A few scattered stories:
In testimony to the US House and Senate Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday, Fed chief Ben Bernanke said, “the one small silver lining” in $100/barrel oil is that “a lot of alternatives become economically feasible.” In fact, well before $200/barrel, biking to work would become feasible for a lot of Americans, and so would staying home for Thanksgiving instead of taking that trip down I-95 to see grandma, and chopping down trees in the neighborhood to stay warm in winter. I think this is a “cart before the horse” conclusion that comes from spending too much time in Washington policy circles.
EnergyBiz Insider on the U.S. effects of the Asian energy boom: “In 2006, China built 90,000 megawatts of coal-fired power plants, which exceeds the entire generation capacity of the United Kingdom by 13,000 megawatts… India built 22,000 megawatts of new electricity plants in the last five years… [Stanford researcher Jeremy] Carl says that Asia’s electricity boom is causing them several problems. ‘China has vacuumed up the technology and personnel needed to implement these power plants,’ he says. Hence, domestic utilities are having problems with ‘equipment availability, getting construction equipment on time, and obtaining the necessary number of engineers,’ he says.”
At Grist, Ryan Avent says transit is “the forgotten solution.” He asserts that “our best hope for near-term reductions in emissions is a significant increase in transit investment.” Interesting, but I don’t think so. I’d like to see the analysis that underlies such a bold claim.
The Baltimore Sun reported on April 1: No collusion found in Maryland power auctions:
Steven B. Larsen, chairman of the Public Service Commission, told state lawmakers yesterday that the regulatory body found no evidence of collusion in the 2005-2006 wholesale power auctions that caused a 72 percent price increase for households buying power from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which is a subsidiary of Constellation….
O’Malley, a Democrat, asked Larsen to look into the auctions last year after the Illinois attorney general filed a complaint alleging price manipulation by energy suppliers that helped lead to a $1 billion rate rebate for customers there. O’Malley had campaigned on a pledge to roll back steep BGE rate increases.
But after O’Malley took office, the PSC concluded that it had no cause to deny rate increases sought by BGE, finding that Constellation followed the auction procedures set up by previous PSC members.