Category: Current Events

August 8, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability

The Summer of Policy – Fuel Economy Standards

by Eric Bickel

The third and final part of the “Summer of Policy” series takes a look at the new fuel economy standards goal released on July 29th from the Obama administration. This is the lightest of the three in terms of content, so it’s sort of like dessert. However, there’s more math involved in this one (so the dessert metaphor kind of breaks down). continue

August 5, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation, Natural Gas, Sustainability

The Summer of Policy – Oil and Natural Gas Air Pollution Standards

by Eric Bickel

Welcome back to the “Summer of Policy” series! In the first post we discussed CSAPR, and its potential impact on you and me. This time around, we’ll talk about ONGAP…and…its potential impact on you and me. continue

August 3, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Natural Gas, Sustainability

The Summer of Policy – Cross-State Air Pollution Ruling

by Eric Bickel

Summer 2011 is quickly becoming known as the Summer of Policy Initiatives (trademark: me) as the EPA have recently rolled out two emissions-related policies, while President Obama has just announced a brand new set of fuel economy standards.

Although these policies initially seem straightforward, the toughest part is establishing their indirect impact. Their direct effect on the energy world is usually apparent (as we will see), while the knock-on effects are generally more difficult to predict (as we will also see). So here is a step-by-step guide to the changing world of energy policy, covering these three current and relevant policies (in separate posts, for the sake of both your and my sanity):

  • Cross-State Air Pollution Ruling (CSAPR)
  • Oil and Natural Gas Air Pollution Standards (ONGAP)
  • The Obama Administration Fuel Economy Standards (FES) continue
July 14, 2011 • Current Events, Natural Gas

Hurricanes a’comin’

by Roger Durham

Stormy Weather

What do Emily, Franklin, Gert and Harvey have in common? They each appear on the National Hurricane Center’s official 2011 list of names for storms. Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma have all been retired from that list because of their association with ferocious storms in the past. I think about hurricanes every year about this time, not just because I find them fascinating, but because I have lived through the havoc they can wreak on businesses, even as far away from the coastline as Louisville, Kentucky. continue

July 12, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability

Google invests in residential solar projects

by Rich Wilson

For a few years now, clean energy and sustainable business practices have been driving large-scale efforts inside companies of all sizes. Whether the end goal was cheap energy, response to impending government regulation or even a little positive media exposure, evidence of the new green corporate landscape is everywhere. The green movement is gaining a substantial amount of momentum with little evidence of slowing down, due to large-scale implementation of energy efficiency projects. I recently stumbled on an article that discussed how Google has invested $280 million through a partnership with SolarCity, a California-based solar design and installation company. continue

June 28, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy's Lighter Side

The early ’70s: OPEC, AAA, SPR and Corinthian leather

by Chad Holder
Ricardo_And_Cordoba

Recently, Summit Energy commodity analyst Matt Smith appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to field questions on how the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) affects the crude oil market. Matt’s appearance led me to do a little digging on the history of the SPR, which uncovered five fascinating historical footnotes, some awesome ’70s-era YouTube video clips and 62 underground salt caverns that hold more than 700 million barrels of crude oil. continue

June 14, 2011 • Current Events, Perspectives

What do energy-risk managers, meteorologists, geologists and evangelists have in common?

by Roger Durham

Stormy times

This year, energy-risk managers, meteorologists, geologists and evangelists have all had their hands full trying to interpret the signs. It’s been a devastatingly busy year. There were record snowfalls and rain totals in many parts of the United States during the winter and early spring. There was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March. Tornadoes ripped through Alabama and Missouri in April and May. Communities along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers were overwhelmed with floods, with more flooding to follow out west as rivers brace for the runoff from what was a record snow pack  in many of the ranges from Montana to the Sierra Nevada. continue

June 7, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity

A change in the African landscape

by Hannah Miller

With election season nigh upon us, it’s pretty common to open up the news and see a handful of issues that only get pulled out a few times a year. Suddenly, they are dusted off and take center stage in the public debate. Financial concerns, moral and legal issues, and of course energy debates will be a part of this year’s election coverage – and it’s not hard to understand why. Small changes in any of these arenas can bring about big change in public life. continue

June 2, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Perspectives, Sustainability

Speeding up

by Eric Bickel

In California, interest in high-speed rail systems is gathering speed. The push toward high-speed rail systems that largely replicate those in Europe has created quite a debate in the political world, as well as the blogosphere (both against high speed rail and for it). continue

May 31, 2011 • Current Events, Perspectives, Travel & Leisure

Fun with gas prices

by Wyatt Taylor

With summer upon us, Americans are once again engaged in a grand old tradition: griping about high gas prices. Our pain at the pump has been acute for the last few months, and it doesn’t seem likely to get better any time soon. Over the holiday weekend, as gas prices spiked, I ran a little demand response program of my own – spending the long weekend in the comfort of my home instead of burning gas on a road trip. In times like these, our political leaders are quick to sell the public on convenient villains, from evil OPEC to those dastardly oil companies. Still, we all know that those who are the first to assign blame usually deserve a bit of it themselves. continue

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