Entries by David Niebauer

Is the “Weak Force” the Key to LENR?

By David Niebauer In the early part of the 20th Century physicists theorized that a mysterious force held the nucleus of an atom together.  When it was demonstrated that this force could be tapped, releasing tremendous amounts of energy, a wave of excitement swept the scientific world.  It took only a few short years before […]

Seducing the Coulomb Barrier

by David Niebauer “In contrast to conventional experience based on using high energy to overcome the Coulomb barrier by brute force, the CANR [Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reaction] environment apparently uses a mechanism that can neutralize the barrier. This more subtle method apparently is obscured when high energy is applied, this situation being like the difference […]

California Self-Generation Incentive Program Expanded

by David Niebauer A recent decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) has reinvigorated and expanded the Self-Generation Incentive Program (“SGIP”) by greatly expanding the technologies that are eligible for the program and creating up-front rebates plus performance-based incentives for developers and manufacturers working to install these technologies. The impetus for the new expanded […]

Rossi Energy Catalyzer: The “New Fire”?

by David Niebauer I recently listened to an astounding podcast of an interview with Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, talking about low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) and devices that are apparently generating significant energy in the form of heat, with very little input of raw material and no radioactive waste. Bushnell […]

“Harmonizing” California’s TRECs with AB 32 Cap-and-Trade

by David Niebauer Now that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has lifted its moratorium on the use of renewable energy credits (RECs or TRECs) by investor owned electric utilities (IOUs) for compliance with the State’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), observers may ask themselves this logical question:  what is the future of RECs under Assembly […]

N.I.M.B.Y. – To an Extreme

The problem with REMs and why they are so “rare” is that mining and refining for them is incredibly damaging to the environment. Extraction requires a huge amount of ore (making it highly energy-consuming) and toxic acids that eat into the soil and persist for decades. To make matters worse, REMs are often found with even heavier elements, such as uranium, making the mine tailings radioactive.

“Cost Causer Pays” or Where is the Incentive for T&D Grid Upgrade?

Obviously, “cost causer pays” is not going to get the job done. We need a national energy policy with a strong transmission and distribution grid upgrade component. The task is complicated by overlapping and sometimes competing federal and state objectives, but failing to act is simply not an option. Both financial and policy incentives must be made clear for stakeholders so that the greenpower superhighway that many envision can become a reality.

Will Cleantech Open to Open Source?

Although it initially came as a shock, and was actually intended to subvert the accepted order of things, open source software has arrived at a place of respectability in the software industry. The idea is bizarre on first blush and even today non-software oriented business people profess not to understand how it works – or how it could work. These are only a couple of ideas that emerge when thinking about open source cleantech.

Power Flow Control Devices: Hardware for the Smart Grid

Software is not the only Smart Grid play. Developments in Power Flow Control – hardware wedded to power electronics – promise to increase the capacity of the existing electric transmission grid, thereby allowing the system to operate more efficiently for lower infrastructure costs. Controlling the flow of electrons in order to improve the existing system can and is being done. As the Smart Grid is built out, watch for companies that design and build the hardware that all the software is being designed to control.

The “Smart Grid”: An Overview

The Age of the Smart Grid is upon us. Huge amounts of capital are being and will be deployed over the next decade and beyond in upgrading the nation’s power grid. Both the political and financial will appears to be behind Smart Grid deployment. Fortunes will be made in this arena, and our lives will all be changed for the better through the intelligent delivery of more efficient and cleaner energy. By David Niebauer, www.davidniebauer.com

California Tradable RECs – Will They Ever Materialize?

by David Niebauer California has led the nation in solar development on many fronts for a number of years, but there is one area where California has lagged significantly – the implementation of tradable renewable energy certificates (or TRECs). As of this writing, there are five regional renewable energy tracking systems operating in North America, […]

State of the California Feed-in Tariff

David Niebauer A new, innovative feed-in tariff for small-scale solar development is coming to California. Rather than setting a fixed price in an environment in which technology costs appear to be dropping, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has proposed a market-based approach, allowing developers to bid the lowest prices at which they would be […]

Momentum Building for REDD+ Global Market for Forest Carbon

By David Niebauer Whatever else happened or didn’t happen as a result of the recent Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, the Global community did take action on slowing the destruction of the world’s tropical forests. Certainly one can argue that we are not doing enough, but getting the “global community” to agree on anything […]

Waxman-Markey and REDD

By David Niebauer In late March Congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey released the first draft of a climate bill that presents three mechanisms designed to provide funding for reducing tropical deforestation: offsets, a supplemental pollution reduction program, and strategic reserve auctions. Full text of bill can be found at: The bill would permit 2 […]

Tree Planting as Carbon Offsets – Does Latitude Matter?

By David Niebauer It’s hard to argue against any program that advocates the replanting of forests, or the avoidance of destroying forests in the first place. We all know from grade school science that, through a process called photosynthesis, trees “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen, generating the energy they need to grow from […]

Review of Forestry Carbon Standards 2008

By David Niebauer In an earlier article, I reviewed the issues and obstacles to generating carbon offsets through reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in a post 2012 global climate regime. A recently published research paper written by Eduard Merger titled Forestry Carbon Standards 2008 (November 2008) reviews standards for forestry projects in the […]