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On Cantwell, Collins join bipartisan call for market-based carbon pricing to achieve shrinking cap on carbon



I am surprided they are still going on about emission trading...
regardless of where one stands on the CO2 issue

Emission reduction: A different take

To begin with,
It's unfortunate that those against CO2 reduction schemes are ridiculed as
"not believing that global warming is taking place".

The point most skeptics make is if CO2 reduction schemes will affect the progress of global warming, more than marginally,
a point also made by those initially raising the alarm bells eg James Lovelock.

Ironically,

A local focus on electricity and transport alone (80% of CO2 emissions),
with advantages to all regardless of the CO2 issue,
would give the necessary 2020/2030 reductions anyway
http://www.ceolas.net/#cc1x

Moreover, it would not have to impact greatly on USA or other consumers in terms of cost,
given long term industrial fed/state guaranteed loans, as described on the website.

If the need is felt to target consumers,
then energy efficiency based taxation - instead of bans-
on light bulbs dishwashers buildings cars etc,
would (unlike the bans) raise additional significant funds that could be used for these and other environmental measures,
while also reducing sales (like the bans), yet keeping consumer choice.
Just looking at ordinary incandescent type light bulbs: 2 billion sales of them in each of the EU and the USA 2008,
the preferred consumer choice around 8 to 9 times out of 10.

Unfortunately....

ruling politicians are happy to alienate consumers by telling them how they should live their lives,
what they can or can't use in their homes,
that "everyone has to cut down and save"
- instead of positively dealing with providing any energy supply that is needed,
 with any emission limits that is seen as necessary.

Unfortunately....

as with the US Congress,
the Copenhagen talk  is also of emission trading,
extending the Kyoto trading scheme.

The problem with emission trading is particularly in the short term,
that everyone now considers so important,
since any squeeze on allowance permits takes years to kick in, all the more so with the free allowance handouts and offset schemes.

The "No Goldilocks Solution",
as seen in the EU where the problem with carbon prices is they
are either too low and so cheap and meaningless as in recession times,
or too high to lead to any reduction at other times, when evasive
action for example involves paying off third world emitters (who
according to a recent Economist article can simply be set up to rake
in cash ie they would not be emitting otherwise), or tree planting
exercises of dubious effect, which may in any case be fast growing
non-native trees which changes local ecosystems.

An artificial market will always be an artificial market.

_______________
Understanding Emission Trading  (Cap and Trade)
http://ceolas.net/#cce5x
Basic Idea
Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trading
Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading
Companies: Business Stability + Cost
In Conclusion

December 14, 2009    View Comment    

On Tom Konrad: We need transmission!

Re Texas,
the Electric Reliability Council of Texas - ERCOT - system in my view comes closest to what should be aimed for on a more national level, that is separation of the ownership of generation and transmission, clearer regulation and larger areas under single operational control.

This is a good account of the US transmission grid and the overhaul needed
(by Stephen Burnage, RETCO)
http://www.renewabletrans.com/retcopaper1.pdf

 

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  chairmen in House/Senate hearings,

on transmission overhaul needed 

Jon Wellinghof

http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/Files/20090612113050-06-12-09wellinghoff-Testimony.pdf

Joseph Kelliher

http://www.ferc.gov/eventcalendar/Files/20080731102123-Chairmantestimony.pdf

November 26, 2009    View Comment    

On

Well Rebecca,

Here in Europe,
as you probably know,
Cap and Trade has been a fiasko, a "No Goldilocks" solution
whether one is for or against CO2 reduction:

-- with carbon prices cheap and meaningless, as in recession times,
-- or too high to lead to any reduction at other times, when evasive
action for example involves paying off third world emitters (who
according to a recent Economist article can simply be set up to rake
in cash ie would not be emitting otherwise), or tree planting
exercises of dubious effect, which may in any case be fast growing
non-native trees which changes local ecosystems.

Sadly our Soviet EUnion wants to drag the USA into this Carbon Trading mess, given the Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer bills.

It would be much easier - and with no international trading problems- to deal only with local transport and electricity, 80% of CO2 emissions, with direct benefits regardless of the CO2 issue.      http://www.ceolas.net/#cc1x


Emission Policy Alternatives
Introduction: The need - or not - to deal with emissions
The Overall Picture
Emission sources, land and ocean cycles, agriculture and deforestation
1. Direct Industrial Emission Regulation
Mandated reduction of CO2, monitored like other emission substances
2. Carbon Taxation
Fuel Tax -- Emission Tax
3. Emission Trading  (Cap and Trade)
An artificial market that avoids lowering emissions, instead of a market that lowers them
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trade -- Surreal Market -- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading -- Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In Conclusion
4. Contracted CO2 Reduction
Private companies compete for contracts to lower CO2 emissions.

November 26, 2009    View Comment    

On Home Energy Management System Introductions Critical to Smart Grid Success

RE smart meters

As you say there is reluctance about these both from utility companies and consumers, and remembering a possible separate grid ownership or control (which also comes into the proposed US transmission grid restructuring, possibly based on the Texas Ercot system),  the question is who should pay for a roll out of smart metering.

The main advantage with smart metering is in my view not if you have a light bulb on or not, but to allow direct competition between service providers, including real time switching to avail of lower rates - which can also tie in renewable energy suppliers in grids they haven't been in before, and be seen as an attraction for consumers.

Electricity Distribution and Consumer Smart Metering
Increased efficiency, Green choice, Lower prices

.

November 23, 2009    View Comment    

On Home Energy Management System Introductions Critical to Smart Grid Success

Re California TV ban  (as in second part of the article)

While it's great to let consumers know how to save energy,

bans are in my view wrong

1.
Where there is a problem - deal with the problem!

Energy: there is no energy shortage
 (given renewable/nuclear development possibilities, with set emission limits)
and consumers - not politicians - pay for energy and how they wish to use it.
Notice: If there was an energy shortage, its price rise would limit
people using it anyway.
No need to legislate for it!


It might sound great to
"Let everyone save money by only allowing energy efficient products"

However:


Inefficient products that use more energy can have performance,
appearance and construction
advantages
Examples (using cars, buildings, dishwashers, TV sets, light bulbs etc):
http://ceolas.net/#cc211x
For example,  big plasma TV screens have image contrast and other
advantages along with their large image sizes.


Products using more energy usually cost less, or they'd be more energy
efficient already.

There might not be any
running cost savings either:

Depending on how much a cheaper product is used,

but also, if households use less energy (also from other household efficiency based bans),
then utility companies make less money,
and will just raise electricity prices to cover their costs.
So people don't save as much money as they thought.

Conversely,
energy efficiency in effect means cheaper energy,
so people just leave on  TV sets and other appliances, knowing that energy bills are lower,
as also shown by Scottish and Cambridge research
http://ceolas.net/#cc214x

Either way, supposed energy - or money -  savings aren't there.



2.
Taxation, while still wrong, is better than bans for all concerned.
This is not like a ban on dangerous  lead paint!
It's simply a ban to  (supposedly) reduce electricity consumption.
TV set taxation based on energy efficiency - unlike bans - gives
Governor Schwarzenegger's impoverished California Government income on
the reduced sales, while consumers keep choice.
This also applies generally,
to cars, buildings. dishwashers, light bulbs  etc,
where politicians instead keep trying to define what people can or can't use.
Politicians can use the tax money raised to fund home insulation
schemes, renewable projects etc that lower energy use and emissions
more than remaining product use raises them.
Energy efficient products can have any sales taxes lowered, making
them cheaper than today.
People are not just hit by taxes, they don't have to buy the higher
taxed products - and at least they can still buy them.


----------------------
Why energy efficiency regulations are wrong,
whether you are for or against energy and emission conservation
http://ceolas.net/#cc2x
Summary
Politicians don't object to energy efficiency as it sounds too good to
be true. It is.
--The Consumer Side
Product Performance -- Construction and Appearance
Price Increase -- Lack of Actual Savings: Money, Energy or Emissions.
Choice and Quality affected
-- The Manufacturer Side
Meeting Consumer Demand -- Green Technology -- Green Marketing
--The Energy Side
Energy Supply -- Energy Security -- Cars and Oil Dependence
--The Emission Side
Buildings -- Industry -- Power Stations -- Light Bulbs and other
electrical products

November 23, 2009    View Comment    

On Tom Konrad: We need transmission!

Thank you for bringing distribution up on the agenda!

Of course, the key as you say is not just generation -
it is distribution, 
particularly of renewable energy which has much better
conditions for generation in some places compared to others

So,
( http://ceolas.net/#ge2x )   

 extensive good capacity grids should mean 


1. Easier  delivery of energy between time zones, to where peak usage is occuring.


2. Better competition with grids opened up to different service providers, with lower prices for consumers.

3. Optimal spread  of nuclear and renewable energy from producers to consumers, wherever they are.
This includes from neighboring regions, such as such as hydropower-rich Norway for the EU, or hydropower-rich Canadian states (British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec) for the USA.
Unfortunately, most renewable electricity generation is dependent on local conditions (sun, wind, water falling, tides, waves...). So it's an advantage to use locations that have the best conditions to start with, and expand such facilities, also because it's usually easier to expand established facilities than to start new ones. The latter may also apply to facilities that have a long start-up time, for example expanding existing nuclear power facilities rather than starting new ones.

4. Increased security:
By increasing interconnections in smart grid systems, there is less reliance on any one source or connection.
So if one supplier or connection is knocked out, others can take over, also automatically, as alerted to grid management by grid sensors.
Shutdowns can also be sensed directly by future consumer based smart meters, that can switch automatically between providers, as explained on the website.

 

Not forgetting...
...(non-local) energy storage
http://ceolas.net/#ge3x

I agree with your point that setting up local self-reliance storage is likely not economical
Experimentation in local mechanical storage
or chemical storage (hydrogen production) as at Uckermark in Germany, has shown that too much energy is lost in conversion, apart from the costs.
A hydroelectric dam is probably the most well known storage form, with water pumped up at off-peak times, subsequently released to drive electricity generating turbines.

Where this can be viable,

is where storage solutions exist, and spare capacity is used:

Notice that this can be at relatively long distances, with the low energy loss transmission solutions that are becoming available.
Consider for example the relationship that currently exists betweeen Danish wind farms and Swedish/Norwegian hydroelectric dams.

November 23, 2009    View Comment    

On One day in early 2045

As you say,

not only is it hard to judge relevant effects of emission reduction,

there are also serious problems with emission trading offsets etc

More on why Cap and Trade and energy efficiency regulations are the wrong way to deal with emissions
http://www.ceolas.net/#cce1x
Emission Policy Alternatives
Introduction: The need - or not - to deal with emissions
The Overall Picture
Emission sources, land and ocean cycles, agriculture and deforestation
1. Direct Industrial Emission Regulation
Mandated reduction of CO2, monitored like other emission substances
2. Carbon Taxation
Fuel Tax -- Emission Tax
3. Emission Trading  (Cap and Trade)
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair
Trade -- Surreal Market -- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs --
Allowance Trading -- Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In
Conclusion
4. Contracted CO2 Reduction
Private companies compete for contracts to lower CO2 emissions
----------------

Briefly,

The issues are emission reduction and future energy supply.

Given the uncertainty of the effects of emission reduction on global
temperature - and given the expense of emission reduction - the key is
to engage in activites which
1. Are valuable in themselves.
2. Meet emission reduction targets with minimal business disruption and expense.
http://www.ceolas.net/#cc1x

Sufficient

first phase 2020/2030 emission reduction, for 2020
typically quoted at 15-20% reduction, is achieved by acting on
electricity generation (coal, gas) and transport (mainly automobiles)
alone, since these 2 sectors account for nearly 80% of CO2 emissions.

Basically, cars, planes, ships have emission taxation.
Power stations have phased-in emission limits on CO2, as with mercury
or other substances.

--------
Such a focus on electricity and transport gives several advantages:

1. Local environmental benefit from less pollution of sulphur and all
else that's in the emissions, regardless of the less certain or
immediate global benefit from CO2 reduction.

2. Electricity supply alternatives which together with improved grid
distribution gives better competition and keeps down electricity bills
for consumers.

3. Transport alternatives (using electricity, hydrogen and other
energy sources), which give variety of choice and competition
advantages for consumers, additionally reducing the dependency on oil
imports.

4. No trade problems: Unlike Cap and Trade, which involves cement,
steel and other industries having to face imports from unregulated
countries, the suggested electricity and transport changes are not
just more limited, but also largely local.

5. Less bloated bills - a clearer focus for political discussion and agreement

--------
In 2020 (and again 2030), from then available evidence, either
1. There is increasing consensus that reduction attempts have no
value: In that case little has been lost, since the described changes
in electricity and transport industry carry their own benefit

or

2. Consensus remains that CO2 emission reduction should continue, in
which case America is on track, and may continue with more specific
emission reduction efforts towards 2050 that extend electricity and
transport measures and can involve other industries, if necessary.

------
Funding and Impact
Equity and long term loan finance can be used: Long term industrial
loans from financial institutions, particularly if federal/state
guaranteed, give low yearly interest repayments and lessen the effect
on electricity bills or transport cost.
The impact on the businesses is further lessened by the stability and
predictability surrounding the funding.

Since only electricity and transport are involved, other business
continues as usual and consumers and society in general are spared
expense and disruption
- also from not having energy efficiency regulations
Energy requiring products often have
appearance­/construct­ion/perfor­mance advantages,
as well as lower cost and, under some conditions, greater overall money savings.
See http://www.ceolas/net/#cc2x
with examples of cars, buildings, dishwashers etc
as well as light bulbs


Even if felt necessary to target such products,
then energy efficiency taxation makes more sense,
keeping consumer choice,
while giving tax income for home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc
- and also lowering overall energy use and emissions more than
remaining product use raises them.
Sales tax on efficient products can simultaneously be lowered, making
them cheaper than today
Energy efficiency taxation on non-emitting (eg electrical) consumer products remains unjustified for similar reasons to restrictive bans on them, but is better for all concerned than such bans.

November 13, 2009    View Comment    

On If this is Orwellian, then call me George

I disagree about capping consumption whether of gasolene or any other energy source

Where there is a problem -  deal with the problem

 Gasolene use is here equated with emission release

This is only partly true:

1. Cars have greatly varying emissions as it is

2. Carbon capture and storage for gas fuelled cars has been developed already eg at Georgia Tech - implementation is apparently being blocked because it is not politically correct at this time      http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?id=1707

A fuel-neutral emission tax on cars,  instead of fuel efficiency related car bans,  and instead of gas tax, therefore makes more sense:

retaining choice, while -again unlike bans- it also gives government income on reduced sales, income that can be used towards renewable energy projects etc

Several European countries already have such taxes

----------------------

A New Car Deal for America
All cars available and their emission output lowered

-------------------------
http://www.ceolas.net


 Emission Policy Alternatives
Introduction: The need - or not - to deal with emissions
The Overall Picture
Emission sources, land and ocean cycles, agriculture and deforestation
1. Direct Industrial Emission Regulation
Mandated reduction of CO2, monitored like other emission substances
2. Carbon Taxation
Fuel Tax -- Emission Tax
3. Emission Trading  (Cap and Trade)
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trade -- Surreal Market -- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading -- Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In Conclusion
4. Contracted CO2 Reduction
Private companies compete for contracts to lower CO2 emissions.

 



 

November 13, 2009    View Comment    

On Message from “the edge” - SmartGrid and the consumer

Smart metering is an interesting development,

particularly when combined with initiatives that open up grids for energy supply competition,  allowing easier switching (even automatic, in real time) between suppliers

The point is not just to have a smart meter the tells you you have a light switched on somewhere.

The point is to have metering combined with supply side competition.

That's when real cost reduction for consumers starts to take place.

 

Also:

I disagree about the need to reduce energy consumption.

There is no energy supply shortage (given renewable and possible nuclear developent)

Consumers can decide for themselves how they want to spend money using electricity:

Banning inefficient products (eg ordinary light bulbs) is no solution, since they have other advantages for consumers, or they wouldn't exist on the market.

Unfortunately, performance, construction, appearance, price and sometimes overall cost advantages can be tied up with products that use more energy as shown with examples (buildings, cars, dishwashers etc) on http://www.ceolas.net/#cc2x

Emissions?

Power stations are the problem - power stations can be dealt with, including coal/gas

as shown with examples http://www.ceolas.net/#em1x

Assumed cost/slowness  of supply side emission reduction is still no reason to target consumer products

http://www.ceolas.net/#cc201x

and even if it was, then product taxation is better than bans,

 retaining choice and giving tax income on the reduced sales of relevant products

--------------------------------------------------

More about smart metering:

http://ceolas.net/#di1x

Electricity Distribution and Consumer Smart Metering:
Increased efficiency, Green choice, Lower prices

November 13, 2009    View Comment    

On New meters enabling new rate designs by competitive power suppliers in Texas

yes,  smart metering is an interesting development,

particularly when combined with initiatives that open up grids for energy supply competition,  allowing easier switching (even automatic, in real time) between suppliers

http://ceolas.net/#di1x

Electricity Distribution and Consumer Smart Metering:
Increased efficiency, Green choice, Lower prices

 

November 13, 2009    View Comment    

On Sen. Baucus (D-MT): “There’s no doubt that this Congress is going to pass climate change legislation.”

Notice, as you say, all the wrangling necessary with a bloated bill!
The issues are emission reduction and future energy supply.
 
Given the uncertainty of the effects of emission reduction on global temperature - and given the expense of emission reduction - the key is to engage in activites which
1. Are valuable in themselves.
2. Meet emission reduction targets with minimal business disruption and expense.
 
Sufficient first phase 2020/2030 emission reduction, for 2020 typically quoted at 15-20% reduction, is achieved by acting on electricity generation (coal, gas) and transport (mainly automobiles) alone, since these 2 sectors account for nearly 80% of CO2 emissions.
 
This can be done with  emission tax (for cars, allowing free choice)
and emission limits for CO2  (for electricity generation), without any emission trading.
 

The focus on electricity and transport gives several advantages:
 
1. Local environmental benefit from less pollution of sulphur and all else that's in the emissions, regardless of the less certain or immediate global benefit from CO2 reduction.
 
2. Electricity supply alternatives which together with improved grid distribution gives better competition and keeps down electricity bills for consumers.
 
3. Transport alternatives (using electricity, hydrogen and other energy sources), which give variety of choice and competition advantages for consumers, additionally reducing the dependency on oil imports.
 
4. No trade problems: Unlike Cap and Trade, which involves cement, steel and other industries having to face imports from unregulated countries, the here suggested electricity and transport changes are not just more limited, but also largely local.
 
 
In 2020 (and again 2030), from then available evidence, either
1. There is increasing consensus that reduction attempts have no value: In that case little has been lost, since the described changes in electricity and transport industry carry their own benefit, or
2. Consensus remains that CO2 emission reduction should continue, in which case America is on track, and may continue with more specific emission reduction efforts towards 2050 that extend electricity and transport measures and can involve other industries, if necessary.
 
 
Funding and Impact
Equity and long term loan finance can be used: Long term industrial loans from financial institutions, particularly if federal/state guaranteed, give low yearly interest repayments and lessen the effect on electricity bills or transport cost.
The impact on the businesses is further lessened by the stability and predictability surrounding the funding.
Since only electricity and transport are involved, other business continues as usual and consumers and society in general are spared expense and disruption.
This is even more obvious from having no energy efficiency regulation either.
 
Compare with
today’s all-encompassing Cap and Trade (emission trading) suggestions, with unpredictability, expense, and needless disruption from normal business practice on one hand, or unnecessary profiteering from free allowance handouts with little actual emission reduction on the other hand, together with extensive energy efficiency regulation on what people can or can’t buy and use.
 
----------------------------------------
Emission Policy Alternatives
http://ceolas.net/#cce1x
Introduction: The need - or not - to deal with emissions
The Overall Picture
Emission sources, land and ocean cycles, agriculture and deforestation
1. Direct Industrial Emission Regulation
Mandated reduction of CO2, monitored like other emission substances
2. Carbon Taxation
Fuel Tax -- Emission Tax
3. Emission Trading  (Cap and Trade)
Basic Idea -- Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trade -- Surreal Market -- Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading -- Companies: Business Stability + Cost -- In Conclusion
4. Contracted CO2 Reduction
Private companies compete for contracts to lower CO2 emissions.

November 6, 2009    View Comment    

On Nearly 200 organizations and companies urge Senate to adopt key energy-efficiency provision in climate bill

About energy efficiency

This is seen as some kind of panacea.

Yet as shown in Scottish research, in the sense energy efficiency means cheaper energy, people just use more of it, leaving appliances on etc.

As mentioned in another post comment

http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/50731#2317


We should differentiate what businesses andconsumers can see as benefit for themselves,
with what society needs to impose - or not - in terms of energy efficiency regulations

 

Energy efficiency is only one advantage a product (including a building) can have.
Inefficent products have advantages too - or noone would buy them.
Whether TV sets or dishwashers, buildings, cars,  or other products,
greater energy use can mean better performance , appearance , construction, cost and indeed savings for a given product
http://ceolas.net/#cc2x 

 

The often heard argument that

"It takes too long to deal directly with energy supply and emissions,
we must also act on consumption, banning products that don't meet defined efficiency standards"

doesn't hold up:


1.  Because the lowering of emissions from electricity generation and distribution can be addressed in several ways,
not all of which need take time, and some of which need organizational skills rather than money.
Grid interconnections can relatively rapidly spread low emission electricity from a specific source.
http://ceolas.net/#em1x

2.  Because there are numerous disadvantages to consumers of efficiency-defined bans.
http://ceolas.net/#cc211x

3.  Because energy and emission savings from such bans are not as great as assumed  anyway.
http://ceolas.net/#cc214x

4.  Because -while it should not be needed- appropriate and temporary taxation on products that would otherwise be banned not only raises funds for relevant environmental projects,
it quickly limits and redirects consumption for the time required,
with more adaptability regarding scope and application than bans.
http://ceolas.net/#gg5x
.


November 3, 2009    View Comment