Future of federal solar programs in doubt
"WASHINGTON — The solar power industry is facing a double threat from a Congress that may turn off the flow of federal subsidies and take a pass on mandating renewable-energy standards that would increase demand.
The Republican-led House, focused on cutting spending and philosophically opposed to subsidizing solar power and clean energy, has targeted federal grant and loan guarantee programs to reduce or eliminate.
One is a U.S. Treasury grant program, set to expire at the end of this year, that solar companies say has kept them alive through the recession. The other is an Energy Department loan guarantee program, part of which would end Oct. 1, that has provided nearly $35 billion in loan guarantees for solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy projects that have generated more than 68,000 U.S. jobs, according to the department.
Meanwhile, hopes for a national clean energy standard that could boost demand for solar power also are dimming in a Congress that doesn't support government mandates about what kind of energy Americans should use."
There is more...here is the link: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2011-06-28-solar-energy-congress_n.htm. Bottom line: We've known renewable energy has been dependant on state and federal credits and grants. We did a show on that. We looked at the economics of investing in solar/wind, caluclated some ROI's. We need these state and federal programs to continue, or be replaced by something else on the private side, if we expect to move away from fossil fuels."
Next: EPA approves E15 fuel label despite engine risk
"The government has settled on a label for gas stations selling a blend of gasoline and ethanol called E15, which contains more ethanol -- grain alcohol -- than the E10 blend that's replaced pure gasoline at most stations.
The Environmental Protection Agency previously approved E15 -- 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol -- for use in vehicles back to 2001 models. The approved label is part of the EPA's final rule spelling out about how E15 can be sold and what standards it must meet.
E15 isn't available yet. EPA says sellers have to first register their blends with the agency to be sure they meet a number of standards. Probably nothing at stations until late this year, ethanol interests say.
EPA says tests show E15 won't harm 2001 and newer vehicles, which have hoses and gaskets and seals specially designed to resist corrosive ethanol. But using E15 fuel in older vehicles or in power equipment such as mowers, chainsaws and boats, can cause damage and now is literally a federal offense."
We just streamed live yesterday a show on biofuels (go to Arpin Broadcast Network to view it on demand). There's so many aspects of the business side of green on this issue, many touched on by USA Today. Our view is that, with the controversy surrounding this issue, it is more motivation to look at EV's...electric cars. Though, as Al Cerrone pointed out on his show, GM and other auto makers are progressing on all levels of alternative fuels and fuel efficiency.
Obviously, the mix of ethanol will play a significant role, at least for awhile, in powering our cars.