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October 15 -- Innovation in solar, wind and other renewable power is booming worldwide, especially in China, and is now eclipsing that in fossil fuels — an about-face that occurred in just one generation, new research shows. >>View Article

Friday, 11 October 2013 18:38

Ethanol Promotes Consumer Choice

October 11 -- It is disappointing to read your editorial "The Ethanol Enforcers" (Oct. 8) attacking ethanol producers as well as Sens. Chuck Grassley and Amy Klobuchar. These champions aren't "bullying" oil refiners; they are standing up to the oil-refiner bullies. I support consumer choice. If you want to pay higher prices for gasoline without ethanol, so be it. But the oil industry works overtime to prevent consumers from having access to inexpensive ethanol blends, limiting choice at the pump. The ethanol price discount hasn't been mentioned once in a Journal editorial or article. Nor has the Journal mentioned that the petroleum industry is the recipient of 100 years of industry-specific tax breaks.  >>View Article

October 11 -- The number of patents issued for renewable-energy technologies has risen sharply over the last decade, according to new research from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). The study shows that investments in research and development, as well as in the growth of markets for these products, have helped to spur this dramatic growth in innovation. “We were quite surprised,” says Jessika Trancik, an assistant professor of engineering systems at MIT and a co-author of the new report, published in the journal PLoS ONE. Trancik — working with Luís Bettencourt of SFI and graduate student Jasleen Kaur from Indiana University — created a database of energy-related patents issued in more than 100 countries between 1970 and 2009, using keyword searches of the patents themselves, rather than the classifications assigned by patent offices. In all, the team examined more than 73,000 patents issued for energy-related technologies. >>View Article

October 11 -- Whatever happened to next-generation biofuels? Made from sources like corn stalks or what straw that don’t compete with food, unlike current biofuels, next-generation biofuels were going to be greener and more efficient than corn-based ethanol, which is still the dominant source of biofuel in the U.S. When Congress passed the 2007 energy bill, it expected the country to be producing over 1 billion gallons of next-generation biofuels by 2013. But the advanced biofuel industry has developed far more slowly than lawmakers predicted, leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut the 2013 mandae for cellulosic biofuels to just 4 million gallons—and even that target could be difficult to meet, given that only 142,000 gallons are available now. It’s not that companies don’t know how to make cellulosic ethanol or biofuel from algae. It’s that they’ve struggled to do so cheaply and at a scale large enough to compete with oil. “The technology just hasn’t matured yet,” says Peder Holk Nielsen, the CEO of the Danish biotech company Novozymes, which has been involved in next-generation biofuel research and development for years. “It’s simply been too expensive.”  >>View Article

October 11 -- Daniel Rice takes taxis down long desert roads in Afghanistan’s combat zones to make sales calls. He travels at night, unarmed, and when he’s dropped at the gate of a U.S. military base, soldiers often call Rice crazy before whisking him inside. The former U.S. Army officer is there to sell commanders on something he wishes the military used eight years ago when he served in Iraq and lost friends in attacks on convoys: solar panels. Rice, co-founder of SunDial Capital Partners, tells the officers that his portable solar systems can reduce fuel consumption. “Why are soldiers still dying in fuel convoys when the military could significantly reduce its fuel at remote locations and at the same time save taxpayer dollars?” he asks.  >>View Article

October 11 -- On Thursday Google announced its 13th investment in a clean energy project over a three year period — the clean energy from all of these projects, like solar and wind farms, is enough to power 500,000 (U.S.) homes and Google has put in over $1 billion into these ventures. This time, the project is a large solar panel farm that’s being built in the Imperial County in California, and Google is investing $103 million into it. When fully constructed the solar panel farm, called Mount Signal Solar, will provide 265.7 MW of power, or enough for 80,000 homes. Utility San Diego Gas & Electric will buy all of the power from the project, and the farm is owned and will be operated by Silver Ridge Power (previously called AES Solar).  >>View Article

October 9 -- Colorado's wind-power market and industry are posting strong performances in 2013, according to executives. There are plans for more than 600 megawatts of new wind farms by four Colorado utilities — a 26 percent increase in generation.  >>View Article

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 16:13

A Rebuttal To 'The True Cost Of Wind Power'

October 9 -- The opinion piece in the Ct Mirror by Marc Brown, formerly with the Koch brothers-funded Freedom Works and now the head of an anti-clean energy group that refuses to disclose its funding sources, relies heavily on debunked fossil fuel industry propaganda in its attacks on wind energy. First, Mr. Brown selectively refers to a small section of a 2009 report by the New England grid operator, without revealing that the report also found that deploying large amounts of wind energy would significantly reduce New England’s electricity prices. That finding was confirmed by a 2010 report for the New England grid operator that found obtaining 20 percent of the region’s electricity from wind would drive wholesale electricity prices down by more than 10 percent.  >>View Article

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:50

More Renewable Energy Is In Our Reach

October 9 -- It is time for Michigan to increase our use of renewable resources to generate our electricity. Michigan will meet our current renewable portfolio standard of 10% renewable energy for electrical generation by 2015. Now, the public process, the economics, and the science all support an increased renewable portfolio standard in Michigan. Obtaining 30% of our electricity from renewable sources is within our reach. >>View Article

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:34

Wind Energy A Significant Economic Driver In CO

October 9 -- With 4,000 people employed in 19 facilities plus more than $4 billion of capital investment in the state, the wind-energy industry is a significant economic driver in Colorado. At an event Tuesday in Denver, industry and community leaders discussed the growth potential and benefits associated with future investments. >>View Article

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