In the Pipeline: 11/22/11

“The energy debate has changed from scarcity to abundance . . .”  Where have I heard that before?  Oh right, we’ve been saying it for years.  Keep this story in mind over the next few years, because the environmentalists really object to liquids coming out of the shale.  When the Utica comes on line, and the Bakken is going full-out, then the attacks will being in earnest Financial Post (11/21/11) reports: While the green movement naively harbours hopes it will be able to shut down unconventional oil and gas development, in Saudi Arabia they are already contemplating a time when North American fossil fuel will replace their oil…Looking past the din of protesters, state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco is resigned to the fact that its influence will wane because of the massive unconventional fossil-fuel development underway in North America. As such, Saudi Arabia has no plans to raise its production output to 15 million barrels per day from 12 million, said Khalid Al-Falih, the powerful chief executive of Aramco.

Two things.  First, this dude has got 50 billion dollars lying around; maybe he should invest in whatever (instead of “the United States” by which we assume he means “taxpayers”).  Second, I would rather we invest in making sure that Windows actually works (does anyone use Windows anymore?) CNET News (11/21/11) reports: Even though it’s supposed to be a time of federal fiscal austerity, Bill Gates says it’s time to double down on energy research…The software industry icon and philanthropist on Friday published an editorial in Science calling for a massive boost in federal energy research and development from about $5 billion a year now to $16 billion…”In a time of economic crisis, asking policymakers in Washington, D.C., to spend more money might not be the most popular position. But it’s essential to protect America’s national interests and ensure that the United States plays a leading role in the fast-growing global clean energy industry,” Gates wrote, noting that federally funded research in energy has dropped by more than 75 percent in the last three decades.

“California had a gun to their head.”  Isn’t that a pretty good description of how this whole crew operates? Los Angeles Times (11/21/11) reports: Reporting from Washington — On an August morning in 2008, a handful of executives from the country’s top car companies, several environmentalists and two of California’s most powerful pollution regulators met in a windowless conference room in a hotel next to Los Angeles International Airport…For 30 years, the car companies had been locked in battle with California and environmentalists over increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and cutting air pollution.

The gravy train is set to leave at the end of December and it’s powered by coal Bloomberg (11/22/11) reports: U.S. renewable energy developers will need to find new sources of funding after incentives backed by federal stimulus programs wind down, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance…Renewable energy companies have received more than $65 billion in tax credits, grants and loans offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the research company said today in a statement…“Nearly all of those stimulus funds have now been deployed,” BNEF said. “Unless the private sector steps into the breach with substantial new investment, project development will slow.”…One important incentive that’s set to end Dec. 31 is the U.S. Treasury Department’s 1603 cash grant program, which repays developers for 30 percent of projects’ costs.

When you can’t win…delay The Hill (11/22/11) reports: The Environmental Protection Agency will not meet a mid-December deadline to propose first-time standards for greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries…Draft rules had been slated to surface in the middle of next month under a settlement with environmentalists and other parties, but EPA says it needs more time…“EPA expects to need more time to complete work on greenhouse gas pollution standards for oil refineries, and is working with the litigants to develop a new schedule to replace the current date of mid-December for a rule proposal,” the agency said in a statement Monday.

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