Solar Sanity is Restored

With solar power blossoming in the United States and the Biden Administration’s Day One vow to supercharge renewables, it came as a shock to learn in late March that the Commerce Department was throwing sand in the gears.  Based on what turned out to be a largely inaccurate interpretation of data offered by an American solar panel manufacturer, Commerce began an investigation that effectively blocked the importing of solar products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  The impact was immediate and devastating according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):  forecasts for this year and next year being cut by 46%.  The 700 responses from an SEIA survey of industry businesses showed that 318 projects accounting for 51 GW of solar capacity and 6 GWh of attached battery storage were being cancelled or delayed, putting $52 billion of private investment and tens of thousands of jobs at risk.  An independent analysis, from Rystad Energy, found similar catastrophic disruptions as a result. Continue reading


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Water in the American West – Supply-Side Management

Climate models predict a continuation of the trends we’ve been seeing in many countries:  heat waves happening more often and more intensely, longer and more severe droughts owing to decreased precipitation, wildfires as a consequence of long-term dry spells, and water stress for both urban and rural populations as well as for agriculture.  Nowhere are these trends more in evidence than in the American West.  The extraordinary engineering that has gone into making the West prosperous is at risk.  (I blogged about the landmark history of water policy and politics in the West, Cadillac Desert, here in September.) Continue reading


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