Weird Bird Friday – Or as we lovingly call it TGI(WB)F

We know that when save the birds we are saving ourselves. We also know that when we preserve a bird’s habitat we do right by the world. We know when we protect birds from extinction we give a gift to our children and our grand children. We also know that the birds evolved from Dinosaurs.


Thanks to John and Weird Bird goddess Susan who have worked tirelessly to allieviate Denver’s homeless problem. They blog about all things Denver and beyond at thedrunkablog listed in my Blog Log. Many happys to you.

The Chinese Clean Our Economic Clock – While we work on stuff that does not work

While we try to bury our waste through dangerous deep well injection, the Chinese work on stuff that really advances the New Energy Economy.

Public transport to go electric in gas-rich Qatar

 The gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar on Thursday launched a public transport project that will use electric buses and taxis in a bid to cut air pollution. The battery-powered vehicles are being built by a China-based developer for Mowasalat, Qatar’s public transport operator, and will enter service soon, the organisation’s business development manager Ahmad al-Ansari said.“The developer is working now on technical issues such as increasing the speed of the vehicle, extending the battery range and reducing the mass of the vehicle,” he told AFP.The vehicles will have their batteries recharged in the company’s depot during the first phase of the scheme until charging stations are set up around the capital Doha, he said.“We endeavour to develop technology with the aim of providing services that will bring environmental and economic benefits,” Mowasalat chairman Jassem al-Sulaiti said at a news conference to announce the project.

Mowasalat will also have the patent for the new product and will market it worldwide, he added.

The government-owned transport network recently inaugurated a taxi service using cars powered by liquefied natural gas which Qatar has abundant amounts of — 15 percent of the world’s proven reserves.

FutureGen Is A Very Bad Idea – sounds like ideas from the past

How have humans gotten rid of their nasty waste in the past? Well it has always been out of sight out of mind. In the early cities they threw stuff in the river and made piles of it “out in the country side”.

My 2 most favorite modern examples are: 1) the Steel Barrels of Radioactive waste tossed in the ocean off  San Francisco. Barrels that would- get this – never rust.

Farallon Island Radioactive Waste Dump

“There is intense public and media interest in this issue, and we need to have the best information available when we respond to inquiries or participate in discussions on the issue of radioactive waste dumped near the Farallones.”–Barbara Boxer; United States Congress (D-California). June, 1990


More than 47,800 drums and other containers of low-level radioactive waste were dumped onto the ocean floor west of San Francisco between 1946 and 1970; many of these are in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. 

and 2) The “reef” they tried to build out of used rubber automobile tires off the cost of Florida which has created a oceanic desert devoid of any life. It is now being cleaned up by volunteer divers.

Idea of making reef from tires


Four decades later, Florida now considers removing up to 2 million tires

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A mile offshore from this city’s high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million old tires, strewn across the ocean floor — a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.The tires were unloaded there in 1972 to create an artificial reef that could attract a rich variety of marine life, and to free up space in clogged landfills. But decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life. 


So what does that have to do with FutureGen?

Thursday, February 7, 2008




FutureGen developers

hope to revive plan



MATTOON — Developers hop­ing to build an experimental central Illinois power plant

say they’ll try to work with the White House and the Department of Energy to get

the project back on track.

The power and coal companies known as the FutureGen Alliance also will work with Congress

to get money for the $1.8 billion project, said Paul Thompson, chairman of the developers’

group.‘We always want to keep the door open,” FutureGen chief exec­utive officer Mike Mudd said

Wednesday after two days of al­liance board meetings in Mattoon. “If that does not come to a

fruitful conclusion, we will work with Con­gress.”

Those talks aren’t happening

right now, Mudd and Thompson said. Thompson said he requested early in January to meet

with Ener­gy Secretary Samuel Bodman but has gotten no response.

Bodman, meanwhile, faced ques­tioning from Congress on Wednes­day about the agency’s

decision last week to pull out of the project, tak­ing with it its commitment to fund three-quarters

of the cost.

A DOE spokeswoman said the agency was willing to talk with the FutureGen Alliance about

its plan to restructure FutureGen, which it an­nounced last week. The agency has so far asked

for industry feedback on what it says could be several power plants across the country.

‘While the department continues to maintain open lines of communi­cation on this important

 matter, we believe the decision to restructure

FutureGen is the best path forward to demonstrate and commercialize advanced carbon capture

 and stor­age technology,” spokeswoman Julie Ruggiero said in an e-mail.

She did not address Thompson’s request for a meeting with Bod­man.

FutureGen is intended to prove a power plant can use coal to gener­ate electricity while

capturing the carbon dioxide in the fuel and stor­ing it underground to keep it out of the


Government and industry, until last week, had worked together, with the DOE covering 74 percent

of the cost and the FutureGen Al­liance covering the other 26 per­cent and building the plant.

The alliance chose Mattoon in December over three other sites — Tuscola, just north of Mattoon,

andtwo sites in Texas. The project would create thousands of jobs dur­ing construction, and 150

once the plant opens.The DOE and the alliance say they talked about the project’s es­calating costs

 much of last year.

When announced by the govern­ment in 2003, FutureGen was billed as a $950 million project,

meaning the Energy Department obligation was $800 million.

The current price tag, the al­liance says, is due to the rising cost of building materials. (emphasis added)



Well this is the ultimate out of sight out of mind solution. The form of carbon seqestration that they have proposed to use is dangerous. Deep Well Injection (DWI, all pun intended) may work in some instances. The best proof for DWI is when pumping the poisons into an already proven and toxic well like a deep and depleted oil field. Other than that DWI is a total crap shoot.

Injection wells use high-pressure pumps to inject liquid wastes into under-ground geologic formations (e.g., sandstone or sedimentary rocks with high porosity). Many geologists believe that wastes may be isolated from drinking water aquifers when injected between impermeable rock strata. However, injection wells are still controversial and many scientists are concerned that leaks from these wells may contaminate groundwater. As of 1994, twenty-two out of 172 deep injection wells contaminated water supplies. 

This applies to the Taylorville Energy Project as well, but more on that later. Shouldn’t we really be asking ourselves why we would be reverting to Gasification, an ancient and obsolete technique, instead of solar, wind, hydro and tidal power. Gasification presents a serious problem. But first what is in coal that makes it obsolete and then why gasification is dangerous.

FutureGen Is A Very Bad Idea – At least as formulated now

As I have said many times, collaboration between Environmentalists and Industry is never a good idea because the Environmentalists have to sacrifice some of their integrity to participate. We have no time for that now. Every little bit of the Earth that is unsullied is now sacred.

How can a project that has 2 of its own web sites and a Wikipedia listing be so wrong? Well let’s see COST?

Officials vow to

 not give up on


Durbin blames politics for decision to scrap plant


CHAMPAIGN — Officials promised Wednes­day to fight the Department of Energy’s decision to scrap a futuristic, low-pollution power plant planned for central Illinois, but the leader of the state’s congressional delegation seemed resigned to its end.Sen. Dick Durbin said he hopes to fund the $1.8 billion FutureGen power plant through ear­marks in the federal budget, but wasn’t opti­mistic it would work.“If the administration doesn’t support it, we’ve seen that this president is willing to use his veto pen over and over again,” Durbin said. “Without the support of the administration, it’s an uphill struggle.”Durbin spoke not long after Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said publicly what he’d told members of Illinois’ congressional delegation and Illinois economic development officials in a private meeting Tuesday.Rather than spend money on FutureGen, which was to have been built by a consortium of coal and power companies in Mattoon using mainly federal funds, the DOE plans to put its fi­nances into a handful of projects around the country that would demonstrate the capture and burial of carbon dioxide from commercial power plants.“This restructuring … is an all-around better deal for Americans,” Bodman, an Illinois native, said in making the announcement to scuttle the program.The department will now solicit industry ap­plications for participation in the new projects. The idea is for the government to pay for build­ing the carbon capture and storage facilities and industry to build the modern coal-burning power plant. Each project would be designed to capture 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the lead­ing greenhouse gas linked to global warming, of­ficials said.The coal and power companies planning to build the plant, known as the FutureGen Al­liance, issued a statement saying it “remains committed to keeping FutureGen on track” but it was unclear how that would be possible without the federal funding.FutureGen was envisioned as a unique re­search project that would trigger development of a virtually pollution-free coal plant where carbon dioxide emissions would be captured and buried deep beneath the earth.


For a listing of the last ten AP postings on FutureGen go here.

Click on the Length of Search box and pick Archive, the type in FutureGen in the submit Box and click submit.

The Project escalated in cost from 750,000 million $$$ to 1.8 billion $$$ in a little less than 5 years. That is more than enough to build a “new generation” nuke on the same site. But think about this. What would it actually cost. We all know that typical Utility Construction Projects come in with at least 20% cost over runs and sometime as high as 40% is acceptable. Which means that the real cost would likely hover at just under 3 billion $$$. Can anyone say Too Cheap To Meter???

Acciona Energy Of North America – Causes happiness and sadness

I am very happy and proud that someone from Springfield would be in the forefront of financing nonburning forms of alternative energy. The lady is amazing. I am sad that the project is in Nevada and not Illinois. But the saddest part for me is that the company she works for is based in Spain and they don’t manufature their products in Springfield. When ever will US companies wake up to the fact that we are being left out of the New Economy?

Published Sunday, February 24, 2008

Springfield native finds energy in projects

A 20-year career in financing of energy projects wasn’t exactly what SUSAN DONATH NICKEY had in mind while attending high school at the former Ursuline Academy in Springfield in the mid-1970s. That career — including her role in a $266 million financing pack­age for the world’s third-largest solar en­ergy plant in Nevada — has landed her on a    couple of nation­al lists in the past year of women executives who have helped lead the way in devel­opment of wind, biofuels and solar energy. Last month, Women’s eNews, an independent online news serv­ice, named Nickey one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” on energy issues.


“I’m very optimistic after watch­ing this industry through a lot of stops and starts,” said Nickey, now based in Chicago as chief financial officer for Acciona Energy North America.     The company, based in Spain, world’s largest developers of wind, solar and other alternative energy projects.Nickey has helped arrange a va­riety of private-equity financing for alternative energy projects during four years with the company, but the commercial-scale Nevada Solar One is among the largest and most ambitious.The plant relies on a network of 180,000 solar panels covering the space of approximately 200 foot­ball fields to supply power to 14,000 Nevada homes. It took about a year-and-a-half to com­plete construction.

Nickey said Nevada is among a growing list of states, including Illinois, that have mandated in­creased use of alternative fuels. Traditional utilities in Nevada also were given incentives for long-term contracts for purchases of solar power.

Of course, Nevada has other ad­vantages when it comes to solar energy.

“The sun shines a lot there,” Nickey said.

Nickey, whose father, Robert, still lives in the Springfield neigh­borhood where she grew up, grad­uated from Ursuline Academy in 1978 and the University of Notre Dame in 1983. She soon found herself in banking and energy fi­nancing after obtaining her gradu­ate degree from Georgetown Uni­versity.

“Early on, I had opportunities to work on energy projects, and that made the transition easy when the independent power industry began to develop,” said Nickey, who added that she returns to Spring­field as often as possible.

On March 6, she’ll be among the panelists at the Union League Club of Chicago on ways to “Make Green from Green.” The Charter Financial Analysts of Chicago and the CFA (Cultivating Female Am­bition) advisory group are spon­soring the event.

Long stretches of gloomy weath­er, especially in winter, make the Midwest a tougher sell for solar power. But Nickey said she has been encouraged by the steady progress of wind energy, including in Illinois.

Acciona also is among the world’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines.

“It’s the states that are driving the growth in renewable energy… they keep adding mandatory (en­ergy) portfolio standards,” Nickey said.

“There’s always been a large group of European lenders active in the business, and they still are years and years ahead of us. Now, there are a lot of equity investors that see that growth her

Tim Landis is the business editor of The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at or 788-1536.

And What Has Susan Financed? Well lets see 300 acres of Solar Panels.


State Journal Register Runs Fraudulent Energy Advertisement

I have argued for years that De-Regulation was nothing but allowing fraud and crime back into the Corporate Capitalist System. That is that Snake Oil sales which is marginalized under strict regulation and policing, takes over under lax regulation and no policing. I need look no farther than the Criminal Debacle that was Enron and the failed Savings and Loans thefts to make my point. But now the Thieves can even run Advertising in CES’ local paper. I will not post the Ad here,

because it is obscene. But it is an 8th of a page ad on page 3 of todays paper. The headline is Device MAY Increase Gas Mileage by 22%. The device is called Platinum Gas Saver. According to Consumer’s Reports:

their claims are simply lies and have been for 8 years.

Gas savers: Do they really help?With gas prices still high, readers have asked us to weigh in on products that promise better fuel economy. We tested three: Fuel Genie, Platinum Gas Saver, and Tornado. Our advice: Don’t waste your money. They don’t work. This isn’t news. We’ve tested such devices over the years and have not found any that improve fuel economy. The Environmental Protection Agency, whose Web site lists scores of devices that the agency has tested in the past 30 years, including the Platinum Gas Saver, has had similar results.

And then there is the EdenPURE space heater which ran a full page advertisement in the Weekend’s Parade Magazine. Any Electric Space heater takes electricity and converts it to heat. It doesn’t matter how efficiently you do that conversion you can only get a set amount of BTU’s from every watt of power. For a lot less money (say 30 $$$$) you can buy an electric resistance space heater. The other claims, that its totally safe and doesn’t reduce moisture are AGAINST the laws of physics. Any device that uses electricity can catch fire, modern heaters have shut-off valves, and won’t cause burns. Anything that heats air by definition reduces humidity.

Where is the AG’s Office When you need them? These are national advertising campaigns designed to rip off the Elderly and the Poor. But then in George Bush’s world this is just harmless hucksterism.

Weird Bird Friday – Thank God

This post as always is dedicated to John and especially Susan the weird bird goddess at the Drunkablog listed to your right. They are dedicated ethnographers that have collected Native American articifacts for years. I believe they have been involved in the underground market in Australian Aborigine artifacts as well. 


The Smaller you are the More it matters.

Clinton and Obama Tie – First ever Co-Presidency declared

As has been pointed out many other places and many other times, THERE ARE NO differences between these candidates. At least on Energy Policy you can clearly see this. I mean if you are a policy wonk like me I could go through and say there are minor differences. If you are a policy wonk in the automobile industry I am sure you think that Hillary is tougher on cars than Barack is. If you are a policy wonk in the Oil and Gas game I am sure that you think Barack is tougher on oil than Hillary is. If you are a policy wonk on the Research and Development side of things you are looking forward to a very good 4 years NO Matter What. But for the average Joe on the street, they both have comprehensive energy policies that will change America forever.

What would have been nice, given that there are so few differences anyway, is if they would have run a positive Campaign instead of all the snarling and yelling. They are behaving like small children. Since they then have to run on IMAGE anyway, how much nicer it would have been if we would have gotten this:



Instead of this:


John Edwards WINS…oh sorry he dropped out

Why would he have won this blog if he had stayed in the race. Because his policy was the same as Hillary’s and Obama’s but he made the Energy Companies pay for it. That scared the beejeezus out of Wall Street so they starved his campaign for cash and media coverage. Now he is gone. Like Richardson before him that is just wrong and sad.


They would have looked great in the White House too.

Mike Huckabee Wins – But its just here at this little blog

That’s right when comparing energy policies Mike Huckabee’s are the more aggressive. While John McCain has a detailed policy outlined in a speech in April of 2007, they are policies from the 80’s that haven’t worked.


While our man Mike, that swinging dude, wants the old US of A to be Energy Independent by 2016. That is really aggressive, but could he do it? Probably not but it would be fun to see him try.


I doubt that he is just saying it because neither his position nor McCain’s is going to make the Republican money men happy because they both believe in that “can’t be happening, and if it is we didn’t do it” (Bart Simpson) phenomonon called Global Warming.

 My guess is that because McCain is more moderate the Republicans will send Mike


fishing. We shall see. Tomorrow the Democrats.