Friday, September 29, 2006

Meet the Power Behind AB 32.

The VC Reporter, a weekly from Ventura County has an in-depth article on Assembly Member Fran Pavley, the author/sponsor of AB 32.

She cuts a surprisingly low profile for someone who just turned the eight largest economy in the world on its head. It's interesting reading:

Follow The Leader [VC Reporter]

Fallout from SB 1368

I mentioned SB 1368 the other day and the prohibition against importing elecrticity from coal-fired pants to Califonia. I noted that CMTA hated the law-- well, the National Association of Manufacturers really hates it.

The NAM has come out swinging, bringing up everything including the Commerce Clause of the Consitution in its argument that SB 1368 is an enconomy kililer.

Check it out if your so inclined:

Command and Control, California Style [National Association of Manufacturers]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Angelides Throwing a "Hail Mary" on LNG

Desperate to revive his moribund campaign for governor, Phil Angelides is heading to Malibu on Friday to talk about LNG.

While we can only speculate what he will say, we have to believe that he will prostrate himself at the feet of the wealthy Hollywood movie stars who are opposing the Cabrillo Port project.

Let's hope Mr.Angelides isn't so busy pandering that he ignores the other side of the Malibu LNG question: California's need for affordable, sustainable, and clean energy alternatives.

Environmental and lifestyle impacts are certainly relevant factors to consider when making a decision on LNG, but they must not be the only factors under consideration. California is going to need more energy alternatives and if Mr. Angelides becomes Governor, the issue will be solidly on his plate.

The Biggest Issue You've Never Heard Of [San Francisco Chronicle]

Riverside Gets State of the Art Generating Technology

Calling it one of the "most efficient and advanced machines of its type in the world", GE has shipped the first of two new, state of the art, "7H" gas turbines to Riverside for use in the Inland Empire Energy Center, which is set to come on line in 2008.

According to a company press release:

Operating on natural gas, the two GE 107 H combined-cycle units at Inland Empire will produce enough power to supply nearly 600,000 households while reducing future carbon dioxide emissions by more than 146,000 tons a year, compared to a typical gas-fired power plant of a similar size. The new power plant is expected to enter commercial service by the summer of 2008, in time to help offset state-forecasted energy shortfalls in Southern California.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"He signed ya Bill... now you're a law!!!!"

Just two days after the San Francisco Chronicle revealed what a mess the state's transition to renewable energy is, today the Governor will sign-- with great fanfare-- AB 32 which officially kicks off California's effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions through increased reliance on renewable energy. Buried in the bill-signing ceremony is another piece of legislation-- SB 1368-- which bans the purchase of electricity from coal-fired plants within or without California. The bill also prohibits utilities form investing such plants.

The CMTA leads a chorus of detractors who hate both bills because of the negative impact they will allegedly have on business.

One interesting effect of SB 1368 is that it clears the way for the permit and construction of the Frontier transmission line which has been held up by environmentalists who feared that California planned to purchase lots of coal-fired electricty from Wyoming. 1368 pretty much makes that a moot point.

Schwarzenegger to sign bill against coal-fired power Wednesday [Dow Jones]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Clean Energy Goes to the Polls.

Dow Jones has published a detailed analysis of Prop 87, the ballot initiative that seeks to impose an oil tax in California to fund alternative energy development.

The LA Times also weighs in.

Proposition 87 fires up California Energy Debate [Dow Jones]

No On Proposition 87 [Los Angeles Times]

Did she really say THAT?

I don't mean to beat a dead horse on the Long Beach LNG project, but this morning I read one of the greatest quotes ever from an elected official and the only context in which I can bring it up in this blog is by tying it to the Long Beach project. (Sorry.)

According to LA Voice, Los Angeles City Council Member Janice Hahn, whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles (which is adjacent to the Port of Long Beach, where Sound Energy Solutions wants to build an LNG terminal) floored an audience in the Valley yesterday:

Hahn, called the Port, Los Angeles's most vulnerable terrorist target and cited a RAND study that predicted 60,000 deaths and 150,000 radiation exposures in the event a nuclear bomb went off (presumably in one of the uninspected cargo containers).

Hahn then cheerfully added, "If it doesn't get blown up," we're going to build a park there for family-friendly recreation!

Why didn't I think of that? Build a family-friendly park on LA's single biggest terrorist target! Maybe it could be called "LNG World," and kids could ride a roller coaster that banks around the massive re-gassification terminal... As for siting an LNG terminal adjacent to a terrorist target, you've heard all about that already.

I mean, you can't make this stuff up...

VICA Lunch: Taxes, Terror, Cops, Crime & Boat Smog []

Monday, September 25, 2006

California Is All Talk on Green Energy.

In Texas they have a saying about pretentious folks who pretend to be cowboys: "All hat, no cattle." That would seem to apply to just about everyone in California who has spouted off in the media about California's commitment to renewable energy-- a commitment the San Francisco Chronicle reports is really just a glorified photo op.

According to the Chronicle:

"Despite overwhelming public and political support for renewable power, ratepayer contributions of $319 million, and a 2002 law mandating a dramatic increase in the use of sun and wind to create megawatts, California has boosted its use of renewable energy by less than 1 percent of the state's overall electricity use in the past four years."

Bureaucratic red tape apparently is to blame, but if the past is any prediction of the future, bureacratic red tape isn't going anywhere-- and, apparently netither is green energy.

State red tape trips up green energy efforts [San Francisco Chronicle]

Friday, September 22, 2006

PUC Gives Thumbs Up To LNG.

The PUC yesterday approved new rules for the importation and use of LNG in California. PUC Chairman Michael Peevey noted that the ruling will clear the way for adequate, safe gas supplies for California.

Predictably, the decision caused an uproar in the environmental community which has vowed to challenge it. Groups ranging from suspiciously-named-ad-hoc-advocacy-groups like "Ratepayers for Affordable Clean Energy" to the AQMD are not happy with the PUC.

Look for lots of bureacratic wrangling in the weeks to come.

PUC Clears the Way for Liquified Gas Imports [Los Angeles Times]

In Long Beach, LNG Stands for "Let's Not Go there".

With all the attention being paid lately to actor Pierce Brosnan and his gazillionaire neighbors in Malibu who are scared to death that an offshore LNG terminal might in someway upset their privileged lifestyle, we may be tempted to forget that there is another LNG battle raging in Long Beach.

Long Beach residents might not be as rich and famous as the Malibu- Movie Star- Millionaires, but they're just as mad over a proposed LNG terminal to be sited- literally-- in their back yard.

According to a recent article in the Long Beach Gazette, the Environmental Impact Report on the Long Beach project is due in a couple of months, at which point it must be approved and permitted by the FERC. Then the Harbor Commission would have to approve the land lease, and then the Coastal Commission would get involved.

All of this makes the Long Beach project either a long shot or long way from happening- take your pick-- but given that the company behind the Long Beach project, Sound Energy Solutions, actually wants to put this terminal not only on shore, but in a high density urban area, I'm guessing it's the former.

LNG Sides Mark Time Trying To Sway Opinions [Long Beach Gazette]

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New CEO for Sempra Utilities.

Sempra named Debra Reed CEO of both SoCal Gas Co. and SDG&E. According to the Los Angeles Times, Reed is the first woman to head "the nation's largest natural gas utility."

Reed, age 50, is a Gas Co. lifer, starting her career there in 1978. She succeeds Edwin Guiles who becomes Sempra's Executive Vice President of Corporate Development.

Sempra Picks CEO for 2 Utilities [Los Angeles Times]

"Hot Gas" or "Hot Air"?

Elizabeth Douglass writes in today's Los Angeles Times about the latest argument to be trotted out against LNG-- apparently it burns hotter than domestic gas and this will have some kind of negative effect on seals (the mechanical kind, not the "sea lion" kind).

Is this another specious argument seeking to kill proposed LNG projects or a legitimate concern? Judge for yourself, but when the "Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers" (I guess there really is an association for everything) gets dragged into this fight, you have to wonder if ulterior motives and undisclosed agendas are afoot.

At any rate, LNG burns hot, but it still burns so it has to at least be considered--reasonably and fairly-- as an option to meet California's energy needs.

Concerns Raised Over Natural Gas From Abroad [Los Angeles Times]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

UC Davis Gets $25 Million Grant from Chevron.

Chevron has ponied up $25 million for UC Davis researchers to develop new transportation fuels from farm and forest residue, urban waste, and certain energy producing crops.

The five year project will focus on things like plant stems, branches and leaves.

Leading the project is UC Davis professor Bryan Jenkins, an expert on turning biomass into energy who is the Director fo the California Biomass Collaborative, a largely state-funded group that coordinates the efforts of academia, state, and environmental groups trying to develop alternative fuels from biomass.

UCD Gets $25M for biofuels [Davis Enterprise]

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Agent 007's New Mission.

Actor Pierce Brosnan- famous for playing British spy James Bond-- led what the media is calling a "protest" against LNG in Malibu, CA.

However, if you check out the video (provided via celebrity web site, it does not appear to be very well atteneded.

Brosnan and his neighbors are dead set against the proposed Cabrillo Port LNG terminal and are seeking to derail it citing environmental and safety concerns.

Pierce Brosnan Prefers No Gas. []

New Poll Finds Californians Bullish on Renewable Energy.

According to a poll conducted by California State University-Sacramento professor Dennis Tootelian, more than 90% of Californians surveyed support the state's mandate to generate 20% of its power from renewable sources by the year 2010.

The poll also found that more than 80% of respondants favored the expansion of wind energy. Until recently, California led the nation in wind energy production.

The poll was commissioned by FPL Energy and surveyed 500 Californians.

People Blown Away By Wind Energy [Inside Bay Area]

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Sun Is Shining on Silicon Valley Again.

Silicon Valley chip makers are cashing in on the solar power boom. According to published reports, semiconducter and other chip companies have become big players in the manufacture of solar cells.

While solar energy still is almost twice as expensive to produce than energy created from fossil fuels, the government has been willing to subsidize the process in an effort to develop alternative energy sources.

Taking a page from Archer Daniels Midland which has fleeced the government for years through ethanol subsidies, solar stands to put Silicon Valley back on the map.

According to the Contra Costa Times:

But improving technology, falling costs, rising prices for fossil fuels, concerns about the electric grid's stability and worries about global warming are all fueling the growth of solar energy. The industry is expected to grow from $11 billion in 2005 to $51 billion in 2015, according to a projection by Clean Edge Inc., a market research firm focused on clean technology.

Solar Energy Recharges Silicon Valley [Contra Costa Times]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Malibu LNG Saga.

Last night the Malibu City Council reiterated its opposition to a proposed LNG project off the coast of Oxnard. Last week we noted that residents of the tony coastal enclave have been trying to play the environmental card against the project since their efforts to question its safety were soundly rejected.

Malibu is now laying it on pretty thick in the environmental fear-mongering department, tying its LNG discussion last night to a promotion for an upcoming fundraiser/screening of the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" to be hosted by actor Pierece Brosnan.

Don't expect resolution any time soon. The Malibu millionaires have lots of time on their hands and lots of money to spend and they are skilled at playing the environmental NIMBY card to preserve their lifestyle. Last year, the cause du jour was preventing public beach access near their homes, this year it's all about LNG.

City Unanimously Adopts Resolution To Oppose LNG And Co-Hosts Fundraiser Screening To Oppose Cabrillo Port [PCH Press]

SDG&E Tranmission Line Project Moves Forward.

SDG&E's "Sunrise Powerlink" project has cleared a bureaucratic hurdle with the California Public Utilites Commission. The PUC has declared all of application paperwork to be in order and will now proceed with the all-important environmental evaluation and public comment period.

Sunrise Powerlink is a proposed 150 mile transmission line from the Imperial Valley to San Diego that, according to SDG&E, will:
"improve energy reliability for local homes and businesses, but also will deliver clean energy from renewable resources to help the utility meet statewide renewable energy goals, and will reduce overall energy costs for customers..."

Of course, as with all projects in California, with the environmental review still pending, this is anything but a slam dunk.

State Regulators Deem SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink Application 'Complete' [SDG&E Press Release]

Friday, September 08, 2006

Electricity vs. the Environment

Environmentalists are protesting an SCAQMD proposal to allow new power plants to buy air quality credits heretofore reserved for hospitals, fire departments and the like.

Detractors say there will be a net increase in air pollution accross the state. Furthermore, they are also advancing environmental justice arguments, noting that nearly all of the newly proposed plants are in low income or minority communities.

Supporters of the plan say we desperately need the power and these plants are the most environmentally friendly ever designed. The economic reality, however, is that without these credits, the plants would never be built and California would remain underweight in its power capacity.

Both sides make compelling arguments so this promises to be regulatory battle worth watching.

New Power Plants May Get Leeway On Smog [Los Angeles Times]

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

California No Longer Tops In Wind Energy.

Texas has passed California as the top producer of wind energy in the United States. California, which had held the title since 1981, has a production capacity of 2,323 megawatts, 47 megawatts fewer than Texas's capacity of 2,370.

California officials shrugged off the development, noting that in 2005 nearly 11% of California's overall energy production came from renewable sources.

State no longer No. 1 in wind power [Contra Costa Times]

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If at first you don't succeed...

In its report on developments with the proposed Cabrillo Port LNG project, the LA Times notes that coastal residents are now citing onshore air quality concerns as a reason to oppose the project.

Initially, detractors sought to derail the project by raising questions about the safety of an LNG terminal, but most now concede that, because the project would be so far offshore, it poses no safety risk. The LA Times concedes as much, calling Cabrillo Port "safer" than onshore projects.

Cabrillo Port officials responded to questions about onshore air quality impacts, noting that they are using state of the art technology and that the project will have a net postive effect on onshore air quality:

But Renee Klimczak, president of BHP Billiton LNG International, said the project would not only provide California with a reliable source of low-polluting energy, it would aid in the fight for clean air. She said the company plans to use the best-available technology so the operation does not degrade air quality on the mainland.

"There should be no onshore impact," Klimczak said. "We have committed to reduce near-shore emissions to near zero and that's going to result in a net air quality benefit."

Offshore Terminal's Onshore Effect Debated [Los Angeles Times]