This Week in Energy: U.S. Military to Spend Big on Alternative Energy
This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Most of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page.
The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues, and community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com .
Military and DoE Studies
- According to a new study: From Barracks to Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces [PDF], by Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.S. Defense Department could spend upwards of $10 billion annually on alternative energy by the year 2030. The DoD spent $15.2 billion on energy in 2010, with 74% of it going for operations and the remainder to facilities. The Navy and Air Force are trying to displace some of their petroleum usage by attempting to kick-start a new biofuel industry.
- The Department of Energy released it’s first ever Quadrennial Technology Review [PDF]. Media coverage on the report focused on various points:
NY Times: Report Says Vehicle Fuel Should Be the Priority, Not Electricity
Reuters: U.S. To Do More Research On Electric Vehicles
Bloomberg: Energy Department Finds It’s Too Focused on Far-Off Technology
Commodity Speculation, Rapier Interview, Peak Oil, Oil Prices to Blame for Poverty
- Researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that “over one-third of the increase in the U.S. poverty rate in 2010 resulted from the rapid rebound in oil prices.”
- The NY Times wrote that a new rule proposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will encourage — rather than reduce — speculation in the commodities markets.
- Robert Rapier shared his views on Hawaii’s energy situation, his home state, in the form of a Q&A.
- Interesting article about the non-conventional public view that John Hess, the CEO of Hess Corp., is taking in regards to the challenges posed by Peak Oil, including three facts the world needs to face. The comments from Mr. Hess were from a 2009 speech, but have proven timely nonetheless.
Fukushima, 94 MPG Hybrid, Solyndra, Solar Cost Parity With Fossil Fuels
- A Republican member of the the House Energy and Commerce Committee is calling on the Obama Administration to appoint an independent investigator to examine the administration’s decision to approve a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra. The NY Times says that in its rush to assist Solyndra, the government missed signs it should have noticed. The Washington Post wrote that some clean-energy firms found the U.S. loan-guarantee program to be a bad bet. California Treasurer Bill Lockyer called for a “pause” in the state clean-energy program that had provided Solyndra a $25.1 million tax break.
- The DoE rejected a loan guarantee to SolarCity in the Wake of Solyndra’s Bankruptcy.
- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Solar Power On Track For Cost Parity With Fossil Fuels.
- Bloomberg took an in-depth look at Fukushima, six months after the tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The article tells the tale of a devastated $3.2 billion-a-year farm industry, the desolate 12 mile no-go zone where 160,000 inhabitants have been evacuated and tourists that used to hike the mountains and surfed off the beaches are nowhere to be seen. Regardless of whether you fall into the pro- or anti-nuclear camp, the article is worth a read if you’re interested in seeing how that area has been affected.
- Ford’s CEO said his company may manufacture electric cars in China.
- Toyota’s next hybrid, called the Aqua, will be the king of fuel economy, netting 94 MPG (h/t to forum member Benny BND Cole).