Sunday, June 27, 2010

National ENERGY policy

40% of our emissions come from utilities and most already operate under a mandate called an RPS.
National policy would help them plan for a cleaner future.

LA TIMES Reporting from Washington — With the gulf oil spill creating political opportunity, Senate Democrats will begin crafting a sweeping energy bill this week that could include a first-ever, though more modest, cap on global-warming pollution, believing they must act now despite differences within their ranks and political jitters in an election year.

Instead of regulating all sources of greenhouse gas emissions as originally proposed, lawmakers are considering placing a carbon cap initially only on utility companies. That idea was once dismissed by environmentalists as too incremental, but now is seen by some as better than no cap at all.

President Obama will meet Tuesday with a bipartisan group of senators to push for a new energy policy. "We are prepared and ready to move forward on a new energy strategy that the American people desperately want but for which there's been insufficient political will," Obama said recently. "It is time for us to move to a clean-energy future."

With political will running short before the midterm election, the Senate has shown little appetite for a broader, economy-wide climate change bill as passed by the House almost exactly one year ago.

Even a more modest carbon cap remains difficult for senators wary of another ambitious government program at a time of voter unrest over Washington's reach.

A broad carbon-pricing system would essentially require power plants, manufacturers and transportation industries to limit the pollution that scientists say is causing climate change and would tax entities that exceed their caps.

Republicans dismiss such a cap-and-trade system as a new tax on households and business — "cap-and-tax," they call it. With the Democrats' 59-member caucus intensely divided on energy issues, crossover support from Republicans would be needed.

Still, a majority of Democrats appear willing to risk legislative failure, believing a robust summer discussion on energy would establish a stark contrast between the parties before the fall election.

Tackling energy legislation gives Democrats a strategy they believe resonates with voters — though one that would expose them to GOP taunts over higher taxes, a fight Republicans would relish.

"If we spend our time always worrying about that 60th vote, we never get to do anything in a strong position," said Sen. Mark Begich (D- Alaska).

A group of senators is expected to meet this week to begin crafting legislation that could come to the floor in mid-July.

By Lisa Mascaro and Richard Simon

Tribune Washington Bureau

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the words of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla motors, “I am nauseatingly pro-American,”

And that is why I am pro clean-energy. I am not in the renewables business to save the Sulawesian shrew rat or protect the Chinese river dolphin (not that I have anything against them). I am in solar because installing, running and fixing clean energy technologies like solar panels must be done on-site, creating jobs here at home.

I am in solar because I understand that the clean energy economy is the future — and if we don’t lead now, other countries challenging us for leadership will, and we’ll be left in the dust. If we happen to save some rats, dolphins and the planet along the way, so be it. What matters most is winning the race for leadership in the clean energy economy and winning the new businesses and the jobs that go with them.

In the short term, we cannot deny the immense power of fossil fuel or its employment capacities, but we also cannot fail to plan beyond the energy needs of today — and we need our public servants to understand both. Remember our recent banking scandal? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives traded our international monetary stability for a series of inflated paychecks and golden parachutes because they were focused on their short-term profits. Some farsighted legislation might have saved us a lot of trouble.

We need federal policies to keep our focus on the future. We need a comprehensive, “all of the above” energy solution. Because today, the United States is falling behind the pack, and China is moving out in front. In the words of our own U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “every day that we delay trying to find a price for carbon is a day that China uses to dominate the green economy.”

With 20 million jobs at stake globally, China poured $440 billion into clean energy last year. But here’s the real kicker: Already home to one-third of global solar manufacturing capacity and 400 solar companies, Chinese competition has reduced global solar prices by 30% and is forcing rivals to shift production facilities to China.
It’s no wonder.

According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, deployment of new technologies — like wind and solar power — has the potential to support roughly 3.5 million jobs and generate trillions of dollars in revenue and energy savings.
So, where are we? Congress has a comprehensive energy bill drafted with bipartisan support. It is designed to transform our economy and set us on the path toward energy independence, creating and keeping jobs here at home. But Congress has yet to decide to act. Without action, Congress will hinder the United States’ opportunity to lead the single greatest market growth potential of the 21st century. With action, the United States will do what the United States does best: win.
I love the potential of clean energy, and the patriot inside me wants to see the United States regain its lead in the booming clean energy field and the international economy. I hope the patriots in Sens. Graham and DeMint want the same and will work to pass legislation that produces more energy here in America and prepares our country for the energy future.
Andrew Streit is president of the S.C. Solar
Business Alliance and Sales Manager for Sunstore Solar llc.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The SC Senator from Florence stripped the economic stimulas bill 4478 of residential tax credits for solar.

Senator Hugh Leatherman stripped first the commercial tax credit for solar, then in a last second vendetta, stripped residential tax credits that would have improved South Carolina's return on investment for residential solar installs. I am not a politician or lobbyist but I did work fairly hard to get some improvement in the South Carolina solar landscape this year, so did alot of volunteer participants who took time out of their lives to get South Carolina close to par with other states that are benfitting from 30% growth of the green economy. Last night I lashed out on facebook, twitter and linkedin because I was disappointed and frustrated. Today I see that grace under fire is the only way to go. I will work harder next year, I will build a coalition larger and more prepared. I am doing this not to make money or make a point I am doing this because it is the right thing to do, because I want this state and our country to prosper and because I want a better life for those who follow.

Baseball pitcher shows grace under pressure, I didn't!

"I'm sad," he said later and then in another moment of grace praised Jim Joyce for apologizing to him, saying that not many umpires would do that. But then these were extraordinary circumstances, after the extraordinary game that Galarraga - in the minors earlier this season - had pitched against the Indians.

What should have been the third perfect game pitched in baseball in a month. But it wasn't. Still could be. The umpire apologized. Said he was wrong with the call. Selig could make a much better one.

This wasn't football, of course. Leyland couldn't challenge the call on the field. Because instant replay is only used - for now - to correct calls about home runs. And because Jackie Robinson was safe at home in the '55 World Series even though Yogi still says he wasn't, because Don Denkinger blew a call at first base in the '85 World Series that didn't cost a pitcher a perfect game, but cost a team the championship of its sport.

I was there that night. The Cardinals LOST their minds, oh you better believe they did. The call stood. The Cardinals never recovered, got blown out the next night, the Royals won the Series.

This time? The pitcher who got robbed of a perfect game smiled at the umpire and went back and got the last out of what had now become a one-hitter. Even later, when he'd watched the replay the way even people who don't give a whit about baseball had, he refused to be mean or call Joyce an idiot. You rarely get that kind of grace anymore in sports.

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