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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/23/15)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 23rd, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/23/15).

  1. The New York Times reports: “Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming…has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.”
  2. Motley Fool explains “Why India Could Be the World’s Most Important Solar Market.”
  3. The Washington Post reports, “Solar energy’s new best friend is … the Christian Coalition.”
  4. According to Slate, “Renewable energy finally makes sense as a utility—and that’s why it’s becoming a threat to coal.”
  5. Greentech Media reports: “Australia has some of the highest electricity prices in the world due to an overbuild of network infrastructure. Could falling battery costs cause increasing numbers of customers to abandon the system altogether?”
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As Canada’s Tar Sands Industry Nears “Death Spiral,” Canadian Government Keeps Pushing Hard for Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Posted By Lowell F. on February 21st, 2015

For a long time now, the Canadian government has been strongly promoting the Keystone XL tarsands export pipeline project.   That includes an aggressive lobbying push, a “$16 million marketing campaign,” and even labeling anti-Keystone activists as “threats to [Canada's] national security.”  The latest example of how hard the Canadian government has been pushing for this dirty, dangerous project was reported this week by the Wall Street Journal. Here’s an excerpt.

One of the 2014 donations [to the Clinton Foundation] comes from a Canadian agency promoting the proposed Keystone pipeline, which is favored by Republicans and under review by the Obama administration. The Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development agency of Canada, a first-time donor, gave between $250,000 and $500,000. The donations, which are disclosed voluntarily by the foundation, are given only in ranges.

One of the agency’s priorities for 2014-2015 was to promote Keystone XL “as a stable and secure source of energy and energy technology,” according to the agency’s website. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department was involved in approving the U.S. government’s initial environmental-impact statement. Since leaving State, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly declined to comment on Keystone.

The Canadian donation originated from an agency office separate from the one that advocates for Keystone XL, a Foundation spokesman said.

That last line is certainly creative. The bottom line is that, whatever “office” the pro-Keystone money is coming from, the source (the government of Canada) and intent (to do the bidding of TransCanada) are both clear. The real question, given that the tar sands industry could well be entering a “death spiral,” is “why?”

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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/20/15)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 20th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/20/15).

  1. Greentech Media has “7 Charts That Show Electric Power Sector Priorities for 2015 and Beyond.”
  2. Utility Dive explains “How the West’s new Energy Imbalance Market is building a smarter energy system.”
  3. Media Matters writes: “Conservative media outlets are broadly attacking clean energy and the environmental movement by falsely alleging that prominent environmental philanthropist Tom Steyer has ‘deep ties’ to the recent scandal involving Cylvia Hayes, the fiancée of former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber who failed to publicly disclose that she was being paid by a clean energy group while also advising Kitzhaber on clean energy issues. In reality, there is no evidence that Steyer funded Hayes, or that Steyer has any other connection to the scandal.”
  4. According to Bloomberg, “Deutsche Bank AG said it’s working to boost its investment in green bonds to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), joining competitors including Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Plc in tapping profit from the quickly growing market.”
  5. The Guardian reports, “Landmark EU fuel quality directive gets a reprieve, opening the way for more-polluting tar sands oil to be taxed at a higher rate effectively pricing it out of the market.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/19/15)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 19th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/19/15).

  1. Bloomberg reports, “Citigroup Inc. plans to lend, invest and facilitate deals worth $100 billion by 2025 to support projects that will fight climate change and protect the environment.”
  2. According to Politico, “The downfall of [Oregon Gov. John] Kitzhaber — the Democrat who last week said he would resign because of conflict-of-interest allegations over his first lady’s consulting contracts — hands conservatives on and off Capitol Hill ammunition to use against billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, green nonprofit groups and national Democrats advocating clean energy.”
  3. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The crude-oil train that derailed and exploded in West Virginia on Monday consisted of modern tanker cars the rail industry has hailed as safe, ratcheting up the debate over proposed federal rules that could require even stronger safeguards.”
  4. Greentech Media explains “How Hybridization Can Boost the Economics of Energy Storage.”
  5. Climate Progress reports, “According to the same PHMSA dataset, compiled and analysed by theInternational Energy Agency, U.S. pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains over that eight-year period, even though incidents happened much less frequently.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (2/18/15)

Posted By Lowell F. on February 18th, 2015

Here are five recommended reads for today (2/18/15).

  1. The Guardian reports: “Plans for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm have been given the green light by the energy secretary, with planning permission for an array of up to 400 turbines 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast on the Dogger Bank. The project, more than twice the size of the UK’s current biggest offshore windfarm, is expected to cost £6bn to £8bn and could fulfil 2.5% of the UK’s electricity needs.”
  2. According to NRDC’s Switchboard blog, “India’s 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022.”
  3. The Guardian reports, “British food security is not being harmed by the spread of solar panels in the countryside as claimed by the UK’s environment secretary, documents from her own department reveal.”
  4. According to the Washington Post, “Federal agencies are documenting a dramatic rise in the number of rail mishaps involving oil tankers in the last three years, as North American producers scramble to find ways to transport surging oil output to markets.”
  5. Clean Technica reports: “The Tanzanian government has announced an initiative to get solar power to one million homes by the end of 2017. It is expected that achieving this goal will also create about 15,000 solar jobs and create solar power for about 10% of Tanzania’s population.”
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