The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

Sustainability=Survival at 'Occupy' Protest

Occupy Wall Street Community

A cardboard sign reading “Sustainability” marks a sliver of New York’s Zuccotti Park, world headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The section started out as a nice gesture -- much like sustainability initiatives at the very companies who protesters are targeting. After six weeks of protests and winter closing in, sustainability has become occupiers’ high-stakes attempt to cope with competition for limited strategic resources -- also not unlike the corporate movement.

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Fires and Theft Show India's Energy Plight

A century-old fire

An Indian state official, Yashwant Sonawane, was burned alive earlier this year when he tried to prevent people from stealing kerosene from a tanker near Mumbai.

The people of Jharia, in eastern India, live in crushing poverty. They also live atop a $1 trillion coal deposit that has been burning for a century and poses risks to health and homes. Many prefer to stay and eke out a living selling coal. Starting a new life elsewhere would mean an uncertain wait for the government to find them jobs.

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10Q: Vestas Seeks Wind 'on Par' With Gas

Turbines at Sea

Anders Soe-Jensen is the founding president of the offshore division of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's biggest turbine maker. He spoke recently with Alex Morales, renewable energy and climate change reporter for Bloomberg News in London.

Q: What’s most difficult about planting a turbine in the sea?
A: The sea. You cannot predict the sea, but you can plan for any eventuality.

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Boulder Finds 'Smart Grid' Slow, Pricey

Boulder, Colo., site of a prominent "smart grid" experiment

Boulder, Colorado, voters will decide today whether to publicly take over their local electric utility, effectively ending one of the most high-profile "smart grid" projects in the country.

The referendum comes after Xcel Energy spent more than $44.8 million, exceeding its original budget estimate of $15 million, according to regulatory filings. The initiative is one of the nation's first "smart grid" pilot projects, designed to help customers reduce power use and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Xcel raised $950,000 for its campaign to keep the Boulder utility private, compared with $88,500 spent by backers of the referendum, according to city records.

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Solyndra Critics Sought U.S. Aid for Coal

Republicans Against Obama Renewable Aid Sought Cleaner-Coa

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Republicans who criticized the Obama administration for providing U.S. backing to the failed Solyndra LLC sought such federal loan guarantees for cleaner-coal projects they favored.

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Russian Gas Takes Route in the Baltic Sea

How Europe Gets Its Gas

The medieval Swedish port of Visby has closed for the season. The wealthy party kids of Stockholm have long since left their summer playground. The streets are deserted save for a handful of reporters, soon to be zipped-up in sweltering, rubber-lined survival suits and flown by a Superpuma helicopter to the Castoro Sei, a semi-submersible, 499-foot-long (152 meters) floating steel island with two rotating cranes and a helipad.

The Castoro Sei’s 330-strong multinational crew of engineers and technicians are laying the second leg of the world's longest subsea natural-gas pipeline. The conduit, called Nord Stream, snakes its way across 761 miles of Baltic sea, joining Vyborg, Russia, to Lubmin on the German coast.  At a cost of 7.4 billion euros ($11 billion), it will deliver Siberian natural gas into the heart of Western Europe, crucially avoiding a politically fraught passage through Ukraine. Flowing at capacity, the link could supply the entire gas consumption of France.

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Peek Into the 'Brain' of a Vestas Turbine

Vestas Turbine Blades

A Vestas wind engineer and I cram into the elevator, an open-top metal cage that reaches up to my chest. The seven-minute journey ends at a platform near the turbine's peak. There’s no wind. We’re still enclosed by the steel tower. Up a couple ladders, through a hatch, and we’re inside the nacelle, the ‘brains’ of the machine. The nacelle is sealed: Still no wind. It’s when you climb out of the roof of the nacelle that the wind would hit you, except I went out on a perfectly calm day. Good for standing on the turbine, bad for generating power.

On a windy day, service engineers will tell you, the top of an offshore turbine can have the same effect on a landlubber as a boat tossed about choppy seas. I’ll have to take their word for it. What's clear to me is the view: miles and miles of pan-flat farmland in western Denmark, and the nearby town of Ringkoebing, where the nacelles are made. I'm grateful for the harness, which clips into fixed rings on the roof of the nacelle. From 94 meters up, a fall would be deadly.

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Under Libya: Riches More Precious Than Oil

Libya Water Project

Libya’s new government may look beyond oil, to water, as it builds a longer-term economic future for the nation’s young population. An enormous geological store of water, the Nubian Aquifer, sits below Libya, Egypt, Chad and Sudan. It may hold as much as 500 years of the Nile’s flow, most of which accumulated during the Pleistocene epoch, as long as 1 million years ago, according to a United Nations project to conserve the aquifer.

Muammar Qaddafi launched a $25-billion project in the 1980s to tap the Nubian sandstone, in Libya’s southern desert region. Planners wanted to use proceeds of Libya’s vast oil wealth to make the Mediterranean nation a farming powerhouse. Dubbed “The Great Man-Made River Project,” it grew to become some 3,000 miles (5,000 km) of canals and underground piping, connecting more than 1,300 wells. It was designed by the U.S. engineering firm Brown & Root (now Kellogg, Brown & Root LLC).

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10Q: Brewing Well by Brewing Good

Bottles at Molson Coors

Bart Alexander is Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer for Molson Coors, the product of a 2005 merger between the two North American brewers. He spoke recently with Eric Roston, sustainability editor.

ER: Many people are still getting used to the notion, sometimes through caricature, of the “carbon footprint.” What’s a “beer print”?

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Virgin Prizes Low-Carbon Oil Sands

Oil Sands

Richard Branson's Virgin Group would like Canada's oil sands capital, Calgary, to emerge from the tar as a global center for low-carbon living.

It's a challenge. The process of mining Canada's rich oil sands releases enormous carbon emissions before refined gasoline ever reaches a car. That's why the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring the oil to the U.S., has stirred passions in Washington, culminating in the choreographed arrests of more than 1,000 protesters at the White House this summer.​

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor
eroston@bloomberg.net

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor
trandall6@bloomberg.net

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