Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/20/14)

August 20th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/20/14).

  1. The Baltimore Sun reports, “An Italian renewable-energy company won the rights to develop offshore wind projects in nearly 80,000 acres of Atlantic waters off Maryland’s coast with an $8.7 million bid Tuesday.”
  2. According to Climate Progress, “Building wind farms and huge solar arrays means nothing if they cannot transmit that energy to homes and businesses, and a recent court ruling just made connecting to the grid a lot easier.”
  3. The Washington Post reports, “Maryland’s latest report on the impact of proposed natural gas exploration in the western part of the state said drilling could pose a threat to air quality and workers in a region that is ecologically pristine.”
  4. The Energy Collective notes that, “According to analysis produced by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International in the first half of this year, China’s coal use dropped for the first time this century – while the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) actually grew.”
  5. The Guardian reports, “Cutting the [Australian] renewable energy target could bankrupt existing wind farms and lead to legal action against the commonwealth government, energy companies have warned.”

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/19/14)

August 19th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/19/14).

  1. Greentech Media reports: “the most recent DOE analysis finds that wind power is at 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, an “all-time low.” One of the authors of the report, Berkeley Lab Staff Scientist Ryan Wiser, wrote, ‘This is especially notable because, enabled by technology advancements, wind projects have increasingly been built in lower-wind-speed areas.’”
  2. According to the Washington Post: “In recent years, researchers have worked on solar cells that use a compound called perovskite. The cells have quickly achieved over 19 percent efficiency in converting sunlight to usable electricity, which is comparable to commonly used silicon-based cells….The new study, published in Energy and Environmental Science, shows that these solar cells can be built efficiently using recycled lead.”
  3. Reuters reports, “Oregon on Monday denied Ambre Energy’s request for a permit to build a coal export terminal on the Columbia River, saying the project was not in the best interests of the state’s water resources.”
  4. According to Climate Progress, “A report released by the Department of Energy Monday shows a substantial increase in the percentage of American-made small wind turbines being sold to other countries, driven in part by Congress’ refusal to act on renewing a key subsidy for the U.S. wind industry, which has created uncertainty in the market.”
  5. The Hill reports: “Musicians Neil Young and Willie Nelson are performing in a benefit concert to help raise money for groups fighting the Keystone XL pipeline. The concert, which will be on Sept. 27, will be held at a farm near Neligh, Neb., near the proposed route of the oil sands pipeline.”

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/18/14)

August 18th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/18/14).

  1. Greentech Media reports: “On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission officially opened a proceeding that will set the ground rules for a multi-year transformation of distribution grid planning (PDF). It’s the first state in the country to take explicit steps to merge the traditional world of distribution grid planning — centralized, one way and predicated on the past — and replace it with a two-way, customer-engaged, networked grid model.”
  2. Grist details how “One [Canadian First Nation] tribe, the Lummi, has taken an uncompromising stand against the largest proposed coal export terminal in the country, the Gateway Pacific Terminal.”
  3. The Australian reports, “A new report from a progressive US-based energy policy think-tank has found that of the 49 cases heard globally relating to wind farms and health, 48 were determined to have no reliable evidence showing wind farms cause health impacts.”
  4. According to Wind Energy and Electric Vehicle Review, “Kuwait is embarking a number of ambitious projects to expand use of alternative energy sources to meet the growing demand for electricity and secure sustainable development.”
  5. The Guardian reports, “The shale boom is a bubble waiting to burst as economics of extraction falter and the trickle of bad environmental news starts to swell.”

New Report Details “Koch Industries’ Layoffs and Environmental Harm” Across U.S.

August 15th, 2014

We all know that the Koch brothers are seriously bad news, having built their fortune on super-dirty tar sands oil, spent millions of dollars to promote dirty energy while trashing clean energy and the environment, and funded a variety of fossil-fuel front groups like this one. Now comes a new report which details the “job loss, significant environmental damage, or both, at the hands of the Kochs’ business empire” in key states across America. For instance:

  • Iowa: “1981: Koch Pipeline Ruptured, Dumped 900,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil In Eastern Polk County, Near The Des Moines River; Cleanup Costs Exceeded $250,000″
  • Kentucky: “Coal Mining Operation Was Sued For Destroying Homes”
  • Michigan: “Koch Carbon Vendor “Detroit Bulk Storage” Dumped Petroleum Byproduct Called ‘Petroleum Coke’ Along Detroit Waterfront”
  • Minnesota: “2006 Oil Spill Was Fourth Largest Oil Spill In Minnesota Within The Previous Decade”
  • West Virginia: “Freedom Industries Leaked The Chemical Crude MCHM, Consisting Mostly Of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, Into West Virginia’s Elk River.” Also worth noting on this item: “In 2008, Freedom Industries secured a contract to distribute a line of products called Talon that are used as a binder in coal processing, according to a news release issued at the time. Freedom distributed Talon to eight states, including West Virginia. … Talon is made by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC. Georgia-Pacific is owned by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers have, through a conservative group called Americans for Prosperity, spent millions of dollars campaigning against a wide array of environmental regulations.”

On and on it goes in states across America — damage by Koch Industries and its subsidiaries. All while receiving bailouts and taxpayer subsidies. The question is, why do we put up with this?

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (8/15/14)

August 15th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (8/15/14).

  1. Slate asks: “America is making lots of solar energy. What’s holding it back from making solar panels?”
  2. According to Newsweek: “Despite German environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ recent reassurances that most forms of hydraulic fracking will be prohibited until 2021, Germany’s 1,300 brewers worry a long campaign lies ahead of them. Hendricks’ declaration came after pressure from the German Brewers Federation – representing both craft breweries and global players including Becks and Warsteiner – had applied pressure on the government, concerned about the toxic chemicals used in the process of fracking.”
  3. The Star (Canada) reports, “The Alberta government hired a former Hillary Clinton aide to reframe a public relations war about the Keystone XL pipeline project and ‘blunt’ criticism from environmentalists, documents show.”
  4. According to the NRDC Switchboard blog, “The California Public Utilities Commission today unanimously adopted significant program enhancements for the state’s largest energy efficiency program dedicated to cutting bills and electricity waste for low-income households. While the program served over 300,000 people last year at an investment of $360 million, huge savings remain untapped.”
  5. The Guardian reports: “Between 1851 and 2010, only a quarter of glacial mass loss was due to human-induced climate change, scientists calculated. But during the last two decades of that period the human contribution rose to two thirds.”