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Website provides data on state incentives for renewables

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, or DSIRE, provides information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the U.S.

The website, at www.dsireusa.org, provides a map that is clickable by state. Clicking on Oregon, for example, gives a list of available financial incentives for renewables, including corporate tax credits, tax credit for renewable energy equipment manufacturers, personal tax credits, state grant programs, state loan programs, state rebate programs and more. Other data on the state includes rules, regulations and policies, as well as related programs and initiatives.

A link on the left provides current renewable portfolio standard data. State requirements are defined by year and resource class and include other key elements, such as monetary penalties or alternative compliance payments, eligibility of new and/or existing facilities, the percentage of the state's electric load covered by the policy, and an update memo to describe recent changes to the data.

Color-coded summary maps provide a geographical overview of certain financial incentives and regulatory policies that promote renewable energy in the U.S., such as grant and loan programs for renewables.

A search function allows users to find data based on sector (federal government, utility, etc.); state or territory; technology including hydroelectric, tidal and wave; implementing sector (local, state, etc.); or incentive/policy type.

DSIRE, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, was established in 1995.

ASCE names 10 rising young engineers

The American Society of Civil Engineers has selected several early-career civil engineers to feature in its 2014 New Faces of Civil Engineering - Professional Edition.

Among these are several that work in companies associated with hydropower. These include:

- Eset Alemu, P.E., a hydraulic engineer with WEST Consultants;

- Lanelle Ezzard, an engineer with AECOM; and

- Ravi Shah, P.E., assistant project manager with HDR.

Alemu works in water resources planning, water infrastructure modeling, and hydraulic and hydrological analysis. She mentors high school and college students, participates in the "Engineering Rocks" program aimed at teaching students about the benefits of engineering, and is an active member of Engineers Without Borders-Puget Sound Professionals.

Ezzard is involved with many aspects of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning program, which aims to deliver high-quality data that will increase public awareness and lead to actions that reduce risk to life and property as a result of flooding. She is a mentor at the Center for Education Integration Science.

Shah leads complex projects from preliminary engineering through the final stages of construction. He is immediate past-president of ASCE's Orange County Younger Member Forum and the Younger Member Liaison for six Younger Member groups within the Los Angeles Section.

NRC calls for development of climate early warning system

The National Research Council, in a report released in December 2013, is calling for the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System, intended to provide better global climate data that scientists, emergency managers and infrastructure planners could use to model and predict future ecosystem changes. The report is broken into three key areas:

- Abrupt changes of primary concern;

- Areas of concern for humans from abrupt changes; and

- The way forward.

According to the 250-page report, climate is changing but there is considerable uncertainty about how we will arrive at that different climate. The study focused on abrupt climate changes and also abrupt climate impacts that have the potential to severely affect the physical climate system, natural systems or human systems. A key characteristic of these changes is that they can come faster than expected, planned or budgeted for, forcing more reactive models of behavior, NRC says.

Because of the substantial risks to society and nature, the report recommends development of the ACEWS. The system would allow for the prediction and possible mitigation of such changes. Identifying key vulnerabilities can help guide efforts to increase resiliency and avoid large damages from abrupt change in the climate system, NRC says. This also can facilitate more-informed decisions on the proper balance between mitigation and adaptation.

- "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises" is available at www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18373.

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