Recent Posts:

Drill, Baby, Drill

Eric Wesoff: February 19, 2009, 11:19 AM
Midday events at Stanford University attract a crowd of students, professors, George Schultz in a red jacket and a bunch of retirees.  I mean, who else can attend a speech by the CEO of ExxonMobil in the middle of the day? Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil recited a speech on Tuesday afternoon in an event sponsored by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP). GCEP's purpose is to conduct pre-commercial research that will lead to technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  ExxonMobil is GCEP's largest sponsor and plans to invest up to $100 million in the program over 10 years. In 1968, there would be have been howls of protest in the face of an oil...

Nuclear Energy’s Moment of Truth

Eric Wesoff: February 18, 2009, 8:37 PM
Greentech Media, as the name suggests, focuses on renewable energy and a green sustainable future. There is contention in the green culture at large and in the Greentech Media offices as to whether nuclear can be categorized as truly "green."  (See the comment thread in this blog piece to witness the contention amongst our readers.)  Nuclear plants do not produce greenhouse gases, but they definitely present a radioactive material and security risk.  And uranium is certainly not a renewable resource. But the bottom line is -- nuclear power is part of the energy mix in the U.S. and around the world and the nuclear waste produced is not going anywhere....

Energy Secretary Chu Wants Standards for Smart Grid

Jeff St. John: February 18, 2009, 2:41 PM
Energy Secretary Steven Chu has weighed in on the issue of standards for the smart grid, saying Wednesday that he's going to push to make sure they're in place to keep smart grid technologies being deployed today from growing obsolete. The DOE head and Nobel Prize-winning physicist's comments in a Wednesday conference call with reporters (via Earth2Tech) come amidst a growing debate over standards for smart grid deployments. With a wide variety of communications and networking technologies out there for the millions of "smart meters" being deployed by U.S. utilities, companies are staking out competitive positions on just how "standards-based" their technologies are (see Smart...

Response to the DTV Switchover and to TV Manufacturers

The Voice of Nature: February 18, 2009, 10:29 AM
For those of you haven’t heard, 681 of the 1,800 TV channels will stop broadcasting in analog next Tuesday, despite the legislative delay for June 12, 2008. An article in the San Jose Mercury News called the delayed DTV switchover “a victory for the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, who maintain that the previous administration mismanaged efforts to ensure that all consumers -- particularly poor, rural and minority Americans.??? I don’t see it as a political victory, but an attempt to postpone something that will darken the TVs of millions of people in the U.S. and cause a lot of electronic waste down the road. The FCC and Congress approved the DTV...

San Francisco Gets Coulomb Car-Charging Stations

Jeff St. John: February 18, 2009, 9:13 AM

Coulomb Technologies on Wednesday unveiled its first three electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle charging stations in San Francisco, beating rival electric car charging startup Better Place to the punch in a second Bay Area city.

Coulomb’s three charging stations will be used in a two-year pilot project to charge San Francisco city vehicles and vehicles of car share organizations ZipCar and City CarShare, Mayor Gavin Newsom said at a press event in front of City Hall.

Coulomb raised $3.75 million last month to support its plan to install up to 40 charging devices around major California highways in the first quarter of 2009 (see Coulomb Bags $3.75M for Electric-Car Charging). It...

Armageddon Is Coming

Eric Wesoff: February 17, 2009, 8:00 PM
There’s an apocryphal story about the origin of the dimensions of the standard-sized photovoltaic solar panel.  The tale goes that the maximum size of a UPS delivery truck’s shelf dictated the dimensions of the original PV panel’s form factor. (If any of our readers can confirm or refute that -- leave a comment below.) Anyway, the industry standard size is about 62 inches by 32 inches by 2 inches, give or take, for a panel that puts out between 150 and 200 watts. And that’s been the only game in town. Until now. Applied Materials large-format panel -- the 5.7m2 Gen 8.5 panel -- is fabricated by amorphous silicon suppliers like Signet and Moser Baer. These panels...

GM, Chrysler Could Require $21.6B More in Gov’t Loans to Survive

Ucilia Wang: February 17, 2009, 3:29 PM

Can you spare another $21.6 billion?

General Motors and Chrysler collectively requested that amount in federal aid Tuesday as they filed their progress reports to Congress. Congress has provided $17.4 billion in loans to both companies since last December, along with a list of requirements to ensure that money would be well spent on rescuing the two firms. Lawmakers gave the companies until March 31 to show they can turn around their operations and make money, or else they would lose the loans.

Both companies said Tuesday that the car market isn’t getting better, and they are likely to need more loans to survive.

GM, which has received $13.4 billion in loans so far, said it...