Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

Renewable Energy, Green

By Russ Finley on Jul 22, 2015 with 29 responses

Everything Old is New Again; Biofuels, Still a Bad Idea

Gorilla at Woodland Park Zoo

Gorilla at Woodland Park Zoo

I recently recieved two emails on the same day; one about more palm oil plantations usurping yet another tropical ecosystem, this time for highly endangered African Gorillas instead of Indonesian Orangutans, and the other from my local Sierra Club asking me to urge my elected representatives to reject a transportation funding bill that would not allow our Governor to mandate the consumption of biofuels. Instead, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times expressing my opposition to a biofuel mandate (which, of course, wasn’t published). I put a copy of that rejected submission at the end of this post as an example of what not to send to the Seattle Times Op Ed department. CONTINUE»

By Russ Finley on Mar 22, 2014 with 46 responses

Will Government Mandated Corn Ethanol Consumption Ever End?


This spring, the EPA will likely reduce the amount of corn ethanol that must be blended into our fuel supply by about 1.3 billion gallons (for a total of about 13 billion gallons) simply because our transportation system can’t absorb any more of it without exceeding a 10% blend, risking damage to cars. This is called the “10% blend wall.” Unlike beef, or chicken, gasoline, or smart phones, ethanol consumption isn’t consumer driven. In general, because consumers could care less about corn ethanol, fuel blenders also could care less about it except as an economically viable anti-knock additive in more modest quantities. They have to be forced to blend more of it by the government. Unless or until some unforeseen consumer demand arises, mandated blending will be necessary to keep the corn ethanol industry solvent.

And just as importantly, where is future growth going to come from? We can’t use all of our corn crop. This isn’t new technology. We’ve been making moonshine by distilling ethanol from fermented seeds and fruit for thousands of years. CONTINUE»

By Russ Finley on Feb 4, 2014 with 11 responses

Maintaining the Grid as Residential Solar Power Increases


Photos courtesy of Activ Solar, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Avinash Kaushik, via Flickr Creative Commons

It makes little sense to be anti-solar energy in this day and age, although it does make sense to do it right. Even solar can be done wrong. Usurping farmland, forest, or pristine desert tortoise habitats for solar should be against the rules.

I was motivated to do this post by a rare, cloudless, 50 degree day in the dead of winter. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 26, 2010 with 32 responses

The U.S. Navy and Biofuels – Part I

Robert Rapier and Sam Avro conducted an interview with the Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Navy (Energy) in which the Navy’s investments in biofuels were discussed.

By Robert Rapier on Oct 8, 2010 with 36 responses

U.S. Navy Pays Big Bucks for Biofuels

The U.S. military, as the single biggest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, are particularly interested in alternatives due to supply risks and price security.

By Samuel R. Avro on Oct 5, 2010 with 2 responses

Obama Gives the Nod: White House Going Solar

The panels will provide hot water and some electricity for use in the White House Residence when installed in the Spring of 2011.

By Samuel R. Avro on Aug 19, 2010 with 28 responses

More than Half of UK’s Wind Farms Built in Areas Not Windy Enough

Britain has 2,906 wind turbines spread over 264 sites with a further 7,000 turbines planned for the next 12 years.

By Samuel R. Avro on Aug 17, 2010 with 8 responses

Obama: Clean Energy Policy Will Lead to 800,000 Jobs in 2 Years

Obama harshly criticized his political opponents for attempting to block the administration’s clean energy policies in Congress.

By Samuel R. Avro on Aug 1, 2010 with 28 responses

Report: Solar Energy Cheaper Than Nuclear Energy

“Solar Energy is Now the Better Buy” after reaching a “Historic Crossover” according to a new study.

By Staff on Jul 21, 2010 with 13 responses

GE Offering $200m for a Smart Energy Idea

GE is offering a $200 million dare to startup entrepreneurs, technology pros and other innovative thinkers: Find a way to “reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed.”