China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is trying to clean up its act. Today, it launched an emission exchange in the central province of Hubei. The exchange is the sixth of the seven regional carbon markets established by the Chinese government and the second largest.

Quote of the Day:

“We should not bend to economic blackmail, which is what the Chinese are doing.”

The vice-chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, in Euractiv’s story: “China’s trade war threats over aviation emissions “not serious”, MEPs say.”

Lead Stories

China’s Hubei launches market to cut carbon emissions
China’s Hubei province formally launched its carbon market on Wednesday, imposing caps on greenhouse gas emissions from 140 major energy and industrial emitters.
**LB – In the first few minutes of trading, 210,000 permits cleared on a trading screen visible to guests at the launch ceremony. The permits traded at 21 yuan ($3.38) each, the lowest in all six Chinese markets.

Energy Future Plan Said to Almost Wipe Out Owners KKR to TPG
By Richard Bravo and Beth – Bloomberg
KKR & Co., TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the firms that acquired Energy Future Holdings Corp. in the biggest-ever leveraged buyout, would be all but wiped out in a reorganization plan being discussed, said three people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
** Quote from the NRDC President Frances Beinecke back in 2007 on this deal.
“This turnaround marks the beginning of a new, competitive focus on clean, efficient, renewable energy strategies to deliver the power we need while cutting global warming emissions. It is a big step forward for the State of Texas and for the American energy economy as a whole.”

China’s trade war threats over aviation emissions “not serious”, MEPs say
As the Chinese president’s visit to the EU headquarters and capitals draws to an end, the European Parliament is expected to give its final say to the highly disputed issue of emissions trading scheme (ETS) in aviation on Thursday (3 April).

UK’s biggest coal miner on verge of collapse
Andrew Bounds, Financial Times
The largest coal miner in Britain was rescued last year by the Pension Protection Fund, which preserves the pensions of employees whose companies go bust. But it is on the brink of insolvency again.

Frankfurt prosecutors charge two in carbon fraud case
Frankfurt prosecutors on Wednesday said they have brought charges against two British citizens for tax fraud amounting to 31 million euros ($42.76 million) involving carousel trading of European Union carbon emissions certificates.

Google-owned Nest launches smart thermostat in the UK
Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
Nest, the US technology company bought by Google in January for $3.2bn (£2bn), is launching its hi-tech version of the humble thermostat in the UK.

Clean Tech

Can you make gasoline that slows down global warming? Google Ventures thinks so
Ben Popper, The Verge
Cool Planet, a startup headquartered in Colorado, announced a major $100 million round of financing today. Investors include a roster of big names including Google Ventures, BP, General Electric, and ConocoPhillips. Last month the company broke ground on its first commercial plant, located in Louisiana, and this new capital will go towards completing that infrastructure and building two more Louisiana facilities.


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


NRG looks to Apple, Google as it explores future business model
Edward Klump, E&E
With plants from California to New York, NRG Energy Inc. still has a big stake in generating power from fossil fuels. Just don’t expect David Crane to spend most of his time talking about it.
NRG’s chief executive officer is the prophet of change in the U.S. electric business. He touts the potential of solar installations. He warns of massive shifts in how power is produced and distributed. He praises Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for their customer relationships.

Japan Utilities Seek Government Lender’s Help as Fuel Costs Soar
Jacob Adelman, Bloomberg
At least two Japanese utilities are in talks with a state-owned lender to secure funding, as the industry faces a third year of losses following the Fukushima disaster of 2011.
The possibility of capital injections into Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. by the Development Bank of Japan Inc. comes as the government seeks to forestall electricity rate increases by utilities that could hinder the country’s fragile economic recovery.


Indian Demand for Clean-Energy Credits Almost Triples in March
Archana Chaudhary, Bloomberg
Indian demand for renewable-energy credits, used by power distributors and industrial electricity consumers to meet annual government goals for clean generation, almost tripled last month in the run-up to the fiscal year-end.

Natural gas/ Coal

In British Columbia, Mulling the Role of Natural Gas in a Sustainable Energy Future
Marianne Lavelle, National Geographics
British Columbia finds itself at the forefront of the global debate on natural gas, and its role in the future of energy. Some 15 energy company consortiums are vying to build massive export terminals on the Pacific coastline of Canada’s westernmost province, with an eye to shipping gas to energy-hungry Asia. British Columbia, in other words, is second only to the Gulf of Mexico in plans for establishing an international gateway for North America’s new energy riches.

BHP sees no near-term relief on coal prices
Top global miner BHP Billiton sees little improvement in coal prices in the near term as the market is likely to remain oversupplied for some time, its coal chief said on Wednesday.
Prices for metallurgical coal have slumped to around $105 a tonne from more than $300 in 2009, while thermal coal prices have dropped to $75 from highs around $130 in 2011, which has led producers to shut some mines, axe jobs and shelve projects.


Carbon market ‘hot air’ undermining EU’s climate strategy
Ed King, RTCC (Responding to Climate Change)
Billions of excess carbon allowances are undermining Europe’s emissions trading scheme and its efforts to address climate change.
That’s the finding of the Sandbag Climate Campaign, a London-based NGO which has calculated that over 2 billion excess carbon credits are now floating around the EU-ETS, driving down prices and reducing penalties for carbon polluters.

EU Carbon Pares Gains as Analysts Revise 2013 Emissions Estimate
Mathew Carr  – Bloomberg
Carbon permits pared gains as analysts said European Union data showed emissions from factories and power stations probably fell more than their predictions made earlier today.
The benchmark December carbon contract advanced 8.7 percent to 5.11 euros ($7.05) a metric ton on ICE Futures Europe in London. The futures had risen as much as 12 percent after the EU data was released.

Companies Try to Catch CO2 Before It Touches the Sky
John Lippert, Bloomberg News
Buoyed by gas, the fossil-fuel industry is trying to bask in a newfound green image.
LB – Also in the story: The country generated 28 percent of electricity with gas in 2013, up from 22 percent six years earlier, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

VIDEO: Cleaning Gas Enables C02 Sales to Oil Producers
The natural gas boom in the U.S., born of fracking and horizontal drilling, is a growing source of carbon dioxide, which more and more companies are trying to clean and capture. They then sell the CO2 to oil companies to help extract more oil from the ground. Bloomberg Markets magazine looks into this burgeoning industry in the May issue. (Source: Bloomberg)


California Mountain Snowpack Improves While Drought Persists
Michael B. Marois, Bloomberg
California storms have boosted the water held in mountain snow to about one-third of normal for this time of the year, though a drought gripping the most populous U.S. state persists despite recent rains.

As Snow Survey Reveals Drought Deficit, Californians Take Extraordinary Measures to Cope
Brett Walton, Circle of Blue – California’s snow reserves are just 32 percent of average, the lowest since 1988 and third lowest on record, according to official state measurements released this afternoon.
The nation’s most populous state is in the third year of a deep drought that is testing its ability to manage scarce water resources for 38 million residents and is forcing water managers to take extraordinary measures.

Detroit Water Tussle Avoided in Flint Pipeline Debt: Muni Credit
By Brian Chappatta and Chris Christoff – Bloomberg
The biggest Michigan municipal-bond sale since Detroit’s bankruptcy will allow another locality under emergency management to sever ties with the Motor City’s water and sewer system.
Flint, 68 miles (109 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, partnered with three nearby counties to form the Karegnondi Water Authority. The agency will use proceeds from yesterday’s $221 million tax-exempt debt offer to build a 63-mile pipeline to Lake Huron that by 2016 will wean more than 500,000 people from reliance on Detroit for water.


UK Lib Dems ‘block Conservative plan to halt new wind farms’
BBC News
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has vetoed a Conservative proposal to block future onshore wind farms, senior Lib Dem sources have told the BBC.
Wind turbines based on land produced about 5% of the UK’s power last year – enough electricity for about 4m homes.

Crimea spurs German rethink on energy policy
Current tensions with Russia over Ukraine have turned the spotlight on Germany’s heavy dependence on Russian gas and are pushing Europe’s biggest economy to reconsider its entire energy policy.
It is currently Germany’s aim to be able to meet as much as 80 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2050.

Oil-sands link to health concerns, report says
Kelly Cryderman, The Globe and Mail
 In one of the first reports to link oil-sands production to human health effects, a panel reporting to Alberta’s energy regulator says odours from a heavy oil site in the northwestern part of the province have the potential to cause health issues.

Tax extenders bill includes incentives for biofuels, energy efficiency
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The tax extenders bill proposed Tuesday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) includes a number of tax credits that incentivize the production of biofuels and various energy efficiency measures for vehicles and homes.
The credits expired at the end of last year.


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