Saturday, 21 March 2009

Food rationing a possibility unless consumers cut back on 'water footprint'

Households face the prospect of rationing unless they stop rampant consumption of dairy products, meat and soft drinks, according to a senior Government food adviser, who has warned about Britain's "water footprint".

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor Last Updated: 11:41AM GMT 21 Mar 2009

Prof Tim Lang said people needed to wake up to how much water farmers and food factories use in producing staple goods, particularly meat, coffee and milk, saying the threat to Britain's food chain from its water footprint is just as great as its carbon footprint.
A return to rationing, though "almost unthinkable" in peace time, cannot be ruled out, he warns. While such direct Government intervention would be a very last resort, indirect "editing" of people's diets by supermarkets and central Government is essential, he said.

Prof Lang, speaking to The Daily Telegraph on the publication of his latest book 'Food Policy', is mid-way through a project to ascertain what constitutes the perfect "sustainable diet".
His team at City University London is trying to come up with a system to help consumers navigate the minefield of shopping for food that is nutritious, ethical and sustainable.
He is aiming to definitively ascertain whether, for example, a Fair Trade banana from Costa Rica is as "sustainable" as a lamb shank from Wales, or a high-fat ready meal.
Prof Lang, who coined the term "food miles" more than a decade ago, now believes that overuse of water is the biggest threat facing Britain's food chain.
"Huge amounts of water is being used as irrigation or fed directly to animals. It is a nightmare. Water stress is huge across huge swathes of the globe.
"We think that we are liberally supplied by God's water. But that's not true."
According to the World Wide Fund, the production of a simple pint of milk uses up more than 550 litres (968 pints) of water – the equivalent of running six full baths.
A cut of coffee uses up 140 litres (246 pints), while a hamburger uses an astonishing 1,800 (3,168).
These figures take into account the amount of water used from the start to the end of the food chain, including the irrigation on the farm, the processing of the food, such as washing the coffee beans, and the cooking of the product. Meat uses so much because of the water needed to irrigate the crops that end up as animal feed.
"We cannot carry on consuming the same amount of meat and dairy that we do currently. We are convinced about that now. It is absolutely madness."
Prof Lang backs a call from Australian academics who have called for people to eat no more than 90g (3.17oz) of meat a day – nearly half the current level of 170g that the average British adult consumes.
The UK has become the sixth largest net importer of water in the world, the environment group WWF estimates, with every consumer indirectly responsible for the use of thousands of litres a day. Only a third of the UK's total water use comes from its own resources; the rest depends on the water systems of other countries, some of which are already facing serious shortages.
While rationing, as experienced during and after the Second World War, is very unlikely, Prof Lang says supermarkets and the Government will need to "choice edit", the products on sale to reduce shoppers water footprint.
"Don't think it doesn't already go on. It is a myth that consumers have free choice," he said, pointing out that food companies frequently change the formula of food to cut out salt or additives – under pressure from campaigners or legislation.
While coffee, African-grown vegetables, milk and meat all use up vast quantities of water, Prof Lang points out that some products are far more "sustainable", including tea, home-grown apples, porridge and British seafood, such as mussels and oysters.
"I have porridge every morning," he said.

EU 'jeopardising' fight against climate change

Leaders insist emerging economies need to agree to substantial emissions cuts before money is given to developing nations

David Gow and Ian Traynor in Brussels
guardian.co.uk, Friday 20 March 2009 16.30 GMT

Green campaigners today accused EU leaders of jeopardising the global fight against climate change by refusing to commit funds to the least developed countries.
At a two-day summit, which ended today, the EU's 27 leaders decided to put off making any concrete offer until October – just two months before a crucial UN summit in Copenhagen on a post-Kyoto deal to curb global warming.
Privately, Europe's leaders insisted that the US, and China and other emerging economies would have to reveal the scale of emissions cuts they are willing to bear before they made any cash offer to developing nations.
Earlier this week Yvo de Boer, the UN's senior climate change official, accused the EU of backsliding on promises it made at a 2007 summit in Bali. He declared that it was "essential" for the EU to come up with "significant financial support" for poor countries.
But documents seen by the Guardian show that, at their dinner last night, the EU leaders insisted that emerging economy countries such as China and India were becoming the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and needed to commit to action. "They need to do more before the EU makes an offer," one said.
The EU accepts that the poorest nations need financial help and wants to play a leading role in delivering a Copenhagen deal. But the bloc is under pressure from NGOs and others to deliver tens of billions of Euros to help the least developed countries adapt to climate change and limit their emissions as their economies grow. De Boer estimates they will need up to $220bn a year by 2020.
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, said that, far from backsliding, "the EU is going into the final nine months before Copenhagen stronger and stronger".
But a raft of NGOs denounced the EU stance, with Tom Sharman of ActionAid saying it has "severely damaged the chances of a decent global climate deal this year" and accusing it of "reckless behaviour" which cast doubt over whether the EU "is serious about preventing catastrophic global warming".
Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International's EU office, said Europe was turning its back on poor countries just when they need help most. "The EU is empty-handed and in no fit state to lead the world on the two biggest issues we face today – the economic and climate crises. Europe's approach is putting millions of lives and livelihoods at peril."
Stephan Singer, director of WWF's global energy programme, said: "We understand that in times of financial crisis it is difficult to be generous and devote resources to other parts of the world but turning the responsibility around and asking developing countries to put forward proposals for cutting their emissions is a recipe for defeat in Copenhagen."
Joris den Blanken of Greenpeace said: "The EU is waiting for Godot. We have now wasted three months until the next EU summit in June. The EU has agreed it must repay its carbon debt but developing countries are going to have to think twice about joining a global climate agreement without concrete financial commitments from rich countries."
The EU's overall stance is to press for emission reductions of 30% on 1990 levels by 2020 in any global agreement – and of between 50% and 80% by 2050.

'Oceans offer Scottish energy boom to match North Sea oil'

Published Date: 21 March 2009
By HAMISH MACDONELL
SCOTTISH POLITICAL EDITOR

SCOTLAND'S waters could give the country as big an economic boost as North Sea oil, Alex Salmond, the First Minister, said yesterday.
Mr Salmond said the oil industry had brought the country its "first energy windfall", and that offshore renewables could have a similar impact.The First Minister said: "Today, Scottish waters present a second energy windfall – offshore renewables."Mr Salmond used his speech to the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's conference in St Andrews to highlight some of the progress being made in the sector – including the granting of consent for the one of the world's largest commercial wave farms off the Western Isles.In addition, more than 40 companies have registered an interest with the Crown Estate to develop wave and tidal energy projects in the Pentland Firth and its surrounding waters.And the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize – £10 million award for innovation in renewable marine energy – has attracted 94 registrations of interest from 23 countries.Mr Salmond told the conference: "Scotland has a fantastic competitive advantage in developing offshore renewables – with a quarter of Europe's tidal and offshore wind energy resource, and a world-class scientific capacity and skills base."Developers are competing to build offshore wind farms at ten sites around Scotland, with the potential to generate a massive six gigawatts of power."Never before have we been so well placed to become the green energy capital of Europe – with offshore renewables set to (produce] an economic boost as significant as North Sea oil."The First Minister spoke of the "limitless" potential of green energy, which he said could create some 16,000 jobs over the next decade.He went on: "We need to look beyond the current crisis, focus on our comparative advantages – and pursue a new path in a positive direction."We need to have an eye to the future, and Scotland's future in renewables is very bright indeed."The First Minister also used his speech to make a fresh call for Scotland to have greater financial powers."The current financial downturn illustrates the importance of capi-talising on our unique assets," he argued."To do that, we need to be able to take responsibility for the advantages we have and the tools to promote them. "We need fiscal reflation – the power to help our economy to grow and to shape our own future."We need the power to reject the costs, risks and uncertainties of nuclear power and focus on our strengths."Ultimately it is only through independence that Scotland can achieve its full potential."

June must mark the start of a new offensive - or the revolution is over

David Adam, environment correspondent
The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

It was always going to be a big ask for Britain to meet its European target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. And despite official optimism, government insiders privately admit that the task is hopeless.
Britain's initial response to the proposed European targets, after all, was repeated attempts in Brussels to water them down. Civil servants from three government departments briefed journalists the day before the plan was announced with little enthusiasm. The government's own clean-energy advisers have warned that Britain could spend £100bn over the next decade and still not hit the target.
Not so, say ministers. Britain will lead a green energy revolution, Gordon Brown promised last year when he unveiled the government's proposals to meet the target, which will be confirmed in a new strategy to be announced in June.
Thousands of state-of-the-art windmills miles from shore would send back clean electricity, planning objections would be swept aside to crush "nimby" opposition to wind farms on land, and sustainable biofuels would eat into the carbon emissions of the nation's cars and heaters. With the right incentives and a following wind, Britain "might just possibly" hit the 15% target, the government said.
The recession has made the task harder but experts say the financial crisis is merely peeling back the curtain and revealing Britain's renewables ambitions to be punier than advertised.
The problems begin with the wide scope of the target, which encompasses all forms of energy, with heat and transport included alongside electricity. Heat and transport, officials immediately said, were too difficult, which meant the bulk of the green revolution must be borne by the electricity sector. And for Britain, that means building windmills.
Blessed with some of the best wind resource in the world, Britain is also home to a web of planning restrictions and an ageing infrastructure designed to channel power from its industrial heartland to the remote fringes, not the other way around. Offshore wind turbines are easier on the eye, but harder on the pocket. And there is nothing to plug them into.
Ministers have promised to sweep away these problems with a triple whammy of revisions aimed at the planning system, the national grid and financial incentives for renewables all in the pipeline. Campaigners praised last year's proposals, and the June strategy will promise much.
The question is whether it can be delivered. And the likely answer is starting to worry many in the industry. The credit crunch slowed the already slow rate of renewables deployment to a crawl. With financing and debt harder to come by, expensive offshore wind farms such as the London Array look less attractive to the big utilities, while smaller firms that do much of the ground work are finding themselves shunned by risk-averse investors.
Concern is growing that the latest round of offshore wind development has stalled, and that Britain is increasingly seen as an unfavourable investment for foreign wind energy companies.

Projected to fail: the schemes that fell short of the dreams

Terry Macalister
The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

The renewable power sector has seen share prices hit much harder than others because it is still seen as relatively risky and speculative. Wind and solar projects still rely on government subsidies to keep afloat but the credit crunch and recession have made a difficult situation much worse. Some companies are in trouble, while others are postponing projects, saying they need more subsidies or other changes in legislation to make them more viable.
Sun Microsystems
The computer technology group has suspended development work on solar and wind projects for on-site generation at its Guillemont Park campus in Surrey. It will not be lifted until the legislation is revised, Sun says. The firm believes it is impossible to make a viable business case for such projects under current carbon accounting rules for on-site renewables, which "penalise" companies that would like to invest in renewable-energy generation.
East Midlands airport
The airport was planning to instal large wind turbines that would provide about 10% of the site's electricity demand and save about 1,250 tonnes of carbon. Changes in carbon-reporting guidelines "have effectively removed any benefit from this work and fundamentally changed the business case which the investment is predicated on".
Shell
Shell decided it could no longer justify investing in wind or solar schemes. It pulled out of the British wind sector last year, saying opportunities were better in the US. It now believes that only biofuels, and carbon capture and storage make sense, alongside oil and gas.
E.ON
The economics of the world's biggest offshore wind farm project are "on a knife edge", the chief executive of one of the companies behind it has warned. E.ON UK said the viability of its London Array project, a planned 1,000-megawatt wind farm in the Thames estuary, has been called into question by the falling prices of oil, gas and carbon dioxide emissions permits.
Centrica
The parent company of British Gas planned to invest in 1,500MW of offshore wind capacity but is now reviewing its investment plans. Sam Laidlaw, Centrica's chief executive, said: "It is very expensive, both in capital cost and in maintenance."
BT
The telecoms company is trying to develop renewable-energy projects to allow it to generate its own green power. This includes a 250MW wind farm, believed to be the biggest scheme outside of the pure energy sector. But BT says government accounting rules for on-site renewables are threatening its schemes and it may not go ahead without a change in regulation.
Siemens Wind Power
The German-owned engineering firm plans to make 400 redundancies at three sites in Denmark. It said that the 30% growth in the wind sector seen over recent years could be reduced to 20%. Others believe that figure could be zero or even a minus figure.
Agu├žadoura Wave Park
A pioneering wave-energy project in Portugal has fallen victim to the global economic downturn after the collapse of its majority owner, Babcock & Brown. To make matters worse for the project, the wave-energy converters have suffered various technical hitches and have been brought on land for repairs.

Warning over renewables as economic crisis leaves funding gap

Scant aid, too much hype and unrealistic targets threaten climate-change pledges

Terry Macalister and David Adam
The Guardian, Saturday 21 March 2009

Green power companies are heading for "crisis" and Britain should no longer rely on them to meet its energy security and climate change obligations, some industry experts are warning.
The difficulties - triggered by the credit crunch, recession and a collapse in the carbon price - have led to new demands this weekend to ministers from companies warning that their renewables schemes are at risk without more financial aid.
Over the past week alone, the previously fast-growing renewable energy sector has seen Shell decide to stop building wind and solar schemes worldwide, the wave company Pelamis hit by technical and financial troubles, and EDF Energy warn that UK renewables targets would not be realised and should be scaled back to achievable levels.
In addition, a group of more than 40 businesses has taken the unique step of writing collectively to Joan Ruddock, the energy and climate change minister, warning her of the threats to a host of projects unless something is done.
"I think it's heading towards a crisis," said Andrew Mill, who sits on the government's Renewables Advisory Board. "The government has done a lot in terms of policies and targets, but the reality is that it was always going to take a lot of money to make it happen. And that money is not coming through quickly enough."
The situation could be worse because green industry figures often suggest that everything is fine, argues Mill. "A lot of the [renewable companies] can't afford to talk about it as they need to be seen as a good investment. If they don't give out a good story then they can't raise money."
The problems stretch across the industry, he said, from small marine energy companies to large-scale investments in offshore wind farms that are expected to form the cornerstone of ambitious plans to generate 15% of Britain's energy from renewable sources by 2020. "The big utilities are struggling to raise project finance for inshore wind farms, and they were supposed to be the easy projects."
"There is a serious problem," agrees John Constable, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF). "I warned a year ago that the industry was being set up for a fall and now it has happened. There has been too much hype and the government was always far too unrealistic about what could be achieved."
David MacKay, a Cambridge University professor and author of a new book, Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air, also agrees. "It may well be that renewables has been overhyped and there is a backlash against it ... There is a big, big problem compared with a year ago. I know a number of people who are unable to get investment for the kind of new technology we need for a low-carbon future."
Leading companies such as BT, Marks & Spencer and United Utilities have told Ruddock that they are "concerned over the current barriers to renewable energy investment and generation by the corporate sector".
The British Wind Energy Association, which usually paints an unfailingly upbeat picture and which has just wrung a series of new subsidy concessions from ministers, will demand in a budget submission to be unveiled in two weeks' time more help for an industry hit by a shortage of bank finance, the plunging value of the pound and mounting equipment costs.
The London Array, potentially the biggest offshore wind farm in the world, is already known to be under threat because of the changed economic conditions. Shell pulled out last year and Centrica and E.ON have both voiced major concerns about the prospects for big wind schemes, which are essential if the UK is to meet its targets for renewable power.
The Carbon Capture & Storage Association has also written to the chancellor, Alistair Darling, saying government hopes of meeting carbon-reduction targets using CCS are doomed "without a serious and urgent commitment to funding from the UK government".
The REF says that some of the £1bn annual subsidy that already goes into green schemes through the Renewable Obligations Certificates should be used to bolster the "utterly disgraceful" low levels of research and development funding.
Constable also believes that Britain could be left having to use more gas or even coal plants to keep the lights on, accepting that even the "super-critical new efficient coal plants like the one E.ON wants to construct at Kingsnorth would leave us breaching our carbon-emission targets".

Coal Hard Facts: Cleaning It Won't Be Dirt Cheap

The Technology to Scrub Out Carbon Dioxide Is Within Reach, but It Costs Too Much Money and Consumes Too Much Energy
By JEFFREY BALL

Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
Big industry calls it the future. Al Gore suggests it's a fantasy. Whatever the truth about "clean coal," consumers will be paying for it one way or another.
Coal, more than any other fuel, powers the planet. It is the primary source of electricity in dominant economies from the U.S. to China to Germany. In all those places, coal is cheap and, unlike oil, domestically plentiful. Its use is rising, particularly in developing countries that soon will consume more energy than the industrialized world.

Coal's problem is that it is dirty. When burned, it spews out more carbon dioxide than any other fossil fuel. Globally, burning coal to make electricity is the biggest single source of man-made CO2 -- bigger than gasoline-powered cars and trucks. Governments world-wide are advocating massive cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. It is hard to see how those cuts could materialize without clean coal.
Clean coal refers to the idea of harnessing the black rock's energy while safely disposing of the resulting CO2 rather than sending it skyward. In dueling television commercials, the power industry portrays it as a silver bullet nearly ready to be deployed, while environmental groups allied with Mr. Gore imply it's a smokescreen from a fossil-fuel industry under fire.
Right now, clean coal seems both possible and improbable. The basic elements of clean coal are already in use in small corners of industry. But whether it is broadly and quickly adopted around the world will depend less on science than on economics. Cleaning coal is very expensive.
Home to one of the world's most advanced clean-coal tests, the Pleasant Prairie power plant exposes the hyperbole on both sides of the debate. Fired up three decades ago, the plant has run full-bore ever since, adapting time and again to new environmental rules and still churning out some of the cheapest energy in the nation. It burns some 13,000 tons of coal daily to produce 13% of the electricity consumed by all of Wisconsin.
New rooms of machinery have been added to scrub a swirl of pollutants from the plant's exhaust before it is released into the air. Today, half as much space at the plant is devoted to preventing pollution as to producing power. That has slashed the plant's output of chemicals that cause respiratory disease and acid rain. But it has done nothing to trim the plant's emissions of CO2. This coal-fired power plant is cleaner than it once was, but it still isn't "clean." This plant pours out some 8.6 million tons of CO2 annually -- about as much as 1.7 million U.S. cars.
Is clean coal a real solution to Americas energy problems? WSJ's Jeff Ball goes to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin to examine a clean coal plant.
The first step in making coal more climate-friendly is for a power plant to capture most of its CO2. A handful of plants today capture small amounts of the gas for reasons unrelated to climate change. One in Maryland, for example, sells it for making soft drinks and beer, and for freezing food. One byproduct of power generation is steam, and the federal government offers incentives to plants that make more-efficient use of it. Steam is also used to capture CO2.
A year ago, the Pleasant Prairie plant entered this first phase with an experiment to capture its CO2. The machinery for extracting the gas here is three stories tall. But at the 425-acre plant, it seems tiny. Its pipes pull a bit of exhaust from the power plant and then remove the CO2 in a process that involves mixing the gas with ammonia.
So far, the test is grabbing only about 1% of the greenhouse gas the plant coughs out. The method still consumes too much energy, says Sean Black, a manager at Alstom SA, the French company managing the test. "We're just in the beginning of this process," he says.
The second step -- one not yet attempted here at the Wisconsin plant -- is to take the captured CO2 and dispose of it safely, perhaps by burying it. CO2 has been shot underground for decades in places like Texas, where it is injected into aging oil and gas fields to force the remaining fossil fuel up through wells. Some 30 million tons of CO2 are injected into oil and gas wells annually in the U.S., according to federal statistics. That is tiny -- less than 1% of the roughly six billion tons of CO2 the country annually exhales.
Howard Herzog, a leading clean-coal specialist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a technological optimist and a political realist. He believes scientists can find ways to slash power plants' CO2 output just like they figured out how to slash those plants' output of pollutants that foul air and streams. But it will take a lot of money: MIT recommended in a recent study that the U.S. nearly quadruple its clean-coal spending, to $1 billion a year. And that is just for research.

It also will take patience. An anticoal backlash is gathering steam in the U.S., and Mr. Herzog worries it will block all new coal-fired power plants in the country, which could boost electricity prices. A rational compromise, he believes, would be to allow new coal-fired plants to keep their CO2 emissions at the same level as natural-gas-fired plants through the use of cleaning technology. That would amount to an emissions cut of about 50% below the level of a conventional coal-fired plant, while raising the cost of generation by 50%, Mr. Herzog figures. Consumers probably wouldn't see rate boosts that high, he says, because generating costs are only one factor in determining retail electricity rates.
Still, clean coal has proven too expensive before. Earlier this decade, the federal government launched a multibillion-dollar research program intended to build a carbon-free, coal-fired power plant. Last year, when the cost of that program nearly doubled to $1.8 billion, the government effectively shut it down.
The Pleasant Prairie power plant is a monument to the fickleness of the nation's energy priorities -- and to the stubborness of coal. Designed in the wake of sweeping 1970s federal environmental laws, the power plant was the first built by Wisconsin Energy Corp. to burn coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin rather than from nearby Illinois or Appalachia. One reason is that Western coal is lower than the Eastern variety in sulfur, which forms a pollutant the laws capped.
At the time, Wisconsin Energy intended to build new nuclear plants, too. But Wisconsin effectively banned new nuclear-plant construction in the state. Without an alternative, Wisconsin Energy has run the Pleasant Prairie plant to crank out more power than originally planned. As the federal government has further toughened clean-air standards, the company kept adding pollution-scrubbing equipment to keep the plant alive.
The crackdown on CO2 is just the latest -- and biggest -- regulatory shift prodding more changes to the plant. On a recent frigid morning, in a scene that brought to mind an old whiskey still, one of the shiny pipes for capturing CO2 was shaking and clanging, and steam was pouring out the top. Alstom's Mr. Black said the contraption looked so jury-rigged because engineers had to modify it to resolve problems that cropped up.
That burst of steam could be the industry's last gasp. It also could be a fresh breath from an industry with plenty of life left.
Write to Jeffrey Ball at jeffrey.ball@wsj.com

'Green' Push Faces Resistance From Locals

By IAN TALLEY
WASHINGTON -- The risk that President Barack Obama's plans to promote "green jobs" could bog down amid local and state opposition to the transmission lines, windmills and other clean energy hardware is becoming an issue for both supporters and critics of the president's agenda.
A new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Web site launched Friday catalogues 62 wind, wave, solar and biofuel projects and 15 high-voltage transmission proposals across 25 states that have faced significant local opposition, often enough to shut them down entirely. It also documents how 18 natural gas projects, 17 nuclear power plants and around 175 coal plants worth more than $62 billion in investments have encountered local antagonism.
"Just saying you're for green jobs or green technology doesn't get the project built," said William Kovacs, the Chamber's vice president of environment and regulatory affairs. The Chamber advocates setting stricter deadlines for environmental reviews, among other actions.
Getty Images
Wind turbines on green landscape
The administration and environmental groups say they recognize the potential for local opposition to be a major barrier to new renewable energy and transmission projects. And while they may disagree with the Chamber over modifications of project environmental reviews, they do want to give the federal government greater powers to clear the path for such projects.
"It is possible to put a good thing in the wrong place," said Carl Pope, the executive director of the environmental organization Sierra Club. "But [local opposition] is a real issue and we need to plan a rational, national location and transmission strategy for renewables, and that won't be universally applauded."
The International Transmission Co. has been prevented -- by one homeowner -- for three years from building a 26-mile power line approved by Michigan. In California, Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric proposal for a 100-mile, 1,000-gigawatt line from a geothermal generation source to the city has faced repeated court challenges from a number of environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity.
The most well-known delay is the 468-megawatt Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts, the nation's first offshore wind farm that has failed to win final approval because of coordinated local opposition.
Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledging to fight against building a solar project on 600,000 acres of federal land between the Mojave desert preserve and the Joshua Tree National Park. The area lies in a California-designated renewable zone where companies have applied to establish hundreds of solar projects.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has proposed legislation that would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission greater authority to site transmission lines across the country.
Some environmental groups are trying to broker solutions. The Natural Resources Defense Council is working with one of Google Inc.'s software divisions, Google Earth, to map the most prospective sites and corridors for wind, solar and geothermal, taking into account environmental sensitivities.
They're also facilitating discussions between utilities, local communities and environmental groups. "It's quicker to lock yourself into a room and say, 'We're going to figure this out,' than it is to just bicker it out endlessly through emails, letters and lawyers," said NRDC spokeswoman Julia Bovey.
Write to Ian Talley at ian.talley@dowjones.com