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Friday, December 21, 2007

RGGI Request For Proposals Issued

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc) is a nonprofit organization formed to provide technical and scientific advisory services to participating states in the development and implementation of the CO2 Budget Trading Program under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Information on the RGGI program is available at http://www.rggi.org/ .On December 20, 2007, RGGI, Inc. issued the following request for proposals (RFP): CO2 Emissions and Allowance Tracking System Implementation Services. The RFP is available at http://www.nescaum.org/ .

Interested proposers should read the document carefully.RGGI, Inc. anticipates entering into an agreement with the selected proposer on or about February 22, 2008. Responses to these RFPs must be received by RGGI, Inc. no later than 5 P.M. EST on January 22, 2008. Late proposals will not be considered. Faxed or e-mailed copies will not be accepted. Specific submittal instructions are described within the RFPs.

Interested proposers should note the following events and dates: Notice of Intent to Propose Form Due: January 3, 2008 Proposers' Conference Call: January 10, 2008Proposal Due Date and Time: January 22, 2008, 5PM EST Notification of Award: February 12, 2008 Contract Execution: February 22, 2008 Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) is facilitating communications with RGGI, Inc. for this RFP, and questions about the solicitation process, as well as the Notice of Intent to Propose Form, should be directed to the following: Charla Rudisill NESCAUM Phone: 617-259-2000 Fax: 617-742-9162 E-mail: rggi@nescaum.org

RGGI Program Overview: http://www.rggi.org/docs/program_summary_10_07.pdf

Public comments on the final allowance auction design study conducted for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the RGGI Staff Working Group: http://www.rggi.org/auction.htm

Letter sent to U.S. Congress from Environmental and Energy Agency Heads in RGGI participating states outlining principles for the design of a U.S. federal greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. A generic version of the letter is posted that was sent to individual members of Congress from RGGI state delegations, as well as Congressional leadership, and members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and House Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming: http://www.rggi.org/docs/rggi_letter_10_31_07.pdf

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

DOE Selects "Clean Coal" Demonstration Site


The U.S. Department of Energy's FutureGen Alliance named Mattoon, Illinois, as the site for a new $1.8 billion "clean coal" demonstration plant that will capture carbon dioxide and store it underground permanently. The FutureGen project, which also aims to eventually produce some hydrogen from coal, is expected to be online in 2012.

The plant in downstate Mattoon will be a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Energy and the FutureGen Alliance, a non-profit consortium of coal producers and energy generators. Downstate Illinois has the coal, the geology and the commitment needed to demonstrate this project. The Center supports this project. (Reuters, The Baltimore Sun)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Russia Sends Uranium Fuel To Iran Nuclear Power Plant

Russia sent enriched uranium fuel to Iran today to power the Bushehr nuclear power plant, left, which is expected to start producing electricity in about 6 months. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which guarantees the uranium fuel will be delivered under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

A recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report concluded that Iran had halted efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003. Atomstryexport, the Russian contractor for Bushehr, built the plant. (The Washington Post, Wiki)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yuan versus Dollar

Ever wonder about what they are talking about when there is a discussion on monetary policy regarding the Chinese yuan compared to the American dollar and its effect on the trade imbalance? Well without getting into it too deeply, Charles Wolf, Jr. of The Wall Street Journal writes:

"In 2005 the yuan was worth 12 U.S. cents. It is currently worth 13.5 cents (7.4 yuan per dollar). Many believe that if the yuan's exchange value were to increase further, perhaps to 17 cents or 18 cents, the bilateral imbalance between the two countries would be substantially reduced, if not eliminated...This reasoning, though plausible, is wrong. [the reasons why are involved] China's exports to the U.S. would thereby become more expensive in U.S. dollars and would therefore decrease, while China's imports from the U.S. would become less expensive in Chinese yuan and therefore would increase."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wall Street Copying Our Center On Carbon Trading

The New York Mercantile Exchange parent Nymex Holdings and a group of Wall Street trading houses plan to launch an exchange for trading carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental products. The Chicago Climate Exchange launched in 2003. The Center launched its Green Carbon Bank (GCB) and Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) in 2006. Nymex Holdings will call its service the Green Exchange and will offer environmental futures, options and swaps contracts.

Trading by the Green Exchange is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2008. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) launches in 2009 and is a greenhouse gas reduction reduction program by nine Northeastern states. California also has a climate change program. Nynex will own 25% of the Green Exchange with the rest owned by Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse Group. Richard Schaeffer will be CEO.

In addition to the Center, it appears that South Africa beat them to the concept and the name (South Africa Green Exchange).

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, Dec 12, 2007) (NPR Interview, Environmental Leader)

Saudia Arabia Wants To Build Nuclear Power Plants

There are currently no nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. Ali Saleh al-Barrak, head of Saudi Electricity Company wants to change that. He is pronuclear and wants to reduce the amount of petroleum used to generate electricity in his country. Saudi Arabai has 24 million people and the country uses 2 million barrels of oil per day (compared to 20 million per day in the USA).

Saudi Arabia has capacity to generate 31,000 megawatts of electricity. It is estimated that by 2012 Saudi Arabia will fire nearly 60% of its electricity with oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency, Saudi Arabia will consume more than a third of its own oil. Right now production stands at 11 million barrels per day. (The Wall Street Journal, DOE-EIA, IEA)

Communication From The White House

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 6 – Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Reid Amendment)
(Rep. Rahall (D) WV and 198 cosponsors)

The Administration opposes the Reid substitute amendment, which fails to correct many of the highly objectionable provisions identified in previously-issued Statements of Administration Policy on H.R. 6. If H.R. 6 were presented to the President as modified by the Reid substitute amendment, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

The Administration strongly opposes the amendment’s tax title, which would raise taxes in several ways that will increase energy costs facing consumers. More specifically, the Administration strongly opposes using the Federal tax code to single out specific industries for punitive treatment. Furthermore, the tax increases included in the Reid substitute amendment vastly exceed the amount necessary to offset the estimated revenue reductions arising from the bill’s fuel economy provisions. The Administration compliments the Senate for giving the Department of Transportation (DOT) the authority to establish a new CAFE standard, which would both improve fuel economy and reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill should clarify, however, that DOT should establish this single national regulatory standard, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, and that neither agency should add additional layers of regulation. The Administration also supports an ambitious alternative fuel standard, which should include an effective safety valve, should be technology neutral, and should rely on market innovation instead of statutory prescription. The proposed legislation, however, is excessively prescriptive and fails these tests, picking and choosing among fuel types, and failing to include an adequate safety valve.

The Administration also retains several additional concerns previously outlined in the Statements of Administration Policy on the underlying bill. Congress should seize the current opportunity to enact bipartisan legislation to enhance American energy security and to achieve vital goals of the President’s “Twenty in Ten” initiative proposed more than ten months ago. The Administration urges Congress to put political considerations aside, to repair the repeatedly noted problems with the energy bill, and to send the President legislation that he can sign. [The White House sent it and we posted it]

USA & China Sign Environmental Agreement

China and the United States signed a 10-year agreement to work together on clean technology and sustainable natural resources. The countries also announced the completion of joint study on air pollution, efforts to increase the use of biowaste fuel, and a pledge to collaborate to stop illegal logging.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is part of a U.S. delegation meeting with Chinese officials discussing trade, monetary, and environmental issues.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dmitry Medvedev Backed By Putin To Rule Russia

Dmitry Medvedev, left, has been selected by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Medvedev at right, to succeed him. Now there is just the matter of an election on March 2, 2008. Medvedev is chairman of the Russian state energy (natural gas) company Gazprom and has been there for 7 years. He is married and has one son.

Medvedev is a 42 year old lawyer and was born in St. Petersburg (known as Leningrad until 1991). Medvedev has never been elected to political office. He graduated from Leningrad State University's law school in 1987 receiving his Ph.D. in law in 1990. Much attention seems to be given to his 5 foot 4 height.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EPA Chief Stephen Johnson Visits China

From Dec. 10 to 15, 2007, EPA's official delegation will give a first-hand account of their trip through photos and diary entries which will be posted 2-3 times per day on EPA's Web site diary , which will be an account of the official EPA delegation's visit to China and the agency's efforts to foster global environmental cooperation through the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED). Administrator Johnson will join Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other senior U.S. officials for the third cabinet level meeting of the SED.

This meeting will focus on integrity of trade, balanced economic development, energy conservation, financial sector reform, environmental sustainability, and advancing bilateral investment. The dialogue waslaunched by President Bush and President Hu in September 2006.

Visit EPA's Trip Diary from China to view daily updates from Administrator Johnson and his staff on their trip to China for the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Contact: Andrew Wilkins, (202) 564-4355

And see Our 2007 Trip To China

Hotel Room Glasses

Are those glasses in your hotel room as clean as they look? Watch the video below and decide for yourself.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Electric Utiltiies Are Entering Twilight Zone

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is reconsidering its decision to designate the mid-Atlantic region as a priority area for the placement of new high power lines. This is very bad news for consumers and utilities. DOE should stick to its guns. They must be getting serious heat from the states. The designated areas are "National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors." DOE will take more comments and act accordingly. Come on DOE. We need authority to blast through the selfish NIMBYs who don't want utility lines near them but want to use a ton of electricity every day.

Now the states are considering regulating utilities and that would be a disaster. First they convinced the utilities to divest their power plants back in the 1990s to stimulate competition, now legislatures are considering reversing directions and reregulating them to try to control price increases. The legislatures created this problem in the first place by freezing retail rates. This is just a mess. Regardless, keep deregulation. Just allow it to work. Get out of the way and let the market work.

Maryland Commission on Climate Change Report

Maryland is a signatory to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) along with 12 other Northeastern states. The Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) wants to cap greenhouse gas emissions with a 90% reduction by 2050. The MCCC was created by Governor Martin O'Malley and includes state legislators, agency heads and environmentalists.

The draft report calls for reducing emission by 15 percent below the 2006 level by 2015. Virginia is considering reducing greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2030.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Environmental Legal Web Site For China

The U.S. EPA has launched the EPA - China Environmental Law Initiative Web site that will provide a forumfor sharing information and fostering an ongoing dialogue with China on environmental law.The Web site features information on new developments in Chinese environmental law, links to legal resources such as reports, articles, and the English text of many Chinese environmental laws, and an e-mail update service.

The URL for the Web site is: http://www.epa.gov/ogc/china/initiative_home.htm

Portions of the Web site have been translated into Chinese and are available on the EPA Chinese
Portal: http://www.epa.gov/chinese/simple/initiative.html