructure and services; mass transit which delivers the most ridership per dollar spent; improved inter-city rail travel; and ongoing research and development to deliver to market larger quantities of clean, green alternative fuels.
TECHNORATI TAGS: >VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON, PORT OF VANCOUVER, COLUMBIA GATEWAY, WALLENIUS WILHELMSEN, RAPPAPORT ENERGY CONSULTING, ALTERNATIVE FUELS, MASS TRANSIT, TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE>
The most conservative state in the union is a part of a remarkable cultural shift toward environmental values. Consider:
â€¢ Al Gore attracts 10,000 people to his slide show on global warming at Taco Bell Arena in January.
â€¢ Bill Moyers highlights Boise's evangelical Vineyard Fellowship for its environmental message and acts in the PBS special "Is God Green?" last fall.
â€¢ Former Gov. Jim Risch gets a standing ovation from a largely Republican crowd when he announces in Twin Falls last year that Idaho plans to opt out of a mercury pollution trading program, keeping coal-fired power plants out of the state.
Growing concerns about climate change are pegged as one big reason for Idaho's higher environmental profile. But conservation has hardly been a foreign concept to conservatives; as the etymology suggests. Adding to pressure for change that's coming from the global warming dialog, is a new and more inclusive profile for the environmental movement. The Statesman:
...environmentalism became tied closely with the counterculture, hippies, organic foods, and demonstrations, said Doug StanWiens, a history teacher at Timberline High School. The new environmental culture he sees growing in popularity with his students is very different...."It's not about scarcity or sacrifice," StanWiens said. "The kids haven't seen that. It's about choices."
...Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Rick Johnson...(says)..."When you're picking the people you invite into your home for dinner you would not pick an environmentalist....They're stereotyped as whining, shrill, they won't eat the food, they stuff themselves with the vegetables and tell you to turn down the thermostat." Companies and political opponents worked hard to develop that stereotype, Johnson said. But there was some truth to it.
The new environmental culture is not just generated by environmentalists. It's organic...The environment nationwide and locally has improved because of the environmental laws passed more than 35 years ago, said Betty Munis, executive director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission, which sponsors an environmental education curriculum used in Idaho schools. People express their environmental values now by buying local and using sustainable materials. "I think the average person has been taking environmentalism out of the hands of advocates and incorporating it into their lives," Munis said.
Incorporating environmentalism into daily personal transportation decisions can pose challenges and present opportunities. In major metropolitan areas, people will use public transit if it's fast and convenient and fits into their busy lives. The trick for transit planners and decision-makers is not only financing, but systems engineering to reduce wait times and travel times. People vote with their wristwatches, and cannot be hectored out of that. The smart focus is not on attacking "car culture" - something regrettably still frequent in Seattle and some other locales - but rather, developing more market-responsive transit choices plus a portfolio of sensible strategies to boost renewable fuels and fuel efficiency.
Former CIA chief and National Commission On Energy Policy Commissioner R. James Woolsey, in testimony to a U.S. Senate committee last week, noted that the U.S. depends on oil for 97 percent of its transportation needs; and that 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions (which hasten global warming) come from oil, particularly via transportation uses. Woolsey also stated that the U.S. now borrows more than $300 billion per year to import oil, weakening the dollar and helping to raise interest rates; while two-thirds of proven oil reserves and much of the industry's infrastructure lie in the politically volatile Persian Gulf.
In his testimony, Woolsey recommends government foster continued private-sector development of a range of "transformative" vehicle technologies through a $3 billion, five- to ten-year tax incentive for manufacturers and consumers. The aim would be "to encourage the domestic production and purchase of of plug-in hybrid, hybrid-electric and advanced diesel vehicles that achieve superior fuel economy." Woolsey details how high density, high power battery fueled plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can actually supply additional power to the electric grid after charging up in off-peak hours - with cost credits to consumers, and cheaper and cleaner electricity generation for utilities. Production model PHEVs are now an estimated two to three years away from appearing in showrooms, Woolsey estimates.
He also urges Congress to set a four percent annual Corporate Annual Fuel Economy (CAFE) target; and stresses that lighter-weight carbon fiber composites used in aerospace and race cars can be applied to commercial passenger vehicles; reducing weight, while increasing fuel efficiency and safety. Liquid fuels will still be essential, especially for use in longer-range trips, but alternatives to oil can and should be developed from among an array of options, including cellulosic as opposed to corn-based ethanol; cellulosic methanol; and renewable diesel from crops, and industrial, municipal and animal wastes.
Woolsey adds that Congress should ensure that "every car sold in the U.S....enable fuel flexibility, a feature which adds less than $100 to the manufacturing cost...and provides a platform upon which fuels can compete."
A diverse coalition of interests supports weaning our nation off foreign oil. Woolsey affectionately identifies the players as "the tree huggers, the do-gooders, the sod busters, the Mom and Pop car owners, the cheap hawks, the venture capitalists, the utility shareholders, the evangelicals, and Willie Nelson."
Willie Nelson has other plans that day, but with our co-sponsors we'll be hosting a pretty diverse group ourselves, at our May 7 "Jump Start to A Secure, Clean Energy Future" conference in Redmond, WA. More information, including online registration and the agenda, here.
In "Go Green? Go West," Los Angeles Times opinion columnist Ronald Brownstein writes that the Western U.S. is poised to lead on alternative energy. The "sagebrush rebellion" resource extraction push of decades past has given way to "a renewable revolution" bearing both real promise and all the expected consumer cost caveats, Brownstein posits.
Across the West, governors from both parties are advancing the nation's most ambitious policies to promote clean energy, encourage conservation and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases...leaders in the West are...drawing support from ideologically diverse local coalitions that include new residents concerned about preserving an attractive environment and agricultural and tourism interests fearful that global warming may undermine their industries. Even major utilities across the West have enlisted.
...The West's new energy axis rests on a deepening partnership between...Democratic governors and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a centrist Republican....last fall....Schwarzenegger signed a law barring state utilities from entering long-term contracts to import electricity from power plants that emit more carbon dioxide than the cleanest natural gas facilities -- a standard that excludes conventional coal-fired plants. That decision already is sending ripples through the region as governors from energy-exporting states use it to build support for cleaner alternatives to conventional coal.
...Six of the 11 states...have approved "renewable portfolio standards" that require utilities to generate a fixed percentage of electricity from renewable power sources such as wind, solar and geothermal; Oregon is on track to join them this year......In February, Schwarzenegger and the Democratic governors of Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon agreed to devise a regional plan for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, most likely through a cap-and-trade system....The participating states have agreed to devise a market-based regulation system by fall 2008, and sources involved in the design say they hope to entice into the plan not only other Western states but the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Washington voters last November approved I-937, requiring large utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from new renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020, and undertake cost-effective energy conservation. The measure excluded hydropower as a renewable, and had its critics, who argued government mandates aren't how to develop cleaner and more secure energy sources.
The Oregonian reports today that Washington ranks fifth nationwide and Oregon eighth in installed megawatts of wind power, according to 2006 year-end rankings by the American Wind Energy Association. The article also highlights several new wind power projects in Oregon, and gives a sense of some of the big business interests involved in the wind power industry, along with mid-sized and utility players.
Several large projects are under construction, including Portland-based PPM Energy's 221-megawatt Klondike III and Portland General Electric's 125-megawatt Biglow Canyon, both in Sherman County. Also, Horizon Wind Energy, which Portuguese power provider Energias de Portugal recently agreed to buy from Goldman Sachs for $2.15 billion, has a 101-megawatt project in the works in Union County. The state's newest player is Massachusetts-based UPC Wind, which has 35 wind projects under development in North America. UPC Wind on Wednesday applied with the state to build an $80 million, 60-megawatt wind farm about five miles west of The Dalles in Wasco County. The Cascade Wind Project would involve 40 turbines stretching six miles along an exposed ridgeline.
Reducing the output of carbon dioxide and other substances that trap the Earth's heat is not cheap. But there are expensive solutions, and there are astronomical ones. Any new policy should aim at getting the greatest reductions for the least money....The free market is the best system ever created for providing what we want at the lowest possible cost....we...need to make energy prices reflect the potential harm done by greenhouse gases...with a carbon tax that assesses fuels according to how much they pollute. Coal, having the highest carbon content, would be taxed the most, followed by oil and natural gas. The higher prices for the most damaging fuels would encourage people and companies to use them less and more of other types of energy, including nuclear, solar, wind and biofuels.
....Government programs to reduce greenhouse gases are a recipe for waste and abuse. Federal "investment" in alternative fuels? That idea got a full tryout during the energy crisis of the 1970s, with meager results. Tax breaks for ethanol? Largely self-defeating, because they encourage farmers to burn fossil fuels to expand production of corn.
These sorts of distinctions are important as the push for cleaner energy intensifies. A new reckoning of nuclear power seems likely in time, too. While part of the mix in the U.S. and Europe, it still faces great mistrust from the public. The APEC Energy Overview 2006 notes (p. 157) that in 2004, 41 percent of our nation's energy came from crude oil and petroleum products; 23 percent from coal; 22 percent from natural gas; and 14 percent from nuclear, hydro, geothermal and other fuels.
The APEC report (p. 163) also reminds that the U.S. Energy Policy Act Of 2005 outlines a long-term strategy for a diversified energy supply, modernization of the nation's energy infrastructure, increased energy efficiency and conservation and better vehicle fuel efficiency. Our Cascadia Center For Regional Development and special guests will highlight conservation and fuel efficiency in the "May 7 Jump Start To A Secure, Clean Energy Future" symposium on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, WA.
One objective in the '05 energy legislation, as the APEC document notes, is "creating an adequate Liquified Natural Gas infrastructure: streamlining the regulatory review process is underway to expedite the siting on new LNG import terminals." In California, the first of five expected proposals for liquified natural gas terminals is provoking a controversy that will put Gov. Schwarzenegger front and center next month. Recent articles from the San Francisco Chronicle and The Los Angeles Times detail the saga of the proposed Cabrillo Port liquified natural gas plant off the Ventura County coast between Malibu and Port Hueneme.
The State Lands Commision has voted not to accept an environmental impact study on the project, and that the State Coastal Commission - which votes on the project today - is reportedly also opposed. However, Gov. Schwarzenegger, who has until May 21 to decide, could still approve the project, with or without some amendments to the plan.
TECHNORATI TAGS: >ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, WESTERN UNITED STATES, GREENHOUSE GASES, CARBON TAX, WASHINGTON STATE, WIND POWER, ETHANOL, CALIFORNIA, LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER>
Speaker Presentations At Cascadia/Microsoft/Idaho National Laboratory "Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation" conference, 9/4/08 and 9/5/08, Redmond, Wash. (Topics included electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy, traffic management systems and technology, transit. Many of these files are very large and may take several minutes to open/download depending on your internet connection).