Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DOE places $465Mil bet on Tesla

Tesla landed a $465Mil DOE loan according to a Wired article.  The loan is supposed to aid the development of the Model S, a car the vast majority of Americans  (and Earthlings) can not afford.   That's an interesting amount of money to be sure.   

Movie Review: A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

I watched the documentary A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash this weekend. It was the first time I had a look at an organized view of how much oil is left on the Earth and how it impacts several things such as the environment and the economy. I think the movie makes a compelling case for a simple point: our future generations will not have the luxury of basing their economies on oil. Secondly, it confronts viewers with the question: are we transitioning from fossil fuels fast enough? For me, even before I watched this movie, the answer was and is NO (chiefly for the energy indepedence that I value for the USA). But after the movie, I'm even more passionate (or frightened) about this. I recognize that documentaries such as this  usually have a political axe to grind but I think this movie did a decent job of putting those elements in the background and keeping the issues that impact all of us out front. I'm not so sure the movie Fuel will achieve the same feel but I'm looking forward to checking it out too.

I'm trying not to be preachy in this post. I simply think you ought to check out the movie and come to your own conclusions. Also, if you have a recommendation for a different way of looking at the problem, please email me: eestorblog@gmail.com and in a later post, I'll write about it too.
Update: thanks to the reader who pointed out a key problem with one of my sentences above which is fixed now. :-)

Department of Energy FOIA Requests

Do you know what your Department of Energy is up to these days? You should if you desire to stay informed at this peculiar time in history where our dependence on fossil fuels is so directly tied to our economic security. There's a lot of good intentions out there floating around in the form of stimulus funds geared towards Energy Independence and Clean Tech. But, what are the people who we have entrusted to safe guard our energy interests actually doing?

Find out yourself by filing a FOIA request. If you are a US Citizen, you have a right to access federal agency records such as those at DOE within 20 days of receipt of your request. Here's a link to the DOE FOIA webpage.

I'm a little troubled that a recent FOIA request to learn the list of applicants for some DOE advanced vehicle funds was turned down due to exemption #5 which clearly does not apply. But maybe you will have more luck.

What harm could be brought by simply learning who has applied for stimulus funds? No need to examine the applications themselves which contain possibly proprietary information. But a simple list of who applied doesn't hurt any entity--public or private. Maybe you see it differently...as is your choice.

Here's another hopefully unrelated database: http://www.opensecrets.org/

Now that you know you have all of this power over interesting information, I invite you to make up your own conspiracy theories. Have fun, kids!