Category Archives: Environment

Stuff about the environment and our relationship with it

Tesco To Install Crazy Huge Solar System

tesco logoTesco, the fourth-largest retail chain in the world, today announced it is installing a $13 million solar roof on its five-building, 820,400-square-foot distribution center under construction in Riverside.

“We believe this will be the largest roof-mounted solar installation in California, and possibly the world,” said Tesco USA CEO Tim Mason, who announced in December that Tesco was moving into the U.S. market with the opening its U.S. headquarters in El Segundo, California. The U.K.-based company has more than 2,800 stores in markets across Central Europe and Asia. Its expansion into the U.S. will begin with store opening this year in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

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Denmark To Double Use Of Renewable Energy

denmarkThe Danish government today presented a proposal for a new energy plan, saying it plans to raise the use of renewable energy to 30% from 15% now by 2025. The government said it would double investment in renewable energy to 1 billion Danish kroner ($173.77 million) a year from 2010, with the aim of cutting the use of fossil fuels by at least 15% by 2025.

The investment will be used partly for research into and development of second generation biofuel, highly efficient wind turbines, effective low-energy buildings, as well as hydrogen and fuel cells. The government also said it aims to cut annual energy consumption by 1.25% a year up until 2025, and cover 10% of the transport sector’s fuel use with biofuel by 2020.

It said it is prepared to set partial targets for biofuel use before 2020, considering that economical, competitive and environmentally friendly technologies have been developed. Transport and Energy Minister Flemming Hansen said: “By doubling the use of renewable energy and with a very ambitious energy savings target, the government wants to secure a robust and environmentally just energy supply. At the same time we send a clear signal to the E.U. that Denmark is ready to pre-empt the coming discussions about the European Commission’s proposal for the E.U.’s future energy policy.”

He added he looked forward to discussing the proposal with the other political parties. “It is my ambition, that we will reach a broad settlement about the energy proposal,” he said.

However, the opposition party, the Danish Social Democrats, called the proposal unambitious.

“The government is taking a step in the right direction, but it is far from impressive targets they are setting up,” said Kim Mortensen, energy spokesman for the Social Democrats.

Renewable energy currently represents 15% of Denmark’s total energy consumption, while 42% comes from oil, 23% from natural gas, 19% from coal and 1% from other nonrenewable energy sources.

Government Begins Long Slow Process Of Pulling Head Out Of Ass

jerry McNerneyThese are exciting times, or perhaps I just have really low expectations after so many years with Bush and Co. But I pinched myself and the news was still true, the Democratic party has passed a renewable energy bill that moves tax breaks away from oil companies and towards renewable energy companies.

from here

Freshman Rep. Jerry McNerney took his first turn in the congressional spotlight Thursday by playing a prominent role in a debate over legislation intended to wean America off oil and foster development of renewable energy sources.

The bill passed the House 264-163; McNerney and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, voted for it, while Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican whose district includes the Mother Lode, voted against it. Thirty-six Republicans did support the measure, however.

McNerney, who was a wind-energy consultant before he defeated Tracy Rep. Richard Pombo last fall, is emerging as a go-to guy on energy matters in a Democratic-controlled Congress eager to promote green energy sources such as wind, solar or biofuels.

Oddly enough, the bill McNerney helped champion Thursday includes within it a provision designed by Pombo last fall that would punish certain oil companies: Oil firms that now benefit from a 1998 Interior Department error exempting them from paying royalties to the federal treasury must now pay a “conservation fee” if they refuse to fix the error in a new contract.

Firms that refuse to renegotiate contracts would also be barred from winning any new contracts to drill for oil anywhere else in the United States.

The legislation would also scrap nearly $15 billion worth of oil industry tax breaks enacted by Congress in recent years. That tax money will now be used to promote renewable fuels such as solar and wind power, alternative fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, and provide incentives for conservation.

“This bill is a first step to diversify our energy sources,” McNerney said. “By investing in new energy technologies, we will also create an entire spectrum of good-paying jobs right here in America. In fact, passage of this bill will produce nearly 1 million jobs in the next three years, generating close to $30 billion in new wages.

“I am pleased that we are doing more than just paying lip service to expanding innovation in clean energy by following through on our responsibility to make the environment livable for future generations.”

I will let that sink in for a bit…

Pretty neat huh. You bet your ass its neat! Its great, now all we have to do is get it through the Senate (so the president can veto it weee!)

In all seriousness though this is a groundbreaking piece of law making. The simple fact that this passed the house means that things are changing. A couple of months ago a bill like this would have never left whatever republican controlled committee that it originated in. The Dem’s are really shaking things up. Even if Georgie vetoes this and we continue to funnel billions to oil companies at least we are starting something. In 08 we can simply strengthen the majority of renewable energy candidates in the house and Senate and this wont be a problem (while we are at it mines well get a renewable energy supporter for president as well)

A Good Time To Get A Job In Renewable Energy

guys installing solar panelI have repeatedly harped on the fact that renewable energy should be an “American” thing. I think we have the perfect setup to really dominate this industry. One of the many benefits to this strategy of renewable energy domination is the creation of lots of high paying high tech jobs. Seems that other people are starting to say the same thing.

The state of Arizona recently released a 128 page report outlining all the sweet things renewable energy would do for their state. Here is a snippet from the Business Journal of Phoenix

The state could create more 3,000 jobs and significantly reduce emissions if the public and private sector adopt new solar energy technologies, according to the Solar Roadmap Study released Friday by the Arizona Department of Commerce.

The 128-page report projects that up to 1,000 megawatts of solar energy could be implemented in Arizona by 2020, creating thousands of jobs and reducing airborne emissions by 400,000 tons a year.
“Developing these technologies will provide substantial economic benefit for Arizona while reducing air pollutant emissions, creating jobs, and redirecting the amount of money that flows out of state for energy,” said Gov. Janet Napolitano. “I’ve long said Arizona is the ‘Saudi Arabia of solar energy’ within the United States, yet the vast solar resource of the state and its economic potential remain largely untapped.”

More than $6 billion of the $10 billion plus that Arizonans annually spend on energy exits the state, leading business and political leaders to push for more sustainable energy sources here.

“New approaches to energy efficiency and the development of the state’s clean energy resources will create good, high-wage jobs for Arizonans,” said Arizona Department of Commerce Director Jan Lesher.

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Renewable Energy Roundup

The roundup, its only been a couple weeks since I started this thursday tradition and already I am going “off format” to bring you something a little different this week.

Its no secret that the renewable energy marketplace is going nuts. With wind and solar energy taking off like a rocket, very sizable rumblings that the biofuel market may be about to explode, and lots of exciting things popping up in geothermal, wave, and tidal technology its no wonder that people are starting to talk about renewable energy.

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