NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007

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: EUROPE’S OFFSHORE WIND PROGRESS THIS YEAR
  • QUICK NEWS, July 23: NEW ENERGY WAS 55% OF 1H 2014 U.S. NEW BUILD; EV SALES LEAP; OCEAN ENERGY’S FINANCES UNDER SCRUTINY
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: WHY THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY BACKS AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY POLICY
  • QUICK NEWS, July 22: U.S. DOE FORESEES NEW ENERGY; THE BEST CITIES FOR NEW ENERGY; ENERGY STORAGE TO BE $50BIL MRKT
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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: THE COST OF ADDING SOLAR TO A UTILITY’S OPERATIONS
  • QUICK NEWS, 7-21: U.S. WIND, SOLAR TO GROW THROUGH 2020; NEW GEOTHERMAL RISING; CHINESE HAVE RIGHTS IN OREGON WIND BUY
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Colbert Gets Into Coal Rolling
  • Weekend Video: How Solar Power Plants Store And Use Solar Energy
  • Weekend Video: A Story About People And Wind Energy
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE CLIMATE CHANGED WORLD IS NOW 5 TIMES MORE DANGEROUS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE MONEY IN SOLAR, Q2 2014
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU STILL GROWING OCEAN WIND
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-$109MIL FROM GERMAN BANK BACKS KENYA GEOTHERMAL
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

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

  • TTTA Thursday-THE PREMATURE EVACUATION FROM CLIMATE CHANGE EXCITEMENT
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW ENERGY TO SUSTAIN BIG GROWTH – EIA
  • TTTA Thursday-SOLAR’S COST TO UTILITIES
  • TTTA Thursday-HOW UTILITIES CAN EVOLVE IN A NEW ENERGY WORLD
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Thursday, May 31, 2007

    NEW ENERGY: A GREAT QUESTION

    Solar, wind and wave/tide/current energies are like national forests and public parks: They require and deserve incentives, for the common good. Nuclear energy is like a ski resort, popular as long as the attendant risk, liability and environmental harm are paid for by the public, but should the public pay those expenses? Oil & gas are like amusement parks, popular, costly and, up until recently, affordable. But upkeep is beginning to make tickets too expensive and there is less need for them when the public derives more value from national forests and public parks. Let those who want amusement parks pay the price.

    U. S. incentives for renewable energy raise questions
    Daniel Gross, May 27, 2007 (NY Times via International Herald Tribune)

    WHO
    Businesses and governments.
    opportunity everywhere (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    The article raises the question of whether the incentives, mandates and subsidies driving investment in alternative energies amount to sound policy or bad economics.

    WHEN
    The incentives, mandates and subsidies have been, are being and will be used to encourage development of alternative energies. Examples: NYC will convert its city taxis to hybrids by 2012; President Bush called for the US to replace 20% of gasoline with ethanol by 2017.

    WHERE
    Federal government subsidies from Washington, D.C., renewable portfolio standards (RPS) for 20 states and city-sponsored incentives across the country reflect actions in the EU, Asia and around the world.

    WHY
    - The private sector, seeing the incentives, mandates and subsidies, is ramping up activity to get at the financial opportunities. But is this a market distortion, the economic basis of a bubble like the internet enthusiasms of the 1990s? Or the incentivizing of a new revolution (like the telegraph, the railroads, the Internet)? (Example: 85 ethanol projects will double capacity by 2008.)
    - It may be a distortion NOT to incentivize renewable energies because they negate the social costs of carbon dioxide generating energy like coal and imported energy like oil & gas. Nevertheless, the incentives have the unintended consequence of driving prices up on other energies.
    States where Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) create an incentive to invest. (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - Daniel Yergin, chairman, Cambridge Energy Research Associates: "There's a huge boom going on in alternative, renewable and new technologies, and it wouldn't be happening without the bouillabaisse of incentives, mandates, subsidies and the related group of ingredients…"
    - Rayola Dougher, senior economic analyst, American Petroleum Institute: "We think a reliance on market forces is the best way to satisfy any growing fuel requirements, and that any policies should provide a level playing field for all options…We just don't think at this point that the government should pick winners and losers."
    - Matt Hartwig, communications director, Renewable Fuels Association: “I equate the government support of ethanol to the government electrifying rural America or helping build the transcontinental railroads…The government helped set it up, and once it was there, the private sector took it over."
    - John Urbanchuk, director, LECG: "The whole alternative energy sector is still an infant industry and competing against a well-established, well-capitalized petroleum industry…"

    UK BACKS NEW ENERGY WITH BUCKS

    The Blair legacy must include his courageous, aggressive leadership in preparing Britain to deal with climate change, even in facing controversial questions like offshore wind and nuclear energy development.

    UK Announces Solar, Wind Grants
    May 25, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    British government’s Department of Trade and Industry's Low Carbon Buildings Program (LCBP)
    solar panels in the UK
    WHAT
    Hold removed, grants will be made available for homeowners’ micro-wind turbine and solar panel installations. New provisions: No monthly caps, planning permission required with application.

    WHEN
    - Announcement May 25. Applications open May 30.
    - LCBP launched April, 2006.

    WHERE
    Great (and we do mean GREAT) Britain.
    from the UK Energy Saving Trust (click to enlarge)
    WHY
    - $13.5 million allocated, $11.9 million additional budgeted.
    - Now $23.6 million more.
    - LCBP has funded 2,175 home installations: 242 mini-turbines, 313 Solar PV projects and 1,467 solar thermal heating systems.
    - New provisions designed to eliminate implementation issues which have plagued half the $13.5 million in grants allocated.

    QUOTES
    “The government is consulting on removing the need for planning permission for the majority of microgeneration installations, but it must be in place for LCBP grant applicants in the meantime.”

    SUING FOR EMISSIONS PERMISSION

    Fantastic opportunity to observe how this process works!

    Czech Republic will sue EU over cuts in carbon emissions limits
    May 25, 2007 (International Herald Tribune via Budapest Business Journal)

    WHO
    The Czech Republic’s Industry and Trade Ministry, Tomas Bartovsky, spokesman; the European Union

    WHAT
    The Czech Republic will sue the EU for setting its CO2 emission allowances below its request.

    WHEN
    - Decision and announcement May 25.
    - Contention is over 2008-2012 CO2 caps.
    - 2005 emissions: 82.5 million metric tons
    - 2006 emissions: 83.7 million metric tons

    WHERE
    The Czech Republic is in eastern Europe’s Balkan region. (See Map)
    Where (click to enlarge)
    WHY
    - The EU’s Commission set the Czech Republic’s annual CO2 emissions cap at 86.6 million metric tons, 14.8% lower than the 102 million requested.
    - Czech argument: The EU underestimated growth, wrongly added in household and transportation emissions.
    - The Czech government argues this will harm economic growth.

    QUOTES
    “The Czech Republic is the second EU nation after Slovakia to threaten court action over the emission plan.”

    IRAQ OIL LAW: UPDATE

    A benchmark or lack thereof.

    Iraq Oil Talks Ongoing, No Progress
    May 25, 2007 (UPI)
    and
    Former Oil Minister: Iraq Law Weeks Away
    May30, 2007 (UPI)
    Why we fight? (click to enlarge)
    WHO
    Iraqi negotiators: Ashti Hawrami, energy minister, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, former and potential future oil minister.

    WHAT
    Negotiations over the laws governing Iraqi oil & gas resource and revenue sharing between interested factions has reached no conclusions. One insider says legislation is two months away.

    WHEN
    - This report made May 25; negotiations ongoing. There is an “end of May” deadline that is unlikely to be met.
    - Bahr al-Ulum’s statement was May 30.

    WHERE
    Negotiations ongoing in Baghdad.

    WHY
    - The main contentions:
    1. The KRG wants distributed resources, giving them control over the northern oil regions, and distributed revenues paid directly to them
    2. Sunni and Shia groups favor more centralization through the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC)
    3. Unions threated a strike if multinational oil companies have access/ownership but investment from the multinationals may be necessary to revive the industry.
    - Production remains at 2 million barrels/day, despite 115 billion barrel reserves and capacity of 6 million barrels/day. Iraq’s 1.6 million barrel/day exports = 93% of Iraqi budget.
    - US leaders are pressuring the negotiators to make a law; many contend the pressure is toward including the multinationals in the deal. The negotiators expert in oil law want to resist the pressure.
    - A previously scheduled summit between negotiators and investors in Dubai was cancelled.
    - Bahr al-Ulum, oil minister September 2003 to June 2004 and May to December 2005, foresees grounds for compromise and resolution. Bahr al-Ulum is affiliated with the Fadhila Party, which is opposed to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. He would replace current oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani.
    She is losing.
    QUOTES
    - Hawrami: "Nothing to report yet, no progress, we are still in Baghdad…and have lined up more meetings to see if the remaining issue can be resolved."
    - Bahr al-Ulum: “[The new legislation will reconstitute the Iraq National Oil Company] which can regulate the oil and gas sectors which suffer from lack of coordination between several decision maker and administrative units."

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    WORKING OUT WIND

    Get involved in winning wind: Power of Wind, an opportunity to take action. And don't forget about WINDPOWER 2007, Los Angles, June 3-6.

    Wind Energy Debate Continues
    Kristyn Ecochard, May 25, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources; Gregory Wetstone, senior director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA); Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. & Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.; Henri Bissan, Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Melissa Simpson, U.S. Forest Service/Department of Agriculture; Vickie VanZandt, Department of Energy; Timothy Keeney, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    WHAT
    There is debate on how best to facilitate wind energy project implementation. Federal standardization is controversial. (Example: Rahall’s Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act.)

    WHEN
    Rahall’s act introduced May 23. The bill is under review. Mark up will begin after Memorial Day.

    WHERE
    Rahall’s act introduced to House Committee on Natural Resources.

    WHY
    - Rahall introduced the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act: Enforced by the Departments of Interior and Energy, strict regulations with fines/jail time for new and existing non-compliant turbine owners. Rahall’s act has met serious opposition from wind energy experts and advocates. Many believe it is an example of legislation written without an understanding of wind energy technology.
    - Rahall seeks to protect federal land use but committee members seek to do so without impeding energy development. Witnesses told the committee the bill has redundant language and changes programs under way. Biofuel, hydro and wind may all be slowed.

    QUOTES
    - Wetstone: "Wind power is an essential element of the climate change solution…Further increasing the percentage of electricity wind produces in America will provide much-needed price stability, generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for farmers and rural communities, and create tens of thousands of jobs…We should be looking for ways to accelerate wind energy's growth rather than putting roadblocks in its path."
    - Rahall: "I'm not against wind energy…But as it grows, and there's no denying that it is growing, there's increasing resistance due to lack of regulations and the adverse effect on wildlife, reported by the Government Accountability Office and the National Research Council…The Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are not being fully complied with and the legislation seeks to enable the wind energy industry to grow in a way that's compatible with those federal laws."
    - Wetstone: "Wind energy requires no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel transportation, no hazardous waste disposal, and no water use; and wind energy generates electricity without toxic pollutants like mercury, without greenhouse pollution, and of course without the conventional pollutants that cause smog and acid rain…Is this really an energy sector Congress should close down, for environmental reasons?"
    - Miller: "We have a lot of input but what we really want is a good fuel that makes economical and environmental sense and we ought to let people go to work and figure out how to come up with that product…"
    - Bissan: "I don't see why the process, which is working, should be changed…"

    MR. SPOCK OVER CAPTAIN KIRK?

    Mr. Spock was half-human and you could always tell he was struggling to control his feelings in order to save the Enterprise. He was never motivated by personal gain.

    David Brooks (Captain Kirk?) Vs. Al Gore (Mr. Spock?) – Score One For Gore!
    Benjamin R. Barber, May 29, 2007 (Huffington Post)
    Gore with Richard Branson
    WHO
    Global warming guru, former Vice President and Presidential candidate Al Gore, conservative NY Times columnist David Brooks

    WHAT
    Brooks wrote an op-ed piece which author Barber claims is a model for how Republicans will attack Gore if he runs for and wins the Democratic nomination for President.

    WHEN
    The Brooks piece appeared May 22. It was about Gore’s theoretical 2008 presidential candidacy.

    WHERE
    The Brooks piece was in the NY Times.

    WHY
    - Gore’s Oscar-winning film about climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and his passionate environmental advocacy has engenedered new popularity.
    - Brooks calls Gore a "Vulcan Utopian" and an unemotional "Mr. Spock" in contrast to President Bush’s Captain Kirk.

    QUOTES
    - Barber: “…the real problem is Gore has this "bizarre" rationalist view of human nature that makes a distinction between lower and higher parts of our brains even though "the reality is that there is no such neat distinction." Actually, David, it was folks like Christ and then Sigmund Freud who preferred this view about higher and lower parts of human nature, and I don't think either was exactly an Enlightenment rationalist…”

    - Barber: “…Well, David…We've spent six years witnessing the "dark thickets of human nature" in action in an administration that has made a fetish of ignoring reason, science and the Enlightenment. So if you want to make the '08 race a choice between reason and stupidity, between science and superstition and between Enlightenment and the "dark thickets of human nature," let's do it…”
    - Barber: “…I will be happy to have the "Vulcan Utopian" in my corner -- though I agree with you Gore is partial to dispassionately "exchanging facts" in order to "arrive at logical conclusions." Something you apparently disparage. And something for which President Bush and those Republicans who still admire him have shown little interest and still less talent…I'll bet my bottom dollar on Mr. Spock…most Americans are ready for policies rooted in fact rather than fiction, and will welcome a President capable of reaching "logical conclusions" and thus be thrilled to elect Al Gore as President…”

    CCS TEST GOES FORWARD

    Prove CCS works safely, save the world!

    Carbon Sequestration Field Test Begins In Illinois Basin
    May 25, 2007 (The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium via Oil and Gas Online)

    WHO
    The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), the Department of Energy (DOE)
    varieties of CCS (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    MGSC will conduct a “huff-and-puff” field test of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and geologic carbon dioxide sequestration by injecting CO2 into a producing oil well, letting it sit for 3-5 days, restarting well production and measuring changes in flow.

    WHEN
    - MGSC is one of 7 regional partnerships created by DOE in 2002
    - The rural, flat agricultural site, an existing oil field for over 65 years, was chosen from 38 sites in June 2005.

    WHERE
    Loudon Field, Fayette County, Ill.

    WHY
    - Geologic sequestration of CO2 is one of the most promising ideas to curtail greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Deep underground porous rock capped by impermeable rock can trap the GHGs.
    - EOR can also boost oil production if injection increases well pressure or reduces oil viscosity and increases flow.
    - A previous 45 ton CO2 injection increased production fourfold but petered out. This test will also measure the geologic sequestration retention.

    QUOTES
    Wikipedia: “CCS applied to a modern conventional power plant could reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by approximately 80-90% compared to a plant without CCS. Capturing and compressing CO2 requires much energy and would increase the fuel needs of a plant with CCS by about 10-40%. These and other system costs are estimated to increase the cost of energy from a power plant with CCS by 30-60% depending on the specific circumstances.”
    Wikipedia: “A major concern with CCS is whether leakage of stored CO2 will compromise CCS as a climate change mitigation option. For well-selected, designed and managed geological storage sites, IPCC estimates that CO2 could be trapped for millions of years, and are likely to retain over 99% of the injected CO2 over 1000 years.”

    DIESEL TAX BOONDOGGLE?

    When does a loophole become a boondoggle?

    Tax break fuels a lobbying fight over alternative energy
    Jim Snyder, May 24, 2007 (The Hill)

    WHO
    The IRS, oil giant ConocoPhillips (spokesman Bill Graham), Tyson Foods (and the National Pork Producers Council, the National Chicken Council), 54 congressional cosponsors including Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) & Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the Advanced Biofuels Coalition (manager Michael McAdams of Hart Energy)

    WHAT
    TheIRS ruled that a $1-a-gallon “renewable diesel” tax break applies to animal fat additives. Congress wants to repeal this section of the bill.

    WHEN
    The IRS ruling is based on a provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

    WHERE
    The tax break is federal. The fight is in Washington, D.C.

    WHY
    - The provision was intended to support a process turning turkey offal into biofuel. A broader interpretation is being used for animal fat additives to petroleum. This could cost hundreds of millions in revenues as well as suppress small biodiesel producers.
    - Tyson Foods supplies animal fats to Conoco for 175 million gallons of renewable diesel, therefore is eligible for the tax break.
    - The tax break has inadvertently driven up the cost of animal fat, as oil companies seek it out as an additive to claim the incentive. This has driven up the cost of soap.
    click to enlarge
    QUOTES
    - Graham: “…[If Congress’s intent was to] foster renewable technology innovation and commercialization, then there must be parity among the technologies and feedstocks that are going to be utilized…”
    - Doggett: “…green-energy initiatives [become a] public boondoggle…”

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    NEED A JOB? TRY GREEN-COLLAR WORK

    Opportunity is growing as fast as our need for energy.

    Call For ‘Green-Collar’ Workers
    Rosalie Westenskow, May 24, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    Citigroup Inc., Bank of America, Yale Environment School, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (Van Jones, president), the Apollo Alliance (President Jerome Ringo), the Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) (Elsa Barboza, campaign coordinator), the Joint Global Change Research Institute (Jae Edmonds, chief scientist), Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    Major funding commitments going into alternative energy projects is creating new job opportunities. Training and competence are now controversial. Some favor the well-educated, some favor blue-collar workers. Conservatives favor leaving the free market alone, liberals favor job programs. (See the Solis and Sensenbrenner remarks below.)

    WHEN
    Citigroup’s commitment was made in May. B of A’s was in March. Both were 10-yeasr commitments.

    WHERE

    WHY
    Citigroup: $50 billion; Bank of America: $20 billion;
    Training will be necessary, experts agree. An example is jobs in wind: wind turbine and tower manufacturers, wind farm maintenance workers.
    The Apollo Alliance (a non-profit advocate for clean-energy job training) proposes $300 billion in federal funds to cities, over 10 years, to create 3 million jobs in building efficiency, renewable energy, investments, biofuels, etc., for low-income workers who have been hit disproportionately hard by global warming (example: Hurricane Katrina) and are likely to continue to be.
    SCOPE proposes $100 million in LA for 2000 jobs energy-retrofitting (upgrading/replacing insulation, lights, heating and cooling systems, windows, etc. )100 city buildings.
    click to enlarge
    QUOTES
    Dan Esty, co-author, "Green to Gold…” & director, Yales’ Center for Business and Environment: "There's a huge demand for people trained for environmental skills…We had a record number of applicants to our program (this year) and our graduates have many more job opportunities…"
    Jones: "We believe the green, clean-energy economy can do more than create business opportunities for the rich…We also believe that the green economy can create job opportunities for the poor…The most important thing that the federal government can do right now on the job side is to make money available to cities to figure out their own strategies…"
    Barboza: "Greening existing infrastructure such as buildings is a great way to preserve and make more sustainable older urban communities that have been neglected…Projects that pay a fair wage can also benefit the local community, particularly low-income urban workers."
    Edmonds: “(Energy) technologies grow and are deployed in the context of an economy…Jobs are part of the production processes and therefore part of the deployment of those technologies."
    Solis: “[Funding training will] create pathways out of poverty…Businesses are already doing this and the biggest complaint is that there isn't a trained workforce…That's what our job should be -- to boost that."
    Sensenbrenner: "I believe the free market forces of the private sector offer the best road to job creation…I think relying on the government to create jobs is a dead end…Is installing a solar panel fundamentally different than installing a satellite dish? I have serious questions about what type of training will really be needed for so-called 'green collar' jobs."

    CA ENERGY: ACCESS OR MANIPULATION?

    This is definitely an area where California is a trendsetter. So what's coming, CA?

    California PUC Takes Step to Deregulate Part of Energy Market
    Paul Elias, May 24, 2007 (AP via Yahoo Finance)

    WHO
    The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), President Michael Peevey; Timothy Simon, PUC commissioner; consumer advocate group The Utility Reform Network; top Democratic lawmakers Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Sherman Oaks.
    The earlier problems weren't exactly part of a trend (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    The PUC moved to explore the possibility of re-instituting “direct access,” a program allowing large commercial power buyers (hospitals, universities, businesses) to purchase electricity from alternate providers. This is considered a step toward deregulation of energy and a possible vulnerability to crisis like the 200/2001 shortages and price spikes.

    WHEN
    - Vote to consider “direct access” was May 24.
    - Consideration will last a minimum of 18 months.

    WHERE
    State of California

    WHY
    - Pro: California State University, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. & the Alliance for Retail Energy Markets. Argument: Retail energy competition allows shopping for lower rates, prices have stabilized.
    - Anti: The Utility Reform Network, Democratic legislators. Argument: Deregulation makes possible market manipulation, soaring utility prices and rolling blackouts as occurred in 2000/2001 and the legislative response to that crisis precludes deregulation until 2017.
    - The PUC’s action has 3 phases. 1. determine legal authority. 2. decide if it should. 3. when to roll it out.
    Which way?
    QUOTES
    - Peevey: "Consumers have choices for most of the purchases they make, and we will evaluate whether and how that may include electricity…Retail competition may exert further downward pressure on rates."
    - Simon: "Introducing competition has not always brought about lower rates for customers…"
    - Perata, Nunez, Kehoe, Levine: "The prohibitions enacted are not ambiguous.."

    THE ENERGY WAR

    Or we could just wait 'til the oil runs out and wing it.

    How to win the energy war
    Frank G. Zarb, May 23, 2007 (International Herald Tribune)

    WHO
    Frank G. Zarb was US “energy czar,” served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations and headed the Nasdaq, among many other distinguished positions. Aside from not being able to hold a job for very long, he seems more than qualified to express an opinion.
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    The U.S. failure to accommodate reality by its ongoing dependence on foreign oil and how that can be addressed.

    WHEN
    In this op-ed piece, Mr. Zarb contends the U.S. has failed to move away from dependence on foreign oil for 30 years despite its ability to eliminate this vulnerability, an historical anomaly as well as a political mistake.

    WHERE
    Mr. Zarb lays the failure to make this change at the feet of U.S. political leadership.

    WHY
    - Four “facts”: No. 1: US vulnerability to interrupted oil supply; No. 2: Foreign, military and economic policy dependence on oil; No. 3: Failure to act after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, when imports were 35% of consumption; No. 4: Lack of response is a lack of political will.
    - Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush may all be implicated.
    - Zarb’s energy plan ground rules to reduce oil consumption & increase other energy supplies over a 10 to 12 year period: 1. gas prices must signal a change in driving and car-buying: a 50 cent/gallon gas tax (rebates for low-income taxpayers, revenue to incentivize fuel-efficient vehicles, 4% annual improvement in CAFE standards); 2. nuclear power plants (federal streamlining of licensing and site approval)
    click to enlarge
    QUOTES
    “The basic elements of a responsible energy policy are not complicated, but the politics are horrendous. Still, we can't continue to throw empty rhetoric at the issue, using the oil companies as political punching bags and relying on our troops to keep the oil flowing.
    I once told President Ford that some of our energy proposals were angering both Democrats and Republicans. His reply: "We must have it just right!" If only the presidential candidates could show the same sort of courage.”

    NUCLEAR TO DIG SANDS?

    This bizarre idea of using nuclear energy to get oil out of the Canadian tar sands surfaces again. Or is this just a way for Alberta to get its own nuclear industry subsidized by the oil industry?

    Shell possible customer for atomic energy
    Renato Gandia, May 22, 2007 (Fort McMurray Today)

    WHO
    Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiary Sure Northern Energy Ltd.; Energy Alberta Corp., Wayne Henuset, president; Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.; Regional Issues Working Group, Jacob Irving, executive director.
    Alberta oil: Not exactly a well (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    Sure North, holder of the most expensive oil sands lease ever, is reportedly considering using nuclear energy to generate the electricity necessary to develop oil out of the bitumen deposits.

    WHEN
    - Sure North took the lease last year.
    - Rumors about the use of nuclear energy electricity for oil development were unconfirmed on May 22.
    - Last week, an Energy Alberta open house won acceptance for the nuclear plan from all but 3 of 300 attendees.
    - Development of the Sure North lease is not expected until after 2010.

    WHERE
    - The leasehold is 100 kilometers northwest of Fort McMurray in Alberta.
    - The highly approving open house was in Whitecourt in central Alberta, where the nuclear reactor may be located. It may also be located in Peace River, an Alberta town closer to the oil fields.

    WHY
    - Rumors about the use of nuclear energy electricity came out of talks confirmed by Energy Alberta with the other companies.
    - Husky Energy confirms interest in partnering with Royal Dutch on the development of nuclear energy electricity to work the tar sands oil.
    - Natural gas is the primary energy used in working the hard to get oil out of the tar sands. Steam and electricity from natural gas plants drive the process at Syncrude Canada and Suncor Energy. But natural gas supplies may be dwindling.
    - Energy Alberta claims nuclear would be cheaper and would cut back greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
    - Development of the tar sands will require a lot of electricity.
    where oil sands are, where nuclear will be (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - Henuset: “But we don’t have any contract with any oilsands company…We’re proposing to bring Candu Canadian technology, to become the lowest cost provider of energy for the oilsands producers in the region…”
    - Irving: “It’s not in the Regional Issues Working Group’s position to allow or disallow the use of specific energy source…Supply of natural gas is always an issue and individual companies look at their own ways of fixing the problem…”

    ABDULLAH WANTS SOLAR

    Abdullah Wants Solar Energy Development Intensified
    May 25, 2007 (Bernama)

    WHO
    Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia; Shinzo Abe, Prime Minster of Japan
    Malaysia (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    The Malaysian PM wants his country to follow Japan’s lead in developing renewable energy sources such as solar energy.

    WHEN
    Statements made following a 5-day visit to Japan.

    WHERE
    See map of Malaysia.

    WHY
    - Abdullah sees monetary savings in using solar energy to run street lighting, as Japan does. He is anxious to develop technological cooperation with Japan and was promised cooperation by Japan’s P.M.
    - The P.M. was impressed in Japan by solar energy’s accessibility and affordability.
    - The two P.M.s agreed on the threat of global warming, affirmed Japan’s goal to bring down temperatures by 2050 and promised mutual cooperation.
    - The P.M. will also take up the matter of a safety bar on lorries to prevent accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians.
    solar powered street light
    QUOTES
    Abdullah: "This can be overcome by forging cooperation in research and development (R&D) with Japan, a country known for having numerous techniques to exploit solar energy…It's not as expensive as before. Some middle-class households are using solar power but not for the entire house…[Abe] said Japan is ready to work with other countries so that together they can focus on global warming. I told him that as an industrial powerhouse, Japan would surely have the means to carry out its plans…"

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    U. S. ZONING HAMPERS WIND

    Deeds are the finest memorial: Stand up for wind at The Power of Wind.

    Wind power is stymied by zoning rules
    Paul J. Weber, May 25, 2007 (AP via Houston Chronicle)
    Aerovironment's Architectural Wind --you could power YOUR building with this. (click to enlarge)
    WHO
    Cities (zoning boards and neighborhood associations) and green-minded homeowners with backyard windmills.

    WHAT
    Growing interest in backyard turbines is creating conflicts over zoning and use permits.

    WHEN
    Ongoing struggles.
    WHERE
    Communities across the US

    WHY
    - Complaints against home turbines: unsightliness, possible flying blades, falling or crashing poles, noise.
    - Backyard windmills, can start at $12,000 and cut utility bills 10 to 50%. They are an $18 million-a-year US industry and could triple with permiting difficulties resolved.
    Variances, by definition, create further inequities.
    Don't let politics stop this (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - Roy Butler, owner, Four Winds Renewable Energy: "Planning and zoning are the single biggest obstacle to wind energy in the United States…"
    - Gary Lisle, Dallas applicant for a backyard wind turbine: "The fact is, we're dealing with ignorance…"
    - Melissa, Texas, Mayor David Dorman: "If a developer came in tomorrow and said we have an idea for a green subdivision, I'd be all for it…"
    - Michael Bennett, general manager of the Bear Valley Springs homeowner association: "The No. 1 concern has been visual blight," Bennett said, "and No. 2, the noise level."
    - Rhode Island Renewable Energy owner Dave Anderson: "There's a lot of people who don't want to go through the hassle of fighting town hall…They say, 'We're not going to fight that fight.'"

    CHINA MOVES TO CUT EMISSIONS

    China wants to stop energy-guzzling industries
    May 27, 2007 (Khaleej Times)

    WHO
    China’s National Development and Reform Commission
    China's rising consumption (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    The National Development and Reform Commission announced it will remove preferential policies for disproportionately large energy-consuming industries.

    WHEN
    - Announcement made May 27.
    - Energy consumption fell 1.23 percent in 2006, less than 1/3 of 4% goal.

    WHERE
    Announcement came from Beijing, applying to China nationwide.
    Part of a pattern of rising consumption (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    - The announcement is seen as one among many steps China is taking to get skyrocketing energy consumption under control.
    - Primary targets: power, steel, oil refinery, chemicals, construction materials and metals industries, 70% of industrial energy.
    - Preferential programs scrutinized: tax holidays, cheap use of government land.

    QUOTES
    “The Chinese government set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but failed miserably in 2006, the first year of implementation.”

    INDIA MOVES TO CUT CONSUMPTION

    Centre lays out codes for energy conservation
    May 28, 2007 (Indian Financial Express via Yahoo News India)

    WHO
    Indian Power Minisiter Sushilkumar Shinde, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE); Ministry of Urban Development; Centre for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, IIT Kanpur,
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    The Indian government has initiated an Energy Conservation Building Code which prescribes non-residential building energy efficiency design and construction standards.

    WHEN
    Projects are undertaken and planned.

    WHERE
    Throughout India.
    India's rising consumption (click to enlarge)
    WHY
    - Standards, applicable to buildings consuming over 500 kilowatts, presently voluntary but will become mandatory; expected to reduce energy consumption 25-40% (1.7 billion units of power) and save Rs 80,000 crore.
    - Specifications for: lighting systems, building envelopes, optimisation of lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning; requirements for insulation, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), etc.; ITT studies may optimize accommodation to climate and sun path.
    - Required: Centralized solar water heating systems for 20% building capacity and auto lighting systems w/auto on-off devices
    - Indian government ministries will facilitate availability of efficiency materials and equipment, monitor implementation and audit.

    QUOTES
    “State-owned power plant equipment maker, Bhel, claimed on Sunday [May 27] that it was able to achieve 80 per cent of the target set for it by the government…”

    BP QUITS CCS PROJECT

    BP abandons plans to build carbon capture plant
    May 23, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    BP, spokesman David Nicholas;
    CCS: carbon capture and sequestration (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    BP announced its decision to not pursue the construction of a carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) plant in Scotland when the UK government postponed competition for a subsidy award from March to November. BP described the government’s decision as “understandable.”

    WHEN
    - Decision May 23.
    - BP has been exploring the project for 18 months

    WHERE
    The CCS project halted was in Scotland.

    WHY
    - CCS technology, still unproven but much talked about as a solution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, captures the CO2 emitted by generating electricity through the burning of fossil fuel and stores it. If proven to be widely practical, it might alleviate the harm done by coal and natural gas electricity generation in big economies like the US, China and India.
    - BP expended $50 million (25 million pounds) on preparations by 70 staff members over 18 months. The plan was to burn British and Norwegian North Sea natural gas and pump the CO2 back into North Sea oil wells to pump out more oil.
    Stop is what BP decided to do
    QUOTES
    Nicholas: "That's an extension too far…Of course we're disappointed, it was a good opportunity but just one we couldn't bring to pass…We appreciate the breadth of issues the government has to face, it's difficult to put a time frame on it. We'll continue to work with the government and may even participate on someone else's project."

    Sunday, May 27, 2007

    2 GUYS ON GAS: ARNOLD LIKES LNG

    More on liquified natural gas.

    Climate Change Works Into LNG
    Hil Andersen, May 22, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; U.S. Maritime Administration, Sean Connaughton, head; Rory Cox, Pacific Environment, program director; Californians for Clean, Affordable Energy;
    LNG terminal (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    Gov. Schwarzenegger included remarks affirming the value of Liquified Nautral Gas (LNG) as an energy source in his rejection of a proposed Cabrillo Point LNG terminal project.

    WHEN
    - Project rejected the week of May 18.

    WHERE
    - The proposed Cabrillo Point LNG facility was too near the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

    WHY
    It is considered significant that Schwarzenegger’s explanation to federal authorities about rejecting the LNG terminal project on environmental grounds contained no objections to liquified natural gas as a fossil fuel and greenhouse gas (GHG)-producing contributor to global warming. It is particularly significant because the Governor has not in previous battles been reluctant to refer to climate change.
    - Schwarzenegger’s grounds for rejecting the Cabrillo Point site: 1. potential threat to nearby Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary waters; 2. air-polluting emissions from terminal regasification equipment and the LNG-carrying tankers.
    - NIMBY objections to terminals raised questions about them as targets of terrorist attacks or dnagerous accident sites but LNG has been seen as a preferable power plant fuel to coal, readily delivered from Asia as well as abundant and relatively cheap.
    - Environmentalists have declared that LNG production/processing/transport negates the lower emissions from burning natural gas.
    calculations like these frequently fail to consider transportation and processing emissions (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - Schwarzenegger: "Liquefied natural gas can and must be an important addition to California's energy portfolio…The Cabrillo Port LNG project as proposed would result in significant and unmitigated impacts to California's air quality…Any LNG import facility must meet the strict environmental standards California demands."
    - Cox: "The dialogue has shifted in a huge way…This is no longer only about the safety factor. Nor can it be said to be 'just a NIMBY' issue. Rather, our critique of LNG -- that it's a setback to clean energy, that it's an unnecessary boondoggle, and that it will contribute to global warming -- has hit the mainstream."
    - Californians for Clean, Affordable Energy: "While we support energy conservation and efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources, California still needs additional supplies of clean-burning natural gas…By taking advantage of a large global supply of LNG, California can avoid gyrating prices and give businesses and consumers a more stable energy market…"

    2 GUYS ON GAS: BOONE PICKENS LIKES CNG

    More on compressed natural gas.

    Boone Pickens eyes $70 mln for Clean Energy IPO; Natural gas fueling station provider to raise about $300 million
    Steve Gelsi, May 23, 2007 (MarketWatch via Dow Jones)

    WHO
    Oil and energy billionaire and powerbroker T. Boone Pickens, co-founder, Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
    T. Boone Pickens, a hands-on guy
    WHAT
    An Initial Public Offering for Clean Energy Fuels Corp., owner and operator of natural gas supplies and filling stations, advocate of (CNG) as a vehicle fuel; CLNE, Nasdaq. The results were reported as “lackluster.”

    WHEN
    - The IPO was scheduled for May 25.
    - Follow-up story on results of IPO: Pickens’ Gas IPO Runs on Fumes (Business Week, May 25, 2007)

    WHERE
    Clean Energy Fuels Corp., based in Sea Branch, Calif., has natural gas stations in California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, British Columbia and Ontario, and a liquid natural gas (LNG ) facility in Willis, Texas.

    WHY
    - Clean Energy Fuels Corp. sells natural gas fuel to Los Angeles International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, SuperShuttle, Foothill Transit, Waste Management, Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Sysco Foods, Denver International Airport and the US Navy.
    - IPO: 20 million shares, $13-$17 ea., to raise $300 million
    - May 25 Update: Share price dropped to $12 and shares offered cut to 10 million.
    - 1st Q, 2007: $861,000 loss, $28 million revenue; 1st Q, 2006: $3 million loss, $21 million revenue.
    - Pickens: oil and natural gas entrepreneur, 1980s corporate raider; invested $32 million cash, 2004 – 2006, + $50 million line of credit (increased to $100 million in 2006) to fund margin calls on futures; December, 2006, cancelled $69.7 million debt + assumed all outstanding futures contracts/associated liabilities-obligations ($78.7 million); Got 5-year warrant for 15 million shares CLNE @ $10/share. Now selling 4.9 million shares for $70 million @ $15/share. Will still own 29 million shares worth $435 million, the company's biggest shareholder. (Other shareholders: Westport Innovations Inc., Perseus 2000 LLC.)
    - Pickens’ hedge fund, BP Capital, earned $1.8 billion in 2006 betting on a decline in natural gas prices. His Exco Resources (oil and natural gas company) went public at $13/share in Feb., 2006, now at $18.40/share.
    a coming technoogy? (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    - IPO prospectus: “…[In the 1980s Pickens] became convinced that natural gas had a number of advantages over gasoline and diesel as a vehicle fuel…Over the next 15 years, Pickens and Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair worked to develop the market through vehicle fleets that run on natural gas, which burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel. Natural gas is also widely produced in North America, unlike imported oil.”
    - Business Week: “…Clean Energy faces plenty of obstacles, which may have dragged on the offering. According to James DeStefano, an analyst at IPO research shop, Renaissance Capital LLC, natural gas lags far behind ethanol in gaining the American public’s attention. While corn-based ethanol has plenty of critics for being inconvenient and inefficient, it has a much larger U.S. footprint. Major car makers like General Motors produce cars that can run on a fuel mixture of 85% ethanol. More importantly, ethanol is a common additive in much of the U.S. fuel supply; drivers are frequently ethanol customers whether they know it or not...By contrast, DeStefano says there are fewer than 150,000 natural gas powered vehicles in the country. “This is more of a show-me type story,” he says. “You’ve got to get the automakers in.” And that will be difficult with so few places where natural gas powered vehicles can fill up. And he says the company does not yet have the reach to move to international markets where natural gas is more popular.

    Saturday, May 26, 2007

    NEW ENERGY NEEDED

    Looking for something new? Check out black liquor gasification, below.

    Global Experts Urge Joint Efforts to Find New Energy Sources for Vehicles
    Louise Nordstrom, May 24, 2007 (AP via Yahoo Finance)

    WHO
    International car manufacturers and energy experts: Jurgen Leohold, researcher, Volkswagen AG; Magnus Henke, spokesman, conference organizer Ecotraffic;
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    Urging greater world-wide efforts to develop new and better biofuels and vehicle renewable energies.

    WHEN
    Statements made May 23.

    WHERE
    Statements made at conference in Stockholm, Sweden

    WHY
    - A new generation of biofuels seeks to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions
    - 1st generation fuels were agricultural crops like grains, corn, palm oil, and sugar cane; 2nd generation biofuels are/will include paper, pulp and wood.
    - Innovation: black liquor gasification. A fuel gas is produced from waste left by paper pulp purification. Higher efficiency but technical problems and startup costs remain.
    - Conference: 100 fuel production experts, politicians and car company reps, a dozen countries
    - EU goal: 10% of vehicle fuels to be biofuels by 2020.
    - Topics: the advantages and urgency of a new generation of automotive biofuels, especially w/developing countries increasing energy consumption.
    Black Liquor Gasification (click to enlarge)
    QUOTES
    Leohold: "We're facing a global problem, not a local problem…With the issues of climate change, Europe can't solve the problem alone."
    Henke: "If we stayed with that (first generation biofuels), we would be forced to reduce our energy consumption to a level that would be even below the one we have today…"

    GE: BIG WIND

    Maybe this is an example of why greenwashing is not so bad.

    Investing In Its Biggest Wind Farm, in Texas, GE Unit Expands Wind Energy Portfolio
    May 24, 2007 (Business Wire via Yahoo Finance)

    WHO
    GE Energy Financial Services (Kevin Walsh, Managing Director), Wachovia Corp., Babcock & Brown (Hunter Armistead, wind energy group head), Catamount Energy
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    GE Energy Financial and Wachovia will go 50/50 on 2 Texas windfarms totaling 241 megawatts of output.

    WHEN
    - Construction of Sweetwater 4 began August, 2006, and will complete May, 2007.
    - Construction of Sweetwater 5 began February, 2007, and will complete December, 2007.

    WHERE
    - windfarms: 20 miles southwest of Sweetwater, Texas, in Nolan County
    - announcement: Universal Studios California, GE's "Green is Universal" exhibition

    WHY
    - The 2 windfarms represent 241 megawatts of wind energy, moving Texas toward its target of 5,880 megawatts of renewable energy by 2015.
    - Sweetwater 4: 135 Mitsubishi 1.0-megawatt turbines, 46 Siemens 2.3-megawatt turbines; output sold to CPS Energy of San Antonio
    - Sweetwater 5: 35 Siemens turbines, 80-megawatts sold at market prices.
    - Babcock & Brown will manage/operate
    - GE Energy Financial has or takes part in 29 wind farms.
    click to enlarge
    QUOTES
    - Walsh: "This investment - along with a transaction we announced today in Roscoe, TX -- brings the total capacity our global wind equity holdings to more than 1,900 megawatts, and further diversifies our wind technology…in the spirit of GE's ecomagination initiative, these two wind farms will produce enough power for more than 90,000 homes and avoid 730,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to equivalent fossil fuel generation."
    - Armisted: "It is exciting to see the growth of this project…The addition of phases 4 and 5 brings the total capacity of the Sweetwater project to 585 MW and makes it one of the largest wind farms in the world."

    MORE HYDROGEN HYPE

    Note the phrase in the quote at the end: “…within around 10 years.” Somebody ought to do a blog called “More Hydrogen Hype.”

    Hydrogen Breakthrough Could Open The Road To Carbon-Free Cars
    May 23, 2007 (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council via Science Daily)

    WHO
    The UK Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium (UK-SHEC), project Co-ordinator Professor Peter Edwards,University of Oxford; also participating-- University of Birmingham, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire
    H atoms=green, Li atoms=dark grey, N atoms=blue, B atoms=grey inside pyramids (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    UK-SHEC scientists have developed a “chemisorption” process to make Hydrogen (H) vehicle fuel practically storable in quantities capable of providing a 300-mile trip, the commercially feasible minimum acceptable trip distance.

    WHEN
    Within “around” 10 years.

    WHERE
    UK
    WHY
    - Storing a 300-mile range of H fuel at standard temperature and pressure would require a container the size of a bus while pressurizing or liquefying it would add too much weight. - Chemisorption: H gas atoms absorb into the crystal structure of L (after testing 1000s of soldi state substances). Lithium Hydride (Li4BN3H10) powder stores H at higher density but acceptable weight and volume. H is released as needed to the vehicle’s fuel cell.
    - H fuel is a utopian dream because it creates energy without greenhouse gas (GHG) emission byproducts. A 2004 report ('A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy', published by Etech, Element Energy and Eoin Lees Energy) found Kyoto Protocol limits on CO2 could be met by H vehicles and no other changes.
    great science project
    QUOTES
    -Edwards: "This could be a major step towards the breakthrough that the fuel cell industry and the transport sector have waited for…. "It's due to SUPERGEN's vision of combining many of the leading groups in the UK to tackle this, arguably the biggest challenge for the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This work could make a key contribution to helping fuel cell cars become viable for mass-manufacture within around 10 years."

    BIOFUELS: BAD AIR

    Swiss Report: Biofuels Not Eco-Friendly
    May 22, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    The Swiss Federal Environment Office, the Federal Energy Office and the Federal Agriculture Office.
    click to enlarge
    WHAT
    A study (Rainer Zah, co-author) commissioned by the Swiss governmental agencies reports that though biofuels reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), they produce other potentially harmful forms of air pollution when burned as fuel.

    WHEN
    The report was released May 22.

    WHERE
    The study was done by scientists in Switzerland.

    WHY
    - The study of production cycles for bioethanol, biomethanol, biodiesel and biomethane found that biofuel production, though saving approximately 1/3 less GHGs than petroleum-derived fuels, generally caused so much more stress on the environment that they could not be termed “eco-friendly.”
    - The study also cites greater environmental damage to air and soil from increased fertilizer use resulting from higher demand for biofuel-producing crops, as well as slash-and-burn land-clearing for planting, which also generates GHGs..
    - The study did cite ways to make biofuel production less environmentally damaging, an option not available with fossil fuels.

    QUOTES
    Zah: "The energetic efficiency and the resulting reduced emissions of greenhouse gases cannot be the sole criteria for assessing the environmental friendliness of biofuels…The prefix 'bio' doesn't necessarily mean environment friendly."

    DEAL: SUN TO UAE

    NOT coals to Newcastle. Making New Energy where the sun shines.

    Electron Solar Energy Signs New Dubai Distributor to Bring Solar Energy Systems to the United Arab Emirates
    May 22, 2007 (Business Wire via Yahoo Finance)

    WHO
    Electron Solar Energy, Christopher P. Quinn, CEO; Tibo Company LLC, Thomas George, President and Chief Electrical Engineer.
    UAE (click to enlarge)
    WHAT
    - Tibo will handle Elecron’s solar energy systems in Dubai and throughout the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    WHEN
    - The deal is done and the solar energy systems are ready for market, especially the energy-hungry Dubai market.
    - Tibo was established in 1969.

    WHERE
    - The deal is on solar energy systems to be sold in Dubai and throughout the UAE.
    - Electron Solar Energy is based in Miami, FL
    - Tibo Company LLC is Dubai-based.

    WHY
    - Tibo currently handles Electron batteries.
    - Dubai’s energy consumption went up 30% in 2006, in association with enormous growth and construction. The city is becoming a Middle East hub.

    QUOTES
    - Quinn: "Cash-rich oil nations are investing heavily into the Region; developing and building out the infrastructure in addition to creating the world's most luxurious tourist attractions. Dubai is currently the fastest growing city on Earth. This construction boom is progressing at an unprecedented level of luxury and technological advancement. With that type of forward thinking in place, Dubai will be a hotspot for green building technology and alternative energy products for years to come."
    - George: "The UAE represents a very attractive market for solar energy systems. Since the UAE lies on the earth's Sunbelt, its angle of Insolation is one of the highest in the world. Electron presented the ideal opportunity for Tibo to enter the solar energy market. I am considering setting up a grid-tie solar panel system in my new villa in Dubai to showcase Electron's Solar Energy systems to potential customers. Clients will see that installation as a testament to how much I believe in Electron's systems, products, and Future sales potential for our two companies together."

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    THE DEBATE OF OUR TIME: TAX OR TRADE?

    This is what you have been reading about at NewEnergyNews for some time now: Is it tax or trade? Scroll down or check headlines to the right for more information. One way or another, we’ve GOT to start paying for emissions. And when we do, the energy game changes completely.

    U.S. Carbon Market Options
    Kristyn Ecochard, May 23, 2007 (UPI)
    click to enlarge
    WHO
    James Kvaal, policy director for Democratic presidential candidate former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Stefan Moser, policy officer, European Commission; Gregg Easterbrook,visiting fellow, Brookings Institution; Denis McDonough, policy adviser, Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

    WHAT
    The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which are producing global climate change. These forms of energy are cheap because the harm produced by the GHGs is not part of the cost. A price for carbon dioxide emissions must be imposed. Only one question remains: Carbon tax or Cap-and-trade?

    WHEN
    The EU trading scheme was implemented in 2005. The second phase begins next year. A third phase, with more corrections, will start in 2012.
    The U.S. decision probably won’t come until after the 2008 presidential election.

    WHERE
    Poland is taking an active role in developing the EU’s phase two and may act as bank.

    WHY
    - Economists tend to support a tax, though that leaves a debate about how much and how the tax revenues would be distributed. Politicians, always reluctant to impose new taxes, tend to prefer a free market driven cap-and-trade system. Business and industry are unified on only one thing: They need certainty to move forward.
    - The EU has had a cap-and-trade system and has had problems with price fluctuations, manipulation, fraud and enforcement. The second phase will make corrections. A carbon credit “central bank” remains uncertain, though Poland make take that role.
    - Many have faith in a freemarket system based on past successes. Previous US cap-and-trade programs involving sulfur and acid-rain regulations have been very successful faster and cheaper than predicted.
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    QUOTES
    - Kvaal: "A tax is a tool that might help meet a goal, but a cap and trade system sets the goal…"
    - Mosher: “A lot was learned during the first two years of the EU cap-and-trade] system… The price was originally set too high… There's really no incentive to go into the banking part of it…But there was an increase initially in the cost of energy for consumers…”
    - Easterbrook: “One of the major problems with allocations is that it leads to lobbying and can never be done fairly…just set the price and see what the market comes up with…A carbon cap-and-trade system, set somewhere around $25 per ton, could be highly profitable and still cheap enough that if it did fail the backlash would not do too much damage…”
    - McDonough: "More ink is being spilled in U.S. papers about how the EU failed and the United States will, too…"

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