The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 9 to Sep. 15) – TXU In, SaskPower Out!

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On Tuesday, Mark Gongloff at the WSJ’s Energy Roundup informed us that Alcoa couldn’t wait to go geothermal. This is indeed an interesting development. Aluminum smelters are some of the most electricity-intensive industrial processes around, and, in a context of rising energy prices, there are very real incentives to explore alternatives for firms in this industry. On Wednesday, Kevin Bullis at Technology Review looked into making cheaper solar cells for us. Could Heliovolt be the next First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)? On Wednesday, Tyler Hamilton at Clean Break warned us of the inherent limitations of so-called “clean coal”. The failure of this project, which would have been one of the first such initiatives to be fully rolled-out in North America, does indeed speak volume. As an investor, carbon capture and sequestration is not something that I would put my money behind, at least in the foreseeable future. On Thursday, Environmental Finance gave us the final cut of the TXU buy-out story. This deal set a very interesting precedent in the US: big finance saw enough of a potential regulatory risk to force management to back down on a large capital expenditure plan. What does that tell you about older coal-fired plants across America? Some players in the power generation industry stand to take a big hit under Federally-imposed carbon caps, so you may want to take a peek at your favorite utility’s generation portfolio. On Friday, Jim Fraser at The Energy Blog discussed Novozymes’ latest foray into biofuels. Last February, we told you that Novozymes was building exposure to cellulosic ethanol through its work on enzymes to break down cellulose. This is further evidence that the company is indeed serious about its biofuels activities, and good news for those who hope to see the cost of producing cellulosic ethanol come down. On Friday, Jim Hansen at The Master Resource Report worried about a lithium shortage. Should we try to replace the entire vehicle fleet with PHEVs and EVs based solely on Lithium batteries? The Week in Cleantech is a weekly roundup of our favorite cleantech and alt energy blog posts and stories from across the web. If you know of a good piece that you think should be included here, don’t hesitate to let us know!


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