Excerpts from the Center for American Progress Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

by John Brian Shannon

“Developing just 54 gigawatts of offshore wind in Atlantic waters would generate $200 billion in economic activity and create 43,000 permanent, well-paid technical jobs, in addition to displacing the annual output of 52 coal-fired power plants.” — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

I have selected excerpts from this report, which you can read below. I suggest you read or download the entire report in PDF form, click here:

Excerpts from the Southeast: Energy efficiency and smart grid

The Southeast, a region historically dependent on fossil fuels, has become a leader in the emerging field of smart-grid technology—which is at the center of the impending wholesale modernization of our electric infrastructure. An enhanced commitment to regional smart-grid innovation, manufacturing, and deployment, coupled with a robust plan to address the region’s traditional energy efficiency shortfall, point to an economic and environmental boon. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

• The Southeast boasts more firms across the high-tech smart-grid value chain than any other region. Continuing to lead this transition offers the opportunity to create jobs across a range of skill-levels and fields; to diversify existing companies and to build new ones; to improve quality of life by connecting home, utility, renewable, and vehicle technology; and to reap the environmental and cost-saving benefits of using our resources more efficiently. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

• At the same time, addressing the region’s serious shortfall in implementing conventional energy efficiency policies provides a tremendous and complementary economic and environmental opportunity. A study by Georgia Tech and Duke University showed the potential to cut energy use across the region by 16 percent in 2030. This would result in annual consumer savings of $71 billion and lead to the creation of 520,000 jobs by 2030. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

Excerpts from the Midwest: Advanced Vehicles

The auto industry revival that is taking place in the Midwest is proof that states and the nation prosper when we make energy choices that take the American people, our economy, and our outdoor heritage forward together. Having recovered from near bankruptcy less than three years ago, the auto industry is now profitable, sales are rebounding, and fuel-economy projections have exceeded expectations. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

In addition to revitalizing American manufacturing, the deep oil savings from vehicles being built now under strong new fuel-economy standards will mean net savings to consumers of more than $54 billion a year in 2030 and will add 570,000 jobs to the economy. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

Excerpts from Mountain West: Wind and solar development and distribution

The Mountain West is experiencing firsthand the economic and environmental benefits of transitioning to low-carbon energy sources. Continuing this shift will be critical—the West is already experiencing serious damage from climate change and would face an even grimmer future if the nation turns its back on clean renewable energy in favor of a continued reliance on dirty fuels. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

• The West boasts nearly unlimited renewable energy resources—particularly wind, solar, and geothermal—that promise a brighter economic future than is possible with fossil fuels. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory identified 11,788 megawatts of nonhydro renewable energy projects either under construction or in advanced development in the region. Using the Electric Power Research Institute’s estimates of jobs per megawatt, these projects represent 71,872 jobs. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

Excerpt from the Pacific Coast: Solar power innovation and installation

The Pacific Coast and the adjoining western states are referred to as the “sun belt” for a reason. Capitalizing on that abundant solar resource is paying huge dividends for the region—providing jobs, spurring new industries, and spawning new innovative technologies. Abundant resources and aggressive renewable energy standards, including incentives for both utility-scale and small-scale rooftop solar, position the region to build on its current status as a national leader in solar energy installation and generation. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

• The solar industry in California has experienced significant growth over the past 15 years. Since 1995 the number of solar businesses grew by 171 percent, and total employment jumped by 166 percent. As a point of comparison, the total number of California businesses has grown by 70 percent, and employment has increased by 12 percent. — Center for American Progress – Fact Sheet/Regional Energy, National Solutions

To read or download the entire report in PDF form, click here.

An Assessment Just Waiting to Happen

by John Brian Shannon

What is the matter with energy? A scientist might say, what is the energy with matter?

There are really only two things in the universe. One is matter and the other is energy. All matter can be turned into energy if you have a large enough or sophisticated enough machine available.

Take the Sun for example. It is a big, hot ball of nuclear fusion taking place somewhere in space not too far away from us, thankfully. If it were too far away, we wouldn’t receive enough energy (mostly in the form of heat and visible, infrared and UV light) to support the many life forms on this planet.

So is the Sun matter, or energy? Our Sun is made up of matter which produces energy using the nuclear fusion process which takes place there on a huge scale.

Our Sun produces energy from its mass using fusion while today’s nuclear reactors produce energy from matter using a highly-efficient process — nuclear fission. Nuclear physics is used to enhance energy production from matter and this process requires certain metallic elements for maximum efficiency.

When we discuss electrical power generation using nuclear power, there are really only a few downsides. All of which cost you a lot of money, unfortunately, as some costs are paid by taxpayers (government-funded R&D and national security, to name just two) while other costs are in the form of electrical bills, paid by electricity users.

One of the highest costs has been the research and development of nuclear materials and nuclear power plant design/engineering to provide electrical power for cities and towns, which began in the cold War era. The United States has borne much of the cost of nuclear power research in the Western nations over the past decades. Such R&D is very costly and continues.

The various fuels used in nuclear reactors are (like many things) hazardous if misused. A crude nuclear bomb, one that a domestic or foreign terrorist could make from a new or ‘spent’ nuclear fuel rod requires a full-blanket approach to security of nuclear plants, processing facilities, transportation of nuclear materials and even uranium mines, which translates to high costs.

Another high cost are the power plants themselves, which must first of all be constructed with very high security in mind, have locations near waterways and the very high levels of design and engineering required for dealing with nuclear materials combine to add to the costs involved.

So far, so good. Because thus far, nuclear power plants in the U.S. and the rest of the Western world have thrived and produced profit for their investors. Whether government or privately-owned, nuclear power is so efficient and has such a small carbon footprint, that it would be almost unimaginable to not have had them adding baseline load to Western power grids all along. Yes, they have been that good, and, for that long!

There is one unsolved externality with regards to nuclear power; What to do with the spent rods? This is one kind of cost which could turn out to become larger than all the other costs put together – IF this part of the nuclear equation isn’t handled properly.

Or, if handled properly, and recognized for the true resource it really is, it could spark a renewed interest in nuclear energy AND could become the greater part of a solution to the entire spent fuel problem!

For decades people have been rightly concerned about the thousands of tons of so-called spent nuclear fuel stockpiles just sitting around in astronomically expensive storage facilities in many Western nations. Which is where some of it must stay for up to 20,000 years or longer, in massive air-conditioned underground bunkers. Were the A/C shut down for more than 36 hours — even once, a catastrophic event of national proportions could occur.

The amount of energy which could be extracted from this spent fuel is truly mind-boggling. With careful usage, these presently useless and costly-to-store materials could power much of North America for decades.

Yes, some government subsidy money would be required in order to ‘burn’ these partially-spent fuel rods and produce plenty of power from them until they are only slightly radioactive and infinitely safer to dispose of – but that will pale in comparison to the amount of subsidy money the U.S. government already spends to securely store, monitor and keep cool, spent nuclear fuel rods for up to 20,000 years!

There are tons of very expensive and toxic matter that is presently sitting around, costing uncountable billions to store and becoming ever more unstable as time goes by. It can become one of the nation’s prime sources of energy by re-processing it and ‘burning it’ as nuclear power generation fuel, and doing so will dramatically increase America’s energy and environmental security.

Which is why I respectfully call on President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to call for an assessment of all spent, otherwise unused, or unusable, processed nuclear materials of any kind, in the U.S. – much of which could be re-processed or used ‘as is’ for electrical power generation by a new generation of American SMR nuclear reactors, thereby solving the ‘thus far unsolved’ externalities of nuclear power.

John Brian Shannon

ABOUT JOHN BRIAN SHANNON

I write about green energy, sustainable development and economics. My blogs appear in the Arabian Gazette, EcoPoint, EnergyBoom, Huffington Post, United Nations Development Programme, WACSI — and other quality publications.

“It is important to assist all levels of government and the business community to find sustainable ways forward for industry and consumers.”

Green Energy blog: http://johnbrianshannon.com
Economics blog: https://jbsnews.wordpress.com
Twitter: @JBSCanada

Cited in a United Nations Development Programme Report

by John Brian Shannon

United Nations

In July of this year, the UN asked me to contribute an article to the United Nations Development Programme — and it is now published in a 60-page report.

I’m in the credits on page 2 and my article is published in full starting on page 26. The full report is downloadable as a PDF. Click here to download — you may need to click again when a new window opens.

GREEN ECONOMY IN ACTION: Articles and Excerpts that Illustrate Green Economy and Sustainable Development Efforts
August 2012

I would like to thank Hussein Abaza, who is the former Chief of the Economics and Trade Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and a person who has contributed unstintingly in the service of our civilization in several UN organizations for over 30 years.

I would be remiss if I did not express my appreciation to Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, Environment and Energy Group Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme.

Grateful thanks also to Marjolaine Côté, Special Assistant to the Director Environment and Energy Group Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme.

Thanks due to Serena Bedwal, Environment and Energy Group Bureau for Development Policy United Nations Development Programme

Many thanks to Danielle Crittenden my Managing Editor at Huffington Post Canada who was the first editor to approve and publish the first version of this article which was titled As China Goes Green What Is Canada Waiting For?

I also owe thanks to Emma Ellwood-Russell, my editor at EcoPoint™ who published a later version of this article titled China Goes Green and to EnergyBoom.com which also published the last variant of this article China Motivated to Adopt Sustainable Energy Solutions.

The UNDP elected to generously provide a link to the EcoPoint™ website in the United Nations Development Programme report.

Please take a few moments to look over this 60 page report. I would be very interested to hear your comments about any part of it. Thank you.

John Brian Shannon

Related articles
ABOUT JOHN BRIAN SHANNON

I write about green energy, sustainable development and economics. My blogs appear in the Arabian Gazette, EcoPoint, EnergyBoom, Huffington Post, United Nations Development Programme, WACSI — and other quality publications.

“It is important to assist all levels of government and the business community to find sustainable ways forward for industry and consumers.”

Green Energy blog: http://johnbrianshannon.com
Economics blog: https://jbsnews.wordpress.com
Twitter: @JBSCanada

Why Resource-based Economies Need Tariffs

by John Brian Shannon

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics and Professor at Columbia University has noted the problems inherent to resource-based economies in his recent and excellent article; “From Resource Curse to Blessing” which I urge you to read. Early into his piece, he says;

“On average, resource-rich countries have done even more poorly than countries without resources. They have grown more slowly, and with greater inequality – just the opposite of what one would expect.” — Stiglitz

The usual solution to the inevitable slowing of a resource-based economy is to facilitate ever more extraction — in the hopes that more resource dollars will stimulate growth and compensate for the lack of progress in other sectors.

Time and time again this fails to work and to make matters worse, other sectors of the economy grow weaker in almost direct correlation with mounting resource exports. Manufacturing often takes the greatest hit.

Moreover, resource-rich countries often do not pursue sustainable growth strategies. They fail to recognize that if they do not reinvest their resource wealth into productive investments above ground, they are actually becoming poorer. Political dysfunction exacerbates the problem, as conflict over access to resource rents gives rise to corrupt and undemocratic governments. — Stiglitz

The government line on this is usually; “We should concentrate on what we do best.” Which is fine except that in so doing, the rest of the economy slowly slips toward the day when the government must then announce; ‘The majority of the resources are gone, we now must rebuild our economy from scratch.” This is when economists are finally consulted and listened to — but are then expected to solve the entire problem by the weekend, with nothing more than a magic wand and an algebraic/transcendental incantation.

Resource-based economies should commit to robust and long-term economic development throughout the economy well before such cantrip is required.

Real development requires exploring all possible linkages: training local workers, developing small and medium-size enterprises to provide inputs for mining operations and oil and gas companies, domestic processing, and integrating the natural resources into the country’s economic structure. Of course, today, these countries may not have a comparative advantage in many of these activities, and some will argue that countries should stick to their strengths. From this perspective, these countries’ comparative advantage is having other countries exploit their resources.

That is wrong. What matters is dynamic comparative advantage, or comparative advantage in the long run, which can be shaped. Forty years ago, South Korea had a comparative advantage in growing rice. Had it stuck to that strength, it would not be the industrial giant that it is today. It might be the world’s most efficient rice grower, but it would still be poor. — Stiglitz

The problem of course, is how to fund the necessary investment in the non-resource economy. And what level of funding do non-resource sectors enjoy at the present? Less than you might imagine.

Of all solutions, the simplest usually work best. Which is why a nominal export tax is a necessary ingredient to any resource-based economy to assist the national economy maintain a quantitative balance.

After all, taxing natural resources at high rates will not cause them to disappear, which means that countries whose major source of revenue is natural resources can use them to finance education, health care, development, and redistribution. — Stiglitz

There is little need for domestic resource taxes in nations where the majority of resources are exported. Such ‘recycling’ of citizen’s money adds little ‘new money’ to the economy and irritates voters, while the most efficient economic performance enhancement available comes from export tariffs and FDI.

Both export tariffs and FDI revenue streams represent new money entering the system which means unlike domestic taxation, citizens are not paying for other citizens employment programs — foreign interests will be paying that bill.

When resource-based economies implement a 5% to 8% export tariff on every exported tonne of coal/metals/minerals, or barrel of oil, their economies will fire on all cylinders — and with little complaint from the rapidly growing and resource-hungry nations.

John Brian Shannon

Fascinating Political and Energy Read by Oilprice.com

Republished for your information (with the kind permission of James Stafford of Oilprice.com) is the always fascinating Oilprice.com newsletter — complete with an informative article about the recent scientific, political and economic progress of algae-sourced biofuel in the United States.

I highly recommend you visit and bookmark oilprice.com as it publishes information ahead of the mainstream media, it has excellent links and is a respected source for up-to-date information about the energy industry and the politics surrounding it. Visit oilprice.com here…

John Brian Shannon

Oilprice.com is wholly responsible for the article, the imagery and the opinions contained below.

OIL PRICE.com

Dear OilPrice Reader,

Energy Intelligence Report                   Newsletter #130  /  4th August 2012

Like Oilprice.com Intelligence Report: Algae Growing on Investors as Technology Advances on Facebook

Greetings from London.It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the energy world with yo-yoing oil prices, increasing geopolitical tensions, India’s power cut and a host of other topics keeping our editorial team on their toes.We have put together an interesting investment report for you below that takes a look at the advances made in the algae biofuels sector and why recent technical advances and strategic partnerships have made this an area investors should start paying attention to.But before we get to that here is what’s been happening in the energy world:This week was a busy one for US energy policy, and renewable energy tax credits were the focus of legislative battles and Obama-Romney campaign rhetoric. Republicans in the Senate dealt Romney a blow when the Senate Finance Committee passed a one-year extension of the wind energy tax credit. The deciding factor was when Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa—where wind energy creates thousands of jobs—threatened to side with the Democrats if Team Romney insisted on removing the $3.3 million tax break.Also included in the tax break package is a proposal that would boost development in the biofuels sector and include algae among the lists of biomass for biofuels production for the first time. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee submitted a proposal to extend the $1/gallon biodiesel tax credit and to include algae, extending the tax credit for another year after its expiration on 31 December 2013 and retroactively to 31 December 2011.The tax package passed the committee on Thursday in a 19-5 vote. When the Senate returns in September, this will be a top legislative priority.Solyndra was also a major feature of this week’s DC energy news, with the release of a House GOP report on the government’s backing of the failed solar firm. The report details what it calls a “cautionary tale” of political pressure and misguided policy that cost taxpayers half a billion dollars. The report, the result of an 18-month investigation, failed to find concrete evidence to support GOP allegations that Obama administration officials funded Solyndra in return for campaign donations.Elsewhere in the world, the geopolitical energy dynamic that is culminating in a fast-moving showdown between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq deserves particular attention. The mainstream media is just now catching up to this development, which Oilprice.com has covered extensively over the past couple of months. Notably, since ExxonMobil provoked the ire of Baghdad in October by cutting a deal with the KRG and bypassing the Iraqi central government, the past couple of months have seen this trend increase greatly in momentum, with Chevron, Total and Gazprom Neft following in ExxonMobil’s footsteps.This is the number one geopolitical game to monitor at present. Baghdad is attempting to regain the advantage by banning oil companies working with the KRG from involvement in Iraqi national oil ministry deals. So far, this threat has not proved a sufficient deterrent. This is a dangerous geopolitical game on the part of the oil majors and particularly the US and Turkey, which are supporting this maneuvering, the implications of which will have long-term consequences.That’s it for the news this week.I wanted to take the opportunity to mention our forum again which is growing very quickly with more industry professionals, investors, traders and energy news enthusiasts joining on a daily basis. Please do take a moment to stop by and join in the conversation. Click here to visit the forum.I hope you enjoy this week’s report below and have a great weekend.James Stafford
Editor, Oilprice.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/oilandenergy
Discuss: http://oilprice.com/discussion

Algae Growing on Investors as Technology Advances

It’s been a long and challenging road, but algae biofuels are finally at the point where investors should take notice as technology advances and variety of strategic partnerships—from oil and gas to power utilities, agricultural processes and chemical plants–are replacing subsidies to eventually make the industry commercially viable on its own merits.

Algae produces some carbon dioxide when burned, but it takes the same carbon dioxide in to grow. So when algae farms grow massive quantities to be turned into biofuels, the end result is that they actually suck greenhouse gas out of the air. It also has other advantages over biofuels from corn or soybeans, in that it does not require soil or fresh water to grow. It also has the potential to produce more energy per hectare than any land crop.

Currently, high cost of capital and operations limit bio-based materials and chemicals to a few facilities located where corn and cane are plentiful and cheap. Algae can change that.

All that’s been missing is the necessary technology to harness mass production.

A recent study put out by the respected energy research firm SBI predicts a compound annual growth rate of 43.1% and a $1.6 billion market in 2015 for algae biofuels. That is double digit growth for the emerging industry, which is receiving a sizable development boost as strategic partnerships are gradually replacing the millions in loans from the US Department of Energy since 2009.

SBI’s “Algae Biofuels Technologies: Global Market and Product Trends 2010-2015” specifically points out that the production of algae for biofuels is the “most viable and attractive” of biofuels because of its high yield per acre and minimum environmental impact.

“Strategic partnerships from ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Dow Chemical, Desmet Ballestra and many others will drive the investment needed to successfully commercialise algae biofuels. Private investment and venture capital will also provide funding through 2015,” according to SBI.

One particular area of promising investment is the technology being developed to harness algae’s potential.

One example is the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs (INL) purchase order of two test-scale units for dewatering algae and removing contaminants from frack water from Origin Oil, Inc. The significance of this is that it boosts algae technological development as Origin Oil focuses both on cleantech processes for oil and gas and for harvesting algae.

INL is optimistic that the new equipment would significantly reduce the algal dewatering barrier, which in turn would allow for the dewatering of larger quantities of algae for use in the production of feedstocks blended from algae biomass. A key problem contributing to costs is the quick evaporation of pond water, which is expensive to continually replenish.

This is a strategic partnership between OriginOil and the INL, via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Specifically, OriginOil’s Algae Appliance Model 4 can continuously concentrate up to four liters of algae production per minute. OriginOil also has a joint venture in Ennesys, in Paris, where it is testing algae in urban energy generation also using the Algae Appliance Model 4.

Another boost to the industry is the 2 August Senate Finance Committee mark-up of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which contained a proposal to extend the $1/gallon biodiesel tax credit and make algae eligible for the credit. The proposal extends the tax credit for another year after it expires on 31 December 2013 and is effective retroactively to 31 December 2011. In addition, the algae tax credit will apply to producers who sell their fuel to refineries for further processing, rather than only to producers selling for end use as a fuel. This is a significant point and a significant victory for the biofuels industry.

There are plenty of naysayers, particularly when it comes to the current cost of using algae in biofuels production. According to Lux Research, right now algae is a “cost-intensive loser”. Lux analysts claim that algae cultivation yields a 48% loss because of the high capital costs for growing algae at an industrial scale. They put the price at about $202,000 per hectare.

The costs are high for the time being, but we view investment from a development perspective and we see forward movement in this emerging industry and are particularly upbeat about the shift away from energy department loans to strategic partnerships that will work to tap the vast potential of algae for biofuels production and render it commercially viable. Getting in now on the technology will translate into an advantage.

Check out the 6th Annual Algae Biomass Summit in Denver, Colorado from 24-27 September for more insight into technological advances and how innovators are working to unlock the full potential of algae as a feedstock for fuel, food and other co-products.

By. Oilprice.com analysts