Posted by pfairley on December 28, 2012
The Arctic is melting faster than predicted. Is now the time to shut down the low-carbon nuclear power plants in France — the 20th Century’s staunchest proponent of nuclear energy? Is natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ a gift that is buying time for a transition to renewable energy or a curse that reinforces fossil fuel dependence? Will carbon belching heavyweights such as the U.S. and China ever get serious about cleaning up their energy systems?
Such questions are top order in France, whose President kicked off a Grand Débat on energy this month. The national debate launched by François Hollande, the Socialist who put Nicolas Sarkozy out of work six months ago, could well set France on a path to put nuclear power out to pasture. It could also lift France’s current moratorium on fracking.
No surprise then that France 24‘s English network dedicated one of its year-end debates to Energy in 2013. Your editor was honored to be at the table, along with:
Part One focuses on the what, why and why nots of fracking to produce shale gas and shale oil. Part Two backs out to consider the fate of nuclear and renewable energy in a ‘fracked’ world awash in cheap oil and gas.
Posted in Media, Energy vision, Climate skeptics, Solar energy, Wind power, Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power, Energy Economics & Policy, Energy politics, Nuclear safety, Energy Efficiency, Climate Science, Climate Change, Natural gas, Environmental Journalism, Shale gas | Tagged: fracking, france, France 24, Francois Hollande, hydraulic fracturing, Natural gas, nuclear energy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on November 14, 2011
Late last week President Barack Obama deferred consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, designed to ship Alberta petroleum to the Gulf Coast, until after next year’s U.S. elections. Obama’s move immediately sparked vows in Canada to redirect crude exports to Asian markets less angst-ridden by the environmental impacts associated with tapping Alberta’s tough, tarry petroleum. A smarter strategy would be to reduce those impacts, starting with the black mark that brought Keystone XL to national attention: oil sands crude’s bloated carbon footprint. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Carbon taxes, Carbon trading, Energy politics, Fuels, Petroleum, Tarsands | Tagged: Alberta, Barack Obama, bitumen, Calgary, canada, carbon pricing, carbon tax, Cenovus, Climate Change, Keystone II, N-Solv, oil sands, petroleum, president obama, tar sands, TransCanada, water, water consumption | 1 Comment »
Posted by pfairley on September 9, 2011
The blackout that squelched power flows to nearly 5 million residents of Arizona, California and northern Mexico last night and shut down California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant may be the latest sign of strain in an outdated U.S. power grid. The incident began during maintenance at a substation in Yuma, Arizona that lies at the center of a sclerotic section of the grid between Phoenix and Tucson—one long recognized as critically congested and thus at heightened risk of failure. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Coal, Energy politics, Power Grids, Tariffs | Tagged: Arizona Public Service, congestion, Department of Energy, DOE, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, high voltage, power grid, Transmission, transmission planning | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on January 18, 2011
Despite the high levels of excitement surrounding electric vehicles, there is reason to worry about this nascent market’s capacity to fizzle in a big way. Most of the buzz surrounds electric vehicle introductions from major automakers, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, for which consumer demand remains to be demonstrated. Today I’ve got a piece running at MIT’s TechReview.com site raising doubts about the likelihood that corporate fleets will soak up EVs if consumers leave these pricey machines languishing on showroom floors.
The TechReview story, a ‘news-you-can-use’ piece aimed at managers, concludes that big price reductions and adjustments to fleet management practices will be needed to make a business case for replacing gasoline and diesel fleet vehicles with EVs. In short, lithium battery costs push the purchase price too high for most corporate buyers to recoup their investment through efficiencies — especially if they continue to replace vehicles every three-to-five years. AT&T predicts a return on electric Ford/Azure Dynamics service trucks they are phasing in, but only because the company bucks standard fleet practice and uses its fleet vehicles for 10-12 years. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Energy Economics & Policy, Energy Efficiency, EVs, Hybrid vehicles, Lithium batteries, Transportation | Tagged: AT&T, Azure Dynamics, corporate fleets, electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles | Leave a Comment »