NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      Selfishly seeking clean energy

      Anne B. Butterfield, July 12, 2009 (Daily Camera)

      It's the cocktail banter of Boulder: We're so selfish in Boulder, because we're seeking to convert or retire the Valmont coal-fired power plant so it will no longer burn coal. Other communities, like the city of Commerce are more deserving of relief from the emissions of their local coal plants, and those other plants are older. So the banter goes.

      On the City Council's hotline Web site, Ken Wilson has written up how other coal plants around Xcel's service territory would have to produce more power if Boulder succeeds at knocking out the coal-fired power from Valmont. He adds, with fine ethics if not complete analysis: "Reducing carbon emissions is not something we in Boulder can feel good about 'winning' if it means pushing our problems to other communities."

      If Xcel's generating capacity weren't overbuilt in the next few years due to the addition of 750 megawatts of new coal starting this fall in Pueblo, Wilson's view would have more merit, mathematically and ethically. But facts are stubborn things -- and a new coal plant changes everything: it means that every coal plant in Xcel's system is now on the chopping block for parents fighting night and day for their children's world.

      Many also lean on the notion that Valmont is one of Xcel's most efficient coal plants. This is a little like referring to thin Sumo wrestlers, or gentle Mafia men. Coal plants just are not efficient enough to warrant the adjective, especially for a plant such as the Valmont coal unit that provides under 5 percent of base load generation for the area.

      The reason Valmont is on the hit-list is that our town has an informed, active populace, which has imposed a carbon tax on itself and whose utility franchise is coming up for renewal. This is a rare moment of leverage that combines with a moment in history when utilities everywhere are committing to coal plant conversions.

      In Ohio, First Energy decided this year to convert 312 MW of coal power to burn fuel crops grown for the purpose. Three years ago, the Public Service Commission of New Hampshire decided to convert 50 MW of coal capacity to burn biomass. DTE Energy of Wisconsin agreed to buy a 50 MW coal unit with plans to convert it to burning wood waste. A 24 MW coal plant in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, is being converted to burn biomass, and
      Georgia Power has announced a plan to covert a 96 MW coal unit to run on wood fuel.

      Here in the West, we have wood. Lots of beetle-killed timber that can be brought into plants on the trains that typically carry coal from Wyoming, returning there with our heard-earned dollars. In the past few months. Valmont itself is burning lower-grade, dirtier Wyoming coal. Instead, we could make power and carbon-sinking bio-char with beetle-kill trees.

      Also, here in the West we have sun. Matching our solar sensibilities, Xcel Energy itself has committed to a pilot project of augmenting the 39 MW of coal power of the Cameo plant near Grand Junction with the steam of a new concentrating solar assembly. Even more bravely, the Electric Power Research Institute is partnering with Tri State Power and Transmission to integrate concentrating solar power into the 245 MW Escalante coal plant in Prewitt, N.M., and with the legendarily pro-coal Southern Company to do likewise for the 742 MW Mayo plant in Roxboro N.C.

      According to EPRI, these hybrid power plants will demonstrate a near-term, reliable, cost-effective way to use solar energy at commercial scale for power that is greatly cleansed of the emissions that threaten public health and climate.

      In Boulder, ironically, we often have worse air quality than Denver due to the bowl effect of our valley, in which our air is tainted with heavy metals and ozone. The American Lung Association has given Boulder a grade of "F" for ozone, which contributes so much to asthma and other chronic ailments. This Tuesday evening at the Boulder County Courthouse there is a hearing for Valmont's air permit, which is an important chance to speak to regulators about these toxins impacting our community unnecessarily as cleaner options exist.

      There is nothing exotic about converting coal plants now. It's a matter of political will and we have a chance with Valmont. The plant is a great candidate, Boulder is the right town, and Xcel is the right utility.