A futuristic edition today: in the near future, for the mid-term elections, swing states voters back climate action, according to a poll, while in the longer term, more and more solar panels should appear on rooftops, leading the way to grid parity in 50 US states by 2016 – up from just 10 now. In the meantime, investors who bought small shale companies’ shares will have to deal with declining oil prices, as the decline defeats the purpose of (costly) fracking.

Quote of the day

“The market is selling all of these companies, even if it’s clear that $75 a barrel oil is not going to affect every company the same.”

Mike Breard, an analyst who works on the Hodges Small-Cap fund, part of Dallas-based Hodges Capital, in the Reuters’ story Oil price declines have small-cap shale investors scrambling

Lead stories 

Oil price declines have small-cap shale investors scrambling
David Randall, Reuters  
Plummeting oil prices are pushing some of the small-cap companies which flourished as part of the U.S. shale energy boom close to their breaking point, while also prompting some well-known fund managers to aggressively buy energy stocks.

Poll: Swing-state voters back climate action
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A majority of voters in swing states prefer a candidate that wants to take action on climate change and curb carbon pollution, according to a new poll.

Solar Grid Parity In All 50 US States By 2016, Predicts Deutsche Bank
Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy 
Rooftop solar PV will reach grid parity in 50 US states by 2016 – up from just 10 now – setting the scene for a dramatic increase in the uptake in household and commercial rooftop solar in the world’s biggest economy.

Experts: Reducing Carbon Emissions And Increasing Grid Reliability Are Doable
Ken Silverstein, Forbes
With the Clean Power Plan out for comment, a lot utilities are scurrying to figure out their game plan — or just how they would work with their state utility regulators to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, from a 2005 baseline.

Renewables & Energy Efficiency Responsible For 70% Of Carbon Emission Drop Since 2007 
James Ayre, Clean Technica
Renewable energy development and implemented energy efficiency measures are responsible for 70% of the the drop in US carbon dioxide emissions seen since 2007 (when a slow decline began), according to a new report from Greenpeace.

Russia-Ukraine gas deal secures EU winter supply
BBC News
Russia has agreed to resume gas supplies to Ukraine over the winter in a deal brokered by the European Union. The deal will also ensure gas supplies to EU countries via Ukraine are secure.

(Australia’s) Clean Energy Finance Corporation told to prepare for its demise 
Lenore Taylor,
The Abbott government has instructed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to prepare its accounts for the upcoming mid-year economic statement on the basis that it will stop making investments on 31 December and cease to exist on 30 June next year.

U.K. Green Bank Mobilizes $8 Billion for Clean Energy
Alex Morales, Bloomberg News
The U.K. Green Investment Bank mobilized 5 billion pounds ($8 billion) of total spending on carbon-cutting technology in the two years since starting up. 
***LB: Also in this story “The Green Investment Bank has invested about 1.6 billion pounds in 37 projects around Britain, with companies putting in 3.7 billion pounds.”

Brazil Auction Seen Driving $1 Billion Solar Investment
Vanessa Dezem, Bloomberg News
Brazil’s first national energy auction with a specific category for power generated from sunlight may spur as much as $1 billion in investment in solar power.
***Also in this story “Brazil’s Electric Energy Trading Board, known as CCEE, may buy as much as 2 gigawatts of renewable energy in the event today, and 500 megawatts must come from solar power, according to three analysts.”


U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference 
The U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference presents data, analysis and expert forecasting on the state of the solar market in the U.S.
Dec. 8 – 10, 2014
San Diego, CA 


California’s carbon market is leaking 
David Roberts, Grist
California’s landmark climate policy program — AB32, passed in 2006 and defended from ballot attack in 2010 — includes, among other measures, a statewide cap-and-trade system. The carbon market established by AB32 is now up and running.

Hydropower May Be Huge Source of Methane Emissions 
Bobby Magill, climate central
Imagine nearly 6,000 dairy cows doing what cows do, belching and being flatulent for a full year. That’s how much methane was emitted from one Ohio reservoir in 2012.

Natural gas / coal

Oil Rout Seen Diluting Price Appeal of U.S. LNG Exports
Ann Koh and Christine Buurma, Bloomberg News
Oil’s collapse is eroding the appeal of potential U.S. LNG exports to Asia as it cuts the cost of competing supplies linked to the price of crude.

Goldman Sachs Cuts Thermal Coal Forecast Amid Cheap China Supply
Bloomberg News 
Thermal coal prices in Asia have limited scope to rebound from current levels as China shifts its economy away from energy-intensive growth and reduces imports of the fuel, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Oil lobby: Fracking saved Americans $248 billion last year
Benjamin Goad, The Hill
Hydraulic fracturing saved Americans almost $250 billion last year, according to a report issued by the oil and gas industry Thursday as part of a move to ratchet up the fight against looming regulations meant to restrict “fracking.”

Microbe could turn gas into gold 
Jamie Morton, The New Zealand Herald
A husband and wife team could help change the way products as common as car tyres are made by recycling chemicals from greenhouse gases.

US gas prices driven more by international crude
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
The Energy Department’s top analysts said on Thursday that when it comes to U.S. gas prices, the most “important” determining factor is the international price of crude oil, not domestic oil.

Argentina seeks its own shale boom
Benedict Mander, Financial Times
Argentina’s congress on Thursday approved reforms to a hydrocarbons law that are aimed at replicating the shale boom in the US by luring foreign investment into its vast but largely undeveloped Vaca Muerta shale reserves.


Electricity project linking Quebec and New York clears hurdle 
Mike De Souza, Reuters
A major electricity transmission project linking the Canadian province of Quebec with New York City has cleared a significant hurdle, opening the door to construction within a year, the executive behind the proposal said on Thursday.

U.S. Solar Panel Maker to Add 200 Jobs and Expand Its Plant
Diane Cardwell, The New York Times
SolarWorld Americas, the Oregon-based module manufacturer whose bitter trade dispute with China led to steep tariffs on imports from that country, announced a $10 million expansion of its plant on Thursday because of increased demand.

Power storage group Alevo plan 1bn US battery plant 
Suzanne Goldenberg,
Could a long-vacant cigarette factory in North Carolina build the rechargeable battery that will unlock the future of the clean energy economy?

DOE pushing efficiency rules for ceiling fan lights
Tim Devaney, The Hill
The lights on ceiling fans are the latest household appliance that could be facing new efficiency rules from the Department of Energy.

Clean tech

EU car makers already beating 2015 emission targets
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
Car makers have hit CO2 emissions goals several years ahead of their deadlines, according to updated data from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

UK unveils first commercial-scale green hydrogen fuelling station
James Murray, BusinessGreen
Are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles zero emission? They certainly emit nothing but water vapour when they are driven, but what about the energy required to produce the hydrogen?


California’s Brown Pushes Water Bond as Election Nears
Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg News
California Governor Jerry Brown is devoting the final days of what may be his last campaign for office promoting two ballot initiatives rather than himself. 
***LB: Also in this story “Proposition 1 would authorize $7.5 billion in general-obligation bonds for water supply infrastructure, drinking water protection and watershed restoration.”

Earth’s Major Aquifers Are in Trouble
Circle of Blue
Groundwater reserves are falling, but little is known about how much water is left.

Better Water Management Needed to Eradicate Poverty
Torgny Holmgren, IPS
It demands repetition: water is a precondition for all life. It keeps us alive – literally – while being a prerequisite for or integral part of most of our daily activities.


Russia: Court Rules Against Tycoon
Andrew Roth, The New York Times
A Moscow court on Thursday ruled in favor of nationalizing a Russian billionaire’s majority stake in the oil producer Bashneft, one of the country’s largest private oil companies.

Regreening program to restore one-sixth of Ethiopia’s land
John Vidal,
Fifteen years years ago the villages around Abrha Weatsbha in northern Ethiopia were on the point of being abandoned.

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