Insider Secrets

Insider Secrets

Learn how the PROs are making money from the oil and energy market.

Loading, please wait

Alternative Energy

  • The DOD is Vital for Fostering Emerging Energy Technologies

    The military’s FY2013 budget is playing out to be a hot-bed of debate over the role of government in supporting clean energy innovation. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed Department of Defense (DOD) budgets that bans the department from developing or purchasing advanced alternative energy fuels that cost more than traditional fossil fuels. While most of the resulting media focus has been on weighing the possible advantages associated with biofuel use relative to its cost, too little attention has been paid to the important role the DOD can play as a technology-first adopter.The…

  • How to Ensure U.S. Wind Power Succeeds without Subsidies

    In an editorial today, the Washington Post called on lawmakers to put innovation at the centre of federal policies supporting wind power, in the latest endorsement of the findings in "Beyond Boom and Bust," a report by leading energy experts at the Breakthrough Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the World Resources Institute.The endorsement followed congressional testimony on the role of government in energy innovation delivered last month by Breakthrough Institute Energy and Climate Policy Director and report co-author Jesse Jenkins before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.The Post expressed concern about the impending expiration of the federal production tax…

  • Pakistan Chooses Nuclear Energy over Climate Change in New Budget

    Pakistan's 44 per cent hike in outlay for atomic energy in its 2012–2013 budget contrasts with a massive drop in funds for crop research and overshadows a much smaller hike in overall allocation for science.   Despite drawing international attention in the past two years to its increased vulnerability to climate change, Pakistan allocated a meagre 135 million Pakistani rupees (US$ 1.43 million) to its newly formed climate change ministry – a fraction of the US$ 416 million given to the atomic energy sector in the budget presented on 1 June.Chaudhry Qamar uz Zaman, meteorologist and architect of the country's national…

  • Do Flying Wind Turbines have a Future?

    I like site visits—there’s nothing like seeing a company’s innovations in person.  In the case of Makani Power, I harboured some core misconceptions about their technology, and the visit set me straight.Time lapse photo of Makani’s tethered wing flying in a circle (Photo: Makani Power)Corwin Hardham, CEO and one of the co-founders of Makani, invited me to visit in Fall 2011. An intern of his was taking the class I taught that semester, and he heard me mention the company’s efforts in lecture, so he put Corwin in touch with me.  Things have been so busy that I wasn’t able…

  • Departments of State and Defense Lead Investment in Green Energy

    The United States clean energy industry certainly cannot count on Congress these days, but at least it has Ghana.With clean energy momentum stymied on Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom and Arlington have stepped in to provide some steam for a somewhat floundering industry. The Department of State has struck numerous deals with countries like Ghana to promote clean energy initiatives, which benefits the U.S. firms poised to take advantage of newly liberalized, barren overseas power markets. The Department of Defense, with its deep pockets and a mandate to get 25 percent of its power from clean sources by 2025, also has…

  • Looking at the Potential Trade War between the U.S. and China

    It was no surprise that China responded to the US decision to impose countervailing tariff duties on sale of imported photovoltaic panels from China.  We expected more of a tit for tat action sticking it to some US interest in China in roughly equal proportion to the insult of the duties imposed by the US.  Maybe China is waiting for maximum impact before it yells GOTCHA!  Like an October surprise designed to drive President Obama crazy, China is capable of imposing countervailing pressure.The US is upping the ante by now taking the same countervailing duties track for wind turbine towers…

  • Thin-Film Solar Panels, Riding Out the Turbulence

    Thin-film solar is attractive for a number of reasons; from the fact that it is more environmentally friendly to produce, to the low cost of manufacturing these much lighter weight and less bulky cousins of the traditional solar panel. But only the fittest are surviving in this niche market of highly sophisticated technology and constant innovation.Thin-film solar panels are manufactured using solution-based, low-temperature, roll-to-roll procedures that apply conventional printing techniques to flexible materials that can easily be incorporated into buildings and other structures. They are manufactured using copper, indium, gallium and selenium, rather than from silicon, cadmium and tellurium, which…

  • 13 Strange and Interesting Sources of Biofuel

    Nothing new under the sun? Potrzebie! These biofuels feedstocks set records for ingenuity, sheer craziness and a liberal dose of “what, me worry?“Most of the stories we write on the subject of biofuels feedstocks fall into the well-established realms of normal. But every once in a while, a feedstock emerges that is so compellingly bizarre that we file the story away in our “yecch, ptooey!” file, ready for the round-up which forms our Top Story today.None of the feedstocks may change the world, but some of them, though decidedly outside-the-box, have serious merit. Others…well, we offer them as cautionary tales.…

  • Pressure to go Green is Leading to Higher Energy Prices

    As the United States continues through the interminable process that will end with the national elections in November, the continued poor state of the economy is playing an increasing part in the debate over the likely outcome. What seems to have slipped from the discussion, however, is the contribution that energy costs are making in their impact on the different economies around the world including that of the United States. That awareness is becoming more evident in the UK, particularly in the debate over Scottish Independence. The recent Uswitch report notes: Energy bills have more than doubled in the last…

  • Japanese Solar Market about to Boom

    Last year, the Japanese government announced the creation of a national feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar, joining Germany and China in creating robust public policy to drive deployment of renewable energy. The program is set to launch on July 1, 2012 and solar is regarded as one of the brightest spots in the Japanese recovery from the tsunami.The new program will guarantee payment of 40 Yen/kWh ($0.50) for solar energy produced by projects >10kw (non-residential) and 42 Yen/kWh ($0.53) for energy from projects <10kw (residential) for twenty and ten years, respectively. Today, installed system prices in Japan far exceed global…

Martin tiller