Posts Tagged: Department of Energy

Raptor deaths dirty California’s cleanest energy source

Federal wildlife conservation officials have launched an inquest into the deaths of protected birds at a California wind farm, Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times reports, highlighting a potentially crippling drawback of one of the world’s cleanest power sources.

A total of seven golden eagles are believed to have been killed over the course of two years after colliding with one of 90 windmills at the Pine Tree windmill site. The windmills, operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the Tehachapi Mountains went on-line in 2009 and are spread out among 8,000 acres, generating 120 megawatts of electricity. (more…)

Can Obama reduce the deficit and ‘win the future’?!

If anything concrete has emerged from Barack Obama’s vague State of the Union pledge to “win the future,” it was the president’s reaffirmation of his commitment for long-term investments in clean, renewable energy. How has the 2011 federal budget compromise and overall Washington focus on cuts impacted these investments? The preliminary answer is not that much: environmental, not energy, cuts appear to be a much bigger casualty of deficit reduction mania. (more…)

Funding anxiety at Fermilab

Last month, I blogged that the Tevatron, the world’s largest atom smasher — located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois — will shut down this year because the U.S. Energy Dept. will no longer fund it. Using my wikipedic knowledge of particle physics, I wrote that this wasn’t a big deal because a more powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, was being built along the border of France and Switzerland. (more…)

Tevatron collides with new pledge for fiscal austerity


The Tevatron, the world’s largest atom smasher located at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, will shut down this year because the U.S. Energy Department will no longer fund it. Paul Merrion of Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the new White House budget request will not include $35 million to keep the Tevatron running for another three years. (more…)

Obama and biofuels

Writing at the Washington Monthly, Heather Rogers has an authoritative takedown of biofuel energy, i.e. ethanol and biodiesel, and the federal government’s continued subsidies to the Iowa-based biofuel industry. Rogers even finds Iowa farmers who share the view that biofuels are environmentally and economically unsustainable. “Growing crops for biofuels damages their soil,” she writes of these farmers, “and keeps them at the mercy of predatory multinational corporations.”

One quibble with the piece, though, is that Rogers glosses over possible changes being made by the Obama administration. (more…)

The dirt behind clean coal

There are rumblings that if the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives they’ll exhaustively probe and endlessly investigate the Obama administration. But what can they investigate?

One inquiry might involve the Dept. of Energy’s reversal on FutureGen, reports Tom Kacich of the Champaign, Illinois News-Gazette. (more…)

Government at the center of innovation

Government can and should be at the center of innovation along with private industry.  The market is more nimble, the market is more responsive, and the market is more reactive.  But government can be the convener, the coordinator, and  the patriotic core driving projects America needs.   Tom Friedman’s New York Times column about an exciting group of alternative energy innovation centers (called Energy Innovation Hubs) proposed by the Department of Energy shows how “faceless” government agencies can work at the forefront of infrastructure change in this country.   Mini-Manhattan Projects devoted to peaceful production of energy, bringing together private industry, university researchers, and the best engineers the country has available?  A program like this would show us all that we can still solve problems.  And it might even work.

Illinois weatherization 30 percent there

Paul Merrion of Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Illinois will receive $121 million more in Dept. of Energy stimulus money to weatherize homes. Illinois had already received $121 million to weatherize 27,000 households — the second federal payment was contingent on the state completing work on 30 percent of homes scheduled for renovation. Weatherization can mean insulating homes, paying for energy audits, or installing heating and cooling systems.

It appears Illinois has turned around its weatherization program after an exceedingly rough start. (more…)

DOE taking it one wind turbine at a time

As Ned Hodgman has tirelessly chronicled, the Dept. of Energy has problems distributing its share of the stimulus bill in a timely fashion. This is partly because many of the projects eligible for funding are unprecedented — like a plan in Illinois for three suburban school districts to construct and operate a wind farm. The Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick reports that these school districts, which serve about 25,000 students, have formed The School Wind Consortium and are expected to receive $15 million in DOE grants. (more…)

DOE needs more than a scolding (how about some new ideas?)

The Dept. of Energy still can’t seem to get stimulus money out the door (we’ve written about this problem here and here).  But the Washington Post‘s editorial board misses an opportunity in their look at the slow release of stimulus grants at DOE. (more…)