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Energy News Articles

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This breakthrough in a type of photosynthesis could provide the world with unlimited energy
2018-09-12, MarketWatch

Imagine a new, potent generation of solar panels capable of producing unlimited amounts of energy, using only sunshine and algae. This could be possible, thanks to a breakthrough made by researchers from the University of Cambridge, documented in a Nature Energy 2018 article. They were able to split water into its components, oxygen and hydrogen, using what is known as semi-artificial photosynthesis. The procedure has ... never been used to generate large amounts of energy due to expensive and toxic catalysts necessary for the reaction. Photosynthesis [is] the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis when water absorbed by plants is split. Most of the oxygen on Earth is here because of this photochemical reaction. Hydrogen ... is also produced this way. Now, by combining algae and man-made components, researchers have been able to bypass both natural inefficiency and the use of toxic reactants. This was achieved by enabling a dormant process in algae that uses a special enzyme (hydrogenase) to reduce water into hydrogen and oxygen. Katarzyna Sokol, a researcher on the project ... explains: "Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in algae that is capable of reducing protons into hydrogen. During evolution, this process has been deactivated because it wasnt necessary for survival, but we successfully managed to bypass the inactivity to [split] water into hydrogen and oxygen."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Were drowning in trash. These Dutch scientists have a solution.
2018-08-02, Washington Post

The sprawling, gated campus of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) sits on a spit of land about an hour north of Amsterdam. In a nearby control room, engineers ... were working on one of clean energys intransigent problems: how to turn waste into electricity without producing more waste. Decades ago, scientists discovered that when heated to extreme temperatures, wood and agricultural leftovers, as well as plastic and textile waste, turn into a gas composed of underlying chemical components. The resulting synthetic gas, or syngas, can be harnessed as a power source, generating heat or electricity. But gasified waste has serious shortcomings: it contains tars, which clog engines and disrupt catalysts, breaking machinery, and in turn, lowering efficiency and raising costs. This is what the Dutch technology is designed to fix. The MILENA-OLGA system, as they call it, is a revolutionary carbon-neutral energy plant that turns waste into electricity with little or no harmful byproducts. The MILENA-OLGA process ... is 11 percent more efficient than most existing energy-from-waste plants and over 50 percent more efficient than incinerators of a comparable scale. The process also emits zero wastewater and produces no particulates or other pollutants. Just 4 percent of the original material is left over as inert white ash, which can be used to make cement.

Note: A similar technology was developed and implemented over 10 years ago, as detailed in this Popular Science article. Why wasn't this amazing invention widely reported and used? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Costa Rica to ban fossil fuels and become world's first decarbonised society
2018-05-10, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

Costa Ricas new president has announced a plan to ban fossil fuels and become the first fully decarbonised country in the world. Carlos Alvarado, a 38-year-old former journalist, made the announcement ... during his inauguration. "Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first," Mr Alvarado said. Symbolically, the president arrived at the ceremony in San Jose aboard a hydrogen-fuelled bus. Last month, Mr Alvarado said the Central American country would begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021 the 200th year of Costa Rican independence. "When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate ... that we've removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation, he promised during a victory speech. Costa Rica already generates more than 99 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy sources. Costa Ricas push towards clean energy faces no large-scale backlash, in part because the country has no significant oil or gas industry. But demand for cars is rising, as is use of other transport systems, and that may prove one of the biggest challenges in meeting the new goal. Transport is today the countrys main source of climate changing emissions.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Power Prices Go Negative in Germany, a Positive for Energy Users
2017-12-25, New York Times

Germany has spent $200 billion over the past two decades to promote cleaner sources of electricity. That enormous investment is now having an unexpected impact - consumers are now actually paid to use power on occasion, as was the case over the weekend. Power prices plunged below zero for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day on ... a large European power trading exchange, the result of low demand, unseasonably warm weather and strong breezes that provided an abundance of wind power on the grid. Such negative prices are not the norm in Germany, but they are far from rare, thanks to the countrys effort to encourage investment in greener forms of power generation. Prices for electricity in Germany have dipped below zero ... more than 100 times this year alone. Several countries in Europe have experienced negative power prices, including Belgium, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. But Germanys forays into negative pricing are the most frequent. At times, Germany is able to export its surplus electricity to its neighbors, helping to balance the market. Still, its experiences of negative prices are often longer, and deeper, than they are in other countries. In one recent example, power prices spent 31 hours below zero during the last weekend of October. At one point, they dipped as low as minus 83, or minus $98, per megawatt-hour, a wholesale measure. Anyone who was able to hook up for a large blast of electricity at that time was paid 83 per unit for the trouble.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

This Incredible Power Plant Produces Nothing But Electricity And Stone
2017-10-16, Huffington Post

The Hellisheidi geothermal power plant situated on the mid-Atlantic ridge, is the newest and largest geothermal plant in Iceland - a country that heats 90% of its homes using geothermal water. The plant has now become the first in history to capture carbon dioxide from ambient air, using a system of fans and filters, and then store it in bedrock 700 metres down. There the gas reacts with basaltic rock and forms solid minerals, creating a permanent storage solution, and turning Hellisheidi into a negative emissions site. The EU-funded project [is] capable of capturing 50 metric tons of CO2 each year. Christoph Gebald, Founder and CEO at Climeworks, said: The potential of scaling-up our technology in combination with CO2 storage, is enormous. Our plan is to offer carbon removal to individuals, corporates and organizations as a means to reverse their non-avoidable carbon emissions.′ It also costs $600 per ton of carbon dioxide, a figure they are hoping to reduce to $100 per ton. Iceland currently runs 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

GM is selling a $5,000 electric car in China
2017-08-08, CNN News

General Motors will start selling a tiny electric car in China this week that will cost about $5,300 after national and local electric vehicle incentives. For that sort of price, the Baojun E100 is no Cadillac, of course. The two-seat car's wheelbase - the distance from the center of the front wheels to the center of the rear wheels - is just 63 inches. Prices for the car start at RMB 93,900, or about $14,000, before incentives. The E100, which is Baojun's first electric car, is powered by a single 39-horsepower electric motor and has a top speed of 62 miles an hour. The E100 can drive about 96 miles on a fully charged battery. Baojun is a mass-market car brand from General Motors' SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture in China. It's China's eighth most popular car brand. More than 5,000 people have already registered to buy the first 200 vehicles, according to GM. Another 500 vehicles will be made available this week, and buyers will be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis, a GM spokesperson said. Sales will initially be limited to the Guanxi region of southern China, but GM plans to sell the car more widely in China. A GM spokesperson declined to say exactly how many it expects to sell. China is the largest automotive market in the world, and its government is making a big push for electric cars. Already, China accounts for 40% of all electric cars sold worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Scientists flip energy equation with solar leaf that converts CO2 into fuel
2016-08-01, Christian Science Monitor

Its often smarter to borrow from nature than reinvent the wheel. That was the approach of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and convert it into an efficient, inexpensive fuel. The result: an artificial leaf that turns CO2 into fuel, "at a cost comparable to a gallon of gasoline" could render fossil fuel obsolete, according to the researchers. The leaf is one of a growing number of inventions that mimic photosynthesis to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere, and convert it into new, sustainable forms of energy to power our world. The new solar cell is not photovoltaic - its photosynthetic, said [the studys lead author] Amin Salehi-Khojin. Instead of producing energy in an unsustainable one-way route from fossil fuels to greenhouse gas, we can now reverse the process and recycle atmospheric carbon into fuel using sunlight." The concept of reduction reaction - converting CO2 into a burnable form of carbon - isnt new. But scientists previously relied on silver and other expensive precious metals to break gas into storable energy. UIC researchers took a different approach. When light strikes the "leaf," hydrogen and carbon monoxide bubble from the cathode, while free oxygen and hydrogen ions are released from the anode. Leafs could be spread throughout a solar farm, or used in smaller applications, the researchers said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Enron redux: Shell bilked California in energy crisis, judge finds
2016-04-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge has found that a division of Shell Oil engaged in fraud and market manipulation during Californias energy crisis, with company traders joking on tape about burning the evidence if they were ever caught. The tentative decision ... holds Shell and Spanish energy company Iberdrola liable for $1.1 billion in ill-gotten profits, money that could be refunded to Californians if the decision stands. It could end the last legal case over the expensive, long-term power purchase contracts that California signed under duress during the 2000-01 crisis. The state has already settled with all other companies accused of unjustly profiting from the long-term contracts, settlements worth a total of $7.7 billion. Officials are still pushing complaints against 13 companies involved in short-term contracts during the crisis, but have settled with others for a total of roughly $4 billion. The initial decision ... details Shell traders using schemes similar to those employed by Enron to drive up day-to-day power prices, which then increased the price California had to pay on its long-term contracts. As a result, Californians ended up overpaying Shell by $779 million and Iberdrola by $371 million. One scheme the judge cited, called Ricochet by Enron and more commonly known as megawatt laundering, involved buying electricity within California to ship to a destination outside of the state while simultaneously selling the same power back into the states market at a higher price.

Note: Read the text of tape recordings of Enron traders laughing at the misery they caused in California. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar
2015-03-07, Washington Post

Three years ago, the nations top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about ... rooftop solar panels. According to a presentation prepared for the group, Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges. Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the countrys government-regulated electric monopolies. Recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a ... successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers. In a closely watched case last month, an Arizona utility voted to impose a monthly surcharge of about $50 for net metering, a common practice that allows solar customers to earn credit for the surplus electricity they provide to the electric grid. Net metering makes home solar affordable by sharply lowering electric bills to offset the $10,000 to $30,000 cost of rooftop panels. A Wisconsin utilities commission approved a similar surcharge for solar users last year, and a New Mexico regulator also is considering raising fees. In some states, industry officials [are now] arguing that solar panels hurt the poor. Its really about utilities fear that solar customers are taking away demand, said Angela Navarro, an energy expert with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Note: In Arizona, traditional utility companies are brazenly manipulating the law to attack solar power installation companies. Meanwhile, the Rockefellers have stopped investing in fossil fuels. Does this mean that the renewable energy revolution is now in full swing?

Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel, Allowing Ships To Stay At Sea Longer
2014-04-08, International Business Times

After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the worlds great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel. The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel could one day relieve the militarys dependence on oil-based fuels and is being heralded as a game changer because it could allow military ships to develop their own fuel and stay operational 100 percent of the time, rather than having to refuel at sea. The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it. The Navys 289 vessels all rely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and 72 submarines that rely on nuclear propulsion. The breakthrough came after scientists developed a way to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater. The gasses are then turned into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process with the help of catalytic converters. The next challenge for the Navy is to produce the fuel in industrial quantities. It will also partner with universities to maximize the amount of CO2 and carbon they can recapture. For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously. That's a big breakthrough," said Dr. Heather Willauer, a research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

Note: Strangely, the major media networks appear to be largely silent on this important breakthrough, except for Forbes, which downplays the whole thing, as you can see at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

BlackLight Power, Inc. Announces Sustained Production of Electricity Using Photovoltaic Conversion of Millions of Watts of Brilliant Plasma
2014-04-03, Yahoo News

BlackLight Power, Inc. [has] achieved sustained electricity production from a primary new energy source by using photovoltaic technology to transform brilliant plasma, with power comprising millions of watts of light, directly into electricity. By applying a very high current through its proprietary water-based solid fuel in BlackLight Powers breakthrough Solid Fuel-Catalyst-Induced-Hydrino-Transition (SF-CIHT) technology, water ignites into brilliant plasma, a ... bright flash of extraordinary optical power that has a power density of over 1,000,000 times that of any prior controllable reaction. BlackLight Power has now successfully converted the brilliant plasma directly into electricity using photovoltaic cells (solar cells). Simply replacing the consumed H2O regenerated the fuel, and the fuel can be continuously fed into the electrodes to continuously output optical power that can be converted into electricity. [This] safe, non-polluting power-producing system catalytically converts the hydrogen of the H2O-based solid fuel into a non-polluting ... lower-energy state hydrogen called Hydrino, by allowing the electrons to fall to smaller radii around the nucleus. The energy release is 200 times that of burning the equivalent amount of hydrogen with oxygen. Using readily-available components, BlackLight has developed a system engineering design of an electric generator that is closed, except for the addition of H2O fuel, and generates ten million watts of electricity, enough to power ten thousand homes. Remarkably, the device is less than a cubic foot in volume.

Note: How strange that the major media are not picking up on this story of major proportions. For a 2008 CNN article showing Blacklight had attracted $60 million and was no longer seeking funding, click here. For more on Blacklight Power, click here. For more evaluation of this development, click here.

Documentary looks at possible problems with smart grids
2013-08-12, USA Today

Josh del Sol got curious in the summer of 2011 after a friend linked a serious illness to the recent installation of a "smart meter." Del Sol subsequently learned that electrical utilities across North America had been quietly installing "smart grids" that ... monitor Internet-connected meters and appliances in homes and businesses. Now, del Sol is on the verge of premiering a feature-length documentary ... titled Take Back Your Power, disclosing questionable industry practices in support of implementing networked control systems for power plants. The film links billing mistakes, invasive monitoring, even human illnesses to the rising use of smart grids in the U.S. and Europe. "Take Back Your Power delivers an ominous, powerful message about the energy industry's shift to closely watching how customers use energy in their home in an invasive, controversial manner," says Lee Waterworth, president of Yekra, a video-on-demand company. Del Sol says access to industry sources was tough. "We had a difficult time getting anyone in the industry to talk to us on camera once they found out that we were wanting to get to the bottom of some of these concerns," he says. The filmmaker was surprised by the contrast between the views of industry officials and those of ordinary citizens trying to get to the bottom of safety, privacy and health concerns. Del Sol hopes the documentary helps to prompt the electricity industry "to provide more transparency, accountability and clarity on the issues we explore in the film."

Note: You can find this documentary on the Internet. For more, read how solar providers are using "smart" systems to help their customers save money while traditional utilities use these systems only to cut their own costs. Meanwhile, concerns about the health impacts of wireless tech and the ongoing erosion of privacy rights continue to grow.

California duped on energy buys again
2013-08-01, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay federal regulators $410 million to settle allegations that the giant bank manipulated energy markets in California and Michigan. About $285 million of the settlement will go to the U.S. Treasury for civil penalties, and about $124 million will be refunded to California ratepayers. The remainder will be refunded to Michigan ratepayers. If this story sounds familiar, that's because it is. Californians who remember the Enron energy debacle of 2000-01 won't be surprised to learn that JPMorgan's traders have been accused of fraudulent behavior. Once again, the fraud was performed by manipulating the auction system that was developed by a quasi-state agency, the California Independent System Operator, to handle California's electricity needs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that JPMorgan engaged in 12 manipulative bidding strategies, which wound up forcing ratepayers to pay higher amounts than they should have - all because the bank wanted to find a cheap way to profit off of aging power plants in Southern California. JPMorgan used a variety of bait-and-switch strategies - duping Cal-ISO into paying exorbitant fees for running the plants at a low level, for instance, or manipulating the bidding system so that Cal-ISO was forced to pay rates that were many times higher than market rate. The fact that this kind of manipulation is still happening is upsetting. And while $410 million is a record settlement for the FERC, it's a drop in the bucket to JPMorgan, which reported $6.5 billion in quarterly profits this month.

Note: Remember Enron, which scammed millions and then went bankrupt, wiping out pensions of its many employees? To read CBS reports on how Enron purposely shut down power plants so they could cause and then cash in on the energy crisis, click here.

Teen's invention could charge your phone in 20 seconds
2013-05-18, NBC News

Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student's invention. She won a $50,000 prize ... at an international science fair for creating an energy storage device that can be fully juiced in 20 to 30 seconds. The fast-charging device is a [type of] so-called supercapacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space, charges quickly and holds its charge for a long time. What's more, it can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries, according to [the inventor] Eesha Khare of Saratoga, Calif. Supercapacitors also allowed her to focus on her interest in nanochemistry "really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields." To date, she has used [her] supercapacitor to power a light-emitting diode, or LED. The invention's future is even brighter. She sees it fitting inside cellphones and the other portable electronic devices that are proliferating in today's world, freeing people and their gadgets for a longer time from reliance on electrical outlets. "It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric," Khare added. "It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense." Khare's invention won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, conducted ... in Phoenix, Ariz.

Note: Now let's see if it actually makes it to market or is blocked by the companies that profit from selling many chargers. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Pee power! African teens create urine-fueled generator
2012-11-08, CNET

Four teenage African girls have come up with a urine-powered generator ... which they claim generates one hour of electricity from one liter (about a quart) of urine. The pee-powered product made its debut at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. The girls will probably be famous chemists one day, in any case, but they aren't the first to propose urine (or more solid human and animal waste) as a possible alternative fuel. Last year, in one example, researchers from Ohio University came up with their own technology for extracting hydrogen from urine. Doing so, they say, requires less power than plucking it from water, as hydrogen can be separated more easily from the ammonia and urea chemical compounds present in pee. The four African teens likely are the youngest researchers yet to dabble in pee as power. Skepticism aside, can we all just agree that the foursome should be lauded for their efforts to find alternative power sources on a continent that could really use them?

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

MU professor revisits decades-old fusion project
2012-11-03, Kansas City Star/Associated Press

A University of Missouri professor has resurrected his two-decade-old work in the contested field of cold fusion. In 1991, Mark Prelas was part of a research team that conducted a fusion experiment that emitted a burst of millions of neutrons. The work stopped when funding was cut off. At the time, cold fusion claims had been dismissed as junk science. Prelas shifted to other work. But his neutron-producing experiment resumed this year, and he presented his findings at a cold fusion conference in August in South Korea. Prelas, now a professor in the university's Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, received funding from the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance at MU. In the original experiment, the team created an emitted neutron-recording device and expected to count about 10 neutrons a second. They reached a million neutrons in a second. With SKINR funding, [Prelas] re-created the experiment. More technologically advanced equipment has allowed for a better counting system, and in one run, his research team saw neutron emissions at similar levels to the 1991 observation. Rob Duncan, MU's vice chancellor of research, said ... "We've got to understand what this is. The focus clearly has to be on an opportunity to discover new physics and to understand new science. That really is our aim here at SKINR.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on new energy inventions, click here.

Italian cold fusion machine passes another test
2011-11-03, MSNBC

Italian physicist and inventor Andrea Rossi has conducted a public demonstration of his "cold fusion" machine, the E-Cat, at the University of Bologna, showing that a small amount of input energy drives an unexplained reaction between atoms of hydrogen and nickel that leads to a large outpouring of energy, more than 10 times what was put in. The first seemingly successful cold fusion experiment was reported two decades ago. Two types of atoms, typically a light element and a heavier metal, seem to fuse together, releasing pure heat that can be converted into electricity. The process is an attractive energy solution for two reasons: Unlike in nuclear fission, the reaction doesn't give off dangerous radiation. Unlike the fusion processes that take place in the sun, cold fusion doesn't require extremely high temperatures. In April ... Rossi and fellow physicist Sergio Focardi successfully demonstrated the device for a group of Swedish physicists. At the demo in October, after an initial energy input of 400 watts into each module, each one then produced a sustained, continuous output of 10 kilowatts (470 kW altogether) for three to four hours. Peter Hagelstein, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and one of the most mainstream proponents of cold fusion research, thinks the process may involve vibrational energy in the metal's lattice driving nuclear transitions that lead to fusion.

Note: For lots more on this exciting development, click here. And for a CBS video segment and another excellent documentary showing top researchers who continue to be very excited about results of ongoing cold fusion experiments, click here. For media reports on other suppressed new energy inventions, click here.

Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?
2011-11-02, Fox News

A physicist in Italy claims to have demonstrated a new type of power plant that provides safe, cheap and virtually unlimited nuclear power to the world, without fossil fuels or radiation concerns. The only hitch: Scientists say the method -- cold fusion -- is patently impossible. They say it defies the laws of physics. Andrea Rossi doesn't seem to care. He told that his new device takes in nickel and hydrogen and fuses them in a low-grade nuclear reaction that essentially spits out sheer power, validating the strange science. With low energy, it's possible to give a heater a certain amount of energy and to get from the same heater a superior amount of energy, Rossi explained. He claims he demonstrated the device, called an E-Cat, at the University of Bologna in Italy on Oct. 28. Nearly a century ago, in the 1920s, Austrian scientists Friedrich Paneth and Kurt Peters hypothesized a form of nuclear reaction that doesnt produce radiation. And since then, the theory of cold fusion -- or "low-energy nuclear reaction," as its champions now call it -- has popped in and out the public's eyes, notably hitting the cover of Time magazine in 1989. Sterling Allan, CEO of the alternative energy news agency Pure Energy Systems, told he attended Rossis demonstration and the E-Cat is self sustaining.

Note: For lots more on this exciting development, click here. And for a CBS video segment and another excellent documentary showing top researchers who continue to be very excited about results of ongoing cold fusion experiments, click here. For media reports on other suppressed new energy inventions, click here.

Oil boom poses environmental challenge to U.S.
2011-09-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

Step aside, Saudi Arabia and Alaska. A major oil boom is under way in the U.S. lower 48 states and Canada. Oil rigs are sprouting across American corn fields and backyards, bringing a surge in greenhouse gas emissions and new public worries about local environmental effects. Oil companies and their supporters are grandly predicting a new age of North American petroleum, and it's no lie. U.S. reserves of oil that is ultra-heavy ... add up to more than 2 trillion barrels, with 2.4 trillion more in Canada - far greater than the conventional Middle Eastern and North African reserves of 1.2 trillion barrels. For decades, these supplies of ultra-heavy oil were viewed as exorbitantly expensive to extract. But in the past few years, a revolution in oil-field technology has made a significant portion of these reserves accessible at competitive costs. [In] 2005 the country's net petroleum imports peaked at 60.3 percent of total consumption. Net imports [shrank] to 49.3 percent by 2010. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the [US] is eight times greater than a decade ago. Already, the price gap between the international oil benchmark ... and the U.S. standard ... has grown in the past year alone to about $20 per barrel. Peak oil ... may be in the offing internationally but is nowhere to be seen in North America. Beckoning are two visions of our future. On one side is a surge of dirty oil that is likely to embolden a new crop of business-as-usual politicians. On the other is the emerging gamut of technologies for energy efficiency and renewable power that have already made California a clean-tech leader. Can America go beyond oil, or will it embrace the old status quo?

Note: Though it may be encouraging that peak oil is not an imminent threat, let us hope that clean energy technologies replace oil-based energy generation before too long.

Top Gear's electric car shows pour petrol over the BBC's standards
2011-08-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)

What distinguishes the BBC from the rest of this country's media? Perhaps the most important factor is its editorial guidelines, which are supposed to ensure that the corporation achieves "the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive[s] to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences." Woe betide the producer or presenter who breaches these guidelines. Unless, that is, they work for Top Gear. Take, for example, Top Gear's line on electric cars. Casting aside any pretence of impartiality or rigour, it has set out to show that electric cars are useless. If the facts don't fit, it bends them until they do. It's currently being sued by electric car maker Tesla. Now it's been caught red-handed faking another trial, in this case of the Nissan LEAF. Last Sunday, an episode of Top Gear showed Jeremy Clarkson and James May setting off for Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away. The car unexpectedly ran out of charge when they got to Lincoln, and had to be pushed. They concluded that "electric cars are not the future". But it wasn't unexpected: Nissan has a monitoring device in the car which transmits information on the state of the battery. This shows that, while the company delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged, the programme-makers ran the battery down before Clarkson and May set off, until only 40% of the charge was left.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on promising new energy and automotive technologies, click here. For more on corruption in the mass media, click here.

Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.