Tariffs on Chinese Solar Are Bad for Us All

Garvin Jabusch Trade War photo via Bigstock The United States Department of Commerce Thursday, and of all things at the behest of a German-owned company, SolarWorld AG (SRWRF.PK), imposed extreme tariffs on China-made solar panels and modules of between 31% and 250%, making them much less affordable for U.S. consumers. Commerce took the additional extraordinary step of making the tariffs retroactive for 90 days to prevent U.S businesses and homeowners from getting a decent price on the basis that their local...

Nature Conservancy Endorses Fossil Fuel Funded Trojan Horse

An article posted by ClimateLiabilityNews.org  Hearing Glosses Over Carbon Tax Proposal’s Liability Waiver  explains the ‘grand bargain’ being set forth in a proposal from the Climate Leadership Council. A Carbon Tax & Dividend plan is now being supported by big corporations, polluters and fossil fuel companies, which would seem to be a miraculous change in sentiment.  But the fine print discloses that the deal includes a liability waiver exempting fossil fuels companies from federal & state climate tort lawsuits.   The carbon tax is on the low end for “social cost of carbon” calculations, at $40/ton, so as a value...

Windpower: Focusing the Criticism Away from NIMBYism and Aesthetics

Michael Giberson Market-oriented policy analysts have not been shy about cataloguing the problems surrounding windpower development. But in the enthusiasm to oppose the government interventions accompanying wind generation, market-based analysts sometimes have strayed beyond principled defense of markets and unwittingly offered support to anti-market NIMBYism and other meddlesome sentiments. Policy analysts examining wind power issues should consider more carefully which issues ought to be pursued through the policy process. Two Images Wind power has two images. In one view, wind power is glamorous, hi-tech, future oriented and almost sexy. Advertisements for products from automobiles to...

Climate Change & Corporate Disclosure: Should Investors Care?

Charles Morand On Monday morning, I received an e-copy of a new research note by BofA Merrill Lynch arguing that disclosure by publicly-listed companies on the issue of climate change was becoming increasingly "important". The note claimed: "e believe smart investors and companies will recognize the edge they can gain by understanding low carbon trends." I couldn't agree more with that statement. It was no coincidence that on that same day the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit UK-based organization that surveys public companies each year on the state of their climate change awareness, was...

Renewable Energy Standards: Savvy or Silly?

David Gold State renewable energy standards have gained momentum over the past decade with 29 states having put in place various types of standard mandates and five more having implemented voluntary standards (34 total).  Now the federal government is looking to get into the game with a bi-partisan bill (S. 3813) aiming to set a minimum national standard. Renewable energy standards certainly feel good, but do they really provide the best path for achieving their goals?  The existing renewable energy standards are savvy in finding a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions while simultaneously being...

Green Jobs: Debunking the Debunkers

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Energy markets are neither free nor efficient, so traditional economic arguments against regulation and other government interventions do not apply.  In response to my recent article digging into green jobs, a reader sent me a copy of a March paper by Andrew Morriss et al at University of Illinois that attempts to debunk green jobs myths.  While I see major flaws in most green jobs papers I read, many of the myths cited by this paper are irrelevant to what I consider the most important questions: Can government intervention to clean up the energy sector create jobs...

The POTUS and his SOTUS: RT@moreofthesame TL;DR

Jim Lane The President’s State of the Union speech. What was new? (Not much). What was feasible amongst DC gridlock? (Not much) What about energy? (moreofthesame) Where was the Farm Bill? (AWOL). In case you were watching wrestling, President Obama gave the State of the Union speech last night. Big vision, small vision – practical, impractical – partisan, bipartisan. Cable news chattered away all night on those topics but the speech had the feeling of a long retweet. Amongst the Twitterati, he’s the POTUS, giving the SOTUS, and in a Twitterverse dominated by...

What The US Election Will Mean For The Global Solar Industry

by Paula Mints   The endless and endlessly not amusing US presidential election is thankfully wrapping up in November and there is a lot at stake for solar – globally. This is because the market for solar components and systems is global. Even the smallest installer buys imports. Even the smallest component manufacturer has the potential to ship product into any global market. A hiccup in one market (China, for example) reverberates throughout the entire global market for solar components and systems. A hiccup in the US market for solar deployment would affect business plans and forecasts...
cdg roles

Clearing Up Some Confusion Over Community Solar In New York

Community Solar in New York has a messaging problem. It is confusing, and even some industry professionals have given up in disgust because of aggressive marketing and a lack of clarity. Fortunately, aggressive marketing is not universal among community solar developers. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is almost universal. How Community Solar Works in New York The system the New York utility regulator set up for community distributed generation (CDG, a term which includes community hydropower and community wind as well as community solar) is counter intuitive for most potential customers. As shown in the diagram above, the electric utility pays for a project's...

Not all Green Jobs were Created Equal

The stimulus package and the climate bill recently passed by the US House and now being considered in the Senate will create jobs while delivering a boost to our economy.  A "green" stimulus swill create  approximately three times as many jobs as the same amount of spending in traditional energy industries.  But clean energy is too diverse to consider a single industry.  What are the differential jobs creation effects of different types of clean energy and are the most effective sectors getting the most money? Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA In my next Greener Money column for Smart Energy Living...

Discom-fort: Barriers to Renewables in India

by Ishaan Goel Energy is crucial to India’s policy agenda. Millions of households are yet to gain reliable access to electricity, hampering their potential for economic growth. Severe pollution issues create widespread health problems. Renewables are prioritized as viable solutions across the political spectrum, with their low costs and ease of installation in remote regions. The current administration has ambitious plans for renewable energy (RE), targeting an almost 4x increase in installed capacity to 450 GW by 2030 and introducing a spate of tax and investment reforms. At the heart of the Indian power supply chain lie distribution companies (discoms). The...

The Ontario Feed-in Tariff For Alternative Energy

Last month, I wrote about how Ontario, North America's 6th largest jurisdiction by population, had tabled a Green Energy Act to boost the alternative energy industry's growth in the province. In that post, I mentioned that officials would soon release the rules for a feed-in tariff (FIT) system. FITs, which pay fixed rates for renewable power, are all but absent in North America, although they are popular incentive in Europe. Germany's FIT is largely responsible for that country's dominance in solar PV today despite mediocre sun conditions.  Ontario released the draft rules and proposed prices for...

A Small New York Town Plans a Profitable, 100% Renewable Energy Future

A community choice program and a lack of natural gas are enabling Marbletown to achieve 100 percent renewable energy and tackle 100 percent renewable energy —while saving money. by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA With advances in technology, the pathways to 100 percent renewable energy are becoming clear. As a result, the central challenge has become less about how to get there, and more about how to pay for it. The town of Marbletown, in New York's Hudson River Valley, is finding that problem is solving itself. Marbletown is a town of 5,500 people covering 55 square miles on the edges of the Catskills...

A 10-Minute Guide to Obama’s New Energy Policy

Jim Lane   Stopwatch photo via BigStock A major push from Obama on energy. From DOE: “Liquid fuels demand can be sufficiently reduced so that biomass can meet all liquid fuel needs.” What’s up? What is an Energy Security Trust, anyway? The Digest’s 10-Minute Guide tells all. In an address at the Argonne National Laboratories on Friday, President Obama said: “You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. ...
The cost of Fossil Fuels to pensions

New York State Pension $ 22 Billion Poorer By Not Divesting 10 Years Ago

Research firm Corporate Knights revealed that the pension fund would be $22 billion richer had it divested from fossil fuel stocks in 2008. That's almost $20,000 for of each of the pension fund’s 1.1 million members & retirees. A new in-depth analysis by the research firm Corporate Knights, shows that New York State pension fund would be $22 billion richer had it divested from fossil fuel stocks 10 years ago. That works out to almost $20,000 for of each of the pension fund’s 1.1 million members and retirees. To perform their analysis, Corporate Knights looked at the stock holdings of the pension fund in...

What A Portfolio Approach To Climate Policy Means for Your Stock Portfolio

Portfolio theory can lend insights into which carbon abatement strategies policymakers should pursue.  If policymakers listen, what will it mean for green investors? Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Good Info, Not Enough Analysis I've now read most of my review copy of Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World.  The quality of the information is generally excellent, as Charles has described in his reviews of the Wind and Solar and Efficiency and Geothermal chapters.  As a resource on the state of Cleantech industries, it's generally excellent.  As an investing resource, however, it leaves something to be desired.  Each chapter is written...
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