In the Pipeline: 6/21/11

Vrmmm, Vrmmm….Chevy sold 481 Volts last month Green Auto Blog (6/21/11) reports: Once again, General Motors is burying the monthly sales totals for the Chevy Volt. In a press release headlined “May U.S. Retail Sales Rise 9 Percent on Demand for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles,” the Volt’s sales numbers are not disclosed. Instead, the total – 481 – is in the detailed PDF of the Chevrolet brand sales totals and shows the car is suffering from another month-to-month drop; GM sold 493 in April. Last month, GM told us that drop in Volt sales compared to March’s 608 units was due, in part, to the company sending 300 Volts to dealers to use as demo vehicles. We await word on what the reason for the drop is this time…On the other hand, Nissan is proudly proclaiming that it sold 1,142 units of the Nissan Leaf in May, a huge increase over the 573 sold in April. Overall, Leaf sales have now totaled 2,167 deliveries this year. For comparison, GM has sold 2,184 Volts in 2011. If this trend continues, it won’t be long before we hear Nissan touting a new tagline for the Leaf: the best-selling plug-in car in America. You can see the press releases from both companies after the jump.

How do you like your Bryson? Well done or medium rare? Either way, the Senate will be turning up the heat today…we hope Los Angeles Times (6/20/11) reports: Tapping a respected Southern California businessman as the next Commerce secretary seemed an astute move by President Obama to mend fences with corporate America, but former Edison International Chief Executive John Bryson still faces a rocky road for confirmation. Heading into a Senate hearing Tuesday, Bryson, 67, has become a pawn in a hyper-partisan Washington political chess match that has left dozens of nominees on hold…Nearly all Senate Republicans have vowed to block his confirmation unless the White House advances three pending free trade deals…Another Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has promised to hold up the nomination until Obama speaks out against a National Labor Relations Board complaint that accuses Boeing Co. of building a non-union assembly plant in his state in retaliation for union strikes. Bryson had served on Boeing’s board before recently stepping down because of his nomination.

A man can dream of a future of solar energy, but just don’t tax me for it Huffington Post (6/20/11) reports: If we think about the energy future and imagine the energy that will someday power the homes of our children and of their children, we know it will not be fossil fuels. Maybe it will be some high tech variant of nuclear power, but my view is that it will be some form of solar power. Here in New York, our city government is considering placing solar cells over our now closed garbage dumps. Last week, Mireya Navarro reported in the New York Times on a new City University of New York study of the potential for using New York’s rooftops for solar collectors. According to that report.

We are looking forward to the results from the FTC probe into the price of crude oil because I have a hunch they are going to name Bromwich and Salazar Wall Street Journal (6/20/11) reports: Regulators are examining whether oil companies, refiners or traders have manipulated crude-oil markets, the latest government action spurred by the rise in fuel prices this year. The Federal Trade Commission on Monday said in a letter to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) that it has launched an investigation to determine whether oil-market participants engaged in anticompetitive practices or manipulation, or provided false information to federal agencies about the price of crude oil. Sen. Cantwell has been a proponent of further regulatory scrutiny of the energy markets…The agency plans to review how refinery operators decided to shut some equipment for maintenance, which sometimes leads to higher gasoline and diesel prices, among other matters. The FTC also is looking at the practices of firms owning pipelines and other transportation and storage infrastructure. The FTC declined to comment…The investigation by the FTC underscores the renewed drive by regulators to demonstrate they are serving as watchdogs in the crude-oil market…In April, the Obama administration launched a joint task force, which includes the FTC and is led by the Justice Department, to investigate the oil and gas markets. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission last month brought charges against two oil traders at Arcadia Petroleum Ltd., alleging they manipulated the physical and financial oil markets in 2008. Arcadia said it plans to fight the charges.

Green power companies and trade groups are uniting against poor people to increase the cost of electricity The Hill (6/21/11) reports: Green power companies and trade groups are uniting in an effort to shape and advance legislation that would require a steep increase in generation of U.S. electricity from low-carbon sources…Last month they formed the Coalition for Clean and Renewable Energy to advocate for a “clean energy standard,” an idea President Obama pushed in his State of the Union address that faces considerable resistance on Capitol Hill…Members of the new coalition include the American Wind Energy Association, the Biomass Power Association, the Energy Recovery Council (which represents waste-to-energy companies), and several individual companies such as Iberdrola Renewables, enXco, and Covanta Energy…Two well-connected Beltway firms are representing the new coalition: ML Strategies is taking the lead on lobbying while the Glover Park Group is handling communications…“We applaud the efforts that have been made to advance a Clean Energy Standard and urge that any final policy establish both a strong, long-term goal and aggressive near-term targets to accelerate deployment of clean, renewable energy beyond business as usual, while recognizing the role of existing clean and renewable energy technologies,” the group’s principles state.

So it’s going to be that kind of fight? Greenies in New Jersey are huffing and puffing to keep the windmills going E&E News (6/21/11) reports: Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey moved legislation yesterday that would block Gov. Chris Christie (R) from pulling the Garden State out of the nation’s only operating cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases…The state Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved a bill that would prohibit Christie directly from exiting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, which caps carbon dioxide emissions in 10 states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. The committee also backed a resolution that declares that the governor’s decision was inconsistent with the original “legislative intent” of an old state law governing state participation in the regional carbon trading plan…Last month, Christie announced plans to depart the initiative by the end of the year (ClimateWire, May 27). At the time, Christie said that the program was doing little on its own to curb emissions and that other state policies would go a longer way in preventing climate change.


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