The Green Battle of the Pentagon in shaping up as the Senate restored a section to the Defense appropriations bill that would fund biofuel refineries and generally continue to effort to “green” the US Navy and Air Force. House Republicans has specifically banned the effort after it was revealed that some biofuels might cost as much as $26 per gallon. The state is now set for a full-scale battle between the House and Senate over whether we will have a “Green Navy.”
The UK has begun an even bigger debate over the future of energy in the island nation. Energy Secretary Ed Davey has introduced what he calls a “once-in-a-generation” changeover in the nation’s energy budget. Nuclear will have a central role and conservation will be emphasized. Major industries will be given rewards for cutting their energy budgets. But already that has caused controversy. It appears that household consumers will bear the brunt of the costs - £170 per family by some estimates – and that is producing a backlash, particularly since much of that would go toward subsidizing “green energy.” The debate has only begun.
Nuclear continues to advance worldwide in countries just building their infrastructures while stalling where it is already developed. The South China Morning Post brags that by next year China will account for 10 percent of the world’s nuclear capacity. Russia’s Rosatom has announced it will build a prototype of the fast-neutron reactor, an advanced design once pursued in the US until it was abandoned by the Clinton Administration. The reactor consumes all nuclear fuels and leaves no waste. New York State has ordered Con Edison to tell how it would provide New York City with electricity if Indian Point closes, however, and France’s Socialist government is trying to looking for ways to reduce that country’s dependence on nuclear energy.
Duke and North Carolina regulators have finally come to an agreement that would call off the state’s probe of Duke’s merger with Progress Energy in exchange for Duke CEO Jim Rogers hanging it up in 2013. The merger caused controversy when former Progress CEO Bill Johnson was deposed by Rogers within 24 hours, apparently in a dispute over the future of Progress’s disabled Crystal River nuclear reactor in Florida. Also in the mix is North Carolina’s challenge to a Duke rate increase and Rogers threat to quit Charlotte if the rates weren’t raised. The company has now pledged to keep 1000 jobs in Raleigh.
Finally, renewable energy continues its uneven progress as a survey of Europe finds that half its “renewable energy” consists of burning wood. The US Bureau of Indian Affairs says it has cleared the path for building solar collectors on tribal lands – apparently just what the Native Americans have wanted – and the San Francisco Examiner reports that the “Mount Trashmore” hillocks (above) that have accumulated in sanitary landfills are being eyed as an ideal spot for solar collectors. PhysOrg reports that the sector is still growing but barriers remain and Peter Hannam in the Sydney Morning Herald notes that commercial-scale storage batteries still remain the holy grail of renewable energy.,