Innovation is the common thread that ties today’s edition together, with a closer look at the sun-powered plane and its pilots; an offer from Brazil to swap publicity during the upcoming World Cup with carbon credits from holders of such credits; and an increase in clean energy investment.  

Quote of the day

“To be really honest, I am very afraid of living in a world that burns one million tons of oil every hour — without even counting gas and coal”.

Aviation pioneer and pilot of Solar Impulse 2 Bertrand Piccard, in the CNN’s story Meet the pilots behind the sun-powered plane that can ‘fly forever’

Lead stories 

Brazil looks to swap World Cup publicity for carbon credits
Marcello Teixeira, Reuters
Brazil, looking to offset the carbon emissions generated by construction, travel and other activities related to hosting the 2014 Soccer World Cup, said on Tuesday it wants holders of United Nations-backed carbon credits to swap them for publicity during the games.

Is the clean tech recovery under way? Global clean energy first quarter investment climbs 10 per cent
James Murray, BusinessGreen
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has become the latest analyst firm to confirm an uptick in clean energy investment since the turn of the year, with new figures showing global investment rose 10 per cent year-on-year to $47.7bn.
***LB: Also in this story “The US led the nascent recovery, with investment up 95 per cent year-on-year to $7.9bn, while the Asia and Oceania region also saw investment climb 26 per cent to $12.1bn.”

Meet the pilots behind the sun-powered plane that can ‘fly forever’
Teo Kermeliotis, CNN
Their CVs combined look like the envy of all bona fide air adventurers. Pioneering ultralight aircraft? Been there. Setting world records by circling the globe nonstop in a balloon? Done that. Commanding the first ever 24-hour flight on a plane powered just by the sun? Yep, you’ve guessed it.

Passage of South Stream pipeline via Turkey possible – minister
Turkey would consider allowing the South Stream pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, to pass through Turkish territory if Moscow made such a request, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Wednesday.
***LB: Also in this story “Gazprom’s partner in the project, Italy’s Eni, has said the future of South Stream has been put in question by the escalating dispute over Ukraine. The EU has also postponed clearing the project.”

Green trucks, green cars, and green canals all set for EU boost
James Murray, BusinessGreen
The European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of a series of new policies designed to cut emissions and mobilise investment in clean technologies across the bloc’s transport industry.

Biofuels: Wasted energy
Christian Oliver, The Financial Times
On a sunny, spring morning on the banks of Lake Saimaa, it is easy to forget how cold it can get in Finland. “Everything has to be prepared for -40C,” says Teemu Lindberg, conducting final tests at a new biorefinery in Lappeenranta, a lakeside resort 20 miles from the Russian border.

European Investment Bank promises 2 billion euros clean energy funding boost
The European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday announced that it is set to provide 2 billion euros of new funding to innovative renewable energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, after successfully completing its latest sale of carbon allowances.

Beijing says one third of its pollution comes from outside the city 
About a third of the air pollution in China’s smog-hit capital comes from outside the city, official media reported on Wednesday, citing a pollution watchdog.
***LB: Also in this story “The city plans to cut coal consumption by 13 million tonnes by 2017, down from about 23 million tonnes in 2013.”

Hydrogen fuel cars could be important California’s future
According to the representatives from five major motor companies, who were recently involved in a panel discussion that took place in Torrance, California may become the testing place for hydrogen fuel cars over the next several years.



Minnesota’s Marquee Solar Event
The Midwest Solar Expo is bringing together solar leaders from across the Midwest to advance dialogue on key issues, provide insight on the latest industry trends and best practices, and serve as a nexus between the solar industry and the public.
May 16, 2014
Minneapolis, Minnesota   


EPA moves toward possible methane emission rules
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a series of technical white papers Tuesday about sources of methane emissions, asking the public to comment on the research to inform EPA’s efforts to reduce emissions of methane, which is the main component of natural gas.

EPA: Greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2012
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Greenhouse gas emissions fell in the United States by 3.4 percent in 2012 from the previous year, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.
The EPA’s annual report on greenhouse gases found a 10 percent drop since 2005.

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions fall 0.8 pct in 2013 
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 0.8 percent in 2013, according to government data, driven by lower electricity demand and a bigger share of renewables in the energy mix.
***LB: Also in this story “Despite the cuts, Australia’s emissions per capita stand at 23.2 tonnes, among the highest in the world and nearly four times more than China.”

Petroleum group says EPA may flip-flop on ethanol mandate
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A top petroleum group is worried the Environmental Protection Agency will flip on the proposed levels it released late last year for the amount of ethanol and other biofuels refiners must blend into the nation’s fuel supply.
***LB: Also in this story “The EPA’s current proposal requires 15.21 billion gallons be blended in 2014, down from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013. The proposal cut the amount of blending volumes for refiners for the first time since 2007, when the standards were expanded.”

Natural gas/Coal

EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites
Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
Drilling operations at several natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania released methane into the atmosphere at rates that were 100 to 1,000 times greater than federal regulators had estimated, new research shows.


Power industry meetings begin with WH on carbon rule
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Representatives for the electric power industry are starting to line up at the White House to talk carbon emissions. A handful of power industry lobbyists met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) earlier this month to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon emissions rules for existing coal-fired power plants.

EPA Power Plant Mercury Rule Upheld by U.S. Appeals Court
Andrew Zajac, Bloomberg
Duke Energy Corp. (DUK:US), Southern Co. (SO:US) and other energy companies must abide by federal limits on mercury and additional power-plant pollutants, a U.S. court said, upholding a rule regulators say will save lives and the industry claims was illegally drafted.


Desalination Plant Said to Be Planned for Thirsty Beijing
Edward Wong, The New York Times
A coastal desalination plant planned for east of Beijing could provide a large portion of the drinking water for the parched Chinese capital by 2019, the state news media quoted officials as saying on Tuesday.
***LB: Also in this story “The plant would be the core of one of the biggest desalination projects in China. It is the second phase of a desalination project that is run by Aqbewg, a joint venture company formed by Aqualyng, a Norwegian company, and Beijing Enterprises Water Group, which has its headquarters in Hong Kong and is a subsidiary of a large state-owned company.”

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