House Climate Bill Meets Senate Committee Bill

Although most of the media centered on the House Climate Bill recently, this past June the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a comprehensive energy package S 1462 that is pretty much the same ole, same ole conservative twist on energy. S 1462 includes:

· Clean Energy Deployment Administration – provides for increased capitalization of clean energy projects;
· Oil and gas – opens portions of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, including Destin Dome, to oil and gas leasing, and establishes a one-stop permitting office in Alaska for offshore leasing in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas;
· Alaska natural gas pipeline – increases federal loan guarantee for the developers of a gas pipeline project from $18 billion to $30 billion, and allows access to the Federal Financing Bank;
· Energy workforce development – provides assistance to institutions of higher learning and community colleges that place an emphasis on energy jobs and help train the energy workers of the future;
· Energy efficiency – establishes new efficiency standards for several consumer products and makes changes that will allow standards to be updated more often and be market driven;
· Renewable electricity standard – requires utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity with renewable energy by 2021, and contains consumer off-ramps for increased costs and the opportunity to petition for a variance due to transmission constraints, includes expanded definition of biomass, eligible hydropower and removes nuclear uprates from the baseline;
· Nuclear – provides clear statement of the federal government’s support for nuclear energy, as well as encourages resolution of the spent nuclear fuel issue.
· Transmission – addresses planning and siting of electrical transmission infrastructure by encouraging states to develop plans and giving FERC backstop siting authority, ties cost allocation to benefits;
· Cyber security – increases authority for both FERC and the Department of Energy to protect the nation’s electrical grid from cyber security threats and vulnerabilities;
· Carbon sequestration – allows for indemnification of up to 10 demonstration projects;
· Modification of Section 526 – allows the government, and in particularly the military, to purchase Canadian tar sand oil.

Either the two bills will collide, and end up being much ado about nothing, or meld into a bill everyone can work with notwithstanding industry lobbyists who would like all to remain status quo even though the math doesn’t add up. We use a quarter of the world’s oil, and only have 3% of the world’s oil stores. When we get into tar sand oil, the price of producing the stuff and the pollution it produces is ridiculous to even bring up in an environmental conversation. We need to move along to sustainable, renewable energy and soon.

The idea is to use as little as necessary of the old fossil fuels in the interim process of the shift to alternatives while we concentrate on funding technology that has been squeeze played for quite awhile. And what are some of the technologies that have been held up? It’s been over a year since I blogged about Centia, a process that uses restaurant sludge grease and converts it to jet fuel and other fuels at the molecular level. http://www.oilgae.com/blog/2009/01/jet-fuel-from-animal-fats-algae-oil-via.html. This fuel can be ready to go in less than 2 years if it gets proper funding. See what I mean? What’s the stall? There is a never-ending supply of restaurant grease the way America likes to eat. And what about algae for fuel? I blogged about that too. Some mighty fine progress is being made along those lines, http://earth2tech.com/2008/03/27/15-algae-startups-bringing-pond-scum-to-fuel-tanks/, but again its overlooked in the media and subject to conservative spin that it costs too much or will cost jobs. I’ve even run across someone wondering where we’re going to grow all the algae? Duh–pond scum, some of that stuff can regenerate in 24 hours in the right bog.

I thought we knew by now that anything brand new costs more. Look at mainframe computers back in the 70′s compared to laptops, or digital watches, or radios. We can buy a digital watch or radio in the dollar store now. I bought a dollar store radio for my sister in a nursing home. I couldn’t believe the sound I got out that little plastic thing when I put the earphones on. Unbelievable.

The ingenuity of invention that transpires when something is finally unleashed from the grasp of the status quo is unbelievable and could put the U.S. in a position of industrial leadership again. And that’s how I and many others picture the future. Superceding fossil fuels isn’t a downfall, but an opportunity. We’ll be saying the word, “unbelievable” about a lot of things we invent like running our cars, and heating our homes with restaurant grease or algae, or solar, or wind. Alternative energy is a diverse and growing market. If anything our environment will be a lot quieter.

Read more about both bills:

http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=IssueItems.View&IssueItem_ID=1fbce5ed-7447-42ff-9dc2-5b785a98ad80.

http://www.pewclimate.org/acesa

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/18405

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/06/17/17greenwire-senate-committee-approves-broad-energy-package-9861.html

http://www.grist.org/article/broad-and-diverse-support-for-waxman-markeys-american-clean-energy-and-secu.

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/06/17/17greenwire-senate-committee-approves-broad-energy-package-9861.html

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Thanksgiving Grease for BioFuel in Denver

Looks like some enterprising people in Denver struck on a good idea. There is plenty of grease leftover after Thanksgiving especially when deep fried turkey is so popular. So the folks in Denver advertised for everyone with leftover grease from Thanksgiving to bring it to a particular place for storage. It will later be made into biofuel. Good idea Denver.

I wonder if the cars running on this particular biofuel will smell like roast Thanksgiving turkey all over again?

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Greening Up the Old RV

I watched a segment on ABC news about people greening up their RV’s. The RVer that was interviewed showed what he did with his fifth wheel. I figured sooner or later the RV industry was going to catch onto going green. There are too many used campers and RV’s for sale.

The RVer in the interview added solar panels along the front, what would be the upper berth over the driver. He added a small wind turbine on the back. He said it powers everything inside he wants it to. He devised a way to catch rain water whenever possible, and runs it through an inline filter. And finally he maps out where he can buy B10 biofuel. So far he said he has been lucky to find it.

More entrepreneurship is needed in this industry. I blogged about “trashing out” homes in need of some ingenuity, now the RV industry could use some ingenious mechanics out there to recycle some of the really nice RV’s I’ve seen for sale. Between solar, methane, wind, and all types of fuels that will hopefully debut in the very near future, surely with a little modification here and there, some mechanic, somewhere can launch a guilt free, economical cruising home.

I hope it’s soon because I would love to criss cross America with an RV. Throw the pets on board and visit all the national parks before they’re ruined by developers that bought some of the land auctioned off by the Bush administration. It’s more likely this will happen than not. My husband retires in 3 years. I have a degree for writing so…”Have laptop; will travel.”

Tips on greening up an RV: http://www.ehow.com/how_2269205_green-rv.html

Check out this website’s comments section. Someone has been installing solar panels in RV’s for 6 years and knows what to expect and the costs. Another commenter is looking to convert his old VW camper to hybrid. Now that’s what I mean about ingenuity. http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/03/21/what-could-be-done-to-green-up-rvs-here-are-coachmens-ideas/.

http://thesustainableearthproject.blogspot.com/2008/09/big-ol-guzzling-rvs-reconsidered-are.html

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Detroit Area Coca-Cola Trucks To Be Hybrid Electric

WXYZ news announced this morning that Detroit area Coca Cola trucks would soon be running on hybrid electric motors. The trucks were purchased earlier this year from Eaton Corp.

Eaton is an impressive corporation as far as transportation and the environment. There website states: “We create innovations in hybrid power and low emission vehicles as a leading provider of diesel-electric hybrid power systems for truck and bus applications on three continents. Eaton is also developing hydraulic hybrid power systems technologies for use in refuse trucks, delivery vehicles, buses and other applications. Eaton has a hybrid truck drivetrain center outside of Kalamazoo and is a Cleveland-based Corp.

http://www.eaton.com/EatonCom/Markets/Truck/index.htm.

Coca-Cola ordered 120 of the hybrid trucks, the largest North American commercial order from Eaton’s hybrid systems according to WWJ. Coke previewed these trucks when they purchased 20 of them last year. They evidently liked their performance.

The article below said that Coca-Cola did extensive tests and found that “Eatons hybrid-electric drivetrain equipped trucks decreased emissions by 32 percent and fuel consumption by up to 37 percent.” This kind of fuel savings could start a trend.

http://www.wwj.com/Coke-to-Buy-Hybrid-Delivery-Trucks-From-

Eaton/1729913

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Microbes Are Climate Engineers

I can’t pass up reading the Science Daily website. There are so many articles lately about microbes, that they are the real engineers for climate control. As one article stated: “Microbes will continue as climate engineers long after humans have burned that final barrel of oil. Whether they help us to avoid dangerous climate change in the 21st century or push us even faster towards it depends on just how well we understand them.”

Well it seems science understands them better and better every day and hopes to use the enzymes produced by microbes to break down all sorts of material in a “closed, integrated system that produces edible products, flowers, and biodiesel with little waste.” Sugar cane and hibiscus flowers are key to this closed system.

Scientistsplan on using the enzymes from microbes to break down the sugarcane/hibiscus biomass to sugars, and ferment them to ethanol. I have to LOL here because this product is basically the same as that pure grain alcohol that we can get out of the hills of Tennessee, namely WHITE LIGHTENING. Every drink this stuff? I think a person could hallucinate on it. I know the ring from the pint jar it comes in can be lit easily and burns for a while. But I digress.

After the biomass is fermented the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation is trapped. It’s then fed to micro algae (more microbes) in ponds. Once this micro algae goes to work a type of polymer is produced that could be refined further into jet fuel. The spent micro algae is then harvested and used as fertilizer for the sugar cane and hibiscus flowers again. That’s quite an efficient loop.

I say they get on with this microbe research because the Bush/Cheney regime is about to ruin more of our country than invading enemies would ever do. Right now, Halliburton is ruining parts of Utah, Colorado, and other places in search for natural gas, when methane is right under our nose, get it, methanenose? Ditto for oil. Halliburton’s trucks are already corroding prehistoric drawings that stretch across the rocks in Nine Mile Canyon. No one knows or cares because everything is either overshadowed by the economy, Iraq, and the election. Let’s just say the Bush/Cheney administration is having a field day in its final months in office to the detriment of irretrievable artifacts, land, and animals in our national parks and areas around them.

I would love to see these guys just deflate like a balloon and buzz off into the atmosphere but that would just be adding some really defiled waste into our air.

Remember that what the powers that be tell you about not having enough alternative sources of energy to replace oil and natural gas is a lie. There is probably enough methane alone to blow us sky high. That’s a lot of energy laying around they like us to believe is waste, because it’s cheap and works just as well as natural gas becauseit is.

Read more about microbes at Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080604141014.htm.

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Conoco Phillips and Tyson Foods Dish Up a New Kind of Biodiesel

Last week on Good Morning America there was a guy who has been fueling his little diesel car with Chinese oil. What is Chinese oil? It’s the leftover oil from Chinese restaurants. He said the restaurant was only too happy to give the oil away. He put it in a plastic gas container and uses a funnel to put it in his car. He said he probably saved $3,000 last year by not buying gas. So if you have a little diesel car you drive to work, why not? The Welsh do it. The Welsh were using so much vegetable oil in their cars they had to come up with laws to stop it because the country wasn’t getting enough money from gas tax. The big clue? Everytime there was a new delivery of cooking oil to the supermarkets, the shelves were wiped out in hours. Now the Welsh police are allowed to stop a car and look at what it’s running in its tank.

On that note, I ran across something good from an oil company. While I was researching oil company contributions to alternative energy, I read that Conoco Phillips is working with Tyson foods to use chicken fat for fuel. Reuters.com has the entire article. The article stated: “Beef, pork and chicken fat from Tyson rendering plants will be processed at ConocoPhillips refineries to create transportation fuel.” They plan in the future to produce about 175 million gallons per year of this biodiesel. Conoco Phillips is already preparing some of their refineries for processing the animal fat. The first one is in Borger, Texas. ConocoPhillips is processing soybean oil as a biodiesel fuel already at its Whitegate refinery in Cork, Ireland. Tyson said “the fats will be processed with hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce a high-quality diesel fuel that meets all federal standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel.” And unlike ethanol, this fuel can run through pipelines.

This is good news. These two companies are making good use of leftover pollution, and there is a lot of it in the meatpacking industry. Since Conoco Phillips doesn’t stand to gain or lose from doing this, this is a very generous move. I just hope finding a way to get rid of rendering material doesn’t cause a spike in eating more meat, or establishing more CAFO’s! There is a humane and ethical side to the treatment of animals that figures in here, not just the environment, or money. Industrialized farming is extremely horrific for animals, totally inhumane, and we end up with sickly meat.

http://www.reuters.com/article/consumerproducts-SP/idUSN1629340720070416?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

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A Fossil Fuel State

I’m sorry to read that Michiganpersists withpollution policy instead of sound environmental policy. We need to get the corporate friendly senate moving in a cleaner direction. We have an obligation in this state to at very least try to keep the water clean. If we keep goofing off, someone might decide we are poor stewards and should share the wealth and management of our water. Does adding more coalburners to the list of 19, including the country’s second largest in Monroe, sound like anyone here pays attention to health issues, future problems with water shortages, or the earth? The latest out of MI senate is a push to alter abortion issues in Michigan. That’s the big priority? People need jobs; we need a decent and moral economy. By moral, I mean we do our utmost not to disturb life in the process of living and producing. A green economy can offer plenty of jobs but that ride is being held up either on a state or federal level and benefits the oil industry.

We know for instance about oil leases that have been sold in pristine areas and/or habitat for polar bears, seals and all types of birds. Drilling there is pending and the oil industry wants to get moving. It’s becoming obvious that placing the polar bear on the endangered list is purposely being stalled. All that is needed is a great motivator. Bingo, gas will go up beyond $4.00 per gallon shortly. We’re already being taunted by that forecast. People are expected to cry drill, drill, drill and to hell with the animals. And we’ll probably do that, instead of seeing the big picture and how we’re being manipulated by the utilities. Even Warren Buffet commented that we’ve been sticking straws into the earth and sorry but it’s a finite practice. We will eventually run out. We collectively had over 500,000 wells. Our demand is ridiculous, and growing and it all revolves around the same fossil sources.

Heaven forbid we advance in technology and perfect wind and solar power for the individual home, and make it cheap. Houses would stand-alone without need for utilities. It’s almost laughable isn’t it? We are street smart enough to know the powers that be won’t let that happen. Anyway, our airwaves will be controlled shortly. Can’t even get free air anymore, besides there is that ever lovin entertainment/sports world that’s always going to charge too.

We could practice conservation. We could develop an RPS for Michigan, (more on that in another blog), which would entice green developers to come here. I’ve been saying this for quite awhile. What green industry is going to plant themselves next to a bunch of pollution? We’ll never get away from polluting industries once they are established without paying for it dearly. The buck will pass on to us for corporation’s stubborn business sense if and when in the future a big conservation effort needs to be enacted because, gee, we really are polluting ourselves to death.

I was reading the Sierra Club’s “The Mackinac” and it states what I’ve been reading elsewhere, that many places in this country are not giving permits to more coalburners. The front-page article said 44 proposed coal-fired plants were either denied or withdrawn in 2007 thanks to The Sierra Club. So what happened here?

There were five more coalburners looking for environmental permits in Michigan, with three more new plants under discussion the article said. It also stated that the challenge to put a moratorium on coal-fired plants in Michigan is daunting. Well I guess, especially with a corporation friendly senate. It said, “The state has refused to regulate the CO2 from coal plants that contribute to global warming (so long as the applicants address other pollutants, the state will let them be built). So that’s why the rush to install scrubbers? The scrubbers address other pollutants that are breathing irritants, but not the mercury that is permeating through the water to the fish, to the birds, and eventually anyone who drinks the waterone of the world’s largest freshwater supplies that is no longer so fresh. Or the CO2, that’s warming us up and causing some really bad weatheralmost tornado season. What’s the sense of the Great Lakes Legacy Act? What a tail chase, and meanwhile the water and Michigan loses, while the polar bears, seals, fish, and birds, the entire earth, take a back seat to our excess.

Take a stand and participate. Read: http://michigan.sierraclub.org/.

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EPA Blocks State’s Rights to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Get a load of our democratic process with this latest veto out of Washington. The Bush EPA nixed California’s proposed emission standards for the state that targeted the trucking, shipping, cement, semiconductor and consumer product industries. Instead Bush signed into law a new energy bill that requires automakers to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2009 and by 40 percent by 2020. The EPA said this covers the issue of emissions, end of story. Was that apples to apples?

Sixteen other states have already approved emissions laws and were waiting for this waiver by the EPA too. The EPA is supposed to have sole authority to make pollution rules, but our Federal Clean Air Act allows states to create their own rules with an EPA-approved waiver. The waiver was nixed today. The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of 12 states that sued the same EPA for dragging their feet about CO2 emissions. The Supreme Court had to tell the EPA that greenhouse gases can be considered “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and they were in violation for not regulating them. And today the EPA blocked California and the other states from doing what should have been the EPA’s job and substituted with Bush’s flimsy energy bill.

So the states go through a lot of effort for nothing. The emission laws were part of California’s “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.” The NRDC and many public interest groups co-sponsored it. California committed to reducing overall global warming pollution by 30% by 2020. They figured on new technologies as well as pollution cutting strategies to meet these goals. They sought the help of E2, “a national network of business people who work with the NRDC to champion the economic benefits of good environmental policy” and “who built a solid case for the ways in which curbing global warming could actually benefit California’s economy” (Nature’s Voice Newsletter by the NRDC Jan/Feb 2008). Just what I thought. Green is good for the economy.

I was intrigued by E2 and read on that they argue, “that clean technologies would create jobs and attract new companies to the state…supported by the fact that clean tech now ranks third in venture capital investment in North America.” Told ya so Michigan. Clean technology isn’t likely to coexist alongside coalburners and refineries. They showed that California would save “barrels” of money by reducing dependence on fossil fuel. It also stated that it took 124 meetings at the state capital by E2 volunteer members to “present their business-based argument.” They worked hard to come up with legislation that protects the environment and creates economic opportunity. They believe global warming controls will spur economic prosperity. This was a great program, until the automobile lobby got involved. Yeah, another lobby.

According to our own Detroit News:

Using a one-page script and a list of auto facilities obtained from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group that represents automakers, staffers at the Department of Transportation called nearly every congressional member from Michigan and Ohio, urging them to oppose California’s request, according to records released this week by the House Oversight Committee. They also targeted other auto-heavy districts and governors in at least seven other states.
While federal law bars government officials from lobbying lawmakers on issues before Congress, there are no such restrictions on regulatory questions, such as the California waiver.

California filed a lawsuite challenging the EPA’s denial of the waiver. And there is a House Committee investigating the agencys decision to deny it also. This is getting good.

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Read more about the veto at: http://lawyersusadcdicta.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/epa-nixes-states-plan-to-limit-greenhouse-gases/#comment-285.

Read more about E2: http://www.e2.org/jsp/main.jsp.

About the Supreme Courts decision: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june07/emissions_5-29.html.

The Detroit News article about the auto lobby: http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070705/AUTO01/707050350/1148.

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Results of Energy Bill Expected to Save Consumers $1,000 Annually

So the energy bill is signed. Cars will have to get 35 mpg by 2020. And we’re supposed to produce and utilize 36 billion gallons of bio-fuel by then also. I think the biggest incentive to do this is to advertise the eventual savings to consumers, and the fact that our overall bills will decline during the trip to 2020. Do you have an idea the amount of products that contain a petroleum or derivative of it? If the cost ofpetro declinesdue to less demand then all of those products should in turn become cheaper.According to an article in About.com: “The increase in fuel-economy standards alone is expected to save consumers $22 billion in 2020up to $1,000 annually in gasoline prices for each American familyand reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020 half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf. The new standards also will cut greenhouse gas emissions as much as taking 28 million of todays cars off the road.

‘This bill is a huge Christmas present to the hardworking American families suffering under record high energy prices,’ said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. ‘It will offer them over $20 billion in relief at the pump and some $400 billion in additional savings through greener buildings, more efficient appliances, and better light bulbs. It will also help us begin fueling our cars with greener fuels from the Midwest instead of expensive imported oil from the Middle East.’

I know I liked my $103.00 combined gas and electric bill this summer. Just a few changes got me there, and I wasn’t put out at all. Two of my other bills for previous months were $114 and 115 each. I was even happier that I decreased my allotment to my local utility company. And I feel really good that I helped in some way with the environment. It’s pretty much in that order now. I started out thinking about the environment first, but when my energy bill kept going down, I noticed my motivation grow. It’s like losing that first 5 lbs., or being the first to arrive at a 50% off sale. My eyes start glowing, the gears start spinning…how can I get more of this? I went so far as to look into wind turbines. So I can see where the more we get into the “green” in this country and realize the bargain in the deal, the more we will seek out that change. That’s what Germany and a lot of Europe has done. It’s not so inconceivable for the U.S. to eventually follow suit. This energy bill, although watered down from the House’s original bill, is a good start. http://environment.about.com/

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Green Investment Stocks Website

I’ve been interested in investing in “green” business and/or stocks but didn’t know who or where to look for these particular type of stocks and ran into this great website, InvestorIdeas.com, that lists almost 400 “green” stocks in 16 categories. There are a handful of mutuals featured too.

Every company listed is an active link and has a little description and history about the company. I especially liked the categories. Already people have preferences. I know I lean toward hydrogen fuel cell technology and yup it’s a category. There is the basic solar, wind, geothermal, and hydrogen technologies along with biogas, ethanol, and clean power plants to the companies that supply parts like turbines and flywheels.

So there are a lot of choices out there already. I guess I lean toward hydrogen fuel cells because Daimler-Chrysler was the company that supplied Iceland with their first commercial hydrogen buses back in 2003, and recently GM said that was an avenue they will pursue. Just yesterday I saw the commercial for Honda’s new fuel cell car that emits only “clean water vapor.” Hydrogen is on its way. If you ever get a chance to catch the Eco Tech series on the Science Channel watch for the engineer that invented hydrogen pellets that supply power on demand. He commented that we may be putting pellets in our tanks before long.

While I don’t know about that one, automakers are leaning toward hydrogen. Hopefully we will utilize hydrogen power and clean our water in the process. Now I would like a piece of that!

Check out this informative investment website: http://www.renewableenergystocks.com/Companies/RenewableEnergy/Stock_List.asp.

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