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The Rio plus 20 U.N. Summit in June was long on goals but short on means to protect the environment in the face of climate change. Meanwhile statistics pile up that 2012 is especially warm, while closer to home firefighters battle epic blazes in Colorado. Energy expert Randy Udall is back for his monthly appearance on NRG with MG, with a follow-up to June's conversation with KDNK's Marilyn Gleason on the changing climate.
When you flip a switch in your home or office, the lights almost always come on. That's the beauty of our system of electrical distribution: You don't even have to think about it. But as you might have guessed, it's a little more vcomplicated than that.
On this week's NRG with MG, KDNK's Marilyn Gleason stops to think about the complex business arrangements behind flipping the switch. Clean Energy Action is working in Colorado to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. RJ Harrington heads the organization's efforts to influence policy in an industry dominated by monopolies. Colorado voters passed a requirement that 30 percent of its electricity come from renewables, but it doesn't apply equally to everyone.
As a Garfield County Commissioner until 2010, Tresi Houpt kept a sharp eye on gas drilling activities in the county and often served to restrain the prevailing pro-business temperment of the board. She held a concurrent seat on the Colorado Gas and Oil Conservation Commission, after that regulating agency's makeup was reformed to include non-industry members. On this episode of NRG with MG, Tresi Houpt sizes up the county board and the COGCC in the context of colliding political, business and public interests with KDNK's Marilyn Gleason.
Tom Phillips retired to Western Colorado after decades working in the oil industry internationally. On today's edition of NRG wth MG, Tom Phillips returns to fill in KDNK's Marilyn Gleason on government-run oil companies. It's an arrangement he knows well form the inside and dominates today's global oil markets.
UN Climate talks in Copenhagen and Cancun set a 2-degree target for limiting climate change. Some experts including NASA's Jim Hanson think that's still too high, but it's a number that has been widely accepted. On this episode of NRG with MG, energy expert Randy Udall is back with KDNK's Marilyn Gleason from Bonfire Coffee in Carbondale to discuss the science behind the 2-degree cap on global warming.
A Roaring Fork valley entrepreneur is pioneering a new idea to encourage people to commit to renewable energy. The Clean Energy Collective is breaking ground, literally and figuratively, on large solar arrays and access to renewable solar electricity. Only about 400 of Holy Cross Electric's 10,000 customers now use solar energy. Dave Wiedemyer explains to KDNK's Marilyn Gleason how finessing tax policy, laws and utilities on the one hand, and building solar farms on the other, is making it simple and economical to own your own solar panel – somewhere else.
A good deal of your utility bill is spent on heating up water. It adds up to tens of billions of dollars annually in America. But using the sun to heat up household water is both relatively simple and unpopular. Holy Cross Electric can hardly give away big rebates on solar hot water panels, since they've only had 10 takers in the last couple years.
Piper Foster worked for the Sopris Foundation before spending a year in Germany studying the links between civic planning and energy use. Now she works for Amatis Controls, an Aspen-based company making control systems that could revive interest in the lowly solar thermal panel. On this edition of NRG with MG, Foster and KDNK's Marilyn Gleason discuss using the sun to directly heat water.
RJ Harrington is the new head of Clean Energy Action, a Boulder-based nonprofit that opposes coal-based energy and uses research and science to affect policy. The group recently stopped in Glenwood Springs to talk about "Energy Policy and Politics" as part of a statewide series of meetings. Marilyn Gleason took the chance to discuss how electric utilities really work with the former policy director for Colorado's solar energy trade group, Clean Energy Action's RJ Harrington.
We're back today with our series Energy with MG– It's our continuing series on energy, and today the topic is biomass. KDNK's Marilyn Gleason met in Boulder recently with Dan Bihn. As an advisor and consultant, the Fort Collins resident is active in developing - and sometimes scuttling – biomass projects in Colorado. He sat on the board of the Roaring Fork biomass consortium. Dan Bihn calls himself the Biomass Hit Man.
What goes up must come down, except where gas prices are concerned. In 2011 gas averaged $3.50 a gallon in the US. That was 76 cents more than 2010 and 29 cents more than 2008 prices, when speculators were blamed for a shocking jump. This summer it's even higher. Today on NRG with MG, KDNK's Marilyn Gleason asks Randy Udall what's driving the price of gas up, up, up.