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Energy Net

Why Won't Big Oil Subsidies Die? : TreeHugger - 5 views

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    "Obama tried cutting oil subsidies in his very first federal budget proposal, and it didn't fly. He and the Democratic members of Congress tried again earlier this year, hoping that the Tea Party's incessant yelling for spending cuts would translate into Congressional support for one of the most obvious spending cuts in the history of spending cuts. But no such luck.

    And get this:

    The true amount we pay in oil subsidies is waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than $4 billion a year. In fact, the far-right libertarian think tank the Cato Institute once calculated the true cost of subsidizing oil to be in the range of $78-150 billion -- yep, billion -- per year. A lot of these expenditures come from the massive amount of security needed to protect oil, both at its source in volatile regions and along international shipping routes 'round the world. The US gov expends much effort and capital to help safeguard the oil companies' product and operations -- it's in the national interest, after all, that everyone be able to continue purchasing Exxon gasoline.

    So you'd think that paring a comparatively meager $4 billio"
Energy Net

Story of TEPCO's thermal power plant on the day of earthquake and tsunami - News - The ... - 1 views

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    TOKYO --Caved-in roads, warped pipes, washed away cars, and mounds of rubble and earth -- the premises of the Hirono thermal power station of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO), located in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, was completely devastated after being struck by the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. On March 18, a week after the earthquake, the Denki Shimbun was able to interview three workers of the power plant. While little information has been reported to date as to damage suffered by thermal power plants, the interview provided a glimpse of actual conditions.

    At the time when the earthquake occurred, the Hirono power station's units 2 and 4 were in operation, units 1, 3 and 5 were off line, and unit 6 was under construction. Units 2 and 4 shut down automatically upon detecting the strong tremor of the earthquake. At the unit 6 construction site, dozens of workers were installing the steel frames of the turbine and boiler buildings. Some of them were working as high as 30 m above the ground. When the workers were shaken by the sudden tremor, they had no option but to cling to the steel frames for the time being. All workers climbed down to the ground and evacuated immediately after the tremor had subsided.
Energy Net

Brian Clark Howard: Close Aging Nukes By Installing LEDs - 3 views

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    "Remy Chevalier is a brilliant and eccentric eco-activist with a "bright plan": he believes a very achievable switchover to green lighting will save enough energy to shut down our aging nuclear power plants -- in particular Indian Point, one of the oldest and most controversial plants, and roughly 30 miles north of Manhattan. Seth Leitman and I found this out while working on our book about green lighting, to be published early this fall by the Green Guru Guide series. "
Energy Net

Solar power cheaper than new nuclear plants, study says | Chattanooga Times Free Press - 1 views

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    "Aided by federal and state tax breaks, solar energy will be cheaper than building new nuclear power plants, according to a North Carolina study released today.

    Dr. John Blackburn, the emeritus chair of economics and former chancellor of Duke University, said the costs of new nuclear plants continues to rise while electricity generated from solar voltaic panels is only half the cost of 12 years ago.

    In a study commissioned by the environmental group NC Warn, Dr. Blackburn estimates that the cost of new nuclear plants is now about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour and headed higher while solar energy can be generated with rooftop panels and solar farms in North Carolina for a comparable rate and solar costs are trending down.

    Solar costs are cut by about one-third because of state and federal tax credits, but Dr. Blackburn said the nuclear industry also benefits by federally backed insurance, loan guarantees and research assistance.

    "The message is that solar is here and now and not something exotic for the future," Dr. Blackburn said."
Energy Net

'Carbon storage' faces leak dilemma - study - Environment - The Independent - 0 views

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    "Dreams of braking global warming by storing carbon emissions from power plants could be undermined by the risk of leakage, according to a study published on Sunday.

    Rich countries have earmarked tens of billions of dollars of investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that is still only at an experimental stage.

    Under CCS, carbon dioxide (CO2) would be snared at source from plants that are big burners of oil, gas and coal.

    Instead of being released into the atmosphere, where it would contribute to global warming, the gas would be buried in the deep ocean or piped into underground chambers such as disused gas fields.

    CCS supporters say the sequestered carbon would slow the pace of man-made warming. It would buy time for politicians to forge an effective treaty on greenhouse gases and wean the global economy off cheap but dirty fossil fuels."
Energy Net

#217 The End Is Nigh | Richard Heinberg - 1 views

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    "Following the failure of the latest efforts to plug the gushing leak from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, and amid warnings that oil could continue to flow for another two months or more, perhaps it's a good time to step back a moment mentally and look at the bigger picture-the context of our human history of resource extraction-to see how current events reveal deeper trends that will have even greater and longer-lasting significance.

    Much of what follows may seem obvious to some readers, pedantic to others. But very few people seem to have much of a grasp of the basic technological, economic, and environmental issues that arise as resource extraction proceeds, and as a society adapts to depletion of its resource base. So, at the risk of boring the daylights out of those already familiar with the history of extractive industries, here follows a spotlighting of relevant issues, with the events in the Gulf of Mexico ever-present in the wings and poised to take center stage as the subject of some later comments. Readers in the "already familiar" category can skip straight to part 5. "
Energy Net

New Study: Biomass Worse Than Coal : TreeHugger - 0 views

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    "Massachusetts has a law mandating a portfolio of renewable energy, including energy derived from wind, solar, and biomass. But a new study says that replacing coal power with biomass will actually increase the amount of CO2 emitted, throwing a wrench in the state's plan and casting some doubt over the utility of using biomass on national scale and the inclusion of biomass titles in the energy bills now being negotiated in Congress.

    The study from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences finds that the replacing coal power generation with that from biomass would result in 3 percent greater emissions by 2050."
Energy Net

Canadian Tar Sands Corp Found Guilty of Killing 1600 Ducks in Toxic Tailing Pond : Tree... - 0 views

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    "A quick update on the slow motion oil spill that is the Alberta Tar Sands and how the death of birds is just one of the huge environmental problems here: The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the long-running trial of Syncrude over the death of some 1,600 ducks in one of its toxic tailing ponds has concluded, with Syncrude found guilty.

    Syncrude Failed to Deploy Duck Deterrent Systems in Snow Storm
    Judge Ken Tjosvold:

    It should have been obvious to Syncrude that deterrence should have been in place in the spring as soon as reasonably possible. Syncrude dud not deploy deterrence early enough or quickly enough. I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Syncrude could have acted lawfully by using due diligence to deter birds from the basin...and it did not do so.

    The crux of the case was whether or not Syncrude deployed noise-producing duck deterrent systems early enough in the season. Defending its actions, Syncrude maintained that a snowstorm had delayed their deployment. In the snowstorm, with no other place to land, other bodies of water being ice-covered, the birds landed in the toxic tailing pond. There, soaked with toxic sludge, they became unable to fly and either were eaten by ravens or sank to the bottom dead. "
Energy Net

Meat & Dairy Matter - Changing Consumer Choices Can Cut Methane & Nitrous Oxide Emissio... - 0 views

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    "One more piece of information supporting how important your personal dietary choices are in dealing with climate change: New research published in the journal Global Environmental Change shows that by reducing the amount of meat and dairy eaten and changing farming practices, by 2055 we could reduce emissions of methane and nitrous oxide--two greenhouse gases far more potent than carbon dioxide--from agricultural sources by more than 80%.

    Summing up the research, study lead author Alexander Popp of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research says, "Meat and milk really matter. Reduced consumption could decrease the future emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture to levels below those of 1995." "
Energy Net

Solar Photovoltaics (PV) is Cost-Competitive Now | The GW Solar Institute - 0 views

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    "I hear that PV really costs about 40 c/kWh, at least that's what so many people who have their 2 cents to add to the energy debate have to say about it. And then all of Chicago cringes, and with them, the Obama administration.

    I would quit if PV cost 40 c/kWh. After 30 years of working in PV, I would quit.

    It's true that it's hard to understand what PV costs, since we don't know what dollars per watt means in cents per kWh, and we don't know what it means in different locations.

    Put simply, there are some locations where PV costs 40 c/kWh; and there are some where it costs a third of that. There is no one price for PV, because sunlight varies, and system costs vary with size and design. Large systems are cheaper than small ones.

    So some nudnik from the oil or coal industries can stand up and say, PV is 40 c/kWh and not be lying. And I can say it is 13 c/kWh and not be lying, and all without a cent of incentives, not even traditional depreciation."
Energy Net

Polar Science Center - APL-UW - Arctic Sea Ice Volume - 0 views

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    "Sea Ice Volume is calculated using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) developed at APL/PSC by Dr. J. Zhang and collaborators. Anomalies for each day are calculated relative to the average over the 1979 -2009 period for that day to remove the annual cycle. The model mean seasonal cycle of sea ice volume ranges from 28,600 km^3 in April to 14,400 km^3 in September. The blue line represents the trend calculated from January 1 1979 to the most recent date indicated on the figure. Total Arctic Ice Volume for March 2010 is 20,300 km^3, the lowest over the 1979-2010 period and 38% below the 1979 maximum. PIOMAS calculates that the monthly average Arctic Sea Ice Volume for May 2010 was 19,000 km^3, the lowest May volume over the 1979-2010 period, 42% below the 1979 maximum and 32% below the 1979-2009 May average. September Ice Volume was lowest in 2009 at 5,800 km^3 or 67% below its 1979 maximum. Shaded areas represent one and two standard deviations of the anomaly from the trend. Updates will be generated at approximately two-weekly intervals."
Energy Net

Light Bulbs To Get Nutrition-Style Labels Next Year : TreeHugger - 0 views

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    "Late last year we reported that the US Federal Trade Commission proposed a new label for compact fluorescent lightbulbs that would show vital statistics like mercury content and the light output in terms of lumens rather than watts, which would make the brightness of CFLs, LEDs and other lighting technology more comparable among consumers. Well word has just hit that the new system has been approved and we'll soon see nutrition-facts-style labels on our lights.

    EarthTechling gave us a heads up about the new label, pointing us to the announcement from the FTC.

    The FTC states, "Under direction from Congress to re-examine the current labels, the FTC is announcing a final rule that will require the new labels on light bulb packages. For the first time, the label on the front of the package will emphasize the bulbs' brightness as measured in lumens, rather than a measurement of watts. The new front-of-package labels also will include the estimated yearly energy cost for the particular type of bulb.""
Energy Net

Global Temperature Anomalies, May 2010 : Image of the Day - 0 views

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    NASA's 2010 map of temperature anomalies...
Energy Net

Study Predicts Natural Gas Use Will Double - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    Natural gas will provide an increasing share of America's energy needs over the next several decades, doubling its share of the energy market to 40 percent, from 20 percent, according to a report to be released Friday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    The increase, the report concluded, will come largely at the expense of coal and will be driven both by abundant supplies of natural gas - made more available by shale drilling - and by measures to restrict the carbon dioxide emissions that are linked to climate change.

    In the long term, however, the future may be dimmer for natural gas if stricter regulations are put in place to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 - a goal set by President Obama. Although lower in carbon than coal, natural gas is still too carbon-intensive to be used under such a target absent some method of carbon capture, the authors of the report concluded.
Energy Net

New Poll Shows That Americans Don't Understand Energy Policy - Ecocentric - TIME.com - 0 views

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    "Energy-never has a political topic had so many bold words expended on it with so little to show. As Jon Stewart pointed out in his usual skewering fashion last week, the last eight American presidents promised to move America off oil and onto renewable energy, and all we have to show for it is increasing dependence on foreign petroleum, rising carbon emissions and an out of control gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. Energy is one of those bipartisan issues that any politician can dust off-usually whenever gasoline prices have gotten a little high-promise to change and then promptly drop until the next crisis. Most of our politicians seem to lack what you'd need to really change how America uses energy: the will to take on the strong fossil fuel lobby and the persistence to see changes through over the long-term.

    But we all bear responsibility for that failure, because we fail to see-and take-the hard choices that would be necessary. We'd rather live in energy fairyland, as a new New York Times/CBS News poll demonstrates. The poll surveyed the attitudes of Americans-with specific attention on Gulf coast residents-toward the oil spill, energy policy, the economy, President Barack Obama and BP. The news is not good for Obama-the economy and employment remain the top concerns of Americans, bigger than the oil spill, but 54% of the public says he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs, and 48% of the public disapproves of his handling of the economy. 60% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track."
Energy Net

Robert J. Samuelson - Obama's energy pipe dreams - 0 views

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    "Just once, it would be nice if a president would level with Americans on energy. Barack Obama isn't that president. His speech the other night was about political damage control -- his own. It was full of misinformation and mythology. Obama held out a gleaming vision of an America that would convert to the "clean" energy of, presumably, wind, solar and biomass. It isn't going to happen for many, many decades, if ever.

    For starters, we won't soon end our "addiction to fossil fuels." Oil, coal and natural gas supply about 85 percent of America's energy needs. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects energy consumption to grow only an average of 0.5 percent annually from 2008 to 2035, but that's still a 14 percent cumulative increase. Fossil fuel usage would increase slightly in 2035 and its share would still account for 78 percent of the total. "
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