Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Electricity Generation’ tag

Energy Plant Tragedy Puts a Light on Banks, Private Equity Funds Pushing into Electricity

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Wall Street’s Power Surge

By RICH BLAKE
Feb. 11, 2010

Goldman Sachs has attracted a long line of critics and conspiracy theorists convinced the Wall Street bank is at the root of many an economic catastrophe.

Photo: Federal officials to investigate Connecticut blast

The Kleen Energy plant is seen in this aerial photo after an explosion in Middletown, Conn., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

(Jessica Hill/AP Photo)

But after a deadly power plant explosion in Middletown, Conn., involving a company called Kleen Energy, even members of the conspiracy crowd might have been surprised to learn that the natural gas-fueled plant was being built by a private equity fund and that it had been bankrolled by Goldman.

And while no one is suggesting the bank’s involvement underwriting the nearly $1 billion project would have in any way compromised safety — indeed, the exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation — the incident does call attention to the ever-growing alignment between a shifting national energy policy and the Wall Street financiers who hope to profit from the green movement.

[…]

While coal fired plants still produce roughly half of all the kilowatt hours of electricity consumed in the United States, natural gas, which a decade ago accounted for just 10 percent of electricity produced, now accounts for upwards of 20 percent, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Hydro and alternative sources make up the balance.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

February 11th, 2010 at 7:24 am

Brazil’s Lula Inaugurates World’s First Ethanol Power Plant

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Brazil’s ethanol refineries have already been generating electricity from the biomass, sometimes called “trash” or “bagasse,” left over after extracting the sugar from the cane. These refineries perform two different types of processes: biological, fermenting the sugar to produce ethanol; and thermal, burning the biomass to generate heat and steam to run the turbines to produce electricity. They’ve now taken that in a different direction by using the ethanol itself to generate the electricity. The thermal processes have been used by other companies, such as Community Power Corporation of Colorado, discussed in an earlier post. The second generation, cellulosic technology we’ve been hearing about involves using biomass such as left over sugarcane bagasse or corn stalks, called stover, or even grasses such as switchgrass or miscanthus that require very little water or fertilizers. Rather than burning that green matter to generate electricity, research is underway to access the 5 and 6 carbon sugars in the cellulose for fermentation into ethanol or other fuels such as butanol, or even creating a virtual replacement for gasoline.

SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has inaugurated a power plant that represents the world’s first use of sugarcane-based ethanol to produce electricity on a commercial scale.

“The developed world is going to have to look at ethanol with new eyes. I think when it comes to fulfilling our commitments and complying with the Kyoto Protocol, to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, ethanol is going to have to come into the equation,” Lula said during the inauguration on Tuesday.

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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.