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Projekt

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Tissue giant helps ease gas demand on U.S. roads

Some cars are already running on fossil fuels. This year, for example, the state of Indiana will produce enough gasoline to run 8.4 million cars, a figure that will rise to 8.8 million by 2018, according to a report released today by the Indiana Energy & Utilities Commission (IEWC).

The IEWC report shows that the fuel supply is not quite enough to meet projected growing demand, and the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program, which ensures that 80 percent of its electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020, is working to provide those fuels, but the renewable energy market is not keeping pace.

To date, Indiana’s renewable energy target has met or exceeded 80 percent. But this year, it’s set to fail, said IEWC Chair Mary O’Gara, based on the fact that renewable power sources have not been at full capacity, compared with natural gas and renewables‘ targets.

„The RPS program needs to move further toward a 100 percent renewable state,“ she said. „Not only is there plenty of capacity the market], but even for a 100 percent renewable market, there’s still going to be market failures. That’s the whole premise of all this.“

One of the key sources of RPS failures is the lack of transmission lines to support growth, according to the IEWC’s RPS recommendations. To meet increased demand, Indiana has been investing in power storage to store surplus electricity.

„The system is still trying to sort of plug into the electric grid,“ O’Gara said.

But the IEWC says that because renewable generation is more expensive at the utility level than the generation generated by burning natural gas, the incentive to continue renewable electricity generation is weak.

„The incentive to support renewables is at this level,“ she said. „Nowhere is that more pronounced than here in Indiana, where the state is investing in wind and solar generation, but there’s still not that same level of support for renewables at the consumer level. So, for consumers, this is a problem that the state faces, as there is no certainty with respect to the level of solar and wind generation.“

IEWC data on the amount of solar capacity in operation is from 2010-11, 2014-15, 2016-17, 2017-18, and this year showed solar generating capacity grew more than seven-fold, O’Gara said.

While IEWC data shows that there’s plenty of capacity in the U.S. to supply electricity, solar is not a strong enough choice, given the state’s RPS goals, said David Wittenberg, director of the Center for Energy Policy a
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Hearings begin into private land use case

On Nov. 27, the board of directors at the Town of St. Lucie County’s Land Use Board voted unanimously to issue a „Notice of Non-Use,“ which prohibits the Town of St. Lucie from using land it has purchased from private lands owners. This applies both to the land being managed by the County Land Bank and to those that are owned by the town. The Board also ruled that the county has no right to require any private land owner to sell his or her property for a fair market value.

The town’s application for a Private Use Permit to manage land on county land, which is expected to go before the Land Bank board on Jan. 28, requires that owners of land under management by the town sell it for an agreed upon fair market value „within a reasonable period of time, after consultation with the Board of Land and Building Adjusters“ and provide notification of the Town’s proposed sale in writing to the board in writing „within 10 days after the Board determines its action.“

„For more than 150 years, St. Lucie County has been a county of land use. Land is at the heart of all of its programs and services,“ said Board of Land and Building Adjusters Commissioner Gary Schulz. „Our goal is to keep people and local economies thriving through more efficient public buildings, greater economic growth, and a better relationship with the land.“

The Board’s decision comes nearly a year after the county had to pay $9.5 million to the Land Bank for the Town of St. Lucie’s violation of its public easement. In that case, the board ordered the county to turn over its portion of a 10-acre site in which the land bank held land under management by private property owners. The board also found that the St. Lucie Land Bank’s own report of management decisions failed to explain and explain a lack of environmental assessment as well as the ability of the county to implement land use planning.

As a result, on April 16, 2015, the board issued a final ruling that the County Land Bank’s failure to consult with other agencies, the City Council, and the county in the handling of land owned by the town on land the town had purchased by eminent domain violated state law. The Land Bank board will receive a recommendation to hold the Town of St. Lucie out until the Board is able to resolve the issue. The Board has not yet issued final decisions in all the land use board cases as of this week.

„There has been no resolution yet and I believe all along that the case has been resolved. There is still the Land Bank Board’s next steps, but this case isn’t close to an end,“ said Board Commissioner Robert Lohman.

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