In the Pipeline: 8/8/13

I bet you did not know that Commissioner Binz is the hand-picked successor of the current FERC chairman, who himself is hostile to coal, natural gas, and anything, really, that works.

Complete Colorado (8/7/13) reports: “As Ron Binz campaigns to be confirmed as the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, much of the emphasis has been on his position as an activist for what he considers to be low or no carbon energy sources, predominantly Big Wind. (Forget the fact that wind requires an enormous amount of carbon emissions in the manufacturing of gigantic wind turbines.) But Binz’s no carbon advocacy is hypocritical. While Binz now advocates for lowering carbon emissions, he was instrumental in shutting down Colorado’s lowest carbon emitting power source, the Fort St. Vrain nuclear plant, which eventually converted to natural gas – a technology he now calls “dead end” when it comes to carbon emissions. As head of the Office of Consumer Council (OCC), Binz successfully argued before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that the power plant did not work correctly and that the shareholders of the company running the plant must pay for the capital costs rather than customers using the electricity.”

Musk to market: We don’t need no stinking Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Our friend Matt Yglesias (and we use the term loosely) points out that Tesla actually lost money this quarter. Of course, Matt is fine with that (and apparently so is Wall Street).  

Slate (8/7/13) reports: “Tesla somewhat unexpectedly earned a modest profit in the first quarter of this year, which naturally raised expectations for the following quarter. And in a letter to shareholders pegged to today’s earnings release, CEO Elon Musk claims victory: ‘While profits were still modest in absolute terms and not our primary mission, net income increased by 70% from last quarter, driven by record Model S deliveries and a significant improvement in automotive gross margin.’ Delve into the report, however, and this turns out to be not quite as simple as it seems. Publicly traded companies are obliged to report earnings in terms of what are known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and that 70 percent increase in based on a non-GAAP measure.”

Teachable moment for Governor Hickenlooper: Sometimes those crony capitalists don’t live up to their end of the bargain.

The Denver Post (8/6/13) reports: “The General Electric Co. has abandoned plans for a $300 million solar-panel factory in Aurora and instead struck a deal with the largest U.S. solar-panel maker, First Solar Inc. GE is giving technology developed by a Colorado startup it bought to First Solar in exchange for 1.75 million shares in the Tempe, Ariz.-based company — worth about $82 million based on Tuesday’s closing share price. The Arvada research center — where the technology was created and which was formerly PrimeStar Solar — will be closed, with 50 people losing their jobs, GE spokeswoman Lindsay Thiele said.”

Watch Whatley work. Keystone opponents will not like this interview.

E&E News (7/31/13) reports: “Well, look, the environmental groups that supported the President and opposed this pipeline are not going to be satisfied no matter what decision is made. If the President says yes, no matter what excuses or reasons that he were to deliver to it, straight out they oppose this pipeline, they do not want to see the oil sands developed, and there’s not really going to be any placating them. But I think for the average American voter and for the folks that support this pipeline, and also support a clean healthy environment, the fact that this will be the safest pipeline ever done, it won’t contribute substantially to carbon emissions throughout the globe, and it’s going to help reduce gasoline prices and create jobs here in the United States, those are the important factors the President needs to take into account.”

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