Energy and Global Warming News for June 8th: India’s ‘National Solar Mission’ aims for 100,000 MW by 2030; CBO scores the climate bill and overestimates its 2020 cost by 100%

Could India Become a Solar Leader?

India may be gearing to turn itself into the global leader in solar power generation, a sign that major developing nations could become renewable energy hubs to rival Germany and the United States.

Called the National Solar Mission, the Indian plan outlines a target for 20,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020….

“This would be the most ambitious solar plan that any country has laid out so far,” said Siddharth Pathak, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace India.

India would generate 100,000 megawatts of solar power by 2030 and 200,000 megawatts by mid-century under the plan.

House cap-and-trade bill would trim budget deficit — CBO

The long-awaited CBO scoring of the Waxman-Markey bill is here — and significantly overestimates likely costs:

The House global warming bill slated for floor debate this summer is projected to trim the federal budget deficit over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office states in a report released Friday.

CBO’s scoring of H.R. 2454 projects the bill’s requirement that companies reduce their emissions or purchase allowances on an open market would bring in federal revenue of about $845.6 billion during the first decade of its operation. By contrast, federal spending is expected to increase by $821.2 billion, meaning the Treasury can expect a $24.4 billion net gain….

Under the legislation, CBO predicts regulated industries would enter into a new carbon market that exceeds $60 billion by the first compliance year in 2012. CBO also estimated firms would be purchasing greenhouse gas allowances at about $16 per ton in 2012, rising to $26 in 2019. The office projects that a separate regulated market for HFCs would reach $2 per ton in 2012, rising to $20 per ton in 2019.

The CBO does not have a particularly sophisticated integrated energy-economic model, so it has cost estimates that exceed EPA’s cost estimates by 50% — and EPA’s model wasn’t terribly good to begin with.

To help lower compliance costs, companies under the House bill can fund environmentally friendly projects both domestically and abroad in lieu of making cuts in their own emissions, though there is an annual limit of up to 2 billion greenhouse gas allowances (1 billion domestic and 1 billion international).

But in 2020, CBO estimates that companies would buy about 300 million allowances on the domestic market and about 425 million allowances internationally. Still, CBO said the offset clause would decrease the compliance price significantly for greenhouse gas allowances by $35 per ton in 2012.

As I’ve said, the 2020 target is too weak, the domestic emissions reduction needed to hit that target is too small, and there is an over abundance of low-cost clean energy strategies available to this country (see “Do the 2 billion offsets allowed in Waxman-Markey gut the emissions targets?“).  That means the permit price will be around $10 a ton in 2012 (the way the bill is written) and around $15 a ton in 2020 — about half what CBO projects for that year.  And the amount of allowances purchased will almost certainly be 10 times smaller than CBO projects.

Lawmakers look to speed up ‘clunkers’ effort

Eager to meet President Obama’s calls to help Americans to scrap their old, gas-guzzling cars and trucks for new, more fuel-efficient ones, lawmakers are looking to attach a “cash for clunkers” provision to a fast-moving bill that will speed through Congress.

The Senate was expected to vote this week to add one of two competing versions of the program — one backed by the industry, the other by environmentalists — to an unrelated bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco sales. But votes on the two amendments never materialized, and congressional aides now say the effort will be dropped because of Senate Appropriations Committee objections to using unspent stimulus cash to fund the “clunkers” program.

Levy on international air travel could fund climate change fight

Britain and other rich countries will be asked to accept a compulsory levy on international flight tickets and shipping fuel to raise billions of dollars to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to combat climate change.

The suggestions come at the start of the second week in the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn, where 192 countries are starting to negotiate a global agreement to limit and then reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The issue of funding for adaptation is critical to success but the hardest to agree.

The aviation levy, which is expected to increase the price of long-haul fares by less than 1%, would raise $10bn (£6.25bn) a year, it is said

China and U.S. Seek a Truce on Greenhouse Gases

As a senior American team arrived in Beijing on Sunday for climate talks, the standoff was taking on the trappings of cold-war arms control negotiations, with gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions replacing megatons of nuclear might as a looming risk for people across the globe.

Both sides are demanding mutually assured reductions of emissions that are, in the current jargon, “measurable, verifiable and reportable.” In the background hover threats of great retaliation in the form of tariffs or other trade barriers if one nation does not agree to ceilings on emissions.

“This is going to be one of the most complex diplomatic negotiations in the history of the world,” said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, co-sponsor of an energy bill being debated in the House, who just returned from a week in China.

Flexible Solar Power Shingles Transform Roofs From Wasted Space To Energy Source

A transparent thin film barrier used to protect flat panel TVs from moisture could become the basis for flexible solar panels that would be installed on roofs like shingles.

The flexible rooftop solar panels – called building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPVs – could replace today’s boxy solar panels that are made with rigid glass or silicon and mounted on thick metal frames. The flexible solar shingles would be less expensive to install than current panels and made to last 25 years.

Carbon capture of limited use for oil sands — Canadian minister

Carbon capture and storage technology will do little to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of oil sands development in Alberta, Canada, according to Jim Prentice, the nation’s environment minister.

Prentice said it could not reduce emissions at energy-intesive mining sites, but it could be important in reducing emissions from upgraders that process the bitumen into synthetic crude oil.

Developers will have to rely on “other technologies” to reduce on-site emissions, he said.

Chemical makers see double-edged sword with cap-and-trade

Representing about 5 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, the chemical industry would seem to be threatened by a proposed federal cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But the industry could become an unlikely winner under a carbon regime because it happens to sell many of the products used to cut carbon emissions in other parts of the economy. Demand for solar panel components, light-weight plastics in vehicles and industrial gases used as insulators between energy-efficient window panes is already strong, despite the sagging economy.

Siting, permitting are key to achieving 70,000 MW of wind and solar

Major solar plants need access to federal lands — and improved state-federal coordination — for electric utilities to have any hope of meeting renewable-energy goals, a leading industry attorney told a conference here yesterday.

“¦The $787 billion federal stimulus law will be key to establishing efficient permitting, but long-term, institutional siting barriers remain, said Peter Weiner, an attorney who specializes in renewable energy.

How important are those barriers? Consider this: There are 20 renewable-energy plants on federal lands, with about 400 applications pending for wind and solar projects at the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. If approved, those projects would cover 2.3 million acres in seven Western states and generate an estimated 70,000 megawatts — enough to power more than 50 million homes.

While a push to fast-track projects eligible for stimulus funding before 2011 is crucial, Weiner told the Concentrating Solar Thermal Power conference that the government should focus on designating future energy zones and transmission routes.

FERC, Wash. will coordinate on hydrokinetic projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Washington state agreed yesterday to coordinate environmental reviews and establish licensing schedules for emerging hydrokinetic technologies.

FERC authorizes operating licenses for marine projects that produce energy from oceans and rivers, including wave and tidal power. States must sign off on environmental issues related to coastal zone management and pollution in their waters. Other federal entities, including the Interior Department, must conduct environmental, safety and security reviews.

Water supply shifts as global climate changes

Many of the world’s great rivers are becoming less so.

Yet in the Midwest, the wet is getting wetter.

So says a study that finds global climate change shifting weather and water patterns around the planet.

“In terms of water, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

And, he said, the poverty of precipitation is more dramatic than the wealth of water around the world.

BP charged with 46 violations at Texas City refinery

Texas officials are suing BP Products North America Inc., citing 46 air pollution violations at the company’s Texas City refinery, including one linked to a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured 170 others.

In a lawsuit filed last month with the Travis County District Court, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) charged BP with repeatedly violating state laws by spewing hundreds of thousands of pounds of unauthorized pollutants into the air.

8 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for June 8th: India’s ‘National Solar Mission’ aims for 100,000 MW by 2030; CBO scores the climate bill and overestimates its 2020 cost by 100%

  1. paulm says:

    Its to to start The Great Migration – away from low lying coats…

    Water Fights, Wandering Homeless Are Planet’s Future

    Gary Braasch, an award-winning environmental photojournalist, captured those shots and their embedded warning of global catastrophe. His book “Earth Under Fire:

    Lundborg: What should people be doing now?

    Braasch: Every building should be covered in solar panels and have a wind turbine on the roof. Every vehicle should run on electric power from solar and wind. Mass transit should be fun and free. We should get rid of coal. All coastal areas should be moving schools, hospitals, fire departments, stores and other buildings to higher ground.

    Every product should say right on it how much carbon dioxide was created in its manufacture, and that amount should be taxed — the lower the amount, the lower the tax.

    If all Americans just changed the light bulbs in their houses to the compact fluorescent variety, it would be the equivalent of shutting down 12 coal-fired power plants.

  2. karenc says:

    The “Cash for Clunkers” bill would put every charity car donation program in the nation out of business since the amount of the voucher would be much greater than the tax deduction. The solution is to simply allow the charity to issue the voucher instead of the tax deduction. The charity would then junk the car in accordance with the bill. This way, everyone wins, the car dealer, car maker, car buyer and the charity.

  3. paulm says:

    Interesting point Leland. Lovelock has something to say on this also.

    Basically that Gaia is still be evolving. Evolution takes a big step at every extinction point. Intelligence is part of this. We will evolve after this extinction event to maintain Gaia in a more robust sustainable manner. I guess its life.

  4. paulm says:

    Experts are gathering for a conference in Vancouver this week to discuss B.C.’s unique carbon tax.

    In advance of its first anniversary, 30 speakers including climate change researchers, government decision-makers, mayors and corporations will discuss how well the provincial tax on fossil fuels is working.

    The tax, which kicked in July 1, 2008, is the first of its kind in North America.

    Under B.C. law, municipalities and public sector institutions have to become carbon neutral by 2010. In addition to paying the carbon tax on any fossil fuels burned, they also have to buy carbon credits to offset the emissions.

    “That provides a huge incentive that didn’t exist two years ago to get off carbon,” Robinson said.

    His own university, he said, projects it would spend more than $42 million meeting those requirements over the next 25 years if it doesn’t find a way to reduce emissions.

  5. Lou Grinzo says:

    paulm: I have to comment on one detail of that interview snippet you posted.

    While marking products with their CO2 footprint and going full-bore with solar are excellent ideas, putting a wind turbine on every roof would be an incredible waste of money. I love wind power more than any (supposedly) normal should admit in public, but turbines sited on buildings, except in extremely favorable conditions, is a very bad idea and a waste of money and other resources.

    I’m currently reading the latest edition of Paul Gipe’s wind power book, and he makes an excellent argument against virtually all small-scale wind turbines mounted on buildings. You can’t get them high enough to catch good wind, they’re almost always too close to other buildings or trees or hills, and smaller turbines are less efficient than larger models.

    We’d be much better off using that money to install solar thermal water heating or increasing the incentives to get people into PHEVs/EVs, etc.

  6. paulm says:

    Its the small things that sneak up and sting you unexpectedly….

    On World Oceans Day, consider the jellyfishburger and fries

    Around the world, fishermen and swimmers are running into a problem: jellyfish. The slick, stinging blobs are showing up in increasing numbers, earlier in the year, and in more places than ever before. Is there a reason for the jellyfish invasion? Unfortunately, yes—and like most reasons for ocean decline, it relates to how we are changing the environment.

    Data is lacking, but it’s likely that warmer waters help jellyfish grow faster and reproduce better.

  7. paulm says:

    Lou, yes I have seen that mentioned before. However, I don’t think the debate and research is close case. As the price of energy goes up things may look different in the next few years.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    paulm — Also not enough sardines left to eat the jellyfish.