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New Government Approved Light Bulbs Cost $50 Each

Yahoo | Two leading makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January.

Their demonstrations at the LightFair trade show in Philadelphia this week mean that brighter LED bulbs will likely go on sale next year, but after a government ban takes effect.

The new bulbs will also be expensive — about $50 each — so the development may not prevent consumers from hoarding traditional bulbs.

The technology in traditional "incandescent" bulbs is more than a century old. Such bulbs waste most of the electricity that feeds them, turning it into heat. The 100-watt bulb, in particular, produces so much heat that it's used in Hasbro's Easy-Bake Oven.

To encourage energy efficiency, Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals, starting in 2012. Conventional light bulbs don't meet those goals, so the law will prohibit making or importing them. The same rule will start apply to remaining bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014. Since January, California has already banned stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 6802

Obama To Open Offshore Areas To Drilling

New York Times | The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 7026

Houses Approves Bill To Open Oil & Gas Exploration

Foxnews | The House of Representatives voted to open more of the nation's oceans for oil and gas exploration on Thursday by a vote of 243 to 179.

The "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act," requires the Interior Department to set a production goal of three million barrels of oil per day for its 2012-2017 leasing plan.

In order to reach that target, the legislation requires the department to hold lease sales off the coast of Southern California, in the Arctic Ocean, off Alaska's Bristol Bay, and in the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to North Carolina.

Republicans say that the bill, along with two other drilling measures passed earlier this month, would create 1.2 million jobs and lower the price of oil. The Congressional Budget Office says that the offshore lease sales would generate $800 million in revenue over ten years.

The Obama administration released a statement opposing the bill Wednesday. The White House argued that the proposal would undermine the current leasing process and mandate drilling leases without input from the affected states.

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 8076

Japan Faces Lengthy Recovery From Fukushima Accident

CNN | The worst may have passed in the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl, but cleaning up when it's finally over is likely to take decades and cost Japan an untold fortune.

A six- to nine-month horizon for winding down the crisis, laid out by plant owner Tokyo Electric Power this week, is just the beginning. Near the end of that timeline, Japan's government says it will decide when -- or whether -- the nearly 80,000 people who were told to flee their homes in the early days of the disaster can return.

Friday marks six weeks since the March 11 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that triggered the crisis.

Some of those who have already spent six weeks in emergency housing, like Tomioka funeral director Kazuhiro Shirato, say they don't expect to return to what was home.

"I've been told by TEPCO since I was very small that the nuclear power plant was safe, so I never imagined this would happen," Shirato told CNN. "I hope now that the whole town will move to another place and rebuild."

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 8098

Ethanol: Friend or Foe?

CNN | Donald Stedman has never been a fan of ethanol. Stedman, a chemistry professor at the University of Denver, said there are several problems with the alcohol fuel, one being that it messed up the fuel pump in a car he uses.

Brooke Coleman is a big fan of ethanol. Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, said there are a lot of misconceptions about the type of fuel. He's also experienced an engine-part failure that a mechanic blamed on ethanol, but he said he's sure there were other issues that caused the shutdown.

The two men are on different sides of a debate on a fuel that is increasingly under a political and public microscope.

The debate over ethanol can be heated. The government mandates the amount that is produced in the United States each year, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently granted a waiver, allowing the percentage of ethanol that can be used in some cars to rise from 10% to 15%.

The government is also funding more pumps that can distribute various blends of ethanol, including E85 (85% ethanol).

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 6249

Pennsylvania Is Ground Zero For U.S. Shale Gas Drilling Boom

Guardian | Last June, Tony Zaffuto arrived at his fieldstone cabin in the forested hills of Pennsylvania's SB Elliott state park to find a notice pinned on the front door: "Danger. Do not occupy dwelling".

A blowout at a gas well in another popular camping spot, in the woods of the Punxsutawney hunt club, also in Clearfield County, had shot a 23-metre (75ft) combustible gusher of gas and toxic waste water into the air. It took the gas company, EOG Resources, 16 hours to control the well and the authorities had to carry out an evacuation.

It was not Zaffuto's first encounter with the dangers of natural gas drilling. In 2009 the spring that was the cabin's only source of water was contaminated by toxic waste from a pond serving the gas wells. Five other nearby water wells were also contaminated.

And yet Zaffuto is right behind Pennsylvania's natural gas boom. He supports the idea of US energy security and he wants his country to reduce oil imports.

"Throughout all this, I am pro-drilling, but I want to see it done correctly," Zaffuto, a businessman whose family have owned the cabin since 1921, said. "Having it done correctly will not cripple the industry. If there is money to be made they will comply. If there is enough natural resource of gas in the ground, they will drill and they will abide by the regulations. It's simple."

But how can rigorous new environmental standards be imposed on an industry well advanced in the 21st century's first big energy rush?

  • Written by: John Galt
  • Category: Energy
  • Hits: 6944