The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane, flies over Switzerland. The makers will be journeying across the U.S. this spring, hoping the flight helps challenge assumptions about what solar technology can do.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 1:25 pm
The future doesn't look so bright for China-based Suntech, one of the world's largest makers of solar panels: On Wednesday, it was forced into bankruptcy after missing a $541 million payment to bondholders.
In New York, expected rules on hydro-fracking for natural gas are overdue, and leaders in Albany seem poised to slow the rule-making process further. The delays are not going over well with some people who hope to cash in on the gas boom.
The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.
No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In many parts of the country, coal has been king for many years, but that's changing. Ten years ago, coal fired half the U.S. electrical power plants. Now that's about a third and dropping. As coal companies switch to cheaper and cleaner natural gas, some coal companies in the east are closing mines and laying off workers.
Sometime soon, President Obama will make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial project that would carry oil from the tar sands of Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. In his New York Times column over the weekend, Thomas Friedman wrote: I hope the president turns down the Keystone XL pipeline, but I don't think he will. If that's the way it happens, Friedman sees and opportunity for the president and for environmentalists, as well.
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has been replaced on the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Energy. A news release on the company's website says the board accepted Hargis' resignation effective immediately.
Board Chairman Archie Dunham announced Thursday that Louis A. Raspino has been elected to fill the vacancy and has been appointed chairman of the audit committee. He will stand for election at the 2013 annual meeting of shareholders in June.