Climate & Energy

A revolt against ethanol?

NYT: Consumers are complaining about ethanol-spiked gasoline

As ethanol continues to insinuate itself into the fuel supply — propelled by a slew of government goodies — ordinary folks are getting fed up, …

Efficiency first! Part two

The urgency to begin CO2 reduction via efficiency

If what you want to do is solve global warming, the core strategy is energy efficiency. Efficiency may have displaced more than half of all the new growth in electric consumption last year alone. It is already adding more capacity to the U.S. electric resource than all fossil and renewable fuels combined. It has done so for almost forty years, at least. So raising it enough to eliminate the new growth and some of the existing growth is not only fairly practical, it is cheaper than keeping the old coal plants operating.

Solar baseload update

Solar thermal expected to double every 16 months for the next five years

Solar baseload, concentrated solar thermal electric (with a few hours of storage), is a core climate solution. Earth Policy Institute has a useful update with lots of data,"Solar Thermal Power Coming to a Boil" (reprinted below). Key factoid: With concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) capacity expected to double every 16 months over the next five years, worldwide installed CSP capacity will reach 6,400 megawatts in 2012-14 times the current capacity. You can find the existing large solar baseload plants and the 50 or so currently proposed solar baseload plants here. EPI has an astonishing goal of "cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020," with a goal of 200,000 MW of solar baseload worldwide. I think the solar baseload goal is doable, but the carbon goal makes me a techno-pessimist -- heck, it makes Al Gore a techno-pessimist. Here is the update by Jonathan G. Dorn: Note: The rest of this post is the EPI article.

Deadlock, stock, and oil barrel

Congress hopes to break energy deadlock before August recess — but don’t hold your breath

Members of Congress are desperate to pass anything something on energy this week before August recess begins on Friday and they head home to face …

Houston, we have a solution?

Four encouraging signs from Big Oil’s backyard

After Nerdi Gras (Netroots Nation), I took a couple days off to dry-out and trotted over to Houston to visit my parents. It came as no surprise that Houston is booming due to the skyrocketing price of oil. But I also learned a few surprising things that gave me hope that brighter days are ahead for the rest of us well. Because if Houston can get it right, who can't?

'Rolling in it'

Sierra Club ads defend Dems who are ‘standing strong against Big Oil’

The Sierra Club rolled out a new radio ad campaign this weekend that aims to defend Democrats who are being hammered for not supporting efforts …

Energy-smart Debbie

One of the more impressive speakers I saw at Netroots Nation was Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook, who spoke on the Energize America panel with …

Breakfast with Bingaman

Sen. Bingaman talks climate and energy with reporters

“Getting a cap-and-trade program enacted is going to be a heavy lift,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) told a group of reporters over breakfast this morning. …

California dreamin'

Energy efficiency, part 3

This series is based in part on this Salon article: "Why we never need to build another polluting power plant." Energy efficiency is by far the biggest low-carbon resource available, and it is as limitless as wind, PV, and solar baseload. It is also the cheapest power you can buy, by far. California has cut annual peak demand by 12 GW -- and total demand by about 40,000 GWh -- over the past three decades. The cost of efficiency programs has averaged 2-3 cents per kW -- which is about one-fifth the cost of electricity generated from new nuclear, coal, and natural gas-fired plants. And, of course, energy efficiency does not require new power lines and does not generate greenhouse gas emissions or long-lived radioactive waste.