Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Skyonic raises $128M, plans its first commercial CO2-to-baking soda plant this summer

A Texan startup that turns carbon emissions into baking soda (among other things) has raised a huge new round and plans to break ground on its first commercial scale plant this summer. And we thought all those capital intensive cleantech startups were long gone.Austin-based Skyonic announced on Tuesday that it's raised a $128 million Series C round from big name players in the oil and gas industries, which will help fund its inaugural commercial ...



Friday, June 21, 2013

Video: 16 yr-old Turns Algae to Biofuel and Wins Intel Science Award

Evie Sobczak is a freakin' rock star, and you want to know her. Why? Because what started out as Evie's 8th grade science fair project just won Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair. That's a big deal because, as Sobczak puts it, "It's, like, the biggest science fair ever!"

Evie's project is, in a nutshell, a chemical/catalyst-free process in which algae is processed into fuel-grade ethanol. In addition to collecting her algae stock from the type of blooms common in Florida (ensuring that no special processes or algae strains are required), Sobczak designed and engineered all of the equipment for her project herself, creating a totally chemical-free way to grow algae, extract the oil, and use it as biodiesel. Plus, her process produced as much as 20 percent more oil than current methods, which could make biofuels even cheaper (compared to gasoline) than they already are!

You can check out Evie's summary of her project, in her own words, below. Enjoy!
Source: Tampa Tribune, via Grist.
The post Video: 16 yr-old Turns Algae to Biofuel and Wins Intel Science Award appeared first on Gas 2.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Energy Risk: Fracking Increasing Competition for Water

A new investigation by AP has found that the vast majority of counties where fracking is occurring in seven states are also suffering from drought. and that fracking is presenting new strains on water supplies.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Emergency Eton Radio

Website: http://MrEnergyCzar.com Hi everybody, MrEnergyCzar here. This video is about an emergency back-up multi-purpose communications radio. Facebook: http...


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fracking The Amish

amish-mafiaJesus said, "Turn the other cheek". So if you are of the Amish faith you prefer to settle legal disputes within your own community, without litigation. In other words the Amish will not sue, and if you're a natural gas company, that's very good news. Turns out that whole "Amish Mafia" thing might be blown out of proportion.

To say that many natural gas companies are taking advantage of people of the Amish faith would be an understatement. In an article written for the New Republic, Molly Redden shares a story where an Amish couple was paid $10 an acre to have a natural gas company come in and start fracking. The couple was told that that was the best offer the company could make. Turns out neighboring farm were receiving upwards of $1,000 an acre. Rather than take legal action, because by their faith they cannot, the Amish couple admits they made a mistake and have to live with it.

This is just one of many similar instances. Not only did the Amish family lose out on a ton of cash, but they also put their farm, crops, and livestock in danger, and unknowingly jeopardized their livelihood due to the chemicals used in the fracking process. Check out the documentary Gas Land for a good idea of this.

The Amish couple did indeed make a colossal mistake, and should have done some investigating on their own. But they were also intentionally misled and outright lied to by a billion-dollar company that can afford to be honest. With the advent of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, this is the process of fracturing rock layers using a pressurized chemical mixture to release natural gas, natural gas companies are tapping into natural gas holds that were once unobtainable. This has created a massive boom in the natural gas industry and has taken the natural companies to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, places with large Amish populations .

With the knowledge that the Amish will not sue, this really opens the door for gas companies to do whatever they want without the risk of legal action. The impact of this is enormous. Other than outright lying about land value, let's say a lease ends and the company just keeps on fracking; the Amish can do nothing legally. It is easy to see how this can get really bad and fast.

The Amish do have certain options though. For example, one Amish family that was a victim of an undervalued lease took the gas company to court to simply void the lease. What makes this acceptable for the Amish couple is that there is no money involved - they just want the gas company to leave.

This isn't capitalism; this is wrong. From causing earthquakes to lighting water on fire, fracking has serious health and environmental complications not entirely understood yet. People But if people are willing to take these enormous risks with their land, they should at the very least be paid well for it. Those who constantly step up to defend the actions of oil companies should ask themselves; if gas companies willing to mislead, ripoff, and outright break contracts with the Amish, is there anything these scumbags won't do?

Source: New Republic

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison

The post Fracking The Amish appeared first on Gas 2.



SoCalGas, California agencies funding $9M RFP to develop ultra-low NOx heavy-duty natural gas engines

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) are jointly funding a request for proposals (RFP) (P2013-22) issued by SCAQMD to support the development of ultra-clean natural gas engines for a variety of heavy-duty vehicle applications in the South Coast Air Basin (SCAB) and San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB).

The initiative, funded up to $9 million by the participating agencies together with $500,000 in matching funds from SoCalGas, aims to demonstrate natural gas engines capable of achieving aggressive, near-zero emission standards for on-road, heavy-duty vehicle applications suitable for refuse, goods movement, drayage, transit, or school bus applications.

The purpose of the RFP is to provide financial assistance to contractor teams to develop near-zero NOx heavy-duty natural gas engines; integrate the engines into heavy-duty vehicles chassis; and evaluate the performance of the vehicles in a variety of heavy-duty vehicle applications in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins.

The principal RFP emission target is 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hr (g/bhp-hr) NOx; this represents a 90% reduction from the current EPA 2010 standard of 0.2 g/bhp-hr NOx. Other targets are 0.01 g/bhp-hr particulate matter (PM); 0.14 g/bhp-hr hydrocarbon (HC); and 15.5 g/bhp-hr carbon monoxide (CO) or lower as determined by the heavy-duty engine Federal Test Procedure (FTP)-comparable to the EPA 2010 limits.

Proposals that address methods to achieve 10 ppm or lower NH3 emission will score higher, and similarly those that address methods to achieve minimal or zero fuel economy penalties when compared to similar 2010 certified diesel engines, will score higher.

To reach the low NOx emission target and keep the PM, HC, and CO at current or lower emissions levels, proponents may propose all or combinations of:

  • optimized combustion chamber technology;
  • advanced fuel delivery system;
  • air handling system;
  • advanced electronic controls; and
  • exhaust after-treatment technologies.

Proponents will be required to build prototype heavy-duty natural gas engines and exhaust after-treatment technology, and to perform transient engine dynamometer tests of the prototype engines to assess fuel consumption, gaseous emissions, and particulate matter emissions.

Production-intent or production engines with exhaust after-treatment technology will then be built based on the prototype engines and integrated into an on-road heavy-duty prototype vehicle chassis suitable for refuse, goods movement, drayage truck, transit, or school bus applications and further developed to ensure adequate transient performance and drivability.

At least three production-intent or production vehicles will then be deployed and demonstrated in commercial services to evaluate performance, reliability, and emissions expectations. A heavy-duty chassis dynamometer will be needed for prototype vehicle development and in-use emissions testing.

Proposals are due by 24 July 2013.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Op-Ed: Big Oil Tells More Lies About Ethanol, Only Idiots Believe Them

In a move that should surprise no-one, the whining cry-baby rich-boys at Big Oil are butt-hurt over the latest federal court ruling that upholds the EPA's E15 mandate. In a legal brief filed with the US Supreme Court, the American Petroleum Institute - a powerful, well-funded lobbyist group that represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies - insisted that transportation fuels containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) could damage cars and trucks.
Should we believe them?
Obviously, the answer is a resounding "Haha! F**k no we should not!"
Let's get one thing clear: the oil industry does not give one fat rat's ass about the health, safety, future, or security of you, me, or anyone else. The horrible people involved in the oil industry have proven, again and again - from Washington DC to Canada to Saudi Arabia to the Mississippi Gulf - that lining their own pockets with cash is more important to them than the your continued health or your children's clean drinking water. Still, that hasn't stopped them from faking a concern for your safety.
That's right kids, Big Oil would now have you believe that E15 is downright dangerous! Bob Greco, API's director of downstream and industry operations said that a switch to E15 "could also put motorists in harm's way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA's dangerous E15 mandate before it's too late."
Too late? Too late for what? OMG ... they mean we might die! This scare-tactics-scumbag Bob "Greasy Pete" Greco is actually implying that switching to E15 is more likely to get you killed than toxic drinking water.
The worst part of all this is that there's a bunch of 70-80s out there who probably believe this nonsense ... and at least one or two of those idiots are already on the Supreme Court. *ahem* Thomas and Scalia *cough-cough*
Big Oil, in the guise of the API and GOP puppet groups like the AAPS, is spending untold millions and billions to fabricate whatever evidence they can to keep them from having to compete with any other fuels. They're clearly running scared, since - even with petroleum's massive government subsidies, many times more than ethanol - they're not exactly winning the hearts and minds of young Americans.

Op-ed: Everyone working with the API in their bid to block ethanol fuels should die a scandalous, camel-driven, bestiality-related death somewhat sooner than later.

For those of you interested in reading things on your own and forming your own conclusions, I've included a number of links throughout this article, and the original text of the story is quoted, below. Enjoy!
The U.S. oil and gas industry on Tuesday bolstered its argument for the Supreme Court to strike down the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow a higher blend of ethanol in newer automobiles.
In a legal brief filed with the high court, the American Petroleum Institute, which represents 500 oil and natural gas companies, insisted that transportation fuels containing 15 percent ethanol could damage cars and trucks.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last August that trade groups representing the automobile, food and other industries did not have sufficient grounds to challenge the use of the new blend known as E15. In response, API appealed to the Supreme Court in February. The high court could make a decision about whether to hear the case soon.
"E15 could leave millions of consumers with broken-down cars and high repair bills," said Bob Greco, API's director of downstream and industry operations. "It could also put motorists in harm's way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA's dangerous E15 mandate before it's too late."
API's brief was filed as a response to assertions by ethanol backers who have asked the Supreme Court to let the previous ruling stand.
The EPA, which approved the new blend in January 2011, gave the OK for it to go on sale last June. The blend, which has been approved for use in cars and light trucks built since 2000 but is banned from older vehicles and light equipment, has been slow to get off the ground. Only a few stations in the Midwest, including a half dozen in Iowa, have sold the E15 blend.
Ethanol groups said appeal to the Supreme Court was the latest sign of desperation by the oil and gas industry.
"API is basically presenting evidence to prove they will do whatever they can to keep from having to compete with any other fuels," said Ron Lamberty, senior vice president for the American Coalition for Ethanol. "Big Oil will take any approach available to delay E15 implementation while continuing its public smear campaign against it."
Source: DesMoines Register
The post Op-Ed: Big Oil Tells More Lies About Ethanol, Only Idiots Believe Them appeared first on Gas 2.



The bright spot for the U.S. solar market in 2013: home roof tops

This article originally appeared on GigaOM Pro, GigaOM's premium research service.The U.S. market is forecast to install 4.4 GW of solar panels this year, a 33 percent increase from 2012, thanks in part by an expected surge in residential installations, according to a report released Tuesday.The country added 723 MW of solar panels in the first quarter of 2013, up 33 percent from the first quarter of 2012, said the report by the Solar Energy Indu ...

solar panel



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peak Oil News: 6/11/13 Tesla Supercharger, New Airbag, Peak Oil Suburbs & Walmart Pleads Guilty

Website: http://MrEnergyCzar.com This is Peak Oil News. I'm your host, MrEnergyCzar. We're covering Peak Oil, Renewable Energy, Electric Cars and everything ...


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US Senate passes Farm Bill with more than $800M in mandatory funding for bioenergy programs

The United States Senate passed a five-year farm bill-the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S.954)-containing more than $800 million in mandatory funding for energy programs. The bill also contains funding to grow the renewable chemicals industry.

The Congressional Budget Office CBO estimates that direct spending stemming from the program authorization under the 12 titles in S. 954 would total $955 billion over the 2014-2023 period. That 10-year total reflects the bill's authorization of expiring programs through 2018 and an extension of those authorizations through 2023. The energy title (Title IX) of the bill contains:

  • $261 million in mandatory for the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP), which will provide a streamlined application process for farmers and rural businesses applying for renewable and energy efficient system projects.

  • $193 million in mandatory funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which provides support for farmers who wish to plant energy crops to produce and use biomass crops for conversion to advanced biofuels or bioenergy. Agricultural producers in BCAP project areas may contract with the Department of Agriculture to receive biomass crop establishment payments up to 50 percent of costs, plus annual payments in amounts determined by the Secretary in subsequent years to help to compensate for lost opportunity costs until crops are established.

    860 growers in 12 states plant 59,000 acres of new energy crops a year with the assistance of Biomass Crop Assistance Program, according to the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO).

  • $216 million in mandatory funding for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, which provides loan guarantees for renewable energy projects, expands eligibility to include biobased manufacturing and renewable chemicals.

  • $130 million for the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. The bill will reauthorize funding for research on biomass feedstock development for bioenergy and biobased products.

  • The bill will reauthorize and modify USDA's BioPreferred Program and the Federal Government Procurement Preference Program. Many of the modifications are adopted from the "Make it Here, Grow it Here" initiative which includes reporting of biobased purchases by the federal agencies, auditing and enforcement of the biobased and education/outreach activities. The program will receive $15 million in mandatory funding.

  • Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. This program provides production payments for advanced bioenergy sources such as methane digesters, advanced biofuels and biopower.

  • Community Wood Energy Program. This program provides competitive, cost-share grants for communities to supply public buildings with energy from sustainably-harvested wood from the local area.

The energy title also funds USDA programs that help jumpstart additional biorefinery construction for advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals, dedicated energy crop feedstock development and consumer demand of biobased products-all encouraging further commercialization of the renewable industry.

The House is still working on its version of the Farm Bill (H.R.1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013).



Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Gas Will Never Hit $5 a Gallon

Chevy and Nissan have given EVs a go with little success, but Ford has a decent car on its hand with the Ford Focus Electric. Mercedes and Toyota are also trying their hand at electric vehicles, and they're calling on Tesla to design the drive train ...
See all stories on this topic »



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Replacing the San Onofre Nuclear Plant Without More Dirty Power Plants

Devra Wang, Director, California Energy Program, San Francisco

Note: Southern California Edison announced today (6/7/2013) that it is permanently closing the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station but as I recently noted, the plant's absence has not affected reliable electric service in California.

The state's electric system is very likely to be reliable this summer, even though a massive nuclear power plant in Southern California is still down. But instead of firing up retired, dirty generators to cover the gap like last summer, this year's replacement will be smarter and cleaner.
That recent news from the California Independent System Operator, which operates the grid, will be a breath of fresh air for Southern Californians contending with the region's infamous smog.

transmission picture.jpgThe San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, known as SONGS, has been out of service since January 2012. It is one of the largest power plants in the state at a whopping 2,200 megawatts (equivalent to about four regular large-sized power plants), so its outage leaves a significant "hole" in the electric grid.
But it turns out California doesn't actually need the energy the SONGS plant could have produced right now, because consumers have been taking advantage of incentives to use energy more efficiently, significant amounts of renewable energy has come online in recent years, and we already have more than enough other power plants to meet our needs. Instead, the grid needs the "voltage support" SONGS used to provide.
Since a major part of the Southern California electric grid was built around SONGS, it is a lot harder for the transmission grid to remain stable without the plant operating and providing that voltage support. This all gets very technical fast, but the important thing to know is that there are different ways to provide voltage support (and they don't all require burning fossil fuels at a power plant). So even though one might expect the state to fill the hole left by SONGS with more dirty power plants, this year the state is taking a better and cleaner approach.
Doing Without SONGS' Generation
Electric demand and supply need to be in constant balance at all times, which can be done by adjusting generation or asking customers to use less electricity at peak times (in fact, the state's Independent System Operator (ISO) is counting on nearly 2,000 megawatts of "demand response" from the many customers in Southern California that have taken advantage of incentives to reduce load when needed).
In order to keep the lights on, the ISO needs to have more generation available than consumers are expected to use. This is known as a "reserve margin," and the California Public Utilities Commission requires the utilities to plan for a 15% cushion. And the state already has more power plants than we need to pass that test. This summer, the ISO expects to easily exceed that margin under normal conditions, and to still avoid rolling blackouts even under extreme conditions (like if a lot of power plants go down unexpectedly at the same time customers' demand is unusually high).
Thumbnail image for ISO Summer 2013 Reserve Margins.jpg
Source: ISO (Note: SP 26 and NP 26 are roughly Southern and Northern California, respectively)
Providing Voltage Support Without More Dirty Generation
Last summer, with little time to react to the San Onofre plant's outage, the state brought back retired 50-year-old gas-fired generators at Huntington Beach. Even though we didn't need its energy because we already had more than enough other power plants, the Huntington Beach plant was pulled out of retirement in order to provide the necessary voltage support (and of course emitted air pollution in the process). This year, that plant is instead being converted into "synchronous condensers," which provide voltage support without onsite emissions. (The synchronous condensers operate like electric motors and use a small amount of energy from the grid in the process.) Other emissions-free efforts to fill the hole left by SONGS include installation of capacitors and upgrades to a local transmission line so that if the line has a problem, only part of it goes down instead of the whole thing.
OK, this is where my geeky side that gets excited about this technical stuff should probably give you a break, but the long and short of it is that California is on track to replace SONGS this summer by making the grid more resilient instead of adding more dirty power plants.
What Can We Do to Help?
Even though the ISO expects to be able to keep the lights on this summer, there's always the possibility that heat waves, fires, or other issues could threaten reliability. Everyone in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas can help avoid the need for rolling blackouts by upgrading the efficiency of homes and businesses, and avoiding using energy at peak times when the grid is stressed. Sign up for Flex Alerts to get notified on the days when conserving can make the biggest difference.
What's the Long-Term Solution?
It is still unknown whether SONGS will ever return to service. (See my colleague Jordan Weaver's blog for a discussion of the need for a public process at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before it considers restarting the plant.)
Even though SONGS' power isn't needed this year, the state's last analysis of how needs will be met over the coming decade counted on the nuclear plant as part of the mix. As a result, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state's major utilities including the SONGS' owners (Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric), is about to kick off a public process to examine how the state should fill the gap over the coming decade if SONGS does not return to service.
The Public Utilities Commission should continue to build on the great start made this year by requiring utilities to fill the gap with efficient and clean resources by:
  • making the electric grid more resilient through transmission system upgrades;
  • adding renewable resources in different geographic regions to take advantage of the different times when they're available; and
  • avoiding new generation through more aggressive efforts to help customers:
    • improve the efficiency of their homes and businesses;
    • reduce consumption during costly "peak" periods; and
    • use clean on-site generation like solar panels.
After all, while people may have differing views about a power plant, who can argue with more comfortable homes and productive workplaces - and cleaner air?



Friday, June 7, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Methane Leaks Could Negate Climate Benefits of US Natural Gas Boom: Report

Reduction in carbon emissions triggered by America's shift from coal to gas is being offset by a sharp rise in methane.


Methane leaks could undo the climate change benefits of America's natural gas boom, a new report said on Tuesday.

The report, produced by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), said America's shift from coal to gas had produced important climate gains.

Carbon dioxide emissions fell last year to their lowest point since 1994, according to the Department of Energy. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were 12% below 2005 levels.

But the report said those reductions were not enough, on their own, to escape the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

To keep reading, click here.



United Airlines Buys Big Into Biofuels

Could the move help clean up a notoriously dirty industry?


United Airlines is taking a significant step forward in its use of biofuel with a plan to buy 15 million gallons of the stuff during the next three years.

The airline signed an agreement with AltAir Fuels to buy fuel it will use on flights departing Los Angeles beginning next year. United says the renewable jet fuel is "price competitive" with the fuel now used by airlines and should, on a lifecycle basis, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent.

"This is a great day for United and the aviation biofuels industry," Jimmy Samartzis, the airline's director of environmental issues, said in a statement.

The news comes after a period of relative quiet about the use of aviation biofuel. There was a flurry of activity in the time between 2009 and 2011 as airlines around the world announced demonstration flights and passenger flights using a variety of biofuels. Even the military was burning biofuel in fighter jets. But the high cost of alternative fuels at the time made it unlikely cost-conscious airlines would embrace them for the long term.

To keep reading, click here.



Gulf Oil Wells Have Been Leaking Since 2004 Hurricane

Why isn't anything being done about it?
NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

Oil has been gushing from a group of wells south of New Orleans since a platform at the site was wiped out by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and it appears that nothing is being done to staunch or control the leaking.

Efforts to cap the ruptures appear to have been abandoned in 2011. Instead of working to clean up or stop the spill, driller Taylor Energy Company is now providing the government with daily updates about the resultant slick.

Even those updates appear to be half-baked. A long ribbon of oil can clearly be seen spilling out from the site, but Taylor Energy claims its much smaller than does NOAA.

To keep reading, click here.



Tea Party Takes On Georgia Power Over Lack Of Solar Energy

The fight to bring cheaper, clean energy to Georgia is uniting some unlikely allies. Renewable energy advocates and leaders of the Atlanta Tea Party are taking on utility giant Southern Co., and its subsidiary Georgia Power, over resisting the call to expand its development of solar energy.

As Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party explained in an interview with Climate Progress, the group's interest in the debate is quite simple: "The free market has been one of the founding principles of the Tea Party since it began and a monopoly is not a free market."

In Georgia - as in many states - utilities are granted a monopoly over the ability to sell power, which means that customers have no choice in where they get their electricity. A major provision of the monopoly is that Georgia Power act in the best interest of ratepayers, regulated by the Public Service Commission.

Dooley said the Tea Party believes consumers should be able to exercise choice when it comes to their energy source and the activists she works with don't want to be dependent on one or two energy sources. And Dooley's effort is not aimed at reducing carbon emissions - in fact, she doesn't believe in global warming - but based on their view that solar is a commonsense alternative for Georgia ratepayers that could function without subsidies.

As this atypical coalition has come together to introduce competition into the electrical provider market and challenge Georgia Power's long-held monopoly, Southern Co. continues to ignore consumer demand and market trends. In a recent speech to the Atlanta Press Club, Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning said, "There may come a time in the next decade when these things will be more competitive. It's just not right now."

One reason for this may be that distributed energy resources, like solar, threaten the core business model of utilities. As David Roberts explains in depth on Grist, an expansion of rooftop solar, for example, is a major risk to the utility model because it reduces demand for their most valuable product and goes straight at utilities' main profit centers.

And the Tea Party isn't the only unlikely voice for solar in Georgia. Lauren "Bubba" McDonald of the Public Service Commission also wants more solar in Georgia, although his plan would work within the existing utility structure. McDonald told Climate Progress that his decades of experience as a state lawmaker and as an elected member of the PSC, along with research and observation of the solar industry, has led him to believe the time is right for a significant expansion of solar energy in Georgia. He cited a study conducted by Arizona State University that ranks Georgia in the top five for potential benefits from solar expansion, but 38th in actual solar deployment.

The PSC, made up of five Republicans, is currently debating Georgia Power's long-term plan for meeting the state's energy needs. Despite the rapidly declining cost of solar and increasing pressure from solar companies and other advocates, the plan includes no new provisions for solar energy. Amending the plan requires a majority of commissioners and the vote is currently scheduled for mid-July.

Motivated by the intent to give consumers reliable electricity at the best price, McDonald is working on a plan for a robust expansion of solar in the state, which he intends to present to his colleagues in the next week. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution explains, it "would require massive fields of solar panels - presumably installed across south Georgia, where land is cheap, sunshine is plentiful, and the imminent closing of several coal-fired Georgia Power plants is being looked upon with dread by local communities."

Even if the Public Service Commission forces Georgia Power to expand its use of solar power in their energy plan, Dooley said the fight is far from over. She plans to continue her efforts by pushing for upcoming legislation that would allow private companies to set up solar farms and feed their energy into Georgia Power's grid, continuing to put pressure on Georgia Power for cost overruns at its Vogtle nuclear power plant, and possibly even challenging the law that grants monopoly rights to utilities.

Richard Caperton, Managing Director of Energy at the Center for American Progress, contributed.



Switchgrass Will Power Navy Jet Fighters With 95% Less Greenhouse Emissions

The more you poke at the Navy biofuel initiatives, the more you just seem to rile them up. Earlier this spring, for example, the Navy went ahead and announced a new round of $18 million in matching funds for four new biofuel pilot projects shortly ...
See all stories on this topic »



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Study finds disincentives to energy efficiency can be fixed

A new study finds that utilities aren't rewarded for adopting energy efficiency programs, and that reforms are needed to make energy efficiency as attractive as renewables.



Google to power Finnish data centre with wind energy

Google said Tuesday it had entered a ten-year deal with a Swedish wind farm developer to power a data centre in Finland.



Romania decree threatens green energy projects

Romania's centre-left government on Tuesday adopted a decree cutting incentives for renewable energy, which experts say could drive investors away and put on hold a booming industry.




INDIANAPOLIS (June 3, 2013) - EnerDel, Inc., a leading manufacturer of advanced Lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems, has completed the ...



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Electric Weed Trimmer

Website: http://MrEnergyCzar.com Hi everybody, MrEnergyCzar here. This is my electric weed trimmer video. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MrEnergyCzar.Peak...


Credit: mrenergyczar


Monday, June 3, 2013

Researchers find new cold-tolerant, lipid-producing alga in Rocky Mountains

Researchers from the University of Minnesota report finding a new strain of cold-tolerant, lipid-producing yellow-green algae-heterococcus sp. DN1-in the snow fields of the Rocky Mountains. They report their finding in a paper accepted in the journal Biotechnology Progress.

Algae that can grow in extreme conditions and accumulate lipids are of great interest to industry. H. sp. DN1 was found to grow at temperatures approaching freezing and to accumulate large intracellular stores of lipids.

The team found that as H. sp. DN1 produces the highest quantity of lipids when grown undisturbed with high light in low temperatures, it is a potential source of lipids for human nutrition when grown undisturbed, and it has an ideal lipid profile for biofuel production when stressed.

We have isolated and characterized a new cold-tolerant lipid-producing strain of algae from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, US. This may have implications for the commercial production of algal lipids at northern latitudes where the culture of other algal species is limited or impossible.

-Dr. David Nelson, lead author


  • David Nelson, Sinafik Mengistu, Paul Ranum, Gail Celio, Mara Mashek, Douglas Mashek, Paul Lefebvre (2013) New lipid-producing, cold-tolerant yellow-green alga isolated from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Biotechnology Progress doi: 10.1002/btpr.1755



Saturday, June 1, 2013

BC government won't support Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline as presented over spill response concerns

In its final written submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel (JRP), the government of British Columbia states that it cannot support the project as presented to the panel primarily because Northern Gateway (NG) has been unable to adequately detail its response to a spill.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline is a proposed 1,170-kilometer (727-mile) twin pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat on the British Columbia coast. Northern Gateway's West line, 36 inches in diameter, would transport an average of 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day to Kitimat. The East Line, 20 inches in diameter, will carry 193,000 barrels of condensate per day back to Edmonton. Condensate is used to thin petroleum products for pipeline transport (diluent).

The project before the JRP is not a typical pipeline. For example: the behavior in water of the material to be transported is incompletely understood; the terrain the pipeline wold cross is not only remote, it is in many places extremely difficult to access; the impact of spills into pristine river environments would be profound. In these particular and unique circumstances, NG should not be granted a certificate on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning once the certificate is granted. The standard in this particular case musty be higher. And yet, it is respectfully submitted, for the reasons set out below, NG has not met that standard. "Trust me" is not good enough in this case.

-"Argument of the Government of British Columbia"

The provincial government has established, and maintains, strict conditions in order for British Columbia to consider the construction and operation of heavy-oil pipelines in the province. In the case of Northern Gateway, these would include:

  • Successful completion of the environmental review process. In the case of Northern Gateway, that would mean a recommendation by the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel that the project proceed;

  • World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for BC's coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines and shipments;

  • World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines;

  • Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and

  • British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy-oil project that reflect the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents. Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings.

Northern Gateway has said that they would provide effective spill response in all cases. However, they have presented little evidence as to how they will respond. For that reason, our government cannot support the issuance of a certificate for the pipeline as it was presented to the Joint Review Panel.

We have carefully considered the evidence that has been presented to the Joint Review Panel. The panel must determine if it is appropriate to grant a certificate for the project as currently proposed on the basis of a promise to do more study and planning after the certificate is granted. Our government does not believe that a certificate should be granted before these important questions are answered.

-BC Environment Minister Terry Lake

In April 2012, the Joint Review Panel released 199 potential conditions that could form part of an authorization for the Northern Gateway Pipeline project if it received federal approval. In preparing the final argument submission, the Province's legal and technical experts analyzed the conditions and determined that they must be strengthened to meet BC's interests and requirements.

The position adopted by BC on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project as currently proposed is not a rejection of heavy-oil projects, the Ministry said. All proposals-such as Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion or the Kitimat Clean project-will be judged on their merits. The Province's five conditions would still apply.

British Columbia will be presenting oral final arguments to the Joint Review Panel when hearings recommence in Terrace on 17 June, based on BC's final written submission.



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