Archive for January 19th, 2011

CFLs burn out in California?

January 19, 2011

California utility PG&E Corp. has just learned something about CFLs — they don’t work as well as touted. According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, PG&E’s $92 million rebate program for CFL usage during 2006-2008 saved 73% less energy than originally projected by PG&E:

One hitch was the compact-fluorescent burnout rate. When PG&E began its 2006-2008 program, it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut the estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings. Field tests show higher burnout rates in certain locations, such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting. Turning them on and off a lot also appears to impair longevity. [Emphasis added]

Combined with their inherent mercurial hypocrisy, this new information should add urgency to the House effort to repeal the ban on incandescents.

Electric utilities looking for emissions deal

January 19, 2011

The ever-unscrupulous electric utility industry is once again working to bring about climate legislation.

Politico reported today that,

Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, told POLITICO that he has had informal talks about a deal for power companies with White House energy adviser Carol Browner, who brokered the closed-door car deal, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “But no in-depth discussions yet,” he said.

About a “car deal” for utilities, Politico reported Glenn English, the president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and a former Oklahoma Democratic congressman as saying,

“We may be dreaming, I don’t know.”

So as we’ve been saying, just because “cap-and-trade” is dead, that does not mean that the push for climate legislation is also dead. Such advocacy is, in fact, alive and kicking — and it’s a real threat because:

  • While congressional Republicans can be counted on to oppose “cap-and-trade,” it’s not at all clear what many will do if cap-and-trade is re-branded as, say, “clean energy” or “kumbaya energy”; and
  • Electric utilities and renewable energy interests will no doubt throw all sort of campaign cash at Republicans looking to be re-elected in 2012.

Keep in mind that the conventional wisdom in January 2009 was that cap-and-trade was a done deal given a popular new Democrat president and Democrat-controlled Congress. Nevertheless, cap-and-trade failed. Now, conventional wisdom is that nothing like cap-and-trade could ever get through a tea party-infused GOP-controlled House.

Somewhat disturbing in the Politico report is this quote from an unidentified “senior House GOP aide close to the Energy and Commerce Committee”:

“I don’t think a deal between industry, the utilities and the Obama administration that most likely would lead to higher utility prices for the American consumer is a deal that House Republicans would be comfortable with. But certainly, we’d have to take a look before making that determination.” [Emphasis added]

Stay tuned…