Published by: Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana
Editor: Dee Hayden
IN THIS ISSUE:
* Energy relief must rely on sound policy
* Indiana, EPA may collide on emissions
* Were IPL earnings too big?
* Pitt grad school gets CDC grant
* Don't sweep away Great Lakes cleanup
* Design of 'Reference Plant' Using IGCC Technology Moves Forward
* Climate Chaos' takes Notebaert by storm
* Groundwork Laid for Improved U.S. Renewable Energy Policy
* Washington State Lawmakers Explore Biofuels Options
* Eight states, NYC appeal global warming dismissal
* Bush admin seeks to weaken utility-emission rules
* Gas provider files for bankruptcy
* Suez LNG signs 2 charter agreements with Bergesen Worldwide Gas from 2009
* Cinergy Increases Heatshare, Wintercare Contributions and Matching Amounts for Customer Donations
* Climate Change: We Must Intervene!
* New Report Details Range of Climate Change Initiatives on U.S. Campuses
* Climate change means big changes in Puget Sound
* Bushmen's quiver tree threatened by climate change
* Climate model predicts dramatic changes over next 100 years
* We must adapt to climate change - or die
* Global Resource Options Donates PV Lighting Systems for El Salvadorian Health Clinics
* DIY power plant
* International team of scientists finds method of producing hydrogen through solar energy
* Solar Reaction Mixed to Union Stance
* Wind energy gets even greener
* High schools turn to wind energy; cut back on fuel use
* Conference calls for more financial incentives to expand wind energy
* New project bringing wind energy to New Jersey coast
* State OKs ethanol plant near Hereford
* Mess left by Rita has another use: as energy source
* Argentina angling to join biofuels race
* Biofuel for the general masses
* State ready to benefit from renewable energy, analyst says
* Investing in renewable energy sources
* Connecticut provides $2 million grant for renewable energy projects
* GEOTHERMAL ENERGY COULD BRING LOWER FOOD PRICES IN CANADA
Energy relief must rely on sound policy
...It's always easy to beat up on the utilities, and sometimes they even deserve the criticism - such as when NIPSCO charges customers who have lost service to pay the equivalent of four months' worth of bills to reconnect. Although such a fee is allowed by the state, it is not required – and strikes me as punitive. It apparently strikes the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor that way, too, which Monday recommended capping reconnect fees for customers of large utilities at a level equal to one month's bill - or two months for customers with a history of nonpayment.
Indiana, EPA may collide on emissions
...So far the EPA hasn't taken any formal action to penalize Indiana because it's still testing auto emissions, despite a state law that aims to eliminate them in Southern Indiana in a little more than a year. The federal agency has warned, though, that if the program ends, the state could lose highway money. The EPA also could impose an economic-development penalty, one that would prohibit new companies with emissions from locating in the region unless twice as much pollution is eliminated from other sources.
Were IPL earnings too big?
In May 2003, the top brass at IPALCO Enterprises Inc. was running the numbers and saw potential regulatory trouble down the line. The latest projections showed the Indianapolis Power & Light Co. parent would earn a return on equity more than double the industry average for years to come, according to a confidential business plan drafted that spring. ...The plan estimated IPALCO was generating a 25-percent return on equity in early 2003 vs. an average 11-percent rate among electric utilities nationwide.
Pitt grad school gets CDC grant
With a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will start up a research center to develop a surveillance system for environmental threats. The academic research center will assist public health agencies looking for links between exposure to environmental pollutants and chronic diseases... pittsburgh.bizjournals.com
Don't sweep away Great Lakes cleanup
The effects of Katrina are still being felt in the Great Lakes region, far from where the hurricane made landfall. A $20 billion proposal to clean up the Great Lakes over the next 15 years appears to be Katrina's latest victim, a casualty of $200 billion in federal aid targeted for hurricane relief. Katrina isn't mentioned in a leaked report that now calls for keeping Great Lakes expenditures "within current budget projections." But the financial problems the storm created can be the only explanation for the abrupt turnabout in White House policy.
Design of 'Reference Plant' Using IGCC Technology Moves Forward
Preliminary design is beginning for the first coal-fueled powerplant in the U.S. in nearly a decade to use integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) operation. GE Energy, Bechtel Power Corp. and American Electric Power Co. have agreed to proceed with the project, which would be built on one of three sites on the Ohio River. The creation of a reference plant is a significant innovation, says Moreton. "This is something that has been absent in this market-the ability of a single entity to offer a commercial proposal that would also offer a standard technical proposal."
Climate Chaos' takes Notebaert by storm
Katrina and Rita were a couple of bad winds that have probably helped to blow record crowds into the Notebaert Nature Museum in the last couple of weeks to see "Climate Chaos," the new traveling exhibit visiting the museum. ...A 20-minute film narrated by an animated sheep gets families into the exhibit. While "Sheepie" and his friends explain the conditions that create extreme weather, a storm blows up right in the exhibit, complete with lightning and thunder.
Through April 23
Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon
$7; $4 for children ages 3-12; $5 for seniors/college students
(773) 755-5100 www.naturemuseum.org
Groundwork Laid for Improved U.S. Renewable Energy Policy
After listening to nearly 50 highly qualified renewable energy professionals and legislators give presentations for the last two days here in the nation's capitol at the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) Phase II Policy Conference, the "take-aways" are plentiful. ...Another big take-away was a greater feeling of true bipartisanship on energy issues and policies pertaining to renewable energy, and its close cousin, energy efficiency.
Washington State Lawmakers Explore Biofuels Options
Governor Christine Gregoire will join state lawmakers at a public hearing on alternative fuels and biodiesel Thursday, Oct. 20, in Seattle. With gas prices near record highs, the governor has asked legislators to explore options to decrease Washington state's dependence on imported oil and petroleum fuels. "Our state can and should be a national leader in the production of alternative fuels," said Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-Seattle, who chairs the Senate Environment, Energy & Water Committee. "It just makes sense for Washington to explore ways to diversify our energy portfolio.
Eight states, NYC appeal global warming dismissal
Eight states and the city of New York have appealed last month's dismissal of their global warming lawsuit against five of the largest U.S. utilities. The states originally filed suit against American Electric Power Co. Inc., Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc., Cinergy Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority public power system in July 2004, arguing that greenhouse gas emissions from their plants were a public nuisance and would cause irreparable harm to property. ...However, Judge Loretta Preska dismissed the suit, saying the issue was a political question for Congress or the President to decide, not the judiciary.
Bush admin seeks to weaken utility-emission rules
The Bush administration on Thursday proposed changing environmental rules to give U.S. coal-fired power plants more leeway to expand aging facilities without installing expensive equipment to cut air pollution. ...The changes to the contentious "New Source Review" section of the Clean Air Act proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would let utilities calculate emissions on an hourly, rather than annual basis.
Gas provider files for bankruptcy
CHICAGO - A gas company that has drawn recent scrutiny from state officials for reneging on fixed-price contracts with its customers has filed for bankruptcy.
Santanna Energy Services filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Austin, Texas, where the company is based, Santanna disclosed Tuesday. The company said it sought bankruptcy protection because of the "crisis it faces due to skyrocketing natural gas prices."
Suez LNG signs 2 charter agreements with Bergesen Worldwide Gas from 2009
These vessels will be used to transport LNG, under the recently signed Yemen LNG supply contract, primarily to supply the North American market, from the new liquefaction plant in Bal Haf, Yemen,
Cinergy Increases Heatshare, Wintercare Contributions and Matching Amounts
for Customer Donations
Cinergy/CG&E and Cinergy/ULH&P announced today that they are making special gifts to help lower-income residents with winter heating bills and are doubling their matching gifts for customer donations. Cinergy/CG&E will make a $100,000 donation to the HeatShare fund in Ohio, and Cinergy/ULH&P will make a $25,000 contribution to the WinterCare fund in Northern Kentucky. In addition, customer contributions to the funds will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $100,000 in Ohio and $25,000 in Kentucky by the Cinergy. With the increased match, HeatShare could reach $300,000 and WinterCare $75,000, if customers donate at the maximum matching level.
Climate Change: We Must Intervene!
"Stop Further Climate Change and End Emissions Now!" Can we take climate change activism beyond utopian demands like these, into the realm of meaningful strategy? With direct action we can insert a radical angle into the global debate on how to deal with climate change. We can point out the false nature of different technological "fixes" for climate change. And we can run our own public media campaign to counteract the corporate media vacuum.
... Considerations of 'realistic' change avoiding 'dangerous' consequences inherently involve value judgments about what life it's okay to endanger.
..."The end of our current social system... is on the cards," note activists preparing for July 7. "It can either be a voluntary transformation, or we can burn all the oil and have such a transformation imposed by nature. It's a stark, yet simple choice."
New Report Details Range of Climate Change Initiatives on U.S. Campuses
Universities are leading the way to reduce global warming pollution, according to a new report released by a coalition of youth environmental organizations and the Apollo Alliance. New Energy for Campuses details case studies of more than 30 universities in 24 states that have implemented a range of programs ranging from improving the energy efficiency of classrooms, putting solar panels on buildings, constructing on-campus windmills, and converting university vehicles to use cleaner fuels. The report also outlines the energy cost savings and global warming pollution reductions these programs have created,
Climate change means big changes in Puget Sound
Rising global temperatures are taking their toll on Puget Sound, as less mountain snow funnels less freshwater into estuaries, rising oceans transform salt marshes, and changes to the food web alter life for everything from lingcod to orcas, a new study says.
..."But we also know that when organisms experience catastrophe, it's most often because they're assaulted by more than one problem at a time. The sooner we recognize that things are under pressure because of climate change, we can look at the stressors we can do something about."
Bushmen's quiver tree threatened by climate change
A famed desert tree used for generations by Africa's bushmen to make quivers for their arrows is threatened by global warming, a conference heard on Tuesday. ..."The quiver trees are in the early stage of a poleward (southward) range shift," Wendy Foden, a researcher at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, told a conference on climate change science in Johannesburg. ...She also said the quiver trees' situation highlighted the fact that climate change was having an impact on desert ecosystems,
Climate model predicts dramatic changes over next 100 years
The most comprehensive climate model to date of the continental United States predicts more extreme temperatures throughout the country and more extreme precipitation along the Gulf Coast, in the Pacific Northwest and east of the Mississippi.
..."And the changes our model predicts are large enough to substantially
disrupt our economy and infrastructure."
We must adapt to climate change - or die
...In South Africa, the effects of global warming are predicted to include the spread of diseases such as tick-bite fever, cholera and malaria; the extinction of plants and animals; and ruined crops.
...South Africa's botanical treasures - the succulent Karoo and fynbos biomes, recognised as specialised ecosystems of rich plant biodiversity - are under grave threat.
...Because 70 percent of Africa's population relies on agriculture for its livelihood, and because the continent includes some of the world's poorest nations, it is particularly susceptible to climate change.
Global Resource Options Donates PV Lighting Systems for El Salvadorian
White River Junction, VT and El Salvador In keeping with its dedication to corporate social responsibility, Global Resource Options, Inc. (GRO) has announced a new partnership with Project Lighthouse, (PLH) a Boston-based nonprofit that works in El Salvador. Lighthouse is dedicated to training women and men to design, fabricate, and install photovoltaic (solar electric) systems. To assist PLH with the initiation of this new program, GRO has donated twenty photovoltaic lighting systems to be installed in small, rural health clinics throughout El Salvador.
DIY power plant
Israelis have developed a home system for maximum exploitation of solar energy at low cost. A solar-heated surface overlooks the rooftops of Ramat Aviv, across from the sea and the Reading power station. In the middle of surface is something that looks like a ramshackle robot, but don't let this description mislead you it's an advanced-stage prototype of what is designed to be the next generation of more efficient solar energy systems. The system is based on a parabolic mirror, which focuses solar energy on photovoltaic cells.
International team of scientists finds method of producing hydrogen through
According to Fuel Cell Today, scientists from Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and France may have overcome the main problem of using hydrogen as a clean fuel source (it usually takes a dirty fuel source like fossil fuels to create it) by using solar furnaces to heat zinc oxide and small amounts of coal until it breaks down to a fine powder, which is then mixed with water and heated to produce hydrogen safely, and experts predict that they will be able to replace the coal with biomass in the future.
Solar Reaction Mixed to Union Stance
...The necessary background to this situation is that the IBEW -- or more specifically, the local representatives of the IBEW in California – are widely considered to be the main reason for the legislative failure of SB1, the Million Solar Roofs Initiative in California.
...There's an underlying resistance to have everything built with union labor, says Thompson, mostly because solar panels are expensive and the high union wages will drive costs up. These wages, therefore, are not something that should be coupled with rebate legislation designed to bring the cost down, he says.
Wind energy gets even greener
A pilot program uses wind to create hydrogen fuel, creating a "battery" to store currently unused power. ...The idea is to increase the efficiency of wind generation by using it during off-peak hours to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen would be stored, then used later to produce electricity during periods of peak demand.
High schools turn to wind energy; cut back on fuel use
In an effort to save money as fuel costs continue to rise, Iowa high schools are getting creative. Athletic departments are also traveling less. ...About 30 high schools across the state have installed turbines to generate electricity and help fight rising power costs. The spinning action of the blades rotates a shaft, which triggers a generator that converts the energy into electricity. ...Sentral's turbine has saved the school approximately $60,000 in electrical bills, athletic director Troy Rew said.
Conference calls for more financial incentives to expand wind energy
TORONTO (CP) - Speakers at the Canadian Wind Energy Association's national conference have called on the federal and provincial governments to provide greater financial incentives to subsidize small-scale wind energy production. Association policy adviser Sean Whittaker said a rebate program would encourage farmers, small businesses and communities to set up small wind turbines by offsetting the high capital costs. ...Financial incentives are only available in Canada for generating projects that are connected to the power grid and that produce more than 500 kilowatts.
New project bringing wind energy to New Jersey coast
TRENTON, N.J. -- Construction has started in Atlantic City on New Jersey's first energy-producing wind farm, even as debate continues on more ambitious plans to build turbines offshore. ...The wind farm will be the first in New Jersey, according to the state Board of Public Utilities, which provided a $1.7 million clean energy grant for the $12 million construction project.
State OKs ethanol plant near Hereford
HEREFORD, Texas - The state has issued an air permit for Panda Energy Group to build a 100-million-gallon biomass-fueled ethanol plant east of Hereford. ...The company has agreements with 18 area feed yards that will supply manure for fueling the plant. It is negotiating with the city to purchase water and with Xcel Energy for electricity, The Hereford Brand reported.
Mess left by Rita has another use: as energy source
East Texans continue grappling with a big mess left in Hurricane Rita's
wake. It's called biomass, and it includes 533 million cubic feet of timber.
..."Biomass is the byproduct of harvest operations," Foster said. "Biomass is essentially any biological product used for energy production."
...Under normal conditions, however, wood fuel used by International Paper in Mansfield, Temple-Inland in Diboll, Louisiana Pacific in Carthage and Mead-Westvaco in Evandale to meet their energy requirements usually pay less per British thermal unit (Btu) for wood than for natural gas, according to TCEQ spokeswoman Andrea Morrow. And, Foster said, Scandinavian countries began using biomass as their primary energy source two decades ago and "they do it well."
Argentina angling to join biofuels race
Armed with 12 tonnes of soybeans, a young Argentine engineer named Edmundo Defferrari can produce enough fuel in one day to fill the tanks of five soy trucks.
Backed by local seed company Don Mario, Defferrari developed a biodiesel plant prototype in Chacabuco, Buenos Aires province, at a cost of 450,000 pesos ($152, 000). The engineer's goal is to sell similar plants to farmers who are anxious to lower their fuel costs or even achieve self-sufficiency in the face of soaring oil prices.
Biofuel for the general masses
An alternative energy source known as biofuel may hold the key to decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports -- and it might provide a boost to the nation's agriculture industry at the same time. ..."Instead of giving our dollars to OPEC nations to import their crude oil, we can give it to our domestic farmers here who are in trouble," said Robert Fuhrmann, an analyst at MyFuturesOnline.com.
State ready to benefit from renewable energy, analyst says
...As petroleum prices remain high, renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydropower and biomass, become increasingly affordable. Ten years ago, the cost of wind power simply wasn't competitive with the fluctuating gas market. Today, wind is cheaper than either oil or natural gas - a situation that DeCotis said could remain for the foreseeable future. New York is poised to benefit from the shift. Lawmakers last fall set a goal of attaining a quarter of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2025. Today, the state is at about 18 percent renewables, mostly hydropower from dams. DeCotis anticipates that the remainder will be met by wind.
Investing in renewable energy sources ( informative 4 page article )
Going green just isn't what it used to be. Amid rising fuel costs and climbing consumption, more people are getting involved in environmental issues and concerns in new ways. ...Until recently, utility companies, not consumers, decided the source that lights the way. ..."Lacking federal incentives," he says, "it will take a major life change such as buying a new house" before the average consumer will consider a change to using alternative energy sources. ..."It's a trend that's becoming really popular," Bolding says. "It's the next generation of environmental awareness."
Connecticut provides $2 million grant for renewable energy projects
With U.S. gas prices reaching record levels, the exploration of alternative energy sources is more important than ever, and Fuel Cell Today reports that Connecticut has set aside $2 million in grants for businesses to develop renewable energy sources such as fuel cells or solar panels. ..."Our challenge is that renewable energy has not become commercially competitive, so we have to finance the gap and make it viable for the public," said Lise Dondy, chief operating officer of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY COULD BRING LOWER FOOD PRICES IN CANADA
...To meet an increasing demand for more natural gas, exploration companies are expected to drill over 24,000 boreholes of up to 6,000-ft deep(2) in Western Canada, of which 75% would likely become productive. The non-producing boreholes are usually capped. Ground water that has seeped into the porous rock(3) at the bottom of these holes typically measures near 30 degrees C (86 degrees F), a result of earth temperature rising up to 15 degrees C (27 degrees F) per every 1,000 metres (3,280-ft) extra depth. Technology now exists to uncap the plugged boreholes and exhausted wells to provide access to a large quantity of geothermal energy that can be put to productive use across Western Canada during the winter months. ...Similar entrepreneurial opportunities may also exist in Central and Eastern Canada, where deep abandoned mines or deep caves could be used as geothermal heat sources for greenhouses during winter.
Repowering the Midwest: The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland Environmental Law & Policy Center, Citizens Action Coalition, et al
Renewable Potential Maps - U.S. Census Division - U.S. Department of Energy -
Energy Issues Index
Citizens Action Coalition - www.citact.org
ELPC Energy Project - Environmental Law & Policy Center - www.elpc.org
Union of Concerned Scientists - www.ucsusa.org
Climate Ark - The Premier Climate Change & Renewable Energy Portal
Repowering Indiana Weekly is produced by Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana with funding from Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.
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These are the issues of immediate importance we are working on right now.