Jon Hurdle


Posts by Jon Hurdle

A new plan for deep cuts in carbon emissions from US power plants is designed to help counteract climate change and reduce health risks but could also lead to more job cuts in the beleaguered coal industry.

The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council recently issued the proposal that would use existing technologies to cut generators’ carbon pollution by 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025, also reducing emissions of other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Keep reading →

If US solar manufacturers were looking to recently upheld trade tariffs to provide relief from the onslaught of low-priced Chinese panels that has decimated the US industry, they may be disappointed, industry participants said.

Duties of 24 to 36 percent on most solar panels imported from China, as confirmed by the US International Trade Commission in early November, are not expected to drive up prices or make US manufacturers more competitive because of a loophole in the regulation that allows low-cost Chinese producers to avoid the tariffs if they make the solar assemblies outside China. Keep reading →

Can government stimulate investment in renewable energy generation by guaranteeing an electricity price for developers of sources such as wind and nuclear?

The UK government thinks it can, and recently introduced a long-awaited bill that would set a “strike price” for power generated by low-carbon producers, and recover the costs from consumers via electricity suppliers. Keep reading →

Some US utilities could have weathered Hurricane Sandy better than they did if they had invested in smart grid improvements such as smart-metering, outage management, and distribution management systems, a senior GE official said.

John McDonald, Director of Technical Strategy and Policy Development for GE Digital Energy, said utilities that have not yet installed the technology would have known about outages more quickly, been able to swiftly identify their locations, and been able to assign repair crews more efficiently if they had the enhancements in place. Keep reading →

Enthusiasm over the US natural gas production renaissance has been steadily building over the past few years and increasing production of both gas and oil from shale deposits came up numerous times during the 2012 US presidential election cycle. However, not everyone views shale gas as a supply panacea, which is the thrust of a book due out next spring written by Bill Powers with a forward by Arthur Berman.

This is the second article in a two-part Breaking Energy series – read part one here. Keep reading →

A forthcoming book argues that the country’s shale gas plays contain only about a quarter of the fuel that has been estimated by the US Energy Information Administration, and other widely used industry and academic assessments.

“Cold, Hungry and in the Dark: Exploding the Natural Gas Supply Myth,” by Bill Powers asserts that the quantity of unproved but technically recoverable natural gas in US shale plays is approximately 127 trillion cubic feet, or about a quarter of the 482 tcf estimated by the EIA in its Annual Energy Outlook for 2012. Keep reading →

Government can help the natural gas vehicle industry to gain a foothold in the market, but isn’t likely to work as a stimulus in the long run because many executives distrust its abilities to sustain support, according to the head of a leading maker of natural gas engine technology.

David Demers, chief executive of Westport Innovations said incentive programs are always fragile because they are subject to shifting political winds, and can cause serious disruption if they are withdrawn, so business leaders are more inclined to build their models on the basis of market forces. Keep reading →

The American Petroleum Institute recently renewed its attack on the US government’s Renewable Fuels Standard after the Environmental Protection Agency said it would not waive the requirement that uses some 40 percent of the US corn crop to make ethanol.

The main oil and gas trade association said the RFS, which is designed to blend increasing amounts of ethanol with gasoline, is “increasingly unrealistic and unworkable” because it has been adopted without regard for its compatibility with some vehicles, and if fully implemented would exceed what API says is the maximum safe limit of 10 percent in gasoline. Keep reading →

Taxing carbon could reduce US consumption of fossil fuels and significantly cut the yawning U.S. budget deficit but would affect low-income people the hardest unless offsets are built into it, economists and tax experts said on Tuesday.

As Congress and the White House seek alternatives to the “fiscal cliff” of sharp tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in on January first next year, experts on fiscal and environmental policy gathered at the American Enterprise Institute for a day-long discussion on a possible major new source of revenue that would also cut carbon emissions. Keep reading →

In the search for safety barriers at the edge of the US fiscal cliff, a carbon tax is a possible solution that’s expected to get serious attention during the remainder of 2012 and beyond.

As the new Obama Administration urgently seeks new sources of revenue ahead of the Jan. 1 trigger for automatic spending cuts and tax increases, and Congressional Republicans signal a post-election willingness to compromise on budget negotiations, the idea of a tax on the carbon content of fossil fuels is gaining traction as a measure that could meet the requirements of different groups. Keep reading →

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