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about 15 hours ago

By McKENZIE FUNK MAY 18, 2015

Shell’s internal research showed that alternative energy systems — wind, solar, carbon capture — would take decades to make just a 1-percent dent in our massive global energy system, even if they grew at 25 percent a year. “It takes them 30 years to just begin to start becoming material,” Bentham explained to me.

One scenario, called “Blueprints,” painted a moderately hopeful vision of green energy and concerted action within the constraints of technological change, of a swiftly rising price on carbon emissions as the world comes together to remake its energy systems. In this vision of the future, there is active carbon trading. There is a strong global climate treaty. There is still far more warming than society can easily bear — approaching 7 degrees Fahrenheit — but the world still averts the very worst of climate change.

The second scenario, called “Scramble,” envisioned a future in which countries fail to do much of anything to reduce emissions, and instead race to secure oil and coal deposits. Only when climatic chaos breaks out does society take it seriously, and by then great damage has already been done. Drilling in the Arctic, thought to hold up to a quarter of the world’s untapped oil and gas, has a role in both scenarios — but under “Scramble,” it is irresistible.

about 20 hours ago

Mayor Tom Barrett appointed Rocky Marcoux to serve as Commissioner for the Department of City Development in 2004. Under his direction, the department has focused its land and economic development tools to leverage more than 11,000 jobs and strengthen neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee. . . . Described as part bull-dog & part evangelist, Marcoux is an advocate for Milwaukee's future and a passionate promoter of the city's assets and opportunities.

May 21, 15

Much of the money came from Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund, which was a perfect fit since the organization has the ability to be patient with its investments. And Transatomic Power’s technology is likely at least 10 years away from being able to show any sort of return on investment. . . . .Basically, we’re all working together in opposition to fossil fuels. That’s the real fight.”

May 21, 15

Crowdfunding - on sites I hadn't heard of . . . . "We couldn’t precisely define our investor targets until we began fundraising. Then we quickly learned that our offering appeals to accredited angel investors seeking high-return potential with mitigated risk. . . ."

Current market conditions actually benefit our approach. Major producers today are primarily focused on drilling in shale formations, which comes with the considerable expense of fracking. Our reserves are in more traditional sandstone fields, which do not require the extensive fracking of shale operations. Plus, we can take advantage of idle equipment and service providers to keep costs down. Our break-even point is about $20 per barrel-much lower than the cost of producing a barrel of oil from shale. Even with higher oil prices, we'll have the advantage of being a low-cost producer.

May 21, 15

more than 220 institutions have now committed to divesting since the climate campaign launched in 2012

May 20, 15

“Talgo had set up its North American headquarters right here in Milwaukee to build trains for around the country. For us, Talgo was the beginning and that rug has been pulled out from underneath us,” Barrett says.

The company seemed slated for success a few years ago.

May 20, 15

The city’s plan calls for the creation of fifteen family-supporting jobs for every acre of redevelopment.

We want to see really good businesses out here that create jobs,” Timm says.

May 20, 15

Published on Mar 2, 2015

Linda Jing discusses growing up in rural China with limited access to electricity and the empowering experience of moving to a major city.

Peabody Coal - coal as the answer to energy poverty in China and elsewhere.

May 20, 15

The Advanced Energy for Life website where Jing plays a starring role was launched in February 2104. Peabody says it has three objectives: combatting the crisis of global energy poverty, increasing access to low-cost electricity, and reducing emissions using today’s advanced ‘clean coal’ technologies.

Campaigners say it is merely the latest example of the company’s efforts to blur the connection between climate change and coal.

May 20, 15

he ravages of climate change could severely hurt the ability of utilities in the 11 Western states to generate power unless they “climate proof” their power grid using renewables and energy efficiency, something they are not prepared for, according to a new study.

For nearly half of the West’s existing power plants, climate change could reduce their ability to produce electricity by up to 3 percent during an average summer and possibly up to nearly 9 percent during a decade-long drought,

May 20, 15

In this turbulent underwater canyon, nearly 15,000 feet (4,550 meters) below the surface, the scientists spotted a set of more than 250 consecutive crashing waves, similar to surfer's waves. It's the longest train of these special billows, called Kelvin-Helmholtz waves, ever seen in the sea, said lead study author Hans van Haren, an oceanographer at the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in Den Burg, Netherlands.

May 18, 15

Most people buy rooftop solar panels because they think it will save them money or make them green, or both. But the truth is that rooftop solar shouldn’t be saving them money (though it often does), and it almost certainly isn’t green. In fact, the rooftop-solar craze is wasting billions of dollars a year that could be spent on greener initiatives. It also is hindering the growth of much more cost-effective renewable sources of power.

According to a recent Energy Department-backed study at North Carolina State University, installing a fully financed, average-size rooftop solar system will reduce energy costs for 93% of the single-family households in the 50 largest American cities today. That’s why people have been rushing out to buy rooftop solar panels, particularly in sunny states like Arizona, California and New Mexico.

The primary reason these small solar systems are cost-effective, however, is that they’re heavily subsidized.

May 18, 15

There is debate about the plan's constitutionality, but none whatsoever about its lack of benefits. The EPA itself admits that the plan's utility against the threat of climate change will be so small (reducing warming by 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century) that it will be impossible to measure.
. . .
Congress considered, and rejected, the president’s cap-and-trade scheme, notwithstanding Democratic supermajorities in both chambers. The EPA has now figured how to impose it anyway, turning one of the most obscure and little-used provisions of the Clean Air Act one of the most ambitious regulations in the history of the administrative state.

May 18, 15

By Gary Gutting and Dale Jamieson May 18, 2015

This interview, the fourth in a series on political topics, discusses philosophical issues that underlie recent debates about climate change. My interviewee is Dale Jamieson, a professor of environmental studies and philosophy at New York University. He is the author of “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future.” — Gary Gutting

. . .

D.J.: Climate change is here, and it’s only going to get worse. But it matters how much worse it will get. . . . . The great climate scientist Wally Broecker once said that the climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.. . . Carbon remains in the atmosphere for centuries. Someday it may be possible for us to withdraw carbon from the atmosphere and reduce the warming. There are many unknowns about this and we are very far from being able to do it now in a safe way at a reasonable cost and on the scale required. . . . .

D.J.: I think we need to think ambitiously about what a morality would be like that was adequate to the problems we face in a high-population, densely interconnected world undergoing radical climate change. At the same time philosophers don’t invent moralities that people then go out and adopt. We need to figure out how people can act from within their existing moral psychologies in a way that is both more environmentally friendly and will help to give them meaning in a world that is so different from the one in which most of our values were created.
. . .
When it comes to fundamental change law tends to follow politics and morality rather than leading them.

May 18, 15

Company obtained loan from WEDC, unsuccessful elsewhere. Wsj playing up as a scandal - call in program at noon.

May 18, 15

Your 14 day trial starts NOW

May 17, 15

The MidWest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) has opened applications for its business startup initiative, WERCBench Labs. Engineers, scientists and programmers across all funding stages are asked to submit their applications by May 29.

Between 10 and 15 startup teams and early stage companies will be selected each year to join this three-month immersive program. Each team will work with world-class experts, mentors and have access to unique testing and production facilities, including high-performance computing, rapid prototyping and small-scale production equipment.

The program will being on June 8 and conclude on August 27 with a "Demo Day".

May 17, 15

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awarded $350,000 to M-WERC, the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, to launch a 12-week, mentor-driven program.The last manufacturer to have operations on this site was Eaton Corporation. The power management giant used the seven-story building as its R&D facility.

LISTEN

May 17, 15

New WERCBench Labs Accelerator Gets $350K WEDC Grant

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) has awarded a $350,000 grant to help launch the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium’s new startup accelerator in Milwaukee this summer.

On Friday, Xconomy reported new details about the accelerator, dubbed WERCBench Labs, including how each startup that completes the program will receive a $20,000 grant. But the funding source wasn’t announced until today.

WEDC is a logical choice to back WERCBench. The economic development agency has helped fund nonprofit startup accelerators across the state, including Madworks in Madison, Couleeco.Starters in La Crosse, and Bridge to Cures in Milwaukee.

WEDC’s grant to WERCBench includes $300,000 being given to up to 15 startups this year, split between a summer session and a fall session. The remaining $50,000 from the agency will go toward WERCBench operations, says Jeff Anthony, who handles business development for the energy consortium and also directs its Energy Innovation Center. The center is housed in a former Eaton Corp. research and development facility on Milwaukee’s north side. That’s where the accelerator will be located.

Greg Meier, who has run other local startup accelerators, will lead WERCBench, with assistance from Anthony and other Mid-West Energy Research Consortium staff.
. . . . In addition to its program for early-stage companies, the energy consortium is launching a parallel initiative for more advanced startups, Anthony says. These companies won’t receive grant funding and won’t go through a program with a defined time period. Rather, the idea is that they will rent space in the Energy Innovation Center for longer than three months, utilizing the facility’s equipment and the consortium’s mentor network to bring their products to market.

Those are going to be more long-term startups that are looking for space for testing and prototyping,” Anthony explains. “Perhaps they’ve already gone through an accelerator program somewhere else.”

The Energy Innovation Center already has one company renting space there, Alliance Federated Energy, which located there a year ago. Another startup, Edison DC Systems, was located there, but has since moved out, Anthony says.

The energy consortium also wants to attract research and development teams from member organizations, including local companies and academic institutions, to work on projects at the Energy Innovation Center. Anthony expects there will be plenty of opportunities for collaboration and “cross-pollination” between startups, corporate R&D teams, and academic researchers.

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