Monday, September 24, 2007

New York Solar Energy Industries Association

Here's an interesting advocacy and eduacational organization, based in New York State, working to advance the uses of solar energy. Look at the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) web site here and click here to join their group.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Industrial Consumers Change Their Position on Competitive Markets

This article from the Allentown, Pennsylvania Morning Call reports that some large industrial electricity consumers are now opposed to the same competitive wholesale electricity markets which they had strongly supported in the late 1990's. The article noted that company officials from Allegheny Technologies are considering whether to expand their current Pittsburgh operations, or move to another state where there are no competitive electricity markets; industrial energy customers such as Allegheny Technologies were among the first and most forceful advocates of ending the state's traditional regulatory control over the electric industry in favor of determining electricity prices by market forces. However, these same customers now believe that a basic element of the structure of the competitive markets - marginal pricing - is responsible for their increased energy costs.

Read the full article here

Friday, September 21, 2007

Question Mark Surrounding Biofuels

There's a great rush to develop biofuels as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, but the excitement may be tempered by reports like this one, which raises questions about the way biofuels affect the environment. A scientist, Nobel prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen, has recently shown that microbes responsible for the production of biofuels may create more nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertilizer than previously thought. Since N2O is greenhouse gas, the implication is that biofuels may actually contribute more to global warming. A scientist from Princeton disputes the findings.

Read the full story here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Revolutionary Heating Tube

How this 12-inch miracle tube could halve heating bills

This story from the English newspaper, The Daily Mail, describes a new invention (which scientists have yet to explain) which produces more heat than electricity put into it. The company that designed the heating tube hopes to have a product on the market in 18 months.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FERC Staff Issues Assessment of Demand Response Programs

FERC Staff reported that the level of and interest in electric demand response and advanced metering increased significantly beyond the activities discussed in its 2006 Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering. Demand response activities reduce electricity demand during periods of peak usage in response to price, monetary incentives, or utility directives; demand reductions from these activities helped to ensure reliable operation of electric markets during the record-setting peaks of July and August 2006. Advanced metering technologies can enhance an electric customer’s ability to reduce demand in response to a higher price and an electric utility’s ability to meter and monitor the customer’s electricity use.

2007 FERC Staff Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering

Kansas Utility Adopts Climate Change Policy

Westar Energy, the largest electric utility in the state of Kansas, adopted a formal policy entitled the Westar Energy Climate Change Policy. This policy provides the company with a framework within which to make decisions that affect the environment, along with a set of principles that outline actions Westar Energy will take regarding climate change, including efforts reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, educating the public about climate change and energy efficiency and supporting constructive public policies and initiatives.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mobile Homes has an interesting site, with a forum page devoted to alternative energy. They also feature a 3-part article on building a solar air heater, as a heating supplement. Finally, they have a page title Renewable Energy Source where they offer $20 to tell them (and show them with photos) about how you made your mobile home a little bit greener.

Friday, September 7, 2007

After the Bust, What's the Next Boom?

This entry from Green Energy News is ostensibly about a new technique for growing algae as feedstock for biofuels.

But it opens with an interesting historical speculation: That the American economy goes through regular boom and bust cycles. The last boom/bust cycle was the dot com bubble. The current impending bust revolves around a housing bubble fueled by unwise lending practices.

The author here speculates the next boom (which must also bust) will revolve around clean, green and alternative energy.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Better Than a Battery?

This article reports a claim by a company that has filed a patent on a device it says will take a charge fast, distribute it fast or slow as needed, and will revolutionize transportation and who knows what else. Many are skeptical of the claim, and the company has yet to reveal its wonder, but the story may be worth keeping on the radar screen.

Texas Startup Says It Has Batteries Beat

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Efforts to Re-Regulate Power Markets

The New York Times reports, in "A New Push to Regulate Power Costs," that many states are rolling back their initiatives or returning money to individuals and businesses; the article reports on specific efforts in Illinois, Ohio and Virginia. The article states that Energy Department data shows that the cost of power in states that embraced competition has risen faster than in states that had retained traditional rate regulation. One advocate of publicly owned power systems has calculated that, in the 2006-2007 Power Year, customers in competitive states paid an extra $48 billion for their power than they would have paid under rates in regulated states; further, the total real cost to consumers in states with competition was $292 billion in higher electricity prices since 2000. The article notes that since the early 1990s, 25 states adopted laws to induce some form of competition, but that most of these laws only address wholesale markets, and thus artificially induced competition in only part of the industry.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

New Alternatives

In the Washington Post there's a story, Beyond Wind and Solar, A New Generation of Clean Energy, which discusses new projects in the US to harness energy creatively.

"Beyond solar power and wind, which is America's most developed renewable-energy sector, a host of companies are exploring a variety of more obscure technologies. Researchers are trying to come up with ways to turn algae into diesel fuel. In landfills, startups are attempting to wring energy out of waste such as leaves, tires and "car fluff" from junked automobiles.

"This push for lesser-known renewables [...] also includes geothermal, solar thermal and tidal energy..."

The story mentions that the House placed a requirement in its energy bill last month that by 2020 15% of the private energy supply come from alternative energy sources. The article also profiles efforts by a Canadian company with a factory in Oregon designing test buoys to harness the energy of ocean waves.

Read full story here.