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The Morning Feedstock

Daniel Englander: May 21, 2008, 12:01 AM
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom engaged in some high profile saber rattling yesterday at a joint EU-Russia energy conference. Gazprom director Stanislav Tsygankov told the conference current EU proposals to force European utilities to unbundle power generation from transmission and distribution networks would create "instability and unpredictability" in the power sector. The gas giant has considerable sway over EU energy policy, as countries like Belgium, Germany, and the UK, among others, rely on Gazprom for as much as 45 percent of their total gas imports. In 2006, Gazprom shut off gas supplies to the Ukraine because of a pipeline dispute, sending prices on the Continent surging...

Green drywall maker eyes windows, insulation

Michael Kanellos: May 20, 2008, 10:40 AM

Serious Materials, the green drywall guys, want to expand.

“We find insulation very interesting,??? said Kevin Surace, CEO of Serious Materials, which has developed a technique for making drywall that consumes almost no fossil fuel, during a session at the Environmental Ventures conference sponsored by Dow Jones taking place in San Mateo.

The Silicon Valley company has raised $60 million from Foundation Capital among others as part of an effort to become the green building material king. Buildings consume roughly 40 percent of the power generated in the U.S. and that’s just the energy used to run the buildings. Construction and building materials gobble up another 12...

Sal DiMasi’s Green Jobs Bill Mandates Cake, Eating Too

Daniel Englander: May 20, 2008, 9:25 AM
Yesterday Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi, flanked by Gov. Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray, held a press conference introducing the Speaker's $100 million green jobs bill. DiMasi, speaking at the press conference, said the bill "combines our commitment to jobs creation and economic development with our duty to protect the environment and increase energy efficiency." All good things, right? Certainly the Massachusetts greentech sector, which is "poised to be the 10th largest cluster in the state" (pdf) with 14,400 jobs created so far, needs ongoing support for both economic and environmental reasons. The support itself, which calls for the creation of a Clean...

Our Long, Tortured, Corn-Based History

Daniel Englander: May 20, 2008, 6:20 AM
In 40,000 years, after the last of the Himalayas have disappeared under the Indian Ocean, and future generations with webbed feet and gills rule the world from their outposts on rusted-out oil platforms, the memory of corn will have long been forgotten. Perhaps it will survive as a chapter in some elementary school history book - "The Cult of Corn," or possibly "Corn: God of the Ancients" - though it's doubtful anyone will understand our close, personal relationship with the cereal grain. I certainly don't. What's interesting about our addiction to corn are the steps government bodies have taken to maintain corn prices at artificially low levels. And there are several examples....