Utilities are experimenting with ways to store the sun’s energy as heat, converting it into electricity before dawn and after dusk, the New York Times reports. In a closely watched new solar project called Solana, the energy is gathered in a three-square-mile patch of desert bulldozed flat near Gila Bend, about 50 miles southwest of Phoenix. A sprawling network of parabolic mirrors focuses the sun’s energy on black-painted pipes, which carry the heat to huge tanks of molten salt. When the sun has set, the plant can draw heat back out of the molten salt to continue making steam and electricity.
A proposed landfill for oil drilling waste has farmers worried that a state long known for agriculture is putting the energy industry’s needs ahead of theirs, the New York Times reports. A private company is trying to install a landfill to dispose of solid drilling waste on a golden 160-acre wheat field across the road from Mike and Kim Sorenson’s farmhouse. Although the engineers and regulators behind the project insist that it is safe for the environment, the Sorensons have voiced concern that salt from the drilling waste could seep onto their land, which would render the soil infertile and could contaminate their water, causing their property value to drop.
Oklahoma is emerging as the nextbig shale oil play, with production growing faster than in anyother U.S. state apart from Texas and North Dakota, Reuters columnist John Kemp writes. Thanks in big part to shale, the state's oil output in May, June and July hit the highest level since January 1990.
Clean Energy Fuels is selling Redeem, a vehicle fuel derived from landfill methane, in more than 40 California filling stations, the New York Times reports. The company, which is backed by T. Boone Pickens, is developing a nationwide network of natural gas pumps and plans to introduce the fuel elsewhere as well.
The United States has both massive shale deposits, which it is extensively developing, and a large and flexible distribution network that could could supply terminals to export liquefied natural gas. American LNG is clearly going to be exported, but how much of an impact those exports will have on global markets is a matter of intense interest and debate. Global annual consumption today is about 240 million tons, but some analysts forecast that demand will more than double to 550 million tons annually by 2030. If all of the proposed plants are built, the U.S. could supply 200 million tons, or almost half of world demand, in one highly optimistic estimate.
Gulfport Energy Corp., a publicly-traded oil and gas company based in Oklahoma City, allowed its former chairman to receive millions of dollars in equity interests at no cost in more than a dozen firms that have done business with Gulfport, Reuters reports. The equity stakes awarded to Mike Liddell, who stepped down as Gulfport chairman in June, were granted by Wexford Capital LP as part of an uncommon arrangement. While working for Gulfport, Liddell also served as an advisor for energy investments by Wexford, a $4.3 billion Connecticut investment firm. In response to questions from Reuters about Liddell's dual roles, Gulfport said all "material terms" of Liddell's equity stakes had been disclosed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.