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Ronald STEENBLIK's Comments

February 08, 2013

Here Comes Another Solar Trade Dispute

Excellent article. I think a few words are missing here: "[The] WTO may be [more] sympathetic to the U.S. than [to] India."

February 08, 2013

Here Comes Another Solar Trade Dispute

@Commentator #2 (Annonymous) It was not the WTO that decided to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imported Chinese solar cells, but the U.S. government on its own. In WTO parlance, that is called a unilateral trade remedy. It is the alternative to mounting a case at the WTO. A country against which such duties are applied can, of course, bring its own case to the WTO challenging the first country's findings or procedures. So far, China has not done that. The India case is more similar to the Ontario case, just ruled on in December. That is to say, it involves measures that allegedly restrict U.S. exports to that country. The Chinese case was about subsidized imports competing unfairly in the U.S. market. Of course, from a consumer's standpoint, subsidized imports are a boon. But the concern of the countries that established the WTO was primarily with import barriers, subsidies, and regulations adversely affecting sales, providing no real voice for consumers who might benefit.

November 23, 2012

Scotland Schools the States on Offshore Wind Initiatives

There is no "country of Scotland", or at least not yet. While it enjoys considerable autonomy, it is still part of the United Kingdom. Scotland can and is often called a "nation", however -- i.e., a tightly-knit group of people who share a common culture.

November 23, 2012

Scotland Schools the States on Offshore Wind Initiatives

The view may be different but the law is what it is. Scotland has not left the United Kingdom yet!

November 27, 2012

Scotland Schools the States on Offshore Wind Initiatives

@Lockwood-Chet,

I work with many Scots, so I know full well the growing sentiment for independence. All power to them: I have no dog in this fight.

My point, though, is that journalists should stick to the facts. And the fact is still that Scotland is not yet a sovereign "country".

November 16, 2012

Japan Domestic Solar Shipments Rise 80 Percent, JPEA Says

The world's solar industry should be praising Japan's policy makers to the moon. While other countries are embroiled in tit-for-tat trade wars, Japan is sucking in imports, and deploying solar power, at a phenomenal rate.

September 28, 2012

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass

"It intends to switch two more units to wood at a later date, investments that if completed will see it harvest a forest four times the size of Rhode Island each year."

Seems a crucial detail has been left out of this story. That wood surely is not going to be produced in the UK. Anybody have an idea on from where Drax will be importing the wood? Harvesting a rain forest four times the size of Rhode Island each year, for example, would hardly seem to have a positive effect on the net CO2 balance of the world.

September 28, 2012

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass

@Anonymous,

Do you have a link backing up your information? That would be helpful.

One point to consider: even if the wood comes from existing, previously logged forests, there is an opportunity cost of harvesting and releasing the CO2 now rather than leaving the standing trees to continue to sequester carbon. I recommend highly this paper, which explains the erroneous assumptions being made by policy makers in their carbon accounting:

http://www.uni-potsdam.de/u/sprinz/doc/Haberl.2012.CorrectingaFundamentalErrorinGreenhouseGasAccountingRelatedtoBioenergy.EP.pdf

Moreover, there is a lot of competition these days for logs. If the UK power producers have indeed contracted with producers of yellow pine in the south-eastern U.S. states, good for them. But there is also interest in those same forests from power plants in north-eastern U.S. states, not to mention from traditional users of forest products. Meanwhile, there ARE consumers of wood chips in Europe who are obtaining their biomass from tropical forests.

One can play a shell game and certify wood for certain demanding users, but what matters for the climate is whether growth in the market for biomass is accompanied by parallel growth in the production of biomass or the use of biomass that would otherwise have decomposed or burned up (and not substantially contributed to soil carbon).

October 06, 2012

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass

@dennis-baker-55380

"7 Billion humans generate vast quantities of excrement. I believe this excrement is capable of providing all human electrical demands."

I commend you for your amazingly high-fibre diet, Mr. Baker. I think that my volume might generate, oh, about a half hour of my daily electrical demand.

October 08, 2012

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass

@Dennis Baker,

'[The] USA discharges in the trillions of tons annually. No shortage of effluent.'

If you are talking about what can be converted to energy, you need to talk about dry matter. Water doesn't burn. From a surf of the web, it appears that an average person poops about 0.2 kg daily. I'm not sure if that is dry weight or wet weight. But let's give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it is dry weight.

Multiplying 0.2 kg by 365 days in a year and 312 million people (who include a lot of young children), I get:

... 23 million short tons of poop a year.

That is hardly 'trillions'. From where do you get YOUR number?

October 08, 2012

Biggest English Polluter Spends $1 Billion to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass

@Dennis Baker,

You haven't answered my question as to how you arrive at an estimate of "trillions of tons".

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