NewEnergyNews: 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: THE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF NEW ENERGY – THE NORTH CAROLINA CASE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 22: ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK; OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued); OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE U.S. NEW ENERGY MARKET NOW AND AHEAD
  • QUICK NEWS, April 21: OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY; BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR; 15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Happy Birthday Solar Cell
  • Weekend Video: Offshore Wind As A Hurricane A Wall
  • Weekend Video: Get On The Climate Policy Train
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 6
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 7
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 8
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 17:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 1
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 2
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 3
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 4
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY POSSIBILITIES – THE MICHIGAN EXAMPLE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 16: THE RACE AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE; THE FAST RISING POTENTIAL OF U.S. NEW ENERGY; BIG TEXAS WIND SHRINKS ELECTRICITY MRKT PRICE
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • Sunday, December 31, 2006

    2006: GREEN TOP TEN

    The happiest of New Years and warmest gratitude to New Energy News readers who have helped us get this newsblog up and running into 2007!


    We Got Our Kicks In 2006; The Top Ten Green Stories of the Year
    David Roberts, 22 December 2006 (Grist Magazine)

    10. A Stern reminder…In October, venerable economist and senior U.K. government adviser Sir Nicholas Stern released a major report on global warming. Its claims were explosive…he smashed once and for all the myth that our choice is between spending money fighting global warming and saving money doing nothing. It turns out doing nothing will cost far more.

    9. Takings is leaving…When Oregon voters passed Measure 37 in 2004, supporters of sustainable development despaired…Oregonians have a serious case of buyer's remorse, lamenting the erosion of some of the nation's most progressive land-use policies. Voters are wising up to the fact that takings measures tie a community's hands…

    8. Carbon neutrality is the new black…New Oxford American Dictionary chose "carbon neutral" as its word of the year…sudden ubiquity of the idea…the Pearl Jam tour…Al Gore's movie…the private sector surged to meet the demand, with a new carbon offset company springing up every five minutes…Colleges are doing it. Weddings. Vacations. Big companies. Small companies. Movie stars. The Olympics. Your Aunt Mabel. Pretty soon we'll all be carbon neutral…
    http://www.greencoast.org/node/10970

    7. Grist officially out of punny California headlines…California has always kicked the rest of the nation's ass on environmental policy…its groundbreaking clean-car bill, its groundbreaking Million Solar Roofs plan, its groundbreaking greenhouse-gas targets…In 2006…it outdid itself. Assembly Bill 32 authorized the California Air Resources Board to start setting real, actual, tangible, measurable, pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming emissions limits on specific industries…AB32 probably saved Arnold's ass. More Republicans like this, please.

    6. Roadless! No, roadful! No, roadless!…The Roadless Rule was one of President Bill Clinton's last, best, and, ahem, only substantial environmental legacies. It put some 58.5 million acres -- nearly a third of national forest land -- under protection…In 2005, President Bush replaced it…In September 2006, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte…claimed the administration had not conducted proper environmental studies before yanking it ... almost implying that -- are you sitting down? -- they didn't really care about protecting forests. Dang activist judges.

    5. Hi. My name is the United States of America, and I'm an addict…halfway through his January State of the Union speech…President Bush said…"America is addicted to oil."

    …The oil-reduction goal he offered alongside it was flaccid…He's spent his time since cutting spending on conservation, energy efficiency, and alternative energy, pushing to drill every-damn-where, and hyping biofuels and hydrogen…And he's still BFF with Saudi Arabia…But still. His words almost instantaneously made conventional bipartisan wisdom out of what had long been a predominately progressive critique…Perhaps next year he'll mention peak oil…

    4. God v. Dobson…In February, a group of 86 prominent leaders…signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative, which called on the federal government to take urgent action against the threat of global warming…pitting the old guard, which plans to keep flogging gay marriage until the checks stop coming, against the new guard, which is pushing to broaden the agenda to issues that involve fewer clear villains but actual, widespread suffering: global warming, poverty, and AIDS…The old guard includes such veterans as Chuck Colson and James Dobson…The new guard includes Jim Wallis, Rich Cizik, and kajillion-selling author and mega-church pastor Rick Warren. The old guard is losing members, while the new guard snagged Pat Robertson…

    3. America takes Dick out of resources committee…The 2006 mid-term elections…Enviros lost a few long-time allies on the right side of the aisle…But they lost many more nettlesome pains in the ass…Perhaps the greatest source of green schadenfreude in a decade came with the defeat of Rep. Richard "Dick" Pombo, who used his perch atop the House Resources Committee to wage unremitting war on environmental regulation…Pombo was beaten by Jerry McNerney, a wind-turbine engineer…After six years of bleak news on the environmental front, Democratic committee control in both houses of Congress now opens the way for serious action on global warming and energy security…
    2. Wal-Mart: America's leading source of cognitive dissonance…Wal-Mart's astonishing, almost comically ambitious goal -- to produce zero net waste and run entirely on renewable energy -- was announced late last year…it has been plodding steadily toward its sustainability goals, improving the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet, pressuring suppliers to reduce packaging, and filling its shelves with organic food…Wal-Mart's core business model -- importing cheap plastic widgets from overseas to sell in massive stores plonked down in the middle of Nowhere, Suburbia -- is inherently unsustainable in an energy-constrained future. But its open embrace of sustainability was just the latest in a string of ambitious corporate initiatives from biggies like Dupont and GE…to say nothing of the astonishing infusion of private venture capital in green industries like clean energy…going green is not a drag on the economy. It's the 21st century's biggest moneymaker.

    1. An inconvenient yet bizarrely popular truth…it's difficult to overstate the amount of credit that goes to one man: Al Gore…An Inconvenient Truth…has become the third-highest grossing documentary of all time, with the highest per-screen average of any documentary ever. It looks likely to win an Academy Award…The movie…opened the floodgates. There were news specials, congressional hearings, Jay Leno appearances, Oprah appearances, Daily Show appearances, public debates, and kitchen-table conversations…"skepticism" about climate change retreated…the debate over what to do about it got started…Thanks, Al.

    2006: FINIS

    Energy’s Winners and Losers In 2006
    Steve Hargreaves, December 27, 2006 (CNN Money)
    - Even with oil prices little changed from the end of 2005, 2006 was still a very good time to be an energy investor.

    - The AMEX oil and gas index is up nearly 14 percent in the year to date, while the electric utility index on Baseline is up 17 percent, and the Wilder Hill clean energy index is up about 6 percent…
    - In the oil and gas sector, the big integrated oil companies turned in stellar performances…ExxonMobil is up 35 percent in 2006,Chevron has gained 28 percent and the stock of ConocoPhillips has risen 23 percent…Smaller oil companies like…rose 49 percent this year, while Occidental is up 22 percent…partially explained by the fact that the price of oil fell…investors jumped into the safer stocks...
    - The fall in oil's price has, however, hurt more specialized companies, the stock of which tends to depend more directly on the price of crude.
    - The stock of refiner Sunoco…lost 20 percent…unable to take advantage of the price difference between heavy and light grades of oil…Exploration and production specialist Anadarko fell 10 percent in a year during which it made big acquisitions, including the $21 billion outlay for Western Gas Resources and Kerr-McGee Corp…

    - Looking ahead, a similar trend is expected to continue in 2007, as the price of oil is seen trading in a fairly narrow range…between $55 and $70 per barrel…
    - In the renewable field, 2006 was the year of ethanol. Several companies went public this year, including the nation's No. 2 producer VeraSun, which debuted near the peak of the ethanol craze in June at around $28 a share…
    Yet, VeraSun fell steadily for several months after its IPO, and most other ethanol stocks have cooled…as the challenges surrounding the product - producing it cheaply, shipping it, finding enough raw materials - sink in…
    - companies specializing in making enzymes for ethanol production - a critical step where there is room for big cost cuts essential to commercialize cellulosic ethanol, which promises the ability to replace gasoline on a much larger scale - have made astounding gains…Diversa and MGP Ingredients are two of the best performers on the Wilder Hill clean energy index, a 43-company index that covers all types of clean energy firms. Diversa stock is up 108 percent, and MGP has risen 81 percent…Other top performers: MEMC Electronic Materials, which makes solar panel components, and OM Group, which supplies specialty metals for batteries…the push to renewable energy is helping…they may also have benefited from silicon and commodity prices…

    - At the bottom end of the index lies hydrogen companies. Hydrogenics lost 60 percent…Quantum Fuel Systems has fallen 37 percent…having trouble as they attempt to commercialize an expensive product with hardly any distribution system…
    - Utilities also turned in a solid performance in 2006… the sector, considered a defensive play, benefited as the economy slowed…Low interest rates, high wholesale power prices and approval for capital expenditures (which can be passed on to ratepayers) all contributed to rising share prices…Allegheny Energy and FPL Group were among some of the years top performers…with stock gains of 45 and 32 percent respectively…Edison International and Southern Co. brought up the rear…But the outlook for 2007 may not be as good…

    2007: GOVERNMENT FORECASTS

    Short Term Energy Outlook
    December 12, 2006 (Energy Information Administration)
    - Highlights

    Oil Prices: Production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that began in November, combined with the recent erosion in surplus U.S. product inventories and the expected increase in petroleum demand during the winter heating season drove spot prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil spot prices above $60 per barrel in the last week of November. OPEC oil production is expected to be reduced by about 0.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in November and December. WTI crude oil prices are projected to average about $66 per barrel in 2006 and $65 per barrel in 2007…

    Natural Gas Prices: Due to projected colder weather for the first quarter 2007 compared with the same period in 2006, natural gas spot prices are expected to average $8.58 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in the first quarter of 2007, about $0.65 per mcf higher than in the first quarter of 2006…Spot Prices are projected to average $7.06 per mcf in 2006 and increase to an average of $7.87 per mcf in 2007.
    Household Heating Prices: Average household heating fuel expenditures are projected to be $938 this winter compared to $948 last winter…
    - See also: Summaries on Global Petroleum Markets, US Petroleum Markets, US Natural Gas Markets, Electricity and Coal.

    2007: PELOSI’S DREAM, OIL’S NIGHTMARE

    Democrats Seek to use Oil Cash for Renewables
    December 27, 2006 (AFX News via RIGZONE)
    - House Democrats in the first weeks of the new Congress plan to establish a dedicated fund to promote renewable energy and conservation, using money from oil companies. That's only one legislative hit the oil industry is expected to take next year as a Congress run by Democrats is likely to show little sympathy to the cash-rich, high-profile business.

    - Whether the issue is rolling tax breaks -- some approved by Congress only 18
    months ago -- pushing for more use of ethanol and other biofuels instead of gasoline, or investigations into shortfalls in royalty payments to the government, oil industry lobbyists will spend most of their time playing defense.
    - Details of a renewable fuels fund…the initiatives the House will take up during its first 100 hours in session in January…At least some of the money -- revenue gained by rolling back some tax breaks -- will go to a program to support research into making ethanol from sources other than corn…
    - The Interior Department has been trying to get more than 50 companies to rework 1998-99 drilling leases that allow the companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in royalties because of a government mistake in writing the leases…Pelosi calls the royalty avoidance from the 1998-99 leases the biggest oil industry subsidy issue she intends to tackle early. Congressional estimates have put the potential royalty loss at as much as $10 billion over the life of the leases…

    - House Democrats also are targeting a handful of oil industry tax breaks for repeal. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers say there is unlikely to be an attempt to push more sweeping measures such a new tax on the oil industry's windfall profits…At the top of the hit list is a tax break that was aimed at promoting U.S. manufacturing but has provided a windfall for the oil industry as well. The provision reduces the corporate tax rate on profits from products made in the United States…Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash…estimates that oil companies are saving as much as $700 million in taxes a year because of it.
    - Democrats also are targeting other benefits for refinery investments and for expenditures for certain types of oil and gas exploration. Those measures, passed by Congress last year as part of a broad energy bill, are estimated to cost the government about $1.3 billion over 10 years…Executives of the largest oil companies have said they don't need those tax breaks and do not oppose their repeal…Oil lobbyists, however, are preparing to fight another proposal that would raise taxes on their inventories, a change that could cost oil companies billions of dollars…

    - The White House is not opposed to rolling back some of the tax breaks that Congress approved last year…But the administration is opposed to tinkering with some of the other tax rollbacks…
    - Oil industry lobbyists also expect a Democratic push to further expand production of ethanol as a gasoline additive and don't see that as a threat to their business. A more contentious issue will be attempts to require large oil companies to make available…E-85…

    Friday, December 29, 2006

    ONCE MORE AROUND THE BARNYARD: COW POOP ENERGY

    Laugh if you will but Americans have a lot of cows and cow poop may be the best way to make ethanol, carbon neuitralizing a big global warmer.

    Burnt Cow Patties New Source of Energy
    Pachatta Pope, December 28, 2006 (KBTX3.com)
    - Most people already know that cow manure makes a great fertilizer for lawns and crops. Now it's being used to produce energy. Sounds revolutionary, but according to Texas A&M biological and agricultural engineer professor, Cady Engler, the idea isn't new…

    - Microgy is a renewable natural gas company based in Colorado. They are currently building a plant in Stephenville. The company already has similar plants up and operating in Wisconsin.
    - The plant takes manure from dairy cows and extracts the innate energy it contains to produce gas and electricity. However…the amount of energy produced at most dairy cow manure recycling facilities is only enough to operate the dairy itself. However, the facility in Stephenville will be unique.
    - "They're producing pipeline quality gas which will be put into the natural gas pipelines," Engler said.
    - The Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin has already agreed to buy the natural gas which is enough to power 6,000 homes. Cow manure's potential is promising, Engler said, but he offered that it's a long way from making a dent in our national energy consumption.
    - Perhaps down the road, cows will not only provide the beef, they could possibly supply the energy needed to cook it.

    ONCE MORE AROUND THE BARNYARD: ENERGY HOGS

    Big TVs are big energy hogs
    December 28, 2006 (CBC News)
    - An energy expert warns that big-screen televisions and the equipment they are hooked up to can use as much power as a refrigerator, but most consumers don't realize it until the electricity bill arrives…

    - Anne Wilkins, manager of the federal government's Energy Star program: …We have seen an increase of energy use in homes, and a lot of it has to do with this type of equipment..
    - Big-screen TVs are often connected to other equipment that gobble up power, such as DVD players, satellite boxes and home theatre systems…
    - Wilkins says plasma TVs tend to hog the most energy, but how much juice a TV uses depends on its make, model and style, so she recommends researching before you buy.
    An Energy Star sticker on a TV means it uses less than three watts of power when it's turned off, but still plugged in and technically on standby. Conventional sets can use up to 12 watts. Technology has evolved so rapidly, however, Energy Star doesn't yet offer information about how much power those TVs use when they are turned on…
    - Andrew Kenyar in Calgary sells high-end TV systems: …"Flat-screen LCD is certainly the way to go. It is the most environmentally friendly to build and dispose of at the end of its lifecycle, and it will also use the least amount of energy…"

    ONCE MORE AROUND THE BARNYARD: HOT CHICKEN RANCH


    Solar Energy Could Power Chicken Houses
    December 20, 2006 (WBOC16)
    - The University of Delaware is experimenting with solar energy in chicken houses.
    - The university is working with three companies to test the economics of using solar panels to provide electricity…to lower the expense for growers…
    - Poultry farmer Wesley Betts of Milton said cutting cost is always a priority…
    - The pilot project will last for several years and cost about $500,000.

    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    BOOK: HOW TO LOSE FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS

    A Grass-Roots Push for a Low-Carbon Diet
    Moises Velasquez-Manoff, December 28, 2006 (The Christian Science Monitor)
    - David Gershon's book guides readers through a series of behavioral changes to reduce their 'carbon footprint.'

    - In 2000, Mr. Gershon created a step-by-step program, à la Weight Watchers, designed to reduce a person's carbon footprint…But since then, Americans witnessed the catastrophic fury of hurricane Katrina, which, if nothing else, showed them what a major city looks like underwater. A substantial body of evidence supporting the idea of human-induced global warming accumulated. And, of course, Mr. Gore made his movie.
    - Attitudes toward global warming had shifted considerably…
    - Gershon put his nose to the grindstone, and a slim workbook titled "Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds" was the result. Replete with checklists and illustrations, the user-friendly guide is a serious attempt at changing American energy-consumption behavior…The book guides participants through a month-long process of behavioral change. Each participant calculates his or her footprint - the average US household emits 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the book says - and then browses a list of emissions-lowering actions. The goal is to reduce that amount bit by bit. Replacing an incandescent bulb with a fluorescent, for example, counts for a 100-pound annual reduction…the key to the program's success, say those who've participated, is in forming a support group…Like Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous, the formation of a group encourages follow-through…

    - Gore's group, The Climate Project, which recently began training 1,000 volunteers to give Gore's now-famous slide show, is handing out 600 copies of the book at the end of the session…a handful of environmental and religious groups are recommending the book to its members…

    - This growing interest in measurably reducing one's footprint is a textbook case of how new ideas spread throughout society, say sociologists, and how new movements are born…if a problem is to be acted upon, it has to be recognized as a problem…In the case of global warming and faith networks, the past year has seen some important steps in this regard. In February, evangelical leaders around the country broke with the Bush administration and, in an open letter called the Evangelical Climate Initiative, said something had to be done…Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said that, because of the summer heat wave, he was a "convert" to the idea…Once important figures in social groups adopt an idea, others in the group are much more likely to follow…
    - U.S. homes account for 8 percent of the world's emissions, with the average household contributing 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually…Here are a few of his book's recommendations and how much carbon he says participants can subtract from their footprints by following through:

    • Together, washers and dryers generate five pounds of carbon dioxide per cycle. In warm or hot water loads, 90 percent of the required energy goes to heat the water. Using cold water saves two pounds per load. Front-loading washing machines cut the amount of water used in half. Drying clothes on a clothesline further diminishes emissions. All in all, using cold water once per week shrinks your carbon footprint by 275 pounds each year; not using the dryer once a week gets you another 200. Replacing an old machine with an Energy Star front-loading washer saves 500 pounds a year.
    • A 10-minute shower generates up to four pounds of CO2. A 5-minute shower cuts that in half and a low-flow showerhead drops it further. In a household, each person who reduces their shower to five minutes cuts emissions by 175 pounds per year. A low-flow showerhead saves you another 250.
    • Request to be removed from junk mail lists, which needlessly contribute to waste. If you can reduce your weekly waste by 60 gallons, credit yourself with 2,650 pounds yearly.

    GM: DIET OR GREENWASHING?

    To whom much is given, much is expected. When they start selling that plug-in hybrid they say they’re going to bring to market, THEN they’ll really be part of the solution.

    GM Says It Cut Energy Use by 25 Percent Over the Past 5 Years
    December 14, 2006 (AP via Yahoo Finance)
    - General Motors Corp. said Thursday it reduced energy use by 25 percent and added solar and landfill gas as energy sources at its North American facilities over the past five years.

    - GM said it has cut its energy use in the region from 94 trillion BTUs in 2002, to a projected 72.5 trillion BTUs by the end of 2006…the automaker's distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., uses a lining of solar panels in its roof to help keep costs down and reduce its environmental impact…

    Maybe they’re feeling the heat of the competition like this (sent by Forbes Bagatelle-Black):

    Largest Electric Car Plant Under Construction in N. China
    People’s Daily Online (December ,2006)
    - A factory capable of producing 20,000 electric powered vehicles a year is now under construction in the northern port city of Tianjin.

    - The plant will produce cars powered by battery, hybrid power and fuel cells…covers an area of 16.5 acres…a production base, a research and development center and a testing center.
    - The Tianjin Qingyuan Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd. (QYEV) will invest 165 million yuan (21 million U.S. dollars)…expected to be completed at the end of 2007.
    - The QYEV exported 112 battery-powered minibuses to the United States in 2005…more than 500 to the United States in 2006…annual exports will reach 5,000 electric cars to the U.S and another 5,000 to European and Asian markets within three to five years.

    Forbes adds: I wonder if they will be building toys for rich Americans, or real vehicles for the population of China. From the article, it looks like they will build a mixture of both.

    HYBRIDS: Smarter AND Cheaper

    And think how much smarter and cheaper they will be when they are RECHARGEABLE:

    Hybrids, Fuel-Efficient Cars Still Appeal to Americans, Even With Lower Gasoline Prices
    Michelle Helias, December 18, 2006 (Fox News)
    - Gasoline prices in the United States may be well below their summer highs, but that doesn't mean that Americans are abandoning new fuel-efficient cars and technologies.

    - Despite an ease in gas prices, more and more U.S. consumers base auto purchase decisions on fuel economy and energy efficiency, as they did when gas prices peaked at $3.03 a gallon nationwide this past August…The evidence is in the results of this year’s auto sales.
    - In the first 10 months of the year, Toyota Motor Corp. — which has led the industry with fuel efficient cars like the Prius — expanded its share of the U.S. market by 2 percentage points, to 15.2 percent, while General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Daimler Chrysler’s Chrysler unit all lost share, as buyers continued to choose smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles…

    - Sales of hybrids, which combine gasoline engines with battery-powered electric motors, also continued to rise in November with 18,283 units sold, an increase of 13.5 percent over last year…
    - [T]he compact crossover segment, which offers consumers SUV functionality, a car-like ride, plus good fuel economy, is one of the fastest growing in the industry…Owners in every non-luxury segment, except large vans, have been switching to compact crossovers at a greater rate in the third and fourth quarters of this year…In October and early November, more than four of every 10 compact crossover owners traded for another one, up more than 15 percentage points…

    CANADIAN WIND

    Aside from another misguided experiment in waste (using wind to make electricity to make hydrogen: see EXPERIMENT IN GREED? and HYDROGEN--NOT) this is an exciting project. A little bit of every kind adds up to a whole lot of energy:

    Canada’s Cutting-edge Energy Model; Prince Edward Island aims to generate 30 percent of its energy needs from its own renewable resources by 2016.
    Colin Woodard, December 21, 2006 (Christian Science Monitor)

    - …Ten wind turbines stand along the trail, each 26 stories tall, with blades as long as 125 feet. When workers finish the last one this month, the new Eastern Kings Wind Farm will generate 30 megawatts of electricity - 7.5 percent of the province's power…the wind farm is part of an ambitious plan to enable Prince Edward Island (PEI) - which has no significant coal, petroleum, natural gas, or hydro resources - to meet most of its electricity and 30 percent of its total energy needs from its own renewable resources by 2016. If successful, government officials say, this remote rural province will find itself at the cutting edge of the world's fastest growing energy sector…
    - In addition to the Eastern Kings project, PEI's government is backing the creation of a hydrogen-powered village as well as expansions to existing wind farms on the northwestern tip of the island. Private companies, meanwhile, are building plants to produce ethanol from locally grown sugar beets and residential heat from forestry and farming waste. Hydrogen-powered buses and boats may follow, whisking passengers around the island with fuel cells charged by wind-power…
    - PEI may seem an unlikely venue for an energy revolution. It's a tiny place, an island the size of Delaware, with fewer people than Arlington, Va., or Eugene, Ore.

    - But PEI's small size is exactly what makes it appealing for the emerging renewable-energy industry to conduct pilot projects…
    - The electricity-generating potential of the island's greatest energy resource - the wind - was recognized decades ago, and in 1980 Canada built its national wind test center on the island's northwestern tip. When the provincial government adopted its renewable energy strategy in 2004, expanding wind power was the first priority…three new wind farms are nearing completion - two built by a private firm, the other by the public utility, PEI Energy Corp…wind will provide 15 percent of PEI's electricity, reducing the province's carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tons each year. The island's overall wind potential is about five times that…
    - The government is working on a range of incentives for a range of potential wind farm owners…
    - To convert some of that wind to other uses, PEI Energy Corp. and Ontario's Hydrogenics Corp. are overseeing the creation of a $10.3 million "wind-hydrogen village" at North Cape…will use energy from turbines…to split hydrogen from water, store it in special tanks, and use it to power fuel cells…

    - When the wind isn't blowing, the fuel cells will be used to power area buildings…It is, however, a demonstration project, and the fuel cells will have little impact in terms of meeting PEI's 2016 energy target, particularly in regards to transportation, which accounts for about 40 percent of the island's energy consumption. Petroleum will clearly remain the primary fuel source for most vehicles…[supplemented with] ethanol made from local sugar beets at a $2 million plant now being built by a local company…
    - Other plans include the construction of a biomass plant that will burn wood wastes from provincial forests, and treating used cooking oil and other waste fats so they can be used to power diesel-engine tractors…

    Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    PAY CARBON’S REAL PRICE (OR DON’T BURN IT)

    Think about it: Global warming changes are going to cost--who pays?

    Panel urges U.S. "carbon price" to fight warming
    December 14, 2006 (Reuters via Yahoo News)
    - The United States needs to urgently set a "carbon price" as the first step in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide contributing to global warming, a panel of environmental and energy experts [such as Dan Reicher, former Energy Department official & president of New Energy Capital, Stanford University climatologist Stephen Schneider, Sierra Club President Carl Pope, Duke Energy Chairman Paul Anderson] said…

    - Whether in the form of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or a system of caps as under the Kyoto Protocol, putting a firm monetary value on the greenhouse gas would spur businesses to implement new technologies and energy-saving techniques…
    - U.S. President George W. Bush's administration has consistently rejected capping greenhouse gas emissions as bad for business and U.S. workers…Bush withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement aimed at cutting greenhouse gases by setting limits on emissions from industrialized nations. He offered an alternative plan offering incentives for voluntary emissions cuts…

    - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who has become a vigorous campaigner in the fight against global warming, endorsed the panel's findings…Earlier…Gore urged more than 4,000 scientists at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union scientific group to become more active in explaining the dangers of global warming to the public…
    - [Duke Energy Chairman] Anderson said the lack of a clear signal over what form government action may take could delay plans among energy companies to invest in new technologies…a company was unlikely to build a power plant with a 50-year life span if it did not know whether the plant would face onerous new taxes…

    CARBON TRADING: WHAT IT IS

    Q&A: Europe's carbon trading scheme
    December 20, 2006 (BBC News)
    - Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme unites the 25 states of the European Union in an attempt to cut emissions of the gases fuelling climate change.

    - What is carbon trading?
    - Since the beginning of 2005, about 12,000 energy-intensive plants in the EU have been able to buy and sell permits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

    - Companies that exceed their individual limit are able to buy unused permits from firms that have taken steps to cut their emissions.
    - Those who exceed their limit and are unable to buy spare permits are fined 40 euros (£27) for every excess tonne of CO2.
    Industries included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) include power generation, iron and steel, glass and cement…about 40% of the EU's total CO2 emissions.

    - Why is it needed?
    Under the UN Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding global agreement…The EU is required to cut its emissions by 8% from 1990 levels by 2012. The ETS is Europe's main mechanism to achieve this…

    - Has it been successful?
    - …Organisations such as the UN and the World Bank have praised the ETS, and say it can form the basis of a global system…in practice, the ETS has had a rough ride. Nations have issued more permits to pollute than required in the first phase, which runs until the end of 2007….carbon prices [fell] as low as eight euros (£5) per tonne. This means that it has been cheaper for firms to buy spare permits than pay the 40-euro fine, or take steps to reduce their emissions…Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has said the EU had to show leadership if it was to convince other nations, especially Australia and the US, that carbon trading schemes worked.

    Why is aviation now being included in the ETS?
    - EU emissions from the international air transport sector are increasing faster than any other sector…an 87% increase in CO2 since 1990…taking a return flight from London to New York will generate about the same amount of CO2 as an average person heating their home for a year…the ETS will cover commercial flights within the EU from 2011, and all flights to and from the EU in 2012. Domestic flights (eg. London to Manchester) are already subject to national limits set by the Kyoto Protocol.
    - Airlines favour carbon trading rather than taxes on fuel or emission charges.
    - The Commission says it expects any increase in ticket costs to be limited, and much lower than rises resulting from soaring oil prices…

    - What happens next?
    The European Commission is currently negotiating with national governments over the limits to be set in the second phase…2008-2012…In January, the Commission is…to call for a 30% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020…
    - Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has set up a task force to look at carbon trading…Such a move could pave the way for an international carbon trading scheme to form the central pillar of a post-2012 Kyoto agreement.

    EXPERIMENT IN GREED?

    Wind energy is a GREAT idea—but to use like this? Read, then see HYDROGEN--NOT below.

    Project doubles up on renewables; Wind energy will produce hydrogen fuel
    Steve Raabe, December 16, 2006 (Denver Post via Houston Chronicle)
    - Amid gusting winds and spinning wind turbines, officials last week unveiled a $2 million research project to use wind energy to produce hydrogen fuel.

    - The technology proposes to take clean energy to a new level, using a renewable resource, wind, to make a nonpolluting fuel, hydrogen, in one of the nation's first attempts to combine the two energy resources…Electricity from wind turbines is used to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is captured and stored, then used to generate power or as fuel…
    - The research is a joint project of Xcel Energy and the Golden, Colo.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory…may not be commercially feasible for at least another eight years…

    - The research project is expected initially to generate only relatively tiny amounts of hydrogen — about 17 kilograms a day…roughly the same energy content as [17 gallons] of gasoline…used to generate small amounts of electricity. In the future, if commercial-scale production can be achieved, scientists say hydrogen's most economical use will be as a vehicle fuel, for internal combustion engines or fuel cell-powered cars.
    - Fuel cells use a chemical process to convert hydrogen to electricity. Energy lab and Xcel officials said initial hydrogen production costs are expected to be about $8 per kilogram, making the process more than three times as expensive as using gasoline to run a car. But by 2020, or perhaps earlier, they expect costs to drop to $2 to $3 per kilogram.

    NUCLEAR PROSPECTS

    IMPLODING INVESTMENT RETURNS:

    More outages at British Energy's nuclear plants
    James Moore, 21 December 2006 (UK Independent)
    - Just as the market was beginning to think that British Energy was finally turning the corner, the company has come out and dashed everyone's hopes again after admitting yesterday that it faced a "worst case scenario" at two of its ageing nuclear power stations that will wipe £100m from its profits.

    - The troubled nuclear operator was forced to admit that units at its ageing Hunterston B and Hinkley Point power stations would not be back online until March of next year. That date represents the costliest of three possible scenarios…outlined…when it emerged that cracks were appearing in boiler pipes at the stations.
    - British Energy also revealed that further inspections had revealed a small number of defects on boiler tailpipes…
    - The upshot of all this is that the company will lose nine terrawatt hours of electricity output in the current financial year…
    - The shares responded by tumbling 35.5p to 538.25p as investors' hopes were brought back down to earth with a painful bump…
    - The two plants will still only be operating at 70 per cent efficiency when the work is completed. The company will then have to decide whether the most cost-effective option is to undertake further work…or whether simply to continue running them…

    - High energy prices bailed British Energy out when it reported last month, as production fell well short of targets…The company is hoping that it will be able to capitalise on the Government's controversial decision to "go nuclear" to help cut Britain's spiralling carbon emission levels, but the benefits are likely to be a long time in coming, and it is likely to take at least 10 years before any new plants are brought online. Most of British Energy's existing plants will have reached the end of their useful lives by 2023.

    YET STILL:

    Toshiba-Westinghouse Takes China Nuclear
    Kenji Hall, December 19, 2006 (Business Week)
    - Toshiba CEO Atsutoshi Nishida had little time to savor his victory in nabbing Westinghouse Electric. Within hours of the handover from British Nuclear Fuels in October, analysts were grilling Nishida about his plans for Westinghouse. Most of the comments criticized him for agreeing to a whopping $5.4 billion price for the 77% stake in Westinghouse and for his optimistic 17-year plan to recoup the investment.

    - But the Nishida-bashing may ease up a bit after Westinghouse's multibillion dollar deal in China. On Dec. 16, Westinghouse said it won a contract to build four 1,000 MW nuclear plants for China, edging out France's Areva, the world's biggest nuclear engineering outfit. The facilities are part of China's plan to supply energy to an industrializing beltway that runs along the coast…
    - Nuclear power accounted for less than 2% of the country's power supply last year…By 2020, China expects to spend $50 billion on more than 30 new reactors, adding to nine 1970s-era ones operating now and quadrupling power generation from nukes…

    - China would spend upwards of $8 billion. That's a huge coup for Toshiba…The Japanese company's expertise lies in boiling-water reactors…One reason Toshiba went after Westinghouse was to get at the Pittsburgh-based company's pressurized-water-reactor technology as a way of expanding business overseas…
    - By 2020, Toshiba expects 130 orders for new power stations worldwide, and estimates that the Westinghouse unit alone can win at least 20. In addition to the four in China, they're counting on 16 coming from the U.S…Toshiba is also hoping to ride a nuke buildup that's likely to gain speed in fast-growth economies such as India, Brazil, and Romania. Adding Westinghouse to its books could allow Toshiba to rake in nearly $6 billion in sales in the power-generation business by 2015, from around $3.4 billion…

    - Having both technologies has another benefit: It gives Toshiba more flexibility in bidding for jobs. As prices of natural gas, coal, and oil rise and calls for green energy sources grow louder, more countries are expected to view nuclear energy as an attractive option. Those countries won't likely want to depend too heavily on any one type since that could leave them at risk of a blackout if problems or defects surface…
    - Investors applauded news of the deal in China, nudging shares of Toshiba Plant, the nuclear unit that trades separately from the chipmaking and consumer-electronics giant, 3% higher in Tokyo trading on Dec. 18…
    - The truth is, Toshiba's earnings will likely benefit almost immediately from Westinghouse's business…While Toshiba won the first big gig in China, there's plenty to do in order to ensure it keeps the winning streak going.

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    FROM FRIEDMAN:

    A lot of colleagues think this guy has jumped the shark, gone too establishment. They fail to see how he speaks simple universal truths.

    Going Balmy and Green, Not Just for Christmas
    Thomas Friedman, December 24, 2006 (NY Times via Husdson Valley/Catskills Times Herald-Record)

    - …had I been editing Time magazine I would not have opted for the "you" in YouTube as Person of the Year — although that was very clever. No, I'd have run an all-green Time cover under the headline, "Color of the Year." Because I think that the most important thing to happen this past year was that living and thinking "green" — that is, mobilizing for the environmental/energy challenge we now face — hit Main Street.
    For so many years the term "green" could never scale. It was trapped in a corner by its opponents, who defined it as "liberal," "tree-hugging," "girly-man," "unpatriotic," "vaguely French."
    - No more. We reached a tipping point this year — where living, acting, designing, investing and manufacturing green came to be understood by a critical mass of citizens, entrepreneurs and officials as the most patriotic, capitalistic, geopolitical, healthy and competitive thing they could do…"Green is the new red, white and blue."

    - … the Pentagon has given birth to "Green Hawks," who are obsessed with powering our army with less energy…
    - And now, Wal-Mart... has opened two green stores where it is experimenting with alternative building materials, lighting, power systems and designs, the best of which it plans to spread to all its outlets. I just visited the one in McKinney, Texas. From the big wind turbine in the parking lot and solar panels on key walls, which provide 15 percent of the store's electricity, to the cooking oil from fried chicken that is recycled in its bio-boiler and heats the store in winter, to the shift to LED lights in all exterior signs and grocery and freezer cases — which last longer and sharply reduce heat and therefore the air-conditioning bill — you know you're not in your parents' Wal-Mart…

    - Hey, the more energy-saving bulbs Wal-Mart sells, the more innovation it triggers, the more prices go down. That's how you get scale. And scale is everything if you want to change the world, but to achieve scale you have to make sure that green energy sources — biofuels, clean coal, and solar, wind and nuclear power — can be delivered as cheaply as oil, gas and dirty coal. That will require a gasoline or carbon tax to keep the price of fossil fuels up so investors in green-tech will not get undercut while they drive innovation forward and prices down. The U.S. Congress has to stop running from this fact.
    - Because while our embrace of green has finally reached a tipping point, the tipping point on climate change and species loss is also fast approaching, if it's not already here. There's no time to lose. "People see an endangered species every day now when they look in the mirror," said the environmentalist Rob Watson. "It is not about the whales anymore."

    HOW TO GO SOLAR

    Now do like Tom says:

    California regulators issue solar energy guide
    December 21, 2006 (Reuters)
    - The California Pubic Utilities Commission..,issued requirements and other details for a new energy program that aims to make the state one of the world's biggest producers of solar energy…a 92-page handbook to guide California's investor-owned utilities, customers, contractors, and solar equipment sellers through the rules for installing and operating solar photovoltaic projects.

    - The state's goal is to install 1 million rooftop solar panels on homes, businesses, farms, schools and public buildings over the next 10 years to produce 3,000 megawatts, or the equivalent of six large power plants…
    - The program has a budget of $2.2 billion that will pay incentives for solar projects beginning on January 1, 2007…performance-based incentives linked to the number of kilowatts of electricity generated by the systems.
    - Management of the program will be shared by PG&E Corp.'s Pacific Gas & Electric utility, Edison International's Southern California Edison, and the San Diego Regional Energy Office for customers of Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric unit.

    California Solar Initiative Handbook

    PLAY THE GAME!

    Board Game Helps Students Make Energy Choices
    December 19, 2006 (Newswise)

    - …Energy Choices, a new board game created by Clarkson University, is helping upstate New York middle schoolers…[learn] about the country's energy situation and the impact their own personal decisions have on energy conservation. Clarkson is hoping the game will help develop the next generation of energy-smart consumers by getting them to think about how energy choices are made, the role economics plays in these decisions and how to determine which trade-offs are acceptable and which are not.
    - With a role of the dice, the players confront challenges and must make energy decisions that balance environmental consequences with economic considerations…
    - The game was developed as part of the University's award-winning National Science Foundation-funded K-12 Project-Based Learning Partnership Program…

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    GREEN HANUKKAH?

    The Post fact-checker flubbed here. The story dates to the 2nd century B.C., not the 4th. But this blog is forward-looking:

    The Festival of (Energy-Efficient) Lights; Dreidels, Latkes, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: A Holiday Environmental Push
    Michelle Boorstein, December 21, 2006 (Washington Post)
    - Jewish environmentalists want to know: "How many Jews does it take to change a light bulb?"

    - Ba-da-bum. Although this sounds like the start of a corny joke, it's actually the name of a campaign engaging hundreds of synagogues across the country this week as Jews mark Hanukkah, the festival of lights. The campaign is organized by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
    - At least a dozen synagogues in the region are among 500 nationwide that are adding a tradition to this holiday dating to the 4th century B.C.: replacing regular light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
    - Hanukkah, an eight-day holiday that ends at sundown Saturday, marks the Jewish rebellion against forced assimilation by the Greeks. The central tale of the holiday involves a lamp in a liberated temple burning for eight days when the Jews had enough oil for only one day…Jews light a nine-armed candelabra, often called a hannukiah or menorah. Eight arms represent the days, and the ninth is for a symbolic candle used to light the others.
    - The past year has seen an unprecedented environmental push in the U.S. faith community, which sometimes has been wary of a movement seen as liberal, possibly pantheist and without scriptural roots…synagogues this Hanukkah are celebrating the light-oriented holiday by launching energy audits, giving out CFL bulbs to congregants and chanting a newly written "installation prayer" for the changing of the bulbs…

    - There have long been environmentalists in the faith community who saw pollution and recycling as sacred subjects, part of their vision of caring for God's Earth. But the past year or two has seen this philosophy take off, particularly with many evangelical Christian leaders for the first time calling global climate change a concern. The Regeneration Project, a faith-based environmental advocacy group with branches in 20 states, showed the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" in 4,000 congregations this year, according to the group's founder, the Rev. Sally Bingham, an Episcopal priest in California…
    - Using CFL bulbs, which last up to eight times as long as standard incandescent bulbs, has become a rallying cry, according to the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. The group says that if every U.S. household switched a single bulb, it would have the same impact as taking 1.3 million cars off the road…
    - “Change is hard…but changing a light bulb is easy."

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    HOT CHICKEN RANCH


    Solar Energy Could Power Chicken Houses
    December 20, 2006 (WBOC16)
    - The University of Delaware is experimenting with solar energy in chicken houses.
    - The university is working with three companies to test the economics of using solar panels to provide electricity…to lower the expense for growers…
    - Poultry farmer Wesley Betts of Milton said cutting cost is always a priority…
    - The pilot project will last for several years and cost about $500,000.

    MORE THAN CHICKENS

    Sanyo to Spend Y19 Billion to Boost Solar Cell Capacity
    December 20, 2006 (Reuters)
    - Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd…will spend 19 billion yen (US$161 million) to more than double its solar cell production capacity to better compete with larger rivals such as Sharp Corp.

    - Solar cells are one of the core businesses of the struggling consumer electronics maker, which also focuses on rechargeable batteries, digital cameras and mobile phones.
    - [Osaka-based] Sanyo…competes with Sharp and Germany's Q-Cells…will spend about 9 billion yen in the business year starting next April and 10 billion yen in the following year to boost its annual capacity to 350 megawatts from the current 165 megawatts…aims to boost its solar cell sales by 18 percent to 56 billion yen (US$474.9 million) or more in the year to next March 31….2.5 percent of its group sales forecast…
    - Global solar cell sales are rising rapidly due to higher oil prices and growing demand for renewable energy sources…

    MORAL REALISM?

    Vice President Cheney famously characterized conservation as little more than an empty insignificant gesture. Sir David Attenborough differs:

    Attenborough urges 'moral change'
    13 December 2006 (BBC News)

    - "What we can do is make the situation deteriorate less than it's going to."
    Sir David said "a general moral view" that wasting energy was wrong - such as there had been over wasting food during the Second World War - was needed…
    - Sir David, whose series include Life on Earth, The Blue Planet and Planet Earth, said: "I'm hopeful that there's a real change taking place in moral attitudes that it's not to do with saving pennies here and there but it's morally wrong to waste energy because we are putting at risk our grandchildren…People do look at 4x4s in central London and curl a lip already."
    - Sir David also told [the House of Comons environmental committee]: "I grew up during the war and during the war it was a common view that wasting anything was wrong…It wasn't that we thought we were going to defeat Hitler by eating a lot of gristle in our meat but it was actually wrong not to eat our food."
    - There needed to be a similar "general moral view that wasting energy is wrong", Sir David added…
    - Sir David told MPs he had had doubts about climate change until attending a lecture by a US expert which proved that recent climate change was man-made, rather than part of the cycle of nature…

    HOW TO BE A CARBON DEALER

    Trading Carbon: The Developing Market For CDM CERs
    Andrew K. Burger, December 15, 2006 (Resource Investor)
    - It’s taken more than a decade…but a multi-billion dollar global market has grown up around the issuance, verification and trading of Certificate of Emission Reduction credits (CERs) under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) programs.

    - The primary market for carbon credits is expected to reach 30 billion to 40 billion euros during the 2008-2012 period, while estimates for secondary market activity are an order of magnitude higher…CDM carbon trading schemes have emerged in regions around the world…the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has grown quickly into the world’s largest market for carbon emissions reduction credits.
    - As the debate and controversy concerning the CDM's issuance, validation and valuation methodologies, as well as its fundamental premise, continues, private sector intermediaries…have stepped in and picked up where the World Bank left off and are now driving carbon trading markets…

    - New York-based Ecosecurities lays claim to being the largest company in the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM carbon emission reduction credit issuance and trading sector. Placing itself at the nexus of a web of organizations involved in CDM CO2 [Carbon Dioxide] and GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emission reduction and renewable energy projects, the company has been a central force in the issuing, purchasing and sale of CERs accounting for the reduction of approximately 150 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions…
    - The company’s business can be distilled down into three essential components, CEO Bruce Usher told Resource Investor: Identifying and putting together potential CDM GHG emission reduction projects and participants, moving projects through the CDM registration, verification, and CER issuance process, and fixing the price of income streams for CDM project developers.

    - On the investment side of its business, Ecosecurities acts as a principal, using its capital to acquire CERs from project developers that can then be resold to companies in need of credits to meet government mandated CO2 and GHG emissions reduction targets.
    Cargill and Marshall Street, a private equity investment house, were the company’s first two investors…
    - With offices in 20 countries, located primarily in developing countries, Ecosecurities has now amassed a portfolio of some 280 CDM projects around the world…
    - Focusing on genuine GHG emissions reduction, renewable power and energy generation projects, Ecosecurities has avoided the type of sharp criticism that plagued some of the World Bank’s early CDM financings…
    - The U.K. Environment Agency on Dec. 8 announced that it was levying civil penalties totalling £750,000 against four companies - Alphasteel, Scandstick, Daniel Platt and Mars (U.K.) - which failed to meet requirements and abide by the rules during this first year of the EU's ETS.
    - New York State on Dec. 6 announced plans to auction all of its permits to emit greenhouse gas emissions as part of a seven-state [New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont] plan to develop a regional market that will help freeze and then cut CO2 emissions at electrical power plants. The EU last year gave away all the permits businesses needed, sending carbon credits prices crashing…

    - With…the ETS in Europe…exchange and OTC (over-the-counter) markets in the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region, the market for carbon emissions reduction credits is widespread, diverse and a bit complex…still very much a work in progress, and prices are very volatile…
    - Ecosecurities removes the market risk for project managers and developers…When Ecosecurities purchases the CO2 equivalent tonnes of emissions reduction credits from project developers, it is “buying a stream of credits that stretch out to 2012, when Kyoto Protocol, Phase One is due to expire. We then turn around and sell portions of those cash flow streams…We lock in the price over the entire project term and for the entire income stream.”
    - Ecosecurities has been…guiding a variety of companies, including engineering project management firms, multinational agricultural, power and energy and industrial chemicals companies and banks, through the lengthy and complicated CDM registration, verification and CER issuance process. More than half Ecosecurities’ staff of around 185 people is involved in such work…
    - Ecosecurities’ CDM origination efforts thus far focus on developing GHG reduction and renewable energy and power projects in three sectors: landfill gas collection and utilisation (ecomethane-power generation) as part of a joint venture with Biogas Technology Ltd. and the EnerG Group, biogas development projects in partnership with Cargill that make use of systems for anaerobic digestion of liquid livestock waste streams, and N2O abatement systems projects, examples of which are now in the works at more than 20 nitric acid factories in China.
    - In partnership with Mexico’s Granjas Carroll de Mexico and Cargill, which recently vested a series of warrants, Ecosecurities last month registered 18 methane recovery and electricity generation projects in the Mexican states of Pueblo and Veracruz. An additional four in the Philippine provinces of Bulacan and Tarlac were developed by Ecosecurities and Philippine BioSciences Co.

    - Ecosecurities in 2005 issued a Deed Poll granting Cargill warrants…dependent upon Ecosecurities signing agreements with companies introduced by Cargill that have the potential to achieve a number of Agreed Emissions Reductions, which in aggregate total 5 million gross metric tonnes of Carbon Emission Reductions (CERs)…
    - Ecosecurities announced cooperation agreements with Standard Bank South Africa and Singapore’s UOB Kay Hian…to work with the banks’ clients to identify potential CDM GHG emissions reduction projects and jointly develop them…
    - Defending the Kyoto Protocol and the Clean Development Mechanism, Usher said, “The Kyoto Protocol’s objective is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and virtually all CDM projects reduce emissions. Another objective is less well understood: To experiment with what works and what doesn’t [in terms of developing market-based emissions reduction mechanisms]…I think it’s a very small part of the whole process,” he concluded.

    *