California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation

The California Energy Commissionannounced yesterday, March 20, 2013, that it has approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects in California. The projects include biofuels production and those related to reducing emissions from trucks.

If the projects are successful, they should help reduce transportation sector emissions which are the largest component of air pollution in Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley. Those emissions significantly contribute to the area having some of the worst air quality in the United States.

California pilot plant to make ethanol from ‘energy beets’

According to a March 23, 2013 story in the Associated Press, the latest experiment for producing ethanol that is mixed with gasoline thanks to a federal mandate involves something called “energy beets.” These are beets that are genetically modified for optimal conversion to ethanol.

A dozen farmers in California, supported by a group of academics and a $5 million state grant, propose to build an energy beet conversion plant. Currently most ethanol in the United States is made from corn, but using energy beets instead would have certain advantages.

Valero plans repairs for California refinery

Valero Energy Corp. has notified California environmental officials that it will need to flare gases at its Wilmington refinery for the next two days.

Valero is required to notify the South Coast Air Quality Management District, an air pollution control agency, whenever it needs to conduct flaring that would exceed daily limits. The flaring will be necessary while repair work is being conducted on a valve at a storage facility.

‘Greedy Lying Bastards’ Takes On Climate Deniers, Big Oil

Eco-activist Craig Rosebraugh is the first to admit he took “a sizable gamble” by titling his first film so provocatively—Greedy Lying Bastards.

The hard-hitting documentary is a sophisticated, four-years-in-the-making look at the deviousness of climate change deniers using archival footage and new interviews. It was intended to be “a bit more in your face” than most docs, Rosebraugh admits.

Life After Oil and Gas

WE will need fossil fuels like oil and gas for the foreseeable future. So there’s really little choice (sigh). We have to press ahead with fracking for natural gas. We must approve the Keystone XL pipeline to get Canadian oil.

This mantra, repeated on TV ads and in political debates, is punctuated with a tinge of inevitability and regret. But, increasingly, scientific research and the experience of other countries should prompt us to ask: To what extent will we really “need” fossil fuel in the years to come? To what extent is it a choice?