NewEnergyNews: 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007

NewEnergyNews

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

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: HOW BIOFUELS CAN BE IMPORTANT NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, July 30: SOLAR AND UTILITIES SHAPE EACH OTHER; ‘HIDDEN’ WIND COSTS DWARFED BY ‘HIDDEN’ FOSSIL COSTS; GM’S RUN FOR THE 200 MILE CHARGE
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: A CHRONICLE OF EXTREME CLIMATE IMPACTS
  • QUICK NEWS, July 29: OFFICIAL FORECASTS OVERLOOK NEW ENERGY; NEW ENERGY NEEDS NEW TRANSMISSION; BRITISH COLUMBIA EMISSIONS TAX SUCCEEDING
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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 DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: MORE AND SMARTER MEDIA COVERAGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN 2014
  • QUICK NEWS, July 28: CLIMATE SKEPTICS REACHING ‘CATASTROPHIC’ NUMBERS; THE COST OF THE EPA EMISSIONS CUTS; GEOTHERMAL DRILL SKILL ADVANCES
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: John Oliver On Visiting Antarctica
  • Weekend Video: Warmest May And June Ever And Non-Stop Record Heat
  • Weekend Video: Meet The Microgrid
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- STAR WARS PLANET TATOOINE’S CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-BIG NEW THREAT TO CLIMATE FROM COAL-TO-GAS IN CHINA
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-INDIA VILLAGE OF 2,400 GOES 100% SOLAR WITH BATTERIES, MICROGRID
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-GERMANY IS WORLD’S MOST EFFICIENT MAJOR ECONOMY
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, July 24:

  • TTTA Thursday-CLIMATE FACTS VERSUS CLIMATE CULTURE
  • TTTA Thursday-MONEY IN WIND UP FOR QUARTER, DOWN FROM 2013
  • TTTA Thursday-MIDWEST BIOFUELS CAN BE NEW ENERGY – UCS STUDY
  • TTTA Thursday-TESLA CHAMPIONS THE PLUG AND THE CAR
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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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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    CONTROLLING THE TRUTH ON CLIMATE CHANGE

    What ELSE might they not be telling? Maybe opinions (see next post down) would be different if the truth were more widely known.

    White House Suppresses Evidence of Climate Changes?
    Jennifer McMahon, January 31, 2007 (ToTheCenter.com)
    - A group of Scientists are now accusing the Bush administration of hiding evidence of climate changes from the public...at least 150 federal climate scientists have personally experienced political interference...

    - Rick Piltz, a former climate change official testified that a Whitehouse aid once edited a report on climate change, and even deleted some sections. Piltz, who co-coordinated and edited reports on climate change, said he resigned from his post in 2005 to protest...
    - Chairman for Oversight and Government Reform Center Henry Waxman says everyone has a right to their own views about the seriousness of climate change, but not the right to their own science...
    - The Whitehouse has come out swinging against the claims, saying the interference allegations are entirely false and insisting it is focused on making progress with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    - The testimony comes ahead of the release on Friday of a landmark report on climate change science that will say there is a 90 per cent certainty that human activity is changing the world's climate and temperatures will rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100...from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body convened by the United Nations...on research carried out over six years by more than 2,500 scientists...

    Scientists Criticize White House Stance on Climate Change Findings
    Cornelia Dean, January 31, 2007 (NY Times)
    Warming data allegedly manipulated
    William Neikirk, January 31, 2007 (Chicago Tribune)
    White House climate documents sought
    Richard Simon, January 31, 2007 (LA Times)
    Panel Hears Climate 'Spin' Allegations
    H. Josef Hebert, January 31, 2007 (AP via UK Guardian)

    Tuesday, January 30, 2007

    NUCLEAR: A POLL SUPPORTS IT, MSNBC PROFILES IT

    The nation that invented pet rocks, made Paris Hilton a star and loves reality TV reminds us that everybody has, among other things, an opinion:

    Americans favor nuclear energy
    Ben Lando, January 26, 2007 (UPI)
    - A new UPI/Zogby International interactive poll found most Americans support more nuclear plants to power the country…

    - A prominent nuclear opponent, however, says nuclear power is both dangerous and expensive and will detract from renewable energy…
    - 61.8 percent either "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" that new nuclear plants should be built. Another 29.1 percent either "somewhat disagree or strongly disagree" …
    - Of those who agreed new plants should be built, 63.1 percent said they would "support" a plant build in their community, 14.4 would "oppose" a plant in their community and 22.5 percent were not sure…
    - There are 103 nuclear reactors at 65 nuclear plants feeding about 20 percent of U.S. electricity demand. There has not been a new reactor licensed since 1979 and with U.S. energy demand increasing, nuclear's share will decrease if new plants aren't built. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects about seven new reactor applications in 2007, eight in 2008 and a total of more than 30 in the coming half decade…

    - …nuclear power is being looked at while the somewhat turbulent oil and natural gas prices reached record highs recently and the threat of climate change has become more widely accepted…
    - As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the nuclear industry was given federally backed insurance against regulatory process delays and indemnification from nuclear incident liability, tax credits, and federal loans for the first applications to traverse the NRC's new combined construction and license permitting process.
    - Nuclear Power 2010 and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership are also two Bush programs designed to spur the U.S. industry…

    - 50 percent of those polled gave Bush's energy policy a "poor" rating and 63.1 percent either "somewhat disagree" or "strongly disagree" it "will meet our needs in the coming decades."
    - …a 2000 report by the Renewable Energy Policy Project that said nuclear energy received $145.4 billion of the $151 billion in federal subsidies doled out to "electricity-generating technologies (excluding hydropower)" between 1943 and 1999. Wind, solar and other renewable energy sources can't compete…
    - The poll found 62.7 percent "somewhat agree" or "strongly agree" nuclear power is safe, though most trust state and local governments (which have little safety oversight) more than the federal government to ensure nuclear plants are safe. The energy industry received the lowest marks.

    A masterly profile of what we're dealing with:

    Industry on verge of rebound
    Mike Stuckey, January 23, 2007 (MSNBC)
    - Buoyed by billions of dollars in subsidies pushed through Congress by the Bush administration, the U.S. nuclear power industry says 2007 is the year its plans for a “renaissance” will reach critical mass…

    The nuclear renaissance man
    Mike Stuckey, January 24, 2007 (MSNBC)
    - On a cool morning last August, the senior U.S. senator from New Mexico hefted a shovel of desert earth and…[dedicated] a $1.5 billion uranium enrichment facility in his state's southeast corner…If the renaissance that the U.S. nuclear power industry predicts for itself is indeed occurring, then Pietro “Pete” Vichy Domenici, the son of Italian immigrants, may be seen as both its Michelango and its Machiavelli. And the New Mexico uranium plant is just one piece of deft political artwork the conservative Republican has brought to a nuclear industry that has showered him with praise — and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions…

    Reality check for cartel plan
    Mike Stuckey, January 24, 2007 (MSNBC)
    - …Piketon is one of 11 communities recently awarded a total of $16 million in study grants by the U.S. Department of Energy. The grants are to be used to determine if they would be suitable sites for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP, a hotly debated proposal that proponents promise will change the world.
    - Unveiled by the Bush administration early last year, GNEP envisions a system in which developing nations would receive nuclear power plants and fuel from the West in return for agreeing not to develop their own nuclear technology. The plan hinges on the controversial element of reprocessing spent nuclear rods to produce fuel that can be burned at GNEP plants, an activity that has never been done commercially in the United States…supporters say not only will it power up the Third World, it will boost the U.S. nuclear industry, greatly reduce nuclear waste and air pollution and avoid the further spread of nuclear weapons.
    - Opponents say the program has the same problem as conventional nuclear power: It’s impossibly expensive. But it’s GNEP’s added element of nuclear fuel reprocessing, shelved for more than 30 years as unsafe and unnecessary in the United States, that really inflames critics…
    The French connection
    Mike Stuckey, January 25, 2007 (MSNBC)

    - With help from the allies it funds in Congress and legions of highly paid lobbyists, the U.S. nuclear power industry won billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies for its promised “renaissance.” But the biggest winner of all could be a French firm that most Americans have never heard of.
    - That’s because Areva, an atomic energy giant owned by the French government, appears to be better positioned than any of its competitors to benefit from growth in the U.S. nuclear industry and increased federal spending on it…

    Does nuclear power now make financial sense?
    John W. Schoen, January 26, 2007 (MSNBC)
    - …Now, nearly three decades after the last new plant was approved, proponents of nuclear power say the economics of atom-splitting energy have dramatically improved. In fact, they argue, financial forces have become a driving force behind a new enthusiasm for nuclear energy as the power industry scrambles to meet growing demand for electricity with an aging fleet of generating stations.
    - But the industry still needs to raise tens of billions of dollars before the proposed round of new plants can be built. That means persuading Wall Street investors to put up the money and state utility regulators to bless the higher rates needed to pay for these multi-billion-dollar projects…

    A reminder: GE owns NBC (and MSNBC) and is a major player in the power industry, owning all kinds of energy, including nuclear.

    Monday, January 29, 2007

    ALL FOR OIL?

    It might be a little more complicated than that, but not to the majority of Americans.

    Americans say Iraq War over oil
    Ben Lando, January 25, 2007 (UPI)
    - Most Americans think President Bush invaded Iraq at least partly because of its oil -- a war more than half rate him as "poor" in handling and nearly all say has affected the price of gas at the pump.

    - The UPI/Zogby International interactive poll…found 32.7 percent considered Iraq's oil supply a "major factor" and 23.7 percent "not a factor" in the decision to invade the country…40.7 percent were split…2.9 percent were "not sure."
    - …Iraq's draft oil law -- still mired in factional fighting -- …is one of Bush's benchmarks for success for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and if the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds agree on it, it is seen as a pathway for easing tensions…
    - Iraq has 115 billion barrels of proven crude reserves, third most in the world, and analysts say much more is undiscovered. But its industry suffers from decades of misuse and mismanagement, U.N. sanctions and war.
    - A federal hydrocarbon law that would lay the groundwork for investment and contracts for further exploration and extraction of Iraqi oil and gas is stuck in a skirmish between the central and regional powers over control and revenue sharing…
    - A former U.S. official close to Iraq oil law negotiations told UPI on condition of anonymity "there's a lawyer there that works as part of our (U.S.) efforts ... he's an oil lawyer," adding "does that mean we're going to write that agreement? No."

    - "Our policy since the beginning of the war is that it's their oil, it's their decision," said Michael Makovsky, special assistant in the Office of Secretary of Defense on Iraqi energy policy from 2002 to 2006…
    - But U.S. eyes have been on Iraq's oil since before the war…Documents obtained in a 2002 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch found Vice President Dick Cheney's secret Energy Task Force included maps and charts of Iraq's oil infrastructure and projects as well as a list of "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts."
    - A pre-war oil and energy working group of the U.S. State Department's Future of Iraq project also focused on Iraq's oil sector.
    - The U.S. Agency for International Development in 2004 announced an Iraq contract with McLean, Va.-based consultant BearingPoint for "broad economic reform," BearingPoint spokesman Steve Lunceford told UPI Oct. 18…it included "privatization of the oil industry."

    - …Current Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani met with international oil company officials last July at the U.S. Energy Department to talk about Iraq's oil sector.
    And this month, despite federal oil law negotiations still ongoing, Bush commented numerous times on what should be done with the oil revenue…
    - "The Bush administration has consistently placed enormous pressure on the al-Maliki government to pass an oil law that would open Iraq from a nationalized oil system to one that would transform to allow private foreign investment and the only thing being debated at this point is the extent private companies would have access to the Iraqi oil market," said Antonia Juhasz, visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and author of "The Bush Agenda."
    - …When asked to rate Bush's handling of the war, 55.3 percent in the UPI/Zogby poll said "poor" and only 7.3 percent said the war had "no impact" on U.S. gas prices.

    GREENPEACE SPEAKS

    Greenpeace sees hope still.

    Renewables and Climate Change
    Stefan Nicola, January 26, 2007 (UPI)
    - A new Greenpeace study on climate change calls for an immediate global push of renewable energy sources to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change.

    - The report "energy (r)evolution," compiled by Greenpeace, top scientists from around the world, and the European Renewable Energy Council, an industry group…urges the world's governments to act fast if the average temperature increase compared to the Earth's 1990 value is to be kept below 3.6 degrees, the cap above which "catastrophic" effects of global warming would devastate the globe…
    - Together with energy-efficiency measures, renewable energy sources are able to account for half of the world's total energy needs, the report says. That would also result in a bisection of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions…
    - The current global warming stands at roughly 1.4 degrees, but observers say the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC] report will publish more dramatic numbers…

    - The report presents an alternative outlook than the business-as-usual scenario from the Paris-based International Energy Agency, which expects a doubling of global energy demand by 2050. Eighty percent of that demand would be met by fossil fuels, meaning that the amount of CO2 would also double -- the 3.6 degree-limit could not be reached…
    - [The Greenpeace “road map”] said…energy efficiency measures needed to be pushed…Better insulation standards for houses could save…industry could cut consumption by 11 percent by using more efficient machinery. Another 5 percent could be saved by changing old lights to more efficient bulbs…
    - That way, the energy (r)evolution scenario would reduce primary energy demand…50 percent of that reduced primary energy demand in 2050 can be met with renewable energy sources, mainly by pushing biomass, but also solar, wind and hydro energy. Natural gas would become the dominant fossil fuel source, as it produces significantly less CO2 emissions than coal, an energy source to be phased out.
    - Because of problems with end storage…nuclear energy, while producing no greenhouse gas emissions, is also to be phased out.
    - Oil is to be used only in the transportation sector…

    - Experts agreed that to make the scenario come true, concrete political measures had to be taken…governments had to formulate "binding worldwide targets for the share of renewable energy sources," in a country's energy mix…Nuclear and fossil fuel energy subsidies, which the United Nations estimates at over $320 billion, are to be abolished or at least significantly reduced…greenhouse gas emitters…would have to pay a tax based on the level of emissions…The study expects a ton of CO2 in 2050 to cost $50, as opposed to the current $4.50. Oil, now at roughly $55, in 2050 will cost $100…
    - Based on these numbers, the energy (r)evolution model is even cheaper than the business-as-usual scenario by the IEA [quadrupling costs…the Greenpeace scenario would only triple costs…

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    PRESIDENT CALLS FOR BIOFUELS…

    Analysis: Backing for biofuels high
    Krishnadev Calamur, January 23, 2007 (UPI)
    - President Bush on Tuesday called for a 20 percent cut in U.S. gasoline consumption, a plan that would see a spike in the increase of alternative fuels…
    - Biofuels such as ethanol are expected to make up the gap, along with fuel-economy standards for cars…

    - The call comes a year after Bush's last State of the Union speech where he famously said "America is addicted to oil" and called for new fuels such as ethanol to make the nation more energy independent. Since then, much of the American public, aided by rising gas prices, has come around to Bush's thinking…
    - [A new UPI/Zogby International interactive poll conducted Jan. 16-18]…showed that 61.1 percent of those surveyed said renewables would replace less than 25 percent of fossil fuel use; 21.9 percent said it would replace 26 percent to 50 percent…the poll found that the majority of those Americans surveyed thought biofuels would most likely replace fossil fuels in the future…

    - …the poll showed that nearly half the U.S. public (49.9 percent) thought Bush was doing a "poor" job handling energy issues; 9.4 percent said his performance on energy issues had been "excellent" and 23.6 percent said it was "good."
    - [Mark Emalfarb, chief executive officer of Dyadic International, Inc., a Jupiter, Fla., company that has developed high-efficiency enzymes that have lowered the cost of converting biomass into fermentable sugar and, consequently, cellulosic ethanol] said the focus would have to be on biomass rather than corn because increased demand for corn -- both as food and ethanol feedstock -- has driven corn futures to double over the past year…
    - Still, ethanol from biomass is not yet commercially feasible and will likely require government incentives…
    - Richard Hamilton, president and CEO of Ceres, Inc., a Thousand Oaks, Calif., company that develops first-generation energy crops that will be planted as feedstock for ethanol production, says he believes the 60 billion gallons is a realistic goal if ethanol is produced from cellulosic sources instead of corn…

    - [In] Brazil…the military government in the 1970s introduced ethanol from sugarcane as a fuel and subsidized it…for the next nearly three decades…until it became cost-efficient…
    - The UPI/Zogby poll found that more than half (55.3 percent) favored increased government action in research and development of alternate energy sources; 3.2 percent said they backed publicly funded campaigns to raise awareness of alternate energy while 11.7 percent said they supported tax breaks for small businesses that use alternate energy…

    …EXPERTS RESPOND

    E3 Biofuels: Responsible Ethanol
    Robert Rapier, June 26, 2006 (R-Squared Energy Blog)
    - If we could make sufficient ethanol with little or no fossil fuel inputs, ethanol could be a very important piece of a post-petroleum future. If ethanol could be produced with an
    EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) of 3 or 4, as opposed to the current 1.0-1.3 or so, then ethanol begins to look attractive from a sustainability standpoint.

    - My opposition to ethanol is due to the way we typically make it in the U.S., and is specifically focused on grain ethanol. We take fossil fuels and basically recycle them into ethanol in a very inefficient manner…
    - Cellulosic ethanol may ultimately provide ethanol at a substantially better energy return…
    - There are even some places in the U.S. where ethanol could provide a (mildly) sustainable solution even as it is produced today…
    - E3 Biofuels...concept is this: Grow corn, produce ethanol, feed the byproducts to cattle, harvest the manure, produce methane from the manure in a biodigester, use the methane to fuel the boilers, and use the remaining solids to fertilize the soil. This is ethanol production in more of a Brazilian mold (i.e., byproducts

    are used to fuel the process)…supplemental natural gas will be needed, but due to the manure-produced biogas, the amount is estimated to be substantially less than for a typical grain ethanol plant…fossil fuel usage is estimated to be 75% less than that of a standard grain ethanol plant…If the process works as advertised, the EROEI could reach 4 or 5 to 1, or even higher for the same process in Iowa where corn irrigation is not required…if ethanol is going to be part of the solution to diminishing oil supplies, E3 Biofuels is the first in the U.S. to show the way toward making ethanol in a more sustainable manner…As a long-time ethanol skeptic, the approach by E3 Biofuels is the first U.S. grain-ethanol process that I endorse.

    Editorial: Thoughts on the performance and potential of ethanol
    - Is ethanol better than dino-juice? I would say yes. Even in it's corn-derived stage here in the U.S., it burns off less carbon than gasoline…it would be better in a cellulosic-derived form, but let's work with what we have here…

    - The ethanol Americans can buy comes from here in the U.S., and is generally made by workers here too. Is that necessarily a bad thing? It helps our economy in its present form. I will not delve into how it impacts the land it is grown on, or in the price of corn. We all know that. But, I would still give it preference over gasoline imported from somewhere else…In a nutshell, it is better than petroleum, right here and right now; it could be even better and hopefully will get there.
    Now... performance comes into play… I am writing articles on two turbocharged Dodge Vipers…they run on ethanol…Over 1000 horsepower! … not a bad thing.
    - Lastly, I will go on record here and say that I think the future of transportation should be electric. I would rather see money being spent on batteries and capacitors than on hydrogen and ethanol. Here is why: We can go electric now. Most of us could get by with a vehicle that can go, say, 100 miles a day on electricity without using gas…Perhaps the future is hydrogen. Nobody knows for sure yet…I am not writing off any new technology right now. But, let's start fixing the problem now with electricity and ethanol\biodiesel hybrids, then go to the next tech if and when we are ready…

    HOW ABOUT HOMEMADE HYDROGEN?

    Link submitted by the fine engineer, author and energy reporter Forbes Bagatelle-Black.

    The Solar-powered Home Hydrogen Fueling Station
    Green Wombat, January 25, 2007 (Green Wombat.com)

    - …[Dr. Sukhvinder Badwal, a fuel-cell scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO] leads a team that is developing a solar-powered home hydrogen fueling station that can be installed in a corner of your garage.
    - It’s about the size of a filing cabinet and runs on electricity generated by standard-issue rooftop solar panels. The first version of the home fueling station is expected to produce enough hydrogen to give your runabout a range of nearly 100 miles (150 kilometers) without producing a molecule of greenhouse gas…

    - The solar-fired fuel-station-in-a-box overcomes two big obstacles to the much-hyped hydrogen economy. One is the multibillion-dollar expense of building national networks of pipelines and fuel stations to replace the corner Chevron (CVX). The other is the fact that today most hydrogen is produced by burning fossil fuel to create hydrogen gas—not exactly a clean and green process. The home hydrogen fuel station solves those problems in one package that Badwal hopes will ultimately sell for about $500. Commercial trials are expected to begin in two years…

    - Honda (HMC) also has been working a solar-powered hydrogen fuel station… designed to provide heat and electricity for the house as well as fuel for cars…still being refined and the company has not yet announced a time table…
    - For Badwal, using renewable energy - solar panels or a small wind turbine - is key…the real impact of the home fueling technology could be in China and India, where efforts to combat global warming could be doomed by the explosion in the car-buying middle classes…He sees the potential for CSIRO's hydrogen technology to be distributed to villages in the developing world, eliminating the need for big, expensive and dirty coal-fired plants…

    Saturday, January 27, 2007

    PRESIDENT CALLS FOR CONSERVATION

    Maybe he really HAS stopped listening to Dick Cheney!

    Government should cut energy use as example: Bush
    Matt Spetalnick, January 24, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)

    - President George W. Bush urged the federal government on Wednesday to take the lead in reducing energy consumption and using alternative fuels, as he pushed his State of the Union call for U.S. energy independence from foreign oil…
    - Bush set a goal of reducing U.S. gasoline use by 20 percent over a decade, mostly through a large increase in the use of home-grown fuels such as ethanol…
    - "We're going to reduce the gas consumption in the federal fleet by 20 percent over 10 years. We're going to be joining with America, we set the goal," Bush said.
    - He toured an experimental greenhouse for the production of cellulosic ethanol, a fuel made from grasses, wood chips and other nonfood agriculture products…
    - Environmentalists said Bush's call for reducing gasoline consumption was a positive step but not enough…


    - Dupont is among 10 major U.S. corporations that have joined with environmental groups to urge the president and Congress to pass laws curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases.
    - Bush said new technologies should be the focus…Bush advocated nuclear power as a source of cleaner energy…Bush also called for overhauling the Corporate Average Fuel Economy system to allow for cars with greater fuel efficiency.

    Here’s an “overhaul”: the November, 2006, election. Here’s a “new technology”: the November, 2008, election.

    TERMINATING EMISSIONS

    Schwarzenneger signs Calif. carbon emissions cut
    January 18, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)
    - California Gov. Arnold Schwarenegger signed an executive order on Thursday to reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels, a move intended to widen the development and use of alternative vehicle fuels in the nation's biggest state. The order, the first of its kind in the United States, sets a standard to cut carbon levels in vehicle fuels by at least 10 percent by 2020…

    - Schwarzenegger said new alternative fuels such as ethanol blends, compressed natural gas and hydrogen will help to stabilize prices at the pump and ease dependence on foreign oil.
    - The Republican governor was surrounded by some new alternative-fueled taxicabs, SUVs and other vehicles, state lawmakers, and representatives from environmental groups, fleet vehicle owners, and alternative fuel producers…
    - Rick Zalesky, Chevron's vice president for biofuels, said Chevron "pledges its full commitment and support" to help California meet the program goals.

    - The company has alternative fuel programs under way, including three fueling stations for hydrogen-powered cars and research and development projects with the University of California…
    - California's Air Resources Board will put the new fuel regulations into effect no later than December 2008…working with the state's Environmental Protection Agency and the California Energy Commission to work out the details…

    WORLD’S FIRST CARBON-NEUTRAL RETAIL PRODUCT

    TerraPass to offer ‘carbon neutral’ pressure washer
    Sarah Jane Tribble, January 22, 2007 (San Jose Mercury News)
    - …TerraPass announced today that a pressure washer offering consumers a way to become more ``carbon neutral'' will be sold at Sam's Clubs nationwide by the end of this month…

    - The pressure washers, built by Karcher USA, are the first retail products in the U.S. to be marketed as carbon neutral, according to TerraPass.
    - A ``very small'' amount of each pressure washer's $499 price-tag will go to TerraPass to fund projects such as wind farms…The money also will offset the 285 lbs. of greenhouse gas pollution produced by the washer over two years…
    - Opponents of the movement argue that such carbon neutral programs just make it easier for some consumers to pay off the guilt of using power hungry products, instead of becoming more energy efficient.

    - The pressure washer will feature special packaging to highlight its environmental benefits to customers, and comes with a booklet recommending 10 energy-saving home projects…if the pressure washer sells well during a 12-month test period, Sam's Club will extend the program to other products, particularly those that use gasoline.
    - As concern grows about the effects of global warming, companies like PG&E, Ford and Expedia have started offering their customers ways to pay down on the amount of carbon produced from their home energy use, daily commute or airline travel.
    - Web sites such as nativeenergy.com, climatetrust.org and terrapass.com are growing in popularity as a way for consumers to calculate their daily carbon output and pay to offset it.

    CARBON OFFSETTING TO BE REGULATED

    UK to tackle bogus carbon schemes
    18 January 2007 (BBC News)
    - The UK government is to set standards for carbon offsetting schemes to bring "greater clarity" to the industry.

    - The move comes as…carbon offsetting schemes have been attacked for a lack of transparency and inconsistent prices.
    - Environment Secretary David Miliband said the voluntary standards would help consumers pick "genuine" projects…
    - There are a number of ways that consumers can offset their carbon emissions…paying for trees to be planted…buying energy-efficient light bulbs for…developing nations.
    - The worry for the government has been that the benefits of many of the projects have proved difficult to verify and may be open to abuse.
    - The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has named just four offset providers that meet its new guidelines - Pure, Global Cool, Equiclimate and Carbon Offsets...

    - The new standards will be based only on projects that can be certified, including flexible schemes agreed under the Kyoto Protocol…
    - …a hitherto confusing industry is being examined and made more clear…UK charity Pure, for example, does not run any projects itself, but invests donor money into certified credits.
    - The code of practice proposes that offset providers supply consumers with clear information and transparent prices…
    - Environment Secretary David Miliband said offsetting "isn't the answer to climate change…The first step should always be to see how we can avoid and reduce emissions…”

    Friday, January 26, 2007

    DAVOS GURU: TAX AND TRADE CARBON

    TAX IT:

    Stern favours world carbon tax
    Edmund Conway, January 25, 2007 (UK Telegraph)
    - Sir Nicholas Stern has spoken out in favour of a global carbon tax, warning that global warming represents "the biggest market failure the world has ever seen".

    - The former World Bank chief economist and author of the Government-commissioned report on the economic effects of climate change, said environmental taxes should play an essential role in combating global warming.
    - In a debate at the World Economic Forum, Sir Nicholas…argued that environmental taxes – such as those on transport and energy – should not be discounted in favour of worldwide carbon markets…
    - Climate change has already become the most hotly-debated subject at the meetings in Davos this year, and the debate in which Sir Nicholas took part was one of the most eagerly awaited…

    - Sir Nicholas said that ruling out green taxes was "a risk we cannot take…Unless we act quickly and effectively, we will not bring down carbon emissions…we must cut our emissions from current levels by around 40pc…The market hasn't worked because we haven't fixed it…Equity demands that the rich countries, who are largely responsible for this problem, do more about it…”
    - Sir Nicholas said he was not proposing a treaty in which countries around the world agree on a particular tax plan but said by discussing the issue, countries could align their fiscal policies.
    - However, he said it was essential to have a market structure which could determine the price of carbon.
    - The debate's panellists also included Vinod Khosla, founding chief executive of Sun Microsystems, who argued against the proposition that nuclear and clean coal technologies were the only long-term rivals to oil…Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, chair of the UK Atomic Energy Agency…said it would be foolish to rule nuclear power out, adding that it had a key role to play in green power generation in the coming years.

    TRADE IT:

    Climate change expert seeks expansion of carbon trading
    James Kanter and Alan Cowell, January 25, 2007 (International Herald Tribune)
    - The foremost European expert on climate change, Nicholas Stern, called Thursday for a huge expansion of carbon trading with China and India, and described 2007 as a "year of opportunity" to step up efforts to tackle global warming.
    - Stern, who is the chief economist for the British government and an author of an influential report on climate change, said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the program [by which businesses in wealthier countries in Europe and Japan pay to reduce pollution in poorer ones as a way of staying within government limits for emitting climate-changing gases like carbon dioxide] must "be capable of operating on a much bigger scale than it does at the moment." Stern said he saw "a wonderful market opportunity" and that trade under the program could be raised to $30 billion a year from the current level of about $1 billion.

    - Critics of the program complain that the reductions are hard to verify and that it mostly enriches a few bankers, consultants and factory owners.
    - Stern gained international stature last year when Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain presented his report on climate change, the Stern Review, which said that tackling global warming now would be far less costly than taking action later…
    - Kevin Smith of Carbon Trade Watch, a not-for-profit research group with a branch in London, said factories in China can sell large amounts of credits by installing equipment often required anyway…
    - Yuriko Koike, a delegate at Davos who is a special adviser to the Japanese prime minister and a former minister of the environment…supported Stern's call for an expansion of the program as it created "a win-win situation" benefiting businesses in Japan and China, and helped combat global warming.
    - Stern acknowledged that the design of the current verification procedure, which is overseen by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, had flaws.

    - But he said that the program remained the most potent tool to bring down emissions in countries like China, which is poised to overtake the United States as the world's leading polluter by 2009…
    - Stern also said the program was the fairest way for the rich world, which is responsible for 75 percent of the existing level of greenhouse gases, to help finance the majority of emissions reductions…
    - Although questions remained about whether existing institutions could do the job of overseeing such a vast expansion of carbon trading, Stern suggested that the World Bank and three United Nations bodies, including the climate change monitor, could take on the expanded verifications role…
    - "I think you see change across America," said Stern, praising ambitious targets set by California to lower emissions, the fledgling carbon-trading programs among a group of states in the northeast of the country, and the pledge this week by President George W. Bush on energy efficiency…

    INVESTING IN CHINA: NEW ENERGY CAN BE BIG MONEY

    A Light Bulb Goes on, and China Starts Thinking ‘Alternative Energy’
    Matt Richtel, January 19, 2007 (NY Times)
    - …Seed investors are financing, or considering financing, start-ups in China that are developing equipment for wind and solar power, clean water and food alternatives and technology to promote energy efficiency…there is a growing number of investors who believe that the potential reward in China is worth the tremendous risk.

    - China has voracious energy needs and “the most serious environmental problem in the world,” said Jerry Li, a consultant in Beijing who matches venture capitalists with entrepreneurs. “There is a huge demand for investment” in alternative solutions, he said.
    Mr. Li is the first director of Cleantech China, a joint venture beginning this month between Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Cleantech Venture Network, a blossoming North American trade and research group for venture capitalists investing in alternative energy technology…
    - From June 2005 to June 2006, American venture capitalists put $100 million into China-based start-ups focused on alternative energy, double the investment in the period a year earlier…

    - But the challenges are immense…China has a hard-driving, fossil-fuel-centered economy that has so far done little to diminish its reliance on those fuels.
    - And venture capitalists have still not entirely figured out how to manage investments from such a distance, and across cultures, and, pointedly, how to get their money out once they’ve built the start-ups into viable companies…
    - Mr. Li said that within six months, he expected to have a database of some 300 Chinese start-ups seeking investment partners…
    - Mr. Li said the big challenge facing American venture capitalists is not so much finding viable technology as it is finding capable managers…

    NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENTS

    They don’t get much bigger than Duke Energy so when Duke goes Nuclear, something’s probably coming.

    Duke CEO joins Nuclear Energy Institute board
    January 11, 2007 (Charlotte Business Journal via Yahoo News)
    - The Nuclear Energy Institute has added Duke Energy Corp. Chief Executive Jim Rogers to its executive committee and board of directors…

    - All U.S. nuclear power plant licensees and selected representatives of other companies involved in nuclear technologies are members of the NEI board…
    - The NEI, based in Washington, D.C., establishes policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies, and the executive committee sets broad policy for the industry.

    Rogers was among the CEOs urging Congress to enact Carpon-Cap-and-Trade legislation. Because his company is going big on nuclear? And, as the Germans are being told, you’ve got to go big on nuclear to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Berlin warned on phasing out nuclear energy
    Bertrand Benoit, January 22, 2007 (Financial Times via Yahoo News)

    - Germany will miss its CO2 emission targets, face rising electricity prices and become "dramatically" more reliant on Russian gas if it keeps to its policy of phasing out nuclear energy…
    - [A] 60-page paper by Deutsche Bankwill add to the pressure on Angela Merkel, chancellor, to renegotiate the phase-out deal agreed by the previous government in 2000, despite her pledge not to reopen the controversial debate.
    - Rising concern about global warming and energy security have sparked a lively dispute…

    - Without nuclear energy, the bank says, the chancellor faces a painful choice between the three goals she has set herself - to reduce emissions, cut reliance on Russian fossil fuel and keep energy prices in check…
    - A spokesman for the environment ministry said Germany's goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 per cent of their 1990 level by 2020 "can be achieved without nuclear energy. But of course, nobody ever said it would be easy."
    - …With nuclear covering 25 per cent of Germany's electricity needs - and taking into account rising electricity demand and the need to replace old fossil-fuel plants - DB calculates 42,000MW of new plants will be needed by 2022.

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    BIG BUSINESS WANTS CARBON CAP-AND-TRADE

    Top US firms to urge Congress to fight global warming
    January 22, 2007 (AFP via Yahoo News)
    - Some of corporate America's biggest names, including Alcoa, General Electric and DuPont, will urge the US Congress next week to act swiftly to help offset global warming…The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), of which the three corporations are key members, said its members would issue a call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the findings of a year-long report…

    - The USCAP report will be issued a day before US President George W. Bush delivers his annual State of the Union speech…
    - The US president has said he does not support mandatory government emission caps on US industry and his administration withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol…
    - The group said the cornerstone of its approach would be to recommend "a cap-and-trade program" to trim greenhouse gases "to a level that minimizes large-scale adverse impacts to humans and the natural environment."
    - USCAP also groups BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, FPL Group, Lehman Brothers, energy group PG and E, PNM Resources and the non-governmental Environmental Defense group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the World Resources Institute.

    - Large US corporations have begun showing heightened concerns about global warming in recent years, especially since Hurricane Katrina…
    - US insurers State Farm and Allstate are not seeking new home insurance business along wide stretches of the US East Coast amid fears of bigger hurricanes…the chairman of the London-based Lloyd's insurance market, Peter Levene, urged governments and businesses to not delay acting on the threat of global warming.
    - Levene said Lloyd's is planning for fresh disasters, but questioned whether US lawmakers were seriously heeding the dangers posed by climate change.

    JUST PRESIDENTIAL RHETORIC?

    Energy Rhetoric, and Reality
    Editorial, January 25, 2007 (NY Times)
    - For six years, off and on, President Bush has been talking about the need for alternative fuels and conservation to make the country less beholden to unreliable sources of foreign oil. Yet all he has to show for it is a growing dependence on foreign oil, a growing climate problem and an increasingly cynical public…

    - Mr. Bush was true to form on one subject. The White House had promised nothing on global warming, and he delivered nothing. He mentioned “global climate change” but showed no sense of urgency on the issue…
    - …he did suggest that his proposals for alternative fuels and more efficient automobiles could also help reduce greenhouse gases. But these gains would be marginal…

    - Mr. Bush…offered no specifics on where these 35 billion gallons in alternative fuels are going to come from. Corn ethanol, a favorite of farm state politicians, cannot be expected to provide more than 15 billion gallons without driving up food prices. Cellulosic ethanol, made from grasses and woody material, shows great promise. But there is no commercial refinery in operation today, and there is not expected to be one for several years. Hydrogen, a longtime Bush favorite, is even further down the road…refining and then burning a gallon of gasoline derived from coal would send nearly twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a conventional gallon of gasoline…Trying to sequester the carbon dioxide underground during the refining process would be hugely expensive…
    - Despite growing interest among venture capitalists in environmentally friendly technologies, it seems unrealistic to depend on the private sector alone. Washington must help. But federal research and development spending on energy has been in free fall for more than 20 years…
    - Once again, we fear that very little will change…

    WIND GETS ENDORSED

    Audubon Society supports wind energy
    (December 21, 2006 (UPI)
    - The president of the National Audubon Society has said he backed wind power.
    - Previously, members of the bird-loving organization were skeptical of the massive turbines used in wind power that frequently caught birds in their blades…"Modern wind turbines are much safer for birds than their predecessors, but if they are located in the wrong places, they can still be hazardous and can fragment critical habitat," said John Flicker, president of the NAS…

    - the advocacy also stems from the misconception that just because you can't see the carcasses around coal-fired plants, doesn't mean its impossible that more birds aren't being killed there…
    - Birds are much more likely to be killed by buildings, vehicles, cats or pesticides than turbines. The latest concern for birds among scientists is global warming, reported Carl Levesque of the [American Wind Energy Association]…
    - The AWEA has worked with avian and other environmental groups in the past to try and build support for wind energy, including the forming an initiative called Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative.

    ANALYSIS:

    Is wind power for the birds?
    Kristyn Ecochard, December 22, 2006 (UPI)
    - Despite a recent endorsement from the National Audubon Society and improvements in bird-friendly technology, there is still some opposition to wind power…
    - Research showing prospective effects of climate change on bird populations demonstrated a need for prevention, one approach being renewable energy. The NAS has acknowledged the possible advantages of wind, while still encouraging extensive preconstruction research…National Wind Watch and the Humane Society remain skeptical.
    - The Audubon statement came as a shock to some bird lovers since wind turbines kill between 2,300 and 6,600 birds every year…opponents say that bird and bat deaths, as well as noise pollution, environmental damage and poor aesthetics are not worth the potential benefits. Some even question the effectiveness of wind turbines…
    - Urgency from the scientific community, however, has caused growth in the wind industry…aside from Altamont Pass, bird impact has been relatively low…
    - Precautions can still be taken to protect wildlife. Vertical axis turbines, which are close to commercialization, are a promising as a safer technology. Terra Moya Aqua Inc. has a model that has not been known to kill any birds or bats and is also quieter…

    - Wind farms that have red flashing lights on the turbine blades or sites that were studied previous to construction had lower [bat] fatality rates…
    - The Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a three-year preconstruction study to understand implications for animals…the ongoing Ohio Wind Project has been studying the placement, as well as the speed and size, of turbines…Another site credential is that it's not on a migratory path…

    SOLAR GETS ACTIVE

    Make 'em listen!

    Solar World: Solar Gets Political
    Leah Krauss, January 18, 2007 (UPI)

    - Energy industry lobbyists and political action committees, long familiar fixtures in the halls of the Capitol, will be joined in the 110th Congress by a new kid on the block…
    - Solar's first [Political Action Committee] registered with the Federal Election Commission in the spring of 2006 and made its first campaign contributions in the most recent election cycle…
    - The PAC made $10,500 in contributions to the campaigns of 19 House and Senate members, including 10 Democrats and nine Republicans…and raised a total of $21,000 by the end of 2006…
    - The solar PAC has an advisory committee that represents companies with different kinds of solar energy technology…the solar PAC advisors will spend time planning their moves for each election cycle.
    - The creation of the PAC "serves as notice that the (solar energy) industry is maturing as a political constituency and as a power player in Washington," [it’s spokesman] said…

    - Energy industry political pressure can be strong: Oil industry lobbying and contributions were instrumental in scoring a filibuster-proof amendment to the 2006 Senate budget resolution to allow for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…The watchdog group said that a collective called the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, a coalition of more than 1,200 energy producers, transporters and consumers, helped land the Alaskan drilling permit by posting "a Web site…
    - [Solar Energy Industry Association]'s goal of extending solar tax credits -- both in scope and in time limit -- certainly seems within reach if the solar industry can pull together a lobby like Big Oil's…

    - oil companies dwarf the solar industry when it comes to donation clout. However, most publicly traded solar energy companies recorded strong gains in 2005 and 2006…
    - Investment banking giant Merrill Lynch also recently announced that it would cover solar stocks -- another indicator the industry is becoming more powerful…
    - "The solar PAC will contend with more novel regulatory, technical and financial issues than other energy industry PACs," [an energy industry attorney recently predicted]…

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