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Britain to build world’s biggest biomass plant

AFP, PhysOrg
Britain is to build the biggest biomass plant in the world, Business Secretary John Hutton said after giving the green light to the renewable energy project.

The 350-megawatt wood chip-fuelled electricity generating plant will be sited in the industrial town of Port Talbot on the south Wales coast. It will cost 400 million pounds (830 million dollars, 560 million euros) to construct.

“This will be the biggest biomass plant in the world, generating enough clean energy to power half the homes in Wales,” Hutton said in a statement.
(22 November 2007)
From Big Gav’s latest.

Fresh from the Woods: Fuel from the forest

Staff, Waldo County Citizen
“The time will come, in two or three decades, when we will look at the days of only sawing boards and making paper as the Dark Ages,” says Robert G. Wagner, professor of forestry at the University of Maine. “The chemical versatility of wood is so great, we will cringe at the idea we were once wasting it.”

Wagner is one of more than 20 scientists involved in the Forest Bio-products Research Initiative, the largest public research project in Maine’s history.

The project brings together some of the brightest people in the state to answer two core questions: Can we do more than make forest products with the vast quantity of wood harvested in Maine each year? If so, what would the impact be on the state’s economy and environment?

…In a world where oil prices are at record levels, production has reached its peak and supply is threatened by developments beyond our control, wood has become the focus of intense scrutiny. This seemingly simple material, used for thousands of years to make fires and build shelters, might one day provide plant-based fuels, chemicals, plastics and a host of other products.

In the process, it could transform Maine’s manufacturing base, with pulp and paper mills becoming centers for the production of a wide range of “bio-products.”

Scientists believe the mills could make the new, high-value products without increasing the amount of wood they buy, and without reducing the amount of paper they produce. That could substantially improve the financial picture for Maine’s paper industry, which is under increasing pressure from foreign competition.
(25 November 2007)

Solar Energy Outlook 2007-2008
Energy Policy TV
Washington, DC – Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association; Grant Stockdale, CEO, Energy Policy TV; Scott Nance, Content Acquisition Manager, Energy Policy TV

Resch discusses a burgeoning U.S. solar market due to federal and state incentives, such as tax credits, particularly an 80% increase in photovoltaic installations in 2007.

33 min
(25 October 2007)
Lobbying for solar. Some good background.

Solar Stocks Start Slide amidst Market Turmoil

J. Peter Lynch,
As an old saying goes, “A rising tide raises ALL boats” unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Over the past two to three months, the increasing tide of market volatility as been increasing with dramatic speed and the vast majority of stocks, as well as, solar stocks are being swept down with the flow. Although, solar stocks were among the last to succumb they have recently begun to break down.

As I warned in numerous previous articles: “if we look at the current situation, it is a combination of a higher risk overall stock market and a solar stock sector that is considerably overextended. Given these odds this would certainly NOT seem to be a time to be buying solar stocks”.

Unfortunately solar stocks were overextended at the time the market woke up to the potential problems in the sub-prime and other credit markets. Oil rising to record levels has probably kept solar stocks from correcting sooner. The combination of a rapidly falling market and an over extended solar market sector is not a pretty sight.

…So, what does all this mean for solar stocks and the future of the industry? What it means is that this is still a very HIGH RISK market and one that is only fit for investors with a very high risk tolerance and possessing nimble trading skills. The future of the solar industry is as bright as ever, but now is NOT the time to be stepping into an extremely volatile general market and an even more volatile solar sector. The risk/return ratio is simple too high right now.
(23 November 2007)
Looks like a reasonable point – good technology does not necessarily bring stock market profits. Author J. Peter Lynch is not THE Peter Lynch, the famous manager of Fidelity’s Magellan Fund. -BA