Tag Archives: Center for American Progress

April Top Ten Players In Green Energy

1: Cape Wind

The 420-megawatt Cape Wind project  is big, but the expectations for it are even bigger. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who just last week announced approval for the project amidst some stiff opposition, expects the Nantucket Sound wind farm to do no less than prove the viability of offshore wind in America. Much remains to be done before the first turbine blades start to spin – bank financing and power purchase agreements must be finalized and the project must be built on time and within budget. But Cape Wind has already done a lot. The project’s developers have endured nine years of attempts to regulate offshore sites that played like a bureaucratic version of “Who’s on first?” before finally arriving at guidelines that future developers can follow. More importantly, the Obama administration has decided that the need for renewable energy trumps environmental and cultural concerns that threaten to block large projects. It’s an imperfect solution, to be sure, but it does move green energy forward.

Continue reading April Top Ten Players In Green Energy

The Week In Green Energy: Tracking The Green Dollar

Week of April 12 – to – April 16, 2010

This week, industry groups released a slew of optimistic reports that highlighted the robust health of the U.S. clean energy sector. In 2009, U.S. solar capacity grew by 29 percent, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. Wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association, was up by 40 percent. Geothermal capacity increased by a more modest six percent for the year, said the Geothermal Energy Association.

Those positive numbers were largely expected considering the unprecedented stimulus money that flowed into the sector since the Obama administration took over more than a year ago.  Wind and solar developers (and project finance banks) have flocked to programs like the 1603 direct cash-grants, implemented in lieu of the investment tax credits. Indeed, with bank credit committees more selective these days, having government dollars helps.

Continue reading The Week In Green Energy: Tracking The Green Dollar

The Copenhagen Climate Summit Was A _____________. (success/failure/dont know)

Not even four months after the event, we are already seeing a reevaluation of the U.N.’s?Copenhagen climate summit and the accord that came out of it.

The Vine blog had a piece yesterday reporting that the initiatives that came out of Copenhagen have a good chance of holding warming to 2 degrees celsius by 2100. Today, FT Energy Source follows up with a report that is slightly more pessimistic but much sunnier than anything we were seeing in December. Continue reading The Copenhagen Climate Summit Was A _____________. (success/failure/dont know)

Reblog: How Green Is Chinas Stimulus Package? [VIDEO]

There is obviously a lot of interest in China’s growing renewable energy industry. Over the past year, China’s $586 billion green stimulus has emerged as a serious contender to win the global clean energy race at the expense of the U.S.? In a recent post for the Green Leap Forward,? Chief Editor Julian Wong dissects the Chinese stimulus and asks how green it really is. Wong is also a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

– By Julian Wong

I had the opportunity to answer this question as a member of a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington DC foreign policy think tank, two weeks ago.?? The event was held on February 17 to mark the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and sought to explore the effectiveness economic stimulus packages in the US and globally in catalyzing green investments (Wong’s remarks start at about 24’21).

My simple answer?? There is no simple answer.? The lack of transparency of what exactly is being allocated, how those allocations are being spent, and how the uncertainty around the lesser known story of bank lending (or monetary policy), that is separate from the fiscal stimulus figures into clean energy investments makes it nearly impossible to know just how much money is hitting the clean energy road in China. Continue reading Reblog: How Green Is Chinas Stimulus Package? [VIDEO]

December Top Ten Players in Green Energy: Nos 6-10

6:  Utility Scale Geothermal developers

Perpetual motion machines, unicorns… utility-scale geothermal?

Unfortunately for geothermal developers, it seems that tapping the earth’s core to generate energy has increasingly been consigned to fantasy land. Swiss authorities shut down one project, backed by former oilman Markus Haring, because studies showed that it could trigger earthquakes and cause damage to properties.

Then Google-backed AltaRock Energy gave notice to the Department of Energy in early December that it was abandoning its Geysers drilling project near San Francisco. Add these setbacks to the enormous cost and inexact science of drilling holes miles in the ground and you’ve got a technology that appears not to be ready for large-scale development.

The DOE remains keen, saying the technology has “enormous potential.” Recently, however, we’ve only seen enormous setbacks. Continue reading December Top Ten Players in Green Energy: Nos 6-10

China’s superheated green growth

http://www.planetwize.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/green-chinese-flag-150x150.jpgFirst China trumped the United States in women’s Olympics team gymnastics, now they’re winning the green energy race?  This report, released last week by the Center for American Progress’ Ben Furnas, finds that China plans to invest $220 billion in green energy over the next two years – twice as much as the U.S. stimulus plan will plow into the sector.

As with the gymnasts, though, there’s a bit of numerical trickery and a lot of contortion and that goes into this apparent Chinese victory. Furnas leans heavily on this report by The Climate Group, created through a partnership with HSBC, for some of the scary visions of China’s green energy superiority: the emerging superpower is likely already the No. 1 manufacturer of low carbon technologies like solar photovoltaic technology and; policymakers have set impressive goals across all sectors of the economy, aiming for 15% renewable energy by 2020 and requiring big industry to reduce their energy intensity 20%  by 2010.

There’s a lot to like about China’s approach, but Furnas glosses over some of the China’s challenges.

Notably, China is hungry for energy and it has lots and lots and lots of coal, ergo: the future remains black and lumpy. As Keith Johnson points out in the Wall Street Journal’s Environmental Capital blog, Chinese officials just announced a plan to increase wind power generation to 100 gigawatts by 2020. Who did the announcing? The head of the coal department of the National Energy Administration. Coal plants, meanwhile, will generate a total of 1,000 gigawatts by 2020.

And while China is ace at manufacturing solar cells, only 0.08 gigawatts of solar capacity had actually been installed as of 2007, according to The Climate Group report.

The double back handspring back tuck of the report, though, is the inflated reporting of China’s goals and green energy commitment. First, officials argue that the stimulus isn’t as green as HSBC thinks it. And the country has lost ground in its energy intensity reduction plans since 2002 and officials aren’t sure if they can turn the trend around anytime soon.

Furnas follows the time honored tradition of conjuring up the Red Menace to make his real point: “There is no reason the United States shouldn’t lead the world in renewable energy.” No argument here.

An update on the stimulus

Daniel Weiss and Alexandra Kougentakis at the Center for American Progress have put together a comprehensive update on the $825 billion, energy-focused, stimulus bills that are making their way through Congress.

They report that the $819 billion, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1,? passed the house on Wednesday. In that bill about $72 billion is allocated to clean energy and another $20 billion for clean energy tax incentives.

Portions of the Senate’s version of the bill, dubbed the American Investment and Recovery Plan, S. 336, was approved this week by the Appropriations Committee. The $365 billion? package dedicates $78 billion to clean energy. At the same time the Senate’s Finance Committee, approved another portion of the bill, a $522 billion tax package that includes $31 billion in tax incentives for renewables and energy efficiency. Weiss and Kougentakis expect these two bills to be joined into a single piece of legislation before senate floor consideration.

A vote on the full version of the Senate recovery bill is scheduled for next week.

Energy Investments Power Recovery Packages (Center for American Progress)