Thursday, March 18, 2010

As Maine considers its energy future, there are many concerns about Hydro-Quebec, and what will happen if we allow our powerful northern neighbor to build transmission lines connecting their nearly limitless hydropower with New England markets.

Thorndike voters will pass judgment on a proposed wind turbine siting ordinance, including a one-mile setback and noise regulations. Two companies have proposed projects on a ridge extending through Thorndike and into Dixmont and Jackson.

The Dallas (TX) Morning News reports that China is enacting protectionist measures to ensure that China, not the US, will manufacture the components needed for the massive anticipated build-out of wind generation in Asia and worldwide.

Los Angeles mayor Villaraigosa has proposed a significant new tax on electricity, with the proceeds going to a newly-created Renewable Energy and Efficiency Trust Fund, to pay for new conservation programs and a solar feed-in tariff. Everyone's bill will go up by 9% to 28%, with the brunt of the tax falling on business and industrial energy consumers. LA has set a 20% RPS by the end of 2010.

What's going on with federal energy and climate change legislation? Lots of talk. Yesterday Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) met with major industry groups to present an 8-page concept outline. Supposedly this draft calls for greenhouse gas curbs across the board, reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The draft starts by regulating power plant emissions in 2012, with other major industrial sources emitting over 25,000 tons per year of GHGs phased in starting in 2016. Notably, this draft preempts U.S. EPA climate regulations under the Clean Air Act and supplants dozens of state climate laws.

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