Featured photo from our gallery:
October 22nd, 2012 Archives
Posted: 10/19/2012 5:53 pm
While energy got some airtime in the second presidential debate, neither candidate hit at the weakest spots in the other's positions. Mitt Romney's energy platform ignores the downsides of fossil fuels and reveals a misunderstanding of how the real world works. President Obama has presided over a national energy strategy that he admits is a "hodgepodge."
This is a topic that deserves far more attention before Nov. 6. After all, we all use energy. We all pay for it. We all breathe its pollution. We all depend on it to be there when we need it. If there is one issue that affects every American of every age, place and income level, it's energy.
Here are the some of the details that didn't come out in the debate, starting with a look at Gov. Romney's policies:
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-s-becker/raise-the-voltage-in-the-_b_1986261.html?view=print&comm_ref=falseShare This Post
EVELYN, La. October 20, 2012
THE crew of workers fought off the blistering Louisiana sun, jerking their wrenches to tighten the fat hoses that would connect their cement trucks to the Chesapeake Energy drill rig — one of the last two rigs the company is still using to drill for natural gas here in the Haynesville Shale.
At its peak, Chesapeake ran 38 rigs in the region. All told, it has sunk more than 1,200 wells into the Haynesville, a gas-rich vein of dense rock that straddles Louisiana and Texas. Fed by a gold-rush mentality and easy money from Wall Street, Chesapeake and its competitors have done the same in other shale fields from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania.
For most of the country, the result has been cheaper energy. The nation is awash in so much natural gas that electric utilities, which burn the fuel in many generating plants, have curbed rate increases and switched more capacity to gas from coal, a dirtier fossil fuel.
Companies and municipalities are deploying thousands of new gas-powered trucks and buses, curbing noxious diesel fumes and reducing the nation’s reliance on imported oil.
And companies like fertilizer and chemical makers, which use gas as a raw material, are suddenly finding that the United States is an attractive place to put new factories, compared with, say, Asia, where gas is four times the price. Dow Chemical, which uses natural gas as a material for producing plastics, has assembled a list of 91 new manufacturing projects, representing $70 billion in potential investment and up to three million jobs, that various companies have proposed or begun because of cheap gas.
“The country has stumbled into a windfall on the backs of these entrepreneurs,” said Edward Hirs, a finance professor at the University of Houston who contributed to a report that estimated that the nation’s economy benefited by more than $100 billion last year alone from the lower gas prices.
But while the gas rush has benefited most Americans, it’s been a money loser so far for many of the gas exploration companies and their tens of thousands of investors.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/business/energy-environment/in-a-natural-gas-glut-big-winners-and-losers.html?hpw&_r=0Share This Post
By JON HURDLE October 18, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — Four Pennsylvania townships are challenging a state regulator’s decision to withhold their share of proceeds from a statewide levy on drilling by the booming natural gas industry there.
The townships, in a heavily drilled area of southwestern Pennsylvania, were excluded from a list of 35 counties and 1,485 municipalities that will receive a total of $108.7 million from a new “impact fee” charged to energy companies to help compensate for the effects of gas drilling on local communities.
The payout, the first under a new state law, was announced by Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday, two days before a Pennsylvania Supreme Court hearing on whether the law can pre-empt local control over where gas companies can put installations like drilling pads, compressor stations or wastewater ponds.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/us/drilling-payments-cause-a-dispute-in-pennsylvania.html?src=recgShare This Post
By Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press October 20, 2012
CALGARY - The proposed $6 billion takeover of Canadian natural gas producer Progress by Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas has hit a potentially lethal snag.
After reviewing the deal, Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis has given it the thumbs down.
"I can confirm that I have sent a notice letter to Petronas indicating that I am not satisfied that the proposed investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada," Paradis said in a statement issued late Friday night.
The minister did not explain his decision, saying only that it was made after "a careful and thorough review of the proposed transaction."
Under the terms of the Investment Canada Act, Petronas now has up to 30 days to make any changes to the proposed deal and send it back to Ottawa for another review.
"Canada has a long-standing reputation for welcoming foreign investment. The Government of Canada remains committed to maintaining an open climate for investment," Paradis said at the end of his statement.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/energy/Ottawa+sends+proposed+Petronas+Progress+deal+back+drawing/7421896/story.htmlShare This Post
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: October 21
The day after the November 2010 elections made clear President Obama’s greenhouse-gas legislation was doomed, he vowed to keep trying to curb emissions linked to global warming. There’s more than one way of “skinning the cat,” he told reporters.
Since then, Obama has used his executive powers — including his authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act — to press the most sweeping attack on air pollution in U.S. history. He has imposed the first carbon-dioxide limits on new power plants, tightened fuel-efficiency rules as part of the auto bailout and steered billions of federal dollars to clean-energy projects. He also has proposed slashing mercury emissions from utilities by 91 percent by 2016.
Obama’s end run around Republican opposition has delighted environmentalists, but it has drawn the ire of business groups and conservatives who argue he is crippling the coal industry, driving up energy costs and hurting the overall economy.
“Environmental regulation should be about protecting public health, and not about creating green jobs and mitigating hypothetical risk,” said Diane Katz, research fellow in regulatory policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “Being unemployed and poor from overregulation, or zealous regulation, is a greater risk than global warming.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obamas-record-environmental-agenda-pushes-sweeping-attack-on-air-pollution/2012/10/21/44173f74-f603-11e1-8398-0327ab83ab91_story.htmlShare This Post
By DAVID BROOKS October 18, 2012
The period around 2003 was the golden spring of green technology. John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bipartisan bill to curb global warming. I got my first ride in a Prius from a conservative foreign policy hawk who said that these new technologies were going to help us end our dependence on Middle Eastern despots. You’d go to Silicon Valley and all the venture capitalists, it seemed, were rushing into clean tech.
From that date on the story begins to get a little sadder.
Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006. The global warming issue became associated with the highly partisan former vice president. Gore mobilized liberals, but, once he became the global warming spokesman, no Republican could stand shoulder to shoulder with him and survive. Any slim chance of building a bipartisan national consensus was gone.
Then, in 2008, Barack Obama seized upon green technology and decided to make it the centerpiece of his jobs program. During his presidential campaign he promised to create five million green tech jobs. Renewable energy has many virtues, but it is not a jobs program. Obama’s stimulus package set aside $90 billion for renewable energy loans and grants, but the number of actual jobs created has been small. Articles began to appear in the press of green technology grants that were costing $2 million per job created. The program began to look like a wasteful disappointment.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/opinion/brooks-a-sad-green-story.html?src=recgShare This Post
on October 19, 2012 at 8:27 AM, updated October 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM
Since launching its fridge and freezer recycling four years ago, Energy Trust of Oregon estimates it has helped unplug about 70,000 of the energy-guzzlers, according to the nonprofit. In total, the nonprofit estimates $4.2 million or 39 million kilowatt hours of annual energy savings.
In exchange, customers get a $40 incentive from Energy Trust.
Old appliances are picked up for free, then a facility recycles 95 percent of the components, Energy Trust says, some 5,250 tons of metal, 875 tons of plastic, 350 tons of foam and 105 tons of glass.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/10/green_oregon_good_riddance_to.html#Share This Post
October 19, 2012
Original source: http://www.cacurrent.com/storyDisplay.php?sid=6461
High gasoline prices this month are fueling a surge of electric vehicle sales in California.
Electric vehicle sales over the past two weeks almost doubled the recent sales pace, according to data from the California Air Resources Board. It tracks sales as part of its rebate program for electric vehicle buyers.
That comes on top of a shift of the source of energy for transportation from oil companies to utilities that had been gradually picking up steam before the gas price spike.
“The last two weeks have been some of our busiest times in the rebate project,” said Air Board spokesperson Cassandra Hockenson. “We have received roughly 900 rebate applications in the first two weeks of October.” Before that it had been running about 1,000 applications/month.
Department of Motor Vehicles data show that at the end of August there were 112,016 electric cars registered in California, up from 97,896 at the same time in 2011 and 93,188 that same time in 2010. At just 0.3 percent, electric cars still represent a small portion of the 31,714,277 vehicles registered in California.
The pace of electric vehicle sales has picked up, notes Artemio Armenta, department spokesperson.
The surge in electric vehicle purchasers is not a concern for the utilities at this point. California’s grid is expected to be able to handle four million electric vehicles--a number the state is not even close to approaching.Share This Post
A123's bankruptcy shows demand is not there yet
Ken Silverstein | Oct 21, 2012
Did battery technology die with the declared bankruptcy of A123 Systems? While the electric car battery maker has fizzled out, it is now hitching a ride with Johnson Controls, which will buy up its factories and help bankroll the enterprise.Share This Post
By JOHN M. BRODER October 16, 2012, 12:52 pm
An electric car battery maker that President Obama touted as part of a vanguard of a new American electric car industry has filed for bankruptcy and is selling its major assets, the company announced on Tuesday.
A123 Systems, which produces lithium ion batteries for the electric car maker Fisker and the truck manufacturer Navistar, received a $249 million Department of Energy grant that was financed by Mr. Obama's stimulus program. The company has been struggling as electric vehicles have failed to gain a foothold in the American domestic car market. Another battery maker that received federal support, Ener1, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
The company's troubles provide new ammunition for Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, who has criticized the Obama administration's green energy grant and loan programs as a distortion of the marketplace and rife with political favoritism.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/obama-backed-battery-maker-files-for-bankruptcy/Share This Post
By Steven Mufson, Published: October 20 | Updated: Sunday, October 21, 11:40 AM
The oil giant BP is staring at two giant decisions.
First, this weekend its board is weighing an offer to sell one of its crown jewels — a 50 percent stake in a lucrative Russian oil joint venture — to Rosneft, the Russian oil company that is mostly state-owned. The structure of the roughly $26 billion deal, however, could leave BP and Rosneft closely entwined.
Second, the company has been in intense negotiations with the Justice Department over how big a fine it will have to pay to settle charges, possibly including criminal negligence, that have flowed from the blowout at BP’s Macondo well in 2010 that caused a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is a pivotal moment for BP. In just two years, it has sold about $35 billion worth of assets ranging from a pair of U.S. refineries, gulf oil wells and some Kansas gas fields to exploration tracts in Egypt, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Tens of billions of dollars more are at stake now. If Rosneft buys BP’s half of TNK-BP, the Russian venture, analysts expect it to make a large cash payment, perhaps $17 billion, and give BP about a 15 percent stake in Rosneft. The settlement with the Justice Department hinges on the department’s threat to bring criminal negligence charges against BP that would raise fines from $1,100 a barrel to $4,300 a barrel. The latter fine could bring the cost to $19 billion.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/bps-future-hinges-on-outcome-of-russian-oil-venture-deal-charges-in-gulf-oil-spill/2012/10/20/ec975f6a-195a-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.htmlShare This Post
By ANDREW E. KRAMER and STANLEY REED
Published: October 21, 2012
MOSCOW — BP’s board has approved an offer from the Russian state oil company, Rosneft, to buy most of BP’s business in Russia for cash and shares in Rosneft, further consolidating Russia’s control of its oil industry, an executive with knowledge of the decision said.
Under the terms of the deal, BP would remain in Russia but — initially at least — only as a minority investor in an oil company controlled by the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. Later, BP is hoping to use this new strategic tie with the Kremlin to drum up other business.
BP had been telegraphing its willingness to make a deal for some time, and Rosneft formally submitted an offer on Thursday to buy out BP’s 50 percent of a joint venture here called TNK-BP.
The board’s authorization allowed BP’s chief executive, Robert W. Dudley, to negotiate the final terms for BP’s sale of its Russian holdings within a range of acceptable combinations of cash and shares, the executive with knowledge of the decision said.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/business/global/bp-board-approves-rosneft-deal.html?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post