The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently publicized practices that it claims are illegal under its complex system for documenting compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard. The system requires obligated parties to establish that they have purchased sufficient Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which are generated by the sale of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. The EPA notice suggests that some RIN market participants' efforts to correct clerical errors in their RIN transactions may be creating additional civil exposure. Properly documenting RIN transactions has been a source of substantial concern to producers, marketers and purchasers of renewable fuels. The EPA's recent notice probably exacerbates those concerns for past transactions but does provide some useful guidance for future transactions.

(click to read entire article)

This year's Tour to the Shore fuel economy competition had the goal of beating the previous record: 75 MPG in a Honda Insight hybrid. That might seem hard to do, unless you are Jack Martin, a member of the Triad Electric Vehicle Association in Burlington and teacher of Sustainable Transportation at Appalachian State University. He squeezed out 124 miles out of one gallon of gasoline in his unmodified Insight hybrid (and he has one passenger).

He did it by using hypermiling tricks. More details below.

(Click to read entire report)

Lack of warranty support for biodiesel has been a major stumbling block for new diesel owners who want to start using the fuel. But three long-awaited ASTM specifications could help change that.

Automakers and engine manufacturers have been requesting a finished blend specification for B20 biodiesel blends for several years, with some citing the need for that spec as the single greatest hurdle preventing their full-scale acceptance of B20 use in their diesel vehicles.

On June 19th, after more than five years of research and discussion, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) finally approved the following specifications for biodiesel fuel:

* Changes to the existing B100 biodiesel blend stock specification (ASTM D6751)
* Finished specifications to include up to 5% biodiesel (B5) in the conventional petrodiesel specification (ASTM D975)
* A new specification for blends of between 6 percent biodiesel (B6) to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) for on and off road diesel.

(Click to read entire article)

The Goldwater Institute is asking the state Supreme Court to strike down rules that require Arizona Public Service Co. to get a certain percent of electricity from renewable sources such as solar.

The organization filed a petition last week arguing that the Arizona Corporation Commission overstepped its authority by requiring APS to charge customers a monthly tariff to support renewable energy.

Officials said they are hopeful that by targeting the APS tariff, they can get the renewable-energy rules stricken and free other state utilities from the requirement.

The commission passed a requirement in 2006 requiring public utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2025 and earlier this year approved an increased tariff on APS customers to help the utility provide incentives for that power.

(Click to read entire article)

HARPSWELL — A Harpswell consultant who planned to build a $50 million biomass boiler in the Millinocket area lost his spot on the power grid to a wind farm project and has scrapped plans for the plant — and the 30 jobs he hoped it would bring to the area.

"We can't get the power out, so the project is essentially dead," Jerry Tudan of Peregrine Technologies in Harpswell said. "Nobody's going to commit to building a $50 million project if you can't sell the project."

Tudan planned a biomass plant that would have provided renewable power using sawdust and bark. He also hoped to build a chip mill so the biomass plant could control its own fuel, he said.

"We were looking at 30 to 35 jobs," he said.

Tudan had lined up investors for the 17-megawatt project, which he said Tuesday would more than provide a town of 15,000 people with domestic power.

But during the course of "due dilgence," during which developers worked on issues including environmental permits, First Wind, a Massachusetts wind project developer, registered for the spot on the power grid that Tudan had planned to use.

(Click to read entire article)

BEGWS to proceed with upgrade project

BATH - Village Mayor David Wallace and representatives of Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems agreed last week to proceed with plans to upgrade the public utility's electric infrastructure at a potential cost of $7.1 million.

Wallace said the village would issue bonds to finance the project, and the utility would pay back the bonds with higher electric rates.

The mayor's agreement with BEGWS includes using utility employees in the actual construction process. That provision could reduce overall labor costs by $1 million, Wallace estimated.

"We've got a good electric crew," said Wallace. "It's what they do, and I think they can save some money."

Because the utility does not have the authority to issue its own bonds, the village municipality is the only entity empowered to issue debt to cover the cost of the project. That means, Wallace noted, the village itself would be responsible for paying back the bonds in the event future rate increases for BEGWS are not approved by the New York Public Service Commission.

(Click to read entire report)

State plan on energy is overdue

AT ISSUE: Governor needs to follow through and get a policy in place.

There is little dispute that the energy needs of New York City are increasing. There is, however, major dispute over a plan to meet those needs by cutting an ugly swath through Upstate New York.

That problem – and future controversies – can best be addressed by New York state developing a comprehensive energy policy that doesn’t help one part of the state at the expense of another.

It was just two years ago that New York Regional Interconnect proposed building a 1,200-megawatt power line from Marcy to Orange County to meet growing energy needs downstate. Locally, the line would run through communities including South Utica, the town of New Hartford, Clayville, Cassville and Waterville.

(Click to read entire item)

The cityZenn - Dream Electric Car

Till now we have battery operated cars or hybrid cars. Hybrid cars reduce your gas consumption and air pollution. If you are using battery operated cars, you can’t drive on the spur of a moment. You have to PLAN and recharge the batteries. Otherwise your vehicle will carry you for a few miles and then it will stop and you will be stuck somewhere you don’t want to. You also have to compromise on the size, space and speed of the car. And since you are using a storage device in the car, you have to fear and respect that too.

Can’t we have a car that goes 250 miles on a single charge? Can’t we recharge it in five minutes? And drive it at 80 M.P.H.? Don’t dismiss it as wishful thinking! A Toronto-based firm ZENN Motors promises such a highway capable model in near future with no gasoline engine, no batteries, and no emissions!

Even the mere promise of horizontal drilling reform in New York aimed at developing a valuable natural gas reserve called the Marcellus Shale has recently resulted in a great deal of investment farther east along the state's Southern Tier.

But it remains to be seen when, if ever, it will be economical for energy companies to access the rich Marcellus Shale farther west in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, where the 400-million-year-old rock formation begins to thin out.

Press reports filed in Binghamton tell of energy companies offering property owners $2,500 an acre for mineral rights - 10 times the going rate only a few months ago - in addition to 15 royalties on all gas production.

The investment has been spurred by a measure that until Monday was only in the works - a measure aimed at easing the restrictions on horizontal drilling in New York, a practice that makes it possible to access the Marcellus Shale.

(Click to read entire article)

NYSEG wants to add infrastructure

SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. -- NYSEG wants to add infrastructure to meet demand and increase reliability in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties.

The energy company wants to build a transmission line from the Town of Campbell southeast to the Town of Erwin. NYSEG's plans also include two new substations in Campbell and at Corning Incorporated's Sullivan Park complex in Erwin.

The project requires local and state approval and will include public comment. NYSEG wants to have it planned by late next year and built by the end of the following year.

June 25, 2008

Jodi Fansler
New York Public Service Commission
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 3
Albany, NY 12223-1350

Ms. Fansler,

The Citizen Power Alliance is a coalition of independent groups organized to promote sound energy and environmental policy. CPA holds public officials and regulators accountable, while seeking the protection of the public interest.

CPA urges the PSC to accept Judge Rafael Epstein’s recommendation to reject approval of the Iberdrola Energy East takeover. The argument that Iberdrola is going to spend $2,000,000,000 on industrial wind development if the PSC approves the acquisition is spurious. Current projects Iberdrola wants to control in NYS are already in different stages by wind developers. This two billion is not new monies for additional project, but represents funds slated to buy out interests of companies like UPC/First Wind, Noble and Horizon.

Iberdrola has a record of EU anti-trust violations. It would be not only tragic but also fundamentally negligent for the PSC to allow a foreign conglomerate to have such vast power over the NYS electric utility system.

PSC deregulation policy must be enforced which requires that the entire commission needs to maintain the strict firewall between electric generation from transmission and distribution.

CPA members represent scores of activist groups who engage the regulator process to enforce sensible energy policy for New York State. We are the taxpayers who bear the burden of special interest benefits.

Eco preservation demands fiscal responsibility and viable technological solutions. Community power requires government transparency and effective industrial regulation. Commerce must balance development and profit with responsible civic stewardship.


Citizen Power Alliance
cc: Ethics Secretary to the Commission

Thank you for considering my views, below, on the wind farms in the Naples and Cohocton Hills and the pending acquisition of RGE/NYSEG by Iberdrola.

I'm a believer in the free market. I'm also a believer in finding new energy sources for our area and our nation.

But I also believe that community interests must be balanced with the imperatives of the market. The Iberdrola deal doesn't make the cut at any level.

Few in the community were consulted. Deals were crafted in secret and one day, towers went up. And after the towers, a 100- foot wide swath of gigantic utility poles across sixteen miles of beautiful landscape was announced.

There is no benefit to local residents, except landowners, in this deal.

Power won't be cheaper for us, (wind power isn't a consistent source of power), jobs won't be created locally, it won't add measurable tax revenues to local schools, and perhaps worst of all, our scenic viewscapes -- which add mightily to the tourism revenues in the area -- are being marred forever by these huge turbines and proposed utility poles.

The economic vitality of the area is closely tied to its beauty. Mar the natural environment and you're left with little to attract hikers, bikers, skiers, kayakers, and Sunday drivers who bring dollars to the community. You also add one more reason for companies to decide not to relocate here and for young people to move away.

Iberdrola has a reputation in Europe and North Africa both as an innovator and emerging monopoly. When a winter ice storm knocks out power lines, and folks don't have light or heat, think about who you're going to call for repairs. RGE may have had its challenges, but they've performed well in times of crisis. Will Iberdrola feel it needs to take care of folks who don't live in their backyard?

It's a botched deal all around.

I urge you to uphold Judge Epstein's recommendation to reject this deal.

There is no real benefit in this deal to NYS citizens, only to the commercial wind interests at great taxpayer and ratepayer expense.

The NYS Public Service Commission’s role is to protect NYS citizens.

Administrative Law Judge Rafael Epstein has recommended that PSC members reject Iberdrola’s acquisition of Energy East (RG&E and NYSEG) as there is no public benefit to the acquisition and in fact would violate Public Service Law, Article 70. They would be breaking one of their own laws put in place to protect the citizens of NYS!

THE PSC should be allowed to do its job on behalf of NY citizens without lobbying interference from politicians, like Sen. Charles Schumer. Senator Schumer is either ignorant to the widely and easily accessible, scientific information on industrial/commercial wind’s problems and ineffectiveness, or has already been bamboozled by the commercial wind interests’ incomplete and misguided propaganda.

We strongly oppose handing over control of our power grid to a foreign entity. We are asking you to uphold Judge Epstein’s recommendation to reject this deal. The people of NY State deserve our laws to be upheld. There is no real benefit in this deal to NYS citizens, only to the commercial wind interests at great taxpayer and ratepayer expense.

What good is commercial/industrial wind if it does virtually nothing to eliminate use of fossil fueled electricity generation or reduce CO2 emissions? What good is it when it negatively affects communities’ health, safety, property values and quality of living? What good is industrial /commercial wind when all it has done is pit neighbor against neighbor and split communities apart? We need to place our focus and resources on renewable alternatives that will deliver the goods, based on science, not misleading and incomplete data.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. commodity futures regulation agency is scheduled to say on Wednesday that greenhouse gas emissions markets could become the largest commodity market.

"Even with conservative assumptions, this could be a $2 trillion futures market in relatively short order," Bart Chilton, the commissioner of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, said in a release ahead of an appearance in New York.

The European Union regulates greenhouse gases and launched an official emissions market in 2005. Both U.S. presidential candidates support prompt regulation of the gases blamed for warming the planet to encourage cutting emissions with markets.

Eminent Domain in Steuben County

Bath - On Tuesday night, seven property owners in one Steuben County town will find out if they will lose their land to a wind turbine project.

That's according to our newspaper partner, the Leader.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the Prattsburgh Town Board is scheduled to vote on whether to move ahead with eminent domain proceedings.

Board members had agreed last week to hold off on voting before ironing out legal issues with two local school districts.

Earlier this year, the school districts challenged a deal between the town and the developer who wants to build 36 wind turbines in Prattsburgh. Districts are concerned about loss of tax revenue because of the deal.

N.Y.S. Public Service Commission Chairman Gary Brown and Commissioners,

I / We the undersigned ask that you continue to OPPOSE the Iberdrola/Energy East merger. The Public Service Commission made an “informed” decision, acting in the best interest of the “People”. Do Not let the NYS Governor or other Politicians influence your final decision.

Iberdrola should not be allowed to monopolize electricity generation and supply in NYS.

Please ignore attempts by politicians such as U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and N.Y.S. Senator Joseph Bruno to pressure the Public Service Commission into changing your decision on the issue. Judge Rafael Epstein’s recommendation should weigh heavily on your final decision. In this recommended decision, the primary recommendation is that the Commission disapprove the transaction on the ground that it does not satisfy the “public interest” requirement of Public Service Law (PSL) §70. If the PSC allows the merger, wouldn’t you be breaking one of your own laws designed to protect the people?

The New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) does not believe that the quantifiable benefits expected from the proposed transaction sufficiently outweigh the risks that it creates for consumers.

Iberdrola, (a Spanish company backed by Middle East Oil Companies) has already swayed some politicians to their side by offering to infuse $2 Billion into New York State with wind projects, over the next five years. Iberdrola has fed Senator Schumer a $2 Billion carrot, when in fact the $2 Billion includes projects already scheduled to be built. Iberdrola is buying up companies with already approved projects but counting them as part of the $2 Billion infusion of capital. Furthermore, of this $2 Billion, how much is for the turbines and other components which are made out of state or overseas, and how much will actually be infused into our local economy in the form of labor and material purchases? Our tax dollars, through subsidies will be funneled out of the U.S.

A few politicians are now ready to sell out the beautiful hill tops and communities of New York State to a Spanish Company who will cover every hill top with thousands of 500’ tall wind turbines. And to make matters worse they want to give them complete control of delivering the electricity to our homes and businesses. What was the reason for electricity deregulation? Will “Natural Gas” be next for Iberdrola in NYS? Please, PROTECT the consumers! OPPOSE the merger!

(Name)______________________________________ (Address)___________________________________

(City)_______________________________ (State)___________ (Zip)______________ (Signature)______________________________________

(Name)______________________________________ (Address)___________________________________

(City)_______________________________ (State)___________ (Zip)______________ (Signature)______________________________________

(Name)______________________________________ (Address)___________________________________

(City)_______________________________ (State)___________ (Zip)______________ (Signature)______________________________________

Fax to: 1-518-486-6081
Phone the Secretary to the PSC @ 1-518-474-6530 or Acting Executive Deputy @ 1-518-473-4544 with your comments. E-mail any comments to: &

Print out the petition form

Coal Plants and Algae Fuel..Symbiotic?

Seattle-based Inventure Chemical and Tel Aviv-based Seambiotic announced this week a joint venture to create biofuels from algae fed by a coal-fired power plant. Apparently, this is an idea growing in popularity. Seambiotic has developed a way to convert algae to biodiesel, ethanol, or specialty chemicals, and they’re testing their open-pond algae farm in Israel. The coal power plant and algae farm are working hand in hand to power one another – the flue gas emissions from the power plant will be used to grow the algae, which is in turn converted to fuel to either operate the plant, or be sold.

While it makes sense to use alternative, sustainable fuel sources to power industry, there seems to be a broken logic behind using that fuel to feed coal plants – one of the very energy sources from which we’re looking to separate ourselves.

I suppose the venture is worth a go, since we aren’t likely to get off coal in the very near future and so this provides ample opportunity to test out different methods of growing and creating algae-based biofuel. With how quickly other companies are jumping on the algae biofuel and biodiesel bandwagons and making research advancements, it seems possible that we’ll soon see lucrative ways to grow algae without coal, utilizing 100% clean techniques so we can wean ourselves off these unsavory power sources.

New York announced two policy initiatives to address the state's future energy needs and potentially reduce the cost of power in the state.

The first is an energy efficiency program, called the Energy Efficiency Portfolio, that seeks to reduce electricity use 15% by 2015. Managed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the program is expected to provide more than $4 billion in benefits to customers while creating thousands of jobs.

Beginning in October 2008 the PSC will begin collecting an additional $172 million a year in System Benefits Charges (SBC) on consumer electric bills. The funds will be used to reduce peak demand for electrcity, improve system reliability and reduce the need for new transmission and generation facilities.

If the program works as expected, the PSC expects customer power bills to decline 2.1% to 4.1% in 2011.

The second policy initiative, passed by both houses of the state legislature, is an expansion of the state's net metering law, which allows electricity customers with qualified renewable energy systems to sell excess energy back to their local utilities.

The changes allow for increases in the size of eligible solar photovoltaic systems to 25 kilowatts for residential customers and up to 2 megawatts (MW), or the customer's peak load, for commercial customers.

The changes for wind power allow for non-residential wind power generators to net meter up to the lesser of their peak load or 2 MW. It also increases the maximum size of wind facilities for farm operations from 125 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.

In addition the size of eligible bio-mass electricity generating systems on farms will be increased from 400 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "The expansion of net metering paves the way for greater independence and cost-savings for New York's energy consumers. This legislation will encourage residents, businesses, schools and non-profits to reduce costs by producing power through non-polluting alternative sources such as solar and wind technologies."

One thing was clear at last week's Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) in New York City: This budding industry is still a very risky one for investment. That reality has been illustrated by Congress' failure to extend the Investment (ITC) and Production Tax Credits (PTC); a situation that has spooked some investors and is starting to cause a shift of capital to other countries and other industries.

“If you don't like policy risk, you don't belong in this market,” said Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association, in a speech to attendees. “But if you are willing to get into that risk, you belong in this business.”

“It is clear that we are now a finance-driven industry. All of you here are in the right place at the right time,” said Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). “However, as we move forward there will be big successes and failures and only the strong will survive.”

(Click to read entire item)

Early signees feel cheated by landmen

When a representative from an energy company paid a visit to Raurie Skinner's farm offering $1,900 for the rights to search for natural gas under her property, it seemed like her lucky day.

At $50 an acre, she jumped at an easy payday by simply signing the paper, with the possibility of thousands or even millions of dollars more in royalties if drillers extracted gas from under her 38-acre farm in the Town of Kirkwood.

Now, 12 months later, she watches with deep regret as Southern Tier residents sign for $2,500 an acre, and her neighbors hold out as competing offers drive deals even higher.

The natural gas boon bringing six- and seven-figure windfalls to thousands of Southern Tier property owners is a bust for thousands more who signed away rights to their land without knowing much about the riches underneath. Some claim they were mislead or swindled. Others blame their own naiveté.

(Click to read entire article)

June 22, 2008

To: The Editor
The Economist
25 James Street
London SW1A 1HG

Ref. The Future Of Energy;

On your centerfold advertising wind turbines lies the reputation of The Economist spread wide for all to see.

Change the grid and society to accommodate the output of fickle winds, and then still rely on natural gas for the more than 75% of the time the capricious winds do not drive wind turbines to put out their rated power.

Also in that special section are advertisements by bankers that stand to profit from that form of corporate communism called Cap and Trade. Carbon Credits -- To each according to his need, from each according to his ability -- to reduce carbon output. Think it will work better with corporations than with people and governments ?


David Amsler
417 Bush Hill Rd.
Franklinville, NY 14737 USA

The "$1 per Watt" barrier may not sound as impressive as the sound barrier, but this next-gen wind turbine is the first, and has an unusual design. The AeroCam's horizontal-axis, flat-blade shape has blades that are dynamically angled to maximise wind-catching. It's also compact, so can fit into urban environments, and captures wind from any direction. Plus, AeroCam turbines make less noise and vibration than conventional ones, wear out less quickly and cost less to build. They may even be cheaper than solar panels, so it seems like a win-win-win. Since a 250kW unit will cost US$250,000, it'll be your energy suppliers, not you, that ends up owning one.

A gridlocked New England power grid in Maine has stalled a Harpswell developer's plan for a $50 million biomass boiler in Millinocket.

Jerry Tudan, of Peregrine Technologies, had already lined up financing for the 17-megawatt project that would bring 45 jobs to the Katahdin region when he got the bad news from the grid manager.

Tudan said his company sought to register the site with ISO-New England, only to be told that a northern Maine wind farm project had registered earlier and had "maxed out" any available access to the grid at this time.

Tudan has no quarrel with First Wind, the Massachusetts developer of Stetson Mountain and other wind projects in northern Maine. But he said that company is among several that have queued up for so much space on the grid in coming years that no one else can fit.

"There's no bitter tears here toward First Wind about it," Tudan said. "That's the marketplace, though I feel very bad about how it went because we had a beautiful project."

(click to read entire article)

SACKETS HARBOR — What did we miss?

That's what state Department of Environmental Conservation officials were asking members of the public who attended hearings on the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm at 3 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the public safety building, 411 W. Washington St.

DEC, as lead agency for the environmental review process, sought input on what studies should be required for the project's environmental impact statement.

"We're hoping to get input from the public on what should be in that document," said Jack A. Nasca, the chief of energy projects and management division of environmental permits for DEC.

He said the department is holding the sessions to create a broad list of the areas in which the public is concerned about the effects of turbines.

There are areas where locals have more expertise than DEC.

For example, Lawrence C. Barone, a village trustee and business owner, asked that special attention be paid to the historic significance of the island.

"I'd like to see you have a professional photographer with a naturalist and a historian create a digital record of the island as it is today," he said. "The tree-stump field, cedar roots, rock piles and shoreline construction, wood and stone fencing, outbuildings and utility poles are all examples of the type of objects that tell the story of the island and should be left in place."

The draft scoping document does include some archaeological studies in consultation with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Christine Eggleston, chairwoman of the Hounsfield Zoning Board of Appeals, said she wanted to know more about the way the facility's supply system would work. "I'd like an investigation of the impacts on the shore-side residential and recreational resources," she said.

While Oswego would be the port used for the large barges of equipment, small goods and staff would come from Henderson, Sackets Harbor and other north country landing sites.

Other members of the public veered from the areas of the environmental impact studies and gave statements supporting or opposing the proposed project.

David W. Altieri, the village's Heritage Area director, asked if the company and state would consider maximizing the positive effects, not just minimizing the negative effects.

"By opening access to the island, you could open historical resources, natural resources and recreational resources to the public," he said.

About 40 members of the public appeared at the evening hearing and 12 gave statements during both sessions.

The department will accept written comments through June 30. The draft scope is available at the Hounsfield town clerk's office, Hay Memorial Library and Henderson Free Library.

After the scope is finalized, the developer will work on the studies outlined in the document.

ALBANY -- The New York State Public Service Commission has authorized the construction and operation of Marble River LLC's wind-energy project in the towns of Clinton and Ellenburg.

The project is capable of generating up to 229 megawatts of electricity and connecting with an existing New York Power Authority transmission line.

In granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, the commission included conditions to assure that the reliability of the interconnected electric grid is addressed and that the facility is managed in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

Marble River, when constructed, will be the second-largest individual wind-energy project in New York. The largest is the 320-megawatt Maple Ridge in Lowville, Lewis County.

(Click to read the entire report)

Never in all my years have I felt so unrepresented by my government. Corrupted by special interest money Congress does the bidding of its contributors. Their only concern is staying in office no matter the cost to the country.

Yes my friends we have the best government money can buy. I am sad to say this bunch in Washington is little more than con men and in some cases just plain fools unqualified to hold office. Both parties are failures. There is no leadership. The lack of a common-sense energy policy is but one example. We have had 30 years to find a solution. Congress has done nothing.

One reason is the environmental lobby. This group is the new home of Marxists and anti-capitalists and with their champions in the Democratic Party, they have prevented us from using nuclear power, building new refineries and domestic drilling. They have been very effective in hijacking energy legislation. Of course they will tell you it's for the environment. Who could be against that? The truth is we all want a clean environment, not just one party. Today we can have a more secure energy supply and protect the environment too. The technology is available to do both sensibly.

If we don't act now, it's going to be much worse in the future. Likely to the point most of us cannot imagine. Like it or not, oil is the fuel that drives our nation and will continue to do so for the near future until new technologies come on line.

So what to do now?

In the short term we must drill here now. Continue to develop vehicles that can use new alternative fuels. Continue with "clean coal" and natural gas supplies that we have in abundance. Solar, geothermal, shale, nuclear, hydroelectric and wind. How do we pay for it? Tax credits to corporations and individual inventors to develop these programs. Next, money can be diverted from our defense budget by bringing all the troops home from Europe and Korea. They are rich enough to defend themselves. The Cold War is over, we won.

Next, we need to conserve. We waste far too much. Drive less, drive smart. And we have the power of the pocketbook to make our voices heard now. Boycott gas by not buying it one day or more until the supply goes up and the price comes down. This will force the oil speculators to stop driving up the price on the world market. And lastly, write Washington to voice your opinion. It's still our country.

Vince Scordo


New York’s senior senator, Charles Schumer, lashed out at the state’s Public Service Commission today, calling its demands “irrational and illogical,” following a non-binding ruling by an administrative law judge Monday to reject Iberdrola SA’s $4.5 billion buyout of Energy East Corp., parent to New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

NYSEG has nearly 90,000 customers in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

The commission is seeking “to place severe restrictions on the world’s leading wind power producer,” Schumer said in a written statement.

In his ruling, the judge urged the commission, should it decide to go ahead with the buyout, to require Iberdrola to sell of all of its wind-energy assets in the state, among other conditions.

But Schumer said that stipulation would risk jobs and a $2 billion investment in the state’s economy. The Democrat said he is seeking to meet with PSC Chairman Garry A. Brown about Iberdrola’s bid, which likely will be withdrawn if PSC rejects the plan.

“I am requesting this meeting to discuss the importance of brokering a deal that will keep customer rates low, provide system reliability and bring much-needed wind power to New York,” Schumer said.

The PSC is expected it issue its ruling on the buyout next month.

New York is the last of four Northeastern states to weigh in on the deal. Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine have approved the buyout.

Settlement with New York utility will pay for retrofitting of school buses to cut pollution

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Money from a state settlement with a western New York utility will be used to retrofit school buses to reduce air pollution.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said Rochester Gas & Electric, which is a subsidiary of Energy East Corp., settled violations at its Russell Power Plant last February.

The utility agreed to replace the plant with a cleaner one, pay a $200,000 civil penalty and fund $500,000 worth of clean energy projects.

On Wednesday, Grannis said the clean energy money will be used to purchase and install emissions control equipment on public and private school bus fleets in Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties.

If you think the mercury in compact fluorescents is a problem, the issue of factories and offices is far greater, with more mercury per bulb and a lot more bulbs- thirty million go to the dump each year in Ontario alone, and improper disposal accounts for 312 kg (687 lbs), enough to contaminate Lake Erie. Now Ontario, Canada has developed what they call the first comprehensive fluorescent tube recycling program in North America. 98% of each lamp is diverted from the dump and the glass, aluminum, phosphorus and mercury are all separated and used in new products.

Compact fluorescents are just a blip on the radar compared to this kind of volume that has been going on every day for years, but as of next year they will be accepted in the program as well.

It's not perfect; we would prefer to see them take residential bulbs now, ending one of the main talking points for the anti-CFL troglodytes, and it requires personal initiative rather than producer responsibility or a deposit on everything. But it is a start.

The Recycling Process

* Lamps move on the conveyor to a negative pressure containment area
* Lamps are then broken in the negative pressure machine to allow the capture of glass, aluminum, brass, and phosphor-mercury powder
* The phosphor-mercury powder is put into the retort treatment unit where it is heated to separate the mercury from the phosphor powder
* The triple distillation process cleans the mercury, thereby making it eligible for reuse
* The mercury is collected and allowed to cool to liquid form and then sent to Bethlehem Apparatus in Hellertown, Pennsylvania in one ton containers where it is triple distilled and then resold.

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) recently commenced its historic Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS), a far-reaching, ground-breaking energy efficiency initiative that seeks to reverse the pattern of ever-increasing energy use in New York by reducing electric usage 15 percent of projected levels by 2015; one of the most aggressive efficiency programs in the nation.

"Never before have we faced such significant energy challenges," said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "The unprecedented rise in energy prices we are experiencing puts to rest any doubts the market is changing. To confront this new and unpleasant reality, we must immediately take bold steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption of ever-more costly fossil fuels that we have come to depend on. Doing nothing should not be considered as an option."

Chairman Brown added: "The unprecedented energy efficiency program we are approving today will be critically important for the State's future energy policy. Without doubt, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, and most immediate, way to reduce the burden of rising energy and environmental costs on residential and business customers. The steps we are taking will establish a framework for ensuring energy efficiency becomes an integral part of the New York energy industry. This initiative is squarely in context of broader State policies designed to develop a clean energy industry and economy."

(Click to read entire report)

On Tuesday, The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049) failed to pass a procedural vote to limit debate and proceed to consideration of the bill. The vote count was 52-44, 8 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a potential filibuster. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) reserved the right to bring the bill up again at a later date, possibly following the Senate's Fourth of July break.

"The longer these extensions are delayed, the more workers are shed and renewable energy projects are undermined."

The issues bringing the clean energy tax extensions to a stalemate have to do with how H.R. 6049 will be paid for. Democratic leadership in both houses of Congress have said that extensions must be paid by a decrease somewhere else in the federal budget. Republican leadership has said that tax credit extensions don't fit that rule because they are in fact a stimulus and have gotten behind extension legislation deviod of offsets.

“The longer these extensions are delayed, the more workers are shed and renewable energy projects are undermined," said Scott Sklar, President of strategic energy policy and market firm The Stella Group. "Time for Congress to get off the stalemate and move the extensions which over ten years cost the same as one month of the Iraq War.”

HUDSON VALLEY – Scenic Hudson will honor 13 local, regional and national land trusts at its gala at Listening Rock Farm in Wassaic, Dutchess County, on Saturday, June 21.

Scenic Hudson is saluting the groups for their outstanding work in safeguarding critically important land and scenic wonders throughout the Hudson Valley. Scenic Hudson credits the land trusts with preserving and enhancing the assets that inspired the Hudson River School painters in the 19th century, that earned the region its designation by Congress as a National Heritage Area, and that provide hope for a sustainable future in the 21st century.

“These organizations, their boards, staff and members bring skill, passion and resources to bear to preserve the places that give the Hudson Valley its very identity – and quality of life. We have partnered with many of these organizations in the past – to protect scenic vistas, push for crucial environmental legislation and halt sprawling riverfront projects – and we look forward to many more successes,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.

(Click to read entire list)

Working to protect Tier landowners

We would like to advise Press & Sun-Bulletin readers of the ongoing collaboration between the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) and the New York Farm Bureau. Our goal is to ensure that the community is well- informed on the issue of natural gas leasing.

To that end, AAPL has prepared a Land and Mineral Owner Information brochure. It is available on the Web sites for the Farm Bureau ( and AAPL (

We have established a complaint form and process. Landowner complaints related to alleged unethical behavior are being received by the Farm Bureau and delivered to the AAPL's Ethics Committee for further handling, including distribution to the person/ company/entity a complaint is filed against.

We are committed to working together to resolve issues and will closely monitor the implementation of the complaint form and procedures over the next several months. It is our common goal to protect landowners from "bad actors," and we believe that this is a solid step in that direction.

Issues raised at the forum ranged from student loans and subprime mortgages to regulation of wind turbines and burning barrels. After Mr. Cuomo spoke, his staff conducted individual "breakout" sessions covering health care, student loans, environmental law, Internet safety, consumer fraud and civil and labor rights.

Katherine Kennedy, special deputy attorney general for environmental protection, said she had met earlier with representatives of Save the River and fishing guides to discuss how the International Joint Commission's decision to adopt a controversial water-level plan may affect levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

She said that at some point, the Department of State will have to make a determination regarding the plan's adoption and, if the adoption of the plan is found to be in violation of the law, the attorney general's office may take action to oppose it.

"The IJC is meant to be immune from a suit," she said. "We haven't looked at the exact language to see if it's bulletproof."

(Click to read entire article)

Suction drag at the tail end of a trailer causes the greatest amount of aerodynamic inefficiency still unaddressed by modern trailer designs. The worst shape to pull down the highway at 65 mph is a big rectangular box.

Landowners considering gas leasing offers in the northeastern part of Broome County are scheduled to meet tonight to learn more about their options and rights.

The meeting, organized through Broome County Legislator Ronald Keibel and the New York Farm Bureau, will include a round table discussion regarding land groups in the county, and whether there is interest in forming a group to represent landowners in the northeastern part of the county.

Groups have been forming to collectively bargain terms for gas leasing with energy prospectors.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Whitney Point High School Auditorium.

For more information, call Keibel at 692-4461.

Iberdrola acquisition still in play

An administrative law judge's ruling to reject the Iberdrola merger in its current form is not the final word.

The process to make a final determination is still very much in play, and all vested parties should make the most of it. The deadline to comment on the judge's recommended decision is July 1, after which the senior staff of the Public Service Commission will put together its draft order for the commissioners.

This is an opportunity for all involved to ensure that all pertinent details are gathered and concerns addressed.

The staff of the Public Service Commission has come under criticism for being overly restrictive, and in some cases rightfully so. Iberdrola continues to provide a strong case for itself in the way of economic development to the state, as well as wind energy capabilities. The Spanish conglomerate recently pledged to invest $2 billion in wind energy in New York.

Judge Raphael Epstein encouraged the PSC to set certain conditions — including having Iberdrola sell its wind power facilities in NYSEG-Energy East service areas and grant $646 million in benefits to the public — if it goes forth with the deal. At the least, Epstein has deviated from the PSC's stringent policy view that generation and distribution should remain completely separate, requiring Iberdrola to sell all of its wind interests.

That view seems overly extreme, particularly considering the low rates RG&E customers enjoyed thanks in part to the utility's ownership of the Russell Station plant. The issue is one the senior staff and commissioners should re-examine as the process continues. As the state looks to increase the percentage of power it garners from alternative energy, deals like the one with Iberdrola should be heavily considered.

This page has said the PSC is right to uphold its core duty of ensuring the public interest is protected. But how "public interest" is protected and what constitutes a "net benefit" are open to debate. And a strong case could easily be made in Iberdrola's favor.

Let the remainder of the process play out, with the final, and hopefully informed, say going to the five-member commission.

Bruno decries PSC judge

Political fallout continued after Monday's recommendation by an administrative law judge against the takeover of Energy East Corp. by Iberdrola SA of Spain. Judge Rafael Epstein of the state Department of Public Service urged the five-member Public Service Commission to reject the $4.5 billion deal. His recommendation, while not binding, is infuriating some in Albany.

On Tuesday, Gov. David Paterson and Senate President Joseph Bruno weighed in.

"That person ought to be dismissed," Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County, said of Epstein on WROW radio in Albany. "The Public Service Commission is one of the most ponderous, difficult bureaucratic agencies in this state."

Paterson suggested again that he supports the sale.

"I am especially focused on Iberdrola's commitment to invest $2 billion in wind energy in the state," Paterson said. "Iberdrola has also pledged $200 million in ratepayer benefits. ... Although this amount is less than suggested by the administrative law judge, I hope the commission will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to ratepayer benefits."

Epstein said the proposed deal doesn't satisfy the public-interest requirement of state law.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday blocked debate of a bill to offer about $17.7 billion in tax incentives for consumers to build renewable energy sources like windmills and solar arrays, and buy plug-in cars that run on electricity rather than gasoline.

The Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008 would have extended a tax credit to build windmills by one year through December 31, 2009, and extend for three years similar credits for renewable energy sources like biomass, geothermal, landfill gas and trash combustion.

The bill failed to garner enough votes to limit debate and move to a vote, leaving the fate of the clean-energy credits uncertain.

Extension of renewable energy credits was the most expensive portion of the bill, at about $7 billion over 10 years.

The bill also offered incentives for demonstrating ways to capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electric plants, and offered at least $3,000 in tax incentives for consumers to buy plug-in electric vehicles.

We’ve written about the enthusiasm for algae-based biofuels a number of times, but this is first time I’ve seen reference to this angle on the green fuel’s production. Using waste carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants to grow the algae.

Given that it is green conventional wisdom (as well as my personal belief) that we should be doing everything possible to reduce coal burning as much and as quickly as possible, I am torn by this development.

CO2 from coal burning absorbed by algae
The practice, which is being tested by NRG Energy from Louisiana runs like this: rather then sending carbon emissions up the smokestack, the CO2 is used to grow algae, which then can be harvested and used as biomass for re-firing in the plant or converted into liquid biofuels for transport. Renewable Energy World estimates that two million tons of algae would be required to capture one million tons of CO2.

(Click to read entire article)

The US Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee today held its first ever hearing focusing exclusively on renewable energy and transmission. Testifying on behalf of the wind industry was Don Furman, president-elect of the American Wind Energy Association, and Senior Vice President of Iberdrola Renewables.

Furman sums up the state of US electrical transmission, “Like any infrastructure, the U.S. transmission grid is aging and needs upgrading to function reliably and to meet future load requirements. At the same time, the nation has tremendous renewable energy reserves, but the existing electric transmission system was not designed to tap these new kinds of generation. The good news is that we have the opportunity to solve both problems at once.”

(Click to read entire article)

Honda FCX Clairy FINALLY in Production

When it comes to electric cars and fuel cell cars, we tend to wait around for a while, always being promised something that is just the little bit further into the future. Today, however, we have something firmly in hand. Honda has announced this morning that they have begun commercial production of their fuel cell powered car, the FCX Clarity. From its debut as a concept vehicle in 2005 at the Tokyo Motor Show, it has been designed from the ground up to uniquely be a fuel cell car, not a variant on a gasoline-powered or range extended EV.

Their newly built production line, dedicated to the FCX, will only produce a few dozen units this year but they expect to crank out 200 next year, all to be leased for 3 years in order to test them out and gather data. As you might expect, the first 5 recipients of the vehicle will be Hollywood types, in order to raise the profile of the car, but the others will go a handful of the over 50,000 applicants who signed up for a lease. The number of interested parties, who would pay $600 a month, is quite amazing in showing the commitment and desire for alternative fuel vehicles in the US.

The Clarity, which uses Honda's V Flow Fuel cell stack will have a maximum range of 280 miles per tank, running at the equivalent of 74 mpg. They've also managed to improve their lithium-ion batteries to be 50% lighter and 40% smaller and also boast about their 50% improvement in fuel stack power output. To fuel the vehicles, Honda has created a fuel cell dealership network in California which should expand over the coming years. Until then the leases will be confined to those areas with existing hydrogen fill stations. It should be interesting to see what happens with Honda considering they dropped their Accord hybrid for lack of consumer interest and Toyota having hit 1 million Prius sales, but it is clear that they are now leading the front of fuel cell vehicles in the market.

The "promise" to invest billions of dollars in industrial wind development is exactly why we do not want Iberdrola in New York. Isn't the purpose of investing in renewable energy to reduce fossil fuel use and emissions? Big wind does nothing to meet those goals. Politicians are basing their support for wind on biased advertising and lobbying efforts rather than solid science and evidence.

Our power grid operates by providing a steady supply of electricity matched to consumer demand. Because wind is intermittent, variable and unpredictable, regular power plants equal to wind capacity must operate on standby, ready to balance the variations of wind. They burn fuel and produce emissions in this mode, but the electricity they would otherwise produce is wasted. How does this help the environment or the economy?

Billions in tax write-offs and subsidies for wind projects total more than developers get for selling the small amount of electricity that turbines produce. Supporting this ineffective industry posing as the "green" answer is a great disservice to the American public.


The writer is a member of Citizen Power Alliance.

Natural gas drilling debated

In response to growing interest in natural gas exploration, Democratic candidate for state Senate Don Barber is calling for a moratorium on gas drilling and leasing in the region.

“A gold rush for land leases in our region is on, but comprehensive protections aren’t in place,” Barber said in a campaign statement.

“The [state Department of Environmental Conservation] and the Legislature have to step up and address the concerns of residents who are worried about what will happen to their water and their land,” he said.

At the same time, Barber is not opposed to seeking natural gas on local lands, according to spokesman Michael Blaine.

“Don is for developing this resource, but he wants to have an open discussion about the best way,” Blaine said Monday.

(Click to read entire article)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)--An administrative law judge is advising New York utility regulators to nix a global power company's planned $4.6-billion buyout of Energy East Corp. (EAS), which serves four Northeastern states.

Iberdrola SA (IBDRY) needs approval from New York's Public Service Commission to buy Energy East, but the agency's staff opposes the deal because of concerns about whether it will best serve the public in cost and competitiveness.

Administrative Law Judge Rafael Epstein reviewed the proposal and recommends blocking the transaction because it doesn't satisfy the public interest requirement of state utilities law.

Epstein's non-binding opinion recommends a series of conditions the PSC should impose if it approves the deal, including limits on the generating plants the Spanish company may own.

RAFAEL A. EPSTEIN, Administrative Law Judge:
A. Overview and Summary

1. Summary

The Commission has been asked to approve a transaction in which Iberdrola, S.A. (Iberdrola) would acquire Energy East Corporation (Energy East) and its subsidiaries, including New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E). In this recommended decision, the primary recommendation is that the Commission disapprove the transaction on the ground that it does not satisfy the "public interest" requirement of Public Service Law (PSL) §70. Alternatively, should the Commission approve the transaction, it is recommended that approval be subject to the following preconditions: (1) Iberdrola and its affiliates should not be allowed to own electric generating plants (whether wind powered, fossil fueled, or hydropower) interconnected with NYSEG's or RG&E's transmission or distribution systems; (2) corporate relations among Iberdrola and its New York affiliates should be subject to most of the financial and structural safeguards that have been proposed by Staff of the Department of Public Service and other parties; (3) NYSEG and RG&E customers should be credited with "positive benefit adjustments" (PBAs) of $646.4 million, including $201.6 million initially upon completion of the merger transaction (resulting in NYSEG and RG&E delivery rate reductions of $54.8 million or 4.4%, initially);1 and (4) at the conclusion of this case, an 11-month general rate proceeding should commence to consider NYSEG's and RG&E's overall revenue requirements and related matters, including implementation of the remaining $444.8 million of PBAs, terms of retail access by independent energy service companies, and revenue decoupling mechanisms to mitigate the financial impacts that might otherwise bias NYSEG and RG&E against energy efficiency and conservation measures.

(Click for archive link)

(Click to read the entire PSC Judge Epstein Recommendation)

A Massachusetts company wants to build a unique array of 200 flywheel batteries over several acres to store spare power from New York's electrical grid and zap it back as needed.

Beacon Power Corp. wants to connect the 20-megawatt, short-term energy storage unit to New York's power grid in Stephentown, a rural community near the Massachusetts border. The Tyngsborough, Mass., company claims the matrix of batteries would make the grid more efficient and conserve energy, though they have some final hurdles to clear.

Officials in Stephentown will consider a zoning variance for the $50 million-plus facility on June 19, and Beacon is awaiting a crucial permission from the operators of the state's electrical distribution system, The New York Independent System Operator.

(Click to read entire article)

his week's issue of Newsweek features an interview with Craig Venter, the "bad boy" of science whose work developing new bacterial strains capable of eating CO2 and producing fuels we've chronicled in recent months, in which he reveals more about his Maryland lab and the innovative processes it's pioneering.

As we've described before, Venter's overarching goal is to produce microorganisms that are able to "convert things like sugar or sunlight or carbon dioxide into fuels that people are very familiar with, like diesel fuel and gasoline," as he himself put it. These would constitute not only the fabled second- and third-generation biofuels we keep hearing about (like cellulosic ethanol and other plant biomass-derived fuels) but even so-called "fourth-generation" biofuels -- those produced directly from CO2.

Venter hopes his bugs will supplant the need for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies by making CO2 a commodity, instead of a byproduct to be disposed of. According to Venter, large, bacteria-processing fermenters, similar to those used to make beer and wine, would replace traditional refineries. He expects the first generation of his engineered bacteria to be commercially available within the next year or two years. He made it a point to stress that he and his colleagues were thinking "in terms of years, not decades."

(Click to read entire item)

Water-fuel car unveiled in Japan

Jun. 13 - Japanese company Genepax presents its eco-friendly car that runs on nothing but water.

The car has an energy generator that extracts hydrogen from water that is poured into the car's tank. The generator then releases electrons that produce electric power to run the car. Genepax, the company that invented the technology, aims to collaborate with Japanese manufacturers to mass produce it.

SOUNDBITE: Kiyoshi Hirasawa, CEO, Genepax.

Michelle Carlile-Alkhouri reports.

(Click to view
the video report)

Gas prices create land rush

MEADVILLE -- There is a land rush going on across Pennsylvania, but buyers aren't interested in the land itself.

Buyers are interested in what lies beneath the earth's surface -- mineral rights to natural gas deposits.

Record high crude oil and natural gas prices have already pushed up drilling activity in northwestern Pennsylvania and other areas of the state.

But now that already heightened interest is spreading.

The reason is the Marcellus Formation -- a hardly tapped formation of deep gas-bearing shale that drilling companies have only recently found a way to exploit.

Development companies, drilling companies and speculators have been crisscrossing the state, trying to lease mineral rights from landowners.

Pennsylvania State University professor and geologist Terry Engelder likens today's rush to the one that followed when Edwin Drake struck oil near Titusville in 1859.

(Click to read entire article)

As gas prices continue to soar, Congress is preparing to rein in speculative trading in energy futures markets by major institutional investors and hedge funds, which is seen as a key factor in driving up oil prices.

Legislation introduced Friday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, would require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to set limits on how much these investors - including pension and retirements funds - can invest in certain commodity markets.

The commission already sets limits on the holdings any one investor can have in a commodity to prevent speculation. But many larger institutional investors have exploited an exemption that allows them to bypass those limits if they make the trades through dealers or brokers.

(Click to read entire article)

Toyota to Sell Two New Hybrids by 2010

Toyota has announced that they'll be selling two new Hybrids (along with the updated Prius.) One of the new hybrids will be a Lexus, and the other will be a Toyota. We don't know much more than that, aside from that they're emphasizing that they're not just another iteration of the Prius. All we've got to go on for future Toyota hybrids is the Hybrid-X concept, pictured above.

They're hoping to have Li-ion batteries in both the Prius, and the as-yet-unnamed Toyota hybrid by 2010. But they won't start mass-producing li-ion batteries at their recently-announced factory until 2011 or 2012.

Toyota seems to be looking to leapfrog some of the competition, since they're already a bit behind on Li-ion technology. President Watanabe said that they're setting up a battery research division to investigate power storage technology beyond lithium ion. It's long been Toyota's position that range-extended hybrids like the Volt simply won't work, and that we'll need to wait before we can have full-electric propulsion in mass-produced vehicles.

We'll have to see, but the future seems clear. There are going to be a lot more hybrid options in the next few years, and that will be nice for a lot of car buyers.

A Working Paper for the
The New York State
Energy Planning Board

May 30, 2008

I. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to set forth a Draft Work Scope (“Scope”) for the 2009 New York State Energy Plan, and to solicit public comment and input on the Scope.

II. Background

Executive Order No. 2, issued April 9, 2008, created a State Energy Planning Board (“the Board”) charged with creating a State Energy Plan (“the Energy Plan”) to be completed by June 30, 2009. The Board, in turn, created an Energy Coordinating Working Group (ECWG) to assist in fulfilling the responsibilities of the Executive Order. The Executive Order is posted on the State Energy Plan website ( The Executive Order is specific with respect to certain analyses and assessments to be included in the Energy Plan which are recited below. The required elements set forth in the Executive Order, in addition to Issue Briefs on broad topics that address the interaction of energy, transportation, economic development, environment, and public health across sectors, comprise the Scope of the 2009 Energy Plan.


Chautauqua Lake Properties, Chautauqua County, New York

Unbridled, the Operator and its Joint Venture Partners, have successfully drilled a total of six new wells in Ellery Township, New York, into the Medina tight gas sand formations. Four of these wells have now been successfully hydraulically fracture stimulated, of which the first well is producing into line at restricted rates of greater than 100 Mscf/d with good pressure. The other three wells are expected to be tied in a matter of days, with further production testing in line. The two remaining wells are scheduled to be hydraulically fracture stimulated within two weeks. Additional wells are being permitted for drilling in Ellery and Villenova Townships during Q3.

The Company's 2008 budget calls for the drilling of a total of 20 wells in these Townships. In addition, there are numerous existing wells that can be recompleted within certain segments of the Medina formation. Plans are underway to recomplete four wells by end of Q3. Leasing operations are currently underway to expand the Company's 13,280 acre land position. Approximately 1,000 additional acres have been leased to date.

One of the new wells drilled recently involves a project with Schlumberger Data & Consulting Services (DCS: 14.39, +0.10, +0.69%), sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), to acquire new micro-seismic data to image the created hydraulic fracture. The project was completed, as scheduled, in May and successfully collected new reservoir and hydraulic fracture information in the Grimsby, Whirlpool, and Devonian shales in Chautauqua County. This new data will be used to optimize future hydraulic fracture treatments in view of enhancing production. Until now, the formations, in this region of New York, have not been characterized significantly. The project included collecting advanced logs, sidewall core, and micro-seismic data. Based on the project results, the Company plans to test the Marcellus and Geneseo shales in its Ellery and Villenova Township properties.

Further, the Company has agreed on terms to purchase an interest in 22 additional wells, 980 acres, and deep rights on approximately 14,000 acres which includes the Company's existing acreage where it holds all shallow rights. Additional information will be provided after closing.

A bill that would have extended and boosted the producer-incentive tax breaks on a host of alternative energy sources, including wind, solar, biodiesel, clean-coal and other projects to help spur alternative energy development, has been stopped in the U.S. Senate… for the time being.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), would have extended the $1-a-gallon producer tax incentive for biodiesel but failed when Senate Democrats failed to garner the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture… cutting off debate and allowing a majority vote on the bill. Senate Republicans opposed the measure largely because of some of the tax hikes attached to the bill. But this story from the National Journal says it’s not dead yet:

The measure is in limbo, although Senate Majority Leader Reid can call the bill back up for a vote. Aiding the GOP cause were Democratic absences, including Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Those two may be back for votes soon, however, giving Democrats a better chance on a revote as well as giving affected industries more time to lobby. Speaking earlier today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Baucus said he thought cloture could be invoked within a week to 10 days. One lobbyist predicted Republicans would eventually back the bill or risk blame for expiration of the tax breaks, particularly vulnerable incumbents like GOP Sens. John Sununu of New Hampshire and Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

A move to provide users of renewable energy some utility-bill relief is undergoing a final push in Albany, with help from some Rochester-area business owners.

Bills in the state Assembly could allow businesses to save utility money. Even a Rochester-area school with its own wind turbine could save an extra $50,000 a year.

The bills would also help business investors in wind turbines and solar panels to pay off their investment sooner, advocates said. The advocates said they scored major progress on Wednesday when state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County — the Senate's energy chairman — introduced a reform allowing greater use of incentives for customers using renewable-energy generators.

Two bills have been introduced in the Assembly that would, among other things, allow systems up to 2-megawatts to get credit for the excess power they put back onto the statewide power grid, said Carol Murphy, executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy of New York.

(Click to read entire article)

New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s announcement of support for the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Oxy-Coal Power Plant project and his authorization of $6 million in state funds to support the continuing development of the project, is an essential step forward for the BPU initiative.

If successful, this demonstration project will be the first of its kind in the United States, integrating several tested technologies in one place for the first time in what is called Oxy-Coal technology. The project has the potential to remove more than 90% of carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants.

Governor Paterson’s financial commitment today is in addition to $800,000 in previously-awarded state funds designated for geological studies.

The BPU has worked since 2003 to design and construct a $145 million power plant project, beginning with Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology that received draft Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits in April, 2007, and has been working with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the permits to progress the project.

(Click to read entire press release)

Pennsylvania Rep. Sandra Major, R-Montrose, introduced legislation Wednesday to amend the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Conservation Law in light of increased interest in developing the Marcellus Shale Formation.

Major, whose House district includes Susquehanna County, said the bill would extend the Oil and Gas Conservation Law to development within the Marcellus Shale deposit, define a lease under the act, exclude production costs from being deducted from royalty payments, and ensure that horizontal drilling is not conducted under any lands where a lease between a landowner and a well operator does not exist.

“As currently written, the Oil and Gas Conservation Law protections do not extend to the Marcellus Shale deposits, which are located deeper than current natural gas deposits,” Major said.

The Marcellus Shale is a large natural gas-bearing shale formation in the Appalachian Basin. It is estimated the deposit contains recoverable natural gas reserves of between 50 trillion and 200 trillion cubic feet. As a result a number of gas development companies have been attracted to Pennsylvania.

Modular microturbines – aka, urban turbines - are getting a lift in urban settings where buildings want to take advantage of wind power, minus the f-ugly factor. Going the opposite route of the bigger-is-better mentality, Aerovironment is designing small, silent turbines that easily attach to buildings. The look of the turbines take into account the building’s structure and style, so that the turbines look a little more like they belong there.

Like gargoyles that generate electricity, modular microturbines sit atop buildings, taking advantage of the aerodynamics of wind traveling up a building’s sides. Their design captures efficiency, as they can provide as much as a 30% increase on energy production. Helping obtain this level of efficiency is also the fact that they can rotate at low wind speeds – other smaller low-speed turbines are also in the works, though Aerovironment’s designs have much more style than some we’ve seen. The microturbines are about 200 lbs, 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, and have a bird screen to protect the pigeons (among other birds) that are the bane of building maintenance managers.

These urban turbines are geared toward larger buildings, rather than residential homes. The sleek look of the microturbines can add some flare to a building’s façade, as well as pad the bank account with both the savings on energy costs, and, hopefully, increased customer bases thanks to folks wandering in to ask what those things are sitting on the roof. If you listen carefully, you can hear these things holler “Chicago, here we come!”

(Click to read a second article)

Town of Fremont landowners are being cheated out of gas lease money, according to one resident.

Dan Hammond, who attended a landowners’ seminar in Campbell on the topic, said at Tuesday night’s town board meeting that residents should be getting more for their gas rights.

There are seven gas fields in Steuben County, Hammond said, including the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York to West Virginia and houses trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. The Town of Fremont sits on two pockets.

The problem, he said, is landowners are being low-balled by gas companies.

According to Hammond, some area landowners are being offered between $30 and $100 an acre on a five-year lease. In Howard and other towns across the county, the same companies are offering $1,000 to $3,000 an acre for a lease.

(Click to read entire article)

The U.S. Senate failed to advance a bill that would have extended the tax credits for various types of renewable energy businesses.

A vote by the U.S. Senate Tuesday nixed another attempt by the renewable energy industry to pass a long-awaited incentive package.

By a vote of 50-44, the Senate stopped the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 from advancing to the floor for consideration. The bill needed 60 votes to stay alive.

The bill, H.R. 6049, would have extended a series of production and investment tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year. The multi-year incentives have helped fuel renewable energy research and commercialization.

The bill was the latest attempt by industry leaders and supporters to keep the incentive program going (see Solar Industry’s Five-Step Plan, Solar Sharpens Weapons for Incentive Battle and Senate Rejects Green Incentives to Pass Energy Bill). The House passed its version by a 263-160 vote on May 21.

(Click to read entire article)

Boulder-based wind-credit broker Clean and Green "has suspended all business activities until further notice." At least that's what its Web site says, but if you want more information, don't bother calling -- the phones are disconnected.

The company, owned by local Gerry Dameron, has sold renewable energy credits to individuals and businesses across Boulder County -- including Illegal Pete's, the Boulder Bookstore, Izze and Pharmaca -- to allow the companies to offset their electricity use with clean renewable energy.

One renewable energy credit is generated every time a kilowatt hour of renewable energy is added to the grid. People who don't have direct access to renewable energy can buy the same number of credits as kilowatt hours used and claim to be "100 percent wind-powered."

Because it's difficult for a customer to know if the money they pay companies like Clean and Green actually make it back to the wind farms, most reputable brokers are certified by a third party.

Dameron decided last fall not to renew third-party certification for his company's wind credits or file the proper annual paperwork with the Colorado Department of State.

(Click to read entire article)

Federal officials visited the Canisteo countryside Friday to investigate the potential environmental impact of a proposed 7-billion-cubic-foot natural gas storage facility.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent representative Bob Kopka to review the site for the project and meet with other federal, state and Inergy company officials, as well as meet with landowners who would be affected by the project.

Kopka said the trip was to become familiar with the project and the land the project will sit on.

“I will be the one filling out the EA (environmental assessment),” he said, adding the assessment will take environmental, historical and residential concerns into consideration.

The proposed underground gas storage project, being developed by Inergy L.P., will develop 10 gas storage wells with a working capacity of 7 billion cubic feet.

The project also is planned to include:

(Click to read entire Article)

New auto industry start-up Mindset, has announced plans to release a gasoline-electric hybrid next year. The hybrid 2+2-seater, called the Six50, contains a built-in Li-Ion battery, with a range of 100km (62 miles) between charges, rising to 800km (496 miles) when the two-cylinder gasoline motor also kicks in as a generator as required. Battery charging is further assisted by integrated roof-top solar panels.

The car’s name hints at the target weight of 650kg (1430 lbs). However, according to recent reports, the prototype, made with a plastic body around an aluminum frame, tips the scales at a still fairly lightweight 800kg. According to Mindset, this helps the car to achieve fairly respectable levels of performance. The 70kw (95hp) motor should enable speeds of up to 140km/h (75mph) and acceleration from 0-100km/h in under six seconds.

The company was established by Marat Gunak, former head of design at Volkswagen (who is also gearing up with electric cars), with backing from Swiss billionaire Lorenzo Schmid. According to Gunak, most cars are currently “too big, too heavy, too expensive,” a trend that he hopes to help overturn with the Six50.

On first impressions, it seems that he might have succeeded in developing a small, lightweight car. However, many potential buyers will need to be persuaded that the price, currently estimated at €31,000 (about $61,000) - and likely to reach nearer €50,000 (about $98,700) by the time the Six50 hits the market - is not "too expensive." For an average buyer, that's pretty darn expensive.

$4.5 billion bid for Energy East Corp. has again brought pressure on state regulators from Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who suggested Monday the regulators are being "stone-headed."

The bid by Iberdrola SA of Spain for the company that owns Rochester Gas and Electric and New York State Electric and Gas is under review by the Department of Public Service.

The department's administrative law judge, Rafael Epstein, is working on an advisory opinion for the department's five-member Public Service Commission, which will vote on the proposed sale.

But Schumer isn't waiting for Epstein's opinion. The state's senior senator released a letter he sent to the Department of Public Service on Monday, asking the agency to drop its demand that Iberdrola sell its wind power assets in New York as a condition of getting approval for the Energy East deal.

"This past week, Iberdrola announced that they had a target investment of $2 billion in renewable energy projects in New York state, on top of the $100 million they have already committed to such facilities," Schumer wrote. To block those investments, he said, would be "nonsensical."

The department staff has been pressing Iberdrola for rate concessions and has questioned the company's ownership of wind-powered generators, citing a 1996 state guideline that frowns on ownership of both centers of distribution and generation.

Schumer took the position that the wind turbines shouldn't be viewed as competitive electricity generation, but rather as a means for the state to move toward achieving its renewable energy goals.

"The notion that the PSC might sacrifice $2 billion of new, job-creating wind-power investment in upstate New York at the altar of a stubborn and illogical adherence to poorly applied bureaucratic policy is stone-headed," Schumer said in a statement, repeating a characterization he used April 30 in referring to the state's stance.

A decision from Epstein is coming soon, with no set date, said PSC spokesman James Denn.

Right now the spotlight is on plug-in hybrids and electric cars, but that doesn't mean that everybody has stopped thinking about fuel cell vehicles. Of course, it doesn't seem like they'll be the next big thing (maybe the one after that, or maybe they'll never make sense), but it's a good idea not to put all of our technological eggs in the same basket.

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle, Better in Every Way
The Toyota fuel cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV) is based on the Highlander SUV, probably because that gives more space to engineers to cram in drivetrain prototypes. The new and improve version is 25% more fuel efficient thanks to a new high-performance fuel cell stack, better regenerative brakes, and more frugal auxiliary systems.

Longer Hydrogen Driving Range
It also has a 70 Mpa (10,000 psi) hydrogen tank developed by Toyota. This allows the new FCHV to drive 830 kilometers (516 miles) in the Japanese 10-15 cycle, and 760 kilometers (472 miles) in the JC08 cycle. This is getting very competitive with traditional cars, and is over 2x the range of the previous FCHV (which was 330 km).

(Click to read the entire article)

Nuclear Energy Reaches Critical Mass

The International Energy Agency says $45 trillion (with a "t") will be needed to fight climate change. Much of the money could be better spent, but at least the agency has embraced nuclear power.

The IEA wants to cut global emissions by at least half by 2050. Yet as the IEA itself has pointed out, global population is projected to grow from 6.4 billion to 9.1 billion people from 2003 to 2050, a 42% increase.

To even keep per capita emissions the same, much less reduce them, would mean freezing everybody's living standards and condemning the world's poor to permanent poverty.

To meet this goal, the IEA proposes that the world spend an amount approximately three times the U.S. annual gross domestic product. Even spread over 50 years, it's an enormous amount.

Such a sum, and probably much less money, could be better spent and produce greater benefit for the human species.

As statistician Bjorn Lomborg has noted, the cost of such a plan "just for the U.S. will be higher than the cost of providing the entire world with clean drinking water and sanitation. It is estimated that the latter would avoid 2 million deaths (from diseases such as infant diarrhea) a year and prevent half a billion people from becoming seriously ill each year."

(Click to read entire article)

BlueFire Takes Fuel From Trash To Tank

Traditional methods of producing ethanol generally revolve around the digestion of waste plant matter from farms, switchgrass, corn, or even rice husks. BlueFire Ethanol of Irvine, California, however, has plans to build a facility later this year that will be able to produce 3 millions gallons of ethanol each year, from trash. That's right, your unwanted waste might one day find its way into your fuel tank.

Their current process, using sorted garbage can produce 70 gallons of fuel per ton of waste. They hope to improve this to reach 100 gallons per ton. Any way you look at it, it's good news. Trash is cheap, and by locating their plants next to landfills, which they are doing, their source of raw materials is right next door, meaning that expensive feedstock doesn't need to be trucked in. This allows the ethanol to be cheaper than traditional processes.

Instead of using microorganisms to break down plant matter, BlueFire is using a concentrated acid hydrolysis process, where sulfuric acid is sprayed onto the trash, which is then submerged in a bath and pressed. The resulting mash is then fermented into ethanol and the acid reclaimed to use again. In addition to the plant they are currently building, two more are in the works producing 17 and 55 millions gallons respectively.

(Click to read entire item)

There, companies drilling into the massive natural gas resource have drained streams and spilled diesel fuel on pristine countryside.

Drill operators working for Range Resources and Chief Oil & Gas last month illegally diverted tens of thousands of gallons of water a day from rural streams to large-scale drilling operations in Lycoming County, west of Scranton, according to a report form the state Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP partially shut down the operation.

"We hope to have it resolved soon," Kristi Gittins, vice president for Chief Oil & Gas said Friday. "We fully comply with all regulations."

And in Susquehanna County, about 800 gallons of diesel fuel -- dyed bright red to help track it in the event of a spill -- leaked from a storage tank at a Cabot Oil drilling site, threatening a nearby stream. Emergency responders were containing and cleaning the mess last week.

(Click to read entire article)

Vertical Algae biofuel Growing

The Energy $mart Park Initiative (E$PI) is a partnership of over 20 agencies, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, academic institutions, and businesses formed in 2006 to address issues related to energy production and use in New York’s Adirondack Park region. We promote reliable, affordable, environmentally sound energy options that benefit all Adirondack residents and visitors by working to increase energy efficiency and local energy production from renewable resources.

Adirondack Energy $mart Park Coalition Launched
Lake Placid, NY – Responding to what has been called the greatest challenge of our generation, a group of 25 energy experts, state agency representatives, local officials, and members of the academic community gathered here over several days last week to hammer out a set of strategies to deal directly with the urgent need for a regional transition away from the use of fossil fuels, and toward clean, green, and affordable climate friendly sources of locally produced energy.

The Association recently called upon the New York Power Authority
(NYPA) to go back to the drawing boards and redraft its environmental assessment of a new power line proposed for the Tri-Lakes Region of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and surrounding communities. 3/6/06

Association Gives Power Authority Failing Grade On Tri-Lakes Power Line Proposal

Niskayuna, NY — The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks recently called upon the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to go back to the drawing boards and redraft its environmental assessment of a new power line proposed for the Tri-Lakes Region of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and surrounding communities.

(Click to read entire item)

As prospectors fan out over the Marcellus Shale stretching across the Southern Tier and points south, New York state regulators are trying to stay one step ahead.

A bill in the state Assembly addresses the massive space requirements of wells employing newly developed technology to drill horizontally for natural gas. Currently permitting regulations -- drafted for horizontal wells -- are broken down into 40-acre units. That is enough to encompass a typical gas pool a single horizontal well would be expected to tap.

Determining underground boundaries of a well is crucial as companies calculate royalties for property owners above the gas.

Because horizontal drill rigs can extract gas from an area that extends well beyond 40 acres, regulators have to issue permits under a non-conforming use, a process that requires more time and paperwork.

The bill, A10526, is intended to allow more uniform development of the Marcellus and, ideally, allow single wells to be spaced on 640-acre tracts, said bill sponsor William Parment, D- North Harmony.

(Click to read entire article)

New York State Geologist Richard Nyahay is scheduled to talk about the potential for natural gas exploration in this area. John Martin of the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Thomas Noll with the Mineral Resources Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany will talk to interested landowners about the gas development in the area.

For more information, call, Richard Lasky at 334-2051 or Dick Jorgensen at 334-5959. Landowners who want to join the Central New York Landowner's Coalition may send an e-mail requesting a membership form to:

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