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Stephen Lacey: Without Government Help, the Shale Gas Boom Would Not Have Happened

In August, we wrote about our interview with New York Times senior energy reporter Matt Wald. In that interview, Wald discussed (among other things) the economics of cheap natural gas supplies, reminding us of an extremely important - but frequently forgotten - fact. Namely, Wald explained how the U.S. government had made "early, risky investments" which were used "to slash costs dramatically" for natural gas extraction and production.

New Survey Finds Broad Support for Clean Energy Among Likely Voters

We're long-standing fans of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, as they are highly knowledgeable of the clean economy, and frequently have interesting, thought-provoking things to say about it. They also conduct research surveys of public attitudes towards climate change and the clean economy, including their latest survey, entitled "Climate Change in the American Mind: The Potential Impact of Global Warming on the 2012 Presidential Election."  Here are a few highlights.

Why Does Southwest Airlines Junk Its Brand? [UPDATED]

I’ve been a fan of Southwest Airlines for years. It’s not luxury, but it usually gets you there with a passenger-friendly, problem-solving approach to customers’ needs. But here’s a standout exception that suggests that even Southwest can be careless with its brand: Just try to get them to stop sending you junk mail.

SPI 2012: Three Takeaways and Where the Solar Industry Goes from Here

Time to Set the Record Straight and Act Like a Confident, Mature Industry

NY Times: Production Tax Credit Uncertainty Already Hurting Wind Industry

This is not good.

U.K. Parliament Report Calls for Moratorium on Arctic Oil, Gas Drilling

The U.K. Parliament is out with a new report that couldn't be more timely, more relevant, or more important. The subject is protecting the Arctic, where record melting this summer has prompted stunned scientists "to warn [that] the world had entered 'uncharted territory' in the rate of climate change."

New Report Highlights Massive, Adverse Water Consequences of Fossil Fuels

Another day, another (excellent) report on the many ways in which fossil fuels are heavily subsidized; how their pollution of water supplies, and harm to public health, are not inc0rporated into the price of their products, etc. This time, it's a report by the Civil Society Institute, entitled "The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels." Or, as their press release announcing the study puts it, "U.S. Energy Policy Is 'All Wet' When It Comes to Hidden Costs." Here are a few highlights from the report:

InsideClimate News: "Remote sensors detected only 5 percent of the nation's pipeline spills"

To put it mildly, this is not acceptable.

With Renewables Booming, Time for "Storage Portfolio Standards?"

A new article in the Christian Science Monitor, by venture capitalist and cleantech industry analyst Richard Stuebi, raises a question I'd never thought about before. Namely, with renewable energy generation booming in the United States, the question is, "Are storage standards next?"

The Incredible, Shrinking Aubrey McClendon

The ongoing debacle of Chesapeake Energy, and its chief executive Aubrey McClendon, continues.

Sophisticated New Study Shows Wind Could Supply Half World's Power (or more) by 2030

A sophisticated new study proves what many of us have thought for a while now; namely, that previous studies, which claimed that "adding more turbines would create diminishing returns to a point where wind power wasn't worth utilizing," are not correct.  Instead, according to this study's authors, "4 million turbines would produce 7.5 terawatts a year - more than half the energy the world is expected to consume in 2030."

New U.S. Solar Power Report: Prices Falling, Installations Doubled in 2Q12 over 2Q11

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is out with its "Solar Market Insight Report 2012 Q2," and overall, it's excellent news. A few highlights include:

Bloomberg New Energy Finance: Awareness of Favorable Solar Economics "Lags" Among Policy Makers, Others

Yesterday, I participated in a "webinar" sponsored by the Vote Solar Initiative, on a new, peer-reviewed study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) entitled, "Re-considering the Economics of Photovoltaic Power." Presenters included BNEF CEO Michael Liebreich and BNEF's Head of Solar Analysis, Jenny Chase.  The main conclusion was as follows (bolding added for emphasis):

Bloomberg New Energy Finance: World is irreversibly on the way to a "fully mature and competitive clean energy sector"

As the clean energy industry scales up, it's inevitable that there will be bumps along the road. One of those bumps, we've argued repeatedly, is "full-contact" opposition from those energy sectors - fossil fuels like oil and coal, particularly - with an interest in slowing the transition to a clean energy economy. Another is a turn towards less encouraging, or even hostile, government policy, as politicians do the bidding of the dirty energy companies who finance their campaigns, and who lobby them heavily.