Turkey’s alternative energy potential is huge, but it remains locked – at least so far. Earlier this month, Ankara hosted the International Energy Congress on Renewable Energy where the Turkish energy sector was the main discussion point. The congress attracted a record number of participants from public and private sectors, including the Turkish Minister of Energy and members of the country’s Parliament. It was once more observed that the potential of investments in Turkey is by far exceeding the enthusiasm of the bureaucrats and the readiness of the Turkish infrastructure.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have recommended dramatically scaling back oil drilling plans off U.S. coasts and have proposed a ban on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic until oil companies significantly improve their ability to prevent and clean up oil spills.
The non-binding recommendations to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar represent a stark reversal from the pro-drilling policies of the Bush administration; the new administrator of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, is an oceanographer who has vowed to restore science to federal environmental policy.
A battle over whether to place wind turbines within sight of France’s famous abbey, Mont-Saint-Michel, has touched off a dispute within the country’s environmental community over the visual impact of the alternative energy source.
A coalition of local and national conservationists has opposed locating the wind turbines within view of the abbey on the Normandy coast, even though the windmills would be roughly 10 miles from Mont-Saint-Michel.
NPR’s On Point never disappoints, and their show with Christopher Steiner, author of $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better was no exception. Steiner’s thesis is that as liquid hydrocarbons become all the more difficult to naturally extract and regulation makes them all the more costly to refine and use, prices will inevitably rise. At $20 a gallon, we might not recognize our lives…all for the better, says Steiner.
People will live and buy their locally-grown produce in mixed-use developments clustered around high-speed rail lines. In Steiner’s view, $6 a gallon is an inflection point that begins to redefine the way we live our lives. But, will innovation (or the US government) ever allow prices to remain at that level? Not according to Mark Mills, co-author of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy.
By Jonathan Williams
During this past summer, the world has seen multiple advances in the alternative energy field, particularly with algae biofuels. A week hasn’t gone by where I didn’t receive several press releases in my inbox highlighting the latest advances by one of the many algae companies out there.
However, while press releases look and sound good, nothing highlights the advances of a company, if not the entire field, than the announcement of a multi-million dollar partnership with a larger, well-known, and respected entity.
During this summer we saw just that, with multiple algae companies announcing their partnerships with larger corporations or entities.
To give you a brief overview on these partnerships, first came Algenol with their partnership with Dow Chemical researching algae as an ethanol fuel source. Next came Seambiotic with their announcement that they will be partnering with NASA to develop a jet fuel from algae. Most recently, and probably most importantly, was Exxon Mobil’s $600 million partnership with Synthetic Genomics to conduct extensive research on algae biofuels.
Australia’s Parliament has passed a law requiring that 20 percent of the country’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, an increase from the current level of 8 percent.
The standard, which matches the European Union’s, means that the households of all 21 million Australians could be powered by renewable energy in a decade.
Green Party leaders said, however, that the standard should be 30 percent, and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong noted that even with the new renewable standard, the nation’s CO2 emissions are expected to be 20 percent above 2000 levels in 2020 because of the growth of the Australian economy.
In a move that will surely provide an additional boost for the alternative energy industry, and perhaps T. Boone Pickens‘ plan, the US Department of Treasury has finally released guidelines for claiming the grants instead of the federal tax credit. Applications will be submitted online. However, the Treasury will not be accepting applications at this time.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February allowed for business taxpayers to apply for direct payments instead of claiming a tax credit on their income tax return. This applied to the credit under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 45 (Energy Produced for Certain Renewable Resources) and IRC Section 48 (Energy Credit). Property that applies to this includes geothermal, biomass, micro wind turbines, and solar amongst others.
Are we ready for a biobased industry? That’s the question the Biopolymer Symposium 2009 wants to address. The use of biopolymers is growing, and an increasing number of applications to commercialize these materials are on the market. Most biopolymers are found in packaging – food trays, blown starch pellets for shipping goods, thin films for wrapping – but they are also being used on the industrial side. Biopolymers are produced from biomass – such as sugar beet, potatoes or wheat – and have important environmental benefits: They can be biodegradable, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral, and even compostable.
A colleague of mine said to me recently, “No energy is clean energy.”
Which got me thinking. Of course, Clean Coal comes to mind. And people love to say that “No coal is clean,” and “Clean Coal is an oxymoron.”
OK, OK. It’s not the best marketing term I’ve ever heard. There is a U.S. Department of Energy program that uses the term, and that program has funded gasification and carbon sequestration projects. So there is such a thing, whatever you want to call it. How about “Clean(er) Coal”?
Then I thought about wind. Big, majestic, white turbines … cutting up birds that fly into them. Whoops. That’s not very clean.