Energy and Global Warming News for November 23rd: Massachusetts clears Cape Wind for construction; Simple discoveries could enhance wind turbine efficiency by 18%; Saving energy with a ‘slow wall’

Massachusetts clears Cape Wind for construction start

The last regulatory hurdle for the start of construction of the first U.S. offshore wind project was overcome today with the approval by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) of the 15-year Power Purchase Agreement with National Grid to buy half of Cape Wind’s energy, capacity and renewable energy credits.

However, the DPU did not approve a second agreement for the other 50 percent of the project’s power. That agreement would have allowed National Grid to assign the remaining portion of Cape Wind’s power to another customer under the same financial terms. The DPU’s refusal could hurt Cape Wind as the company seeks financing for the proposed 130 turbine project.

The decision culminates a comprehensive six-month review of unprecedented scope, including 13 days of evidentiary hearings. This approval comes on the heels of significant Cape Wind project announcements that locate the creation of over 1,000 new manufacturing, staging, assembly, construction, and operations jobs in Massachusetts. In addition, Siemens has opened its North American Offshore Wind office in Boston because of Cape Wind.

Cape Wind will be rated to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power with 130 turbines each producing up to 3.6 megawatts. Maximum expected production will be 454 megawatts. Average expected production will be 170 megawatts which is almost 75 percent of the 230 megawatt average electricity demand for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Cape Wind will be 5.2 miles from Point Gammon, a private island in South Yarmouth, 5.6 miles from Cotuit, 6.5 miles from Craigville Beach on Cape Cod. Cape Wind will be 9.3 miles from Oak Bluffs and 13.8 miles from the town of Nantucket. Cape Wind will be farther away from the nearest home than any other electricity generation facility in Massachusetts.

Simple discoveries could enhance wind turbine’s efficiency by 18 percent

Even though the cost of wind power is in a continuous drop since 2008, more and more researchers aim for reducing it more while at the same time enhancing the efficiency. A couple of teams from the Syracuse University and the University of Minnesota have a few ideas about how to improve wind turbines by modding their blades and how the air flows on them.

One of the approaches, developed by a team from Syracuse (Guannan Wang, Basman El Hadidi, Jakub Walczak, Mark Glauser and Hiroshi Higuchi), estimates the airflow over the blade surfaces and passes the information to a computer that regulates the blades’ angle in real time to increase efficiency, just like an airplane does the opposite to move faster or slower.

Their simulations showed that if the flow control is applied on the outboard side of the blade, beyond the half radius, the operational range of the wind turbine could significantly be increased, without affecting the overall power output.

The researchers at the University of Minnesota (Roger Arndt, Leonardo P. Chamorro and Fotis Sotiropoulos)dealt with another issue of wind: the resistance of the blades to the incoming airflow. They placed tiny triangular-shaped grooves in a coating applied on the blades. Being very shallow (40 to 225 microns), they can’t be seen by the naked eye, but still remain perfectly smooth to the touch. This micro-grooves approach gave the turbines another 3 percent efficiency, which is much if we think about the numbers on a global scale.

World’s largest biodiesel plant starts production in Singapore

Neste Oil has started production at its biodiesel plant in Singapore, the world’s largest with an annual capacity of 800,000 tons. The plant will produce the NExBTL diesel which, according to the company reduces the carbon emissions by 40 to 80 percent depending on the percentage blending with the conventional diesel.

The biodiesel from the plant can be either blended with the conventional diesel or used directly. The company claims that the biodiesel is compatible with the all the diesel engines currently in use. Neste Oil is building a similar plant in Rotterdam, The Netherlands which should be ready by Q2 2011.

The plant uses either vegetable oil or a mixture of oils and residual animal fats from the food industry. The basic principle used in producing biodiesel is esterification (or transesterification). In commercial production of biodiesel, fatty acids (found in plant-derived oils, animals fats and greases) are made to react with an alcohol (usually methanol) with potassium hydroxide (or other hydroxide) as catalyst.

It is clear that a greater concentration of fatty acids in any raw material would increase the output of biodiesel. Plant-derived oils like rapeseed oil are rich in fatty acids and can be directly used for producing biodiesel through transesterification. The animal fats, however, have lower fatty acid content and thus they are first treated with alcohol to generate an ester and then the resulting ester is treated with another ester in a replacement reaction to get biodiesel.

RavenSkin nanotech walls stores sun’s energy for later

One of my favorite science fiction ideas is in a short story called Light of Other Days about something called “slow glass.” Light took decades to pass through. In this story, the idea was that people could buy glass windows that took so long for the light to pass through, that they could nostalgically watch long gone scenes, such as their children playing outside as toddlers long after they had gone off to college, or green fields with horses where now ugly cities grew.

Here is a concept that is similar. Instead of slow windows, it is slow walls. RavenBrick has made a nanotech wall that can slow down the day’s heat coming into a building. Using phase-changing material at the molecular level, you get to transfer the warmth of the sun’s heat from the afternoon well into the night.

RavenBrick makes several clean tech materials for building that greatly reduce energy needs, most notably windows that turn off the sun, like Sage Electrochromics windows do. The one that is new to me is this “slow wall”. They claim that their glass-clad Smart Wall: RavenSkin could literally reduce your heating bill to zero! (Coupled with good building design, of course, you can’t expect a zero bill if you put leaky windows in their wall!)

Their wall can delay solar heat gain from hot afternoons, to later that night, when you need it more. This helps regulate the internal temperatures of buildings. It has excellent R-values to begin with (R-11 or more) so it insulates like a normal wall limiting the conduction and convection of heat.

The magic – or science fiction – part is achieved by converting incoming sunlight to infrared, and then directing the flow of energy inward only when you want it to come through the walls. The problem with super well-insulated buildings is that sometimes you do want the suns heat getting in, and regular insulated walls are dumb walls that don’t know when to send the heat in and when to shut it out.

Study – RES would provide $14 billion for farming, forestry

The agriculture and forestry sectors would gain $14 billion in revenue by 2025 under a national renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to generate 25 percent of their power through wind, solar, biofuels and efficiency improvements, according to a new study from the University of Tennessee.

An RES would create an overall boost of $215 billion in economic activity, create 700,000 jobs and add $84 billion to U.S. gross domestic product, the study says. The increase in bioenergy feedstock to meet the standard would not disrupt major crop and livestock prices, according to the study. But an RES would not lower carbon emissions from agricultural lands compared to either current policy or a scenario with compensation for limiting carbon emissions from land use, the report says.

The study was requested by the 25x’25 coalition, a group of organizations pushing for meeting a quarter of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2025. Under a scenario that includes carbon payments with an RES, agriculture and forestry gain revenue worth $57 billion as compared to the current baseline, and there would be a reduction of 76 million tons of carbon dioxide, the study found. Under that policy, however, feedstock prices would rise by about $6 per dry ton to $51 per dry ton.

The middle of the country has the most to gain from an RES or an RES with carbon payments, but the East Coast and the Southeast also would see some benefits, according to the study. The West, except for parts of California and Washington, would experience the least gain, it says.

National lab develops grid controls to handle renewable energy

In an experimental control room at the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), small blips dart left and right on a display screen, recording distant signals from key points on the Western high-voltage grid at 30 times each second. Should the blips migrate past a security boundary on the display, an alarm would immediately warn that the grid was in jeopardy.

Such an early alert could have helped operators avoid the 1996 Western power blackout, which knocked out 30,000 megawatts of power — equivalent to darkening 30 cities the size of Seattle. The advanced monitors in PNNL’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC) could also have averted or at least minimized the 2003 Northeast blackout, which cut off power to 50 million people, says Carl Imhoff, PNNL’s electricity infrastructure manager. “You would have seen Cleveland beginning to pull away from the rest of the system” more than an hour before the final cascading power loss, he explained.

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power now make the grid operators’ world more complex. The looming emergence of electric vehicles and the need for ways to store more electricity and to get electricity consumers to reduce peak demands will add still more complexities, Imhoff said. “The grid is going to be changing a lot over the next 10 years. We want to anticipate that and to some extent, to guide it. Right now, I think we’re kind of backing into the future,” he said.

PNNL’s ambitious aim is to manage at least some of that future by investing in innovations like the EIOC, and then carrying technology advances into the marketplace with its industry partners, its leaders say. The result is a federal laboratory, funded by Congress, that seeks solutions in areas of climate policy, renewable energy integration and electric vehicles — areas on which a clear political consensus has not been reached in Washington.

India’s largest oil & gas company to invest millions in renewable energy R&D

The state-owned Indian oil and gas company, ONGC, has announced that it will invest about $110.5 million to promote research and development of renewable energy sources. The announced was made by the company chairman at a summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is Asia’s largest oil exploration and production company. It has 77 percent share in the Indian oil production market and 81 percent share in the natural gas production sector. The company is actively involved in exploration of oil and natural gas in several parts of India. A subsidiary, ONGC Videsh takes care of the international business overseas. It has high value stakes in oil and gas fields in countries like Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Sudan. It is believed that it will also partner with a Russian firm to bid for rights to explore the Arctic for hydrocarbon reserves.

This rosy picture, however, fails to bring profits for the company. Due to the government’s intervention, the oil and gas proces remained low for the past several years. So while the companies imported oil at international prices the government maintained lower domestic prices in order to shield the people from inflation; therefore all the state-owned companies operated in heavy losses for several years. Only recently did the government loosen its grip on the pricing mechanism and allowed the companies to decide domestic prices according to the international oil prices.

Air pollution exceeds safety limits in big Asian cities

Air pollution in major cities in Asia exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) air quality guidelines and toxic cocktails result in more than 530,000 premature deaths a year, according to a new report issued on Tuesday. Issued by the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute, the study found that elderly people with cardiopulmonary and other chronic illnesses were especially vulnerable and they tended to die prematurely when their conditions were exacerbated by bad air.

“In general, those susceptible to air pollution are people who are older, who have cardiopulmonary disease, stroke, conditions often related to aging,” the institute’s vice president, Robert O’Keefe, said by telephone. “In Asia, the elderly will become more susceptible to air pollution and become more frail. The more frail are the ones dying prematurely from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cardiovascular disease,” he said.

The study took into account three main pollutants — particulate matter of 10 micrometers and smaller, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Not a single city in Asia had all three pollutants within limits considered acceptable by the World Health Organization. Although sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in Dhaka were within safety limits, particulates in the capital of Bangladesh were more than five times over WHO guidelines.

Dual-Axis tracking generates more power

While a tremendous amount of research and funding is going into trying to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells by a few percentage points, there is a readily available solution that yields a 40% increase in produced power today – dual-axis tracking [1]. By simply moving the PV array so that it is aligned with the sun throughout the day and seasons, you get a large boost in produced power at a small incremental cost. Of course the cost depends on the design of the tracking system. In today’s market, this cost ranges from under a $1.00/produced watt, to around $3.00/produced watt. We are talking about produced watts rather than rated watts.

The key to understanding the benefits of tracking is the significance of the incident angle, the angle at which the sun’s rays strike the PV array. To see how the incident angle affects solar intensity and power production, we use the formula Intensity = Constant x cos Θ where Θ is the incident angle measured from perpendicular (Fig. 1). So intensity is at its maximum when Θ = 0ˆ’this is when the arriving energy strikes a PV panel perpendicularly. The greater the incident angle, the smaller the amount of energy reaching the panel.

Another consequence of a large incident angle is reflection. As the incident angle increases, the glass on the front of the PV panels begins to reflect energy away from the panels, reducing the power produced. The combination of reflection and reduced available surface area is why fixed solar systems produce very little power in the morning and afternoon. Figure 2 is a representational daily energy production graph for a fixed array. For a fixed array, the incident angle changes throughout the day, from highly acute to highly obtuse. The result is that very little energy is produced during the morning and afternoon.

39 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for November 23rd: Massachusetts clears Cape Wind for construction; Simple discoveries could enhance wind turbine efficiency by 18%; Saving energy with a ‘slow wall’

  1. Bill W says:

    Re dual-axis tracking, that doesn’t sound like a “small incremental cost”. It sounds like a doubling, or more, of total system cost. But perhaps I’m reading it wrong.

  2. Jonah says:

    “In addition, Siemens has opened its North American Offshore Wind office in Boston because of Cape Wind.”

    If you build it, they will come. Thanks to 10 years of efforts from so many people in MA, Boston is now set to become the offshore wind capital for the entire east coast. If you don’t invest, you won’t get a return!

    In a year filled with disappointment for fans of livable futures and mathematics, at least we have this one success to hold on to.

  3. paulm says:

    We need this at the Federal level. Why is it not so? This is an emergency!

    Obama lets get going….

    For one, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown should create a Climate Risk Council that would assess the latest science and provide guidance for local and state agencies as they prepare for dramatically higher sea levels, declining water supplies and increasingly frequent wildfires

  4. fj3 says:

    Hopefully the benefits of the likes of RavenSkin nanotech smart materials will be coming fast to rapidly reduce the energy footprints of buildings where in the near-term retofits will be most important.

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    “468 megawatts of wind power with 130 turbines each producing up to 3.6 megawatts”

    2 month ago …

    The world’s largest offshore wind farm opened off the southeast coast of England … could generate 300 megawatts of energy

    ONSHORE -/ Overall capacity wind power

    The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, owned and operated by E.ON Climate & Renewables is the world’s largest wind farm (as of October 2009) with 627 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW, which surpasses the nearby 735.5 MW Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center.[1] The project cost more than $1 billion and provides enough power for more than 250,000 average Texan homes.

  6. Prokaryotes says:


    State hoping to fuel surge in wind power firms

    Massachusetts could soon be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – and state officials are hoping to use the Cape Wind project to help fuel a small but burgeoning local wind-power energy boom.

    There are already more than a half-dozen companies staking out their claim to the state’s wind energy landscape, from designing better turbine blades to marketing high-tech machines that can measure wind speeds and directions from the ground.

    And when the nation’s largest wind blade testing facility opens early next year on Boston’s waterfront, officials are hoping to draw even more business.

    “We’ve been aggressive in looking to grow the wind energy cluster in Massachusetts,” said Ian Bowles, the state’s secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

    The bragging rights around the 130-turbine Cape Wind project slated for construction in Nantucket Sound have acted as a lure, according to Bowles.

    “In the wind industry that’s seen as a very big deal,” he said. “Add to that a testing facility that has the largest capacity in the world for testing the largest blades in the world and you are going to see a lot of large wind blades coming into Boston.”

    Some of the companies trying to take advantage of the boom have long roots in the state.

    Second Wind was created in Somerville in 1980 by graduates from Tufts University, Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Three decades later the company still relies on the state’s brain power to fuel its latest innovations.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Nov. Observed events –

    It’s been raining in Alaska …..

    Rain from Anchorage to Barrow an ‘extraordinary event’

    Read more:

    Hudson’s Bay –
    Higher-than-normal temperatures have prevented ice from forming in the region, putting it three to four weeks behind schedule, according to the Canadian Ice Service, a division of Environment Canada.

    Read more:

    Record high temperatures return to Russia
    The weather in Russia will remain abnormally warm for at least the next five days, said the head of the Russian Hydrometeorological Center, adding that the record temperatures have also been recorded in Siberia and a number of other Russian regions.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    From Above Boston Herald Article:

    “Encouraging a local wind power industry is fine, he added, “if you are selling windmills to other folks.”

    Bowles conceded that the number of jobs created in the clean energy sector is modest, but said it could eventually climb into the tens of thousands.

    A poll released last week by Suffolk University found about 76 percent of Massachusetts voters said they were willing to pay at least one percent or more for electricity generated by renewable energy.”

  9. NFJM says:

    Glad you like the PCM technology, Joe.

    I would like however to mention that the solution already exists on a commercial basis under the name “micronal” – as drywall boards (sold in Germany by Knauf).

    Similarly PCM has been proposed and tested for refrigerated trucks – which then do no longer need on-board chillers.

  10. Lore says:

    The UN is like Steve Goddard, slowly adjusting its projections to reflect reality. Now what?

    Climate pledges fall short, says UN

    “The promises countries have made to control carbon emissions will see temperatures rise by up to 4C during this century, a UN report concludes.

    The report, from the UN Environment Programme (Unep), comes days before the opening of this year’s climate summit.

    It concludes there is a significant gap between what science says is necessary to constrain temperature rise and what governments have pledged to achieve.”

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Majority Of Americans Will Have Diabetes Or Pre-Diabetes By 2020 – With Huge Financial Costs

    “Our new research shows there is a diabetes time bomb ticking in America, but fortunately there are practical steps that can be taken now to defuse it. What is now needed is concerted, national, multi-stakeholder action. Making a major impact on the prediabetes and diabetes epidemic will require health plans to engage consumers in new ways, while working to scale nationally some of the most promising preventive care models. Done right, the human and economic benefits for the nation could be substantial.”

    UnitedHealth says it produced the report for November’s National Diabetes Awareness month. Suggestions within it could save as much as $250 billion over the coming decade. Included are potential savings to the government in Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs of $144 billion.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    If you live in a hot climate and your room temperature is above 80º, keep your insulin in the refrigerator.

  13. Prokary otes says:

    Q&A: Cancun climate change conference 2010
    More than 190 nations are meeting in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks towards a global deal on stopping catastrophic climate change.

  14. Will Koroluk says:

    Meanwhile, the Canadian and Alberta governments work in the background elsewhere to oppose climate legislation.

  15. Prokary otes says:

    The realclimate comic flick is on the point.

  16. Prokary otes says:

    Bolivia ties its all-time heat record

    Bolivia tied its all-time hottest temperature mark on October 29, when the mercury hit 46.7°C (116.1°F) at Villamontes. This ties the record set in Villamontes on three other dates: November 9, 2007, November 1980, and December 1980.

  17. Some European says:

    CLIMATE CHANGE: Africa to take a “quantum leap” in forecasting

    “Johannesburg, 23 November 2010 (IRIN) – Africa has struggled to make accurate and detailed predictions of the impact of climate change on its countries, but the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) which began earlier in 2010, will see the continent take a “quantum leap” in climate change projection, says Bruce Hewitson, the project’s Africa coordinator.

    CORDEX, an initiative by the World Climate Research Programme, will help downscale the global climate model climate change projections being prepared for the next assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) so as to predict, for instance, what impact higher global temperatures might have on Lagos, Nigeria, until the end of this century.

    This detailed information will feed into the IPCC’s fifth assessment report, expected to be published in 2013 or 2014.

    “The priority area for CORDEX is Africa, as it is historically under-researched,” said Hewitson, who is also the co-lead author of the chapter on regional contexts in the report by IPCC Working Group II, which will look at impact, adaptation and vulnerability.”

  18. Prokary otes says:

    Sidenote: Quantum leap describes a process of Mesoscopic physics.

  19. spiritkas says:


    I thinks wind and solar in particular suffer from the multiple ways of guaging their output and cost. If we put as much effort into messaging and standardizing the message on how much solar costs and what learning curve and research based improvements mean in terms of overall cost reductions…we’d be doing a lot better.

    The internet isn’t running out of ink, it would be OK for our side to repeat the heck out of the common numbers, you know. A typical house uses X amount of electricity in Y units, and keep it consistent. I think it confuses people and serves as a disservice to use the specific numbers. Here at least the articles talked about efficiency improvements in wind and solar.

    People need to see and learn through repeition how much electricity an average house uses as much as they know how bright a 60W incandecent bulb is. They need benchmark numbers to keep things in context.

    I wont insist that news papers publish how much CO2 or how much electricity we use as a country instead of the DJIA every single day, but perhaps in aritcles on the future technologies and present technologies used in energy generation, the numbers and units might become a bit more standardized. It would be stronger messaging. I’m willing to learn the difference between rated and actual power outputs and to find out how much energy a house uses…but the point of reading an article is to become informed in context.

    A key point we miss about disinformers is their context. They speak in terms of nonsense with bad studies and lies instead of facts…but they speak through an attachment to a cultural context of normalcy. We need to have our own context of prosperity!



  20. Jeff Huggins says:

    DID YOU SEE the cover of the new Atlantic?

  21. paulm says:

    Is there a board game yet….

    That question is: how high should global temperature be allowed to rise?

    Temperature goals heat China climate talks

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    I was puzzled what Jeff is talking about ;)

    Here is the cover …

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    Admiral Morisetti, appointed last year ahead of the Copenhagen climate-change summit and in Australia for talks with politicians and officials, said there were issues of immediate security concern including terrorism.

    Climate change may not directly start conflicts but it could add to existing stresses and tensions, most likely over access to resources, a top British military officer says.

    The UK Defence Department and Foreign Office climate and energy security envoy, Neil Morisetti, says there has been a growing awareness that climate change is more than an environmental challenge and there are security implications.

    “The challenge from a security perspective is to understand what this means about global stability and how it will effect us,” Admiral Morisetti said.

    “Today, the military in all our countries are busy. This is not an attempt by the military to hijack climate change to give us a job. We have more than enough on our plates.

    “But at the same time we (need) to have an eye to the future.”

    Admiral Morisetti said climate change would produce more extreme weather events with militaries called on to conduct relief operations.

    For the military, a security consequence could stem from those displaced or losing their livelihood, then taking up an AK-47 and the $5-a-day pay of a criminal or terrorist gang.

    As nations take action against climate change, the military will also have to adapt, he said.

    “We are the great gas guzzlers of the world. My aircraft carrier did about 12 inches to the gallon and burnt 20 tonnes an hour to launch and recover jets,” he said.

    “That was sustainable costwise when it was $US30 a barrel. It would not be sustainable at $US250 to $US300 a barrel.”

    .. we need to start taking action now if we don’t want to compound the problem.

  24. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    Will Koroluk says on November 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm:

    Meanwhile, the Canadian and Alberta governments work in the background elsewhere to oppose climate legislation

    Countries in the really cold temperate regions cannot commit to climate change legislation because you cannot predict the winter weather.

    Go check the weather maps for the US and Canada. It is really cold out there in the Northern Great Plains. When it gets cold, fuel consumption go up in the transportation sector. Can you imagine how energy is required for residential heating in Winnipeg when it is -30 deg C with a strong wind chill to -50 deg C.

    In a letter, I mentioned to Mr Harper several years ago that the emission in the resource sectors depends on external demand for various commodities such as crude oil and nat gas, lumber, base metals, potash, sulfur, paper and wood pulp, met. coal for smelters in Japan, for cereal grains and for rye whiskey. All this stuff is shipped out of Canada by trains, trucks and big boats.

    In Ont., lots of energy is used for making cars and trucks, most of which are shipped to the US.

    In BC pot for the US market is a multi-billion dollar business.

    I don’t want to read anymore clueless comments about Canada reducing GHG emissions. Ain’t ever going to happen.

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    UN peace messenger Jane Goodall told a meeting in parliament that human activity is “slowly destroying” the planet.

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Greenhouse gas pledges aren’t enough to stop global warming

    Here’s a little something not to be thankful for: If all the countries that pledged last year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions actually lived up to their commitments, it still wouldn’t be enough to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.

  27. Michael T. says:

    Peter Sinclair has a new Climate Crock video out. He takes on WUWT and their Arctic Sea Ice predictions:

  28. Bob Wallace says:

    “Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a broad-based initiative on Tuesday aimed at accelerating the development of offshore wind power projects on the Outer Continental Shelf along the nation’s Atlantic coast.

    The initiative is designed to shave years off of an uncertain permitting process that developers have complained can drag on for the better part of a decade and make attracting investors a difficult proposition.

    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the Interior agency that supplanted the dysfunctional Minerals Management Service after the BP oil spill in the gulf, will work with officials in several Atlantic states — including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts — to identify sites for potential development within the next 60 days.

    Feasibility and environmental assessments of those sites would commence as early as January, according to the Interior’s plan, with an aim of offering leases in areas deemed appropriate by the end of next year or early in 2012.”

    Blow, baby, blow….

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Ontario feed-in tariffs creating solar jobs at the cost of a donut per month

    Using a measure of cost that all Canadians understand, a provocative new report says the impact of Ontario’s feed-in tariffs for solar photovoltaics (PV), which will create 70,000 jobs, is no more than one Tim Hortons donut per month.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Black Tuesday
    Coal drives 2009 global carbon emissions higher than expected

    A new analysis of 2009 global greenhouse gas emissions published in the journal Nature Geoscience has found that increased coal use in the developing world, particularly China and India, boosted global greenhouse gas emissions to the second highest level on record. The result is particularly surprising because pollution in developed countries like the United States, Germany, and Japan actually declined significantly as their economies shrank in the wake of the global financial crisis.

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    NRDC releases new Fact Sheet on biochar

    This week, NRDC released a Fact Sheet entitled Putting U.S. Biochar Policy on the Right Track. The Fact Sheet comes a week ahead of the publication of an NRDC-sponsored scoping study on biochar, and highlights its key findings. Our aim? To give an overview of biochar production technologies, particularly as it relates to the potential environmental concerns associated with biochar production and use, and to make recommendations for a research agenda to support biochar policy development in the U.S.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    GE subsidiary GE Energy Financial Services and North Bridge Venture Partners will invest $8 million in a company developing a biofuel production process coupled with the production of biochar.

    Cool Planet Biofuels converts cellulosic byproducts like plant waste and woodchips into biofuel that can be used in vehicles.

  33. MarkR says:

    RE: Bill W, dual axis tracking.

    They specify that they’re talking about produced watt. Since the capacity factor of solar is commonly around 20%, you should in fact cut their stated cost by a significant factor (5, in the 20% example case) to compare to the installed system cost.

    Of course, their statement isn’t too clear – giving it in terms of rated output would be much better.

  34. Sime says:

    Bill W @ 2

    “Re dual-axis tracking, that doesn’t sound like a “small incremental cost”. It sounds like a doubling, or more, of total system cost. But perhaps I’m reading it wrong.”

    No you are not wrong Bill, they cost a load of dosh but then so do the panels etc. However increasing your output by 40% is in solar terms is massive and makes a 2KW home array suddenly much more powerful and useful.

    As for the cost, I hear that a great deal from people be it about wind turbines, or solar etc, and I know where you are coming from, it’s that standard consumer thing where individuals are attempting to justify an expense by making a perceived profit or at least not a loss over a given period of time so as not to look stupid to their associated peer group.

    Here is the thing most people don’t get…

    If you are getting into clean energy at this point in the cycle are not trying to save money, you are trying to save the planet and realizing that generally makes it much easier for individuals who have the funds to justify the associated costs.

    Give it five years and your Turbine and / or solar panels will probably be producing power more cheaply than that generated by fossil fuels from your local supplier at which point you can put on your “Told you so T-Shirt” and look suitably smug.

    These trackers are very cool and made in the US