Tag Archives | Energy

Oil Industry out of US Energy Future

President Obama’s sensible and encouraging first step in ensuring that the BP oil spill disaster can never happen again – but the “never” will only last for the next six months while his commission reaches a conclusion. The President went some way towards exposing the root cause of this disaster in highlighting the oil industry’s “cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship” with government agencies responsible.

“As long as we continue to let oil companies like BP and Shell bully politicians, write our energy laws and bribe regulators, we will remain addicted to their dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.  President Obama should cut the polluter lobbyists out of the debate so we can finally move toward a clean energy revolution that is good for the country, not just for corporations,” said John Hocevar, Greenpeace US oceans campaign director.

“The President’s six month suspensions of new drilling are a welcome reprieve for the communities and animals that rely on those pristine waters, but we need a permanent ban on all new offshore drilling, not just in the Arctic but in all US waters. A ban on all new oil drilling is the only way to avoid another spill disaster,” said Hocevar. Continue Reading →

Is America Exporting Part of Its Chance for Energy Independence?


America’s number one export by volume isn’t something manufactured by an American company – it’s scrap paper, metal, and plastics that Americans are recycling every day at home and work. When we export all of those recyclables to China and other nations, we are giving up part of the solution to reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil and polluting sources of energy like coal.

That’s because manufacturing new products out of recycled materials creates significant energy savings. “If we are going to become a more economically self-sufficient and energy-independent nation, America must strengthen its manufacturing sector, and manufacturers must become more energy efficient. One way to increase that efficiency is to use recycled materials, since recycling uses significantly less energy than mining and refining materials,” says Steve Lautze, Green Business Projects Manager with the City of Oakland, CA and past president of the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA). For example, making a new aluminum can out of an old one takes 95% less energy than creating that can from ore. Continue Reading →

Cheaper Materials Could Be Key To Low-Cost Solar Cells

Solar Panels

Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
These materials, some of which are highly abundant, could expand the potential for solar cells to become a globally significant source of low-carbon energy, the study authors said.

The analysis, which appeared online Feb. 13 in Environmental Science & Technology, examines the two most pressing challenges to large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaics as the world moves toward a carbon neutral future: cost per kilowatt hour and total resource abundance. The UC Berkeley study evaluated 23 promising semiconducting materials and discovered that 12 are abundant enough to meet or exceed annual worldwide energy demand. Of those 12, nine have a significant raw material cost reduction over traditional crystalline silicon, the most widely used photovoltaic material in mass production today. Continue Reading →

Huge Wind Power Project Planned in Kenia

Wind Energy

Lake Turkana Wind Power consortium (LTWP) has announced plans to supply 300 megawatts of green power to Kenya’s mains electricity grid by taking advantage of a unique wind resource in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana. Using the latest wind turbine technology LTWP can provide reliable and continuous clean power to satisfy up to 30% of Kenya’s current total installed power.

LTWP will construct a “wind farm” consisting of 353 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 KW. The total foreseen power generated by the initial phase of this wind farm is expected to start production in July 2010 and reach full production of 300 MW by June 2011, adding 30% or more to the total existing installed capacity available in Kenya. Wind turbine technology has seen recent rapid improvement with the development of turbines such as the Vestas V52 that is the design standard selected by LTWP.