Monday, December 31, 2012

Ghana bans second-hand fridges

A ban on the import of second-hand fridges takes effect in Ghana in a bid to reduce energy consumption and harm to the environment.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year In Solar Power: Prices Crash, Sales Soar, Industry Restructures, Saudis Leap In, CSP Suffers

by Vince Font, via Renewable Energy World

This year was a big year for solar, both domestically and globally, with some unlikely players throwing their hats into the ring and upping the ante on achievable power generating capacity. Here's a wrap-up of some of the year's most impactful events in the solar industry, with a little added perspective from some experts in the field.

Financial Innovation and Collaboration Takes the Solar Cake

If you ask Tom Kimbis what he thinks was one of the most important developments of 2012 for solar energy, he may tell you something you didn't quite expect to hear. Kimbis, VP of External Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), says that much of the credit for what's being seen as a landmark year for downstream solar growth belongs not to technical innovations, but financial innovations - the kind that are making it increasingly possible for people everywhere to be able to afford solar without having to take out a second mortgage on their homes.

"Innovation can take place throughout the entire value chain," Kimbis said. "We've seen phenomenal innovation with the various leasing and third party ownership models that have driven the markets in the U.S. forward more than the increase in cell efficiency."

According to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, which was released by SEIA and GTM Research, 2012 has seen total installed solar capacity in the United States reach 1,992 MW. This far exceeds the annual total capacity reached in 2011, which was 1,885 MW - a not inconsiderable accomplishment, considering that 2012 isn't even over yet. There were 684 MW of solar capacity installation in the third quarter of 2012 alone, and in that same time frame the residential PV sector installed over 118 MW of capacity.

Kimbis credits the biggest quarterly growth yet for U.S. residential PV to an increase in third party solar leasing options for consumers, which he likens to financial options that car buyers have - where instead of having to pay cash, leasing or financing options help make ownership a possibility. "Overcoming that first cost issue is what the third party ownership's all about," Kimbis said.

Upstream financial collaborations also led to the green lighting of numerous global projects in 2012, including the Letsatsi and Lesedi solar farms in South Africa. Both were made possible by dollars from U.S. developer SolarReserve and two local companies, Intikon Energy and Kensani Capital. In Peru, OPIC came together with Latin America's development bank CAF and investment firm Conduit Capital Partners for the funding of two solar projects that will result in a combined solar capacity of 40 MW.

Oversupply Goes Up, PV Cost Goes Down

Despite a boom in solar demand in the United States in 2012 and a growth rate which SEIA estimates will be at about 70 percent over last year (compared to 14 percent global market growth), the reality of global PV panel oversupply remains an issue of concern.

In 2012, that oversupply led to a showdown between Chinese solar manufacturers and the United States Department of Commerce. Chinese manufacturers were accused of dumping their oversupply into the U.S. market at such low prices that they injured the ability of US-based solar manufacturers to compete fairly. This ultimately led to a decision by the International Trade Administration to levy tariffs to levy tariffs on the importation of solar modules using cells manufactured in China. In the final ruling, it was announced that the tariffs would range from 24 percent to 36 percent.

Alas, the old adage about every cloud having a silver lining may be very true, especially if you look at it from a global perspective. In 2012, oversupply led to low cost, which in turn drove an increased global expansion in development among wealthy and developing nations alike, all eager to capitalize on the low cost of materials.

Marc Norman, lawyer for Chadbourne & Parke LLP and director of the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), called this a possible case of "creative destruction" that's given developing countries an opportunity to enter the solar game.

Norman said that the low cost of solar PV could enable developing countries in particular to benefit from solar technology without even being connected to the power grid. "Solar technology can be applied off-grid," Norman said. "For example, in rural areas where there's a lack of infrastructure. There's a golden opportunity for more bottom-up market evolution, as opposed to a more traditional top-down approach."

Kimbis agrees, noting the inherent irony: "Falling pricing is a double edged sword. It's great for deployment, it's great for the consumer, and it's caused greater amounts of solar installation. On the other hand, falling prices have yielded smaller margins for manufacturers, making it tougher to survive in a very competitive climate."

Industry Jobs and Widespread Bankruptcies

In the United States, 2012 showed evidence that growth in the solar industry occurred at a much faster rate than other industries. According to The Solar Foundation's National Solar Jobs Census report, U.S. employment in the solar industry grew at a rate of 13.2 percent and the sector added 13,872 jobs in 2012, while Bureau of Labor statistics indicated that solar accounted for 1 out of every 230 jobs created.

This information may seem to fly in the face of the numerous solar company bankruptcies and consolidations that have taken place globally in the last year, but according to Kimbis, that's par for the course in an emerging industry.

"It's just like any other industry," Kimbis said. "Competition is extreme. This is something that the industry has known about for awhile; companies have been bracing for global competition for the last several years. It's a story which has repeated itself through everything from personal computing, to telecom, to the automobile industry."

Job outlook, while encouraging within the United States, was not so rosy in China in 2012. In November, it was reported that Suntech Power Holdings (which is the world's biggest maker of solar panels) would be shedding some 1,500 jobs in China to reduce operating costs and ratchet down on solar cell capacity.

Saudi Arabia: The Dark Horse

When discussing landmark events in solar, it's impossible to ignore what took place in Saudi Arabia earlier in 2012. In May, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (also known as K.A.CARE) established the goal to develop 54,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Why is an oil-rich nation like Saudi Arabia concerned with adopting renewable energy? Quite simply, to limit the local consumption of oil so that exports can be increased. With low cost access to oil and unchecked usage, it's believed that Saudi Arabia could find itself entirely out of the oil exportation business by 2030.

Under K.A.CARE's proposed plan, 41,000 MW of the total 54,000 MW capacity will come whole from solar: 16,000 MW from photovoltaic (PV) projects and 25,000 from solar thermal projects. As a first phase, 700 MW of utility-scale projects are set to be undertaken by the end of 2013.

Norman calls the K.A.CARE program "a massive game changer for the global renewable energy industry, and particularly solar" and says that it could also have a beneficial impact on the local job market in Saudi. Unemployment is estimated at around 10 percent in the Kingdom. "The government sees this as an opportunity to create a global center of excellence for renewables, in addition to job creation."

Norman explains that Saudi Arabia will require a certain percentage of local content on all renewables projects; this is seen as a means to stimulate the local job market.

2012's Impact on CSP

With the low cost of solar PV panels, some may wonder what impact 2012 had on the solar thermal market, of which concentrated solar power (CSP) is a big part. Did CSP suffer due to the comparatively low cost of solar PV? It depends on who you ask, really.

The answer to that question, according to Norman, is obvious. "As a result of the reduction in PV prices, CSP has taken a hit in the last few years," Norman said. "But they also have an advantage that can't be overlooked, and that's storage. Some developers have devised CSP plants that can store energy. That's something that PV technology can't measure up to at present."

Not everyone sees 2012 as having been a good year for CSP. Jigar Shah, partner at Inerjys Ventures, predicted the death of CSP as far back as 2007 and calls it a technology that's officially punched the big ticket. "I think in 2012, CSP basically died," Shah said. "Siemens shut down their CSP plant. Areva is building one unit in Morocco, but they shut down CSP plants in Australia and a few other places. BrightSource wasn't able to go public, so they've got an existing utility contract they're honoring with an existing DOE loan guarantee - and I don't think anyone believes that they're going to get a second contract. CSP is dead."

While the aforementioned U.S. Solar Market Insight Report mentioned several large scale CSP projects underway in the United States, it was reported that the third quarter of 2012 saw no new capacity installed in that segment.

Additional Solar Highlights from Around the World in 2012

  • In June, Chile brought its largest PV plant online. Although modest in comparison with the scope of other global projects, the 1 MW Calama Solar 3 was an important step that has since resulted in increased interest among developers and investors. There were other notable Latin American solar developments in 2012, including two Peruvian solar farms (the already operational Tacna solar farm and the still in production Panamericana solar farm) whose combined generating capacity will reach 40 MW.
  • In Germany, a 145 MW solar park in Neuhardenberg, Brandenberg, was constructed in a record-breaking five weeks. The solar park was finished just under the wire to beat the expiration of subsidies for PV installations greater than 10 MW in size. The construction of Neuhardenberg solar park, which is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2012, helped push Germany's total installed solar capacity for the year to over 7,000 MW.
  • 8minuteenergy Renewables, a solar PV developer located in southern California, received the financial stamp of approval in November to proceed with construction on a project that, once in operation, will be the largest PV farm in the world. The Mount Signal solar farm, which is being constructed in Imperial Valley, will generate 800 MW (DC) of utility-scale energy.
  • The Charanka Solar Park in Gujarat, India, is home to numerous independent solar power stations, occupying approximately 2000-hectares of land. While many the park's solar stations remain in production, 2012 saw its combined total output capacity reach nearly 700 MW.
  • In an effort to shore up their enormous oversupply of solar panels, China decided in 2012 to underwrite a $1.6B loan - through the China Development Bank (CDB), which is seen as the engine behind the country's economic development - to essentially create downstream demand within its borders. The loan was given to Shanghai-headquartered Sky Solar, which earlier in 2012 broke ground on two PV projects in China: one 800-MW project in the Xinjiang Province, and another 50 MW plant in the Qinghai Province.

Vince Font is a professional freelance writer specializing in the fields of renewable energy, high tech, travel, and entertainment. Read his blog at or follow him on Twitter @vincefont. This piece was originally published at Renewable Energy World and was reprinted with permission.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peak Oil Book Review: Solar Living Source Book

Website: This is my Peak Oil book review for the book, "The Solar Living Source Book". Your complete guide to renewable energy technologies and sustainable living. I am giving this 5 stars, this is a huge reference book that I have referred to many times over the years to learn about specific renewable energy systems or related components. It has everything in here from covering building your own green home, solar, wind, hydro, battery back-up systems, different types of batteries, all the related components to these systems, explaining them and giving specific items that you can buy. It has a built-in catalog. Emergency preps, super-efficient energy products, lighting, the most efficient way to heat your home, to cool your home, all the different ways to heat your water, to purify it, composting toilets and the actual products to purchase. Facebook Twitter: Solar Living Source Book Book Review Richard Heinberg Extended Chevrolet Chevy Volt Range Electric Vehicle EV Clean 2013 Video Ampera HoldenWorld oil supply high demand solar how to alternative fuels global warming "Peak Oil" crisis understanding explaining peakoil petroleum future apocalypse end crash energy inflation gas gasoline reserves strategic reserve prices unemployment fuel finance resource wars middle east war military kunstler heinberg martenson simmons save money powerdown howto Vlog preparing for peak oil solar heating array inverter homestead survival ...

Credit: mrenergyczar


Friday, December 28, 2012

After Jackson, EPA faces big decisions on U.S. fracking boom

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The past four years of U.S. environmental regulation was marked by a crackdown on emissions that angered coal miners and power companies. Over the next four, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency will have to decide whether to take on an even larger industry: Big Oil.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sandia National Laboratories building centers across country to help solar firms test hardware

One of the National Security Administration's three national laboratories is building regional testing centers around the country to field-test hardware for solar companies before their multimillion-dollar solar systems are installed in buildings.


Chevron's CEO: Affordable energy is crucial

(AP)-Chevron CEO John Watson notices something important as he visits his company's operations around the globe: Governments everywhere find high energy prices much scarier than the threat of global warming.


Largest wind farm in Kansas to begin operation soon

The largest wind farm to be built in Kansas is set to begin operations by the end of the year.


Calxeda finds a new market in storage

Calxeda, the Austin, Texas-based startup that is building out highly dense, low power ARM-based servers has a new market in the storage world. During a visit last week to the company's headquarters, company executives shared that in addition to web hosting and big data applications it sees a near-term opportunity in the storage world and that is has fielded more than 20 requests for proposals for systems using ARM-based processors.

Karl Freund, the VP of marketing for Calxeda, says the company has shipped about 3,000 nodes and 130 systems although none are deployed in production environments yet. He expects the first production deployments to occur at the end of the second quarter of 2013. But most of the conversation was about how ARM-based systems could be used today in the storage market. Not just for cold storage such as Amazon's Glacier or Facebook's photo storage effort, but even for the big storage systems for scale out storage and enterprise class storage appliances. Named customers who are evaluating the systems include, Gluster and Inktank, the storage startup backed by Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu fame that is commercializing Ceph.

There are more, notes Freund, (pictured) who says that when Calxeda servers make it into production environments, they will likely be deployed first in a storage capacity, as storage customers don't care if the chips are 64-bit compatible. For now, ARM-based systems are stuck only able to address less memory because ARM only has a 32-bit capable core design. Next year ARM will have a 64-bit capable design and systems will be built around them in 2014 (maybe even late 2013). Calxeda plans its 64-bit capable SoC for 2014.

But Calxeda isn't waiting and in storage, it's also not focusing on power consumption - the initial draw for ARM-based servers in the scale out data center. For the storage world, where spinning hard drives tends to suck huge quantities of electricity, adding a low-power has a negligable affect on the consumption of an overall system. However, Calxeda boasts that popping in more of its systems on a chip (SoC) are both cheaper and make for faster information transfer and retrieval.

Its tests show roughly a 4X improvement in IOPs for a rack of Calxeda SoCs versus x86-based systems. Adding Calexeda's SoCs also cuts complexity because the entire system of processing and networking components are integrated on the SoC, and the terabit-plus fabric between cores also offers more network capacity between cores in a system -the so-called east-west networking traffic.

As the market for scale out computing, storage and networking changes the demands made on IT equipment, Calxeda and others are seeing an opportunity that may have begun in servers and the cloud computing environment, but certainly isn't stopping there. No wonder Intel is trying to catch up with chips of its own. So far, it's recently announced new Atom-based chips haven't made the cut for most customers I've spoken with (the lack of integration of the entworking and processing hardware is a problem), but in 2014 it will have a new, integrated SoC as well. Then, the competition will really get interesting.


Building integrated solar panels set to boom over the next 5 years

Solar panels that can be integrated right into rooftops and the walls of buildings is a new market that is set to grow dramatically over the next five years, according to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant. The report says that the energy capacity of solar panels that are built into the structures of buildings will grow from 400 MW in 2012 to 2.25 GW in 2017, or a five-fold increase worldwide.

The solar industry calls this technology "building-integrated photovoltaics" or BIPV. Some of this new capacity will come from thin film solar panels that will be able to be printed right onto building materials, like shingles, steel roof casing, and windows. A lot of companies have been gunning for this market, and many have been held back by the difficult solar production market in 2012. There are at least 53 companies working on this tech, says Pike.

Dow launched its solar shingle product about a year ago in Colorado and began selling them in California and Texas earlier this year. Miasole, which was sold to China's Hanergy in a firesale, had been working on BIPV, as had Arizona-based Global Solar Energy, which recently started layoffs and curbed manufacturing. Dozens of solar module makers went bankrupt or struggled in 2012, due to an oversupply and rock bottom prices.

But the BIPV market could provide a bright spot, says the Pike report. The value of the BIPV market could quadruple over the next five years from $606 million in 2012 to $2.4 billion in 2017. The market will also be encouraged by a rebound of home sales and construction.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peak Oil News: 12/26/12

Website: This is Peak Oil News for December 26th, 2012. I'm your host, MrEnergyCzar. We're covering Peak Oil, Renewable Energy, Electric Cars and everything in-between. The updated 2013 Nissan Leaf has been released in Japan. It's getting about a 10 mile electric range increase from about 73 to 83 miles. There will also be an entry level model of the Leaf which will be cheaper than previous models. More importantly, Nissan opened it's new battery plant in Tennessee. These American made lithium battery packs will go into the electric cars that will be made in the adjacent Nissan plant. The Leaf battery upgrade, however, does not include a liquid cooling system for the batteries. The military is researching the use of electric vehicles to provide energy security to military base micro grids. In conjunction with wind and solar, EV's can help stabilize a military bases power grid during disruptions. Hopefully this will reduce military casualties, as many soldiers have died while delivering diesel fuel across the battlefield to military bases. It is reported that up to $52 billion a year is spent on fossil fuel subsidies. A lot of the subsidy is in the form of free overseas military services, securing of pipelines and keeping the oil shipping lanes secure. Many people don't realize that American tax dollars pay for the oil flow security that all other oil importing nations benefit from at no cost to them. If you had the oil companies pay, for the free military ...

Credit: mrenergyczar


5 charts that show the massive growth of solar in 2012 [charts]

Despite solar manufacturers' struggles with bankruptcies and an oversupply problem this year, 2012 actually witnessed a dramatic growth in the world's use of solar power. In particular the amount of solar panels installed on rooftops in the U.S. soared in recent quarters, helped by new financing models by companies like SolarCity and rock-bottom silicon prices - the main ingredient in solar panels.

In these 5 charts, we track the growth of solar power:

1). The amount of solar energy produced in the U.S. has risen 500 percent in 2012 alone, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Solar generation 2001-2012, source: EIA

2). The increase in solar production has to do in part with the growth of solar panel installation and capacity in the U.S. Solar panel installation is expected to rise nearly 70 percent this year, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association's third-quarter report.
PV installation capacity, source: SEIA/GTM Research Solar Market Insight

3). SolarCity's IPO in late 2012 was one of the rare success stories for solar and cleantech startups. While some solar stocks have taken hits this year - due to over supply and super low prices - SolarCity was able to go public and its stock rose 50 percent on its first day of trading. The company, which finances and installs rooftop solar panels, originally priced its shares lower than expected, but the company's stock price remains relatively high.
SolarCity stock since IPO, source NASDAQ

4). The price of silicon - the main material in solar panels - has dropped by half in less than two years, making solar panels cheaper to produce and to buy. The low prices, in turn, have fueled the growth of solar panel installations.
Silicon prices, source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

5). As is common with new commodity industries that grow rapidly, solar cells and panels are now so cheap to produce and make that there's an oversupply problem. According to SEIA, there's now 70 GW worth of solar module manufacturing capacity, but the current world capacity for solar modules is only 31 GW.
PV module manufacturing capacity vs. demand, source: SEIA


Monday, December 24, 2012

Flexible PV Cells Using Nanowire-Coated Graphene Sheets

MIT researchers have produced a new kind of photovoltaic cell based on sheets of flexible graphene coated with a layer of nanowires. The approach could lead to low-cost, transparent and flexible solar cells that could be deployed on ... - Nanotechnology News Feed


Boffins build substrate for 'peel and stick' solar cells

Technique suitable for LEDs and printed circuits

A team of scientists from Stanford University has developed a "peel and stick" solar cell to demonstrate a new flexible substrate with the potential to be used by the wider electronics industry....


Everybody wants Raspberry Pi

In a world where computers are increasingly powerful and are concealed within ever more glossy slabs of aluminium, the Raspberry Pi (RPi) offers surprising proof for the virtue of moderation.


Build Your Own Pocket-Sized Computer with a Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic little machine for doing all sorts of things, and because the Raspberry Pi is so small, it's also really portable. DIYer Nathan Morgan used that size to his advantage to create a tiny, portable computer complete with keyboard, trackpad, Bluetooth, and WiFi. More »


Sunday, December 23, 2012

California ARB issues official notification for Feb GHG allowance auction

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued its official Auction Notice for the California Cap-and-Trade Program Greenhouse Gas Allowance Auction on 19 February 2013-the second official auction. (Earlier post.) The February 2013 allowance auction will offer 12,924,822 2013 current vintage allowances and 9,560,000 year 2016 future vintage allowances for sale.

The number of allowances listed for the Current Auction is the final number of allowances offered for sale and includes State-owned allowances and allowances consigned by the electricity distribution utilities.

The February 2013 auction will be conducted using an electronic, internet-based Auction Platform that bidders use to submit their bid in a single-round, sealed-bid auction format. Bid quantities can only be submitted in multiples of 1,000 California GHG allowances.

The first auction in November resulted in the sale of 23,126,110 allowances (2013 Vintage) with a settlement price of $10.09 (auction reserve price was $10.00).

Earlier in December, ARB announced that the American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve had been formally approved as offset project registries to help evaluate compliance-grade carbon offsets under California's cap-and-trade program. The Air Resources Board has also accredited specially trained third-party offset verifiers.

[The] announcement marks an important milestone in the progress of California's climate program. By authorizing real, permanent offsets from farms, forests, and businesses that are not covered by cap-and-trade, we can reduce the costs of compliance with the program and encourage investments in sustainable practices throughout the California economy.

-Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols

The Cap-and-Trade Regulation sets an overall limit (cap) on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from specified industrial sectors. Maintaining emissions below the cap is achieved through a combination of reduced emissions and retirement of emission permits, comprising allowances and verified offsets. Unused allowances can be traded and offsets can be purchased on ARB-endorsed registries. Offset projects can be designed to enhance removals of GHG on agricultural lands and forestlands or reduce GHG emissions through capture of methane from livestock operations and through destruction of ozone depleting substances.

Carbon offsets reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors such as agriculture and forestry that are not included directly under the cap-and-trade regulation. For example, forests can be managed to ensure that they increase the total amount of carbon stored in the trees, thus removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Each offset credit equals one metric ton of carbon dioxide and, if issued by the Air Resources Board, can be used by companies and facilities to comply with the cap-and-trade regulation for up to eight percent (8%) of each covered entity's compliance obligation. In this sense, they are the equivalent of a California carbon allowance and, like those compliance instruments, can also be freely sold or traded.

To meet the requirements of the cap-and-trade regulation every carbon offset credit must be additional-i.e., over and above any reductions already required by law or regulation. They must also be real, verifiable, quantifiable, enforceable and permanent. The Air Resources Board currently has approved protocols (methods of accounting to measure the number of tons of reductions achieved) for four types of offset projects:

  • Forestry
  • Urban forestry
  • Dairy manure digesters
  • Destruction of Ozone Depleting Substances

Approved offset project registries are authorized to provide their services under the Air Resources Board compliance protocols. Those services include listing and reviewing projects and issuing registry offset credits which may later be submitted to the Air Resources Board for final evaluation and issuance of Air Resources Board compliance offset credits.

An example of a verifier is SCS Global Services (SCS), which recently was accredited by ARB to provide verification services for carbon offset projects under the Cap-and-Trade Program. SCS has already contracted to conduct several "compliance grade" forest offset project verifications in 2013 and is now ready to commence the verification process on these projects. SCS and its cadre of staff and contract auditors have completed the necessary training and passed the required examinations to conduct verification audits under the California Cap-and-Trade Regulation.

SCS Global Services and its cadre of auditors is now fully accredited to verify offset projects against ARB's US Forest, Urban Forest, Livestock, and Ozone Depleting Substances Projects Compliance Offset Protocols.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

New release of GREET fuel cycle model


Statoil makes third gas discovery in deepwater offshore Tanzania


Even California Can Do More to Advance the Clean Energy Economy

A new report released this week by the Legislative Analyst's Office recommends that the California Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting the state's energy efficiency and alternative energy goals. Included in the report are recommendations for the state to specify its energy efficiency and alternative energy goals, determine how programs should fit together to achieve the state's goals, and clarify how to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs.


Solar Crowdfunding in California: Part 3, San Francisco Energy Cooperative

The SF Energy Co-op has found a way to make the benefits of green energy available to anyone, through the power of collective investment and organization. As Wynns puts it, "Say it costs $20K to put solar on your roof, but you can't do that, for whatever reason. So you go to your neighbor and say, 'I'll pay to put it on your roof, and then you pay me what I would have been saving, and you'll still be saving money on your power bill.' And say instead you go to 100 friends and you all pay $200 to do the same thing. You can do the same good when people pool together small amounts of money."


Friday, December 21, 2012

Peak Oil Movie Review: Blind Spot

Website: This is my Peak Oil movie review for the movie, "Blind Spot". What if all the expectations about the future are wrong? MrEnergyCzar rating is three stars. It was a good movie. The film explains the Peak Oil situation very well which I like. It also tied together...

Credit: mrenergyczar


EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today provided an update on its ongoing national study currently underway to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. Results of the study, which Congress requested EPA to complete, are expected to be released in a draft for public and peer review in 2014


Thursday, December 20, 2012

DOE's Carbon Utilization and Storage Atlas Estimates at Least 2,400 Billion Metric Tons of U.S. CO2 Storage Resource

The 2012 edition of DOE's Carbon Utilization and Storage Atlas estimates that the U.S. has at least 2,400 billion metric tons of possible carbon dioxide storage resource.


What Economists Missed: Why World Coal Consumption Keeps Rising

A primary reason why coal consumption is rising is because of increased international trade, starting when the World Trade Organization was formed in 1995, and greatly ramping up when China was added in December 2001. Figure 1 shows world fossil fuel extraction for the three fossil fuels. A person can see a sharp "bend" in the coal line, immediately after China was added to the World Trade Organization.


Warning over North Sea oil cash

The value of North Sea oil to Scotland's economy is becoming more erratic and difficult to predict, according to a think tank report.


Inside The Empowerhouse, A Gorgeous $250,000 Passive Home

The design debuted at the government's Solar Decathalon, but instead of just being a show piece, new versions of it are being installed around Washington by Habitat for Humanity.

The Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon functions like an annual accelerator for new ideas in green building: teams from around the country compete to come up with innovative designs for sustainable housing, constructing models to display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Then, once prizes have been awarded, the teams go home and the designs are either forgotten about, sold off, or displayed on college campuses.

Not so with the Empowerhouse, the award-winning design by a team of students from The New School in New York City and the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Instead, their design crossed the Anacostia River to become a two-unit home for families in the Deanwood neighborhood of D.C., installed by Habitat for Humanity and completed earlier this month. The effort was the first in the Decathalon's history when a team partnered with a nonprofit and government agencies as a part of the design process to bring a sustainable--and affordable--home to a D.C. community.

Read Full Story


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Powering the U.S. East Coast with offshore wind energy: A possibility?

( new analysis by Stanford researchers reveals that there is enough offshore wind along the U.S. East Coast to meet the electricity demands of at least one-third of the country.


Improved structural support for wind turbines could lead to 100% greater efficiency

( University of Cambridge's Department of Engineering study suggests that offshore wind farms could be 100 per cent more efficient in terms of energy payback if manufacturers embraced new methods for making the structures that support the turbines.


DOE Approves Field Test for Promising Carbon Capture Technology

A promising post combustion membrane technology that can separate and capture 90 percent of the CO2 from a pulverized coal plant has been successfully demonstrated.


Coal Exports Emerging As Major Climate Fight In The Pacific Northwest

by Jules Boykoff

In the Pacific Northwest, activists and their allies are ramping up for a full-throttle battle over a proposal to haul coal across the west for export to China. Big Coal's latest master plan promises to generate a second epicenter of climate-change resistance-our very own Keystone XL pipeline showdown.

With coal prices plummeting, thanks in large part to the spike in natural gas use, coal barons are desperate to offload their lucre. Showing ever-greater verve, they're dumping it in overseas markets, especially China. The US Energy Information Administration projects US coal exports will hit an all-time high in 2012 - some 125 to 133 million tons - more than doubling 2009 export levels and surpassing a record set in 1981.

When it comes to climate disruption, these are ghastly numbers. After all, 2012 looks like it'll be the hottest year on record for the contiguous US. The year brought devastating drought and catastrophic storms. While we can't peg any single weather event to climate change, this is precisely the sort of climate seesaw scientists have predicted. Meanwhile, the Arctic suffered record losses in sea ice and snow cover. And globally, 2012 is on course to become the ninth hottest year ever. Revving up coal consumption - the dirtiest of fossil fuels - is not going to help matters, to say the least.

That's where the Pacific Northwest enters the picture. Last week, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staged what may well be the only public meetings on the permitting process for the US coal industry's hail-Mary moment: to convert the western United States into a railroad and barge pipeline for coal mined in Montana and Wyoming and hauled along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean for export to China and elsewhere.

This Morrow-Pacific coal export proposal, which is being pushed by Australia-based Ambre Energy, will annually ship overseas nearly nine million tons of coal. The plan has dredged up blistering opposition. The Sierra Club, buoyed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's donation of $50 million last year, has made it a centerpiece of its Beyond Coal campaign. Groups like Columbia Riverkeeper and the Power Past Coal coalition have rallied locals to the cause. The Yakama Nation, Lummi Nation, and other Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest have challenged the proposal's logic and merit. The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians demanded a comprehensive environmental impact assessment while the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission questioned the wisdom of hauling coal through at-risk waterways, which could undercut the tribes' treaty rights.

More than 800 people packed the meeting hall in Portland. Just before the event commenced, Cesia Kearns, a Sierra Club campaign representative, told me, "Coal is the culprit on climate change. If we continue to burn coal at current levels, much less increase them, we'll have no hope of turning climate change around."

This sentiment was shared by many people who asked questions or provided public comment. They interrogated DEQ about air pollution from open-topped trainloads of coal. They quizzed officials on the hazards the project could cause for salmon runs and other wildlife in the region. They asked about the effects additional coal-burning would have on climate change. And they pressed officials about the literal blowback that could emerge: coal burned in China produces mercury that wafts back to the Pacific Northwest.

Although the DEQ web site states, "The effects of climate change have serious implications for Oregon's economy and environment," you wouldn't know it from the remarks of their representatives on hand. DEQ officials squirmed left and right, claiming only a splinter-sized purview. Those in attendance openly guffawed at their egregious evasions. DEQ project managers repeatedly asserted that an array of topics - from the transport of coal to the proposal's effects on the climate - was "outside the scope" of their narrow remit. This was met with a sea of Occupy-style frowny fingers and occasional bellows of disapproval. With each outburst, the moderator threatened to shut down the entire meeting.

One couldn't help but walk away from the meeting with the feeling that the DEQ's fluffy banter about "meeting the challenge of climate change head-on" was a greenwash. The willingness of officials to take the company's emissions estimates at face value was alarming, their skirting of the issues was appalling. Each stiff-lipped response telegraphed approval for the proposal - you could almost see Ambre Energy's application slithering through the overlapping patchwork of jurisdiction, which DEQ officials used as an alibi for deflecting their responsibilities.

What also became clear at the public meeting is that activists are embracing the grubby struggle to keep western coal in the ground. If this coal is scraped from the earth and shipped overseas, it's a climate game-changer. DEQ has until the end of February to make permitting determinations - and they could always be trumped by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is also weighing permits for the project. But activists are already talking about Plan B.

Campaigners are not going to step aside while fossil-fuel bigwigs transmogrify the Columbia River into a gargantuan coal chute to China. One activist from Occupy Portland told me if the permits are granted and Big Coal's dream comes true, spikier tactics will emerge to gum up the gears. Climate mavens pay heed-this is shaping up to be the left coast Keystone. The direct-action battle may soon have another front.

Jules Boykoff is Associate Professor and Department Chair at Pacific University's Department of Politics and Government. You can follow Jules on Twitter at @JulesBoykoff.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chevy Volt: Q & A #4

Website: This is my Chevy Volt question and answer video number four. I'm directly answering your Chevy Volt or electric car questions while giving your channel a shout out. Featured followers channels Our first question comes from BabeeBlueOn...

Credit: mrenergyczar


Coal could catch oil in 10 years

The International Energy Agency says coal will catch oil as the world's leading energy source by 2022.


Water footprint could tip scale for sustainable, emission-reducing energy options

Green energy won't be sustainable if it uses too much blue. Low-carbon energy options that increase water consumption could be swapping one problem for another.


New method for estimating thermal comfort in low-energy buildings at the design stage

Indoor environments that are too hot, too cold or draughty create discomfort and lower human productivity. MSc (Tech) Riikka Holopainen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has written a doctoral thesis on a new method for estimating the actual level of human thermal comfort in low-energy buildings. The method is also the first of its kind to be integrated with a building simulation tool. Factoring in the different ways in which buildings are used and the different kinds of people using them at the design stage can help to improve energy efficiency and human comfort.


Mapping the wind as part of DOE offshore wind demonstration project

Mapping the wind patterns off the Oregon coast is just one part of the innovative work that scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will be performing in a new demonstration project just announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). As part of the U.S. government's "all of the above" strategy to develop more secure, domestic energy sources, the DOE announced seven offshore wind demonstration projects with an initial phase investment of $4M each over 2 years.


GE, Taiwan Power Sign Five-Year Wind Turbine Service Agreement

SCHENECTADY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE and Taiwan Power Company have signed a five-year, full service agreement (FSA) covering 26 GE 1.5-megawatt class wind turbines operating throughout Taiwan. ...Add to digg


Solar Crowdfunding in California: Part 2, Everybody Solar

As the price of solar has plummeted and leases have become more widespread, many more Americans have been able to go solar. But what about the 75% who can't?


Export Natural Gas to Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future


Monday, December 17, 2012

Energy innovation rockstar, former ARPA-E Director, to join

The former Director of the Department of Energy's ARPA-E program, Arun Majumdar, will be joining Google's philanthropic arm Majumdar will "drive's energy initiatives and advise the company on our broader energy strategy," Google said Monday.

The announcement is interesting for at least two reasons. About a year ago Google announced that it would be shutting down its clean power research projects through, called RE<C. I didn't think it was all that big of a deal at the time, given Google has invested close to a billion dollars into clean power projects, but the move was widely seen as Google cutting some philanthropic research that was outside of its basic territory.

But with Majumdar joining, clearly Google will be launching some new projects, or investing some new resources, into energy innovation and research. That's exciting. Despite the fact that Google is not an energy company, it has been one of the bright spots in the private sector by funding new energy technologies through investment in startups, through brainstorming ways to buy clean power to run its data centers, and by being a test case for new energy technologies like Bloom Energy's fuel cells.

Majumdar oversaw the DOE's ARPA-E program, which puts small grants - from hundreds of thousands to several million dollars - into early stage, "moonshot" research that could deliver a breakthrough, but is too early for private investment. The ARPA-E program has been one of the most successful and least controversial projects under the DOE and has delivered dozens of projects that have found follow-on private financing.

It's also worth noting that Majumdar will now be joining the private sector, so will be able to use Google's balance sheet to fund energy innovation. ARPA-E's budget ever year is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Majumdar hails from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and the University of California at Berkeley.


Saudi firm to invest $650m on sugar, ethanol in Sudan

KHARTOUM - Sinnar state signed a partnership with the Saudi Tala Company to produce sugar, ethanol and bio-fuel in Sinnar state from the Jatropha tree to be cultivated in an area estimated at 165,000 acres at a cost of $650 million. Terhab Company for ...
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Saudi Gazette


Nation needs marketing campaign to reduce vehicle fuel use, says new paper

( new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy proposes a national marketing campaign to better inform consumers about measures that they can take to decrease fuel use, particularly during a rapid increase in fuel prices. A relatively modest publicity campaign could create substantial savings for consumers, the authors said.


Micro-computer bakers open Raspberry Pi shop

Mmmm, tasty apps

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has opened an online software shop tied to its cheap-as-chips micro-computer....


Peter Thiel funds tornado power: seriously

Peter Thiel, famous for co-founding PayPal and being an early investor in Facebook, has put a small grant of $300,000 into a Canadian inventor who has spent years working on the idea of harnessing man-made tornadoes to produce power. The funding was made through Thiel's Breakout Labs, which is part of the Thiel Foundation and which gives small rounds of funding for cutting-edge, early-stage science and technology research ideas.

The entrepreneur behind tornado power is Louis Michaud, who is a Canadian engineer that has spent years "trying to be taken seriously," as Toronto Star reporter Tyler Hamilton describes him (he profiled Michaud in his book Mad Like Tesla). Michaud's startup is called AVEtec and his technology is called the Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE). Breakout Labs describes the technology as:

In his design, warm or humid air is introduced into a circular station, where it takes the form of a rising vortex, i.e. a controlled tornado. The temperature difference between this heated air and the atmosphere above it supports the vortex and drives multiple turbines. The vortex can be shut down at any time by turning off the source of warm air.


AVEtec says vortex-power can deliver energy that is carbon emissions-free, and super cheap at 3 cents per kilowatt hour (coal can be anywhere from 4 to 5 cents per kwh, and it's got some of the highest carbon emissions).

The problem is that the tornado power has to be created in a large power plant, and that has yet to be built and tested at scale. The column of the tornado in a commercial-size plant would be 130 feet tall. Reporter Hamilton says Michaud's plan eventually is to create tornadoes using waste heat from power plant or industrial factory and then harness those vortexes.

AVEtec will work with Lambton College in Ontario to build and study a prototype using the funding from Breakout Labs. Breakout Labs has also funded Modern Meadow, which combines in-vitro meat with 3D printing.

Thiel clearly has an interest in backing early stage research around new ways to use resources from energy to food to water. Despite that he was widely quoted as saying cleantech has been a disaster, he's taking more of an ARPA-E style approach for cleantech through Breakout Labs. Thiel has also put money into LightSail Energy, a startup that makes a next-generation compressed air energy storage technology.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yoko Ono And Sean Lennon Post New York Times Ad: 'Imagine There's No Fracking'

Last week, Sean Lennon and his mother Yoko Ono posted this ad in the New York Times:

The son and wife of the late John Lennon posted this message as part of Artists Against Fracking. The ad explains:

No amount of regulation can ever make fracking safe. No one can be sent thousands of feet under the earth to make repairs once the cement fails - and it will. The enormous pressure and temperature changes at those depths guarantee it...

Fracked gas is not climate friendly. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that leaks from the failed wells, fractured rock and pipelines....

New York can become the Clean Energy Empire State. With an economy bolstered by insulating all buildings. This way we could save far more energy and create FAR more jobs than fracking, plus save consumers money forever. And let's scale up solar and wind power with a smart grid for truly clean, economical energy.


Get Ready, Utilities: Solar Is Coming

by John Farrell, via Renewable Energy World

Quick question. Your state has good sunshine, lots of open rooftops, and the cost of solar energy has been falling by 10% per year. Do you think it will take 13 years to double the 10 megawatts (MW) of installed solar power?

Yes, if you're the largest corporate utility in my state, and willfully ignoring the economic trend. But 'no' if you make decisions based on data, because the price of unsubsidized solar electricity will undercut most utility retail electricity prices within a decade, enabling 200 times more solar (4,400 MW) than found in this utility's plans.

That's just one utility's wake up call in a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Commercial Rooftop Revolution, and it's far from the only one. By 2016, over 100,000 MW of unsubsidized rooftop solar will able to match grid electricity on price. Within 10 years, it will be 300,000 MW, enough to provide 10% of the nation's electricity. This affordable solar future presents a stark challenge to traditional utility planning and a clarion call for better electricity policy.

Some utilities have responded by clinging to the 20th century paradigm of centralized control. Virginia's Dominion Power, for example, expressed satisfaction at a recent conference at introducing standby charges on solar producers, ostensibly to help them recover the cost of "backing up" solar power.

On the other hand, many utilities and state regulatory commissions are finding the value in solar and realizing that perceived barriers aren't as large as they had feared. Austin Energy, a Texas municipal utility, now pays a non-subsidy premium for solar because it helps them offset expensive peak power purchases. In Hawaii, utilities who two years ago argued that the distribution grid was at its limit have been managing to accommodate thousands more solar projects on their grid systems.

Regardless of their predisposition toward solar power, utilities, regulators, and policy makers need to recognize that there's a revolution in electricity systems coming soon. Solar will become so affordable in the next 5-10 years that as many as 38 million homes and businesses will elect to produce their own power more cheaply from unsubsidized solar rather than buy it from their utility. That means policies that limit distributed generation will have to change: net metering limits must rise, permitting must be simplified, archaic "15% rules" will have to be driven by data not speculation.

Ultimately, as one Hawaii public utility commissioner has said, the paradigm for the electricity system will flip. Utilities will need to transition from being inflexible to being flexible. They'll switch from primarily running slow-response coal and nuclear power plants to finding the right mix of flexible natural gas or energy storage systems that can partner with low-cost wind and solar and advanced demand response to supply reliable electricity.

The forthcoming revolution in solar power promises more change in the next 10 years than utilities have faced in the last 100. And they had best get ready.

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. This piece was originally published at Renewable Energy World and was reprinted with permission.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Everybody Ought to Know about Energy

If you've ever looked for an iron-clad case that the fossil energy supply is out-of-control, over-the-top destructive --of planet, wildlife, people's health and culture-- then check out Energy, the latest publication of the Post Carbon Institute.

The word "breathtaking" has become cliche when put with "photographs" but here it really applies. You will gasp aloud as you turn each page. (even my teens did) And then you'll want to show the pictures to more people, because you can't keep this kind of stuff to yourself. Coal strip mines. Spawling oil fields. Landscape wracked by palm oil plantations. The debris of Fukushima. And of course the BP oil platform going down in flames.

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Wind farm impact to be examined

The firm behind a planned offshore wind farm on the south coast of England says it will look to see how it can "mitigate" campaigners' concerns.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Wind, solar could provide 99.9% of ALL POWER by 2030

Even better: It could do so at the same cost as fossil fuels

A group of researchers has released a study that claims to shoot down the common perception that clean, renewable energy from wind and solar sources is all well and good, eco-wise, but that it's too uncertain, sporadic, and pricey for widespread use....


McDonalds Fleet Traveled 800000 Miles With Recycled Biofuel

The McDonald's fleet has traveled a combined 808,411 miles on the biofuel processed by Nuetral Fuels, diverting roughly 80% of its carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere . Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion arm of the Department of ...
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Fracking shifts global energy balance

North America's shale oil and gas boom has shifted the balance in global energy markets, giving the US and Canada new leverage as exporters, despite the Middle East retaining a pivotal role.


Fracking shifts global energy balance

North America's shale oil and gas boom has shifted the balance in global energy markets, giving the US and Canada new leverage as exporters, despite the Middle East retaining a pivotal role.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Documents Reveal Alberta Colludes With Industry In Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Review

by Carol Linnitt, via DeSmogBlog

A pipeline safety review conducted by the Alberta government last summer was done with the oil and gas industry's interests in mind, according to recent documents released to Greenpeace through Freedom of Information legislation. The documents (PDF) show the review, commissioned after a series of back-to-back pipeline incidents across Alberta raised public concern, was coordinated internally between government and industry, and appears to have required industry consent.

Greenpeace campaigner Keith Stewart told the Canadian Press "there's a difference between talking to industry and asking for their approval."

Private communications suggest government officials worked behind the scenes to develop a review plan that would please industry.

"It looks like industry got to write the terms for this review," said Stewart.

The review was commissioned by the Alberta government after a collective of more than 50 prominent environmental, land rights, First Nations and union representatives called upon Premier Alison Redford to initiate an independent review of the province's pipeline safety. The groups, including the Alberta Surface Rights Group, The Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace Canada also launched an anonymous oil spill tipline, urging individuals to make rupture and spill information public. The Alberta government does not make such information available on a public database.

Between May and June the pipeline industry suffered three major incidents in Alberta. The first saw 3.5 million liters of oil leaked into muskeg near Rainbow Lake. In June, a tributary of Red Deer River, which provides drinking water to many Albertan communities, was flooded with 475,000 liters of oil from an unused pipeline. Not two weeks later, more than 230,000 liters were spilled from a leaking line near Elk Lake.

In July, Energy Minister Ken Hughes announced a review of the province's pipeline infrastructure safety would be conducted by a third party contracted by the provincial regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB).

However, documents show high-profile meetings took place with major industry players before the minister's announcement.

Emails show Minister Hughes invited 14 pipeline CEOs, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canada's most powerful oil and gas industry lobby group, and the Small Producers and Explorers Association of Canada.

His invitation read: "As you know, the industry operates under world-leading regulatory regime, and has a strong and improving safety record. Some recent incidents and ongoing media attention about energy and environmental issues have given us all the opportunity to reflect not just on how we ensure safety, but also on how we communicate our safety commitment. With this in mind, I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you."

Industry representatives were given an advanced overview of the review's structure which included pipeline integrity management, water crossing practices and emergency response.

"The meeting was very productive and we are confident we can move this forward," said a top level official, suggesting the review was dependent on industry approval.

"Their overwhelming support for the ERCB as the regulator was good to hear and their advice for you to do a review was also reassuring."

The private dealings between government and industry, as well as the emphasis placed on 'communicating safety,' suggest the pipeline review was done to ensure public appeasement, rather than pipeline integrity, says Stewart.

Stewart suggests the review was meant to align regulations with industry's best practices, rather than inquire into industry 'worst practices' or the effectiveness of ERBC monitoring and enforcement schemes.

No government communications were addressed to the group of landowners and environmental organizations that pushed for the review in the first place.

This is not the first time the ERCB has been caught working to further industry interests. In August 2011, two leaked cabinet briefing notes showed the provincial regulator was collaborating with the gas industry to manage public concerns over fracking and shale gas development.

"Shale gas environmental concerns in the media and in the public in other jurisdictions are potentially problematic for energy development and environmental management in Alberta," the note said.

CAPP approached ERCB to "enhance public communication" surrounding the issue. Critics say such industry/government coordination demonstrates the government's commitment to shaping public opinion on behalf of the industry. Important questions of science, public safety and tough environmental regulation appear to be left at the door.

Energy Minister Hughes defended the Alberta government's closed-door meetings with the pipeline and oil and gas industry, telling the Canadian Press "the first step in that process is to assure me in my role as minister that we are performing at the best possible level." He added, "secondly, once we are assured that that is the case, then there is also strong communication about how we're conducting this business in this province."

"I called the meeting to convey a strong sense of urgency and a strong sense of reflection and investigation," said Hughes.

Carol Linnitt is a writer and researcher focusing on sustainability issues. This piece was originally published at DeSmogBlog and was reprinted with permission.


First Solar Releases 92.5-Watt Thin-Film PV Module

TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced the release of its most advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module, the Series 3 FS-392, which is rated at 92.5 watts. The new FS-392 module maintains all the existing IEC certifications and UL listings for the Series 3 family, including UL listing for 1000-volt systems. "The FS-392 demonstrates the success of First Solar's R&D investment to drive higher and higher module conversion efficiencies into production,

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Europe's Largest Onshore Wind Project Now in Service with GE 2.5-Megawatt Wind Turbines

SALZBERGEN, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CEZ Group's Fantanele/Cogealac wind park, using GE 2.5-MW wind turbines and is Europe's largest onshore wind project, produces enough cleaner energy to power more than one million Romanian homes/year.

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Government approves gas fracking

The government gives the go-ahead for a firm to resume the controversial technique known as fracking to exploit gas in Lancashire.


December 13 News: DOE Offers $28 Million In Grants For U.S. Offshore Wind Projects

The federal government is stepping up its efforts to kick-start the offshore wind industry by awarding $28 million in grants to seven projects that are developing varying kinds of power-generation technology. [New York Times]

The Upper Colorado River Basin - including Summit County - could see deficits in its compact obligation to deliver water downstream as often as once every five years by 2040, according to a massive new Bureau of Reclamation study released this week. [Summit County Citizens News]

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is warning that without an operational fleet of polar-orbiting satellites, the European model would have missed a key forecast and predicted that Sandy would have headed out to sea well east of New Jersey. [Climate Central]

Under certain warming forecasts, more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039. [New York Times]

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Wednesday that he is optimistic enough Republicans will rally behind his renewable-energy financing bill to get it passed next Congress. [The Hill]

Conservative Bob Inglis blames his efforts to combat global warming for the intra-Republican challenge that cost him his South Carolina congressional seat in 2010. Since the loss, he has traveled the nation making the case to students and grassroots Republican activists that a carbon tax is both good policy and politics. [Bloomberg]

China and the US are to be the clear focus of the next year of climate change negotiations, following a hard-fought climate conference that ended in Doha on Saturday night. [Guardian]

An advisor to the Polish government says the country should keep using its coal for decades to come, despite a European Union policy of replacing the polluting fossil fuel with cleaner sources. [Washington Post]


Energy Shortages - Why Malthus Got His Forecast Wrong

Most of us have heard that Thomas Malthus made a forecast in 1798 that the world would run short of food, and that great famine would result. But most of us don't understand why he was wrong. This issue is relevant today, as we grapple with the issues of world hunger and of oil consumption that is not growing as rapidly as consumers would like-certainly it is not keeping oil prices down to historic levels.What Malthus Didn't Anticipate


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SolarCity Announces Pricing of Its Initial Public Offering

SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SolarCity Corporation, a provider of clean distributed energy, announced today the pricing of its initial public offering of 11,500,000 shares of common stock at a price of $8.00 per share. The common stock is expected to begin trading on The NASDAQ Global Market on December 13, 2012 under the ticker symbol "SCTY." A total of 11,434,988 shares are being offered by SolarCity and 65,012 shares are being offered by selling stockholders. In addition, SolarCity has

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