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Categories: Energy

Pacific Islanders' Challenge to Coal Power Plant

Posted by: Mark Scott on January 19

For most Europeans, it would be hard to find the Federated States of Micronesia on a map. But the small Pacific island nation is trying to punch above its weight....

Clean Energy Predictions for 2010

Posted by: Mark Scott on November 04

The end of the year is fast approaching, so predictions for 2010 are starting to get the rounds. On Nov. 4, it was consultancy Deloitte's turn to pull out its...

Top tales: Universal cell phone chargers, AEP captures carbon & more Americans doubt global warming

Posted by: Adam Aston on October 30

As the week closes, three developments of note... 1/ This week a universal cell phone charger was adapted by the International Telecommunication Union, the industry's standards setting body. Sounds boring?...

Third-Quarter Clean Energy Investment Disappoints

Posted by: Mark Scott on October 02

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but new figures show the economy's much-heralded recovery -- and its impact on clean energy projects -- is still a little ways...

Renewables supply more electricity than nuclear sources for second month in a row

Posted by: Adam Aston on September 08

Backers of green power had something to crow about with the release of the latest data on eco-energy production in this U.S. Electricity made from renewable sources supplied 11.6% of...

A Global Carbon Market is Closer Than You Think

Posted by: Mark Scott on June 15

Setting up a cap-and-trade carbon market isn't easy. Throw in a global economic crisis and continued domestic and international wrangling over policy and it becomes almost impossible. Yet in an...

Essential Reading on Concentrated Solar & Smart Grids

Posted by: Mark Scott on June 11

There are a couple of articles in The Economist's most recent Technology Quarterly that are worth checking out. The first outlines the case for concentrated solar power: technology that turns...

Could Carbon Prices Hit $180?

Posted by: Mark Scott on June 09

Here's one for the alarmists out there. According to Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the price to offset a metric ton of carbon must top...

Has the Solar Market Finally Bottomed Out?

Posted by: Mark Scott on June 08

Predictions about when markets will rebound are notoriously prone to failure. But with that forewarning in mind, I want to pose a question: has the solar market finally bottomed out?...

Clouds Remain Over Solar Industry

Posted by: Mark Scott on May 12

Here’s a quick temperature gauge of the global solar market. Germany’s Q-Cells, the world’s largest maker of solar cells, reported a first-quarter net loss of €391.9 million ($534 million) on...

Denmark's Vestas Pockets $1 Billion

Posted by: Mark Scott on May 01

What would you do with $1 billion? That's the question now being asked of Denmark's Vestas, the world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer, after the company pocketed $1 billion this week by...

Europe Plans 'Smart Meter' Rollout

Posted by: Mark Scott on April 29

The U.S. still may have doubts over so-called electricity smart meters, but on the other side of the Atlantic, Europe is pushing ahead. Last week, European politicians voted to roll...

Top 50 buyers of renewable energy

Posted by: Adam Aston on April 28

The EPA released its 2008 tally of the top green buyers of renewable electricity in the US. Eight of the top 10 are corporations. Some interesting wrinkles just in the...

The State of Play in Global Carbon Markets

Posted by: Mark Scott on April 27

Here's one for both the optimists and pessimists among us. Despite the recession, the global carbon markets grew 37% -- when measured by the volume of transactions -- in the...

Britain: New Investment for Carbon, Capture, & Storage

Posted by: Mark Scott on April 23

With green energy investment all the rage, it's a brave -- or possibly foolish -- government that puts its support behind fossil fuels. Yet that's what Britain's ruling Labour Party...

Renewables Investment in South Africa

Posted by: Mark Scott on April 01

In the world of renewable energy, Africa remains an 'also-ran' behind Europe, North America, and Asia. But on Mar. 31, South Africa -- the Continent's largest energy producer -- took...

Spain: The Rise of Eco-Corruption?

Posted by: Mark Scott on March 23

With governments outlining multi-billion dollar schemes to make investment in green energy more palatable, beware of a new trend: eco-corruption. That's the take from a Mar. 22 article in British...

Is 2009 the Year of Carbon, Capture, and Storage?

Posted by: Mark Scott on February 16

What's the best way to cut the world's greenhouse gas emissions? That question is getting a lot of play recently, particularly ahead of a UN conference in Copenhagen at the...

Project Financing Favors Big Renewable Players

Posted by: Mark Scott on February 04

Contracting financial markets have drastically reduced funding options for renewables projects. Or have they? Late last month, British utility Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) -- one of the country's largest...

Seeking questions for Mike Morris, CEO of American Electric Power

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 20

I need your ideas. For a new project here at, we're soliciting story ideas and interview questions from our readers. This Thursday, Jan 22., Mike Morris, CEO of AEP,...

Should utilities get carbon credits for using coal ash to make cement?

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 09

With the argument against coal gaining momentum by the day, the last thing utilities and big coal needed was toxic headlines from Tennessee's coal ash spill. A front page NYT...

New nuclear power: Too pricey, and getting worse?

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 06

No one has ever called nuclear energy cheap. Well, okay, it was once -- apocryphally perhaps -- dubbed potentially "too cheap to meter." The reality has been anything but. The...

Our Energy Future: the View from the Oil Industry

Posted by: John Carey on December 10

What do oil and gas executives see in their future? In many cases, a switch from oil and gas to alternative forms of energy. That’s one of the findings from...

Malkin, Hannity and Rove Try to OutFox Obama on Election Eve: Clean Coal in all their stocking this Xmas.

Posted by: David Kiley on November 03

God help me, I tuned into the special Sunday edition of Hannity and Colmes last night, two days before the election. I heard Hannity raving about how Obama was caught...

Curtains for Wind (Literally)

Posted by: John Carey on October 07

Convincing local communities to allow wind farms nearby is often not an easy task. There are the obvious concerns about what the turbines will look like, how loud the spinning...

Relief for Renewables

Posted by: John Carey on October 03

As the country tries to figure out the impact of the mammoth $700 billion financial rescue plan just passed by Congress, there are a couple of industries that are especially...

Which Energy Industry Gets the Biggest Subsidies?

Posted by: John Carey on September 23

On Sept. 23, the Senate passed a bill that extended tax credits for wind power, solar energy, and other renewable fuels. These tax incentives have been criticized in some conservative...

A Concrete Cure for Global Warming?

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 19

To halt climate change, we need to start capturing the millions of tons of CO2 pouring out of the world's electricity plants. So far, most of the focus has been...

The race to build the biggest wind farm

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 05

UK-based New Energy Finance released a note today summarizing some news in the wind market that really blew my mind. In fairly short order, the US has become home to...

BusinessWeek's green blockbuster

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 05

It warms my heart to see green stories breaking out all over BusinessWeek. So after a week at the Jersey Shore -- wondering why on earth there wasn't a...

How will high energy prices change day-to-day life?

Posted by: Adam Aston on June 29

Sunday's New York Times Op-Ed section has a thought-provoking round up of think pieces, drawn from ten smart social, political and economic thinkers, all musing on some of the second-,...

Two times more oil exists than producers report

Posted by: Adam Aston on June 09

Peak, shmeak. Fact is, says Richard Pike, a former oil industry man and now CEO at the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry there's plenty more where the last century's...

The Grid Will Get Smarter

Posted by: John Carey on May 29

The electricity grid is vital, but it is a dumb unwieldy beast. Utilities and other power providers must constantly juggle powerplants' outputs and the ever-changing demand for electricity. Currently they...

GM Stumbles, Sees the (Green) Light

Posted by: Arthur Eves on May 14

Like most Americans, GM made some bad strategic choices in the last decade or so and has come to regret it. Bob Lutz called hybrids an "interesting curiousity" and went...

Alternatives to Corn-Based Ethanol are Coming

Posted by: John Carey on May 14

It’s ironic that, even as the backlash over corn-based ethanol reaches a fever pitch, companies are already moving forward with new technologies that will alleviate the perceived problems. The market...

Rethinking the Energy Solution

Posted by: Arthur Eves on May 13

Corn ethanol may be the methadone of our national oil addiction but its still the first step to a cure. Its biggest strengths and liabilities are its close ties with...

Another twist from high energy costs: Costly camels

Posted by: Adam Aston on May 07

The ultimate solution in green biofuels could turn out to be farm animals. In other words, why bother growing grains to put through industrial chemical process to make biofuels...

My Retro Biofuel Fantasy

Posted by: Arthur Eves on May 02

Last year I was inspired by Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma to visit Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms where I saw beyond-organic natural grass-farming in action. He uses active management...

Too little is being spent on energy R&D

Posted by: Adam Aston on May 01

Over at Economics Unbound, Mike Mandel, my BW brother-in-blogging has started a ruckus with some eye-opening data on how far federal spending on energy R&D has fallen in the past...

Onwards to $7, $10 per gallon, and why a gas tax giveback is a bad idea

Posted by: Adam Aston on April 30

In 2005, CIBC World Market’s Jeff Rubin predicted oil would double to $100 per barrel, attracting more derision than respect. Now the petro-oracle is predicting prices will double again from...

Thin film material sets solar record

Posted by: Adam Aston on March 26

Solar cells made of thin, flexible materials are a sort of holy grail for the solar industry. Compared with today's hard, heavy silicon based cells, they promise to be cheaper...

Dutch nix their nukes, commit to coal with carbon capture

Posted by: Adam Aston on March 25

Talk about not shying away from a challenge. At a time of skyrocketing energy costs, the Netherlands has switched off all but one of its nuclear plants and will build...

Nuclear bottleneck: Renaissance depends on a single steel mill

Posted by: Adam Aston on March 18

Those counting on new nuclear plants to help slow global warming may have to pull back their expectations, way back. Worldwide about 240 new reactors are slated to be built...

Are solar photovoltaics just too costly?

Posted by: Adam Aston on February 23

First, biofuels were dealt a body blow. A pair of recent studies pointed out that practically any crop -– whether corn, sugar, or oil bearing plants -– grown on newly...

Arizona's Day in the Sun

Posted by: John Carey on February 21

The past year has brought a remarkable resurgence of an old idea -- using mirrors to harness the heat of the sun to generate power. Such so-called concentrating solar power...

Create Your Own Power

Posted by: John Carey on February 13

Here's an interesting potential source of electricity -- people power. Think about it. People move around a lot during the day, whether it's walking, fidgeting, gesticulating, or doing something...

Producing Ethanol with "A Dumb Iron" Approach

Posted by: John Carey on February 12

There has been a flood of stories on two new studies showing that many biofuels are worse for the climate than fossil fuels. That’s because “there are immense amounts of...

Big coal's very bad week

Posted by: Adam Aston on February 08

Is it possible that coal power is headed for extinction? In the past week, coal’s future as a cheap, plentiful source of power was dealt a one-two-three punch by the...

Carbon calculators: Some good advice

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 16

Check out which debuted in time for the FTC summit that my colleague Heather Green blogged about last week. Run by EnviroMedia Social Marketing in partnership with the advertising...

How soon till $150 oil and $4.50 gas?

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 15

Early last year a young Goldman Sachs analyst shot from obscurity to infamy when he predicted $100 per barrel oil. At the time, with oil still trading closer to $50,...

Green vs. Green: the Saga of Cape Wind

Posted by: John Carey on January 14

It's been one of the great ironies of the push to renewable power. A project to supply green energy from the powerful breezes offshore from Cape Cod has been bitterly...

Windmills reach new heights

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 11

Fifty stories, or about 490 feet. That’s the record setting height at the top of the blades on the windmills in the photo above. These latest-generation turbines were just...

Ford's new green-er engine isn't a hybrid

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 09

Kudos for Ford for taking the lead and rolling out a new generation of advanced gasoline engine technology. The move is fresh evidence that Detroit has more mileage boosting...

The return of airships... again.

Posted by: Adam Aston on January 07

Flip through an old stack of future-philic magazines such as my longtime favorite, Popular Science, you’ll find proclamations of a new era of air ships announced every few years....

New nukes: Floating, buried, or in your basement?

Posted by: Adam Aston on December 21

Pint-sized nuclear reactors have powered U.S. naval vessels for decades. Now proposals for smaller scale nuclear generators for civilian applications are multiplying. Two years ago, Rosenergoatom, Russia's formerly state-owned,...

Deconstructed: Renewable Fuels Survey.

Posted by: David Kiley on October 30

According to a new national poll released today by the Renewable Fuels Now Coalition, 74 percent of Americans believe we should increase our use of domestically produced renewable fuels...

Why a renewable energy boom in Asia could help the U.S.

Posted by: Adam Aston on October 30

Worth a quick read: The Financial Times is reporting that the big green pool of capital chasing cleantech investment is washing into Asia. A region as power hungry as Asia...

Could water woes ruin corn ethanol’s run?

Posted by: Adam Aston on October 24

After a raft of studies showing how corn ethanol is driving up food prices even though it's making only a small dent as a substitute for oil, a new study...

Corn ethanol stumbles: Let it fall

Posted by: Adam Aston on October 01

Further subsidization on corn-ethanol would be bad news in many ways. The resulting kerfuffle among voters, irritated with rising gas prices intermixed with millionaire corn farmers, could lead to a gross backlash against biofuels. If nothing else, extra monies for corn-ethanol would co-opt attention from and muddy discussions on how best to support superior forms of renewable bio-energy

New Nukes are Finally Coming

Posted by: John Carey on September 24

Since 2001, we and just about every other business publication have written stories on the coming nuclear renaissance. ( ) It's a development that was seen as almost inevitable....

Missing Link In Freakonomics Argument on Nuclear

Posted by: Heather Green on September 17

So a movie is to blame for the hesitation over nuclear? Not so much. And Dean Baker puts into his post what I was thinking all this weekend about the...

Green Google Whiplash

Posted by: Heather Green on September 14

Yesterday, Google announced that it was backing a $30 million prize to land a rover on the Moon, "to revive the interest for exploring the Moon." Geeks cheered. A few...

Will the Real Price of Oil Please Stand Up?

Posted by: Heather Green on August 22

A story at the Boston Globe should reset expectations for those, including Richard Branson and Tom Friedman, about how much the a rise in oil prices will spur the creation...

A new record for solar cells

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 17

To deliver the same juice as a batch of today's PV panels, this new recipe would need less than half the surface area.

A green Cadillac? GM's surprising new hybrid

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 16

Given GM's offerings in the hybrid market to date -- so-called mild hybrids like the Chevy Silverado the deliver unimpressive mileage gains -- the new hybrid technology promises to be a game changer.

Nukes 1, Big Oil 0

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 09

When asked what energy type they wanted to increase their use of, the 1,200 respondents ranked oil ahead of only coal, the lowest scoring energy type.

Film review: Manufactured Landscapes

Posted by: Adam Aston on July 04

A visually riveting mix of video and stills, Manufactured Landscapes unfolds with the beauty of Koyaanisqatsi and packs all the environmental punch of An Inconvenient Truth. Check it out on a big screen if you can. More here:

GreenWords -- Top eco-tales to check out

Posted by: Adam Aston on June 12

As they catch my eye, I plan to post links to important, controversial or outstanding stories on the environment and green biz. Here are few recent picks. In the "The...

How efficient is your state?

Posted by: Adam Aston on June 05

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy just released its scorecard of states’ efficiency efforts. If your state is an energy producer, odds are it’s an efficiency laggard. If it’s a net energy consumer, it’s more likely a leader in encouraging efficiency.

Welcome to GreenBusiness, BW's newest blog

Posted by: Adam Aston on May 22

Welcome to Green Business,'s latest blog. Our aim here is to explore the business side of energy, the environment and climate change. They’re fast changing issues, and highly divisive--perfect...


BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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