The world of green politics is constantly moving, and we’ve rounded up some of the best stories from the past few weeks, including the solar panel boom on Wall Street, rise in the cost of natural gas, more bad news about fracking, and fracking and the American oil market.
Solar Panel Stock On The Move
Wall St. has fallen in love with solar panel manufacturers.
SolarCity is by far the trendsetter with a closing stock price at the posting of this post of $64.28. While SolarCity is making a nice green product, it’s also is backed by super star Elon Musk. What Musk touches seems to turn to gold, or at least get a ton of media buzz, so the stock buzz could just be that — the Musk Golden Touch.
But, there are other signs that solar power is taking off in the financial market. It is estimated that$13 billion was invested in solar projects in 2013 – approximately a tenfold increase since 2007 according to GTM Research.
Source: NY Times
As America Enters A Deep Freeze, Natural Gas Prices Jump
Winter has stuck the U.S. with record cold temperatures and record snow fall. Also breaking records is the cost of natural gas.
Certain contracts, such as same day delivery jumped to $99 from a seasonal normal of around $20. Ouch.
Of course people should have seen this coming, especially with the more specialized/emergency style gas deliveries. In fact many natural gas contracts that were “locked in” at the start of the heating season have seen little to no jumps in price.
About half the homes in the United States use natural gas as their primary heat source.
Fracking And Babies Don’t Mix
The news about fracking just keeps getting worse.
New research coming out of Princeton, Columbia and M.I.T has found that of infants born within a 2.5-kilometer radius of natural-gas fracking sites increased the likelihood of low birth weight by more than half and increased the chances of a low Apgar score to more than 5%.
In other words, fracking is very bad for infants.
Fracking is the controversial method of extracting once unobtainable natural gas from shale rock using a chemical soup and shooting it into the shale rock bed. Problems with the fracking process have resulted in earth quakes, the destruction of drinkable water within the fracking area, and now a negative impact on infant development. Lovely. The joint study focused on residents in the state of Pennsylvania and focused on birth records of families within the designated problematic fracking radius from 2004-2011.
Fracking Is Putting European Refineries Out Of Business
Advances in extracting oil from shale rock drove a 39% increase in U.S. production since 2011. That is the steepest rise in history.
Due to this unforeseen boom in the U.S. European refiners are now closing, the Asian market is stressed, and even the oil producers in the Middle East are being threatened. To put things into perceptive, the U.S. in now a major exporter of oil to Europe and is on pace to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2015.
The American oil boom has been led by drilling in the Permian Basin located in West Texas and the oil-rich Bakken shale which stretches from North Dakota into Montana – and it’s all thanks to fracking. Fracking is the controversial method of extracting once unobtainable natural gas and oil from shale rock using a chemical soup and shooting it into the shale rock bed.
So why is gas at the pump still north of $3.00 a gallon in the U.S. and not cheaper? Well, greedy oil tycoons’ aside, fracking costs more than regular oil well drilling and the yield from fracking drops by 60% – 70% after the very first year. Transportation also plays factor since many of the shale rock locations are in isolated areas once thought to be void of accessible fuel.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.