Wednesday, April 30, 2008

OT: The Allure of the Forever Stamp

On May 12 the price of a stamp is rising by one cent. (a 2.4 percent increase). Right now you have the opportunity to lock in the 41 cent price forever. Is there any doubt, given the cost of gasoline, that the price will be rising again soon? This might rank as one of the best investments opportunities for businesses in a long time.

The stamp is quite handsome as you can see.
Risky investments and rising prices seem to be everywhere these days
For the past year, branches have been selling “The Forever Stamp” for 41 cents each
“The stamp will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes,” the agency promises.
As the penny increase of May 12 nears, the forever deal is proving irresistible to millions of Americans, according to today’s news release:
In the past several weeks, Postal Service customers have been buying Forever Stamps at a rate of about 30 million per day, bringing the amount sold to more than 6 billion since they were first offered.
The Associated Press further detailed the climb, reporting forever stamp sales of $267,696,023 in March, $207,900,132 in February and $115,303,031 in January

When the standard stamp switches to 42 cents, so will the forever version, thus commencing a new round of forever stamp stockpiling.

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The World's Biggest Clean-Energy Projects

Use the links to read the full story and to view the pictures and descriptions of the biggest clean energy projects.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's

Don't forget. Free cone day at Ben & Jerry's is Tuesday, April 29, 2008.
To find a scoop shop near you Go Here. Enjoy!!!
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OT: Why This Oil Shock is the Big One

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Oil is up almost $30 a barrel in just four months, trading Friday as high as $119.50 a barrel.
Demand in China continues to fuel demand
Domestic oil demand has dropped 1.6% over the last year as the economy weakens
“an exogenous shock, similar to to the supply shortages of the mid-1970s, early 1980s and briefly in the early 1990s.”
spending on energy as a share of wage income has shot up above 6%
topping the 1974-75 and 1990-91 shocks to be the worst since the 1980-81 runup
the current shock is far worse than any of the three prior ones,
The figures “suggest that energy costs will crowd out other spending components because income growth is being stifled by weakness in payroll employment,”
“Moreover, relatively thin saving flows offer consumers little cushion against the rising oil prices.”
Weak retail sales — from cars to appliances to clothing — are clear signs of the effect
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

'Rent-a-solar-cell' on the drawing board


One way photovoltaic power is spreading in other parts of the country is by firms installing their solar cells on top of other companies' buildings – basically, leasing roof space and sharing the resulting income from electric generation.
A Delaware company called CitizenRe wants to bring that model to homeowners. It's trying to establish a "rent-a-solar-cell" model around the country, using local agents recruited in an Amway-like, network-level marketing model.
Kesty, who has a degree in environmental studies, thinks people who want to cut greenhouse-gas emissions will jump at the chance of getting solar power with fewer hassles and without having to invest in the hardware
Details are still meager
This lack of details has produced plenty of skeptics who don't believe the cost of building and installing small arrays of photovoltaic cells on thousands of roofs can be covered by the power they generate.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Peek at U.S. Energy Subsidies

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Ever wondered how much U.S. federal energy subsidies amount to—and who’s getting them?
So did Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander
who almost a year ago asked the Energy Information Administration to cough up the latest numbers
This month, the EIA did.
Since 1999, federal energy subsidies have more than doubled—from $8.2 billion to $16.6 billion in 2007
Renewables” landed $4.8 billion last year, but that includes $3.25 billion for ethanol and other biofuels
Coal and cleaner-burning “refined” coal took home $3.3 billion
nuclear power industry got $1.3 billion
Federal energy subsidies seem to dominate discussion on the Hill (and overseas)
Sen. Alexander
argued against the current subsidy mix
After a doubling of federal energy subsidies in eight years, the EIA notes, U.S. total energy production is “virtually unchanged” at 72 quadrillion British Thermal Units
with the significant incentives provided to various production segments of the energy sector would tend to raise domestic energy production.
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Friday, April 25, 2008

Gadgets that help you Conserve Energy at Home

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These gadgets save power without breaking the bank

Simple meters can help identify energy hogs. The Kill A Watt (about $25 online) monitors the electricity used at one outlet.
Even when switched off, most electronics continue sucking small streams of current. That phantom load can consume 5 to 20 percent of a home's total electrical bill. The Bye Bye Standby starter kit (about $30) uses a wireless remote control to completely cut power to two outlets.
HYmini ($50) can put wind power into a handset. A battery stores electricity for small devices, such as cellphones, and can be charged from an outlet.
The Black & Decker CMM1200 ($400) packs enough of a charge to cut a third of an acre. It's also the first mower to earn an Energy Star rating.
Tankless heaters deliver water on demand
The Rheem RTG-53 (about $800) can supply two showers at a time, including north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
the Stiebel Eltron Tempra 12 (about $350) can provide enough water for one satisfying shower at a time
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Climate and the Web: ‘Electronic Democracy on Steroids’

This is a clip of an interesting article. I suggest you follow the link and read it. Good perspective.
We tried an experiment a week ago in collectively deconstructing President Bush’s latest speech on climate change. One early post here tried to create a “starting point for productive climate discourse.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the same kind of experiment, but with a lot of the consensus-building happening behind closed doors. That leaves it subject to criticism from those saying it’s overly conservative or prone to warming alarmism.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Center for Collective Intelligence is creating what it calls a wiki-style Climate Collaboratorium aimed at clarifying issues and options related to human-driven climate change. The idea began in a 2006 paper by M.I.T.’s Mark Klein and others (pdf alert). A video summary is on YouTube:
Gavin Schmidt at and NASA also recently weighed in on blogging and climate science
coal in China
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stuffing the Sky: Carbon’s Up–Good or Bad?

His opinion piece is based on the observation that solar sunpot activity is very sluggish right now. Many other scientists are aghast at his “misinformation” campaign.

Follow the link for additional information and links.
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So which is it? Should the world be worried about increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or should it be doing everything possible to pump more CO2 into the skies?

Greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere are rising, despite the Kyoto Protocol, mushrooming wind farms, and booming sales of hybrid cars
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration says the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is growing much faster than in the 1960s
concentrations increased by 2.4 parts per million (according to AP) or 2.6 million (according to the NYT)
Fantastic, says Australian-born NASA astronaut and space entrepreneur Phil Chapman
In The Australian, he warned that spewing even more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere may be the only way to stave off a catastrophic age of global cooling
He even thinks setting off nukes in the arctic to release extra methane might be a good idea.
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Pay for the Power, Not the Panels

Follow the link for more detailed information.
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Solar power is simple, clean and easily installed, but manufacturing solar panels is expensive, which is why this energy source is out of reach for many residences and businesses
solar power companies have discovered that they can attract more buyers if they act as financial intermediaries as well as suppliers of equipment and systems used to generate electricity from sunlight
Creative financing “tears down the Berlin Wall of capital-cost barriers and opens up a floodgate of installations
SunPower Corporation
The new financial methods are propelling the recent surge in photovoltaic solar power installations
Some 148 megawatts of solar capacity came online in 2007, up 46.5 percent from the 101 megawatts installed the previous year
Using a “power-purchase agreement” model, or P.P.A., companies like SunEdison L.L.C. and SunPower take on the cost of installing solar panels on customers’ roofs
Morgan Stanley agreed to provide $190 million to finance solar projects being developed by SunPowe
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The technology that will save humanity

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One of oldest forms of energy used by humans -- sunlight concentrated by mirrors -- is poised to make an astonishing comeback. I believe it will be the most important form of carbon-free power in the 21st century. That's because it's the only form of clean electricity that can meet all the demanding requirements of this century
after speaking with energy experts and seeing countless presentations on all forms of clean power, I believe the one technology closest to being a silver bullet for global warming is the other solar power: solar thermal electric, which concentrates the sun's rays to heat a fluid that drives an electric generator
over the next few decades, the world needs to switch to a ground transportation system whose primary fuel is clean electricity
Solar electric thermal, also known as concentrated solar power (CSP), meets all these criteria
the Web site of CSP company Ausra illustrates, solar thermal has a long and fascinating history
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Billionaire Texas oil man makes big bets on wind

Though Pickens admits that wind power won't be as lucrative as oil deals, he still expects the Texas project to turn at least a 25 percent return.

Pickens' wind farm is part of his wider vision for replacing natural gas with wind and solar for power generation, and using the natural gas instead to power vehicles.

To picture Pickens' energy strategy, imagine a compass.

Stretching from north to south from Saskatchewan to Texas would be thousands of wind turbines, which could take advantage of some of the best U.S. wind production conditions.

On the east-west axis from Texas to California would be large arrays of solar generation, which could send electricity into growing Southern California cities like Los Angeles.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Legendary Texas oil man T. Boone
has gone green with a plan to spend $10 billion to
build the world's biggest wind farm. But he's not doing it out
of generosity - he expects to turn a buck.

The Southern octogenarian's plans are as big as the Texas
prairie, where he lives on a ranch with his horses, and entail
fundamentally reworking how Americans use energy.

Next month, Pickens' company, Mesa Power, will begin buying
land and ordering 2,700 wind turbines that will eventually
generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity - the equivalent of
building two commercial scale nuclear power plants - enough
power for about 1 million homes.

"These are substantial," said Pickens, speaking to students
at Georgetown University on Thursday. "They're big."

Though a long-time oil man, Pickens said he has embraced
the call for cleaner energy sources that don't emit
heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

But Pickens is not out to save the planet. He intends to
make money.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tom and Ray Plug In

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Can the next
generation of hybrid cars cause an energy revolution by allowing us to plug into
the grid? Vehicles powered from power plants could substantially reduce
greenhouse-gas emissions.

running time 10:22
Chapter 5 thumbnail

watch chapter 5 in
Windows Media: hi |

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The Car of the Future, Chapter One

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suggest that by 2050 there will be two billion vehicles on the world's
roads, two and a half times as many as there are today. The "Car
Talk" duo, brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hit the road in search of the
car of the future.

running time 8:16
Chapter 1 thumbnail

watch chapter 1 in
Windows Media: hi |

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

U.S. Department of Energy Launches Website with Energy Saving Tips for Consumers

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Site Highlights Ways to Make Everyday Earth Day with Wise Energy Choices
he U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched a new internet feature which provides tips to consumers on how to make everyday Earth Day by making smart energy choices to save money while protecting the environment.
The interactive web page shows consumers steps to use less energy with household electronics, lighting, and appliances to save on monthly bills and how to avoid wasting energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes and cars.
Other areas of emphasis highlighted include DOE’s work to make a smart and efficient electric transmission grid, make homes, buildings and industrial sites more energy efficient, and reduce dependence on oil with Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

DOE Selects Projects for up to $50 Million of Federal Funding to Modernize the Nation’s Electricity Grid

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Demonstration Projects Aim at 15 Percent Reduction of U.S. Peak Load Electricity Demand
announced the Department’s plans to invest up to $50 million over five years
in nine demonstration projects competitively selected to increase efficiency in the nation’s electricity grid
these projects aim to reduce peak load electricity demand by at least 15 percent at distribution feeders—the power lines delivering electricity to consumers
Cutting-edge technologies that enhance the efficiency and dependability of the nation’s electricity grid are critical
The projects were selected in response to DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
Allegheny Power will develop the “West Virginia Super Circuit”
ATK Launch Systems, along with partners Rocky Mountain Power and P&E AUTOMATION, will demonstrate load reduction through an integrated network of diverse renewable generation technologies and intelligent automation
For more information
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eSolar scores $130 million from Google, other investors

Solar power plant builder eSolar has raised $130 million from Google’s philanthropic arm,, and other investors.
Sunday night as Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference
The other investors include Idealab and Oak Investment Partners
eSolar could help break the logjam that has put Big Solar on the slow track in California.
“We just completed tests at our test site this week and we will be able to produce electricity that is competitive with coal,” said an animated Gross Sunday evening.
That is the Holy Grail of renewable energy
eSolar has been operating in stealth mode but Gross shared details of the company’s technology and how it intends to produce greenhouse gas-free electricity so cheaply
use fields of mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on a tower containing a water-filled boiler
The resulting heat will create steam that will drive an electricity-generating turbine
The tipping-point innovation
mirrors and the software that controls them as well as the modular design of the power plants
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Venturi Eclectic EV

Venturi Eclectic EV
A look at the Venturi Eclectic solar powered car courtesy of Venturi
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The Incredible Hybrid Solar Home--Enertia House


This house heats and cools itself bringing benefits to the homeowner and the environment. The Enertia House can make more energy than it uses! The house won the grand prize from the History Channel and the National Inventors Hall of Fame (first out of 25,000 entries).

From the Enertia website:

Q. WHAT IS Enertia?

A. Enertia is energy made useful by a shift-in-Time. In the 1980's Architectural Inventor Michael Sykes coined the term "Enertia®" for the useful energy that can be captured from thermal, rotational, or electrical inertia. Using inertia, 80% of world energy needs can be met with a simple shift-in-Time. Summer thermal buildup can be shifted to fill Winter thermal needs. Daytime solar gain to fill night-time needs. Downhill inertial gain to uphill power draw. No fuel or pollution is involved. Devices from flywheels to funicular railroads use "Enertia®". Inertia can multiply the usefulness of solar, geothermal, or even fossil-fuel energy. Enertia® is the energy, and inertia is the catalyst for it. Because inertia can move energy from a time when it is "useless" to a time when it is "useful," the resulting Enertia® is, literally, energy from the fourth dimension - Time.

Read about hybrid solar houses and designs.

Read about the
Science behing the house.

Read about

Home Page of
Enertia the Grand Prize winner.