Published Feb 10 2009 by Energy Bulletin
Archived Feb 10 2009

United States - Feb 10

by Staff

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Recession sending more students to comm. colleges

David Tirrell-Wysocki, Associated Press via WLS-AM
College freshman Elizabeth Hebert's choice of a four-year school suddenly got too expensive. George Haseltine already has a business degree, but he concluded after several layoffs that he needed more training to get work.

So, in the middle of this school year, both landed at New Hampshire Technical Institute, which like other community colleges across the country has suddenly grown a lot more crowded.

The two-year schools are reporting unprecedented enrollment increases this semester, driven by students from traditional colleges seeking more bang for their buck and by laid-off older workers.

But community colleges aren't exactly cheering in this down economy: Tuition doesn't come close to covering costs, and the state funds used to make up the difference are drying up.
(8 February 2009)

Some Thoughts on the Obama Energy Agenda from the Perspective of Net Energy

EROI Guy, The Oil Drum
The Obama-Biden comprehensive a New Energy for America Plan is designed to:

  1. Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
  2. Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
  3. Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
  4. Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  5. Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050

(9 February 2009)

Stupid Senate tricks
(incentives to buy cars)
Ezra Klein, blog, The American Prospect
It should be said that the stimulus really does have some wasteful provisions. Take the $11.5 billion in tax incentives for automobile purchases. As Ryan Avent argues, "the attempt to support automobile purchases is regressive -- if you're comfortable enough to buy a new car in these economic times, you probably aren't among the most in need of scarce government assistance. It will also fare poorly as stimulus. It's unclear how many sales might be generated by the plan or whether the number will be large enough to increase production or will merely serve to draw down the massive automobile inventory overhang already sitting on lots."

It's also dangerous as a long-term measure: It accelerates the purchase of cars with no requirements for fuel efficiency. Limiting the assistance to extremely efficient automobiles would have at least pushed the industry in the right direction. Using a cash-for-clunkers approach -- where the credit is for those who turn in old, inefficient cars and purchase new, highly efficient vehicles -- would have ensured the credit proved both progressive and environmentally sane. As it is, the $11.5 billion -- more than transit receives in the whole bill -- will go to subsidize the well-off and worsen our carbon problem. It's two counterproductive policies for the price of one!
(6 February 2009)