Friday, April 17, 2009
NSF Releases Report on Sustainable Energy
9:17 am edt
The National Science Foundation has released its report, Building a Sustainable Energy Future
(April 10, 200) and is seeking comments by May 2009 here
Perhaps not surprisingly, the report says that sustainability will be driven by the need for energy independence,
reductions in carbon emissions and innovation in green technologies and new energy sources.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Power from Space
8:29 am edt
San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric has petitioned the California Public Utility Commission for approval of a long-term
power purchase agreement with Solaren, a start-up solary power company that plans to generate electricity in space
Solaren's plans, which will require substantial regulatory reviews and approvals, involve positioning solar
panels in space and then beaming the power back to earth.
PG&E's power purchase agreement commits PG&E
to purchase electricity at the same wholesale rates paid to other alternative energy producers. PG&E did not commit
any funds to the development of the project.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
8:30 pm edt
The City of Venice is planning a new biomass power station
that will run on algae. The facility will cost $264 million and take two years to construct.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Can Wind Power Replace Coal?
8:41 am edt
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was recently quoted
to say that wind power has the capacity to replace the U.S. consumption of coal. He said:
that wind energy has the potential to replace most of our coal-burning power today is a very real possibility. . . It
is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now."
In 2006 U.S. production of energy via wind
power increased 27% and the U.S.'s production of wind power accounted for roughly 16% of all wind power produced worldwide,
according to a 2007 report
by the U.S. Department of Energy. A 2008 report by the DOE showed a 46% increase from 2007 to 2008, and yet, by March
of 2009, wind in combination with other renewable energy sources (solar, biomass and geothermal) accounts for only 3%
of U.S. energy production.
While the American Relief and Recovery Act of 2009 provides expanded and extended
tax incentives to renewable energy (including a production tax credit of $0.021/kWh for qualified wind energy facilities)
the wind has a long way to go before it can overtake coal.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Georgia Legislature Adopts Automatic Stay of Discovery Rule
8:29 am edt
The Georgia legislature recently adopted a bill (H.B. 29)
that, in addition to allowing for electronic service of pleadings via email, imposes an automatic stay of discovery in civil
suits where the defendant files a motion to dismiss at or before the time when an answer must be filed.
Perdue has already commented
favorably on the bill, so its passage seems likely.
The logic of the bill is that it allows the defendant
to avoid (or at least delay) the expense of discovery until the court has the opportunity to rule on the preliminary motion.
The rationale is that defendants who expect to be dismissed at the preliminary motion stage should be entitled to avoid the
expense of discovery.
The reform would not, however, do anything to reduce the expense of litigation for those
cases where the plaintiff's pleadings are logically valid but ultimately non-merit-worthy. A preliminary motion
does not address the ultimate merits of the case, but merely asks whether the plaintiff's complaint "states a claim
on which relief may be granted."
While nearly half of all complaints are dismissed through motions
for summary judgment, very few are dismissed on a motion to dismiss of the kind contemplated in H.B. 29.