What if U.S. needs new, real, money in 2013? Carbon tax could become ‘least, terrible’ option

As the next Congress goes to work in January 2013, this scenario could play out almost purely because it makes the ‘math’ work for a workable fiscal policy. If Barack Obama is re-elected President and Democrats regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives — or not — there almost surely will come a time when […]

Option for reducing reliability risks from retiring U.S. coal-fired power plants: market-based compliance credits

What if there were an incentive to retire dirty, coal-fired power plants in the U.S. years ahead of new mercury and toxic emission standards and compliance dates issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) December 16? Such an incentive could make it profitable for forward-thinking energy utility executives, using tradable credits, to hasten the […]

FAST FIX: At least 32 coal-fired power plants in U.S. headed for closure due to new EPA pollution rules

The hotly debated Air Toxics Rule and Cross State Air Pollution Rule now slated for enactment in three years by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are destined to close at least 32 coal-fired power plants throughout the U.S. each with an average age of 51 years. This according to a survey of 55 power plant […]

After Bluewater offshore wind retreat by NRG Energy, what is next shoe to drop in the U.S.?

“Financially untenable” is how NRG Energy updates its outlook for what was a planned array of wind turbines offshore Delaware. And with that prognosis, the future of wind energy off the U.S. East Coast is very much in doubt. While the project’s fate may have been cast when the U.S. Department of Energy rejected its […]

What to make of Chevy Volt’s ignitable battery pack? Consumer confidence hangs in the balance

Just as more brands of hybrid and electric vehicles are gaining real momentum in the U.S., questions raised by the Chevy Volt’s ignitable batter pack pose serious challenges to General Motors and perhaps the entire auto sector. What to make of it? After several test crashes damaged the Volt’s battery pack, coolant leaked in each […]

Try your hand at National Geographic’s 2011 Energy News Quiz

Time for something different  . . .  from a source you may not be familiar with, at least about energy: hat’s off to National Geographic magazine. Try your own hand at these 10 questions, without searching for the answers. “Great Energy Challenge” 2011 News Quiz questions (answers at the end of this post): 1. How […]

Dark clouds portend challenging 2012 and beyond for America’s renewable energy industries

Be sure to gauge the tall hurdles American renewable energy industries face in 2012 and beyond here which I wrote for my colleagues and friends at EnergyCentral.com and their daily e-newsletter at RenewablesBiz.com.

Coal miner’s life worth $1.5 million in $200 million settlement of Upper Big Branch mine disaster

Coming 104 years to the day after the deadliest U.S. coal mine disaster ever, in West Virginia, the U.S. Attorney said today the Federal government reached a $209 million civil and criminal settlement with Alpha Natural Resources over the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine — also in West Virginia — which […]

How much do U.S. energy consumers lose if SolarWorld secures solar panel import fee? Preliminary duty decision expected late March

With the unanimous 6-0 decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission December 2 enabling a thorough probe of claims that Chinese solar panel manufacturers are ‘dumping’ their products in the U.S. market at below the cost of making and marketing them, an all-out trade war looms. Without long-term, innovative thinking by both sides, the ultimate […]

EPA emissions rules igniting protests about grid reliability from guess who: coal-fired utilities

Once again the BENEFITS of cleaner power generation in the U.S. are absent from an escalating debate over court-ordered clean air rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to be finalized by December 16, 2011. This time it’s about reliability. For the most part, it’s a smog screen designed to distract from the far […]