Ukraine is back on the frontline. Vladimir Putin’s warning that Russia will stop supplying gas to Ukraine if it doesn’t pay its debt has Europe worried – and the US upset. Also in today’s edition, many ramifications of this crisis, with the Baltic states at the ready to import more gas and a silver lining to the cloud: how the Ukraine crisis could help clear Beijing’s smog. If you need to relax over the weekend, watch “Years of Living Dangerously,” a nine-part documentary beginning Sunday on Showtime and chronicling the human impact on the global climate and the consequences for humans of climate change.
Quote of the day
“We condemn Russia’s efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine.”
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, in the Reuters’ story U.S. accuses Russia after Putin warning on gas supplies to Europe
Europe supply in jeopardy as Putin warns of Ukraine gas cut
Jack Farchy in Moscow and Joshua Chaffin, The Financial Times
Vladimir Putin warned that Russia was poised to halt gas supplies to Ukraine – placing European customers in jeopardy – unless immediate action was taken to resolve Kiev’s unpaid bills.
***LB: Also in the story “Kiev on Friday announced it had signed a contract with Westinghouse Electric Company, based in the US, to extend the supply of nuclear fuel to Ukraine’s 15 atomic power plants until 2020, thereby reducing the country’s dependence on Russian sources.”
U.S. accuses Russia after Putin warning on gas supplies to Europe
Alexei Anishchuk and Bill Trott, Reuters
President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that Russian gas supplies to Europe could be disrupted if Moscow cuts the flow to Ukraine over unpaid bills, drawing a U.S. accusation that it is using energy “as a tool of coercion”.
Baltic states use Ukraine crisis to boost LNG import capacities
Henning Gloystein, Reuters
Spurred by the Ukraine crisis, the Baltic region is fast-tracking plans to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, hoping to drastically cut Moscow’s grip on the region’s supply. http://jlne.ws/1efW8Ff
Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine
Naomi Klein, The Guardian
The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe.
How the Ukraine Crisis Could Help Clear Beijing’s Smog
Bruce Einhorn, Bloomberg Businessweek
Vladimir Putin’s land grab in Ukraine has led to Russia’s worst crisis with the West since the end of the Cold War, but it may have one favorable consequence for people far away from Crimea. With Russia’s lucrative exports of natural gas to Europe now threatened, Putin needs to find new customers to the East—and that could mean the smog-choked residents of Beijing and other Chinese cities may be able to breathe a little more easily.
Arctic gas project backs political strategy as Russia turns east
Denis Pinchuk, Reuters
On the Arctic tundra far to the north of Moscow, Russia is charting a course away from the West and towards Asia. In Yamal – which in the local Nenets language means “the end of the earth” – a $27 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) scheme is assuming major political as well as economic significance.
Ukrainian Crisis Not Wasted by Washington Lobbyists
By Brian Wingfield, Bloomberg
A lot of Washington interest groups owe Russian President Vladimir Putin a big thank you. Putin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last month is being cited in Washington as a reason to do everything from building an oil pipeline to accelerating private space flight and even boosting the export of liquefied natural gas.
Shell drops innovative Norwegian subsea gas project
Royal Dutch Shell has dropped an innovative project to provide compression for a major Norwegian gas field without the need for a platform, dealing a blow to a technology that some hope could revolutionize offshore production.
California Lawmakers Advance Bills to Stop Fracking
Carolyn Whetzel, Bloomberg
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water Quality advanced measures April 8 seeking to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities at oil and gas fields in California and to update the state’s oil spill response program to address the risks of importing crude oil by rail.
UN: greenhouse gas emissions nearly doubled in first decade of 21st century
Suzanne Goldenberg, theguardian.com
Greenhouse gas emissions grew nearly twice as fast over the past decade as in the previous 30 years, bringing the world closer to warming that will bring dramatic and dangerous changes to the climate, according to a leaked draft of a United Nations’ report.
UK to lead new climate finance ‘lab’
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
The UK is at the forefront of a new international climate finance ‘lab’ designed to spur private sector investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries. http://jlne.ws/1geCswR
***LB: Also in this story “Over $9bn worth of green bonds were issued in the first quarter of this year, compared to $10bn in the whole of 2013, with Spanish utility Iberdrola the latest issuing corporation.”
Senate Dems want answer from Obama on Keystone
Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama, The Hill
And the war rages on: A group of Senate Democrats threw down the gauntlet on Keystone XL Thursday. In a letter to President Obama, 11 Senate Democrats led by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) urged the president to set a hard and fast timeline for his decision on the $5.4 billion project.
Interior moves to standardize oil and gas permits on federal lands
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The Interior Department released a strategy document Thursday that it said will create certainty and predictability for oil, natural gas and other energy developers using federal land while taking a “landscape-scale” approach to mitigating impacts.
Hollywood heavyweights put climate change manifesto on TV
Piya Sinha-Roy, PlanetArk
As temperatures continue to rise and habitats come under threat, a group of Hollywood heavyweights is seeking to bring the spotlight back on climate change with a new documentary. “Years of Living Dangerously,” a nine-part documentary beginning Sunday on CBS Corp’s premium cable network Showtime, chronicles the human impact on the global climate and the consequences for humans of climate change.
US energy boom benefits allies, DOE official says
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The recent domestic oil and natural gas production surge has brought increased energy security not just for the United States, but also for its allies and trading partners, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said.
Africa: New Global Scorecard Aims to Promote Urban Development Without Cars
Samuel Mintz, AlertNet
Researchers have launched a new international standard and scorecard aimed at persuading planners, designers and architects to develop urban communities that encourage people to walk, cycle or take public transport – anything but drive.
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Nuclear industry says weak carbon price justifies state funding
FORATOM, which represents Europe’s nuclear industry, said new atomic power generation will need financial support as long as carbon prices are low and hit back at EU regulators’ criticism of funding for a plant to be built by EDF.
Liberty hits carbon neutral target
Gabriel Savage, the drinks business
Liberty Wines is claiming to be the first UK wine distributor to become certified as carbon neutral. The company, which imports more than 200 producers from across 17 countries, began work on this goal last year, a decision which managing director David Gleave attributed to two main reasons.
Germany seeks arrest of Briton in carbon trading scam
Frankfurt prosecutors on Thursday sought the arrest of a British national in connection with suspected tax fraud worth 58 million euros ($80 million), widening a carbon trading probe that has also drawn in Deutsche Bank.
Brazil Sees Promise, But Need For New Funding Source For REDD
Brazilian company Natura caused quite a stir in the global carbon markets in 2013 when it engaged in a first-of-its-kind deal to purchase 120,000 tons of carbon offsets from a project developed by the Paiter-Suruí indigenous community in the Amazon under the Verified Carbon Standard’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) methodology.
Growing Cities without Growing Emissions
Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace
Over the next few decades, the hustle and bustle of cities will only intensify, with the urban population projected to double from 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion in 2050.
Polish ‘ash-to-cash’ company looks for U.S. partner
Marcin Goettig, Reuters
A Polish company that turns waste ash from coal-fired plants into a valuable raw material is on the hunt for a U.S. investor to help it expand, although Russia’s stand-off with Ukraine may deter potential partners for now.
Power, gas retailer Glacial Energy files for bankruptcy protection
Electricity and natural gas retailer Glacial Energy Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday with the intention to sell its assets to repay its debts. http://jlne.ws/R8HVQB
Chile’s GasAtacama has US LNG providers lined up, awaits miners
Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters
GasAtacama, energy provider to metal producers in Chile’s Atacama desert, has lined up eight potential U.S. natural gas suppliers for a proposed import terminal on its Pacific Coast, but uncertainty about energy demand has delayed deals, CEO Rudolf Araneda told Reuters on Thursday.
Lawmakers weigh growing absence of coal
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A Senate panel on Thursday questioned the impact of the Obama administration’s climate rules on the reliability and security of the electric grid.
Gas Carousel Making Spain Europe’s Biggest LNG Exporter
Anna Shiryaevskaya and Julia Mengewein, Bloomberg
Spain overtook Norway last month to become the region’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. The southern European nation has never produced any of the fuel. http://jlne.ws/1lPp5rK
British Gas to pay £5.6m in penalties following Ofgem ruling
Michael Kavanagh, The Financial Times
British Gas is to pay £5.6m in penalties after regulator Ofgem ruled that Britain’s biggest energy supplier had unfairly blocked business customers from switching to rivals. http://jlne.ws/1efSTOb
IKEA starts to assemble US wind portfolio
IKEA has purchased a 98MW wind farm in Illinois, its largest single green energy investment to date, as the company continues its push to be energy independent by the end of the decade. http://jlne.ws/1efJbLM
***LB: Also in this story “The wind farm is the latest in a $2bn program of clean energy investments by the IKEA Group, which last year produced 1,425GWh from renewable sources to meet 37 per cent of its energy.”
Eskom Seeks to More Than Double Ugandan Power Plants It Manages
Fred Ojambo, Bloomberg
The Ugandan unit of South African utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which manages plants generating almost half of the East African nation’s electricity, said it wants more than double the capacity it runs in the country.
Tropical islands poised to benefit from ocean power
Island nations in the developing world are especially well placed to benefit from technology that exploits a new potential source of energy from sea water: ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), experts have said.
***LB: Also in this story “For example, French defence firm DCNS Group aims to start building an OTEC plant on the Caribbean island of Martinique this year, to be completed by 2016. The company already has a prototype plant on Reunion in the Indian Ocean.”
OIG: Threats to power grid should have remained classified
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Federal energy regulators leaked sensitive information on specific locations where the nation’s electric grid is vulnerable to physical threats, according to a government watchdog report.
Suntech, Main Unit to Cooperate on Licensing and Sales
Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg
Suntech Power Holdings Co. struck a licensing agreement with its Wuxi Suntech Power Co. unit, which is in the process of being acquired after being pulled into bankruptcy last year.
South Africa Needs $1 Billion to Make Toxic Water Potable
Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg
South Africa needs to spend as much as $1 billion to make toxic water leaking from abandoned mine shafts drinkable, the Department of Water Affairs said. http://jlne.ws/1hFKb6E
Suez mulls acquisitions in water treatment for oil and gas sector
Geert De Clercq, Reuters
French waste and water group Suez Environnement will combine self-generated growth with small- to medium-size acquisitions, notably in the treatment of waste water for the oil and gas industry, the company said on Thursday.
Water Rationing Looms in Brazil City
Circle of Blue
An ongoing drought has raised the prospect of water rationing in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, Reuters reported. The city is home to 20 million people and will be one of the sites to host World Cup soccer games in June.