In today’s edition, quite a few things in the pipe, such as, precisely, a revived interest for the South Stream pipeline on the part of Russia; discussions, to be held later this month between Europe, Ukraine and Russia, to iron out differences on gas prices and supply, and the fight for approval of the Keystone pipeline, waged by the GOP in Washington. Last but not least, China Nuclear Power plans the industry’s first IPO.
Quote of the Day
“Putin is using South Stream to undermine the EU and its cohesive energy policy from within.”
Ilian Vassilev, an energy consultant and Bulgaria’s former ambassador to Russia, in the Financial Times’ story Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline to Europe divides EU
EU to hold gas price talks with Russia and Ukraine
Dave Keating, European Voice
The European Union will hold trilateral talks with Russia and Ukraine later this month designed to ensure that Ukraine has enough gas for the winter, the European Commission announced today (May 2).
***LB: Also in this story “The three are likely to meet twice (…) once in mid-May and once in late May.”
China Nuclear Power plans $2.6 bln share sale in industry’s first IPO
China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd plans to raise 16.3 billion yuan ($2.60 billion) in the industry’s first initial public offering, as part of the world’s biggest expansion of civilian nuclear power capacity.
Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline to Europe divides EU
Christian Oliver in Brussels and Jack Farchy, The Financial Times
Russia’s determination to start building a major gas pipeline into Europe next month regardless of opposition from Brussels has laid bare the EU’s disunity in confronting Moscow.
***LB: Also in this story “EU countries with interests in the project – Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria – are all reticent about imposing broad economic sanctions on Russia.”
Kiev Struggles to Break Russia’s Grip on Gas Flow
Andrew Higgins, The New York Times
As Ukraine tries to contain a pro-Russian insurgency convulsing its eastern region, a perhaps more significant struggle for the country hinges on what happens beneath the ground here in a placid woodland in the far west, on the border with Slovakia.
Russia Knows Europe Sanctions Ineffective With Tax Havens
Two years ago, a Dutch law firm prepared a pitch in Moscow to Russian businesses: come to the Netherlands and we can help you avoid taxes and keep your assets safe.
***LB: Also in this story “Russia’s biggest oil, gas, mining and retail companies — including some run by billionaires close to President Vladimir Putin — have moved tens of billions of corporate assets to the Netherlands and other European countries often used for tax avoidance and capital flight, such as Luxembourg, Cyprus, Switzerland and Ireland.”
GOP lawmaker suggests trading wage hike for Keystone pipeline
Rebecca Shabad, The Hill
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) suggested Friday he would be willing to support an increase in the minimum wage if Democrats offered job creation programs in return, including approval of the Keystone pipeline.
Canada Finds China Option No Easy Answer to Keystone Snub
Edward Greenspon, Andrew Mayeda, Jeremy van Loon and Rebecca Penty, Bloomberg
It was February 2012, three months since President Barack Obama had phoned the Canadian prime minister to say the Keystone XL pipeline designed to carry vast volumes of Canadian crude to American markets would be delayed.
GOP bill ends all energy tax credits
Ramsey Cox, The Hill
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill that would end all tax credits for energy production — renewable and traditional.
Heritage urges ‘no’ vote on energy efficiency bill
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Heritage charges that the bill, which promotes energy saving in industrial and commercial buildings, provides incentives that would “burden taxpayers and consumers.”
2014 MIDWEST SOLAR EXPO
Minnesota’s Marquee Solar Event
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May 16, 2014
Briton arrested in Las Vegas in carbon trading probe
U.S. officials have arrested a 56-year-old Briton in Las Vegas in connection with suspected tax fraud worth 136 million euros ($189 million), deepening a European carbon trading probe that has also drawn in Deutsche Bank.
EU Carbon Drops Most in a Week (last week) as Offset Swap Misses Estimates
Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
European Union carbon permits fell the most in a week as data showed emitters exchanged fewer United Nations offsets than estimated for the EU contracts, signaling lower future demand.
China effort to store CO2 costly, but attempt must be made
Hal Bernton, Seattle Times
Finding a way to corral and store carbon dioxide emissions, rather than vent those into the atmosphere, is considered among the most important strategies for limiting coal’s contribution to climate change.
Barack Obama’s emissions plan comes under new line of attack
Suzanne Goldenberg, theguardian.com
The central pillar of Barack Obama’s climate change agenda has come under a new line of co-ordinated attack from influential lobbying networks involving Republican politicians and big business.
***LB: Also in this story “The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a free market group of state legislators funded in part by coal and oil companies such as Peabody Energy and Koch Industries, launched a much broader style of campaigning in 2014 to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.”
High-polluting cars to be priced off London roads
Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times
Most cars could be driven off London’s roads by a series of increases to the congestion charge.
***LB: Also in this story “Under plans being drawn up to combat the capital’s problems with air pollution, drivers of cars deemed to be polluting — those with petrol or diesel engines — could eventually face charges many times higher than the £10 a day that is now imposed under the congestion charge regime.”
Natural Gas /Coal
Oil and gas firm Eclipse Resources files for IPO
Oil and gas company Eclipse Resources Corp filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of common stock that would raise about $100 million.
Turkey, China in talks on $10-12 bln energy investment – minister
Orhan Coskun, Reuters
Turkey and China are in talks on a $10-12 billion investment deal for the Afsin-Elbistan coalfield and power plant project in southern Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters.
Australian gas company WestSide rejects China’s Landbridge takeover offer
Australian gas firm WestSide Corp Ltd on Monday rejected as undervalued a takeover offer from China’s diversified energy company Landbridge Group Co Ltd that valued the company at A$177.6 million ($164.52 million).
Cheap, Abundant Shale Gas Won’t Significantly Cut U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Janet Pelley, Chemical and Engineering News
The rapid expansion of shale gas production in the U.S. has triggered a polarizing debate: Environmentalists charge that methane leaks could make shale gas a higher carbon emitter than coal, while some industry experts and the Obama Administration claim that cheap shale gas will help cut emissions, even in the absence of policies that constrain carbon release.
Japan effort to restart nuclear plants delayed until after summer
Jonathan Soble, The Financial Times
Moves by Japan’s government and electric utilities to restart nuclear power plants idled after the 2011 Fukushima accident are facing further delays and appear unlikely to succeed before the summer peak, prolonging an economically burdensome rise in energy imports.
***LB: Also in this story “The Nuclear Regulation Authority, the government agency conducting the reviews, told Kyushu Electric Power on Friday that a list of planned and completed safety upgrades for a pair of reactors, contained in a 7,200 page application that it submitted this week, was insufficient.”
New Ideas in Lighting Get Closer to Market
Diane Cardwell, The New York Times
Ever since government regulations began phasing out the traditional light bulb in 2012, the once-simple visit to the lighting aisle has become an exercise in navigating a dizzying array of choices and terminologies, especially for new kinds of compact fluorescents and LEDs.
***LB: Also in this story “Two start-up companies are poised to begin selling bulbs that use entirely different technologies — one borrowed from heavy industry and the other from old-fashioned televisions — but meet the new energy standards. “
New Design Delivers Round-the-Clock Solar Power
Paul Brown, Climate News Network
Solar power’s greatest drawback has always been that it is intermittent and, even in the sunniest climes, peak electricity demand is frequently in the evening when the Sun is going down.
***LB: Also in this story “The engineering challenge has been to design a system in which enough of the Sun’s heat can be stored to produce full power continuously even on cloudy days – and better still, all night.”
True Green nets $130m for solar portfolio
True Green Capital (TGC) has closed credit facilities worth $130m to support the development of a pipeline of solar power assets.
Dam It: Feds Say U.S. Can Double Hydropower
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
The Grand Canyon was once targeted as a major dam site by the federal government, a project eventually scuttled after widespread protest. Nobody is revisiting the idea of a dam there, but a new U.S. Department of Energy report shows that the Grand Canyon and other major gorges and rivers across the U.S. may be ideal for hydropower development.
***LB: Also in this story “Currently, hydropower totals 7 percent of total U.S. electric power production”
Money Growing on Trees
Emily Laber-Warren, Newsweek
Sacramento in July is among the sunniest places on the planet, averaging more than 14 hours of direct sunlight per day. On sweltering afternoons, when the grapevines are parched and the tupelo are drooping, the thermometer can spike to 113, and just about everyone turns on the air conditioner. These are the moments electric company officials dread, when sudden demand threatens to exceed capacity.
***LB: Also in this story “Shaded buildings use 25 to 40 percent less energy during the summer, averting power overloads.”
Privatisation shines a light on Nigeria’s route out of the dark age
Christopher Thompson, The Financial Times
When David Ladipo left a successful management consultancy in London he did not think that he would be writing the ‘How To Do’ guide for project finance in Nigeria half a decade later.
***LB: Also in this story “The old parastatal, the National Electric Power Authority, was popularly referred to as “Never Expect Power Always””
GSE Environmental files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
GSE Environmental Inc and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late on Sunday as part of a restructuring support agreement with its lenders.
Should I get a mains-powered lawn mower or one with a lithium-ion battery?
Lucy Siegle, The Observer
Lawns have the ability to generate horticultural hysteria.
***LB: also in this story “UK emissions from gardening machinery are likely to have dropped off a little from the mid-90s. But it is still a significant amount.”
China’s ‘ordinary’ billionaire behind grand Nicaragua canal plan
Matthew Miller, Reuters
Wang Jing, the enigmatic businessman behind Nicaragua’s $50 billion Interoceanic Grand Canal, shrugs off skepticism about how a little-known entrepreneur can be driving a huge transcontinental project, insisting he’s not an agent of the Beijing government.
Mine Waste Transformed to Tap Water for 80,000 Consumers
Firat Kayakiran, Randall Hackley and Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg
Anglo American Plc (AAL) was the first company to transform the wastewater from its coal mines into something 80,000 people drink. Now they’re seen as a model.
***LB: Also in this story “Purifying contaminated waters from three sites in South Africa has proven so successful that Anglo’s plant in Witbank is doubling in size and being replicated elsewhere in the country by BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest mining company, and Glencore Xstrata Plc.”
Research suggests quake, wastewater injection are linked
Bailey Elise McBride, Associated Press
New research suggests that the sharpest earthquake to strike Oklahoma may have been triggered in part by wastewater injection — which if true, would make the 2011 temblor the strongest ever linked to disposal practices within the oil and gas industry.
Philippines braces for El Niño later this year
Gilbert P. Felongco, Gulfnews.com
The Philippines is bracing for a long and dry spell after expects forecast that the El Niño weather phenomenon would make its presence felt across the country this year.
Alaska’s ‘ice-quake’ record could shake up climate science
Marianne Lavelle, The Daily Climate
For years, analysts at the Alaska Earthquake Center, while tracking about 100 temblors a day in the most seismically active U.S. state, have dutifully filtered out some of the Earth-shaking events that trip the sensors.
***LB: Also in this story “We have a half-dozen years of really high-quality glacier data,” West said. “We’re in the early stages of being able to look [at what has happened] over a period of years.””
The age of Anthropocene: Was 1950 the year human activity began to leave an indelible mark on the geology of Earth?
It was the year that the Cold War turned hot in Korea and Albert Einstein famously warned of nuclear armageddon, as Bob Hope made the world laugh, the Andrews Sisters sang “I Wanna Be Loved” and England lost 1-0 to the USA at the World Cup in Brazil.
***LB: Also in this story “Such changes are already visible in the sediments that will form the rocks and fossils of the future, and some experts argue they form just as important a boundary as those between previous periods, such as the Jurassic and the Triassic.”
East Antarctica more at risk than thought to long-term thaw: study
Alister Doyle, Planet Ark
The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles) inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 meters (10-13 feet) if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said.
Gulf’s bounty commands attention amid shale drilling boom
Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Fuel Fix
Seven decades after oil companies first bored wells beneath the Gulf of Mexico, it retains its allure, as recent discoveries tempt the industry with the prospect of pulling crude from 200-million-year-old rock buried miles below the seafloor.