Posts tagged “california”
Solar Is Growing, But Hydro Remains Much Bigger
A tweet this morning sent me on a fact-checking expedition into state-level electricity statistics. The subject was a San Jose Mercury article with the unwieldy title, “Drought threatens California’s hydroelectricity supply, but solar makes up the gap.” The article’s quote from the head of the California Energy Commission implied that solar power additions were sufficient to make up for any shortfall in hydro, historically one of the state’s biggest energy sources.
My gut reaction was to be skeptical: Solar has been growing rapidly, especially in California, but even with nearly 3,000 MW of photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal generation in place, it’s still well short of the scale of California’s 10,000 MW of hydropower dams, especially when you consider that the latter aren’t constrained to operate only in daylight hours. However, I also know better than to respond to a claim like this without checking the data on how much energy these installations actually deliver.
The Comparison Has Shifted In the Last Year
My first look at the Energy Information Administration’s annual generation data seemed to confirm my suspicions. In 2012 California’s hydropower facilities produced 26.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh), while grid-connected solar generated just 1.4 million MWh. However, when I looked at more recent monthly data, the mismatch was much smaller, due to solar’s strong growth in the Golden State. For example, in October 2013 California solar power generated 435 MWh, or nearly 24% of hydro’s 1.8 million MWh.
The state of California is getting ready to let billions of dollars of investments begin to roll out in support of the clean energy sector, solidifying its position as the national leader in environmental causes.
While casting their votes in the presidential election last week, Californians also approved Proposition 39, a bill aimed at closing a corporate tax loophole and redirecting the increased tax dollars to support a series of environmental goals over the next five years. The funds will include about $2.5 billion to be invested in a variety of programs aimed at lowering California’s emissions, and boosting its already rich portfolio of alternative energy projects.
A combination of legal threats, growing political opposition and changes to the rules that govern it is seeing California carbon trading at records lows, bringing the very concept of the market into question.
The emissions program, started by state lawmakers following the federal government’s failure to implement a carbon-purchase system of its own in 2010, has suddenly become the second largest in the world, behind only that of the European Union, promising to cover no less than 85 percent of emissions in California that result from the many companies behind its $1.74 trillion per year economy. (Read More: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures)
As I wrote yesterday, I believe that High Speed Rail (HSR) is the best option for linking the country’s major regions together. The past week has seen two major developments in America’s development and deployment of high speed rail.
First, last Friday, the California Senate approved $4.6 billion in funding for the construction of the first section of the state’s HSR. This would allow $3.2 billion in federal stimulus funding to be released to the state. Second, on Tuesday, Amtrak released its updated proposal (pdf) to upgrade its Northeast Corridor (from Washington DC to Boston) to true high speed rail, capable of cruising at 220 miles per hour.
Governor Schwarzenegger set to veto the renewable energy portfolio because of doubt of its success. Instead, he will issue an executive order to reach the 33% quota by 2020.
Gas prices drop in the United States, but rise in California.
California is currently battling with itself over how to achieve the 33% of energy provided by renewable energy bill that is going through the Assembly. The environmentalists, utilities, and consumers all want to ensure their agendas are being heard.
I read a story this morning on California’s new low-carbon fuel standard, and there were some bits in there that either amount to delusional thinking, or worse to purposely misleading people: California’s low-carbon fuel standard has oil companies anxious Here are the bits that raised my eyebrows: The petroleum industry and some economists say the new standard adopted by the state Air Resources Board on Thursday will cost motorists billions, because blending gasoline will become considerably more complicated. But state officials and environmentalists say the “low-carbon fuel standard” will actually save Californians money by reducing oil consumption and ushering in a competitive new era of biofuels and electric vehicles. A big problem, she [Dorothy Rothrock] said, is that the air… Continue»
A number of people have written or commented regarding the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ruling that is expected on ethanol later this week. Treehugger had the story: Corn Ethanol Worse than Oil? California Rules Yes In what would certainly be a huge blow to the US’ formidable corn-ethanol industry, the California Air Resources Board is readying a report that says ethanol is worse than oil in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Daily Climate, the California regulators are prepared to go as far as to declare that biofuels cannot help the state fight climate change–could this be the beginning of the end for ethanol? So, what does this mean? The article above has a different interpretation than… Continue»
While the so-called ‘hot gas’ issue has been discussed here several times before, there are new developments out in California that have Oil Watchdog and the $295/hr lawyer behind this ‘consumer organization’ crying over lost litigation opportunities. Given the time, effort, and money they have put into this issue, the events described in this essay are quite a blow for them. At least they will now have more time to devote to their other campaigns, such as 1). Stopping oil companies from donating money to universities; and 2). Berating oil companies for not giving enough to universities. (They make more sense if you view them as a satirical site along the lines of The Onion. The only problem is that… Continue»