Bleepin' Huge Damn Deal (for energy nerds on deadline)

Greg Harman

gharman@sacurrent.com

You must have clean energy.

Whether you get it from 'myco-diesel'-excreting mushrooms, or sun spot-blemished solar, or micro-turbines, is your choice.

But it goes like this: The International Energy Administration issued one scary forecast this week that we need four more Saudi Arabia's to protect us against a global energy supply crunch. That's crunch with a capital C-O-L-L-A-P-S-E. Not having such extra Saudi Arabias handy, we're forced away from oil.

Coal? Now, the Supremes last year ruled carbon dioxide must be governed as a pollutant. Your dear old EPA has coyly resisted that verdict.

Meanwhile, the bailout bill (little-known fact alert!) actually put a price on carbon ($20 per ton) that will help kickstart the impossible-sounding (and possibily truly impossible) cleaning of coal.

Reads:

SEC. 45Q. CREDIT FOR CARBON DIOXIDE SEQUESTRATION.

`(a) General Rule- For purposes of section 38, the carbon dioxide sequestration credit for any taxable year is an amount equal to the sum of--

`(1) $20 per metric ton of qualified carbon dioxide which is--

`(A) captured by the taxpayer at a qualified facility, and

`(B) disposed of by the taxpayer in secure geological storage, and

`(2) $10 per metric ton of qualified carbon dioxide which is--

`(A) captured by the taxpayer at a qualified facility, and

`(B) used by the taxpayer as a tertiary injectant in a qualified enhanced oil or natural gas recovery project.

While industry and researchers adjust to the long-last released fiscal incentive, the price on the certifiably "non-clean" varietal of coal most of us are familiar with just jumped about five cents a kilowatt.

Seems four out of five judges agree: The knuckleheads at EPA Central must be toppled.

From the Sierra Club:

In a move that signals the start of the our clean energy future, the

Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) ruled

today EPA had no valid reason for refusing to limit from new coal-fired

power plants the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. The

decision means that all new and proposed coal plants nationwide must go back

and address their carbon dioxide emissions.

"Today's decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global

warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy," said

Joanne Spalding, Sierra Club Senior Attorney who argued the case. "This is

one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding

America."

So where are we to turn?

Well, with recession gluts bombing the gas pumps with cheap(er) crude and the compounding raw-woundedness of loserdom sinking in, Republican vocal chords appear to have finally ground themselves into silence demanding the sickness of tar-pit pilfering, shale extraction, and mountain toppling for phallic drillbit insertion and goo glory.

Starting January 20, expect quieter and quick work to get underway transforming our national electrical grids to handle those bursts of wind and solar we've come to know and love. It will be a major freakin' task, but there's nowhere else to turn.

Me? Well, I'm a fungal man, myself. Shitake a-go-go.

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