Friday, July 10th, 2009
What would you do if you were worth $3 billion? T. Boone Pickens? Propose to build one of the largest wind farms in Texas, of course!
T. Boone Pickens, American financier and Chairman of BP Capital Management, ironically grew his wealth initially through mergers and acquisitions of oil and gas companies. From there, Pickens expanded his company, Mesa Petroleum, to be one of the largest independent oil companies in the world by 1981.
With his continued success came much criticism. During his peak, Pickens has been accused of being a “corporate raider” – investors who essentially direct or execute a hostile takeover of a company, often with the agenda of breaking up and selling various assets of the company to gain large profits. Though most of his attempts at corporate raiding failed, his endeavors drove the targeted company’s stock up, making Pickens and other investors millions of dollars.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based leader in the development and production of marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries, announced today that its US subsidiary, Seambiotic USA, has entered into an agreement with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop an on-going collaborative R&D program for optimization of open-pond microalgae growth processes.
Under a Space Act Agreement, NASA is partnering with Seambiotic USA to model growth processes for microalgae for use as aviation biofuel feedstock,” said Prof. Ami Ben-Amotz, Chief Scientific Adviser to Seambiotic.
Monday, July 6th, 2009
China will break ground this month on a gigantic, $17 billion wind power farm in the northwestern part of the country that will produce 5 gigawatts of power by next year and 20 gigawatts by 2020, according to the official Xinhua news service. The installation in Gansu Province is known as the “Three Gorges of Wind Power” after the gigantic Three Gorges hydroelectric dam on the Yangtze River. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the Gansu wind power installation is scheduled by 2020 to produce five times the power of T. Boone Pickens’ proposed wind power project on the U.S. Great Plains.
Monday, July 6th, 2009
Africa is the most under-supplied region of the world for electricity, and access to it is very different throughout the continent. While industry receives plenty of cheap power, 80% of the population lives off the power grid. As in other parts of the world, African economies utterly depend on electricity, “but levels of inequality are particularly pronounced here due to the inherent unevenness of ‘electric capitalism’ on the continent,” writes David A. McDonald in his recent book Electric Capitalism: Recolonising Africa on the Power Grid.
The international community is trying to improve the quality of life in Africa, and different sources of energy are being developed and installed. “Initial delivery of electric service to rural Africa is far from a ‘one size fits all’ technical solution, especially given the seasonal diversity of energy needs, as well as the availability and quality of candidate renewable energy resources”, argues S.R. Connors in an article titled “Providing Electricity Services to Rural Africa.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
The Turkish government will revive a $1.6 billion dam project on the Tigris River despite concerns that it will displace tens of thousands of people, damage wildlife habitat, and destroy historic archaeological sites.
Preparations for the Ilisu hydroelectric dam were suspended for six months after financial institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria announced that they were withholding financial support because of environmental concerns.
But Veysel Eroglu, Turkey’s environmental minister, said the financing would be made available for what the government considers an important part of a $32 billion plan to boost the economy in the nation’s southeastern corner, a region disrupted by armed conflict between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. Eroglu said improvements have been made to assure the project will meet international standards.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
The week before last was the culmination of a labor of love for Sunil Paul and Claire Tomkins with the launch of the Gigaton Throwdown in DC after 18 months of hard work, researching and – as I witnessed first hand – coralling the efforts of other researchers.
What is the Gigaton Throwdown?
The Gigaton Throwdown Study was launched as a Clinton Global Initiative in 2007. It was started as a project to educate and inspire entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers to think big about solving the climate crisis. It was an effort to answer Sunil’s question, “What does it take to make a difference with clean energy technology?” (more…)
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Ken Salazar's solar array and cowboy hat combo should be more common under the plan announced yesterday for the Southwest
Yesterday’s big announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heralded what may be a new era for solar power, as thousands of acres of federal land in six Southwestern states were set aside to become a special federal solar energy zone designed to facilitate siting, construction and deployment of as much as 70,000 MW of new solar capacity.
Today, it is wind’s turn in the sun. The front page of the Boston Globe and local broadcast reports are abuzz with the news that Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has released a new plan to re-zone state coastal waters to better balance the need for marine ecological protections with the hope that Massachusetts can harvest more of its offshore wind as useful electricity.
In the absence of all of the plan’s details (a full presser was scheduled for the afternoon of July 1 at the New England Aquarium in Boston), the media has already shifted to score-keeping. There is at least one clear loser, as the plan deals a death blow to a particular Buzzards Bay proposal for 300 MW of offshore wind. The wind farm would sit in what is now a restricted area.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Solar thermal energy, which is the oldest way of tapping power from the sun, has been used for years in heating applications for households. Although its counterpart solar photovoltaic seems to be getting more attraction, according to European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), solar thermal energy industry in Europe has grown over 60% in 2008.
In a recent interview broadcasted by RenewableEnergyWorld.Com, Olivier Drücke, president of ESTIF, mentions that the solar thermal potential in Europe can meet 15% of heating and cooling demand in 2030 and up to 50% in 2050. That is particularly significant given that heating and cooling demand represents 50% of the final energy consumption in Europe (with the remaining 20% for electricity generation and 30% for transportation). (more…)
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
In my continuing effort to launch the CleanTechies community to the forefront of the clean energy debate – and perhaps, in some small part, because I am an insatiable gadfly – I dashed off the following letter to the New York Times yesterday.
It is tough to give much nuance to the argument in less than 200 words, but to me, there are clear connections and contradictions between the the two energy/environment Op-Eds they ran yesterday, one by Gregg Easterbrook, the other by Paul Krugman. The letter follows: (more…)
Monday, June 29th, 2009
If the headline doesn’t get you, the price tag might: $500 million.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was in Memphis last week to announce five grant competitions, totaling $500 million, to fund projects that will prepare workers for green jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
Sharpen your pencils. Four of the contests are aimed at training workers through various national, state and community outlets, according to Solis:
- Energy Training Partnership Grants;
- Pathways Out of Poverty Grants;
- State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants;
- Green Capacity Building Grants.