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Alternative Technologies

Congress Passes Tax Extension

December 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, Alternative Technologies

Late last night, the House followed in the Senate’s footsteps and approved the $858B tax package that had been agreed to by President Obama and high-ranking Republicans.  The main objective of the tax package is extending income tax cuts, as well as  an extension of unemployment insurance.  Also included in the bill are tax credit extensions for the energy sector.  The legislation extends for one year a renewable energy grant program, and tax credits for energy efficiency and alternative vehicle fuels, as well as ethanol. The bill now moves to the President for his signature.   

President Announces Nuclear Loan Guarantee

February 16, 2010 2:37 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Alternative Technologies

President Obama today announced the first federal nuclear power loan guarantee.  The $8 billion loan guarantee will go to Southern Company so that it can build two new reactors in Georgia.  The President said the loan guarantee will help “build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in America."  He went onto say, “Make no mistake: whether it is nuclear energy, or solar or wind energy, if we fail to invest in these technologies today, we'll be importing them tomorrow.”  This is all part of the administration’s efforts to move toward a clean energy economy and help reduce greenhouse gases at the same time.  Under the 2011 fiscal budget, the White House has proposed tripling the loan guarantee program to $54 billion so that it can support seven to ten new nuclear reactors. 

BACT for GHGs: The Plot Thickens

January 14, 2010 4:45 PM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Alternative Technologies

In an important decision, EPA suggests that integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology cannot be ruled out as best available control technology (BACT) for a pulverized coal power plant without a searching (and likely case-by-case) examination of whether IGCC would alter design elements "inherent" to the purpose of the proposed project or would achieve pollution reductions "without disrupting [the applicant's] basic business purpose."  As this decision plays out, utilities could eventually be forced to construct IGCC plants rather than proposed pulverized coal plants.  And, as IGCC is most often viewed as a method of controlling GHG emissions, the EPA's forthcoming regulation of GHGs makes this eventuality more likely.  The bottom-line is that the thinking displayed in EPA's decision may accelerate the date on which control equipment and design changes focused on limiting GHG emissions will need to be employed in order to construct a new or modified source. 

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Negotiations Ongoing in Effort to Reach 60

October 8, 2009 2:38 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Alternative Technologies

Negotiations on the Kerry-Boxer climate legislation are ongoing in the Senate in an effort to reach a 60-vote filibuster proof majority.  In an effort to obtain the votes of moderate Democrats and Republicans, everything from nuclear power to domestic oil and gas development is on the table, according to Senator Kerry.  Kerry said, “We're going to work in a bona fide way with everybody to see how to bridge a gap here. We've got to get a 60-vote margin. That means you've got to legislate, which means you have to compromise."  Several Republicans want nuclear energy to receive similar tax credits as wind and solar.  At the lead in negotiations with Sen. Kerry on nuclear energy are Senators McCain, Graham and Lieberman.

Large Scale Solar Plant Coming to New Mexico

June 15, 2009 10:35 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): State Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives, Alternative Technologies

El Paso Electric, eSolar and NRG have announced an agreement with New Mexico Gov. Richardson to build the state’s first large scale solar project.  The solar plant is expected to provide power for roughly 74,000 homes, according to an article in the Las Cruces Sun-News. The 92-MW facility will see construction begin in early 2010 and it will be operational by summer of 2011.

University Develops Technology to Capture CO2 from Air

September 30, 2008 3:21 PM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): Alternative Technologies

David Keith, a scientist at the University of Calgary, and his team have developed a technology to efficiently capture carbon dioxide directly from the air.  This new technology could be very helpful in capturing emissions for automobiles and airplanes.

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Company Working on CO2 to Fuel Technology

September 25, 2008 2:05 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Alternative Technologies

Carbon Sciences, a technology development company, is currently working on a technology that could make carbon dioxide transform into transportation fuels.  Unveiling this as a potential technology option for carbon dioxide creates a new value for carbon in the climate change world.  According to the Carbon Sciences website, “Instead of using expensive inorganic catalysts . . . the Carbon Sciences process uses inexpensive, renewable biomolecules to catalyze certain chemical reactions required to transform CO2 into basic hydrocarbon building blocks.”

Coal-to-Liquid Plant Set for West Virginia

July 30, 2008 9:47 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Alternative Technologies

Consol Energy and Synthesis Energy Systems have formed a joint venture, Northern Appalachian Fuel LLC, which will build an $800 million coal-to-liquid plant in West Virginia. The plant would convert coal to both methanol and gasoline, with the ability to produce up to 100 million gallons per year of 87-octane gasoline. The companies are examining carbon capture and storage technology, although that is not included in the current cost of the plant. Consol’s senior vice president for external affairs Thomas Hoffman said, "We understand that [CCS] is an issue that is on everybody's mind, and it's on our list, too…….We don't know what the rules, if any, will be when the plant is built."

Carbon Capture Proven in Australia

July 16, 2008 3:59 PM | Posted by yuri.horwitz@alston.com | Topic(s): International Policy/Programs, Alternative Technologies, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

CSIRO Energy (a branch of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) has proven a post combustion capture (PCC) technology in Australia.  PCC is a relatively new technology that can be utilized to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in power stations, smelters, steel works and other industrial facilities.  CO2 is the anthropogenic gas in the atmosphere primarily responsible for global warming.  Once CO2 is captured through PCC it could potentially be stored deep underground or beneath the ocean in rock formations, although serious concerns with this approach remain. 

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GE Reaches Agreement with Schlumberger

May 28, 2008 2:02 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Alternative Technologies, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

GE Energy and Schlumberger Carbon Services have reached a carbon sequestration agreement to accelerate the use of "cleaner coal" technology.  GE brings to the agreement its proven integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) technology with the ability to capture carbon dioxide, while Schlumberger brings vast knowledge in the area of geologic sequestration.  John Lavelle, President of GE Energy's Gasification business, said, "This is a first-of-its-kind alliance between leaders in IGCC technology and CO2 storage to accelerate the commercial development and deployment of cleaner coal power and encourage the proper regulatory framework."

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