100% Renewable Energy Requirements on new commercial Properties

sfgovtv.org : (ncludes video link to the hearing)

Land Use and Transportation Committee presentation on proposed Ordinance 190708 Environment Code – 100% Renewable Energy Required for On-Site Electricity Demands in Nonresidential Buildings of 50,000 Square Feet or More. (Details)


If you can watch the one public comment at the end of the presentation. Around 14:14.


Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in Harlan County switches to solar power

Housed in a former commissary building and tucked into the hollers of Harlan County — the heart of Kentucky mining country — is a museum dedicated to all aspects of extracting coal from the state’s mountains.

Mining equipment decorates its walls, while a two-ton block of coal at the front door greets visitors. Children can climb on the museum’s 1940s model electric locomotive that once carried Kentucky men into the mines. An exhibit dedicated to Loretta Lynn (who wrote and who is the “Coal Miner’s Daughter”) sits on the third floor. Guests can even wander through an actual underground coal mine.

Not much about the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum screams modern. Its website — nay, websites — boasts early 1990s Web design, and its advertisement on YouTube appears to have been shot on a handheld camcorder. It sits next to City Hall on Main Street, the only thoroughfare of Benham, Ky. That’s to be expected from a museum dedicated to an old form of energy, which is what makes its own power methods so interesting.

The museum is switching to solar power in hopes of saving money on energy costs, as reported by WYMT and EKB-TV. The installation of solar panels began this week…(more)

High Speed Rail Won’t Impact Climate Change

by Marc Joffe, California Policy Center,  1/24/17

According to the high speed rail authority’s website, the bullet train is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by just over one million metric tons annually by 2040. This reduction is supposed to be achieved by replacing almost 10 million miles of motor vehicle travel each day, and eliminating between 93 and 171 daily flights. But these HSR projections have two fatal flaws: they are based on unrealistically high ridership estimates and they fail to take into account the transition to hybrid and plug-in electric cars. If HSR’s numbers are adjusted to take these factors into account, the project’s emission savings turn out to be much less. Further, they won’t have a meaningful impact on climate change.

HSR’s Environmental Impact Report used EMFAC2007 to estimate emission savings. EMFAC2007 is an emission model published by the California Air Resources Board ten years ago.  It has since been superseded by new versions released in 2011 and 2014. The EMFAC web page specifically states: “Do not use EMFAC 2007 for new studies.”…

Even in the extremely unlike event that HSR’s one million metric ton annual emission savings estimate were to be realized, it wouldn’t have a significant impact on global warming. According to EPA figures, global CO2 emissions total 9449 metric tons in 2011. Assuming this level remains constant and that HSR’s estimates are correct, the project would only reduce global emissions by about 0.01%. And, based on the evidence provided above, it is safe to assume that the real savings will be a small fraction of this figure…

A fair rejoinder is that even though nothing California does by itself will significantly move the dial on global emissions, the example we set for the result of the world is more important. If an affluent economy like ours’ can’t get emissions under control, how can we expect others to do so. But if we want to set an example, shouldn’t we do so in a cost-effective manner? Spending $64 billion to achieve minimal emission savings does not set a good example. Undoubtedly, there are ways to make steeper reductions in emissions at lower cost… (more)

Marc Joffe is the director of policy research for the California Policy Center.

Always looking for scientific analysis and opinions on these matters.

Report: Solar Energy Employs More People Than All Fossil Fuel Industries Combined


fixed_tilt_solar_panel_at_canterbury_municipal_building_canterbury_new_hampshire398px-BarnettShaleDrilling-9323One of the greatest concerns with the Trump Administration remains the environment.  I share those concerns.  The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in advancing green industries and markets. A return to fossil energy could not only erase gains in the environment but push our workforce farther away from the most competitive economies.  A new report shows how important solar energy is to the workforce and the economy.  The latest report from the Department of Energy shows that solar energy in the United States employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined.  At the same time, we have seen other countries slash the cost of renewable energy and radically expand the use of such energy as global leaders in the new industry.

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CEQA Reform Update

CEQA Reform Update

By Douglas Aikins : jdsupra.com

Three flavors of reform

Between the two types of CEQA burdens, abuse of litigation is the least difficult to justify, and the easiest to fix. The two main CEQA reform bills in the Legislature, however, address mainly the burden of excessive environmental analysis, by exempting certain topic areas from repetitive study.

SB 731 (Steinberg, D- Sacramento) is fairly modest. It would allow EIR’s and Negative Declarations to omit study of certain environmental topic areas (noise, traffic, aesthetics, etc.) if a project did not exceed specified statewide impact standards. On the positive side, SB 731 would allow shorter, cheaper CEQA compliance documents in many instances. On the negative side, it requires qualifying projects to comply with new regulations favoring renewable energy projects, infill development, transit, bicycle and similar “green” projects.

SB 787 (Berryhill, D- Modesto) reprises a more aggressive reform proposal, supported by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group*, among others. This approach would reduce both regulatory burdens and litigation burdens. It would omit the need for analysis of environmental impacts when they can be shown to comply with existing state and federal limits on pollution, emissions, wetland fill, etc., and it would prohibit CEQA litigation contesting Lead Agencies’ determinations that compliance with existing regulatory standards will adequately mitigate projects’ adverse environmental impacts.

A third pending CEQA reform bill merely tries to make CEQA litigation more efficient, by allowing Lead Agencies to prepare the administrative record simultaneously with a project’s CEQA compliance documents. SB 617 (Evans, D- Santa Rosa) would save time by making these processes coincide, but the additional early expense of preparing an administrative record would be justified only where a litigation challenge is certain. SB 617 also would require additional environmental analysis, by reversing a line of cases which exempted from CEQA study “impacts of the environment on the project,” that is, the effects of locating a project in a sensitive location, as opposed to “impacts of the project on the environment,” CEQA’s primary focus. See Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles (2nd Dist. 2011) 201 Cal App 4th 455… (more)

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