Monday, June 29, 2009

America's Natural Gas Alliance: Natural Gas Leads to Domestically Produced Independence

/PRNewswire/ -- As our nation celebrates Independence Day, it is time for America to truly focus on reducing our dependence on energy sources from outside our borders, which is achievable thanks to new discoveries of clean, abundant natural gas here in America.

New and plentiful natural gas resources in North America should dramatically change the energy and climate debate in Washington. The Potential Gas Committee, a non-profit academic organization, recently released the latest in a string of authoritative reports confirming the abundance of natural gas in North America. Thanks to new gas field discoveries, the U.S. has a 100-year supply of natural gas that is growing with new technology.

Over the years, the United States has become more and more dependent on energy sources from volatile regions, raising national security concerns about our reliance on energy sources from outside our borders. The Center for a New American Security, a non-profit, non-partisan national security research organization, writes in a new report that "two-thirds of all oil reserves are in the Middle East, where instability and hostility to the United States run rife and can threaten economic and national security."

Natural gas can lead to domestically produced independence and because it is more than 50 percent cleaner than coal, it is better for the environment and can serve as the foundation for power generation and the expansion of renewable energy sources. The New York Times recently said that "natural gas could emerge as a critical transition fuel that could help to battle global warming." And because 98 percent of natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in North America, increased use would result in more jobs and economic growth.

"Securing our nation's independence did not come easy and neither will significantly reducing our dependence on energy from outside our borders but with innovation and new natural gas discoveries, America's clean energy future can be made right here in America," said Rod Lowman, president of America's Natural Gas Alliance. "Natural gas is clean, abundant and ready now to power our homes and automobiles today and for future generations."

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page
Political News You Can Use

Friday, June 26, 2009

Opinion: The Energy Tax....

The government is getting ready to squeeze the public once again by taxing energy. Manufactures will in fact, (one way or another) pass the extra cost to consumers.

The cover up for this new scam is the environment, forget Global Warming, since it's been proven that the planet is actually getting colder, the term Global Warming has been replaced by Climate Change. That phrase will work whether the temperatures go up or down.... but it's all smoke & mirrors.

New energies like solar and wind have been proven (without the shadow of a doubt) to be a waste of time & money. In fact, it costs less to keep the wind turbines off-line than on. It seems that when wind dies down, a gas-powered motor automatically kicks in to run the "fans", but at start up, these motors consume more gas than when they run continuously, so when the "fans" are run 24-7 by gas-powered motors, it costs less than when it's a combination of wind and gas. Solar panels are as efficient - They are huge, but do not produce sufficient energy - they're fine to heat a swimming pool, or a light up few lamps, but cannot provide the amount of energy a single household consumes on a daily basis, so what's the point?

France is 75% nuclear powered. So why are we toying around with these ridiculous alternatives? Well, for one, General Electric backed Obama and became one of the "advisors" to the Obama administration and guess what? General Electric is the leading manufacturer of wind powered turbines - it's no coincidence the GE also owns the software that will be used to manage Socialized Healthcare.

It's all BS, and excuse to have more government control and more taxation. Ironically, although the democrats pride themselves as the party of the little people, it is exactly the little people who will feel the cost of this new energy tax on manufacturers. We'll see the cost go up in just about everything produced in the USA. The alternative will be to have these goods produced over seas and then have democrats say the greedy corporations are sending jobs overseas....

The meanest, most greedy corporation of all is the US government. Do not be fooled for a second.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Natural Fuels Industries Eyes 'Biomass Rich' Georgia for Production Facility

/PRNewswire / -- VEGA PROMOTIONAL SYSTEMS, INC. (Pink Sheets: VGPR) today announced through its wholly owned subsidiary, Natural Fuels Industries, it is planning to construct a manufacturing facility in the State of Georgia to produce alternative energy from organic waste.

According to a recent Forbes Magazine article entitled "America's Best Places For Alternative Energy," the abundance of biomass in Georgia's Bioenergy Corridor ranks third in the nation as a potential source of renewable energy. The article referenced the amount of privately owned forest in Georgia, more than any other state in the country, as a reason for the state's ranking. Forbes also cited that roughly 50 million tons of the state's own timber ends up in the state's wood-products manufacturing plants every year and the industry returns nearly half of it in the form of primary mill wood debris.

"Georgia's wealth of natural resources combined with our research institutions and a strong business climate create an ideal environment for the development of renewable energy," said Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue. "We appreciate Forbes' recognition of our ability to develop alternative energy sources."

The proposed Georgia facility would be designed to produce alternative/green energy. When completed, the plant would have the capacity to produce several hundred thousand metric tons of biomass fuel pellets annually. NFI recently announced it has entered into a Letter of Intent to purchase a 20% equity interest in a biomass manufacturing facility currently under construction in MAP Ta PHUT, Thailand.

Biomass or biofuel is material derived from recently living organisms. This includes plants, animals and their by-products. For example, manure, garden waste and crop residues are all sources of biomass. It is a renewable energy source based on the carbon cycle, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal, and nuclear fuels. The use of biomass fuels can therefore contribute to waste management as well as fuel security and help to prevent global warming

NFI's Business Plan calls for manufacturing facilities to be constructed in various locations around the world. The Georgia plant would be the Company's first in the United States and would serve as a model facility for other plants in the U.S. A plant of this size could create approximately 200 jobs.

NFI markets various products including energy efficient pellet fuel made from organic waste bi-products using unique and innovative ideas combined with proven technology. The Company's current expansion includes building manufacturing plants in various international locations that will produce biomass products and bio-diesel products for power generation units. It is estimated that in the next five years the biomass industry will become a $20 billion industry.

Certain statements in this release constitute forward-looking statements or statements which may be deemed or construed to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "forecast," "project," "intend," "expect" "should," "would," and similar expressions and all statements, which are not historical facts, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the Company's actual results, performance (finance or operating) or achievements to differ from future results, performance (financing and operating) or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Monday, June 22, 2009

What They Are Saying About Clean Coal Technology

/PRNewswire/ -- In the lead up to a House floor vote on H.R. 2454 -- The American Energy and Security Act of 2009 -- much has been said about the importance of clean coal technology in an overall energy policy. Following is a sampling of those comments:

David G. Hawkins (Director of Climate Programs, NRDC): "Whatever the ideal vision of the future, coal will be there for decades at least." L.A. Times, June 21, 2009

President Obama: "I am a big proponent of clean-coal technology and I want us to move rapidly in developing those sequestration technologies that are required." Flathead Beacon, May 30, 2008

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Mississippi): "We're leaders in clean coal technology. Mississippi power company, a subsidiary of southern company, has permitted right now an IGCC, that is a coal gasification plant where they would take Mississippi coal, turn it into gas, burn the gas, but then they would capture the carbon. And sequester by putting it in the ground not just to store it, but to use it to recover oil. Something we're already doing." CNBC, June 11, 2009

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana): "Coal is probably used more around the world than even oil and gas for the production of electricity ... So the strategy is to clean coal and to expand clean natural gas drilling ... and then promote alternative fuels." C-SPAN, June 10, 2009

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Virginia): "If carbon controls take effect before the capture and storage technologies are available, there could be a rapid switch from coal to other fuels that would be unbearable for our economy.

"To avoid these problems, we must protect the ability of electric utilities to continue coal use. In a very real sense, therefore, the technologies we will discuss today will be the enablers of a successful climate change program for the nation." Stated in the Congressional Record, March 6, 2007

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on FutureGen: "This important step shows the administration's commitment to investing in carbon capture and sequestration technology as part of a comprehensive plan to create green jobs in the US while reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Not only does this research have the potential to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the US, but it also could eventually result in lower emissions around the world." Platts, June 12, 2009

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Statement by the American Clean Skies Foundation Regarding PGC Report Confirming America's Abundant Supply of Clean-Burning Natural Gas

/PRNewswire/ -- The Potential Gas Committee's study on natural gas supply in the United States, unveiled by the American Gas Association in Washington, D.C., reinforces the fact that America has an enormous supply of recoverable natural gas. According to the study, America's own natural gas supply is capable of meeting the country's industrial, power generation and transportation needs for the next 100 years. Additionally, the abundance of natural gas in the United States means we can also considerably increase the use of it to meet the country's desire for cleaner, more reliable domestic energy.

The results of this biennial assessment support the findings released approximately one year ago by our group, the American Clean Skies Foundation, through a groundbreaking study conducted by Navigant Consulting, Inc. Those findings were the first validation that there are enormous supplies of domestic natural gas contained primarily in deep natural gas shale formations across the country.

Natural gas is the only domestic fuel capable of quickly lowering our dependency on foreign oil from unstable suppliers in the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. As a significantly cleaner-burning fuel, natural gas is also the only fuel source available right now to help meet carbon-reduction goals without the added expense of high-cost carbon sequestration investments.

As this report underscores, domestically produced, clean-burning natural gas is indeed affordable and abundant. Now is the time to move America forward on a path toward a promising and new clean energy future, built on the increased usage of alternative and renewable energy sources, and led by America's own natural gas.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carbon Footprints? National Poll Shows Environmentally Conscious Americans Not Clamoring to Measure Them

/PRNewswire/ -- A new national poll by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute found just 7.1% of all 800 respondents have attempted to measure their own personal or household carbon footprint. Of this group, 88.1% suggested the information was very (47.5%) or somewhat (40.7%) helpful in understanding how their own lifestyle impacted the environment.

Overall, 31.8% of all Americans surveyed suggested they were aware of the term "carbon calculator." However, of this group, 43.3% indicated they understood how it works. A larger percent, 65.0%, said they were aware of the term "carbon footprint" with 69.6% suggesting they understood the term.

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans, 61.9%, indicated they believed that global warming was due to a combination of human activity as well as natural cycling. Others believed global warming was entirely due to human activity or entirely due to natural cycling - 20.1% and 12.6% respectively.

A strong majority of Americans interviewed, 80.1%, said they were completely or mostly convinced that global warming was occurring today. Some, 17.5%, suggested they were not so convinced or not at all convinced.

"The survey provides evidence that the population at large is accepting that global warming is an environmental threat. Just over 80% of the respondents report being 'completely convinced' or 'mostly convinced' that global warming is occurring now while over two-thirds of the respondents worry about the environmental consequences. This view could also be endorsed by over three-quarters of the respondents supporting the EPA's decision to regulate carbon emissions," stated Enda McGovern, Ph.D., associate professor of Marketing at Sacred Heart University's John F. Welch College of Business.

Nearly all respondents, 94.0%, said they were very or somewhat willing to change their own lifestyle to reduce the impact of climate change. And, 95.1% believed there were things they could be doing to use energy more wisely.

Just 5.6% saw an associated decline in their quality of life as they reduced energy consumption. The majority, 69.3%, did not see any impact on their quality of life and 20.3% suggested they saw an associated increase in their quality of life when they reduced consumption.

Over two-thirds of Americans, 68.6%, expressed a willingness to pay higher prices for "Green" energy sources or items like electric cars to reduce the effect of global warming.

Many Americans interviewed saw messages on climate change and global warming confusing (46.6%) as well as conflicting (49.8%). Just over half, 50.6%, believed there are too many groups communicating global warming and climate change issues to the public. However, most (78.9%) agreed that messages about global warming and climate change are believable.

According to Dr. McGovern, "In order to take the corrective action necessary to reduce the effects of global warming, the public needs to accept their role in regard to the lifestyle choices they make on a daily basis. This survey provides evidence that this is clearly occurring."

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SAFE Praises Senate Energy Panel for Significant Energy Security Progress

/PRNewswire/ -- Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) today commended the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for producing a comprehensive energy bill that includes many crucial SAFE-recommended measures to bolster U.S. energy security.

"The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has put together a strong bill," SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said. "Chairman Bingaman and Ranking Member Murkowski, despite pressure from both sides of the ideological spectrum, showed tremendous leadership in working together to craft a genuinely bipartisan bill that includes many provisions -- such as transportation electrification and increased domestic supply of oil and natural gas -- that are vital to our economic and national security. SAFE worked closely with many members of the Committee -- particularly Senator Byron Dorgan, a longtime leader and champion of energy security who helped ensure that the bill came out of Committee with key energy security provisions. The entire Committee deserves the nation's thanks today."

Last fall, SAFE unveiled a comprehensive plan to reduce U.S. oil dependence, primarily through electrification of the short-haul ground transportation fleet along with crucial measures -- including expanded domestic production of oil and natural gas -- to keep our nation safe and secure in the interim. Since then, SAFE has worked closely with legislative champions in both the House and Senate, and with the members of the Senate Energy Committee, to include SAFE-proposed provisions in major energy legislation under consideration.

"Of course, the end of the markup does not mean the end of the important work we have to do," Diamond added. "There are still improvements that can and should be made to this bill on the Senate floor, particularly as relating to long-distance, high-voltage transmission infrastructure. Nevertheless, we should not understate the accomplishment of the Senate Energy Committee. There is still much to be determined, but this legislation puts us on the path toward a more secure energy system that improves our economic and national security."

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front page

Seniors Urge Congress to Oppose Federal Renewable Energy Standards

/PRNewswire/ -- The 60 Plus Association, a national nonpartisan advocacy group, today sent a letter to all members of Congress calling on them to oppose federal renewable energy standards. In his letter, James Martin, president of 60 Plus, noted that many senior citizens live on a fixed income and that costs of a federal renewable energy standard will have a disproportional negative affect on the senior community. The full letter is as follows:

Dear Member:

Congress is currently considering an energy policy that, if passed, will have serious affects on senior citizens. Federal renewable energy standards (RES), which will require states to produce a certain percentage of energy from renewable resources, is painfully expensive for business, for industry, and for consumers, especially senior citizens already struggling on a fixed income.

As a national nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy group, we at the 60 Plus Association urge all Members of Congress to oppose an aggressive federal renewable energy standard (RES).

Before our nation can produce and use more renewable resources, we need to invest in the infrastructure required for us to draw from these resources. We also need to account for the fact that renewable resources are much more expensive than our current energy producing assets. These costs - hundreds of billions of dollars - will be shouldered by the American people. A federal mandate like a RES would do just that; put the burden to pay for these investments on those who are least able to afford it.

Senior citizens have a great interest in this issue as so many are living on a fixed income and energy costs are regressive; the less one earns the higher percentage of his or her income is spent on energy. Daryl Bassett, Director of Empower Consumers, said it best in his April 23, 2009 testimony before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce:

"Older Americans are disproportionately affected by higher energy costs. As a share of income, households headed by a person age 65 or older spend more on energy bills than younger households. As CRS recently reported, 'Older households account for approximately 20% of our nation's total consumption on energy-related products. Although in actual dollar terms older households spend slightly less on energy-related consumption than households headed by a person under age 65, they spend a higher share of their income on energy-related expenditures.'

"...In this sense, a federal RES behaves like a regressive income tax."

We acknowledge the noble intent behind this policy, but as realists, we know retirees can least afford this expensive proposition.

Any energy policy that is enacted needs to include adequate cost containment measures to ensure that in this uncertain economic time, we are not going to leave our senior community by the wayside in our clamor for investments in "green" energy.

For that reason, we ask policy makers to avoid imposing renewable energy mandates that will likely result in higher utility bills for that segment of society least able to afford these costs increases, mainly low-income seniors struggling to make ends meet.

On behalf of 5.5 million seniors, thank you for your consideration.


James L. Martin

The 60 Plus Association is a 15-year-old nonpartisan organization working for death tax repeal, saving Social Security, affordable prescription drugs, lowering energy costs and other issues featuring a less government, less taxes approach. 60 Plus calls on support from nearly 5.5 million citizen activists. 60 Plus publishes a magazine, SENIOR VOICE, and a Scorecard, bestowing awards on lawmakers of both parties who vote "pro-senior." 60 Plus has been called "an increasingly influential senior citizen's group."

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Opinion: A Fuel-Efficient ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Model

With gas prices again on the rise and the summer travel season upon us, fuel efficiency is on the minds of many consumers. It is also being pondered by members of Congress, who are considering several "Cash for Clunkers" bills that would allow car owners to receive a voucher for trading an old, inefficient vehicle for a new, more efficient one.

The general idea is ingenious: simultaneously stimulate the economy (specifically Detroit and the United Auto Workers) and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by permanently reducing the miles driven by inefficient cars, which would be scrapped.

From an environmental perspective, what is the right miles per gallon (mpg) improvement to require? Is it better to trade a 16-mpg car for a 25-mpg model, or a 33-mpg for a 50-mpg? Actually, miles per gallon is the wrong measure to use when judging CO2 benefits. What really matters is consumption, how many gallons are burned.

Consumption and mileage may sound like the same thing, but they are not. A better way to measure actual consumption, and therefore CO2 production, is to look at the gallons it takes to drive 100 miles, a measure similar to that used in Canada and Europe.

Here's an example: A 16-mpg car consumes 6.25 gallons of gas to go 100 miles. Trade it in for a 25-mpg model, and you've dropped your consumption to 4 gallons per hundred miles (gphm) and avoided 45 pounds of CO2. So is the 33 to 50 trade even better, since the mpg improvement is so much larger? Not when you do the math on actual consumption. It saves only 1 gallon per 100 miles -- from 3 gphm to 2.

With this clearer picture of gas savings, it is easier to calculate the environmental benefits of increased fuel efficiency. Every gallon saved reduces CO2 emissions by 20 pounds, so a reduction of 1 gphm saves 1 ton of CO2 for every 10,000 miles of driving.

One strength of gphm for car buyers is that it directly reflects actual gas usage and savings in a way that mpg does not. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists efficiency in gphm on its site.

Thinking in terms of gphm makes the environmental logic of Cash for Clunkers obvious. Even seemingly small mpg improvements on inefficient vehicles yield a big reduction in gas consumption and CO2 emissions. Trading in a 14-mpg car for a 25-mpg one (a 3.14 gphm reduction) cuts CO2 emissions more than any possible savings one could achieve by replacing a 33-mpg car that uses 3 gphm. When viewed this way, the urgent policy implication is to get people out of cars in the teens and into the mid- or high-20s.

There's one more tradeoff to consider, however. Manufacturing the new, more efficient car to replace the clunker releases an average of 7 tons of CO2, according to an estimate by Dean Bill Chameides of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. If the trade lowers gas consumption by 1 gphm, the new car will environmentally offset its own manufacture after 70,000 miles of driving. A trade that yields a 2-gphm decrease will offset the manufacturing in 35,000 miles of driving.

With an understanding of gphm and CO2 emissions, we can return to a sensible way of setting efficiency improvements in a Cash for Clunkers bill. Instead of having a confusing maze of multiple mpg increases, thresholds, minimums and maximums, as is the case in the current bills, gphm allows a simple rule: Award a $3,000 voucher for a trade in that saves 2 gallons per 100 miles, and then $1,000 more for each additional gallon saved, up to a limit of $6,000.

This way, there’s no maximum efficiency limit set for the old car and no minimum for the new car because all gphms are created equal. As long as we are moving people up the scale by amounts that more than offset the CO2 from manufacturing the new car, we are reducing CO2 emissions. Among the current bills being entertained in Congress, the May 19 Senate proposal is close to this tiered structure; the May 5 House compromise is not.

A responsible Cash for Clunkers bill should be based on a minimum improvement in gphm, not mpg, which plays tricks on our perceptions and masks the true benefit of small mpg improvements on the most inefficient vehicles.

By Richard Larrick
Duke University

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

Monday, June 1, 2009

Georgia Power Launches Solar Research Project

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power's corporate headquarters will begin harnessing the sun in 2009 as the company partners with Southern Company to launch a rooftop solar demonstration program aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy in Georgia.

Adding to the building's energy-efficient construction and architecture, Georgia Power has begun installing seven different commercially viable photovoltaic (PV) panels on its roof to test which solar technologies perform best with Georgia's weather patterns and climate.

The project, funded by Southern Company and Georgia Power, will generate cost and performance data of leading solar technologies and will assist customers interested in purchasing photovoltaic panels for their own homes or businesses. The project will collect data from the panels for a minimum of one year.

Energy generated by the PV panels will partially offset the electricity needs of Georgia Power's corporate headquarters. Each test technology will be capable of producing approximately four kilowatts. Four of the solar technologies have been installed, while the remaining technologies will be implemented as they become available.

"We continue to explore ways to increase our renewable-energy portfolio," said Ervan Hancock, manager of renewable and green strategies. "This solar research project will provide us with valuable data on a small scale of some of the leading-edge solar technologies on the market. What we learn from this project will undoubtedly give better insight into actual performance and economics to further the consideration of solar energy in Georgia."

Georgia Power designed and constructed its corporate headquarters in the 1980s with energy efficiency in mind. The building boasts environmentally friendly features such as:

-- Cantilevered architectural design that allows for the floor above to
shade the windows on the floor below. Aluminum tubes on each floor
indention also aid in reducing solar heat.
-- Heavily insulated windows on the east and west sides of the building
to further reduce solar heat.
-- Fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts for interior lighting.
-- A 300,000 gallon water storage system that chills water at night
during off-peak electrical demand then runs the chilled water through
a heat exchanger during the day to help cool the building.

The company also recently expanded its Green Energy program to include a premium option that allows customers to purchase renewable energy - 2 percent of which is solar - at a cost of $4.50 per 100-kilowatt-hour block. This solar research project will augment Georgia Power's existing renewable energy strategy.

The company plans to make the solar demonstration production data available to the public via an interactive kiosk that will be set up in the lobby of the corporate headquarters. The kiosk will provide real-time information and up-to-date results, along with Web data. Georgia Power will work with an independent consultant to evaluate the performance of each technology and may consider expanding the project at the end of the evaluation stage.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page
Arts Across Georgia