Lead Stories

Carbon taxes are as necessary as they are unpopular
The Economist
IT TAKES a particular kind of environmental policy to irk industrialists and greens alike. In its short life the Carbon Price Floor (CPF), a tax on pollution that was frozen by the chancellor of the exchequer on March 19th, has done precisely that. Holding down the unloved levy—for four years from 2016—will cut energy costs for businesses and householders. But it leaves Britain’s climate policy in a mess.

Energy boom to aid U.S. urban manufacturing jobs to 2020: report
Lewis Krauskopf – Reuters
Energy-intensive manufacturing employment will increase by more than 1 percent a year in the United States through 2020, with 72 percent of those jobs going to metropolitan areas, according to a report released on Thursday.

WH to unveil new methane strategy this month
Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post
The White House plans to press ahead with more executive actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the coming weeks, including a government-wide strategy aimed at cutting methane emissions, according to top Obama advisers.

U.K. Green Bank Invests 51 Million Pounds in Power From Trash
Louise Downing – Bloomberg
The U.K.’s Green Investment Bank invested 51 million pounds ($84 million) in a plant in Norfolk in the east of the country that will generate power from trash.

From cranes to chemists, investors weigh UK shale bets
From trucks and cranes to chemists and trains, the supply chain winners from the U.S. shale boom have often been surprisingly simple. Now investors and executives are eyeing businesses that might benefit from a boom in Britain.

John Laing Boosts Stake in Environment Fund to Meet IPO Target
Marc Roca – Bloomberg
John Laing Plc, a U.K. infrastructure company, said it will take a bigger share of the 160 million-pound ($254 million) environmental fund it’s seeking to list and investor commitments now meet that target.

U.S. Fines Koch Industries Controlled Chemical Plant
Tom Fowler – The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency have fined a Texas chemical plant controlled by Koch Industries Inc. $350,000 for emissions violations and will require the company to spend more than $44 million on upgrades.

Six Reasons Fracking Has Flopped Overseas
Jeff McMahon – Forbes
Shale gas deposits have been found in Poland, Argentina, China, Great Britain and other countries, but only the United States has fracked its shale gas into a national energy boom.
That’s not for lack of will abroad, according to energy experts gathered Friday at the University of Chicago: it’s because of political and economic circumstances that fostered hydraulic fracturing here while dampening its spread overseas.

Study: Clean energy sector remains strong in Illinois
Kari Lydersen – Midwest Energy News
Almost 100,000 Illinois workers are employed in clean energy jobs, more than the state’s real estate and accounting sectors combined, according to a new survey.


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


Shuttered Coal Plants Seen Cutting Cost of Carbon Rules
Mark Drajem – Bloomberg
The cost of limiting power-plant emissions has fallen because cheap natural gas is already shuttering some coal-powered facilities that would be at risk, an environmental group said today in a study.

In a Shift, Exxon Agrees to Report on Carbon Asset Risk
Diane Cardwell – The New York Times
Under pressure from shareholders, Exxon Mobil, the energy giant that built a fortune in fossil fuels, has agreed to show how it plans to cope with the risks posed to its holdings by potential limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Group Suggests New Rules for Further Cuts in Carbon Pollution
Coral Davenport – The New York Times
An influential environmental group on Thursday released a new analysis suggesting major climate change regulations that could lead to even steeper cuts in carbon pollution than those being considered by the Obama administration.

Benefits Of Carbon Use Far Outweigh Its Costs
Roger Bezdek and Paul Driessen – Investor’s Business Daily
The Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies say fossil fuel and carbon dioxide emissions cause “dangerous global warming.” Their latest strategy for advancing this thesis involves estimating the “social cost of carbon” — monetized damages associated with alleged climate risks.

Abbott Government Fails First Attempt to Repeal Carbon Tax as Labour, Greens Outnumber Coalition Votes
Reissa Su – International Business Times
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Coalition government have failed in its first attempt to repeal Australia’s carbon tax. The Australian Labour Party and the Greens used their numbers to their advantage in the Senate to block the carbon tax repeal with 33 votes against 29.

Natural Gas/Coal

The New Future for American Coal: Export It
John W. Miller – The Wall Street Journal
For Consol Energy Inc., CNX -0.26% a key to profiting from its coal is the sprawling terminal more than 200 miles from its mines on the Chesapeake Bay.
At 8:20 on a recent morning, a ship loaded with 134,000 tons of the combustible black rocks embarked from the terminal and headed to South Korea, where they will be fed into blast furnaces belonging to Posco, the world’s fifth largest steelmaker.

Natural gas industry backing Congress’ efforts to speed exports, help Ukraine
Joseph Weber – Fox News
The U.S. natural gas industry is backing Capitol Hill efforts to get the Energy Department to expedite gas sales overseas in a bid to undercut Russian influence, saying the U.S. government has dragged its feet.

$629M natural-gas project proposed
Morgan Lee – U~T San Diego
Southern California’s natural gas utilities are pushing for a major addition to the region’s pipeline backbone, warning of possible supply shortfalls in San Diego County if current trends continue.

U.S. approves Energy Transfer plan for natural gas pipeline to Mexico
U.S. energy regulators on Thursday approved a plan by a unit of Energy Transfers Partners LP to build a natural gas pipeline from Texas to Mexico.

Coal Burning Brightly as Demand Returns with Economic Upswing
Scott Cohn and Brad Quick – NBC News
The first thing you notice at the Spring Creek mine in Decker, Mont., is the size. It’s a sprawling, 9,000-acre site in Big Sky Country near the Wyoming line.
Giant coal hauling trucks the size of two-story buildings zip around the complex with surprising ease, considering the fact that they are carrying 255 tons of coal per trip.

Ruling Gives Natural Gas Edge to Replace Nuclear Energy in California
Ken Silverstein – Forbes
After the official retirement of California’s largest nuclear plant last June, many in the environmental community there were celebrating. Now that the state’s public utility commissioners have said that the state’s utilities can use natural gas to replace a portion of that lost power, they are far less sanguine.

No bidders for plant
John Pepin – The Mining Journal
The future of the coal-fired Presque Isle Power Plant remains uncertain after no bidders submitted proposals to buy the plant from the Wisconsin Electric Power Co. during a recent proposal solicitation effort.


Altus and Macquarie to Finance Land for Wind and Solar Power
Justin Doom – Bloomberg
Altus Power America Management LLC, a U.S. renewable-energy investment company, and Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) will invest as much as $100 million in a program to buy land that developers will use for large power projects and lease it back to them.

SSE-Backed Onzo Targets U.S. as Utilities Seek Energy-Use Data
Louise Downing – Bloomberg
Onzo Ltd., a U.K. company that gathers data on public energy consumption for utilities, plans to take its expertise across the Atlantic as the U.S. shifts smart-grid investment into software.

Sempra and Con Edison Sharing Ownership of Five U.S. Solar Farms
Justin Doom – Bloomberg
Sempra Energy (SRE) and Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) agreed to jointly own and operate five solar farms in California and Nevada that will have a total capacity of 360 megawatts.

Efficiency mark helps First Solar stock rise
Chip Towns – The Blade
Wednesday was a good day for First Solar Inc.
First, the company announced it had set a world record for thin-film module efficiency at its Perrysburg Township plant.
Then the firm revealed its financial expectations for the next few years, which caused its stock price to soar.

First Solar Seeks More Rooftops as Utility Plants Shrink
Christopher Martin – Bloomberg
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the largest U.S. solar-panel maker, is boosting its efforts to install systems at industrial sites and warehouses as utilities demand smaller solar farms.
Pursuing smaller projects and customer-sited systems may increase sales as much as 36 percent over the next three years, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hughes said at an analyst event in New York yesterday.

Hanwha Solar to Develop 100 Megawatts of Rooftop Power in China
Justin Doom – Bloomberg
Hanwha SolarOne Co. (HSOL), the China-based photovoltaic manufacturing unit of South Korea’s Hanwha Group, agreed to develop 100 megawatts of rooftop power systems in eastern China.

China’s ET Solar Plans $250 Million Power-Plant Unit IPO in U.S.
ET Solar Group, a Chinese solar-panel maker, plans an initial public offering for its project-development unit in the U.S. to raise $250 million.


Veolia May Offer Desalitech Systems in Mexico Partnership
Rachel Layne – Bloomberg
Desalitech Ltd., a developer of desalination and industrial water-treatment technologies, signed a memorandum of understanding with Veolia Environnement SA (VIE) that may lead to using its reverse-osmosis systems in Mexico.

World Bank approves funds to study Congo’s Inga dam
The World Bank’s board on Thursday approved a $73 million grant to help the Democratic Republic of Congo develop an expansion of the Inga hydroelectric dam, potentially the largest hydropower site in the world.


Wildcatters Rush Spindletop in Return to East Texas Oil
Bradley Olson and David Wethe – Bloomberg
From the storied King Ranch near the Mexican border to the 1901 Spindletop well in East Texas– the most famous gusher of all time–oil companies are returning to their old stomping grounds in search of the next big find.

LED light bulb prices projected to match CFLs by 2020
Tom Knox – Columbus Business First
If you were one of those people recently snatching up traditional incandescent light bulbs, there’s bad news for you: More-efficient lighting is only going to get cheaper.



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