mdsolar writes: Hillary Clinton told voters in the latest Democratic debate there's "hardly anything you don't know about me."
Just minutes later, she got tangled in a question about a part of her resume that is an enduring mystery.
In the 18 months before launching her second presidential bid, Clinton gave nearly 100 paid speeches at banks, trade associations, charitable groups and private corporations. The appearances netted her $21.7 million — and voters very little information about what she was telling top corporations as she prepared for her 2016 campaign.
What she said — or didn't say — to Wall Street banks in particular has become a significant problem for her presidential campaign, as she tries to counter the unexpected rise of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. He's put her in awkward position of squaring her financial windfall with a frustrated electorate.
Asked in the debate — and not for the first time — about releasing transcripts of those speeches, she said: "I will look into it. I don't know the status, but I will certainly look into it." She added, "My view on this is, look at my record."
mdsolar writes: Three recent “roadmap” analyses outline routes to a low-carbon economy that model the decarbonization of the electricity sector and the pervasive electrification of the transportation and industrial sectors. Two of these also impose a pollution constraint on electricity resources that rejects the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Using independent cost estimates and sequentially “relaxing” the constraints on resource selection, this paper compares the resource costs of the resulting portfolios of assets needed to meet the need for electricity. Reflecting the continuing decline of the cost of renewable resources, the paper supports the claim that the long run costs of the 100% renewable portfolios are not only less than business-as-usual portfolios, but that the “environmental merit order” of asset selection is quite close to the “economic merit order.” Neither fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage nor nuclear power enters the least-cost, low-carbon portfolio. As long as a rigorous least-cost constraint is imposed on decarbonization, the pollution constraint is superfluous. The paper evaluates the Paris Agreement on climate change in light of these findings. The Agreement is described as a progressive, mixed market economic model with a governance structure based on a polycentric, multi-stakeholder approach for management of a common pool resource. The paper argues that this approach reflects the underlying techno-economic conditions and the fact that national governments have authority over local energy policy. It also notes that the political economy of the Agreement is consistent with current academic analysis of policy responses to the challenges of climate change and management of a large, focal core resource system.
mdsolar writes: Following Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul has suspended his campaign for president. This time however, the participation of an ineligible candidate played a role. Ted Cruz, who took the lead in delegates in Iowa in not a natural born citizen http://www.salon.com/2016/01/2... and is thus not eligible to be president. The fairness of the process that led to Paul's suspension seems in doubt.
mdsolar writes: A former Energy Department employee accused of attempting to infiltrate the agency’s computer system to steal nuclear secrets and sell them to a foreign government pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of attempting to damage protected government computers in an email “spear-phishing attack.”
Charles Harvey Eccleston, a former employee at the department and at the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), was arrested March 27 by Philippine authorities after an undercover FBI sting operation.
Eccleston, 62, a U.S. citizen who had been living in the Philippines since 2011, was “terminated” from his job at the NRC in 2010, according to the Justice Department. In January 2015, the department said, he targeted more than 80 Energy Department employees in Washington at four national nuclear labs with emails containing what he thought were links to malicious websites that, if activated, could infect and damage computers.
mdsolar writes: The head of Hitachi has warned that the debacle surrounding the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear plant throws up “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK.
Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman and chief executive of the Japanese industrial giant, said the setbacks experienced by Hinkley’s developer EDF raised questions about how future plants including its Wylfa Newydd project are funded.
Hitachi’s subsidiary Horizon is planning to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey that is expected to start generating power by the mid-2020s.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Nakanishi revealed that he had expressed concerns about the expected costs of the project with Philip Hammond during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Japan this month.
mdsolar writes: In a narrow 3-to-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made the motion to extend net metering for rooftop solar in the Golden State.
The CPUC voted today on the proposal to implement ‘net metering 2.0,’ which would have served as a replacement to the current net metering program. The new plan would have impacted how much solar customers would be credited for the excess power they collect through their rooftop installations.
Three California utilities — PG&E, Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric — were leading the charge for amendments to the current net metering plan, arguing that the current agreement stands as an unfair subsidy.
Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, said: “By voting to continue net metering in California, the CPUC is driving a stake in the ground and solidifying its place as America’s leading clean energy state. Today’s decision hands Californians a projected $1.6 billion a year and seizes upon a golden opportunity to enable Golden State’s homes, and businesses of all kinds, to choose to go solar.”
California now joins Colorado, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico as states that have recently decided to continue or expand its net metering program. Over 450,000 customers in California have installed PV systems, with a increasing number of installations sprouting up across a number of demographics.
mdsolar writes: The Doomsday Clock, the symbolic countdown to humanity’s end, remained stuck on the brink of the apocalypse for a second year on Tuesday, because of the continued existential threats posed by nuclear war and climate change.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the group which created the clock in 1947, said it was keeping the clock hands set at three minutes to midnight – the closest the clock has come to destruction since the throes of the cold war in 1984.
“The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty,” the scientists said.
The ominous forecast was imposed despite two major diplomatic accomplishments last year: the Iranian nuclear deal and the historic Paris agreement to fight climate change.
mdsolar writes: California's insurance commissioner on Monday asked all insurance companies doing business in the state to voluntarily divest from coal companies and said he will also require insurance companies to disclose their coal company holdings.
Coal use by utility companies has plummeted amid low natural gas prices and new federal regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change.
Ten years ago coal produced 50 percent of the nation's power supply but now accounts for only about 35 percent, according to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration.
The lack of demand has driven the price of coal down and helped force Arch Coal Inc ACIIQ.PK, the nation's second-largest U.S. coal miner, to file for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.
mdsolar writes: On Monday, the court upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) demand response rule, which was created in 2011 and orders utilities to compensate consumers for reducing their use during peak hours — the times of day, typically in the morning or evening, when most people home and using their electricity. As Justice Elena Kagan explains in the court’s opinion, demand response “arose because wholesale market operators can sometimes — say, on a muggy August day — offer electricity both more cheaply and more reliably by paying users to dial down their consumption than by paying power plants to ramp up their production.” Electricity producers and grid operators challenged the rule in court, saying FERC overstepped its authority, but the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 against the challenge. FERC’s authority does extend to wholesale power markets, and the court ruled that, in this case, FERC was simply exercising that authority.
mdsolar writes: A decades-old and little-used provision of the Clean Air Act intended to make the United States a good environmental neighbor could now be employed to comprehensively control the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis.
Authored by a team of professors, attorneys and environmental scholars specializing in climate change, the study analyzes a section of the Clean Air Act intended to safeguard international borders from air pollution. Their prescription could provide the most potent approach for achieving the targets of the Paris climate agreement, the analysts say.
"The time is ripe for EPA to consider use of its authority for international air pollution control," the study urged.
The provision has been part of the Clean Air Act since it was passed in the early 1970s. It authorizes the EPA to require states to address emissions that endanger public health or welfare in other countries––if those countries extend the same protections to the U.S.
mdsolar writes: The United States could lower carbon emissions from electricity generation by as much as 78 percent without having to develop any new technologies or use costly batteries, a new study suggests. There’s a catch, though. The country would have to build a new national transmission network so that states could share energy.
“Our idea was if we had a national ‘interstate highway for electrons’ we could move the power around as it was needed, and we could put the wind and solar plants in the very best places,” says study co-author Alexander MacDonald, who recently retired as director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
mdsolar writes: Entergy filed suit in federal court last week in Albany against the state of New York, arguing that two actions state officials took at the end of 2015 improperly encroached on federal regulation of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.
The first was the Department of State’s formal statement that the plant violates its coastal management policies, which protect wildlife habitat and recreational activities on the Hudson River; and the second was a state investigation ordered after an electrical disturbance in transmission lines caused an unplanned shutdown of Unit 3.