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Washed up tilapia carcasses litter the pearly white shoreline. A carelessly placed sign reading “This Park is Closing Due to Budget Cuts” welcomes visitors to the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. It is the worst nightmare of every environmental agency. This is the state of affairs that the Salton Sea, a body of water stretching from Riverside to Imperial County, is faced with. In 2012, a rotten odor attributed to the decaying fish from the sea had people from southern California holding their breaths. Combined with rising salinity and falling water levels, the Salton Sea is confronted with its toxic fate: to drain out.
Even though the year-end numbers haven’t rolled in yet, there’s no question that 2014 was another banner year for renewable energy. Renewables made up nearly half of all electricity capacity added in the U.S. last year, and the American wind industry has over 13,000 megawatts currently under construction despite some seriously destructive policy uncertainty.
The demand for electricity in the Caribbean region is satisfied in vast majority with fossil sources (mainly diesel and secondary LNG fuel), which are imported from few countries nearby. The electricity is produced in a large majority by reciprocating engines stations and by LNG and coal power plants.
In a recent opinion piece, the longtime stalwart for a more conservative tax code, Grover Norquist, took to the pages of the USA Today to explain why tax ‘extenders’ are good policy. Mr. Norquist is absolutely right. However, as a strange caveat he specifically omits the renewable energy production tax credit from his reasoning. Unfortunately, he’s certainly not the only conservative voice to do so. However, there is no hiding the fact that that tax extenders like the PTC and ITC are business-friendly, job creating policies birthed in Bush-era conservatism.
Marine and Hydrokinetic energy (MHK) -- consisting mainly of tidal and wave power -- is a burgeoning energy sector that has experienced typical growing pains like any other technology. While MHK navigates its way through a financing slump similar to those experienced by solar and wind in the early ‘00s (both typical and temporary for any technology development phase known hyperbolically as the ‘valley of death’), it will eventually become profitable and investment will steadily begin to increase. Analysts are still predicting incremental growth through the end of the decade, followed by massive increases in generation thereafter.
UPDATE: For a deeper dive into the issues surrounding water and renewable energy in the U.S., please view ACORE intern Sai Weiss's completed research paper on the subject from Fall, 2014.
It’s not a stretch to say that clean water is fundamental for our society and economy. We use water for drinking, washing, growing crops, generating electricity, and most of all, for cooling thermoelectric power plants. In fact, 41% of water withdrawn nationally goes toward thermoelectric cooling. Moreover, in order to produce energy we need water, and in order to pressurize and transport water, we need energy. The reality is that water and energy are interdependent. With the energy sector having the biggest straw, one must wonder what happens when our water sources run dry.