Briefly Noted … Other Renewable Energies

Legislation to promote a U.S. standard for renewable fuels is critical according to 25 Governors; Saskatchewan and Alberta may study a hydroelectric dam proposed for their border; less than half the rivers in North America are ‘wild’ according a continental agency; a pumped storage hydropower station has been approved in China; Gulf Electric to invest in two biomass power plants; Portugal and Mozambique will pressure ESKOM to pay more for electricity from the Cahora Bassa dam; more.

– Legislation promoting a U.S. renewable fuels standard is critical and action must be taken in the next few months to prevent potential fuel supply problems, according to the 25-state Governors’ Ethanol Coalition in a recent letter to politicians in the Senate. “In today’s environment, we believe it is more important than ever to strengthen our national security with progressive legislation that will stimulate ethanol and biofuels production, displace oil imported from politically unstable regions, expand domestic energy supplies and continue to reduce air pollution,” say the governors. “As state deadlines for the phase-out of MTBE approach, we believe action on legislation promoting farm-based, renewable energy is critical and must be addressed within the next several months to forestall any potential problems with the nation’s fuel supplies.” – Saskatchewan and Alberta may conduct a feasibility study into a controversial hydroelectric dam that is proposed for the South Saskatchewan River on the border of the two provinces in Canada. A preliminary study will be completed in February, to examine if the Meridian Dam should create a 150 km reservoir in one of the driest areas of Alberta. Environmentalists say it will reduce water flows and deteriorate water quality. – Less than half of the rivers in North America are ‘wild,’ meaning they run freely along their natural course without dams or diversions, according to the first publication of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement to report to governments in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The report said prosperity in North America is creating environmental ills, and consumer comforts are produced at a high cost to the environment. It found that forests across the continent have shrunk by 37 percent during the past 200 years, and the number of cars has doubled in the past 25 years, increasing air pollution and destroying non-renewable fossil fuels. – A pumped storage hydropower station has been approved for China’s Zhejiang province, with four 300 MW generators. To be built over six years, the Tongbo facility will cost US$300 million, including World Bank financing. – Gulf Electric has announced plans to invest two billion baht (US$50 million) to build two biomass power plants in Trang and Yala provinces, to generate 20 MW from palm and rubber tree waste. – Portugal and Mozambique will pressure the South African utility ESKOM to pay more for electricity from the 2,000 MW Cahora Bassa dam in central Mozambique. The utility agreed recently to double the price it pays, but the Portugese, who own 80 percent of the dam, want to be paid in US dollars rather than the South African currency, which lost value last year. – Among six power plants to be built this year by Electricity of Vietnam, is the 300 MW Dai Ninh hydroelectric plant in the central highlands. EVN will also complete construction of the Yaly hydroelectric plant and restore the Da Nhim hydro plant.
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