NewEnergyNews: 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

NewEnergyNews

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

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

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

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    THE DAY BEFORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

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

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

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

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

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

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

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

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

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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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

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

  • ---------------
  • Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    NEW ENERGY TO FACE HOUSE VOTE THIS WEEK

    Speaker Pelosi appears to have done some bigtime wheeling and dealing to open the way for a vote on the Udall-Platts "Renewables" amendment (also called the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS).

    Go to POWER OF WIND to see the American Wind Energy Association's new video about the RPS and find out how to support Ms. Pelosi's principled stand for renewable energy.

    AWEA points out that over the long haul there would be no significant cost increase for power while a renewables industry would create huge economic benefits: $100 billion in energy savings, 350,000 new jobs, economic windfalls to farmers who install turbines, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced imported oil dependency are all likely in the wake of a national RPS.


    Altered bill could please energy-state Democrats

    David Ivanovich, July 30, 2007 (Houston Chronicle)
    and
    Pelosi gains support for energy bill
    H. Josef Hebert, July 30, 2007 (AP via Yahoo news)

    WHO
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, and 12+ “hydrocarbon Democrats” representing oil- and gas-producing states; Lee Fuller, vp, Independent Petroleum Association of America.

    American resources (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Still working to bring an energy bill to the House floor this week, Speaker Pelosi is making hard compromises with energy-state Democrats. It is reported Pelosi WILL allow the Udall-Platts amendment, requiring a portion of national electricity to come from renewables, to be considered in the floor fight. Vehicle fuel standards and oil and gas revenue issues have been part of what it is rumored Pelosi had to give up to get the renewables amendment included.

    WHEN
    Ms. Peolosi is struggling to get the energy legislation to the floor for a vote this week, probably August 3, just before the summer recess.

    WHERE
    When the bill’s provisions are worked out by House leadership, it will go to the Rules Committee and then be brought before the full House for debate.

    WHY
    - The renewables package is known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) because it is the specific standard (requirement) for how much of national electricity would come from renewables, among the other energies in the US portfolio. It is sometimes also called the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).
    - More than 20 states already have an RPS, as does the EU.
    - If the congress adopts an RPS, it will give renewable energy producers long-term assurance of markets, despite temporary fluctuations, allowing them to build the brand new infrastructure required to move the nation from the fuels of the 20th century to the fuels of the 21st century.
    - RPS legislation was blocked in the Senate by conservative southern Republicans influenced by powerful coal-burning utilities.
    - The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency study said an RPS would not significantly raise power rates and would likely be good for the economy. Wood Mackenzie, a neutral think-tank, said an RPS would not raise power rates and would likely be good for the economy. A Union of Concerned Scientists study said an RPS would not raise power rates and would likely be good for the economy. A utility company think tank said an RPS would raise power rates and would likely be bad for old-fashioned coal-burning utilities.

    click to enlarge. ignore the politics and watch it crumble down.

    - Whether there will be a vote on Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) standards is not determined. Senate Democrats compromised many points to pass its tougher CAFÉ standards package over objections of leaders from car-manufacturing states.
    - Pelosi held onto the 47 “Blue Dog” Democrats with concessions on how oil and gas producers pay federal royalties and deadlines drilling permits. She also withdrew a proposal giving states authority to block interstate electric power lines. "Royalty-in-Kind" provisions allowing oil and gas companies working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico to pay federal royalties in oil and gas rather than cash are pending.
    - Rep. Joe Barton, Texas, ranking Energy and Commerce Committee Republican called Peolosi’s package the "non-energy, energy bill" because it fails to support increased oil and gas production and expansion of nuclear energy. Pelosi says it is a new direction in energy, promotes conservation and incentivizes the development of renewables, plug-in hybrid cars and efficiency.

    QUOTES
    - Green: "…there's no unanimity among Democrats on anything…"
    - Gonzalez: "A lot of credit has to go to the leadership for their willingness to meet with us and move some…"
    - Fuller: "If you look at the total package, you're still faced with a substantial set of new burdens — or old ones revived — that reduce the ability to produce ... oil and natural gas on federal lands…"

    PROGRESS IN BIOMASS

    Theoretically, any place there is garbage is a place that can develop renewable energy. And, theortetically, garbage is renewable. It certainly is around here. If NewEnergyNews is not right about this, why would Progress Energy be buying in?

    Progress Energy adding electricity capacity through alternative fuels
    July 26, 2007 (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

    WHO
    Progress Energy Florida, Biomass Gas & Electric (Glenn Farris, president/ceo), Biomass Investment Group

    WHAT
    Progress Energy closed a 20-year contract for electricity produced by a 75-megawatt Biomass Gas & Electric-built plant for converting waste-wood such as yard trimmings, tree bark and wood knots from paper mills into energy .
    click to enlarge. or invest.

    WHEN
    The Biomass plant is expected to begin operations in 2011.

    WHERE
    - Biomass is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The plant will be in north Florida.
    - Progress, serving 1.7 million customers, is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    WHY
    - Last year, Progress Energy closed a 25-year contract with the Biomass Investment Group for a 130 megawatt biomass plant to be built in Central Florida.
    - Progress now uses 800 megawatts of electricity from renewables such as biomass, waste heat from agricultural processes and municipal solid waste and has contracted for 200 megawatts more in the last year.
    - This will be Biomass’ 3rd biomass gasification process plant.
    - Florida Public Service Commission must approve contract and certify plant.
    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    Farris: "The southeast is the most biomass-rich area of the United States. Any comprehensive plan for energy production for the state of Florida should include renewable energy, and biomass must be an integral part of that plan…"

    GERMAN WIND GREW 39% IN 2006 -- YES, 39%!

    Inside info for NewEnergyNews readers: Behind the headlines it would appear to be bad news that domestic sales (in Germany) were 29% of the industry’s activity in 2005 but only 26% in 2006 and dropped off 25% in the 1st 6 months of 2007. But this only APPEARS to be bad news because the truth is, according to sources at the AWEA WindPower Expo, this is simply the result of the German industry servicing international buyers first. The German companies (and most wind energy suppliers) are booking orders now from all over the world — for 2009! There is a tendency, because of strong domestic “feed-in tariffs” and RPSs from individual nations as well as the EU, to be confident domestic demand will not erode.

    German wind energy industry sales grow by 39%; sluggish domestic market
    Frederik Richter, 25 July 2007 (AFX News via Sharewatch)

    WHO
    German WindEnergy Association (BWE), German Machinery Association (VDMA), Thorsten Herdan, managing director.
    New Installation (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    German wind energy industry sales jumped 39% in the last year.

    WHEN
    2005: 4.6 billion euros. 2006: 6.4 billion euros

    WHERE
    Announcement in Frankfurt regarding the German wind energy industry’s worldwide sales.
    Cumulative installation (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    The 2006 sales figure represented 37% of the 15.4 billion euro global market.

    QUOTES
    Herdan: "Without a stable domestic market we cannot maintain our high share of the world market…"

    NEW ENERGY: HOME ON THE RANGE

    New Energy has a million applications. Don’t run a big herd? How about changing the light bulbs?

    Calif. Family Gets Regional Green Award
    July 24, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    Ranchers Henry and Suzanne Stone (with son Scott, daughter-in-law Karen, son Casey and daughter-in-law Angela) , owners of Yolo Land and Cattle; Phil Hogan, Yolo County District Conservationist, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service

    WHAT
    The Stones won an Environmental Stewardship Award for numerous innovative ranching practices enabling environmental and economic sustainability.
    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    Announcement July 23 for environmentally friendly ranching practices over 30 years.

    WHERE
    Yolo Land and Cattle Ranch, Yolo County, California

    WHY
    - Yolo Land and Cattle Ranch is 7,500 acres. Stone innovations include: native grass, shrub and tree plantings and fence-protection, prescribed burning, rotating grazing herds, fencing ponds and streams from herds, solar-powered water troughs; pond restoration.
    - The size and location of the Stone ranch, against the Central Coast Range and spread across two watersheds gives them water quality and wildlife corridors not always available to ranchers.
    A Yolo County cattle ranch. Nice country. Worth taking care of. Some people feel that way about the whole damn planet.

    QUOTES
    Hogan: "Many people who come to us for conservation help come seeking answers and fixes for one problem-erosion or invasive species, water issues or whatever it may be…But the Stones have tackled and achieved improvements in each resource: soil, water, native plants, and wildlife habitat. They are big-picture people."

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    TOYOTA & UNIV OF CALIF TO PLUG IN

    A new competitor for the prize of bringing the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to market is good news. Also, early reports are that Speaker Pelosi will keep a provision to stimulate development of the PHEV in the House Energy Bill expected to come to the floor this week. Another reason to go to:

    POWER OF WIND

    and get involved in the debate!

    Toyota to test electric plug-in hybrid Prius cars
    Zachary Slobig, July 28, 2007 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    Toyota (Denise Morrissey, spokeswoman), University of California campuses at Berkeley (researcher Susan Shaheen) and Irvine

    WHAT
    Toyota and the Universities will road test 2 plug-in Priuses, the first time a major carmaker has tested this type of vehicle on US roads. The Priuses will have a battery-only range of 7 miles and top speed of 62 mph.
    click to enlarge. better yet, check out the link in the left column and read the book.

    WHEN
    The study will begin in the fall of 2007.

    WHERE
    Driver behavior will be studied in Berkeley. Irvine will study air quality and energy use.

    WHY
    - The PHEVs, recharged in normal 110 volt wall-sockets, will carry 220 extra pounds due to its nickel-cadmium battery.
    - UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies will track behavior of early adopters in business and personal use over 2 years, noting trip distance, charging location, duration, time of day, and frequency of trips.
    - UC Berkeley is being flooded with volunteers.
    Perhaps the most important aspect of the PHEV is the way it facilitates all other renewable energies via V2G technology. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Morrissey: "This is exciting technology that Toyota has been working on for years…This will be a great experiment to see how the market will respond to the plug-in modification."
    - Shaheen: "We will be looking at how people integrate this vehicle in their daily lives and monitoring behavioral response…I study how people adapt to new technology, how it affects their lifestyle…a plug-in hybrid is a step in a whole new direction…This is different from traditional refueling and will require some degree of adjustment…But it is still not clear if consumers are going to be willing to plug in their cars, and adjust to the price premium of this new technology…Only time will tell."

    CARBON CAPTURE: A RESEARCH PROJECT, NOT A REALITY

    Even the headline of this story is misleading: It MIGHT help tackle global warming if research proves it out.

    Carbon-Capture Technology to Help UK Tackle Global Warming
    July 27, 2007 (University of Nottingham press release via Science Daily)

    WHO
    Dr Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Associate Professor/Reader in Energy Technology, University of Nottingham's School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering;
    The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);

    WHAT
    The Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage (CICCS), funded with 1.1 billion pounds awarded by EPSRC to Dr Maroto-Valer, will study technologies to trap and store greenhouse gases (GHGs).
    The process of carbonation by which GHGs are neutralized and recycled. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    The Centre will open in October 2007.

    WHERE
    University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England (at the edge of Robin Hood’s home grounds, Sherwood Forest)

    WHY
    - Many tout the development of GHG-capturing coal- and gas-burning power plants as the solution to climate change but the technology is not proven or standardized. This Centre will study various technologies and partner with industry and other research facilities.
    - CICCS is charged with selecting a safe method of capture and storage, creating interfaces with multiple science and engineering disciplines.
    - One innovative process to be studied involves burning fossil fuel extractions with a serpentine, a silicate, which turns the emissions inert. This mimics a slow-working natural process. It results in magnesite, a material that can be recycled as a construction material.
    - Geologic sequestration will also be studied.
    Serpentine crystals with sequesterd GHGs. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Dr Maroto-Valer: “The novel technologies developed at the Centre will enable the UK to meet its targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and thus help the UK to play its part in global efforts to tackle climate change…The way we will approach this problem is unique. The CICCS will bring together engineers, mathematicians, bioscientists, geographers, geologists and end-users in a 'hot-house' environment that encourages creative problem-solving.”

    EARTH CREDIT CARD FROM GE

    This is a textbook example of corporate power being leveraged in the name of a good and trendy cause. What profits more, the environment or the corporation? Or is it the credit card shopper, who pays the corporation for late fees but feels better by applying the credits earned to a noble purpose? Interesting moral conundrum that everybody thinks they know the true answer to. But it is inevitably troubling when a purportedly good cause comes to public attention through self-serving corporate marketing.

    GE ‘Earth’ card aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions
    Rachel Layne (w/Joseph DiStefano), July 25, 2007 (Bloomberg News via Chicago Tribune)

    WHO
    General Electric Co. (GE), Lorraine Bolsinger, vp, GE ecomagination

    WHAT
    Reward points earned from the use of GE’s new Earth Rewards Platinum MasterCard can be applied to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions offsets.
    Ecomagination: A big business and a good cause. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    AES/GE joint venture announced May 24. Goal: Reduce emissions by 10 million metric tons by 2010.

    WHERE
    GE is the 2nd biggest company in the world or, in effect, this solar system. It is based in Fairfield, Conn.

    WHY
    - Carsdholders can choose 1% rewards to the program or 0.5% to the program and 0.5% cash.
    - Conveniently, GE Energy Finance (in conjunction with AES Corp., one of the US’s biggest electricity producers) has renewable energy projects to which the credit card rewards will be applied each Earth Day. GE’s renewables projects generated $12 billion last year. Examples of GE projects: wind turbines, methane-collection systems.
    Also conveniently, the GE renewables projects can sell credits generated by the “rewards”-financed programs.
    - Most conveniently, the many GE and AES energy projects that generate tons and tons of GHG emissions, from coal-fired power plants to jet airplanes, can buy the credits to justify production.
    - To their credit, GE is the biggest US wind turbine manufacturer and is active in solar energy as well as “better-than-coal-or-nuclear” natural gas and methane plants.
    - According to a GE spokesperson, the concept was originated by AES.
    - Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. have similar programs.
    An environmental cause, an advertising campaign, a business model. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Bolsinger: “Consumers want this…We have this wonderful, very unique situation where we can create verifiable, credible offsets, and GE Money in the upfront piece can deliver."

    SUNNY ITALY WANTS SUBSIDY FOR SOLAR R & D

    Watching European nations work out the details of how to incentivize renewable energy is a great opportunity to learn.

    Italy: support for solar grows
    David Hiller, 23 July 2007 (Energy Business Review)

    WHO
    The Italian government, The EU Commission
    EU solar potential: Italy is in the hot zone. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Though it produces 14% of its electricity from renewables, Italy is not on track to meet its 2010 goals for renewable production and therefore wants to create a subsidy for solar R & D but this may run afoul of the EU Commission’s rules for what a member nation may do to stimulate renewables growth.

    WHEN
    The R & D subsidy would be included in Italy’s 2008 budget if it is approved. Italy believes the move would allow it to generate 3000 megawatts of solar energy by 2016.

    WHERE
    - The subsidy would apply in Italy and the government hopes it would do for Italian solar what “feed-in tariffs” have done for renewables in Germany and Spain.
    - The EU Commission is in Brussels.

    WHY
    - “Feed-in tariffs” are entirely allowable by EU Commission rules but the proposed Italian subsidy may not be. “Feed-in tariffs” pay anybody who puts electricity into the grid via renewable installations. That is different from having the state fund “start-ups.”
    - Italy’s “green obligation certificates” are similar to “fedd-in tariff” in that they pay a specific price for each kilowatt-hour of renewable energy produced but this has not created enough incentives to entrepreneurs to meet the 2010 goal.
    - EU Commission rules specifically exempt R&D subsides except in the case of pure research.
    The Vatican recently announced they would install solar panels. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Article: “The question is whether this direct subsidy of the production of solar panels will fall foul of the EU competition commission. While guaranteed returns for investors via feed-in tariffs have been successful in raising renewable capacity in both Spain and Germany, it is highly questionable whether direct production subsidies would not be seen as a distortion of the marketplace.”

    Sunday, July 29, 2007

    XPRES CLINTON SHINES SOLAR ON TANZANIA

    He personifies Eleanor Roosevelt’s credo that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Installations like these truly light the way.

    A friendly word of advice to President Clinton:
    See GHANA TAKES A SOLAR ENERGY JOURNEY and SENEGAL: SAVE OUR SOLAR. These projects require maintenance!

    Clinton’s solar power for 40 dispensaries
    July 26, 2007 (The Guardian Limited of Dar es Salaam via IPPMedia)

    WHO
    Former US president Bill Clinton, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete,
    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    The Bill Clinton Foundation will fund solar installations to create electricity for 40 medical dispensaries and health centers in Tanzania.

    WHEN
    Clinton and Kikwete met July July 25.

    WHERE
    - Clinton and Kikwete met in Arusha.
    - The installations will be in the Lindi and Mtwara regions of Tanzania.

    WHY
    - The Foundation has already funded solar energy to three dispensaries and a health center in Masasi District.
    - Implementation follows on a commitment Clinton made to Kikwete in New York in September 2006 to help with developing social services in Tanzania. He will also reach out to other development partners.
    - Clinton is mainly in Tanzania for the launch of an anti-malaria program which will deliver 95% cheaper drugs to pilot projects in Maswa and Kongwa districts.
    In this case it is an energy-saving CFL bulb, but it is not cursing the darkness.

    QUOTES
    - Clinton: `I have decided to extend a similar project in 40 dispensaries and health centres in Lindi and Mtwara regions…`
    - Kikwete:`I personally, together with Tanzanians, value your contribution in the fight against malaria and HIV/Aids in this country. We also thank you for supporting community services…`

    CHINA TO MARKET RENEWABLES

    This is spectacularly smart of China. While it is a booming economy, it is still a “developing nation” and therefore able to sell credits to the Europeans to develop a renewables infrastructure. By the time it joins the US as a “developed nation,” the Europeans will have built the Chinese a new energy system.

    Renewable energy projects to lead in China’s CDM development – industry insiders
    JY, July 27, 2007 (Interfax Information Services)

    WHO
    Chinese energy and economic planners,
    Soon to be "green"? (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Emissions market insiders are whispering that China is serious about developing renewable energy installations as much for the opportunity to sell emissions credits to EU emitters as for the clean energy produced. This move signals a new Chinese inclination to partner on energy project development.

    WHEN
    European Chamber of Commerce seminar July 26.
    The EU ETS (carbon market) was $30 billion in 2006. It is expected to double in 2007, double again in 2008 and reach $250 billion by 2010.

    WHERE
    Seminar in Shanghai, China
    Three biggest sellers via the CDM: India, Brazil, China.

    WHY
    The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocols incentivizes the funding renewable, emissions-free energies by giving developers credits for their investments. The credits allow the investing company to emit greenhouse gases above their capped allotment in the process of doing business. Penalties for such emissions with offsetting credits are higher than the cost of the investment.
    The procedure of selling credits has driven a huge and growing credit market. China has marketed efficiency measures and hydrofluorocarbon emission reductions but finds renewable energy installations more sustainable if more expensive.
    A legal process, covered in the seminar, is required for China to obtain registration validating the renewable projects. Projects also need to become “Designated Operational Entities” via the UN. July 13: 601 projects approved by China, 94 DOE, 13 issued certified credits.
    Targeted projects: wind, hydro, biomass and liquefied natural gas
    using new methodologies.
    Insiders do not see China developing its own cap-and-trade system before the expiration of the new Kyoto phase in 2012.
    The nations busy selling emissions credits (mostly to the EU) (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Peter Corne, managing director, Eversheds LLP: "Economic conditions of a country can undergo significant changes within a year, so it turned potential investors away from China to countries like India, which went ahead with the CDM program as soon as it was enforced…"

    HOW RUSSIA SEES ENERGY: A FIGHT

    A glimpse into Russia’s perspective of its own sphere of energy influence. But only a glimpse.

    The fight for energy resources in Black Sea region
    23 July 2007 (Budapest Business Journal)

    WHO
    Russia, nations of the Black Sea region and the EU

    WHAT
    As a major non-OPEC producer of oil and gas supplies to Europe, Russia’s comprehensive analysis of the players and roles is interesting. The main takeaway: The EU is still seriously oil-dependent.
    The Region (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    Analysis in Russian newspaper “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” July 23.
    2006: EU imported 80%+ of its oil, 50%+ of its natural gas. These figures are expected to increase.

    WHERE
    Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Georgia, countries in the Black Sea region involved in oil/natural gas development, production and pipelines, as well as Moldova, Azerbaijan, Greece and other countries with Black Sea ports doing oil and gas shipping.

    WHY
    - Main exporter: Russia
    - Control of pipeline transport but in need of Russian product to carry: Ukraine, Romania
    - Central Asia producers in need of Russian infrastructure: Turkmenistan,. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran.
    - The EU dependent on all systems and producers.
    One of the pipelines. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    “…new transportation routes are projected for oil to pass through the Black Sea on the Balkan pipeline, from the Caspian countries through Caucausus and…through Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea.”

    WIND & CZECHS MATE

    So what do you do if you live in eastern Europe and the Russians are holding you hostage to their oil and gas? You grow wind.

    The quote at the bottom is interesting. Could it be that wise “deciders” understand that the advantages of wind in even an inadequate environment outweigh the disadvantages of fossil fuels and nuclear?


    Czech wind power plants produce 132 pct more power in 2006
    CTK, 23 July 2007 (Prague Daily Monitor)

    WHO
    Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERU)

    WHAT
    Czech annual report: wind energy production of electricity was up 132% last year.
    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - 2006 electricity from wind energy: 49.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh)
    - Jan-June 2007: up 40% from 2006

    WHERE
    - Report in Prague, the Czech capital
    - Ustecky region, northern Bohemia: ~30% of total;
    - Olomoucky region, central Moravia: ~20%
    Czech wind potential (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    - Installed output 44 megawatts covered 14,000 households.
    - Goal: 1,200 megawatts installed capacity in the next few years, the equal of one of the nunits at the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia.

    QUOTES
    “Companies are increasingly interested in investment in the new wind power plants despite the fact that the country's conditions for such production are not good, some of the experts say.”

    Saturday, July 28, 2007

    HOUSE ENERGY BILL: SHOWDOWN ON RENEWABLES STANDARD

    If the House passes this legislation, representatives of the Senate will be forced to reconsider it during the conference process in which the 2 bodies work out compromises on the differences in their legislation.

    Click POWER OF WIND to see the new American Wind Energy Association TV spot and get involved in the good fight for renewable energy!


    US Rep Markey Hopeful to Add Fuel Econ Reform to Energy Bill
    Ian Talley, July 27, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires via CNN Money)
    and
    Wind Energy Association Announces New Media Campaign as Crucial House Floor Vote on Renewable Energy Looms
    July 27, 2007 (Auto Channel)


    WHO
    Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif; Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.; Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.; Rep Todd Platts, R-Penn.;

    WHAT
    Late on Friday the news broke that Speaker Pelosi would get the House Energy Bill package to the floor by the middle of nest week. In conjunction with this news, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced a new media campaign on behalf of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) section of the legislation.

    WHEN
    The latest reports say the bill will be submitted to the Rules Committee for final approval July 30 or 31 and the floor fight will be joined July 31 or August 1.

    WHERE
    United States House of Representatives.

    WHY
    - The bill is a set of initiatives on energy efficiency, biofuels and other renewables.
    - AWEA is most concerned with an amendment sponsored by Udall and Platts calling for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), also known as a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The Udall/Platts amendment calls for a national commitment to obtaining 20% of US electricity by 2020.
    - AWEA strongly advocates an RPS because it sets a minimum level of commitment to renewables that allows wind, solar, biomass and other such producers of energies vital to the fights against oil-dependency and climate change to push forward with development.
    - A similar amendment was defeated by the Senate because conservative, mostly southern, senators held just enough votes to threaten filibuster if debate was pursued. The position of those against an RPS is that it might drive up the cost of electricity. AWEA points out that studies by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Association and the independent Wood Mackenzie research firm both say that over the long haul there would be little cost increase and many economic benefits. $100 billion in energy savings, 350,000 new jobs, economic windfalls to farmers who install turbines, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced imported oil dependency are all likely in the wake of a national RPS.
    - AWEA has identified 20 key House members on whose votes the RPS amendment hinges.
    - Reports of Markey’s willingness to compromise on vehicle Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFÉ) standards is said to have been important in getting Speaker Pelosi’s legislation to the floor. On the other hand, both Dingell and Hoyer still contend the bill will not have a CAFÉ standards element.
    How a bill becomes a law (tho the chart leaves out the part about the plastic-wrapped money in the freezer). (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Gregory Wetstone, AWEA, Director of Government and Public Affairs: "The ad campaign is part of our effort to focus attention on this crucial referendum on American energy policy…We believe that greater public awareness will translate into more Congressional support for renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, which are overwhelming popular, but face well-financed opposition."
    - On Markey’s compromise: “According to a summary of Markey's new draft, like the Senate bill, individual manufacturers comply with attribute-based standards - such as size and weight - that may be lower than 35 miles per gallon as long as the industry as a whole complies with the 35 mpg standard…’In that way, manufacturers that make more trucks than cars can be assured that they will only have to meet standards that are appropriate for their fleets,’ the summary said.”

    TO TAX OR CAP, THAT IS THE QUESTION

    McLaughlin: “Some good abstract ideas never make it out of Washington alive.”

    To Tax Or Cap Carbon?
    Michael McLaughlin, July 24, 2007 (UPI)

    WHO
    Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Charles Komanoff, economist/co-founder, Carbon Tax Center; Bill Wicker, communications director, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Annie Petsonk, Environmental Defense;
    An economist would get a lot out of this graph. Anybody else just needs to understand that it shows how a "carbon" tax would work well under some circumstances and not so well under others. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions extract costs (called externalities because they are external to the market price). These costs are currently being transferred away from emitters. Climate change has revealed some of the damage emissions cause (the cost of the externalities). Leaders are attempting to devise ways to shift the costs of those damages to those responsible. The conundrum: How to do so without inflicting economic harm.

    WHEN
    Cap-and-Trade is coming. Talk about a “carbon” tax is coming.

    WHERE
    Washington, D.C., and across the country. The EU runs the world’s most well-established Cap-and-Trade system. Regional systems are in development in the west and New England. Australia/New Zealand are developing another.

    WHY
    - Dingell’s proposal was a tax on emissions.
    - The cost increases would theoretically discourage fossil fuel consumption and incentivize greener technologies. But converting externalities to the market price of the item inevitably makes it cost more. The tax would add to the cost of gasoline, electricity generated by coal-burning plants and agricultural products grown and harvested with fossil fuels.
    - For this and other reasons, the carbon tax is politically explosive.
    - A Cap-and-Trade system is more popular with legislators because it does not involve a politically divisive new tax and because Big Business generally likes the idea of letting the marketplace control emissions. Business men also like the idea of a new marketplace involving carbon credits. Environmentalists like the idea of strict caps, or limits, on emissions.
    - The system: The government would assess all emissions and set limits on how much each business could emit. The government would then give and/or sell permissions to emit called credits. Business would trade the credits, those needing to emit more to sustain their businesses buying, and those effectively cutting emissions with renewable energies and efficiency selling.
    - The system incentivizes all effective emission-reducing measures. But the devil is in the details.
    Cap-and-Trade is a little like poker: Its as much about the way the hand is played as about the cards dealt. Thats why a lot of big businesses are for it. Of course, it helps to come to the table with a big bank roll.

    QUOTES
    - Congressman Dingell: "It is my intention to develop a comprehensive, mandatory, economy-wide program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases…[but] I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them…"
    - Economist Komanoff: "You can't be an economist without believing with every fiber of your being that the most direct and effective way of reducing the use of something is to raise the price of the good as high as possible…You want it to reflect the externalities that are not included in the price."
    - Bureaucrat Wicker: "I've never seriously thought about it because a carbon tax is so far outside the realm of the doable…It is a good way to discourage consumption…"
    - Environmentalist Petsonk: “[Support of cap-and-trade indicates] you're focused on setting a defined level of pollution control."

    ICING CHEAPER THAN COOLING?

    This is one of those retro things that NYC likes to get behind every so often.

    NYC Buildings Use Ice to Keep Cool
    Colleen Long, July 24, 2007 (AP via Time Magazine)

    WHO
    William Beck, head of critical engineering systems, Credit Suisse; Todd Coulard, energy efficiency expert, cooling system installer Trane Energy Services;

    WHAT
    By using large systems to freeze water during off-peak hours and then blowing air on its way to cool offices through the ice to cool it instead of running their air-conditioners during peak electricity cost hours, buildings are cutting costs by using less electricity.
    How a "chilled water" cooling system works. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    This is an old idea, going back to hanging wet leaves and grass mats over windows and blowing fans past buckets of ice.

    WHERE
    Credit Suisse's offices, Metropolitan Life tower, New York City; Morgan Stanley Westchester County offices and Fifth Avenue offices; New Goldman Sachs headquarters;
    Over 3000 systems have been installed worldwide.

    WHY
    - The MetLife Tower system (three basement cooling rooms w/chilling machines and 64 800-gallon water tanks) is reportedly the emission reduction equivalent of taking 223 cars of the streets or planting 1.9 million acres of trees. It lowers peak energy use by 900 kilowatts, cuts 2.15 million kilowatt-hours/year.
    - Morgan Stanley/Westchester County cuts peak energy use by 740 kilowatts, cuts 900,000 kilowatt-hours/year.
    - Incentives for installation from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
    - Trane, air conditioning arm of American Standard, is installer. Installation requires large amounts of space and costs approximately $3 million.
    The MetLife Tower

    QUOTES
    - Beck: "If you take the time to look, you can find innovative ways to be energy efficient, be environmental and sustainable…"
    - Coulard: "When you make something mechanical, it can break, but a big block of ice ... isn't going to do anything but melt…The idea of not only saving money for large companies, but doing something that benefits the environment, is win—win…It's doing the right thing…This is for companies that want to go green, but there (need) to be other benefits, returns on investments…It works for larger companies because their cooling costs are so considerable."

    REGULATORS NAIL AMARANTH FOR GAS SWINDLE

    Was justice served with the check for gluttonizing at the marketplace?

    Regulators fine natgas market manipulaters
    Tom Doggett and Chris Baltimore, July 26, 2007 (Reuters via Washington Post)

    WHO
    Chairman Joseph Kelliher, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), New York Mercahntile Exchange (NYMEX), Amaranth Advisors (head trader, Brian Hunter, fellow trader Matthew Donohoe), Energy Transfer Partners LP
    Clearly something happened in 2006 to change the course of the market. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    - FERC and CFTC are fining Amaranth traders for manipulating natural gas prices to their own benefit. They are fining Energy Transfer Partners LP for Houston Ship Channel delivery hub gas market manipulations, especially following Hurricane Rita in 2005. Fines approach $500 million from FERC in the Amaranth case and over $200 million in the Energy Transfer case. CFTC has not finalized its fines yet but they are expected to be of similar proportions.

    WHEN
    - Fine levied July 26.
    - Amaranth manipulations were primarily in the spring, summer and fall of 2006. The Energy Transfer swindles were from December 2003 to December 2005 but especially in September 2005, when energy supplies were tight right after the hurricane.

    WHERE
    - Fines announced in Washington, D.C.
    - The Amaranth manipulations were the result of the traders finding a loophole between NYMEX and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE.N) that they worked to their own benefit.
    - The trading hubs where Energy Transfer worked prices were the Houston Ship Channel and Waha, Texas.
    - Energy Transfer is based in Dallas.

    WHY
    - Both manipulations pushed gas prices down, allowing consumers to benefit in the short run but ultimately benefiting only the principals while threatening market intergrity.
    - Hedge Fund Amaranth eventually collapsed, leaving investors without $6.4 billion in the hole.
    What happened was Amaranth. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Kelliher: "For these two companies, failure to refute these findings will confirm that their actions harmed many wholesale market participants, creating losses that ultimately hurt natural gas customers across the country…Manipulation designed to lower prices is as offensive as manipulation that raises prices…"

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    $100/BARREL—MONTHS AWAY?

    This is all very good news for New Energy, driving demand for it up and making it more and more affordable in comparison. Not really news for readers of: The Oil Drum

    The takeaways: (1) Deutsche Bank chief energy economist Adam Sieminski says, "Something has happened. Costs have continued to escalate, and the geopolitical situation has gotten worse." (2) And Matthew Simmons (chairman, Simmons investment bank) says conditions driving oil to $200/barrel are easy to foresee. "Oil is still cheap…In the 20th century, with a few exceptions, oil was almost free. The only exceptions were during 1973, 1979 and when Iraq invaded Kuwait."

    $100-a-barrel oil may be only a few months away
    July 23, 2007 (Bloomberg News via International Herald Tribune)

    WHO
    Jeffrey Currie and Arjun Murti, Goldman Sachs Group; Jeff Rubin, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) World Markets; John Kilduff, Man Financial;
    NYMEX -- Light crude. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    - Oil is hovering at the $75/barrel mark, up 51% since January and 200% since early 2003. A record number of futures at $100/barrel have been sold, amounting to 50 million barrels.
    - The all-time high: $78.40/barrel, July 14, 2006.

    WHEN
    - Currie of Goldman Sachs has predicted $95/barrel oil this year and $100/barrel oil by 2009. Murti predicted $105/barrel oil in March 2005 but was wrong.
    - Consumption to end of 2007: increasing 3.6 million barrels/day (the daily production of Kuwait + Oman)

    WHERE
    Currie is in Goldman Sachs’ London office. Murti is Goldman Sachs’ New York office. Kilduff is at Man Financial’s New York office.

    WHY
    - Predictions are somewhat mitigated by OPEC’s announcement this week it will increase production (but many analysts believe it is not capable of significant increase due to dwindling supplies and inadequate infrastructure).
    - Other producers are not adequately replacing OPEC, due partially to the high costs of developing new production: Shortages of deepwater drilling equipment and workers to run them, as well as pipe welders, pilots, refinery workers and oil-sands crews are driving prices up.
    - Nigerian disruptions and military action against Iran worry traders.
    - High prices will benefit producers (ExxonMobil, PetroChina) but will harm transportation (railroads, airlines). High prices mean potential inflation to importers (like the US). And high energy prices cut economic growth across the board.
    But high prices have not slowed demand. And major recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the National Petroleum Council say demand, driven by developing nations like Brazil, China and India, will not slow for the next 20 years or more despite the inability of supply to meet it.
    Sometime in this century people will stop measuring energy in "barrel" units. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Kilduff: "We're only a headline of significance away from $100 oil. The unrelenting pressure of increased demand has left the market a coiled spring."
    - Murti: "Ultimately, the key to the outlook going forward is when will Saudi Arabia ramp up production…If you have a situation in which inventories globally get drawn to critically low levels, the volatility in this market is likely to explode, which significantly increases the probability of $100 oil."
    - Rubin: "Prices have doubled, and demand is alive and well and accelerating…The argument that rising prices would choke demand and bring increased output is falling to the wayside."
    - US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman: "There are questions about whether the oil industry can keep up with demand…"
    - Robert Ebel, Center for Strategic and International Studies: "It appears that high prices are acceptable to the American consumer."

    EUROPEAN CAR STRATEGY TO CUT CO2

    As advanced as European car makers are, NewEnergyNews would have expected them to have plug-in hybrids on their list. Too bad.

    European motor manufacturers call for integrated carbon approach
    James Snodgrass, July 25, 2007 (CNN)

    WHO
    European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) (including PSA Peugeot Citroen, Volkswagen, Fiat Group, Renault, GM Europe, BMW, Ford of Europe, Porsche, Volvo and DaimlerChrysler and commercial vehicle manufacturers MAN, Scania and DAF)
    There will be more and more cars. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    5 steps proposed in report: “Reducing CO2 Emissions From Cars: Towards An Integrated Approach”

    WHEN
    The report was made July 11. The car makers’ goal is to cut emissions to 120 grams CO2/kilometer by 2012.

    WHERE
    The report was made at the European Commission hearing on CO2 from cars in Brussels.

    WHY
    1. Technology and Research
    - refine engine technologies
    - improve aerodynamics
    - decrease curb weights

    2. Biofuels.
    - develop at pace to modify engines/ensure technical compatibility
    - sustain supply of gas for older vehicles

    3. Drivers Adapt ("Eco-Driving" techniques)
    - higher gears as early as possible
    - maintaining a steady speed
    - anticipating traffic flow
    - switching off the engine at short stops
    - check tire pressures
    - use on-board computers
    - use GPS units to avoid wasting fuel getting lost
    - reduce all surplus weight

    4. Infrastructure (better road design/intelligent traffic management)
    - 50% of traffic lights should be replaced to generate optimal traffic flow
    - improve road surfaces to reduce rolling resistance (up to 40%, cutting emissions 5%)

    5. Tax incentives for Lower Emission Vehicles.
    11 EU member states have incentives but standardization would create clear market signals facilitating economies of scale.
    Here's a thought that’s not on the list.

    QUOTES
    Article: “ACEA believes that putting the environmental burden solely at the door of the automobile industry will jeopardize European car production and not achieve sufficient environmental gains…[M]anufacturers, governments, technology firms and drivers [need] to work together to prevent growing emissions…[T]here is not, and will not be, a single technical solution to the problem…”

    OFFSETTING STANDARDS NECESSARY

    NewEnergyNews has frequently argued that voluntary offsetting schemes are ripe pickings for abusers. A British House of Commons committee is the latest to call for standards and regulations.

    Report says carbon offset market needs code
    Gerard Wynn, July 23, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    House of Commons Environment Audit Committee

    WHAT
    The British legislative committee studied voluntary carbon offsetting and reported the market requires regulation and standards to grow.
    Not only are these cowgirls offsetting, but they're driving a European car! (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    Committee report July 23.

    WHERE
    - Report made to House of Commons in London.
    - The committee specifically cited investments in reforestation and renewable energy developments in Africa, not presently being developed by mandatory schemes, as opportunities in voluntary markets to affect greenhouse gas consumption if the worthwhile investments are identified.

    WHY
    - Without regulation and standards, offsets are of variable value. Sellers and investors would become jaded and cynical and otherwise valuable opportunities in Verified Emissions Reductions would be lost.
    - The report said Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism standards would be too “restrictive, bureaucratic and costly…” for voluntary projects.
    - Failed programs cited included public relations schemes and planting programs not tended. Offsetting projects or plans from rock band Coldplay, British bank HSBC and British Airways came in for criticism. Other businesses currently in voluntary offsets: Google, Yahoo, Marks and Spencer, News Corp.
    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    Report: "Without transparency consumers will have little confidence in purchasing or otherwise dealing in offsets, confidence that the market needs in order to grow…The Government must act quickly…This unnecessary restriction could seriously affect the growth of the Verified Emissions Reduction market…Since its offsetting scheme with Climate Care was launched in 2005, British Airways has encouraged the purchase of only 1,600 tonnes of offsets on average each year, approximately the emissions from four return flights to New York…”

    FUTURE SOLAR

    Someday this technology will be a reality. Meanwhile, it is fun to read about during your break from installing photovoltaic panels.

    Solar panels too pricey? Try printing them out. Scientists capture sun energy with printouts; consumers can stick on walls
    Tuan C. Nguyen, July 23, 2007 (LiveScience via MSNBC)

    WHO
    New Jersey Institute of Technology scientists, lead researcher Somenath Mitra and research partner Cheng Li;

    WHAT
    A new polymer-based technology allows painting or ink-jet printing of surfaces with materials, turning the surfaces into “instant solar panels” capable of absorbing sunlight and translating it into electricity.
    Carbon nanotube strands at the very bottom, compared to a single human hair. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    Published June 21.

    WHERE
    Published in Journal of Materials Chemistry

    WHY
    The polymer used in the NJIT process is more affordable than the purified silicon used in conventional solar cells. It is made from carbon nanotube strands 50,000 times smaller than a strand of hair, each strand more conductive than standard copper wiring.
    The nanotube strands are encased in electricity trapping “fullerenes” (aka buckyballs) that trap electrons, although they can't make electrons flow. Add sunlight to excite the [nanotube] polymers, and the buckyballs will grab the electrons. Nanotubes, behaving like copper wires, will then be able to make the electrons or current flow.

    Strands inside the buckyball can be excited by sunlight from outside and release an electron flow along the length, while the buckyball's structure gives the energy-carrier great flexibility. Is that right? (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Mitra: "Developing organic solar cells from polymers, however, is a cheap and potentially simpler alternative…Imagine some day driving in your hybrid car with a solar panel painted on the roof, which is producing electricity to drive the engine. The opportunities are endless…Using this unique combination in an organic solar-cell recipe can enhance the efficiency of future painted-on solar cells…Someday, I hope to see this process become an inexpensive energy alternative for households around the world."

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    4 SENATORS TO PROTECT EMERGING US GHG MARKET

    This is big news because it is demonstrates legislative preparation for the upcoming fight over emissions regulation. Will it be a "carbon" tax? Unlikely, though a tax has been proposed. Will it be Cap-and-Trade? This cost containment measure says the senators are getting ready to say "Yes" to Cap-and-Trade. And business is ready for them to do so. Will they say "Yes" before the 2008 presidential election? The smart money is still betting "no."

    Cost Containment for the Carbon Market: A Step Toward Cap-and-Trade
    David Roberts, July 25, 2007 (The Huffington Post)

    WHO
    John Warner (R-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)
    Two regional cap-and-trade systems are being implemented in the U.S., adding to the EU system and the upcoming Australia-New Zealand system. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Cost-Containment for the Carbon Market, a program to protect businesses against unexpected, disruptive surges in the cost of greenhouse gas (GHG) credits when a Cap-and-Trade plan is implemented.

    WHEN
    The proposal regards a national program to control emissions as “inevitable” but does not specify when. Senators Warner and Lieberman are working on legislation to be presented this fall but most observers don’t expect it to be finalized until after the 2008 presidential election.

    WHERE
    This is for a U.S. GHG emissions market.

    WHY
    There are 2 basic aspects:
    - (1) Oversight. The plan calls for a presidentially-appointed 7-member “Carbon Market Efficiency Board” similar to the Federal Reserve Board that would provide periodic informational updates and make corrections in the form of additions or withdrawals of future credits to hold the market steady and allow businesses the ability to make plans for emissions control measures.
    - (2) Credit cost containment methods.
    (a) If costs go up and stay up, the Board would allow borrowing against future credits to achieve short-term goals that reduce long-term emissions and earn the future credits back: "For example, if I'm a power company and I know I'm building a new plant that can capture and store carbon emissions that will be ready in eight years, I can borrow a few more permits now, knowing I'll be able to pay them back when that low-emissions plant is up and running. This remedy allows companies more flexibility in making those individual decisions but does not change the national environmental objective."

    (b) In a true emergency, the Board could release future credits to be paid back when prices came into line: "Those extra permits would be "paid back" by reducing permits allowed in future years. That's how we guarantee the environmental goal."
    Senators Lieberman and Warner are reportedly preparing to bring the best synthesis of these suggestions before the Senate in the fall. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - From the Q & A on the plan’s details: “This proposal will help guide a healthy U.S. carbon market by providing cost relief measures and oversight…This plan is aimed at creating a healthy, continuing greenhouse gas emissions market.”
    Roberts: Importantly, the cost-relief measures would…be invoked only if average prices exceed a pre-set range, established by Congress and updated regularly…they are explicitly not intended to shield the market…not be invoked on behalf of individual industries or sectors…be explicitly temporary…
    - Roberts: The board will be politically appointed; that opens the door to politicization…
    - Roberts: Now the key is getting a cap-and-trade program with appropriately ambitious targets.

    TENNESSEE SENATOR DISSES WIND

    NewEnergyNews would be disinclined to mention the regrettable Senator from Tennessee were it not for his uninformed opposition to a vital American resource. Insiders report he is in fact a fine man and great outdoorsman. Just misguided about renewables, apparently. Has he talked to anybody from Texas? Could somebody get him together with Boone Pickens?

    Wind power gains popularity but senator isn’t sold; Alexander calls it iffy, ugly and expensive
    Anne Paine, July 23, 2007 (The Tennessean)

    WHO
    Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander versus Tennesseans

    WHAT
    Although Tennesseans favor wind energy by a 12 to 1 margin and the state has one of the most productive wind farms in the southeast, Senator Alexander opposes development of the renewable resource.
    Wind producers work hard with environmental groups to choose sites properly. This Buffalo Mountain Tennessee site would probably be a shock to Davy Crockett but does not intrude on real wilderness or drastically disrupt the panorama.

    WHEN
    2006:
    - Alexander: Buffalo Mountain produced energy 7% of last August, 19-24% for the year, a disappointment.
    - Frank Pizzileo, asset manager, Invenergy LLC (owner of 15 of the 18 turbines, including those pictured): "a success…In general, you have a couple of months with lower production…You certainly make up for that during the balance of the year."
    - Alexander interview July 19.


    WHERE
    - Wind turbine parts maker Aerisyn LLC set up shop in Chattanooga in 2005.
    - Tennessee has the 18-turbine Buffalo Mountain windfarm. The state’s wind energy is on East Tennessee mountaintops and ridges.

    WHY
    - Wind energy is a $7 billion industry in the US.
    - The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in Tennessee opposes Alexander.
    Alexander fought a renewable mandate in the Senate Energy Bill last month and announced his disdain of wind energy.
    - Alexander also owns a $1.25 million property on Nantucket and is part of the opposition to the Cape Wind project there.
    - Alexander receives political donations from Southern Co.'s Employees Political Action Committee, associated with a major coal-committed utility. He also receives donations from transportation sector industries.
    - The Senator says the donations and the property have no influence on his wind energy oppositon (whereas politicians generally admit to being bought and paid for by special interests).
    Tennessee has a lot of potential if senators and congressman "...please heed the call, don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall, for he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled..." (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Alexander: "It's a puny amount of unreliable power at a very high cost…We have 10 million people a year come to the Great Smoky Mountains…They don't come down to see white towers as big as football fields with flashing lights. They come to see the Smokies… I think [giant wind turbines] absolutely destroy the landscape…I'm trying to challenge the environmental and conservation community and ask why they've forgotten about the American landscape."
    - Gil Melear-Hough, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: “[The 18-turbine Buffalo Mountain windfarm in East Tennessee is] on an abandoned strip mine…You're making lemonade out of lemons. There's not much that will grow there. They have coal mining going on the next ridge over and are tapping natural gas in the same mountain…I don't think Tennessee will ever be 100 percent wind power… but can we get 5, 10, 15 percent from wind? Absolutely…"

    N. CAROLINA A STEP CLOSER TO 1ST DIXIE RPS

    Perhaps somebody will call this very noble and hard work being done in North Carolina to the Tennessee Senator’s attention. If it succeeds.

    Energy bill advances in House
    John Murawski, July 23, 2007 (The News & Observer)
    and
    North Carolina Panel Forwards Renewables-Efficiency Bill With Little Change
    Margaret Lillard, July 24, 2007 (AP via Yahoo Finance)

    WHO
    House Committee on Energy and Energy Efficiency, North Carolina General Assembly;
    Bill sponsor Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin; Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe
    The states in green have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs). Notice the big block of white in the lower right corner. It will be exciting to see No. Carolina in green soon. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Endorsed by the Committee on Energy and Energy Efficiency, a bill establishing a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the state now moves to House Committee on Public Utilities and another committee before going back to the Senate for approval of compromises made in the House.

    WHEN
    - Measure endorsed July 23. Worked out in multiple June sessions but just moved forward with compromises now. The House Committee on Public Utilities will take the measure up July 25.
    - The RPS mandates percentages of electricity to be derived from renewable energies. Private utilities must meet their goal by 2021. Public utilities and co-ops must meet a slightly lower goal by 2018.

    WHERE
    The North Carolina state capital and seat of government is Raleigh.

    WHY
    - Progress Energy and Duke Energy must generate 12.5% of electricity by 2021. Public utilities and co-ops must get 10% by 2018. Savings from efficiency count.
    Currently, most of North Carolina’s power comes from nuclear and coal. 2% comes from renewables.
    - 24 states have RPSs. This would be the first among more renewable-hostile southeastern states.
    - Progress and Duke won an important and controversial concession in the bill allowing them to finance plants before they are built if they show the plants are cheaper than renewables/efficiency. Environmentalists won a concession requiring waste-to-power plants meet clean air standards.
    Every state has resources. But fossil fuels and conventional energies have long-standing incentives, subsidies and market segments. Renewables just need assurance, via an RPS, there will be comparable long-term demand. Then watch what happens in the marketplace. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Fisher: "The questions that remain regarding this particular provision are too great for us to just throw the work from 1982 out the window. We need to get those questions answered. We owe it to the people we represent…"

    HOW TO SELL THAT ENERGY IDEA

    Some might say this research proves NewEnergyNews is weakened by its eschewal of specialization. But refusal to specialize is the very purpose of NewEnergyNews and this research validates that purpose. This research says that if you only think about one New Energy, you will only think about and come to understand that one New Energy but if you think about all the New Energies, you will necessarily compare and contrast, understand how they work together and how they don't.

    To paraphrase a recent observation, our energy crisis is not going to be solved by a silver bulllet because it is not an energy crisis. It is an energy opportunity and it will be solved by silver buckshot, many different New Energies rising to the challenges simultaneously.


    Context Affects Opinion About Novel Energy Sources
    July 22, 2007 (Science Daily via Eindhoven University of Technology press release)

    WHO
    Dutch researcher Wouter van den Hoogen
    Like a Net. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Doctoral research as part of 'Biomass as a sustainable energy source: environmental load, cost-effectiveness and public acceptance' financed by the NWO/SenterNovem Stimulation programme Energy research to develop knowledge in the natural sciences and humanities for the transition to sustainable energy supplies.

    WHEN
    Findings just released.

    WHERE
    van den Hoogen’s conclusions apply specifically to the Dutch energy market.

    WHY
    7 experiments with biomass revealed that opinions on New Energy are formed with limited knowledge, inadequate interest and little time. Context determines outcome. Multiple New Energies are zero-summed:
    - A weak basic attitude to biomass when assessing it = sensitive to subtleties of biomass
    - A weak basic attitude to biomass + mention of another energy when assessing it = less sensitive to subtleties of biomass, more to biomass and the other energy
    - More positive to biomass if solar is mentioned
    - Less positive to biomass if coal is mentioned
    - Value biomass less if compared to solar
    - Value biomass more if compared to coal
    Level the playing field: Emitters pay the true cost of emissions and everybody gets equal subsidies, equal incentives. Then see what the market chooses. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - “A context effect occurs if a person’s opinion about new technologies depends on subtle differences in the context in which the technology is introduced.”
    - “Sustainable energy options must therefore be promoted in the right context…”

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    NEW ENERGY V. ENVIRONMENT? NO

    Renewable Energy Wrecks Environment, According Io Researcher
    July 24, 2007 (Inderscience Publishers via Science Daily)
    and
    Renewable energy projects will devour huge amounts of land, warns researcher
    Ian Sample, July 25, 2007 (UK Guardian)

    Ausubel claims to have breached a “taboo” by talking about the “negatives” of renewables. Nobody ever said there are NO negatives associated with renewables. But since you want to talk about negatives, Professor Ausubel, how about these minor drawbacks to nuclear energy (the energy you advocate and call "green")?

    (1) Seismic vulnerability (withness the recent episode in Japan);
    (2) Flooding on the coasts and failure of adequate water supplies inland due to climate change (see CLIMATE CHANGE COULD SINK NUCLEAR);
    (3) Random electrical and other equipment accidents leading to spills and leaks (see AFTER JAPAN NUKE PANIC, GERMAN NUKE COVERUP, CONSIDER WIND);
    (4) Terrorist targeting;
    (5) Weapons-grade nuclear materials proliferation;
    (6) There is no safe place to dispose of nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain? How many square meters? And how many more square meters if those seismic cracks under it give?

    NewEnergyNews acknowledges there will probably be a role for nuclear in the near-term energy equation, but is it really what is best to invest in, long-term?

    Ausubel’s ideas add little of value to the crucial long-term debate.


    WHO
    Jesse Ausubel, Rockefeller University
    Enormous potential (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Ausubel assessed power output per square meter of land used and concluded renewable energies, as he considered them, would do more environmental harm than good.

    WHEN
    Just made available.

    WHERE
    Article published in International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology
    Rapidly improving cost factors. (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    Ausubel’s calculations:
    Hydroelectric: 0.1 watts/square meter
    Biofuels: 250,000 hectares = one nuclear power station
    Wind: 1.2 watts/square meter
    Solar: 150,000 square kilometers = US electricity.

    Even if these statistics were accurate, a dubious proposition, they correct themselves.

    By using all forms of renewables, each one requires ¾ less land than Ausubel calculates.

    Many solar installations are on building rooftops, many more can be (think of California's "Million Solar Roofs"), and Ausubel does not seem to have considered Concentrating Solar Photovoltaics (CSP), which dramatically increases the yield per meter, or Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), which will hugely expand the potential of solar in populated areas.

    Hydro is mainly from existing dams so there is no need to dam up all of Ontario as Ausubel proposes.

    The best and most commonly approved wind energy projects are on farmlands, in already developed terrain or offshore. And turbines are getting larger and more efficient, doubling current yields.

    Biofuels come from farm crops, not undeveloped wilderness lands.

    Ausubel says New York City would need all of Connecticut for its renewable energy but he reportedly does not even mention wave/tide/current energies, though New York City has already begun using East River tide energy.

    The articles say nothing about geothermal.

    And Ausubel apparently did not consider efficiency, a vital component in the discussion of renewables.

    Also, could someone mention the term “distributed generation” to the professor?


    QUOTES
    -Ausubel: "Nuclear energy is green…Considered in Watts per square meter, nuclear has astronomical advantages over its competitors."
    -Ausubel: "As a Green, one of my credos is 'no new structures' but renewables all involve ten times or more stuff per kilowatt as natural gas or nuclear…"
    -Ausubel: "Renewables may be renewable but they are not green…If we want to minimize new structures and the rape of nature, nuclear energy is the best option."

    FIRST, anybody who says what is or is not “green” is oversimplifying and probably propagandizing.

    SECOND, anybody who begins a point with “As a green…” should not get to finish the point.

    THIRD (and put this in the it-only-takes-one category), how many square meters did that radioactive cloud from Chernobyl drift?

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