Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama's Impact on Green-tech

The political and investment environment are shaping up to be just right for investments into green-technology acceleration.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bankers, consumers... now automakers

Everyone wants a bailout! Whatever happened to our advice to the Japanese when their economy went south in the 1990s? We (U.S. policymakers) told them to let banks fail, in order to cleanse the system of those who should never be allowed to survive. All others would become stronger as a result, and the economy would ultimately recover in a more robust manner. I huess we don't listen to our own words.

Now - because the automakers never did (really) understand [1] what consumers wanted, nor [2] what was going to happen in a peak-oil-world, they want a bail-out, too. And D.C. is considering it!(?). This will only give them the money they need to keep spending the way they have. What happens if one of them fails? The others will become stronger! What happens if we bail them out? They continue their spendthrift ways, without the wake-up call they need.

Opinion alert: I do not think we should reward bad behavior! With all the largess, hyper-inflation will be headed our way, soon enough. Keep an eye open for it.

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Investments in Clean-Tech increasing

Even with economic uncertainty, clean-tech investments are growing:

From Energy Central:
"Ernst & Young surveyed 150 global companies and found that 90 percent of them were involved with some type of climate change initiative. As such, those businesses had planned to spend a combined $276 billion over the next 10 years to achieve their objectives. Basically, a lot of firms that had been allocating investments to high-tech in the late 1990s are now creating clean tech divisions. GE, for example, has allocated $2 billion just to its wind unit."

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Just curious...

What happened to the greedy oil executives?

When gas prices were skyrocketing, everyone was blaming greedy oil companies. Now that gas prices have dropped, does this mean oil execs are no longer greedy? Or the cause?
Since oil is a commodity, it is purely supply & demand that drives oil prices up... or down. With a global recession, prices have dropped precipitously. That's what happens. Therefore, we ought to take this time to reinvigorate renewable energy technology acceleration. NOT go back to being asleep at the wheel.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

The 2008 Greentech Market Taxonomy

For a very interesting taxonomy of green energy,. check out this interactive map.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Power corrupts;

absolute power corrupts absolutely"

And so it begins... "In the first sign of Democratic intraparty strife since the election, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) has told colleagues that he plans to challenge the House's most senior member, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), for the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee."

"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely"

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What are the consequences of Cap & Trade?

Now that Obama has been elected, with a majority in both houses, a Cap & Trade scheme to reduce carbon emissions is all but assured. What does mean to the economy, industry & energy prices? The Economist had a great article about it last year. Perhaps being open to other ways to reduce carbon emissions might be in order.

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EIA Predicts $100 oil

The Energy Information Agency predicts that oil till get back to $100/barrel soon and soar to $200/ barrel by 2030. With [1] peak oil, [2] demand from China & India, and [3] significant efforts to cut carbon emissions, I suspect $200 / barrel will be reached far sooner and we will see even $500/barrel. If for no other reason, due to the $1 trillion in bailouts this country has spent / will spend in the next few months. Why? This will drive down the value of the dollar (even though it is firming in today's economic climate), which will drive up the price of gas. This of course, will be good for renewable energy and renewable energy technologies.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Logic ahead of politics? This just in!

President elect Obama indicates (because of having to choose his priorities) that he is more interested in supporting renewable energy (The Cause) than he is paying to deal with climate change (The Effect), that he may need to focus limited resources on funding renewable energy.

This is a GREAT (tough) decision, and application of real-world financial reality. Bravo!

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"


Monday, November 03, 2008

Coal Industry's "take" on Obama

Interesting... Obama's perspective on coal - and CNBC's response.


What will lead the economy

into the next several decades?

Sustainability, Green chemistry / Nanotechnology and (of course) Renewable Energy:

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VeraSun Energy files for bankruptcy

The VeraSun Energy Corporation, which accounts for roughly 7 percent of ethanol production capacity in the United States, announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Friday.

As reported in this blog since 2005, corn ethanol just doesn't "pencil out":

=> Corn ethanol is just bad science and bad business.
=> Corn ethanol is not the answer.
=> Is Ethanol really right for the economy and environment?
=> Oregon's Renewable Energy Action Plan.

We need a 21st Century Energy Initiative that relies on science (not political whim) to develop the new technologies to get us through to the next century!

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Repeat of 1970s!

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." *

Here we go again: Delays in renewable / alternative energy initiatives are beginning.

* George Santayana

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Perhaps it is time we do something!

"We can promote alternative energy sources and conservation, and we must. America must become more energy independent, and we will." — George W. Bush, State of the Union address, Feb. 7, 2001.

"The nation's growing reliance on imports of crude oil and refined products threatens the nation's security because they make us more vulnerable to oil supply disruptions." — Bill Clinton in an energy security statement on Feb. 16, 1995.

"Conservation efforts are essential to keep our energy needs as low as possible. And we must then take advantage of our energy sources across the board: coal, natural gas, hydro and nuclear. Our failure to do these things has made us more dependent on foreign oil than ever before." — George H.W. Bush in an address to Congress on Sept. 11, 1990, in the run-up to the Gulf War.

"We must take steps to better protect ourselves from potential oil supply interruptions and increase our energy and national security." — Ronald Reagan, in an energy security message to Congress on May 6, 1987, in which he raised concerns about "our increasing dependence on imported oil."

"This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation. ... Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 — never." — Jimmy Carter in a television address on July l5, 1979, in which he announced temporary oil import quotas.

"I am recommending a plan to make us invulnerable to cutoffs of foreign oil. It will require sacrifice, but it — and this is most important — it will work." — Gerald Ford, State of the Union address Jan. 15, 1975.

"Let us set our national goal ... that by the end of this decade we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy sources. Let us pledge that by 1980, under Project Independence, we shall be able to meet America's energy needs from America's own energy resources." — Richard M. Nixon, responding to Arab oil embargo, Nov. 7, 1973.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oil price drop: Still need to invest in energy

Now is the time to invest in energy:

Christophe de Margerie of France's Total said: "Supply will remain short, and if we don't pay attention, the recovery will come and supply will be less and the price will climb again."


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oregon's Governor Kulongoski

sets "green agenda" for 2009

Yesterday, I met with Governor Kulongoski (as did 200 others) - to hear him lay out his green agenda for Oregon - for the next legislative session. His major points include efficiencies, tax breaks, focus on transportation and several other initiatives. These will help Oregon get "greener". Some are arguable (as to how they will be paid for), but action is truly needed. And his is a bold approach. The Oregonian's front page article goes into detail.

My only concern? No emphasis on new technology development. Deployment of existing technologies, yes. This is not enough. For instance, energy storage (to help make wind & solar more productive), transmission improvements (to stem looses), distributed generation technologies (to decrease "I^2R" losses and increase energy security), "pre-plug" efficiencies (not just EnergyStar / appliance programs), and low-carbon solutions - are all needed to innovate our way through the energy-independence situation. Bringing DOWN energy costs while reducing carbon and other emissions.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Methane poses a problem.

In other news: Methane yields energy.

Methane from thawing vegetation is causing even more greenhouse gas emissions.

Landfills are producing energy... from methane.

Anyone else see a "problem / solution" situation, right in front of us? Just curious.


No matter who wins the election

Energy will be more expensive

"The future, say the experts, is clear no matter who wins: We'll pay more for existing energy and we'll pay to find alternatives.

"Energy is the only commodity in America where consumers will not ... absorb fluctuation, because the way we live demands that we have to buy gas and electricity," Borenstein said. "There have been plenty of politicians who have spoken the hard truth and you never even hear of them because that's not the way to get to Congress or to the presidency."

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Venture Funding declines...

Except for CleanTech

"Venture capital flowing to startups totaled $7.1 billion, a 9 percent decline from the same time last year, while alternative energy, or "clean tech," raised $1.04 billion, a 17 percent increase."


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the laboratory to Markets:

This is how it's done.

A couple great examples of business & research labs' collaboration can be found in this article. Bottom line: American businesses need to out-innovate their counterparts in the global playing field, or risk getting left further behind!


Innovative business models outperform all others

According to Business Week, innovative business models outperform innovative processes, products and "customer experience". A more detailed "map" can be found, here.

This is exactly the thinking needed to innovate our way out of our current, and the coming energy conundrum.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

US Chamber of Commerce Releases

"Energy Blueprint"

The Institute for 21st Century Energy released a Blueprint for Securing America's Energy Future at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. It provide more than 75 energy policy recommendations for the next President and Congress.

One of its major recommendations includes: Significantly Increase Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies (page 20 of the report).

Additionally, it recommend that Congress should create a Clean Energy Bank of the United States (CEBUS), with sufficient initial capitalization to invest in and accelerate the market penetration of advanced clean energy technologies.

These support NXergy's focus and is the right direction.

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The U.S. Faces another "Sputnik Moment"

Rep. Bart Gordon, a Democratic congressman from Tennessee and chair of the Science & Technology committee, believes the United States faces a new challenge in need of government support: finding the fuel of the future. He's proposed a new government entity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, with the mandate to invest in revolutionary technologies.

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Bailout Bill has PHEV Credits

"The bailout legislation signed by President Bush contains a tax-credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles."

"The credit is a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh, to a maximum of $7,500 for light-duty vehicles; $10,000 for vehicles with gross vehicle weights of more than 10,000 but less than 14,000 pounds; $12,500 for vehicles with a GVW of more than 14,000 but less than 26,000 pounds; and $15,000 for any vehicle with a GVW of more than 26,000 pounds."


What economic problem?

Renewables growing stronger.

"In less than a decade, the global industry of renewable energy is projected to explode from a $150-billion-a-year industry to a $600-billion-a-year industry."

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Capital seeks green-tech investments

Greentech startups raised $2.8 billion in venture capital in the third quarter, more than double the second-quarter total, with solar companies raking in $1.5 billion.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bail out for everyone

Perhaps Congress has gotten too used to mega-bills, which require so much "negotiation" (*meaning horse-trading) that everyone wins... at the expense of the budget. (Example: the current mortgage / financial "rescue" package including green aspects.) Green-tech legislation should stand on its own and be supported by good science.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Google's solution

"The United States government has been unable to fix the country's energy problems," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said, but the Internet giant on Wednesday proposed its own 22-year solution.

"We have seen a total and complete failure of leadership in the political parties of the United States," Schmidt said in a speech at the Commonwealth Club here. "We've been working on a plan to help solve this problem."

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Green Technology getting acquired

In yet another sign that greentech is defying current economic woes, GridPoint Inc., a clean tech company specializing in smart grid technologies, announced it acquired V2Green, a Seattle company that provides plug-in electric vehicle grid integration technology.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Politics in the way of renewables

Congress is (still) at an impasse on Renewables.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

And so, it continues.

As one of the "potential futures" predicted in my new book*, the downward spiral of weak-dollar-induced higher oil-prices, coupled with our inability to innovate our way out of this problem is taking hold: "Obama says Wall Street bailout will cut his energy plan." Get ready for hyper-inflation as billions get pumped into our economy.

* The 21st Century Energy Initiative: How to Solve Our Energy Problems

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Energy industries set to change over first half of century: Shell chief

"Energy industries will be transformed over the first half of this century and 'business as usual' projections for rising energy demand and CO2 emissions are simply unsustainable," according to Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director Exploration and Production, Royal Dutch Shell.

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Investors Bullish on 2009 Greentech Deals

A KPMG survey finds that venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and others expect more funding for energy storage, wind and clean coal. Most venture capitalists and entrepreneurs expect greentech investments to increase next year, according to a survey released by KPMG on Tuesday.

About half of the survey respondents said they expect greentech investments to jump by 20 percent or more in 2009, while 34 percent of respondents see an increase between 10 percent and 19 percent from 2008 to 2009, the survey showed.


Continuing problem? Energy

"While many of the world's best business brains are exercising themselves over the current global banking and equities crisis, there is another issue which has the potential to dominate our lives far more in the longer term -- energy." From a CNN report.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


It is absolutely unbelievable that our elected officials - those who are entrusted with our (read *your*) taxes have failed in their fiduciary responsibility to protect Americans. To "spend" a minimum of $785 billion* will do nothing but ignite hyper-inflation. This puts significant upward pressure on oil prices, which puts a downward spiral on the U.S. dollar.

The result? As inflation revs up, fewer real dollars are available to solve our energy problems. This will mean more oil addiction... and the spiral continues.

How to Solve Our Energy Problems: The 21st Century Energy Initiative points to how the lack of financial leadership (in Government) has led, and will lead us down a ruinous path. (Book excerpt on this topic, here.) Soon, the only way will be to vote the bastards out... and only vote in those who tell the truth, and make the hard (politically incorrect) decisions to get this nation moving in the right direction. Again.

* $700 to "bail out Wall Street" and $85 billion to bail out AIG.

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L.A. to create cleantech incubator

The Community Redevelopment Agency is proposing a greentech manufacturing and innovation hub with a 20-acre complex in the city's downtown.

The city famed for its movie industry wants to be ready to attract greentech companies as utilities rush to meet a state mandate requiring power companies to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, for one, will invest about $5 billion in alternative energy to achieve the goal.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Technology & Policy:

Two sides of The Solution

As is NXergy's mantra, Technology & Policy are needed to bring innovative solutions to the market:

Google and General Electric Team Up on Energy Initiatives
Google and General Electric said Wednesday that they would work together on technology and policy initiatives to promote the development of additional capacity in the electricity grid and of “smart grid” technologies to enable plug-in hybrids and to manage energy more efficiently. The companies said their goal is to make renewable energy more accessible and useful.

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How to Fix Our Economy and the Energy Crisis

With the economic meltdown in our economy, there is plenty of blame to go around. While we’ll soon be focusing on mortgage loan companies using risky methods, consumers biting off more than they can chew, Congress wanting to add more regulations (that hamper investments), and both presidential candidates blaming the other party, we might want to look a bit longer term. Both in the past and the future.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves how we got in this mess. Why aren’t we the economic powerhouse of the 1950s / 1960s anymore? To answer these and many more questions, you may want to read these:

=> How did we get in this mess? What decisions were made, by whom? And how can we learn from the past? Find out. And what about now?

=> And you think it’s bad, now? How developing nations will make the problem much worse, and why we need to make different decisions, now. An book excerpt on this train wreck can be found here. And details of the analysis can be found here.

=> Whoever addresses our energy problem – through real technology innovation and business model innovation – will win this election. You can compare the presidential candidates’ approaches, here. (With the detail, here.) Please check your congressional candidates’ views, too.

=> We need to innovate our way out: Create industries and technologies – to become a net-exporter of renewable energy technologies.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

American Physical Society publishes report on energy

The American Physical Society has researched how energy efficiency can go a long way toward helping reduce foreign oil dependence as well as green house gases. The full report.


Monday, September 15, 2008

You Think It's Bad Now?

The just-released chapter* "You Think It's Bad Now?" - explores in more detail the unsustainable growth in automobiles in China and India, and why significant, comprehensive, bi-partisan actions need to be taken now to address the growing "energy shift" that will hit us very hard: Twelve times as much oil will be needed in 2024 to meet the demand for (just) two countries - to get to the same "standard of living" as the United States - as measured by the number of cars per 1000 people.

* From the new book "How to Solve Our Energy Problems: The 21st Century Energy Initiative".

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

China & India alone will cause the world to use more than 12 times current oil production capacity!

Doing just a little research and a little more math, one can determine that by the time China and India catch up with America's standard of living (as measured by the number of cars per 1000 people), that by 2024 the world will need over 12 times as much oil as it uses now.


[1] Don't blame oil companies for prices: It's supply and demand.
[2] Don't blame commodity traders: It would backfire.
[3] This is a serious problem!
[4] There will be a tremendous upside opportunity for whoever invests in new, disruptive technologies in renewable and sustainable energy.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Seven Myths of Energy Independence

"Despite supposedly bold initiatives such as last year's Energy Independence and Security Act, America is no freer from foreign oil: Since 2006, imports have remained steady at about 13 million barrels every day, while the price for each of those barrels has jumped by $30. Our heavily subsidized ethanol refiners now use so much corn that prices for all grains have soared, sparking (food) inflation."

The 7 Myths (According to the article):
Myth #1: Energy Independence Is Good
Myth #2: Ethanol Will Set Us Free
Myth #3: Conservation Is a "Personal Virtue"
Myth #4: We Can Go It Alone
Myth #5: Some Geek in Silicon Valley Will Fix the Problem
Myth #6: Cut Demand and the Rest Will Follow
Myth #7: Once Bush Is Gone, Change Will Come

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Energy is the #1 issue in this year's Presidential race

It doesn't really take a scientist to figure this out, but both candidates are running toward energy solutions: McCain's economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said energy would top McCain's policy list in his first 100 days in the White House. Meanwhile, Senator Biden very interested in renewable energy (although mainly biofuels).

It is likely that the candidate who proposes the most credible plan will sway independent voters. A high-level comparison can be found here, and a more detailed comparison can be found, here.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

McCain / Palin: Energy is #1 Issue!

"Delegates at the Republican National Convention this week got a laminated card listing their party's principles. The top item, ahead of the economy, national security and fiscal accountability: `energy independence and lower gas prices'.'' It would seem that they are oh-so-close on this issue. McCain needs to emphasize and implement a renewable energy technology acceleration approach!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Consider donating to keep this site up!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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Independent voters will decide the next president of the United States.

Significant shifts in our thinking and behavior are needed to overcome this grand challenge. Not business as usual or government as usual. We need true, common sense leadership on this issue!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Energy Rally for America

This is a great grass roots effort. Americans are tired of politics as usual - blaming the other side for political gain instead of coming up with real bi-partisan solutions. Please look at what The Energy Rally for America is doing and seriously consider signing on to help them. The Rally is on September 8th!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

How do Obama's & McCain's Energy Plans compare to The 21st Century Energy Initiative?

See for yourself how Obama's and McCain's plan compare. Right now, Obamas' plan is better than McCain's. All McCain has to do is to show how he is different from both Obama and Bush: and he could win over independents!

How can this happen?

One of the critical success factors in this election is - who will win over independent voters? As usual the issue is: How will the next President affect my pocketbook? The biggest single metric for the economy is the price of gas. It's something voters are reminded of 2 to 5 times a month; every time they fill up their gas tanks. McCain has got to differentiate himself by focusing on renewable energy technology acceleration and commercialization: Applying significantly more resources than he is currently planning.

Obama's plan. McCain's plan.

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Those who like sausage and respect laws should watch neither being made.

Amazing: Off for a month.
Our Congress NOT at work: On Energy - on recess.
Pelosi's perspective.
Our Congress at work. It is not pretty.
And for a little fun: Cheney / Pelosi "blink-off". Guess who wins?


The portion of Obama's speech that works

I liked and hated Obama's DNC speech. Many things right (investing in renewable energy). Many things wrong (obviating people's self-responsibility). That portion on renewable energy that makes sense:

"Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years. Today, we import triple the amount of oil. Now is the time to end this addiction. As President, I will invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and new jobs. America, now is not the time for small plans."


Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Launches a CleanTech Fund... for China!(?)

Here's $30 billion that will be spent to help China & India to clean up their energy act. Interesting... Wouldn't it make sense to spend those US dollars at home, for US energy industry? In other news, it took from January until August to find someone to lead this.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oregon Governor's Summit

Governor Ted Kulongoski held a summit on Oregon's Energy Future. He brought in representatives from the business community, energy industry, environmental community, consumer advocates, labor and economists. Results of this will be posted.


Automotive X-Prize Launches

From their press release: "The technology-neutral competition, a project of the X PRIZE Foundation, is open to teams from around the world that can design and build production-capable, 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people will want to buy and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. Winners of the $10 million prize purse will need to exceed 100 MPG equivalent fuel economy, fall under strict emissions caps and finish in the fastest time."

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U.S.: Third World Grid?

A major challenge facing renewable-energy growth is a real-world challenge: Getting power from where it is produced to where it is needed is no small challenge! Points to the need for "DG": distributed generation - where not only are transmission costs avoided, but so are "I2R" losses. Think transformers!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

OIl on the Brain

Check out Lisa Margonelli's website - and her book "Oil on the Brain." Lisa is an Irvine Fellow at the New America Foundation.

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New America Foundation

The New America Foundation has many innovative ideas in several areas. One could say "Beyond Politics." Regarding Energy & the Environment, check out the link.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Institute for 21st Century Energy

While thumbing through Parade Magazine today, I came across a brief article about the Institute for 21st Century Energy. They propose neither "red state" nor "blue state" solutions... rather American Solutions. Hard-left & hard-right politicos may have a problem with their approach, but it is the right approach. Please consider signing their letter (in the "Join Us!" box)!

One of their "13 Energy Principles*" points to the additional need to commercialize technology from additionally-funded labs - which is the basis of NXergy, Inc.: A Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator.

* Significantly Increase Funding for Research, Development, and Demonstration of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Check out the American Energy Independence website

Ron Bengtson provides excellent insights into our energy situation - and what to do about it. Check out his website!


Citizens for Affordable Energy

John Hofmeister (ex-President of Shell Oil) is interviewed by Charlie Rose: You *must* watch this video! It provides a common sense, (truly) balanced approach to dealing with our energy challenges.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

U.S. Senator Harry Reid takes action!

Industry leaders, scientists, policy experts, citizens, and the media are gathering in Nevada at the National Clean Energy Summit hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to chart a course for our nation's clean energy future. This is a pivotal opportunity to focus on defining a policy agenda that accelerates the development of renewable energy, energy-efficiency technologies, and robust clean energy markets in Nevada, the nation, and the world.

(Update: 11 key recommendations made as a result.)

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Simple, yet innovative energy solution

Researchers published a paper (International Symposium on Asphalt Pavements and Environment in Zurich)) detailing a technique for using water-carrying pipes to convert the built-up heat in asphalt roads into usable energy.The paper argues that asphalt roads have a number of advantages over solar-electric panels as a source of distributed energy.


Rationale for a 21st Century Energy Initiative

The rationale for solving our energy problems are many, and the benefits are great. These are just a few of the obvious reasons:

Increase energy independence: There are radicals and terrorists – with ill intent toward the United States - coming from mainly oil-exporting nations. The United States is indirectly funding their actions. We should be beholden to NO country for a major source of our energy.
Improve energy security & stability: Another aspect of independence is decreasing the volatility of energy prices, due to other countries’ actions.
Lessen the need for war: By creating our 100% of our own transportation fuel, the need to interfere in other countries’ affairs decreases dramatically.
Balance the federal budget: The money saved in funding these excursions reduces federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, which helps balance the federal budget.
Reduce price of gas at the pump: With more stable energy sources, the cost of doing business will decrease, further stabilizing energy prices.
Increase the value and power of the dollar: By surpassing an “Energy Independence” mindset – with a goal to be a net-exporter of renewable energy and renewable energy technologies, the value of the United States’ dollar will increase.
Decrease pollution: By focusing on sources of energy that do not require “burning stuff”, emissions will reduce, which will also reduce pollution.
Curtail carbon emissions: As a result of “fuel shifting” to cleaner energy, carbon emissions will also be reduced.
Reduce climate change: By reducing pollution and carbon emissions, human-impact (whether the root cause or not) will decrease.
Build a sustainable future: By shifting to fuels that are replaceable, natural resources will be available for our children and grandchildren.

The "kick-off" to heading toward this initiative can be found in The Presidential Speech I'd Like to Hear.

Monday, August 18, 2008

An All-Electric Vehicle Solution

Andy Grove revs up his electric-car approach: In The American, he discusses this need specifically. In Wired, he discusses the problems with Picken's Plan and Gore's focus. Worth reading!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Charlie Rose Interviews Amory Lovins

Dr. Lovins (Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute) lays out what needs to happen on Charlie Rose's show. (It also [mainly] in line with what has been in this blog and my new book.)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Even Paris Hilton's got an Energy Plan

"Limited offshore drilling with strict regulatory oversight, while providing tax incentives for auto manufacturers to move toward electric." Both a short and long term; and balanced approach. All this... during August, when Congress takes their re-election, er... summer recess - to blame the other side for our energy problems.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Denmark's Response to the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo (vs. US')

From Thomas Freidman of the NY Times: "Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent."

From my new book: "In 1973, Denmark was 98% dependent on foreign oil. As a result of the tremendous economic shock to their economy, they (collectively) made a decision to do something. As a result, today, they are a net-exporter of renewable energy technologies. This is like the frog in the water: When a frog is thrown into boiling water, it will jump out. If a frog is in lukewarm water that is slowly brought to a boil, it will stay in the water and die. I fear the U.S. was in lukewarm water in 1973, while Denmark was thrown into boiling water. Perhaps, now we realize we are in boiling water and will collectively make the bold decisions and take urgent action to make a significant difference to solve our energy problems, once and for all."

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Stagflation Growing

As identified in this blog 2 years ago*, Stagflation is something to be concerned about. Now, The Economist is reporting on it - and for good reason: "This suggests that the economic malaise will stretch well into next year, and maybe into 2010. ... If there was one lesson that policymakers learned in the 1970s, it is that there is no easy cure for stagflation. After the nice years, a hard slog lies ahead."

Point? The decisions we make now need to be fact-based, long-term oriented, instead of driven by election cycle politics - what seems (almost) "fanciful", now.

* And in a research report, in 2005 (page 8), item #2 "Make a Decision".

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tradeoffs required to "Go Green"

Evan Thomas of Newsweek makes some excellent points about the complex issues to be dealt - in order to move toward a renewable future.


Obama & McCain's Energy Plans

McCain is now calling it an"Energy Strategy" (1) and Obama has taken pages out of my (prior) thinking on this topic - from the 2005 research report(2). The good thing is... it's front and center (where it needs to be). The bad thing is: they're still playing politics.

The good: Obama's talking about complete independence from the Middle East & Venezuela in 10 years. This is even more doable than complete independence, since we import more from Canada. McCain is looking to industry for answers... as part of the solution.

The bad: McCain's "strategy" does not invest enough. Obama's "plan" is still centered on industry being the bad guy.

Perhaps these two could read "The Blame Game" section of my new book (a draft of which was sent to both of them, early in the year) and come up with fact-based, bipartisan solutions. Oh right... after the election.

Notes: (1) From my book: "What to do About the High Price of Gasoline" - that I sent Obama, McCain and Clinton several months ago. (2) From my research (in 2005): Page three (at the bottom - Item #1: $15 billion / year). Created June, 2005: Sent to McCain, Obame and Clinton, then.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Crisis, schmisis: Let's go on a recess

The Oregonian editorial is spot on: "Lawmakers skipped home for their summer recess having done nothing to help this country, now or in the future, with its energy problems." To be fair, some lawmakers are trying to make a difference. It's just difficult to see, sometimes.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Two Excellent Organizations

Two organizations worth checking out:

Rocky Mountain Institute: Is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit organization. Their work is independent, non-adversarial, and transideological, with a strong emphasis on market-based solutions.

The New Energy Movement: Acts to promote the rapid widespread deployment of advanced, clean, and sustainable energy sources.

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"$1,000 energy rebates?" This makes no sense!

Let's see... Obama is (rightfully) against McCain's "Gas Tax Holiday" - mainly because it maintains (or worsens) fuel addiction. Now he thinks the Government should step in and give consumers $1000 (of their own money) back for an "energy rebate"... then says he'll pay for it via a windfall profits tax. Election year politics: "Can I buy your vote?" Round 2. (Round 1 being the "stimulus package rebates".)

If "rebates" are such a good idea, why not just lower taxes and call it good?


Thursday, July 31, 2008


Senators Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Chambliss (R-Georgia) leading a "gang of 10" to implement some good old-fashioned bipartisanship to move this country forward regarding energy strategy. Not sure what they're going to come up with, but the first (extremely important) step is to work together, instead of cross-purposes.

I faxed a letter to both of them, attaching "The Presidential Speech I'd Like to Hear" and a link to my new book (free to blog readers - for the time being). Working title: “The High Price Of Gasoline… and what to do about it. How to solve our energy problems, once and for all.” Perhaps a true bipartisan solution will evolve?

You can send your support to them, too. Contact information: Conrad & Chambliss. Tell your U.S. Representatives to LISTEN to them.


Energy Independence by 2025

This blog started in June of 2005. Research that drove to this conclusion was begun in 2003. In June of 2008, McCain came up with his speech and said" ... In a world of hostile and unstable suppliers of oil, this nation will achieve strategic independence by 2025." Better late than never.


McCain & Obama support anti-carbon measures

One thing is for certain, starting in 2009, there will be change in the US regarding carbon production. Obama supports a carbon tax and McCain a Cap & Trade system - with similar results. Just as oil prices have more than tripled, electricity prices are set to increase. It seems accelerating significantly more cost-effective renewable energy technologies (to market) is in order.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Excellent Information at Green Car Congress

Mike Millikin at Green Car Congress has put together an excellent website, chock full of great information and resources. They are covering many different perspectives, from vehicles to fuels, energy, emissions and policy. Well worth checking out!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Our "leaders" should be ashamed of themselves!

When there are only two views* (instead of doing what is necessary to enable the U.S. to become energy-independent), bickering and partisan politics rules the day. Shame on Congress!

* Democrat & Republican


Loren Steffy's blog worth checking out!

Loren Steffy has a very insightful and thoughtful blog. Many topics are covered, including his view on energy solutions.


Airline Biz Blog sends open letter to Mr. Bush

Well worth the read!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Replay of the 1970s? Oil price increases = electric bill increases

Interesting correlation: In the 1970s, oil-fired power plants rightfully had to increase their prices. The OPEC-led oil embargo caused our home heating bill to rise. It seems the EXACT SAME things are happening today:

=> Republican President
=> Unpopular (unjustified?) war
=> Oil price spike
=> Electric bills increasing

I wonder... if (when) oil prices drop (for a little while), will we all just go back to sleep... and forget that we need to solve our energy problems, once and for all?

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"Low-Carbon consolidation" begins.

Électricité de France is close to buying the British Energy Group, the country’s largest producer of nuclear power, for as much as £12 billion ($24 billion) to get control of its eight nuclear plants and the land where more could be built, a person with knowledge of the takeover plan said Friday.


Desire for political power trumps need for renewable power. Again.

Once again, the "leaders" of this country are too busy blaming each other for the mess we are in, relative to energy. This is indeed shameful. And although it should be unbelievable, sadly, it isn't. It seems there is exactly zero compromise. The outcome will be exactly as it was after the 1973 OPEC-led oil embargo: Higher prices.

Please read "The Blame Game" portion of my new book (working title): "The High Price of Gasoline... and what to do about it: How to Solve the World's Energy Problems, Once and For All." Then get a copy to your Senators and Congressmen & women.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SNAFU: $1.7 billion Utility spends $258K a year on R&D. Consumer groups says that's "too much!"

It is interesting to note that PGE (Portland General Electric), a $1.7 billion a year company is only spending $258,000 on R&D. How can new technologies (like high-density energy storage - to level the effects of wind power variability - and therefore lower rates to consumers) be developed on that budget? They can't.

PGE is (rightfully) trying to increase it to $2 million a year (still insufficient), but consumers' groups think that's too much. It seems these very groups (who want to lower rates, even though fundamental energy costs are increasing), are against PGE's request for more research dollars. This will have the effect of raising rates higher, later.

We have met the Enemy and He is Us.

"In the end, the Citizens' Utility Board's Jenks... recommended that instead of granting the company an increase in its operating costs, the public utility commission should impose a 1 percent across-the-board cut."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Are speculators to blame for the price of oil?

According to Rich Lowry, blaming speculators is a waste of time, and even illogical. Whatever we do, let's not discuss supply and demand. It might lead us to the "wrong" conclusion (i.e., different from our beliefs).

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wind-to-Hydrogen Project

Senator Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) sponsors a $2 million wind-to-hydrogen project.

"Basin Electric Power Cooperative, with U.S. Department of Energy funding arranged by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, developed a cutting edge research project to turn intermittent wind energy into a value-added energy source that can be stored and used as needed.

The electrolyzer, an integral part of Basin Electric’s Wind-to-Hydrogen project, was delivered to the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center in Minot in June 2007. The unit was manufactured in Belgium and supplied by Hydrogenics Corp., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It takes power from wind turbines, and runs the electrolyzer to break apart water (H2O) into oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H2). The Wind-to-Hydrogen project was was dedicated on July 21, 2007. The station is the first in the region."

In other (oldish) news: Boeing flies first Hydrogen-powered plane.


T. Boone Pickens enters the fray... in a big way.

Check out his URL. His video, and his testimony in front of congress. Bottom line: the US is sending out $700 billion per year. This is bankrupting this country. Leadership is needed.


Andy Grove: Disruptive Technology Needed

"Transportation uses more than half of the petroleum consumed in this country. If we don't convert a large portion of the transportation sector to electricity, we cannot make real progress toward energy resilience.

"The forces of disruptive technology would eventually bring improvements in battery technology, ultimately allowing the production of an all-electric car with satisfactory driving range. The move to electric miles also has the added advantage of helping to mitigate a major environmental threat. A shift from petroleum-based vehicles to electricity-based ones would move the locus for addressing carbon emissions from millions of individual vehicles to far fewer centralized electricity-generating plants. Controlling emissions thus becomes an industrial task, easier technologically. Estimates indicate a potential reduction of carbon emissions of around 50 percent."

"We must mobilize all segments of our economy to accelerate the process."
Andy Grove, former chairman and chief executive of Intel Corp. from 1987 to 1998

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Biofuels report

Well said: "Corn ethanol provides the kind of cautionary tale that should give us pause and reinforce the need for clear and critical thinking based on science and economics rather than wishful thinking and vested interests." Continuing... "corn ethanol is estimated to contribute to energy independence at a cost that is 15 times more costly than fuel efficiency standards and 28 times more costly than a gas tax".

Corn ethanol is just bad business. It is also entirely subject to the fluctuations in oil. Should oil drop precipitously, corn ethanol will be unable to remain in production.


EIA: About time for real change?

News report: Oil prices are too high and threaten the global economy but also open the way to huge energy and pollution savings by spurring new technologies and policies, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Giant False Start on Biofuels in Europe

Europeans now determine that biofuels might not be such a great idea. I hope Washington D.C. learns from this - soon.

I am not sure why it requires several studies to determine the negative impact that bio/ethanol has on food prices and Climate Change. [A] It requires land, water and crops to get the feedstock to the "ready" state that oil is already in, and [B] people still need to burn it - to for energy. This is another example of ready, fire, aim. Worse - it is lessons people's belief and resolve to do the next "great solution", and wastes precious time and money going in the wrong direction.

My suggestion? Stop, think, plan and verify which path(s) to go down, before moving forward. It's called "physics meets project management". Let science, problem-solving processes and a more formal approach trump politics and group-think, and you will see real solutions develop.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Carbon Emmissions from China 5x> than reductions from Kyoto.

Researchers calculate that between 2000 and 2010, the increase in China's emissions will be more than five times greater than all the reductions expected under the Kyoto Protocol.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Ross Perot is back

Ross Perot just posted a new website, sharing his opinion on the financial state of the U.S. and what needs to be done to avoid significant economic (& dollar-value) decline. His "Charts" are worth checking out.

His plan is to strengthen the dollar with a prudent fiscal and monetary approach. By implementing his approach, we would see the price of oil drop, or at least moderate. This does not solve the peak-oil problem, nor climate change, but it is a major component in driving the price of gas


What effect does the falling dollar have on the price of oil?

With the price of a gallon of gasoline at about $4.50, since 2000 until the beginning of 2008, the falling value of the dollar accounts for nearly $1 of this price. In other words, it would be $3.50 if the dollar had kept the same value of the year 2000. If the dollar had actually strengthened by the same amount as it weakened, the price of gas would be nearly another dollar less, or almost $2.50. So, a question might be: "How do we strengthen the dollar?"

The two-page analysis. Sources for this analysis are: Decline of the dollar since the 1700s; Price of the Euro (Inverse value of the dollar); Price of Oil

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama uses pages from 2005 Energy Independence Fund idea

According to Obama's website:
  • Invest $150 Billion over 10 Years in Clean Energy: Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. A principal focus of this fund will be devoted to ensuring that technologies that are developed in the U.S. are rapidly commercialized in the U.S. and deployed around the globe.
  • Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund: Obama will create a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund to fill a critical gap in U.S. technology development. Obama will invest $10 billion per year into this fund for five years. The fund will partner with existing investment funds and our National Laboratories to ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S
These are the suggestions made in 2005 (and before).

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Oil prices ready to drop?

Many opinions about this. We certainly have an oil bubble, and those who are speculating will be hurt most when oil drops. But a drop will likely be short-lived and not too severe (unless we start seeing large-country / world-wide depression - then all bets are off.) Short of that, for the long term (due to the many factors described in this blog - not the least of which is simple supply & demand), the price of oil will continue to rise. Another opinion: U.S. News article by James Pethokoukis.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Correlation between the falling dollar and rise in oil prices

What is the correlation between the falling dollar and rise in oil prices? One view.
An alternate view.And a third opinion.


"Learning From the Oil Shock"

Excellent Newsweek article (by Robert Samuelson) about learning from the oil shock. Balanced and insightful.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

SAIC's Report on Peak Oil

Although they would not describe it as such, SAIC's "predictions" are, unfortunately, coming true.

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Portland, Oregon's approach to Peak OIl

This comprehensive report-of-findings from Portland "Peak Oil Task Force" is an exceptional body of knowledge and piece of work. Well done!

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"Green Gold Rush"

[1] A UN Environment Program (UNEP) study said more than 148 billion dollars of new funds were invested into the quest for cleaner energy last year. The massive demand for solar, wind and bio-fuel energy was being powered by prevailing climate change worries, growing support from world governments and rising crude oil prices, the UN agency said. Article, here.

[2] In other news.

[3] Stay up to speed, at Yahoo.


A little humor...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A “systems” way of thinking is required to solve our energy dependence problem, and build a sustainable future.

This quote from Peter Senge’s Book “The Fifth Discipline” should cause one pause (relative to how this country is going about “solving our ‘price’ problem”:

Beware the symptomatic solution. Solutions that address only the symptoms of a problem, not the fundamental causes, tend to short-term benefits at best. In the long term, the problem resurfaces and there is increased pressure for symptomatic response. Meanwhile, the capacity for fundamental solutions can atrophy.

Paraphrasing: Trying to address the high price of gas (the symptom) instead of dealing with the problem (home-grown alternatives / renewable energy technologies) is delaying the true days of reckoning: And in fact, decreasing our ability to solve this problem. (As has happened in the past 35 years.)


Saturday, June 14, 2008

$4 a gallon? Really?


Bush's “plan” for renewables?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spare change to start a Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator?

I wonder where one might find a spare $70 billion a year - to fund a Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator? Oh, here it is.


A Congressman speaks his mind on the unintended consequences of a recent bill

And this. (For an update.)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Energy Storage Technologies

Interesting links, from PostivEnergyOutput - about energy storage technologies.

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New technologies: Compressed air cars!

Check out the compressed air technology.

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Penalizing U.S. oil companies due to Chinese subsidizing oil?

Some countries are subsidizing gas prices for their citizens. The result? Higher demand. Which increases gas prices further. A few of the culprits.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cleantech investments hit $2.2 billion in 2007

As gas prices surge, so do investments into clean energy technology.


Friday, June 06, 2008

How to kick-start a renewable energy technology accelerator

One might think that there are mechanisms in place to provide seed funding to an organization that could have a tremendous impact on our energy problems (which are NOW). Instead of having to "get in line" for an appropriations that "might get funded in 2010." In other news...


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Supply & Demand facts

Please check out the demand growth in China, India, Russia and Canada: Especially from a percentage basis. This, coupled with [1] oil supply peaking, [2] the falling value of the dollar, and [3] U.S.'s energy dependence growing from 25% to 60% since 1973 provides the root cause of oil price spikes. Well, that and a total lack of funding and lack of an integrated energy policy, focused on energy independence. Leadership, anyone?

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How to solve our energy problems.

Interesting perspective on how a renewable energy technology accelerator could move us more quickly to real solutions to our energy problems: The short version (15 Megs). The comprehensive version (70 Megs).

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Consider donating what you can!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to socialize, er... nationalize, er.. take over the oil companies?

Here we go again! Only this time, look at the faces on Maxine's collaborators' faces when she... well... watch.

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Is demand finally slowing?

A couple interesting articles:

[1] The average per-gallon price topped $4 in 11 states.

[2] People are finally cutting back.

My guess? Short term, prices will come down a bit (don't they always go up right before a 3-day weekend?). Long term, prices will increase dramatically. Unless there is a world-wide depression, in which case, all bets are off. Bottom line: Supply is decreasing. Peak oil is hitting countries, now:

That said, the fundamental supply is shrinking and demand is increasing. Alternatives to burning stuff for energy are the only thing that will get us through the coming decades. One person's perspective.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Peak Oil Impact On Airlines / Airports.

Airports Lose Passenger Flights As Peak Oil Starts To Bite.


Is there a relationship between the falling dollar and rise in oil prices?



Greentech labor shortages.

What happens when tons of VC money goes into one particular industry (like the DotBomb)? Talent shortage.


Oil company gets into batteries!

Exxon Mobile strategically investing "windfall" profits wisely - into battery technology.

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More electric car companies

Check out ZENN Motor Company and Dynasty Electric Car.

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Pandering, redux

Both Hillary Clinton & John McCain appear to not understand the simple supply & demand relationship. Until addiction to oil is cured, expect more unrealistic and inconsistent promises.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

$10 to $12 a gallon?

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Export Land Model: Is it worse than the pessimists think?

Available oil (to importing countries) could reduce dramatically faster than originally thought.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Never thought I'd say this: Thank you, GM.

GM's efforts on an electric vehicle. GM's efforts on a fuel cell vehicle.

No all we need is to [1] increase wind farm capacity utilization from an average of 15% up to the "stated" 23%, or even more and [2] ensure The Grid can handle it.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google & "Big Oil" Invest $115 million in Solar.

I will always remember the "Go" in Google!

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Banks now investing in greentech!

Citigroup has pledged $50 billion to green initiatives over ten years, including $31 billion for clean technologies.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Move to electric vehicles

GM is moving to electric vehicles in a Big Way: A123 Systems, whose founder Ric Fulop said "Somebody lit a fire under [GM's] butt in 2006. I’ve never seen a large company move so fast and put so many resources behind something."

One of the reasons? All car-makers are being / will be pressured to increase fuel efficiency. Electric vehicles is one way to do this.

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"Plug-in" calculator

This web-tool allows you to calculate your average gas use (gallons) and carbon footprint. Check it out!


Monday, May 05, 2008

Oil doubles in a year

Here's another hint that it might make sense to invest in commercializing renewable energy technology, right about now:


Friday, May 02, 2008

Electric vehicle a reality: now.

Responding to consumer demand, market trends and to position themselves for the future, General Motors, Ford, Tesla, Renault and dozens of other automobile companies are bringing plug-in hybrid vehicles to market. (Example: Tesla unveils (125 mph equivalent) production electric car!)

According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, if plug-in hybrid cars account for 20% of new-car sales in the U.S. by 2020, up to 160 new power plants will be needed. This makes the current efforts to “turn down your air conditioner” pale in comparison to the impact of the move towards electric vehicles.

Just as shifting to corn-ethanol has produced an unintended consequence of no real carbon reduction and rising food costs, a shift to electric vehicles will dramatically reduce or even negate all current and future climate-change effort – without a corresponding substantive move toward renewable energy production.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Gas Tax "Holiday"?

Unbelievable! First, (some) politicians want to buy your vote by giving you back you own money (via the stimulus package). Then they want to do the exact opposite of what needs to be done to reduce our gas consumption (again, by trying to buy your vote) - by deleting Federal taxes on gasoline over the (pre-election) summer.

The reason this is the exact opposite of what is needed to help us reduce our dependence on oil is: Higher prices reduce consumption. Lower prices (now) encourages higher demand, which uses supply and equals higher prices (later). Again, short-term thinking.

Even though I am for market-driven solutions, the exact right thing to do would be to increase gas taxes (reducing demand) and use that money to develop innovative new technologies to support our utilities and oil companies to move toward carbon-reducing solutions. Unfortunately, that is not politically savvy: John Anderson tried that in 1980 and only received 7% of the popular vote. Lesson learned! Which is why we're now in a downward spiral of lower dollar value and upward spiral of oil prices. Don't blame the oil companies, don't blame the politicians, blame ourselves for being fooled. not once, but every election cycle.

Thomas Friedman's article is worth reading: especially if you're interested in how tax policy & energy strategy do (or don't) work.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Senator Lugar's (Indiana) audacious speech

Senator Lugar's speech* reflects the major points in this blog: We, as a nation must have the political courage to think in completely different terms, in how we solve our growing energy problems. (In other news, oil hit $119 a barrel, today.)

Lugar Announces Energy Plan: Senator Lugar's address to the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Public / Private Partenership example: Moving "green" forward

Michigan is leveraging $1.7 million (state funding) into $50 million (private funding). How it's done.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Corn ethanol is not the answer.

More reasons why corn ethanol is not the right answer to energy independence: [1] High food prices & more pollution & [2] Dramatic increase in water use.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Grid-Guzzling Hybrids?

Business week just ran a brief story about the potential impact of electric cars on the utility grid.
Shift (foreign) oil demand to (domestic) utilities, then watch the price of gas drop to $1 a gallon... while keeping our U.S. dollars at home. In parallel, focusing on high-density energy storage to increase wind-farm (and even wave-energy) capacity utilization may well match the demand increase - in a renewable fashion.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Californians' power bills to bankroll climate institute

This is (potentially) a great concept. It could be accelerated by focusing on significant power-generation improvements (i.e., help utilities profit from investing in new technologies that have a secondary effect of reducing carbon release). Who knows, maybe they'd even provide matching funds if they were allowed to keep more of the profits. However, it may just be a process to raise money for more research, without the necessary focus on commercialization. Time will tell.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oil Company Exploring More Utility Power Production?

Contrary to Exxon's perspective, Christophe de Margerie (CEO of Europe's largest oil company, Total) concludes that demand for oil is outstripping supply (the root cause of price increases, not "greedy oil execs").

"Perhaps the best measure of Mr de Margerie's gloomy outlook for the oil industry is his eagerness to get Total into nuclear power." Why would an oil exec look to do this?"

Maybe... electric vehicles?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

History repeats itself (1973=> 2008)

Once again, some members of Congress seem to be more interested in appearing to do something (to get reelected) than actually solving the energy problem. They got air-time to grill oil execs. Here we go again. We are headed down the exact same path we did after 1973... which absolutely did not solve the problem!

Due to the OPEC-led oil-shock of 1973, Congress applied a "windfall profits tax" in 1980. This reduced oil companies ability to find better ways to produce oil. Effect? Oil companies can't pump more oil due to demand increases generated by tremendous growth in China & India. Prices went up. This unintended consequence is the exact opposite of what Congress wanted: lower prices. Government at work.

And on the other side, the U.S. government is providing $10 to $20 billion in subsidies to these very same companies. Money that could be used for finding renewable, low-carbon solutions - other than inflation-inducing ethanol (which also requires burning to work).
Government at work.

Bottom line: If we just let the market-forces take care of itself, stop subsidizing oil companies and focus on real solutions instead of grand-standing for political purposes, perhaps we could let the market sort itself out. Gasoline at $10 a gallon would be incentive enough for profit-minded entrepreneurs and investors to solve the problem. What's next, price controls? This would be yet another folly - that would further delay Solving Our Energy Problems.

Albert Einstein said - “We cannot solve our significant problems from the same level of thinking we were at when we created these problems.” This much is clear.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Battery Technologies: An update

"Between now and 2015, the worldwide market for hybrid-vehicle batteries will more than triple, to $2.3 billion. Lithium-ion batteries, the first of which should appear in hybrid cars in 2009, could make up as much as half of that." Brief article about the current state of affairs.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Renewable grid energy; Electric cars. Next?

Some not-so-small companies are looking to help us wean ourselves off oil with electric cars. Time to support utilities - and help them meet Renewable Portfolio Standards?

General Motors, Ford Motors, Volvo, Honda, Tesla Motors, AFS Trinity, Smith Electric Vehicles, Global Electric Motorcars, Zap!, HST Automotive, Brammo, Enertia (motorcycles), Green Lite Motors, and of course - Do it Yourself.

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Monday, March 03, 2008


House passes renewable energy bill:

- Summary of voting
- Summary of bill
- Full bill


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What can small business do to save cash & energy?

A couple of great articles in two magazines: [1] Pitney Bowes' Priority Magazine about what some businesses are doing to do good and well. [2] APICS's Magazine discusses the Green Imperative (my words) and provides some examples.

And an upcoming virtual expo on Green Technology for businesses.

This is what I call "Green (behavior) = Green ($s)".

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Green Building Initiative

The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches for residential and commercial construction.


Oregon Bioeconomy & Sustainable Technologies Center

Oregon Bioeconomy & Sustainable Technologies Center (BEST) will bring together Oregon's significant R&D strengths in the key emerging areas of clean energy, bio-based products, green building/green development and other related sectors. BEST's primary goal is to accelerate cutting-edge research and to facilitate public/private partnerships to turn that research into on-the-ground business opportunities. Check them out.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Oregonian gets Bold

Finally - the Oregonian ran a front page article about "biofuels" - that provided insights into this politically savvy, but factually errant approach. [1] They were being very bold - to go against that normal politically-safe notion that (all) bio-fuels are carbon-reducing. And [2] they were mostly right, but lumped in bio-diesel along with (corn) ethanol. There is "good" bio and "bad" bio: consideration for the energy-to-produce relative to energy-content-of bio-fuels needs to be taken into account.

Of course, for some time now, this blog has been discussing the concerns of blindly jumping on the anything-but-oil bandwagon, at the expense of logic. Yes, both supply and demand & importing oil are causing price increases and political instability. And yes, something needs to be done (solutions, elsewhere int his blog)... but (corn) ethanol can't provide the full solution - without causing a run-up in food prices, and increase in carbon-release! Sugar ethanol is much better, but is causing quicker deforestation. Links to the front page and second part of the article.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Say it isn't so!

A new study says that energy-efficiency efforts may actually help use more energy - as paradoxical as that sounds! This points to a need to also focus on renewable energy / technology development!

"Energy efficiency regulations have little impact on saving energy, helping the environment or reducing dependency on foreign oil, finds a new CIBC World Market report."

The Full Report can be found here. And more on the Khazzom-Brookes Postulate.

Another "unintended consequence"? Proof against this is quite welcome!


Friday, February 01, 2008

What cost, bio/ethanol?

From an OSU study: "Ethanol made from wood cellulose netted 84 percent of its energy after production fuel costs were subtracted. Biodiesel made from canola netted 69 percent of its energy after subtracting production fuel costs. And ethanol made from corn netted a mere 20 percent of its energy after subtracting the energy spent to produce it."

Wind, solar, wave and geothermal (with energy-storage technology) offer the highest opportunities energy for self-sufficiency, without having to "burn stuff", which drives up the price of food & impacts the climate.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Focus the Nation

Eban Goodstein is leading the charge with Focus The Nation; instigating a formidable dialog - and country-wide event - about global warming (read: climate disruption). This event is happening soon (1/31/08) , so check it out!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Can I buy your vote?"

It seems the presidential candidates are falling all over themselves to see who can send you more money - as a way to "help us out" of our economic problem. Since when is it the Government's job to help us spend more money - to "keep the economy going"? (Besides, if both the Republicans and Democrats think it's such a great idea that taxpayers have their own money back, why don't they just lower our taxes and spend more wisely... like we have to?)

More importantly, the effects will actually make our dependence on foreign oil worse, not better!

The sooner we allow our economy to go through its normal cycle, the sooner there will be downward pressure on the price of oil. Less economic activity = less use of oil = lower prices. So, by trying to buy your vote, the candidates are supporting the steep price of oil, which - guess what - puts downward pressure on the dollar, increases inflationary pressures and sets us up for a stagflationary cycle, ala the 1970s.

Where is John Anderson when you need him?


Thursday, January 17, 2008

What will a 2 to 3 degree change mean to the environment?

An article by The Economist describes the effects of climate change, when in 1783 an effusive volcano reduced the average temperature a couple degrees: The Summer of Acid Rain.

In another article, we see that bio-fuels (palm-oil in particular) have unintended consequences (again).


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Global warming vs. Climate Disruption

This week's tornado in Vancouver, Washington got me to thinking, and it should you, too. We may have a lot higher conversion rate of people wanting to do something about renewable energy if we talked in terms of Climate Change, or even "Climate Disruption" instead of Global Warming.

The effects of Climate Change includes parts of the world getting warmer, for sure. But it also causes disruption in weather patterns, that may cause more rain, even cooler temperatures in some places. People understand larger and more hurricanes, tornadoes in places where they don't usually occur, and droughts where food-growing ability all but evaporates. They don't really mind "warming" (especially in the winter). And they can't buy into that.

Warming is the cause of climate change. And since people tend to respond better to results / effects more than root causes, let's call it by that. So, please - let's talk about what is really going on in our day to day lives: Climate Disruption.

Here is the dilemma: Talk about the effects (to enable more buy-in), while working on the causes (to leverage our limited resources in the most effective ways).

Let's solve the problem by getting at the root causes: Mainly non-renewable energy production and use, which arguably is the largest single contributor to Climate Disruption.

==> Source #1, Source #2,
Source #3, Source #4

And to be fair, a competing perspective.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

50 mpg here, now.

Tata motors has developed, and is selling a 4-wheeled 50 mpg vehicle (in India) for $2500. So I guess it's there, now. Any dealers / importers up to the task of bringing this to the U.S. market?


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Consider donating what you can!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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President's Speech I'd like to Hear

What if a sitting U.S. President gave this speech? I'd like to see it.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Peak Oil a Myth? Facts say otherwise!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Oregon clean fund?

June 2006 (in this blog): "Time for an Oregon Incubator?" (i.e. fund alternative / clean-energy technology). December 2007: Oregon's pension fund may invest in clean-energy! Read it!

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Beaverton Fuel Cell Company makes 1st sale

Hydra Fuel Cells is in the news with its first sale!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Is Ethanol really right for the economy and environment?

(i.e., How politics trump logic.)

The fundamental Physics of corn Ethanol indicate that we are putting a lot of money into something that is inefficient, doesn’t compete with sugar cane Ethanol, will foul our air even more, and ultimately will cause inflation (food and transportation).

Corn ethanol requires about 1 gallon of fossil fuel (input) to create 1.3 gallons of ethanol. Additionally, ethanol has 67% of the energy content of gasoline.1 Therefore, a car that goes 20 miles with one gallon of gasoline will only go a little more than 17 miles2.

Put another way, without subsidies, it will cost an additional 15% to go the same distance as with gas. (Not economical.) Meanwhile, we are burning something to power our vehicles. (Not really green.) Meanwhile, food prices increase due to shifting of valuable land to corn production. (Ex: Cows are fed corn.) A longer term problem is the issue of crop rotation: Every farmer knows that crops need to be different from year to year or the same nutrients will be depleted through overuse. For the longer term, shifting to ethanol is not sustainable!

The quick analysis does not even take into account the additional water that is required, nor the additional pesticides and fertilizer!


- Not economical - Not eco-friendly
- Causes inflation - Not sustainable

However, it sure helps politicians [1] say they’re doing something, and [2] not have to deal with “normal” farm subsidies.

The alternatives? Ensure that the “essence” of what we use for fuel is free. Oil is, in fact “free”. It is sitting in the ground. It needs to be extracted, refined, transported and available for distribution (stations). Corn (the essence of ethanol) is not free (water, land use, chemicals, etc.)

Like oil, the “essence" of the following sources are all free… the energy just needs to be extracted, refined, transported and distributed:
Solar energy. Wind energy. Wave energy. Geothermal energy. They provide sustainable energy in an energy-independent way.

But these present tougher problems to sell to the American people, and require more thought and more bi-partisan support.

Write your representatives and tell them you're interested in serious long-term solutions to our energy independence!

1) From the October 2007 edition of National Geographic
2) Efficiency factor (EF): 1.3 x 0.67 = 0.87 20 mpg x EF = 17.4 miles


Monday, October 22, 2007

Plug-in Hybrids on their way?

There is real potential for the emergence of production model plug-in hybrids within the next five years. Read the Article.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Investments in CleanTech: Report

A very interesting report on venture capital and CleanTech investing (thank you, Pete!)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

House Energy Bill makes it to The Senate

You may want to see what you're spending your $307 (per average family) on:

The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

Full bill can be read, here:

Subject to the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as amended, during fiscal year 2008 commitments to guarantee loans under title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 shall not exceed a total principal amount, any part of which is to be guaranteed, of $7,000,000,000: Provided, That of that amount, $2,000,000,000 shall be available for carbon sequestration optimized coal power plants, $4,000,000,000 shall be available for projects that promote biofuels and clean transportation fuels, and $1,000,000,000 shall be available for electric transmission facilities or renewable power generation systems: Provided further, That pursuant to section 1702(b)(2) of the Act, no appropriations are available to pay the subsidy cost of such guarantees: Provided further, That the source of payments received from borrowers for the subsidy cost shall not be a loan or other debt obligation that is made or guaranteed by the Federal Government."

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Rational behavior would get us rational solutions!

Apparently, Jon Anderson (1980) and Ross Perot (1992) were "too rational" for voters. Instead the best solutions we can come up with (in our polarized, two-party "system") have been fraught with unintended consequences. For an excellent article on how this could possibly be, click, here. And a little humor on this important topic!

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VC-style investments in solar, through DoE!

"The Department of Energy will fund 10 photovoltaic technology start-ups with up to $27 million through a new milestone-based grant program.

Hedging its bets, the department is backing a broad range of early-stage developers, competitors among them, each aiming to reduce the scourge of solar: high cost per watt.

Two recipient companies, Blue Square Energy Inc. and CaliSolar Inc., use cheaper, lower-grade polysilicon to make equally powerful PV cells. Four recipients, Enfocus Engineering Corp., MicroLink Devices Inc., SolFocus Inc. and Solaria Corp., work on increasing efficiency through solar concentration methods. And four: Ava Solar, Plextronics Inc., PrimeStar Solar Inc. and SoloPower Inc., develop technology for thin-film PV modules that avoid expensive polysilicon altogether. Each project will receive between $2 million and $3 million from the DOE through the Photovoltaic Module Incubator program after presenting the energy department with functioning prototypes of its products. The companies also committed to invest about $44 million combined in addition to the federal contribution, mostly coming from financial backers such as venture capitalists.

The DOE evaluated 56 applications in this first round of the program that will make grants every nine months and required that chosen projects are at or near pilot-run stage, scalable through an affordable manufacturing process and are based on significant innovation compared with current products on the market.

"The program is structured around tight milestones, focuses on delivering proof of hardware, and moves quickly," said Craig Cornelius, acting program manager for the DOE's Solar Technologies program.

The DOE would evaluate the progress of its portfolio companies at least every nine months when it would also issue grants to new applicants, he said. The advantage of requiring shipment of hardware samples to the DOE, said Cornelius, is that it 'frees companies from government paperwork to focus on what they do best: tech development.'"

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Next president of the United States?

From Michael Bloomberg: "The politics of partisanship and the resulting inaction and excuses have paralyzed decision-making, primarily at the federal level, and the big issues of the day are not being addressed – leaving our future in jeopardy. We can accept this, or we can say – ‘Enough is enough!’ – and together, build a bright future for our country."

Full text can be found, here.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Best & Worst of Government in Action

The proposed "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007" can be found, here. All 278 pages of it! There are some seriously great aspects of this bill, but the Federal Government is also trying to "legislate capitalism". Meaning, (some parts of it) are simply going to make things worse! (Those unintended consequences again!)


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fighting the good fight... with facts.

If you are searching for deeper understanding of our current energy situation, please visit Lots of great information and insights!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Ethanol, Bio & Fusion - oh my!

A few articles worth reading / catching up with what is going on

Ethanol: New Knocks Against Ethanol (Business Week)
Bio: What Portland is doing in biodiesel (Portland Tribune)
Ethanol / Bio: Not the Only Green in Town (Business Week)
Fusion: Nuclear Fusion (The Economist)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Unintended consequences of Ethanol?

Recent research indicates that high-blend ethanol may actually be worse for the environment, while the Renewable Fuels Association maintains it will be better. The truth would be interesting!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Solar/Wind/Wave energy... Electric cars: Next problem to be solved?

Martin Eberhard's got it right! Check out Tesla Motors!

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California Clean Energy Fund

California Clean Energy Fund

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California's Energy Action Plan

California's Energy Action Plan

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Monday, April 09, 2007

X-Prize for 100 miles per gallon vehicle!

Santa Monica, Calif. (April 2, 2007) - The X PRIZE Foundation, the organization behind the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE that successfully challenged teams to build private spacecraft to open up the space frontier, is taking a step toward launching an Automotive X PRIZE (AXP) that will inspire super-efficient vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or its equivalent.
Read full release.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Careful how we approach climate change!

"Climate change is so wildly fashionable now that hardly anybody dares object to measures designed to combat it. But as the costs of such policies rise, that may not last. The more money governments spend on wasteful subsidies, the bigger the backlash is likely to be, and the smaller the chance of sustaining the political will needed to keep the world cool." The whole article.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Energy efficiency solutions: Find a need, then fill it!

Pneu-Logic Corporation is a Portland, Oregon-area company that has figured out how to save companies millions of dollars… by saving lots of energy. They are the “real deal” and worth watching (and supporting)!


Solar on just 0.5% of landmass could produce 100% of our electricity needs.

"According to America's Department of Energy, solar panels could, if placed on about 0.5% of the country's mainland landmass, provide for all of its current electricity needs. Yet since they were first invented more than five decades ago, photovoltaic solar have generated much publicity but little energy. In 2006 photovoltaic systems produced 0.04% of the world's electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

Decades of research have improved the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells from 6% to an average of 15% today, whereas improvements in manufacturing have reduced the price of modules from about $200 per watt in the 1950s to $2.70 in 2004. Within three to eight years, many in the industry expect the price of solar power to be cost-competitive with electricity from the grid." From The Economist.


Biofuels are great, but more is needed

"Most energy experts reckon that using maize-based ethanol as a substitute for petrol can reduce America's demand for petrol by 10-15% at best. As for sugar, its growing value as a biofuel feedstock means that in Brazil, which is now one of the world's largest producers and exporters of ethanol, there is pressure to flatten rainforests to make more room for sugar production. One green objective (reducing dependency on fossil fuels) thus conflicts with another (preserving the environment)." From The Economist.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Check out's Energy blog has started an energy blog, relating to Oregon energy issues, events and solutions. Find it here!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ethanol... ready for prime-time?

Further unintended consequences.... (full article, here.)

"Simple economics dictates that if farmers find it more profitable to grow switchgrass rather than corn, soy or cotton, the price of those commodities is bound to rise in response to falling supply.

'You can produce a lot of ethanol from cellulose without competing with food,' said Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. 'But if you want to get half your fuel supply from it you will compete with food agriculture.'

There may also be ecological impacts.
The government currently pays farmers not to farm about 35 million acres of conservation land, mostly in the Midwest. Those fallow tracts provide valuable habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Though switchgrass is a good home for most birds, if it became profitable to grow it or another energy crop on conservation land some species could decline."

More on food vs. fuel.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keep track of energy costs (commodity prices)

TFC Commodity charts can provide an indication of prices:

- Ethanol - Unleaded gasoline (42,000 units) - Light Crude Oil


Biofuels are a great start...

However, to quote "There simply is not enough spare land in America to grow adequate feedstock for" Mr Bush's 35 billion-gallon bio-fuel target. We need to encourage businesses to focus on alternatives to carbon-based fuels - those that have readily available, sustainable and "free" sources as their base component. (i.e., solar, wave, wind, water.).


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Global supply & demand do their thing.

"In the early part of the decade new production from the former Soviet Union accounted for most of the growth in the world's supply of oil and gas. But when Mr Putin began his campaign to take control of Russia's resources, that growth stalled, just as China's demand for energy was taking off. The present high prices for oil and gas are the result." - The Economist

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science vs. Politics: Part II

Pardon my rant, but isn't this obvious to the casual observer?...

Perhaps it's time we focus on the
cause of the global warming, instead of the effect of global warming. Face it, burning fossil fuels, and/or replacing it with fuels that use more energy to create it - are the major cause of global warming. If we believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, why aren't we marshalling national resources to create long-term, bi-partisan science-based solutions? (Yes, per the high-level plan outlined herein.)

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Science vs. Politics, and the need to go green

Biodiesel is a great 1st step, but [1] at what cost? And [2] what about the other 90% of the solution to rid us of fossil fuel and its (security, political and eco-effects? Read The Economist article on Europe's lessons learned with bio fuel (so we don't make the same mistakes!)

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

X-Prize for Greenhouse (CO2) gases

Richard Branson has taken a bold step: "The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate." Well done! (View details at:

This is a great step in trying to deal with the
effect (global warming) of our addiction to fossil fuels. Now, if we can have the same type of "H-Prize" - for dealing with the cause: developing renewable energy and energy technologies that enable the U.S. to become a net-exporter of renewable energy - we could make some serious progress for future generations.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Unintended consequences

Focus on corn-based biofuels has doubled corn-feed from $2 a bushel to $4 a bushel. (

Although biofuels are a great alternative to hydrocarbons, they cannot provide 100% solution. Yes, a 15% to 20% solution helps moderate imports, but at what cost? The "stuff" from which energy is to be produced needs to be "free". Just as oil is "free" (just need to pay to extract, refine, ship & distribute it). What else is based on a "free" essence of the basic energy source? Solar, wind, wave, hydro energy. Of course, that would drive us to electric cars (pardon the pun). But why not? The infrastructure exists, already!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Energy policy is going nowhere!

Paul Mulshine says it well!


The real problem?

The United States' free-market capitalist system is the best in the world. However, it has two built-in problems:

[1] With only a two-party system, ideas don't get vetted, they get polarized.

[2] With 2, 4, and 6 year election cycles, candidates don't talk about a 50-year vision
*, they talk about things that help them get elected.

This situation focuses candidates on short-term, "arguable" positions... that get them elected, instead of dealing with real, long-term problems faced by U.S. citizens. It's the "way it is".

The only solutions to overcome these fundamental barriers to systemic energy (policy) improvement - is to have candidates who [a] reach out to the other political "side" - for real improvement, and [b] are capable of creating and communicating a long-term vision. Heaven forbid we actually [c] look to other parties
** for lasting solutions to our difficult challenges!

Will real candidates please stand up

* For instance, of energy independence for our children and grand children.
** Take this quiz, and then see other political perspectives (centrists, statist, libertarian). Which rtuly aligns with your thinking?
*** How about a McCain / Obama ticket?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The best we can do?

Please read the House bill "Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act", and determine for yourself if this will actually help US get there! My take? The title conveys a spot-on message, however it seems the Act is being used to tell voters "We're doing something." - when in fact, it limits U.S. oil companies' ability to compete on the global playing field, and really does nothing to encourage investment in renewable energy sources! Net result? Same as the 1980's WPT: U.S. oil companies will be at a disadvantage relative to foreign oil companies. This provides us another unintended (i.e., bad) long-term consequence, while seemingly doing soemthing in the short term. Not only that, it will have the effect of lost jobs, due to less investment money! The exact opposite of the Democrats' desires.

A better approach might be to ensure that *all* producers are equally affected - by imposing a consumer-inducement to reduce fuel, while investing proceeds in alternatives... and define how the money will be spent. (i.e., a free-market-based, VC-type Energy Independence Fund, perhaps?)

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New direction?

From the State of the Union:
"Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.

It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies here in Washington and the strong response of the market. And now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it's not going to eliminate it. And so as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change. "

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

GM looking to produce "plug-in" by 2010!

GM is "bridging" their 1990's EV1 (electric car) to their fuel cell-based vehicles (AUTOnomy*) with a plug-in vehicle. Read The Economist to find out more. Just imagine... Using your fuel cell car to charge your home battery at night and power your office during the day. A total DG (distributed generation) solution!

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Energy Efficiency Organization worth checking out!

Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. is addressing one of the critical elements of energy independence: Energy efficiency. In their own words:

"Advancing responsible energy use.
Since 1980, our passion for energy efficiency has driven us toward practical solutions. Inspired by the special challenges of the efficiency market and driven by our mission to help everyone use energy more effectively, we’ve assisted organizations such as the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and the California Energy Commission in promoting energy-efficient practices and technologies that benefit both businesses and individual consumers.

We help our clients deliver long-term energy savings. We do it by helping transform markets through education and incentive programs that build demand for more efficient products and services."

Check them out, at!

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Consider donating what you can!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Great blog about all things renewable / alternative - in energy!

James Fraser has developed an exceptional blog, with some great information. Please check it out!

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Energy Policy Act information

If you are interested in learning what is going on at the Federal Policy level, here's a good place to start!

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Strategic Petroleum Reserves: Facts

Lots of questions about how much oil the U.S. has stored in reserve. Facts about the reserve can be found here.


Is the solution $100 a barrel?

Please visit John Mauldin's provocative article, where he asserts that $100 a barrel will help us overcome our oil dependence. (The premium to create an Energy Independence Fund seems a lot less painful than this approach, don't you think?)

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pacific Northwest Energy Venture Blog

Ted Bernhard, a corporate and securities attorney at Stoel Rives, LLP has developed a Pacific Northwest Energy Venture Blog. I encourage you to visit it!

A side note: Ted & I sync up when it comes to addressing our energy independence: By enabling the free-market system (through the profit-motive) to solve our problems. This will create higher-paying jobs, with longer-term societal benefits! BTW: Ted is also the founder of Stoel Rives' Energy Venture Group (focused on innovations and finance in the energy marketplace)!

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Stagflation starting?

As I predicted in 2005, stagflation* may be raising it's ugly head! If nothing is done to develop competing (renewable) energy sources, this could make the economic turmoil of the 1970s look mild.

* Do a quick web searh on the term - first coined in mid-197os, caused by... dramatic oil price increases. This time (with peak oil), it could be a lot worse.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Excellent Resource!

Simmons & Company International provides excellent presentations about our probable future, based on our addiction to (cheap) oil - if we do not rise to the occasion very soon. Please visit their website, and take time to read Mr. Simmon's insightful & educational information provided in "Speeches & Papers" as well as "Current Research Reports" located under the menu-tabs.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

What can compete with oil?

We may want to consider that full replacement of oil will require some serious “original thinking”! Especially in light of the fact that whatever replaces oil will need to have its source be “free.” What do I mean by that? Oil is essentially free. The “stuff” is in the ground. It costs to buy mineral rights, extract, refine and distribute it. Other than that, the “goes-into” is free! What else is free? Solar, hydro, wind, wave, tide energy all have their “source energy” as free! Although energy efficiency and substitutes like bio-fuels are extremely important, we must seriously consider the issues of the base costs of energy. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, “It would take about 300 million gallons of water for processing the product and cooling equipment to make 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.” We need to think WAY outside the box! We need an Energy Independence Fund ASAP!

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

50% by 2050? VCs are stepping up to the plate!

From the St. Louis Business Journal: U.S.-based venture capital firms invested $917 million in energy technologies last year, a 28 percent increase over the previous year. This represented 4.2 percent of total VC investments. That may not sound like much, but six years ago, VCs invested less than 1 percent of their money in energy technology.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Time for an Energy-technology Incubator in Oregon?

With the Governor’s stated objectives (see entry, below) and no end in sight for demand-induced / turmoil-exacerbated price increases, now would be the time to create an Oregon-based energy-technology incubator! Of course, we need the following:

- policy support (almost)
- market-need (in place)
- technology-innovators (available)
- leaders (available)
- money (not being applied [sufficiently] in Oregon [yet])

Will anyone step up? I believe step one is the money & policy. The others will follow!

[1] Please read Oregon Business Magazine’s interview with Nancy Floyd.
[2] Check out Pacific Northwest's Energy Venture blog!

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What is really causing this gas-price run-up?

Supply & demand, nationalization and political turmoil is at the root of current price run-up. The graphics from a recent Business Week article tell a compelling story!

- Not just "Big Oil" anymore!
- Supply & demand: Peak oil!
- Nationalization
- Resulting in higher prices

Compared with the 1970s.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Oregon's Governor Supports BHAG!

March, 2006: Oregon's Governor Kulongoski encouraged the State of Oregon to focus more on renewable energy: Sustainable Industries Journal & Governor's Press Release (revising his proclamation). This would be a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Since Sliced Bread: $100,000 winner sounds familiar!

The winner of the $100,000 SinceSlicedBread competition recommended developing a fund to help us overcome dependence on foreign oil. "Promoting sustainable localized energy industries (solar, wind, hydro, tidal, biofuels) will provide reliable, clean homegrown energy, exportable technologies, and bring energy jobs home." Sound familiar?

However, it also has a "save our way to prosperity" feel to it. It seems less of a market (read "business") focus - which I feel is an essential component in moving forward. That is - leverage (encourage?) what is great about our capitalist, free-market system to help us solve this grand challenge.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Congress Authorizes "H-Prize"!

During my research into renewable energy, Jonathan Logan suggested that an "H-Prize" be developed. Congress has just authorized such a program! This is great news!

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Unintended Consequences at work again!

Unintended Consequences at work again!

Focusing on the effect...
Contrary as it sounds, (even temporary) elimination of the 18 cents a gallon Federal tax on each gallon of gas "to reduce the effect of high gas prices on consumers" will ultimately result in... you guessed it - higher gas prices. Same as a "windfall profit tax" on oil companies.

Why? Cheap gas keeps us hooked on gasoline as our primary fuel (and we use more!), while higher prices encourage everyone to look for alternatives. With higher prices, we use less gas... bringing a downward pressure to prices! (Simple supply & demand.) If we let market forces work... we will have renewable energy, sooner! Not later! These are just two examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences!

... when we should be focusing on the cause:
The cause of high gas prices is that Americans simply want lots of cheap gas... and will do most anything to keep it that way. That is, our dependence on foreign oil is due to having had so much cheap gas for so long! And it also due to the lack of competing energy sources. (The U.S. Government has been subsidizing Big Oil for a very long time!)

We must break this decades-old cycle! We must take back energy leadership. We must create an Energy Independence Fund. It would be operated like a Venture Capital firm, by business people... with the mission of funding innovation & new technology to enable the U.S. to become a net-exporter of renewable energy. It would be funded by the day to day fluctuations in gas-at-the-pump: about 15 cents a gallon. This EIF would also have the secondary effect of (slightly) dampening demand, thereby putting (lowering) pressure on gas prices.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Well-known VC wants to set up Clean Energy Fund!

Vinod Khosla, from Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, is supporting an initiative to (effectively) set up an energy independence fund for the state of California. The Economist (magazine) recently ran an article about how he plans on supporting this.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wake-up call!

The following URLs are worth taking time to read:

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Americans for Energy Independence

Please check out this website and review (and if you agree) sign their petition!


State of the Union: Close but no cigar!

Some great things were said this time around*... however, the effort does not meet the promise: a "22%" increase in funding is insufficient to make any significant change. A 75% decrease from one region is not the same as becoming an exporter of energy!

Becoming a net-exporter of renewable energy should be our number one national priority. Many other solutions will come from solving overcoming this challenge:

> The safety & security of our nation - due to energy independence - will increase.
> Innovation - to solving myriad technology hurdles - will soar.
> Our trade deficit - will disappear.
> Our economy - will boom.
> Thousands of new jobs - will be added.
> Corporate profitability - will improve.

Please encourage your congressmen & women to present a bold initiative to solve this problem in our lifetime!

* From the State of the Union Address:
"Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Consider donating what you can!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

National Idea "Challenge"

The Energy Independence Fund idea was posted on a national "idea challenge" website. They are looking for fresh, new ideas for a better America. The top 21 ideas will be presented to federal government leaders. Check it out!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Toyota Car Show Highlights Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Moving towards energy independence!

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Oregon's Renewable Energy Action Plan

Check out Oregon's Renewable Energy Action Plan. The document was finalized April, 2005. (Other than the fact the corn ethaonl will cause food prices to increase [due to additional water and land needed], at this point, I have no comment. Please feel free to share your thoughts!)


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Letters delivered to Oregon Senators

Personal letters to the offices of Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith were hand-delivered today - appealing to their bi-partisan approach.

Bipartisan approach:

If you are concerned about this important topic, please follow up with these gentlemen:

Senator Gordon Smith
Washington, DC Office Portland Metro Office
404 Russell Building 121 SW Salmon St., Suite 1250
Washington, DC 20510-3704 Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (202)224-3753 Phone: (503)326-3386

Senator Ron Wyden
Washington, DC Portland Metro Office
230 Dirksen Senate Building 700 NE Multnomah St., Suite 450
Washington, DC 20510-3703 Portland, OR 97232
Phone: (202) 224-5244 Phone: (503) 326-7525


Sunday, July 10, 2005


For a unique approach to our energy problem, visit There, you will find access to detailed research (into "Hydrogen pricing"), as well as how to create and fund an Energy Independence Fund. You will also find a summary 2-page "opinion letter" and links to Senators and Representatives... to get your voice heard.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Let's solve this together!

The United States needs to become a "net-exporter" of renewable energy. This blog seeks to spread the word: to help both major parties come to together… to take bold action in this regard. By developing an “Energy Independence Fund” (as outlined at, the United States can:

- Create new jobs,
- Build the economy,
- Encourage for-profit, market-driven solutions,
- Hold the price of gasoline down: to avoid $10 a gallon, later,

If you have constructive ideas how to bring both Democrats and Republicans together - to solve this long-term problem, please post them, here!

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Friday, June 10, 2005

New idea: How to solve our energy problems

I recently performed research into what people would spend for an "equivalent gallon" of hydrogen (to travel an equivalent distance in their vehicle). From this research, some profound and unexpected results (ah-ha's) came through.

I am looking for feedback on these... I am interested in how to best move forward - with ideas that will help the U.S. become a "net-exporter" of renewable energy, by the year 2025.

Comments, please!

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Consider donating what you can!

This site is funded by readers like you. Please donate whatever you can to keep the truth about energy independence coming to you. Thank you.

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