There are all sorts of opinions on the Keystone Pipeline. Many environmentalists are very much opposed, while many people concerned with weaning ourselves off of Mid East oil are in favor of it, even with all the new oil American is producing through fracking. The Arkansas oil spill complicates the issue of course.
Here’s T. Boone Pickens discussing natural gas, oil and the pipeline.
If you’re looking for a hybrid with superior mileage per gallon, then compressed air may be your thing. PSA Peugeot Citroen says its new C3 VTi 82 hatchback–which it unveils at a motor show next month–will go 81 miles, in optimum conditions. That’s compared to the Toyota Prius’s roughly 45 mile performance. And there’s no need for expensive, and heavy, lithium batteries. The compressed air system provides power as well as storage: as with other hybrids, it recovers energy from a gasoline engine when you brake or slow down.
From the video, you can see that the Air Hybrid system works in three modes, depending on the neighborhood. Above 43 miles per hour, it uses a conventional engine. Around town, it goes on air alone. And then there’s a combined mode when you need more power at lower speeds. An electronic management unit switches modes automatically.
The idea of powering a car using compressed air isn’t particularly new–several companies have explored the technology. But PSA Peugeot Citroen is the first major one to go big on it, developing a drive-train it hopes to use across several models, including light commercial vans. The company hasn’t released prices yet, saying only that the vehicles will be “competitive both in European and international markets,” but that is likely to be a major draw. Lithium batteries remain uncompetitively expensive.
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids offer incredible potential, and we’re seeing progress with hydrogen fuel cells as well. But with compressed air you have a novel approach that produces ZERO emissions when in that mode. That’s pretty impressive. Expect to hear much more about this, as it’s also much more practical than things like the AIRpod, which relies totally on compressed air but doesn’t have the size and range of this hybrid.
As a company, Google has a bunch of issues. They have absurdly terrible customer service and treat their affiliates like crap.
But they treat their employees well, and they are also one of the companies leading the charge in carbon emissions and sustainability.
As the double-decker bus turns onto Charleston Road and starts winding through Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus, I stretch out in the business-class-size seat, admiring the smoothness of the black leather and the plush gray carpeting at my feet. A spacious table expands to hold a laptop, which can connect to the vehicle’s Wi-Fi system. This $800,000 luxury double-decker is one of 73 buses that Google owns and operates. (It leases 26 others.) Each day the fleet transports about 4,500 employees, or about a third of those working at the Googleplex, as the company’s headquarters is known.
It turns out that Google (GOOG) isn’t offering a free ride simply as an employee perk — the buses actually save the company money. Yes, there’s the added productivity of 4,500 employees working an extra couple of hours each day while riding to and from work. But Google’s bus service is about much more than that. Real estate in Mountain View is expensive. Underground parking spaces cost as much as $85,000 to construct. (Really!) If Google had to build a parking space for each of the bus riders, the price tag would run to almost $400 million. And that’s not counting the lost opportunity cost of not using that land for new office buildings.
Google has made other investments in transportation too. If, during the day, a Google-ite needs to run an errand or pick up a sick kid at school, he or she can hop into one of 52 electric and hybrid cars parked on campus. The company also encourages employees to drive electrics. It has spent an estimated $3 million to $4 million to install 395 chargers — the largest corporate electric-vehicle infrastructure in the country.
Finding creative solutions to energy issues has become a major priority for Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page in recent years.
Read the entire article. Other companies may not have the resources to do everything Google is trying, but they can set a great example when it comes to cost-effective solutions for responsible companies.
General Motors first began selling the Chevy Volt, as the first ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, in December of 2010. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Volt achieves about 94 miles per gallon. However, with a price tag of around $40,000, consumers have been slow to jump on board with the plug-in electric car concept. In fact, production was halted back in March-April, 2012, due to sluggish sales. However, General Motors resumed production this past April, a week earlier than planned, as Volt sales have begun to turn around. Some say that this past summer’s high gas prices have encouraged more consumers to invest in the Volt. The following is an article, out of the NY Daily News, discussing the Volt’s return:
What a difference a few months made for the Chevy Volt. From underselling political deadweight to automotive press darling, GM’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle went back into production this week after a shorter-than expected shutdown announced in early March to reduce the inventory levels of unsold vehicles.
At that time, the Volt’s future looked bleak — it was being rounded on by US Republican presidential candidates and was still suffering from the aftereffects of a series of damaging headlines after a federal investigation into battery safety.
But that was then and this is now.
Check out the entire article. It’s inspiring to see that although progress has been slow, we are moving closer to achieving energy independence and reducing our carbon footprint…One car at a time.
Energy resources like oil and natural gas can have a huge impact on a nation’s fortunes. It’s for this reason that it will be so difficult to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. The riches associated with them are staggering, and it leads to political power in foreign relations as well. Environmentalists and anyone interested in global warming needs to acknowledge this fact, and it’s probably more important to promote alternative fuels and conservation as opposed to trying to stop people around the world from drilling. That just isn’t going to happen.
Actual production is still miniscule, but evidence is accumulating that the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be an El Dorado: inch for inch the most valuable and energy rich country anywhere in the world. If this turns out to be true, a lot of things are going to change, and some of those changes are already underway.
Israel and Canada have just signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and development of what, apparently, could be vast shale oil reserves beneath the Jewish state.
The prospect of huge oil reserves in Israel comes on top of the recent news about large natural gas discoveries off the coast that have been increasingly attracting attention and investor interest. The apparent gas riches have also been attracting international trouble. Lebanon disputes the undersea boundary with Israel (an act somewhat complicated by the fact that Lebanon has never actually recognized Israel’s existence), and overlapping claims from Turkey and Greece themselves plus both Greek and Turkish authorities on Cyprus further complicate matters. Yet despite these tensions, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprisingly cordial visit last week, Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction.
Read the entire article as it goes into the geopolitical issues surrounding this development as well.
Nine in ten people in the UK want to see greater use of renewable energy and less dependence on fossil fuels, according to a new survey commissioned by Friends of the Earth. Launching the Clean British Energy campaign, the environmental group revealed that 85 per cent of people want the government to do more to support the generation of clean energy within the UK and import less gas.
The response shouldn’t be too surprising – imported gas is one of the biggest reasons fuel bills are rising. In spite of continued efforts to increase to UK’s uptake of renewable energy through schemes like the feed-in tariff, just 9.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity is generated by renewable energy sources. As prime minister David Cameron gives his first “green speech” at the Clean Energy Ministerial summit this week, Friends of the Earth is calling on him to shift the energy market away from the Big Six energy corporations and help smaller, cleaner companies into the market.
Over the last couple of years, smaller firms have received a boost from the feed-in tariff scheme, which rewards homeowners and businesses for installing solar PV generation systems through a company like EvoEnergy. However, the rate paid for energy generated through the scheme proved to be unsustainable, and a series of cuts have dampened the public’s enthusiasm for home solar power somewhat.
This isn’t to say that solar power is on the way out in the UK – far from it, the solar industry now employs more than 29,000 people, while developing other renewable sources such as offshore wind power could create as many as 66,000 jobs by 2020, according to Friends of the Earth. The UK’s tidal power systems are among some of the most advanced in the world, and the campaign group claims there are further opportunities in exporting our technology and expertise around the globe.
On May 9th, the Queen is due to announce a new government bill that will set the rules for the UK’s electricity generation, but these don’t give renewable sources the prominence that many campaigners would like: they’re still focused on fossil fuels, subsidies for nuclear power and the ongoing domination of the Big Six. Friends of the Earth is urging those who want to see this changed to email energy secretary Ed Davey from its new campaign website and encourage positive change in the market.
Robert J. Samuelson is usually a grouch when it comes to economics and energy. That includes his harsh skepticism on the ability to do something about global warming.
He’s actually rather optimistic about America’s energy future, but he notes that renewables will not be as big a part of our energy future as environmentalists would want. Coal, natural gas and oil will still be important parts of the energy equation.
The potential of geothermal energy is incredible, but we’ll see soon whether we’re making real progress in this area.
Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in central Oregon this summer to demonstrate technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise.
They hope the water comes back to the surface fast enough and hot enough to create cheap, clean electricity that isn’t dependent on sunny skies or stiff breezes — without shaking the earth and rattling the nerves of nearby residents.
Renewable energy has been held back by cheap natural gas, weak demand for power and lack of political concern over global warming. Efforts to use the earth’s heat to generate power, known as geothermal energy, have been further hampered by technical problems and worries that tapping it can cause earthquakes.
Even so, the federal government, Google and other investors are interested enough to bet $43 million on the Oregon project.
Geothermal can be the ultimate example of clean energy, so many environmentalists are excited about this technology.
President Obama has rejected fast-tracking approval of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, turning aside Republican demands that he sign off on the deal they claim will create 20,000 new jobs and strengthen American energy security.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Obama said that he received a recommendation from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier today recommending that the application be denied.
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” Obama said. “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”
The Canadian tar sands are very controversial in the environmental community, so it will fascinating to see how all this plays out.
General Motors broke ground Wednesday on a six-acre field of solar panels in front of its Detroit-Hamtramck plant as part of an effort to green the production of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car.
DTE Energy will own and operate the 516-kilowatt system as part of its Solar Currents program, which is installing photovoltaic systems at sites such as Monroe County Community College and a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan parking structure in downtown Detroit.
DTE will lower GM’s energy bill because of the solar panels, which were first reported by the Free Press. That savings, about $15,000 a year, will combine with more efficient lighting and equipment updates to lower Detroit-Hamtramck’s energy costs by nearly $3 million annually.