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...and Two Steps Back for Cleantech

Within the last week two of the previous decade's Big Ideas for accelerating the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy--or at least to electricity generated from a variety of cleaner sources--have come up short.  On May 26th electric-...

Posted June 5, 2013    

Can Energy Storage Make Wind and Solar Energy as Reliable as Coal?

Wind and solar power generated 3.5% and about 0.1%, respectively, of US electricity last year.  These figures represent large increases from much smaller levels in the last decade as the cost of these technologies declined...

Posted May 24, 2013    

The 2013 Energy Trust Barometer: Mixed Readings

Wednesday's panel discussion in Washington, DC on "The Trust Factor" in energy couldn't have been more timely. The stakes for lost trust seemed especially apparent against the backdrop of an EU probe into allegations of price fixing in the...

Posted May 17, 2013    

How Is Expanding Oil and Gas Production Consistent with Addressing Climate Change?

Last month the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of global energy use was essentially unchanged between 1990 and 2010, despite the implementation of global climate agreements and the...

Posted May 11, 2013    

Ex-Shell Chief Hofmeister Promotes US Fuel Diversity

Alternative fuels have lost some of their luster in the US, lately, for understandable reasons.  Oil production here is booming based on shale resources that keep expanding, while the market for ethanol, our most successful alternative fuel,...

Posted May 4, 2013    

The Need for Innovation: Engineering Carbon Out of Energy

Recently I ran across an excellent article in The Atlantic on the importance of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).  In light of last week's warning from the International Energy Agency that efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of global...

Posted April 29, 2013    

Will Water Limit Fracking and Natural Gas Development in Saudi Arabia?

Recent comments by Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, indicated that Saudi Aramco would soon begin exploring the country's shale gas resources. As another means of reducing oil consumption in the Kingdom's electricity sector, in order to...

Posted April 23, 2013    

How Will Oil's Current Slide Affect Gasoline Prices?

We all carry assumptions around with us.  For many who follow energy one such assumption is that oil prices, and thus gasoline prices, generally rise over time.  In an otherwise fairly well-reasoned blog post I read yesterday,...

Posted April 18, 2013    

Obama 2014 Budget Energy Proposals: Stuck in A Timewarp

After spending some time going through the White House's proposed budget for 2014-23, several conclusions were inescapable.  First, this administration still hasn't thought through the implications of the energy revolution that's currently...

Posted April 12, 2013    

Crude Oil Rides the Rails

Last month's publication of the State Department's latest environmental impact report on the Keystone XL pipeline project has sparked great interest in the logistics of shipping crude oil by rail. As described in a long article in the Washington...

Posted April 10, 2013    

Two Energy Revolutions Vie Across the Atlantic

A front-page article in the Washington Post reported on the trend of energy-related investments in the US by European companies.  This is another aspect of the competing energy revolutions I mentioned a few weeks ago, in my...

Posted April 5, 2013    

Natural Gas Vehicles Already Big in Italy, Pakistan

The sudden abundance of natural gas in the US triggered a startling divergence of crude oil and natural gas prices that, in turn, has energized the advocates of using more gas in transportation. Yet despite the availability of wholesale natural gas...

Posted March 21, 2013