Lead Stories

World’s Largest Investors Launch Effort to Engage Global Stock Exchanges on Sustainability Reporting Standard for Companies
Peyton Fleming – Ceres
Sustainability advocacy group Ceres, in collaboration with BlackRock and other major institutional investors, today announced an initiative to engage global stock exchanges via the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) on a possible uniform reporting standard for sustainability reporting by all exchange members.

Germany’s $2.8 Billion Power Link With Norway Threatened
Brian Parkin and Stefan Nicola – Bloomberg
Talks between Germany and Norway about how to boost the trading of electricity from renewable sources are being held up by concerns that the power cable running under the North Sea won’t ever make money.

China’s smog-hit Hebei cuts loans to polluters -report
Banks in China’s smog-hit Hebei province last year turned down loan applications worth 12.3 billion yuan ($2.0 billion) in order to comply with new “green credit” policies designed to cut funding to polluting industries.

INTERVIEW: CME sees push into Europe, Asia energy markets as gaining momentum
Recent strength in the NYMEX Brent and DME Oman futures contracts volumes show that efforts by CME Group to crack the European and Asian markets are starting to reap rewards, a senior official with the exchange has told Platts, adding January’s listing of a new Brent/Oman spread contract had shown early promise for continuing and extending this trend.

SSE to Sell Power Assets, Split Retail From Wholesale Unit
Nidaa Bakhsh – Bloomberg
SSE Plc will freeze power and gas prices, legally split its retail and wholesale units, and sell assets as the U.K.’s second-largest energy supplier moves to head off government action against the “Big Six” utilities.

Plug Power Tumbles as CEO Says ‘Major Order’ Already Disclosed
Christopher Martin – Bloomberg
Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) shares tumbled as Chief Executive Officer Andrew Marsh said comments about a “major order” were misinterpreted and that the deal had been detailed on March 13.
“I didn’t tell them anything new,” Marsh said in an interview at Plug headquarters in Latham, New York, referring to a discussion with Marketwatch that was reported yesterday. “This is the same order I referred to on March 13.”

Regulators to decide solar vs. natural gas
David Shaffer – Star Tribune
Minnesota utility regulators are facing a controversial choice between solar power and natural gas as the favored energy to generate additional electricity for Xcel Energy Inc.’s 1.2 million customers in the state.


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


The Emerging Investor Language of “Carbon Asset Risk”
The Motley Fool
Last Thursday, ExxonMobil agreed to publish its plans to assess the risks climate change pose to its business model, making it the first oil and gas producer to do so. In exchange, a group of shareholders led by Arjuna Capital, a sustainable wealth management fund, and the advocacy organization As You Sow agreed to withdraw a shareholder proposal on the issue.

British Columbia Enacted the Most Significant Carbon Tax in the Western Hemisphere. What Happened Next Is It Worked.
Chris Mooney – MotherJones
Suppose that you live in Vancouver and you drive a car to work. Naturally, you have to get gas regularly. When you stop at the pump, you may see a notice like the one above, explaining that part of the price you’re paying is, in effect, due to the cost of carbon. That’s because in 2008, the government of British Columbia decided to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, enacting what has been called “the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far.”

Extracting carbon from nature can aid climate but will be costly-UN
Alister Doyle – Reuters
A little-known technology that may be able to take the equivalent of China’s greenhouse gas emissions out of the carbon cycle could be the radical policy shift needed to slow climate change this century, a draft U.N. report shows.

Carbon briefing: changing views on biofuels reflected in forthcoming climate report
Robin Webster – The Carbon Brief
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s new report, due to be launched next week, is likely to give a new and updated perspective on biofuels – reflecting a flood of research on their impact on natural systems in past years.

Shenzhen ends first year with carbon surplus
Companies covered by the carbon emissions trading scheme in China’s fast growing city of Shenzhen saw a surplus of 3 million permits in the first year of the market, vice mayor Tang Jie said, meaning around 10 percent of the allowances were unused.

Siemens hails “pragmatic and realistic” carbon price floor freeze
Jessica Shankleman – Business Green
As any politician knows, creating a policy that satisfies all types of businesses is near impossible. The business community is not a homogeneous entity and any legislation that helps one sector will undoubtedly hurt another.

2015 CO2 Allowance Allocation Information
Press Release – Regional Greenhouse Gas Intiative
The RGGI states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) today released CO2 allowance allocation information for CO2 allowance allocation year 2015.

Natural Gas/Coal

Why Is a Congressional Hearing on Natural Gas Being Organized by Former Natural Gas Lobbyists?
Lee Fang – The Nation
Today, the congressional Energy and Commerce committee’s  subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to hold a hearing on Representative Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) bill to force the Obama administration to approve all applications for new liquefied natural gas terminals used to export natural gas. A close look at the staffers involved with this particular subcommittee reveals that several have close ties to the LNG industry.

Yes, we can export natural gas and revive manufacturing
Marty Durbin – The Hill
As Senate and House committees hold hearings on the export of liquefied natural gas this week, it is notable that even in Washington’s hyper-partisan atmosphere, support for LNG exports is both bipartisan and bicameral. In addition, newspapers from across the country and across the political spectrum have written editorials encouraging Congress and the president to take the steps necessary to speed the approval process.

Natural Gas Gains as Inventory Drop May Widen Record Supply Gap
Christine Buurma – Bloomberg
Natural gas futures climbed for a second day in New York on speculation that government data may show a bigger-than-normal drop in stockpiles of the heating fuel, eroding supplies already at an 11-year low.

Buy Ahead of the Coal Comeback
We continue to believe coal equities are reflecting a much more onerous pricing and volume environment than we anticipate during 2014-2015. Longer term, improved thermal and coking-coal supply and demand dynamics should allow product pricing and volumes to return to a more-normalized level, supporting improved equity valuations.

How The U.S. Natural Gas Boom Just Caused More U.S. Coal Exports
Jeff Spross – ThinkProgress
Thanks to the natural gas boom, carbon dioxide emissions dropped in the United States. But those emissions savings were probably completely undone thanks to U.S. coal exports.
That’s the finding from new research by CO2 Scorecard, which looked at how the U.S. coal industry increase its exports in order to deal with the rise of natural gas in the nation’s power market.

Natural gas futures pull back as mild weather returns
Investing.com (via NASDAQ)
Natural gas futures pulled back from the previous session’s strong gains on Wednesday, after updated long-term weather-forecasting models called for a return of milder temperatures across most parts of the U.S.

German Chemical Giant BASF Benefits From Cheap U.S. Natural Gas [Audio]
Jackie Northam – NPR
Thanks to fracking, there is an abundance of natural gas at about a quarter of the European price. This influx of business may be good for the U.S., but it’s cause for concern for European leaders.

Metallurgical Coal Benchmark Falls to Six-Year Low, Doyle Says
Mario Parker and Arie Shapira – BloombergBusinessweek
The benchmark coking coal contract for the second quarter fell to the lowest level in six years, portending supply cuts for the steelmaking component.
Anglo American Plc (AAL) agreed to $120 a metric ton, down 16 percent from the $143 negotiated for the first quarter and the lowest since the April 2007 to March 2008 annual contract, Doyle Trading Consultants LLC, a Grand Junction, Colorado-based coal analytics company, said today.

Black Hills Corp. closes coal unit at Wyodak Neil Simpson complex in Gillette
Benjamin Storrow – Star-Tribune
Black Hills Corp. shuttered a unit at a coal-fired power plant outside Gillette last week, the latest in a series of moves by the Rapid City-based utility aimed at revamping its aging coal fleet.


Rising Utility Costs Lingering After Winter’s Chill Fades
Naureen S. Malik – Bloomberg
U.S. consumers got a glimpse of rising future utility bills during the winter as coal- and nuclear-plant shutdowns boosted reliance on natural gas.
Demand for gas, used to heat half of U.S. households and generate 27 percent of the nation’s power, reached records from New York to Los Angeles in January, sending regional prices to all-time highs.

Solar power eclipsed wind in 2013 and is set to keep rising
Mark Jaffe – The Denver Post
Solar power is set to eclipse wind as the best-financed, most-installed renewable energy source, says Clean Energy Trends 2014.
In 2013, more solar photovoltaic generating capacity was installed worldwide than wind power, according to the trend report by Clean Edge Inc. a clean-tech sector research advisory firm, with offices in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

High-profit Duke Energy singling out solar producers for fees
Lloyd Raleigh – News Observer
 It is hard to imagine that amid the disaster of the Dan River coal ash spill that Duke Energy would continue to pursue policies that perpetuate the “old energy” paradigm of pollute and profit, but that is exactly the utility’s response to North Carolinians who are going solar.

Rocky Mountain Power to build first solar farm in Utah
Tom Wharton – The Salt Lake Tribune
Rocky Mountain Power is preparing to build its first Utah solar farm.
The company announced Wednesday that it plans to build the farm at a still-undetermined location that will provide enough electricity for 500 homes through the use of 9,000 panels. It will be partially funded by the company’s Blue Sky program.

Gamesa Wins 25-Turbine Contract From China’s CGN Wind
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica (GAM) SA, Spain’s largest wind-turbine maker, won a contract to supply China’s CGN Wind Energy with 25 wind turbines.

Nordex Wins 25 Megawatts of Wind Turbine Orders From RES in U.K.
Stefan Nicola – Bloomberg
Nordex SE won 25 megawatts of wind-turbine orders from Renewable Energy Systems Ltd. in the U.K.

Appeals court upholds Brown County wind siting ruling
Green Bay Press Gazette
A Wisconsin appeals court upheld the state’s wind siting standards on Tuesday, ruling they’re valid even though regulators didn’t develop a report on how the regulations would affect the housing industry.


Clean Water Act proposal would protect more water sources in West
Neela Banerjee – The Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration proposed a long-awaited rule on Tuesday to clarify that the Clean Water Act protects wetlands near rivers and waterways fed by seasonal thaws and rains — a decision that could particularly shield water sources in the West.

UN: Growing demand will strain water and energy
AP (via USA Today)
Increasing demands for fresh water and energy will strain resources in nearly all regions, especially in developing and emerging countries undergoing rapid economic growth, a U.N. report says.
Richard Connor, lead author of the report, told a news conference Tuesday that water and energy supplies are interdependent because water is required to produce nearly all types of energy.

Arad Group Reports Record Results on Smart Water-Meter Sales
Randall Hackley – Bloomberg
Arad Group, a developer of smart water-meters that reduce waste and energy, reported record results in 2013 as sales increased 15 percent to $156.1 million on higher revenue from the U.S., Israeli and Spanish markets.

Toxic Chemical Dioxane Detected In More Water Supplies
Elizabeth Shogren – NPR
Earlier this year, a chemical spill in West Virginia forced officials to put a ban on drinking water that affected some 300,000 people. This also highlighted an unsettling truth: While officials test our drinking supply, they’re only targeting a few chemicals. Many contaminants go undetected.

Hyflux Sets Up Venture to Explore Nigeria Water Treatment Plants
Pooja Thakur – Bloomberg
Hyflux (HYF) Ltd., Singapore’s biggest publicly traded water company, has entered into a joint venture with Tolaram Corp. to explore opportunities for the development of water treatment plants in Nigeria.


Deal will let Tesla operate 3 Ohio stores
Dan Gearino – The Columbus Dispatch
After months of harsh words, the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association has reached a compromise with Tesla Motors that will allow the electric-car company to operate three stores in the state.


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