Search Results for
556 item(s) were returned.
Discussion

Coal Companies Shuttering Mines on Low U.S. Demand

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Alpha Natural Resources, the nation’s third-largest coal producer, has announced that it will “close four mines in Kentucky and West Virginia and idle two more over the next 12 months.” [E&E ClimateWire (sub. req.)] 152 Alpha employees will lose their jobs, while another 182 will be offered reassignment. The coal industry has been challenged recently by low natural gas prices and new federal clean air regulations. These factors have compelled some electric utilities to close their coal-fired power plants, or to switch them to natural gas or other, cleaner coal sources. Utilities such as FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, and American Electric… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

U.S. Approaching Energy Self-Sufficiency?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 8, 2012 at 8:51 AM

According to data collected and reported by Bloomberg News, the “U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency”. In the first 10 months of 2011, 81% of U.S. energy demand was met by domestic sources, up from a record low of 70% in 2005. If the 2011 numbers are accurate, this would be the highest proportion of U.S. energy demand met by domestic sources since 1992. This upward trend in energy self-sufficiency is due in large part to increased oil and natural gas development, and low natural gas prices. “Domestic oil output is… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

Slow Progress in Commercial Building Efficiency

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 7, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Commercial buildings account for approximately 19% of U.S. energy use. From the late 70’s to the mid-to-late 80’s, the energy use intensity – the energy used per square foot of space – of America’s commercial buildings  declined significantly, according to the EIA. However, as of the most recent data, those efficiency gains ceased in 1986, despite technical efficiency improvements in most building elements:  windows, materials, HVAC, lighting, etc. The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings (GPIC), a U.S. DOE Energy Innovation Hub, is working to identify the cause of this gap between building efficiency and technical potential, and address… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

States Require Climate Information from Insurers

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 6, 2012 at 8:05 AM

California, New York, and Washington will require that large insurance companies operating within those states disclose how they respond, and plan to respond, to the risks posed by climate change. [New York Times] The U.S. in 2011 experienced a record number of natural disasters, and the costs of recovery – much of which will be borne by the insurance industry – are expected to exceed $50 billion. [New York Times] “We want to make sure that the financial soundness and stability of the insurance companies are not jeopardized by inadequate preparation for climate change,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

Oil and Gas Bills Advance to House

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 3, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Three House bills that would greatly expand U.S. oil and gas development – H.R. 3407, H.R. 3408, and H.R. 3410 – were approved by the Natural Resources Committee on February 1, 2012. H.R. 3407 would open up vast areas of Alaska’s coastal plain to oil leasing. H.R. 3408 would expand shale oil development in several Western states. Many Democrats opposed the bill, arguing that the environmental, social, and geologic risks of shale oil development are not yet well understood. The committee voted down a Democratic amendment that would have required the USGS to study oil shale development impacts on water… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

Natural Gas Estimates Greatly Reduced

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 1, 2012 at 8:03 AM

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has lowered its estimates of U.S. natural gas resources. The EIA’s 2012 estimate for total U.S. natural gas is 482 trillion cubic feet, down more than 40% from its 2011 estimate of 827 tcf. [New York Times] Because of increased gas production throughout the U.S., EIA had more data available in making its 2012 estimates. For example, with additional data from increased production throughout the Marcellus shale – a geological formation stretching beneath West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York – EIA adjusted its estimates for the Marcellus to 141 tcf, down nearly 66% from… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

“Conservative” Nuclear Safety Standards and Measurable Harm

Author(s): Dr. Andrew C. Kadak
President
Kadak Associates, Inc.
Date: January 31, 2012 at 9:31 AM

In March 2011 a giant earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and killed over 20,000 people. These events also seriously damaged 4 nuclear plants at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The subsequent release of radiation led to local, precautionary evacuations since the course of the accident and potential contamination was unknown at the time. According to a June 2011 report by the IAEA International Fact Finding Expert Mission, “To date no health effects have been reported in any person as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident”. This included the operators and others who worked from the beginning… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

An “All-of-the-Above” Strategy to Reduce Oil Use

Author(s): David Hammer
J.C. Ward Jr. Professor of Nuclear Energy Engineering
Cornell University
Date: January 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM

The President said in his State of the Union Address, “And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.”  He then talked about opening federal land for oil and gas exploration, implied that relying on foreign oil is not a good thing, and stated, “This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.” Considering the President’s all-of-the-above platform, and the goals implicit in it, we’d be wise to evaluate our national relationship to oil. The U.S. currently produces around 7.6 million… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

Balancing the Benefits and Costs of Natural Gas

Author(s): Melanie A. Kenderdine
Principal
Energy Futures Initiative
Date: January 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Modeling results in the MIT Future of Natural Gas Study released in June of last year suggested that the US could make major progress in the next two decades towards achieving a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 – a real reduction, no offsets or other creative and questionable mechanisms –largely through two actions: reduced energy consumption, and switching from coal to natural gas in power generation. The study also concluded that simply by utilizing surplus Natural Gas Combined Cycle capacity from existing units in lieu of coal generation, the US could achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions… [more]

View Discussion
Discussion

Renewable Energy Finance

Author(s): Elias Hinckley
Partner
KL Gates
Date: January 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM

In the State of the Union President Obama renewed his commitment to the widespread adoption of renewable power as a critical piece of America’s energy and economic future.  In last year’s speech he included a proposal to have 80 percent of US electricity come from renewables by 2035. Even making incremental steps towards these goals requires better access to financing for these renewable energy projects.  Energy projects, and particularly renewable energy projects, require a lot of money to build. There appear to be 3 key challenges for a renewable energy company to access capital in today’s market. (1) Low natural… [more]

View Discussion