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June 14th, 2012 Archives
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL June 13, 2012
LONDON, Ontario — As the United States continues to play political Ping-Pong with the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadian officials and companies are desperately seeking alternatives to get the country’s nearly 200 billion barrels in oil reserves — almost equal to that of Saudi Arabia — to market from landlocked Alberta.
Oil companies complain that they are losing revenues from pipeline bottlenecks. So Canada is plunging ahead with plans to build more pipelines of its own.
To hasten development of new export routes, the Conservative government is streamlining permit processes by accelerating scheduled hearings and limiting public comment. The government has also threatened to revoke the charitable status of environmental groups that are challenging the projects. And Public Safety Canada, the equivalent of the United States Department of Homeland Security, has classified environmentalists as a potential source of domestic terrorism, adding them to a list that includes white supremacists.
After President Obama refused to grant a permit for Keystone XL in January, Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, indicated that he would never again be “held hostage” to United States politics, saying that some Americans saw his country as “one giant national park.” He said Canada would redirect oil that had been destined for Gulf Coast refineries to other countries, particularly China.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/science/earth/canada-seeks-new-ways-to-get-oil-reserves-to-market.html?_r=1&ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is accusing a national energy lobby group of "pulling a con job" when promoting shale gas fracking.
By The Canadian PressJune 11, 2012
ROTHESAY, N.B. - Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is accusing a national energy lobby group of "pulling a con job" when promoting shale gas fracking.
Mulcair was in New Brunswick to boost the campaign of provincial NDP Leader Dominic Cardy in a byelection in the Saint John-area riding of Rothesay.
During his visit, Mulcair said the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is deceiving the public when it says there are regulations to ensure that shale gas fracking is safe.
"I met with the leadership of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who gave me a lovely brochure, colour, glossy, explaining that they had a policy that all companies doing fracking had to reveal the contents of the fracking fluid," Mulcair said Sunday.
"I said, 'But the companies aren't doing that.' You know what they said? 'Well, we can't force them, they're just our members.'
To read the entire article go to: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/energy%20resources/Thomas+Mulcair+accuses+energy+lobby+pulling/6763855/story.htmlShare This Post
By DANNY HAKIM June 13, 2012
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration is pursuing a plan to limit the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing to portions of several struggling New York counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and to permit it only in communities that express support for the technology.
The plan, described by a senior official at the State Department of Environmental Conservation and others with knowledge of the administration’s strategy, would limit drilling to the deepest areas of the Marcellus Shale rock formation, at least for the next several years, in an effort to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination.
Even within that southwest New York region — primarily Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga Counties — drilling would be permitted only in towns that agree to it, and would be banned in Catskill Park, aquifers and nationally designated historic districts.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations in the administration are still continuing.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/nyregion/hydrofracking-under-cuomo-plan-would-be-restricted-to-a-few-counties.html?_r=1&ref=nyregionShare This Post
June 13, 2012 | 6:19 pm
The fight over fracking has come to Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, three members of the Los Angeles City Council introduced a resolution that urges Gov. Jerry Brown and California regulators to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until the state determines that the controversial oil extraction procedure is "safe for public health, for the Los Angeles water supply and for the environment."
The measure, authored by councilmen Paul Koretz, Herb Wesson and Bernard C. Parks, comes as state regulators begin to draft rules for the process, which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil.
Environmentalists and community activists have raised concerns about potential environmental and public health hazards, including contaminated drinking water. The oil industry counters that firms have used fracking for decades without incident throughout California, including the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles, which is home to the largest urban oil field in the country.
To read the entire article go to: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/06/los-angeles-city-council-members-push-california-fracking-ban.htmlShare This Post
June 13, 2012
Plasco Energy Group's $175 million project is at the center of a regulatory dispute over gasification, an emerging technology in which garbage, under intense heat, is converted into a synthetic fuel used to generate electricity.
At issue is whether the Plasco project qualifies as a renewable energy project under state law. The designation is critical to the project's financing, Plasco says, because it will allow it to sell electricity at a premium to utilities that must buy one-third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery said under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 that the Plasco facility could be considered a renewable energy project. But the department reversed its decision last month, rescinding its original opinion while planning an overall review of how it evaluates so-called "waste-to-energy" projects.
Environmentalists had protested the state's original interpretation of the law. They called the gasification technology unproven and said it would release toxic contaminants into the air.
To read the entire article go to: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/06/jerry-brown-signals-support-for-garbage-gasification-project.htmlShare This Post
BPA’s defenders in Congress mobilize again to insulate power generator from federal ‘micro-management’
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 9:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 10:58 AM
By Charles Pope, The Oregonian
WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration is finding out what every president, regardless of party, has learned the hard way over the last 35 years: Don't mess with the Power Marketing Administration and especially not with Bonneville Power.
That message was delivered again this week in response to a proposal by Energy Secretary Steven Chu to alter the way BPA and the three other federal power generators do business. In a six-page memo this spring, Chu said BPA and the other regional power generators should devote more attention and money to upgrading transmission lines, boosting the variety of renewable power, energy efficiency and even cyber security.
The response was immediate and furious. It continues unabated. Dozens of lawmakers, mostly from the West and Northwest wrote or signed letters. In a House hearing in April, Chu's edict was widely condemned.
"The electric bills of families and small businesses ... should not be increased because the federal energy secretary would like to toy and experiment with various energy schemes and mandates," said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., who chairs the Natural Resources Committee.
On Monday, a bipartisan collection of 166 lawmakers - including Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as well as Reps. Greg Walden, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader - wrote Chu to complain again.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/06/post_68.htmlShare This Post
By MIREYA NAVARRO June 13, 2012, 6:13 pm
Building owners in New York City that use the dirtiest heating oils and are now required by law to phase it out will have access to more than $100 million in special financing to help cover their upfront costs, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Wednesday.
The financial incentives are meant to prod buildings to convert to less polluting heating oil or to natural gas as soon as possible and help the city meet its goal of reducing soot pollution by 50 percent over the next two years. About 10,000 buildings are affected by the phase-out.
Under a partnership with the city, several banks and financial institutions – including Chase, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Hudson Valley Bank and the Community Preservation Corporation — will set aside $90 million in market-rate loans specifically for the conversions. The city is creating a $5 million loan-loss reserve fund to leverage that money, officials said.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/new-york-offers-financing-for-a-switch-from-dirty-heating-oils/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Jun 7 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Dave DeWitte The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
A unique Fairfield firm is one of the first Iowa businesses to go "net zero," generating at least as much solar energy as it uses.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24848203/The-Sky-Factory-meets-net-zero-goal-with-huge-solar-arrayShare This Post
Jun 12 - Herald & Review
The city of Taylorville is now taxiing into the energy business. The city on Monday unveiled 80 solar panels, covering some 150 square feet, which have just been installed near the runways at the Taylorville Municipal Airport. The panels will soak up the sun and pump out more than 26,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power up to three homes.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24881298/City-of-Taylorville-enters-the-energy-businessShare This Post
LAWRENCE, Mass., Jun 12, 2012 -- BUSINESS WIRE
Solectria Renewables, LLC, the leading U.S. manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) inverters, announced today that its Megawatt Solar Station (MSS 1MW) has been commissioned to power the County of Santa Barbara's PV array. The system is located at the County Jail in Santa Barbara, California and will provide power to the Calle Real Campus, a site that encompasses various County facilities.
To read the entire article go to: https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1Share This Post
ATLANTA, June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire
Enfinity America Corporation (Enfinity) today announced the completion of a 1.1 MW, fixed-tilt solar array on the rooftop of a Macy's distribution center in Edison (Middlesex County), New Jersey - approximately 20 miles southwest of Newark. The development covers the purchase, construction and interconnection of the solar panels and related components.
To read the entire article go to: https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1Share This Post
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Jun 12, 2012 -- BUSINESS WIRE
IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to install solar energy panels on two more of its United States locations -- both of them distribution centers in the Eastern U.S. Installation will occur this Summer on the IKEA Distribution Center in Perryville, Maryland and Westampton, New Jersey. Both projects will rank among the largest commercial rooftop solar installations in the U.S., and their implementation will extend the IKEA solar presence to nearly 89% of its U.S. locations.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/generationstorage/solar/news/en/24884997/IKEA-U-S-Solar-Plans-near-89-with-Two-More-Installations-ProposedShare This Post
Advocates point to drivers: costs fall, innovations rise
Phil Carson | Jun 13, 2012
Twenty years of education and research for utilities has put the Solar Electric Power Association or SEPA, as it's known, as close to the solar energy-utility nexus as possible.Share This Post
The PV market in the U.S. sets another record
Bill Opalka | Jun 13, 2012
The solar market in the United States continued at its breakneck pace in the first quarter of 2012, setting a record for any three-month period and putting the country on a path to shatter any last year’s growth in the solar photovoltaic (PV) markets.Share This Post
“We’ve been focused on growth in the last few years—we’re now entering a time to really move the needle to accelerate performance.”
Eric Wesoff: June 12, 2012
In order to stay competitive with crystalline silicon (c-Si), thin-film solar manufacturers such as the leader in that technology, First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), have to continue to keep their eye on costs but must also raise efficiency.
First Solar has had a modest but consistent ramp in conversion efficiency of roughly 0.1 percentage point per quarter. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it starts to add up over time. The average line conversion efficiency for First Solar's modules was 12.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.
First Solar set a new world record for CdTe PV module efficiency with a 14.4 percent total area efficiency in January. That mark came after First Solar hit a CdTe solar cell efficiency of 17.3 percent. Both records were set at the firm's Perrysburg, Ohio factory.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/first-solar-working-with-intermolecular-to-raise-pv-performance/Share This Post