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April 11th, 2012 Archives
By DEBORAH WEISBERG April 10, 2012, 10:52 am
Old swaths of Appalachian forest land left barren by decades of coal mining may find their past is their future, if efforts to restore the American chestnut tree in reclaimed coal fields are successful.
Over the next three years, more than 360 acres in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee will be planted with a variety of American chestnut trees bred to resist chestnut blight. The blight is a fungus that entered the United States around the year 1900 on imported Asian chestnut trees and destroyed about 4 billion native hosts by 1955.
The $1.1 million project — still largely an experiment — represents three decades of innovative breeding by the American Chestnut Foundation and its partners, which also have been planting restoration trees in national forests and on other public lands.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/coaxing-american-chestnuts-back-to-appalachia/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
April 10, 2012 | By Ed Joyce
California energy officials are looking for replacement power if the San Onofre nuclear plant is still offline when summer electricity demand increases. San Onofre has been shut down since January due to faulty tubes in its steam generators.
Officials have begun to eye two natural gas-powered plants in Huntington Beach. The twin units were retired the same month the San Onofre nuclear plant was shut down, but now the organization that operates the state's power grid (California Independent System Operator, or Cal-ISO) wants those units restarted.
“We just have to do some work," said Eric Pendergraft, president of AES Southland, the plant's operator. "[We need] to repair some of the things we had done to render the units inoperable."
He said that should take about three weeks, but the work won’t start until AES makes sure all regulatory approvals are in place. A gas line feeding the plants was severed when the plants shut down and three-foot holes were cut in the boilers. But, according to Pendergraft, undoing that work is straightforward.Share This Post
Apr 10 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Ashley Gebb Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.
One of the largest community college solar projects in the state should go live in the next few days when Yuba College begins harnessing the power of the sun.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24166555Share This Post
By MATTHEW L. WALD April 11, 2012, 6:00 am
Constellation Energy keeps a list of buildings that would benefit from energy efficiency improvements, and it has identified an unusual candidate near the top: prisons.
Their lights, heat and air-conditioning run 24 hours a day.
“If you looked at a similarly sized commercial building, its usage would probably be in the range of 60 percent, compared to 100 percent of time usage in the prison,’’ said Louis J. Hutchinson III, vice president for public sector and energy efficiency operations at Constellation. The big buildings most often singled out for energy efficiency work are offices, apartment houses and retail stores.
Constellation, the parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric, does business around the country as an energy efficiency contractor. It was recently acquired by Exelon, of Chicago.
While prison buildings have fewer square feet per person than apartment buildings, the residents consume substantial amounts of hot and cold water.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/freeing-kilowatt-hours-from-a-jail/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Apr 9 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Stephanie Reighart York Daily Record, Pa.
Three years ago, the solar power industry in Pennsylvania took off. Residential and small business customers tapped into the growing number of incentive programs that made it more affordable to install solar panel arrays, eliminating their monthly electric bills.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/functional/news/news_detail.cfm?did=24150430Share This Post
“In Arizona, there’s no telling what might happen when the local legislature goes into session.”
Herman K. Trabish: April 9, 2012
In anticipation of its Phoenix Solar Summit, May 1-2, GTM continues its look at the Arizona solar industry.
With traditional tax credit incentives under assault at the federal level, the states’ Renewable Energy Standard (RES) is the key policy driving growth in renewables. At current levels, the National Renewable Energy Lab estimated RES-driven generation could be more than 150 million megawatt-hours by 2015, according to an industry report.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Arizona-Politics-at-Odds-with-Solar-and-Renewable-Industry-Progress/Share This Post
By Ronald D. White Times Staff Writer
April 10, 2012, 12:11 p.m.
On Thursday, the Annual Market Report from the American Wind Energy Assn. (AWEA) will show that California was first in the nation in new wind power installations in 2011 with more than $2 billion in investments.
The AWEA report will highlight data on industry jobs, manufacturing, and installed wind capacity across the U.S.
Wind is the nation's fastest growing source of non-hydroelectric renewable power generation, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-california-wind-investment-20120410,0,599064.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MoneyCompany+%28Money+%26+Company%29Share This Post
04/10/2012 By Wayne Barber
Cape Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind project to secure federal and state approval and to be issued a lease to operate by the federal government, said April 10 that it has selected a team of construction contractors to build the facility off the Nantucket Sound.Share This Post
April 9, 2012
The view from a helicopter over the outer edges of Las Vegas in about 2004, at the height of the housing bubble, was of sprawl overtaking desert as fast as builders could throw up framing and lay on the stucco and roofing tiles. People were flooding in. The Clark County School District was hiring 2,000 teachers a year.
Came the recession, and down went the boom. Las Vegas was the third-fastest-growing metro area in the country between 2000 and 2010. Between 2010 and 2011, it fell to 151st place. When the housing market collapsed, so did growth, particularly where growth had been fastest, in the outer suburbs, or exurbs. New Census Bureau data show that the tentative economic recovery has not — or at least not yet — led to a revival of exurban growth.
As a demographer, William Frey of the Brookings Institution, told The Times recently, exurbs were once the “cutting edge” of growth, but no more. “That growth has really come to a standstill,” he said, “and is maybe being given up for dead at this point.” His analysis of data found that the country’s outer suburbs grew by only 0.4 percent in the fiscal year ended in July, down from 1 percent the same period before. It peaked, in 2006, above 2 percent.
For generations, Americans have migrated ever outward from city centers, pulled by affordable housing to places where long commutes were possible because of cheap gasoline. The costs of such migration — in traffic congestion, environmental degradation and increasing addiction to fossil fuels — were played down or ignored.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/opinion/pulling-back-from-the-exurbs.htmlShare This Post
By JIM WITKIN April 10, 2012, 2:39 pm
A Los Angeles-based firm claims to have installed California’s first public fast-charging station, which opened for business last week. The unit, which can recharge the battery pack of a Nissan Leaf in about 30 minutes, is located at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, adjacent to Stanford University and about 30 miles south of San Francisco.
Roughly 2,000 public charge stations dot the state, according to Obrie Hostetter, the regional director of 350Green, the firm that installed and manages the Palo Alto station. None of those, however, offered fast-charging capabilities on a self-serve basis. The company owns and operates the fee-based charger, and plans to install another 24 units this year at retail locations in the Bay Area. Use of the chargers would require a membership with 350Green, which charges $21 for three 30-minute charge sessions.
Efacec USA, the American arm of a Portugal-based power-solutions company, designed the charger to conform to the Chademo standard followed by vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. The unit operates at 480 volts, compared to the 240 volts for so-called Level II chargers, and should provide an 80-percent charge for a vehicle like the Leaf in 20-30 minutes.
Installation of the fast charger was financed in part by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a state agency which has awarded over $6 million in grants to companies like 350Green to install E.V. charging points in the Bay Area, according to Ralph Borrmann, an agency spokesman.
To read the entire article go to: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/in-california-a-fast-charging-first/Share This Post
GM had temporarily closed a Chevy Volt plant because of slack demand. But that changed in March with a record 2,289 units sold. GM's new target: 3,000 a month.
By Mark Clayton, Staff writer
posted April 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm EDT
Driven by $4 a gallon gasoline, new car buyers snapped up 2,289 copies of GM's new electricity-and-gasoline powered Chevrolet Volt last month, a record monthly high that more than doubled its February sales.
As a result, officials at the big automaker last week announced production would resume a week sooner than expected at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant after an announced five-week shutdown due to slack demand.
Last year, the Volt morphed from "technological wonder" to "political punching bag," GM CEO Daniel Akerson told a Senate committee last month. Conservatives have questioned whether GM produced the Volt to curry favor with green-tech-loving President Obama, who was a champion of the auto bailout.
Now, however, the March sales boost has brought a measure of relief – and Mr. Akerson is expecting more.
“It seems like we’ve sustained ourselves through this difficult period,” Akerson told Bloomberg Radio recently. “We hope to get up to 3,000-plus in the coming months, and are certainly positioning it.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2012/0410/Chevy-Volt-comeback-gas-prices-spur-best-ever-monthly-salesShare This Post
By KATE ZERNIKE April 10, 2012
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey defended on Tuesday his decision to cancel a train tunnel long planned to relieve increasing congestion across the Hudson River, saying it was a matter of principle.
Responding to a report by the Government Accountability Office that found he had overstated the cost of the tunnel to New Jersey, the governor also derided the tunnel plan, though he had said when he canceled the project in October 2010 that he believed in its merits. While the tunnel would have expanded the number of subway lines available to those who commute to Pennsylvania Station in New York City, he characterized it on Tuesday as a dead-end to a department store.
“So when they want to build a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s, and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of three-to-five billion dollars over — no matter how much the administration yells and screams, you have to say no,” he said in a speech at a conference on taxes and the economy in Manhattan held by the George W. Bush Institute.
“You have to look them right in the eye, no matter how much they try to vilify you for it, and you have to say no,” the governor told an audience that included Mr. Bush, Karl Rove and other prominent Republicans and business executives. “You have to be willing to say no to those things that compromise your principles.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/nyregion/christie-stands-by-his-decision-to-cancel-trans-hudson-tunnel.htmlShare This Post
By JAMES L. JONES and JASON S. GRUMET April 9, 2012
James L. Jones, a former national security adviser to President Obama and a retired Marine Corps general, is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Jason S. Grumet is president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
AS oil and gasoline prices rise, political pressure to tap the roughly 700 million barrels in the national Strategic Petroleum Reserve is building, including among some in Congress. The global oil market is fundamentally strained and suffering from an array of unwelcome but unremarkable problems. Yet the oil reserve is neither designed nor well equipped to address these chronic weaknesses. Instead it should be preserved to address an emergency disruption in supply.
While no one can confidently predict the global oil market, arguments that prices will remain high throughout the year seem at least as compelling as the more optimistic alternative. Global supplies are tight, and the hope for an improving global economy will only increase demand. Historically, Saudi Arabia has maintained a cushion of spare production capacity of about 5 percent of global daily supply. This spare capacity has played a critical role in calming the market when instability threatens oil-producing nations. That spare capacity is now likely to be only 3 percent, which will make it more difficult for Saudi Arabia to increase production on short notice.
The past year of unrest in North Africa and the Middle East has not resulted in any major supply disruptions, but roughly 1 percent of global production has come off the market because of diminished production in Sudan, Yemen and Syria, and the growing impact of United States and European sanctions on Iranian production. If successful, President Obama’s recent decision to press forward with more aggressive sanctions will put pressure on Iran and strain global oil markets further. Indeed, increased international cooperation in putting the sanctions into effect is good news in the effort to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/opinion/lets-keep-our-hands-off-the-emergency-oil-supply.html?_r=1Share This Post
BUENOS AIRES—With its boardroom standoff and a cameo appearance by a monarch, the drama of President Cristina Kirchner's battle with Argentina's largest oil company, YPF SA, is juicy enough to compete with an over-the-top Latin American soap opera.
Incensed at YPF for Argentina's falling oil production, Mrs. Kirchner recently sent subordinates to sit in on a corporate board meeting—where they claim they were brusquely turned away by YPF officials.
Amid withering government attacks on YPF, majority owned by Repsol YPF SA of Madrid, Spain's King Juan Carlos personally called Mrs. Kirchner to ask her to ease up on the company, a person familiar with the situation has said.
Investors are getting whiplash from gyrations in the stock, which swooned 15% in just one day last week after a provincial governor said he would revoke rights to one of the company's most important oil fields.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303302504577325761726929778.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post