Energy

Energy
12:01 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Is U.S. Energy Independence Finally Within Reach?

A worker hangs from an oil derrick near Williston, N.D. The state now produces 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and production continues to rise.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 8:17 pm

Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that's a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.

Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.

But now, it might just be within reach.

The Shale Gale

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Newt Gingrich
4:29 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Energy Fuels Newt Gingrich's Comeback Plan

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich is counting on his promise of $2.50-per-gallon gas to return him to front-runner status.
Evan Vucci AP

When voters in Michigan go the polls Tuesday, it's unlikely many will tick the box for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In part, that's because Gingrich has all but written off the state, leaving his opponents to fight over it.

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U.S.
3:57 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

What Happens If The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't Built?

A mock oil pipeline near Cushing, Okla.
Brent Baughman/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:56 am

Part two of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas isn't like a rare bottle of wine that fetches a high price just because it's rare. But at the same time, no one can agree what drives gas prices. Demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at its lowest point in more than a decade; domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Why Did Leading Solar Panel Maker Solyndra Fail?

Zachary Graham/Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What caused Solyndra, a leading American solar panel maker, to fail last fall and what are the implications for U.S. alternative energy industries?     -- Walt Bottone, Englewood, NJ

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NPR News
5:01 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Ranchers' Land Becomes Ground Zero In Energy Fight

Rancher Randy Thompson is fighting to keep the Keystone XL pipeline from being built in Nebraska.
Guy Raz NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:38 am

Part one of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas prices are spiking once again; the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is about 12 percent higher than it was a year ago. But winter typically isn't the time for a rise in gas prices. Demand for gasoline is at a 14-year low and domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway, But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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Energy
4:03 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Natural Gas Boom Energizing The Chemical Industry

A Shell-owned ethylene cracker plant on Pulau Bukom, Singapore. Several U.S. states are competing for a similar plant the company plans to build in northern Appalachia.
Courtesy of Shell Chemicals

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 8:19 pm

Just outside of West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River, sits the Institute Industrial Park. Chemical plants have operated here continuously since World War II, when the local factories cranked out synthetic rubber. Today there are industrial pipes, tanks and buildings stretching in just about every direction.

Soon, there could be more.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun February 12, 2012

How Green is the State of Our Union?

Pete Souza/White House photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: What are the environmental implications of the road ahead as laid out by President Obama in his recent State of the Union? -- Marilyn Pike, Bethesda, MD

 

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association

John Brownlow via Flickr/Creative Commons

When Bob and Celine Richer decided to retire to New Hampshire, they knew they would need an energy-efficient home to be able to afford the long heating season. Bob contacted the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association for help. The Richers’s home is constructed of insulated concrete form with a geothermal and solar heating system.

Bob: The Sustainable Energy Association provided us guidance and encouragement along the way because there were so many things to choose from.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Nuclear Safety, Cost Issues Loom As U.S. OKs Reactor

Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:56 am

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun January 29, 2012

The Energy Waste of TV-Top Boxes

iStock Photo/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that cable and other pay TV boxes that sit atop television sets consume massive amounts of energy, in part because they are always on, even when the TV is off? -- Sam Winston, Metarie, LA

 

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Here's What's Awesome
12:42 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Smart Thermostat Brings the Heat (But Only When You'd Want It To)

joelk375 via Flickr/Creative Commons

Most of the few routines we have in my house involve the thermostat - at night, as we all trek upstairs to bed, I turn the main floor thermostat down and turn the upstairs thermostat up. In the morning, we do the reverse. It keeps our heating bill down, but it's a little like trying to save gas by hypermiling - not everyone is going to put in that much time to save a buck here and there.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun January 22, 2012

Cutting Down Forests for Biomass Fuel

Hemera Collection Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that some companies are now looking to cut down forests and burn them as “biomass” for generating electricity. Is nothing sacred?   -- Audrey Barklay, Newark, NJ

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Home Energy Audits

USDA

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: There are a number of companies out there now doing “energy audits” for the home, after which they try to sell you attic insulation and other products and services. Is this just a scam or would it be wise for me to look into this?                            -- Bill Richards., New York, NY

 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun December 25, 2011

New Standards for Light Bulb Efficiency

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: What do I need to know about the new U.S. energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that take effect in January 2012? Will certain bulbs be unavailable? And am I supposed to switch out my older inefficient bulbs with newer efficient ones?   -- Melissa McCarthy, Aptos, CA

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