CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2012 |
Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket. Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors -- each the size of a garage door -- are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California's eastern border.
December 5, 2011 |
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday urged Republicans running for president to do more to encourage investment in renewable energy, and pledged to be a "cheerleader" for the issue. The former California governor was honored in Washington on Monday night as the "renewable energy leader of the decade" by the American Council on Renewable Energy. Speaking at the group's 10th anniversary dinner, he said the United States had lost its way when it came to investing in developing new sources of energy.
November 25, 2011 |
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the latest data. Accelerating installations of solar- and wind-power plants led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.
November 9, 2011 |
California is on track to meet an ambitious goal of putting solar panels on up to 3 million Golden State homes by 2016, according to a new report by an environmental group. The $3.3-billion initiative, which provides subsidies to homeowners, has spurred the installation of 800 megawatts of rooftop panels over the last five years. That's the energy equivalent of two gas-burning power plants. With the prices of photovoltaic panels plummeting, California's installations are expected to triple over the next five years, helping the state reach its goal of 3,000 megawatts of rooftop solar by 2016.
July 15, 2011 |
After 10 months of negotiations and sometimes nasty public debate, Australia's government has finally announced the details of a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy. In 2015 it will be replaced by an emissions trading program. The plan, announced Sunday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will now go before Parliament, but its passage is assured as it is the result of a deal reached with the Australian Greens and two independents with whom the Labor Party formed a government last year.
July 7, 2011 |
"We're a disaster area," Alexis Bonogofsky told me, "and it's going to take a long time to get over it. " Bonogofsky and her partner, Mike Scott, are all over the news this week, telling the world about how Montana's Exxon Mobil pipeline spill has fouled their goat ranch and is threatening the health of their animals. But my conversation with Bonogofsky was four full days before the pipeline began pouring oil into the Yellowstone River. And no, it's not that she's psychic; she was talking about this year's historic flooding.
November 7, 2010 |
Let me guess: You're concerned about the environment. You recycle, buy the right light bulbs, drink from a reusable water bottle (preferably one made of metal) and wish you could afford a hybrid. You try to remember your reusable shopping bags when you go to the market and feel guilty when you don't. But there's something you could be doing that would make a much bigger difference, and it's not one of those really hard things like carpooling to work or installing solar panels on your roof.
October 12, 2010 |
America forgets Oct. 12 as seamlessly as it remembers Sept. 11. Ten years ago today, 17 U.S. Navy sailors were killed and 39 injured in an Al Qaeda attack against the U.S. destroyer Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen. The Cole was relatively defenseless during a 24-hour refueling stop when suicide operatives pulled alongside in a small, explosive-laden boat and detonated a charge, ripping a 40-foot hole in the hull. Though the lessons from 9/11 will be debated for years, Oct. 12's message is succinct.
October 6, 2010 |
It is time for more of us to step forward. By "us" I mean the growing number of thoughtful Americans who have recognized the threat of global warming but have tried not to worry about it too much or get involved. Even our president, who talks eloquently about the need to reduce our fossil-fuel consumption, initially rebuffed an environmental group's efforts to have the White House install solar panels (as detailed by Bill McKibben in his Sept. 16 Times Op-Ed article, "This is how they treat their friends?"
September 15, 2010 |
Alex Weil's football-sized invention ranks high on the improbability scale: a filter that cleans an engine's oil so long that after three years of testing on 17 Idaho tour buses, financed by the Energy Department, the filters were still going strong. "When I tell people how long my oil processors last, they just don't believe me," Weil said. "They just give me a blank stare. " Luckily for Weil, the filter didn't sound too good to be true to PortTechLA, a relatively new business incubator operated by a coalition that includes the port and city of Los Angeles.