Often road racing is thought of as a dirty, smoky and fuel wasting sport. Ever wonder how many gallons to the mile those high octane guzzling stock cars get in the large round track races? (Or how much fuel is split in demo derby competitions across the nation?) In New York there has been different sort of venue the past decade in Watkins Glen. Organizer B. Gillespie uses the races as an opportunity to provide public education on renewable/alternative fuels, lowering greenhouse gas emissions as well as not being energy dependent on other nations. This year’s race is a two stage (the first a 100 miles) event. The first is set on a traditional closed off race course with relatively fuel efficient racers and the second stage on public roads for an ‘Electrathon’ which will have 1 person/driver electric vehicles racing. (Now if someone could take a look at monster truck rallies….)
I heard a report yesterday that gas has gone up ~14 cents per gallon to account for the national fuel average of $3.40/gal. Obviously we are far higher than that, and I’m told the day of the announcement that Flint Hills refinery in North Pole was to close, our fuel prices from Washington went up ~13 cents; this was such a sudden jump within 24 hours of the announcement that it is likely it was from the adjustments vendors made in their prices due to lack of market confidence, or expectations of raised costs. The point being, even in energy- not just luxury goods- do the expectations and confidences of vendors and consumers alike change price and quantity demanded. A good economics lesson that transcends the various products in free markets.
FOSSIL FUEL AND GEOTHERMAL ENERGY SOURCES FOR LOCAL USE IN ALASKA (also known at SP066) is a comprehensive compendium of resources which can be viewed by regional breakouts. Good graphics and well laid out text make it a good research piece. (You can download it at http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/pubs/id/24264). In an unusual way, due to the fact that it is the AK geological survey putting it together, you have a combined report of fossil and renewable sources that can be extracted. It is worth perusing through, if not systematically reading it over time, cover to cover!
The latest issue of Bioenergy Insight, Paul Scott Abbott looks at the export of wood pellets to satisfy the demand in the European markets. One way of measuring this is to look at the number of North American ports being built from which pellets can be exported via Canada and the U.S. The article notes that the U.S. has been sending more percentage of volume out than Canada the last couple of years. Much of this has come out of the Southeastern states where new ports in the Carolinas are allowing product that in the past was waste be sent to Europe as a value added heating commodity! Makes you wonder what Alaska could do with its excess wood at the polar ice opens……Attend the Alaska Wood Energy Conference in Fairbanks (Westmark) this April, and I’m sure there will be more discussion on the matter!
Natural gas that is, in referring to a Stanford study published in Science. Though natural gas has been sited as having the advantage of not letting off carbon dioxide, it has been noted in the study that use of natural gas does let off methane- which is not a good thing in terms of green house gasses. You can read more at http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20140215/study-climate-benefits-natural-gas-inflated.
Arriving at midnight into Arizona, the first visible sign of things being drastically different was palm trees. And big cactus. riding on the light rail I spoke with an electrical cooperative operator (of a co-generation power plant) from New Mexico who mentioned it has been the driest there since 1920’s….he said, “We are really hurting, someday water will become a commodity”. (Hopefully Alaska will be an abundant exporter of both at some point). Obviously solar is big here- even the light rail train utilizes solar (for cooling!).
The conference is “Energy, Utility & Environment” which is the countries largest for this genre as they advertise it. 1500 vendors, 500 speakers, a couple thousand attendees, etc….The acting assistant administrator of the EPA just opened up saying it looks like a great conference and that she has ‘agenda envy’…. I’ll keep this blog up to date on developments!