Administration gives a boost to offshore drilling

In an effort to show that it’s committed to domestic oil and gas development, the Obama administration announced plans Thursday to extend offshore leases affected by last year’s ban on deep-water exploration and to sell drilling rights in Alaska this year.

Bill meant to ease fears over fracking

Presuming Gov. Rick Perry signs HB 3328, which is sitting on his desk, the Railroad Commission will begin writing the rules industry must follow when identifying the many chemicals used to unlock hydrocarbons in deep shale formations such as Eagle Ford.

Solar program’s profile dimmer

A year ago, CPS Energy launched Solartricity, a pilot distributed energy program so eagerly anticipated that the race to sign up included sprinting, shoving, and a few choice curse words.

Industry takes issue with ‘fracking’ acts

HOUSTON — Anyone scoring the debate over hydraulic fracturing would notice that critics of the controversial oil and natural gas extraction process have lately put a few points on the board.

In hydraulic fracturing, millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are injected into a well at high pressure to create multiple fractures in the rock and free trapped gas or oil.

In April, a paper by scientists at Cornell University argued that shale gas, touted as a cleaner alternative to coal, could actually be a worse contributor to climate change because of methane that leaks into the air during fracturing.

The latter recalled hotly debated scenes from the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, which showed homeowners in Colorado and Wyoming igniting tap water they said contained natural gas that seeped into aquifers after hydraulic fracturing.

CPS Energy to test warning system

CPS Energy today will test its new emergency alert system, which in the future will notify customers of major power outages or energy emergencies. The system follows criticism the utility did not alert customers quickly enough or thoroughly about the statewide power outages Feb. 2 during the unusual freezing weather. CPS had been working to create an emergency alert system since last summer’s storms knocked out power to thousands of homes, and the effort was fast-tracked after the freeze.

Fredericksburg offers land for new substation

The Fredericksburg City Council voted Monday to offer to sell 5.8 acres on Hollmig Lane for $505,000 to the Lower Colorado River Authority as the site of a new electrical substation. The $4.5 million substation, which will connect two existing power lines operated by the Central Texas Electric Co-op, is needed to improve system reliability, the LCRA says.

Science Guy sheds light on solar power

You know that light bulb that fires up every time you get a bright idea? Bill Nye the Science Guy really wants you to fuel that brilliance with solar energy. OK, maybe not the metaphorical bulb above your noggin but certainly the kitchen light and other electric-powered items around the house. Nye thinks they could all do with a sun-powered assist. And he wishes more of us, well, got the idea.

A clean-tech alliance is in the making

Dubbed the Mission Verde Alliance, those working to form the group say it will act as a catalyst for green industry development and job growth by working to attract, create and grow green companies.

Solar Fest shines light on sun’s power

Despite a cloudy sky for part of the day, the 10th annual Solar Fest went on as planned Saturday, highlighting everything from panels that gather sunlight to toilets that handle waste with it.

Solar Fest celebrates renewable energy

Thousands are expected to descend on Maverick Park today for Solar San Antonio’s 11th annual Solar Fest, which includes a morning fun run, live music, kids’ activities and dozens of solar exhibitors.

Energy savings program to start

The audits would review lighting, air-conditioning and heating systems, refrigeration and other equipment with an eye toward upgrades that would save a company money on its utility bills. For those who know they’ll be in the same building for some time, Doxsey said, a full audit, which would recommend technology upgrades, also will calculate how long a particular investment will take to pay for itself. Because the audits will include that financial calculation, he said, area lenders can be sure there is a solid business case underpinning any loan a company might seek.

Bringing utility boards together

In what Mayor Julián Castro termed a historic first, the boards of the San Antonio Water System and CPS Energy held a joint meeting Friday to talk about ways the two municipally owned utilities can work together to save water, energy and money.