General

Renewable Energy Killing Birds

With both horizontal wind turbine and solar concentrator installations, it is being made clear by the powers that be – including our Federal Government – that the lives of birds are less important than the electricity these installations are generating.  It is sad to realize this is a common attitude among renewable energy advocates and is not universally accepted by everyone in the industry.  There are other options both for wind and solar that do not kill birds and ETC will continue to install those technologies though they are not as profitable.  The public needs to understand this issue is not a black and white decision where a vote for renewable energy is a vote to kill birds.  Rather, there are renewable energy technologies where bird kills are virtually non-existent. We will continue to lobby against these mega installations and hope others will join in the fight. ————— Background: Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version. ————— The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) announced it was suing the Obama administration for finalizing a rule that would allow wind farms to kill eagles for up to 30 years. The bird group says that the new rule violates existing federal laws....

Scotland is going 100% Green by 2020

By Juan Cole | Dec. 20, 2013 | Glasgow is the city of the future, not Phoenix. Scotland has a population of about 5.3 million, a little more than the US state of Arizona. But the resemblance stops there. Arizona’s state government is backward-looking, roiled by racial politics, contemptuous of higher education, and a climate laggard, dirtying up the atmosphere and causing its state’s own increasing desertification. Last year, Scotland got 40% of its electricity from renewables, up from 24% in 2010. Arizona gets 9 percent of its electricity from renewables, despite vast solar potential that completely dwarfs that of Scotland. Almost all Arizona renewable energy is hydroelectric. About 35% of Arizona electricity is from coal, the dirtiest possible source. A similar proportion comes from natural gas, also a big source of carbon dioxide emissions. Arizona has a pitiful plan to be at 15% renewables by 2025, which is the sort of goal that dooms the earth. Scotland is planning to get 50% of its electricity from wind, solar, wave and hydro in 2015, and is going for 100% green energy in 2020. Scotland is planning to get 50% of its electricity from wind, solar, wave and hydro in 2015, and is going for 100% green energy in 2020. About 12% of Scottish power is from hydro-electric, just slightly more than Arizona. The share of Scottish electricity produced by nuclear plants has fallen from 50% to 34%, and the Scottish government has no plans to build new nuclear plants. The Scottish public is on board with the government’s plans. Scots don’t mind dams or solar panels or wind turbines....
Why the Peak Oilers are still right

Why the Peak Oilers are still right

  By Richard Heinberg The piece is excerpted from the new book Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future. We’re running low on cheap oil. For the past decade I’ve been a participant in a high-stakes energy policy debate — writing books, giving lectures, and appearing on radio and television to point out how downright dumb it is for America to continue relying on fossil fuels. Oil, coal, and natural gas are finite and depleting, and burning them changes Earth’s climate and compromises our future. In the past two or three years this debate has reached a significant turning point. Evidence that climate change is real and caused by human activity has become irrefutable, and serious climate impacts (such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap) have begun appearing sooner, and with greater severity, than had been forecast. Yet at the same time, the notion that fossil fuels are supply-constrained has gone from being generally dismissed, to being partially accepted, to being vociferously dismissed. The increasingly dire climate story has achieved widespread (though still insufficient) coverage, but the puzzling reversals of public perception regarding fossil fuel scarcity or abundance have received little analysis outside the specialist literature. Yet claims of abundance are being used by the fossil fuel industry to change the public conversation about energy and climate, especially in the United States, from one of “How shall we reduce our carbon emissions?” to “How shall we spend our new-found energy wealth?” This is an insidious and misleading tactic. The abundance argument is based not so much on solid data (though oil and gas production figures have indeed surged in the United States) as on exaggerations about future production...

DOD Opens NV Lands for Renewables

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. will give wind- and solar- energy companies access to 16 million acres of federal land previously set aside for military testing and training. The Interior and Defense departments agreed to encourage energy development on the public lands, which may contribute to the generation of 10,000 megawatts of solar power in the U.S. Southwest, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said today a conference call. “This agreement is going to help save the taxpayers billions of dollars in fuel costs, increase our national security and help protect the environment,” Reid said. President Barack Obama is supporting alternative energy as a way to diversify away from oil and reduce the need for crude imports from the Middle East. Republicans including presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the administration for slowing energy development on federal...

Island nation of Kiribati moves due to rising seas

By Sarah Parsons 2012-03-07 01:42 PM The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is moving up in the world — but not in the good way. The small country is looking to relocate to higher ground in order to escape rising seas brought on by climate change. Some of Kiribati’s 32 coral atolls have already started to disappear beneath the waves. President Anote Tong and his countrymen fear that continued sea level rise will wipe their civilization out entirely unless they relocate to Fiji lickety-split. Tong is reportedly in discussions with Fiji’s military government to buy 5,000 acres of land on the country’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. “This is the last resort, there’s no way out of this one,” Mr Tong said. “Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages.” Depending on when Kiribati makes its big move, the country could be the world’s first modern climate-induced migration. Becoming a climate refugee is bad enough, but what’s worse is that Kiribati is one of the greenest nations on the planet. The island boasts only 113,000 people and scant industry, so its carbon footprint is a teensy speck compared to greenhouse gas-spewing powerhouses like China and the U.S. And in 2010, Tong closed a whopping 150,000 square miles of sea to fishing in an effort to give the world’s struggling ocean ecosystems a much-needed break. How’s that for taking one for the (global) team? Kiribati illustrates a sad-but-true trend happening across the globe: Nations that have little to do with spurring climate change are often some of the hardest hit by its disastrous...

Molycorp Making Rare Earth Products

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Nov 28, 2011 Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP) (Molycorp), Daido Steel Co., Ltd. (Daido), and Mitsubishi Corporation (Mitsubishi) today announced the formation of a joint venture to manufacture and sell next-generation neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent rare earth magnets. The joint venture will manufacture sintered NdFeB permanent rare earth magnets with technology licensed from Intermetallics, Inc., a partnership between Mitsubishi, Daido, and Dr. Masato Sagawa, co-inventor of the NdFeB magnet. The capital contribution ratio of the newly formed company will be 30.0% by Molycorp, 35.5% by Daido, and 34.5% by Mitsubishi. The joint venture will be financed by the three shareholders and by a government subsidy sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). The joint venture plans to construct an initial 500 metric-ton-per-year magnet manufacturing facility in Nakatsugawa, Japan (Gifu Prefecture), with operations expected to commence by January 2013. The companies expect to begin work on the new facility next month and eventually expand operations in the U.S. and elsewhere. The technology to be used by the joint venture is a new and novel approach that does not depend on the use of patents held by other magnet companies. The technology allows for the manufacture of permanent rare earth magnets that deliver greater performance with less reliance on dysprosium, a relatively scarce rare earth. The process also results in higher production yields. Made with the rare earths neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium (or terbium), NdFeB magnets are the world’s most powerful permanent magnets and are key components in many advanced technologies, including high-performance motors used in the power trains of electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and wind power...

Australia Votes in Carbon Credits

This is a historic moment. Australia’s Parliament has put the nation’s first carbon price into law. With this vote, the world has turned a pivotal corner in the collective effort to solve the climate crisis. This success is the result of the tireless work of an unprecedented coalition that came together to support the legislation, the leadership of Prime Minister Gillard, and the courage of legislators to take a vote that helps to safeguard the future of all Australians. I have spent enough time in Australia to know that their spirit of independence as a people cannot be underestimated. As the world’s leading coal exporter, there’s no doubt that opposition to this legislation was fierce. But through determination and commitment, the voice of the people of Australia has rung out loud and clear. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we do everything we can to ensure that this legislation is...

Japan Approves National Feed-in Tariff

By Steve Leone, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com Japan positioned itself as the next large growth market for renewable energy Friday as the upper chamber of parliament approved legislation that will create a national feed-in tariff. The new law is expected to bolster solar, wind and geothermal projects by mandating that utilities buy power from renewable sources at above-market rates. The law will go into effect next year, but details about the pricing structure have yet to be determined. The legislation also prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who made passage of the bill a precondition to his departure. Kan has been under heavy pressure to resign as criticism has mounted over his handling of the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. As anger grew, so has the call for the country’s leaders to move away from nuclear power and replace it with renewable energy. According to a recent poll, 74 percent were in favor of a gradual phase out of nuclear power plants, 11 percent called for an immediate end and 13 percent thought there was no need to alter policy. Japan currently gets about 9 percent of its power from renewable sources compared to 30 percent from the nuclear industry. The country has 54 nuclear reactors, but only 15 are currently in operation. That has forced the country to cut down dramatically on consumption this summer – with a drop of about nine percent compared to 2010, according to the Federation of Electric Power Companies. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, Japan had 2.3 gigawatts of wind power...
Think – Not!

Think – Not!

Tiny electric car maker Think Global AS filed for bankruptcy today in its home market of Norway after attempts to keep the company going through recapitalization and restructuring failed, the company said in a statement. It is the fourth time Think has collapsed financially in its 20-year history. “We needed some additional funding and although we had interested investors they were not able to come to the table quickly enough,” Think spokesman James Andrew told Automotive News Europe. He declined to say how much cash Think sought to remain operating, but industry sources say the company would have needed multiple millions to keep going. The future options for Think include a liquidation of its assets or the sale of the company to a new investor. EV’s and Hybrids are not our Future Read more:...

“Eco Hero” Daryl Hannah-Tree Hugger’s Ball

  From co-founding the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance to her civil disobedience arrest at a West Virginia mountaintop removal strip-mine, Daryl Hannah’s “off the grid” lifestyle and activism make her the perfect speaker & role model for OC residents wanting to “go green” at the Tree Hugger’s Ball on June 11th in Silverado Canyon. The OC’s favorite family eco festival, the Tree Hugger’s Ball & Green Expo, features an environmental expo, local art show, silent auction, guest speakers, no host bar, along with 7 hours of live music and dancing under a canopy of Oaks & Sycamores in scenic Silverado Canyon. BBQ or Vegetarian dinner can be purchased at the event. This year’s guests will be entertained with music of Appalachia & Bluegrass by Lilies of the West and “DNA”, Grateful Dead cover tunes of “Skull & Roses” and an evening Environmental Blues concert with ‘Common Sense’ lead singer Nick Hernandez and his special BLUES team! Nick and the Wyland Blues Planet were also featured in this year’s Doheny Blues Fest! Guest speaking at the TreeHuggr’s this year will be Transition Laguna’s sustainability expert Chris Prelitz, and arriving in her ‘veggie powered’ El Camino, LA’s outstanding “off the grid” celebrity, DARYL HANNAH! A tribute to the life and activism of West Virginia’s ‘Coal Country’ star, Judy Bonds, will take place onstage with lovely voices of Appalachia, followed by reflections of close friends, Dennis McHale and Daryl Hannah. Along with other environmental festivities, manufacturers of green products and services will be exhibiting at our event. Last year our expo presented fuel efficient, biodiesel & veggie cars, alternative energy, nutrition & native...