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May 30, 2008

Germans Debate Renewable Energy Supports

germany debates subsidies for solar industry

Conservatives call into question highly successful feed-in tariff

[Originally posted at Red, Green, and Blue on 5.19.08] There is a reason that Germany has half of the world's installed solar generating capacity, and it is not the Northern European country's boundless sunshine. Renewable energy capacity has achieved such tremendous growth because of the German government’s aggressive energy policy.

The policy vehicle responsible for the rapid acceleration of the country's renewable energy capacity, known as a feed-in tariff (FIT), guarantees a fixed-rate of return for homeowners and farmers who install solar, wind, small hydro, biomass, and methane capturing systems and sell their surplus electricity back to the grid. Germany has Europe's highest feed-in tariffs, allowing consumers to earn around 40 euro cents ($0.62) per kWh compared to paying retail rates of 18 euro cents per kWh after taxes and support fees.

Electricity generated through Germany's feed-in law produces about 50 terawatt-hours (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity per year, or nearly 15% of German electricity consumption (1). This adds an average of only 1.01 euros ($1.69) a month to a typical home electricity bill.

Bu, despite the law's success, conservatives in the German Bundestag want to ratchet back the incentives that support renewable energy development. More...It seems that the members of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the conservative wing of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) argue that solar generation is growing so fast that it threatens to over burden consumers with high electricity bills, according to an article in the New York Times.

Joachim Pfeiffer, a Member of Parliament who is drafting the plan to cut incentives, says solar power could end up adding 8 euros ($12.32) to a monthly electricity bill, “which would alienate even the most green-minded.”

Opposition to Feed-in Tariff is Not New

But calls for paring back the renewable energy feed-in tariff are nothing new, according to wind energy expert Paul Gipe. Gipe, an outspoken advocate of the FIT and has written extensively on on the subject wrote in an email, "The FDP and the conservative (utility) wing of the CDU have wanted to ratchet back the tariffs all along [and] It's unlikely they will succeed."

Other supporters of the German feed-in tariff point to the unparalleled growth in renewable energy capacity reason enough to maintain the system as it currently stands. "The general target is to mobilise all renewable options, producing a renewable energy mix and reducing the dependency on conventional energy over time," says Hermann Scheer, one of the principal drivers behind Germany’s renewable resurgence.

So far, 15% of Germany's energy comes from renewables, an increase of 11% in just eight years. "We could increase the speed of this growth if it weren't for the barriers we're facing at local and regional levels," says Scheer.

Importantly, Gipe did add that the CDU could grant some concessions by throttling back on the proposed offshore tariffs "which are widely seen as a gift to the utility companies."

I would argue that it would be foolish for Germany to nip the most successful renewable energy policy this planet has ever seen in the bud. Especially with the certain increase in demand for electricity, and the rising pressures on the coal-industry in Germany, Germans may be better off absorbing a slight increase in their electricity bills that is calculable, as opposed to drastic increases used to offset certain shortages.

Other posts about feed-in tariffs and German energy policy:

Photo: Jeff Poskanzer via Flickr under a Creative Commons License

May 25, 2008

Red, Green, and Blue Named 'Red Hot Blog of the Day'

I am pleased and humbled to announce that the good folks over at RedOrbit have named Green Options' environmental politics blog, Red, Green, and Blue as the ‘Red Hot Blog of the Day‘ for May 23, 2008. As many of you already know, I've been the lead writer at Red, Green, and Blue since its inception in the Spring of 2008. I am proud of the place we have carved out within the niche thus far, and I look forward to the places it will go in the future.

RedOrbit provides mountains of wide-ranging content contained covering the vast ideological spectrums of space, science, health, and technology. Launched in in 2003, RedOrbit averages over 5 million unique visitors per month, “with subject matter a bit more intellectually oriented than most” (I love that last part).

May 22, 2008

MMS Overwhelmed by 40,000+ Comments on Cape Wind


Agency permanently extends comment period for alt. energy leases

[Originally posted at Red, Green, and Blue on May 5, 2008] In the fall of 2001, Jim Gordon of Energy Management Inc. (EMI) announced his intentions to build a 420 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts - the nation's first. Now, the long permitting process that was made even longer by powerful opposition groups, is nearing resolution...finally.

More than 40,000 individuals and organizations have submitted comments on an environmental review of the wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound, according to an article in the Cape Cod Times.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Rodney Cluck, Cape Wind project manager for the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the lead federal agency to review Cape Wind Associates' plan to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts. Originally, the comments were set to be released last Friday, but officials at the Minerals Management Service postponed the release to give agency staffers more time to organize the overwhelming public response to the proposed wind farm.

As a result of the scoping process' popularity, the MMS announced that they would be preemptively extending the comment period for all of the remaining "Alternative Energy Leases" from 30 to 60 days.More...

The final number of public comments submitted on the agency's Cape Wind draft environmental report has yet to be tallied. But it is quite telling that an earlier 2005 report on the same project issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced one-tenth the number of comments than this one indicates that MMS did something right since taking over the review of Cape Wind from the Army Corps as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (As an aside, I think it also says something about the Corps of Engineers' ability to adequately conduct a thorough public scoping process).

Opponents remain critical; supporters remain confident

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the project's most vocal opponent, enlisted 40 experts to review the report. The hired guns produced a 3,000-page critique of the Cape Wind proposal. One theme of critique coming from private scientists as well as public ones, was that the report's information on migratory birds and fishery habitats where the project would be located is inadequate. "At the very least, the (report) should explain why recommended studies and analyses were not conducted and the ramifications of not having that information," Michael Bartlett, supervisor for the New England Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Despite the criticisms of the MMS report, the vast majority of comments submitted will be in favor of the project, predicted Mark Rodgers, Communications Director for Cape Wind Associates.

A record of decision from the agency indicating approval or disapproval of the Cape Wind project is expected to be released sometime in the winter. And only then will this long, arduous journey be over...right?

Cape Cod Times

Other Posts Related to the Cape Wind Project:

"The Politicos Chiming in On Cape Wind" :: sustainablog (8/2005)

"(D)emocracy: Tell the Feds What You Think About Cape Wind" :: Planetsave (2/2008)

"Survey Finds Overwhelming Support for Cape Wind" :: ecopolitology (8/2007)

"Breaking: MMS Report Favorable on Cape Wind" :: sustainablog (1/2008)

"Cape Wind Opponent to Step Down" :: sustainablog (1/2008)

Photo: © Kamil Sobócki |

The Week in Cleantech News (May 5-12, 2008)

cex.jpg[Originally posted at CleanTechnica on 5.18.08]
For those of you who are bettin' folks, traders on the Chicago Climate Exchange view the Democrats as more bullish on cap-and-trade systems. So if you're betting on a Democratic victory, you'll want to buy those contracts now, in anticipation of a price spike on Nov. 5 (Politico).

Toyota Prius sales have topped 1 million and dealers in most markets simply can't keep them on the shelves. Toyota says domestic inventory is limited by production capacity in Japan, which is shared by the Asian and European markets. The U.S. supply is at its lowest level in two years (Wired).


Imagine a high-speed train that could get you from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours forty minutes. Well, that dream is now one step closer to reality as the California High Speed Rail Authority has cleared environmental impact assessments and is beginning construction of what will be the most substantial high-speed rail network in the U.S. But don't make travel arrangements just yet. The project is not scheduled to be completed until 2030 (gas 2.0).

A joint biofuel effort was announced Thursday involving Air Bus, JetBlue, Honeywell, and Aero Engines that plans to study ways to make commercial aviation fuels out of second-generation feedstocks such as algae (Green Tech Blog).

A new wave of nuclear power plants in the U.S. is likely to cost $5 billion to $12 billion a plant, two to four times previous estimates, driving up electricity bills for consumers and inevitably reigniting public concerns about the costs and benefits of nuclear power (The Wall St. Journal).cooling-tower-bistrosavage.jpg

Photo credits:

Karl Gunnarrsson via flickr Creative Commons License

compicpie via flickr Creative Commons License

Bistrosavage via flickr Creative Comons License

May 21, 2008

SeaGen Tidal Power Up and Running [with new pics]

seagen, tidal power turbinesMarine Current Turbines Ltd has successfully completed the installation of its 1.2MW SeaGen tidal energy system in Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland. There will now be a 12-week period of commissioning and testing before it starts regularly feeding power into the Northern Ireland grid.

The last time I wrote about the SeaGen project I got more than a couple of emails from friends and readers who were skeptical about the claims that the 16 meter-long turbine blades spinning on these machines could be environmentally benign (watch an animation of the turbines in action). The comments I received used such colorful language as "bassomatic" and "Irish Cuisinart" to describe the tidal power turbines.

I've yet to read over the reports myself, but it is my impression that researchers have no indications that the turbines would be harmful to marine life because the speed at which the rotors sweep (you may register to download the reports here).strangford loch, seagen, tidal power, tidal energyThe final Environmental Impact Study was submitted to the regulatory authority, the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) in Northern Ireland in June 2005 and the license for the temporary installation for the SeaGen system for a five year duration was first issued in December 2005.

Researchers will be adopting an approach commonly referred to as 'adaptive management', whereby, the environmental impact of SeaGen will be continuously monitored bystrangford loch, seagen, tidal power the team throughout the licensed 5 year installation period. The project is being managed by Royal Haskoning with Queens University Belfast and the Sea Mammal Research Unit.

It seems to me that the SeaGen could be a very expensive test run, if it turns out the turbines are indeed ecologically problematic.

Related Posts:

"World's First Commercial-Scale Tidal Power Turbines"
"Animation: SeaGen Tidal Power Turbine"

[Photos are courtesy of Taylor Keough Communications, please contact me via email if you'd like larger/higher res. and I will pass them along].

May 20, 2008

Dems Name State Blogger Corps for Convention (and no, you're not on the list)

Several months ago, Democratic officials began the process of credentialing bloggers who cover state and local politics, as part of the DemConvention State Blogger Corps. More than 400 blogs applied for the program, and selections were largely based upon the degree to which bloggers have become experts on the political happenings in their states.

You’ll see a list below of the 55 blogs that will comprise the State Blogger Corps. They’ll be seated with their respective delegations at the Convention. Bloggers will have some of the best seats in the house and they’ll be the eyes and ears of local audiences online around the country (congratulations if you're blog IS on the list below - mine aren't. Maybe I'll be able to sneak in, security shouldn't be too tight!)

The DemConvention State Blogger Corps is listed below.


ALASKA - Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis -
ALABAMA- Doc's Political Parlor -
ARKANSAS- Under The -
ARIZONA - Ted Prezelski - Rum, Romanism and Rebellion -
CALIFORNIA - Calitics-
CONNECTICUT -My Left Nutmeg -
DELAWARE – TommyWonk -
DEMOCRATS Abroad - Democrats Abroad Argentina -
FLORIDA - Florida Progressive Coalition -
GEORGIA- Tondee's Tavern -
GUAM - No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro -
HAWAII - Ian Lind Online -
IOWA - The Iowa Independent -
ILLINOIS- Prairie State Blue -
INDIANA- Blue Indiana -
KENTUCKY – BlueGrassRoots -
LOUISIANA - Daily Kingfish -
MASSACHUSETTS - Blue Mass. Group -
MARYLAND - The Center for Emerging Media -
MAINE - Turn Maine Blue -
MICHIGAN - Blogging For Michigan -
MINNESOTA - Minnesota Monitor -
MISSISSIPPI - The Natchez Blog -
MISSOURI - Fired Up! LLC -
MONTANA - Left in the West -
NEBRASKA - New Nebraska Network -
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Blue Hampshire -
NEW MEXICO - Democracy for New Mexico -
NEVADA - Las Vegas Gleaner -
NEW YORK - Room 8 -
OHIO - Ohio Daily Blog -
OKLAHOMA - DemoOkie -
OREGON - BlueOregon (blog) -
PENNSYLVANIA - Keystone Politics -
PUERTO RICO - Jusiper -
RHODE ISLAND - Rhode Island's Future -
SOUTH DAKOTA - Badlands Blue -
TENNESSEE - KnoxViews/TennViews -
TEXAS - Burnt Orange Report -
UTAH - The Utah Amicus -
VIRGINIA - Raising Kaine -
VIRGIN ISLANDS - Democratic Party of the US Virgin Islands -
VERMONT - Green Mountain Daily -
WISCONSIN - Uppity Wisconsin -
WEST VIRGINIA - West Virginia Blue -
WYOMING - Hummingbirdminds blog -

Photo: dbking via flickr under a creative commons license

May 19, 2008

Big Week for Vestas

vestas wind systems, wind turbine[From my post at CleanTechnica on 5.9.2008] Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems (VWS:DC) had a big week. First, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer announced that they would be building a tower manufacturing plant in Colorado. Second, Vestas reported a 94 percent jump in earnings in the first quarter of 2008, as compared to the same period last year.

Although they have yet to disclose the location of the new tower manufacturing facility, it would be situated to complement the company's fist North American blade manufacturing plant, which recently opened its doors in Windsor, Colorado.

For the tower plant, the company will need a large parcel of land served by freight rail, a combination that Northern Colorado can provide at several locations, including the Windsor location, where construction proceeds on phase two of the blade plant. According to the Northern Colorado Business Review, more than 1,000 new jobs could result from further expansion of Vestas' manufacturing presence (read the rest of this story at CleanTechnica). More...


Other posts about the cleantech industry:

Photo: Vestas Wind Systems

May 16, 2008

DOE Cancels Shipments to Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Colorado Senator is lone dissenter in 97-1 vote

I'm really thankful that Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) is not running for another term. Earlier this week, the Senate voted 97-1 to halt shipments to the strategic petroleum reserve, a move that precipitated today's announcement by the Department of Energy that they would cancel shipments beginning in July. The reserve is currently 97% full, holding 701 million barrels of crude.

The lone dissenting vote in the Senate was that of the outgoing Republican Senator from Loveland, CO. Way to be a team player, Wayne. I really like people like people like Sen. Allard who are so principled and have such strong conviction for such a noble cause as this [note heavy sarcasm].

"Voting only to stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without doing anything to increase domestic production and lessening our dependence on foreign oil is a disservice to the American people," Allard said.

Denver Post

May 15, 2008

The McCain 100% Organic Cotton ‘Onesie?’

As a part of the elucidation of his climate change policy, the McCain camp has opened a "Go Green" section of his campaign store. For those of you whose newborns have already outgrown those Ronald Reagan ‘Trickle-Down Diaper Covers’ that were hand-me-downs from your older cousin, you can consider wrapping your newest litle neo-cons in the soft organic cotton of the John McCain ‘Onesie.’

read more | digg story

May 14, 2008

Is A Renewable Energy Bubble Looming?

A renewable energy bubble looming?Maybe.

According to a report issued by KPMG (download pdf), a bubble may be developing globally in the renewable energy sector as bidders compete for assets and send prices up.

Oil and gas companies are buying in the hunt for cleaner fuels and financial buyers are searching for stable long-term cash flow - the overall effect has been to push valuations up to record levels. The report indicates that 50 % of respondents, and nearly two-thirds in Europe, agreed that there is a real risk of a bubble in the renewable energy sector.

The KPMG press release also reported:

"On a more micro level, there are other issues including the fact that many sites have difficulty connecting to electricity grids and there is a shortage of turbines to build new wind farms. All this is also putting aside one the most basic risks of all - that investors are putting money into technology that could become obsolete very quickly."
While I agree that investors should be cautious, I think that is always good advice. Although the KPMG report has raised some important questions about supply chain bottlenecks, and uncertainty in government incentives, I would argue that the renewable energy and cleantech sectors are relatively robust, despite the fact that many companies have yet to turn a profit.

In the U.S., a lot depends on what (if anything) comes out of Capitol Hill to stabilize the incentive structure for investment in clean energy technologies. I will argue, as I have before, that even if this current Congress does not pass meaningful extensions this year, some sort of tax credit will be passed early next year, and there is a good chance they could extend it retroactively.

Photo: Limbo Poet via flickr under a Creative Commons License

May 12, 2008

DOE: Wind Can Provide 20% of Our Electricity by 2030

Department of Energy report, wind energy
A report released on Monday by the Department of Energy indicates that the U.S. could meet 20% of its electricity needs with wind by 2030. While achieving that goal is technically feasible, the report estimates it would require $197 billion in investments, especially in the infrastructure of interstate transmission.

Unfortunately, the DOE stopped short of endorsing any specific policy that would help reach the 20% goal. And with considerable uncertainty about the current state of renewable energy tax credits, one might ask what policy vehicle would get us there that quickly.

The expenditure needed to reach the 20% goal would only be $43 billion, or 2%, higher than if the U.S. didn't add any wind whatsoever and reached the same power capacity from other sources, the DOE and its industry collaborators said in the report.

Andy Karsner, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy called arguments against wind power as an unreliable and marginal source of power,"frivolous and uninformed," at a Monday press conference.

The report also highlighted the importance of proper siting of wind projects, as well as mitigation of effects on wildlife and other environmental issues. It noted that the 20% outcome would reduce cumulative water consumption by the electric sector by 8% from 2007 through 2030. This would be especially important for the arid states of the interior West.

Department of Energy Press Release
CNN Money
Photo: ccgd

Farm Bill Showdown?


[Adapted from my post at Red, Green, & Blue on 4.29.2008] Word has it that the farm bill congressional conferees hammered out at the end of last week would most likely be vetoed by President Bush. Opponents argue that the bill is full of wasteful handouts to wealthy growers, while supporters defend the supports as a needed rural safety net that also expands nutrition aid for the poor. The bill is expected to be on the House floor later this week and go to the Senate quickly thereafter.

According to Ryan Grimm at, when asked what the President would do if the current iteration of the farm bill made its way to the President's desk White House spokesman Scott Stanzel replied, "as it stands now, it is not something the president would support." Despite the threat, there may be enough Congressional support to override the veto. According to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), "If the White House is stupid enough to veto this, they’re going to get overridden.”

The farm bill is a very popular funding mechanism for Congressional spending. Every state's congressional delegation works extremely hard to get their slice of the agricultural pie - not doing so does not bode well in the eyes of powerful ag interests and the voters of agricultural states. In short, farm bills do not get vetoed. At least very rarely do they get vetoed - there are a few exceptions.

One exception to the rule is when a second term president uses a veto (or threatens to veto) an appropriations bill, such as a farm bill - and criticize Congress for loading it with pork and earmarks - without any serious political repercussions. Interestingly enough, the last time a farm bill was vetoed was nearly 10 years ago, when another late second-term president successfully vetoed a farm bill - a veto which Congress made no attempt to override. But the political climate is quite different from that of ten years ago, and I would suspect that this President does not have the political capital to successfully veto the farm bill.

Other posts on farm policy:

"Small Wind Remains in Farm Bill" :: Green Options (12/2007)

Photo: mike138

May 9, 2008

New Zealand: Renewable Energy Cheaper than Gas

manawatu, wind-energy, wind-farm, new-zealand
Investment in renewable energy generation in New Zealand, especially geothermal and wind power, is already more attractive than investment in gas-fired generation, according to a story in Friday's New Zealand Herald.

"Renewables are by far the most economic proposition, especially geothermal," said Bruce Parkes of Wellington-based Contact Energy. "But the cost of wind and baseload gas is roughly equal with a carbon price of $23 and gas at $7 a petajoule, which is around the current price."

Last December, lawmakers in New Zealand proposed a 10-year moratorium on the construction of any new fossil fuel-burning power plants. But officials from Contact Energy believe that goal can be met without the need for the moratorium - simply because the economics are favorable.

Other Posts on Energy Costs:
New Zealand Herald
Photo: Robyn Gallagher

May 8, 2008

Winter Storms + Wind Farms = Falling Electricity Prices

[Originally published at CleanTechnica on 4.18.2008] The powerful winter storms that moved across Europe in March precipitated a considerable spike in electricity supply on the European grid, thanks to continental wind farms.

Wind speeds of 100 mph were recorded across Europe and topped 135 mph at the Czech Republic’s highest mountain, Snezka. The surplus electricity on the grid, produced mostly by German and Danish wind farms pushed prices down by 12% on the spot market.

Traders buying and selling round-the-clock power reported that the ‘day ahead’ price in central Europe’s power market dropped to €49.5 ($76) per megawatt hour compared with €56 at the end of the previous week, according to a piece at Planet Ark. Unfortunately, the article also suggests that sudden drops in electricity prices on the spot market have little effect on end-use rates.

This story points out one of the most persistent ‘problems’ of large-scale wind energy development- how do we address the peaks and valleys on the grid presented by wind power, and how do we reconcile those with power plants which cannot be easily adjusted to deal with those peaks?

Several options of dealing with the storage issue have emerged including compressed air, hydro pump-backs, and more efficient flywheel designs. These are all good steps, and more will undoubtedly emerge. That is why it is important that the ‘problem’ of storing wind energy be framed as an opportunity for technological innovation, and not as a justification for more coal-fired power plants.

Photo: © Kamil Sobócki |

May 5, 2008

The Synergy Between Wind Energy and Freight Trains

train tracks, freight train, railThere were a pair of articles in Sunday's Denver Post about the synergy between the wind energy and heavy rail industries (I suppose you could also say there is a synergy between heavy rail and the energy industry, more broadly defined, as residents of the mountain west are all to familiar with the mile-long coal trains and natural gas filled tanks criss-crossing the landscape and creating delays).

When Vestas Wind Systems announced that they would locate their first North American blade plant in Windsor, Colorado, company officials said part of the reason for doing so was because of the site's proximity to the regional rail network. Each blade being produced at the Windsor facility will be about 150 feet, and at full production capacity, Vestas expects to roll out about six of those blades per day, making rail transport quite attractive, to say the least.

Now, Beaumont, Texas-based Dragon Wind has thrown its hat into the ring and announced its plans to open a plant in Lamar, Colorado that will build 262-foot steel wind turbine towers. Officials of Dragon parent Modern Group Ltd. said Colorado's stature in wind power and rail access to Lamar were keys in siting the plant.

Rising Fuel Costs Making Rail-Freight More Attractive

Skyrocketing fuel prices are contributing to noticeable shifts in the country's freight-by-rail traffic. Add to this, locomotive fuel efficiency that has increased 80 percent since 1980 and you end up with a train that can carry a ton of freight for 423 miles on a gallon of fuel.
Steve Raabe writes in the Denver Post article:

"Record high energy prices — especially for diesel that fuels locomotives — have hit railroads as hard as any other transportation sector. But rail's ability to handle trains with hundreds of cars gives it an efficiency advantage compared with tractor-trailer freight."
I will say this in reply to all of the above: If the time ever comes that I am stopped for ten minutes in downtown Fort Collins to let a freight train pass by with car after car loaded with wind turbine blades from nearby Windsor, rather than car after car of liquified natural gas from
the Powder Basin in Wyoming, or forest products from Idaho and Montana, I won't mind waiting.

Photo: disckychick

Related Posts:

May 3, 2008

Cartoon: 'Mean Joe Green' on Clean Coal

[Note: This week we are adding an exciting new feature to ecopolitology: selections from writer and cartoonist, Joe Mohr's "Mean Joe Green" series of environmentally-themed political cartoons, courtesy of Green Options Media. We are grateful to have Joe's sharp-witted and thoughtful cartoons gracing the pages of ecopolitology. And we hope you enjoy them. For more, follow this link to Joe Mohr's Green Options archive.]

May 1, 2008

British MPs Spurn Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff

I wish the U.S. Congress operated with more of the same ground rules (both official and unofficial) as does the British Parliament. You see, yesterday I found myself watching the House of Commons proceedings as MPs deliberated the merits of a renewable energy feed-in tariff (FIT). I mean they actually deliberated.

I've always gotten a kick out of watching the Prime Minister's question and answer session, and have ever since C-SPAN started carrying it many years ago. But I am less accustomed to watching the rank-and-file debate the specifics of policy. That's why I appreciated the level of back and forth as compared to what I am used to watching from Capitol Hill when they are "debating" policy.

Unfortunately, for those who support FITs as the best mechanism for growing renewable energy capacity, Labour party rebels failed to convince enough of their fellow MPs to support the proposal. According to the BBC, the move, led by Labour's Alan Simpson, was defeated by 250 votes to 210. It had garnered cross-party support with some 276 MPs from all parties signing a Commons motion ahead of Wednesday's vote. 35 Labour MPs voted against the government.

"MPs reject renewable energy move" BBC NEWS (430/07)
Photo: Timothy B. Hurst