November 12, 2010

Advice:Compromise on Energy will Compromise New-Found Republican Majority. E&E News (sub’s req., 11/12)reports, “President Obama and Republicans have repeatedly highlighted energy asan area where compromise and progress can be found over the next two yearsafter the tumultuous and partisan midterm elections. But the prospects for anyprogress will land squarely on the shoulders of a few Democratic and Republicansenators who can successfully negotiate and woo allies from the other party.But who will step up? Who has the political incentive to fill the leading andsupporting roles on energy and environmental policy to overcome the fallbackposition of gridlock? With the House dominated by Republicans, moststakeholders contend the finer art of negotiating smaller bipartisan energybills — or "chunks" — that can pass the Democratic upper chamberand obtain the president’s signature largely lies in the Senate. There are severalsenators primed to fill the starring roles, according to energy andenvironmental lobbyists. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energyand Natural Resources Committee, and his GOP counterpart on the committee –whoever that turns out to be — are a shoo-in for major roles. Despite passinga bipartisan energy bill out of the committee in 2009, Bingaman largely endedup playing a secondary role this year to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), JoeLieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as they led the Senate’sefforts on a climate and energy bill. The bill ultimately fizzled out, alongwith Kerry and Lieberman’s key roles on the issue.”

Big Wind’sResearch Arm, NREL, Out with New Study; Finds That Wind Industry will Create aFew Thousand of Temporary Construction Jobs, a Few Hundred Permanent.Casper Star-Tribune (11/11) reports, “For manyresidents and policymakers in Wyoming, wind energy is the future. But even aswind turbines have gone up around the state, and hundreds of thousands of acresare being eyed for future wind farms, there’s been very little hard data toindicate exactly how much Wyoming can benefit from the nascent industry. Thatis, until now. In a presentation at the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority’squarterly board meeting Tuesday in Cheyenne, Eric Lantz, a policy analyst atthe Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, painted a more detailedpicture about what Wyoming can expect to reap from its wind. Data from otherstates indicates that building Wyoming wind energy projects that total 9,000megawatts of electricity will create about 5,500 full-time-equivalent jobs inthe state in the construction industry alone, he said. However, that just meansthere will be enough paid work hours to equal the hours worked by 5,500full-time employees, he said — only a fraction of that number will bepermanent jobs. Erecting the wind turbines will create about 450 permanentworkers in the state, he said. While the wind energy industry will likely nevergrow to the size of Wyoming’s other energy resource industries — coal,oil and natural gas — it will help to even out the boom-bust cycle thoseother industries suffer from, Anderson said.

The BartonBackfire? Texas Lawmaker Distances Self/Staff from Anti-Upton Campaign. OurTake? We’re Just Glad there is an Interest in Energy, Finally.The Hill (11/11) reports, “Rep. JoeBarton (R-Texas) is denying that he has used opposition research in an effortto undermine a rival in the race for the chairmanship of the Energy andCommerce Committee. Media outlets have reported that Barton helped orchestratean anonymous analysis of Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) voting record thatconservative activists are using to argue Upton is too moderate to lead thecommittee. GOP sources have alleged that Barton is behind the effort, but hesays otherwise. “We haven’t done that,” Barton said Thursday. Barton told TheHill that he has had "some summaries" forwarded to him. “But that’sit, I’ve just seen them,” he said. “That’s not anything that I’ve compiled,that’s just out there.” He said that many groups are “looking at therecords" of those contending for top posts on Energy and Commerce andother major committees. “There apparently are lots of conservativeorganizations in the country that are very interested in the new RepublicanCongress and the positions that the Congress is going to take, and part of thatreview apparently is to look at some of the major committees,” he said. “I haveseen some stories about Fred’s voting record and a few about mine, but thevoting records are actually created by the members who do the votes,” Bartonsaid. “It is what it is.”

Sharp Shootin’Manchin Heads to DC, Holds Firm in Opposing Anti-Affordable Energy Policies. E&E News (sub’s req.11/12) reports, “Once you’ve shot a bullet through the climate bill, you can’ttake it back. Democrat Joe Manchin just won a West Virginia Senate seat bypromising to — among other things — block his party’s efforts to passcap-and-trade legislation, including in a now-famous television spot where heliterally shot the bill with a rifle. Now he is headed to Washington and has tofind his place among Democrats without alienating the voters who sent himthere. Manchin, the winner of a special election to replace the late Sen.Robert Byrd (D), will join the Senate for the lame-duck session, and Democratsinsist they have a spot for him. The party contains a broad spectrum ofopinions and that is part of its strength, said Alec Gerlach, a regionalspokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "Democrats don’t cast outother Democrats because of a litmus test," Gerlach said. "Joe Manchinis a Democrat, and he won his race running as a Democrat." On energyissues, Manchin may have dodged a bullet this week when President Obama saidDemocrats would drop their bid for a cap-and-trade bill. But Obama has promised"bite-sized" initiatives to deal with climate change, including arenewable energy standard. Manchin signed into law a renewable energy standardof his own last year as West Virginia’s governor, but it may not be the onethat Washington environmental groups are looking for. The bill called forutilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by2025, but those renewable sources include coalbed methane, waste coal, coalgasification and "tire-derived fuel."

With the Helpof American Taxpayers, Brazil’s Petrobras Making Historic Investment; $224Billion Over Next 5 Years. Bloomberg (11/12) reports,“Petrobras is investing $224 billion in the five years through 2014 to boostoutput and expand its refining capacity. The company will revise its investmentplan next year to include the development of new oil reserves it bought fromthe government as part of its share sale earlier this year and said it receivedon average $72.10 a barrel for its oil in Brazil, compared with $64 a barrel ayear earlier. The company cut gasoline prices by 4.5 percent and diesel 15percent in June 2009 and hasn’t increased them since. Profit from the company’sexploration and production operations, its biggest unit, rose 31 percent,offsetting lower results from the other units such as gas & energy anddistribution, Petrobras said. Petrobras fell 41 centavos, or 1.5 percent, to26.72 reais at the 6 p.m. close of Sao Paulo trading yesterday. The stock hasplunged 27 percent this year, compared with a 3.8 percent gain for Brazil’sbenchmark Bovespa index. Petrobras posted a 1.97 billion-real financial gain,up 36 percent from a year earlier, after the real rose 7 percent against thedollar in the quarter. “These currency fluctuations are volatilities that arepart of the process,” Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa told reportersyesterday in Rio de Janeiro. Petrobras will need to sell $32 billion of newdebt through 2014 and roll over an additional $38 billion as it seeks to doubleproduction over the next decade, Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabriellitold reporters in Rio de Janeiro Nov. 9.”

State LawRequires the Buckeye State to Reduce Energy Use by 22 Percent by 2025;Unemployment Not High Enough?Akron Beacon Journal (11/12) editorializes,“FirstEnergy flopped with its first run at complying with a new state lawrequiring utilities to reduce customers’ energy use 22 percent by 2025. Manycustomers reacted with fury at plans to leave energy-efficient light bulbs ontheir doorsteps — and an additional cost in their monthly bills. TheAkron-based power company retreated and reworked its proposal. It did so withspeed in mind. The electricity restructuring law requires year-to-year progressin reaching the mandated goal. FirstEnergy didn’t want to fall further behind.So, a few months later, in December of last year, the company unveiled itsalternative. The package largely reflected the approach of other utilities inthe state. Nothing controversial, really, among other things, an appliance turn-inprogram, home energy audits, incentives for energy-efficient new homes. Eventhose compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have made a reappearance,available for a discount. All that remained was approval from Public UtilitiesCommission of Ohio. When did the OK arrive? In a few months? By summer? Thecommission still hasn’t delivered its judgment — almost a year later.Perhaps the commission is skittish, given its own prominent role in the fiascolast year. Yet it is the public body overseeing the implementation of a publicpolicy decision, involving no small urgency.

Sure ourEconomy is Still Struggling; Not Stopping Oil From Hitting $100, Thanks toRobust growth in China!Bloomberg (11/12) reports, “China’sdrive to curb energy use is exacerbating a shortage of diesel, sending refiningprofits to the highest level in almost two years and raising the likelihood oilwill trade at $100 a barrel in coming months. The return from processing Dubaicrude into diesel, or gasoil, climbed above $14 a barrel in Singapore today tothe highest level since January 2008, after service stations ran dry in China’seastern and southern coastal provinces, according to prices from PVM OilAssociates, a London-based brokerage. The margin from turning Brent into gasoilin Europe rose 15 percent since Nov. 5, prices on the ICE Futures Europeexchange show. China is limiting power supplies to meet Premier Wen Jiabao’sgoal of cutting energy use under a five-year plan that ends next month. That’sprompting factories to resort to using their own diesel-powered generators,driving up demand for the fuel and forcing refiners such as PetroChina Co.,Asia’s biggest company, to process more crude. Refining rose to a record inOctober, Chinese government data showed yesterday. “We expect this to have abullish impact on not only the regional diesel market, but it may converge withother factors to create a perfect storm in driving up the oil price,” said PaulTing, president of Paul Ting Energy Vision LLC, an energy research company inNew Jersey.”


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