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


      The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future

      Anne B. Butterfield
      April 19, 2011 (Huffington Post)

      The talking point about the high cost of renewable energy has become a litany for the fossil fuel crowd. Keeping up with the sacred devotion, Rep. Kathleen Conti, R-Littleton, just introduced a bill to provide more oversight on utility rates increases, particularly with what she calls the number one driver of higher utility bills -- renewable energy.

      "Renewables are driving the costs up, and the more we demand from renewables, the more costs will go up," said Conti, according to Colorado News Agency. "People are struggling with their power rates, especially those that are unemployed."

      Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, refuted Conti with the knowledge that cost increases are due to coal price hikes and capital construction by utilities to meet growth in energy demand. "The costs of renewables are going down and are on a path that will meet the costs of coal," said Fischer, also pointing to a 2009 law that established a two percent rate-hike cap on renewables, charged through the "RESA" on our XcelEnergy bills.

      Fischer must have been reading recent reports out of the Public Utilities Commission, such as an Xcel report indicating that the price of wind generation fell by over 45% since 2009 (to see the report click here, click the Bid Evaluation Report, and see page 4). In response to a request for proposals for about 200 megawatts, Xcel got avalanched by bids for over six gigawatts. The projects will be ready by end of 2012 at prices so attractive that Xcel will replace an older 201 MW project from the queue with a bid from this new batch, saving customers $325 million in wind energy costs over 20 years, getting 25 percent more wind energy.

      In Xcel's modeling, bids for new wind will also result in reduced system costs as soon as 2016 (download LWG 1.A1, and see the yellow table at the bottom). And that crossover between renewable and fossil fuel costs comes without the pressure of a price on carbon emissions. The only rational response to this is, Wooohooo!

      This trend is also emerging with solar photovoltaic panels. Analysts and industrial installers are saying that solar panel installations will surge in the next two years, with Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimating that large PV projects could cost $1.45 a watt to build by 2020, half the current price. The London-based research company says solar is viable against fossil fuels on the grid in the most sunny regions such as the Middle East.

      "The most powerful driver in our industry is the relentless reduction of cost," said Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg. Better cell technology and more streamlined manufacturing processes will soon make solar cheaper, even competing with coal, without subsidies, say Bloomberg analysts.

      That claim was so bold I ran it by presenters in an Energy Central webinar this week. Ralph Romero of Black and Veatch all but confirmed Bloomberg's views. "We've seen this over and over, in Europe and Asia, where expansion of manufacturing brings lower costs, superior quality and incorporation of processes from other industries," adding that this is about to happen in the States.

      In Colorado, plunging costs for renewables are furled against the steady upward march of fossil fuels. In March, Xcel filed for an 18 percent increase in the "electric commodity adjustment" (the ECA on your bill) which allows fuel costs to get passed through to customers. This hike would increase a typical monthly bill by about $3 -- with a resultant boost to the RESA of only six pennies. Every buck paid to fossils on Xcel's system leads to two pennies sent to cost-saving renewables.

      We Coloradans cannot be surprised to read Xcel's earnings report with CEO Dick Kelly exulting about 2010 being Xcel's sixth consecutive year of meeting or exceeding their earnings guidance. Kelly made particular mention of the acquisition of two natural gas power plants and Comanche's Unit 3 in Colorado, for which we all know Xcel was granted back-to-back rate increases.

      Fact is, when it comes to Xcel's earnings growth, Colorado is Xcel's Secretariat. By the end of 2008, Colorado bested Xcel's larger customer territory of Minnesota by 11 cents per share, and in 2009 by 8 cents per share, and in 2010 by 26 cents per share in a surge that outperformed every other subsidiary's improvement by a factor of seven.

      So it's no wonder Boulder is taking a whole new look at how to get cleaner power at a better price, with or without Xcel. Rate stability comes through efficiency and renewables -- particularly as coal prices have surged about 10 percent a year since 2004.