In today’s edition, rekindled tensions over Ukraine, as Russia’s Gazprom is now asking an additional $11.4 billion for gas sent to this country, on top of the $2.2 billion that Ukraine’s gas company Naftogaz already owes. Also, a developing story, that of GE ready to buy Alstom, the French trains and power plants builder, and last but not least, China’s legislature passing, as mentioned in yesterday’s edition, the biggest changes to its environmental protection laws in 25 years. 


Quote of the day

“Russia is clearly whipping up tension before Ukraine’s talk with Europe, understanding that Naftogaz won’t pay”

Bohdan Sokolovskyi, an energy adviser to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, in the Bloomberg’s story Gazprom Demands $11.4 Billion From Ukraine Before EU Gas Talks 

Lead Stories 

GE Said in Talks to Buy Alstom for More Than $13 Billion
Aaron Kirchfeld, Matthew Campbell and Jeffrey McCracken, Bloomberg 
General Electric Co.  is in talks to buy Alstom SA, the French builder of trains and power plants, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be GE’s biggest acquisition ever.

GE’s $57 Billion Cash Overseas Said to Fuel Alstom Deal
Jonathan Browning, Bloomberg
General Electric Co. can dip into the $57 billion of cash it has amassed overseas to buy France’s Alstom SA in its biggest acquisition ever, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Gazprom Demands $11.4 Billion From Ukraine Before EU Gas Talks
By Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg 
OAO Gazprom (OGZD), the world’s biggest natural gas producer, charged Ukraine $11.4 billion for contracted fuel last year as the smaller country seeks the European Union’s support to cut reliance on Russian imports.

Russia’s Gazprom says Ukraine owes extra $11 bln for gas
Russia’s Gazprom has slapped Ukraine energy firm Naftogaz with an additional $11.4 billion gas bill, more than five times its previous claim, ratcheting up pressure on Kiev amid the deepest East-West rift since the end of the Cold War.
***LB: Also in this story “A Gazprom source said the $11.4 billion was in addition to the $2.2 billion that Naftogaz already owes for supplies in 2013 and 2014 so far.”

Gazprom cannot afford another supply shut-off to Ukraine
Neil Buckley, The Financial Times 
Arseniy Yatseniuk, Ukraine’s beleaguered premier, claims his country is facing not just military aggression from neighbouring Russia, but “another kind of aggression – aggression through its gas supplies”.

Russia says firms leaving over sanctions can’t return soon
Russia warned foreign companies working in the oil and gas sector that if they quit the country over Ukraine-related sanctions, they would not be able to return any time soon.
***LB: Also in this story “Russia’s oil and gas industry depends on foreign investment and technology, especially in projects involving hard-to-recover deposits.”

China Enacts Biggest Pollution Curbs in 25 Years
China’s legislature passed the biggest changes to its environmental protection laws in 25 years, punishing polluters more severely as the government works to limit smog and tainted soil associated with three decades of economic growth.
***LB: also in this story “The amendments will become effective from Jan. 1, 2015, Xinhua reported, citing the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.”

Chinese lawmakers worried over energy efficiency, emissions
Senior Chinese lawmakers on Wednesday expressed concerns over the country’s low energy efficiency and high emissions, as a recent report suggested that China is lagging behind its energy conservation and emission reduction targets.

China Opens Projects in State-Run Sectors to Private Capital
China will offer 80 projects in industries dominated by state-owned entities for private investment as the nation seeks to let markets play a bigger role in the economy.
***LB: Also in this story “The next group of industries that will be opened for investment include oil and gas exploitation, public services, water conservancy and airport facilities, according to the statement.”

EU warned energy efficiency plans are slipping 
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
The UK is among 13 EU member states failing to outline how they plan to hit mandatory energy efficiency targets, according to a group of businesses, councils, trade unions, and NGOs.

Shale gas explorers could pump 33 bln stg into Britain -report 
The development of shale gas in Britain could create more than 64,000 jobs and give local businesses a 33-billion-pound ($55.37 billion) capital injection, according to an Ernst & Young report commissioned by an industry body.

White House commits to powering up on renewables
Danny Bradbury, 
The White House has revealed fresh support for the solar power sector, promising to promote the installation of new generation in federally subsidized housing and on military bases.

Report: US not ready for Arctic drilling
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill 
The United States is not prepared for oil drilling in the increasingly accessible Arctic waters, according to a new report by the National Research Council. 
***LB: Also in this story “The absence of personnel, equipment, communication and overall infrastructure create a “significant liability” in the event of a large oil spill.”

Lufthansa develops taste for ‘alcohol to jet’ fuel
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen 
Lufthansa is set to trial biokerosene jet fuel made from alcohol after signing an agreement with Total-backed US biofuel producer Gevo.

African Development Bank launches new climate change fund
Ed King RTTC (Responding To Climate Change)
The African Development Bank has opened a climate change fund aimed at ensuring countries on the continent get more help adapting to the effects of global warming.

El Nino Risk Increases as Pacific Gets Warmer
Brian K. Sullivan, Bloomberg
The odds are increasing that an El Nino weather system will form this year, portending drought for Australia and Asia and a warmer winter in the U.S. Northeast. 


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  


Australia climate plan leaves emission cuts with government
Australia on Thursday released a draft climate plan that would leave the government responsible for funding the nation’s emission cuts while the nation’s biggest carbon emitters would only be liable if they exceed historically high levels.
***LB: Also in this story “Thursday’s plan outlined rules for how the fund would spend A$1.55 billion over the next three years and a further billion later to buy emission reductions from companies that offer the cheapest cuts through government auctions. “

Amazon rainforest survey could improve carbon offset schemes
Carbon offsetting initiatives could be improved with new insights into the make-up of tropical forests.
***LB: Also in this story “The findings will enable researchers to assess more accurately the amount of carbon each tree can store. This is a key factor in carbon offset schemes, in which trees are given a cash value according to their carbon content, and credits can be traded in exchange for preserving trees.”  

Natural Gas/Coal

LME to Start Clearing Collateral in Yuan as Asia Ascends 
The London Metal Exchange will start accepting collateral denominated in Chinese yuan after setting up a clearing house in September as Asia increases its hold over the bourse. 
***LB: Also in this story “HKEx, which spent $2.2 billion buying the LME, said on April 22 it plans to introduce contracts for thermal coal and industrial metals this year for Asian users.”

Japan’s Tohoku to buy US Cameron LNG from M’bishi
Japanese utility Tohoku Electric Power Co said on Thursday it has signed a basic agreement to buy 300,000 tonnes per year of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 16 years from 2022 from a unit of trading house Mitsubishi Corp.

Murray Energy to sue Labor Dept. over coal-dust rule
Timothy Cama, The Hill 
Murray Energy Corp. said it will file a federal lawsuit against the Labor Department over the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) new rule limiting coal dust. 


Google and SunPower Join Forces To Fund Solar Homes
Ucillia Wang, Forbes
Google  and SunPower said Wednesday they are going in on a $250 million fund to finance residential solar leases, in which homeowners pay for solar electricity rather than the solar panels on their rooftops.

(UK) Government announces eight huge new renewable energy projects
Tom Bawden, The Independent
The Energy Secretary Ed Davey has stepped up his battle against climate change after announcing plans for eight giant renewable power projects that will deliver enough green electricity for three million homes.

(UK) Conservatives confirm plans to scrap onshore wind subsidies
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen 
The Conservative Party has confirmed plans to scrap subsidies for new onshore wind farms and pass all planning decisions to local councils if it wins the next election in 2015. 


Hoeven: EPA water rule is ‘bureaucratic overreach’
Ramsey Cox, The Hill 
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said Wednesday that a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water rule was “bureaucratic overreach” that will harm U.S. farmers.

Brushing Teeth With Sewer Water Next Step as Texas Faces Drought
Darrell Preston, Bloomberg
Pastor Bob McCartney of First Baptist Church tries to love his neighbor as himself. He’s just not thrilled that Wichita Falls will soon have him drinking water that once swirled down his neighbor’s toilet. 


Green Bonds Could Cut Indian Clean-Energy Costs 25%, Report Says
Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg
Funding renewable projects with Indian government-backed green bonds could lower the cost of clean power by as much as 25 percent, according to a study.

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