Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 03, 2008
CARBON OFFSETS, PART 2
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and Walmart-Revisited
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
My National Energy Policy-The Declaration of Energy Independence
With energy brought to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness by record high fossil fuel prices and an increasingly unstable Middle East, it is time for the
BETTER SOURCES OF ENERGY
Coal: Right now,
In recent years, significant strides have been made in developing environmentally-friendly methods for turning this resource into power. Low emission (President Bush to the contrary, there are no zero emission) coal gasification technologies, such as the Integrated Gasification-Combined Cycle (IGCC) show great promise, and a program of research and pilot plants should be implemented immediately. Expanded use of coal would significantly in this way would create high-paying jobs in economically troubled areas, clean the environment and enhance our security by displacing foreign resources with domestic ones..
Liquid Natural Gas: While we are weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, we need enhance and more diverse supplies, particularly of natural gas. While it needs to be imported, there are numerous sources available in our own hemisphere and it is the cleanest, most efficient fuel available. No subsidies are required at current or even significantly lower natural gas prices, and recent technological developments will allow transportation without the construction of expensive and potentially dangerous on-shore terminals.
Nuclear: Important concerns remain about the ability to construct safe nuclear facilities, and about nuclear waste disposal. Nonetheless, nuclear can produce enormous amounts of cost-effective, clean energy. We need a significant research effort to explore the safe nuclear energy option.
Harness the True Power of Renewable Energy Sources: Wind, solar and other renewable technologies are today unable to make a significant dent in our energy needs, even with large subsidies. Let’s install these technologies in the limited areas that make sense, and spend the necessary money on research and pilot plants, so that by 2020 these technologies can make a significant contribution to our energy independence, not continually reduce budgets and expenditures in these areas as the Bush administration has done. Research and incentives must include efficiency standards to avoid a repeat of the non-productive incentives and governmental programs of the early 1980’s, and must ensure that the tax shelter abuses of that period are not present..
Ethanol: Even proponents of ethanol concede costs more energy to produce it than it gives back in generation. This fuel only survives thanks to the strength of the farm lobby and the large subsidies they provide for its producers. Ethanol from food products also adversely affects food prices. Research is required to develop efficient technologies that utilize biomass and other waste products, rather than corn, for production, and that produce significantly more energy than they consume. Biomass ethanol, produced from agricultural waste products, is a largely untapped source of renewable fuel that could offset significant amounts of oil usage and result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Start the Fuel Cell Revolution: A long-term plan would expand the use of fuel cell-driven vehicles, with a goal of dramatically reducing the number of gas-guzzling cars on the road. A dedicated research and development plan, with measurable goals and benchmarks is required to
- put 100,000 fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2010 and 2.5 million by 2020.
- Increase R&D funding for hydrogen production and storage, fuel cell technologies, and other advanced alternative vehicles.
- Fund pilot projects to disseminate fuel cell technology and hydrogen infrastructure.
- These should Include energy companies, and not just
automakers: diverse participants will encourage active debate and ensure that this initiative does not hastily prejudge what technologies are up to the challenge. U.S.
- Create an education training partnership with universitites to develop tomorrow’s fuel cell engineers, assemblers, and technicians.
INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND REDUCING WASTE
In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush had nothing to say about increasing energy efficiency and reducing its waste. Enormous energy savings are still available to us.
Raise Fuel Economy Standards for American Cars: The National Academy of Sciences has clearly found that fuel economy standards (known as CAFE) could be raised to perhaps 40 miles per gallon without sacrificing any power or selection in automobiles. Loopholes in these standards and tax benefits for SUV’s need to be eliminated. To encourage the development and purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles, We should have a graduated energy technology research fee-if your vehicle gets less than 10 miles per gallon, you should pay a lot more for your gas, if less than 20 mpg somewhat more, and if your car gets more than 50 miles per gallon, you should pay less than the price at the pump. This fee should fund our clean energy programs-let those who are wasting gas by driving Hummers pay for our clean energy future. In addition, tax incentives should be granted to those buying particularly efficient vehicles.
Provide Incentives to Encourage Higher Fuel Standards: In addition to setting a higher national fuel efficiency standard, we should reward car manufacturers that voluntarily exceed those minimums. Specifically, it would enable domestic auto manufacturers that produce superefficient vehicles – vehicles that exceed the average fuel economy by 20 percent or more – to receive valuable pollution credits, which will make it easier to meet expected new limits on greenhouse gas emissions. (This measure is currently included in the Lieberman-McCain cap-and-trade global warming legislation.)
Reward Efficiency Across the Country: We should institute a system that provides market incentives towards efficient technologies by providing rewards for efficiency gains. For example, the Lieberman/McCain legislation would allow companies to receive money for the averted greenhouse gas emissions achieved by efficiency gains. Technologies that could create these efficiency gains include renewables, Integrated Gasification-Combined Cycle, and nuclear power (if the safety concerns can be addressed).
Encourage “Fuel-Efficient Planning” at the Local Level: A number of communities have adopted infrastructure development strategies for tackling congestion and shortening commuting distances for their residents. We should accelerate this trend by offering a range of supports and incentives to states and municipalities to reduce the amount of miles driven by Americans. For example, it would set up loan programs for families buying homes in high-efficiency locations and increase funding for high-efficiency transit and public transportation programs.
Use New Technologies to Reduce Electricity Demand: Technological advances are already changing the way we use electricity. For example, the city of
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
Reject the False Promise of Arctic Refuge Drilling: The Arctic Refuge won’t provide a drop of oil for 10 years and won’t make a dent in our dependence on foreign oil – all it will do is destroy one of the most precious parts of our natural heritage. This has been the only plank in the Bush energy policy during his entire term, and must be rejected.
Oppose New Drilling on the Outer-Continental Shelf: Despite the deep opposition of residents on the
Stop Any Weakening of Air Quality Standards: Relaxing air quality standards, such as those associated with coal plant modifications, is not necessary to create an efficient and secure energy supply for
(Written by L. Coben and Ambassador R.N. Swett)
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Walmart-The New Energy Conservation Leader? Are the New Bulbs the Thing?
The gift bag, in addition to a very non-environmentally packaged Eagles Greatest Hits double CD, included one of these products, compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use 25% of the energy of standard incandescent bulbs, last for five years, and save roughly $35 in energy costs over that period ($7 per year). Each bulb costs about $5, ten times that of a standard bulb, though Walmart claims it will have the price down to $3 shortly.
I tried the light-it is a very soft fluorescent, not that different from the incandescent, and not like that found in department stores and offices. And there was plenty of light to read by. So my recommendation: BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!
I think it will be difficult to persuade people to pay ten times for a light bulb in spite of the energy savings, but they should. Unlike the long return time of so-called environmental products such as the Prius and solar energy which have paybacks of several years, if ever, THESE BULBS PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR. I dont know very many investments with that short a payback (if you do, please contact me). The per bulb price should not preclude that many people from buying it, and hopefully Walmart will continue to drive the price down. In the meantime, lets publicize those savings!!!
Offsetting this wonderful advance is Walmart's organic cotton program. We were shown a movie of a cotton field in Turkey, during which a Walmart executive said children are working in the fields because it is a cultural honor. PLEASE, YOU CANT BELIEVE THIS. EXPLOITATIVE CHILD LABOR IS EXPLOITATIVE CHILD LABOR in every culture. This must be stopped.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
OUR FIRST CONTEST-RENAME "CLEAN EDGE"
So here's the contest-come up with the best name for the new Democratic plan, which can be found at http://democrats.senate.gov/energy/cleanedge/
My entry is Declaration of Energy Independence 2006. The winner gets a free tank of gasoline, which is more savings that you will ever see from this plan. I know this is bad policy (see my discussion of GM and Ford below), but I promise to get the winning entry to Senator Harry Reid, and who knows, it might help get a policy passed. So send those entries now!!
The New Democratic Energy Plan- Simply Sausage
When you design a horse by comittee you get a camel. When you write a policy by committee, you get sausage-all the parts mixed together and you have no idea what you are eating. And why does everything have to wait until 2020-why should we have goals for 2008???
Boo of the Month I:Gas Rebates from GM and Ford-Bad Cars, Worse Policy
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Repeal the Ethanol Tariff!
Stupid Energy Quote Award-to Nancy Pelosi
Monday, May 01, 2006
The $100 Gas Rebate-What's Next, A Happy Meal?
Not that the Democrats have done any better. They wanted a larger $500 rebate or suspension of the 18.4 cent per gallon tax. Of course, Democrats haven't had an energy policy since Jimmy Carter!
If we want to do something in the short term to help people who are truly hurt byrising prices and can't gasoline, fine. But lets accompany it with a real policy that will change the supply/demand dynamic rather than another band aid which will only prolong our insatiable oil appetite.
Keep Our Environment Dirty-Ethanol, MTBE and Waiving the Environmental Rules
Saturday, April 08, 2006
NY's Dirty Power Secret
Kennedys Kill Clean Power Project
Monday, March 27, 2006
Offshore Oil Royalties and Tar Sands-who need's incentives?
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Kudos to Corzine, China
China last week announced plans to raise existing taxes or impose new ones on gas guzzling cars and trucks, bigger taxes on cars with large engines, and lower taxes on those with small ones. Perhaps China is adopting the Declaration of Energy Independence? If China can do it, why can't the United States?
Monday, March 20, 2006
Cleaning up Coal Plants-Increasing Power Costs?
Industry folks are crying that the decision will result in higher prices to consumers. And the foxes are crying that locking the henhouse at night is bad for the hens. In those jurisdictions with competitive electricity pricing, that price is generally set by the marginal cost of gas, and this decision wont change that. Power companies' costs will increase andprofits will be reduced, but consumers wont see any impact. In regulated jurisdictions, there will be some small incremental price increases, but these will be passed through over an extended period of time.
The decision also points to a weakness in the Clean Air Act. If we want to clean up coal plants, we should simply legislate that requirement and get it done, and not allow the timing of these decisions to rest with the private sector. I'll be writing a longer commentary shortly on the different ways to achieve this goal.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Happy Wind Farmer
Pakistani Alternative Energy??? Is Bodman kidding?
Saturday, February 11, 2006
George Bush-Coal Miner's Son (An Op-Ed response to the State of the Union-published in Manchester Union Leader, 2/7/06)
George Bush, of the Oil-wellian Bush family, had an epiphany last night in his State of the Union address.
Mr. Bush says let’s cut our
Mr. Bush announced that “the best way to break this addiction is through technology”. He announced a “22% increase” in clean energy research. Based on his own figures of what has been spent ($10 billion over 5 years), this is a whopping extra $440 million a year – peanuts compared to the $36 billion of profits Exxon reported last year. And in fact Mr. Bush is cutting renewable energy research in the Department of Energy! How is this miniscule amount supposed to compete with the massive oil company profits? Why forfeit our energy futures to these companies? We need to be funding a space race, not a snail’s pace, for clean energy.
While Mr. Bush begins to talk the talk for the first time, neither his track record nor his proposals walk the walk. The industries that benefit from his lackluster energy policies are oil, gas and ethanol. His primary proposal on energy was to drill for more oil in
Mr. Bush clearly wants to talk the renewable game, but, in the guise of funding research, take no action to wean
First: coal. We have enough coal to supply American energy needs for 200 plus years. The authors have been advocating for clean coal technologies for years. Let’s begin a massive program not just of research, but clean coal installations. If we need to subsidize technology, let’s support one that powers
Second: liquid natural gas. Yes, it needs to be imported, but there are numerous sources in our own hemisphere and it is the cleanest, most efficient fuel available. And, no subsidies are required at current or even significantly lower natural gas prices.
Third: nuclear. We retain concerns about the ability to construct safe facilities, and about nuclear waste disposal. Nonetheless, nuclear can produce enormous amounts of cost-effective, clean energy. We need a significant research effort to explore the safe nuclear energy option.
Fourth: wind, solar, ethanol and other renewable technologies. Sadly, today, these are unable to make a significant dent in our energy needs, even with large subsidies. Let’s install these technologies in the limited areas that make sense and spend the necessary money on research and pilot plants so that by 2020 they can make a contribution to our energy independence.
Lastly: conservation. On this subject the President had nothing to say. But conservation measures can still play a critical role in our energy future. We need to increase CAFÉ (mile per gallon) standards dramatically and eliminate loopholes for SUV’s. We should have a graduated gas fee – if your vehicle gets less than 10 miles per gallon you should pay a lot more for your gas, if less than 20 mpg somewhat more, and if your car gets more than 50 mpg, you should pay the least of all. This money could fund our clean energy programs. Let those who are wasting gas by driving Hummers pay for our clean energy future.
Mr. Bush, if you want to cure the oil addiction and free