Friday, October 23rd, 2009
New York’s recently released review of the environmental risks (PDF) posed by natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale offers the clearest picture yet of the chemicals used in the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.
The document makes public the names of 260 chemicals, more than eight times as many as Pennsylvania state regulators have compiled. The list is the most complete released by any state or federal agency and could help answer concerns about hydraulic fracturing in Congress and in states where gas drilling has increased in recent years.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Global emissions of carbon dioxide will drop 3 percent in 2009, including a 5.9 percent decrease in the United States, as a result of the economic recession, according to energy forecasts.
A decrease in industrial activity accounts for three-quarters of the global emissions decline, the International Energy Agency reported at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. The rest of the decline is the result of nations switching to renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
In the U.S., coal demand will likely drop 9 percent this year as electricity demand slips and more states switch to natural gas in the face of stiffer government oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Economic recovery would likely reverse the trend, and the agency predicts a 1.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions in 2010.
Thursday, August 27th, 2009
For the first time, scientists have discovered chemicals used in a controversial natural gas drilling technique in water wells near the gas sites.
Scientists for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), testing wells near a major gas drilling area in Wyoming, have found traces of drilling chemicals in three wells, and other contaminants — including oil, gas, and heavy metals — in 11 of 39 wells recently tested, according to the Web site Pro Publica.
The chemicals are used in a process called hydraulic fracturing, in which drilling fluids and sand are injected under high pressure to break up rock and release gas.
Monday, August 10th, 2009
The rapid growth of wind power in Texas is already reducing consumption of natural gas and lowering the cost of electricity generation in the state, according to a Wall Street research group. Bernstein Research reports that the rising output of wind turbines in Texas — the world’s sixth-largest producer of wind power — has eliminated the need to fire up natural gas-powered generators to meet the last bit of demand during periods of low energy usage.
Powering up natural gas generators is expensive, and Bernstein reports that the spreading use of wind turbines “can have a material impact on the price of power.” The report predicted that the “growth of wind power in (Texas) over the next three years will markedly lower the consumption of gas and coal by conventional generators.”
Friday, July 31st, 2009
The cash for clunkers program is already proving too good to be true. The $1 billion in funds allocated for the program is almost gone after less than a week, and now congress is scrambling to get an additional $2 billion to extend the program.
With sales up at Ford and at dealerships, the program can be viewed as an unabashed success for the auto industry. And the environment is also winning, as the vehicles being purchased are estimated to be 69 percent more fuel efficient than the vehicles being dumped, according to the website CashForClunkersInformation.org.
Monday, July 27th, 2009
The “locavore” movement is big, especially in California. With the bounty of food found locally in the Bay Area, living off the land — and sea — is not only possible, but also a delicious exercise.
But there’s another, less obvious, revolution brewing here in the Bay Area: the “locavolt” movement. In response to high gasoline and natural gas prices, global warming and an increasingly unstable, scary world, people are looking to generate power right in their own homes and neighborhoods with free energy from nature.
Technology advances in computers, telecommunications, generators, inverters, and even cars, are all giving the locavolt new tools to harness renewable energy and lead a fairly normal life.
Within the next few years, plug-in hybrid cars in California will be able to serve as a mini-power generator for your home and store renewable energy from your solar photovoltaics system or your small wind turbine. Plug-in hybrids may also help balance out a smarter electricity grid capable of easily sending power back and forth between generators and consumers, much like we send and receive e-mails on the Internet today.
Saturday, July 11th, 2009
A Russian company has announced that it will build the world’s first floating nuclear plant, opening up the possibility that the Russians could use such reactors to power operations to extract oil and minerals in remote regions of the Arctic.
Russia’s United Industrial Corporation said its floating reactor will go into operation in 2012 off the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East and will be used to help power Vilyuchinsk, a small city that serves as an atomic submarine base. The 472-foot plant will be built in the shape of a ship, will accommodate two 35-megawatt reactors, and will cost $316 million to construct, United Industrial said.
Friday, February 6th, 2009
The search for alternative transportation fuels just got a little easier.
The U.S. Department of Energy, now headed by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, has rolled out an “Alternative Fueling Station Locator.” In other words, if you’re driving a vehicle that runs on biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas or propane, this tool can help you find it .
Monday, November 17th, 2008
The economy has entered a stage of worldwide recession and pessimists argue that “renewable energy” is a bubble about to burst. Be it a smart decision to now publish a book in this field or not, “Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks” is out to prove that it is.
Author Jeff Siegel (→ read interview) wants to show his readers how to position their portfolio to achieve long-term investment success in the renewable energy field. He aims to explain how to tap into this market early, and logically, in order to capture unparalleled profits.