Lead Stories

For Storing Electricity, Utilities Push New Technologies
Cassandra Sweet and Rebecca Smith – The Wall Street Journal
From backyard tinkerers to big corporations, inventors have been struggling to find a way to store solar, wind and other renewable energy so it can furnish electricity when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.
Now California is offering businesses a big incentive for success—contracts that the utility industry estimates could total as much as $3 billion for successful, large-scale electricity-storage systems.
**JK – It is a momentous and rare occassion when The Wall Street Journal covers energies other than coal, oil or natural gas. Till next year, WSJ.

Report: UK “not acting alone” with climate legislation
James Murray – Business Green
The global reach of legislative efforts to tackle climate change will again be highlighted today with the publication of a new report assessing how the UK’s climate change policy landscape, and in particular its fourth carbon budget, compares with action in other countries.
**JK – Leading can be a lonely experience.

Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Spilling Beyond Borders And Into Natural Gas Markets
Ken Silverstein – Forbes
The Russian and Ukrainian conflict is about freedom — not just to political expression but also to explore new economic ties with the western world, which includes finding additional access to lucrative natural gas supplies.
**JK – If they say it ain’t about the gas, it’s about the gas.

Shifting energy trends blunt Russia’s natural-gas weapon
By Steven Mufson – Washington Post
Russia flexes its military might at its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, Moscow has another weapon that it has wielded against Ukraine in the past: natural gas supplies.

First of Tony Abbott’s bills to scrap carbon tax defeated in Senate
Australian Associated Press – (via The Guardian)
The first of the Abbott government bills to scrap the carbon tax has been defeated in the Senate.
Legislation to dismantle the Climate Change Authority was knocked back in the upper house on Monday by Labor and the Australian Greens.
**JK – Let the dismantling begin. Another free-market falling behind China.

How’s wind energy doing compared with other forms of renewable energy?
Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss – The Ridgefield Press
Hydroelectric sources of power dwarf other forms of renewable energy, but wind power has been a dominant second for years, and continues to show “hockey stick” growth moving forward. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), global cumulative installed wind capacity — the total amount of wind power available — has grown fifty-fold in less than two decades, from just 6,100 megawatts (MW) in 1996 to 318,137 MW in 2013.

Exxon Mobil CEO welcomes fracking, but not water tower in his backyard
Marice Richter – Reuters
It’s not every day that the chief executive of the largest U.S. energy company joins a lawsuit opposing a new water tower planned in his neighborhood that could support fracking.

Buffett: Climate change not causing more disasters
Warren Buffett says the rate of disasters that Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance companies see hasn’t changed because of extreme weather.
Buffett said on CNBC Monday that he hasn’t made any change in the way he calculates the likelihood of a catastrophe because of climate change.

Can small retailers make shopping for green energy more like buying milk?
Sarah Shemkus – The Guardian
Unlike other products, electricity options don’t sit side-by-side on store shelves. American Efficient is partnering with local shops to show consumers their choices.

Hundreds of Keystone protesters arrested outside White House
Mario Trujillo – The Hill
More than 300 people protesting the building of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline were arrested outside the White House on Sunday, according to multiple reports.
The protesters, many of them college students, began their protest at Georgetown University before making their way to the White House, with some tying themselves to the outer gates.

Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’ sets off 4-state bidding war
Chris Woodyard – USA TODAY
Tesla Motors has set off a bidding war among four states wrangling to become the site of the electric car maker’s proposed giant battery plant.
With the company’s high-tech sheen, projected investment of $4 billion to $5 billion and planned 6,500 direct jobs, Tesla’s “Gigafactory,” as the company calls it, is one of the biggest economic development plums on the horizon.


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


Energy firms call for urgent carbon market action
Four Fortune 500 companies have written to the UK’s energy minister, Ed Davey, calling for the rapid cancellation of two billion carbon allowances as EU energy and environment ministers begin two days of high-stakes policy talks in Brussels.

Tony Abbott singles out carbon tax as the main cause of Qantas woes
Lenore Taylor – The Guardian
Tony Abbott – who is considering removing legislated foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas – claims Labor is threatening the airline’s ability to “still call Australia home” because it won’t repeal the carbon tax.
Yep, according to the Abbott government’s political argument on Monday, it’s the carbon tax that is the main cause of Qantas’s woes.

Carbon regulation burden heaviest on poor
Clifton B. Parker – Phys.org
The heaviest burden for climate change regulation costs falls on people – especially lower income groups – and not corporations, according to new Stanford research.
The reason is that companies ultimately pass on those costs to people. For the poor, basic necessities take up a bigger chunk of the budget than for the rich.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuel

Violations issued against Duke for coal ash spill
Michael Biesecker – Associated Press
North Carolina regulators issued notice to Duke Energy on Friday that the company will be cited for violating environmental standards in connection with a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge.

Biting Back at Natural-Gas Bears
Liam Denning – The Wall Street Journal
“Rising production curbs prices” is the energy market equivalent of “dog bites man.” But what if it doesn’t?
Investors have seen this paradox already in oil. Bakken shale barrels have suffered sometimes big discounts on their oil even as prices on output nearer the Gulf of Mexico coast have remained high. The reason: Logistical constraints make it harder to get those Bakken barrels to market.

Is natural gas the energy of the Future?
Kevin Kersten – NASDAQ
Chesapeake Energy ( CHK ) s the one of the top natural gas companies in the United States. Chesapeake leases and drills for the natural gas and the oil that keep your home and your family warm. It has been an exceptionally cold winter across the U.S., which has doubled gas prices and helped natural gas companies this winter.

Green gas subsidies to be reviewed
Business Green
The government plans to review subsidy payments to large green gas plants, amid concerns they could be overcompensated.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced late last week that following initial analysis it has concluded tariffs for biomethane plants may be too high, which could eat into the available budget for payments to other technologies under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Success of Israel’s new natural gas deals hinges on fluctuating regional conditions
Alex Traiman – JNS.org
In early 2014, the partners controlling the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields off the northern coast of Israel have signed supply contracts with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, establishing the Jewish state as a formidable regional energy supplier in the Middle East.

Vt. loves renewable energy, except when it arrives
Dave Gram, Associated Press (via SFGate)
Getting energy from the sun, wind and forests fits with Vermont’s sense of itself as clean, green and independent. But when it comes time to build and live with the projects that make it possible, things can get complicated.
The state’s own comprehensive energy plan contemplates a future of electric cars and renewable sources providing 90 percent of its energy needs. And Vermont was recently rated No. 1 in solar industry jobs per capita.


UK solar and wind could gain £200 million investment from The Renewables Infrastructure Group
Lucy Woods – Solar Power Portal
The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) is hoping to increase its solar and wind assets by up to £200 million of investment a year.
Chris Copperwaite, from investment services firm Dexion Capital, TRIG’s administrator, confirmed the figure with PV Tech’s sister site Solar Power Portal.

LePage wants to get rid of state’s wind-power goals
Alanna Durkin – The Associated Press (The Portland Press Herald)
More than five years ago, Maine set ambitious goals to spur wind power development aimed at helping wean the state off fossil fuels. But now Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the targets don’t really help the state and are so far out of reach as to be meaningless, so why have them?

Wizard of wind power: Entrepreneur bets he can make alt energy pay
Nicholas Sakeleris – Dallas Business Journal
The chairman and CEO of Tri Global Energy, a Dallas-based wind-farm company, Billingsley’s on the verge of harnessing wind power and bringing it to North Texas under an untested model.


Federal Water Tap, March 3: California Dam, Alaska Mine, Lake Erie Algae
Circle of Blue
Building a long-debated reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Fresno would improve river habitat for salmon but would provide little additional water for farmers and cities, according to a Bureau of Reclamation feasibility report.

Drought Fuels Rising Tide of Texas Water Conservation
Bobby Magill – Climate Central
Texans learned three years ago what exceptional drought possibly aggravated by climate change looks like: 4 million charred acres of land, thousands of burned homes and water supply reservoirs dry or draining fast.
As the drought wears on, a culture of water conservation has risen with it, especially in San Antonio and Austin.


Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness Projects
http://jlne.ws/1hC0ntH (PDF)


Tim Cook advises climate change deniers to get out of Apple stock
Nick Statt – C|Net News
At Apple’s annual shareholder meeting Friday, Cook shot down the suggestion from a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based think tank that Apple give up on environmental initiatives that don’t contribute to the company’s bottom line.

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