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Speculators Turn More Bullish on Oil Before Labor Day

Bloomberg -- Hedge funds increased bullish positions on crude oil for the first time in more than a month, benefiting from a rally before the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Money managers increased net-long positions in U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil by 0.6 percent in the seven days ended Aug. 26, boosting bullish wagers from a 16-month low, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed. WTI climbed 2.5 percent last week, the first gain since July.

U.S. refineries operated at the highest rate for this time of year since 2005 before the Labor Day weekend, which AAA estimated would see the most drivers in six years. Oil demand in the U.S. is at the strongest seasonal level in six years. The nation’s economy expanded more than previously forecast in the second quarter, increasing expectations  (go to article)

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Tesla SUV Could Outshine The Model S – Morgan Stanley

Detroit News -- Tesla Motors Inc achieved a big hit with its Model S saloon, but according to investment bank Morgan Stanley, its next model, an SUV, will do even better.

Tesla has achieved much with the four-door $70,000 plus Model S, sweeping up awards and generally wowing the motoring press. Tesla built 8,763 Model S cars in the second quarter, and expects to deliver about 35,000 this year.

Tesla expects to build more than 60,000 vehicles in 2015. The next vehicle on the launch pad is the Model X, and, according to Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, this will feast on the premium SUV market.

“Despite the success of the Model S, we think Model X has the potential to be far more successful and a much better value. Some in the market have described Tesla as a ‘one hit wonder’ with the Model S. We expect the  (go to article)

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Happy Labor Day to All!

GasBuddy Blog -- A little history never hurts...
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.But more than 100 years later, there's still disagreement about which union leader deserves the credit... ...  (go to article)

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Joan is Waking Up

BBC -- Doctors have started the process of bringing Joan Rivers out of her medically-induced coma, but fear she could be left as 'a vegetable' or 'needing a wheelchair' as they battle to save her life.
The waking-up process began on Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and will take until Tuesday.  (go to article)

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Where Jaguar Land Rover may take EVs, hybrids

Automotive News -- Wolfgang Ziebart, 64, head of product development for Jaguar Land Rover, is guiding the expansion of the Land Rover and Jaguar ranges. The former BMW product development chief shared thoughts about Jaguar Land Rover's plans for hybrid and electric vehicles in a chat with Automotive News Europe's Nick Gibbs.
 (go to article)

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Exelon opposes renewal of wind subsidy

delawareonline -- Wind power advocates are expressing concern over Exelon Corp.’s proposed merger with the company that owns Delmarva Power, saying its opposition to the major subsidy for wind could hurt the development of onshore and offshore wind farms.

Exelon owns such distribution utilities as PECO in Pennsylvania and BGE in Baltimore. It has filed papers to merge with Pepco Holdings Inc., owner of Delmarva Power in Delaware and Maryland, Pepco in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and Atlantic City Electric in New Jersey.

Exelon, the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States, has been vocal in opposition to the Production Tax Credit a subsidy to wind farm developers that drives down the cost of construction, and thus the cost of the power.

The tax credit expired at the end...  (go to article)

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Myth of arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7mill

Mail Online -- The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.

But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.  (go to article)

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The 10 Best-Selling Vehicles of 2014 Thus Far

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- We’re well into the 2014 calendar year, and auto sales data is starting to roll in. While there are few surprises on the list, the numbers do provide some valuable insight into consumer habits for manufacturers to consider going into the future. The big names are present, including Honda (NYSE:HM), Ford (NYSE:F), Chevrolet (NYSE:GM), and Toyota (NYSE:TMC). There is a solid mix of consumer cars, trucks and even some SUVs, indicating the varying tastes and trends across sales segments as well.

Our list comes courtesy of the folks at Kelley Blue Book, who supplied the top ten. Wall St. Cheat Sheet has supplemented KBB‘s figures with our own sales data to ensure accuracy. The figures are accurate through the month of July, meaning there’s plenty of time for reshuffling as the year goes on...  (go to article)

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Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles poised to get rolling

Earthtechling -- A convergence of factors is propelling a market rollout of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, according to a new study from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. A key to hydrogen’s potential success is a new smart solution that clusters hydrogen fuel infrastructure in urban or regional networks, limiting initial costs and enabling an early market for the technology before committing to a full national deployment, suggests the study.
The researchers behind the study, “The Hydrogen Transition,” probe the variety of factors combining to increase the likelihood of successful hydrogen-powered car commercialization. These include new thinking by government and industry on strategies for developing fuel station infrastructure,  (go to article)

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Wind Power Can Improve Resiliency of Electrical Grids

Earthtechling -- Today, at the CIGRE Session 45 in Paris, GE’s Energy Consulting business (NYSE: GE) presented the findings of its frequency response study on wind power and grid resiliency. The study, which was sponsored by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, modeled the country’s Eastern Interconnection—one of the largest electrical systems in the world—and determined that when equipped with the appropriate modern plant controls, wind applications can substantially enhance grid resiliency.
Increased Wind Integration Positions Electrical Grids to Better Respond to Major Disturbances
Finding Based on Model of Eastern Interconnection of U.S. with Aggressive 25-Percent Wind Power Integration
 (go to article)

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Texting while driving, woman impaled through buttocks

USA Today -- ELIZABETH, Colo. — A woman says she was texting and driving when she hit a pole that went through her car, piercing her thigh and buttocks.

Elizabeth firefighters had to saw off the front and back end of the pole to get the woman out.

Christina Jahnz says she was in the parking lot of Elizabeth Middle School on Wednesday morning to deliver her daughter's saxophone, which had been left at home. As she was driving away from the school, Jahnz started texting her friend.

"I was running late for a business meeting, so I did a voice text. I looked down to make sure it was all right. The next thing I knew, I was looking up, there was white powder from the air bags deployed," Jahnz said.  (go to article)

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Apple avoids CarPlay potholes with plan to help drivers find their cars

New,com -- APPLE’S efforts to overtake Google in the war for the car dashboard have reportedly avoided a pothole, but a new patent shows it has a cunning plan to use the iPhone to help drivers bond with their car.
ABI Research predicts that by 2019 more than 24 million new cars will be shipped fitted with CarPlay, the software platform that lets your iPhone control your car’s infotainment system.
But ABI Research Filomena Berardi says the June launch of Android Auto, Google’s alternative to Apple’s CarPlay, is likely to confuse concerned consumers worried that their next new car might not be compatabile with their next new smartphone.
Computerworld reports that concern is already being reflected in the slower-than-expected uptake of CarPlay, with Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Honda all reportedly delaying  (go to article)

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Global crude shortages now outweighed by US production

Haynesville.com -- The results of a multi-year EIA study of America’s effect on the global energy market were released yesterday. The organization concluded that the country’s growing liquid fuel industry, which produces crude oil, natural gas liquids and biofuels among other types, has become substantial enough to insulate the global market against crude price fluctuations caused by unforeseen circumstances.  (go to article)

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Nicaragua’s Becoming a Green Energy Powerhouse

Business Insider -- Nicaragua—How quickly can a nation wean itself from fossil fuels & move toward reliance on renewable energy? In the case of Nicaragua, very, very fast.

Nearly as breathtaking as the speed Nicaragua embraced private renewable-energy plants is its emergence in less than a decade from an energy crisis of constant rotating blackouts.

“We were facing power rationing of up to 12 hours a day”. High global prices for oil had socked Nicaragua. Legislators passed a 2005 law giving renewable-energy companies a tax holiday and permitting imported equipment duty-free.

“We were going to move from around 80-percent dependency on oil for our energy to around 80-percent dependency on renewables over the course of a 10-year period,”
What happened next surprised even the gov't. Private capital poured in  (go to article)

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Black gold buccaneers: Oil piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

Hayneville.com -- While pirates do not solely hijack oil vessels, tankers are often the primary targets. As recently as July 25, oil tanker Hai Soon 6 disappeared off the coast of Ghana. The ship was released shortly afterward, but had been relieved of her cargo.  (go to article)

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Thank Fracking For Falling Gas Prices This Labor Day Weekend

The Daily Caller -- Good news for families trying to get in one last road trip before school starts: Gas prices are falling ahead of Labor Day weekend, thanks to booming U.S. oil production from shale formations.

The current average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.44, according to AAA. A good sign for the 34.7 million Americans who will be traveling this Labor Day weekend — 29.7 million of which will be travelling by car, notes AAA.

“As the economy makes modest gains, more Americans are joining the labor force this year,” said AAA COO Marshall Doney in a statement. “With Labor Day symbolizing the American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate this positive direction with an all-American road trip.”

This is more t  (go to article)

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Drilling Furiously: Chinese Energy Giants Turn Upbeat On Shale Gas

RigZone -- HONG KONG, Aug 29 (Reuters) - China's energy heavyweights Sinopec Corp and PetroChina have upgraded their outlook on the country's shale gas industry, citing steadily declining costs, but stopped short of predicting a near-term boom.

China, estimated to hold the world's largest technically recoverable shale resources, is hoping to replicate the shale boom that has transformed the energy landscape of the United States. Industry experts caution that it would be much more difficult for China to monetise its shale gas reserves than the U.S. as it faces serious challenges from water shortages to complicated geological structure and a lack of infrastructure. But top executives at China's two biggest energy companies conveyed a bullish assessment of the country's shale gas potential this week, c  (go to article)

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Is BP Too Big To Punish?

Forbes -- Yes. But maybe not for much longer. Last year, a federal judge approved a criminal settlement between BP and the U.S. Department of Justice under which the oil giant pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges. They agreed to pay over $4 billion in fines for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The blowout of BP’s Macondo Well killed eleven people and created one of the worst environmental catastrophes in the world (CBS News).

Attorney General Eric Holder and Lead Prosecutor Lanny Breuer could be forgiven for being happy with the largest settlement of its type in history. But more telling is the fact that investors really, really liked this deal. That’s because a mere $4 billion is a drop in the bucket to companies with annual revenues of a quarter trillion dollars.  (go to article)

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Crude oil futures - weekly outlook: September 1 - 5

NASDAQ -- Crude oil prices ended the month lower, despite posting their first weekly gain in five weeks on Friday bolstered by concerns over worsening tensions in Ukraine and as broadly upbeat U.S. data lifted the demand outlook.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in October added 1.34% to end the week at $95.82 a barrel late Friday. Nymex oil futures rose 2.58% last week, but ended the month with losses of 2.11%.

Crude oil moved higher after data showed that U.S. consumer sentiment rebounded to a seven year high in August, with the final reading of the University of Michigan's consumer confidence index rising to 82.5 from 81.8 in June.

Another report indicated that manufacturing activity in the Chicago region continued to expand in August, pointing to underlying strength  (go to article)

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A Mountainous Reminder Of Fracking's Link To Cheap Gasoline

Forbes -- I’m doing some driving in Colorado this weekend, and every gas station I pass is a reminder that gasoline prices this Labor Day weekend are at their lowest in four years. Prices were running just under$3.50 a gallon heading out of Denver, which was about the average based on the prices being reported on GasBuddy.com.

Pump prices will probably drop after this weekend, as driving demand wanes. Futures prices have been falling thanks to a stable crude oil market and increased gasoline production from U.S. refineries. For a summer marked by political unrest in the Middle East, we’ve been spared price spikes and “staycations.”

From Denver, I’ve traveled westward into parts of the state in which the reason for this stability can be found — hydraulic fracturing. Fracking activity has accelerate  (go to article)

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Is the Latest Round of Russia Sanctions a Threat to ExxonMobil?

The Motley Fool -- The latest round of U.S. and EU economic sanctions against Russia, which target strategically important banking and energy companies, are aimed at choking off its access to Western debt and equity financing. They also impose restrictions on the sale or transfer of Western technologies and equipment to Kremlin-controlled energy companies like Rosneft.

What impact will these sanctions have on ExxonMobil, which is working closely with Rosneft to explore for oil and gas in various parts of Russia, and its future in the country?
 (go to article)

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Chevrolet Brings Full 4G LTE Technology to Line of Vehicles

http://littletechgirl.com/ -- Chevrolet Brings Full 4G LTE Technology to Line of Vehicles
Posted on August 28, 2014 by LittleTechGirl in Cars.
The future is here! WiFi in the car? Yes, please! Imagine the possibilities…

It was not too long ago we never would have imagined that one day we would be able to navigate where we were going in our cars. We never would have thought about connecting our smartphones to our cars to take calls. But times have changed. Now  (go to article)

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Tesla Motors dealing as states play factory poker

Associated Press -- From the start, little has been typical about Tesla Motors' plan for a $5 billion factory to make batteries for a new generation of electric cars.

It's not just the project's massive scale, the cutting-edge technology, or even the bonanza of 6,500 good-paying jobs.

It's how Tesla is deciding where to build.
 (go to article)

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Elon Musk May Use 'Wonder Material' Graphene To Push Tesla Performance To The Next Level

Yahoo Finance -- Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

Tesla’s critically acclaimed all-electric Model S sedan can travel roughly 265 miles on a single charge, according to the EPA, but CEO Elon Musk last month said “it will be possible to have a 500-mile range car,” adding “in fact, we could do it quite soon.”
According to China’s Xinhua news agency (via Gas2 and Clean Technica), Tesla could soon achieve this 500-mile battery thanks to a development in graphene-based anodes, which can reportedly quadruple the density and output of lithium-ion batteries.
Graphene, for those who don’t know, is a carbon-based “super material” that’s roughly 200 times stronger than steel but nearly transparent when laid out in sheets.  (go to article)

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Materials and Processing for Lithium-ion Batteries

Claus Daniel -- Lithium-ion battery technology is projected to be the leapfrog technology for the electrification of the drivetrain and to provide stationary storage solutions to enable the effective use of renewable energy sources. The technology is already in use for low power applications such as consumer electronics and power tools. Extensive research and development has enhanced the technology to a stage where it seems very likely that safe and reliable lithium-ion batteries will soon be on board hybrid electric and electric vehicles and connected to solar cells and windmills. However, the safety of the technology is still a concern, service life is not yet sufficient, and costs are too high. This paper summarizes the state of the art of lithium-ion battery technology for non-experts. It lists materi  (go to article)

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Where Did the Carter White House's Solar Panels Go?

ScientificAmerican -- One of the 32 solar-thermal panels that captured energy on the roof of the White House more than 30 years ago landed this week at a science museum in China
Here is what Carter predicted at the dedication ceremony: "In the year 2000 this solar water heater behind me, which is being dedicated today, will still be here supplying cheap, efficient energy…. A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people."  (go to article)

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Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea

Jalopnik -- A company called Solar Roadways has been making the news lately. They are working on putting solar power generation into our streets, highways parking lots and sidewalks.

Against all odds, the crowd-funded solar road project was a remarkable money-acquiring success. It's clear there are some pretty significant technical hurdles, so we reached out to electrical engineer David Forbes to help us put it all in perspective.  (go to article)

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An old question rises to surface. Fracking vs. earthquakes in Colo. studied AGAIN.

Denver Post -- As in the 1970's, earthquakes are on the rise as when oil shale was booming in the late 1970's. (The online version is a bit different from the print version on the front page)  (go to article)

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Why Canadians are savvy car consumers

The Globe and Mail -- Americans have a true love affair with their vehicles, believing to the core that it’s a God-given right to own a new one, says auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers. But in Canada, he adds, vehicles are generally viewed as a necessary evil.

And that in large part explains why Canadians “are the smartest car consumers perhaps in the world,” says the president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

We buy less on emotion and more on logic and need. We also retain our vehicles far longer than the typical American, so vehicles have fewer owners.

DesRosiers notes that the average Canadian who buys new keeps that vehicle for eight to nine years. In the U.S., buyers hold onto their vehicles between four and five years.  (go to article)

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Utah fracking fine highlights wastewater pond threat

Aljazeera America -- When fracking causes controversy, it’s often because of wells — either the ones used to inject chemicals and water into the ground to break up gas-rich shale rock or the ones used to dispose of all the waste and water left over from the injection process.

Often overlooked is a another way to dispose of that waste: massive surface ponds in which fracking water is stored until it can be recycled or buried or is left to slowly evaporate. Those ponds, which can grow to several acres in size, dot the landscapes of virtually every state that produces natural gas.

Now environmentalists say a recent controversy over the ponds in Utah highlights their increasing impact across the U.S.  (go to article)

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15 highest-scoring American vehicles

Yahoo! Autos (originally from Consumer Reports) -- There are many ways to view the Consumer Reports Ratings to find the highest-rated vehicle in a given category or price range. But we get many questions from journalists and our readers regarding the best current American-branded vehicles.

To answer that popular query, we sorted vehicles into 15 key categories. We found that Ford Motor Company has six slots. General Motors captures five entries, Chrysler has three and Tesla has one. Reviewing the scores, we find that most of these American models are quite competitive, scoring well in most cases. Unfortunately, some models are not recommended due to below average or unknown reliability. Check our Ratings (available to online subscribers) to see which ones are top scoring and reliable.  (go to article)

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Three museum ‘Sinkhole’ Corvettes to be restored

Sports Car Illustrated -- Chevrolet and the National Corvette Museum will restore three of the Corvettes damaged earlier this year when they tumbled into a sinkhole that developed beneath the floor of the Museum.

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m., National Corvette Museum (NCM) personnel received a notification from their security company about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the museum. When those personnel arrived on site, a sinkhole was discovered, measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep. The sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes – two on loan from GM and six owned by the museum.  (go to article)

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Mercedes-Benz Reveals Pricing for the New SL400

InsideCarNews.com -- Prior to the revealing of the SL400, the cheapest SL-Class on the market was the $106,900 SL550, which featured a 429-horsepower, 4.7-liter, biturbo engine. Apparently wanting to spread its flagship roadster to more buyers, the SL400 offers the look and feel of the SL550 but with a V-6 engine and a much lower price point. So, how low did Mercedes go with this new model?  (go to article)

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Oil industry

The Montana Standard -- BILLINGS -- Alex Epstein says he's not too worried about running out of oil. But he sometimes worries that the industry won't always have the freedom to develop it.

Speaking to the annual meeting of the Montana Petroleum Association last week, Epstein said the industry could improve its public image by simply reminding people how much society has benefited from burning fossil fuels.

Epstein is the founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, "a for-profit think-tank seeking to bring about a new industrial revolution," according to his website.

Sporting a green T-shirt declaring "I (heart) fossil fuels," Epstein said environmentalists have been consistently wrong when they have argued that the world is running out of oil, that the use of fossil fuels will lead to environmental catastro  (go to article)

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FUEL: Gas prices fell after Midwest boosted output

Times Media Company --

An overabundance of supply caused West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil and Gasoline prices to fall over the last three months.

Petroleum prices also declined as compared to last year, said Tom Collins Sr., Luke Oil CEO. West Texas Crude dropped from $106 per barrel last year to $93.96 a barrel as of August 21.

Indiana gas prices fell from an average of $3.58 per gallon in August 2013 to about $3.42 a gallon this August. Locally, prices dropped from $3.62 per gallon last year to $3.46 a gallon.

U.S. refineries have processed record amounts of oil recently, up to 16.8 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast boosted output because of greater access to lower-cost crude and expanded capacity, such as at the  (go to article)

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Schools warned of solar panel fire risk: Fears over free green scheme after three mystery blazes

Daily Mail -- British Gas has launched an investigation into solar panels at dozens of schools and businesses after a series of mystery fires.

Some 92 schools that signed up for free panels have been told their equipment will need improvements before it is considered safe to use.

It comes after solar panel fires in three schools were confirmed by British Gas following a tip-off to The Mail on Sunday.

Although an investigation after the first two was ruled 'inconclusive', it is believed the energy giant was forced to carry out improvements when a third roof blaze damaged two classrooms at Sutton Bonington Primary School in Nottinghamshire.

More than 90 schools and 27 business fitted with the suspect equipment have been left without free solar energy since April. The news is likely to come as a blow..  (go to article)

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When Does a $5 Toll Cost $30? When You're Driving a Rental Car

Bloomberg Businessweek -- With the rise of “cashless” turnpikes, where tolls are collected via a device such as EZ-Pass rather than at tollbooths, rental car companies have found two ways to pass those costs on to their customers, both unpopular: Customers can choose to rent a pass for as much as $20 a day, which they’ll pay whether or not they pass through a toll plaza, or they can pay the fines for going through the lanes without a pass, plus a hefty processing fee tacked on by the rental company.

Customers are ticked at what seems like yet another charge, like fees for checked baggage. After a Florida Dollar Rent a Car added $30 in administrative fees to a bill for $2.74 in tolls, Roxanna Usher of Redwood Valley, Calif., vented her spleen on the entire state. “I’m angry beyond belief ..."  (go to article)

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Oil prices climb buoyed by mounting Ukraine crisis

Arab Times -- LONDON, Aug 30, (AFP): Crude oil and wheat prices were lifted this week by intensifying concerns over the Ukraine crisis, while gold advanced as many investors sought shelter from geopolitical tensions. Many commodities also rose on bright economic growth data in the United States, a top consumer of many raw materials including crude oil. The country’s economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, up from the prior growth estimate of 4.0 percent, official data showed.

Oil: Global oil prices climbed this week, supported by renewed Russia-Ukraine tensions and stronger-than-expected US economic growth, analysts said. The market also gained ground this week on the back of elevated supply risks linked to simmering tensions in oil producers Iraq and Libya.  (go to article)

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Wall St Week Ahead-US coal stocks could gain on Russia tension

Gulf News- -- New York: Beaten-down US coal company stocks may receive a lift in coming weeks if deteriorating relations between Russia and the West push President Vladimir Putin to shut off Europe’s natural gas supply.

The crisis in eastern Ukraine has emboldened Europe and the United States to impose broad sanctions on Russia. But Europe finds itself in a precarious position, with almost a third of the natural gas the continent consumed in 2013 flowing from Russia, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Europe’s heightened concerns about energy security could provide an opportunity for US coal companies, which have been hurt by declining domestic consumption, to step in and fill the gap as winter approaches. More than half of US coal exports already reach Europe.
 (go to article)

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The power of salt: Power generation from where river water and seawater meet

Science Daily -- Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane. Through osmosis, water from the less-salty stream would cross the membrane to a pre-pressurized saltier side, creating a flow that can be sent through a turbine to recover power.

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Secretive Company Claims Battery Breakthrough

Scientific American -- Two of the most sacred numbers in the electric-vehicle industry are 300 miles and $100. The first is generally considered to be the distance electric cars need to travel on a single charge for Americans to take them seriously. The second is the cost, per kilowatt-hour, to which batteries need to drop before EVs can compete with gas-powered cars on sticker price.

Sakti3, a Michigan startup that auto-industry insiders have been whispering about for years, says it might soon hit those two sacred targets. The company has long been in semi-stealth mode, talking to the press but offering few particulars about its technology. Now, Ann Marie Sastry, co-founder and CEO of the company, tells me that the company’s prototype solid-state lithium battery cells have reached a record energy density ...  (go to article)

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Kurdish tanker carrying $100 million in oil disappears from radar off Texas coast

Daily News -- A Kurdish tanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil vanished off Texas' coast Thursday.

Radar systems showed no signs of the United Kalavrvta cargo ship, which has been at the center of a long legal battle between Iraq's government and the country's Kurdish region.

The ship, which was 95% full and carrying 1 million barrels of disputed crude, was on its way to Galveston when it mysteriously went dark Thursday night. Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan each claim the oil onboard as its own.

Baghdad — which claims to have the exclusive right to export crude oil from Iraq — filed a lawsuit in American courts demanding U.S. Marshals seize the oil when it reaches Galveston.

The Kurdish Regional Government, Iraq claimed, has no right to control crude. The Kurds say exporting oil is crucial to the r  (go to article)

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Teen Drivers: Distracted and Dangerous, A New Report Finds

Forbes -- “Teens have the highest crash risk of any age group, and research confirms that distraction is often a factor,” Jonathan Adkins, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. And the risk of being involved in a fatal distracted driving crash remains high throughout a driver’s twenties  (go to article)

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Smuggled oil could fund ISIS beyond the battles of Iraq

Haynesville.com -- The Islamic State, also known by their older name, ISIS, has systematically attempted (and on some fronts succeeded) to take over prominent infrastructure and resources throughout Iraq. Last month’s capture of the Mosul hydroelectric dam by the jihadists caused panic that electricity and water would be cut off, or worse, a complete destruction of the dam which would have caused many deaths in the region.  (go to article)

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Coal is not top issue for most WV voters

CharlestonDailyMail -- The future of the coal industry isn’t the top priority for the vast majority of West Virginians likely to vote to send someone to Congress this year, according to a new West Virginia Poll.

A little more than 16 percent of people polled chose “the future of coal” among seven other options when asked what issue “is the most important to your vote for Congress this year?” Only 10 percent said it was the second most important issue to their vote.

Unemployment and jobs, health care and the federal budget all registered as higher priorities for the 401 people polled. R.L. Repass conducts the West Virginia Poll for the Charleston Daily Mail.

Much of the political advertising from West Virginia’s Democrat and Republican candidates for federal office has in some way focused on coal or criticize  (go to article)

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California drivers brace for costly new gas tax

Fox News -- Californians already pay the nation's second highest gas tax at 68 cents a gallon -- and now it will go up again in January to pay for a first-in-the-nation climate change law.

"I didn't know that," said Los Angeles motorist Tyler Rich. "It's ridiculous."

"I think it’s terrible," added Lupe Sanchez, pumping $4.09-a-gallon gas at a Chevron near Santa Monica. "The economy, the way it is right now with jobs and everything, it's just crazy."

When gas prices go up, motorists typically blame oil companies, Arab sheiks and Wall Street speculators. This time they can blame Sacramento and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for passing a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The tax on carbon already raised about $1 billion in revenue by requiring m  (go to article)

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Microgrids Are Coming

Motley Fool -- As the cost of solar energy has fallen, it has opened up new markets that were once unimaginable in energy. Five years ago, it seemed impossible that a million homes in the U.S. could be powered by solar energy, but that's the goal of just one company -- SolarCity -- and it hopes to accomplish this goal by 2018.

As the cost of solar energy falls and new technologies like energy storage, smart meters, and demand response advance, new opportunities open up, like microgrids, which can create a self contained energy ecosystem. If designed right, microgrids can produce more renewable energy, cause less strain on the grid, and even provide technology that could change energy around the world.

What's a microgrid?
A microgrid is an electric grid that is much smaller than a city, state, or nat  (go to article)

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America’s coal heartland is in economic freefall — but only the most desperate are fleeing

WashingtonPost -- For 51 years he’d lived in the same hollow and for two decades he’d performed the same job, mining coal from the underground seams of southern West Virginia. Then, on June 30, Michael Estep was jobless. His mine shut down, and its operator said “market conditions” made coal production unviable.

What has come since, for Estep, stands as the new Central Appalachian economic experience: a job-hunt in a region whose sustaining industry is in an unprecedented freefall. “I don’t know what to do,” Estep said as unpaid bills piled up, his cable cut to black, and his wife withdrew the last $7 from a checking account they’d held for 20 years.  (go to article)

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Half Of India’s Coal Plants Could Run Out Of Fuel In Under A Week

DailyCaller -- India is in the middle of an energy crisis. About half of the country’s coal-fired power plants only have less than a week’s supply of fuel for electricity generation, meaning the country could be hit with severe blackouts.

India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) accessed by Reuters showed “that 50 of India’s 100 thermal power stations had enough coal to last less than seven days. Taken as a whole, India’s thermal power generators have six days of supplies — far short of the 15-30 days set as an operating norm by the CEA.”

India’s state-run power sector has long suffered from numerous inefficiencies and corruption, but this year’s weak monsoon season has forced the country to cut back on hydroelectric power generation.  (go to article)

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If Unions Are Breaking Automakers, Why Are BMW and Mercedes So Rich?

Yes Magazine -- When the financial crisis of 2008 sent U.S. automakers to the precipice of failure, conservatives, notably Mitt Romney, urged the Obama administration to let the car companies go bankrupt. Neoconservatives blamed “high wages” paid to unionized autoworkers for the inability of GM, Ford, and Chrysler to compete. In his book The Crash of 2016, author Thom Hartmann points out a flaw in the argument that high wages to American workers are the problem. He says: Actually, Germany paid their autoworkers about $67 an hour (including wages and benefits). But the United States paid its average worker only $33 an hour (also including wages and benefits). On top of that, German car manufacturers were highly profitable, despite the comparatively large paychecks of their workers. BMW earned a before-tax  (go to article)

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Gas drilling company withdraws application for forced pooling in Western Pennsylvania

Tribune Review -- A fight over whether a Texas company can drill for oil and gas in Western Pennsylvania without consent from some landowners ended on Friday, a state regulator said, when the company withdrew its application for forced pooling.

Hilcorp Energy Co. of Houston had reached agreements with most owners of gas rights in Lawrence and Mercer counties where it wants to drill, and asked the state Department of Environmental Protection for access to gas under remaining properties as part of a 1961 law that it claimed allows the practice.

Hilcorp said it withdrew its application with the DEP “in order to move forward with development operations and in keeping with the best interests of its lessors.”

Morgan Wagner, a DEP spokeswoman, said Hilcorp filed written notice to withdraw its application, an  (go to article)

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