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Aggregating Energy Since 2006
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From Grist magazine

If At First You Don't Succeed ... Keep Not Succeeding
House passes legislation to drill in Arctic Refuge ... again

Here we go again: for the 947th time, the House has passed legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Less than six months before congressional elections, House Republicans are desperate to show they're doing something about high gas prices. Of course, that something is largely symbolic, as the measure is likely to crash and burn in the Senate. The bill passed 225-201; 30 Republicans voted against drilling, but were balanced out by 27 Democrats who voted in favor. The drilling measure's chief sponsor, California Republican Richard Pombo (who else?), thundered at Democrats, "You've got this pie-in-the-sky [idea] that we're going to invent a 100-mile-per-gallon carburetor, and all of a sudden our problems are going to go away." He's right, you know. Our problems won't go away until we drill in the refuge and gas prices drop. By a penny. In a decade.

straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Richard Simon, 26 May 2006

Mercury Legislation Celebration

Sorry for not giving notice earlier. Everyone is welcome to come and mingle with those who were instrumental in bringing the mercury legislation and Minneapolis regulations into being.

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MERCURY FREE MINNESOTA CELEBRATION POTLUCKWho: Everyone who called for mercury reduction, kids, partnersWhat: Mercury Free Celebration PotluckWhen: Tuesday, May 30 6:00pm-8:00 pmWhere: Lake Harriet picnic area (called Beard̢۪s Plaissance) Location: Intersection of Lake Harriet Parkway West and 45th Street West in Minneapolis130042nd St. WMinneapolis, MN 55409 Phone: 612 230-6475RSVP: Bring a dish to share and let Erin Jordahl Redlin know what it is.Drop Erin a note at ejredlin@cleanwater.org or call 612-623-3666.

Litter History

MoJo has a brief history of the 'Keep America Beautiful' anti-litter campaign and how it relates to energy.

The meat of the message:

In essence, Keep America Beautiful managed to shift the entire debate about America's garbage problem. No longer was the focus on regulating production—for instance, requring can and bottle makers to use refillable containers, which are vastly less profitable. Instead, the "litterbug" became the real villain, and KAB supported fines and jail time for people who carelessly tossed out their trash, despite the fact that, clearly, "littering" is a relatively tiny part of the garbage problem in this country (not to mention the resource damage and pollution that comes with manufacturing ever more junk in the first place). Environmental groups that worked with KAB early on didn't realize what was happening until years later.

Hybrid History

SF Gate ran an article looking at the history of the Prius. This is an interesting piece looking at the business decisions to develop the Prius.

Toyota may soon take over GM as the number one car seller. GM had many lackluster years, but may retain its top stop for another couple of years depending on its actions now.

For years, Toyota recorded solid growth because of its dependable, fuel-efficient cars such as the Camry. Then, in the 1990s, while U.S. automakers were building bigger and bigger SUVs and trucks, Toyota threw itself into hybrid gasoline-electric research, investing more than $1 billion in the then-little-known field.

In the beginning:

Ogiso was one of the original team of about 100 engineers selected by Toyota chiefs in late 1993. "We didn't know much about the idea," he said. "Our only instruction was that it should achieve a fuel-efficiency improvement of 50 percent, and it somehow should be the 'car of the 21st century.' "

The insistence on fuel efficiency was highly unusual. At the time, the price of oil averaged below $15 per barrel, Americans were snapping up ever-bigger SUVs, and saving gasoline seemed like a politically correct anachronism.

Then came increasingly challenging goals:

In September 1994, the G21 team first heard hints from top executives that it should consider hybrid technology, which had been tainted by its association with an earlier, failed project to build an electric car. That December, management came with a thunderbolt -- instead of a 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, the new car would need a 100 percent improvement.

The team protested that this would be impossible with a normal internal combustion gasoline engine. Fine, the response came. So you'll have to make it a hybrid.

The rest of the article is worth reading. While some regard Toyota as a model company, some are pissed because

Swift Boating the Planet

Paul Krugman has a good article in today's NY Times about the smear campaign against global warming. He likens the tatics of the energy industry and its cohorts to the Swift Boat ads used to smear John Kerry.

Of note is how Patrick Michaels, a professor from the U. of Virginia and a lackey of the energy industry, and others have used a graph from noted NASA climate scientist James Hansen to show how the claims of global warming are exagerated. What they fail to mention is Hansen actually showed a range of predictions, and the actual measured warming falls squarely in his range.

Krugman's point, which I agree with, is that scientists and environmentalists need to do a better job of pointing out the outright lies and misrepresentations of those who oppose efforts to curb global warming.

2 Weeks!

Energista has been up for 2 weeks and we are getting some good posts. Thanks to all who are reading and posting - I hope we can keep it up.

If you have any questions how to do something, please ask. I would love to incorporate more links on the right hand side of the page - if you have any suggestions of who we should link to, please email me or post them in a comment.

Ozone Layer Healing

Apparently, the Ozone layer is recovering faster than previously predicted. From my scanning of the article, it looks like this means it has stopped thinning and held constant for several years. CFCs are part of the explanation.

While the ozone hole over Antarctica continues to open wide, the ozone layer around the rest of the planet seems to be on the mend. For the last 9 years, worldwide ozone has remained roughly constant, halting the decline first noticed in the 1980s.

There must be some complication somewhere...

It's a complicated question. CFCs are not the only things that can influence the ozone layer; sunspots, volcanoes and weather also play a role. Ultraviolet rays from sunspots boost the ozone layer, while sulfurous gases emitted by some volcanoes can weaken it. Cold air in the stratosphere can either weaken or boost the ozone layer, depending on altitude and latitude.

Basically, it looks like government action on CFCs is responsible for most of the upper level ozone replenishment whereas other non-human linked variables may be responsible for halting destruction of the lower ozone.

Energy Events

Passed on by the folks at Clean Water Action:

Event Name: Walk for Wind and March against Mercury
Date: June 2 to 4
Location: Morris and Ortonville
Date: June 9 to 11
Location: White Earth
Date: June 16 to 18
Location: Marshall and Canby
Date: June 23 to 25
Location: Lake Benton and Pipestone
Description: A fun series of outdoor walks and campouts to show support for the health, environmental, and economic benefits of renewable energy; celebrate our rich natural heritage; raise awareness about the danger of the proposed Big Stone II coal plant expansion; and have fun with others who want a cleaner, healthier energy future. Go to www.northstar.sierraclub.org for more details. Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Izaak Walton League, Clean Water Action Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, Clean Up the River Environment, and others.
For more info: Contact Cesia (saysha) Kearns at Sierra Club, 612-659-9124 or cesia.kearns@sierraclub.org

Event Name: Public Hearings on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Big Stone II Coal Plant
Time: Question and answer period from 5 to 6:45 PM; Public hearing at 7 PM
Date: June 13, 2006
Location: Big Stone City American Legion, Highway 12 West in Big Stone City, South Dakota
Date: June 14, 2006
Location: Best Western Prairie Inn, 200 Highway 28 East in Morris, MN
Date: June 15, 2006
Location: Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1593 11th Avenue in Granite Falls, MN
Date: June 16, 2006
Location: Benson Golf Course, 2222 Atlantic Avenue in Benson, MN
Description: The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA – part of the federal Department of Energy) is preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Big Stone II coal plant. WAPA will hold public meetings in the region to gather oral and written comments on the draft EIS. Written comments are due July 3, 2006.
For more info: Erin Jordahl-Redlin at Clean Water Action, 612-623-3666 or ejredlin@cleanwater.org

Good article on wind

From a mechanical engineering journal. It talks about the need for new transmission and nondiscriminatory access to the grid.

Link to article

Bush visits nuclear plant

Bush visited a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania yesterday as part of efforts to promote nuclear power. Does anyone else find it a little scary that he called the nuclear industry "overregulated"?

The 2005 Energy Bill apparently contains a number of incentives for more nuclear plants, including federal loan guarantees, federal risk insurance, and tax credits. The incentives apparently were enough for 16 companies to express interest in building more nuclear plants, including 2 the previous year. Environmentalists say the plants are unprofitable.

EU & Russia

Energy talks are to be held in Russia today, discussing Russia's supply of gas/oil to the EU. Apparently the EU imports 25% of its supply from Russia and is concerned that Russia is using that power to coerce other deals/negotiations/etc.

Today show

Al Gore was interviewed by Katie Couric on the Today show - I saw a lil blurb today about his new movie, which apparently goes through his slides of previous climate change presentations. He apparently even makes jokes! Katie "slams" him by asking why wasn't he so approachable in the 2000 election??? They also mentioned his SNL appearance, where he talked to America about the changes during his Presidency (damn glaciers, attacking innocent people!). Amusing.

Hillary on Energy

Senator Hillary Clinton gave a fairly major speech about energy policy recently. I think you will be able to listen to it soon via MPR. Transcript available via her Senate site.

Big call for reducing oil imports by 2025. She doesn't like nukes. Likes CCS. Oil companies need to be taxed on windfall profits. Calls for efficiency and conservation. Falls into the hybrid trap. Dick Cheney is a dick. America can do this without hurting the economy - in fact, the economy will be hurt if we don't do this. Amory Lovins is cool. Ethanol ethanol ethanol.

I think those are most of the highlights. It is a wonkish speech - if you think she has a shot at becoming President, you should start learning her energy ideas.

Thomas Friedman

Friedman has a good column today in the NY Times for us special 'Times Select' customers. He basically talks about how green power is advancing with a "million Manhattan projects" based on entrepeneur activity in spite of lack of government support. What I like is that he acknowledges that market forces alone won't accelerate green energy fast enough because energy is not a free market - there is the OPEC cartel, and government subsidies for oil companies.

Making Transit Work

Today on Midday - Making Transit Work - with a focus on the Central Corridor.

Guests:

Peter Bell: Chair of the Metropolitan Council.

Rafael Ortega: Ramsey County commissioner.

Unrelated: Northstar Rail did get its full $60 million from the legislature.

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