Lead Stories

Threat from global warming heightened in latest U.N. report
Global warming poses a growing threat to the health, economic prospects, and food and water sources of billions of people, top scientists said in a report that urges swift action to counter the effects of carbon emissions.

***JB: Between 1991 and 2013 there were 13,950 peer reviewed scientific articles on “global warming” and/or “global climate change” of which 13,926 supported global warming (only 24 rejected it).  Now we can make that number 13,927.

No Democratic Civil War on Energy
Frances Beinecke – The Wall Street Journal
Kimberley Strassel’s “The Democratic Civil War Over Energy” (Potomac Watch, March 21) paints a picture of internecine warfare in the environmental community. It is more a conservative’s wish than reality.

***JB: “The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That’s the only difference.” ~Ralph Nader

Eni CEO Is Found Guilty in Pollution Dispute
Liam Moloney – The Wall Street Journal
An Italian court on Monday found Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of the biggest Italian company by market value, guilty of a crime of “inadequate environmental standards” while he served as CEO at utility Enel SpA. It sentenced him to a three-year prison term.

U.K. Green Investment Bank Puts $767 Million into Wind
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
The U.K. Green Investment Bank placed 461 million pounds ($767 million) into two wind farms off the British coast to help the developers recycle their cash back into new projects.

BlackRock Joins Investors in Flagging Barrier Reef Eco-Risks
James Paton and Elisabeth Behrmann – Bloomberg
The potential threats posed by coal and natural gas projects to the Great Barrier Reef are sparking everything from lawsuits to tweets from Hollywood stars.
They’re also prompting close scrutiny from investors as a global campaign against fossil fuels gains momentum.

Polish PM: EU should form energy union to secure supplies
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday the European Union should form an energy union to bolster its energy security and lessen its dependence on key gas supplier Russia whose annexation of Crimea has caused a tense stand-off with the West.

How the Wisconsin Winter Puts a Chill on Texas Oil Drilling
Alison Sider – The Wall Street Journal
Frigid temperatures in Wisconsin may be holding up oil and gas drilling in Colorado, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
The problem? A sand shortage.
Fracking for oil and natural gas relies heavily on sand. In the hydraulic fracturing process, sand, water and chemicals are pumped into the ground to break up dense rock and coax out more fuel. The sand acts like a stent, propping open tiny fissures that allow oil and gas to flow more freely to the surface.

Ballard Says Fuel Cell Resurgence No Bubble Repeat
Eric Lam and Gerrit De Vynck – Bloomberg
Ballard Power Systems Inc. (BLD) is poised to report the first profit in its 21-year history as a public company, evidence the fuel-cell maker isn’t heading for a repeat of the 2000 technology bust.

Merkel May Ease Cuts for Onshore Wind Power to Save Jobs
Stefan Nicola and Brian Parkin – Bloomberg
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government may scale back plans to cut support for the wind industry in a bid to appease regions concerned about job losses, the premier of the nation’s top wind state said.

PetroChina supplier Wison says unsure about staying in business
Shanghai-based Wison Engineering Services Co Ltd, a PetroChina supplier which earlier said its chairman had been arrested for alleged bribery, has reported a hefty loss for 2013 and expressed uncertainty about whether it can remain in business.


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


Clean Coal Test: Power Plants Prepare to Capture Carbon
National Geographic
Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, has been hailed for decades by some as an essential solution to the climate problem, and pilloried by others as unworkable and a dangerous distraction. This year, at last, it will be tested at full commercial scale. (See related, “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?” and photo gallery, “The Visible Impacts.”)

Natural Gas/Coal

Production Starts at China’s First Deep-Water Natural Gas Field
Simon Hall – The Wall Street Journal
China’s first deep-water natural gas field has started producing gas, marking a milestone in China’s efforts both to exploit energy reserves deep under the South China Sea and to increase use of the cleaner-burning fuel.

Snam, Fluxys to pool assets in European gas pipeline drive
Philip Blenkinsop and Stephen Jewkes – Reuters
Italy’s Snam and Belgium’s Fluxys have agreed to extend a joint venture to pool gas assets in Europe that could help create a more unified gas market across the continent and make it easier to trade gas.

Endesa Chile to buy out partner in Gas Atacama power complex
Electricity generator Endesa Chile said on Monday that it would assume full ownership of the Gas Atacama power project by buying the remaining 50 percent stake owned by private equity fund Southern Cross for $309 million in cash.

Shenhua Energy’s annual profit drops 9 pct on weaker coal prices
China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd , the country’s largest coal producer, posted a 9.3 percent fall in 2013 net profit, roughly in line with forecasts, as coal prices slid amid a slowing domestic economy.


NYSE Plans LDK Solar Delisting on ’Abnormally’ Low Price
Ehren Goossens – Bloomberg
The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of LDK Solar Co. (LDK)’s American depositary receipts and initiated proceedings to delist the Chinese solar manufacturer because of “abnormally low” prices.

UK seen saving 1 bln pounds/year if imports more European power
Britain could save 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) a year in electricity costs by 2020 by doubling its interconnector capacity with Europe, network operator National Grid said on Monday.

The Highest-Flying Wind Turbine
Brian Merchant – Motherboard
In far-flung rural Alaska, where electricity can cost as much as $1 per kilowatt hour—more than 10 times the national average, according to the New York Times—a wind turbine encased in a giant helium balloon is about to break a world record. The Bouyant Air Turbine (BAT) is about to be floated 1,000 feet into the air in the name of cleaner, cheaper, and mobile energy. That single airborne object—sort of a hybrid of a blimp, a kite, and a turbine—will power over a dozen homes.

Cool Planet Adds $50 Million in Equity to Build Biofuel Facility
Justin Doom – Bloomberg
Cool Planet Energy Systems Inc., a closely held U.S. biofuel developer, raised $50 million in equity financing to help complete its first production plant and expand research.
The $100 million Series D funding round also included an additional $50 million in debt that was raised earlier and has now been converted into equity, Chief Financial Officer Barry Rowan said in an interview today. Cool Planet has raised a total of $150 million, and there are no remaining convertible bonds.


China’s New Wager: Pulling Energy From the Ocean
Simon Hall – The Wall Street Journal
A race is under way to unlock one of the world’s biggest untapped sources of clean energy—the ocean—with China emerging as an important testing ground.
That could heighten competition with Western companies down the line, especially if Chinese businesses begin using technologies developed with joint-venture partners to expand rapidly.

Sabesp to Double Clients for Discounts to Avoid Rationing
Denyse Godoy – Bloomberg
Cia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest water utility, will double to 17 million the number of clients that get a discount on their bills to cut consumption and avoid an increase in rationing.

Aqua America Makes Second East Coast Area Deal of Year
Randall Hackley – Bloomberg
Aqua America (WTR) Inc., the second-largest publicly traded water company in the U.S. after American Water Works Co., purchased the Penn Township wastewater system in Chester County.

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