NewEnergyNews: 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007

NewEnergyNews

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

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

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
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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: 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE MONEY IN NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, April 15: WORLD WIND TO BOOM THRU 2014; NAT GAS AND SOLAR WERE 75% OF U.S. 2013 NEW POWER; MAINE OFFICIALLY AFFIRMS SMART METERS’ SAFETY
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THIS COULD BE THE REAL VALUE OF SOLAR
  • QUICK NEWS, April 14: DE-RISKED RENEWABLES HAVE MORE INVESTORS THAN DEALS; THE MYTH OF CONSOLIDATION IN SOLAR; TEXAS BREAKS MORE WIND RECORDS
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher On What’s Happening In The Oceans
  • Weekend Video: The Human Disharmony In The Climate System Symphony
  • Weekend Video: A Few Thoughts About Solar 2.0
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- THE CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT MOVES DOWNTOWN
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-SHIFTING AND GROWING AMONG GLOBAL SOLAR LEADERS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-UK OFFSHORE WIND SETTING RECORDS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-MICROGRIDS RISING AROUND THE 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.

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  • Friday, August 31, 2007

    FROM BROKE & DOWN TO BOOMTOWN WITH NEW ENERGY

    This town is SO SMART! They see that the New Energy resource they have depended on up til now for their New Energy Boom must be protected -- so they are bringing in solar to compensate and keep growing.

    ‘Dead-end’ Austrian town blossoms with green energy
    Jonathan Tirone, August 28, 2007 (Bloomberg News via International Herald Tribune)

    WHO
    Maria Hofer, lifelong Gussing, Austria, resident; Eco-tourists, scientists, international diplomats and entrepreneurs; Bernard Snoy, economic director, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Peter Vadasz, the 1992 mayor who led the city’s changeover; Rheinhard Koch, Director, European Center for Renewable Energy, & the electrical engineer who designed Gussing’s first power changeovers; Hermann Hofbauer, Viennese scientist, designer of wood-to-energy process that put Gussing into profit;

    The Gussing biomass plant that scientistis and ecotourists come to see. The medieval cathedral that used to be the big tourist attraction is on the mountaintop in the background. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Gussing is the 1st EU town to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 90% and it is experiencing an economic boom from its commitment to New Energy.

    WHEN
    - Gussing’s transformation began 15 years ago (1992) when city hall, struggling to pay its electric bill, ordered the town’s move away from fossil fuels. Since then: 50 New Energy companies & 1,000+ jobs.
    - 1996: New Energy electricity to the whole town.
    - 1998: Wood-to-natural gas process installed, city becomes enriched
    - 2008: completion of 50 million euro solar energy facility

    WHERE
    Gussing, Austria, is in the region of what used to be the border between the Communist and Free worlds. 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Vienna.

    A modern wood-to-energy furnace with emissions-containing fixtures.

    WHY
    - Gussing: Population, 4000. Nickname: "Eco-Energy Land." Formerly agricultural (corn, sunflowers, timber).
    - New Energies developed in Gussing include: Solar, biomass and ethanol. Power generated: 22 megawatts/year. The 8 megawatts sold to national grid bring 4.7 million euros in revenue and 500,000 euros in profits spent on more New Energy infrastructure.
    1st step: wood-burning power plant. 2nd step: plant for auto fuel from rapeseed.
    - The Hofbauer wood-to-natural gas process draws on local forests but cuts emissions and makes the town energy independent. Many worry about the forests.
    - Solon AG Fuer Solartechnik of Germany will finish a 50 million euro solar energy plant in 2008.

    A comprehensive biomass-to-energy schematic. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Hofer: "This was a dead-end town and now we're the center of attention…It seems like every week we read about new jobs from renewable energy."
    - Snoy: "The town is combining growth in tourism revenue with being in the vanguard of environmental sustainability…"
    - Vadasz: "Just to turn to renewable energy brought advantages we didn't dream of before…A lot of money that left before, now stays in the region."
    - Raphael Rindler, local Franciscan priest: "People here take the forests for granted, the way people thought about oil 50 years ago…"

    CHALLENGES TO NEW ENERGY

    The challenges are real but so is the big money funding the scientists who are meeting the challenges as fast as a fluff piece like this can describe them.

    Interesting that this author considers natural gas/LNG to be "clean" energy. NewEnergyNews does not.


    Clean energy solutions still face obstacles
    Keiko Morris, August 23, 2007 (Newsday)

    WHO
    Matthew Cordaro, utility expert & acting dean/College of Management, Long Island University (C.W. Post campus); Ashok Gupta, chief energy economist, Natural Resources Defense Council & member, NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer's Renewable Energy Task Force; other unnamed energy experts

    New Energy.

    WHAT
    Fossil-fuel is the most cost-effective energy for power plant electricity presently but a future in which alternatives are a significant part of the mix is foreseeable.

    WHEN
    Alternatives are expected to emerge following further research discovers ways to improve efficiency and lower costs.

    WHERE
    Placing alternative energies in the U.S. market is especially challenging because Americans expect nothing less than perfection of delivery.

    WHY
    - Cleaner alternative energies still lack immediate viability in terms of cost and reliability but are cleaner and renewable. The complete mix of resources will provide a combination with which utilities can manage risk by having a portfolio of energy options.
    - Short term alternatives include renovating existing power plants to burn natural gas in a combined cycle so as to make use of the heat as well as the electricity generated.
    - A quick run-down of current alternatives for Long Island, NY:
    1. Efficiency programs such as LIPA's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR can mean 30 to 40 percent in savings…
    2. Combined cycle plants reduce cost and emissions by including natural gas with denser, dirtier fossil fuels.

    Getting more cost-competitive all the time. (click to enlarge)

    3. Solar energy will improve in cost but in places like Long Island where there is ample sun on big rooftops, it can already make sense.
    4. Wind energy is expected to be cost effective as soon as turbine manufacturing capacity ramps up to meet demand.
    5. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals may make natural gas more competitive but there is controversy over placement of the potentially dangerously explosive facilities.
    6. Wave-tide-current energies are still in the testing stages but represent enornmous potential.

    QUOTES
    - Cordaro: "What it comes down to is what's cost effective and what's reliable, especially in this country when we've come to expect almost perfect reliability…"
    - Gupta: "You manage your risk so you don't have to depend on any one source or cost…"
    - Gupta: "[Solar energy] makes a lot of sense on Long Island, where there is so much sun and so many rooftops…A $30,000 system on a $1 million house is not a lot of money, and you can finance it like you would your roof. You pay for it over time."

    OIL SANDS EXPLORATION DOWN

    Whatever the challenges to New Energy, they don’t seem to be as serious as the challenges to Old Energy. Are people finally realizing what it is going to cost to get those oil sands, long described as “another Saudi Arabia” in oil reserves, to produce useable oil?

    Alberta Oil, Gas Land Revenues Slump In 2007
    Hyun Yung Lee, August 24, 2007 (Dow Jones via RigZone)

    WHO
    The Treasury of the Canadian province of Alberta, oil exploration companies

    This is why they call it oil sands.

    WHAT
    Revenues for exploration rights in Alberta’s highly touted oil sands regions are down 60% for the year.

    WHEN
    2006 year-to-date revenues from the sale of exploration rights: C$2.55 billion
    2007 year-to-date revenues from the sale of exploration rights: C$969 million
    2005: C$2.26 billion in exploration rights revenues
    2006: C$3.43 billion in exploration rights revenues
    2007 projection: C$1.4 billion.

    WHERE
    Calculations are for exploration rights in oil, natural gas and oil sands.

    The previously hot, now not, Alberta resources. (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    Explanation of slump: low natural gas prices, rising oil sands development costs and weak equity markets

    QUOTES
    Rigzone: “…the recent turmoil in global equity markets has made it trickier for smaller exploration companies to raise funds.”

    BRITS DOING THIN FILM SOLAR

    It is not entirely clear whether thin film solar is one of those technologies researchers are forever chasing but nevering making commercial, or whether it is THE solar technology solution. What is clear: If one of the many research teams around the country and around the world finds the secret formula to turn solar cells into a durable house paint or roof shingle at a high efficiency and an affordable price, they will get very rich very fast.

    New Solar Cells Could Expand Sun Power
    August 28, 2007 (UPI)
    and
    Cheap home solar power on the way
    23 August 2007 (BBC News)

    WHO
    Prof Ken Durose, director, Durham Centre for Renewable Energy and his team of researchers

    Schematic of what is called "thin-layer" in Britain. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    The Durham team is pushing forward with research on “thin-layer” or “thin film” solar cells which is expected to make solar energy more affordable and accessible.

    WHEN
    Research has been ongoing for 4 years.

    WHERE
    - Durham University is a 175-year-old school in the city of Durham, in the northeast of England about halfway between Manchester and Edinburgh.

    WHY
    - New materials being tried (copper indium diselenide, cadmium telluride) are more light-absorbing than current materials so it would take less to generate useable amounts of electricity.
    - Silicon-based photovoltaic cells are bigger, thicker and more expensive.
    - The new materials would allow the cell to be thinner and easier to build into a structure but so far have proven too inefficient to be practical. If perfected, they could spawn a new generation of Building Intergrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) producing cheaper,more easily installed solar energy systems.
    - Funding by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
    - Solar energy currently provides 1/100 of 1% of Britain’s electricity.
    - U.S. researchers like Nate Lewis of CalTech talk about advancing the technology to the point where it can be a roofing shingle or house paint.

    Professor Durose displays a small sample of his solar film.

    QUOTES
    Durose: "One of the main issues in solar energy is the cost of materials and we recognise that the cost of solar cells is slowing down their uptake…If solar panels were cheap enough so you could buy a system off the shelf that provided even a fraction of your power needs you would do it, but that product isn't there at the moment."

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    GOTTA DO SOMETHING: CARBON TAX VS. CAP-AND-TRADE

    Congress will do daunting battle this fall over energy and climate change legislation. This issue will be fought out on the frontlines.

    Handling Climate Change
    Eileen Clausen and Judith Greenwald, July 12, 2007 (Pew Center on Global Climate Change via Miami Herald)

    WHO
    Eileen Claussen, president, Pew Center on Global Climate Change; Judith Greenwald, director of innovative solutions, Pew Center.

    Lots of ideas. What action will result? (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Claussen and Greenwald advocate for “cap-and-trade” over a “carbon tax” in anticipation of a debate in Congress over the best way to incentivize greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

    WHEN
    - With climate change ongoing, the U.S. Congress will finally confront the question this fall.
    - The EU system covers 10,000 emitters and a market with millions of credit trades monthly. But its earliest 2002 thru 2007 stage, named Phase 1, was bumpy, as it worked out the complexities of the process rather than focusing entirely on emissions reductions. This allowed detractors to condemn it. Phase 2 starts in 2008, allowing a “reset” moment. The system is exoected to emerge functioning more efficiently and incentivizing significant emissions reductions. No doubt new problems to be sorted out will present themselves.

    WHERE
    Both the House and the senate are expected to debate “cap-and-trade” legislation and dissatisfied legislators in both bodies are expected to grouse about a “carbon tax.”

    WHY
    - The “carbon tax” would be a charge per ton of emissions.
    - The “cap-and-trade system” would begin with federally-established allowed emissions (credits) to each emitter. If the entity (business, factory, farm, etc.) goes over its limit, it pays a stiff fine. If it stays under its limit, it can sell its excess credits to over-emitters at much lower rates than the fine would be for the same excess emissions. This incentivizes entitities to find low-emission forms of energy and to find the most energy efficient ways to do whatever it does.
    - “Tax” advocates say it is simpler. They also claim the EU “cap-and-trade” system shows how bad such a system works.
    - Both systems require monitoring and enforcement. Both have complexities. Cap-and-trade needs working out the whole credits scheme and running a market for them. Tax requires working out redistribution of revenues.
    - Cap-and-trade is more market-based and more flexible. It can link internationally and stimulates “banking” of credits.
    - New taxes are hard to legislate, leaving legislators with the option of cap-and-trade or no anti-climate change measure.

    There is NOTHING simple about a carbon tax plan. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    “But the key difference between a carbon tax and the cap-and-trade approach comes down to the issue of certainty. A tax provides for cost certainty; the cost is fixed because of the tax. Cap and trade, on the other hand, provides for environmental certainty. What's fixed is the cap itself -- and it is based on an assessment of the level of emissions you need to get to in order to protect the climate…In response to a carbon tax, many emitters will reduce their emissions rather than pay the tax, but that result is not guaranteed. With Alaska and Greenland melting, and with droughts and other weather extremes on the rise, environmental certainty would seem to be the more compelling imperative.”

    IN WITH THE NEW BULB, OUT WITH THE OLD

    This is not the most important measure in this fall's anticipated Energy Bill fight, but it is worthy of attention.

    Lights out; Future of incandescent bulb dims as energy-efficient options gain power
    Stephanie I. Cohen, August 24, 2007 (MarketWatch from Dow Jones)

    WHO
    Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., author of legislation to ban the incandescent bulb; Royal Philips Electronics, manufacturer.

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb is far less efficient than the compact florescents lightbulbs (CFLs) now available. Switiching over to CFLs would save enormous amounts of electricity and stop equally enormous amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced for electricity to power them. This would save consumers much more than they will spend on the new CFLs. Rep. Harman proposes to legislate incandescents out of use.

    WHEN
    - Harman’s bill would stop the sale of incandescents after 2012. The legislation requires another step up in efficiency in 2020.
    - CFLs have been around a long time but have only eliminated negatives like poor light, noise and excessive toxins in the last decade.
    - 2012/14 requirements save consumers 30% on bills. 2020 requirements save consumers 75% on bills.

    WHERE
    England and Australia have already set phase-out dates for the incandescent.

    WHY
    - The 2007 House energy bill includes Harman’s proposal. The Senate’s version does not. This is anther issue to be hammered out in the conference process next month.
    - If every U.S. home replaces one incandescent with one CFL, the country will save $600 million in energy costs.
    - Some opponents don’t want to make government “light bulb police” and others object to the quality of CFLs. Many think the bulbs will emerge w/o government action.
    Lumens measure the brightness of the bulb. The House bill mandates an increase of lumens incandescents cannot meet without increasing wattage. Because they are more efficient, the CFLs can be brighter without using more electricity.
    - Halogen bulbs also meet the legislative standards and are improving.
    - LEDs will come into the picture as efficiency requirements rise.
    - GE: Replacing 10 60-watt incandescents and 5 100-watt incandescents saves homeowners $120/yr and $656 over the bulb’s life. GE calculator
    - CFLs contain mercury, a tiny fraction of what old thermometers had, but must be recycled. Call 1-877-EARTH911 or go to Earth 911 for more info. All IKEAs also take CFLs for recycling.

    The facts. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Harman: "Only 10% of the power used by today's incandescent bulbs is emitted as light, while the other 90% is released as heat…"
    - Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.: "By simply replacing the light bulbs in their homes, our constituents will be saving money in addition to energy…"
    - Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa.: "They are not very bright. They are not good for reading…They buzz sometimes, they just buzz like a transformer." (NewEnergyNews: These are inaccurate statements.)

    BLM OPENS GEOTHERMAL OPPORTUNITIES –TO WHO?

    Smart development of renewable resources is what it's all about. But who is bidding on these contracts? Any input from environmental groups? The recent Utah coal mine cave-in is a reminder: Federal watchdogs can sometimes be puppies to companies with deep pockets and heavy clout.

    BLM Launches Effort to Facilitate Renewable Energy Development on Fedeeral Lands
    August 27, 2007 (BLM via Environmental News Network)

    WHO
    U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Acting Director Jim Hughes; U.S. Forest Service ,Chief Gail Kimbell;

    How geothermal works. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    BLM will do a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) establishing where geothermal energy development would most effectively be conducted on federal lands with the least environmental harm. Leasing for development, if deemed feasible, would follow.

    WHEN
    - Intention to do the PEIS was published August 27. The public has 60 days to comment.
    - The Energy Policy Act of 2005 stipulated 90% of pending applications must be processed by August 8, 2010.

    WHERE
    - Federal lands w/high geothermal potential in 11 western states and Alaska as identified by BLM, U.S. Forest Service & U.S. Geological Survey. Especially noted: Northwestern Nevada, northeastern California, Oregon’s Raft River Basin.

    WHY
    - This BLM move recognizes current demand for renewable energy sources. Geothermal energy uses hot water and steam from deep in the earth to heat buildings and greenhouses or grow plants as well as to drive electricity-producing generators. It is now 17% of U.S. renewables. 50% of present U.S. geothermal energy is generated on federal lands (mostly California and Nevada). 90% of potential U.S. geothermal energy is on federal lands.
    - PEIS analyzes best sites and steps in lease applications. BLM seeks public input on these issues as well as best practices for development of geothermal resources. Public meetings will be held in 10 western cities.
    - BLM expects 100+ applications, based on applications pending in 2005. It issued 291 leases since 2001 but 25 between 1996 and 2001.
    - BLM currently administers 420 leases, 55 producing geothermal energy, 34 with power plants.

    Geothermal resources and federal lands. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Hughes: “The BLM is sitting on the largest supply of geothermal energy in this country, and it is time to launch an aggressive program to develop those resources…This proceeding will help us determine which areas to concentrate our geothermal leasing efforts on.”
    - Kimbell: “The Forest Service looks forward to working in concert with BLM on these geothermal projects…Enhancing our nation’s energy needs through safe and clean energy is an important focus of the Department of Agriculture and a proper use of our public lands.”

    NUKE ALERT

    What makes this story more than trivial is that Indian Point is thought to already be on terrorists’ radar because of its proximity to their favorite target, New York City. It has also had siren failures and radioactive water leaks.

    Armed Guard Found Asleep at Nuke Plant
    Jim Fitzgerald, August 27, 2007 (AP via Huffinton Post)

    WHO
    unnamed guard at the Indian Point nuclear power plant outside New York City; unnamed federal inspector; Neil Sheehan, spokesman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Jim Steets, spokesman, Indian Point owner Entergy Nuclear;

    Looking across the Hudson River at the Indian Point facility. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    The unnamed federal inspector found the unnamed gate guard asleep on duty. It took 2 minutes to rouse the somnolent protector.

    WHEN
    The nap took place in the afternoon of a shift that began at 6 am.

    WHERE
    - The Indian Point facility is in Buchanan, NY, 35 miles north of New York City, on the Hudson River.
    - The guard was asleep alone in the 2nd of 3 security rings around the 2 Indian Point plants.

    WHY
    - Other security measures remained in place during the nap and tapes show there was no safety breach of the gate to the next ring where the reactors and spent-fuel pool are. Other measures to open the gate include the matching of a palm print and badge scan (in case any terrorists need to know).
    - The inspection was specifically targeting security on the “backshift” (night /weekend).
    - The guard, a 5-year veteran who carried a sidearm, was placed on administrative leave pending a review and drug/alcohol testing. Guards are rotated during shifts to counteract the tedium.

    Even when the guards stay awake, they can't to tell you something safe to do with this. Nobody can. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Sheehan: ‘[There was no security breach] but that doesn't make it any less serious… [Entergy] needs to get to the bottom of this and make sure the staff knows this is unacceptable."

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    MACCREADY SOARS AGAIN: CLEAR SKIES, SMOOTH WINDS

    Paul MacCready (1925-2007)

    “…the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up to all the world and say, ‘This was a man!’ (from Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar”)

    The man who showed humans how to fly under their own power now soars in history. He was tactiturn yet funny, quiet yet articulate, gentle yet stronger than steel, reasonable yet firm of opinion, unconventional yet profoundly practical.

    Human-powered flight had long been considered theoretically possible. But nobody could figure out HOW. Paul did it. With one word: EFFICIENT.

    Paul MacCready, Jr., 1925 - 2007. (click to enlarge)

    There is no doubt that Nature would stand up for Paul. He stood up for Nature. He loved the heights, be it soaring or hiking the San Gabriel Mountains above Pasadena. There was never a better champion of New Energy (or a better friend to NewEnergyNews).

    Scrolling through

    this long list of Paul’s accomplishments and awards

    could cause carpal tunnel syndrome. What it comes down to is this: From the time he was a boy winning national acclaim building model airplanes, he got the most by keeping it simple.

    WHO
    Dr. Paul MacCready, Jr., Ph.D., winner of the Kremer Prize for creating the first human-powered flight aircraft, 3-time U.S. National Soaring Champion, the first U.S. World Soaring Champion, founder of AeroVironment

    WHAT
    Paul died August 29, 2007, at his home in Pasadena. He was 81.

    Beside the cockpit of the Gossamer Condor, pointing the way. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Paul was born September 29, 1925. He married Judy Leonard MacCready on May 18, 1957. They had three sons, Parker, Tyler and Marshall, and two grandchildren.

    Paul and Judy with Parker, Tyler and Marshall. (click to enlarge)

    - On August 22, 1977, Paul’s entirely human-powered “Gossamer Condor” became the first aircraft ever to fly the course and distance required by the Kremer Prize as proof of “human-powered flight.” On June 12, 1979, his “Gossamer Albatross” flew over the English Channel entirely by human power.
    - AeroVironment was founded in the summer of 1971. It remains a leader in flight as well as cutting edge energy and transportation.

    WHERE
    Paul was born in New Haven, Connecticut. After putting in a brief stint training as a U.S. Navy pilot at the end of WWII, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Yale and migrated to Pasadena. He earned a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).

    WHY
    - Paul began his professional career with efforts to change the weather. He ended it having changed the world.
    - His first company, started in 1958, was Atmospheric Research Group, a cutting edge venture that made research flights into the core of storms and experimented with cloud-seeding.
    - Though he had long been engaged in soaring and gliding, his work with human-powered flight began seriously in 1976 when a large business debt caused him to notice the large cash award attached to the British Kremer Prize. All he had to do was figure out how to get a heavier-than-air craft off the ground to an elevation of at least 10 feet entirely under human power and fly a figure-eight course of at least a half-mile.
    - While on a family vacation in 1976, he was studying the soaring habits of turkey vultures and explaining it to his sons when he realized the secret to human-powered flight. After consulting with colleagues on these unique insights, he gathered an intrepid crew of stalwart volunteers. The project he had optimistically estimated would take 6 weeks took a year. To do what nobody else ever did.
    - Paul was one of the first to recognize the implications of the 1970s oil and economic changes. His insight made him a pioneer in solar-powered cars and airplanes, electric cars and efficiency. Aerovironment was the company charged with building the ill-fated electric car of the 1990s. Paul drove an electric car as long as he drove.

    Paul and an early solar-powered car. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - “Nobody seemed to be quite as motivated for the new and strange as I was.”

    - “I alternate between pessimism and optimism, and I've found the best pessimism summary comes from the great philosopher, Woody Allen, who said, "Civilization is at a crossroads. One road leads to misery and devastation, the other to total destruction. We must choose wisely." And there is a lot more to that statement than you might think.”

    - Paul on his own life:

    ...I probably had some manifestations that would be called dyslexia now. Not a basket case but, certainly in some things, a short attention span. If I would start reading a paragraph of history, by the time I was to the second sentence my mind would be a thousand miles away. And even in physics classes, I would tend to daydream about other things…

    Paul and an early Gossamer. (click to enlarge)

    ...Having a brain that works a little differently than what best fits the school system, you learn to cope…I did most of my learning during the homework rather than the class period. A lot of dyslexics are very creative people…

    ...I remember a newsreel in, let's say, 1938, when I was 13 years old, that showed a sailplane flying over a slope at El Mirage…It was such a wonderful kind of flying. And I found that it was a wonderful, addicting hobby.

    ...I don't think of myself as especially competitive…If you are in a contest, there is always some motivation towards trying to win, but the real value is just entering in the competition.

    ...The last flight I had in competition, in the 1956 International contest in France that I won, I got in circumstances where whether I survived or didn't just was a flip of the coin. Whether the turbulence went that way, or that way…

    Paul doing something he loved: Sharing his insights. (click to enlarge)

    ...I was doing the scaling laws for all of these different flight devices, natural and artificial, in my mind…And while working on that, I thought back about human-powered flight and realized, why yes, there was a very simple, straightforward way of doing it. Which was merely, you can take any airplane, conceptually, keep the size the same -- I mean, keep the weight the same -- but let the size just get bigger and bigger and bigger in all dimensions, and the power goes down and, conceptually, you can make it big enough so it can get by on the tiny power that a person puts out…The simplest analogy I can think of is Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic in 1927, which was really a pretty bum airplane. Well tailored for that purpose, but…there was no reason ever to make another one…

    - “The overall goal is a sustainable world. Not consuming nonreplenishable resources, not steadily more dependent on foreign oil, and not causing global climate change.”

    Further reading:
    More With Less: Paul MacCready and the Dream of Efficient Flight

    Gossamer Odyssey: The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight

    NEED STANDARDS FOR OFFSETS (W/OFFSET TIPS)

    It will help when U.S. national leaders step up to their responsibilities and deal the country into the world emissions markets. But private "offsets" will still require independent assessment and the assessment will require standards and regulations. Right now, the offset marketplace is like an oil boom town -- wide open.

    Carbon “offset” market that helps you go green lacks standards, oversight
    Sarah Jane Tribble, August 26, 2007 (San Jose Mercury-News)
    and
    Tips On Buying Carbon Offsets
    August 26, 2007 (San Jose Mercury-News)

    WHO
    Responsible citizens, aware of climate change, who are seeking to offset their inevitable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; California Climate Action Registry, a non-profit founded by state law (Diane Wittenberg, president);

    Truth or Hype? Don't know. Cute girls. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    In a potentially trillion-dollar market, there are not yet adequate standards and regulations governing “offsets.” Profiteers and scam artists are taking advantage of good intentions, as they usually do until controls emerge.

    WHEN
    Problems have existed since offsets were initiated and will continue to exist until adequate standards and regulations are established.

    WHERE
    In the air.

    WHY
    - Demand for offsets is rising, though no certain and comprehensive statistics are available. EcoSystem Marketplace, a research firm, puts the increase in sellers at 200% or greater.
    - Travelocity and Expedia offset travel emissions. Google is going “neutral.”
    CA utility PG&E’s “Climate Smart” tags a “neutral” fee on 1800 customers’ power bill tho the company is still looking for the right “offset.”
    - Popular online offsetters: Climate Trust, NativeEnergy, Terrapass.
    - Popular projects: wind farms, methane digesters.
    - Controversial project: planting/protecting trees. How much new trees offset is in doubt and whether the protected trees needed or got protection is not clear.
    - Clean Air-Cool Planet studied 30 offsetters for transparency and credibility. Only 8 scored above 5 (on a 1-to-10 scale).
    - Confusion arises even over legitimate offsets as between Terrapass.and Gallo Farms.
    - California Climate Action Registry is trying to establish state standards.
    - Suggested questions:
    1. Are the offsets certified (Voluntary Carbon Standard, the California Climate Action Registry's offset protocols, Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard)? If not, why?
    2. Is there proof the offset is sold only once? Is the transaction is registered?
    3. Is there proof the offset adds GHG emission reductions?
    4. Is there proof the project is verified and measured by an independent onsite auditor?

    First principles. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Julia Bovey, spokeswoman, Natural Resources Defense Council: "Right now the status is buyer beware…There are a lot of companies out there . . . but there are concerns that have to do with whether the money is going to where they say it is going."
    - Robert Parkhurst, manager of PG&E's Climate Smart: "There are so many different programs out there that are doing this…You really have to dig down."
    - Derik Broekhoff, senior associate, World Resources Institute: "Unfortunately, it's perfectly easy for the buyer and seller in the transaction to be perfectly happy and yet it's the atmosphere that could get the short end of the stick…"
    - Ricardo Bayon, managing director, Ecosystem Marketplace: "Right now the voluntary market is in a very chaotic disaggregated phase of development, one that is changing rapidly…Standards are emerging, and it is only a matter of time until we have credible third parties certifying offsets and doing so in a way that allows consumers to have a reasonable assurance that the credits they are buying do truly reduce emissions."

    S. KOREA GETS IN THE EMISSIONS MARKET

    The South Koreans decided it was time to take advantage of the opportunities emerging in emissions trading. It does good by climate change, too, of course, and is, thus, that rare and wonderful convergence of something profitable that does the world good. Maybe the U.S., China and India should give it some thought.

    S Korea To Establish Domestic Carbon Credit Market By End-‘07
    Jun Yang, August 22, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswire via NASDAQ)

    WHO
    South Korea Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy

    click to enlarge.

    WHAT
    South Korea will move to reduce domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by establishing a domestic emissions market. It has approved 50 projects and will issue credits to the owners of those projects for auction to utilities who have failed to generate energy from renewables at government-established requirements.

    WHEN
    - Announcement made August 22. Market will be in place by the end of 2007.
    - The plan is based on the Kyoto Protocols, which began in 1997 and run through 2012.

    WHERE
    The market described will be a South Korean domestic market though if projects meet Kyoto standards they may be sold in the EU ETS or other markets as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs).

    WHY
    - By purchasing the government-approved credits from renewable energy projects, the utilities will be offsetting their investment failures in renewable energy when purchasing power. The market is thereby expected to spur development of renewables.
    - The government guarantees to buy any credits not sold to utilities at KRW5,000 (US$5.30)/metric ton.
    - South Korea, the world’s 10th-biggest GHG emitter, is not bound by Kyoto Protocol limits but it has been urged by International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Claude Mandil to move on the issue.

    The yellow line is South Korea's per capita emissions. It was time to take action and they did. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Mandil: “As South Korea's emissions are expected to grow by more than two-thirds between 2000 and 2030, setting an objective to slow the growth of those emissions is critical…”

    U.S. GETTING INTO WAVE ENERGY

    A little-mentioned exciting aspect of wave energy is that it can be a self-powering water desalination system while it generates emission-free, predictable, renewable power. Another is that much of the industry that supports wave-tide-current turbines also supports wind turbines, making the two energies synergistic.

    Projects across the nation seek to harness wave energy
    Michelle Lee, August 17, 2007 (The Providence Journal via Scripps News)

    WHO
    Malcolm Spaulding, professor of ocean engineering, University of Rhode Island/Graduate School of Oceanography; Verdant Power; Oceanlinx (John Bell, CFO); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

    The amount of potential wave energy is almost -- ready? -- unfathomable. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Wave energy is more than the wave of the future. Ongoing research and new ocean tests approved by FERC are bringing the energy source along.

    WHEN
    Wave energy viability is, if not eminent, certainly foreseeable.

    WHERE
    - Verdant Power is Canadian-American and has a test project in New York City’s East River. Oceanlinx is Australian and has a test project off Port Kembla, Australia.
    - Other test projects: Vineyard Sound in Massachusetts, the Atlantic coast of Florida, San Francisco Bay, Washington’s Puget Sound and waterways along Alaska, Maine and Oregon, Hawaii and the UK.

    WHY
    - Spaulding’s research is the study of the oscillations on waves of a triangular buoy of PVC pipes containing magnetic generators. The movement generates electricity which is captured and measured. The model generates 0.2 watts from big waves in the experimental wave tank. A full-scale model (32.8-foot pipes) will generate much more.
    - FERC has approved 45 U.S. test sites and 15 are pending. 6 are in Long Island Sound.
    - A 10-turbine project from Oceanlinx off Long Island Sound’s Point Judith & Block Island would cost $44 million and each turbine would generate 1.5 megawatts of electricity. (NewEnergyNews: Conversion factors vary. This article says 1 megawatt = 900 homes. Other articles say a megawatt == 250 or 300 homes.)

    The type of Verdant turbine now placed in the East River of NYC.

    QUOTES
    - Spaulding: "The idea is to get the design so the more 'heave' we get, the better…"
    - Bell: "There is no fuel cost in that the wave activity is there…It's low visual impact. In our experience, so far, these devices are attractive to marine life. There's no noise generated. There are no moving parts about it."

    OIL KING SPREADING WIND WEALTH

    The article mentions that Pickens, who is independently wealthy, finds wind turbines ugly whereas less financially blessed neighboring Panhandle ranchers say the turbines look as pretty as money to them.

    Pickens begins signing up landowners for project
    David Bowser, August 24, 2007 (The Pampa News)

    WHO
    T. Boone Pickens, CEO, Mesa Energy and reknown energy entrepreneur

    Boone Pickens is a tough negotiator and a good guy to have on wind energy's side of the table.

    WHAT
    Mesa has begun signing up landowners at $4/acre upfront for participation in a proposed 4000-megawatt wind farm in Gray County. Landowners royalties could range from $50,000 to $80,000/yr, depending on wind and participation. 1000 new jobs from wind are expected, more from associated projects.

    WHEN
    - Pickens was in Pampa, Texas, August 23, negotiating leases.
    - Regulatory approval of the project is hoped for in 2009, allowing construction in 2010.

    WHERE
    Pickens Pampa appearance was in the Heritage Room of the M.K. Brown Civic Center. Pickens owns a ranch in neighboring Roberts Count. Mesa Energy is based in Dallas.

    WHY
    - This will be the world’s largest wind farm, five times bigger than the next biggest, a 735-megawatt installation in Abilene.
    - In addition to the wind installation, Mesa will build 320 miles of transmission lines to serve the rapidly expanding Dallas metropolitan area as well a supplemental 750-megawatt coal-fired plant and a peak demand 600-megawatt natural gas plant. The 5000+ megawatt undertaking is expected to cost $10.5 billion.
    - Income to the landowners cannot begin util the installation and transmission lines are complete.

    The new transmission is as important as the new turbines. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Pickens: “We're getting down here to the point where we have to fish or cut bait…If you want to sell wind and sign up with us, you've got to know now the best deal you are going to get on wind is going to be with us. I promise you that is the case…There's not going to be many people that are going to be able to take the power out of the Panhandle and move it downstate…It's…pretty good-sized for a Roberts County guy…”
    - Pickens: “I'm not having any turbines on my ranch…I think they're ugly is the reason I won't have any…You're going to have turbines in the Panhandle…I don't think there's any question about that, but we need to know whether you want to do business with us or not. If we don't have enough people who want to do business with us, we won't do the job.”

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    GERMAN AUTO REBEL DISSES HYDROGEN, TOUTS EFFICIENCY

    Mentioned in this article is an upside to all the future-dreaming about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (as detailed by Joseph J. Romm in The Hype About Hydrogen): To some extent such research contributes to the knowledge base for engineering electric battery vehicles like the plug-in hybrid. (If this is not true, the electric vehicle community will no doubt speak up.)

    German Regulator Roils Auto-Emissions Debate; Freidrich Touts Low Tech Over Alternative Fuels; A Tiff Over VW’s Golf
    Stephen Power and Marcus Walker, August 23, 2007 (Wall Street Journal)

    WHO
    Axel Friedrich, transport department head, German Federal Environmental Agency;

    From The Wall Street Journal: The Friedrich-inspired low tech improvements. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Friedrich infuriated VW executives by showing Golf emissions could be cut 25% without cutting horsepower. In public statements, Friedrich was especially disdainful of alternative fuel vehicles such as the hydrogen fuel cell.

    WHEN
    - 1997: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as environment minister, had list of environmental officials too outspoken to speak in public. Friedrich was Number One.
    - 2012: EU requires vehicle emissions to be 120 grams.
    - July 2007: German car makers petition EU for extension, saying it will be impossible to meet the requirement. Friedrich’s efficient Golf demonstrates emissions of 131 grams. VW announces a new diesel Golf that will meet 120 gram standard. Mercedes Benz and BMW announce they will show cars next year with several of Friedrich’s modifications and lower emissions.

    WHERE
    - The California Air Resources Board (CARB) sought out Friedrich’s opinion on controlling emissions.
    - EU hearings were in Brussels.

    WHY
    - Friedrich’s Golf modifications were low tech (see illustration).
    - VW contends the car may be more efficient in the lab but cannot be competitive and safe.
    - These issues are especially contentious in Germany where 1 of 7 jobs is auto industry-dependent.
    - German car companies have done a lot of research with the hydrogen fuel cell despite a rather obvious absence of answers to questions such as “Where will the hydrogen filling stations come from?” Friedrich, once an enthusiast of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, now disdains them.
    - Many German auto makers seem worried about moves by GM, Honda and Toyota in the direction of hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

    This is the solution to all our vehicle needs. When is somebody going to step up (and make a ton of money)?

    QUOTES
    - Friedrich: "We all know what to do…It's nothing magic."
    - Hermann Meyer, chief rep to EU, Volkswagen: "This was not a presentation which has the backing of Volkswagen…Has he done a crash test to verify this? If he has not made a crash test, he cannot say this."
    - Porsche AG Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking: "This is a business war in Europe…"
    - Alan Lloyd, former chairman, CARB: “[Friedrich] 's been a constant source of advice and knowledge…"
    - Wolfgang Reitzle, former executive, BMW/CEO, Linde AG: "It would be a shame if Germany were to sleep through a trend in hydrogen technology the way we slept through hybrids…"
    - Friedrich: "Fuel cells are just a gimmick to avoid regulation…"

    HYDROGEN PELLET POWER

    This post is from a tip by Forbes Bagatelle Black, to whose observation about the seductiveness of the “hydrogen dream” NewEnergyNews replied, “The difference between seduction and consummation is profound.”

    Pellets of Power Designed to Deliver Hydrogen to Tomorrow’s Vehicles
    August 22, 2007 (Department of Energy/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Science Daily)

    WHO
    Scientists of Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence (CHSCE), Department of Energy (DOE)

    A 240 mg pellet of ammonia borane (AB) storing 0.5 liter of hydrogen.

    WHAT
    The PNNL scientists are experimenting with a compressed form of a hydrogen solid, in pellet form, that could perhaps be carried safely in a vehicle tank and at acceptable weight and volume to serve as fuel. This might solve several of the dilemmas confronting the long-dreamed-of hydrogen highway and its utopian companion, the hydrogen economy.

    WHEN
    - The hydrogen dream is always just 10 years away.
    - Research presented by Don Camaioni and Dave Heldebrant of PNNL at 234th American Chemical Society National Meeting, August 21.

    WHERE
    - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington
    - The American Chemical Society meeting was in Boston, Mass.

    WHY
    - If hydrogen could solve a few daunting problems, it could provide an emission-free, pollution-free source of virtually unlimitied energy.
    - Aside from the utter waste of using energy to convert hydrogen to usable energy, hydrogen storage and delivery remain unanswered questions to which these pellets might provide answers.
    - Ammnia borane (AB) is compressed into ¾ gram pellets which store 1.8 liters of hydrogen fuel. This would bring weight and space consumed in a vehicle lower than pressurized hydrogen gas, allowing performance comparable to current cars.
    - Experiments are manipulating the release of hydrogen from the pellets and varying temperatures to control the power to fuel cells, mimicking the accelerator in a car.

    You're always ten years away.

    QUOTES
    - Dave Heldebrant, PNNL scientist: "With this new understanding and our improved methods in working with ammonia borane…we're making positive strides in developing a viable storage medium to provide reliable, environmentally friendly hydrogen power generation for future transportation needs."
    - Don Camaioni, PNNL scientist: "Once hydrogen from the storage material is depleted, the AB pellets must be safely and efficiently regenerated by way of chemical processing…This 'refueling' method requires chemically digesting or breaking down the solid spent fuel into chemicals that can be recycled back to AB with hydrogen."

    CA HOME BUILDER WILL MAKE SOLAR STANDARD

    This is the way it should and eventually will be done. By including the solar system in the overall home price, it adds nothing significant to the monthly mortgage fee yet saves society a bundle in fossil fuel emissions and saves the homeowner a bundle in energy costs over the life of the house. Also, embedded in the home’s cost, it is an expense fairly transferred through changes in ownership.

    Builder: Solar energy systems will be standard on new homes
    August 22, 2007 (Fresno Bee)

    WHO
    Lennar Homes (Charles Schein, marketing manager)

    A Lennar solar home.

    WHAT
    Lennar will make solar energy systems standard on the new homes it builds. It is the largest developer in the region to take the step of making solar systems standard.

    WHEN
    The solar systems will be installed in designated developments now set for construction.

    WHERE
    Beginning in the small California cities of Clovis and Reedley in the state’s San Joaquin Valley, the program will be expanded to the developer’s other projects from Tulare to Fresno.

    WHY
    - Building 1000 houses/year, Lennar is one of California’s biggest developers. This program will involve 258 houses.
    - Standard system: 2.3 kilowatt expected to cut grid energy consumption by half.
    - Installation after construction would cost $15,000 to $20,000.
    - Buyer gets $2000 one-time tax credit with purchase.

    California has the sun. Instead of letting the desert heat just be a burden that drives energy costs up, the state is using its resource to cut energy costs. Every state has renewable resources of one kind or another. Even turning garbage into methane is better than not doing it. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Schein: "We have to differentiate ourselves," Schein said. "It is a way to give back to the environment we change by putting new homes on it."

    OHIO JOINS FIGHT FOR RES (RPS)

    Ohio is about to fight the good fight for New Energy. It wants to be the 26th state to seize to the future.

    By the way, it seems to NewEnergyNews that many have decided it is time to do away with the awkward phrase "Renewable Portfolio Standard" and its confusing acronym, RPS, in favor of the more precise and recognizable "Renewable Electricity Standard" and RES. This is a good idea. Pass it on.


    Report: Wind Energy a Boon to Ohio
    Stephen Majors, August 23, 2007 (AP via Forbes)

    WHO
    Environment Ohio, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Strickland energy adviser Mark Shanahan, and state lawmakers in the Republican controlled legislature, Ohio manufacturing unions

    Every green dot is a business in Ohio ready to contribute to and benefit from New Energy. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Environment Ohio contends that a legislatively-mandated requirement for Ohio’s utilities to obtain a minimum portion of electricity from renewables, called a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) or a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), would act as an incentive to energy and economic development and potential rejuvenation for the state.

    WHEN
    Rising national political and marketplace interest in New Energy is pushing this issue forward in Ohio, especially spurred by Ohio’s large potential wind energy resource. Opponents argue legislators must first attend to the fact that electricity is scheduled to be deregulated in Ohio as of January 1, 2009.

    WHERE
    The story is from Columbus, Ohio’s state capital.

    WHY
    - Ohio is rich in wind resources and does not need to be dependent on dirty coal-burning power plants.
    - Many northeastern and Midwestern manufacturing centers have suffered economic losses to globalization. If the legislature were to require utilities to obtain their electricity from renewables, rate payers would be financing local installations, local work and all the local economic development that comes with active industry and employment.
    - 25 states now have some kind of RES. Without this kind of legislation, Ohio’s economy will be without the incentive it needs to remain competitive.
    - Environment Ohio called for the legislation requiring the states electricity portfolio to include 20% renewable sources by 2020 to create 3,100 new full-time jobs and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
    - Shanahan says Gov. Strickland favors the idea. Republicans in the legislature and aggressive Ohio Manufacturers Association and utility company lobbyists are working against it.

    The naysayers are going to tell you New Energy will drive power rates up, Ohio. Don't believe them. Here are calculations done by the Union of Concerned Scientists. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Tim Burga, chief of staff, Ohio AFL-CIO: "We believe this to be a great opportunity to put politics aside, not only to address electric restructuring and regulation but also advanced energy…"

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    STATES MANDATE NEW ENERGY, SPARK BOOMS

    Fossil fuel advocates argue that renewables alone cannot power the nation. NewEnergyNews says you don’t know what renewables can do until you stop subsidizing fossil fuels and get behind New Energy.

    States tap power of renewable energy
    Jordan Schrader, August 21, 2007 (USA Today)

    WHO
    State political leaders, renewable energy industry representatives and activists

    Now there are even more states with Renewable Energy Standards (RES). (click to enlarge)

    For more current map, click here.

    WHAT
    Goals to obtain designated portions of their electricity are being set by more and more states and congress will consider a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) next month. This presents new opportunities and new challenges for New Energy.

    WHEN
    - The states’ goals vary. Some standards come due as early as 2010. Others reach out as far as 2020 or 2025. Some states’ standards include annual targets.
    - The bill passed by the House of Representatives in July called for U.S. private utilities to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It will not become law or have a final form until it works its way through a conference process with the Senate and is signed into law by President Bush, who opposes to the idea.

    WHERE
    - Washington, New Hampshire and Oregon passed their standards last year. North Carolina passed its law this month.
    - 25 states and the District of Columbia have standards. Illinois, Virginia and Missouri have non-binding goals.

    WHY
    - The states set differing goals and define “renewables” differently. Example: The North Carolina law requires utilities to produce 7.5% of electricity from renewable energies by 2021 + meet 5% of demand with more renewables or efficiency reductions allows home energy bill increases of up to $34/year.
    - The effect on utility rate costs is undetermined. Example: NC utilities predict $1 billion in rate increases through 2017 but others hundreds of millions in savings instead.
    - Texas, with enormous renewable resources, quickly met the standard it set in 1999 and upped its standard to 5% by 2015.
    - Some states are not so blessed with abundant renewable sources and even states with standards may not meet them. California is not likely to meet its 20% by 2010 goal. Massachusetts companies only met the 2005 interim 2% goal by paying the state.
    - Even some environmentalists debate what types of renewables are acceptable and whether politicians should be meddling with energy development and argue that political deals often only get by lobbyist-influenced legislators because they have hidden clauses that are counter-productive.
    - Fossil fuel advocates argue that renewables alone cannot power the nation.

    When the subsidies shift away from fossil fuels, these prices will be competitive. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Dave Hollister, co-founder, Sundance Power Systems (Mars Hill, N.C.): "We're seeing a dramatic upswing in the interest in renewable energy from the general public…Ultimately what's going to happen is if the utilities don't do it, the people are going to do it anyway and the utilities are going to be left on the sideline."
    - University of Michigan public policy professor Barry Rabe: “It's uncertain how the laws will affect electrical rates…”
    - Oregon state Sen. Brad Avakian (D): "We had wind- and solar- and wave-power industries contacting us, champing at the bit to get here…and I just have no question this is going to be a great new industry for the state."
    - Richard Fireman, environmentalist/ regional director, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light: "We're under a time constraint here before we pass several tipping points that are going to prevent us from really mitigating climate change…"
    - Paige Sheehan, spokeswoman, Duke Energy: "We will never be able to generate all the power that we need with just renewables…"

    ARNOLD LEADS, WEST FOLLOWS

    In addition to the maps and information below, see this web page and map for more information on states' intiatives against climage change.

    North American group agrees 2020 carbon cut
    Timothy Gardner, August 22, 2007 (Reuters)

    WHO
    6 western U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,

    Two current state initiatives laying the groundwork for a national emissions trading system. Note that the map does not include Utah and the two Canadian provinces in the WCI. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Led by Arnold, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) states and provinces agreed to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 15% below 2005 levels and agreed to form a market-based cap-and-trade system.

    WHEN
    Agreement August 22 for 2020 goal of 15% reduction from 2005 levels. Agreement to develop emissions trading system by August 31, 2008.

    WHERE
    - WCI: Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Utah in the U.S.; Manitoba and British Columbia in Canada. Oil-and-gas-rich Alberta is notably absent.
    New Jersey and Florida recently announced the goal of cutting emissions 80% by 2050.

    WHY
    - GHG emissions are widely recognized as causative in global climate change.
    - Stronger reduction targets for the WCI is presently considered political “heavy lifting” but members consider these levels and dates “a starting point.”
    - 10 eastern states formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative pact in 2003 to cut power plant emissions starting in 2009.

    All these states have taken individual actions against climate change. Isn't it time for a national initiative? (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Schwarzenegger: "Our collective commitment will build a successful regional system to be linked with other efforts across the nation and eventually the world…"
    - John Coequyt, energy policy analyst, Greenpeace: "These targets are barely consistent with what needs to be done…"

    NEW HOUSES, NEW ENERGY

    Like Japan, the Brits realize big change can only happen fast enough to impact climate change soon through government leadership and initiative.

    Green Energy Set To Be Compulsory In New Homes Across Britain
    21 August 2007 (London Evening Standard)

    WHO
    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Housing minister Yvette Cooper, The British House Builders Federation (chairman Stewart Baseley),

    The New Shire.

    WHAT
    A government “guidance” to be published later this year will obligate local governments to require all new home developments to generate renewable energy and obtain 50-100% of electricity from renewable sources.

    WHEN
    Prime Minister Brown’s announced goal is to make all new homes “zero-carbon” by 2016. He also wants Britain to obtain 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

    WHERE
    Localities everywhere in England.

    WHY
    - The present Merton Rule (originated in the London borough of Merton and adopted by 150 localities) obligates town councils to require new commercial buildings to get 10% of electricity from renewables.
    - The House Builders Federation has been fighting the extension of the Merton Rule to residences and wants a 10-year implementation plan to avoid confusion and increased costs.
    - The renewables industry favors the “guidance” even more than carbon reduction initiatives.

    Features of all fine new hobbit homes. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Whitehall Source: Prime Minister Brown’s government plans to “"widen, not abolish [the Merton Rule]…In some instances, we want to see councils going way beyond 10 per cent…The rule is not ours to abolish. We want a wider use of renewable energy, for housing as well as commercial buildings."
    - Department of Communities and Local Government spokesman: "Councils will be required to deliver more ambitious carbon-saving measures and set tougher targets for renewable energy for new developments…"
    - Tariq Ahmad, Merton council member for the environment: "We would strongly urge the Government to continue letting councils implement renewable energy policy at a local level."

    ECO-RICH GET RICHER IN NEW ENERGY

    If part of the secret comes from following the money, then these are some of the guys to follow.

    Eco-millionaires see boom times ahead
    Chris Willis (w/Gerard Wynn), August 20, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    Four entrepreneurs: Bruce Khouri, co-founder, Solar Integrated Technologies; Pedro Moura Costa, co-founder, EcoSecurities; David Scaysbrook, founder, Novera Energy; Neil Eckert, ceo, Climate Exchange.

    Pedro Moura Costa

    WHAT
    The 4 entrepreneurs discuss strategies for growing wealth with renewable energies and clean technologies in a carbon-constrained world facing climate change.

    WHEN
    These men are making big money now, even as changes in energy and markets play out.
    Khouri founded his company in 2001. Moura Costa jumped into the emissions market after the 1997 Kyoto accords. Scaysbrook became wealthy when he sold wind energy and landfill gas investments in 1998. Eckert cashed in his shares of Brit Insurance in 2005 to get into the emissions markets.

    WHERE
    Solar Integrated Technologies is in Los Angeles. EcoSecurities is based in Oxford, England. Novera Energy is in London. The Climate Exchange is based in Chicago and trades in the European market as well.

    WHY
    - Khouri foresaw the value of flexible solar panels as roofing material. He predicts that all roofing material will be solar panels in 20 years and all building materials will be solar energy-producing in 50 years.
    - Moura Costa was working as a forester when he foresaw the value of carbon credits in a Kyoto Protocols system. He predicts the emissions trading markets will expand because he sees climate change as serious and getting worse.
    - Scaysbrook sees 3 factors driving the value of renewable energy: (1) energy security concerns, (2) fossil fuel costs, and (3) subsidies, tax incentives and emissions caps.
    - Eckert sees the emissions markets as an opportunity to replace fossil fuel dependence by creating a financial alternative.

    Neil Eckert

    QUOTES
    - Khouri: "It hasn't been easy but we transformed an old-world roofing material into a renewable energy technology. It's a miracle Solar Integrated is still here but a pioneer charging across the prairie is bound to get hit by a few arrows."
    - Moura Costa: “It's become quite obvious we do something now or it will be an irreversible trend with catastrophic consequences. The only chance of it being a bubble is if we lack the political commitment to drive emission reductions worldwide…I think it's very unlikely political support will go away."
    - Scaysbrook: "The scale of investment to date is nothing compared to what is coming…”
    - Eckert: "I believe we have a chance to meet the stated mitigation targets much quicker than people think ... but it depends on whether people believe money can be made."

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    NEW ENERGY COULD BE TRILLIONS FOR SE ASIA

    For all of Greenpeace's noble efforts (as described in this post), the ASEAN ministers subsequently joined to formally explore the possibilites of nuclear energy. Will we look back someday and see Greenpeace, like Churchill in the 30s, screaming prescient warnings to deaf ears?

    Renewable energy can save SE Asia two trln usd in fuel costs – Greenpeace
    August 23, 2007 (AFX News Limited/Thomson Financial via Bloomberg)

    WHO
    Environmental advocates Greenpeace, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) energy ministers

    ASEAN (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Greenpeace estimates a shift by ASEAN to renewable energies from fossil fuels will save $80 billion/year and $2 trillion over 23 years, as well as dramatically lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    WHEN
    - Greenpeace reported thses calculations August 23, ahead of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting opening the next day.
    - The Greenpeace report estimated growth and consumption patterns through 2030.

    WHERE
    The report was presented in Singapore, where the ASEAN meeting is.

    WHY
    - Renewable energies mentioned included wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, biomass and biofuels.
    - The Greenpeace report offered a global estimate of $180 billion/year in savings and a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.
    - Energy ministers and officials from China, Japan and South Korea met with Greenpeace after the report and said the shift would be difficult because economic growth would drive demand for fossil fuels and encourage interest in nuclear energy.
    Greenpeace called for a moratorium on the building of coal-fired power plants, ignore nuclear energy and focus on renewables.
    - ASEAN have committed to obtain 10% of electricity from renewables by 2010.

    Cause for hope: Some of the countries have efforts under way. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Greenpeace: “While upfront investment costs are higher for renewable energy, the long-term savings are greater…”
    - Greenpeace: “ASEAN members Indonesia and the Philippines have among them the biggest geothermal resources in the world…”

    RUSSIAN CENTRAL GOVT TAKES LOCAL ENERGY

    In an email to NewEnergyNews, a source close to this story said the Russian central government’s move had to be seen as part of a pattern of using state authority to take control of the country’s resources.

    Russia gains control of Bashkortostan firms
    Eric Watkins, August 17, 2007 (Oil and Gas Journal)

    WHO
    The Moscow Arbitration Court, the Federal Tax Service on behalf of the Russian central government,

    You might call it one of the "Lesser Stans" but its resources put it on the map. It is just west of Kazahkstan. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    The court ruled that control of 6 energy companies in theoil-rich Russian province of Bashkortostan (a lesser-known but nevertheless resource-rich “stan”) must be handed over to the central government.

    WHEN
    The court’s ruling came August 15. It followed a series of decisions in the same vein. The first hint of trouble followed a 2005 explosion at the 130,000 b/d Novo-Ufimsk refinery

    WHERE
    Bashkortostan is in south-central Russia, between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, east of Moscow and north of the Caspain Sea.

    WHY
    - The court ruled in separate lawsuits against Agidel-Invest, Inzer-Invest, Yuryuzan-Invest, and Ural-Invest. They collectively owned oil producer Bashneft (24,000 bpd), refineries Novoil, Ufimsky, Ufaorgsintez, and Ufaneftekhim, and fuel retailer Bashkirnefteproduct. The Bashkortostan government controlled all the companies so that the court rulings essentially constituted a move by the feds against the state. The state will appeal to a higher court.
    - The Russian federal government has before used tax and environmental regulations as excuses for disruptions in anticipation of resource takeovers. Both Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC had to cede control of major projects to state-owned energy entities.
    - State-controlled energy giant Rosneft, or a subsidiary,is expected to wind up with control of the Bashkortostan resources.

    This is foreign investment in Bashkortostan. Think they found something of value there lately?

    QUOTES
    Unnamed NewEnergyNews source: “…[T]his is a continuation of the Kremlin’s strong-arm tactics to take over more and more of the country’s oil and gas industry…these takeovers will give the state tremendous economic power – freeing it from the controls normally exercised by a tax-paying populace…”

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