Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Colorado’ tag

Colorado Senate advances higher renewable-energy standard

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Friday, March 5, 2010, 2:57pm MST  |  Modified: Friday, March 5, 2010, 5:46pm

Denver Business Journal – by Ed Sealover

Colorado stands just two steps away from enacting the second-highest standard in the country for renewable-energy production requirements by utilities, and now Gov. Bill Ritter also wants to raise the national bar on cutting air pollution.

Read the entire article here.

Standing at the Crossroads: The Biofuels Industry in Colorado

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One of the more important points in this article is that “the Federal Government should let the marketplace determine who wins this race.” George Bush already laid out the framework in his 2007 update of the Renewable Fuel Standards, and it has just recently been clarified with the EPA’s RFS2 decision.

Under the RFS, the U.S. will need to increase use of renewable fuels, up to 36 billion gallons in 2022. Furthermore, the use of corn ethanol is capped at 15B gallons starting in 2015, meaning that those Colorado companies with the most economically, environmentally, and energetically efficient cellulosic and other advanced bioenergy technologies will have a place in the market.

As for the need for qualified managers with extensive technical understanding of bioenergy, as well as the ability to convey it’s merits to potential buyers and the public, I’m currently in Brazil working in their bioenergy sector, but I’ll be back in Colorado at the beginning of May.

February 1st, 2010

Colorado’s biofuels industry is faring better than elsewhere in the country, thanks to local entrepreneurial spirit, the area’s universities, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) coupled with Governor Ritter’s early leadership in the New Energy Economy. However, bolder and more sustained actions are required if the state’s vision of becoming the cleantech version of Silicon Valley is to be realized. Colorado’s biofuels industry stands very much at a crossroads.

[…]

As an example, consider alternatives to traditional diesel fuel. At last count there were six different feedstock-technology pathways being developed by various companies across the US. How can federal policy makers know with any certainty [which technology] will ultimately win the race for a conventional diesel substitute? Maybe one is better in certain climates and geographies while another elsewhere. The federal government should let the marketplace determine who wins this race. Similar complexity exists for ethanol, butanol and other fuel alternatives.

[…]

Two-thirds of biofuels firms in Colorado believe enhancing the availability/supply of skilled employees is needed to build a robust clean-energy sector in the Front Range. Views vary, however, as to which functional areas (e.g. engineers, sales, technical) are most pressing, but expanding the pool of talented managerial staff emerges as the top priority.

Read the entire article here.

Governor’s Energy Office (Colorado) rolling out numerous Recovery Act new energy grants

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Can someone please write a grant for me to get some of this money? Many thanks,

jjb

Governor’s Energy Office – Colorado – 1/20/10
    The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is preparing to roll out numerous new opportunities for residents, businesses, local governments, non-profits and other organizations to save money and energy, spark job creation and increase energy independence thanks to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars.Beginning this month, the energy office is posting a wide variety of grant opportunities designed to increase the energy efficiency of homes, schools and other buildings as well as increase the supply of energy from renewable resources and clean-burning natural gas. Grants will be provided in more than two dozen categories, including for wind power at schools, for geothermal energy development, for converting private and public fueling stations to include compressed natural gas and to install renewable energy or energy-saving equipment on historic properties.

Read the entire article here.

2009 Annual Report of the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office

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Here’s another large set of examples of government intervention in the energy sector. I’ve only recently returned to Colorado, so am curious to hear what people think about these efforts.

Download the report here: Colorado Governor’s Energy Office Annual Report,

or click here and scroll down to the second download below “Reports & Industry Studies.”

Brazil opens world’s first ethanol-fired power plant

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Projects like this are encouraging, especially if the priority remains focused on decreasing energy consumption. Other companies, such as Community Power Corporation (CPC) of Colorado, already have modular electricity generators that use biomass as a feedstock. The high glucose content in sugarcane should make Petrobras and GE’s efforts that much more efficient. Brazil’s ethanol refineries generate about 3% of the county’s electricity by burning the biomass left over after the sugar is extracted from cane to make ethanol for transportation. So this project has the potential to create highly versatile powerplants that can produce electricity as well as liquid fuels, depending on the proportion demanded by each location. The aspect to keep in mind when considering these developments is that unlike CPC, which uses waste products to generate electricity, sugarcane needs to be grown on arable land, a limited and highly valuable resource.

* State-run Petrobras opens first ethanol power plant

* Petrobras, GE, hoping other governments will adopt

By Denise Luna

JUIZ DE FORA, Brazil, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Brazil on Tuesday opened the world’s first ethanol-fueled power plant in an effort by the South American biofuels giant to increase the global use of ethanol and boost its clean power generation.

State-run oil giant Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N), which helped design the plant, are betting that increased use of ethanol generation by green-conscious countries will boost demand for the product.

Brazil, the top global ethanol exporter, is already in talks with Japan to develop biofuels power generation there.

Read the entire article here.

Noble Energy to Buy Suncor Reserves in Colorado

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By JASON WOMACK And EDWARD WELSCH

HOUSTON—Noble Energy Inc. agreed to pay US$494 million for the bulk of the oil and natural-gas reserves in eastern Colorado held by Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc.

The acquisition, expected to close this quarter, will add about 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, or 46 million cubic feet of natural gas and 2,500 barrels of liquids, to Noble’s daily output. Houston-based Noble’s third-quarter production averaged 217,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

The assets lie within the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which contains Noble’s Wattenberg field, the company’s biggest onshore U.S. asset. Nearly 80% of the proven reserves of liquids being acquired are in the Wattenberg field. Noble said it will add two rigs to the field this year.

The deal, the latest in a string of asset transfers between energy companies, underscores how oil and gas producers are refocusing their attention on key development areas amid a downturn in energy demand and low natural-gas prices.

Noble said the purchase will strengthen its core operations.

The deal looks “very attractive” for Noble, BMO Capital Markets analyst Dan McSpirit said Tuesday. “They are buying producing assets” in an area where the company is already active.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 6th, 2010 at 9:50 am

Switching on Colorado’s clean energy industry

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This is indeed good news. It’s just another reason why I’m proud, once again, to call Colorado my home. (Yes, I do have a CO birth certificate, but have not yet adorned my Subaru with a “Native” bumper sticker.) If Jim Welch, CEO of Louisville-based Bella Energy Inc. and president of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, is correct in stating that “there are 10,000 jobs linked to the solar industry in Colorado, and 70,000 direct and indirect jobs dealing with all renewable industries,” these are prime examples of how renewable energy is a driver, not an obstacle, to continued economic health.


Friday, January 1, 2010
The Decade in the DBJ: Switching on Colorado’s clean energy industry
Denver Business Journal

As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, the Denver Business Journal is revisiting some of the biggest business-news stories
of the last 10 years.
Here, we look at the growth of the renewable-energy industry in Colorado, a development that could transform the state’s traditional
energy economy. (And click here to share your picks for the biggest business news of the last decade.)
The story: Colorado has long been a center of “new energy” research, as home of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in
Golden and other facilities. Also, its abundant sunshine and steady high-plains winds make its potential for solar- and wind-power
development among the highest in the nation.
The state’s renewable energy sector has grown rapidly since 2004, when Colorado voters passed a measure mandating that more
electricity come from the sun and the wind. In particular, progress toward making Colorado a clean-energy center gathered steam in 2007
and 2008.
A key development was when Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, decided to make Colorado its major U.S.
factory center. In 2007 it broke ground on a manufacturing plant for wind-turbine components in Windsor and then announced plans for
two more plants in the state. And the company’s suppliers said they would follow Vestas to Colorado.

Click here for the entire article.

Written by Jason

January 1st, 2010 at 6:00 am

Water central to new energy mix

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It’s been said many times that the next wave of wars will be fought over water. Hopefully we can conduct ourselves, and our economies, in ways that do not force us to confront this possibility.  While living in Brazil and beginning to do research about pursuing a PhD in resource economics, my initial interest was in water. Then some time on farms in Cuba, Nicaragua, and especially Brazil turned my interest to agriculture and another of life’s necessities. When I was pitching my research ideas to a venerable professor in agricultural science at the University of British Columbia he told me that if these were my areas of interest I should consider investigating energy. I was initially confused, then thought maybe at his advanced age he was a bit touched, but now I’m seeing the innumerable, intricate connections between these issues.

By DUSTIN BLEIZEFFER Casper Star-Tribune

Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:55 pm

CASPER — Expect the issue of water conservation to gain more interest in discussions of energy development — be it green, black or somewhere between.

The arid West is likely become more arid with climate change, according to the world’s top scientists, and no longer will residents and municipalities yawn at the prospect of drilling a new well to cool a coal power plant or solar power facility.

And credit Exxon Mobil for bringing a new level of national attention to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, with its $31 billion bid for XTO Energy this past week.

Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of pumping sand and fluids — often diesel fuel — into natural-gas-bearing rock, creating fractures in the rock that allow the natural gas to flow to the production well.

XTO Energy holds 280,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Residents and environmental groups concerned about maintaining groundwater quality expect that Exxon Mobil, with its deeper pockets, will perforate and “frack” on a scale unseen even in Wyoming’s Jonah and Pinedale Anticline.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

December 20th, 2009 at 8:28 am

Powering a Community

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This sleepy rural town is far ahead of so many others in terms of their vision. Sure, it would be difficult for them to accomplish their goals without the massive influx of government funds, but since utility companies are often major expenditures for cities of any size, the vision here will likely be a money saver in the long run.

It’s especially important to note the strategy they’ve adopted: diverse energy technologies coupled with overall reductions in energy use. A very wise strategy indeed.

When Orson Squire Fowler bought the land that would one day become the Town of Fowler, he anticiapted a great future for both Colorado and the town. O.S. Fowler envisioned community farms producing organic food, livestock and a quality of life second to none.

Today, “Community Powered” is the slogan that exemplifies this rural community’s goal of energy independence by harnessing the area’s abundant wind, solar and biomass resources while implementing conservation. How is this sustainable vision being transformed into reality?

Download the full article here.