THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES SUMMIT ON America’s Energy Future Summary of a Meeting (2008)

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments

Here’s a news release dated 21 May 2008 from the US Council on Foreign Relations titled Canadian Oil Sands: Energy Security and Climate Change Concerns Can be Reconciled, Says New CFR Report

In the midst of heated debate over the future of the Canadian oil sands, a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) says that prudent greenhouse gas regulations can safely limit emissions while allowing for robust development of the oil sands.

The report argues that oil sands production delivers both energy security benefits and climate change damages, but warns that both are often overstated. “For the near future, the economic and security value of oil sands expansion will likely outweigh the climate damages that the oil sands create,” it says, “but climate concerns cannot and must not be ignored, and will become more important over time.” Policymakers, it emphasizes, must carefully balance the two concerns.

“Smart regulation can place a fair and reasonable price on the oil sands’ greenhouse gas emissions, providing the right incentive to reduce them,” says Michael A. Levi, CFR’s David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment and the report’s author, “but ill-conceived regulation could undermine U.S. and Canadian climate and security goals.” He argues that it is important to integrate U.S. and Canadian cap-and-trade systems, while warning against the risks of a Canada-only cap-and-trade scheme and against an ill-designed U.S. low-carbon fuel standard.

It refers to the report by Michael A. Levi titled The Canadian Oil Sands – Energy Security vs. Climate Change


Here’s a press conference webcast, 8 December 2008, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznan, Poland

United Nations Environment Programme: solar industry and the global adoption of solar technology

Speakers discuss the state of the art for photovoltaic solar power, including economic feasibility.
Approximate running time, 25 minutes.

How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin: Pipelines, Refineries and Emissions to Air And Water

Read the report presented at the Munk Centre 8 Oct. 2008 conference:
“Refineries in the Great Lakes Basin are rapidly expanding to accommodate crude oil from the Alberta oil sands. … How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin: Pipelines, Refineries and Emissions to Air And Water, is intended to provide an opportunity, in a university setting, to inform public opinion about the impacts of refinery expansion in the Basin, drawing on data analysis, shared information and public discussion. Emphasis will be placed on the cumulative effect of refinery expansions on water quality, air quality and human and non-human downwind communities in the Basin.”
Click here to see the archived webcast of the conference.

WIRED Magazine: Driven: Shai Agassi’s Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road

He believes it just might be possible to get the entire world off oil. For good.

Agassi’s interest in energy is new. In 2005, he joined Young Global Leaders, an invitation-only group for politicians and businesspeople under 40. The four-day induction seminar was held at the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt. Between lectures, YGLs like Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström and NBA star Dikembe Mutombo pledged to find ways to “make the world a better place” by 2020. Agassi’s assignment was the environment, and he quickly focused in on climate change.

Most left the event and just poked around in their own industries, looking for small tweaks and improvements. But Agassi wanted something bigger. Back home in Silicon Valley, his day job involved coaxing SAP into the Web 2.0 era. But after Zermatt, his nights were devoted to dinners with energy experts, books on energy policy, and sessions on Wikipedia, learning everything he could about the carbon economy. Getting off oil was the key, he decided. But how? He started by looking at cutting energy usage in the home, then moved to a more tempting target: transportation. Was hydrogen the answer? What about embedding power in the street—like slot cars? Could more be done with biofuels? Agassi kept a running file on his home PC and began working on a series of white papers.

The problem, he decided, was oil-consuming, CO2-spewing cars. The solution was to get rid of them. Not just some, and not just by substituting hybrids or flex fuels. No half measures. The internal combustion engine had to be retired. The future was in electric cars.

Visit Better Place:
ontario and better place drive toward the car 2.0 model in canada

10 Big Energy Myths
Renewable energy versus conventional energy. The myths are abundant and grow like vegetables in a greenhouse. Take a hike through the carbon jungle and find out what’s right or wrong.

  • Myth 1: solar power is too expensive to be of much use.
  • Myth 2: wind power is too unreliable.
  • Myth 3: marine energy is a dead-end.
  • Myth 4: nuclear power is cheaper than other low-carbon sources of electricity.
  • Myth 5: electric cars are slow and ugly.
  • Myth 6: biofuels are always destructive to the environment.
  • Myth 7: climate change means we need more organic agriculture.
  • Myth 8: zero carbon homes are the best way of dealing with greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
  • Myth 9: the most efficient power stations are big.
  • Myth 10: all proposed solutions to climate change need to be hi-tech.

SciAm : How Renewable Energy and Storage Solutions Stack Up
SciAm : How Renewable Energy and Storage Solutions Stack Up (Slideshow)

The need to tackle global climate change and energy security makes developing alternatives to fossil fuels crucial

2009-03-11 – New renewables to power 40 per cent of global electricity demand by 2050
With global cooperation and investment, renewables’ share will exceed all previous estimates

From the ClimateChange International Scientific Congress: With adequate financial and political support, renewable energy technologies like wind and photovoltaics could supply 40 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, according to findings from the International Scientific Congress “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions.” However, if such technologies are marginalized, its share is likely to hover below 15 percent. …

Within biofuels and biomass, research conducted by Jeanette Whitaker of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster, UK found that second generation biofuels, such as ethanol from woody crops/straw, had substantially lower energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions than first generation biofuels, such as ethanol made from foodstuffs, for example wheat and sugar beet.

“These findings are important and relevant, as the current biofuel debate has centered on the issue of the competing need for crops to be used for food versus fuel,” said Whitaker.

2008-07-02 – Garbage In, Megawatts Out
Ottawa will build the first gasification facility in North America to make energy from waste.

This week, city counselors in Ottawa, Ontario, unanimously approved a new waste-to-energy facility that will turn 400 metric tons of garbage per day into 21 megawatts of net electricity–enough to power about 19,000 homes. Rather than burning trash to generate heat, as with an incinerator, the facility proposed by Ottawa-based PlascoEnergy Group employs electric-plasma torches to gasify the municipal waste and enlist the gas to generate electricity. PlascoEnergy started looking at gasification for municipal solid waste five years ago, when it determined through simulation that cooler plasma torches could do the job. “The amount of heat required to separate gases from solids was much less than the amount being delivered when the purpose was simply to destroy the material,” says Bryden. PlascoEnergy tested the models on its five-metric-ton-per-day pilot plant in Castellgali, Spain (jointly operated with Hera Holdings, Spain’s second largest waste handler). In January, the company began large-scale trials in a 100-metric-ton-per-day demonstration plant built in partnership with the city of Ottawa.


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