CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2012 |
California's push to add wind and solar energy to its existing power grid could saddle ratepayers with soaring electrical bills and despoil the state's environmental resources unless officials act soon, according to a report released Monday by a government watchdog agency. Although it applauded the state's effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission said that a "balkanized" and "dysfunctional" collection of state energy agencies threatened to create a "profoundly expensive policy failure.
November 26, 2012 |
On the few social occasions that I had a chin-wag with Larry Hagman, he talked not at all about his acting career, not much about the renown of his birthright -- a reference or two to his mother, Mary Martin -- and a great deal about renewable energy and living “off the grid.” Yep, the man whose TV career was founded on oil -- first thanks to that fetching genie living in an ancient oil lamp and then as a Texas petroleum tycoon -- was a...
November 2, 2012 |
California voters have not been kind to wealthy people who spend millions of dollars trying to pass a ballot initiative. For every Rob Reiner and Stephen Bing , who combined their ample wallets to push through a cigarette tax in 1998, there are multiple more like T. Boone Pickens, whose natural-gas company spent millions in vain on an initiative to subsidize clean-energy vehicles and projects. Or like Bing, who flushed a boatload of cash in 2006 on an initiative to fund alternative energy by taxing oil wells . Yet those with exceptionally deep pockets can't resist the temptation to try to impose their political will on the state.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 10, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - On 7,300 isolated acres in eastern Kern County, a plan for dozens of wind turbines 20 stories high to generate enough electricity for tens of thousands of homes may hinge on who is elected president. Millions of dollars have been spent laying the groundwork. Permits are in order, contractors are lined up, government planners are on board. But like many other green energy efforts in California, the Avalon Wind Project awaits the fate of key federal subsidies. For Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, such aid represents government run amok, allowing bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in renewable energy rather than letting the free market sort them out. Romney has not offered many specifics about what he would cut, but his opposition in general to aid for alternative energy production has been a pillar of his campaign.
September 5, 2012 |
SANTA RITA DO SAPUCAI, Brazil - Muscular young men in red jumpsuits hunch over a set of matching stationary bicycles, sweating and panting. A few more wait to take over when the first group is too tired to go on. They keep the wheels turning nonstop, eight hours a day, seven days a week. They aren't a cycling team training for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will take place in nearby Rio de Janeiro. They are a group of convicts riding for their freedom. The bikes are hooked up to portable batteries, which light up the humble boardwalk along this small country town's river each night.
July 12, 2012 |
In the U.S. - land of the gas-guzzler SUV and 24/7 air conditioning - energy efficiency isn't known as a strong suit. The country's power management efforts are so poor that a new report ranks it near the bottom of the pack of major economies. On a list of a dozen countries, which together account for 63% of global energy consumption, the U.S.' efficiency efforts are ranked in lowly ninth place. With a score of 47 out of 100, the U.S. outpaces only Brazil, Canada and Russia, according to the report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, known as ACEEE.
March 21, 2012 |
After being pummeled for months by both left and right over the Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama administration is trying to start over -- this time with a new name. In January, the administration turned down an application to build the pipeline from Canada's tar sands region to the Gulf Coast. TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, more recently announced plans to go ahead with the southern portion of the route, starting from Cushing, Okla., which White House officials maintain is the more urgently needed part.
March 20, 2012 |
President Obama plans to set off Wednesday on a Western tour passing through one of the reddest states in the union, where he will try to turn the Keystone pipeline story into a positive tale about his overall energy policy. On the way to Oklahoma - the starting point of the southern half of the controversial pipeline - Obama plans to highlight the approval of dozens of oil pipelines during his time in office. Although the full Keystone line from Canada to Texas failed to get a permit earlier this year, the company is moving forward with the southern portion.
March 15, 2012 |
President Obama coined a new campaign line on Thursday when he said Republican presidential candidates' views on energy policy qualifies them as members of the "Flat Earth Society. " Speaking to a crowd in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, Obama charged that the GOP contenders are dismissive of alternative energy and compared them to those who thought Columbus shouldn't set sail. "We've heard these folks in the past," Obama said. "'Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan.' ... 'The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad.'" While the president riffed on the idea in a joking tone, his speech at Prince George's Community College revealed a very serious undercurrent running through his White House right now. The president has few tools to check the rising cost of gasoline in the short term, and his advisors are acutely aware of the effect this could have on voters.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 12, 2012 |
Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday urged Southern California Edison to expedite interconnection agreements with national parks and forests, where renewable energy projects have been sitting idle for years while federal agencies wrangle with the utility. In a letter to SCE President Ronald L. Litzinger, Boxer chastised the utility for delaying projects that were intended to reduce electric bills at national park and forest facilities. The letter was in response to a Times story this week that detailed a number of renewable projects caught in the impasse.