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March 8th, 2012 Archives

8Mar/12Off

Harnessing Disruption

Assessing the Challenges and Strategizing for Success

Martin Rosenberg | Mar 07, 2012

It is hard to frame the magnitude of disruption now descending on the world of energy.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/03/harnessing-disruption&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=RB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-Member

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8Mar/12Off

Is power becoming hip?

IEEE outreach might expand your thinking

Phil Carson | Mar 07, 2012

The SXSW—formerly known as the South-by-Southwest Festival—kicks off in Austin, Texas, tomorrow and you're already wondering—why is that fact being mentioned in a power industry column at all? After all, that annual confab is where bands go to get a record deal, right?

To read the entire article go to: http://www.intelligentutility.com/article/12/03/power-becoming-hip&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=IU_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-Member

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8Mar/12Off

Gimme bomb shelter: FEMA pushes for disaster-proof green buildings

By Greg Hanscom 6 Mar 2012 6:27 PM

Original source: http://grist.org/cities/gimme-bomb-shelter-fema-pushes-for-baking-disaster-planning-into-green-building/

When people say, “Call the National Guard,” they really mean Craig Fugate. As head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he’s the guy who swoops in after a tornado or flood to clean up the mess with executive muscle and a pool of cash from the federal treasury. So perhaps it’s no great surprise that he supports efforts to create buildings that are essentially apocalypse-proof: For this guy, every day is another disaster.

Of course, there’s also the fact that FEMA has actually been working on credit. “I owe you a lot of money from the National Flood Insurance Program — about $18 billion,” Fugate told a group at the National Press Club last week. “Those are payouts from 2005 hurricane season.”

You may remember that season for its unruly offspring: Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. And climate scientists tell us there are many more to come. “We cannot afford to continue to respond to disasters and suffer impacts — particularly looking at large-scale catastrophic disasters — under the current program,” Fugate said. “It will fail.”

The solution? Get smarter about how and where we build.

Fugate was at the Press Club to help roll out a new report by University of Michigan researchers and the U.S. Green Building Council that looks at “climate resiliency” — constructing buildings that can withstand the coming deluge, drought, or (insert your disaster of choice). It’s early yet, but there may be a day when, if you want to get your house LEED certified, you’ll need to prove not just that it is eco-friendly today, but that it can survive Mother Nature’s worst in order to be so a few decades from now.

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8Mar/12Off

Operation Greentech: The Military Goes All In With Energy Innovation

From better batteries to advanced biofuels and energy-efficient buildings to distributed generation, the U.S. military is committed to green technologies for the long term.

Yoni Cohen: March 6, 2012

“I was involved in the planning for OIF-1 [Operation Iraqi Freedom-1], going across the berm into Iraq,” said Lieutenant General Raymond Mason, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for logistics. “There were a number of decision points. Two decision points that the CENTCOM [U.S. Central Command] commander had were: [1] he wanted to make sure that he had 60 days of fuel on the ground before he crossed the berm … and [2] he wanted to have a 60-day supply of batteries. The four-star commander was worried about fuel and batteries. I would prefer he doesn’t have to worry about [either] in the future.”

Toward that end, and now more than ever, the U.S. military is committed to funding and deploying disruptive energy technologies.

“The U.S. military, across the board, has decided that energy is a strategic issue that affects their operations and budget in profound ways,” said former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry.  “When oil goes from $60 to $100 a barrel, the amount that the Air Force and the Navy have to spend on fuel goes up dramatically. [...] A spike in the price of oil means fewer airplanes they can buy." He added, "From an operational point of view, getting fuel to a site in Afghanistan is very expensive.”

In the interest of national security, the military is pursuing advanced batteries and novel biofuels for the battlefield and energy-efficient buildings and energy-independent bases for the home front. The Armed Forces are investing and enabling green technologies independently, through its own research (e.g., DARPA) and procurement (e.g., the Army’s new Energy Initiatives Office) processes, as well is in cooperation with the Department of Energy.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/operation-greentech-the-military-goes-all-in-with-energy-innovation/

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8Mar/12Off

A battle brews in Idaho over who will take the energy credit(s)

Mar 07 - The Idaho Statesman, Boise

A measure that would transfer marketable renewable energy credits from companies that produce power to Idaho's electric utilities has prompted strong opposition from some of the state's largest companies, forest landowners, farmers and dairies.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=23720292

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8Mar/12Off

Anti-fracking protest casts shadow over jobs promise in Commerce City

Posted:   03/07/2012 11:47:35 AM MST  Updated:   03/07/2012 02:04:47 PM MST

By Monte Whaley The Denver Post

COMMERCE CITY — A handful of protestors targeting hydraulic fracturing tried to overshadow a press conference this morning called to announce some goods news about three local businesses.

The group Commerce City Unite held up signs during the announcement at the civic center that Cummins Rocky Mountain LLC, UE Compression and Precast Concepts plan to expand in the city to add 150 jobs.

The protestors then moved outside the complex, where they held signs reading "Cummins = Fracking" and "Fracking By Our Elected Officials."

"We're here because our city seems to be welcoming this type of activity and putting the profits before the welfare of our families," protester Beth Borta said.

Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial issue in Commerce City, where city leaders are considering a 6-month moratorium on any surface or subsurface oil and gas exploration. Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, is an extraction process that uses a sand-water-chemical mix to loosen gas from underground rock.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20121571/anti-fracking-protest-casts-shadow-over-jobs-promise

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8Mar/12Off

U.S. nuke plants: How much is enough?

Mar 7 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Judy Benson The Day, New London, Conn.

Nuclear power plants must be capable of responding to major emergencies at more than one plant simultaneously and of maintaining safety system operations during extended power outages.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=23728508

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8Mar/12Off

Fukushima nuclear tragedy leaves lasting mark at Millstone

Mar 7 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Judy Benson The Day, New London, Conn.

Though it happened more than 6,000 miles away, the disaster last year at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has had a significant impact at the Millstone Power Station that will continue into the foreseeable future.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=23728509

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8Mar/12Off

Utility breaks down bills

Mar 7 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Larry Rulison Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

National Grid projects that over the next 15 years, monthly bills for its average residential customer will increase by 46 percent -- due to inflation and rising electricity costs.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=23730051

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8Mar/12Off

Court Casts Wary Eye on CEOs’ Deal Roles

By ANUPREETA DAS, DAVID BENOIT And JOANN S. LUBLIN Updated March 7, 2012, 6:44 p.m. ET

Investment bankers aren't the only ones under pressure from Delaware's business court.

Judges have called out actions by public-company chief executives in takeover situations in two recent cases, including the $2.7 billion acquisition of insurer Delphi Financial Group Inc. by Japan's Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. announced in December and a $21.1 billion deal last year to sell El Paso Corp. to Kinder Morgan Inc.

The rulings are a sign of the Delaware court's increased oversight of alleged management conflicts of interest and could portend similar decisions in the future, corporate-governance experts said.

To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204781804577267752105930524.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlines

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8Mar/12Off

DC Power Renaissance Comes to Shipping

An ABB DC grid comes at the same price as a traditional power grid for ships, but with 20 percent energy savings.

Katherine Tweed: March 6, 2012

The switch from alternating current to direct current power delivery was a mega trend in data centers in 2011, with companies such as Facebook and Google moving towards ultra-efficient DC data centers.

The trend is continuing in 2012, but not just for servers. ABB recently announced an order for the first DC power grid aboard a ship. The new power system allows for the ship’s propulsion system to run at a variable speed and maximize efficiency.

“No one had done this before because there are a lot of rules and requirements to fulfill,” said Sindre Satre, SVP of Marine and Cranes in ABB's process automation division, “and people are prone to continue to do the same as before.”

In the traditional design of propulsion systems, the DC power is converted through an AC switchboard and then fed to the thrusters and propulsion drives. In the new onboard DC grid, ABB removes the switchboard completely and routes the power through a single DC circuit, which can cut the power use by about 20 percent. Like DC data centers, some of the increased efficiency comes from fewer conversions, which means less lost power.

The challenge is to ensure that the equipment is protected and the system is stable if the power is not converted from DC to AC, said Satre. The solution didn’t require new equipment, however, just a redesign on how traditional components are put together.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/DC-Power-Renaissance-Comes-to-Shipping/

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8Mar/12Off

Hello, sunshine: Palo Alto utility to pay locals for solar energy

Marla Dickerson  4:09 PM PST, March 7, 2012

Green energy may be losing momentum inside the Beltway. But officials in the heart of Silicon Valley are betting on the sun.

This week, the Palo Alto City Council approved a plan to buy clean power from local utility customers who install solar panels on their roofs. That’s right. The power company will pay them, not the other way around.

The arrangement – known by the clunky name “feed-in tariff” – is still a rarity in the United States. But Palo Alto officials want to help pioneer the effort. They’ve even rebranded their pay-for-sunshine plan with a clever acronym they hope will catch on: CLEAN (short for Clean Local Energy Accessible Now).

Under a pilot program that will kick off April 2, the City of Palo Alto Utilities will sign 20-year contracts with local producers that will pay them 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-palo-alto-solar-program-20120307,0,1466033.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MoneyCompany+%28Money+%26+Company%29

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8Mar/12Off

Meet the Nervous Oil Speculators

By LIAM DENNING March 7, 2012, 2:58 p.m. ET

In a familiar ritual, President Barack Obama has called for another crackdown on oil speculators. But at least one group of speculators isn't buying into the oil rally: investors in oil and gas company stocks.

Until March 1, the SIG Oil Exploration & Production index (ticker: EPX) tracked this year's rally in Brent crude oil pretty closely. Since then, they have parted ways. Brent is now up by more than 10%, while the EPX has gained just 5%.

The timing is telling. March 1 happened to be the day that erroneous reports of a Saudi Arabian pipeline explosion caused a brief spike in oil prices. Those frenzied few hours of trading laid bare that fear of a supply disruption is buoying oil prices.

To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203961204577267621281401442.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlines

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8Mar/12Off

Driving Home the Value of Natural Gas

Gas-to-Liquids is another idea to beat high gas prices

Ken Silverstein | Mar 07, 2012

Want to beat the high price of gasoline? Here’s another idea: Gas-to-liquids, or GTL, which is a fuel substitute that could ease the demand for pure crude as well as provide productive uses for stranded natural gas.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.energybiz.com/article/12/03/driving-home-value-natural-gas&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=EB_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-Member

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8Mar/12Off

Consumers blast GM Foundation gift to group fighting climate science

Renee Schoof | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: March 07, 2012 06:15:16 PM

WASHINGTON — General Motors, a company that's made strides to lower the carbon footprint of driving, is taking heat from 10,000 of its customers for a donation its charitable foundation made to an institute that casts doubt on climate science.

GM vehicle buyers have posted online comments objecting to the GM Foundation's gifts of $30,000 in the past two years to the Heartland Institute, a free-market advocacy organization that publicizes its disagreement with prevailing scientific views about evidence of climate change.

"I love Buicks and Cadillacs! My husband loves his pickup. We've been GM owners for 50 years. If GM continues to support the Heartland Institute, we will NOT purchase another GM vehicle," wrote Elaine of Blue Ridge, Ga. Her comments were among dozens posted by Forecast the Facts, a group that advocates for accurate climate reporting by meteorologists.

Many companies support the Heartland Institute, but Forecast the Facts focused on GM because it got taxpayers' dollars in the auto bailout, and "people really care about GM and what it stands for in American society and in the American economy," said the group's campaign director, Daniel Souweine. No taxpayer dollars went from the GM Foundation to Heartland, however.

The foundation's $15,000 annual gift in 2010, repeated in 2011, went to the Heartland Institute's general funds, not its climate program, said GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey. Heartland also takes a free-market approach to other areas, including education, insurance and health care.

To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/03/07/141125/consumers-blast-gm-foundation.html

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