Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘domestic energy’ tag

Energy Efficiency Hottest Sector for Green Mergers & Acquisitions

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This is very exciting news for those of us pursuing careers in this important sector.

Environmental Leader

January 18, 2010

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Illustrating the potential growth in energy efficiency, the sector posted the most growth in mergers and acquisition activity in 2009, according to the 2009 Greentech M&A Round-Up from Peachtree Green Advisors.

Rising from $164 million in deals to $1.258 billion in 2009, the U.S. energy efficiency sector grew a whopping 664 percent.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 19th, 2010 at 9:42 am

New energy bill not a green light for nuclear power

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I have often had conversations with people who, like myself, are tentatively and hypothetically in favor of expanding nuclear power in the U.S, particularly breeder reactors and other technology that can use more of the uranium and reduce waste and the need to store it. But there are two reservations often held by interested citizens. The weapons question is one reservation. As I understand it, developing the technology for electricity is not too far removed from developing the technology for weapons. And as we have seen, technology is inherently democratic, meaning that the more work we do on improving the efficiency, the better the chance that the technology may fall into the hands of those interested in using nuclear weapons.

But the bigger obstacle in the public consciousness, I think, is that of where to place nuclear facilities and the storage sites they necessitate. Whenever people say they are in favor of nuclear energy, I tell them I just read that there was a proposed site not too far from where they live. Some know I’m kidding, but the ones who don’t have a variety of negative reactions, from the passively obstinate–“I think that’d be great, but there are some citizens groups/politicians/etc., who would never let it happen”–to the rediculous–“Oh, it wouldn’t work here; there are far too many children.” Oh, I guess we’ll have to find cities that could use increased clean-electricity generation, but have no children.

If NIMBY is going to be the major problem, the obvious solution is to place these facilities in rural areas with fewer people. One problem is that many of these places are in agricultural areas or places with other valuable natural resources that would still carry heavy citizen resistance, even in the absence of local citizens. Another is that even when there are fewer risks to natural resources, such as with Yucca Mountain, discussed in this article, there still seems to be ample resistance to citing a storage facility, perhaps even more than with the reactors themselves.

A friend of mine whose parents have been engineers at NASA for quite some time has recommended loading the waste onto rockets and shooting it into the sun. As ridiculous as I’ve often thought this to be, at least from a safety and efficiency standpoint if not a feasibility one, it may be the only viable option for nuclear power.

Could we fit those rockets with solar sails? Now that’s clean energy.

The Cap Times

By LAVILLA CAPENER and MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | mivey@madison.com | Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 6:20 am | (4) Comments

A view of the Point Beach nuclear power plant.

The new clean energy bill trumpeted by Gov. Jim Doyle has been called everything from a forward-thinking green initiative to a jobs-killing mandate that would cripple the Wisconsin economy.

One thing it’s not, however, is a green light for nuclear power.

While the measure does modify the state’s quarter-century moratorium on nuclear plant construction, enough obstacles remain that make it doubtful a new facility would be built here anytime soon. This comes despite the fact that nuclear power does not create global warming carbon emissions — unlike burning coal, which accounts for 70 percent of Wisconsin’s homegrown electricity.

“I think it’s fair to say anyone who wants nuclear energy will be very disappointed with this bill,” says Scott Manley of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby.

Dubbed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the measure would require that 25 percent of the state’s energy come from wind, solar, biomass or other renewable sources by 2025. It also toughens building codes to increase energy efficiency, restricts idling of diesel trucks to reduce pollution and raises vehicle emissions standards to match many other states, including California.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 18th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Save Energy, Reap Rewards

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If this business, Earth Aid, is actually making money this way, it is a fantastic model. I’m not sure it’s the first program of its kind, as demand side management (DSM) is pretty common, but the greater the variety of incentives to use energy more efficiently, the better. Simply saving money on a utility bill should be sufficient incentive to reduce energy use. Still, if businesses can generate more sales by providing incentives like these to consumers, it has a synergistic effect. Gotta love those market signals.

Posted on Sun, Jan. 17, 2010

By Diane Mastrull

Inquirer Staff Writer

You manuever the controls on your thermostat, hoping for a few more degrees of warmth.

But wait! What if there were a reward for leaving the setting right where it is – or, better yet, for lowering it?

What if putting up with a little chill got you a price break on a butter pound cake split three ways and filled with lemon curd and blackberry and raspberry puree – the hopelessly tantalizing spring torte from Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill?

Or maybe a $10 coupon for native plants or artisanal goat-milk cheeses at Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs? Or a bed-and-breakfast package at the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City?

Perks like those are part of a growing list from local businesses hoping to improve their bottom lines by promoting a greener lifestyle.

Rewards for households that recycle are well-known through RecycleBank, which got its start here in 2005.

Now comes what is believed to be a first: a rewards program for saving energy.

Earth Aid, a Washington start-up, enables U.S. residents to track their electric, gas, and water usage online and, by cutting back on it, earn points that can be redeemed at local businesses.

Read the entire article here.

Grassley: Energy bill likely in 2010; cap-and-trade unlikely

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It is a fascinating time to be alive. There are so many different directions these pieces of legislation can go, and any movement will affect our pocketbooks as well as larger issues of the environment and resource availability for generations to come. As Grassley begins what could be a tough fight with Democratic candidate Roxanne Conlin, it will be very interesting to hear what the people of Iowa, an agricultural state with strong interest in these matters, have to say about them.

By Michael O’Brien – 01/12/10 11:49 AM ET

The Senate will move on energy and environmental issues in 2010, but not cap-and-trade legislation, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asserted Tuesday.

Grassley said that the Senate is likely to take up an energy bill, perhaps including a renewable electricity standard, but not the controversial emissions reduction system approved last year by the House but left undone by the Senate.

“I think you can expect everything but cap-and-trade,” Grassley said in a conference call with agricultural reporters. “I think it’s fair to say that there will be an energy bill taken up.”

Read the entire article here.

You can thank Arthur Rosenfeld for energy savings

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I discussed Dr. Rosenfeld in an earlier post.  Great stuff.

He has been a driving force in making the state a global leader in efficiency. This week, the 83-year-old nuclear physicist will leave his post on the California Energy Commission.

By Marc LifsherJanuary 11, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento – When octogenarian Arthur H. Rosenfeld vacates his utilitarian office at the California Energy Commission this week, one of his final tasks might seem of little consequence: He’ll turn off the lights.

But that simple act — some would say compulsion — has transformed California into a world leader in energy efficiency.

California homes are loaded with personal computers, widescreen TVs, iPods, PlayStations, air conditioners, massive refrigerators, hot tubs and swimming pool pumps. Despite that, Golden State residents today use about the same amount of electricity per capita that they did 30 years ago.

For that, they can largely thank Rosenfeld, a slight, bespectacled nuclear physicist fueled by a passion to wring the most out of every kilowatt. Polite and affable, with a knack for making science understandable to people who couldn’t screw in a lightbulb, Rosenfeld, starting in the 1970s, provided California energy regulators the data they needed to enact some of the toughest efficiency standards in the world.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 11th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

CES features devices to track and save energy at home

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Excellent. Tools like this save money and save energy. Everybody wins.

Jan 07, 2010

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is showcasing  new devices to track and save energy at home, an area of growing interest as President Obama embraces a smart grid for the United States.

Home Energy Manager, which will help consumers track and save energy at home, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. It was deveoped by Direct Energy, Lennox International, Whirlpool Corporation, Best Buy and Open Peak.
Of particular note is the prototype of the Home Energy Manager (HEM), unveiled today in Las Vegas. It tells consumers how much energy they are using, which appliances are consuming the most and how much it is costing.

HEM  features a touch-screen dashboard, with an iPhone-like interface, that allows users to  program their appliances to run at certain times and to avoid energy consumption during peak periods. It also provides access to news, social networking, music and movie applications.

“The Home Energy Manager has the potential to do for home energy management what the iPhone did for communication,” says David Dollihite, vice president of product development at Direct Energy, in an announcement.

Written by Jason

January 7th, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Interior chief adds hurdles for drilling on public lands

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Increased involvement by concerned citizens, and the ability to voice our ideas in the use of public lands, seem like excellent improvements to the system. Government strangling industry does not seem so positive. As with any tool, it’s all in how we use it.


Jan. 6, 2010, 8:02PM

WASHINGTON — Energy companies seeking to drill for oil and gas on public lands in the U.S. will face stiffer environmental scrutiny and new regulatory hurdles under changes announced Wednesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The new policies limit the federal government’s practice of fast-tracking some drilling proposals by exempting them from detailed environmental studies.

The changes also direct the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees more than 260 million acres of federal land, to conduct on-site assessments and seek expanded public input on proposed oil and gas leases.

Salazar said the changes were designed to ensure a “thoughtful” approach to energy development on federal lands and represented a rejection of Bush-era policies that made “our public lands essentially the candy store of the oil and gas industry, who could walk in and take whatever they wanted.”

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 7th, 2010 at 7:54 am

Total Will Buy Texas Gas-Field Stake

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There’s no doubt that these are extremely valuable resources that should be utilized. If we can be conservative in our energy use, we can hold off on exploiting resources like shale-gas, oil sands, and deep-sea resources, we can continue to develop the technology needed for extraction until it is much more efficient, economically, energetically, and ecologically.

JANUARY 4, 2010

French Oil Firm to Pay $2.25 Billion for 25% of Chesapeake Project as It Pursues U.S. Opportunities


French oil company Total SA will pay $2.25 billion for a stake in a Texas natural-gas field, in the latest sign that international energy giants are scrambling to catch up after missing out on the large U.S. gas discoveries of the past decade.

Total will get a 25% stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s operations in the Barnett Shale, the biggest U.S. gas field by annual production. The discovery of the Barnett near Fort Worth, Texas, in the early 2000s launched a nationwide drilling boom that uncovered huge pockets of gas in Louisiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Getty ImagesA Chesapeake gas well in the Barnett Shale formation south of Fort Worth, Texas. International firms that largely abandoned the U.S. are now trying to cash in on gas discoveries there.



Under terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the month, Total will pay Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake $800 million in cash and also will pay $1.45 billion of Chesapeake’s Barnett drilling costs over the next three years. The companies said they are also considering joint ventures in South Texas and in Canada.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 4th, 2010 at 8:55 am