In the Pipeline: 3/10/11

The game is rigged—CA and NY buildings are forced to go green, giving companies like Retroficiency a guaranteed market. Reuters (3/9/11) reports: At the same time, energy efficiency is becoming less of a luxury and more of a requirement in many key markets. New York City will soon require all buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark and record their energy use, and the state of California’s new CalGreen building codes, put into effect this year, include a host of energy efficiency requirements that could be adopted by other states in the years to come…If making buildings more energy-efficient is the cheapest and fastest way to make money on green investments, why isn’t every office building owner in the land doing it? The answer is the up-front cost…But Retroficiency, a startup out of MIT, says its software and deep data analysis can make the process of identifying which buildings in a portfolio of hundreds are ripe for efficiency retrofits, a lot easier and cheaper. On Wednesday, the Boston-based startup announced an $800,000 angel round from investors including World Energy Solutions, as well as a working relationship with major property management firm Jones Lang Lasalle that will give it a chance to test the tech out in the real world.

Company launches “Tiger Blood” energy drink designed to take you to a new level of WINNING. We hope the folks at the White House drink up so we can finally win the future with affordable and reliable energy instead of that stuff they’re peddling now. M&C (3/9/11) reports: Troubled star Charlie Sheen has inspired a new energy drink designed to bring you to a new level of WINNING! Harcos Laboratories has launched their new liquid potion called Bi-Winning Tiger Blood. Sheen’s impassioned outbursts about his strength and mental prowess have inspired the red drink, which is described on the company ‘s website as: ‘Made from 100% passion specifically to make your brain fire in a way that’s not from this particular terrestrial realm.’

Duh! DOE says there is a 25% chance of $4 gallon gas this summer. Wall Street Journal (3/9/11) reports: Federal energy officials say there is a 25% chance that gasoline prices will average $4 a gallon or more during this year’s summer driving season. The U.S. Department of Energy says it expects oil prices to average $105 a barrel in 2011, up from its previous estimate of $91 a barrel…The agency’s Energy Information Administration attributed the change in the forecast in part to disruption of the crude oil supply due to instability in Libya. Unrest in other parts of North Africa and the Middle East also threaten to hurt the oil supply. In some ways the government is telling us what we already suspected.

In the good old days, Google’s motto was “Don’t be evil.” To hell with that. Now these billionaires want to take taxpayer dollars to pay for their pet energy schemes. If that’s not evil, it’s tough to see what is. NY Times/Greenwire (3/9/11) reports: Google Inc. has launched a lobbying campaign seeking government help spurring a green-technology transformation.”The way we use energy — whether it’s powering our cars or our homes and businesses — hasn’t changed in decades,” Michael Terrell, Google’s energy policy counsel, wrote yesterday on the company’s blog. “Our economy needs a cleaner, more efficient way of delivering energy while giving people better tools and information to manage their energy use.” The Mountain View, Calif.-based company recruited Crowell Strategies LLC. The consulting firm’s lobbyist, Colin Crowell, previously worked as a senior counsel at the Federal Communications Commission and before that as an aide to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). It is the latest venture by Google in the political energy arena. The company already has hired lobbying firms to work on energy efficiency and renewable issues and research & development of smart-grid transmission.

Remember that Denmark study? Can’t happen here, right? There was a time when CA wasn’t a running joke. Mercury News (3/9/11) reports: The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is deciding how Xcel Energy should use millions of dollars’ worth of wind-energy credits it sells to California…Xcel has more wind generation than it needs to meet Colorado’s renewable energy standard. It sells the excess as credits to help others meet renewable-energy requirements…Last year Xcel sold $33.6 million worth of renewable-energy credits to California and returned about 54 percent of that to customers…The Denver Post reports Xcel has proposed keeping 20 percent of future sales, returning 80 percent to customers, and using money to support renewable-energy programs. The state Office of Consumer Counsel is seeking 85 percent for customers, with some money going toward lowering customers’ bills.

You go girls! Sens. Hutchison and Landrieu introduce common sense legislation to renew all permits in the Gulf for one year. Fuel Fix (3/9/11) reports: Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Mary Landrieu, D-La., said today they are sponsoring legislation to extend oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico for one year in order to make up for time lost during the Obama administration’s moratorium following the BP oil spill…The Interior Department suspended some deep-water exploration and drilling operations in the Gulf 10 days after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig at BP’s Macondowell…The administration ended its ban in October and, last month, issued the first drilling permit for work that had been blocked by the moratorium…During the ban, government officials and industry representatives worked to strengthen environmental and safety regulations for offshore operations…The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is now reviewing permit applications to make sure they comply with the new standards…Present law enables the bureau to decide whether a lease extension is prudent. The Hutchison-Landrieu bill — the Lease Extension and Energy Security (LEASE) Act — would provide a blanket extension.

President Obama on Nov. 3 talking about cap-and-trade—there’s “more than one way to skin a cat.” He get his wishGasoline cost to jump $700 for average household. Reuters (3/9/11) reports: U.S. drivers will pay another 10 cents a gallon for gasoline before the latest jump in wholesale costs is fully passed on at the pump, and yearly motor fuel costs will rise 28 percent from last year, the Energy Department said on Wednesday. The average U.S. household will spend about $700 more for gasoline in 2011 than it spent last year, bringing total motor fuel expenses up 28 percent to $3,235, based on an annual pump price of $3.61 a gallon, the department’s Energy Information Administration said.

The Obama administration’s energy price mantra: Price increases are bad when they are the product of global market forces, but it’s no problem to intentionally increases energy prices through policy. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make sense to be either. Denver Post (3/9/11) argues: Here ‘s what you need to know about rising energy prices: They’re a threat to prosperity when they’re the product of global market forces, but they ‘re a boon to job creation when they’re the result of government mandates and subsidies. And please don’t ask our policymakers to explain the apparent contradiction. The Obama administration — champion of cap-and-trade and other price-boosting schemes — has had no trouble acknowledging the threat from the recent run-up in oil prices. As William Daley, the president’s chief of staff, explained Sunday when discussing the possibility of tapping the strategic oil reserve, “All matters have to be on the table when you see the difficulty coming out of this economic crisis we’re in and the fragility of it.” But if today’s surging energy prices are a threat to economic health, why are rising prices benign when contrived by domestic policy?

Just how bad is our current ethanol policy? It’s so bad that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are cosponsoring a bill to end $6 billion in ethanol subsidies. The Hill (3/9/11) reports: Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are teaming up in a new push to end tax credits that support the domestic ethanol industry. The pair — reviving a left-right push against ethanol — introduced a bill Wednesday that would repeal the 45 cents-per-gallon credit, which refiners and gasoline blenders receive for each gallon of ethanol purchased and mixed into gasoline. “The ethanol tax credit is bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy. The $6 billion we waste every year on corporate welfare should instead stay in taxpayers’ pockets where it can be used to spur innovation, stimulate growth and create jobs,” Coburn said in a statement Wednesday.

The White House wants you to only notice that oil production increased last year. They don’t want you to notice that their policies will end the increase and cause oil and natural gas production to fall this year on federal lands, even as production increases on state and private lands. The Hill (3/9/11) explains: The Obama administration and House Republicans are at odds over a federal report released Tuesday that lays out the status of the country’s domestic oil production. The disagreement over the report is the latest indication that oil drilling is quickly becoming a hot-button political issue amid rising gas prices and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Not surprisingly, both sides are only giving a partial picture of the new data. The White House is touting numbers that show domestic oil production increased in 2010, while Republicans are highlighting data that show production will actually decrease in 2011 and 2012.

The Obama administration will issue a “handful” of drilling permits, knowing full well that its allies in the environmental community to sue to delay and stop any actual drilling. Who needs domestic source of energy—we always have OPEC right? The Wall Street Journal(3/9/11) reports: WASHINGTON—The Obama administration will issue a “handful” of deep-water oil-drilling permits the near future, a cabinet official said yesterday.Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the permits would be coming as he faced more questions from U.S. lawmakers about pending applications to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We have in hand a number of other permits that we expect to issue very soon in the deep water,” Mr. Salazar said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. “These first permits hopefully will become a template allowing other deep-water permits to be issued.” Mr. Salazar’s comments came as the Obama administration appeals a ruling from a federal judge who has ordered it to act on pending permits.



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