Recent Posts:

Solar Thermal With Molten Salt Energy Storage: SolarReserve Heads to Nevada

Jeff St. John: December 22, 2009, 2:44 PM

Storing solar power in the form of molten salt. SolarReserve says it can do it, and it's landed a project with NV Energy to prove it.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup announced Tuesday that it has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Nevada utility to buy power from a 100-megawatt solar-thermal plant to be built near the town of Tonopah, Nev.

SolarReserve, which last year raised $140 million in a Series B round let by Citi's Sustainable Development Investments and Good Energies, said it intends to start construction next year, though the Nevada Public Utilities Commission still needs to sign off on the deal.

Central to SolarReserve's plans is the molten salt energy...

Post-Copenhagen Carbon Trading Blues

Jeff St. John: December 21, 2009, 2:24 PM

It looks like the last-minute, non-binding carbon emissions agreement coming out of Copenhagen isn't living up to carbon traders' expectations.

That's the reaction from Europe, which saw the price of carbon-emission permits fall nearly 10 percent on Monday,  reports the Wall Street Journal.

To blame is the weak agreement coming out of the two-week United Nations summit on global warming, analysts and traders say. While top emitters China and the United States did ink a deal with emerging economies such as Brazil and India, it lacked any legally binding limits on how much greenhouse gas they can pump into the atmosphere.

What's worse, the conference failed to reach an agreement on...

Will We See More or Fewer Car Companies?

Michael Kanellos: December 21, 2009, 2:23 PM

WAYNE, Mich. -- Is consolidation or expansion the future of the car industry?

It's an interesting debate. One one hand, Saab is flirting between life and death at the moment.

On other other hand, in the last five years a proliferation of brands – Tesla, Fisker, Aptera, Coda – have emerged and some Chinese manufacturers are trying to go global with their low-cost cars. Moreover, customers seem excited: Think has 2,300 people on a waiting list for its electric town car. New brands are a definite possibility.

Bill Ford Jr., Chairrman of Ford (still confirming any family relationship), was asked that question at a briefing last week. He recalled a project he worked on 25 years ago at the...

Ford CEO: Things Are Looking Up

Ucilia Wang: December 18, 2009, 5:06 PM

WAYNE, Mich. -- Ford's CEO Alan Mulally spoke to reporters from the company's Wayne, Mich., factory Friday and offered an upbeat outlook on the economy: "We are banging around the bottom right now. All the data says the economy is beginning to improve."

A better economy is what any business in the auto industry would hope for, after enduring a depressing 2009 that saw layoffs, bankruptcies, idling factories and a host of unsuccessful attempts to execute business plans.

Just this morning, General Motors said it would shut down iSaab after repeated attempts to find a buyer before the end of the year failed.

Ford seems to fare better than some of its major rivals. The company didn't need...

Smart Meter Backlash, Part 2: Smart Grid RF Alert

Eric Wesoff: December 18, 2009, 3:20 PM

Smart grid equipment CEOs have claimed:

  • A $2.2 billion meter deployment would have a questionable ROI if most of the savings came from reduced truck rolls
  • Smart meters currently being deployed are not smart enough
  • Consumers don't want Big Brother controlling their thermostat, AC and appliances

We wrote about it in Smart Grid Backlash.

Jeff St. John blogged about it here.  According to St. John's reporting: Those complaints have focused attention on PG&E's $2.2 billion, 10 million smart meter deployment, with the California Public Utilities Commission demanding that PG&E find a third party to investigate the accuracy of the meters.

We've covered this topic repeatedly over the last...

Carbon Debt: What Is the Industrial World’s Responsibility to Developing Countries?

Lee Barken: December 18, 2009, 1:28 PM

As we begin the final day of the Conference of Parties (Cop15) climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the grueling hours and stressful conditions are surely taking their toll on official delegates. It is, however, extremely impressive to see how tactful and diplomatic the country representatives are, even when speaking with observers and civil society participants.

After one particularly late night at the Bella Center, home of Cop15, I waited at the Metro station at 1:30 a.m. in the snow and freezing temperatures and happened to engage in conversation with a negotiator from Bolivia.

The position of Bolivia and others in the region is that the atmosphere is polluted with...

‘Warmers’ and Climate Change Denialists

Eric Wesoff: December 17, 2009, 11:16 PM

Joining the derogatory terms "Truthers"  and "Birthers" is now the term "Warmers" which refers to those who accept the science of anthropogenic global warming in spite of the recent data-massage climategate scandal. I saw this term in an article found on a nuclear power-oriented blog, Nuclear Street. Which worries me. 

Does accepting nuclear power as a necessary part of our energy mix mean that you're automatically a climate change denialist? Here's a long video from progressive, Stewart Brand on the necessity of nuclear power.

Here are some quotes from both sides of the climate change "debate."


John Doerr, Partner at KPCB: "Put a price on carbon, put a price on carbon, put a...