Friday, March 23, 2007

Careful how we approach climate change!

"Climate change is so wildly fashionable now that hardly anybody dares object to measures designed to combat it. But as the costs of such policies rise, that may not last. The more money governments spend on wasteful subsidies, the bigger the backlash is likely to be, and the smaller the chance of sustaining the political will needed to keep the world cool." The whole article.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Energy efficiency solutions: Find a need, then fill it!

Pneu-Logic Corporation is a Portland, Oregon-area company that has figured out how to save companies millions of dollars… by saving lots of energy. They are the “real deal” and worth watching (and supporting)!


Solar on just 0.5% of landmass could produce 100% of our electricity needs.

"According to America's Department of Energy, solar panels could, if placed on about 0.5% of the country's mainland landmass, provide for all of its current electricity needs. Yet since they were first invented more than five decades ago, photovoltaic solar have generated much publicity but little energy. In 2006 photovoltaic systems produced 0.04% of the world's electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

Decades of research have improved the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells from 6% to an average of 15% today, whereas improvements in manufacturing have reduced the price of modules from about $200 per watt in the 1950s to $2.70 in 2004. Within three to eight years, many in the industry expect the price of solar power to be cost-competitive with electricity from the grid." From The Economist.


Biofuels are great, but more is needed

"Most energy experts reckon that using maize-based ethanol as a substitute for petrol can reduce America's demand for petrol by 10-15% at best. As for sugar, its growing value as a biofuel feedstock means that in Brazil, which is now one of the world's largest producers and exporters of ethanol, there is pressure to flatten rainforests to make more room for sugar production. One green objective (reducing dependency on fossil fuels) thus conflicts with another (preserving the environment)." From The Economist.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Check out's Energy blog has started an energy blog, relating to Oregon energy issues, events and solutions. Find it here!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ethanol... ready for prime-time?

Further unintended consequences.... (full article, here.)

"Simple economics dictates that if farmers find it more profitable to grow switchgrass rather than corn, soy or cotton, the price of those commodities is bound to rise in response to falling supply.

'You can produce a lot of ethanol from cellulose without competing with food,' said Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. 'But if you want to get half your fuel supply from it you will compete with food agriculture.'

There may also be ecological impacts.
The government currently pays farmers not to farm about 35 million acres of conservation land, mostly in the Midwest. Those fallow tracts provide valuable habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Though switchgrass is a good home for most birds, if it became profitable to grow it or another energy crop on conservation land some species could decline."

More on food vs. fuel.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keep track of energy costs (commodity prices)

TFC Commodity charts can provide an indication of prices:

- Ethanol - Unleaded gasoline (42,000 units) - Light Crude Oil


Biofuels are a great start...

However, to quote "There simply is not enough spare land in America to grow adequate feedstock for" Mr Bush's 35 billion-gallon bio-fuel target. We need to encourage businesses to focus on alternatives to carbon-based fuels - those that have readily available, sustainable and "free" sources as their base component. (i.e., solar, wave, wind, water.).


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Global supply & demand do their thing.

"In the early part of the decade new production from the former Soviet Union accounted for most of the growth in the world's supply of oil and gas. But when Mr Putin began his campaign to take control of Russia's resources, that growth stalled, just as China's demand for energy was taking off. The present high prices for oil and gas are the result." - The Economist

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