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Myanmar biofuel drive deepens food shortage

Griffin Shea, AFP
Myanmar is struggling to feed its people in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis — in part because the regime has been forcing some farmers to stop growing rice in a plan to produce biofuel instead.

In 2005 the military government’s leader Than Shwe ordered a national drive to plant jatropha, a poisonous nut he hoped would be the cornerstone of a state industry that would capitalise on growing world demand for biofuels.

Taking a page from the textbook of planned centralised economies, he issued a quota for jatropha production for every township in the country — even in cities, where people were forced to grow it in their yards and along roads.
(13 May 2008)

Boone Pickens Says He Is Ready to Bet on Wind Power
Billionaire energy investor Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital LLC, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles about the outlook for oil, U.S. energy policy, and alternative energy including wind and solar power. Brian Sullivan moderates.

00:00:00 Introduction; Pickens’s career
00:17:11 Oil supply, demand, prices; natural gas
00:28:40 U.S. reliance on overseas oil; coal
00:39:50 Alternative energy; wind, solar power
00:46:45 Nuclear energy; U.S. energy policy
00:55:58 Pickens responds to questions.

Running time 01:14:56
(30 April 2008)
Suggested by contributor Wallace Farrell.

Oregon Institute of Technology campus energy to be 100 percent geothermal

Associated Press via The World (Southern Oregon)
KLAMATH FALLS – Geothermal water naturally heated to up to 200 degrees has warmed the Oregon Institute of Technology for years, but plans now are to use the subterranean water to meet all campus power needs.

It would require drilling a well to find even hotter water and building a power station.

Engineers set off 68 dynamite charges last month to test fault lines on and near the campus, and geophones recorded sound to provide information about how the underground fault line is positioned.

The results will help determine the best position for a mile-deep well, which would use geothermal steam to power the proposed 1.2-megawatt power plant, roughly half again what the university uses now.
(12 May 2008)
Recommended by contributor John Gear who points out that OIT is the REAL green campus and that this is the first school to offer a BS in renewable energy.

EERE’s John Mizroch — Renewable Gigawatts
Energy Conversation, Energy Policy TV
John Mizroch, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Department of Energy (DOE), discusses the various projects underway within EERE, including researching and developing the use of biomass such as switchgrass and zero energy homes and buildings.

He also explains how improving energy efficiency in buildings and furthering development of lithium batteries for vehicles is important for the United States’ national security.
(12 May 2008)
Slides are also available.

Mizroch estimates that the U.S. is spending more on imported oil than on defence (military).

I hope that EERE starts playing a more prominent role. -BA