In today’s edition, we help you keep abreast of the three-day-weekend’s main piece of news: the announcement, by the Obama administration, that it will delay its decision on the Keystone pipeline. We also have new stories, like the success of the new Chinese carbon market and the possible sale, by Westinghouse Electric Co, of eight new nuclear reactors to China.
Quote of the day
“Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country.”
Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, in the Bloomberg’s story Keystone Pipeline Fate Now in Hands of Nebraskan Jurists
China’s carbon traders flock to Hubei in search for profits
Expectations for a surge in carbon permit prices in China’s newest emissions market of Hubei have sent speculative traders scrambling to make a profit, driving up trading volumes far in excess of the country’s other markets.
***LB: Also in the story “That highlights the chance it could emerge as the most liquid carbon market in the world’s biggest-emitting nation, aided by low pricing of permits and an absence of capital thresholds for participants.”
Keystone decision pushed back
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
The Obama administration on Friday extended its review period for the Keystone XL pipeline, potentially delaying a decision on the project until after the midterm elections.
***LB: also in the story “The delay could disarm a political land-mine for President Obama, who had found himself caught between rival factions of his Democratic base.”
Keystone Pipeline Fate Now in Hands of Nebraskan Jurists
Jim Snyder, Bloomberg
The focus of the Keystone XL debate has shifted from a fierce lobbying war in Washington to Lincoln, Nebraska, where the state Supreme Court has been asked to weigh a legal challenge to the pipeline.
***LB: Also in the story “Companies including Cenovus Energy (CVE) Inc. and MEG Energy (MEG) Corp. are among companies with expanding oil shipments by rail as they boost production. Cenovus has shipped crude to California and even Asia, while MEG Energy transports oil to the Gulf Coast.”
Ukrainian Gas Broker Faces Scrutiny
Andrew Z. Kramer, The New York Times
Gas pricing wars between Russia and Ukraine, like the one breaking out now, have generally ended badly for the two countries and Gazprom, the Russian energy monopoly. But not for Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman who made a career and a fortune as a middleman in this troubled energy trade.
Ukraine seeks renewable energy boost to counter Russia
Brian Wingfield, Bloomberg
Ukrainian officials say they’s found a way to protect nation from Russia: Go green. http://jlne.ws/1njzMpv
***LB: Also in this story “Babcock & Wilcox Co. (BWC), based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and closely held Hurst Boiler & Welding Co. of Coolidge, Georgia, are among companies that make boilers.”
Ukraine Boosts Russian Gas Imports as Prepayment Threat Looms
Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg
Ukraine is boosting natural-gas imports from Russia to the highest in 10 weeks after President Vladimir Putin gave the country one month to resume payments or have to start prepaying for the fuel.
China seen buying Westinghouse reactors for $24 billion nuclear energy projects
Matthew Miller, Reuters
China may sign as early as next year the first of several contracts for eight new nuclear reactors from Westinghouse Electric Co, as the government presses ahead with the world’s biggest civilian nuclear power expansion since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
***LB: Also in this story “China has vowed to more than double the installed nuclear generation capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the decade.”
‘Solar chimneys’ may help solve China’s energy woes
Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post
Scientists are researching whether so-called solar chimneys, which rise half a kilometer or even higher from the earth, might produce enough clean energy to help reduce the mainland’s chronic air pollution.
***LB: Also in this story “A test plant is running successfully in Inner Mongolia and scientists want to build full-size versions in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The researchers have suggested the towers could be constructed inside new skyscrapers.”
EU seeks industry ‘carbon leakage’ tips before 2030 climate decision
The European Commission will hold three meetings with key industry groups this summer to thrash out whether the free allocation of carbon permits to big polluters should continue after 2020, when current measures expire.
EU blow to UK energy-intensive companies
Brian Groom, Andy Sharman and Alex Barker, The Financial Times
Leading UK energy-intensive industries are set to miss out on tens of millions of pounds from a government scheme to compensate them for the impact of green taxes because of an EU state aid ruling.
Let us breathe
The word “eco-city” first took off with a book written in 1987 by Richard Register, a green thinker based in California. Now what may become the world’s first city with the word in its name is beginning to take shape in the unlikely setting of a smog-shrouded expanse of salty mud on the northern Chinese coast.
Judge strikes down Minnesota’s anti-coal energy law
David Shaffer, Star Tribune
A federal judge in St. Paul said it interferes with interstate commerce. State officials plan to appeal.
Is EPA rulemaking hurting technology innovation?
Manuel Quiñones, E&E
Some top technology firms are expressing concern about U.S. EPA’s proposed rules to limit power plant carbon emissions, questioning whether they will truly encourage innovation.
SEC claims insider trading by BP executive after Deepwater Horizon spill
Peter Schroeder, The Hill
The head of BP’s cleanup following the Deepwater Horizon spill sold off his stake in the company before the severity of the spill was known, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Grassley worried about methane reduction plan’s impact on farms
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday with questions about how the Obama administration’s methane-reduction efforts would affect dairy farms. Grassley’s questions came weeks after the administration released a plan to reduce methane emissions.
Why Wal-Mart Buying Into Sustainability Matters
David Brodwin, US News and World Report
In my column last week, I wrote of Wal-Mart and Target’s launch of organic foods and sustainable household products.
***LB: Also in this story “The legitimizing effect of big business entering sustainability markets has the power to transform the economy in a good way, even if the companies involved are not good corporate citizens in other respects.”
Apache CEO, Vermont activist build alliance on climate issues
Ross Kerber, Reuters
Steve Farris runs a $33 billion Texas oil and gas company and turns, for advice, to a bearded Vermont environmentalist.
***LB: Also in this story “Proxymonitor.org shows Apache has not faced any shareholder proxy proposals on environmental issues since 2006. Larger rivals like Exxon Mobil Corp have faced dozens, as have smaller ones like EOG Resources Inc, which has faced three.”
2014 MIDWEST SOLAR EXPO
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
Can Oregon and Washington Price Carbon Pollution?
Gloria Gonzalez , Ecosystem Marketplace
Sick and tired of waiting for the US and Canadian federal governments to lead on climate issues, the US states of California, Oregon and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia decided last year to reinvigorate a regional partnership aimed at tackling the climate challenge.
Meet the women trading Sudan’s first carbon credits
Mary Gallagher, The Guardian
While attention in the sector has recently been focused on the IPCC’s latest report on climate change, in Sudan women have been quietly making breakthroughs by issuing the country’s first carbon credits.
China may finance part of Mechel’s coal project in Russia
China may finance part of steel and coal producer Mechel’s Elga coal project in Russia, a senior executive at state bank Vnesheconombank told reporters in Moscow on Monday.
Oil and gas leases in bay region spark debate
Rex Springston, Richmond Times-Dispatch
A company that’s leasing oil and gas rights in Virginia’s rural coastal plain has tapped a gusher of concern.
Coal ash unmonitored in fill sites across N.C.
Bruce Henderson, Charlotteobserver.com
Coal ash, infamous for its recent splash into the Dan River, also lies along Charlotte’s outer belt.
Will The Prices Of Natural Gas Rise?
Andrew MacKillop, Investing.com
Simple questions can have complicated answers, but for Cinderella Gas the clock has a habit of chiming 12-midnight all too often. The simple question is how come natural gas in the USA has grave problems to even attain $27.50 per barrel of oil equivalent – but in Japan it can fetch about $100 per barrel equivalent? Do Japanese like expensive things, or what?
Army to build military’s largest solar array in Arizona
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The U.S. Army will break ground this week on a new solar power array at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., which will be the largest solar array on a United States military installation. When the array starts operating in late 2014, it will provide about 25 percent of Fort Huachuca’s electricity needs, the Army said Monday.
China’s Wind Turbine Makers Face Market Consolidation
Consolidation may cut the number of wind turbine makers in China, the world’s largest wind market, by two thirds in the next five years as oversupply pressures grow, according to an industry association.
***LB: Also in this story “Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. (2208) will grow steadily while Sinovel Wind Group Co. (601558) and Dongfang Electric Corp. (600875) will fall behind”
Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights
Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times
The political attack ad that ran recently in Arizona had some familiar hallmarks of the genre, including a greedy villain who hogged sweets for himself and made children cry. But the bad guy, in this case, wasn’t a fat-cat lobbyist or someone’s political opponent. He was a solar-energy consumer.
***LB: Also in this story “The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy.”
Largest US solar farm on Superfund site now online
Rick Callahan, Associated Press
The nation’s largest solar farm built atop a federal Superfund site is now generating power on a tract of land in Indianapolis tainted by a long-shuttered plant’s wood-treating operations.
***LB: Also in this story “The Indianapolis property’s owner, Vertellus Specialties Inc., worked with the EPA, solar panel maker Hanwha Q CELLS, Indiana’s environmental agency, the local utility and other partners to develop the solar farm.”
Study Chides U.S. Over Loan Default by Solar Business
Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times
Long before the Energy Department lost $68 million on Abound Solar, a manufacturer that went bankrupt two years ago, it should have known that the company’s chance of repaying the loan it had guaranteed was deteriorating, according to a report by the department’s inspector general.
Ports on front line of new energy, global warming rules
Matt M. Johnson, The Bradenton Herald
The future of U.S. seaports is written in the nation’s energy policy, which means all of them — including Port Manatee — must look for more efficient fuels and cut emissions.
Sustainable path: For earth or the bottom line
Staci Matlock, The New Mexican
The city of Santa Fe is aiming for more renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings and solar-powering stations for electric vehicles.
£4m for green energy loans announced
A further £4 million has been allocated to a scheme which helps households generate their own green energy. The fund gives people access to interest free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable technologies such as a wind turbine or a solar water heating system.
The Pittsburgh startup that has big plans for batteries
Ucilia Wang, theguardian.com
From cell phones to laptops to electric cars, the world is becoming increasingly dependent on batteries.
***LB: Also in this story “Aquion Energy, a Pittsburgh-based startup that uses water and salt for some of the key components in its batteries, recently won a Katerva Award in the energy and power category.”
Texas school partners with Microsoft for energy efficiency research
Valentino Lucio, San Antonio Express-News
Microsoft Corp. and the University of Texas at San Antonio entered into a three-year partnership to research and develop sustainable-energy technologies that benefit data centers.
EPA delays rule on power plant cooling water
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will miss by a month a its deadline to issue a regulation to minimize the impact of industrial and power plant water cooling structures on fish populations.
State Water Project to make small deliveries this year
Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
The State Water Project, which helps supply a majority of Californians, will make small deliveries this year, officials said Friday as they increased the system’s allocation to 5% from the historic zero announced in January.
Unlikely Partnerships Spring From California Water Crisis
Kirk Siegler, NPR
At a recent rally in Fresno County, Calif., farmers in plaid shirts stood side by side with migrant farmworkers in ball caps, holding signs that read “sin agua, no futuro” and “no water, no food.” Fresno is the top agriculture-producing county in the U.S., with more than $6 billion in annual sales.
One-Fifth of China’s Farmland Is Polluted, State Study Finds
Edward Wong, The New York Times
The Chinese government released a report on Thursday that said nearly one-fifth of its arable land was polluted, a finding certain to raise questions about the toxic results of China’s rapid industrialization, its lack of regulations over commercial interests and the consequences for the national food chain.
***LB: Also in this story “Hunan Province, in central China, has some of the worst soil pollution because it is one of China’s top producers of nonferrous metals. But it is also a large rice-growing area, producing 16 percent of the country’s rice in 2012, according to one market research company.”
Frigid Winter? Blame 4000 years of Wild Jet Streams
Becky Oskin, Live Science
This winter’s wild weather got its start 4,000 years ago, a new study finds.
Corn biofuels worse than gasoline on global warming in short term – study
Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a new study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change. http://jlne.ws/1pmNFVM