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News from April 2009

Suniva CEO: Solar industry closer to grid parity

Suniva CEO: Solar industry closer to grid parity thumbnail

When it comes to the solar industry, the holy grail is achieving “grid parity In about 25 percent of the U.S. today, solar energy-fueled electricity


'Cash for clunkers' kicks in gear

'Cash for clunkers' kicks in gear thumbnail

Program originally pitched to help the environment is getting new life as the White House and automakers see its potential to boost sales. WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) — A congressional effort to subsidize new cars sales for consumers who scrap old ones is gaining momentum, as leaders seek to help the struggling auto industry. So-called cash-for-clunkers legislation […]


Understanding crude oil prices

Understanding crude oil prices thumbnail

The $140/barrel price in the summer of 2008 and the $60/barrel in November of 2008 could not both be consistent with the same calculation of a scarcity rent warranted by long-term fundamentals. What caused the high price of oil in the summer of 2008? In Understanding Crude Oil Prices (NBER Working Paper No. 14492), James […]


A potential breakthrough in harnessing the sun's energy

A potential breakthrough in harnessing the sun's energy thumbnail

New solar thermal technology overcomes a major challenge facing solar power The salts are just fertilizers


Report Ignites Biofuels Debate

Report Ignites Biofuels Debate thumbnail

A new report charges that government subsidies for biofuels aren


Climate Change and Peak Oil as an Actionable Investment Theory

Climate Change and Peak Oil as an Actionable Investment Theory thumbnail

Since Caps is an investment based game it would only make sense to make peak oil applicable as an investment theory. Now I From a specific investment perspective there are a few things to look at here. Commodities become more valuable not only in that they become harder to extract but in that they become […]


$50 billion needed to fix rail transit, study says

$50 billion needed to fix rail transit, study says thumbnail

Many trains, equipment, facilities of largest agencies near end of useful life WASHINGTON – More than one-third of the trains, equipment and facilities of the nation A report by the Federal Transit Administration estimates it will cost $50 billion to bring the rail systems in Chicago, Boston, New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Philadelphia and […]


White House finishes review of ethanol draft rule

White House finishes review of ethanol draft rule thumbnail

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The White House has finished a review of a rule that aims to cut emissions from alternative motor fuels like ethanol, federal environmental regulators said on Thursday. The Office of Management and Budget has completed the review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule and “we will determine what further action to […]


U.S. lawmakers to discuss more government power over grid

U.S. lawmakers to discuss more government power over grid thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on Thursday will consider legislation that would allow the federal government to override state objections to establishing corridors for new electricity transmission lines. The draft proposal from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee would give states one year to provide sites for high-priority national transmission projects. If states do […]


Floating oil lake likely to curb future oil prices

Floating oil lake likely to curb future oil prices thumbnail

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil companies are storing a record volume of oil at sea in giant tankers as world crude supply outstrips demand, and this floating oil lake is now so big that it is likely to keep a lid on prices for some time. Shipping analysts say around 100 million barrels of crude […]


Chrysler files for bankruptcy; inks Fiat deal

Chrysler files for bankruptcy; inks Fiat deal thumbnail

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy on Thursday and announced an industry-changing deal with Fiat, after being pummeled by sliding auto sales and unable to reach agreement on restructuring its debt. Despite weeks of intense negotiations, Chrysler failed to gain full support from its lenders to avoid the first-ever bankruptcy filing by a […]


Gunmen attack Chinese oil installations in southern Iraq

Gunmen attack Chinese oil installations in southern Iraq thumbnail

Unidentified gunmen have destroyed a power station feeding the Ahdab oil field which a Chinese firm is developing. The attack is the first on Ahdad for the development of which the China National Petroleum Corporation had signed a $3 billion contract with Iraq in 2008. The Chinese had only started operations in earnest last month […]


Investors able to prop up $50 oil, for now

Investors able to prop up $50 oil, for now thumbnail

It’s a disconnect that has some oil traders shaking their heads, even while other oil industry pros say the condition is warranted. Oil is sloshing around in global markets, but its price remains relatively high at around $50 per barrel. Case in point: Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, is running out of space to store crude […]


Is food the last thing to worry about?

Is food the last thing to worry about? thumbnail

Our food system is woefully dependent on petroleum, as writers such as Richard Heinberg and Michael Pollan have eloquently pointed out. Soaring food costs have brought on riots in some countries, and in unstable nations, famine continues to be a regular visitor. Fears of empty grocery shelves have made food security the centerpiece of many […]


EPA seizes Crestwood files

EPA seizes Crestwood files thumbnail

Federal agents raided government offices in south suburban Crestwood on Wednesday, less than two weeks after a Tribune investigation revealed the village had secretly pumped drinking water from a polluted well for more than two decades. Acting on a search warrant obtained by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald’s office, investigators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency […]


Ottawa takes aim at coal power

Ottawa takes aim at coal power thumbnail

OTTAWA Ottawa also plans to impose absolute emission caps on utilities’ existing coal-fired power plants and establish a market-based system to allow them to buy credits to meet those targets, Mr. Prentice said. Electricity users in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia would be hit hard by the new rules, as their provinces rely on coal […]


Exxon Has Biggest Profit Drop in 5 Years as Oil Falls

Exxon Has Biggest Profit Drop in 5 Years as Oil Falls thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp., the world Revenue tumbled 45 percent to $64 billion as New York oil futures traded 56 percent lower than a year earlier, the biggest decline on record. Waning demand for petroleum-based fuels pushed U.S. inventories of unused crude to an 18-year high.


Petroleum Marketers Respond to Costco's Attempt To Settle Fair Fuel Suit

Petroleum Marketers Respond to Costco's Attempt To Settle Fair Fuel Suit thumbnail

ARLINGTON, Va. “It is very troubling to me, but it is mostly a PR stunt, at the expense of 160,000 other gasoline retailers,” said Dan Gilligan, president of Petroleum Marketers Association of America, based here. “Installing ATC on retail pumps is not legal in any state, except California, and that is a toss up.” [California […]


Energy Sec. announces $193M for energy research

Energy Sec. announces $193M for energy research thumbnail

GOLDEN, Colo. Also on the administration’s priorty list is making buildings more energy efficient. NREL, in Golden, will get $68 million for an energy-efficient office building, with the goal of creating a design process for use on other construction projects. NREL will also receive $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment to produce […]


U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom

U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom thumbnail

CADDO PARISH, La. — A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas. Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery — known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains […]


Ice Sheet Behavior Much More Volatile And Dynamic Than Previously Thought

Ice Sheet Behavior Much More Volatile And Dynamic Than Previously Thought thumbnail

Fossilised corals from tropical Tahiti show that the behaviour of ice sheets is much more volatile and dynamic than previously thought, a team led by Oxford University scientists has found. Analysis of the corals suggests that ice sheets can change rapidly over just hundreds of years “It


Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling

Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling thumbnail

Norma Fiorentino’s drinking water well was a time bomb. For weeks, workers in her small northeastern Pennsylvania town had been plumbing natural gas deposits from a drilling rig a few hundred yards away. They cracked the earth and pumped in fluids to force the gas out. Somehow, stray gas worked into tiny crevasses in the […]


Brazil slave labor complaints rise

Brazil slave labor complaints rise thumbnail

RIO DE JANEIRO The report


Climate scenarios 'being realised'

Climate scenarios 'being realised' thumbnail

The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting. In a statement in Copenhagen on their six key messages to political leaders, they say there is a increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts. Even modest temperature rises will affect […]


A North American Wind Energy Scenario

A North American Wind Energy Scenario thumbnail

Would a Quantity of Additional Low-Carbon Electricity Required Present electrical consumption is 550 GWa. If the North American countries – Canada, Mexico and the United States – were to replace : – 70% of their oil usage (by replacing over 90% of the oil used for heating and land transportation with electricity and 50% of […]


Chrysler to file for bankruptcy

Chrysler to file for bankruptcy thumbnail

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Chrysler LLC is going to file for bankruptcy, an administration official confirmed to CNN Thursday. The filing comes after some of the company’s smaller lenders refused a Treasury Department demand to reduce the amount of money the troubled automaker owed them. Chrysler officials had no comment on the bankruptcy report. The […]


Tunnel's cost may fool us all

Tunnel's cost may fool us all thumbnail

A professor at Oxford University in England has done a compelling series of studies trying to get at why big public-works projects such as bridges, tunnels and light-rail systems almost always turn out to be far more costly than estimated. …A professor at Oxford University in England has done a compelling series of studies trying […]


Climate crunch: A burden beyond bearing

Climate crunch: A burden beyond bearing thumbnail

The climate situation may be even worse than you think. In 2007, environmental writer Bill McKibben approached climate scientist James Hansen and asked him what atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide could be considered safe. Hansen’s reaction: “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.” After he had mulled it over, Hansen started to suspect […]


French nuclear power plant evacuated in bomb alert

French nuclear power plant evacuated in bomb alert thumbnail

PARIS (Reuters) The nuclear plant was still functioning, EDF added. “We will know at the start of the afternoon (around 1200 GMT) whether there is a bomb or not,” an EDF spokeswoman said by telephone. The local authorities said the phone call warning had been made from a phone box in the town of Chinon […]


Huge ice chunks break away from Antarctic shelf

Huge ice chunks break away from Antarctic shelf thumbnail

Massive ice chunks are crumbling away from a shelf in the western Antarctic Peninsula, researchers said Wednesday, warning that 1,300 square miles of ice But the 127-square-mile (330-square-kilometer) bridge lost two large chunks last year and then shattered completely on April 5. “As a consequence of the collapse, the rifts, which had already featured along […]


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