Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Indiana Governor On Carbon Cap and Trade

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels wrote a scathing critique of the proposed carbon mitigation plan in the Wall Street Journal One fear of implementing a carbon cap and trade in the U.S. is the potential to disproportionaly drive up electricity costs in states such as Indiana which rely almost entirely on coal as their primary source. It could also have huge effects on middle to lower income people, which is the last thing the country needs at this tme. The Waxman-Markey Bill considers these possibilities in its' proposed allowance allocation "Local electric distribution companies, whose rates are regulated by the states, will receive 30% of the allowances, which they must use to protect consumers from electricity price increases." As for hurting the pocket-books of those less well off financially:"15% of allowances will be auctioned each year and the proceeds of these allowances will be distributed to low- and moderate-income families to protect them from other energy cost increases. These allowances will be distributed through tax credits, direct payments, and electronic benefit payments and will not phase out."
Another problem Daniel's states in the Journal article is "This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers -- California, Massachusetts and New York -- seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies..." The governor even calls these states "imperialists". This, as pointed out very well by Dr. Bill Chameides' Huffington Post Response, is laughable, considering the federal funding Indiana recieves.
All this talk it neglecting the one issue on my mind, which is individual empowerment over one's own energy use and costs. The real "imperialism" element is the lack of feed-in-tariffs or other consumer protection measures in the bill. The "imperialists" will once again be the utility companies and the entire government itself without such provisions. Daniels wants to simplify a complex issue to scare Hoosiers away from carbon mitigation and Democrats who support it. With Secretary Chu himself reportedly saying we will reach 450ppm, our future may indeed be bleak without action!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Largest Geothermal Heating and Cooling Plant in U.S.

My Alma matter and the university I am currently attending for graduate studies, Ball State University is constructing what will be the largest geothermal system of its'kind in the United States. While there will certainly be some disruptions during some phases of the project, it is replacing an entirely coal fired heating and cooling plant, so the environmental benefits are enormous. Not to mention the economic rewards! With strong U.S. environmental leadership as President Obama's agenda indicates projects such as these should proliferate.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nuclear Energy and its' Waste

The Yucca mountain waste plan will likely never be acceptable to Nevada residents. A holistic energy policy that addresses energy use is needed. The Unites States government can make a choice to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into nuclear or subsidize renewable like wind, biomass, and solar. Point source renewable energy could be used on a massive scale which would allow for less waste in distribution of energy and conservation of energy. It would also address the issue of control, with a power source that originates at a home; the resident is gaining a sense of control that is lost with centralized plants. The sense of dread about nuclear technologies (whether unfounded or not) is not inherent with renewables. While unfamiliarity is and issue with renewable energy a massive education effort seems to already be underway and could easily be expanded on as the technical aspects are more easily understood by laymen than those of nuclear energy. Need for a different source of energy is established throughout much of the American public. The health costs of fossil fuels and reliance on foreign oil are frowned upon for the most part. Technological determinism is a factor for both nuclear and renewables. The nuclear industry has had a time of massive government subsidies and research, with no satisfactory solutions or compromises when it comes to dealing with its’ massive wastes. My overall thoughts on nuclear energy are that the U.S. has been a pioneer for the world on many fronts, why rehash the same attempts of a failed industry?