RP Siegel

Microgrids Are Coming To Town

Numerous changes are causing us to rethink our energy delivery systems. These include environmental concerns over carbon emissions, unstable fuel prices and the surprisingly rapid growth and dissemination of renewable energy sources. This rethinking will, in all likelihood, lead to cleaner, more efficient and reliable systems, but not without causing some disruption along the way.

Among the new kids on the block are microgrids. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

The Sierra Club’s Cynical Plan to Put More Land Off-Limits to Energy Production

I grew up in a National Park, sorta.

The full name of my hometown is “Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas,” though the actual National Park covers only the two big mountains that bracket the narrow gorge in which the town’s famous downtown and “Bath House Row” are built. But that’s quibbling. The whole town, inside and outside of the Park itself, is beautiful. So I have a very deep appreciation for National Parks – and state-runs parks for that matter, too.

But the whole concept of setting aside land, or historic buildings, or natural or man-made monuments as special places to be preserved for generations to come to enjoy soon could be hijacked for political – and ultimately – for philosophical reasons by anti-energy environmental extremists, perhaps with a big assist from the Obama administration.

And that has ominous implications for the U.S. energy industry and energy consumers – and for the entire system of National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites. Continue reading…

EnergyViewpoints

The Week in Energy: Profits for Solar and a New Installment of Gasland

The energy headlines this week offer a little something for everyone. Among them: Honda and GM are teaming up to figure out feasible hydrogen fuel cells, companies manufacturing solar panels finally report some sunny financials and – shock of shocks – the controversy over fracking continues with the latest installment in the Gasland documentary franchise. Enjoy. Continue reading…

RP Siegel

The Cost of Cooling All That Data

The onset of the internet with the ensuing flood of mobile devices is changing the face of our world in ways we can only begin to imagine. Immediate access to vast stores of information allows many activities, from running errands to running a business to be performed far more efficiently than ever before. An entirely new information utility industry has been created, consisting of power-hungry server farms, co-location facilities and managed services operations. And while the opportunities are enormous, the costs are also substantial. It has been estimated that internet use is responsible for 2 percent of the planet’s CO2 emissions. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

Why Obama’s Energy Initiative is being Sold on Lies

Comedian Stephen Wright once joked that 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot, and, as if the world immediately set out to prove his point, there have been 127,856 variations on that one-liner since Wright first uttered it.

President Barack Obama last week offered the latest example of the very serious observation about human behavior that lies behind the faux-statistic created by Wright – and pirated by so many others. Continue reading…

EnergyViewpoints

Energy News: Aggies Plan Center for Speeding Solar Energy Projects

In this week’s energy news, the Texas Aggies plan one of the world’s largest research sites for solar energy, and a poll finds small business in support of moving toward renewable energy. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

What’ll Obama Do On Keystone? There’s No Telling

Years ago my favorite journalism professor and mentor (he’d actually been a real journalist; even won a Pulitzer during his decades before turning academic) mentioned that it might be a good idea to cultivate the ability to read upside down. “You can learn all sorts of interesting things by reading what’s on your interview subject’s desk,” he said, “but only if you can read upside down.”

So I cultivated that skill.

But an even more important trick of the trade I learned over the years was reading between the lines. As a general rule, the more sophisticated the interview subject, the more the journalist needs to be able to read between the lines to figure out what they’ve really said. But I’ll be horn-swaggled if I can figure out whether President Obama plans to approve or disapprove construction of the final, key section of the Keystone XL pipeline based on his comments about the project last week about his new energy initiative. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

Reed Responds: Government Vehicle Subsidies Bad In Any Form

I usually find it both fun and intellectually stimulating to get into a good debate over important – or sometimes even not-so-important – issues. So I’m glad RP Siegel responded to my recent Energy Viewpoints commentary “Apply the Brakes to Alt-Fuel Vehicle Subsidies.”

And I’m happy to respond to his tough but gentlemanly criticism.

For starters, let me make it clear: It is my long-held view that the government should not be subsidizing alt-fuel vehicles, or pretty much anything else that disrupts the free market. Continue reading…

EnergyViewpoints

A Battery Inspired by Forests

The week’s energy-related headlines include Google’s investment in renewable energy, President Obama’s expected statement on power plant emissions and researchers’ work to develop a battery made from wood. Continue reading…