[Editor’s note: We’re trying a new morning green energy briefing which should deliver every day by 9am ET. Please comment below]

First, there was the normal low electricity usage on Christmas Day (20%), then wind power exploded to three times its normal output leading toward the price of wholesale electricity on the spot market crashing into negative territory. Sounds like a good argument for massive amounts of storage and HVDC lines.

China to introduce environmental tax for enhanced pollution control – taxes for noise, solid, air and liquid pollutants. The law is an expansion of a prior ‘fee’ which apparently was easy to manipulate and outdated. Interestingly – while air pollutants are taxed, CO2 isn’t. I wonder if that leaves room for a later carbon tax.

Global economies have grown for the past two years while transportation and energy emissions have fallen. Can we truly uncouple economic growth from human and planet harming pollutants? If we can – then the economic & political naysayers proclaiming renewables and efficiency aren’t feasible  with capitalism are wrong.

The Gordon Butte 400MW pumped storage project has been given a 50 year operating license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The plant will balance out Montana’s prodigious wind power potential with the needs for consistent, predictable energy production for the grid. The plant will cost $1B and begin construction in 2018.

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