Archive for December, 2010


December 27, 2010

Here are recommended geography books for holiday reading, Mannahatta and The World in 2050. Urban geographer Eric Sanderson re-creates the development of the island of Manhattan, and earth scientist Laurence Smith looks forward to posit scenarios arising from climate change, resource demand and demographic trends.

Power Links

December 15, 2010

* US-listed Israeli geothermal company Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, Ormat Andina Energia Ltda., completed the official granting process for the 26,000 acre San Pablo II geothermal exploration concession in northern Chile. Chile has a 2020 20% renewable energy goal for it’s electric utility sector.

* Con Edison and Panda Energy have announced plans to build an 20 MW PV solar installation in NJ. Deploying Suntech Power panels, the project will cost between $4.25 and $4.50 / W. NJ is one of 29 US states with a RPS.

* Centerpoint Energy, in partnership with European engineer ABB, is rolling out intelligent grid infrastructure for customers along the Houston Ship Channel.

* Investor Carl Icahn has bought himself a Texas IPP.

* NASA says 2010 is on pace to be the warmest on record, going back 130 years.

Weather and Energy

December 7, 2010

* Jon D. Markman reports on European weather:

” Europe is enduring a massive freeze here in early December. Dozens of major airports on the Continent have closed due to heavy snow, roads are blocked and Eurostar international rail service has been canceled. The unseasonable cold snap has been thought until now to be a fluke, but climates are changing and old views about norms are being challenged.

” One of the effects of global warming has been a lot of ice in the Arctic released into the northern seas. This is fresh water, so it is diluting the Atlantic Ocean’s natural salinity by just enough to matter. Since fresher water freezes at a higher temperature than saltier water, the Atlantic coast of Europe has become much colder than normal — in some cases by as much as 10 degrees. Then when the wind blows across this colder water, it carries this icier weather onto the landform.

” The net effect is a continent that is on track to become persistently cold at a time when oil and gas prices are around the same as they were in balmier times. This must be one of the reasons we see crude oil prices barreling past resistance, and coal prices at their strongest levels in months. ”

Statoil chart from 1 December to 7 Dec. 11:45 AM Eastern Time:

U.S. Oil v Brent North Sea Crude chart, same period:

Ironically, the European Union is the sole remaining large emitter committed to carbon caps, and the UK is the only country with a legally binding framework to cut carbon dioxide emissions.