That’s the opinion of David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy, a wholesale power company based in Princeton, N.J. What’s afoot is a confluence of green energy and computer technology, deregulation, cheap natural gas, and political pressure that, as Crane starkly frames it, poses “a mortal threat to the existing utility system.” He says that in about the time it has taken cell phones to supplant land lines in most U.S. homes, the grid will become increasingly irrelevant as customers move toward decentralized homegrown green energy.
Over the past 18 months, a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers who got rich suing the tobacco industry have turned their litigious attention to what they hope will be the next big thing: challenges to healthy-sounding food labels they allege are misleading. Hailing from across the U.S., the lawyers decided to sue in federal courts in Northern California, where the consumer-protection laws are expansive and the jury pool nutrition-conscious.
The Port of Oakland wants to reroute that trip, and is battling powerful rivals in a competition for precious goods. Its leaders have rolled the dice on a bold, $1.2 billion solution: turn the old Oakland Army Base into an ultra-efficient port that links ships directly to trains, reducing truck traffic, expanding the port’s cargo business and securing the Bay Area’s role in the 21st-century global shipping economy.
Company: Amazon.com Inc.CA Net Job Gain/Loss: 150Reason: Expand, From Out of StateCity/Region Losing Jobs: Seattle, WACity/Region Gaining Jobs: San Bernardino, CA
Electricity consumption per capita in California stopped increasing in the 1970s, around the same time policymakers had also enacted stricter energy-efficiency policies, such as mandates on buildings and appliances. As electricity consumption continued to rise in other states, regulation advocates hailed California as a role model for the rest of the nation. But according to an economist at Georgetown University, California’s savings are largely due to other long-run trends.
California is reconsidering landmark consumer protections and energy conservation measures that were written into residential utility bills during the state’s 2000-2001 energy crisis.
A project that would have included a solar power station and a million-square-foot solar panel factory a few miles from the California state line won’t be built, its backers announced last month. The $5 billion, Chinese-backed ENN Mojave Energy project at the southernmost corner of Nevada couldn’t find utilities that wanted to buy its power, either in Nevada or across the line in California.
When wind or solar energy displace conventional generation, the reduction in emissions varies dramatically across the United States. Although the Southwest has the greatest solar resource, a solar panel in New Jersey displaces significantly more sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter than a panel in Arizona, resulting in 15 times more health and environmental benefits. A wind turbine in West Virginia displaces twice as much carbon dioxide as the same turbine in California.
An effort is under way in the Capitol to require local governments to perform comprehensive economic impact studies of so-called “superstores” before approving the projects.
Starting in the 1970s California’s residential electricity consumption per capita stopped increasing, while other states’ electricity use continued to grow steadily. Similar patterns can be seen in non-electric energy, industry, and transportation. What accounts for California’s apparent energy savings?
Though the Obama administration has recently renewed its commitment to approve more wind facilities on public lands as part of the Climate Action Plan it released this week, a new study indicates that wind development in California has far fewer benefits than it does elsewhere in the United States.
Company: Southern California EdisonCA Net Job Gain/Loss: -600Reason: LayoffCity/Region Losing Jobs: San Clemente, CANotes: Resulting from shut down of San Onofre nuclear power plant
With Friday’s cancellation of one of the biggest solar projects proposed for the California desert, the utility-scale solar boom of 2009 continues to falter. And analysts deep in the energy industry are taking notice.
The developer of a huge proposed solar power project that was once slated to cover 12.5 square miles of still-intact desert habitat has walked away from the idea, according to documents released by the California Energy Commission (CEC). The Calico Solar Project, proposed for land north of Interstate 40 between the hamlets of Ludlow and Newberry Springs, attracted opposition even from die-hard supporters of desert solar projects.
CA Net Job Gain/Loss: 200Reason: Expand, From Out of StateCity/Region Losing Jobs: Batavia, ILCity/Region Gaining Jobs: Moreno Valley, CANotes: Planned regional HQ and warehouse complex for national discount grocery chain