Monday, June 25, 2007

Rational behavior would get us rational solutions!

Apparently, Jon Anderson (1980) and Ross Perot (1992) were "too rational" for voters. Instead the best solutions we can come up with (in our polarized, two-party "system") have been fraught with unintended consequences. For an excellent article on how this could possibly be, click, here. And a little humor on this important topic!

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VC-style investments in solar, through DoE!

"The Department of Energy will fund 10 photovoltaic technology start-ups with up to $27 million through a new milestone-based grant program.

Hedging its bets, the department is backing a broad range of early-stage developers, competitors among them, each aiming to reduce the scourge of solar: high cost per watt.

Two recipient companies, Blue Square Energy Inc. and CaliSolar Inc., use cheaper, lower-grade polysilicon to make equally powerful PV cells. Four recipients, Enfocus Engineering Corp., MicroLink Devices Inc., SolFocus Inc. and Solaria Corp., work on increasing efficiency through solar concentration methods. And four: Ava Solar, Plextronics Inc., PrimeStar Solar Inc. and SoloPower Inc., develop technology for thin-film PV modules that avoid expensive polysilicon altogether. Each project will receive between $2 million and $3 million from the DOE through the Photovoltaic Module Incubator program after presenting the energy department with functioning prototypes of its products. The companies also committed to invest about $44 million combined in addition to the federal contribution, mostly coming from financial backers such as venture capitalists.

The DOE evaluated 56 applications in this first round of the program that will make grants every nine months and required that chosen projects are at or near pilot-run stage, scalable through an affordable manufacturing process and are based on significant innovation compared with current products on the market.

"The program is structured around tight milestones, focuses on delivering proof of hardware, and moves quickly," said Craig Cornelius, acting program manager for the DOE's Solar Technologies program.

The DOE would evaluate the progress of its portfolio companies at least every nine months when it would also issue grants to new applicants, he said. The advantage of requiring shipment of hardware samples to the DOE, said Cornelius, is that it 'frees companies from government paperwork to focus on what they do best: tech development.'"

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Next president of the United States?

From Michael Bloomberg: "The politics of partisanship and the resulting inaction and excuses have paralyzed decision-making, primarily at the federal level, and the big issues of the day are not being addressed – leaving our future in jeopardy. We can accept this, or we can say – ‘Enough is enough!’ – and together, build a bright future for our country."

Full text can be found, here.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Best & Worst of Government in Action

The proposed "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007" can be found, here. All 278 pages of it! There are some seriously great aspects of this bill, but the Federal Government is also trying to "legislate capitalism". Meaning, (some parts of it) are simply going to make things worse! (Those unintended consequences again!)


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fighting the good fight... with facts.

If you are searching for deeper understanding of our current energy situation, please visit Lots of great information and insights!