Topic: Energy
June 25, 2017

Europe has a long history of playing fast and loose with its emission numbers, especially when it comes to carbon captured by forests. The EU considers burning biomass (read: wood chips) to be carbon neutral, under the logic that if felled forests are replanted, there’s “no harm, no foul” in the long run. That’s a problematic assumption, though, for a long list of reasons. For one, the mere acts of cutting down trees, transporting them, and then processing them into wood pellets all produce emissions. For another, oftentimes the trees that are cut down aren’t replanted, and those purchasing this “green” biomass often don’t do their due diligence to ensure they’re sourcing their wood from responsible foresters.

June 23, 2017

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who campaigned four years ago as someone who would stand up for Department of Water and Power ratepayers, is pushing a proposal to give six raises within five years to more than 9,000 workers at the utility.

The salary agreement, backed Tuesday by Garcetti’s appointees on the DWP board, would provide raises of least 13.2% and as much as 22.3% by October 2021, depending on inflation. Beyond that, the pact would deliver a 4% boost over two years to the base pay of hundreds of DWP electrical distribution mechanics, also known as linemen.

June 21, 2017

California energy regulators say the state could benefit from sharing more electricity with its neighbors during heat waves such as this week’s, but a proposal to do so has stalled after the election of President Trump. . . . “We will reduce costs for everybody. We will reduce pollution. We will improve system reliability, and these are all reasons to do this,” says Cavanagh. Last August, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote to leadership in the Legislature that he would look to pass a proposal earlier this year. “I have directed my staff, the Energy Commission, the Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board to continue working with the Legislature,” Brown wrote. “The goal is to develop a strong proposal that the Legislature can consider in January.” That still hasn’t happened, although the governor has maintained he still supports regionalization.

June 21, 2017

Decommissioning nuclear plants in Europe and North America from 2020 threatens global plans to cut carbon emissions unless governments build new nuclear plants or expand the use of renewables, a top International Energy Agency official said. Nuclear is now the largest low-carbon power source in Europe and the United States, about three times bigger than wind and solar combined, according to IEA data. But most reactors were built in the 1970s and early 80s, and will reach the end of their life around 2020. With the average nuclear plant running for 8,000 hours a year versus 1,500-2,000 hours for a solar plant, governments must expand renewable investments to replace old nuclear plants if they are to meet decarbonization targets, IEA Chief Economist Laszlo Varro told Reuters.

June 20, 2017

In November last year, the European Commission’s Clean Energy Package proposed a 30 percent energy efficiency target for 2030. . . This was, as it turns out, wishful thinking, at least in this Council. Several Member States are pushing for even weaker targets. A vote on this is expected for next Monday. In particular, proposals are being prepared to water down the provisions in Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which delivers about half of the entire savings of the Directive and is a key driver for energy efficiency in Europe.

. . . If accepted, these proposals will reduce the current ambition levels by more than 80 percent and perhaps as much as 100 percent depending on the amount of excess savings and how Member States apply these proposed terms. 

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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board