Scott Sklar

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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
Watch the official trailer
Resource Library
 All  Renewable Energy World 
Renewable Energy World 
Fuming in DC: Time to Draw the Line Bronze Bookmark Popular Bookmark 
Congress just adjourned for the Rosh Hashanah holiday and we in the clean energy industries are without a tax credit extension. And I am hopping mad, as Congress will soon adjourn for the national elections.
Great Leadership in the Face of a Cynical Power Structure Bronze Bookmark Popular Bookmark 
While we are importing ever more petroleum and natural gas, fighting two wars in the Middle East region, experiencing changes in our global climate -- it's time to acknowledge and support four U.S. leaders who are trying to make a difference. By any means, there are others who deserve our accolades, but these four epitomize the diversity of support and with true grit. These four have run counter to their contemporaries, not taken seriously when they began their quest for cleaner energy options, but continue to persevere.
Mileage Costs of Plug-in Hybrids Bronze Bookmark Popular Bookmark 
I continue to read with optimism the PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicle) concept, especially the Chevy Volt. TESLA also put out a paper a while back (July, 2006) regarding its entry. My question is this: At US $0.10-0.12 a kWh from my local utility, how much will it cost me to drive the Volt's fully charged 40 miles? Since I don't have any idea how many miles per kWh it takes, I can't make the calculation...and I've looked at BTU and megajoule equivalents and I now have a headache. -- Art F., Dallas, TX
National Electric Rate Comparisons Bronze Bookmark Popular Bookmark 
Where can I find local and national electrical rate statistics? Specifically, I'm interested in the figures for average annual rate increases to help calculate the payback on renewable energy systems. Is anyone collecting this information? -- Alana N., Mount Vernon, WA
Dueling Renewable Energy Studies - Read the Fine Print Popular Bookmark 
On February 21st, a story that made headline news was Study Finds PV Economically Unfeasible, Even in Carbon-constrained Environment. According to this new study by Severin Borenstein, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business and director of the University of California Energy Institute, the cost of a solar photovoltaic installation today is three to four times greater than the benefits of the electricity it will produce.
Energy in Washington: Licking our Wounds for Another Fight Popular Bookmark 
Everyone in the renewable energy community tried to put a good face on it, but let's face it -- we have a second recent Energy Bill with little support for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Is Ethanol To Blame for All Our Global Woes? Popular Bookmark 
The last two weeks ethanol has got more bad press then ever. But oil is at record high prices, so what's going on? Ethanol is getting more flack than OPEC. I hope you guys know that OPEC's mid-east fund made up of OPEC's countries have put US $40 Billion dollars into commodity index funds, which pushes grain prices up. Boy, you should have listened to CNBC where they all dogged ethanol big this week. What's going on? -- J.D., Boise, Idaho
Pumped Storage To Back Up Renewable Energy Popular Bookmark 
Scott, I was informed by the lead engineer for the NY Power Authority that our hydropower systems like Niagara Falls operate at efficiencies over 95%. If this is true, wouldn't it make sense to use wind powered electrical generation to pump water to elevated sources so the energy could be provided steadily from this source in times of low wind volume? -- Tim G., Buffalo, NY
RPS Versus Cap and Trade Popular Bookmark 
Which would be of greater benefit: a cap and trade system to limit CO2 production or an RPS approach? Recently I have been reading about the resistance of large utilities to buy into a national RPS as a means of limiting CO2 emissions, they tend to prefer a cap and trade approach to the matter. Their concern is being forced into certain technology choices and would prefer to be given CO2 caps and chose how they will meet (or trade) them. What are the pros and cons of each approach? Does there seem to be a best choice for the nation at this time? Thanks. -- Gary J., Cleveland, Ohio
The Chemical Composition of Coal and Its Negative Impact Popular Bookmark 
My friend and I are unable to find the exact chemical composition of coal in either books or the Internet and were wondering if you could please help us? Also if you know any information that would help us out regarding fossil fuels and their negative effects, it would be greatly appreciated. -- Amelia R., Queensland, Australia
The Units Commonly Applied to Renewable Energy Are WRONG! Popular Bookmark 
The units commonly applied to renewable energy are WRONG! It is wrong and tremendously misleading, albeit politically favorable to use PEAK POWER units to describe the capacity of energy conversion devices applied to diffuse and intermittent sources such as wind, solar, ocean etc. The units of watts, kilowatts, megawatts (MW), and gigawatts (GW) are units of POWER and for an intermittent and constantly varying source they are only instantaneous values. Power units are, for the most part, only of value in sizing electrical hardware for peak capacity. These large and impressive numbers are no more meaningful than claiming the enormous solar / wind array provides ZERO gigawatts for much of the time. To be meaningful, renewable energy must be described in time averaged ENERGY Units (it's renewable ENERGY, not renewable POWER). So a solar array for example, might be able to provide 100 kWatts/hr when averaged over time. An even better idea is to use kW-hr/Square Meter of whatever... --Rob L., New Hampshire
What Are They Thinking? Popular Bookmark 
A famous political columnist once labeled Washington, DC as the steering wheel of the nation -- not connected to anything. The recent Senate Finance Committee action sure seems that way to me.
What is the Efficiency of Solar-Powered Fuel Cell Vehicles? Popular Bookmark 
I just read a news release on SMUD's PV installation providing hydrogen (H2) via electrolysis for a fleet of fuel-cell vehicles. I made a feeble attempt, using Wikipedia, to figure out how much solar energy was captured, how much H2 was produced and how far the cars would travel after a typical day's charge. I failed. My question: What is the overall efficiency (in a well-to-wheels format) of this PV/FC configuration. --Bryan B, Wylie, TX
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Programs and Tips

Energy Star is the national program that rates appliances and promotes energy savings activities. Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy have also sorts of programs and tips. Here are three sites: