Archive for Geothermal energy

The Raser Technologies (RZ) Saga

A month ago, I bought Raser (RZ) in a gamble that one of thier plans to get project financing would pay off quickly. Unfortunately, the one I thought was most likely of these, an application for a DOE grant gaurantee, was rejected last week, so I sold at a slight loss.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Raser (RZ) to see if I can pick it up again at a reduced price… there’s still a chance of a quick win if they get funding elesewhere.

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Clean Energy Portfolio: Great Performance so Far & Ready for a Gamble

My Ten Clean Energy Picks for 2009 continue to blow the indexes away, although the ten gambles for 2009 have only kept pace.

Part of the reason the gambles have not kept up is the big drop in the price of Raser Technologies (RZ). Raser has fallen so for I now think it’s a bargain, not a gamble, and I increased my stake 3-fold.

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ARRA Symposium notes, March 10 2009

I’ll be referencing these notes in an article to be published on as What the ARRA Means for Clean Energy: One State’s Example on March 15th.

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October Investing Articles Index

I’ve been writing a lot about how we’ll get around in the face of much higher oil prices. Several articles this month deal with how we can best invest in the eventual solutions.

October 2nd: Efficienct Transit and Transmission Stocks from Fortune Magazine.

October 7th: Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs

October 14th: Better Ways to Invest in Peak Oil: Bikes and Public Transport

October 21st: An In-depth look at Geothermal Technology

October 24th: Presentations from Montrose and the Keiretsu Forum Academy

October 25th: What we can learn from the Arizona Renewable Energy Assesment

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Economics of Carbon Capture and Storage

Both Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and Enhanced Geothermal Systems need research and development to reach their full pormise of baseload power without significant emissions. What will be the costs of this research, and what will be the costs of the eventual elctricity production?

I take a look at these questions in my AltEnergyStocks column. Given limited funding, what would you choose?

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The Ultimate Yellowstone Pic

Buffallo and Geyser

On vacation…
But the folks at Alt Energy Stocks published a general overview of how to get into renewable energy investing I wrote last week.


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Visual Comparison of Electricity Generation Technologies

I just put together a couple graphs for a talk I’m giving on Monday to give people a visual feel of the various technologies for generating electricity.  These come with a gigantic caveat: the numbers are far from precise.

With changing technologies, it’s impossible to represent any of this with a single number anyway.  I’m trying to show how the technologies compare to each other, and I used four parameters:

  • Cost ($/MWh),
  • Availability (better the closer the profile of the technology matches a normal demand curve (wind is bad, baseload is okay, dispatchable is best, solar),
  • Emissions (and I count waste storage when it comes to nuclear),
  • Bubble sizes represent the size and durability of the resource (I’ve tried to combine in one number how much power we can get from the resource, but also how long supplies of fuel will last.) 

In both charts, the “best” technologies are in the upper left (low cost, low emissions, and available when we need them.)

I know that I’m going to upset a lot of people because I was too harsh with their favorite technology, so feel free and comment on the numbers I’m using, but also please provide references for where you get your numbers.  Most of these are off the top of my head, so their accuracy is admittedly questionable.   Here are the numbers I used to make the graphs.

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The Irony of Enhanced Geothermal

When an 18-member MIT panel released a study claiming that Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) could supply  10% of all US power (and not just in traditional geothermal regions) by using new drilling techniques to to tap the heat much deeper down than conventional geothermal resources with an $800 million investment in research and development over a decade to make it cost effective, my first thought was, “There’s another great idea our government isn’t going to fund because they’re too busy pandering to corn farmers and oil companies with subsidies that don’t yeild long term benefits to society.  And if the the US government isn’t going to pay for it, who is?”

I got my answer today, from the intrepid Toronto Star reporter (and Clean Break blogger) Tyler Hamilton.  Tyler writes that a consortium of Canadian Oil Sands developers called Geopower in the Oil Sands has decided to research the technology in order to provide process heat to replace the extensive use of natural gas in oil sands extraction.  I think it’s extremely ironic that one of the world’s most CO2 intensive energy sources (because of all the natural gas used in extraction) may end up funding necessary research into one of the most promising clean technologies.

 We can also thank the Governator, because it was California’s new well-to-wheels fuel decarbonization law may well have been a factor which led these companies to look into carbon free sources of heat for their processes (although they have long had reason to worry about their carbon intensity, since Canada is a signatory of the Kyoto protocol.

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