Inside the Saudi Strategy to Keep the World Hooked on Oil – The New York Times

“. . . . . Saudi Aramco has become a prolific funder of research into critical energy issues, financing almost 500 studies over the past five years, including research aimed at keeping gasoline cars competitive or casting doubt on electric vehicles, according to the Crossref database, which tracks academic publications. Aramco has collaborated with the United States Department of Energy on high-profile research projects including a six-year effort to develop more efficient gasoline and engines, as well as studies on enhanced oil recovery and other methods to bolster oil production.

Aramco also runs a global network of research centers including a lab near Detroit where it is developing a mobile “carbon capture” device — equipment designed to be attached to a gasoline-burning car, trapping greenhouse gases before they escape the tailpipe. More widely, Saudi Arabia has poured $2.5 billion into American universities over the past decade, making the kingdom one of the nation’s top contributors to higher education.

ImageMen in long, white robes and keffiyehs entering a domed tent.
Visitors to a Saudi forum at the United Nations climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this month.Credit…Kelvin Chan/Associated Press
Saudi interests have spent close to $140 million since 2016 on lobbyists and others to influence American policy and public opinion, making it one of the top countries spending on U.S. lobbying, according to disclosures to the Department of Justice tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics.” . . . .

How the New Climate Law Can Save You Thousands of Dollars – Coral Davenport – The New York Times

“The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden in August includes about $370 billion to fight climate change, some of it in the form of tax credits and rebates to help consumers save thousands of dollars on energy-efficient appliances, plug-in vehicles and renewable electricity for their homes.

But taking advantage of those savings will require patience and initiative.

The Biden administration has created a website designed to help you figure out which cars, appliances and home improvements will qualify for the tax credits and rebates. The answers are not yet clear in many cases because the programs are so new or the requirements of the law so stringent. White House officials say the website will be frequently updated as details take shape, and they advise consumers to subscribe to receive emailed updates.

Here’s what we know so far about how to use the new law to save money. One thing all the benefits have in common: Each one runs through at least 2032.”

Can This Man Solve Europe’s Energy Conundrum? – The New York Times

Stanley Reed reported this article in Wilhelmshaven, Hamburg and Werlte, Germany.

“Europe’s energy crisis is rooted in its love affair with natural gas, and now its citizens are paying the price for dependence on gas piped in from Russia. At the same time, Europe’s lawmakers and businesses are searching for an alternative that could keep its homes warm and power factories yet help the continent reach its climate goals.

One answer may be in a fuel that burns just like natural gas but uses hydrogen to help the continent reach its carbon goals. At a proposed hub on the northern coast of Germany, Marco Alverà is planning to deliver such gas — a clean and affordable synthetic substitute for the fossil fuels that Europe is importing in vast quantities at high cost.

“We are the cheapest way to replace oil and gas and coal without having to change the way we think about energy,” Mr. Alverà, 47, said over a lunch of pizza at the storefront his company has set up in Wilhelmshaven, a port city in northwest Germany. “We can go in the same ships, the same pipes, the same factories.”

Hydrogen, an emissions-free fuel made from water, features prominently in plans to run factories, power airplanes and heat homes in the future, and Europe’s energy crisis is only intensifying that interest. But the electrical process to create hydrogen gas typically results in abundant carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Hydrogen can be made cleanly — using renewable electricity — but until now the costs have been too high.

Mr. Alverà and his company, Tree Energy Solutions, or TES, attempt to overcome these problems by creating a synthetic “green” methane — the main ingredient in natural gas — from hydrogen that’s made using renewable energy and carbon dioxide, generated as a byproduct of different manufacturing process. The fuel would be usable where natural gas is used but release less greenhouse gases. And it would not come from Russia.

To minimize costs of making clean hydrogen, the company would sign deals to use giant solar farms in parts of the world that get a lot of sun, like the Persian Gulf, or where hydroelectric power is abundant. The gas could be liquefied and shipped via tanker, like liquefied natural gas.”

Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

Are you considering a Tesla Powerwall system for your home?

If so, you realize the benefits that a system like that can bring. Having the ability to power your entire home on battery provides distinct benefits:

  • Immunity from power outages and brownouts.

  • Save money on monthly energy bills by charging batteries using solar or off-peak grid power.

  • Keep your home running when utility companies shut off the power to your neighborhood.

Source: Tesla Powerwall — SunFusion Energy Systems

Opinion | Are There Better Places to Put Large Solar Farms Than These Forests? – The New York Times

Mr. Popkin is an independent journalist who writes about science and the environment. He has written extensively about threats to trees and forests.

“CHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE, Va. — In Charlotte County, population 11,448, forests and farms slope gently toward pretty little streams. The Roanoke River, whose floodplain includes one of the most ecologically valuable and intact forests in the Mid-Atlantic, forms the county’s southwestern border.

On a recent driving tour, a local conservationist, P.K. Pettus, told me she’s already grieving the eventual loss of much of this beautiful landscape. The Randolph Solar Project, a 4,500-acre project that will take out some 3,500 acres of forest during construction, was approved in July to join at least five other solar farms built or planned here thanks to several huge transmission lines that crisscross the county. When built, it will become one of the largest solar installations east of the Rocky Mountains. Although she is all for clean energy, Ms. Pettus opposed the project’s immense size, fearing it would destroy forests, disrupt soil and pollute streams and rivers in the place she calls home.”

New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong.

From NYT article, see previous post.

“New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong. China has one of the fastest-growing E.V. markets, with sales expected to double this year to about six million vehicles.Credit…Visual China Group via Getty Images”

David Lindsay: We are cutting down forests to put up solar farms, when we could be doing this to parking lots all over the country!!!

Source: (20+) David Lindsay | Facebook

Gabriel Popkin | Are There Better Places to Put Large Solar Farms Than These Forests? – The New York Times

Mr. Popkin is an independent journalist who writes about science and the environment. He has written extensively about threats to trees and forests.

“CHARLOTTE COURT HOUSE, Va. — In Charlotte County, population 11,448, forests and farms slope gently toward pretty little streams. The Roanoke River, whose floodplain includes one of the most ecologically valuable and intact forests in the Mid-Atlantic, forms the county’s southwestern border.

On a recent driving tour, a local conservationist, P.K. Pettus, told me she’s already grieving the eventual loss of much of this beautiful landscape. The Randolph Solar Project, a 4,500-acre project that will take out some 3,500 acres of forest during construction, was approved in July to join at least five other solar farms built or planned here thanks to several huge transmission lines that crisscross the county. When built, it will become one of the largest solar installations east of the Rocky Mountains. Although she is all for clean energy, Ms. Pettus opposed the project’s immense size, fearing it will destroy forests, disrupt soil and pollute streams and rivers in the place she calls home.”

Europe Is Sacrificing Its Ancient Forests for dirty Energy – for wood chips – The New York Times

“. . . . . . burning wood was never supposed to be the cornerstone of the European Union’s green energy strategy.

When the bloc began subsidizing wood burning over a decade ago, it was seen as a quick boost for renewable fuel and an incentive to move homes and power plants away from coal and gas. Chips and pellets were marketed as a way to turn sawdust waste into green power.

Those subsidies gave rise to a booming market, to the point that wood is now Europe’s largest renewable energy source, far ahead of wind and solar.

European governments count wood power toward their clean-energy targets. But research shows it can be dirtier than coal.

But today, as demand surges amid a Russian energy crunch, whole trees are being harvested for power. And evidence is mounting that Europe’s bet on wood to address climate change has not paid off.

Forests in Finland and Estonia, for example, once seen as key assets for reducing carbon from the air, are now the source of so much logging that government scientists consider them carbon emitters. In Hungary, the government waived conservation rules last month to allow increased logging in old-growth forests.

And while European nations can count wood power toward their clean-energy targets, the E.U. scientific research agency said last year that burning wood released more carbon dioxide than would have been emitted had that energy come from fossil fuels.:

Portugal Could Hold an Answer for a Europe Captive to Russian Gas – The New York Times

Patricia Cohen, a global economics reporter based in London, reported this article from Lisbon, Sintra and Porto in Portugal.

“Portugal has no coal mines, oil wells or gas fields. Its impressive hydropower production has been crippled this year by drought. And its long-running disconnect from the rest of Europe’s energy network has earned the country its status as an “energy island.”

Yet with Russia withholding natural gas from countries opposed to its invasion of Ukraine, the tiny coastal nation of Portugal is suddenly poised to play a critical role in managing Europe’s looming energy crisis.

For years, the Iberian Peninsula was cut off from the web of pipelines and huge supply of cheap Russian gas that power much of Europe. And so Portugal and Spain were compelled to invest heavily in renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and hydropower, and to establish an elaborate system for importing gas from North and West Africa, the United States, and elsewhere.”

Secret Data, Tiny Islands and a Quest for Treasure on the Ocean Floor – The New York Times

By Eric Lipton   Aug. 29, 2022

“ETKINGSTON, Jamaica — As demand grows globally for metals needed to make batteries for electric vehicles, one of the richest untapped sources of the raw materials lies two and a half miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

This remote section of the seabed, about 1,500 miles southwest of San Diego, could soon become the world’s first industrial-scale mining site in international waters.

The Metals Company, based in Vancouver, has secured exclusive access to tons of seabed rocks packed with cobalt, copper and nickel — enough, it says, to power 280 million electric vehicles, equivalent to the entire fleet of cars in the United States.”