Archives for February, 2013

Crude oil production in the United States surpassed 7 million barrels per day (bpd) in November last year, the first time since December 1992 that output reached that level. According to numbers released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration today, the U.S. produced 7.013 million bpd in November and 7.030 million bpd in December. Driven…

The troubles that roiled Shell’s rig, the Kulluk, off the coast of Alaska this past winter will reverberate through the summer; the oil company announced today it would not seek to drill in U.S. Arctic waters in 2013. (Related: “In Kulluk’s Wake, Deeper Debate Roils on Arctic Drilling“) “We’ve made progress in Alaska, but this…

The oil and gas industry promises “a few days of fracking” for “decades of … production.” But is it true? Believe it or not, some people don’t buy the fracking boom story. Some predict bust. Others, more of a petering out. What gives? Let’s begin with a story about a lunch. Lunch with a Skeptic In…

Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered a sort of parting gift to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Tuesday, as the pair were about to conclude a session at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit near Washington, D.C. Asking for a for a bit more time to make an announcement, Musk first said he thought the Department of Energy’s…

  In my recent post, “The Limited Vision of the Pro-Nuclear Energy Argument,” one of the commenters wrote: “it is a fact that only carbon-based energy and nuclear have a high enough energy density to meet our world’s demands. None of the renewables come close.” I responded, “It is far from ‘fact’ that only carbon-based…

This past week the Government Accountability Office, the federal government’s independent auditor and watchdog agency, added climate change to its list of “high-risk” threats to the nation’s fiscal health. “Climate change creates significant financial risks for the federal government,” the GAO report said. “The federal government is not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure…

Has fracking changed our energy future for the better, or for the worse? Read viewpoints on both sides and vote in the poll below. The use of hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from the earth dates back to the 1940s, but only in the past few years has “fracking” become an energy buzzword,…

The question on many minds following the inaugural speech was: would climate change rank high enough as an issue to appear in his State of the Union address? And if so, would its inclusion indicate a strong intent on the part of the president to act quickly? Or would it be a mere mention to placate those worried about the planet’s health, with no assurance that anything substantive would happen? Last night we seemed to get our answer.

A New York Times reporter’s white-knuckled 206-mile journey in a Tesla Model S ended with the high-end EV on the back of a flatbed truck, and his account of the drive is fueling debate this week over the potential and the pitfalls of electric cars. Tesla’s chief executive fired back at the Times, calling the…

American households could save more than $1,000 a year by boosting energy efficiency at home and on the road over the next two decades, according to a new analysis from the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy. The commission’s report, Energy 2030, outlines a broad plan to double U.S. energy productivity—that  is, to get…

Are nukes a viable form of clean energy? Is the need for them inevitable? On Comedy Central’s Colbert Report last week, environmental policy expert Michael Shellenberger advocated for nuclear power as a necessary energy source. His rationale is that energy demand is going to double by 2050, efficiency and conservation notwithstanding, so we really have…

There was a time when manual transmissions always outperformed automatics on the track, but you won’t find a clutch on today’s F1 supercars anymore. Those have been replaced by semi-automatic paddle shifters mounted to the steering column. Even on the street-legal consumer side, acceleration is a shifting landscape. While six-speed manuals such as the Lingenfelter…

Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has served for four years as President Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary, announced his resignation on Friday. As of this weekend, Chu will become the nation’s longest-serving energy secretary, a record previously held by Spencer Abraham, who served in the Cabinet post under President George W. Bush. The former…

There’s good news in the long-running controversy about wind power and birds. A study of the notorious wind turbines in California’s Altamont Pass suggests that efforts to reduce the number of bird deaths from the spinning blades are succeeding.