In the Pipeline: 2/17/11

We’re too late! Global Warming freezes wind turbines in New Brunswick. Anyone know Al Gore’s refund policy on carbon credits? National Post (2/16/11) reports: A $200-million wind farm in northern New Brunswick is frozen solid, cutting off a potential supply of renewable energy for NB Power…The 25-kilometre stretch of wind turbines, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst, N.B. has been completely shutdown for several weeks due to heavy ice covering the blades…GDF SUEZ Energy, the company that owns and operates the site, is working to return the windmills to working order, a spokeswoman says…“We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas. “We’re looking to see if we can cope with it more effectively, through the testing of a couple of techniques.”…She says the conditions in northern New Brunswick have wreaked havoc on the wind farm this winter….“For us, cold and dry weather is good and that’s what’s typical in the region. Cold and wet weather can be a problem without any warmer days to prompt thawing, which has been the case this year.

Obama Administration is getting ready to skin your cat — Clean Energy Standard is being prepared in the Senate Politico (2/16/11) reports: Senate Democrats are preparing energy legislation for the floor that includes the ‘clean energy’ standard sought by President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday…Reid said he’s looking to Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to hash out details on the plan which would increase the nations’ reliance on cleaner burning sources of energy, including solar and wind, and perhaps folding in “clean coal” and nuclear power…”There’s an agreement as I understand it between Chairman Bingaman and Sen. Murkowski on the standard, ” Reid said. “It’s not as high a standard as I’d like.” Reid said he wanted to fold the clean energy standard into a broader legislative package that includes a permanent extension of research and development tax credits for renewables and financial incentives for the deployment of a national smart grid

God created Earth in 7 days and the EPA gave Wyoming 9 days to save it New York Times (2/16/11) reports: The new Republican governor of Wyoming has filed a legal challenge to U.S. EPA’s decision to override states that were unable — or unwilling — to start requiring permits for the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead argues that EPA didn’t give his state enough time to meet the new requirements before pushing the state aside and imposing a federal plan in its place. Though states often have three years to revise their permitting programs, EPA only gave Wyoming nine days before issuing a Dec. 22 rule that decided where federal intervention was necessary, Mead said in a statement…When the new regulations took effect on Jan. 2, EPA officials took over the responsibility of issuing greenhouse gas permits to power plants, large factories and other industrial facilities…”These rules strip our authority and primacy,” Mead said. “The state of Wyoming had the primary role in regulating air quality permitting and the EPA used unreasonable deadlines to take that away.”President Obama is a man of his word — new budget will expand the war on affordable energy; bonus handouts for the politically well-connected. Reuters (2/16/11) reports: As promised in his State of the Union Address, President Obama ‘s proposed 2012 budget continues his administration’s commitment to funding alternative energy and transportation research and development. The president aims to pay for some of his investments by jettisoning tax breaks for fossil-fuel industries worth billions every year…Exactly what the president is able to get out of a split Congress, and in particular a Republican-led House bent on slashing spending, remains to be seen. There might be at least one area of agreement between the president and Republicans, however: the Department of Energy (DOE) budget calls for $36 billion in new loan guarantee authority for the nuclear power industry, which combined with existing authority could help get six to eight plants built…The president is likely in for a big fight with Republicans when it comes to the big savings in his budget. He’s seeking repeal of “a number of subsidies and tax preferences available for fossil fuels,” the White House said, a move that would boost federal coffers by $3.6 billion in 2012. He also wants to cut the budget for the Fossil Energy Office by $418 million, or 45 percent…Overall, the White House proposes spending some $8 billion on clean energy-related topics, spread among a wide range of programs. A big chunk, some $3.2 billion, would go to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Nearly $600 million would fund investment in vehicle technologies.

I cannot think of any other industry that would shut down completely if government funding was pulled — mail would still go through with FedEx and the DMV doesn’t count Washington Post (2/16/11) reports: Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says renewable energy projects across the country will be jeopardized if House Republicans are successful in scaling back a program that helps companies gain financing for solar, wind and geothermal plants, and transmission lines…The House is considering legislation to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. As part of their budget proposal, GOP lawmakers want steep cuts to a federal loan-guarantee program…Feinstein says the GOP’s effort, if successful, would halt dozens of projects around the country, many in the West. It would prevent the Department of Energy from finalizing any more loan guarantees, which help companies finance projects at lower interest rates…Her letter to senators of both parties was released to reporters Wednesday.

Intellectual Hubris: We don’t need more government money for energy research and development because the market will guide investment. Remember switchgrass? New York Times (2/16/11) reports: The new Republican chairman of a House energy and power subcommittee delivered a decidedly mixed verdict on President Obama’s energy policies on Wednesday. Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky – a state, he noted, that gets 92 percent of its electricity from coal – addressed an electricity forum convened by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a Washington-based organization of state public service commissioners…Talk at the meeting is that utilities do not know what federal environmental regulations they will be facing on carbon dioxide and other emissions. That may hinge in part on how aggressively the new Republican majority in the House seeks to hobble the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule-making…Mr. Whitfield made clear that he was lukewarm about some of the energy ideas that Mr. Obama has been stressing hard, like limiting those emissions, getting electricity from renewable sources and weaning the electric system away from its overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels. But he did agree with one of Mr. Obama’s priorities, increasing research and development funds for energy.

At $57,000 a pop, Tesla only needs 2,600 rent seekers to buy their car in order to meet revenue goals and I am confident they can find them in CA Bloomberg (2/16/11) reports: Tesla Motors Inc., the U.S. electric carmaker backed by Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp., said its revenue this year may rise as much as 50 percent because of higher demand for its rechargeable vehicles and battery packs…“We project revenue to increase about 40 to 50 percent in 2011, to $160 million to $175 million,” Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s chief financial officer, said in a conference call yesterday…The company released annual results yesterday for the first time since its initial public offering in June, posting revenue of $116.7 million in 2010. Tesla’s forecast for this year exceeded the $152 million average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg…Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, said the fourth- quarter net loss widened to $51.4 million from $23.2 million a year earlier as it increased investment in the Model S sedan, its next all-electric model. Excluding some items, the loss was 47 cents a share, Tesla said in a statement. That compares with a 52-cent average estimated loss in a survey of four analysts…Tesla seeks to become the leader in battery-powered cars, aided by supply agreements with Toyota and Daimler. Along with development costs for the Model S, the company is also readying a former Toyota joint-venture factory in Fremont, California, that is to begin making the $57,400 Model S next year.

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