Hurricane Hanna Going North Along East Coast; Hurricane Ike Coming Next

Hurricane Fay brought drenching rains to a large section of Florida.  Hurricane Gustav went south of Florida [well, it did affect the Keys] and increased in strength as it went over the warm waters of the Gulf.  However, it was not as strong as predicted as it headed into Louisiana after passing over the oil rigs in the Gulf.  Now, Hurricane Hanna looks as it will have a greater effect on the US Open Tennis Tournament’s weekend schedule as we in Florida dodged another storm.  BUT, Hurricane Ike seems to be heading to Florida with the power of its namesake’s European armies.  It has been a Category 4 hurricane & now is a 3.  Current National Hurricane Center track shows highest probability having Ike go between Florida pennisula and Cuba & then going into the Gulf.  No prediction beyond that yet.  If it gets into the Gulf and its warmer waters, where will it go.  Too early to predict.  All energy producers are watching intently as are interests in Florida.


Map Courtesy of US National Hurricane Center

VeraSun Energy Announces Startup of Ethanol Biorefinery in Dyersville, Iowa

VeraSun Energy Corp. (NYSE: VSE), a large ethanol producer headquartered in S. Dakota, announced the startup of its 110 million gallon/year (MMGY) ethanol biorefinery located near Dyersville, Iowa.  The Dyersville production facility marks the 14th VeraSun biorefinery in operation, increasing the company’s production capacity to more than 1.4 billion gallons/yr.


The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said that VeraSun’s Dyersville facility (located on ~ 200 acres west of Dyersville) is the 32nd operating biorefinery in Iowa, increasing overall production capacity in the state to almost 2.5 billion gallons/yr.  The Dyersville facility is VeraSun’s 5th production facility in Iowa where it is the largest ethanol producer.

The biorefinery will annually process approximately 39 million bushels of corn and produce about 350,000 tons of distillers grains for livestock feed, in addition to employing approximately 55 workers.

Living Without Power After Hurricanes Including Hurricane Ike

With Hurricane Ike approaching it is time to prepare for the fact that you may loose electical power. South Florida including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Keys will likely be affected and may some of those communities may feel the full effect of the storm. The most common affect is loss of electrical power which can be anywhere from a few hours to several days. In major storms power can take a few weeks to be restored to everyone.

Generators are one option if you live in a house or townhouse. They are noisy and require fuel, usually gasoline. Usually after several hours the gas tank needs to be refilled if you are using a portable generator. Some generators use Propane. Whole house generators sometime use large tanks that  store propane. A  45 gallon cylinder tank can power an 8 kilo-watt generator, producing electrical power for a few appliances for almost 24 hours with normal power consumption. Local laws sometimes regulate how much propane can be stored on a residential property.

Battery back up power is an easier method for powering some electrical appliances and lights. A gas grill with a side burner can be used for cooking and heating water. Propane or Butane stoves can also be used. For bright outdoor light propane camp lanterns can be used.

If you do not use electric appliances for cooking, a twelve-volt portable battery or marine battery with an inverter can power 120 volt items. You can run a small television, aquarium pump, coffee grinder, fluorescent lights, incandesant lights, radios, DVD players,  CD Players, sleep apnea equipment, cell phone chargers, portable ice makers and many other items. Be sure the inverter is large enough. For example a portable ice maker needs more power than some of the other items.

You can attach an inverter to your car battery and start the car periocically to recharge it. Do not let a car battery run low as it is designed for quick bursts of power for starting a car. Totally discharging a car battery shortens its life. Deep cycle marine batteries are designed for providing power over longer periods of time and are designed to be discharged more often.

One method of charging batteries is through the use of solar panels. You can recharge the battery during the day. If you need a small amount of power, the cost of solar cells will be much less than if you need to fully recharge a large battery during one sunny day. Solar panels, marine batteries, solar panels and solar panels can be purchased from

Responsible Energy Corporation is another source for solar battery chargers and other products including rechargable batteries.

Coleman® Exponent® FLEX 5 ?Foldable Solar Charger

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PSEG Added to Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) (NYSE: PEG) was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America).  PSEG was one of 125 companies named to DJSI North America, and one of only 10 US electric companies to be included in the index.  The DJSI North America comprises the leading 20% of North American companies in terms of sustainability performance.  The DJSI measures the quality of a company’s strategy and management and its performance in dealing with opportunities and risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments and selects leading companies for investment purposes.  The results of the DJSI are watched by market participants and are used by asset managers in 16 countries to manage a variety of sustainability-driven portfolios, such as mutual funds.

Can Non Green Energy Production Still be Green if it Becomes More Efficient?

MMC Energy Inc. [NASDAQ: MMCE] announced that it received a favorable assessment from the California Energy Commission Staff for its Chula Vista Energy Upgrade Project.  The Chula Vista Energy Upgrade Project will involve a replacement of MMC’s existing 44.5 MW facility in the city of Chula Vista, California, with two new 50-megawatt simple-cycle GE LM6000 PC Sprint® peaking units.  So why is this green?  The highly efficient turbines will allow MMC to increase the facility’s capacity, greatly improve efficiency and reduce emissions on a per kilowatt basis.  Construction activities are scheduled to commence in early 2009, and the facility is expected to begin commercial operation in time to help meet peak summer demands in the fast-growing Southern California power market during the summer of 2009. 


Financing Obtained for Alternative Energy Biofuel

Environmental Power Corporation (Nasdaq: EPG) announced that its subsidiary, Microgy Holdings, LLC, has completed a financing involving the sale of $62.4 million of tax-exempt bonds issued through the California Statewide Communities Development Authority.  The proceeds of the bonds will be used to finance construction of the announced Riverdale Cluster and Hanford Cluster renewable natural gas (RNG(R)) projects.


The Riverdale Cluster in Fresno County consists of anaerobic digesters at 3 adjacent dairies with an expected output of 621,000 MMBtu/year of RNG(R). The Hanford Cluster in Kings County consists of three dairies with an expected output of 732,000 MMBtu/year of RNG(R).


The Bar 20 Project in Fresno County consists of anaerobic digesters associated with2 adjacent dairies with an expected output of 601,000 MMBtu/year of RNG(R).


Environmental Power Corporation is a developer and operator of renewable energy production facilities.  Its principal operating subsidiary, Microgy, Inc., holds an exclusive license in North America for the development and deployment of a proprietary anaerobic digestion technology for the extraction of methane gas from animal wastes and other organic waste for its use to generate energy.


Ormat Gets OK for Green Energy Geothermal Facility in Nevada

Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced that it is to supply and construct the Phase 1, 49.5 MW gross ‘Faulkner 1′ geothermal power plant at Blue Mountain, Nevada.  Ormat has completed the engineering and design and started procurement of certain plant components beginning in February 2008.  Site work will commence immediately.  Under the contract, Ormat guarantees to achieve substantial completion no later than December 31, 2009.  Blue Mountain is located 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the town of Winnemucca, Nevada. The electric power generated by ‘Faulkner 1′ will be sold to Nevada Power Company under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.  Ormat Technologies, Inc. is primarily engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business.

All About Solar Power Page Updated

Please read our All About Solar Energy page which has recently been updated. You will find information about the different types of solar energy (direct, photovoltaic (solar cells) and thermal (concentrated); how they work, the amount of power you can expect and recent advances.

PSEG Finalizes New Haven Peaking Contract; More Efficient if not Renewable

Yes.  This blog is about green energy, but we need electricity and other sources of energy from traditional sources while our alternative energy sources are developed.  The traditional forms of energy that are newly installed should be more efficient than those they replace or add to.  Remember, our population keeps increasing, so even with greater efficiency we seem to be like the hamster running in place.


PSEG Fossil announced the finalization of a 30-year contract between its subsidiary, PSEG Power Connecticut and the Connecticut Light and Power Company under which PSEG Power Connecticut will add approximately 130 MW of peaking generation to its New Haven, CT station.  The contract calls for PSEG to install 3 dual-fueled units that will go in service June 1, 2012.  The new units are reported to use highly efficient turbines similar to those that power jet airplanes to provide residents in Connecticut’s constrained southwestern region with the cleanest technologically available electricity during periods of peak demand.  The construction project will include installing a Selective Catalytic Reduction system, an advanced emission control technology that will reduce NOx emissions by 90 percent or more.

NASCAR Alternative Energy Efforts

OK, I promised a report on NASCAR alternative energy activities.  I couldn’t find any on the official NASCAR website, although there may be information on sites from individual race tracks.  There was a little information on recycling efforts.


The Michigan International Speedway started a program in cooperation with Coca-Cola Co. this summer to recycle 15.3 tons of plastic, cardboard and aluminum during one weekend in June.  This speedway is looking into wind and solar power alternatives, but has not announced any specific projects.


Sprint Nextel sponsors a cell phone recycling program at a number of NASCAR events.  Since 2001, their program has collected 7 million phones and raised nearly $4 million for charitable programs.


Maybe there will someday be a NASCAR electric car category race.  No plans announced on the official NASCAR site yet.  Maybe Tesla Motors will sponsor it as their roadster goes 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds!


US Open Tennis Tournament Goes Green; Reduces Energy Usage

In a previous post, I commented on TV advertisers during the broadcast of the US Open are continually extolling their green energy initiatives.  What is the USTA, promoter of the US Open doing?  Of course, it is also lauding its own green initiatives while over 700,000 attendees visit the site in 2 weeks: First, it gets you subliminally with the green surface surrounding the blue court area [maybe the colors should be exchanged so that the nonplaying surface is blue and the court area is green hawking back to the old grass Forest Hills court and the current Wimbledon court; Lexus, which provides player transportation services [no subway usage by tennis stars that travel by non-green private jets] will use hybrid vehicles in 20% of the fleet [Why only 20%?  Which players get the hybrids and which get the larger Lexus vehicles?]; IBM is reducing its energy consumption by reducing the number of servers from 60 in 2006 to 9 in 2007 to only 6 in 2008; distribution of 100,000 wallet cards with Eco-Tips; partnering with Evian to recycle the more than 500,000 plastic bottles and aluminum cans that will be used on site [How about no bottles and attendees drinking free, famous NYC water from the Catskill Mountains?]; Constellation Energy, the Center’s electricity supplier, will supply Green-e Certified Wind Renewable Energy Certificates to match the electricity consumption during the US Open; 20,000 Wilson tennis ball cans used at the tournament will be recycled [the 60,000 balls used will be donated to youth programs, so that will be 60,000 less balls and 20,000 less ball cans manufactured, shipped, etc.]; the 330,000 Daily Drawsheets and 103,000 other printed items will be printed on paper with 30% post-consumer waste; and the 2.4 million napkins used are made with 90% post-consumer waste.


The list above includes items that are not directly “green energy?, but are green, eco-friendly actions.  But, remember that all these green actions that reduce usage and recycle items DO reduce energy usage.  If you do not use it, it does not have to be manufactured, stored and shipped.  Also, recycling generally requires much less energy than production from raw materials.  Recycling aluminum is especially energy efficient as it requires 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than to convert bauxite to aluminum.


A good effort by the USTA.  Next, we’ll report on NASCAR.


StatoilHydro Mongstad Facility Now Recovers Oil Vapor

Traditional energy is becoming greener with new technology.  This is important until solar power and wind power become a much greater percentage of the total energy picture.  StatoilHydro’s [NYSE:STO] Mongstad facility now captures volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in oil vapor that are released when crude oil tankers are loaded.  The gas is purified and piped back into the hold as oil components in liquid form.  The VOC plant at Mongstad recovers at least 80% of the VOC emissions that were previously released into the air.  During the official opening Mongstad manager Kjell Petter Aarnes pointed out that the VOC plant was the first of a series of environmental projects underway at Mongstad.  Together with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight, VOCs help to form harmful ground-level ozone.  In 2007 Norwegian emissions of VOC gases totaled 191,370 tons.  Of this, 6% was emissions from the Mongstad terminal and refinery.  The oil and gas industry accounted for 39% of Norwegian emissions, 90% of which are accounted for by offshore loading.

Suntech Power Secures More Polysilicon; Stock Drops Over 6%

September 2, 2008 - Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), a leading Chinese manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, announced that it has signed a definitive 7-year polysilicon supply agreement with DC Chemical Co. Ltd., a multinational chemicals producer headquartered in South Korea.  DC Chemical will supply Suntech polysilicon with a total value of approximately $750 million from 2010 to 2016.  This is in addition to a March 2008 8-year agreement that provided for the delivery of polysilicon to Suntech with a total value of approximately $631 million from 2009 to 2016.  Polysilicon is the important ingredient in solar panels and as more companies manufacture solar panels it is becoming more important to secure multiyear supply.  Nevertheless, STP declined over 6% today to US$44.92.


Can Non Green Energy Production Still be Green if it Becomes More Efficient?

MMC Energy Inc. [NASDAQ: MMCE] announced that it received a favorable assessment from the California Energy Commission Staff for its Chula Vista Energy Upgrade Project.  The Chula Vista Energy Upgrade Project will involve a replacement of MMC’s existing 44.5 MW facility in the city of Chula Vista, California, with two new 50-megawatt simple-cycle GE LM6000 PC Sprint® peaking units.  So why is this green?  The highly efficient turbines will allow MMC to increase the facility’s capacity, greatly improve efficiency and reduce emissions on a per kilowatt basis.  Construction activities are scheduled to commence in early 2009, and the facility is expected to begin commercial operation in time to help meet peak summer demands in the fast-growing Southern California power market during the summer of 2009.

Is Everyone Going Green? It Seems So from All the Self Congratulations

The September 2008 Costco Connection answers readers’ questions concerning the company’s green efforts.  First, I must disclose that I am both a Costco member and a Costco shareholder.  I recently noticed that our local Costco now has a much lower light level and a great deal more skylights to allow natural light in.  In the Costco Connection they point out that their outdoor lights are controlled by a computer system that combines time of day with photocells to reduce the amount of time that their lighting is on.  They claim that the only all night lights are security lights and a few lights under the entrance canopy.  Also, they have a computerized system to monitor building air pressure to minimize air exchanged with the exterior and air curtains over the entrance and exit doors, again to reduce air exchange between the interior and exterior.  What about refrigerated and freezer space?  My personal observation is that almost all freezer space has doors, whereas the refrigerated space is generally on a counter that has the cold air staying down.  I always wonder why the local supermarkets have all the refrigerator and freezer space uncovered shelves.  It is very cold when you walk down the aisles.  I know that the systems are supposedly designed to minimize the loss of the cold air, but apparently they have a long way to go.