November 8, 2010

ObamaAdmin. Touts Job Creation as Number One Priority, Except When They’re EnergyJobs – that’s the Case in Alaska Where Shell has 35,000 Jobs on Stand By.New York Times (11/5) reports, “Eager to win approval forits stalled plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, Royal Dutch Shell isbeginning a public lobbying campaign, including national advertising, onMonday. As part of the effort, the giant oil company is promising to makeunprecedented preparations to prevent the kind of disaster that polluted theGulf of Mexico earlier this year. Shell’s plan to drill in Alaska’s Beaufortand Chukchi seas has been snarled in regulatory delays and lawsuits for fouryears. The company has already invested $3.5 billion in the projects, and itwas close to overcoming the final regulatory hurdles to begin drilling whenBP’s Macondo well blew out April 20, killing 11 rig workers and spillingmillions of barrels of oil into the gulf. In response to the gulf accident, theObama administration suspended most new offshore drilling, including in theenvironmentally sensitive waters of the Arctic. But now that the moratorium ongulf drilling has been lifted, Shell is pressing the Interior Department togrant final approval for its Arctic projects by the end of this year so thatthe company has enough time to move the necessary equipment to drill nextsummer, when the waters offshore are free of ice. “Every day we’re delayed,we’re delaying jobs and energy development,” Peter Slaiby, Shell’s vicepresident for Alaska, said in an interview. “It’s a crushing irony that theGulf of Mexico moratorium is lifted and we are not allowed to move forward.”

Meanwhile,In India, Pres. Obama Signs Accord to Assist Host Country in Developing ShaleGas Resources, Jobs; At Home, EPA Still Trying to Shut Down Industry.Reuters (11/8) reports, “India and the United States have agreed tocooperate on energy projects, including shale gas and clean energy, IndianPrime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama told a press conferenceon Monday. The two countries will set up a research and development center forclean energy in India and will provide annual funding of $5 million each forfive years, with matching investment from the private sector, they said in ajoint statement. "We agreed to deepen our co-operation in pursuit of cleanenergy technologies, including the creation of a new clean energy researchcenter here in India, and continuing our joint research into solar, biofuels,shale gas and building efficiency," Obama said. The statement said initialpriority areas for the research center would be "solar energy,second-generation biofuels and building efficiency." The agreementinitially runs for 10 years. India, which has one of the world’s lowest powerconsumption rates per capita, has set a power generation target of 62,000megawatts by March 2012. The agreement on shale gas calls for the United Statesto carry out studies on resources and for cooperation on identifying areas withshale gas potential. Indian personnel will be trained in assessing resources.”

Big Windand Big Solar Looking for “Guaranteed Market” to Force Consumers to PurchaseTheir Product; Never Mind that It’s Expensive and Unreliable. New York Times (11/8) reports, “Michael Polsky’s wind farmcompany was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions forhis effort to light up America with clean electricity. But two years later, Mr.Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell. His company, Invenergy, had acontract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejectedthe deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and otherfossil fuels. “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs forrenewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Even as manypoliticians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduceddependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled ordelayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts toconsumers’ electricity bills. Electricity generated from wind or sun stillgenerally costs more — and sometimes a lot more — than the power squeezedfrom coal or natural gas. Prices for fossil fuels have dropped in part becausethe recession has reduced demand. In the case of natural gas, newer drillingtechniques have opened the possibility of vast new supplies for years to come. Thegap in price can pit regulators, who see their job as protecting consumers fromunreasonable rates, against renewable energy developers and utility companies,many of which are willing to pay higher prices now to ensure a broader energyportfolio in the future.

RentSeeking Corporations Who Lined Up for $16.8 Billion in Expensive EnergyHandouts Worried That the Trough May Run Dry in Months Ahead.CNN(11/5) reports, “Companies in renewable energy industries are trying to figureout how to navigate the swing rightward from the midterm elections. Startingwith the worst casae scenario, projects that received some of the $16.8 billionin stimulus funding allocated to the Office of Energy Efficiency and RenewableEnergy in 2009 could now be left to wither, without getting the chance toreturn the promised green megawatts per dollar invested. Right now, though,It’s unclear how renewables funding will play out. Here’s what we know:Republicans took the House but lost the Senate. Harry Reid, a longtime championof renewables — especially geothermal energy — retained his Senate seat andis all but certain to remain Majority Leader. As with all new legislation, thesplit amongst the two chambers means that every new or reauthorized energyprogram will have to have support from both sides of the aisle to win approval.The end of either tax credit could man that venture capitalists investing ingreen energy could redirect funding away from startups, thanks to thewithdrawal of government support that helps make green energy economicallyviable. "Elections can change the landscape at a time when renewablesdon’t need to change," says Dan Kunz, CEO of US Geothermal, which receivedover $3 million in stimulus funding. "A stable funding environment over along period of time, like four or five years, is far better than these startsands stops."

Keep ThisClip Away from the Ethanol Crowd. New “Study” Out of Europe Finds Bio-Fuels 167Percent Worse for Environment than Gasoline, Diesel.Bloomberg (11/7) reports, “Biofuels targets in the European Union couldraise emissions of greenhouse gases because forests and wetlands will bedestroyed to grow the crops necessary, nine environmental groups said in astudy. Energy targets for 23 of the EU’s 27 members suggest 9.5 percent of thebloc’s transportation energy will come from biofuels by 2020, said the groups,which include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and ActionAid. The crops mayneed an area twice the size of Belgium, and clearing the necessary land couldmake the fuels 167 percent more polluting for the climate than sticking withgasoline and diesel, they said. “Biofuels are not a climate-friendly solutionto our energy needs,” Laura Sullivan, ActionAid’s European policy and campaignsmanager, said in the statement. “The EU plans effectively give companies ablank cheque to continue grabbing land from the world’s poor by growingbiofuels.” The EU aims to get 10 percent of its energy for transportation frombiofuels, hydrogen and renewable power by 2020. The target is meant to reducegreenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. EU energy spokeswoman MarleneHolzner said the targets require less land than the study suggests and that EUguidelines prevent the use of deforested land.”

This Won’tEnd Pretty. Iran Teams up with Lebanon to Develop Mediterranean Oil/Nat GasResources. One Problem, Israel Owns the Resource. UPI(11/8) reports, “Tehran believes its experience in the energy sector could helpLebanon tap into oil reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters, an officialsaid. Hassan Ahmadian Sahi, a director general of international development atIran’s Oil Ministry, told the semiofficial Fars News Agency that Tehran couldhelp Beirut tap into its offshore oil reserves. "The details and the valueof the contract and other relevant issues are yet to be determined," hewas quoted as saying. "We have not made any commitment in this regard yetbecause the feasibility studies should be conducted before we can involve init." Lebanon and Israel are at odds over the rights to tap into theLeviathan natural gas field. Beirut contends that a portion of Leviathan lieswithin its maritime borders. Hezbollah has told Israel not to touch Lebanon’sresources, spurring threats of force from the Israelis. Iranian legal officialsmaintain their counterparts in Lebanon have the right to exploit the naturalresources that exist in its territorial waters. "No contract has been heldon oil exploration in Lebanon’s joint oil field with the Zionist regime and theissue is merely at the level of a general understanding," Ahmad Khaledi,the deputy oil minister for international affairs, was quoted by Fars assaying.”



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