Archive for February, 2011

Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (2/28/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 28th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/28/11).

  1. The Energy Collective argues that “fracked gas is only cheap because extractors do not clean up after themselves.” The article also points out that “no activity can properly claim to be cheap until it internalizes the full cycle of its costs.”
  2. The New York Times has an important story about how “the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks.”
  3. Dave Alexander of the Muskegon Chronicle reports that, in Michigan, “[t]he actual contract prices for renewable energy are much lower than forecasted in 2009 renewable energy plans,” and also that “[w]ind is competitive with coal and natural gas on cost as long as you find the best winds.”
  4. Energy Boom writes that Scotland is “poised for economic growth through renewable energy.” Specifically, “The country believes that by 2020 it will be able to produce an additional 130,000 green jobs as well as position itself as a global hub for engineering and research.”
  5. GreenTech reports that Dow Chemical “today announced that it aims to green its own operations, in part, by investing $100 million in internally pitched projects that will reduce the company’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (2/25/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 25th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/25/11).

  1. According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, “researchers at Cornell University have projected that greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas production over the next 20 years could actually be higher than from surface-mined coal, possibly even twice as high.”
  2. The LA Times reports, “The state Senate acted Thursday to require California utilities to boost their use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to a third of total supply by the year 2020.”  The article adds, “Supporters said the 33% target for renewables would put California ahead of the rest of the country in green-energy use.”
  3. Todd Woody writes at Grist that Google Ventures, “the search giant’s investment arm,” says that it “has developed arevolutionary new technology,” which could eliminate “90 percent of the energy waste when current is converted from AC to DC and back.” That, in turn, “could save terawatts of energy if widely adopted.”
  4. The New York Times Green blog reports on a new process in which solar power is used “to squeeze oil out of an old oil field, flooding the underground rock with steam that comes from the sun’s heat instead of from burning natural gas.”  According to solar steam generator manufacturing company, GlassPointSolar, “[t]he process is cheaper than using natural gas, even at today’s depressed prices for that fuel, and trims the carbon footprint of the gasoline.”
  5. Will the documentary “Gasland” win an Academy Award this weekend? We don’t know, but the New York Times looks at controversy over the film’s claims and attempts to sort through them.
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Gigaom: Cleantech Investment “Dream Team” Formed

Posted By Lowell F. on February 24th, 2011

Over at Gigaom, Katie Fehrenbacher has some exciting news:

In the midst of a seeming malaise around cleantech venture investing, emerges a bright spot of news: Private equity firm Silver Lake is launching a clean energy fund with investment from billionaire investor George Soros. The fund will be led by former Foundation Capital Partner Adam Grosser, and Cathy Zoi, Obama administration’s former acting under-secretary for energy and assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, will join the fund as well.

That’s essentially a cleantech investing dream team

Fehrenbacher adds that the fund size could be “in the multiple hundreds of millions to billions” of dollars range, and that with all the experience and talent involved here, this could be “cleantech 2.0.”  That would certainly be great news, especially given the lack of leadership in Congress these days on promoting clean energy, and on moving America off of dirty, dangerous, expensive fossil fuels.

Posted in Renewables
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (2/24/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 24th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/24/11).

  1. According to The Hill, “A White House economic report unveiled Wednesday seeks to rebut GOP claims that President Obama’s energy proposals amount to ‘picking winners and losers’ among energy technologies and are too costly.” The report adds that a Clean Energy Standard (CES) would “create economic incentives for deployment of clean energy that can help ‘pull’ new technologies coming out of R&D into the market,” and would “let markets and businesses determine the most cost-effective technologies to achieve the target share of clean energy.”
  2. Gigaom writes about a new “cleantech investing dream team:” “Private equity firm Silver Lake is launching a clean energy fund with investment from billionaire investor George Soros…[to] be led by former Foundation Capital Partner Adam Grosser, and Cathy Zoi, Obama administration’s former acting under-secretary for energy and assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
  3. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that near-month futures prices for West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached $98.01 per barrel yesterday, up $13.11 per barrel in a week and $19.24 per barrel  compared to a year earlier.
  4. Huffington Post has the story of Dish, Texas Mayor Calvin Tillman, who is leaving his town in order escape the adverse health effects of natural gas “fracking.”  “According to the Associated Press, residents of Dish have complained of nosebleeds, pain, and poor circulation since the first compressor station was built in their town in 2005, though there is no hard proof linking the health problems to the natural gas drilling.”
  5. The U.S. Department of Energy announced today “a $96.8 million Recovery Act supported loan guarantee to a project sponsored by U.S. Geothermal, Inc. to construct a 23 megawatt (net) geothermal power project in Malheur County, in southeastern Oregon.”
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (2/23/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 23rd, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/23/11).

  1. Christopher Mims on Grist makes the case that Moammar Gadhafi “is telling us to get off oil.” More broadly, the argument is that oil is produces in unstable parts of the world, and that if unrest spreads, it could lead to skryrocketing fuel prices and a “danger zone” for the world economy.
  2. In related news, Forbes reports, “April crude oil contracts in New York surged more than $10 in two days past the psychologically important $100 mark,” on unrest in the Middle East. Forbes adds, “A total shut down of production in Libya would require more than half of OPEC’s spare capacity, calculated at about 5 million barrels per day, to avoid shortages.”
  3. Huffington Post reports on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker getting “punked” by a journalist pretending to be clean-energy-opposing, climate-change-denying, dirty-energy-propaganda-funding, fossil fuel magnate David Koch.
  4. According to The Hill, “In a memo to staff Tuesday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that Acting Under Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi will leave the agency next month to ‘pursue a new opportunity in the private sector in California.’ Chu’s chief of staff is also leaving, the latest of several senior officials to depart since late last year.”
  5. PBS’ “Need to Know” program has a followup to a previous story on how natural gas “fracking” may violate the Safe Drinking Water Act.
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