The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon began last week with an impressive display of energy saving homes on the National Mall in Washington D.C. This unique, biennial program – which runs through October 2, 2011 – challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-
Heavy sigh. I just read an article that dampened my day – and that’s saying something considering the rainy Vancouver weather we’ve been experiencing this spring. I read that the carbon dioxide emitted by energy use hit a record high globally in 2010. After a slight dip caused by the global financial crisis in
How do you force a company that earns money by selling power to reduce its sales? This conflict of interests is what the state of California faced in the 1970s and the result was the formation of the California Public Utilities Corporation (CPUC) an agency that oversees the publicly owned utilities in the state and regulates the amount those utilities can charge. A major goal for the CPUC? Disincentivize the utilities from increasing sales.
Energy use across the United States has grown steadily both on a per capita basis and in total for the last 30 years. California is one of the few states that has been able to control its per-capita energy use over the last few decades. In fact, the per capita utility use curve in California has been almost completely flat since the late ‘70s which many find amazing considering the overwhelming increase in technology in our lives. The way California has done so is as startling as it is strange: beauracratic wisdom.
With the United States of America’s ever-mounting trade and budget deficits, unemployment above 10 percent (and, dependent on counting, un- and under-employment above 20 percent), looming peak oil and other resource (water, for example) limitations, environmental challenges, and ever-mounting climate chaos , America faces a very serious situation.
In fact, to one degree or another, these same intertwined challenges (with the exception of trade/budget deficits for some countries) are those face by societies and nations throughout the globe in our networked, systems-of-systems global community.
These serious challenges are a networked system-of-systems that interact and reinforce each other. As we strive to stop digging the holes deeper and climb our way out, we can seek to deal with these challenges in a stove-piped manner or address them with W6 solutions that have wins across multiple arenas:
HR 2454 or the Waxman-Markey bill, named after its two major supporters Henry A. Waxman and Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was passed in the US House of Representatives on June 27. Its major mandate is a cap and trade system though it does have other green practices scattered throughout. There has been a lot of talk recently, because of this bill, of the viability of a cap and trade system in the US. To evaluate the government’s ability to implement this new system we have to first understand it.
The basics of a cap and trade are fairly simple. It is a way to limit emissions through a credit system. Every business acquires a certain amount of credits; depending on the type of system these credits are either auctioned off or given away by the government. These credits represent the amount of carbon that businesses can emit. If the business cannot adhere to the limit of emissions their credits allow, they must buy credits from companies who are below their cap. Thus the companies who are responsible and limit their emissions are rewarded and those who are not as environmentally friendly are punished.