June 25, 2010

Here’s How Senate Dems DescribedTheir Next-Steps Meeting on Carbon Rationing Bill: "Inspirational." "Powerful."Our Favorite: "Thrilling!" But Nothing Actually Decided. E&E News (6/24,subs. req’d) reports, "Senate Democrats left their latest round of energy andclimate talks with what they hailed as a renewed sense of unity — and littleelse. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other party leaders called thisafternoon’s meeting "inspirational," "powerful" and even"thrilling" but conceded that Democrats had yet to rally around anyof the legislative proposals currently on the table. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)said Reid would ultimately take the lead in finding a compromise, but Sen. JoeLieberman (I-Conn.) said there had been discussion of creating a committee ofsenators to recommend what should be in the final draft. Despite the optimistictone from Democrats, few could offer any specific progress that had beenhammered out during the hourlong talks. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said theonly consensus was "to do some soul-searching to make sure that we knowwhat it is that we want to do."

Cash, Money, Foes: Enviros GetSet to Roll Out $11 Million Ad Campaign Aimed at Enforcing Purity on CarbonCriminalization Vote. Politico (6/24)reports, "Left-leaning advocacy groups are firing up an $11 million ad campaignto pressure a handful of swing-vote Democratic and Republican senators ahead ofnext month’s expected floor debate on comprehensive energy and climatelegislation. The League of Conservation Voters, the Service EmployeesInternational Union, the Sierra Club and the VoteVets.org Action Fund announceddetails Thursday. Ad scripts and video of the commercials won’t be releaseduntil they start airing on TV and other multimedia, likely next week. GeneKarpinski, president of LCV, said the ads will start with a focus on four orfive senators, though he declined to name names. The commercials will air overthe next month, referencing the Senate vote from earlier this month thatthreatened to strip EPA of its authority to write climate change rules andleading up to an expected Senate vote in July and then beyond it.  Karpinski said the ads would "praisethose who vote the right way and criticize those who vote with Big Oil."

Did You Know: The "DISCLOSE"Campaign Finance Act Passed by the House Yesterday Includes an EXPLICITEXEMPTION for the Sierra Club? E&E News (6/25,subs. req’d) reports, "The House yesterday passed campaign finance legislationthat would place heavy new disclosure requirements on the majority ofcorporations and advocacy groups, though it will avoid hitting one of the country’sbest-known environmental groups. The "DISCLOSE Act," which clearedthe House 216-206, will force many of the outside entities involved in electionactivities to identify themselves in election advertising and disclose theirtop donors. In a deal intended to help overcome opposition from the NationalRifle Association, the final bill exempts the NRA, along with the Sierra Club,the Humane Society, AARP and labor unions. "The House bill is not perfect– I would have preferred that it include no exemptions," Obama said in astatement. "The purpose of this bill, plain and simple, is to allowDemocrats to use their majority in this House to silence their politicalopponents," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). "This isa backroom deal to shred our Constitution for raw, ugly, partisan gain."

What Are You Doing Today atNoon? Interested in Standing on a Beach and Holding Hand with the Nearest AgingHippie to Protest the Responsible Development of Energy Offshore? Greenwire (6/24)reports, "It’s an opportunity for individuals and organizations and peopleof all walks of life to draw a line in the sand and say no" to moreoffshore oil drilling, Rauschkolb said. "Now is the time to start takingcontrol of our energy future and not leaving it to the oil industry to decideit for us." As of this morning, supporters had organized 742 events inplaces that include Australia, India, South Africa, Japan, South Korea,Greenland, Brazil, several spots in Europe and 678 places in the United States.Many events are on beaches. The hand-holding will start at noon local times,moving around the world "in a wave" that starts in New Zealand andends in Kauai, Hawaii, Rauschkolb said. In Washington, D.C., people will gatheron Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Though people have toldRauschkolb and other organizers they are attending, he said he has no way ofknowing how many actually will show up. The event’s name echoes the 1986 effort"Hands Across America." In that event, people in locations across thecountry held hands to raise money for charities working on hunger andhomelessness. There were disagreements about how many people actually attended,although they included such high-profile figures as then-President Reagan andHouse Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.). In Arkansas, then-Gov. Bill Clinton (D)joined in.

Here’s the Story You Don’t Hearon Shale Gas: Single-Handedly Responsible for SLASHING Utility Rates All Acrossthe Mid-Atlantic. ScrantonTimes-Tribune (5/18) reports, "After maintaining the state’s highestnatural gas rates for the better part of a year, UGI Penn Natural Gas announcedtwo rate cuts for 2010, delivering a double-digit decrease in consumers’ billnext heating season. Customers using 8.9 thousand cubic feet, or Mcf, of gasper month will see their bills fall from $121.70 per month to an estimated$101.82 per month as of December. The company will request two 14 percent cutsin the purchased gas cost rate, which is the wholesale cost of gas thatutilities pass to consumers. It accounts for about 70 percent of a customer’stotal bill. The first cut on June 1 will drive the rate down to $7.08 per Mcf.The company will follow that with a Dec. 1 cut to $6.09. It will be the lowestrate since 2002 and represent half of what natural gas rates peaked at inwinter of 2005-2006. With the development of shale gas, the cost of gas hasbeen plunging. Of the state’s 10 major natural gas utilities, the lowest rateas of April 1 was Columbia Gas’ $5.33 per Mcf, the result of a 29 percentdecrease from that utility. Eventually, gas from Pennsylvania will be usedlocally, said UGI spokesman Joe Swope. Tapping into Marcellus gatheringpipelines would reduce gas transportation costs for the utility and thecustomer. "Shale gas will fundamentally change the market," Mr. Swopesaid. "Some say we are entering an era of price stability."

Coming to America: Chinese ShaleGas Producer Inks Major Deal to Develop Clean-Burning Resource in BritishColumbia; Can USA Be Far Behind?Reuters(6/25) reports, "Encana Corp., Canada’s largest producer of natural gas, andstate-owned China National Petroleum Corp. agreed yesterday to negotiate ajoint venture to develop the Canadian company’s shale-gas properties innorthern British Columbia. The two signed a memorandum of understanding inOttawa that could see the Chinese oil company get a stake in Encana’s HornRiver and Montney properties, both in B.C. Randy Eresman, Encana’s chiefexecutive, said this month he would look for more partners to help develop thetwo unconventional natural gas fields as the company looks to double itsnatural gas production within five years. Indeed, CNPC would be the second Asianpetroleum company to team up with Encana. In February, Korea Gas Corp. pledgedUS$1.1-billion over five years for a stake in the two shale gas fields."With this potential CNPC joint venture, we would expect, upon successfulcompletion of a transaction, to lower costs … and tap natural gasopportunities that would otherwise remain dormant for some time," Mr.Eresman said.

Less than a Month After ObamaAdmin "Abstains" from Vote on South African Power Plant, Obama Votes NO on SameExact Plant Set for Installation in India. ClimateWire(6/25, subs. req’d) reports, "The U.S. Export-Import Bank yesterday denied $250million in loan guarantees to a coal-fired power plant and mine in India,averting a clash with environmental groups and marking what some analysts saycould become a green shift in the agency’s lending policy. The 2-1 vote was tonot move forward with financing for the Sasan mine and plant in Madhya Pradesh,India. The plant was the first major fossil fuel project to come before theEx-Im Bank since it was compelled to devise a climate change policy as part ofa lawsuit settlement. It comes on the heels of a bruising environmental fightat the World Bank over lending for a coal plant in South Africa, and just daysbefore President Obama meets Group of 20 leaders in Canada, where he will callfor eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. "President Obama has made clear hisadministration’s commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments andtoward a cleaner-energy future," Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said ina statement. "After careful deliberation, the Ex-Im board voted not toproceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmentalimpact."

Major Breakthrough on SolarPower Hits the News Wire: Company Boasts of Developing a Cell with anEfficiency Rating of a Whole 24 PERCENT; Wowzers. SunPower Corp. announces (6/24) in a pressrelease, "SunPower Corp. has announced the creation of a solar cell thatbreaks the world record with 24.2 percent electricity conversion efficiency.The cell was manufactured in the company’s Philippines plant and the U.S.Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab independently confirmedthe figure and the record.  BillMulligan, vice president of technology and development at SunPower, said"this new world record demonstrates SunPower’s ability to extend our leadin manufacturing the world’s highest efficiency solar cells."  SunPower’s landmark achievement comesat a critical time for the solar industry, with indicators pointing to bothenormous possibilities and huge pitfalls for the industry. Persistent questionsabout costs, threats to federal and state subsidies, and the high-profilecancellation of Solyndra’s IPO last week mark the general concern about priceand efficiency that dog solar power. SunPower is one of the higher-profilesolar power companies, and one of just a handful of publicly traded solarcompanies in America. However, its shares have not performed particularly well,falling to $13.67 after trading at a peak of over $130 a share in 2007 andnearly $100 in 2008.

Speak Your Mind


Anonymous says:
Your email has been received. Thank you for signing up.