Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘US Energy’ tag

10 Things Learned about Smart Grid

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The first point is a little too Big Brother from my perspective, and there will likely be Luddites like me who don’t go so far into the ether, but most of the rest of this article, particularly points 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10, is very informative and jibes with other information I’ve read about the future of our energy distribution system.

By Anto Budiardjo
Published July 26, 2010
10 Things I've Learned About the Smart Grid

I first heard the term “Smart Grid” in 2005 when I was invited to a meeting of the GridWise Architecture Council in Denver to discuss possibilities for organizing a collaborative Smart Grid event.

With a background in building automation and energy management, I could easily grasp the concept of Smart Grid — basically, connect and automate everything from generation to consuming devices to deliver greater efficiency. That’s all there is to it … right?

Oh, naiveté is such a wonderful thing. After organizing collaborative events at the center of the worldwide energy discussion for several years, here are 10 things I’ve learned.

Read the entire article here.

Brazil opens its ethanol market to U.S. imports

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Well this just keeps on getting more and more interesting.

I’m here in Brazil talking with people in the cane and ethanol industry, as well as other stakeholders, asking them what they think about the possibility of increased U.S. importation of Brazilian ethanol. Until recently, that was the most likely possibility, and with a recent decision by the U.S. E.P.A, it became an even more likely reality.

But with the strength of the Brazilian currency (real) and a couple of poor harvests, the price of domestic ethanol has been rising, hence the recent discussions of importing ethanol from the U.S. to meet domestic demand, which is significant given the fact that most cars here are flex-fuel vehicles, capable of operating on any mix of gasoline and/or ethanol. But the drop in the Brazilian tariff does correspond with the start of the harvest season here, which has revitalized cane and ethanol production in the last few weeks, causing a significant drop in prices.

So, it’s convenient for Brazil to drop the tariff now, when domestic ethanol prices are falling.

The motivation, it’s clear, is to pressure the U.S. to drop our tariff, thus, combined with the recent EPA decision, opening the door to imports of Brazilian ethanol.

We’ll see…

Biofuels Journal

Date Posted: April 6, 2010

Sao Paulo—The announcement April 5 that the Brazilian government has unilaterally eliminated its tariff on imported ethanol is a major step forward in building a global biofuels marketplace, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

“UNICA believes that free trade is a two way street and Brazil, as the largest producer of cane ethanol and largest exporter of ethanol in the world, with 60% of the global market, will lead by example and eliminate barriers to renewable, clean fuels.

“We hope this move will encourage other countries around the world to develop open, free markets for clean, efficient renewable fuels such as ethanol,” said UNICA President & CEO Marcos Jank.

Read the entire article here.

America’s biofuel muddle

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The article I posted the other day about the increasing likelihood of far greater U.S. importation of Brazilian ethanol has garnered a number of responses on Facebook, LinkedIn, and, mostly, via email. Few seem to want to post here on my site, despite my encouragement.

What’s maybe most interesting has been the abundance of emotion, even amongst a dearth of accurate information, in several of the responses.it’s a fascinating time to be alive, and to be working in the energy sector.

Here’s some more fodder…

Coming up empty

America will have trouble meeting its ambitious goals for biofuels

Mar 25th 2010 | CHICAGO | From The Economist print edition

THE renewable-fuel standard released in February by America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paints an ambitious picture of biofuels’ future. It wants the amount of the stuff used as transport fuel to climb from 13 billion gallons (49 billion litres) in 2010 to 36 billion gallons in 2022, requiring by far the largest part of that increase to come from various advanced biofuels, rather than ethanol made from corn (maize). But although the future looks exciting, the present is rather grim. The EPA has been forced to slash its 2010 mandate for the most widely touted of the non-corn biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, from 100m gallons to just 6.5m, less than a thousandth of the 11 billion gallons produced from corn in 2009.

Read the entire article here.