Climate Is Big Issue for Hispanics, and Personal

FEB. 9, 2015

By CORAL DAVENPORT
New York Times

LA home with refinery in background

A refinery in Los Angeles, seen from the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Wilmington. One reason Hispanics may be concerned about global warming is that they often live in areas directly exposed to pollution. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Alfredo Padilla grew up in Texas as a migrant farmworker who followed the harvest with his parents to pick sugar beets in Minnesota each summer. He has not forgotten the aches of labor or how much the weather — too little rain, or too much — affected the family livelihood.

Now an insurance lawyer in Carrizo Springs, Tex., he said he was concerned about global warming.

"It’s obviously happening, the flooding, the record droughts," said Mr. Padilla, who agrees with the science that human activities are the leading cause of climate change. "And all this affects poor people harder. The jobs are more based on weather. And when there are hurricanes, when there is flooding, who gets hit the worst? The people on the poor side of town".

Leadership would be for public figures to treat environmental issues with importance, not waiting for poll-tested sound bites.

Mr. Padilla’s concern is echoed by other Hispanics across the country, according to a poll conducted last month by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. The survey, in which Mr. Padilla was a respondent, found that Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to view global warming as a problem that affects them personally. It also found that they are more likely to support policies, such as taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas pollution, aimed at curbing it.

The findings in the poll could have significant implications for the 2016 presidential campaign as both parties seek to win votes from Hispanics, particularly in states like Florida and Colorado that will be influential in determining the outcome of the election. The poll also shows the challenge for the potential Republican presidential candidates — including two Hispanics — many of whom question or deny the scientific basis for the finding that humans caused global warming.

Read the rest of the story at the New York Times website.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Residential solar panels better investment than stocks

January 19, 2015

Ecomento.Com
Residential solar installation
Residential solar panels better investment than stocks
A report issued by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) claims that investing in residential solar power is a better bet than the stock market. In fact, in 42 of the 52 largest cities in America, solar electricity costs less right now than buying electricity from the grid.

Surprised? Many people are. But the cost of solar panels has dropped sharply over the past few years. Where once only wealthy people could afford a solar panels, now the cost of is well within reach of most home owners.

Every month you pay your electric bill and think nothing of it. Everyone has utility bills, don’t they? But what if you took the same money you presently pay to the electric company and used it to pay off a loan for a solar panel system at your home. Now that money becomes an investment in clean energy, a sustainable environment, and freedom from future rate hikes.

According the people at NCCETC, “Right now, buying an average-sized, fully-financed solar PV system costs less than electricity from their local utility for 93% of single-family homeowners in America’s 50 largest cities, and, in most places, is a better investment than many of the stocks that are in their 401(k).” That’s because eventually those solar panels will be paid off and all that extra money will stay in the home owner’s pocket.

The report says that, from an economic standpoint, these 10 US cities are the best places to install a solar panel system:

  1. New York, NY
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. Washington, DC
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Oakland, CA
  10. San Francisco, CA

The report ranked the cities based on three metrics: (1) the average savings in first-year monthly bills, (2) the “overall present-day value of a long-term investment in solar” as compared to a stock investment with an average return, and (3) the levelized cost of energy generated by a rooftop solar system.

According to Green Tech Media, the U.S. solar industry completed $15 billion worth new solar projects in 2014. That’s one new system every two and a half minutes. There are now 200,000 residential solar installations in the US — a four fold increase from 2011 when there were only 50,000 rooftop systems. Through the first three quarters of 2014, 3,966 megawatts of PV power came online, bringing the total PV generating capacity in the US to 16.1 gigawatts.

The next big thing in solar energy will be in-home storage systems that save any excess electricity generated on sunny days for use at night or on cloudy days. That’s when people will really be able to go “off grid” and investing in a solar panel system will become commonplace.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Energy-Storage Plans Gain Ground in California

DEC. 21, 2014

By MATTHEW L. WALD
New York Times

Ice Energy

Ice Energy makes devices called Ice Bears, which make ice at night that is later used, with fans, for air conditioning. Credit Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

In an unusual competition in California, proposals for energy storage systems beat out hundreds of bids to construct new power plants as a way to meet peak power needs.

Southern California Edison has retired its San Onofre nuclear reactors and is planning to retire natural gas units with environmentally troublesome cooling systems. So it invited proposals for storage — including conventional batteries and giant ice packs — and new gas-fired power plants.

To the surprise of the utility and even the storage companies, in many cases storage won. Demand response, or agreements with customers who volunteer to be unplugged at certain times, also did well.

Looking for 2,221 megawatts of capacity, about the size of two big nuclear plants, the utility selected 264 megawatts of storage, a huge amount for what is still viewed as a fledgling technology.

"It’s much more than we thought would be likely," said Colin Cushnie, the utility’s vice president for energy procurement and management. The total is about four times all the storage the company now has in place or under construction, he said.

It is also extremely large relative to an order issued last year by the California Public Utilities Commission that investor-owned utilities install 1,325 megawatts of storage by 2020.

The bidding results indicate that the cost of storage is falling, experts say, although neither the utility nor the companies whose projects were selected would say what price the utility would pay. And the value of storage varies by location, with California an extreme case. Because of wind farms, the state has very cheap energy available at night, some of which now goes to waste.

The alternative, new generators running on natural gas, is particularly expensive in the Los Angeles area because of strict air emissions limits and high land prices. (Batteries take up less space than power plants.)

Read the entire story on the New York Times website

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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