Archive for July, 2010

Day 2 at Netroots Nation: Top 8 Quotes

Posted By admin on July 24th, 2010

Top 8 quotes from Day 2 at NN10:

1. “Information system has taken a huge leap forward, but the wisdom system has not.” – Van Jones, senior fellow at the Center For American Progress.

2. “These people are orcs and they are coming for you.” – Van Jones

3. “’Illegal immigrants’” has become the code word for Latinos. – Eliseo Medina, international executive vice president of SEIU

4. “Thirty percent of Americas energy comes from the Gulf, 80 percent of that comes from deepwater rigs. That’s why it’s so important to get this right.” –  Bob Cavnar, energy industry veteran and founder and editor of the Daily Hurricane.

5. “These wells talk to you the whole time your drilling. Looking back … this well (Deepwater Horizon) was screaming at them for at least 19 hours before it went that it was going to blow out and they didn’t listen.” – Bob Cavna

6. “Big oil is having its way with the American people and having its way with the American government.” – Van Jones

7. “A lot of these guys (Gulf Coast residents) say, ‘if fishing is bad, I can get work on the rigs.’ There is a history of people moving between these two industries. … They need to put bread on the table and feed their kids. – David Pettit, senior attorney in charge of NRDC’s Southern California Air Quality Project and one of the lawyers working to keep Obama’s moratorium on deepwater drilling.

8. “The ‘Banksters’ have a moral obligation to be a better citizen. We bailed them out, they should be willing to bail out the people on the Coast. – Van Jones

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Top 8 Quotes from First Day at NRN

Posted By admin on July 23rd, 2010

Had great first day at NRN. More to come on all of the below, but wanted to share in brief the best moments of my day.

Top 8 quotes:

  1. “It’s alright to have enemies. If you don’t have people that don’t like what you’re saying, you’re not saying anything.” –Nate Thames.
  2. “We are losing soliders because of fuel.”  – Jon Powers.
  3. “Just because somebody goes on a hike and doesn’t bring a gun, does not mean we’re doing fundamentally different things.” – Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold
  4. “Fossil fuel industries rests on the backs of poor people. Poor people live where this fuel is extracted, burned and refined.” Majora Carter, Majora Carter Group
  5. “Solar works better, it doesn’t blow up, it doesn’t spill and it doesn’t kill.” Danny Kennedy
  6. “Crossroads start today – what is the response going to be to what you’ve been handed by the Senate today?” – David Dayen, FireDogLake
  7. “The market language that BP is using today is the same as Exxon used during the Valdez disaster. …Alaskans are still not made whole.” Scott McAdams, US Senate candidate from Alaska
  8. “Just think about your kids. You want to turn this outfit over to the next generation?” Radio Host, TV Talk Show Host Ed Schultz
  9. “It’s an American value to question your government.” Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

More on these Issue Sites to come, but I just learned about these organizations and wanted to share them:

Appalachia Rising

And finally, some wonderful Twitter-tool tips from Jim Gilliam:


2. Meetup.comEverywhere

3. Plancast

4. Effective tweet: “I just donated … ask me why.”

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If I Could Drive Forever on Highway 99

Posted By brianm on July 20th, 2010

By Brian Mahar

Hot, dry and dusty. That’s Bakersfield, California.

It’s also home to the first solar thermal power plant in California in nearly two decades. And it’s become somewhat of “Tigercomm West” – a satellite office of my employer. My colleague Mark Sokolove and I took our second trip out to AREVA Solar’s Kimberlina Solar Thermal Power Plant a few weeks ago. We saw some familiar faces at the Holiday Inn and enjoyed some grilled cactus at the Cactus Valley Mexican Restaurant.

Mark and I were there to staff our client, AREVA Solar (formerly Ausra), for a site visit in conjunction with the 4th Concentrated Solar Power Summit USA. About 100 solar industry professionals journeyed down to Bakersfield to see the technology advances AREVA Solar has made in the past 18 months at Kimberlina.

Here’s Mark (third from left) and me (first on left) staffing AREVA Solar CEO Bob Fishman for an interview with KGET anchor Jim Scott.

Fortunately we didn’t have to sit on a bus for four hours, but Mark and I were on dawn patrol. Amity Addrissi from KBAK/KBFX shot on location throughout the morning and became quite the solar expert after four hours. KGET also did an update story on Kimberlina, as well as KERO.

The Bakersfield Californian also reported on the expansion of the plant to include a fourth solar steam generator (SSG) that will operate with the technological advances that have been made at Kimberlina – sustained, saturated, superheated steam that makes electric turbines run more efficiently.

Despite our visitors from the conference making great time on the road and arriving an hour early, the event went off quite smoothly. AREVA Solar CEO Dr. Fishman greeted the visitors and posed to them three power customer questions the CSP industry needs to answer, which you can find on Renewable Energy World and AREVA North America’s Next Energy blog. Dr. Bill Conlon, AREVA Solar’s SVP for engineering, followed up with a technical presentation on the Kimberlina plant, the expansion and superheated steam.

My colleagues make fun of me for getting excited about steam (I have a thermometer on my whiteboard that shows the difference between process heat, industrial heat, superheat and Washington DC summer heat). But it’s an important breakthrough in the effort to scale green energy technologies. By meeting the steam needs of conventional power plants, AREVA Solar can augment their power generation with solar steam generators. It will cut pollution and provide more power when it’s needed most – when it’s sunniest. Since going all-renewable all-the-time seems far off, cleaning up our current power plants is a step in the right direction.

We also saw the beginnings of construction of the new SSG at Kimberlina, which will be dedicated to producing superheated steam and will utilize the latest AREVA Solar technology. It was fascinating to hear about how, in 18 months, the engineering pros have significantly reduced the man hours it will take to construct SSG4 from what it took for SSG1 and the increased temperatures it will be able to produce.

Despite the Bakersfield dust I still can’t get off my shoes, it was great to get out of the office and on the ground at a power plant for a couple of days. J.D. Smith and the rest of the plant’s staff are probably glad to be rid of the P.R. guys, but they couldn’t be nicer to work with. And it’s a great experience for us to see up close and in person some of the very cool technologies we’re writing about and pitching. These men and women have been working in the power industry for years and it makes our jobs easier (and more interesting) when we really get to know the technologies and the industries we work with.

I’m looking forward to getting back there to see SSG4 in person when it’s completed.

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Looking for the Public Outrage

Posted By mikec on July 14th, 2010

Monday’s Washington Post piece, “Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists was right, but not complete. So far, the BP oil disaster has brought tar balls and Tony Hayward into the public arena, but it has not brought about the dramatic sea change needed to move America to a clean energy future.

The piece is marred by its gratuitous repetition of the word “scandal” to describe the manufactured controversy around the content of emails that were illegally stolen by who-knows-which fossil fuel interest. The emails aren’t scandalous, and three separate commissions have said so. As other bloggers have noted, there was no scandal but a theft of intellectual property. The outrage is that the media pays so little attention to getting to the bottom of who stole the emails in the first place.

Reporters David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin missed an important reason why the BP Gulf Disaster hasn’t move public opinion: because the oil industry, the most powerful in human history, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on propaganda and influence peddling to smother public opinion and policy.

From BP’s illegal and unconstitutional co-opting of local police resources to corrupt local federal judges to tens of millions of dollars spent lying about BP’s commitment to “make this right,” it’s an all-out assault on reality that, so far, is succeeding.

Evidence of how effective BP’s PR efforts have been can be seen in a new poll showing 73 percent of Americans now think a ban on offshore drilling is unnecessary, calling that the worst oil spill in U.S. history is a “freak accident.” Clean energy advocates are going to have to get a lot more aggressive pushing back against this reality-bending campaign, or else we’ll have more disaster just like it.

We don’t have any more fisheries we can afford to have permanently contaminated by a corrupt industry.

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Big Oil Attacks Solar in CA

Posted By mikec on July 12th, 2010

A recent REW post by SolarFred highlights the latest legislative efforts by dirty energy lobbyists to stop the growth of solar, wind and clean energy industries that Americans favor by more than 90 percent.

As SolarFred writes, Texas-based oil company Valero led a legislative initiative onto California’s fall ballot that links the state’s dirty air to its 12 percent unemployment rate.

Thought its Proposition 23, Valero wants to stop voter-sanctioned efforts to cut the state’s global warming pollution until the unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent for at least one full year.

Set aside how stupid this, given that cleantech is a job creator. Valero and other dirty energy companies are fretting about clean tech industries and their steady growth, which they have enjoyed since 2006, when Californians voted for lower emission standards in a bill known as AB 32.

Valero is using the “T” word when it talks about AB 32, instead of more accurately calling it an job creator, or, as Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt describes it, “an incubator of innovation.”

In November, it is Californians who will decide the fate of AB 32 and the future of jobs in their state.  Do they want more innovative green jobs? Or the type of jobs that Don Blankenship and Tony Hayward create – jobs that are short-lived, dirty and dangerous, and inevitably cost American taxpayers in their wallets and their health?

We have counter proposal: How about an initiative that says California wont’ allow oil companies operating within its borders to get one more penny in state or federal welfare until the state runs big budget surpluses for over a year?

After all, Valero, with billions in annual profits, doesn’t need government welfare any more than other highly profitable, dirty energy companies do. These companies are some of the biggest welfare bums on the planet, and when California is trying to close record state deficits, and the federal deficit needs to be lowered, why should we give Valero our money?

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