Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Bloomberg BNA — The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water Quality advanced measures April 8 seeking to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities at oil and gas fields in California and to update the state's oil spill response program to address the risks of importing crude oil by rail.
Both bills now head to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality for further action.
James Cameron directed the two highest-grossing movies of all time, Avatar and Titanic. This week he premieres The Years of Living Dangerously, a nine-part Showtime documentary about climate change.
That makes him the ideal target for this question: 'Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic' is a common cliche about how international climate talks never seem to go anywhere. Given your work on climate change and the Titanic, that sound right to you?
Global investment in renewable energy last year declined for the second year in a row. Even worse: For the first time since renewables became plausible, growth in new capacity slowed.
"Is this the clean-tech crash?" asked Michael Liebreich, chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, to start his keynote at the group's annual summit in New York.
For proponents of new energy, there's some bad news and some good news.
Global renewable energy investment dropped 14 percent last year from 2012, to $214 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). That's 23 percent off the peak, reached in 2011, according to a new report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014. The good news is the drop in investment comes largely as a result of lower prices, according to Michael Liebreich, BNEF's founder.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said England would risk power brownouts without supplies from his region.
“We export a substantial amount of electricity to England and will continue to do so,” Salmond said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York today. “If we didn’t, that 2 percent capacity margin would be minus 2 percent. So you would have brownouts.”
Bloomberg BNA — The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed $9.78 million in civil penalties against pipeline operators for alleged violations of federal law in 2013, the agency announced April 7.
PHMSA said in a statement that 2013 saw the highest yearly amount of proposed penalties in the agency's history. The agency has proposed more than $33 million in penalties in pipeline enforcement cases since 2009, while seeing the number of serious pipeline incidents resulting in fatalities or major injuries decline each year during that time period, according to PHMSA.
General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said his company has been developing fuel cell power for 30 years.
It’s actually been more than 50. General Electric started designing fuel cells for spaceflight in 1962.
It's tax time -- the time of the year when every working American is reminded of the tortures of the U.S. tax code. The head of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee sums it up best:
"The U.S. tax code is a mess -- a rotting carcass that seems to smell worse each year," Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York today.
Bloomberg BNA — A desire to avoid millions of dollars in Alaska state taxes played a role in Royal Dutch Shell Plc's decision to move a drilling rig, which later broke free from a towboat and ran aground on an uninhabited island in Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a report.
Shell had decided to move the Kulluk drill rig to Seattle for repairs because it might have been subject to a state property tax had it remained in Alaska waters beyond Jan. 1, 2013, according to the report released April 3 that offered eight recommendations to improve safety.
Here are today's top reads: