Foreign Policy Blogs

Renewables , Some Important Stories of the Day

The EU's Thrust on Energy and Climate , Today the EU announced its comprehensive renewables plan.  Go here for a wealth of information from them, including releases, video, speeches, key documents etc.

I've talked about and will be talking more about the EU's plans.  Reuters' very useful "Planet Ark" has this "factbox" on what the EU intends to be doing.  Here's one pretty significant overall goal:  20 percent reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases in 2020 compared to 1990 level. The cut would be increased to 30 percent if there is an international agreement on the issue.

Tax Credits for Renewables , In the final energy bill from Congress from December (see It's A Wrap and numerous other posts), one pretty important component was left out, along with the 15% Renewable Portfolio Standard for electric utilities:  the extension of tax credits for renewables.  Without action by Congress, these tax credits will expire at the end of 2008.  Without them, investment in renewables will plummet.  See Groups See Dim Renewable Energy Future from the A.P. and Renewable Energy Leaders Urge Congress, Bush to Extend Tax Credits Quickly from The four major renewable trade associations, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), National Hydropower Association (NHA) and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), are spearheading a drive to get the credits renewed.  They think that this should be part of the economic stimulus package that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Congressional leaders are negotiating now.

The second of the news stories above cites Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association:  ""Do you want to write them (consumers) a check, or do you want to give them a job?'  Resch highlighted 80 utility-scale solar projects on the drawing boards collectively representing about 56,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity generating capacity, more than 20,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of thousands of construction jobs. "None of these projects will be built unless the investment tax credit is extended,' he said."

Forgive me if I say that this seems like a perfect no-brainer.

Wind Power , I wrote recently about the healthy growth of wind power in China and Australia here, and now there's a story from "USA Today" about the burgeoning of American wind generation:  Wind power growth gusts strongly in USA in 2007.  The AWEA said that the industry installed 5,244 megawatts in 2007, accounting for 30% of all new electricity-generating capacity.  See their release.

Hydrogen , I wrote in July about Abu Dhabi's exciting and ambitious green building project at my special article for the FPA:  Great Decisions Analysis: The Green Building Movement.  Now Abu Dhabi has announced another important initiative , a $15 billion clean energy program with a significant hydrogen component.  Here's how the BBC describes it in their article: "Hydrogen will be manufactured from natural gas by reactions involving steam, producing a mixture of hydrogen and carbon dioxide.  The CO2 can be pumped underground, either simply to store it away permanently or as a way of extracting more oil from existing wells, using the high-pressure gas to force more of the black gold to the surface."

British chemical engineer, consultant and academic Keith Guy said:  "It's important because it shows that you can generate hydrogen without carbon release from fossil fuels."  Guy, in another BBC article worth noting, lays out a grand plan for hydrogen. 



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change