Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Hyped Than the Super Bowl.

At this point, you probably need a program to keep track of all the players and scheduled activities associated with the regulatory review of the LNG project off Oxnard. The Malibu Surfside News offers a pretty good summary, but basically, the immediate future breaks out like this:

There are three upcoming hearings. Next Wednesday, the Coast Guard will hold its hearing in Oxnard, and the Surfside News is reporting that no resulting decision will be made for up to 90 days. After that, the State Lands Commission meets on April 9, then the Coastal Commission on April 12.

Proponents of the project cite job creation and a plentiful supply of natural gas to meet California's growing demand. Detractors bemoan the project for a variety of reasons which run the gamut from national security to environmental concerns and, as many (read: "this blog") suspect, fear that the project would mar their million dollar ocean views.

So, finally next week is almost here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sothern California Tops in Energy Efficiency.

SoCal Edison customers won plaudits in a national survey of consumer energy efficiency. According to the survey, SCE customers achieved the highest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficiency programs of any area nationwide.

SoCal Edison reported that total customer response to its energy-efficiency programs over the past five years has saved four billion kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power 500,000 homes for an entire year. Saving that much energy also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than two million tons, the equivalent of removing 250,000 cars from the road. During the next two years, SCE forecasts its customers will save an additional two billion KW hours, which will reduce emissions by another one million tons.

The EPA has recognized SoCal Edison's achievements, most recently by naming it an Energy Star Partner of the Year for 2007. This is the sixth time SCE has received an EPA and DOE award for the effectiveness of its energy-efficiency programs.

Southern California Energy Takes Two Green Steps []

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reality Check.

Matt Kibbe has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal that should be required reading for anyone interested in energy issues in California.

Because the Wall Street Journal online can be tough to navigate if you're not a registered user, I cut and pasted the entire piece below:

California Dreaming
By MATT KIBBE March 27, 2007; Page A19

The San Andreas Fault separates California from the rest of America, but politicians in the Golden State aren't waiting for the "Big One" to split from the rest of country. Last October, the General Assembly in Sacramento triggered a legislative earthquake by imposing draconian, state-wide limits on carbon dioxide production, the byproduct of human activity and purportedly one of the leading causes of global warming.

Assembly Bill 32, the "California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006," makes California the first state in the nation to broadly limit CO2 emissions. Cosponsored by radical groups like Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, AB 32 establishes an overall cap on the production of CO2 and a mandatory new reporting system to track emission levels across the state. This law will force California to ramp CO2 production back to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Thanks to AB 32, the new powerbrokers in California are not Hollywood studio chiefs or Silicon Valley venture capitalists, but rather the officials in an obscure state bureaucracy called the California Air Resources Board (CARB). These bureaucrats now have a broad mandate to develop the regulatory framework to force compliance with the new emissions restrictions.
California's population was 29.7 million people in 1990, and is expected to grow to 42.2 million by 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These new residents will create a staggering 41% gap between projected emissions and the limits set by AB 32.

How can the state close this gap? Californians' electricity rates are already about 40% above the national average; and state law currently prohibits construction of nuclear power plants, a low-cost source of CO2-free power. Dr. Margo Thorning, the chief economist at the American Council for Capital Formation, wrote in a study last summer that "technologies simply do not exist to reduce total (and per capita emissions) over the next 14 years by the amounts mandated in AB 32 . . . without severely reducing the growth in California's Gross State Product (GSP) and in employment."

Less allowable carbon means less energy. Less available energy, coupled with higher expected demand, means higher energy prices. Higher energy prices mean a booming market in "carbon offsets" for wealthy movie stars and their patrons and extremely unaffordable energy for the rest of working, commuting California.

Even worse, these new burdens on California's economy will do almost nothing to reduce the planet's total production of CO2. That's because commodity markets, like those for fossil fuels, are global. Carbon abstinence in California will drive the market price down for other consumers, whether they live in Nevada, Canada or China. Lower prices stimulate new demand.

Thus, even if one agrees that global warming is occurring and that human activities are the cause, California's unilateral restrictions are counterproductive and will simply force businesses to leave the state. Indeed, California is already one of the most carbon-efficient economies in the world. Pushing manufacturing out of California to other states and to competing nations might actually result in greater net carbon dioxide production. As a spokesman for the California Chamber of Commerce noted last year, "Our primary concern is that [this legislation] will drive our costs higher and take jobs and greenhouse gases elsewhere."

So what is California to do? Handicapped by a deeply flawed legislative mandate, some Golden State pols are hoping that their newly empowered congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., can force the rest of the nation to drink the same carbon-free Kool-Aid. One of San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi's first acts as House Speaker was a tactical end-run around Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D., Mich.), no friend of extreme environmentalists. Promising House consideration of national global warming legislation by July 4th, Rep. Pelosi created a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and put Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents Beverly Hills, in charge of it.

In the Senate, California's Barbara Boxer is perhaps the most extreme congressional voice on this issue. As the new chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, she wields an influential gavel. Her well-orchestrated March 21st committee hearing on the dangers of climate change turned into a public relations circus -- the de facto East Coast coronation of former Vice President Al "The Goracle" Gore. Sen. Boxer claims that unless Congress enacts new taxes and other limits on energy consumption, "we could risk global climatic disasters on an unprecedented scale, ranging from dangerous sea level rise, to increasingly damaging hurricanes [such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita], increased deaths from air pollution and disease, to widespread geopolitical instability." Scripts this scary used to be produced in Hollywood, but ever since the Oscars, it is getting harder and harder to sort fact from fiction.

The first real casualty of all the hype surrounding global warming seems to be simple economic common sense. Just a few years ago, in 1997, a Senate resolution sharply criticized proposed CO2 limits under the Kyoto Protocol, calling on then-President Clinton not to sign it or any other international climate change agreement that ". . . would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." The Kyoto Protocol would have compelled the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by the years 2008 to 2012. Adopting Kyoto-style restrictions would have cost the economy 4.9 million jobs, something Sen. Boxer and 96 of her Senate colleagues apparently found morally, or at least politically, unacceptable.

Unfortunately, with AB 32, California has adopted its own mini Kyoto, so Sen. Boxer, Rep. Pelosi and Rep. Waxman are "all in" at a high-stakes game of tax, cap and trade. This push from the California delegation stands American federalism on its head. Competition and innovation among the states are the driving force behind federalism, but Sen. Boxer and Speaker Pelosi hope to take an extravagantly expensive idea from their state and force it on the rest of us, even as similarly draconian carbon restrictions are failing miserably in Europe.

In reality, continued economic prosperity is essential to addressing real environmental challenges. Congress should be considering a positive environmental agenda that strips away agriculture subsidies, drops tariffs on cleaner and cheaper fuels, and eliminates other barriers to technological innovation like excessive taxes on new capital and investment. Unfortunately, environmental stewardship informed by the laws of supply and demand will do nothing to bail out California.

Mr. Kibbe is the president of FreedomWorks.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wind Energy Project Stirring Up Controversy.

A proposal to build 50 new wind turbines near the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument outside Palm Springs is drawing fire from local residents and some in the environmental community.

The are seems like the perfect place to site the new turbines given that there are already 3,000 windmills in the area and that the area is one of the windiest in North America.

But the proposal calls for bulldozing a mesa which is a significant environmental alteration, and it has created a lightning rod for criticism of wind energy in general.

Critics claim that wind energy delivers only a fraction of the power promised by project developers. And wind farms are not the most aesthetically pleasing places on earth, either.

This could play out as a local development issue or it could become a larger referendum on wind energy in general. Stay tuned...

Turbines fan debate over wind energy [Los Angeles Times]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hot Air.

A whole new kind of air emissions problem is now plaguing energy companies seeking to build new generating capacity. Two power plants slated for Northern California may be heading for a crash landing because of their potential impact on air traffic in the area.

Tierra Energy is trying to build a 115 MW plant near Hayward, CA and Calpine has plans for a 600 MW plant in Russell City. But this week, the CEC sent them letters advising them that heat plumes emitted from the facilities have the potential to cause air turbulence that pose a serious hazard to airplanes taking off and landing at local airports.

According to a report in the Tri-Valley Herald:

"Paul Richins, a manager in the state commission's siting division, wrote that hot, mostly invisible plumes can disturb the stability of the atmosphere above plants, especially in the winter.

"Plumes are thermally buoyant during colder weather and more likely to maintain their vertical velocity at higher altitudes under calm, cool conditions," Richins wrote. "

Both plants would feed the PG&E grid. Officials at Tiera have pledged to work with the FAA to find a solution.

Concerns about plumes could block plans for power plants [Tri-Valley Herald]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Make it stop.

After a blessed couple of days when nobody seemed to be talking about Malibu and LNG, it's back in the news and quickly hurtling toward information overload.

The Ayn Rand Institute is now using Cabrillo Port as an opportunity to bash environmentalists in general. Because the ARI guys are viewed by many as "crazy right wing bomb throwers," their screed probably doesn't do much to help BHP Billitin's case for the project but it does stand in stark contrast to the latest anti-LNG diatribie by Malibu Surfside News "Reporter" Hans Laetz (who is more a "columnist/blogger" than a "reporter" these days as his editorial point of view typically obscures the straight "who, what, when, why, where" of standard reporting.)

So, if that isn't enough-- the Ayn Rand guys on one side, Laetz on the other-- I also note that some nut-job left a comment on this blog trying to put the Long Beach LNG project back in play. [Note to poster: Long Beach is dead.]

This cacophony of emotion and opinion has pretty much confused the issue to the point where only the real die-hards can figure out what's really going on. Thankfully, the light is at the end of the tunnel and the regulatory hearings are finally almost here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The New Land Rush.

CNN's Business 2.0 is reporting on the inevitable trickle down effect entrepreneurial green energy ventures are having on the economy. One sector that's getting a huge boost is real estate.

Speculators are locking up rights to land for potential wind farms and rooftops for potential solar arrays.

According to CNN:

"There's literally a land rush on as renewable-energy companies look to secure locations for wind farms and solar arrays. If you move fast, you may be able to buy and flip the rights to the downtown rooftops and rural ridges that renewable-energy developers regard as prime real estate."

The report notes that, for a wind farm, you'll need access to thousands of acres where the annual wind velocity is 17 mph. For solar, investors should identify states that offer generous incentives (California) and then go after places like shopping malls, warehouses and retail chains.

In both cases, the exit strategy appears to be selling the rights outright, hopefully with royalties.

Power play [CNN Money, Business 2.0]

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baseball, Apple Pie and.... Solar Power.

The San Francisco Giants baseball team has signed a high profile solar energy deal with PG&E that doesn't seem to make any business sense whatsoever.

Under the deal, the Giants will install solar panels at their stadium, AT&T Park, capable of generating 123 kilowatts. None of the power generated will be used at AT&T Park, it will all go directly into the grid. The Giants won't own the panels, PG&E will, because it is buying them and paying to install them.

So the Giants are installing solar panels they don't own, which will generate power they can't use. It's not even clear if PG&E will pay the Giants rent (and we know the Giants won't get a break on their energy bill from PG&E because the Giants are not even a PG&E customer.)

So, as the San Jose Mercury News put it, the whole deal appears to be little more than a "billboard" promoting solar energy.

I guess the only way this makes sense for the Giants is as a feel-good public relations move that might make people forget about Barry Bonds' rampant steroid use. If so, it's a drastic move and it probably will have less impact than if they had simply lowered beer prices.

Giants adding solar power to lineup [San Jose Mercury News]

Monday, March 19, 2007

Entrepreneurs Continue to See Green in Renewable Energy.

The bonanza created for energy entrepreneurs by California’s renewable energy mandate continues. In San Diego, a two year old company called Bull Moose Energy is building a $60 million, 23 MW biomass energy plant. Bull Moose’s CEO is a former Venture Capitalist and television executive.

The plant will convert discarded wood and green waste into energy, using a three step process that results in no net carbon emission increases. 450 tons of discarded material are all that is required annually to meet the facility’s 23 MW target.

According to Bull Moose, not only is the plant environmentally beneficial, but it isn’t an eyesore like other biomass operations that look more like oil refineries.

The San Diego Business Journal has the full story here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Monkey on PG&E's Back.

PG&E finds itself squarely on the radar screen of the activist community in San Francisco. A group calling itself "Green Guerillas Against Greenwash" is calling out PG&E for the company's new public relations offensive, "Let's Green This City."

According to the guerillas' web site:

"Green Guerrillas Against Greenwash (GGAG) is a citizen group formed out of disgust for PG$E's 'Lets Green This City' greenwashing campaign. We are further outraged at PG$E's attempt to prevent cities from implementing Community Choice Aggregation. Green Guerrillas stand oposed to the promotion of dirty energy, such as gas and nuclear, since they are not necessary for our state to seriously address climate change. We stand for the use of renewable energy solutions to our climate crisis."

During testimony before the PUC yesterday (where PG&E's $1.6 billion rate hike was unanimously approved), the Green Guerillas took shots at PG&E, accusing the company-- among other things-- of dooming California to a future wed to fossil fuels and of concealing a secret nuclear power agenda.

Just how much impact this activist campaign will have is tough to tell. After all, this is San Francisco where this kind of activity is pretty much considered part of the mainstream political process. However, it should serve notice to industry that despite a new, greener agenda (mandated by Sacramento or otherwise), running an energy company in California will always be controversial.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Soot and Fireballs.

From a California perspective, energy and global warming go hand in hand. You can't talk about one and not the other because, more than anything-- even more that consumer demand and marketplace issues-- global warming is driving energy policy in California.

In that context, I found a report by UC San Diego on "black carbon" particulate worth mentioning. According to the report:

"More than three-quarters of the particulate pollution known as black carbon transported at high altitudes over the West Coast during spring is from Asian sources, according to a research team led by Professor V. Ramanathan at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego."

Black Carbon-- essentially "soot"-- might not make up a huge part of our air pollution on the West Coast, per se, but it does do two very damaging things.

First, it heats the atmosphere significantly at high levels and, second, it "dims the surface of the ocean by absorbing solar radiation." The report notes that these two factors greatly influence the Pacific Ocean region which drives a large part of the world's climate.

So, in essence, as California scrambles to enact newer, greener regulations for energy production and use, our efforts are being subverted by Asia. I supose this tees up a huge discussion about Kyoto and GATT and I welcome that... "discuss."

All of this reminds me of comments made by a spokesman from the coal industry (that I actually mocked on this blog) which now seem almost credible.

And speaking of credible ("incredible," actually): Malibu.

(A day without a Malibu update is like a day without sunshine...)

The debate is intensifying in advance of the upcoming regulatory hearings and, oddly, it has now come full circle. You'll recall that, initially, anti-LNG advocates sought to position LNG imports as a threat to national security. One local trial lawyer even cobbled together a crude documentary that showed massive fireballs consuming the coast. When that didn't take, the arguments turned to envirnonmental factors which have been much more substantial and realistic.

Now, it's back to fireballs. The Ventura County Star is talking up a government report about the potentiall for an LNG terminal to be a terrorist target. The report acknowledges that a terminal way out in the ocean doesn't pose much of a "fireball" threat, but it does raise the issue of heat exposure to humans, in the event of a blaze. According to the Star, the report concludes that heat could burn human flesh up to 1.25 miles away. Given that both Cabrillo Port and now Port Esperanza are 14 miles from land, that doesn't seem like a national security threat. But then again, fireballs are good visuals.

Transported Black Carbon a Significant Player in Pacific Ocean Climate [Yuba Net]

Report tells risks of LNG attacks [Ventura County Star]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chevron Targets Refining Capacity

An interesting piece of news overshadowed by Chevron's announcement yesterday that it was pulling out of the LNG game in Baja, was the company's commitment to expanding refinery capacity in California.

Specifically, Cheveron wants to increase output at refineries in Redding and El Segundo. With gas prices north of $3 a gallon, this is a great idea.

California's high gas prices are largely the result of insufficient refining capacity, not crude oil prices or ethanol supply, or what have you. The fact is, California can't make enough gas fast enough, and it is legally required to switch gasoline recipes during summer and winter months. This necessitates annual fundamental changes to the refining process that require refineries to be taken off line temporarily.

Any attempt to expand exisitng refineries will no doubt cause an uproar in the environmental community that, hopefully, will elevate this issue to highest levels of public policy debate.

We spend a lot of time talking about the (mandated) need to produce more renewable energy and the need to rely on cleaner burning energy sources (the recent ban on coal fired power, seeking approval for LNG imports) but right here, right now, we need increased refining capacity.

Ditching the California's unique gasoline recipes is both a political impossibility and probably a bad idea anyway, so we need to come up with a solution to the supply problem they present. That either means a realistic, practical plan to get everyone to ditch their SUV's, take the bus, or drive hybrids (I haven't seen such a plan nor do I belive one exists), or it means increasing supply.

Chevron reviews possible expansions at refineries [LA Times]

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chevron Throws In the Towel.

Chevron's proposed LNG terminal for the Coronado Islands off the coast of Baja California is no more. It was essentially KO'd by Costa Azul, the LNG project being joint ventured by Shell and Sempra. The $650 million project was getting pushback from environmentalists because of its proximity to the Coronado Islands' delicate marine ecosystem.

A Chevron spokesperson said that natural gas harvested from Australia's Gorgon gas fields will now be exported to Japan instead of the Baja facility.

Also, unrelated to energy news south of the border, the LA Times has launched a new blog about energy and the environment called Carbon Shift.

I'm sort of pre-programmed to disagree with any commentary by the LA Times on just about anything , but I'll withhold judgment for now. (Actually, the first post I read hung the "cartel" label- with all of its connotations and baggage--on a new natural gas venture involving Russia and the People's Republic of Hugo Chavez-- so maybe it isn't going to be all that bad!")

Chevron gives up on building LNG plant [San Diego Union Tribune]

Monday, March 12, 2007

The EIR Is Out and So Are The Movie Stars.

The Cabrillo Port EIR was released on Friday and a celebrity-heavy crowd of 200+ turned out on Saturday to protest LNG.

The EIR keeps the spotlight on emissions which has been at the center of the Cabrillo Port issue for some time.

The antil LNG-rally was led by Keely Shaye Brosnan and, according to Hollywood Today, included all of the usual suspects:

"Other celebrities who live or play in Malibu opposing the terminal include Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Australia’s Olivia Newton-John, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Sting, Dick Van Dyke, Jane Seymour, Dylan McDermott, James Brolin, Kenny G, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Cindy Crawford, Daryl Hannah and Ed Harris. Newton-John has been a longtime resident of Malibu."

In a rather blatant political photo-op, Assembly Member Lloyd Levine attended as well, in an effort to show solidarity with Malibu activists. Levine, who used to support LNG, gets the "John Kerry Blowing-With-The-Political-Winds" award: "I voted for [LNG] before I voted against it".

Things weren't all bleak for LNG this weekend though, as the Long Beach Press Telegram opined favorably about the newly proposed Esparanza terminal which is similar in concept to Cabrillo Port. The Press Telegram made the brutally candid assessment that most LNG detractors don't want to hear:

"Opponents of LNG say that importing it simply transfers Americans' dependence on foreign oil to dependence on foreign sources of natural gas. That's not really accurate, because Americans can end that dependence any time we want, by simply switching to vehicles that use little or no fossil fuels and to alternative sources of electric power. We don't seem quite ready to do that. Until that time, LNG looks pretty good."

Brosnan, Sheen Rally against BHP Gas Terminal off Malibu [Hollywood Today]

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lots Going On In Malibu.

Once again, Malibu is front and center in the news. Anti-LNG activist Keely Shaye Brosnan is organizing another demonstration against Cabrillo Port this weekend. According to the Malibu Surfside News it is being timed to coincide roughly with the release of the revised EIR. It's not clear if the activists are planning to unveil a new policy/strategic element to their campaign, or if this is more a morale-boosting event in advance of next month's hearings.

Meanwhile, the Hoover Institution's Bill Whalen slams Shaye Brosnan and her fellow activists in an article in the American Spectator:

"This amounts to the kind of demagoguery that eco-activists routinely accuse energy interests of using to avoid real discussion and thwart their purported good works. And with friends like Ms. Shaye, what environmentalist needs enemies?"

All of this is going on against the backdrop of another story in Malibu that has caused surprisingly little controversy. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that billionaire Larry Ellison has bought up $200 million worth of property in Malibu and plans to open at least two new high-end restaurants that Malibu Mayor Ken Kearsley is opposing because of the traffic problems the tony eateries will create. Nevertheless, the Malibu City Council has granted Ellison a zoning change called a "local coastal program amendment" which would allow him to proceed with his project.

I guess I was wrong-- Malibu residents aren't NIMBY's after all. At least they're not when the developer is one of their own and the project involves a nice restaurant!

‘No LNG’ Rally Slated for Malibu Pier on Saturday [Malibu Surfside News]
Who's Afraid of Liquified Natural Gas? [American Spectator]
Billionaire's buying has the town talking [Los Angeles Times]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cal ISO: Summer's Looking Good.

Cal ISO announced that, thanks to new power plants and energy conservation measures, California will have about 930 MW more than last year, so we should be ok this summer. The ISO is predicting only a 2.9% chance of a power emergency.

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Southern California will have less spare power than Northern California, the ISO predicted. But even in the south, grid managers expect a comfortable margin between the amount of electricity used and the maximum available.

The state likes to maintain margins of 15 to 17 percent. If Southern California experiences typical weather in July and August, the margin will be about 21.7 percent. In particularly hot weather, the margin will drop to roughly 15 percent.

Northern California should have 26 percent margins in normal weather and 18 percent in a hotter-than-average summer."

Of course, last summer grid managers blew thier forecasts by 3.2% when a crazy heat wave hit the central valley creating record demand (50,200 MW+) and who's to say that won't happen again?

Power grid OK for this summer [San Francisco Chronicle]

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Say Hello to "Port Esperanza"

LNG in Long Beach. "Dead," right? Not yet.

Espeanza Energy has announced plans to seek approval for a LNG receiving terminal 15 miles offshore from the port.

The Long Beach Press Telegram describes the project:

"To minimize environmental impacts, Esperanza plans to use heated discharge water piped in from a local power plant to warm the LNG facility, eliminating the need to use seawater on-site or use internal combustion engine Adaptable platforms.

Esperanza's proposal differs from other offshore plans in that the floating terminals, built by Norway-based Torp Technologies, are adaptable to all existing or future standard LNG ships, Maul said.

The partially submerged platforms, which rise about 100 feet above the water line, are maneuvered by remote-controlled or onboard thrusters.

Platforms are less than half the size of a large port gantry crane used to offload cargo ships and are designed to suction onto the side of a ship during off-loading and hold there in waves up to 14 feet, said Mitchell.

Equipment on the platform is used to regasify the super-cooled fuel using electricity and pump it through buoyed pipelines connecting the ship to the ocean floor.

From there, gas is sent through a 30-inch pipeline to just outside the breakwater, where the pipe dives 100 feet underground until it ends one mile inland on the Long Beach/Seal Beach border, Maul said. "

Esperanza Energy Announces Plans for Long Beach Offshore LNG Receiving Terminal [Press Release]

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fighting "The Man" In Malibu.

Opponents of LNG in Malibu have a new (or perhaps not so new) enemy: the government bureaucracy. Ironic as it sounds, the government bureaucrats are giving activists fits by moving too quickly and too slowly.

Several anti-LNG interests have complained that the regulatory hearing schedule is too accelerated for them to adequately review the revised EIR, and now Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has sent an angry letter to the EPA complaining the agency has been too slow in responding to his Committee's request for documents relating to an earlier EPA policy reversal on Cabrillo Port.

Bureaucracy and red tape have long been favorite and effective weapons of anti-development interests so it is with some degree of irony that they appear to be tripping them up in this case.

Of course this will have a predicatable result: the "No on LNG" crowd will complain about "corruption" and "collusion" in the government (the sound bite of last resort in any public policy battle) and they may even utter with disdain the name of the presumed architect of their troubles, "President George W. Bush" (which is like beaming the "Bat Signal" for Malibu residents-- a universally understood call to arms).

But when all is said and done, there are going to be hearings and a decision is going to be made. And once that happens, we're all going to have to live with it because that is how the regulatory process works-- for good or for bad.

So let's keep the focus on the upcoming hearings, not the incendiary rhetoric that will seek to obscure the real issue. And may the will of the public be done!

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Meeting of the Minds.

CAL-EPA is hosting a major skull session this week to determine what strategies to pursue to help the state comply with the state's greenhouse gas emissions mandate.

According to the Sacramento Bee, "For the next three days, energy and climate change experts from around the world will convene in Sacramento to discuss the best ways for the state to quickly shrink its carbon footprint."

The challenge, as you know, is to turn back the clock on greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Don't expect anything earth-shattering to come out of this confab, rather, a collection of smaller initiatives is more likely.

The Air Resources Board has until June 30 to release its list of early reduction strategies so there is some sense of urgency at this meeting. The Bee notes that, because of the tight turnaround, don't expect any regulations having anything to do with automobiles-- efficiency improvements in things like, heating, cooling and lighting are probably more along the lines of what you will see.

Greenhouse gas brainstorming [Sacramento Bee]

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Morning Buzz.

Two items of note this Friday morning:

Tehachapi Gets PUC Approval:

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved Southern California Edison's application to build the first segment of the proposed $1.8 billion Tehachapi renewable transmission project.

Once finished, the project will consist of new transmission lines capable of carrying 4500 MW of power generated from new wind power and other generation facilities. This is the first of a three-part project that still requires Forest Service approval for a 26 mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line that would connect substations in Lancaster and Santa Clarita.

Mr. Perata Goes To Washington:

Senate President pro Tem Don Perata testified yesterday before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer on California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In his remarks, Perata told senators that federal actions should not pre-empt state efforts to combat global warming. In addition, Perata stressed the work California has already done promoting cleaner coal energy production by passing SB1368, which prohibits utilities from entering into long-term contracts for power produced by dirty coal-burning plants.

CPUC OKs 1st segment of SCE Calif Tehachapi project [Reuters]

Perata's Testimony Before Congress on Global Warming [California Progress Report]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Paying Lip Service to LNG in Malibu.

State Sen. Sheila Kuehl and Asembly Member Julia Brownley were in Malibu on Saturday to meet with the Malibu Democratic Club. When pressed on LNG-- according to the Malibu Times-- both worshiped at the obligatory altar of the coastal NIMBY's, but neither said it was their top priority.

[Note: no politician speaking in Malibu will say anything good about LNG-- it's like going to Iowa and saying you oppose farm subsidies and ethanol].

Interestingly, the Times reports that Kuehl said she wasn't opposed to LNG in concept and Brownley seemed to indicate that her opposition to LNG (and energy imports in general) was derivative of her interest in reducing vehicle traffic.

Rather bland stuff compared to the fire and brimstone rhetoric we are used to hearing out of the privileged colony.

Mercifully, this whole saga is finally moving forward. As the Malibu Real Estate blog noted (isn't Google great? To think I actually had "look for" this stuff before!), the State Lands Commission meeting is in April in Santa Barbara and everyone should attend...

Brownley, Kuehl meet with Malibu Democrats [Malibu Times]