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Posts tagged “Media coverage”

By Robert Rapier on Jan 16, 2012 with 22 responses

Venture Socialism?

With the recently announced foreclosure of Vinod Khosla venture Range Fuels, followed by the fire sale of Range Fuels’ assets to Vinod Khosla venture LanzaTech, I have been getting a lot of calls from reporters wanting to discuss exactly what happened here. After all, well over $300 million was invested into Range Fuels — including tens of millions of taxpayer dollars — and what resulted were assets that were ultimately bought by LanzaTech for about $5 million. Two articles were published over the weekend by journalists I spoke with last week: Georgia failure not the only ethanol misadventure Range Fuels fiasco: Finding renewal energy in Georgia forests didn’t work out This quote caught my eye from one of the articles:… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 19, 2011 with 50 responses

Range Fuels Goes Bust, Harms Biofuels Industry in the Process

Recently it was announced that Range Fuels has gone into foreclosure, thus marking the official end of their story. For all practical purposes, the company has been finished since early 2011, but the foreclosure puts an end to the notion that they will yet rise triumphant from the ashes. Last week, Heather Duncan — a reporter for The Telegraph in Macon, Georgia — called me to discuss the Range story. She has just published an excellent summary of what went wrong at Range Fuels, and what lessons might be learned from their failure: Range Fuels failure raises the question: How much risk should the government take with taxpayer dollars? Here I want to excerpt some of the highlights from her… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 26, 2011 with 54 responses

When Agendas Trump Facts

Lessons Learned From a Recent Paper on Climate Change Actually, the lessons were learned from the media’s reporting — and the reactions to that reporting — of a recent paper on climate change. The paper I am talking about is a study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The title of the study is Coal to gas: The influence of methane leakage. To review, the study looked at the impact of replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas-fired power plants. Natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal per BTU of energy produced, and many therefore argue that natural gas is a good bridge fuel on the way… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 12, 2011 with 74 responses

BOMBSHELL: Solar and Wind Power Would Speed Up, Not Reduce, Global Warming

Study: Coal-Fired Power Plants Emit Pollutants That Keep the Earth Cool (Note: I am amazed that I have to put such a disclaimer in here, but a note for the comprehension-impaired: This is not an article calling for more coal-fired power plants. It is an examination into how the media reported on a recent energy story). I had a tough time picking a good hyperbolic title for this one, because I had my choice of so many good ones. Last week a new study reported that replacing coal with natural gas might actually worsen climate change in the short term. The study was done by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 20, 2011 with 79 responses

Media Misinformation Promotes Dysfunctional Energy Policy

Over the years I have had some enlightening interactions with the news media. I have gradually developed the view that many in the media believe their role is more to entertain than to inform. My naive younger self believed that the media generally presents objective information, which is important to ensure that a well-informed general public makes rational choices. A public that is well-informed about energy issues can elect leaders who legislate sound energy policy. A public that is consistently misinformed on energy issues will elect leaders who legislate the kind of policies that have led us to where we are today. Here I will share three incidents in which the news media put sensationalism ahead of objective journalism. In… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 21, 2011 with 24 responses

Due Diligence: How to Evaluate a Renewable Energy Technology

Doing Due Diligence To people who follow the energy industry closely, it’s a common occurrence to come across announcements from companies proclaiming to have developed the key to the ‘next big thing’ — for solving the world’s energy crisis. Maybe they say they can take any sort of waste biomass and turn it into fuel — ethanol, diesel, pyrolysis oil, mixed alcohols — at very low cost. Or they say they can produce renewable electricity at a price competitive with coal. The layperson reads the news release and is curious: “Is this real?” When I am asked to comment on a press release, I try to be cautious with my opinions until I have peeled the onion a bit. There… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 17, 2011 with 33 responses

The Media’s Role in the Range Fuels Fiasco

Now that it seems that the mainstream media has finally caught on to the fact that something went terribly awry at Range Fuels, it is time for me to close the book on them. This will be my last Range Fuels story, but I think there is a lesson to be learned here. Waiting Until The Fat Lady Sang In the past week, an increasing numbers of stories have covered the Range Fuels affair. The Wall Street Journal’s take was the most high profile coverage: The Range Fuels Fiasco Vinod Khosla stepped in with his hand out. The political venture capitalist founded Range Fuels and in March 2007 it received a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy—one of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 30, 2010 with 24 responses

Rank the Top 10 Energy Stories of 2010

Platts’ annual survey of the Top 10 Energy Stories of 2010 is now open and will remain open until Christmas: The top 10 survey: what were the biggest oil stories of 2010? They listed about 40 stories; I pulled out a list below that I think is worth debating on inclusion in the Top 10. BP Macondo well blows out, rig collapses, 11 men killed, flows for three months Drilling off US Atlantic Coast moves forward before Macondo World demand on steady upward rise, bigger jump seen in ’11 BP sets huge asset sales, sets up fund to deal with spill claims Peak oil prophet Matt Simmons dies Bakken production grows, producers turn to rail to move oil to market… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 28, 2009 with no responses

Transcript from My EIA Panel Session

I only recently became aware that the 2009 Energy Conference put on by the Energy Information Administration has posted the audio and transcripts of all of the sessions. You can hear the audio or download the transcript from my session – Energy and the Media – here. I summarized the overall conference in two posts right after the conference: The 2009 EIA Energy Conference: Day 1 The 2009 EIA Energy Conference: Day 2 My fellow panelists were Steven Mufson from the Washington Post; Eric Pooley from Harvard, (and the former managing editor of Fortune); and Barbara Hagenbaugh from USA Today. The panel was moderated by John Anderson of Resources for the Future (and a long-time reporter and editorial writer for… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 24, 2009 with no responses

My Top 10 Energy Related Stories of 2009

Here are my choices for the Top 10 energy related stories of 2009. Previously I listed how I voted in Platt’s Top 10 poll, but my list is a bit different from theirs. I have a couple of stories here that they didn’t list, and I combined some topics. And don’t get too hung up on the relative rankings. You can make arguments that some stories should be higher than others, but I gave less consideration to whether 6 should be ahead of 7 (for example) than just making sure the important stories were listed. 1. Volatility in the oil markets My top choice for this year is the same as my top choice from last year. While not as… Continue»