Lead Stories

Approval of Natural-Gas Export Project Gets Mixed Reaction From Lawmakers
Amy Harder – The Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration’s approval of a seventh application to export natural gas drew cautious praise from a number of U.S. lawmakers who have been putting pressure on President Barack Obama to allow more gas exports as a way to weaken Russia’s power over Ukraine.

Christie Greenhouse Changes Violate N.J. Law, Court Says
David Voreacos and Justin Doom – Bloomberg
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration violated state law in the way it withdrew from a regional program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, a state appellate court ruled.
New Jersey must begin amending or repealing the state’s climate-change regulations within 60 days, according to a three-judge panel in Trenton.
***JB: Christie is not having a good month.

Punishing Putin Fuels Energy-Export Drive in Congress
Jim Snyder and Brian Wingfield – Bloomberg
In the decades after the Arab oil embargo, the U.S. restricted energy exports to promote self sufficiency as a matter of national security.
Now Russia’s annexation of Crimea and massing of troops on the Ukrainian border is fueling a push in Congress to remove those limits to punish President Vladimir Putin.

European 2015 Power Prices Fall to a Record on Fuel Costs
Marek Strzelecki – Bloomberg
European power prices for 2015 dropped to a record as fuel costs fell, cutting production expenses at plants burning coal and gas amid mild weather.
Europe’s benchmark contract dropped as much as 0.7 percent and Czech power for 2015 dropped to its lowest level since the contract’s start in June 2012, broker data compiled by Bloomberg show.
***JB: Send some mild weather to Chicago.  Already Spring and the temperature will go down to 15F by tomorrow.

Stanford scientist unveils 50-state plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy
Mark Shwartz – Stanford News
Stanford University scientist Mark Jacobson has developed a 50-state roadmap for transforming the United States from dependence on fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. He unveiled the plan at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

China says polluting industry still growing too fast, heavy smog alert for Beijing
China’s energy-hungry, high-polluting industries continued to grow too fast in 2013, putting “huge pressures” on the environment and causing air quality to worsen, the country’s pollution agency said on Tuesday.
Premier Li Keqiang “declared war” on pollution in a major policy address this month, but China has long struggled to strike a balance between protecting the environment and keeping up economic growth.

Booming U.S. NGL Exports Idled With Houston Channel Shut
Dan Murtaugh – Bloomberg
The closing of the Houston Ship Channel after a fuel spill is idling vessels that carried a record amount of U.S. natural gas liquids exports last year, raising questions about the need for geographic diversity in the burgeoning market.
***JB: Fitting the spill happened on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill.


Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2014
March 26-28, 2014
San Francisco, California

GLOBE 2014
13th Biennial Conference and Trade Fair on Business and Sustainability
March 26-28, 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia

Solar Summit
Greentech Media’s flagship annual solar conference that focuses on global market trends, relevant technologies and project finance. With sessions on everything from Latin American market dynamics to BOS innovations, Solar Summit attracts high-level decision makers from all areas of the industry.
April 14-16, 2014
Phoenix, Arizona

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


China’s Hubei province to launch carbon market on Apr 2
China’s central Hubei province will launch its carbon trading market on April 2, its emissions exchange said Tuesday, a move that could cap carbon dioxide emissions from nearly 140 of its biggest companies.

Moving towards a low-carbon economy: the EU should send strong, clear signals to markets
European Economic and Social Committee
If the European Union is to achieve its objective of putting its economy onto a low carbon path, it must speed up the process, the EESC stated in its own-initiative opinion adopted on 25 March. This transformation will have to include a major expansion in renewable energy generation and substantial phasing down of coal. Swifter progress can be achieved through a combination of a clear, efficient regulatory framework and market-based instruments, such as environmental taxes.

Carbon bubble or growing profits: what future for coal mining in Australia?
Claude Walker – The Motley Fool
Historians take note: in 2014, investors are beginning to limit their exposure to coal. And, of course, mining companies are pushing back. The Minerals Council of Australia is pitching the case for coal to investors: “The move is an escalation of the industry’s plans to take on the fossil fuel divestment campaign…” writes The Australian, “[which] is modelled heavily on the South African divestment campaign against apartheid.”

Natural Gas/Coal

Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is the Future
Charles C. Mann – Wired
Coal supplies over 40 percent of global electricity needs, and that percentage is going up. The only real question is how to minimize the damage.

House Moves to Block Obama Coal Rule
Matthew Daly – Associated Press (via ABC News)
The House has approved a bill to prevent the Obama administration from imposing a stream-protection rule for coal mining that government experts say would eliminate thousands of jobs.

EPA’s coal ash rule still not done
Erica Martinson – Politico
A month before President Barack Obama moved into the White House, a dike failure sent 5.4 million cubic yards of black, sludgy ash spilling out of a pond near a coal plant in Roane County, Tenn., wiping out 300 acres and damaging homes.
Last month, 27 million gallons of wastewater and 39,000 tons of coal ash washed out of a pond near a closed Duke Energy power plant, fouling North Carolina’s Dan River.

Ex-Noble Trader Banga Ventures Into Coal Calling Bottom
Alex Davis and Michelle Yun – Bloomberg
Thermal coal prices have almost reached a low point after declining for three straight years, according to Harry Banga, whose family-owned company Caravel Group Ltd. is poised to start trading the commodity.

Alaska lawmaker wants coal plant without federal regulations
Fuel Fix
A Republican senator says Alaska should ignore federal regulations and plan to build a large-scale coal-powered plant to generate electricity in the event of an energy crisis.
Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, is sponsoring a resolution asking the governor to consider the feasibility and cost of building power plants on state land “without regard to federal permits or restrictions.”
***JB: Just boggles the mind.

Will the Natural Gas Market Continue to Cool Down?
Lior Cohen – The Motley Fool
The natural gas market has cooled down in the past several weeks after the Henry Hub price reached near-term highs earlier this year. Looking forward, will the price of natural gas keep falling? And how might the recent developments in the natural gas market affect the performance of leading natural gas producers such as Chesapeake Energy?

Sierra Club says Minnesota utility violating pollution rules
Dan Haugen – Midwest Energy News
The Sierra Club is repeating a threat of a lawsuit against a northern Minnesota utility, alleging thousands of pollution violations at its coal-fired power plants.
Minnesota Power is the latest Midwest utility to face a legal threat from the Sierra Club over alleged soot or particulate violations under the Clean Air Act.


Japan Cuts Subsidy for Solar Power, Boosts Offshore Wind
Chisaki Watanabe – Bloomberg
Japan approved a cut in tariffs for solar power as a building boom meant the technology made up 97 percent of new renewable capacity since it offered incentives.
The country gave final approval for the 11 percent cut to 32 yen (31 cents) a kilowatt-hour for the 20 years from the fiscal year starting April and offered 36 yen for offshore wind, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Wind-Energy Lobby Sides With Germany on Fast EU CO2 Fix
Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg
European wind-energy producers joined Germany and Denmark in urging the European Union to start a reserve to automatically tighten supply of emission permits in 2016, five years earlier than proposed.

Siemens to Invest $264 Million in British Wind Turbine Project
Stanley Reed – The New York Times
Siemens, the German power and industrial giant, said on Tuesday that it would build facilities for offshore wind turbines on the east coast of England, as Britain rapidly expands into wind power.

Fight over Rooftop Solar Forecasts a Bright Future for Cleaner Energy
David Biello – Scientific American
As the cost of solar power drops, more consumers find that they hold the upper hand as utilities fight to maintain paying customers and the relevance of the grid.
Americans have begun to battle over sunshine. In sun-scorched Arizona a regulatory skirmish has broken out over arrays of blue-black silicon panels on rooftops, threatening the local utilities that have ruled electricity generation for a century or more.

Brazil’s Rio Bravo Seeks Partners to Finance Wind Power Growth
Christiana Sciaudone – Bloomberg
Rio Bravo Investimentos SA, the asset manager founded by former central bank president Gustavo Franco, is looking for new financial partners to help it become one of Brazil’s biggest wind power companies.

Solar Power Is Now Just As Cheap As Conventional Electricity In Italy And Germany
Jeff Spross – ThinkProgress
Once all its costs are accounted for, the price of commercial solar power has pulled even with retail electricity rates in Italy and Germany, according to a new report.
The analysis is the third installment in a regular report by the consulting firm Eclareon, done on behalf of an international group of sustainable energy interests.


Anglers Cheer EPA Water Proposal Senator Calls Land Grab
Mark Drajem – Bloomberg
The Obama administration has proposed rules to determine which waterways and wetlands are regulated by the federal government, a plan praised by anglers and branded a land grab by a Republican senator.
***JB: I’m betting if Obama set aside a dog run for Bo someone would label that a “land grab” too.

Detroit Seeks Proposals to Privatize Its Water System
Matthew Dolan – The Wall Street Journal
This bankrupt city is seeking proposals from private companies to run and potentially buy its regional water and sewer system as talks to lease it to the city’s suburbs have stalled.
The move to at least partially privatize one of the nation’s largest water systems comes as the city considers unloading assets to finalize its debt-cutting plan, which is expected to be voted on by creditors this spring.

National Water Plans $533 Million on Saudi Infrastructure
Deema Almashabi – Bloomberg
National Water Co., Saudi Arabia’s largest supplier in the desert kingdom, is planning 2 billion riyals ($533 million) of water-infrastructure projects in the tourist area of Taif, the Saudi Press Agency reported.


Two Farmington Hills Companies Named Finalists In Energy Challenge
Matt Roush – CBS Detroit
Two companies based in Farmington Hills, Lumecon and Illuminating Concepts, have been selected as finalists for the second DTE Energy E-Challenge Competition in partnership with NextEnergy and The Engineering Society of Detroit.
The DTE E-Challenge competition is designed to showcase energy efficiency innovation through market-ready solutions.



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