CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - When Gov. Jerry Brown called on his fellow governors at a conference in Washington last week to embrace a California-style pursuit of cleaner air, he was doing more than reinforcing the state's image as an environmental trailblazer. He was trying to protect its economy. Brown needs other states and the federal government to adopt key elements of California's environmental agenda, such as reaping more energy from renewable sources and capping greenhouse gas emissions, if those programs are to be successful here.
February 27, 2013 |
Situated in the southeastern corner of California, bordering Arizona and Mexico, Imperial County has long depended on agriculture and cash crops that grew from the good earth. But lately the region - which carries the dubious distinction of having the state's highest unemployment rate at 25.5% - is betting its future on a different kind of farm: green energy. Spurred by a state mandate that requires utilities to get a third of their electricity from green sources by 2020, renewable energy companies are leasing or buying thousands of acres in Imperial County to convert to energy farms providing power for coastal cities - bringing an estimated 6,000 building jobs and billions in construction activity to the county.
February 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he is leaving the Obama administration, ending a tenure marked by active development of alternative energy that won plaudits from environmentalists and drew attacks from conservatives, especially after the bankruptcy of the federally-backed solar panel maker, Solyndra. Chu said that he planned to stay at least through late February and was prepared to stay longer in order to hand over the agency to a new secretary. A Nobel laureate in physics, Chu oversaw the deployment of $35 billion in stimulus funding, much of it to research initiatives and companies charting new vehicle fuels, advanced batteries for large-scale power storage and renewable energy.
January 30, 2013 |
Hawaii's love affair with rooftop solar energy has turned into a gold rush. In 2012, as many permits for new solar units were issued on the island of Oahu alone as in the entire state over the last decade. That, inevitably, has led to gridlock. Homeowners and businesses in some areas have been required to conduct expensive studies before hooking up new solar power to the electrical grid, which utility operators fear could become saturated with unpredictable do-it-yourself power.
January 23, 2013 |
Ikea Group, the world's biggest furniture retailer, will double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion by 2020 as part of a drive to reduce costs as cash-strapped consumers become more price sensitive. The additional spending on projects such as wind farms and solar parks will be needed to keep expenses down as the company maintains its pace of expansion, Chief Executive Mikael Ohlsson said in an interview in Malmo, Sweden. "I foresee we'll continue to increase our investments in renewable energy," said Ohlsson, who plans to step down this year after 3 1/2 years at the helm.
January 12, 2013
Reader P.J. Gendell of Beverly Hills, in a letter published Thursday posed a question to journalist and climate-change activist Bill McKibben in response to his Jan. 6 Op-Ed article, "Climate change won't wait": "McKibben is very adamant that 'if we're to slow the pace of climate change, we need to cut emissions globally at a sensational rate, by something like 5% a year.' Considering what a huge amount that is, it would be helpful for...
January 2, 2013
Re "Small-scale solar's big potential untapped," Dec. 29 The story touting the potential benefits of rooftop and other smaller solar power arrays was well written and informative. Now it's time to look under the rocks. The Times reports that the tiny Mojave Desert town of Nipton, Calif., is off the grid. So exactly where does the electrical power come from when it's cloudy and when the sun goes down? Generators? Batteries? What's the (environmental) good, bad and evil of those systems?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 31, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - When Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to a crowd of beaming environmentalists and renewable energy advocates at the launch of a solar farm last year, he turned heads by praising another form of fuel: oil. It was a surprising pivot from the man credited with helping to usher in the modern environmental movement as California's governor nearly four decades ago. Back then, Brown enacted the nation's first energy-efficiency standards, signed strict...
December 28, 2012
Sen. John Kerry, President Obama's nominee for secretary of State, may not be able to bring peace to the Middle East, end enduring trade and currency disputes with China or mend fences with all the anti-American leaders in Latin America. But he may be capable of redirecting the debate over an issue of equal or greater importance: climate change. Kerry is among the most forward-thinking members of the U.S. Senate when it comes to understanding both the threats of and the practical responses to global warming.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2012 |
The Delta Energy Center, a power plant about an hour outside San Francisco, was roaring at nearly full bore one day last month, its four gas and steam turbines churning out 880 megawatts of electricity to the California grid. On the horizon, across an industrial shipping channel on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, scores of wind turbines stood dead still. The air was too calm to turn their blades - or many others across the state that day. Wind provided just 33 megawatts of power statewide in the midafternoon, less than 1% of the potential from wind farms capable of producing 4,000 megawatts of electricity.