TAG: Energy policy

Could Renewable Energy Be Cheaper?

Cheaper Renewable Energy

Traditional electricity generation has played an important role in creating the civilization that we call our world today. Electricity continues to be so important for general day to day activity and business such that we cannot imagine living in a world without electricity. It has been proven by numerous studies, however, that the way in which we have been generating power is not sustainable and thus burdensome on the environment and the world’s climate. Fortunately there are sources of renewable energy available to mankind for the generation of power, these include wind, water, biomass, geothermal and solar. Even though these… read more

Lightbulbs For A Lifetime

Lightbulbs for a Lifetime

Interested in a lightbulb that will probably last longer than your tenure at your current residence? 3M thought you might be, which is why their LED Advanced Light bulb is the best and longest-lasting bulb on the market. By 2014, the Energy Independence and Security Act will ban incandescent bulbs in favor of LED’s and fluorescents. The Advanced Light Bulb is getting a headstart on the market, and it’s your best option right now. LED’s have the efficiency of fluorescent bulbs, but without the harsh light emission. For $25, you can own 3M’s light bulb that is estimated to last… read more

Tarring and Caring

Tar sands extraction

On October 24th, the Utah Water Quality Board (UWQB) approved the first ever tar sands mine on U.S. soil, giving a permit to U.S. Oil Sands, a company which specializes in tar sand mining, and despite its name, has its headquarters based in Alberta, Canada. Incidentally, Alberta has been a hotspot for tar sand development and extraction, so it comes as no surprise a company from Alberta is involved in the U.S. tar sands industry and activities. The tar sands industry has made quite the name for itself in Alberta, wreaking havoc on the environment and people in surrounding areas…. read more

Executive Power

Executive Powers

It has become abundantly clear there is a dire necessity for action on combatting climate change. Whether that action is in the form of environmental policy reform and regulation, or energy policy reform, one thing is clear: maintaining the status quo is a recipe for disaster. However, the president is not a miracle worker, and is also not a solitary worker. The Constitution requires a balance of power, thus inter-dependency between the three branches, which is a double-edged blade, to say the least. The checks-and-balances system allows for moderation in the government, which is responsible, but it also allows for lack of… read more

Wood Burning and Data

Wood burning

Given the rising costs in fossil fuels, and subsequent rising heating costs, many Americans are looking for alternatives to contemporary heating options. Among other means of heating, traditional wood-burning has surged, especially in areas which are anticipating cold and extreme winters like the northeast United States. Wood pellets are being used, instead of logs, due to the lessened impact on the environment, and also the reduction in toxic emissions. The wood pellets also burn better and stronger, resulting in stronger, longer fires, which also contributes to the efficiency. It has to be kept in mind though that while technically a… read more

Irresponsibility Punished

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal fine in U.S. history—$4.5 billion—to resolve all criminal charges arising from the fatal oil rig explosion and subsequent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company said that it had agreed to pay $4 billion to the U.S. government over five years, and $525 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the next three years. However, the settlement does not resolve all of the claims against BP for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and the company could face billions in restoration costs to the waters, coastline, and… read more

Tax Credits for Wind Power

Wind Farm subsidies

The US federal wind power production tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year, and many have been advocating for the expiration or the continuation of the credits. Supporters of letting the credits expire claim the national fiscal situation has become so dire that the government can no longer afford to maintain a wind power production credit. Opponents of the expiration claim the wind industry would be stunted and damaged by the expiration, in more than one way. The production credit allows for the wind industry to be bolstered by federal funds, which leads to more… read more

Is Cap and Trade Needed?

Cap and trade policy

Cap-and-trade has derailed political discussions and political action regarding environmental and energy policy, and as a result, the necessity of a cap-and-trade policy has been questioned. Simply stated, the answer is fairly straight-forward: cap-and-trade is ineffective in the short-term, at least in the United States, yet critical for long-term emission reduction and responsible energy policy. Negotiations over a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate collapsed in April 2010, leaving a void in environmental policy with responsible energy management legislation. Interestingly enough, even without a cap-and-trade policy established, U.S. carbon emissions continued to drop. Since 2006, the United States has cut its… read more

Clean Sweep to the Wall

Renewable energy

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s September 2012 Energy Infrastructure Update, every megawatt of new electrical generating capacity installed in the United States in September was either wind or solar power. However, this is solely the case for September; the cumulative January through September data gathered shows natural gas and coal are still staples for the United States’ energy palate. 433 megawatts of electricity generated from clean sources, which in this case is wind and solar, were installed in the U.S. in September, bringing the January through September total for wind power to 4,055 megawatts, and 936 megawatts from… read more

Solar Energy Zones

Renewable energy development zones

The Western United States is the site of an innovative solution to avoiding the bureaucratic red-tape which frequently surrounds renewable energy development, along with escalating the installation of renewable energy systems. Seventeen solar-energy zones, which cover about 285,000 acres of public lands in six western states, have been set aside as “priority areas” for commercial-scale solar development. These zones will allow approval of solar development without the current case-by-case analysis, and provide already-installed energy transmission lines to connect the solar cells to the energy grid. Additionally, 19 million acres will be available as “variance” areas where the federal government would… read more