This one gets it pretty much right I think. I think the BP oil spew was maybe the story of the Decade. I also think that the third world led by China as an ever thirstier consumer of liquid carbon fuels has been over played. But first I found them at Peak Oil, that ever depressing, in a rogue sort of way, website. So have a Happy New Year folks:
Here are my choices for the Top 10 energy related stories of 2010. I can’t remember having such a difficult time squeezing this list down to 10 stories, because there were many important energy stories for 2010. It was hard to cut some of them from the Top 10; so hard that I almost did a Top 15. But I made some difficult choices, and offer my views on the 10 most important energy stories of 2010. Previously I listed a link to Platt’s survey of the Top 10 oil stories of 2010, but my list covers more than just oil.
There will be more delays (and excuses) from those attempting to produce fuel from algae and cellulose
There will be little relief from oil prices.
Given that total energy demand from China surpassed that of the U.S. in 2010 (five years earlier than expected), the EPA twice rolled back cellulosic ethanol mandates (and there are still no functioning commercial plants), and we are closing the year with oil above $90 per barrel, I would say I nailed all of those.
For this year’s list, don’t get too hung up on the relative rankings. They are mostly subjective, but I think we would have fairly broad agreement on the top story.
1. Deepwater Horizon Accident
On April 20, 2010 the BP-owned Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 men working on the rig and injuring 17 others. Because of the depth of the rig, there was no easy way to cap it and it gushed oil until it was finally capped three months later on July 15th. In the interim, the leak released almost 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. In fact, not only was this my top energy story of the year, according to a poll of AP writers and editors it was the top news story period.
2. The Deepwater Horizon Fallout
While the accident itself was the biggest story, there was much fallout from the incident that will continue to be felt for years. Just three weeks before the incident, President Obama had proposed to open up vast new areas off the Atlantic coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the north coast of Alaska. Governor Schwarzeneggar was pushing for offshore oil drilling near Santa Barbara County. There was a great deal of momentum that promised to greatly expand the areas available for offshore production. In the wake of the disaster, the debate shifted sharply. President Obama canceled a planned August offshore drilling lease sale in the Western Gulf and off the coast of Virginia, citing that his “eyes had been opened” to the risks of offshore drilling. The administration also put a temporary deepwater drilling ban in place until additional safety reviews could take place. Governor Schwarzeneggar dropped his plans, citing the spill as evidence that offshore drilling still poses too great a risk.
But there were far-reaching impacts in other areas. BP began to sell off assets, raising $10 billion to pay claims of those impacted by the spill. BP CEO Tony Hayward — after a series of gaffes — stepped down from the helm of BP. Around the area affected by the spill, people lost jobs, particularly in the fishing and tourism industries. The long-term environmental impact remains uncertain, with some groups claiming the area has recovered, and others stating that it will be years before the full environmental impact can be determined.
3. China Becomes World’s Top Energy Consumer
For more than a century, the United States has been the world’s top consumer of energy. In 2010, China surpassed the U.S. in total energy consumption. If not for the Deepwater Horizon accident, this would have easily been my #1 story. As I said last year, I believe that China will be the single-biggest driver of oil prices over at least the next 5-10 years.
Personally I do not see Matt Simmons’ death as a huge energy story, but this guy knew him so I can understand the inclusion. More next week.
This is tough to put up on the website primarily because I have never conquered Adobe Flash. But since their post is actually a summary of 10 of their articles from the last year I will put up the sitation (yes I spelled it that way on purpose), the head line and a copy of part of their third story. The slideshow is pretty cool however so check all of the pictures out.
One of the biggest complaints of offshore wind farms is the eye-sore factor. Apparently residents would prefer a giant coal-fired power plant polluting the planet from far away to a clean source of energy they actually have to look at. This is the essence of the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) whine.
But NIMBYist whinging is shrill, and for the residents of Nantucket Sound, powerful. Their opposition to the construction of an offshore fleet of wind turbines, part of the Cape Wind project, was enough to delay the project for years.
Enter the Windfloat.
Windfloat is an ocean-based floating wind turbine designed by the California company Marine Innovation & Technology. The turbine sits atop a 3-legged floating foundation that is based on the designs of offshore gas and oil platforms.
Due to the bulky structure of current coastal wind turbines, the structures are anchored in the seabed – limiting their positioning to shallow water depths ranging between 98 to 164 feet.
This new design, however, proves that a turbine’s size and weight need not be compromised for distance from shore. Researchers suspect that the Windfloat foundation can support a 5 megawatt turbine with a height of around 230 feet.
It was a record year for solar power, and the electric car began its comeback but, thanks to our increasingly desperate need for fossil fuels, 2010 also saw the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. We’re getting closer to workable clean energy, but will we get there quickly enough? And can we do it without Congress’s help?
With the economy hemorrhaging jobs, President Obama kicked off 2010 with the January announcement of $2.3 billion dollars in tax credits for companies building clean energy technology—everything ranging from turbine blades to batteries to solar panels.
It’s not all just solar panels. Off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon, a New Jersey-based company called Ocean Power Technologies began building a wave-power farm, using giant plungers that rise and fall with the waves. It isn’t operational yet, but the plan is for 10 of these generators to collectively power about 400 homes.
For the reast of it please see the blog post itself. More tomorrow.
This may not seem to be related BUT…When my wife and I went to California on the Zypher I was looking on the net for cheap hotel rooms. I picked a couple of places in Berkley and Oakland because the intent was to a) avoid high San Fransisco prices, and b) to be close to my cousin in south Oakland. I checked a bunch of “review sites” and the reviews were nasty. There were complaints about bed bugs and filth, noise, and crime. You name it. So eventually I went with the La Quinta in Berkley because it was cheap and the car rental place was in the same building. Well when we got there, I decided to check the other places out since they were on the way to my cousins.
They were all FINE. They were in a trendy little area where Cate and I had lunch. The rooms were great and clean. Yes the Metra line went by one of the hotels but you could get a place in back if that really bothered you. So who were all those “reviewers”. Well they were probably the competition, or a marketing company paid to carry out disinformation campaigns.
Well, I have noticed this same trend in commenters on energy issues. So called “people” write comments like – those lying global warming tree huggers or they want our gas prices to go to $5 or even – how could they possibly think that the human population can change the weather on the planet. Just all kinds of garbage with facts that are lies. So I am betting that the commenters to this piece are either directly employed by the energy business. Or they work for one of the multimillion dollar marketing firms the energy companies employ. Though knowing the Koch Brothers, I am sure they hire their own.
From greenhouse gases to green agenda: 5 energy issues to watch
By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman - 12/27/10 06:00 AM ET
It’s been a dynamic past 12 months on the energy front. The massive Gulf oil spill dominated much of the news cycle. And while Democratic efforts to pass comprehensive climate change legislation in the Senate failed, the Obama administration is moving ahead with plans to use its existing powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
With the end of the year drawing close — the 111th Congress is over and President Obama is in Hawaii with his family for the holidays — it seems only fitting to turn our attention to next year.
Without further ado, here are five things to watch out for in 2011:
Attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations:
On Thursday, just hours before most people in Washington left town for the holidays, the EPA made two major announcements in its efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The agency laid out a timetable for phasing in emissions standards for power plants and refineries, and announced it would issue greenhouse gas permits in Texas, where the governor had refused to align with federal rules. On top of that, beginning in January the EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, begin phasing in rules that require large new industrial plants and sites that perform major upgrades to curb emissions.
The move is certain to fuel the fire of opposition against the Obama EPA’s efforts. Republicans, emboldened by their majority in the House and swollen numbers in the Senate come next year, have promised to fight the EPA. While Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) effort to delay the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by two years failed, he’s promised to try again next year. Other Republicans have promised to get in on the action.
All eyes are on the new Republican House and energy and enivornment committee chairmen: Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) will chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.) will chair the Natural Resources Committee and Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas) will chair the Science and Technology Committee. All three lawmakers are planning to turn a critical eye toward the Obama administration’s climate change policies.
The continuing fallout from the Gulf oil spill:
For the many months that oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil spill stayed on the front pages of the country’s newspapers and at the fore of lawmakers’ minds. But almost as soon as the well was capped, lawmakers’ priorities shifted, and talk of passing an oil spill response bill in the Senate died down.
However, the spill is still very much a part of daily life in the Gulf. Spill victims continue to work to receive adequate compensation for the losses they suffered. Next year, Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of BP’s $20 billion oil spill compensation fund, will continue to determine how best to dole out money to victims.
At the same time, the Department of Justice will advance both its criminal and civil investigations into those companies responsible for the spill. DoJ announced earlier this month that it is suing BP and eight other companies involved in the spill. The department also reserved the right to expand the lawsuit and add new defendants. And DoJ’s criminal investigation continues apace.
On the congressional front, it’s likely that lawmakers will address a few oil-spill related issues
Check out the comments for yourself and finish the article. It is pretty good and much better than the top ten lists we shall see soon. More tomorrow.
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One more shopping day until Christmas. Guys get going. More tomorrow.
Green Your Christmas with Low-Energy Holiday Lights
Whether you like lights that are white or multi-colored, make them green with LED lights that use 90% less energy and last much longer than traditional bulbs. LEDs don’t heat up like standard bulbs…so they stay cooler, are safer for kids, and pose less risk of fires. And if one bulb does break or burn out, the rest of the lights in the strand will keep glowing.
What this person is arguing is that the biggest ways to save energy are the most costly thus the least likely. However, anytime you save energy you save money. Same with water, same with food and the same with transportation. Collectively those savings can pay for the bigger ticket efforts.
Lots of households have experienced their own turning point on energy. That moment when one more backbreaking utility bill or that 38th sweltering summer day transforms a run-of-the-mill conscientious mother, spouse, or roommate into a certified member of the energy Gestapo. Not a stone, or a light, or a thermostat will henceforth be left unturned as the rest of the household sweats-out what they hope is a passing phase.
Yet according to a new survey, when it comes to saving energy, even the most well-intentioned of watt pinchers often get it wrong.
As The Daily Climate reports, most Americans (40 percent of survey respondents) mistakenly believe the best way to save energy is to turn off the lights or raise the thermostat. Essentially, people think the best option is to change their behavior and cut the waste from their lives. But while these actions may indeed be the easiest and cheapest way to save energy, they are certainly not the most effective. Experts have long-known that it’s long-term investments in energy efficiency — whether in home insulation, washing machines or cars — that best do the trick. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of survey respondents identified such measures as the single most effective action they could take.
There’s one big barrier to these huge energy-savings: the upfront cost. A homeowner must take a fairly long-term view to realize the payoff of home weatherization investments, for example. In the realm of home mortgages, car loans, and college degrees, people are used to the idea of delayed gratification. But for saving energy? It seems not quite yet.
Go read the rest of the article and sign the petitions to the right. It is well worth your time. More tomorrow.