In a unanimous decision yesterday, the California Supreme Court fortified efforts by cities across the state to restrict the development of big-box stores, favor small-scale retailers, and protect the vitality of downtowns. The ruling (Hernandez v. City of Hanford) upholds the authority of cities to adopt planning and zoning ordinances that have a direct impact on economic competition and that treat businesses differently based on the scale of their stores. Continue reading
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Greed, yes; public good, no Republicans don’t always mind paying more at the pump. It depends. By David Morris, originally published in the Mineapolis Star Tribune, June 1, 2007 For Republicans, an increase in gas prices driven by oil companies may be unwelcome, but it is very much in the natural economic order of things…. Continue reading
While many parts of the country are overrun with chain stores, San Francisco remains a stronghold for locally owned businesses, according to a new study, which also found that those local stores generate sizable benefits for the city’s economy.
In mid-May, Los Angeles’ Mayor announced a new climate change action plan that calls for the LA municipal utility to increase its renewable energy portfolio to reach 35 percent by 2020. This in combination with about 50 other proposed actions will work to reduce GHG emissions in the city of angels to 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Responding to concerns and evidence put forward by solar power companies and advocates, Governor Schwarznegger has pledged to fix a flaw in California’s Solar Initiative that has caused a reported 78 percent drop off in proposed photovoltaic installations in the state.
In early April 2007, Waverly Light and Power’s Board of Trustees approved a new residential rate structure designed to encourage energy conservation by charging customers higher rates as more electricity is used. This "inverted" rate is going into effect only during four summer months beginning July 1, 2007.
WLP, a municipally-owned utility with about 4,500 customers, experiences the highest demand for electricity during summer and is hoping that this program leads to decreased demand for power. The rate structure after July will look like this:
In January 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted an interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) in an effort to help mitigate climate change.
ILSR’s Vice President, David Morris, on WCCO’s "Good Question" segment that asked if biofuels will cause food shortages. Segment aired May 1, 2007. Continue reading
This March 2007 report, Full Report: Report: Distributed Generation and Cogeneration Policy Roadmap for California, from the California Energy Commission provides a nice state-based, how-to perspective on policy options to increase the use of small scale DG along with larger combined heat and power projects. Continue reading
On April 2nd, the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice soliciting applicants for the next round of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds allocations. The CREBs program provides governmental entities, municipal and cooperatively owned utilities an incentive to develop renewable energy projects. Ultimately, an interest free financing tool, CREBs are a substitute for renewable energy production tax incentives that these entities are not able to use because of their tax exempt status. Applications must be filed by July 13, 2007.