January 11, 2023

A new solar plant in Georgia will be the direct result of the Inflation Reduction Act, the last significant piece of legislation to pass under the Democratic trifecta.

December 12, 2022

The U.S. Energy Department will announce Tuesday that government scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have for the first time produced a net energy gain in a fusion reaction, a major step toward limitless, inexpensive clean energy, the Financial Times and The Washington Post reported Sunday. Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to recreate the kind of fusion reaction that powers the sun, but none have been able to produce more energy than the process consumes.   Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is scheduled to unveil a "a major scientific breakthrough" at the Lawrence Livermore lab on Tuesday, though the Energy Department is tight-lipped about the nature of the announcement.  "Initial diagnostic data suggests another successful experiment at the National Ignition Facility," where the fusion research is talking place, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory told the Financial Times. "However, the exact yield is still being determined and we can't confirm that it is over the threshold at this time." A lab official told the Post that the results are still being analyzed and no findings will be released until Tuesday, though the Financial Times reports the fusion reaction produced about 120 percent of the energy it consumed. "The breakthrough was already being widely discussed by scientists," the Financial Times said, citing two people familiar with the findings who also said the greater-than-expected energy output had damaged some of the diagnostic equipment. The goal of fusion research is to harvest energy from colliding two atoms together at incredibly high speeds. The type of fusion studied at the Lawrence Livermore lab is called inertial confinement fusion, which involves hitting a tiny ball of hydrogen plasma with the world's biggest laser. Even if this experiment's success is confirmed, we're still years or decades from fusion power flowing through the energy grid, though "the technology's potential is hard to ignore," the Financial Times reports. "Fusion reactions emit no carbon, produce no long-lived radioactive waste, and a small cup of the hydrogen fuel could theoretically power a house for hundreds of years." It's the "holy grail" of clean energy, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said earlier this year at the launch of a new White House fusion power strategy. "Fusion has the potential to lift more citizens of the world out of poverty than anything since the invention of fire."

October 19, 2022

The Biden administration will release additional barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "if necessary" in addition to the 15 million barrels recently authorized to be sold this December, a Biden senior adviser told CNN on Wednesday.

September 16, 2022

Berlin on Friday took control of the German operations of Russian oil firm Rosneft to secure energy supplies which have been disrupted after Moscow invaded Ukraine.Rosneft's German subsidiaries, which account for about 12 percent of oil refining capacity in the country, were placed under trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency, the economy ministry said in a statement."The trust management will counter the threat to the security of energy supply," it said.The seizures come as Germany is scrambling to wean itself off its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Moscow has stopped natural gas deliveries to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.The move covers the companies Rosneft Deutschland GmbH (RDG) and RN Refining & Marketing GmbH (RNRM) and thereby their corresponding stakes in three refineries: PCK Schwedt, MiRo and Bayernoil.Fears had been running high particularly for PCK Schwedt, which is close to the Polish border and supplies around 90 percent of the oil used in Berlin and the surrounding region, including Berlin-Brandenburg international airport.The refineries' operations had been disrupted as the German government decided to slash Russian oil imports, with an aim to halt them completely by year's end.By taking control of the sites, the German authorities can then run the refining operations using crude from countries other than Russia.Energy earthquakeRussia's war in Ukraine has set off an energy earthquake in Europe and especially in Germany, with prices skyrocketing as Moscow dwindled supplies.Germany has found itself severely exposed given its heavy reliance on Russian gas.Moscow had also built up a grip over Germany's oil refineries, pipelines and other gas infrastructure through energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom over the years.Energy deals with Russia were long seen as part of a German policy of keeping the peace through cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime.The cheap energy supplied by Russia was also key in keeping German exports competitive. As a result, the share of Russian gas in Germany had grown to 55 percent of total imports before the Ukraine war.But that approach has come back to haunt Germany.In early April, the German government took the unprecedented step of temporarily taking control of Gazprom's German subsidiary, after an opaque transfer of ownership of the company sent alarm bells ringing in Berlin.Germany has also been scrambling to find new sources of energy as deliveries from Russia have dwindled in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.The German government has also taken the stark step of firing up mothballed coal power plants, while putting two of its nuclear power plants on standby through April, rather than phasing them out completely as planned by year's end.© 2022 AFP



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