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Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy

A Shell game?

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shell oil vintage sign_Karen BlahaWhen the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell chats up the importance of renewable energy as part of the globe’s future energy mix, one might well be a tad suspicious—after all this is an oil major speaking, right?

Could it be that Ben van Beurden has seen the light, powered by things other than fossil fuels? Is it possible he is thinking about the future in a way that’s perhaps more enlightened than simply rhetorical?

Speaking recently at OPEC‘s 167th meeting in Vienna, van Beurden said traditional energy sources should integrate and work together with clean technologies to provide sustainable and economically-sensible power for the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

13 July, 2015 at 6:30 am

France’s green artistic panache

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img_5446Leave it to the French to make something as mundane as a wind turbine into a work of art by installing two of them on the Eiffel Tower.

Yes, that Eiffel Tower, which itself is a monument to both creativity and sustainability: when it was built in 1889 it was only intended to last for 20 years. In the ensuing 126 years the tower has gone through many renovations, but the latest sends a decidedly green message whirling into the future.

Earlier this year, the renewable energy firm Urban Green Energy installed two wind turbines inside the metal scaffolding of the tower. The turbines will produce 10,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power the tower’s first floor commercial establishments, which include restaurants, a souvenir shop, and exhibits about the history of the tower.

The turbines are part of a plan to reduce the environmental impact of the tower. Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the organization that runs the tower, is also installing rainwater collection systems, LED lights, and solar panels on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

8 June, 2015 at 6:00 am

Utilities’ use of renewable energy rising

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ceres picThe “new reality” facing electricity consumers and their utility companies is that renewable energy is meeting an increasingly larger share of U.S. energy needs, according to a report from Ceres and Clean Edge.

That translates into more and better choices and a clean energy future.

“Renewables—including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, waste heat and small-scale hydroelectric—accounted for a whopping 49 percent of new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2012, with new wind development outpacing even natural gas,” writes Jon Wellinghoff, partner at Stoel Rives LLP and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the report.

Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2014, is the first annual report from Ceres in partnership with Clean Edge on this subject. It ranks the nation’s 32 largest electric utilities and their local subsidiaries on their renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

12 August, 2014 at 6:00 am

Less is more, more or less: Matt Ridley’s strange alchemy

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alchemyMatt Ridley, the UK author, journalist and member of the House of Lords, recently asserted in a Wall Street Journal article that the “world’s resources aren’t running out.” Well maybe, sorta. If you are into the mental gymnastics of conservative doublethink.

I could not let his piece pass without providing, shall we say, a different and more intellectually honest (I hope) viewpoint.

He asks: “How many times have you heard that we humans are ‘using up’ the world’s resources, ‘running out’ of oil, ‘reaching the limits’ of the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with pollution or ‘approaching the carrying capacity’ of the land’s ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff—metals, oil, clean air, land—and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption.” Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft doubled renewable energy purchases in FY 2013

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MS citizenshipBefore this difficult year fades into history, I wanted to call attention to an excellent development, care of a local PNW company you may have heard of, Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft’s 2013 “Citizenship Report” describes an ambitious agenda that features making its operations carbon neutral, and using the “power of technology” to promote human rights.

The software giant’s fiscal year 2013 was pivotal on those points, CEO Steven A. Ballmer wrote, because it took the “first big, bold steps” in it its transformation to a devices and services company and in its citizenship work. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

5 December, 2013 at 4:30 am

What about climate change guys?

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Something? Anything? Listening to the debates one might think climate change was not an economic, health, safety and security issue worthy of discussion.

It’s really disheartening, but it’s also a pure calculation – apparently both sides believe that there are few if any votes in numbers that matter by talking about climate change, especially in the swing states where the final battles are occurring.

It’s also startling, and historic. Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts and ClimateSilence.org: “For the first time since 1984, the presidential and vice presidential debates have ignored the threat of climate change. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Mitt Romney, and Representative Paul Ryan have failed to debate the greatest challenge of our time. Climate change threatens us all: the candidates’ silence threatens to seal our fate.”

In the second debate President Obama and Mitt Romney extolled the virtues of coal and natural gas during a sequence on the high cost of gasoline, but they neglected to mention the costs of climate change now and for future generations by relying so heavily on gasoline and fossil fuels for energy, especially “clean” coal. (This just in – there is no such thing as clean coal.)

In the third debate the focus was on foreign policy, a perfect opportunity to weigh-in on the dangers to security and the environment coming from reliance on oil from the most volatile region in the world, which happens to sit on most of the globe’s oil reserves. But no.

The connection between foreign policy, peace, energy, economic and environmental security is real and needs to be addressed – the candidates’ silence on this is dumbfounding and cynical.

[Image: TV screenshot]

Written by William DiBenedetto

23 October, 2012 at 11:10 am

Obama slaps down Romney on climate change

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I’ve been obsessing perhaps a little too much about the Romney/Ryan “energy policy” and attitude towards climate change, so it was refreshing to see President Obama’s evisceration of them during his DNC speech.

He rebuked Mitt Romney’s ridiculous joke making climate change a punchline at the Republican National Convention. “Climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.”

Here are his comments, from the transcript, which Obama followed pretty much verbatim:

“You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

“We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.”

Great stuff from Obama and the Dems – especially calling out Romney and the Republicans on their lies and lopsided view of America.

[YouTube/Screen capture]

Written by William DiBenedetto

7 September, 2012 at 8:45 am

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