In the Pipeline: 2/9/11

IER’s Renewable Mandate Map is catching on; MT, CO, MN and MO all consider removing or weakening their energy and job killing mandates Reuters (2/9/11) reports: Republican legislators in Montana, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri are separately trying to weaken or dismantle the renewable portfolio standards in their states, which are seen as crucial to U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a globally competitive clean economy…Officials pushing the bills say that energy prices soar and consumers suffer when utilities are required to allocate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. Clean energy groups counter that lowering the bar on state renewable energy policies would stifle new investment and kill jobs…If passed, the bills would go against the trend among most states to strengthen standards and attract clean energy developers by creating a market for renewables, said Jessica Shipley, a fellow at the Washington-based Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

What more do solar companies want? Despite free money and government mandated market share, First Energy cannot fulfill solar energy quotas WKSU (2/9/11) reports: The mandate to increase the number of solar panels in Ohio is generating some gloom among at least one Ohio utility…For the second time in the two years since the state implemented a requirement that Ohio utilities make use ofsolar and other renewable energy, FirstEnergy has asked for an exemption.   Solar power is sold as solar credits, and FirstEnergy spokeswoman Ellen Raines says there are just not enough to go around –..“We worked hard to purchase every credit that was offered to us, but there were simply not enough available for us to meet our goal.”…Ohio is one of 36 states that have some type of renewable energy mandate. The 2008 law requires one-fourth of the energy used in Ohio come from alternative energy sources by 2025, and half that amount, or 12.5 % be generated within the state.

Who you calling old? President Obama labeled oil and gas companies the energy of yesterday. EV’s were invented in 1830, solar cells were patented in 1888 and wind was commercialized in 1891 The Hill (2/9/11) reports: After recently being branded “yesterday’s energy” by President Obama, the oil-and-gas industry is pushing back at Democratic efforts to roll back tax credits and deductions used by energy companies…Top officials at the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday said the oil-and-gas industry does not receive favorable tax treatment and called on the administration and Congress to work with the sector to create jobs…“We really believe we are the low-hanging fruit,” said Marty Durbin, the institute’s executive vice president for government affairs. “If the opportunity is provided for us to safely and reliably produce our domestic resources here at home, you’d see enormous benefits to the government in terms of revenue, enormous benefits in terms of jobs.”…He added that it was unfair to tag oil-and-gas companies as an industry of the past, declaring that companies in the field had poured billions of dollars into low- and no-carbon technologies.

Employment Prevention Agency: Rep. Issa has drawn the battle lines in the fight against Obama’s war on affordable energy Politico (2/9/11) reports: Thirty respondents targeted EPA’s so-called “tailoring rule” targeting large emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, such as power plants and refiners. Twenty-three respondents referred to EPA’s overall ability to target greenhouse gas emissions, including from tailpipes. Another 23 targeted EPA’s proposed rules for smog; 20 mentioned EPA lead restrictions; eight targeted EPA nitrogen oxide controls and six went after EPA sulfur dioxide regulations…The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was particularly active in citing EPA regulations, including the tailoring rule, the agency’s overall ability to regulate under the Clean Air Act, proposed particulate matter controls, as well as its lead restrictions and proposed interstate transport rule. The chamber also joined the National Automobile Dealers Association in referring to EPA’s granting California of a waiver from federal rules in light of the state’s stricter standards…Issa issued a statement saying the responses from industry and the overall Republican oversight efforts on regulations “should complement what President Obama has already called on his Administration to do and in concert, lead to a robust and expansive discussion about what the best way forward is to stimulate our economy.”

The writing is on the wall (part 1): Shell and BP close down oil refining operations Bloomberg (2/9/11) reports: Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, Europe’s largest oil companies, plan to close and sell refineries in the U.S. and Germany on declining demand for fuels such as gasoline in developed nations…BP plans to sell its 475,000 barrel-a-day Texas City refinery in Texas and its 266,000 barrel-a-day Carson plant in California, the London-based company said on Feb. 1…Shell plans to stop oil-processing at its 110,000 barrel-a- day Hamburg facility in 2012 after failing to find a buyer, the company based in The Hague said on Jan. 12.

The writing is on the wall (part 2): drilling companies are ramping up, but lack of permits in U.S. have them looking elsewhere New York Times (2/9/11) reports: The moratorium is technically over in the gulf, but permitting continues to advance slowly. Six of the 33 rigs idled by the moratorium after the BP spill have left United States waters to drill elsewhere. The rest are sitting in water, with the crews biding their time. Its “Drill baby, drill” — just not in this country, at least not yet…There are other signs of booming business, or at least an industrywide anticipation of booming business. As Eurasia Group noted in a recent research note, drilling companies since November have ordered or are preparing to contract for construction of 18 rigs capable of operating in deep waters. That is the fastest buildup since 2007, when oil prices were galloping and few in the industry were anticipating the virtual collapse in energy demand in 2009.

How many Congressmen does it take to screw up a light bulb market? Rep. Joe Barton begins effort to undo bulb ban with H.R. 91: At least someone is willing to admit when they’ve made a mistake Freedom Action (2/8/11) petition: The ban on standard incandescent bulbs was included in comprehensive legislation passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by Republican George W. Bush in 2007. The ban will go into effect next year, but the legislation can still be stopped. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) has recently introduced H.R. 91, the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act to amend the original bill, removing the anti-light bulb provisions. Your signatures will be compiled and sent to the Congressmen in your state.

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