Archives for March, 2014

British Columbia finds itself at the forefront of the global debate on natural gas, and its role in the future of energy. Some 15 energy company consortiums are vying to build massive export terminals on the Pacific coastline of Canada’s westernmost province, with an eye to shipping gas to energy-hungry Asia. British Columbia, in other…

Alternative energy company KiOR, which aimed to lead the nation into a future in which fuel manufactured from wood chips, grasses and other plant materials would replace petroleum, now faces dire financial difficulties that may threaten the company’s future. (See earlier story on KiOR: “Beyond Ethanol: “Drop-In Biofuels Squeeze Gasoline From Plants.”) In a March…

On March 25, I was honored to participate in a roundtable discussion convened by National Geographic as part of its Great Energy Challenge initiative. Along with a group of academics, government officials, and representatives of industry and nongovernmental organizations, we tackled key questions about the role of natural gas in a low-carbon future. What became…

Accidental pollution? Sure, stuff happens. But what about intentional pollution? When we think of electric power plants and pollution, we often think of air pollution and climate change, and especially when it comes to coal-fired power plants. But power plants are also huge polluters of our waterways — our streams, rivers and lakes. In fact the…

Comments Off on Simple Fixes Could Plug Methane Leaks from Energy Industry, Study Finds

Almost all of the climate-affecting methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals, suggests a new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force released today. (See related story: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy.”) The report…

Comments Off on Iraq’s Unity at a Breaking Point over Oil Export Disputes

The escalating tension between Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad is reaching a critical point. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in defying Baghdad’s authority over oil drilling and exports from the Kurdish region, has been challenging the central government’s authority and legitimacy since 2007. The completion last December of an…

Geothermal heating and cooling systems have been successfully implemented for at least 70 years in the United States, but for many homeowners, they are still a “new” option.  And when an energy efficient technology is new or more expensive, regardless of the benefits, it becomes a novelty of sorts for those with an adventurous spirit…

Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents, is a perfect setting for a close look at the energy and sustainability challenges of our increasingly urban planet. With 14 million people, Istanbul is the largest city in Europe. But energy demand here and across Turkey is growing at a rate more typical…

Comments Off on Wind Power’s Share of the U.S. Power Grid Jumped in 2013, New Figures Show

Wind power last year continued its climb toward becoming a significant U.S. energy source, contributing 4.1 percent of the electricity generated in the country, up from 3.4 percent in 2012, according to figures released by the industry Wednesday. That share still may sound puny, but consider that in 2000, wind was at a barely perceptible…

Comments Off on Fight Over Solar in Bridgeport: Two Types of Environmentalism Collide

Late Monday night, the Parks Commission in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut voted to approve the placement of a solar-panel array atop an old, disused landfill. The project, which will consist of approximately 9,000 solar panels and a small fuel-cell facility, is expected to bring the city $7 million over 20 years in lease payments from UIL…