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


      Local power for Boulder and beyond!

      Anne B. Butterfield, November 29, 2010

      Election day was momentous, and for the Boulder clean energy crowd, a crowning achievement. Proposition 2B, the tax to “replace the franchise fee” passed by such a strong margin (69%) it looks like a mandate for bold action. So let’s get educated – there are energy options for municipalities like Boulder to get more direct authority over the energy supply.

      Just six days after 2B’s passage, Paul Fenn of Local Power Inc., came to Boulder to talk about Community Choice Aggregation, having written the law for it in California. He is also a consultant to multiple cities in and counties in California.

      CCA is widely called “muni-lite” for representing a mid point between being fully captive to an incumbent utility and full municipalization, in which a city buys back its distribution system and hires a company to manage its evolving power generation. CCA empowers communities to lease rather than buy the distribution system and evolve their energy supply according to local wishes.

      Community choice is a movement that’s gained a legal foothold in states both red and blue -- Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Illinois and California -- and merits serious scrutiny in Colorado. It’s not legal here, but it could be if the legislature passed it. The foundation for such a law would be strong since Colorado is a home rule state (and Boulder is a home rule city). CCA would also empower counties to form buying entities as well.

      Fenn’s sharpest point in favor of CCA (which is true also for municipalization) is that renewable energy simply is not more expensive than fuel-based central power when it’s bought by a municipality that can get tax-free government financing through revenue bond authority, sometimes known as municipal H bonds.

      “Municipalities can get a cheaper banker than Xcel can” Fenn put it. Seen another way, renewables don’t have enough return on investment for a big utility’s large revenue requirements.

      The adage, “If you want to travel fast, then travel light” could not be more fitting for decarbonizing energy supply. The shareholder profit burden of investor-owned utilities does not jive with greening up the system. In fact, one could make a strong principle of the idea that the natural monopoly of electricity distribution can only be justified in a civically owned, minimum profit operation in which citizens know and participate as much as they please.

      “The average American has an infantile relationship with electricity – you want it, and if you don’t get it you get really, really angry,” according to Fenn. The distant monopoly has everything to do with that mother-child dynamic that Mayor Susan Osborne has also mentioned. Community power however, allows communities to “penetrate the veil of opacity” to rethink the central, supply-based, fuel-based model, reinvent it with geographic, data-based realities, and rebuild the energy equation with efficiency and storage as much in mind as clean energy supply.

      In Fenn’s vision, the goal is a fully integrated, interoperable, shared, geographic infrastructure that shifts with the moving tide of humans and weather around the area. Key areas for reducing waste lie in combined heat and power at big facilities and controlling the pumping of water. Figuring out the patterns of usage is critical to relocalizing power.

      The City of Boulder has been requesting energy usage data from Xcel Energy; receiving it has been a point of contention as noted by City Councilors through the past year. In October, Boulder formally requested complete data on energy usage and technical specifications on installed facilities. The franchise agreement expiring this year accords Boulder this for the sake of acquisition. City leaders will need steel in their spines to bring home this knowledge.

      There are many unknowns in the process of moving toward CCA, particularly getting it through the legislature and the Public Utilities Commission. Such processes provide “plenty of room for it to be corrupted and co-opted” according to energy lawyer Susan Perkins. There is strong reason for Boulder to reach for the gold-standard of full municipalization, and increasing renewable power steadily for years then selecting nascent load balancing technologies as they reach maturity.

      In the meantime, CCA seems inevitable for the red and blue mix of Colorado. Why should law and regulations require our communities to export money unnecessarily through large companies that send money out for coal and shareholders, when more and more technologies are coming out to empower households and neighborhoods to provide their own power?

      (Anne B. Butterfield volunteers on the board of Clean Energy Action, where Susan Perkins is also a prospective board member.)