The Colorado Hyperloop will benefit from the recent changes by the EPA force State’s to create power from other than high carbon dioxide sources.
According to CPR, Colorado is well positioned for the upcoming changes that President Obama had the EPA create rules to cut carbon pollution. The heart of the matter is this:
“We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release about the plan. “Our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation and create jobs.”
Specifically, for Colorado:
Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved renewable energy standard (PDF) 10 years ago when voters approved Amendment 37 (PDF). The law requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, with 3 percent coming from distributed generation.
In 2013, 64 percent of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 20 percent from natural gas and 17 percent from renewable energy resources, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Currently, Colorado has 12 coal plants.
A more detailed look at Colorado’s energy is below:
- Colorado’s vast fossil fuel resources include the Niobrara shale, with resource estimates running as high as two billion barrels of oil.
- From 2007 to 2012, crude oil production in Colorado rose 89% and marketed natural gas production rose 38%.
- In 2013, 64% of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 20% from natural gas, and 17% from renewable energy resources.
- Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide 30% of their generation from renewable energy resources by 2020, with 3% coming from distributed generation.
- Colorado’s grid-connected photovoltaic capacity of 300 megawatts was the fifth largest in the United States in 2012.
- Average household energy costs in Colorado ($1,551 per year) are 23 percent less than the national average, primarily due to historically lower natural gas prices in the state, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.
Basically Colorado has lots of Coal, but also a lot, and growing, renewables. Luckily, and hopefully, the Colorado Hyperloop will be powered solely by renewables.
Also, there was a OpEd in the NYTimes about taxing gas for maintaining the highway system. It can be found here, but more interestingly were the comments section. Specifically these two:
Mr. Schank advocates using general funds to pay for maintaining and improving our transportation system, arguing that a good transportation system benefits us all, whether or not we personally use it. On the other hand, the nation needs to move toward greater energy efficiency and away from high CO2 pollution rates, and taxing gas-guzzling vehicles higher than others should be effective in making people switch to electric and hybrid cars or use public transportation if the gas tax is made high enough. Also, it’s not fair for those who leave a smaller carbon footprint to subsidize those who leave a big one through general fund taxation. The present gas tax serves a useful purpose; it just needs to be increased, with perhaps more flexibility in how it is spent.
One step that really needs to be taken is to get much of our commercial transportation out of large trucks on the road and instead onto rail. Tax the trucks enough to pay to improve the rail lines, which are in deplorable shape in many places. Shipping by trains instead of trucks would reduce CO2 pollution by as much as 90 percent and be cheaper in energy costs as well if rail lines were up to snuff. It would also make our roads, especially interstates, less crowded and safer.
And the piece de resistance…
Other modern countries use general revenues for transport, and for national health care. These these are crucial services directly affecting their economies and citizens’ lives. Same for their excellent education system, not relying on local property taxes. And not putting their grads in lifetime debt for college.
This idea that payment for something should come only from those directly using a service is destructive to our economy and well being. It’s been used to drum up opposition to spending across the board—transport, education, health care taxes, senior benefit programs, etc. Our political polarization and do nothing congress is a cause and result.
Pres Obama’s recent infrastructure speech made stark foreign comparisons. The US ranks 19th in infrastructure/transport spending among nations. Europe spends 2X what we do, and China 4X. This spending creates jobs.
These facts didn’t get much media coverage.
Obama said almost half of Americans have no access to transport. That means they can’t get to jobs, or even look for a job, or get to shops. Some may be past working age, or have to rely on others. But they’re stuck and isolated. What a negative ripple effect on the economy. So our lack of infrastructure spending is directly related to our wealth inequality, downward mobility, and weak consumer demand.