Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The "Fall 2011 Update" focuses on the many tools that are available for ensuring electric reliability as companies comply with the EPA rules by installing modern pollution control systems, utilizing allowances or retiring portions of the fleet that are uneconomic to retrofit. Federal and state regulators agree that the industry has the tools to maintain electric system reliability even in the face of coal plant retirements.
On November 28, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC), whose mission it is to ensure the reliability of the North American bulk power system and which is the electric reliability organization (ERO) certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to establish and enforce reliability standards for the bulk-power system, issued another report -- NERC 2011 Long-Term Reliability Assessment. That report indicates, "A decrease in projected generation resources leads to declining planning reserve margins in some areas; however, a majority of areas appear to have adequate resource plans to meet projected peak demands over the next ten years." Regarding environmental regulations, the NERC report indicates, "While more flexibility is provided in some proposed rules, the cumulative effect from environmental regulations may reduce reserve margins in ways that could affect bulk power system reliability, depending on the scope and timing of final regulation implementation."
Access a announcement of the MJB&A report (click here). Access the complete MJB&A report (click here). Access a release on the NERC assessment (click here). Access the 559-page NERC 2011 assessment (click here). Access the 2010 99-page NERC EPA assessment (click here). Access the Democratic Staff fact sheet (click here). [#Energy/Grid, #Air]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Monday, November 28, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "The annual UNEP Gap Report is a vital contribution to the global effort to address dangerous climate change. It shows that we have much to do, both in terms of ambition and policy, but it also shows that the gap can still be closed if we act now. This is a message of hope and an important call to action." The report also examines research on the gap between the pledges made by countries to cut their GHG emissions and what measures will be needed to keep the global temperature rise below the two degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit) target by 2020.
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director said, "This report puts into the hands of governments and policy-makers vital information about their options if the world is to meet the climate change challenge." In particular, the report cites aviation and shipping as important sectors to focus on as they account for five percent of carbon dioxide emissions. However, these sectors fall outside the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reduction treaty, whose first commitment period is due to expire in 2012. The report indicates that options for reducing emissions from both sectors include improving fuel efficiency and using low-carbon fuels. For the shipping sector, another promising and simple option is to reduce ship speeds.
Some of the report's recommendations for policy-makers include agreeing to implement their emissions reduction pledges with stricter rules, deciding to target their energy systems using more non-fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, and putting in place long-term, specific-sector policies to achieve the full emissions potential of the different economic sectors. The report includes the financial costs of these measures, addressing a key concern for policy-makers. According to UNEP, global average marginal costs range from $25-$54 per ton of removed carbon dioxide, with a median value of $34 per ton. The report also presents far more pessimistic scenarios, warning of what could happen if countries do not fully realize their commitments.
The provision of the guidelines, which involved 55 scientists and experts from 28 scientific groups across 15 countries, comes just a few days before the start of the UN Climate Change Convention in Durban, South Africa (November 28 to December 9), and seven months before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said, "Time is short, so we need to optimize the tools at hand. In Durban, governments need to resolve the immediate future of the Kyoto Protocol, define the longer path towards a global, binding climate agreement, launch the agreed institutional network to support developing countries in their response to the climate challenge, and set out a path to deliver the long-term funding that will pay for that."
On October 24, 2011, UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI) released another similar report warning that international efforts to mitigate climate change are insufficient to meet the goal of keeping global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [See WIMS 10/24/11]. That report -- Building the Climate Change Regime: Survey and Analysis of Approaches -- outlines a list of options to achieve the target, including more cuts in greenhouse gases (GHGs) from additional sectors, stronger accounting rules both within the UNFCCC and through other multilateral and domestic strategies, sharing mitigation efforts based on countries' capacities or contributions to the problem, and legally binding commitments. The report reviewed more than 130 proposals put forward by governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academics to design a climate regime capable of delivering adequate mitigation.
Specifically, the study reviewed 13 scenarios from nine different scientific groups. The scenarios were all able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the 2-degree target by 2020 by using a combination of the following:
- Improving energy efficiency: primary energy production would need to drop up to 11 percent from business-as-usual models in 2020, and the amount of energy used per unit of GDP would need to fall 1.1-2.3 percent each year from 2005 to 2020.
- Up to 28 percent of total primary energy would need to come from non-fossil sources in 2020 (up from 18.5 percent in 2005).
- Up to 17 percent of total primary energy in 2020 would come from biomass (up from about 10.5 percent in 2005).
- Up to 9 percent of total primary energy in 2020 would come from non-biomass renewable energy (solar, wind, hydroelectricity and the like).
- Non-CO2 emissions would fall by up to 19 percent relative to business as usual by 2020.
The study also examined research on various economic sectors to consider technical potential for emissions reductions by 2020. It found the following potential:
- Electricity production: 2.2 to 3.9 GtCO2e [gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent] per year through more efficient power plants, and by introducing renewable energy sources, carbon capture and storage and fuel shifting.
- Industry: 1.5 to 4.6 GtCO2e per year through improved energy efficiency, fuel switching, power recovery, materials efficiency and other measures.
- Transport (excluding aviation and shipping sectors): 1.4 to 2.0 GtCO2e per year through improved fuel efficiency, adoption of electric drive vehicles, shifting to public transit and use of low-carbon fuels.
- Aviation and shipping: 0.3-0.5 GtCO2e per year through improved fuel efficiency and low-carbon fuels, and other measures.
- Buildings: 1.4 to 2.9 GtCO2e per year by improving the efficiency of heating, cooling, lighting and appliances, and other measures.
- Forestry: 1.3 to 4.2 GtCO2e per year by reducing deforestation and making changes in forest management that increases above and below ground carbon stocks.
- Agriculture: 1.1 to 4.3 GtCO2e per year through changes in cropland and livestock management practices that reduce non-CO2 emissions and enhance soil carbon.
- Waste: about 0.8 GtCO2e per year by improving wastewater treatment, waste gas recovery from landfills, and other measures.
Access a release from the UN (click here). Access a more detailed release from UNEP (click here). Access the Bridging the Emissions Gap report, executive summary and related information (click here). Access a release from WRI on the UNEP/WRI report with links to the complete report, background and related information (click here). Access the UNFCCC website for more information and details on the upcoming COP17/CMP7 meeting (click here). [#Climate]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
"After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline. Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve. We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee's work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy.
"We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to come to a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement, but as we approach the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, we want to express our appreciation to every member of this committee, each of whom came into the process committed to achieving a solution that has eluded many groups before us. Most importantly, we want to thank the American people for sharing thoughts and ideas and for providing support and good will as we worked to accomplish this difficult task.
"We would also like to thank our committee staff, in particular Staff Director Mark Prater and Deputy Staff Director Sarah Kuehl, as well as each committee member's staff for the tremendous work they contributed to this effort. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Douglas Elmendorf and Mr. Thomas Barthold and their teams at the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, respectively, for the technical support they provided to the committee and its members."
President Obama issued a statement in response to the Committee's failure saying:
"As you all know, last summer I signed a law that will cut nearly $1 trillion of spending over the next 10 years. Part of that law also required Congress to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion by the end of this year. In September, I sent them a detailed plan that would have gone above and beyond that goal. It's a plan that would reduce the deficit by an additional $3 trillion, by cutting spending, slowing the growth of Medicare and Medicaid, and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. . .
"But despite the broad agreement that exists for such an approach, there's still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington. They continue to insist on protecting $100 billion worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at any cost, even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research. Even if it means deep cuts in Medicare. So at this point, at least, they simply will not budge from that negotiating position. And so far, that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce our deficit.
"Now, we are not in the same situation that we were -- that we were in in August. There is no imminent threat to us defaulting on the debt that we owe. There are already $1 trillion worth of spending cuts that are locked in. And part of the law that I signed this summer stated that if Congress could not reach an agreement on the deficit, there would be another $1.2 trillion of automatic cuts in 2013 - divided equally between domestic spending and defense spending. One way or another, we will be trimming the deficit by a total of at least $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years. . .
Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise -- not turn off the pressure. . . The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. . .
Now, in the meantime, we've got a lot of work left to do this year. Before Congress leaves next month, we have to work together to cut taxes for workers and small business owners all across America. If we don't act, taxes will go up for every single American, starting next year. And I'm not about to let that happen. Middle-class Americans can't afford to lose $1,000 next year because Congress won't act. And I can only hope that members of Congress who've been fighting so hard to protect tax breaks for the wealthy will fight just as hard to protect tax breaks for small business owners and middle-class families. We still need to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges. We still need to put our teachers back in the classroom educating our kids. . ."
"Moving forward, it is imperative that Congress act to stop the automatic, significant cuts to defense spending. Cuts in defense spending will have a massive ripple effect throughout the entire manufacturing economy, affecting large defense contractors, tens of thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturers in the defense supply chains and over 1 million workers -- a result we can ill-afford in a struggling economy and a period of such global unrest." The NAM's Defense Manufacturing Working Group issued a report on the true impact of defense cuts and job losses.
Access the statement from the Super Committee (click here). Access the President's complete statement (click here). Access the statement from NAM from (click here). Access the NAM report on defense cuts and job losses (click here). [#All]
Monday, November 21, 2011
American Chemistry Council (ACC) testified that, "Unfortunately. . . today we are discussing a bill that remains very similar to the bill introduced in 2010, which we consider unworkable." In his testimony Dooley outlined several fundamental flaws with the bill, including an unachievable safety standard, data requirements that would undermine the success of the current program to evaluate new chemicals, the creation of an overly burdensome and unnecessary minimum date set for all chemicals, and the lack of an effective prioritization process. He said, "We also believe that S.847 would compromise the protection of confidential business information, inappropriately expand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority into the jurisdiction of other federal agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), further complicate issues surrounding national uniformity of standards, and fail to adequately consider animal welfare."
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on behalf of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of over 300 organizations that speak for more than 11 million Americans. The coalition includes groups representing health professionals and health-affected populations and communities, environmental justice organizations, leading businesses, and state and national environmental groups -- all of whom came together to urge Congress to fundamentally reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. After outlining a series of problems with TSCA, EDF said, "All of these problems would be largely or entirely ameliorated by adoption of legislation introduced this year, S.847, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. It provides the framework for a comprehensive, systematic solution to a set of problems that until now have only been addressed -- if at all -- through reactive, piecemeal actions.EDF said, "We have ongoing dialogues with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) and more than a dozen of their member companies; these have involved many days of substantive meetings on key issues in TSCA reform over the past six months. . . While confidentiality agreements preclude me from discussing details, let me say that in our dialogue with CSPA we are on the cusp of agreement on recommendations to consider in the legislation that would address two key needs in TSCA reform: balancing public access to chemical information with the need to protect legitimate confidential business information; and designing a system to provide EPA with more robust information on how chemicals are used for purposes of both prioritizing and assessing the safety of chemicals. I have come away from my deep involvement in these dialogues with the belief that there is not a single major issue in TSCA reform for which, working together, we cannot find a solution. . ."
Friday, November 18, 2011
Representative Markey indicated that the extreme weather events of 2011 have brought the costly impact of climate change into sharp focus. The latest insurance analysis finds that the United States has experienced 15 weather disasters causing at least a billion dollars in damage thus far in 2011, more billion-dollar events than any other year. He said, "This huge potential price tag should be all the reason we need, especially in this economy, for taking steps now to reduce global warming pollution. Knowing the great risk extreme weather poses to our economy and citizens -- why wouldn't we act? Rather than being distracted by debunked attacks on climate science, Congress should be debating the steps we need to take to reduce pollution, create jobs and reclaim our lead in the clean energy race."
Earlier in the week, Representatives Markey and Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, held a Congressional briefing entitled, "End of Climate Change Skepticism" with several prominent scientists, including Dr. Richard Muller, a scientist who was previously skeptical about many aspects of climate science, but the two-year study he led at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has validated the fact that the world is warming [See WIMS 10/25/11].
Thursday, November 17, 2011
"We've invested heavily in clean energy research. We believe very strongly that we've improved efficiencies and a whole step range of steps that we can meet and the commitments that we made in Copenhagen and Cancun. And as we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions. I think that's good for the world. I actually think, over the long term, it's good for our economies as well, because it's my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers -- we're all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon.
"Now, another belief that I think the Prime Minister and I share is that the advanced economies can't do this alone. So part of our insistence when we are in multilateral forum -- and I will continue to insist on this when we go to Durban -- is that if we are taking a series of step, then it's important that emerging economies like China and India are also part of the bargain. That doesn't mean that they have to do exactly what we do. We understand that in terms of per capita carbon emissions, they've got a long way to go before they catch up to us. But it does mean that they've got to take seriously their responsibilities as well. And so, ultimately, what we want is a mechanism whereby all countries are making an effort. And it's going to be a tough slog, particularly at a time when the economies are -- a lot of economies are still struggling. But I think it's actually one that, over the long term, can be beneficial."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A release from the agencies indicated that the announcement is "the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama Administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can't wait for Congressional Republicans to act." EPA said that when combined with other historic steps the administration has taken to increase energy efficiency, this proposal will save Americans over $1.7 trillion at the pump, nearly $8,000 per vehicle by 2025. These combined actions also will reduce America's dependence on oil by an estimated 12 billion barrels, and, by 2025, reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day -- enough to offset almost a quarter of the current level of our foreign oil imports. Taken together, the actions will also slash 6 billion metric tons in GHG emissions over the life of the programs. The proposed standards alone will slash oil consumption by 4 billion barrels and cut 2 billion metric tons of GHG pollution over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold in those years.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "These unprecedented standards are a remarkable leap forward in improving fuel efficiency, strengthening national security by reducing our dependence on oil, and protecting our climate for generations to come. We expect this program will not only save consumers money, it will ensure automakers have the regulatory certainty they need to make key decisions that create jobs and invest in the future. We are pleased that we've been able to work with the auto industry, the states, and leaders in the environmental and labor communities to move toward even tougher standards for the second phase of the president's national program to improve fuel economy and reduce pollution."
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said, "By setting a course for steady improvements in fuel economy over the long term, the Obama Administration is ensuring that American car buyers have their choice of the most efficient vehicles ever produced in our country. That will save them money, reduce our nation's oil consumption and cut harmful emissions in the air we breathe. This is an important addition to the landmark clean cars program that President Obama initiated to establish fuel economy standards more than two years ago. The progress we made with the help of the auto industry, the environmental community, consumer groups and others will be expanded upon in the years to come -- benefitting the health, the environment and the economy for the American people."
The proposed program for model year 2017-2025 passenger cars and trucks is expected to require increases in fuel efficiency equivalent to 54.5 mpg if all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements. These improvements would save consumers an average of up to $6,600 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a model year 2025 vehicle for a net lifetime savings of $4,400 after factoring in related increases in vehicle cost. Overall, the net benefit to society from this rule would total more than $420 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in model year 2017-2025.
Today's action builds on the success of the first phase of the Obama Administration's national program(2012-2016), which will raise fuel efficiency equivalent to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and result in an average light vehicle tailpipe CO2 level of 250 grams per mile. These standards are already in effect and saving consumers money at the pump now. Combined with 2011 fuel economy standards and the standards in effect for 2012-2016, today's proposal represents the most significant Federal action ever taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy. Taken together, these actions would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half and result in model year 2025 light-duty vehicles with nearly double the fuel economy of model year 2010 vehicles.
The national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions created by DOT and EPA provides regulatory certainty and flexibility that reduces the cost of compliance for auto manufacturers while reducing oil consumption and harmful air pollution. By continuing the national program developed for model year 2012-2016 vehicles, EPA and DOT have designed a proposal that allows manufacturers to keep producing a single, national fleet of passenger cars and light trucks that satisfies all federal and California standards. It also ensures that consumers will continue to enjoy a full range of vehicle choices with performance, utility and safety features that meet their individual needs.
The standards will rely on innovative technologies that are expected to spur economic growth and create high-quality jobs across the country. Major auto manufacturers are already heavily invested in developing advanced technologies that can significantly reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the existing model year 2012-2016 standards. In addition, a wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including advanced gasoline engines and transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, lower tire rolling resistance, improvements in aerodynamics, diesel engines, more efficient accessories, and improvements in air conditioning systems. The standards should also spur manufacturers to increasingly explore electric technologies such as start/stop, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles. The model year 2017-2025 proposal includes a number of incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction of "game changing" advanced technologies, such as hybridization for pickup trucks.
The proposal released today follows President Obama's announcement in July that the administration and 13 major automakers representing more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. have agreed to build on the first phase of the national vehicle program. EPA and DOT worked closely with a broad range of stakeholders to develop the proposal -- including manufacturers, the United Auto Workers, the State of California, and consumer and environmental groups.
There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. In addition, DOT and EPA plan to hold several public hearings around the country to allow further public input. California plans to issue its proposal for model year 2017-2025 vehicle greenhouse gas standards on December 7 and will finalize its standards in January.
Access a release from EPA & DOT (click here). Access the NHTSA and EPA's notice of proposed rulemaking (click here). Access more information from EPA (click here). Access more information from NHTSA (click here). Access a release from NADA (click here). Access a release from Global Automakers (click here). Access a statement from the Auto Alliance (click here, posted soon). Access a lengthy release from UCS with more information (click here). Access a release from EDF with more information (click here). [#Energy/CAFE, #Climate, #Air]
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Nov 15: A new report by the Energy and Water in a Warming World Initiative, a three-year research collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of more than a dozen scientists indicates that p
ower plants are stressing freshwater resources around the country. The report, Freshwater Use by U.S. Power Plants: Electricity's Thirst for a Precious Resource, is the first systematic assessment of how power-plant cooling affects freshwater resources across the United States and of the quality of the data available on power plant water usage. Lead researcher Kristen Averyt, who is deputy director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado Boulder said, "Our research found that power plants can be very important in terms of the pressure put on the freshwater resources we depend on -- rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers -- even in unexpected places. Some of the watersheds our analysis identified -- in places like Texas -- should come as no surprise. But unlike in arid regions, where many power plants have already minimized their water use, we found indicators of potential problems in seemingly water-rich regions like the Southeast. Here our analysis uncovered some surprises, such as the Seneca River in South Carolina and the Upper Dan in North Carolina. It's important for the public to know that because many power plants depend so heavily on water, there's a real risk that they'll have to cut back electricity production at times when they can't get enough cooling water. Just ask power companies in Texas." To gauge water-supply stress, the analysis examined the balance of local water supply and demand in each major watershed or "sub-basin" in the United States, then factored in the amount of water that power plants are using. The analysis then focused on areas where power plant demands were the largest contributor to water body stress based on the methodology. Because of the need for good information to perform these types of analyses, the study also assessed the U.S. Department of Energy's reporting system used to track power plant water usage. The analysis looked at what power plants reported as their water usage in 2008 the most recent data then available. John Rogers, the report's co-author and senior analyst at UCS said, "Uncovering power plants' water use was not an easy task because the data reported by plant operators and compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration -- the most comprehensive set of information on power plant water use and cooling technologies -- was full of holes and errors. We had to piece together a lot of information to get a better handle on how much water power plants were really using. If we had used the Department of Energy data, we would have gotten a different picture of water stress from what we see in our results. Where our analysis found water-supply stress to be driven mainly by power plants, several did not show up when we used the available data from the Energy Department." The report also showed that power plants are stressing water bodies by discharging water at temperatures harmful to fish and other wildlife. In 2008, 350 power plants across the country reported discharging water at temperatures of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and some at temperatures over 110 degrees. "It's unsafe for people to sit in a Jacuzzi at 105 degrees, let alone live in it," said Rob Jackson, director of the Center on Global Environmental Change at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a member of the report's scientific advisory committee. "Fish and other species can't climb out of the hot tub." The report indicates that in recent years, a number of power plants have had to cut back power production because they were unable to stay within water temperature discharge limits. And, concludes, "Without water-smart energy choices, energy-water collisions may worsen as the population and the corresponding demand for energy and freshwater supplies grows, and as the climate changes. Water-smart technologies include wind and solar photovoltaics, which use essentially no water, and produce no carbon emissions."
Lead researcher Kristen Averyt, who is deputy director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado Boulder said, "Our research found that power plants can be very important in terms of the pressure put on the freshwater resources we depend on -- rivers, streams, lakes, and aquifers -- even in unexpected places. Some of the watersheds our analysis identified -- in places like Texas -- should come as no surprise. But unlike in arid regions, where many power plants have already minimized their water use, we found indicators of potential problems in seemingly water-rich regions like the Southeast. Here our analysis uncovered some surprises, such as the Seneca River in South Carolina and the Upper Dan in North Carolina. It's important for the public to know that because many power plants depend so heavily on water, there's a real risk that they'll have to cut back electricity production at times when they can't get enough cooling water. Just ask power companies in Texas."
To gauge water-supply stress, the analysis examined the balance of local water supply and demand in each major watershed or "sub-basin" in the United States, then factored in the amount of water that power plants are using. The analysis then focused on areas where power plant demands were the largest contributor to water body stress based on the methodology. Because of the need for good information to perform these types of analyses, the study also assessed the U.S. Department of Energy's reporting system used to track power plant water usage. The analysis looked at what power plants reported as their water usage in 2008 the most recent data then available.
John Rogers, the report's co-author and senior analyst at UCS said, "Uncovering power plants' water use was not an easy task because the data reported by plant operators and compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration -- the most comprehensive set of information on power plant water use and cooling technologies -- was full of holes and errors. We had to piece together a lot of information to get a better handle on how much water power plants were really using. If we had used the Department of Energy data, we would have gotten a different picture of water stress from what we see in our results. Where our analysis found water-supply stress to be driven mainly by power plants, several did not show up when we used the available data from the Energy Department."
The report also showed that power plants are stressing water bodies by discharging water at temperatures harmful to fish and other wildlife. In 2008, 350 power plants across the country reported discharging water at temperatures of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and some at temperatures over 110 degrees.
"It's unsafe for people to sit in a Jacuzzi at 105 degrees, let alone live in it," said Rob Jackson, director of the Center on Global Environmental Change at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a member of the report's scientific advisory committee. "Fish and other species can't climb out of the hot tub." The report indicates that in recent years, a number of power plants have had to cut back power production because they were unable to stay within water temperature discharge limits. And, concludes, "Without water-smart energy choices, energy-water collisions may worsen as the population and the corresponding demand for energy and freshwater supplies grows, and as the climate changes. Water-smart technologies include wind and solar photovoltaics, which use essentially no water, and produce no carbon emissions."
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)
Monday, November 14, 2011
The Republican Members said further, "The Keystone XL pipeline gives the President the unique opportunity to create thousands of jobs and advance our nation's energy security. All he has to do is say 'yes' and the jobs will come. Unfortunately, his plan to re-route the pipeline would delay a final decision until 2013. This is conveniently past election day, but far too long to make workers wait. Today's announcement doesn't get us any closer to a solution and does nothing to increase our nation's energy security or create needed jobs. All it does is kick the can down the road at a time we can least afford such inaction.
"With a sluggish economy and stubbornly high unemployment, more delays are simply unacceptable. The Keystone XL pipeline is a shovel-ready jobs stimulus that won't cost taxpayers a dime. Construction of the pipeline will directly employ 20,000 Americans and create more than 100,000 spin-off jobs. Manufacturers and labor unions are begging the President to approve the pipeline so they can get blue-collar Americans back to work. Each day the President delays the project is another day an American worker remains unemployed.
"This project has undergone more than three years of study since the application was submitted in September 2008, and about a year ago, Secretary Clinton said she was inclined to approve the pipeline. The President says we can't wait for jobs, but his decision to delay this project is jeopardizing the entire project and harming our energy and economic security in the process. Several analysts believe a delay of this magnitude could effectively kill the pipeline. If we don't import Canada's oil, China gladly will. The President's window of opportunity is quickly closing, and by refusing to make a decision, he is all but painting it shut. Bipartisan legislation sailed through the House once this year already, and we won't hesitate to act again to do whatever we can to move this job-creating project forward."
The Democratic Ranking Member of the Committee, Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a very brief statement on the project saying, "The State Department recognized today that the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline threatens our health and security. We can act to avoid catastrophic climate change or we can lock in a 100-year dependence on tar sands -- the dirtiest, most carbon-polluting oil available -- but we cannot choose both. As the State Department further evaluates this misguided proposal, it must thoroughly and impartially address how the pipeline would exacerbate climate change, as well as other concerns."
Note: For additional reactions from other interests see the WIMS posting [See WIMS 11/11/11].
Access the statement from the Republican Committee Members (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Waxman (click here). Access the release from TransCanada (click here). Access the TransCanada Keystone XL project website (click here). Access the statement from Gov. Heineman (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Nelson (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Johanns (click here). Access the State Department announcement (click here). Access complete details and background from the DOS Keystone XL Pipeline Project website (click here). [#Energy/Pipeline, #Energy/OilSands]
GET THE REST OF TODAY'S NEWS (click here)