Sunday, August 05, 2007

Exciting National and Local Developments

No time to blog tonight, but check out this exciting news:
  • National: On Saturday the U.S. House passed 220-190 the Udall-Platts amendment to the House energy bill. The amendment calls for a federal renewable energy standard (RES) of 15 percent renewables by 2020. Now the House energy bill has to be reconciled with the Senate version (which doesn't include an RES) and the White House has threatened to veto any legislation that includes a national goal for renewable energy. So although it is exciting news that the House passed an RES for the first time ever, there many huge hurdles to go before it could ever become law this year.

  • Local (Minnesota): The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously rejected a coal gasification power plant proposed for the Iron Range. The proponents of the Mesaba coal plant tried to sell it off as "clean" coal because the process used to burn it would allow the CO2 emissions to be sequestered - but the emissions would have to be piped all the way over to North Dakota (i.e. all the way across Minnesota) because the geography of the area doesn't allow for underground sequestration. And in addition to the plant not being an economical or efficient option, Xcel Energy would've been forced to buy the power - and they argued that they don't even need it because they're building more wind farms! Clearly a rational decision by the PUC both for the economy of Minnesota and the fight against global warming.

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