Power Breakfast for April 22, 2014

A nearly daily round-up of news for your consideration:

  • As federal environmental regulators do fewer inspections due to recent budget cuts, state regulators are unlikely to pick up the slack due to ongoing budget cuts here, StateImpact Texas reports. At the same time, state officials say a spike in pollution was not due to funding issues but are traced to “a few big releases at a small number of facilities.”
  • The cost of storage energy in a traditional battery is leading some companies to adopt unconventional storage methods, such as big containers of ice or tanks of molten salt. The value is in adding flexibility, the New York Times article says:
    “But the way to store bulk amounts of energy for the grid lately is with cold or heat, as ice or molten salt. Hundreds of buildings now use their air-conditioning systems to freeze water into ice in the middle of the night, taking advantage of low outdoor temperatures to help do the job. During the day, they melt the ice to cool the air.”
  • Biofuels made from corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases compared to conventional gasoline, according to a recent study commissioned by the federal government. The biofuel industry and Obama administration officials call the research flawed, while the Associated Press reports its own investigation “found that the EPA’s analysis of corn-based ethanol failed to predict the environmental consequences accurately.”
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