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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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Recharging and other concerns keep electric cars far from mainstream

For now, the only major automaker with a fleet of new all-electric vehicles priced for mainstream consumers is BMW, with its 500 Mini E electrics in what the company describes as a test of the technology. To judge from interviews with drivers and more than a dozen of their blogs, it has also proved to be a test of consumer adaptability.

The electrics pose two primary challenges to convention: When fully charged, electric cars generally cannot travel even half the distance that a conventional car can go on a full tank. And once the battery is depleted, there are few places to recharge besides home, and the charging process can take hours.

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Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower

The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

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PG&E Wants Rate Hike for Efficient Energy Users

In a recent application to the state, Pacific Gas and Electric asked to raise service rates by 5 percent for their best energy-conserving customers, typically smaller households.

The reason? To give price breaks of 2.5 to 5.7 percent to their biggest energy clients who use between 131 and 300 percent or more than the baseline monthly average.

PG&E uses a five-tier system to differentiate their customers. The system is supposed to promote efficiency by charging lower rates to customers who use the least amount of energy.

But the company, with  profits up 4.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, said they’re just trying to be fair.

TVNL Comment: Meet America's real enemy!

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EIA: a tiny agency with a big role in energy debate

As energy increasingly dominates the economy, a quiet little agency in Washington holds the responsibility for tracking the particles that conduct, fuse, blow, heat, combust and convert the earth, wind and water into the energy that makes our society run.

The man behind the quiet data-crunching enterprise is Richard Newell, a Duke University economist and energy enthusiast. He sits in a glass-walled office a block off the National Mall, between the president who hired him and the congressional lawmakers who hammer his numbers into policy.

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Report looks at hidden health costs of energy production

Generating electricity by burning coal is responsible for about half of an estimated $120 billion in yearly costs from early deaths and health damages to thousands of Americans from the use of fossil fuels, a federal advisory group said Monday.

A one-year study by the National Research Council looked at many costs of energy production and the use of fossil fuels that aren't reflected in the price of energy. The $120 billion sum was the cost to human health from U.S. electricity production, transportation and heating in 2005, the latest year with full data.

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New Way to Tap Gas May Expand Global Supplies

A new technique that tapped previously inaccessible supplies of natural gas in the United States is spreading to the rest of the world, raising hopes of a huge expansion in global reserves of the cleanest fossil fuel.

Italian and Norwegian oil engineers and geologists have arrived in Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania to learn how to extract gas from layers of a black rock called shale. Companies are leasing huge tracts of land across Europe for exploration.

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Few Bush-era energy leases are valid, report finds

Reporting from Denver - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Thursday that only 17 of 77 oil and gas leases on Utah public lands that the Bush administration auctioned off in December were valid and that his agency would prevent development on the remaining parcels, at least in the near future.

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