Archive for March, 2011

New Study: Coal Power Plants Don’t Create Jobs They Claim To Create

Posted By Lowell F. on March 31st, 2011

Yet another reason why coal’s not such a great bargain.

…in a study released on Thursday, the folks at the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies in Chattanooga, Tenn., decided to take an in-depth look at the promises made by purveyors of new coal plants.

Their findings seem to suggest that the trade-off that many cash-strapped communities make — specifically, accepting the health and environmental risks that come with having a new coal-burning power plant in their midst, in return for a boost in employment — is not what it’s cracked up to be.


The results: only a little over half, or 56 percent of every 1,000 jobs projected, appeared to be actually created as a result of the coal plants’ coming online. And in four of the six counties, the projects delivered on just over a quarter of the jobs projected.

In sum: so much for the theory that coal may be bad for the environment, but at least it creates jobs.  Once again, research shows that it doesn’t deliver on the industry’s promises in that regard.

Posted in coal, Fossil Fuels
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (3/31/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on March 31st, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (3/31/11).

  1. The New York Times “Green” blog reports on South Africa’s new energy plan, which “clearly sets out to wean South Africa from its heavy reliance on coal” while getting “42 percent of new electricity generation” from “renewable energy sources like the sun and the wind.”
  2. NRDC explains that the “cheapest, cleanest and fastest way to not just reach but exceed the President’s goal [to “cut oil imports by one-third by 2025”] is through clean energy policies, especially fuel efficiency and increased transportation options.” According to NRDC’s calculations, “clean energy can cut oil imports by more than 40 percent by 2025 and avoid the need to drill for more oil to meet the President’s goal.
  3. According to Renewable Energy World, “Geothermal energy production could triple over the next few years, expanding its reach from nine to 15 states, according to a report released this week by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).”
  4. Sean Casten writes at Grist about “the conflict at the heart of U.S. energy policy: domestic extraction vs. cheap energy.” According to Casten, “The problem is not whether to incentivize clean energy but how.” And the question is, “Do we want to accelerate rates of resource consumption or do we want to increase America’s access to cost-effective, reliable energy?”
  5. Platts reports, “Oil producer club OPEC is set to earn more than $1 trillion from oil exports if crude prices remain above $100/barrel this year, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.”
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (3/30/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on March 30th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (3/30/11).

  1. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The sun, the wind and other sources of renewable power would supply one-third of California’s electricity by the end of 2020 under a bill that finally cleared the Legislature on Tuesday after years of false starts.”
  2. The New York Times “Green” blog reports, “The world may have no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of consumption, while surging demand from the developing world threatens to create ‘very significant price rises’ before substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the British bank HSBC warns in a new report.”
  3. Bloomberg reports, “The World Bank is considering limiting its financing of coal-fired power plants to the poorest countries as part of a new energy strategy, a draft prepared for the board of directors shows.”
  4. The Wall Street Journal previews President Obama’s major speech on energy security, which he delivered today at Georgetown University. Among other items, President Obama “reiterate[d] a proposal contained in his State of the Union address that the U.S. adopt a standard that would require 80% of electricity to be generated from clean-energy sources by 2035. The administration has defined clean energy as nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal, as well as renewable sources such as wind and solar.”
  5. According to EnergyBiz, offshore wind power is accelerating in New England. This includes a “1,000-megawatt wind farm project to be built in Rhode Island Sound,” on which “[c]onstruction is planned to begin in 2014, with the first wind turbines in operation by the end of 2015.”
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (3/29/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on March 29th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (3/29/11).

  1. The U.S. Marines report that they are “strengthening their combat effectiveness, not by acquiring new weaponry or implementing different training, but by using renewable energy on the battlefield.” According to Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, “With all the issues, a lot of it in the oil-producing part of the world, we need to begin to wean ourselves off of fossil-based fuel. Not only that, we need to be able to lighten our load. This is about us. This is about what’s best for the Marine Corps.”
  2. The Pew Environment Group is out with its report, Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2010 Edition. Among other things, the report “documents the continued growth and dynamism of clean energy investment in the world’s leading economies,” and makes it clear that “[c]ountries that succeed in attracting investment can realize the economic, security and environmental benefits of the global race to harness clean, renewable energy sources.”
  3. Also with regard to the Pew report, the New York Times Green blog reports, “China drew 22 percent of the $243 billion in clean energy investments last year, or $54.4 billion — up from $39.1 billion in 2009. Coming in second place, and nudging the United States down a rung over last year, was Germany, which drew $41.2 billion, up from $20.6 billion in 2009.”
  4. According to The Hill, President Obama “will ‘outline his plan for America’s energy security’ in a speech Wednesday and then tout advanced vehicles Friday at a UPS facility in Maryland…”
  5. AFP reports, “Japan’s Premier Naoto Kan said Tuesday the country must push alternative energy sources as it recovers from its quake and tsunami disaster and struggles to contain a nuclear emergency.” Kan’s spokesman adds, “In overcoming the devastation and creating a future-oriented vision, we are looking into the possibility of promoting and pushing more for clean energy.”
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Five Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (3/28/11)

Posted By Lowell F. on March 28th, 2011

Here are five recommended reads for today (3/28/11).

  1. Renewable Energy World reports on the startup of continental Europe’s largest wind power facility, the 240-MW Parque Eolico de Alto Mino in Portugal. In addition, “The move comes as Portugal hopes 15% of its national energy consumption will come from wind this year and is confident it will “easily” meet its goal to have 20% of energy consumption stem from renewables in 2020.”
  2. Good news on Huffington Post: “India’s latest tiger census shows an increase in the numbers of the endangered big cat…at least 1,706 tigers in forests across the country, about 300 more than four years ago, a government official said Monday.” However, “threats to their roaming territory could reverse those gains.”
  3. According to a story by the Associated Press, “China has issued new targets to curb carbon output and improve efficiency in using energy and water…[which] aims to reduce energy use and carbon emissions per unit of economic output this year by 4 percent.”
  4. Environment 360 reports, “MIT chemist Daniel Nocera has unveiled his long-awaited “artificial leaf” invention, a small solar cell that mimics photosynthesis and has the potential to produce low-cost electricity for individual homes — an advance that could be particularly valuable in the developing world, where many people lack electricity.”
  5. The Hill previews “the week ahead” in Congress for energy and the environment. Among other items on the agenda, “Three amendments that would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions are expected to come up on the Senate floor this week during consideration of small business legislation.”
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