Solar stocks soar on outlook for U.S. subsidies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Shares of solar power companies soared on Friday on optimism that key tax subsidies for the renewable energy sector could be extended by U.S. lawmakers in the coming weeks.

A new bipartisan proposal by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and John Ensign would extend the tax credits, and Wall Street analysts said the measure has a good chance of passing soon because it is not linked to a tax hike for Big Oil.

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The Folly of Turning Water Into Fuel

Most recent controversy over ethanol has focused on the its poor energy return; in growing corn and turning it into ethanol, you have to burn three calories to get four. With prices of fuel and other inputs rising fast, corn farmers won’t be getting rich (except for those who happen to have oil wells on their property.) But selling their corn for such high prices, they can afford to sow more acres and burn more propane, diesel or electricity to pump more water than ever. A torrent of cash will be flowing through the nation’s corn-growing regions, but the biggest price will be paid in water.

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Looking for oil alternatives

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. — On a wind-swept air base near the Missouri River, the Air Force has launched an ambitious plan to wean itself from foreign oil by turning to a new and unlikely source: coal.

The Air Force wants to build at its Malmstrom base in central Montana the first piece of what it hopes will be a nationwide network of facilities that would convert domestic coal into cleaner-burning synthetic fuel.

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