Archive for July, 2012

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (7/31/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on July 31st, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (7/31/12)

  1. The Washington Post reports: “Natural gas futures in New York have surged 69 percent since hitting a 10-year low this spring. Power plants are burning more natural gas for electricity as homes and businesses crank up the air conditioning. And natural gas companies are finally cutting back after a production boom that pushed supplies this winter to the highest level on record.”
  2. According to Climate Progress, “Coal and utilities groups launched a deep-pocketed campaign last month to defeat a November ballot initiative that would raise Michigan’s renewable energy standard for utilities to 25 percent.”
  3. Renewable Energy World wonders whether the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) for wind power will expire, and notes that the PTC “has helped to make wind energy a lucrative and worthwhile pursuit for developers and utilities alike, and its relative stability over recent years has allowed projects to move ahead with confidence.”
  4. CNNMoney reports, “One of the worst droughts in U.S. history is hampering oil production, pitting farmers against oilmen and highlighting just how dependent on water modern U.S. energy development has become.” The article also points out that “fracking” requires a great deal of water – “18 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water per well.”
  5. A new poll by Public Opinion Strategies finds that “an overwhelming majority of Iowa voters see wind energy as an important part of the state’s economy and as an important resource for creating jobs,” and therefore “would be less likely to support an anti-wind candidate for office.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (7/30/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on July 30th, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (7/30/12)

  1. The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “The cost of solar power in parts of NSW has for the first time crept below that of coal-fired electricity – seen as a key tipping point for the expansion of renewable energy.”
  2. According to Clean Technica, “The forecast for renewable energy in California, already America’s strongest solar market, just keeps getting brighter.”
  3. CNNMoney reports: “In recent weeks, several prominent Republican thinkers have floated the idea of imposing higher taxes on gasoline, coal and natural gas. The increases, they say, would be offset by tax cuts on paychecks, dividends or corporate taxes.”
  4. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A Chinese industry group slammed a U.S. decision to impose preliminary antidumping tariffs on Chinese exports of wind-turbine towers, saying Monday that the move was disappointing and would backfire against the U.S. industry.”
  5. The New York Times reports on “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic” – University of California, Berkeley professor of physics Richard A. Muller. ClimateProgress has more on this story.
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (7/27/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on July 27th, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (7/27/12)

  1. DeSmogBlog reports: “On July 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled PA Act 13 unconstitutional. The bill would have stripped away local zoning laws, eliminated the legal concept of a Home Rule Charter, limited private property rights, and in the process, completely disempowered town, city, municipal and county governments, particularly when it comes to shale gas development.”
  2. According to CleanTechnica, “A new study produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that every state in the United States of America has the space and resources to generate clean energy.”
  3. Greentechsolar asks, “Is Utility-Scale Solar a Reality in Chile?” The answer: “Despite the grid infrastructure and financing hurdles, Chile’s PV market has begun to take off, just not as quickly as the number of megawatts in development might suggest.”
  4. ClimateProgress reports, “The top two corporations on the Fortune 500 Global ranking, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, announced their 2012 second-quarter earnings today, bringing the total profits for three Big Oil companies to $44 billion for 2012 or $250,000 every day this year,” yet “the top five oil companies benefit from $2.4 billion federal tax breaks every year.”
  5. According to Forbes: “China was responsible for almost one-fifth of total global investment, spending $52 billion on renewable energy last year. The United States was close behind with investments of $51 billion, as developers sought to benefit from government incentive programs before they expired. Germany, Italy and India rounded out the list of the top five countries.”
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InsideClimate News: “New Pipeline Safety Regulations Won’t Apply to Keystone XL”

Posted By Lowell F. on July 26th, 2012

Needless to say, this is not acceptable.

Efforts to beef up oversight of the nation’s oil pipelines are progressing so slowly that it’s unlikely any additional safeguards will be in place before construction begins on thousands of miles of new pipelines, including the proposed Keystone XL.

Part of the delay stems from how slowly the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)—the federal agency with the authority to issue new regulations—is moving on its rulemaking process. For instance, PHMSA began examining at least six safety regulations in October 2010, three months after a ruptured pipeline spilled more than 1 million gallons of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. None of those changes is in effect nearly two years later.

Congress’s latest pipeline safety bill, which was signed into law in January, did little to speed up the process.

The measure did not address two of the key regulatory failures that InsideClimate News found during a recent seven-month investigation of the Michigan spill. It did not force PHMSA to enforce deadlines for repairing pipeline defects or require that pipeline operators identify exactly what type of oil is flowing through their lines. Both of those failures were also detailed in a report released this month by theNational Transportation Safety Board.

Tens of thousands of miles of new pipelines are going into the ground, and there aren’t going to be regulations that make them safer for years,” said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog organization based in Bellingham, Wash.

(more…)

Posted in Environment, Oil
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (7/26/12)

Posted By Lowell F. on July 26th, 2012

Here are five recommended reads for today (7/26/12)

  1. Clean Techies reports, “The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) assessed the offshore wind capacity in Europe over the last six months. They found that at the end of the first half of 2012, the continent’s offshore wind capacity grew by at an astonishing rate from a year ago”
  2. According to Inside Climate News, “Efforts to beef up oversight of the nation’s oil pipelines are progressing so slowly that it’s unlikely any additional safeguards will be in place before construction begins on thousands of miles of new pipelines, including the proposed Keystone XL.”
  3. At Huffington Post, David Halperin writes: “Last week, the oil and gas lobby group the American Petroleum Institute (API) held a red carpet film screening at the Warner Theatre in Washington. Such fancy film events are held regularly in DC, but few come with as sexy a title as this one: the ‘hydraulic fracturing event of the summer.’”
  4. Conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports finds that “55% say investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind is a better long-term investment for the United States than investing in fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil.”
  5. CleanTechnica reports, “According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), offshore wind power in the Atlantic has the potential to generate 1,000 GW of power.”
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