Other Energy - Dec 12
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Explosions Rock Fuel Depot Near London
Thomas Wagner, Yahoo! News
Explosions ripped through a major fuel depot north of London on Sunday, injuring dozens of people, blowing doors off nearby homes and sending fireballs and massive clouds of black smoke into the sky.
Police said the blasts appeared to be accidental, though they occurred just four days after an al-Qaida videotape appeared on the Internet calling for attacks on facilities carrying oil "stolen" from Muslims in the Middle East.
(11 December 2005)
OPEC Should Not Curtail Production, Minister Says
Jad Mouawad, New York Times
OPEC should not curtail its current oil production because strong demand has kept prices high, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said today, adding that it was too early to consider paring the group's output in anticipation of a slowdown in consumption next year.
The Saudi minister, Ali al-Naimi, the most influential representative among OPEC's 11 member nations, seems to have lent his support to a consensus that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries can afford to keep producing at full tilt, as it has for most of the last year, without fearing a price collapse.
(11 December 2005)
EU looks at wood and waste to lose oil addiction
On 7 December, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will present a biomass action plan that aims at doubling the use of biomass energy for transport, electricity and heating by 2010 and quadrupling it by 2030.
The new action plan will present several measures to speed up the use of biomass energy (wood, wastes and agricultural crops) in the transport, electricity production and heating and cooling sectors. Doubling the use of biomass energy should help the EU achieve its goal of bringing the share of renewable energy from 6% to 12% by 2010.
(7 December 2005)
Scotland: Power line 'key for green energy'
Failure to build a controversial new power line could kill Scotland's renewable energy plans "stone dead", green businesses have warned.
Opponents of the line said the larger pylons would ruin the landscape.
But industry forum Scottish Renewables said the 137-mile Beauly to Denny upgrade was necessary for the future growth of green energy production.
(7 December 2005)
More of Third World Fit for Wind Power - UN Study
Reuters, Planet Ark
Windmills have far bigger than expected potential for generating electricity in the Third World, according to new UN wind maps of countries from China to Nicaragua.
"Our studies show about 13 percent of the land area has potential for development," Tom Hamlin of the UN Environment Program told Reuters on the fringes of a UN climate conference.
Previously, he said, maybe just 1 percent of developing nations was judged sufficiently windy, discouraging governments and investors from considering the nonpolluting source as an alternative to burning oil, coal or natural gas.
(5 December 2005)
Pact signed for prototype of coal plant
Andrew C. Revkin, NY Times
MONTREAL, Dec. 6 - Under pressure from other industrialized countries at talks here on global warming, the Bush administration announced on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with a coalition of energy companies to build a prototype coal-burning power plant with no emissions.
The project, called FutureGen, has been in planning stages since 2003. But the Energy Department said here that a formal agreement had been signed under which companies would contribute $250 million of a cost estimated at $1 billion.
Environmental advocates at the talks criticized the announcement, saying it was intended to distract from continuing efforts by the American delegation to block discussion of new international commitments to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that scientists link to global warming.
"You are watching 163 nations do an elaborate dance to try to make progress when the United States is sitting in the middle of the road trying to obstruct," said Alden Meyer, a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that has long criticized the Bush administration's climate approach.
"It's getting to be like Charlie Brown with Lucy holding that football," he said. "Every time, at the last minute, the U.S. pulls it away."
The talks here are just one chapter in an international effort to rein in heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases that began in Toronto in 1988 at a conference on the changing atmosphere. Ever since then, climate scientists, with widening consensus, have linked a global warming trend to increasing levels of those gases in the atmosphere.
(7 December 2005)
NEI's Peterson addresses plans for new nuclear power in U.S. and abroad (Video)
OnPoint, E & E TV
With new interest in constructing nuclear power plants in Europe and the United States, proponents are pitching the power source as a key solution to global warming. Will European nations turn to nuclear power to lower their carbon dioxide emissions and comply with the Kyoto Protocol? What about continued opposition to nuclear waste storage sites such as Yucca Mountain? And will regulatory and financial hurdles stymie plans to build new nuclear facilities in the United States? Scott Peterson, vice president of communications at the Nuclear Energy Institute, answers these questions and more.
(7 December 2005)
Coconut oil gives Vanuatu more energy
Sean Dorney, ABC (Au)
The electricity company in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu has turned to coconut oil to help power the capital, Port Vila. The power company, Unelco, started experimenting with a coconut oil diesel fuel mix in June.
It has been so successful that the general manager, Jean Chaniel, says it has moved beyond a test, to industrialising the use of the coconut oil. "Currently we're using a 5 per cent mix of coconut oil and diesel in our larger generators - four megawatts - which represents about 8,000 litres per week at present," he said. "Not a great deal but potentially quite a bit." Mr Chaniel says there are two benefits: countering the increasing price of fuel and revitalising Vanuatu's copra industry.
(8 December 2005)
Experts: N. Calif. coast can generate, control energy
Frank Hartzell, Fort Bragg Advocate
A standing room only audience of more than 100 people got charged up Friday in Fort Bragg by speeches on solar home power, wind power at the former Georgia Pacific mill site, and ways that the Mendocino Coast can plug into more alternative power and local control.
The meeting was more scientific and historical and less pointed and political than other First Friday events sponsored by the Alliance for Democracy, yet it did close with a bit of politics.
Ken Smokoska of the Sierra Club, who has helped other communities set up Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) plans, said all that is needed to get started is a yes vote from three of the five Fort Bragg City Council members.
...The 2002 CCA legislation allows communities to buy power for their own residents and businesses and to have a say in what kind of power is used.
Smokoska said the plan can bring good jobs and educational and business opportunities and keep dollars in the community.
(X December 2005)
Fat to fuel
SF city leaders want to make biodiesel from liquefied animal parts
Matthew Hirsch, SF Bay Guardian
Forget the Middle East. Forget Chevron and its crude oil. If all goes as planned for Mayor Gavin Newsom's clean technology team, some city vehicles may soon get their fuel from a greasy, yellowish liquid distilled from the inedible remains of slaughtered cattle – plus some pigs, sheep, and chickens.
This proposal, which can be found in a report released last month by Newsom's Clean Technology Advisory Council, calls for using animal fat from a Bayview District rendering plant to make five million gallons of biodiesel per year. Local environmental officials say they're still hashing out the details but hope to see biodiesel made widely available at fuel pumps in the near future.
"It's seen as a boutique fuel for people who can afford it, and we want to make it a fuel for everyday people," Jared Blumenfeld, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, told the Bay Guardian.
At five million gallons, San Francisco would quickly become home to one of the nation's top biodiesel producers. It's a substantial commitment and a particularly dicey one considering nobody's yet perfected the art of making hippie fuel out of scraps from the butcher's floor. Meat-based fuel also has a least one technical hitch not associated with its vegetable-based cousin, which has had shortcomings of its own.
(7-13 December 2005)