Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

What Santa and Putin Have In Common

August 10, 2015

What Santa and Putin Have In Common
Santa Claus and Vladimir Putin have something in common: They both live in Russia. If the UN says so, anyway.

Russia has submitted a formal bid to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) claiming more than 463,000 square miles of Arctic Ocean seabed, including the North Pole. Russia says that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges under the Arctic are extensions of the country’s continental shelf. In December, Denmark claimed most of the same territory, saying the Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of Greenland. Norway and Canada are preparing similar claims. Russia made a symbolic stunt claiming the Pole in 2007, putting a titanium flag on the sea floor under the ice cap.

Why would anyone want the Arctic seafloor, anyway? Oil and gas. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are reserves of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas there, 22 percent of the world’s unrecovered oil and natural gas, and with Global Warming it’s becoming more accessible.

Another nation with interests in the Arctic is ineligible to file a UN claim, since it’s not a signatory of the Convention on the Law of the Sea: The United States of America.

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What Santa and Hamlet Have In Common

December 19, 2014

What Santa and Hamlet Have in Common

Santa Claus and Hamlet have something in common: They both live in Denmark. That is, if you accept Denmark’s claim to the North Pole.

The big, cold island of Greenland is in the Kingdom of Denmark, and Denmark says the island’s northern continental shelf has a ridge that includes 895000 square km (345561 square miles) of the Arctic seabed. Russia and Canada have claims in as well.

Why would any of these countries want to own the Arctic? In addition  to Santa’s Workshop, it’s got 22% of the world’s undiscovered, recoverable oil and natural gas. Global warming means it will become easier to get at these resources by boat.

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Power Struggle: Electric Utilities Fight Solar Advocates

October 1, 2014

Power Struggle: Electric Utilities Fight Solar Advocates

“As solar technology gets dramatically cheaper, tens of thousands of Americans are putting photovoltaic panels up on their roofs, generating their own power. At the same time, 43 states and Washington DC have ‘net metering’ laws that allow solar-powered households to sell their excess electricity back to the grid at retail prices.

That’s a genuine problem for utilities. All these solar households are now buying less and less electricity, but the utilities still have to manage the costs of connecting them to the grid. Indeed, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory argues that, without policy changes, this trend could soon put utilities in dire financial straits. If rooftop solar were to grab 10 percent of the market over the next decade, utility earnings could decline as much as 41 percent.

To avoid that fate, many utilities are now pushing for reforms that would at least slow the breakneck growth of rooftop solar — say, by scaling back those ‘net metering’ laws. And that’s opened up a war with many fronts.”

— “Solar power is growing so fast that older energy companies are trying to stop it,” Brad Plumer, Vox

More:

“Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access,” Jeff Brady, NPR

“Taxes, fees: the worldwide battle between utilities and solar,” Tracy Rucinski and Byron Kaye, Reuters

“Old Energy’ Utilities See Rising Threat from Solar,” Taegan Goddard, Wonk Wire

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BP ‘Grossly Negligent’ in the Gulf Oil Spill

September 8, 2014

BP 'Grossly Negligent' in the Gulf Oil Spill

On Thursday September 4, 2014 U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier, Louisiana born and bred, found BP to be “grossly negligent” in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, attributing 67% of the blame to the company, 30% to contractor Transocean, and 3% to submarine cement subcontractor Halliburton. BP may be liable for as much as $18 billion in fines under the Clean Water Act. BP had tried to claim its two partners in the drilling venture were equally responsible, so the ruling essentially doubles that. BP says it will appeal.

With this fine on top of other Deepwater fines, costs, and damage expenses, BP’s total bill for the disaster could reach $50 billion.

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Power Up with Bovine Burps

November 3, 2013

Power Up with Bovine Burps

Argentina raises a whole lot of cows, and they raise a whole lot of burps. When you’ve got four stomachs and eat plants all day, gas happens. That gas is mostly methane, and each cow belches about 300 liters of it daily. It’s a polluting greenhouse gas, but it’s also fuel. Argentinos want to use all that gas to power up their cars — or maybe even cook up all that beef.

More:

“Argentine scientists tap cow burps for natural gas,” Maximiliano Rizzi, Reuters

“El gas de las vacas puede alimentar un motor,” INTA Informa

Reuters video here 

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Nuts! The Threat to Our Nation’s Infrastructure

September 23, 2013

Nuts! The Threat to Our Nation's Infrastructure

For years now we’ve told you, and told you, and told you yet again about a persistent threat to America’s infrastructure. Now that the New York Times has caught up, maybe now you’ll listen.

This year there have been stealth attacks on the electric power grid in Virginia, Illinois, Delaware, Virginia, Oregon, Ohio, Maryland, and dozens of places across the country, and they continue. These attacks on electrical substations are predictable and avoidable, yet nothing is done to avert them. Perhaps if we claim they are caused by Iranian hackers we can get relief.

More:

“Squirrel Power!” Jon Mooallem, New York Times

“Squirrels and electricity: A shocking problem,” Bruce Kennedy, MSN Money

“How squirrels are screwing with America’s power grid,” Katie Drummond, The Verge

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Remember When iPads Were Hip?

November 2, 2012

Remember When iPads Were Hip?

Hey Granny, Zurich’s Micasa Lab makes a rocking chair with a built-in generator, speakers, and a dock for your iPad. Hot Diggity!

iRock: The Worlds first power generating iPad Rocking Chair.

On second thought, bet you youngsters down in SoHo and the Village wish you had one right now ….

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Image  (“Fruit of the Web, after Norman Rockwell”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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East Village Recovery Efforts Look Like This

November 1, 2012

East Village Recovery Efforts Look Like This

New York’s Alphabet City, Wednesday (Photo: Sean McPhillips, Salon).

Further downtown, bucket brigades carry diesel fuel up to a 17th floor generator to keep a data center online:

“After Sandy Knocks Out Power, Rescue Keeps Data Center Alive,” Gerry Smith, Huffington Post

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blame Game. It’s Back!

December 7, 2011

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blame Game. It's Back!

BP Global has charged that its subcontractor, Halliburton Energy Services, destroyed evidence of shoddy cement work on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. BP claims the “Mocondo Blowout” that caused last year’s catastrophic Gulf oil spill was caused by Halliburton’s substandard work.

More:

“BP says Halliburton ‘intentionally destroyed evidence’ after Gulf oil spill,” Vivian Kuo, CNN

 “BP says Halliburton destroyed Gulf spill evidence,” Reuters via Chicago Tribune

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Occupy Appropriate Technology. And Yachts.

November 3, 2011

Occupy Appropriate Technology. And Yachts.

Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park had their gasoline-power generators confiscated by the NYFD as potential fire hazards. How to power life’s basic necessities, computers and cell phones? Bicycle-powered generators.

Further south, 300 Florida protesters marched on the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The chief oppostiton to the good-natured and well-tanned marchers was a torrential downpour.

Related: Appropedia.org Appropriate Technology Portal

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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