Energy

Environmental groups hit Toyota on fuel economy
October 12, 2007 03:13 PM - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading environmental groups pressed Toyota Motor Co on Thursday to drop its opposition to the tougher of two fuel economy proposals in Congress, calling the automaker's stance contradictory.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading environmental groups pressed Toyota Motor Co on Thursday to drop its opposition to the tougher of two fuel economy proposals in Congress, calling the automaker's stance contradictory.

In a letter to Shigeru Hayakawa, Toyota's chairman and chief executive of North American operations, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the National Environmental Trust and other organizations said Toyota should support the higher standard since it makes the best-selling gasoline-electric hybrid, the Prius.

EPA to develop rules for storing CO2 emissions
October 11, 2007 05:30 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it will develop new rules governing how coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities sock away heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas in underground reservoirs.

Burying CO2 in underground reservoirs is not commercially available yet, but has emerged as one possible way to slow global warming's potentially catastrophic results including flooding, heat waves and severe storms.

The EPA said in a statement it will propose regulations next summer to "ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the Safe Drinking Water Act for commercial-scale geologic sequestration programs to help reduce the effects of climate change."

China and India biofuels could threaten food output
October 11, 2007 08:18 AM - Alister Doyle - Reuters

Plans by China and India to raise biofuels production from irrigated maize and sugarcane could aggravate water shortages and undermine food output, an international report said on Thursday.

The two countries, the most populous on the planet, might ease the projected water shortages by developing new biofuel technologies or boosting rain-fed crops such as sweet sorghum, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said.

U.S. ethanol rush may harm water supplies: report
October 10, 2007 02:01 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol rush could drain drinking water supplies in parts of the country because corn -- a key source of the country's alternative fuel -- requires vast quantities of water for irrigation, the National Research Council reported on Wednesday.

U.S. President George W. Bush has called for production of 35 billion gallons per year of alternative motor fuels including ethanol by 2017, as part of an effort to wean the country from foreign oil. U.S. capacity to make the fuel, believed to emit low levels of greenhouse gases, has spiked about 28 percent this year to nearly 7 billion gallons.

But the use of more corn to make ethanol could drain water supplies like the Ogallala, or High Plains, aquifer, which extends from west Texas up into South Dakota and Wyoming.

IAEA chief in India as worries rise on nuclear deal
October 10, 2007 10:13 AM - Alistair Scrutton -Reuters

The U.N. nuclear watchdog's head arrived on Wednesday in India's capital for talks with government leaders, as concern grew a prolonged row with communists could scupper a nuclear deal with the United States or spark snap elections.

Mohamed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, will meet Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee as part of a long-scheduled trip coinciding with threats from the leftists to withdraw crucial parliamentary support if the deal moves ahead.

Shell says has key to cleaner coal
October 9, 2007 06:18 PM - Jackie Cowhig

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell's technology to turn coal into gas to fuel power plants could allow developing countries to meet surging energy demand without a matching rise in emissions, Shell executives said on Tuesday.

Power plants fuelled by gas made from coal using Shell's proven technology could have 9 percent lower costs than conventional coal-fired boilers if both types of generation involve carbon capture and storage, the executives said.

There are various projects to fight climate change by developing commercial-scale capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and storage underground but none has yet been proved to work in practice.

Winter heating costs seen up 10 percent
October 9, 2007 04:21 PM - Tom Doggett, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumers will pay 10 percent more to warm their homes this winter, with the seasonal cost for all heating fuels averaging $997, or $88 more, than last year, the government said on Tuesday.

Heating oil will be the most expensive fuel, followed by propane, natural gas and electricity, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its annual winter forecast, which runs from October 1 through March 31.

Government weather experts say this winter will be colder than last year's, but warmer than the average winter over the last 30 years.

Clean air settlement to cost AEP over $4.6 billion
October 9, 2007 10:03 AM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It will cost giant utility American Electric Power more than $4.6 billion to comply with a settlement with the U.S. government to reduce harmful air pollution from 16 coal-burning power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

In what the EPA called the single biggest environmental enforcement settlement in U.S. history, Ohio-based AEP agreed to end an 8-year lawsuit brought by the federal government.

Boston Irish Hotel Goes Green with Constellation NewEnergy
October 9, 2007 07:32 AM - , Green Progress

BOSTON - Constellation Energy today announced that its subsidiary, Constellation NewEnergy, has entered into a green electricity purchase agreement with the Jurys Boston Hotel. As part of the agreement, Constellation NewEnergy will provide approximately 7 million kilowatt hours of Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for 100 percent of the hotel's electricity usage, making Jurys one of the first hotels in Boston to match its entire load with green energy sources.

AEP says Settles Long-Running U.S. Acid Rain Suit
October 9, 2007 07:17 AM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES - U.S. power generator American Electric Power has settled an eight-year legal battle over acid rain with the U.S. government and other plaintiffs, but the agreement will not change the company's 2007 earnings, a spokesman said on Monday.  It agreed to pay $15 million in civil penalties and $60 million in pollution cleanup costs to end the long-running dispute about whether AEP illegally modified power plants and spewed acid rain producing chemicals across the northeastern United States

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