Recruiting and training engineers to build Siemens’ combined-cycle natural gas turbines gets a boost from ‘mechatronics’

When Siemens AG decided to focus the manufacturing of state-of-the-technology combined-cycle natural gas turbines in Charlotte, North Carolina, it encountered difficulty securing the needed technicians and skilled machinists and welders.  It moved quickly to fill the gap with a relatively unique combination of initiatives to identify, recruit, educate and train the personnel who could help […]

Blackouts in PJM are a growing risk without changes reflecting new realities of winter peak demands

The lessons learned and the second-guessing prompted by the polar vortexes that walloped the Eastern U.S. twice in January taught us that the power grid in the Mid-Atlantic states needs — quickly — to recast the rules by which peak power generators can meet demand during the winter months. Peak demands, at least in the […]

Fugitive methane emissions: the achilles’ heal of the natural gas push?

Buoyed by low prices, environmental benefits and thousands of newly created jobs, the push to produce more natural gas in the U.S. is reaching its stride thanks largely to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. But do we understand the implications, some of which might negate the environmental gains? The answer to many objective analysts is: […]

Bloomberg to natural gas industry: stop resisting sensible regulations, join with renewables

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the 2013 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit near Washington, DC to prod the oil and gas industry to stop resisting efforts to forge “sensible” regulations. “We need sound regulation and we need it soon,” he said. While he’s been on the bandwagon for enabling responsible hydraulic fracturing for natural […]

Boone Pickens: focus energy innovation more on cheap, plentiful natural gas made in the U.S.

You may have heard it before from Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens about the potential for natural gas produced in the U.S. But featuring him at this year’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Tuesday near Washington, DC put a new spin on the benefits of America becoming more energy self-sufficient on the backs of the lower-emitting […]

Collaboration on Illinois legislation could achieve standards for regulating hydraulic fracturing

Illinois is on track to go where no push for hydraulic fracturing has gone before in the U.S.: a consensus on how to regulate the controversial practice of injecting chemicals and large amounts of water deep underground to flush out large quantities of natural gas and crude oil. As states such as New York and […]

Risks loom from closure of 25 gigawatts of U.S. coal power plants by 2015 = 8% of capacity

Is there enough natural gas that is findable and deliverable to plug most of the gap created by the projected closure of 25.5 gigawatts (GW) of U.S. generating capacity from coal between now and year-end 2015? That is an increasingly urgent question facing U.S. utilities, power marketers and regulators. The risks of brownouts and perhaps […]

How a company fracks for natural gas determines its corporate social responsibility

As energy producers find more natural gas from shale formations throughout the U.S. and the price of natural gas continues to fall it should be no surprise that a debate looms over how a company fracks for natural gas and whether it is socially responsible. On its face, with sufficient operational and risk controls in […]

The opportunity lost with the Sierra Club’s admitting $25 million in natural gas industry donations

In a perfect world, there would be a quickly scalable source of electricity that would help with transition the world off of old, “dirty,” coal-fired power plants to renewables and other cleaner sources. Natural gas is such a fuel. But it does not come without some serious risks. Take for example the debate over “fracking.” […]

New Jersey Gov. Christie says he has a better way than RGGI to cut carbon emissions

That’s the conclusion one could reach after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the Garden State is withdrawing from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. If he’s right, he may be on to something because he asserted there are better ways to fight global warming, which he says is real and caused by humans. […]