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31Dec/20

Battle brews over short-term energy investment plans in Puerto Rico

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The number of jurisdictions pursuing a goal of 100 percent renewables keeps growing. Puerto Rico looks to be next, with a late November plan from the island’s governor and a proposal before the legislature both calling for 100 percent renewables by 2050. In October, a diverse group of clean energy advocates also published a proposal, “Queremos Sol,” that outlines a path to all-renewables by the same year.Agreement on the territory’s energy system seems to have coalesced around a renewable portfolio standard and timeline. “I can’t think of any entity that’s said it’s opposed to 100 percent renewables by 2050. That certainly is progress,” said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which contributed to the Queremos Sol report. “That’s a consensus that didn’t exist before the hurricane.”It’s taken months to get to this point. And while the long-term vision seems to have been clarified, stakeholders remain divided on short-term goals. “What the problem is, and what we need to be careful about, is how different organizations and groups propose to get there,” said Ruth Santiago, a lawyer at local environmental group Comité Diálogo Ambiental and a contributor to the Queremos Sol report.In its August fiscal plan, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) said it was looking to convert some plants to burn natural gas and that it would cost $500 million to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal. When the utility’s current CEO, José Ortiz, came aboard, he said natural gas would support a future with more renewables. PREPA did not respond to requests for comment about the proposed RPS, but in its fiscal plan the utility lays out a path to a generation mix in 2023 that’s 32 percent solar and wind and 41 percent gas.The group of engineers, environmentalists and clean energy advocates who wrote the Queremos Sol proposal are pushing for integration of renewables now. Santiago said investing in natural gas in the short term might be “disastrous” and will likely impede investment in solar.“Renewable energy and storage technologies are available now,” said Kunkel. “And if your goal is to get to 100 percent renewables by 2050, you should start investing in them now. The most important challenges are going to be what investment decisions get made in the next few years. Most of Puerto Rico’s power plants are old and [need] to be replaced in any event. What they get replaced with really matters in terms of what type of fuel infrastructure you’re locking yourself into for the next several decades,” she added.More: Inside Puerto Rico’s quest for 100% renewables: A clash over natural gas Battle brews over short-term energy investment plans in Puerto Ricolast_img read more

29Dec/19

French ban on smoking to expand

first_imgPARIS – From next week, one of France’s most iconic institutions – the smoky cafe – will be but a hazy memory. The extension of France’s smoking ban to bars, discotheques, restaurants, hotels, casinos and cafes on Jan. 1 marks a momentous cultural shift in a country where thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir once held court while clutching cigarettes in Left Bank cafes. For smokers, this is the most distressing part of a phased smoking ban that began last February in workplaces, schools, airports, hospitals and other “closed and covered” public places like train stations. But many bartenders and restaurant staffers are looking forward to breathing easier and to clothes that don’t stink of seeped-in odors from the clouds of smoke where they work. Just about anywhere indoors will be off-limits for smoking, except homes, hotel rooms, and sealed smoking chambers at establishments that decide to provide them. “The French culture associated with smoking is a 20th-century thing, but we won’t forget the experience,” ex-smoker Lisa Zane, a Chicago-born singer who lives in Paris, said at Le Fumoir (The Smoking Den) restaurant and bar behind the Louvre. “Smoking seems insane now – we have to adapt.” The Health Ministry says one in two regular smokers here dies of smoking-related illness, and about 5,000 nonsmokers die each year of passive smoking. About a quarter of France’s 60 million people are smokers. The ban will likely mean more unsightly cigarette butts on sidewalks and in gutters. British American Tobacco’s French arm on Wednesday began a pilot program in and near Paris of putting ashtrays outside bars where tobacco products are sold. Countries like Italy, Spain, Belgium, Britain and Ireland already have smoking bans. But it’s tough to imagine the style-conscious French bundling up in blankets to smoke on chilly restaurant terraces, like some Londoners have. Many restaurateurs, cafe owners and disco operators fear lost business: Smokers who light up with a countertop morning coffee, on the dance floor or after a meal make up a huge customer base. “There will be a drop, certainly. The tobacco-bar is part of the French tradition,” said Christophe Mgo, owner of Le Marigny bar in northwest Paris. “They (customers who smoke) will surely stay less time and they will only drink one coffee or beer, instead of two.” A national union of disco owners has said it expects a 5-8 percent decline in business initially., and has urged the government to send pamphlets to police to show “understanding” in their enforcement of the ban. Some 10,000 protesters, mainly tobacco vendors, marched across Paris last month in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade lawmakers to add flexibility to the new prohibitions.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more