Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lack of energy

On a personal level. Could barely stand this AM or get warm, hope to start posting again tomorrow morning/afternoon. Oh and Hancock was worth seeing once, more is you have an inexpensive theatre around you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Which alternative energy?

Presidential wannabe Senator Biden will be speaking against offshore drilling. No surprise there as that seems to be the Democratic line to toe right now. There are pros and cons to that but it is not expected to change anytime soon. Even automakers and utilities are looking around for something-- different.

That means we need to find other sources (just in case you have been sleeping I just stated the obvious).

James Hrynyshyn's blog post, `There is no single bullet` pretty much nails it in that there will not be a single source of energy to mostly replace our gas/oil habit. In some areas solar will be a great answer but that will not be for everyone.

Meanwhile Hippy Shopper has the `Top 5 Weirdest alternative energy sources`. I mean did you know that they were modifying bugs to secrete oil? Ewwwwwwww.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adopt a Watt

November 5, 2012 Update - This page has had a facelift and looks much better. Check out Adopt-A-Watt. Below is the original posting:

In spite of the horrendous Frontpage 6.0 style webpage, this program sounds very exciting. Check out Adopt a Watt. Basically one can donate a sum of money and have the rights to name a 5' by 7' Photo-Voltaic Display for a set amount of time, just like the Adopt a Highway program.

Read more about it here:
Royal Oak man offers alternative funding for alternative energy

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Solar continues to gather steam...

Solar power is very attractive. As long as we have that big ball of fire in the sky that we call the sun, we could have a means of energy down here on Earth. No need to dig into the dirt, build platforms in the middle of the ocean, or throw pollution into the sky. Sounds great but so far it has yet to really take hold.

Why? Well the technology really had not evolved far and the energy produced took a lot of work to gather. Much was lost along the way but with the big push on renewable energy there has been a larger effort to improve this old tech. Most recently dyed glass has been found to help out. See, `Colorful Glass Delivers Massive Solar Energy Boost'. Not only does it increase the amount of energy harvested but it can do it in a cost effective manner. How's that for a breakthrough? Keep an eye out, they say it will only take about three years to get this to market.

Also be sure to check out Treehugger's post: MIT Solar Concentrator Improves Solar Cell Efficiency and Design Options

Who would use such technology? Well the big businesses are the ones that will probably make the most widespread use of it. Check out ecogeeks article: GM Installing World’s Largest Rooftop Solar Power Station. It is going to be in Spain and generate a whopping 15.1 million kWh.

The Alternative Energy Foundation Blog lists 4 Reasons Why Solar Energy Will Dominate.

Solar Energy News, a blog also on Blogger, has a post on an Office Depot that will employ green energy solutions such as solar power.

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The politics of big... alternative energy?

The world is trying to diversify on energy and in the United States Green Politics has become the new throwdown arena. The shirt sleeves are rolled up (but just a little bit) and money is on the line (just a little bit, I mean it is a lot but not when compared to how much goes elsewhere) so it is no wonder that, in an election cycle, that energy security and diversification is starting to move to the forefront.

It starts off small, a NC US Senate candidate named Kay Hagan decides to address the issue while at a local gas station. Apparently Hagan supports alternative energy, wants to know how the gas prices are impacting those who may vote, and is towing the new Democratic line of releasing oil from the reserves which Bush has rejected thus far.

It is obvious to anyone who has been listening that McCain and Obama, both Presidential wannabes, have differing views on how to save the United States. In the arena of Green Politics it is no different. While both agree that something needs to be done with the energy policy (that diversification thing I mentioned above), they do differ on how we need to move into the future energy market. Obama wants to reduce oil imports and consumption by way of alternative energy and also by mandating higher MPG goals for automakers. McCain wants us to continue using oil, tap into reserves that are currently off limits, and yes, a little bit of renewable energies might make it to the table too but it is unlikely.

Recently shots have been fired on the energy front. The Republicans aired a spot that attacked Obama on energy. Basically they label him as an obstruction to what they deem to be the immediate solutions to our energy crisis. That is to say he does not want to drill off the coast, he does not do backflips for nuclear energy (which is unfortunate IMHO), and that he brings nothing new to the table in this debate.

Not to be outdone because this is an election after all, the DNC has fired back with a spot of their own. Basically they paint McCain as being George Bush in new clothing, supporting a plan that will not produce any new supplies for at least seven years, and that Obama would give the poor tax breaks and fast track alternative energy programs.

Now just to throw some gasoline on the fire (or rather ethanol) we can also be prepared to be hammered by the Grocery Manufacturers Association who are going to start waging an open war against ethanol. The question is will they end up being a Swift Boat attack or will they have staying power?

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Morning News Rundown

May you live in interesting times goes the old curse and things are surely interesting these days. Change can bring chaos and with chaos you can get some insanity. That might, just might explain how Bush has come out and said that there has been 'Significant progress' on climate change. The head of the administration that even went so far to remove pages from a climate change report said that "in order to address climate change, all major economies must be at the table...". Not everything went well at the G8 summit. The Telegraph ran with the headline: Divisions emerge over G8 climate change goals.

Still citizens are standing up and saying no to drilling off of the coast of the United States even when oil has settled in with record highs. Some will see a silver lining in everything and with oil's recent decline the question has been posed, "Is the Oil Bubble Bursting?"

While we may not see any rigs off of the coast anytime soon there may be wind turbines. Apparently Georgia Tech researchers have been looking into the viability of setting up a wind farm on Tybee and Jekyll islands.

Meanwhile Intel is investing into the solar power industry and Michigan is looking to give alternative energy companies millions of incentives.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Green Blogging

I usually do not have the time to blog due to work and other responsibilities. I usually do not even have time to read other blogs but here are a few interesting posts that are out there and you should know about.

Wall Street Journal on The New World Order Climate Change

That post linked to this one on DeSmogBlog dot com:
Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens' Sick Souled Neurosis

BIOconversion Blog:
Roadmap for bioenergy & biobased products in the U.S.

What's the difference between Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy Credits, Anyway?

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A Solar Day, Emissions, Cars...

Solar power appears to be getting a lot of news and even a bit of respect these days. No wonder with oil, even with the recent dip, still remaining very high. One thing that I have not heard the talking heads mention, when comparing what is going on now to the 70s, is that our technology has changed. What was not feasible back in the 70s is actually at our fingertips now, viable alternative energy. The question is will we take hold or slip back into the habits of the last hand full of decades?

G-8 endorses halving global emissions by 2050
Tuesday's statement, however, addressed total world emissions rather than just those produced by wealthy countries, and critics attacked it for failing to go much beyond the G-8 statement last year. The communique also did not set a base year from which emissions would be cut.

Environmentalists criticized the statement for failing to go beyond the G-8 statement last year.

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind
Of course, Pickens also has a particular solution in mind.

Wind. And natural gas.

Last week, Pickens loaded up his $60 million, top-of-the-line Gulfstream G550 corporate jet with reporters and a few associates from his Dallas-based BP Capital energy hedge fund and related companies and flew here to illustrate just how big — and achievable — his vision is.

Report Buyer Adds New market Study on Hybrid Power Systems
The report presents an analysis on hybrid power systems which
utilise renewable energy such as wind energy or solar photovoltaics. The study covers the various types of hybrid power systems using renewable energy, such as wind-diesel hybrid power systems, fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid systems and the more common solar PV hybrid power systems.

Mesquite's solar prospects boosted as BLM lifts moratorium
The lift of the moratorium gives new life to solar projects throughout the state and literally brightens Mesquite’s solar future.

"The moratorium was scary," Holecheck said. "Anyone who hadn’t filed an application stood a chance of losing tax credits. Since I’ve been mayor, the city has been visited by three solar production companies that have talked about putting facilities that would produce 200 megawatts or more of energy."

"I had the opportunity to listen to the BLM-Department of the Interior hearing in Las Vegas," said Michele Burkett, president of Defend Our Desert. "They did not have a good case for the moratorium. Three big solar companies testified. They looked at utility-sized solar; that’s what this country needs.

Toyota reportedly to put solar panels on Prius
"It's not going to eliminate gasoline consumption in a Prius, and it wouldn't be on my list of energy improvements I'd make to a car," said Mark Duvall, program manager for electric transportation studies at the Electric Power Research Institute. "But that doesn't mean it can't make a small but significant improvement in the amount of gasoline you'd use."

And that's the heart of the Prius' appeal.

BP America Inc., the largest oil and gas producer in the United States and one of the largest investors in alternative energy, is making a gift of a solar-powered all-terrain electric vehicle to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It was handed over to the preserve today ( July 7 ).

The electric vehicle, equipped with a 48-volt battery system and a 185-watt PV solar panel manufactured by BP Solar at its Maryland facility, will be used to move staff and equipment around the 300-acre preserve. The preserve stretches across more than four miles of Lake Mendota shoreline, from near the Memorial Union Terrace on the east to Shorewood Hills Village on the west.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Evil Oil Investing in Solar Power?

CNet has an article up about a subsidiary of Shell that is jumping into alternative energy whole hog. How so? They are investing $938 Million USD in a great big solar plant.

Japanese Shell subsidiary plans solar-panel plant
Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Showa Shell Sekiyu, Japan's fifth-largest oil refiner, plans to invest 100 billion yen, or about $938 million, in a solar-panel megaplant, according to AFP.

The planned factory will produce panels with the cumulative annual capacity to produce 1 gigawatt of power, equivalent to that of a small nuclear-power reactor.

Compare that to Egypt who are investing a whopping $30 Million USD into a center for renewable energy.
The centre will carry out research on renewable energy, including the testing of solar and wind power technologies.

It will provide consultancy services to governments and private companies, promote knowledge and technology transfer between companies and governments in the region and the North, and run training programmes to help set up technologies around the region.

The US is also moving to be a bit friendlier to renewable energies:

US Government Agency Reverses Moratorium On Solar Power Proposals
The Bureau of Land Management said it will keep its doors open for new proposals while it studies how large solar plants might affect the environment of undeveloped areas of California and the Southwest. The agency had said last week it would put a hold on new applications pending its environmental review.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Green funds and green energy

Green funds are the new rage and the public is starting to hear about them from various news sources. In recent days:
Green fund coming soon
BIEP's primary mission is to ensure the highest quality of environmental management by maintaining the highest standards of practice among environmental professionals in Barbados.

Byer-Suckoo told its members that they had the unique advantage of contributing to the local and regional environment knowledge base through research and innovation.

Virgin Green Fund gains traction with CalPERS investment
The fund was set up last year to make investments in renewable energy and resource efficiency. Like many private equity firms, VGF primarily invests in late-stage projects. It used seed money from Virgin to begin taking stakes in several startups before it had even completed its first round; it currently has seven.

Wealth manager launches Asian "Green" Fund
In terms of energy, the fund will look to invest in a number of alternative investment opportunities including geothermal power in the Philippines, wind turbine manufacturers in India, solar power module makers in China, bio-fuel plantation companies in Malaysia and Indonesia, coal seam methane producers in Australia and nuclear power technology companies in South Korea and Japan.

Links of interest:
North Carolina Green Fund

IBM Research's Supratik Guha refused to put a specific figure on the sales of new thin-film solar technology, he described the market potential as huge.

“We've already been in discussions with photovoltaic manufacturers,” Mr Guha said.

“There are problems to be resolved, but this is the time we're starting to talk to them.”

Link of interest:
Pushing the PV Envelope: Organic Solar Cells Moving into Production

GreenHunter Energy Added to Global Wind Energy Index
GreenHunter Energy, Inc. (Amex: GRH) announced today that it has been included in the ISE Global Wind Energy Index, which is the first global wind index to provide a benchmark for investors interested in tracking public companies that are active in the wind energy industry. Eligibility to be included in the index is limited to those companies that are actively engaged in the wind energy industry, such as the development or management of a wind farm or the production or distribution of electricity generated by wind power. To date, only 53 companies worldwide have been included in the index.

Westward Ho! US utilities scramble for wind
Utilities are not only scrambling for affordable wind power to meet RPS requirements, but dealing with fluctuating prices. The city of Portland, known for its green ethic, has seen prices jump up and down while it has searched for wind power to help supply municipal needs. ‘Our goal is to acquire a large-scale renewable resource. We’re moving slowly because the marketplace is very, very volatile right now,’ says Dave Tooze, senior energy specialist for the city.

According to King, delivered prices for wind power last year ranged from $85–$100/MWh.

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