January 3, 2011

Meet the new year, same as the old year: Obama Administrationcontinues assault on domestic energy production while gas is expected to hit $4a gallon.  Wall Street Journal (1/3/11)reports: More than two months after the Obama administration lifted its ban ondrilling in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, oil companies are still waiting forapproval to drill the first new oil well there. Experts now expect the wait tocontinue until the second half of 2011, and perhaps into 2012…The slowdownalso has long-term implications for U.S. oil production. The Energy InformationAdministration, the research arm of the Department of Energy, last monthpredicted that domestic offshore oil production willfall 13% this year from 2010 due to the moratorium and the slow return todrilling; a year ago, the agency predicted offshore production would rise 6% in2011. The difference: a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day.


If theObama Administration was truly concerned about safety,why would they shut down an industry that spills less oil in water than peopleusing jet skis?  Wall Street Journal (1/3/11)reports: Shallow-water drillers, which operate in less than 500 feet of waterand drill mostly for natural gas, have lurched back to activity after workbriefly halted in the aftermath of April’s BP well disaster. But they rely onshort-term, 30- to 60-day contracts with energy companies, making their revenuestream more vulnerable to disruption than deep-water rig owners that signmultiyear contracts….A significant speed bump foroperators is a new drill-plan requirement to calculate the worst-case dischargeof oil and provide a strategy for killing a blown-out well. Federal regulatorsreturned 101 plans requesting modification in 2010—including 77 sinceJune—compared with 59 such requests in 2009, and just 31 in 2008.


I was forit before I was against it: Will GOP presidential wannabes channel their innerJohn Kerry on GHG regs? Politco (1/2/11)reports: It may be heresy to conservatives, but a trip down memory lane showsnearly all of the top-tier Republican presidential contenders want to save theplanet from global warmingOn the campaign stump, inbooks, speeches and nationally-televised commercials, aspiring GOP White Housecandidates such as Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have warned in recent years aboutthe threats from climate change and pledged to limit greenhouse gases. Somehave even committed the ultimate sin, endorsing the controversial cap and tradeconcept that was eventually branded “cap and tax.”


ShellGame: Idaho wants to sell CA utility companies renewable energy credits, butkeep the energy produced; as usual the consumer on the hook for the deal. San Francisco Chronicle (1/2/10)reports: The deal relies on a California energy policy requiring that renewableenergy sources provide some of the state’s energy needs…The credits can’t besold in Idaho because the state doesn’t have such a requirement…FederalEnergy Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Barbara Connors said the company’splan is unique, but a lot of things have yet to be tried in the renewableenergy industry.


Pay yourtaxes: CA consumers double down with electric vehicle rebate gamble; statefunds are fore-casted to run out by February. Los Angeles Times(12/24/10) reports: California consumers counting on a $5,000 state rebate forpurchasing an electric car may be in for a shock: The money may not be therewhen they go to collect….with California mired in fiscal crisis, there’s noguarantee that rebate funds intended for future years will actually be there,Air Resources Board officials said….That’s unsettling to electric-vehicleenthusiasts who see the financial incentives as a way to even the playing fieldwith conventional gasoline-engine autos.


Mass.Gov. Deval “Green Thumb” Patrick makes an offer youcan’t refuse; Nstar and Northeast Utilities mergerwon’t take place unless they include Cape Wind as part of the deal. iStock Analyst(12/23/10) reports:  The Patrickadministration is signaling it will hold hostage the proposed Nstar-Northeast Utilities merger unless the two electriccompanies agree to buy Cape Wind power and prove they have "outstandingtrack records" on clean-energy issues. Without naming Cape Wind, Bowles,who leaves office next week, said regulators should ask: "Will a mergerhelp advance the development of the commonwealth’s solar and offshore windresources?"…Nstar has said it doesn’t want tobuy Cape Wind’s power, which is twice as expensive as electricity generatedfrom fossil fuels.


GoldenEagles – It’s what’s for dinner; new report out from U.S. Fish and Wildlifesays that over 400,000 birds are killed each year from wind turbines.  Omaha Herald (12/30/10)reports: Officials with American Bird Conservancy on Wednesday cited data fromthe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that estimates 400,000 birds of variousspecies are killed by turbine blades annually…The conservation group’sconcerns come as state and national officials push to expand wind energydevelopment in the coming years….“Golden eagles, whooping cranes and greatersage-grouse are likely to be among the birds most affected by poorly plannedand sited wind projects,” said Kelly Fuller, a spokeswoman for the conservancy.



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