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Energy - May 14

Click on the headline (link) for the full text. Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Americans would pay more for green energy

Michael Marshall, New Scientist
If you think politicians are out of touch, you're right. The American public would pay extra to get green electricity, but partisan politics means their elected representatives still won't legislate for it...

To find out whether Americans supported this, Matthew Kotchen of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and colleagues surveyed 1010 US citizens.

On average, people were in favour of Obama's clean energy standard provided it added no more than 13 per cent to their annual electricity bills. A 2007 poll for New Scientist drew similar conclusions.

Kotchen used the survey data to simulate how the current US Senate and House of Representatives would vote on different versions of an NCES bill, assuming each representative votes based on his average constituent.

Here the results were very different. The team found that the bill would only pass both houses if it added no more than 5 per cent to electricity bills...
(13 May 2012)
Abstract full report behind paywall

Carbon capture leak simulated in sea off Scotland

Erin Hale, The Guardian
Several thousand kilos of CO2 will be pumped into the seabed off west Scotland from Monday to simulate what happens if a leak occurs from a carbon capture store.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a way to lower emissions from fossil fuel power plants by stripping CO2 from smokestacks of gas and coal power plants, and then transferring it to a former oil or gas reservoir underground. CCS projects have been initiated around the world – Statoil has had a CCS project in the North Sea for the past 10 years – but no major leaks have yet been reported.

The experiment by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Plymouth Marine Lab, plus 8 other research institutes, will simulate what would happen if a pipeline to a carbon store leaked. Around 80-100kg CO2 a day – one person emits around 1kg of CO2 a day – will be injected over a month 12m below the seabed off Ardmucknish Bay. They will then drill a hole to make it leak, before monitoring the seabed and sediment for the next 90 days with sensors, acoustic techniques and seismic testing....

The C02 will be injected relatively close to the surface of the seabed where most of the marine life is located. Long-term environmental impacts are not expected from the experiment, because most of the CO2 will be dispersed in the water shortly after it is injected.
(14 May 2012)

US claims 'unprecedented' success in test for new fuel source

Miguel Llanos,
Could the future of cleaner fossil fuel really be frozen crystals now trapped in ocean sediments and under permafrost?

Backed by an oil industry giant, the Obama administration recently tested a drilling technique in Alaska's Arctic that it says might eventually unlock "a vast, entirely untapped resource that holds enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security." Some experts believe the reserves could provide domestic fuel for hundreds of years to come

The drilling has its environmental critics, but there’s also a climate bonus: The technique requires injecting carbon dioxide into the ground, thereby creating a new way to remove the warming gas from the atmosphere. ...

"While this is just the beginning, this research could potentially yield significant new supplies of natural gas," Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced...

But even the CO2 bonus doesn't convince environmentalists worried about a reliance on fossil fuels -- the key source for manmade carbon dioxide emissions.

"Finding new ways to produce fossil fuels doesn't change the fact that we can't transfer to the atmosphere all the carbon in the fuels we already have without causing catastrophic climate disruption," Dan Lashof, a climate analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told
(5 May 2012)

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