Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 15:09:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Wind - 75 Cents per Watt

Less than $1 (Canadian?) per watt.

Jul. 28, 2003. 07:56 AM

Energy firm to harvest the wind
67 giant turbines proposed for gusty Blue Mountain

$150 million farm expected to supply 32,000 homes


A Hamilton energy company has been acquiring the wind
energy rights for about 1,800 hectares of land on top
of Blue Mountain in preparation for building a giant
wind farm.

As many skiers know, the top of Blue Mountain is one
of the windiest places in Ontario and with a major
electricity transmission power line crossing the top
of the mountain, it is an ideal location to harvest
wind power, said David Boileau, spokesperson for
Superior Wind Energy Inc.

"There's wind in all four directions,'' said Boileau,
whose northwestern Ontario company Harmony Wind Energy
owns a 49 per cent stake in Hamilton-based Superior
Wind Energy Inc. Brascan Power Inc. owns the remaining
51 per cent.

Following extensive wind-power mapping across the
province, which identified seven areas where the wind
is strong enough to make wind farms viable, Superior
conducted an 18-month test on top of Blue Mountain,
just west of Collingwood.

The average wind speeds on top of Blue Mountain were
measured at 7.5 metres per second compared with a wind
speed average in most other areas of 5.5 metres per

The extra two metres per second means a 250 per cent
increase in electrical power generated.

Reaction to the company's proposal to build a $150
million wind park called Blue Highlands with 67 giant
turbines on top of one of Ontario's prime tourist
attractions has been mixed.

"About 80 per cent are in favour, but there are those
who have expressed concerns about wind turbines in
their viewscape, '' said John Worts, who lives on the
mountain and has been hired as a consultant by
Superior Power.

Worts' mandate is to find landowners interested in
signing 30-year leases for the wind turbines to be
built on their property.

The company is selecting properties that are 20
hectares and larger so that the turbines can be built
away from homes and roads.

Lea McKean and her husband, whose family has owned
property on top of the mountain for five generations,
won't be signing a lease.

"What an imposition on the escarpment — it (the wind
farm) is going to destroy the scenic beauty of the
area so it's not only the landowners whose property
the turbines will be built on who will be affected,''
said McKean.

The proposed turbines will be 85 metres tall and have
40-metre blades.

"That's one-fifth the size of the CN tower and that's
not even counting the blade,'' said McKean.

Those who are moving up to the area to escape city
life should be aware that this will alter the
landscape, said McKean.

"It's said that tourism may profit from wind parks
because they are quite a spectacle to see, but will
people actually want to live with turbines in their
backyard?'' said McKean.

Worts disagrees.

"I've had numerous calls from people asking us to
select their property as a site,'' he said.

People who have property facing out toward Georgian
Bay won't see the turbines and trees will obscure most
of the turbines from anywhere on the top of the
mountain, said Worts.

The turbines won't be visible from the slopes of Blue
Mountain, but will likely be seen on the horizon from
Collingwood, 10 kilometres away, he said.

Superior plans to build turbines in clusters of two to
three on each property and will pay landowners a
royalty estimated to be around $3,000 per year for
each turbine.

The power lines will be buried underground.

After initial public consultation, the company has
scaled back its plan to build 200 turbines and has
moved the wind park back from the brow of the Niagara

It's estimated the 67 turbines will produce up to 200
megawatts of electricity, enough power to supply
32,000 homes.

Boileau, who built a hydroelectric power plant in
northern Ontario, believes the time for wind power has

"It's no longer experimental,'' he said.

A commitment by Ontario's alternative energy
commissioner, Steve Gilchrist, to add 3,000 megawatts
of renewable energy-generating capacity by 2014 will
be phased in starting in 2006.

That means firms such as Superior, which is also
planning a wind farm near Sault Ste. Marie
, will be
able to seek the power purchase agreements they will
need to get financing for wind farm projects, said

Boileau hopes construction will begin next year at
Blue Highlands, but admits there are a lot of
regulatory hoops to jump through.

They include conducting an environmental assessment
and getting planning approval from different levels of
local government.


All-Energy News and Discussion

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 15:10:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Congress Considers More Wind-Power Rules

Congress Considers More Wind-Power Rules
Fri Jul 25, 6:26 PM ET

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The sudden burst of interest in wind
power, from Cape Cod to the Smoky Mountains, has led
Congress to consider a stricter approval process for
wind farm projects.

The legislation, being drafted by Sen. Edward Kennedy
(news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., in discussions
with Lamar Alexander (news - web sites), R-Tenn.,
would require local or state governments to approve
the projects — tossing a potential roadblock in front
of the $700 million Cape Wind plant planned for
Nantucket Sound.

The Cape Wind Associates project is the first proposed
offshore wind farm in the country, but many others are
on the horizon and members of Congress say there is no
federal regulatory process for approving the gangly
producers of renewable energy.

Spiking up to 420 feet above the water, the wind
turbines are towers topped with three-pronged
helicopter rotors that spin with the wind to generate

Environmentalists praise wind power as clean energy.
But opponents say local communities should have a say
in the projects, which can have a broad impact on the
environment and aesthetics. Lawmakers also want the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (news - web
sites) to have a say in how projects fit into a
region's energy needs.

Lawmakers insist the amendment — which may come up
next week during Senate debate on the energy bill — is
not an attempt to derail the Cape project or any other
specific proposal.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Kennedy supports
renewable energy. But, she said, "he has significant
concerns about the lack of a regulatory framework,
specifically a process through which local communities
would have a say into the siting of these proposed

Alexander, who has seen opposition to wind farms in
northeastern Tennessee, heads the Senate energy
subcommittee, and has been working on the wind power
issue. But there is no agreement yet on an amendment.

Limited almost exclusively to California a decade ago,
wind farms started to spread across the country in
1998. By the end of this year, they will be in about
100 locations.

"This is very new, that's why it's controversial,"
said Tom Gray, deputy executive director of the
American Wind Energy Association.

The industry's main concern, he said, is that the
legislation must not send projects — like Cape Wind —
"back to square one." But he agreed that siting
approvals for the wind farms vary widely
state-by-state, and said, "We're open to looking at
ways to handle projects built off shore."


All-Energy News and Discussion

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 15:10:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Massive energy bill lumbers to Senate floor

Massive energy bill lumbers to Senate floor this week

By Gail Russell Chaddock
The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON — With 392 possible amendments in the
wings, the Senate this week takes on the biggest
overhaul of energy policy in a decade — and aims to
wrap it up within a matter of days.

It's a huge and highly complex bill, covering
everything from pilot programs for bicycles to the
first incentives for new nuclear-power production in a

With natural-gas prices soaring, everyone agrees a new
national strategy on energy is needed. But winning
consensus on such a massive bill has never been easy.
The fights over energy are often regional, rather than
partisan. They involve clashes among some of the most
powerful corporate and environmental groups in
Washington. And the process often fails of its own

Unlike last year's energy bill, which was drafted on
the floor of the Senate and foundered in conference,
this bill is the result of carefully calibrated
back-room negotiations, mainly involving GOP

The Senate bill includes more than $35.5 billion for
research and development, including $1.7 billion for
nuclear energy, $2 billion for clean coal and $1.8
billion for President Bush's hydrogen fuel-cell
initiative. It authorizes a new natural-gas pipeline
from Alaska and eases permits for oil and gas
exploration. At least $15.5 billion in tax incentives
for energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean coal
and natural gas are expected to be added this week on
the Senate floor.

Early on, Republicans ruled out issues that have been
the most divisive in the past, such as drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But that issue could
come up in final negotiations between the House and

New regulations mandating the use of 5 billion gallons
of renewable-fuel additives in gasoline also gave the
bill an early lift. The boost for ethanol is a high
priority for corn-belt Democrats, who are now expected
to support the bill.

Republicans also deliberately backed the bill up
against the August recess, one of the most inflexible
dates on the Senate calendar. Majority Leader Bill
Frist of Tennessee says he will not allow the Senate
to recess without an agreement on energy.

"We simply must diversify our sources of energy, and
we must do so in a way that lessens our dependence on
foreign sources for this energy," he said last week.

Environmental activists say it's a formula for bad

"It will be very difficult to vote against an energy
bill. There are lots of things in this bill that most
people don't know about that need to be addressed,"
says Robert Perks, spokesman for the Natural Resources
Defense Council, which opposes the bill.

Environmentalists worry that the Senate bill, as well
as the House bill, which passed last April, are too
heavily weighted toward traditional polluting
industries, and not enough toward renewable fuels,
such as wind, waves, biomass, ethanol, solar and
geothermal power.

Two-thirds of the tax incentives in the House bill
were directed toward oil, coal and nuclear interests,
they note. In addition, new measures to expedite
permits for oil exploration and drilling on public
lands will cut the public out of the process and
increase destruction, they say.

"The Senate should scrap the energy bill and come back
with more 21st-century solutions, especially raising
fuel-economy standards," said Brendan Bell of the
Sierra Club.

Democrats concede they may not have the votes to block
an energy bill this year or even the will to do so.
But they insist the issues are sufficiently complex
and important to warrant more time.

"Our senators have legitimate concerns and need to
have an opportunity to have fair and serious
consideration of their amendments," said Bill Wicker,
a spokesman for the Democrats on the Energy Committee.


All-Energy News and Discussion

Several interesting posts on Alt Power Digest today:

Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 15:11:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean

Subject: Turning trash into power

Saturday, Jul 26, 2003

Turning trash into power

With the flip of a switch, the dream of turning
garbage into electricity became a reality in Burnaby

But the dream was more costly than originally thought
after a provincial tax break aimed at encouraging
investment actually added $1 million to the price tag
because it was a public - and not private - venture.

Thursday, the Greater Vancouver Regional District
brought online a new turbo generator at its
Waste-to-Energy Facility, formerly known as the
Burnaby incinerator. The turbo generator will use
steam produced by burning garbage to generate enough
electricity to power 15,000 homes.

"Turning waste to energy is an exciting concept," said
Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean, chair of the GVRD's
solid waste management committee.

"And the concept of looking at garbage as a commodity
to be used, rather than discarded, reflects this
region's innovative thinking."

The incinerator, operating since 1988, burns 250,000
tonnes of garbage each year, which is roughly 20 per
cent of the trash generated in the region.

Until now, the steam produced by incineration was sold
to Norampac, a paper-recycling mill next to the
incinerator, but a downturn in the paper industry cut
Norampac's need for steam.

Rather than waste the excess steam, the region will
use it to generate electricity for sale to B.C. Hydro,
earning between $5 million and $6 million annually.
That revenue will offset the region's solid waste
management costs.

Greenhouse emissions will also be cut by up to 59,000
tonnes per year by reducing the region's reliance on
dirtier energy sources, helping Canada meet its Kyoto
Accord commitments.

Yet for all its benefits, the project is costing
Greater Vancouver homeowners more money than
originally thought simply because it was initiated by
the regional district, not a private company.

In July 2001, the B.C. government exempted companies
buying or leasing machinery used for manufacturing
from paying provincial sales


All-Energy News and Discussion


Friday, July 25, 2003

From Wired News,

"Veggie Fuels Feed Bottom Line By James Bernard Frost

02:00 AM Jul. 25, 2003 PT

When Joshua Tickell drove his Veggie Van across the country in 1997, fueling it with used vegetable oil he obtained at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Long John Silver's and other fast food chains owned by PepsiCo, he received a great deal of lighthearted attention from the mainstream media for the van's deep-fried fumes. Although the media thought it was funny, Tickell was serious.

Six years later, with the Department of Energy's 2003 Annual Energy Reportshowing that more than two-thirds of known oil reserves lie in the troubled Middle East, the laughter seems hollow.

A curious blend of consumers -- from clean-air activists to school districts to the U.S. military (PDF) -- are now running their diesel engines off either straight vegetable oil, known as SVO, or vegetable oil that has been converted to diesel fuel, or biodiesel. The results, they're finding, make more than just environmental sense.

Steve Smith, a Berkeley, California, resident who drives a 1982 Mercedes 300-GD SUV, has converted his car's diesel engine to run off SVO using a conversion kit made by German-based Elsbett. "With some mechanical experience, it took me a weekend and a few weekday nights to install," Smith said.

Smith collects free fuel, up to 35 gallons of used corn oil a week, from a local Indian restaurant. "My engine runs off of samosas and pakoras," he jokes.

Smith pre-filters the oil with a "sock" that he obtains from the SVO-supplier Greasel.

"I've also added a VorMax filter (an advanced fuel filtration system that removes contaminants), so I don't have to change the fuel filter every week."

Pawl Katan, an SVO advocate from Prescott, Arizona, who has helped modify four Mercedes diesels to run on SVO, notes that the deal is good for both vehicle owners and restaurateurs. "It costs (my local restaurant) about $1 a gallon to have their used fryer oil picked up. I save them money."

Fears of engine clogging, void warranties and the price of commercial conversion kits (both the Elsbett and Greasel systems run about $800) keeps all but the most savvy from modifying their vehicles to run off of straight vegetable oil. Even Craig Reese, co-owner of Neoteric, a Canadian-based company that is building prototype SVO conversion kits to compete with Elsbett and Greasel, notes, "I had a professional mechanic install the Elsbett kit (in my first SVO vehicle.)"

Because of this, most interest in bio-based fuels has revolved around biodiesel.

Maria "Mark" Alovera, publisher of the Biodiesel Homebrewers Guide, makes "home brew" from a chemical reaction involving lye and methanol. "It costs me about 45 cents a gallon to produce," Alovera said.

It's not just enthusiasts, though, who are turning to biodiesel as a viable alternative fuel. Big business is involved as well.

Jenna Higgins, Director of Communications for the National Biodiesel Board, points out that commercial biodiesel production has tripled between 2001 and 2002 (from 5 million to 15 million gallons). "Proctor & Gamble, West Central Soy and World Energy are all NBB member suppliers."

"Over 300 fleets are running on some grade of biodiesel."

Greg Piraino, an engineer with Applied Engineering in Phoenix, has worked with the Deer Valley School District to run their buses on B20 (20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent diesel). The buses have logged over 10 million miles.

"It's an impressive figure," Piraino said, "They have 165 buses that have been running off of biodiesel for four years."

Blue Sun Biodiesel, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, recently received a $1,000,000 grant from the Department of Energy to research varieties of canola in an attempt to increase oil yield in the crop. Although soybean oil has been the primary source of commercial U.S. biodiesel, canola oil is used widely in German biodiesel production, and is considered the superior crop.

John Long, founder of Blue Sun, spoke to the farming industry's interest in biodiesel. "(Farmers are interested in this because) canola is a short-cycle crop, with a four-month growing cycle. They can grow winter wheat and then canola in the same year, reducing fallow crop time, and thus increasing income," Long said. "Our (company’s) values are three-fold: U.S. energy independence; sustainable, rural economic development; and clean air."

Long's comments on farmers bring up an important point that biodiesel activists like Joshua Tickell, who is currently fundraising for his film, Fields of Fuel, have been trying to make for years. This isn't just about global warming concerns; it's also about the bottom line.

"Biodiesel is in its infancy. As biodiesel (use) grows, the price will drop," Tickell said. "Meanwhile petroleum is only getting more expensive. Sooner or later, the price curves will cross."

And when they do, we'll all drive a bit more hungrily."

From me:

This industry stands to be a huge boost for Midwestern farmers in and around the Great Lakes region. It would be of great benefit to all of us here in the area if we had local companies manufacturing retrofits, local companies collecting and filtering these fuels, local gas stations operating biodiesel pumps, etc. Another excellent way to bring economic activity back home, reduce monies going to hostile regions, and reduce the amount of carbon pumped from underground sequestration, namely in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas. We need to bring it home!
From Alt Power Digest:

"New Bulb May Power Electronics
Mon Jul 21, 1:32 PM ET

Mike Martin , sci.NewsFactor.com

A new type of tungsten filament -- the world's most
widely used light source -- may emit enough energy to
power electric cars, generators, and consumer
electronics, say researchers at Sandia National

Normal light bulbs have little effect on photovoltaic
cells, which change light at certain wavelengths into
electricity. The new filament -- a lattice fabricated
with an internal crystalline pattern -- emits enough
energy at the same wavelengths to power small engines
and other electronic devices, claims Sandia physicist
Shawn Lin."


All-Energy News and Discussion


Hmmm....are we seeing the early stages of the emergence of optical energy transmission systems? Will we be replacing utilty lines with fiber optic cables? Will you be able to plug your optical transmitter in at the wall and focus it on the power receiver cells of your boom box 100 feet away from the outlet? Will you be able to run fiber optic cabling from the fuell cell operated light bulb under the hood down to the four wheel motors instead of copper wires? Stay tuned....
Another take on the recent British offshore wind initiative: Wind Powers Brit Energy and Jobs
Another from Wired News, the debate over hydrogen vehicles continues. The latest from the Naysayers' camp: Fuel Efficiency Trumps Fuel Cells - (Personally I have a hard time buying it, but all sides deserve an equal voice. After all, blogging is not running for office at this blog.)
I've included the story on Venice because it raises an issue many in our country will face in the coming years, and highlights the need for renewable non-polluting energy. Expect to see more and more of these stories all over the net...
From Wired News, a story about some of the early effects of Global Warming and the battle to save Venice, Italy from a combination of rising oceans and sinking land. For centuries, St. Mark's Square has been slowly slipping closer to Atlantis. Here's how a massive system of floodgates could turn the tide...The Lost City of Venice

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Interesting goings on in sustainable energy theory:

How the International Sustainable Energy Organization (ISEO) can solve
the crucially important energy issue, ailing since the Rio Summit and Kyoto
Hey, if any engineers read this, could you guys look at an idea I have and tell me if it would be of any assistance to the fledgling OTEC movements? What if you built your floating OTEC plant such that it collected sea water from a huge shallow concrete bowl painted black to increase the water temperature differential between collected surface water and deep cold water? Wouldn't such a move allow a wider area of viability on the oceans for OTEC technology as you could either draft shallower for cool water, collect greater energy if you went to the same depths for cold water as a non solar-boosted OTEC, or operate in colder northern waters than is currently feasible with bare OTEC technology?
Another from ENN, it seems there's serious happenings in the Asian connection. They're coming up with a "new" way to desalinize sea water and produce energy. I've got one acronym for these guys: OTEC! Anyway, read all about the latest Russian / Chinese environmental shennanigans in: Russia and China may build floating nuclear plants
From Alt Power Digest on Yahoo Groups:

Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 14:43:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Hydrogen car near, energy firm says

Jul. 23, 2003. 07:31 AM
Hydrogen car near, energy firm says
Stuart Energy sells filling station
Firm's technology `bridge to fuel cell'


Consumers won't have to wait 10 or 20 years before
hydrogen-powered cars make it to the local dealership,
says the chief executive of Stuart Energy Systems
Corp., a leading supplier of hydrogen fuelling

Jon Slangerup said internal combustion car engines
that run on hydrogen gas, similar to vehicles powered
by natural gas, could see "mass commercialization"
within two years, at least a decade sooner than
hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that companies such as
Burnaby, B.C.-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. are
helping to develop.

"The fuel cell, indeed, is the ultimate in the ideal
future state," said Slangerup. "But instead of waiting
15 or 20 years for that to be perfected, we now have
internal combustion engines running on hydrogen for
stationary and mobile applications."

Slangerup said Mississauga-based Stuart Energy will
detail at its annual meeting in September the progress
being made with internal combustion car engines that
run on non-polluting hydrogen gas. He said a related
announcement will be made at that time, but would not

The company has a partnership with Ford Motor Co.,
which is testing both fuel cells and traditional
internal combustion engines that can be powered by
hydrogen. The latter is being produced at Ford's
manufacturing facilities in Windsor, potentially a
permanent home for the product, said Slangerup.

Ford's Model U vehicle contains an electric drive and
a hydrogen internal combustion engine that could be
replaced by a fuel cell when that technology is ready.
In both scenarios, a hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure
will be needed to keep the vehicles going — and that's
where Stuart Energy enters the picture.

Within two years, the company expects to have a
hydrogen fuelling system for the home — called a
personal energy station — that's about the size of a
large residential air conditioner, said Slangerup.

This energy station, along with storage containers,
would initially cost less than $20,000 and would be
capable of fuelling two hydrogen-powered cars each day
and providing back-up or primary electricity to the
home, depending on whether solar panels are used to
charge the system.

"We're working with the largest home builder in the
United States right now, which is absolutely wild
about the idea of offering a total green solution,
including solar panels, to their customers and
incorporating (the cost of the system) into the
mortgage," said Slangerup.

"This is going to be a big market for us."

The energy station takes in water from a standard
garden hose and converts it into hydrogen and oxygen
through a process called electrolysis. The hydrogen is
either used right away as a power source or stored in
a carbon-fibre tank for later use, such as filling up
your car. Pure oxygen is released as the only

One criticism of any hydrogen production process,
including electrolysis, is that it consumes power,
typically through the burning of fossil fuels, to
create the hydrogen fuel. So while the end product may
have zero emissions, the process to create it doesn't.

Slangerup said that the ability to store hydrogen
offers flexibility in creating it. Renewable and clean
energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro and
geothermal, are one option. The other option is to use
energy from the traditional power grid during off-peak
times and store the hydrogen for later use.

To walk the talk, Stuart Energy buys six-month blocks
of wind power from an Ontario wind farm to power its
85,000 square foot Mississauga facility, which employs
160 people. Another 50 employees work out of
Belgium-based Vandenborre Technologies, which was
acquired by Stuart Energy earlier this year for $10

The personal energy station concept is gaining
momentum. Stuart Energy signed a co-development deal
last month with the hydrogen division of oil giant
Royal Dutch/Shell Group, which gets the non-exclusive
right to act as an agent of the technology.

"Why would they want to do that? What's in it for
them?" asked Slangerup rhetorically. "They see the
future as a highly distributed system of hydrogen

He said it may take 50 years before gasoline-powered
cars go the way of the dodo, but as the price of gas
and other oil products go up, hydrogen and the
infrastructure to provide it will gain momentum.

In that future, hydrogen will be produced in the home
and sold at fuelling stations along the highway,
creating a more decentralized infrastructure that
literally changes the balance of power.

Internal combustion engines that run on hydrogen will
get us to that reality faster, laying the foundation
for fuel-cell cars when they're ready for the mass
market, added Slangerup. "We call it the bridge to the
future of fuel cell."

For example, the Ford Focus fuel-cell car being
showcased across North America cost more than $1
million to build. Modifying the fuel injectors and
fuel-management system of an internal combustion
vehicle that uses natural gas so it can run on
clean-burning hydrogen costs less than $1,000.

"The fuel-cell guys love the idea of internal
combustion engines because it gets hydrogen out there,
it gets the infrastructure in place, and when the fuel
cells come along, you're not dealing with any big


All-Energy News and Discussion

From ENN, an article on how tobacco farmers are "kicking" the habit without sacrificing their financial security, and all while benefitting sustainable farming concerns and the environment. I know there was a large tobaco growing area in and around Edgerton, Wisconsin, just north of my home town. Maybe this will give some of the farmers up that way some ideas.

Leading in...

"From the outside, this looks like any other barn tucked into a sleepy mountain hollow of Stickleyville, Virginia in the Appalachians. Rows of tobacco plants skewered on wooden poles hang like dry-cleaning from the rafters while all around the hillsides explode with autumn colors, which mirror the tints of lemon, orange and mahogany in the cured tobacco.

But inside this barn a revolution is brewing. Among the unlikely pioneers is Sam Askins, a 54-year-old farmer, whose family has been raising tobacco in nearby Russell County since 1786. “Growing ’bacco is a bad habit,” Askins says with a chuckle as he adjusts his bright orange hunting cap. “So I quit.”"

Read more in: Ex-tobacco farmers kick the habit and go organic

From ENS, The United States is pursuing fossil fuel imports from Russia. Good for Russian finances, but my personal opinion is, bad for the environment. Read more in: U.S. Works Toward Securing Russian Oil Resources.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Also from Alt Power Digest:

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 15:09:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Company Turning Garbage Into Oil?

Company Seeks Fortune Turning Garbage Into Oil
Sun Jul 20, 4:20 PM ET

By Francesca Segre

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Finally, a possible use for
old tires and turkey bones.

A privately held company run by a former candy
salesman is working on turning everyday garbage into
oil that can be used to heat homes and turned into
fuel to power car engines.

Changing World Technologies has built a pilot plant in
a Philadelphia Navy Yard warehouse that uses a process
called thermal depolymerization to mimic and speed up
the natural process for making oil.

The West Hempstead, New York-based company has already
turned personal computers, old tires and even turkey
bones and feathers into oil, Chief Executive Brian
Appel said.

"We are supercharging that process and doing in
minutes what the earth would naturally do over
hundreds of thousands of years," Appel said.

Changing World Technologies said the advantages of
making oil from garbage is that it controls waste
while also reducing dependence on foreign oil and
slowing global warming (news - web sites).

But not everyone is convinced.

"(The process) sounds like an interesting chemical
innovation but unless you can prove who can use the
oil and how, its market value is not clear," said
Sarah Emerson, managing director of Energy Security
Analysis Inc., an independent energy research firm.

Instead of waiting for nature to take its course --
that is for decomposing plants and animals to be
mashed, pressured and heated by sliding tectonic
plates -- Changing World Technologies uses a shredding
and grinding machine.


The machine loudly grinds the waste into a slurry
mixture, which is then fed through an intense heating
and pressuring process that separates out oil. The oil
is then refined.

Proof the process works on a larger scale will come
when the company opens its first plant later this
year, Appel said.

Changing World Technologies has created a joint
venture with ConAgra Foods Inc., the second largest
U.S. food maker, to build a plant in Missouri near
ConAgra's ButterBall turkey factory.

The plant is designed to process 200 tons of turkey
bones and feathers daily into various products
including more than 500 barrels of oil, Changing World
Technologies said.

But critics question the technology's ability to move
from small scale production to a large facility.

"It might work in the lab, but when you put it on a
larger scale it becomes a daunting task," said Fadel
Gheit, an oil analyst at Fahnestock & Co. and a former

"It is uneconomic and it's not feasible," he said.

Predicting critics will be proven wrong, Appel, who
was once a sales representative for Russell Stover
Candies and worked in business development for
Ticketmaster, estimates Changing World Technologies
will be able to produce oil at a cost of $15 a barrel.

That's about half the wholesale price for a barrel of
oil. In a few years, the cost will drop to $10 --
which is about what Appel said mid-sized exploration
and production companies spend -- and then down to $6
to $8 per barrel.

Changing World Technologies said it is not the first
to convert organic and other products into oil. But
others have failed because the process was too
expensive to operate or consumed too much energy.

The government and private industry are betting that
the garbage-into-oil process could revolutionize the
energy industry. The U.S. Department of Energy (news -
web sites) and the Environmental Protection Agency
(news - web sites) have given Changing World
Technologies $21 million in grants.

The company raised another $50 million from investors
including Howard Buffet, the son of Warren Buffet, and
James Woolsey, former director of the Central
Intelligence Agency (news - web sites).

But Fahnestock's Gheit remains unconvinced. "Having
this technology next to a slaughterhouse this is
something else, this is a garbage disposal business it
has nothing to do with energy."
From the Yahoo group Alt Power Digest:

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 15:06:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Grad student measures wind power

Newsmaker / Grad student measures wind power as source
of energy for SRU campus

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

By Alisha Hipwell

Heath Gamache has come to understand better than most
the troubling effects of electrical power production,
from acid rain to greenhouse gas emissions

So the Prospect man, who's pursuing a master's degree
in sustainable systems at Slippery Rock University of
Pennsylvania spends a lot of time asking how humans
can have a comfortable life with less environmental impact.

The answer, my friend -- as Bob Dylan would put it --
might be blowing in the wind.

Gamache, 31, is gathering data on the feasibility of
using wind, a clean power source, to generate
electricity for parts of the Slippery Rock campus. He
recently installed a 100-feet meteorological tower
near the university's football stadium to measure wind
velocity for a year.

"For me one of the crux issues for the United States
right now is energy -- energy security, energy
independence and all the environmental damage and
pollution that comes from getting energy the way we do
right now," said Gamache.

If he finds average wind speeds of at least 10 mph
over the 12-month period, a wind turbine could be installed to produce electricity for Harmony House,
located at the university's Robert A. McCoskey Center
for Sustainable Systems Education and Research.

Wind speeds in the 15 to 25 mph range would be
sufficient for a wind farm that could supply power for
the whole region.

Gamache said the university campus is one of the
highest points in Butler County, so he expects to get
good results on wind readings.

"My guess is we could make a fairly large dent in
power usage," he said.

The tower has two anemometers to measure wind speed
and a vane to track its direction. The data is logged
onto microchips and is downloaded onto a laptop
computer for analysis.

Gamache grew up in Northfield, Mass., in the Berkshire
mountains region. His parents introduced him to
hiking, camping and other outdoor activities, and
those early experiences made a lasting impression.

"I am like many other people in the field in that, as
a child, I had the opportunity to be in a place where
the wonder and beauty of nature was shared with me by
someone I cared about -- in my case my parents," he

As he grew older, Gamache's love of the outdoors,
coupled with his Christian faith, grew into a deep
desire to understand and protect the natural world.

"For me, personally, it went beyond just wanting to be
in nature and enjoy the outdoors for recreation to
wanting to understand it more from a scientific
perspective but even more so, in my case, from a
stewardship perspective," he said.

Still, it took Gamache time to find his niche. He
earned a degree in corporate communications from
Ithaca College in New York and briefly worked in the
advertising and graphic design field.

"I didn't like the atmosphere. I'd rather be outdoors
communicating one on one," he said.

So Gamache got out of the field and worked as a
program director for a camp in Iowa, but that job
didn't get to the heart of what he loved: teaching
others about the environment.

So when he saw a posting for the position of assistant
director of environmental education for Camp
Lutherlyn, he jumped at the opportunity. He took the
position in 1997 and moved into the Connoquenessing
Township camp's self-sustaining straw bale house,
Terra Dei Homestead. The name is Latin for "God's

Gamache is at ease at Terra Dei, where modern
convenience and environmental sensitivity have made a
happy marriage.

Freshly harvested mint leaves hang drying from a
picnic pavilion roof at the homestead. A laptop
computer sits on the kitchen table, near a brand new
refrigerator full of vegetables grown in the organic garden.

"It's a modern lifestyle that makes more sense,"
Gamache said.

Gamache would like to see his research -- the
homestead has a wind tower much like the one at the
university -- help Slippery Rock and other
Pennsylvania universities move to the forefront of
wind energy education.

"When planning for the future, you have to plan big,"
he said. "It would be fantastic if five to 10 years
down the road we could see a wind farm that would
power SRU, the whole town."

That might not be so far-fetched. According to the
American Wind Energy Association in Washington, D.C.,
wind energy is the world's fastest-growing energy

Pennsylvania is well down the list of windiest states,
but "we've still got plenty of wind energy to tap
into," Gamache said.

The windmills in Somerset County, visible from the
Pennsylvania Turnpike, produce 2.4 million
kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. That's enough to
power about 240 average homes.

Steven Doherty, an assistant professor and coordinator
in the university's sustainable systems program, said
the cost of electricity generated by wind is dropping
faster than electricity produced by conventional means.

Figure in the cost of environmental damage such as
acid rain caused by conventional generation and,
Doherty said, "it's clear wind is already pretty
competitive." But it's hard for consumers to see that,
because the costs of environmental damage don't show
up on their electric bills.

The wind study isn't Gamache's only environmental
project. At Camp Lutherlyn, Gamache is overseeing work
on a passive treatment system that will revitalize
Semiconon Run, a creek at the camp that is
contaminated with mine drainage.

The camp's director of environmental education, Todd
Garcia-Bish, credited Gamache with writing the grant
that secured funding for the project.

After Gamache finishes his graduate program in 2004,
he would like to take his knowledge of alternative
power sources to other areas of the country

"I'd like to take these ideas and technologies to
developing areas of the United States or abroad to
places desperately in need of energy sources where
they haven't already made disastrous energy choices," he said.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

From ENN,

From American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Thursday, July 17, 2003

A new report, by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), examines the use of energy efficiency as a Clean Air Act compliance tool in the emissions trading system that emerged from the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. ACEEE concluded that as Congress currently contemplates action on multi-pollutant legislation, it should include energy efficiency as a compliance option. If not, Americans will pay needlessly high costs for cleaner air... Read more in: Clearer Skies with Energy Efficiency
Just in off Alt Power Digest:

Environment groups slam Ontario energy sources

Globe and Mail Update

Ontario's electricity woes will only get worse if
aging nuclear and coal plants are not phased out and
replaced with efficiency programs and renewable
energy, a new report by a coalition of leading
environmental groups.

The province, already struggling to produce enough
power, will lose about 35 per cent of its electricity
supply over the next 16 years as the province's
nuclear-power plants reach the end of their lifespans,
says the report released Thursday by the group
Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout.

Ontario, already struggling to produce enough power,
is then presented with the option of spending billions
to replace the plants or embarking on aggressive
conservation and efficiency programs, says the report
released Thursday.

"Ontario faces even more Pickering fiascos over the
next decade if the right decisions aren't made now,"
Ralph Torrie, the report's author, said in a news

Mr. Torrie was referring to the restart of the
Pickering A station, located outside of Toronto, which
is more than $1-billion over budget and three years
behind schedule.

"The sun is setting on nuclear power in Canada. We can
have a sustainable energy future by phasing out
nuclear and coal, and phasing in efficiency and
renewable energy."

Astronomical costs and poor performance of Ontario's
nuclear reactors have been at the heart of Ontario's
electricity problems, the report says. Eight of
Ontario's 20 reactors were "laid up" between 1995 and
1998, and attempts to restart them have met with
lengthy delays and massive cost overruns, the report

In addition, Canada's other nuclear reactors — the
Gentilly-2 in Quebec and New Brunswick's Point Lepreau
— face similar problems by the decade's end. The
study shows out how Quebec and New Brunswick could
also phase out their nuclear and coal plants, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent from
electricity production in New Brunswick and eliminate
them altogether in Québec.

Ontario could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by
75 per cent from electricity production by 2020
through a program that phases out both coal and
nuclear plants, the report says.

"What we need is a long-term plan," Shawn-Patrick
Stensil, national co-ordinator for the Campaign for
Nuclear Phaseout, told globeandmail.com. The plan
would mean investing more in renewable energy instead
of throwing more money at nuclear power.

Mr. Stensil said the Ontario government has made
several disastrous policy moves when it comes to
electricity. Among them, he pointed out the recent
change that considers nuclear power plants as green
energy so they can take advantage of tax breaks.

Earlier this month, the Ontario government announced
what was called the most ambitious alternative-energy
plan in the country.

The program is modelled after those adopted by many
European countries and American states, including
Texas and California, where power producers who create
pollution-free energy are guaranteed a share of the
electricity market.

Ontario plans to reserve about 8 per cent of its
market for these new suppliers, both to help slake its
burgeoning demand for electricity and to fight air

Under the plan, the government will buy 1 per cent of
the province's current electricity needs from newly
constructed alternative-energy sources, starting in

The province will then purchase an additional 1 per
cent during each of the eight years of the program,
leading to the construction of about 3,000 megawatts
of new electrical capacity, about the same as a large
nuclear-power plant, by 2015.

Mr. Stensil said the Ontario government's actions so
far haven't been strong enough.

"Anything they have done is superficial," he said.

With a report from Canadian Press

Friday, July 18, 2003

Point and counterpoint in response to an Alt Power Digest Yahoo group message...

1. I think utilizing (and improving to handle it) the nation's existing natural gas delivery infrastructure for a faster entry into a hydrogen energy economy is a great idea. The piping will have to be replaced with materials not susceptible to hydrogenization, but the right of way and initial plumbing and technology is mostly there. Gas appliances can also be adapted by simply re-jetting the burners, which would open up a manufacturing niche for retrofit kits. Existing vehicles could be retrofitted to either directly burn hydrogen in their existing engines or with a fuel cell / sterling engine generator / high output electric motor combo designed to accomodate existing models and bolt right into them and onto the existing transmission housing. All this activity could result in gains in domestic economic volume and jobs. Having both options would satisfy the collector car market's "original equipment" leanings.

>1. Consider the problem with hydrogen-powered cars. The
>Honda FCX can travel 350 km before it needs more
>hydrogen, but no regular gasoline station can
>currently deal with that. (Researchers at Britain's
>University of Warwick, however, are working on a
>program called "Hydrofueler" to develop technology to
>connect gas stations to the normal natural-gas supply
>to fuel hydrogen-powered vehicles.)

2. No matter how safe the USAGE of nuclear power becomes, it will never overcome the devastating problem of nuclear waste disposal in my personal opinion. Far, far better to devote the surface area to wind, solar, geothermal, ocean tide, wave, and thermal differential systems and eventually put up solar sattelites. Keep the nuclear reactions on the Sun. After all, all energy sources other than geothermal are nuclear derived through a stellar reactor off the planet, with the POSSIBLE exception of geothermal. (Thank goodness, "off the planet.") Let the nuclear crowd comfort themselves with that knowledge and let's stick to no radioactrive waste production increases, shall we?

>2. Grant admits there are problems, but suggests that
>those with fossil fuels (and wind- and solar-derived
>electricity, which would require vast areas of land)
>are bigger.
>"I believe that a resurgence of nuclear power is
>necessary for the continuing industrialization of
>world society with minimal environmental impact and
>eco-invasion, one in which hydrogen will supplant
>fossil fuels."

3. Actually, in the USA, where shift work often accompanies long commute distances, a vehicle has become a necessity. I spend five days a week commuting over 40 miles one way to and from my place of employment and praying there aren't any traffic jams due to my employer being the most prodigious clock watcher in my life. Since my hours are very inconvenient to local mass transportation schedules, such that I would have to suffer three hours to get there and three to get home to work eight, mass transit is a very poor option unless it becomes available 24 hours / 7-days on a half-hourly schedule. Personal vehicles are a necessity. However, were there a hydrogen conversion kit that could match the functionality of my vehicle's current power plant at a price I could afford and available fuel, I would spend up to an additional hour to get the fuel and gladly install it.

I wonder the feasiblity of laying permanent magnets under our roadways and having the vehicle power plant run an electromagnet built into the body of the vehicle and run on a fuel cell coupled to a Sterling cycle engine and secondary generator to propel the vehicle? The roadways are under construction so often any more that the delays produced by the installation work would seem routine.

>3. In 1964, the Canadian communications scholar Marshall
>McLuhan wrote, "The car has become an article of dress
>without which we feel uncertain, unclad and incomplete
>in the urban compound."


Thursday, July 17, 2003

A couple of interesting pieces coming in on Alternative Power Digest on Yahoo groups:

Subject: GE's giant's shadow

GE's giant's shadow

National ads use wind energy to project a new image
for the old-line company - and perhaps the local wind
farm debate

Under ominous skies, a scraggly crew of medieval
oarsmen struggles to row a galley across the ocean.

Suddenly, an apparition.

A vessel carrying a happy and relaxed group of
medieval partyers cruises by. The sun is now visible.
Strains of steel drum music fill the air.

Lo and behold, the boat is traveling under sail.

Trailing off the back is a water-skier who turns,
flashes a smile, and gives the miserable wretches back
on the rowboat a thumbs-up.

"Imagine what a pleasant surprise it must have been
when man first harvested the power of wind," a
narrator says. "At GE, we still believe in wind as a
pure, natural source of power. GE wind energy. For a
cleaner, more fuel-efficient world."

An image of GE wind turbines in action appears briefly
followed by the company's new motto: "GE, imagination
at work."

Dubbed "Galley," the commercial, aired nationally, is
one of the first in GE's new $100 million, multimedia
campaign to promote the company's role in a number of
high-technology fields.

A spokesman for GE declined to provide details about
how much the company has spent on airing the
television ad in the Boston market, other than to say
the size of the buy was no larger than in similar
sized media markets across the country. The spot is
not intended to influence public policy debates over
specific wind farm projects, he said.

But by throwing its hat into the wind-energy ring in
such a public manner, GE has injected the long
fledgling industry with a dose of credibility. And
that could bolster the prospects for proposed wind
farms in various locations along the Eastern Seaboard,
including here on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

Wind power advocates, including those for Cape Wind
Associates, the local company hoping to develop the
130-turbine Nantucket Sound project, say they couldn't
be more pleased. Having a company of GE's stature and
reputation is a significant feather in their cap.
Advertisements that reinforce the validity of wind
power can only boost their efforts regionally.

But opponents of the Nantucket Sound wind farm say
GE's advertising won't have any significant impact on
the local debate. The issue for Cape Codders, they
say, is not wind power's viability but whether the
region's natural resources are protected from
opportunistic developers.

Not just window dressing
GE did not enter the wind power game last year just to
make environmentally friendly commercials. Its Wind
Energy division has generated more than $1 billion in
wind-related revenues so far and has contracts worth
$2 billion more. Should the Nantucket Sound project
receive regulatory approval, GE has a preliminary
contract to build the wind turbines and towers in a
contract worth $495 million, perhaps more.

Currently, the proposed $750 million project is
undergoing environmental review by various regional,
state and federal agencies. Proponents say it would
produce enough electricity to meet 75 percent of the
Cape's power needs.

For a company that produces everything from credit
cards to "Must See TV" (on its NBC network), casting
wind power as the star of its new ad campaign is an
interesting gambit - especially since sales of
wind-related products and services accounted for less
than 1 percent of its $132 billion revenues in 2002.
In fact, GE only entered the wind power game last year
when it purchased Enron's wind assets.

But the current television commercials and
accompanying print and Internet ads do not highlight
the GE of old, which boasted of being able to "bring
good things to life" such as light bulbs and

"The goals of the campaign are to portray GE's
technological leadership in a number of areas," said a
company spokesman, Gary Sheffer. "(Wind power)
exemplifies one of the world-class technology
businesses that represents GE."

Is the wind spot meant to sway public opinion here,
where the debate has raged over allowing wind farms in
federal waters?

"None of this is meant to influence the debate on any
specific project," said Sheffer.

John Lister, chairman of the brand-consulting firm
Lister Butler in New York, agrees.

"Even the windfall of $400 million is a drop in the
bucket for GE," he said, referring to the revenues the
company would generate should the Nantucket Sound
project come to fruition.

But the ad, coupled with GE's entry into the wind
energy field, could affect the public's perception of
wind energy, Lister said.

"If GE makes a solid commitment to this and moves
ahead successfully it will, in fact, do wonders for
the wind power business," he said.

That buoys veteran wind-power advocates such as Bob
Thresher, director of the federal government's
National Wind Technology Center in Golden, Colo.

"The biggest hurdle (facing wind power) in 30 years
has been the perception that it's a bunch of hippies
trying to change the world," said Thresher who has
working been in the field for that long. "It's not,
it's a business."

"To see GE say, 'yeah this technology is ready to be
implemented' is absolutely great."

But one of the Cape's leading wind farm opponents
discounts the impact GE's advertisements or presence
in the wind energy field will have on the Nantucket
Sound project or others that have been proposed for
the region.

"Wind power is credible and the more that large
companies like GE get involved the more viability wind
power has," acknowledges Isaac Rosen, executive
director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

But he says that's beside the point to Cape Codders
who are more concerned about "the utter gold rush
that's taking place along our coast."

"What generally congeals people on this issue is not
wind power but how we regulate our public resources,"
he said.

Rosen also questions whether GE's wind ad is an
accurate portrayal of the company, given its
environmental track record.

"There's a reason why they're not spending $100
million advertising the pollution that they've
caused," he said.

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ruled that GE must pay to dredge 150,000 pounds of
harmful PCBs from a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson
River in New York. The company expects to spend
between $120 million and $170 million on environmental
remediation projects annually for the next two years,
according to its 2002 annual report.

Via an e-mail, GE's Sheffer dismissed Rosen's

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Rosen finds it necessary to
engage in these kinds of attacks rather than limiting
his comments to the relative merits of the project,"
he said.

"We have an excellent environmental compliance program
and record. We also meet our responsibilities to
address environmental contamination that occurred
decades before the advent of modern environmental

One local homeowner bound to be affected by the
construction of a wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal is GE's
former CEO Jack Welch, who has owned a Nantucket
vacation home for more than a decade. A spokesperson
for Welch said it is his policy not to comment on
ongoing projects where GE is involved.

Cape project could help GE
Last year, Cape Wind Associates signed a preliminary
agreement with GE's Power Systems division. Under the
deal, GE would build the wind turbines and towers that
support them.

Construction of both would take place somewhere in
southern New England but not on the Cape because the
region does not have a deep enough port, according to
Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind Associates.
The project would create 600 to 1,000 construction
jobs. GE could get the contract to oversee

Neither Cape Wind nor GE is willing to attach a dollar
figure to the current deal to build the materials for
the turbines, but if previous offshore projects in
Europe are any guide, it could range between 48 and 66
percent of the project's overall cost. Cape Wind
estimates total cost at $750 million, meaning GE's
contract could be valued between $360 million and $495

But Glenn Watley, an advisor to the Alliance to
Protect Nantucket Sound, a nonprofit group that has
taken the lead in opposing the Nantucket Sound
project, said the overall cost will be closer to $823
million. That could put the price tag on GE's contract
closer to $540 million.

Furthermore, publicity generated by GE's involvement
with the nation's first offshore wind farm could be

Mere debate over the project has garnered national
media attention in The New York Times Magazine and
elsewhere. Should it get the go-ahead, all eyes will
be on the Cape.

Indeed, GE's association with the project might
deliver the "Imagination at Work" message more
powerfully than any spot Madison Avenue could dream

"I think all large companies ... are looking for ways
to say they're out front, they're ahead of the game,"
said Lister. "This certainly would be a feather in
their cap if they can pull it off without having to
put barbed wire around every installation."

Despite all GE has to gain if the local project is
approved, there is no clear indication that the wind
advertisements are aimed at swaying public opinion or
public policy leaders who have not taken firm
positions on the issue - although the ads do run
during "Meet the Press" and "The McLaughlin Group,"
two popular programs with the Washington, D.C., crowd.

(Published: July 13, 2003)


All-Energy News and Discussion



Message: 2
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 15:30:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Green Bean
Subject: Wind farm panel OK'd in Mass. Senate

July 12, 2003

Wind farm panel OK'd in Senate

BOSTON - The state Senate this week approved a study
commission on wind farms, marking the Legislature's
first debate in a controversy that has roiled the Cape
and islands.

The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Robert
O'Leary, D-Barnstable, passed the Senate
overwhelmingly on Thursday. But the issue triggered a
confrontation between O'Leary and a ranking Senate
Republican which could be the first salvo in a Beacon
Hill fight over the merits of offshore wind farms.

The bill largely duplicates action already taken on
Beacon Hill in the contentious battle over proposed
wind farms.

O'Leary's legislation would require Gov. Mitt Romney
to appoint a study commission on wind farms -
something the governor did earlier this summer when he
named a task force on ocean management.

Developers Cape Wind Associates are seeking to build
130 wind turbines on a 24-quare-mile area of Nantucket
Sound. The development would be the first offshore
wind farm in the U.S.

Part of the wind farm debate has centered on the lack
of regulatory oversight, particularly at the federal

Since Cape Wind's proposal was first aired, several
other developers have proposed wind farms of varying

O'Leary, a Cape Wind skeptic, viewed the study
commission as a precursor to zoning of state waters.
He said it would not affect the Cape Wind proposal,
because it would be located in federal waters outside
of state jurisdiction.

"It's not about snob zoning," O'Leary said when his
bill was introduced on the Senate floor. "It's about
environmental protection, and it's about a very
complicated and difficult issue that has truly divided
my community, and I concede that. There are good
people on both sides, people who don't live along the
coastline, who don't have big 'McMansions,' who have
real deep concerns about the impact of that project on
the Cape."

Although passing 30 to 6, the legislation triggered an
intense debate on wind farms between O'Leary and
Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees, R-East Longmeadow.

Lees accused O'Leary of trying to use the legislation
to delay the Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound.

Lees branded it a "NIMBY" issue - Not in My Back Yard
- and accused wind farm opponents of being snobs. Lees
contrasted the wind farm controversy to the creation
of the Quabbin Reservoir.

In an aside, he implied that U.S. Sen. John Kerry had
hedged his position on the wind farm to rake in more
money from the Cape and islands.

"This is as NIMBY a thing as I have ever seen," Lees
said. "There are four communities in western
Massachusetts that are underwater today to provide
(drinking) water for Boston. But you're afraid that a
little view from a $5 million house may be impinged by
some wind farm way, way out. Give me a break.

"We need ways of finding efficient energy. We need
ways of finding clean energy."

State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, also objected to
the bill, saying it duplicated Romney's ocean task
Also from ENS, attempts are afoot to try to make environmental policy a boon to poor regions in: New Fund Uses Kyoto Protocol to Aid Poor Communities
From ENS, there is an effort underway to help clean up the Great Lakes...

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Also from ENN, researchers in Illinois (Champaign_Urbana) are researching the effects of increased CO2 and ozone on crops on a large scale. Read more in: Researchers test climate change's impact on crops
From ENN, more on the British wind farm initiative, including opposition by conservatives who have been out-voted. (I wonder if they own stocks in Halli...naaaaw. Couldn't be.)
Also from ENS,

Healing Our World: Weekly Comment

By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.

Why Is Defending the Earth Considered Extremist?
From ENS, The British are introducing massive new off shore wind energy projects, enough to power 15% of British households when completed. Read all about it in:

Windy Britain Powers Up More Offshore Windfarms

LONDON, United Kingdom, July 14, 2003 (ENS) - Offshore windfarms with the potential to power one in every six UK households were given the green light for development today by Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released proposals for the next generation of offshore windfarms to provide up to six gigawatts of new energy generation by 2010, enough to power 15 percent of all households in the United Kingdom.

Hewitt said, "This announcement is good for the environment, good for Britain's energy needs and good for jobs. The expansion will create around 20,000 new jobs in manufacturing, installing and maintaining the windfarms. ...Read More
From the Alternative Power digest Yahoo group:

Japan To Launch Major Field Tests For Home Fuel Cell
Tuesday July 15, 1:01 am ET

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- A group of Japanese firms,
organizations and local governments will join forces
this year to carry out large-scale field tests of
home-use fuel cell systems, as Japan seeks to lead the
world in the lucrative next-generation energy market.

Japanese companies are shaping up as pioneers of the
new technology and hope to commercially launch in 2005
a stand-alone fuel cell co-generator that provides
power and hot water to the home. Fuel cells generate
electricity, without pollutants, via an
electrochemical reaction that uses oxygen and

By using such co-generators, homeowners can cut their
power and gas costs, as well as cut carbon dioxide
emissions. The market for the cleaner fuel cell
systems - dubbed mini home power plants - is widely
expected to take off by 2010.

"We started field-testing from last October in 12
sites mainly in major metropolitan areas. This year we
will add 31 new sites throughout the country," an
official at the New Energy Foundation said Tuesday.

The government-backed foundation is leading the
subsidized project. The next round of testing will
commence around September, he said.

The number of companies providing fuel cell systems
will also increase to 11 from last year's six, he

New entrants include Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy
Industries Co. (J.ISH or 7013), Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries Ltd. (J.MHI or 7011) and Hitachi Ltd. (HIT
or 6501). Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (MC or
6752), Sanyo Electric Co. (SANYY or 6764) and Toyota
Motor Corp. (TM or 7203) were among the original

Firms and organizations, which will cooperate by
installing the systems and conducting on-site testing,
include major power suppliers Tokyo Electric Power Co.
(J.TER or 9501) and Kansai Electric Power Co. (J.KEP
or 9503), oil refiners Japan Energy Corp. and Idemitsu
Kosan Co. , and the Japan Gas Association, an industry
body representing city gas suppliers.

Before the commercial launch of the systems, "we need
to accumulate field data under various working
environments, including cold regions," the official
said. Most of necessary field testing will probably be
completed in the annual project starting this year, he

The fuel cell co-generators will use city gas,
liquefied petroleum gas, naphtha and kerosene to
extract hydrogen.

The domestic market for such co-generators is forecast
to grow to about Y290 billion in 2010 - Y180 billion
in the home-use market and Y110 billion in the
business-use market, Osamu Tajima, general manager at
Sanyo's fuel cell research department, told Dow Jones
Newswires in April.

Sanyo expects that by 2010 fuel cell co-generators
will replace about one third of Japan's annual
gas-powered water heater shipments of about 1.2
million units.

But to make that happen, Sanyo and other makers will
have to overcome a daunting task - reducing the price
of the state-of-the-art device to an affordable level.

"We don't expect users to start feeling they are
reaping benefits unless the unit price is lowered to
Y500,000 or so," Tajima said. His view seems to be an
industry consensus.

With that price, and based on current power and gas
rates, the combined cost of initial investments and
running costs for fuel cell systems will fall below
those for conventional full-automatic water heaters
about five years after installation, Sanyo estimates.

Five other system providers in the project are Ebara
Corp. (J.EBA or 6361), Kurita Water Industries Ltd.
(J.KUW or 6370), Nippon Oil Corp. (J.NPO or 5001),
Marubeni Corp. (J.MRB or 8002) and Toshiba
International Fuel Cells - a joint venture between
Toshiba Corp. (J.TOS or 6502) and International Fuel
Cells Llc. of the U.S., according to the New Energy

Saturday, July 12, 2003

ENS has an article stating that U.S. C02 Emissions Will Rise Absent Strong Policy, indicating that voluntary efforts won't be enough to drop U.S. emissions due to market forces absent legislative solutions.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

The following is the text of an interesting debate I'm having with Ross Donald of the Renewable News Network via altpower digest at Yahoo Groups:

Dear Ross,

I'm leaving the rest of this thread here for quick reference.

In a case of solar power vs. oil, coal, or nuclear power, solar would get my vote every time.
In a case of solar power vs. wind energy, I would vote for whichever made economic sense, regardless. Now, before you say "ha! He just said that wind energy makes more sense economically and therefore does not support solar power!" I would like you to reference the context of the conversation. This is about ramping up renewable energy sources to alleviate the very immediate natural gas shortages faced by the USA. There are several points I want to make here, so I will reference them as "bullet items".

1. Both forms of clean renewable power are as far as I can tell, equally attractive from the standpoint of an unlimited, essentially free, renewable power source. The only limits I am aware of are those imposed by availability of geographic locations suitable to collection. I have not done any digging to see which form has more surface area on the planet available suitable to that mode of power production, outside the United States. Within the U.S. and it's coastal waters, it appears to me to be roughly even.

2. Given equal viability for the power source, wind power is currently, given the state of current technology, cheaper to utilize for power production, to the best of my ability to determine.

3. The need for alleviation of energy shortages caused by natural gas availability shortages is very immediate. This type of situation calls for the lowest cost / highest speed replacement of energy supply. We need to ramp up electricity production through another resource that is competitive economically, environmentally, and in terms of scalability with natural gas powered generation.

4. Wind energy is generally more available in winter. Solar energy is generally more available in summer. Natural gas usage is peaking in winter, when it is being tapped as an energy source both for heating of living and working space and as a source of energy for electricity production at the same time. (Granted, if natural gas were to become a large enough contributor to electricity production, air conditioning demand could outstrip heating for peaking demand, but I do not believe we're there yet.)

5. Wind energy has been growing at an average global rate of nearly 30% annually for just these reasons, so the manufacturing capacity mostly exists and could readily be scaled up quickly.

This was the general reasoning I used in making my earlier statement. In order to alleviate the looming natural gas shortage was the context of the topic.

Given a more long term view, the picture is somewhat different. Recently the Earth Policy Institute released an article stating that wind power could meet the total world demand for electricity and transportation needs if coupled with hydrogen could meet projected demand through year 2020 if only ten percent of the Earth's surface with viable wind conditions were available. See "Wind Power Set to Become World's Leading Energy Source" at: http://www.enn.com/direct/display-release-m.asp?objid=||D1D1364B000000F5FFB5EC17C0EFE1B4

What about beyond year 2020? Solar power could conceivably add more generation capacity and take the scope of renewables much further. It makes sense for those who live in areas where solar power is abundant to develop it. The energy economy picture looks to remain very regionalized through the foreseeable future as far as energy sources are concerned. It makes sense from a security standpoint for solar -rich regions to build local generation capacity to offset the need for energy imports in the short term. In the long term, solar power capacity adds will make even more sense globally as the effects of global warming become more and more pronounced and obvious, and the true costs of fossil fuel use are shoved under our noses like a hot potato.

Also, at some point, geographically acceptable terrestrial resources will become saturated for energy production, and the we must leave the planet for any increases in in renewable energy sources, and at that point, solar energy becomes the only easily-reached game in town.

Therefore, in the context of urgency, it makes more sense to lead with wind / hydrogen, and follow through with solar, at least when speaking of utility-scale generation capacity. In terms of individual plants that reduce grid dependency, the picture is far more dominated by which power source is locally available, and solar will make more sense to those in areas where wind is not so available, especially since the cost of production increases dramatically for wind power in smaller plants.

The end result?

Utility scale = wind first, then solar.
Individual independence = whichever is economically feasible in your area, and preferably both due to seasonal availability, especially the further from the equator you live. You will also need a battery string or other energy storage technology to buffer the intermittent nature of either.

I do support solar power, in the sense that it is environmentally sound technology, and in proper perspective for a long term comprehensive plan to transition to renewable power globally. If it had made more sense to me in the context given, I would have suggested it over wind energy. Given the information I have currently, it does not make greater sense to me in that context.


Dan Stafford

Renewable News Network wrote:

Dear Dan,

Why can't you support solar energy?

You will be tempted to reply, I'm sure, that, you do support solar, but
your words betray you.

You talk about using both solar and wind, but then argue against this,
in trying to promote wind versus solar, when the arguement should be and
is, in fact, that 1) solar is better than natural gas, and 2) wind is
better than natural gas, too, where ever and whenever, the alternatives
can be shown to be preferable.

Wind energy may be cheaper than solar in some instances, and may
as abundant as solar energy in places, and may be able to be ramped
up to meet the same and/or other needs; but all this, in no way,
means that the same cannot be said regarding solar energy, in other

Its a matter of logic and strategy. Essentially, it makes no sense to
put solar down, in order to build wind up. We don't need a zero sum
perspective, when a synergystic approach is better.

Whatever you may want to say in favor of wind energy is certainly
worth considering. And solar energy advocates welcome most all
support for anyone's particular favorite mode of renewable energy, but
for you to support one resource at the expense of another form of
renewable energy, is counter-productive in many ways.

As to the facts, to state that "Solar is a much more expensive solution"
(than wind) is simply not true, in all instances, without going into
greater detail, in terms of place, price, and technological application.

Let the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and utility industries say
that solar is expensive, so that we can argue against that proposition,
together. If you're trying to cozy up to the anti-solar interests, in
order to gain support for wind, by putting solar energy down, you will
hurt both wind and solar.

Yours truly,
Ross Donald

"Wise up." -John Belushi

On 6 Jul 2003 Dan Stafford wrote:

From: Dan Stafford
Subject: Re: Solar Power Cure for Natural Gas Shortage

From: (Tom Waters)
Subject: Solar Power Cure for Natural Gas Shortage

WASHINGTON, DC, July 3, 2003 (ENS) - The Solar Energy Industries Association released an analysis that shows that clean, renewable solar power could replace nearly one-third of the natural gas supply shortage in 2005, if the federal government took steps this year to promote solar expansion.
The news comes amid growing concern that the current shortage of three to four billion cubic feet of natural gas per day cannot be alleviated for several years, at a minimum.
Much of the problem stems from the growing use of natural gas to generate electricity.
"If Congress included a solar power stimulus section as part of its pending energy bill, we could mitigate nearly a third of the natural gas shortfall with clean, renewable power from the sun in 2005," said Glenn Hamer, executive director of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization representing solar electric and solar thermal manufacturers, component suppliers, and distributors. The association proposed steps that would allow the U.S. solar industry to meet these goals. First, a federal solar electric rebate pegged at $4 a watt, which would phase out over time. This would be modeled on successful state rebates, or "buy downs." Another proposed step is a 25 percent tax credit on solar system purchases by homeowners, businesses, farms, and government entities. The group wants to extend the wind energy production tax credit to solar, including a temporary triple multiplier for the first 1,000 megawatts of solar to come on line.
The association also urges passage of the other solar provisions pending in the House and Senate energy bills.
"As the President and Congress recognize, the tax code is the fastest way to jumpstart the economy. It's also the fastest way to stimulate new clean energy production to alleviate the natural gas shortage," Hamer said.

Dan Stafford wrote:

Wind energy is far cheaper, every bit as abundant, and could easily be
ramped up to meet the same needs. Considering solar is most available in
summer and wind in winter, a combination of the two would be a much
better solution. Wind power costs are now ranging from 3.5 - 6 cents /
kwh, and could conceivably drop to 1.5-2 cents / kwh if demand fueled
mass-production lines and dropped equipment costs. and the U.S. has the
best wind potential on the planet. Solar is a much more expensive solution.
The latest headlines (Encouraged to be forwarded) from Windpower Monthly relate the state of wind worldwide:


Here are your summaries of the top stories in the July 2003 issue of
Windpower Monthly. For a descriptive list of this month's full contents
just go to http://www.windpower-monthly.com/current

Australia practising what Europe is preaching
Leading politicians in Australia's states are fighting hard for not only
retention of the federal government's mandated market for green
power certificates, but also for a tougher target for renewables. It is
an interesting sign of the times. Australia is not a country known for
the environmental aspirations of its leaders, particularly when it
comes to clean energy production. To see a diverse range of political
leaders individually taking the same strong action on green power is
a surprising turnabout. But, as our special report from Australia this
month makes clear, it is not concern for the environment that is
driving unanimous support for the national mandate. What Australia's
state leaders have realised is that... (Go to http://www.windpower-
monthly.com/current,#focus to read more about this article)

Australia's business agenda for wind
It's crunch time in Australia. Energy policy is being revamped. The
Mandated Renewable Energy Target (MRET), hugely successful in
giving birth to Australia's wind industry, is up for revision. And the
battle is well and truly on for wind energy to take its rightful place as a
competitive, mainstream power source. Read the entire leader...go to

Signs of German wind market decline confirmed
The world’s wind energy workhorse is showing signs of exhaustion.
Preliminary reports from developers for the first five months indicate
that Germany is bowing out of its role as a guaranteed market for
thousands of megawatts of wind power each year. Although about
560 MW of new wind capacity was installed, it is nearly 230 MW less
than during the same period last year. If political discussions about
reducing wind energy payments develop into an amendment to
Germany’s renewable energy law, the slow market exit could be
accelerated. We take a close look at the downward trend and the
market prospects ahead.

British development rush under way as Renewables Obligation bites
The number of applications to site renewable energy projects in
Britain has accelerated sharply since the UK’s Renewables
Obligation was introduced a year ago. From a steady rise in
applications for siting permits since the mid-1990s, the annual rate of
applications has dramatically shot up, from around 1400 MW of
capacity to over 2500 MW in 2003 for all renewables, reports the
Renewable Power Association (RPA). As we report, wind power is
leading the rush with 1360 MW of permitted projects.

European patent office rules on prior art and GE challenged in
After a two day hearing last month, the European Patent Office
(EPO) has ruled on the controversial patent on variable speed wind
turbine electronics held by General Electric Power Systems. The
decision can be appealed, however, a process which can drag the
long running case out for another three years. Meantime, in a bold
change of strategy, world market leader Vestas is challenging GE's
North American version of the patent by launching its brand new
variable speed 3 MW turbine right under the nose of its powerful
American competitor. Read about the EPO decision and what Vestas
has up its sleeve in the July issue of Windpower Monthly.

Controversial transmission policy good news for wind power
The Canadian province of Alberta has decided to build new
transmission where and when it is needed. It is good news for the
wind power producers whose plans have been hindered by crowded
power lines coming out of the province's windy southwest. We report
on how energy minister Murray Smith's plans will create new
opportunities for wind power, including the potential development of
870 MW of new wind capacity to add to the state's current total of
170 MW.

Minnesota mandates masses of megawatt but with nasty nuclear
In exchange for a guarantee that it can continue to operate two
nuclear power plants unimpeded, Xcel Energy is being required by
law to buy as much as 1400 MW more wind generation by 2015. The
change in state law converts a renewable energy objective into a
wind requirement. But while renewables advocates are declaring the
legislation a victory, they also point out that the law has a series of
nasty edges -- none of which are good for the environment nor the
pocket's of electricity ratepayers.

European conference delegates witness emergence of pragmatic
new business agenda for wind development
At last month's European Wind Energy Conference in Madrid, it
became increasingly clear that with the falling price of wind power,
the economic imperative is succeeding the environmental imperative
as the industry's main market driver. Despite this move into the
mainstream, debate was heated on whether European policy for wind
energy growth should be based on mandated premium purchase
prices or a market for trade in green power tags. Windpower Monthly
had a four-strong reporting team on the spot in Madrid. Read our
entertaining overview of the highlights and the lowlights of a busy
conference week last month.

Remote communities seek larger voice
Whitehorse, capital of Canada's Yukon Territory, was a fitting
location for the Cold Climate Opportunities international wind power
conference. With a decade of experience operating two wind turbines
in an area where temperatures can drop to -45 Centigrade, dedicated
individuals have shown what can be achieved when commercial,
utility and government sectors work together. This need to combine
forces and create a larger voice for medium-sized wind in small,
isolated community applications was a strong message during the
conference. Read our special report from Whitehorse in this month's


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