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29Oct/14Off

Feed-In Tariffs: A Tool for Increasing Economic Equality in the US?

Tam Hunt argues his case for feed-in tariffs in America.

Tam Hunt
October 28, 2014

Electricity is a tool that allows us to perform magic, from powering our cell phones to heating our toaster ovens, from lighting our homes to scanning our brains in microscopic detail. The modern world could not exist without widespread access to electricity.

Electricity has become a basic human need. It’s not quite up there with air, water, food and shelter, but it’s a close fifth. It’s also the basis for enormous economic development around the world.

To help developing nations become more developed, electricity is a key component. This is uncontroversial. What is more controversial is the idea that electricity policy can be a tool for economic development in developed nations. This article will explore the possibilities for economic development in countries like the U.S., including the ability to mitigate the growing inequality in our country.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Feed-in-Tariffs-A-Tool-for-US-Economic-Equality

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29Oct/14Off

California Energy Strategists Push for 100% Clean Energy, Without Fossil Fuels or Nuclear Power


Posted: 10/27/2014 2:34 pm EDT Updated: 10/27/2014 3:59 pm EDT

John J. Berger

Energy and environmental policy expert

October 25, 2014, Marin Country, CA.-- California energy leaders, environmental scientists, and activists convened here last week in advance of the 25th annual Bioneers Conference at the Marin County Civic Center for an energy and climate strategy session that could have national and global implications.

Many in the assemblage had come to brainstorm about how to leverage California's model energy policies to spur faster Federal action to protect the climate. Predictably, participants sought to boost renewable energy use in California and increase the state's reliance on energy efficiency. Some were determined, however, not just to slash California's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but to eliminate them altogether.

If this game-changing goal is widely adopted by the environmental community and by a vanguard of public officials, it would put California climate policymakers and others under pressure to advance the state's already ambitious clean energy goals. That could help set the state and the nation on a faster track toward the holy grail of climate activists--an energy future free of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-j-berger/california-energy-strateg_b_6051616.html

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29Oct/14Off

How Vermont’s largest city went 100 percent renewable electricity

The city of Burlington now gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, Guevara-Stone writes. It's part of Vermont's goal to produce 90 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2050, including electricity, heating, and transportation.

By Laurie Guevara-Stone, RMI Outlet OCTOBER 27, 2014

    Vermont may be best known for maple syrup and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but now its largest city can boast another accomplishment. The city of Burlington (pop. 42,000) now gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The Burlington Electric Department (BED) is the state’s largest municipal utility. Wind, hydro, and biomass provide most of the city’s electricity, plus some fossil-fueled generation that comes via short-term contracts from the greater New England grid, which BED offsets with renewable energy credit purchases. Now, with BED’s recent purchase of a nearby 7.4 megawatt hydroelectric project early last month, Burlington is 100 percent renewable. “This has been a goal of BED for over a decade, so we are excited to finally reach that goal,” Mary Sullivan, communications coordinator for BED, told RMI.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/1027/How-Vermont-s-largest-city-went-100-percent-renewable-electricity

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    29Oct/14Off

    Drilling Deeper: New Report Casts Doubt on Fracking Production Numbers

    Posted: 10/27/2014 3:28 pm EDT Updated: 10/28/2014 12:59 pm EDT

    Steve Horn

    Research Fellow, DeSmogBlog

    Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

    Post Carbon Institute has published a report and multiple related resources calling into question the production statistics touted by promoters of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

    By calculating the production numbers on a well-by-well basis for shale gas and tight oil fields throughout the U.S., Post Carbon concludes that the future of fracking is not nearly as bright as industry cheerleaders suggest. The report, "Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom," authored by Post Carbon fellow J. David Hughes, updates an earlier report he authored for Post Carbon in 2012.

    Hughes analyzed the production stats for seven tight oil basins and seven gas basins, which account for 88-percent and 89-percent of current shale gas production.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-horn/drilling-deeper-new-repor_b_6056534.html

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    29Oct/14Off

    This man wants to stop America’s salad bowl from being fracked

    By Tara Lohan

    Cross-posted from Faces of Fracking

    26 Oct 2014 8:35 AM

    Cliquea aqui para leer esta historia en español.

    Faces of Fracking – Ed Mitchell

    2:06

    Original source: http://grist.org/climate-energy/this-man-wants-to-stop-americas-salad-bowl-from-being-fracked/

    A black 1957 convertible Jaguar cruises up the California coast on Highway 1, hugging the sea. Ocean lathers the rocks. The car heads north between Big Sur and Carmel with the top down and the radio on. The handsome driver, wind in his hair, is Clint Eastwood.

    Ed Mitchell still remembers this opening scene from the 1971 film Play it Again Misty. He first saw it when he was a 14-year-old kid living in a foster home in rural Washington. He wanted to be there, on that coast, in beautiful Monterey County. Mitchell is nothing, if not determined.

    I met Mitchell, now 67, this summer as he was in the midst of a campaign for a seat on Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors. In a June primary election for his district he garnered just over 39 percent of the vote — not enough to beat John Phillips (who got 49 percent), but enough to force a runoff in November.

    Mitchell’s a firm handshake, big smile kind of guy with slicked back graying hair, a neatly trimmed dark mustache, cowboy hat, and a button-down shirt. He’s a little bit country and a little bit business.

    I had seen his photo numerous times on his campaign website and other publications. When he invited me to his home, and to meet his horses, I expected a pickup truck in the driveway — something to match the hat and the ranch. Instead, there was a Mini Cooper, with his mug plastered to the side. Mitchell, I realized, is also full of surprises.

    His latest crusade is something of a surprise, even to himself. Not the running for office part, but the one where he became outspoken about the risks of fracking — the oil and gas industry’s controversial practice of blasting water, sand, and chemicals underground at high pressure to release oil and gas. He got “suckered into the dark world of giving a crap,” he tells me, tongue-in-cheek. At first Mitchell, a career military guy and aerospace engineer, might seem an unlikely person to become an anti-fracking activist — but that’s only if you have a limited view of fracking’s impacts, and Mitchell doesn’t.

    Jumping into the fracking fray

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    29Oct/14Off

    The Nuclear Gap In Obama’s Clean Power Plan

    ENERGY 10/27/2014 @ 1:35PM

    Michael Krancer Contributor

    I cover the world of energy and policy.

    Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

    If we want to arrest climate change, all we need are more renewables like wind and solar, right? Not exactly, according to a newly published Canadian report on lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”). In fact, the report, which is based on 246 studies covering various power generation scenarios and constraints, concluded that nuclear power beats wind and natural gas on an ‘apples-to-apples’ basis for battling climate change.

    Full disclosure: The report, from Hatch Ltd., a Toronto-based consultant, was commissioned by the Canadian Nuclear Association. It compares lifecycle GHG emissions from nuclear power, natural gas-fired power, and wind power, all the way from fuel extraction through to plant construction, operation, and decommissioning.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkrancer/2014/10/27/the-nuclear-gap-in-obamas-clean-power-plan/?ss=energy

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    29Oct/14Off

    Mexico’s State-Owned Oil Giant, Pemex, Is in Uncharted Waters

    By ELISABETH MALKINOCT. 28, 2014

    LA MURALLA IV, Gulf of Mexico — The computer screens lining the bubblelike control room on this giant floating platform monitor pressure levels in a narrow shaft cut through bedrock to a reservoir of valuable natural gas three miles below sea level.

    For six months, an international team hired by a contractor for Petróleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly, has been drilling an exploratory well here. Now, the work is nearly done. Drill pipes are stacked like sentries. An underwater robot has been pulled back up from the deep seafloor. A wireline sensor is gathering data to determine how much oil and gas lie below.

    An operation like this would attract little attention in the northern part of the gulf, where dozens of deepwater platforms are part of the mosaic fueling America’s energy boom. On the Mexican side, though, the search is just beginning.

    Pemex is counting on a future in deepwater production. But after eight years of exploratory drilling, it is still years away from producing the first barrel of oil in deep waters. Before it can, Pemex must shed its past as a lumbering state monopoly and remake itself as a streamlined company ready to compete or ally with the world’s biggest firms.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/business/energy-environment/pemex-petroleos-mexico-oil-gets-ready-to-step-into-a-public-ring.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0

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    29Oct/14Off

    Alevo Unstealthed: A New Gigawatt-Scale Grid Battery Contender

    New super lithium-ion chemistry and $1 billion factory aimed at gigawatt-scale production

    Jeff St. John
    October 27, 2014

    From out of nowhere, a startup named Alevo has emerged as a serious rival to Tesla in the race to achieve next-generation grid battery manufacturing at gigawatt scale.

    On Monday, the North Carolina-based, European-backed company announced plans to invest $1 billion in turning an old Philip Morris cigarette factory into a battery factory eventually capable of churning out "several gigawatts" per year, CEO Jostein Eikeland told me in an interview. Utility customers in North America are soon to be announced, and the company has already booked about 200 megawatts of orders, enough to fill the factory’s planned production next year, he said.

    Alevo says its lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the first to use an inorganic electrolyte based on sulfur, which prevents the chemical reactions that lead to heating, expansion and eventual failure for lithium-ion batteries. Test cells have lasted more than 40,000 cycles in “hammer tests” that completely discharge and then overcharge them over and over again, without significant degradation of performance, he said.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/alevo-a-new-gigawatt-scale-grid-battery-contender?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

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    29Oct/14Off

    Two Years After Hurricane Sandy, a Reminder of What Utilities Faced as the Storm Approached

    Two Years After Hurricane Sandy, a Reminder of What Utilities Faced as the Storm Approached

    by Stephen Lacey

    Two years after Superstorm Sandy destroyed the East Coast electric grid, utility executives remember the surprises they faced.

    Greentech Media presents an excerpt from its recent e-book on how the storm impacted U.S. utilities.

    “It hit like nothing we had experienced before -- nothing that we even could have anticipated.”

    — CON EDISON'S KEVIN BURKE

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/featured/two-years-after-hurricane-sandy-a-reminder-of-what-utilities-faced

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    29Oct/14Off

    SolarCity and Zep Spice Up the Solar Carport Race

    Today’s announcement from SolarCity highlights cost reduction opportunities in the expanding carport market.

    Scott Moskowitz
    October 28, 2014

    Solar carports were a hot topic at last week’s Solar Power International 2014 conference in Las Vegas, with carport structures prominently on display across the trade show floor. As discussed in GTM Research’s recent report, the U.S. Solar Carport Market 2010-2018: Landscape, Outlook and Leading Companies, the secret about this opportunity is out, and companies have begun strategically planning around the carport market and looking for ways to gain market share and lower costs. GTM expects that the market will surpass 200 megawatts in 2015 on its way to achieving more than 300 megawatts of added installations in 2017.

    On the heels of the show in Las Vegas, SolarCity announced the ZS Beam. The product is part of the SolarCity Zep Solar line and aims to reduce installation costs by allowing modules to be installed from below with a newly designed clamp. The system incorporates integrated grounding, which reduces costs by limiting the use of expensive copper grounding wire in the solar array.

    Cost reduction opportunities

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/SolarCity-and-Zep-Join-the-Solar-Carport-Race

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    29Oct/14Off

    How Groundbreaking Is DOE’s New $53M Solar Investment?

    With 40 new recipients, it depends on the company. The Department of Energy contends its SunShot investments are targeting the right places.

    Stephen Lacey
    October 24, 2014

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/doe-sunshot-invests-another-53m-in-emerging-solar-solutions-whats-the-valueutm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

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    29Oct/14Off

    Farmers sue state over drought water decisions

    BY MARK GROSSI

    The Fresno BeeOctober 28, 2014

    East San Joaquin Valley growers are suing state water authorities over drought decisions, claiming east-side communities and farms got no federal water after the state illegally denied deliveries to a separate group of landowners with senior water rights.

    The case was filed Friday in Fresno County Superior Court against the State Water Resources Control Board, which issued emergency orders this year to divide California’s drought-strained water supply. The decisions prevented east-siders from getting even a small amount of water, farm leaders say.

    The Friant Water Authority, representing 15,000 growers who buy water from Millerton Lake and irrigate 1 million acres from Chowchilla to Bakersfield, is asking the court to prevent the scenario from happening again.

    “We can’t be in this position again next year,” said Friant general manager Ron Jacobsma. “Senior water rights have to be respected.”

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/10/28/4203314_farmers-sue-state-over-drought.html?rh=1

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    29Oct/14Off

    Will falling gas prices be bad for the climate?

    By Ben Adler

    27 Oct 2014 4:12 PM

    Original source: http://grist.org/climate-energy/will-falling-gas-prices-be-bad-for-the-climate/

    Oil prices are dropping, and while that might seem like good news for drivers, it could be bad news for our climate.

    Crude oil prices have hovered around $100 per gallon in recent years, but they’ve been steadily dropping for the last two months and may continue to. On Monday, “Brent crude,” the global benchmark for oil prices, was trading below $85 per barrel. That translates into cheaper prices at the pump. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 20, average gas prices in the U.S. slid from $3.49 per gallon to $3.21.

    “Lower oil prices could pose a challenge for the transition to post-carbon sustainability,” says Anthony Perl, a professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia who researches the intersection of transportation, cities, and the environment. “I would liken it to hitting the snooze alarm on our wake-up call. The incentives for conservation and alternative energy will be reduced in the short term.”

    Oil supply is rising thanks to the American fracking boom and the return of stability to producing nations such as Libya, while demand is falling because of economic slowdowns in some countries such as China. (Prices stopped their decline and rebounded slightly on Thursday when China announced stronger-than-expected manufacturing output in recent months.)

    Americans get excited when they hear gasoline prices are going down. And given how much driving they do, it’s no wonder — the savings go straight to their pockets. As Politico notes, “A 1-cent decline in the retail price of gasoline for a year amounts to $1.2 billion in savings” for American consumers.

    But lower prices for oil could have two negative effects: more gasoline burning and less investment in cleaner alternatives and technologies. Low oil prices reduce the financial incentives to use less oil or switch away from it. That could slow or even reverse the current trend of declining emissions caused by reduced driving and more fuel-efficient cars.

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    29Oct/14Off

    Will falling gas prices kill the electric car?


      Gas prices are rapidly dropping due to the slump in crude oil prices and that is bad news for electric cars. The emerging technology has come a long way in recent years, but a prolonged state of low gas prices could further slow the spread of electric cars.

      By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com OCTOBER 27, 2014

      1. Benoit Tessier/Reuters/File
      2. Sales of electric vehicles continue to rise but low gasoline prices are threatening to stall progress.
      3. Sales of electric vehicles continue to rise but low gasoline prices are threatening to stall progress.

      From January through September of this year, sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) reached a cumulative total of 88,149. That’s a 30 percent increase over the same period in 2013. That figure is also nearly triple the 31,377 PHEVs and BEVs sold in 2012.

      There are now 255,766 plug-in and full electric vehicles on U.S. roads. It’s far from President Barack Obama’s goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2015, but the sector is finally picking up steam.

      Including hybrids, which are much more established than electric vehicles, the “electric drive market share” now makes up 3.59 percent of the total car market in the United States, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA). (Related: Batteries May Finally Be Having Their Day)

      The growing market share for electric vehicles is largely attributable to declining costs. Electric vehicles are quickly becoming more affordable, and vehicle sales are rising correspondingly.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/1027/Will-falling-gas-prices-kill-the-electric-car

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      29Oct/14Off

      Tesla Announces a New Leasing Package for Its Electric Cars

      By AARON M. KESSLEROCT. 27, 2014

      Tesla Motors has unveiled a new package of lease offers for its Model S all-electric sedan, including a three-month return policy.

      Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, said in a statement posted on the company’s website over the weekend that drivers who take out Model S leases have a three-month trial period during which they can return the car.

      “If you don’t like our car for any reason in the first three months, you can just return it and your remaining lease obligation is waived,” Mr. Musk said.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/business/tesla-announces-a-new-leasing-package-for-its-electric-cars.html?src=me

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