Archive for January, 2009
Obama promises alternative energy in inaugural speech
by damian | Uncategorized

Many in Portland’s environmental advocacy and clean energy communities gathered this morning at Living Room Theaters to watch Barack Obama’s inaugural address. Stoel Rives’ Ashley Henry and the Oregon Environmental Council’s Andrea Durbin hosted the event, which packed the theaters to capacity. In one room, the crowd watched the big screen with rapt attention as the 44th President gave his speech, then erupted into cheers and applause at the first mention of energy.

“Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”

The president went on to say the country will meet the many challenges it faces and referenced his economic stimulus plan, promising to rebuild roads, bridges and electric grids.

“We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

And he spoke of rolling back “the spectre of a warming planet” and an end to consuming the world’s resources “without regard to effect.”
Energy use and climate change were only a small part of the address, but the President clearly felt they earned a mention among other pressing world issues such as peace, justice and prosperity. For the full text of the inaugural address and to compare it to previous addresses, The New York Times has a useful multimedia graphic.

First step for clean tech: Fix the markets
by damian | Uncategorized

Today on the NY Times’ Green Inc. blog I wrote about how clean tech investors have become more discerning in the companies they do deals with. VC is still flowing to certain select areas of the industry, such as electric vehicles and green IT. But it’s important to note that commercial lending is still frozen. And as Ron Pernick of Clean Edge puts it:

“If markets are broken it doesn’t even matter what your project is.”

Investors are still lending because they see the long term prospects of the sector — the world’s demand for new energy sources isn’t going away. But in the short term, investors are paying attention to how successful the incoming Obama administration will be in passing its proposed stimulus package.

More analysis needed on Crossing’s CO2 emissions
by damian | Uncategorized

An independent panel of experts has completed its review of the greenhouse gas emissions analysis on the Columbia River Crossing project and concluded it could use some more work.

The draft environmental impact statement released last May “likely underestimate(s)” the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would come with a new bridge compared to the no-build alternative, according to the panel’s report released last week. The new bridge wouldn’t include a lift and would have improved safety features meant to lower the risk of traffic accidents. But the draft analysis didn’t account for emissions created by congestion on the bridge due to lift activity or accidents.

We expect that the build scenarios, especially those that eliminate the bridge lifts and reduce crash-related congestion, will further reduce carbon emissions…

The panel also suggests seaparating the emissions analysis on the transit portion of the project from the highway portion. Adding transit to the bridge may not actually lower greenhouse gas emissions overall. Train or bus rapid transit operations, depending on how frequently they run, could end up greater than or equal to the emissions saved by getting people out of their cars and onto transit. More analysis is needed in the final EIS.

The panel’s full report is available on the CRC’s web site.