In today’s edition, big business is featured, such as Gazprom, saying it is almost ready for a deal with China and GE remaining hopeful on growth despite Alstom deal. Startups are also featured, one re-imagining atomic energy and another re-inventing meat. All that while president Obama promotes expansion of solar power and Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio says that climate laws would “destroy” the economy.
Quote of the day
“We hope that the negotiations will be completed as scheduled. The contract is, I would say, 98 percent ready.”
Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, on a long-awaited deal for natural gas producer Gazprom to supply China, in the Reuters’ story Gazprom gas deal with China nearly ready
Gazprom gas deal with China nearly ready – deputy minister
Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Monday a long-awaited deal for natural gas producer Gazprom to supply China with gas was close to completion.
EU Pledges Faster Work to Hit Russia With Economic Sanctions
Jonathan Stearns and Ian Wishart, Bloomberg
European Union foreign ministers vowed to accelerate preparations for broad economic sanctions against Russia should it disrupt Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election, pressing the Kremlin to back down in the biggest standoff since the Cold War.
Russia to Discuss Gas Price Cut With Ukraine Only If Debt Paid
Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg
Russia will consider a compromise on natural gas prices with Ukraine only after its neighbor pays its debt for previous supplies, the Energy Ministry said as preparations for talks begin in Brussels today.
***LB: Also in this story “Ukraine hasn’t used any of the funds received under a $27 billion international package to pay down its gas debt, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told reporters today in Moscow.”
Russia Ratchets Up Ukraine’s Gas Bills in Shift to an Economic Battlefield
Steven Erlanger, The New York Times
Gazprom, the natural gas giant 50.01 percent owned by the Russian government, keeps ratcheting up the bill for Ukraine, increasing the economic pressure on Kiev in tandem with military pressure along Ukraine’s eastern border.
***LB: Also in this story “What Gazprom executives now say Ukraine owes them comes to more than $22 billion. In early March, Gazprom put the bill at less than $2 billion.”
Ukraine crisis shows Europe must not turn its back on renewable energy
Guy Hands, theguardian.com
If we needed a reminder of how politics and energy are inextricably linked, the Ukraine crisis has done us all a timely service. The price and supply of gas is rapidly becoming a major Russian weapon against its neighbour, and by extension, its European supporters.
GE oil chief sees more growth despite Alstom deal
Ernest Scheyder and Lewis Krauskopf, Reuters
General Electric Co’s $16.9 billion bid for Alstom SA’s power business will do little to slow down GE’s oil and gas division, according to the head of the unit, even though such a transaction could preclude any more big deals by the U.S. conglomerate until after next year.
Merkel Says German Government Would Support Siemens-Alstom Tie-Up
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the German government would support a tie-up between engineering firm Siemens and French rival Alstom if the corporate decision-makers decide that it would make sense.
Nuclear startups reimagine atomic energy
Martin LaMonica, The Boston Globe
To most people, the outlook for nuclear power wouldn’t seem bright.
***LB: Also in this story “Transatomic Power, a three-person firm sharing incubator space at the Cambridge Innovation Center, is designing a reactor that would be cheaper than coal and generate electricity from spent fuel rods — aka radioactive waste — piling up in the nation’s nuclear plants.”
Startup reinvents meat and bets you can’t taste the difference
Kelly Kim, Orange County Register
Most days after middle school, Ethan Brown walked down Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C., and ate a Double-R burger from Roy Rogers.
***LB: Also in this story “It’s a plant-based chicken strip made of soy and peas that is regarded in the fledgling mock meat industry as having achieved something no other such product has managed to do.”
Keystone gives GOP campaign fuel
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Republicans are stepping up their efforts to use the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline to their advantage, painting Democratic opponents in tough midterm races as anti-energy and unwilling to stand up to President Obama.
Rubio: Climate laws would ‘destroy’ economy
Kyle Balluck, The Hill
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), a Republican presidential hopeful, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he does not believe human activity is causing “these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”
From Wal-Mart to the White House, Obama talks up expansion of solar power Zachary A. Goldfarb and Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
President Obama on Friday announced new measures to expand solar energy deployment in the private and public sectors, as the White House completed the final installation of solar panels on the first family’s residence.
***LB: Also in this story “In addition, the administration said, the Energy Department issued two new efficiency rules Friday that will cut the energy consumption of new electric motors and walk-in coolers and freezers.”
Obama moves on particulates scare vulnerable Democrats
Josh Lederman, Associated Press
Within weeks, President Barack Obama’s administration is set to unveil unprecedented emissions limits on power plants across the U.S., much to the dismay of many Democratic candidates who are running for election in energy-producing states.
Obama pushed to take sides on gas sales
Alexander Bolton and Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and 19 other Democratic senators have urged President Obama to oppose expanded natural gas exports, intensifying an intraparty fight that has stalled action in the Senate on an energy efficiency bill.
Iran nuclear talks arrive at pivotal deal-drafting phase
Sam Jones, The Financial Times
Three months into the talks to rewind Iran’s advance towards a nuclear weapon, and with under three months to run, everything is still to play for and everything still to be lost.
Tullett to cut jobs, buy oil broker to tackle revenue fall
Clare Hutchison, Reuters
British interdealer broker Tullett Prebon is cutting more jobs and buying oil broker PVM in its latest attempt to offset a drop in trading since the financial crisis.
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EPA triumphs in court battle over air pollution
Timothy Cama, The Hill
A federal appeals court has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s newest limit on soot in the air, saying the agency has a great deal of latitude when it comes to judging scientific studies on pollution.
Brazil beef tax could spare forests
Tim Radford, Climate News Network
Scientists have come up with a new prescription to address the Amazon rainforest’s health problems: Reduce deforestation more efficiently by taxing free-range beef.
***LB: Also in this story “By taxing cattle on conventional pasture and by subsidizing semi-intensive cattle rearing, Brazil could curb up to 26 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions caused by the loss of forests − which in turn adds up to about one-fifth of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.”
Asian logging companies ‘use British islands for tax dodging’
John Vidal, The Observer
Giant Asian logging companies that make billions from destroying rainforests use a labyrinth of secret shell companies based in a UK overseas territory, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which operate as a tax haven, according to documents seen by the Observer.
India has grown a bit more green
Sumit Bhattacharjee, The Hindu
The total forest cover in India has grown from 20.2 per cent to 21.3 per cent, said S.K. Khanduri, Inspector-General of Forests, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
Swedish Energy Agency committed to acquire CERs from cookstove programmes in Africa
Swedish Energy Agency has committed itself to acquiring Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from eight Clean Development Mechanism programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Agency’s latest press release.
If you drink wine and care about the planet, cork growers want your attention
Jason Margolis, PRI
“Cork is actually in the oak family,” explained Richard Z. Donovan, vice president of forestry with the Rainforest Alliance.
***LB: Also in this story ““By having these long-lived trees, you’ve got, in essence, kind of carbon fixing factories,” Donovan said.”
Natural Gas / Coal
EPA eyes new disclosure rules for fracking chemicals
Ed Crooks, The Financial Times
The US Environmental Protection Agency is considering new rules to compel companies to report details of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production, in the latest move to tighten federal regulation of the industry.
PetroChina to sell gas pipelines in multi-billion dollar cash call
PetroChina Co Ltd, the country’s dominant oil and gas producer, said on Monday it plans to sell more multi-billion dollar pipeline projects to raise cash, cut capital spending and promote private investment in energy.
BP oil spill: methane persisted in sea after microbe cleanup
Scientists on Sunday said that methane which leaked from the 2010 oil-rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico persisted in the sea for months beyond a presumed cleanup of the gas by marine microbes.
Leighton’s $5.5 Billion India Coal Deal Canceled Amid Protests
David Fickling, Bloomberg
Leighton Holdings Ltd. lost a contract to build the first coal mine for India’s biggest power producer NTPC Ltd., amid protests from local villagers that halted the opening of the Pakri Barwadih site.
BP aims to invest US$1.5bil in Egypt in 2014
BP plans to invest US$1.5 billion this year to increase its production of natural gas in Egypt, hit by an energy crisis following three years of political turmoil, the state news agency MENA said on Sunday.
IGas acquires Dart Energy to create UK’s biggest shale gas explorer
Terry Macalister, theguardian.com
A deal worth nearly £120m to create Britain’s biggest shale gas explorer was outlined on Friday with the acquisition of Dart Energy by rival IGas Energy, combining a portfolio covering one million acres of potential fracking land.
Reliance and BP fuel India gas dispute with arbitration notice
James Crabtree, The Financial Times
India’s Reliance Industries and BP of the UK have filed an arbitration notice against the Indian government, marking the latest stage in a row over delays to promised increases in gas prices that the two companies are allowed to charge.
Stanford Pulls Its Coal Investments, but Why Haven’t Other Divestment Movements Succeeded?
Zach Schonfeld, Newsweek
On Tuesday, Stanford University became the first major university to divest its endowment—a not insignificant $18.7 billion—from coal-mining companies (though not all fossil fuels).
New York Prodding Utilities to Shift From Monopoly Model
Christopher Martin, Bloomberg
New York State is pushing its utility industry to shift away from a century-old business model into a system that can accommodate more power from solar and wind.
Hitachi Unexpectedly Forecasts Profit to Drop as Revenue Falls
Chris Cooper and Kiyotaka Matsuda, Bloomberg
Hitachi Ltd. unexpectedly forecast a drop in profit this year as the Japanese manufacturer projected declining revenue from its power and industrial systems businesses following a unit merger with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
German utilities and government clash over nuclear ‘bad bank’
Jeevan Vasagar, The Financial Times
Germany’s nuclear industry is fighting Berlin over a plan to transfer the risks of shutting down facilities to a publicly owned foundation that would act as a “bad bank”.
***LB: Also in this story “German utilities Eon, RWE and EnBW have discussed the creation of a state-owned foundation to oversee the decommissioning process.”
German government denies in talks on public body to decommission nuclear plants
The German government denied on Monday it was in talks with utilities about handing over responsibility for decommissioning the country’s nuclear power plants to a new public taxpayer-backed foundation.
***LB: Also in this story “The four operators of nuclear plants in Germany – E.ON , RWE and EnBW and Sweden’s Vattenfall – have set aside total provisions of around 36 billion euros ($50 billion) for the dismantling of the plants and the disposal of nuclear waste.”
Israel Electric sues Palestinians for $153 million in unpaid bills
Avi Bar-Eli, Haaretz
The Israel Electric Corporation filed a 531 million shekel ($154 million) lawsuit last Thursday against the Jerusalem District Electric Company, the Arab-owned electric company that provides power to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, for not paying its debts.
Kuwait Eyes 2,000 MW Of Renewable Energy By 2030
As local demand for oil increased by 67% over the past decade, Kuwait has pushed to implement a strategic sustainability initiative that seeks to generate 2,000MW of renewable energy by 2030.
BMW to Expand U.S. Plant in Push for Lighter, More Fuel-Efficient Cars
Jack Ewing, The New York Times
BMW said on Friday that it would invest $200 million and double its work force at a factory in Washington State that makes carbon fibers as the company moves to use more of the lightweight material in cars and meet demand for a new electric vehicle.
Tesla Says Battery-Supply Deal for Toyota RAV4 EV to End
Alan Ohnsman, Bloomberg
Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker planning to build the world’s largest battery plant, said its deal to supply Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) with battery packs and motors for a rechargeable crossover will conclude this year.
On the verge of commercially viable tidal energy
Terry Murden, The Scotsman
Tests are now being carried out at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney on a turbine device and mooring system developed by renewable energy engineers in Glasgow.
***LB: Also in this story “Nautricity, a company which emerged from Strathclyde University, has spent 18 months building its first commercial-scale device known as a Contra Rotating Marine Turbine (Cormat).”
Wave and Tidal Power Hit First in Remote Communities
Julia Pyper, The Scientific American, with ClimateWire
If you ask the people of Yakutat, Alaska, the best part about living in this small, remote town is the breathtaking natural beauty. The worst part is the price of electricity.
Washing-up liquid bottle made from ocean plastic aims to clean up seas
Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian
The world’s first washing-up liquid bottle made from reclaimed ocean plastic is to go on sale in UK supermarkets later this month.
***LB: Also in this story “Ecover, a Belgian company, has been working with manufacturer Logoplaste to combine plastic trawled from the sea with a plastic made from sugarcane (which it calls Plant-astic) and recycled plastic, in what it is hailing as a world-first for packaging.”
Could an energy efficient indoor farm solve the world’s food crisis?
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
A pioneering indoor farm powered by energy efficient LEDs has been hailed as a sustainable solution to the world’s food crisis.
***LB: Also in this story “Philips has partnered with commercial grower Green Sense Farms (GSF) to develop the project, which promises to increase yields while reducing farming-related emissions and so-called food miles – the distance produce travels to the supermarket shelf from where it is.”
#fastfortheclimate: gimmick or powerful climate change campaign?
Holly Young, The Guardian
When we think of hunger strikes historical figures tend to come to mind: Gandhi, the suffragettes, Irish republican Bobby Sands. But what would it look like if we transplanted this established form of protest into the digital age?
Antarctic ice threatened by undersea volcano
Jonathan Leake and Nadine Forshaw, The Sunday Times
Antarctica’s ice sheets may face a far more imminent threat than climate change: scientists have found a new volcano forming a mile under the ice, which is threatening a full eruption.
Roaring Forties’ shift south means more droughts for southern Australia
Helen Davidson, the guardian.com
Droughts across southern Australia are to continue increasing as the Roaring Forties get stronger and closer to Antarctica, a study has found. It also explains why Antarctica is bucking the global warming trend.
New Zealand refuses climate change refugees – mass action is now needed
Morgan Godfery, theguardian.com
No refugees please, we’re New Zealanders. That’s the message from New Zealand’s court of appeal. In a decision released last week the court endorsed earlier rulings that Ioana Teitiota – a Kiribati national – is not a climate change refugee.
Sediment analysis decodes climate history
T. Nandakumar, The Hindu
Sediment deposits along the South Kerala coast are helping scientists reconstruct the geological evolution of the region over the past 10,000 years and come up with adaptation strategies for climate change and sea level variation.