Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon is cultivating investors from Seoul to New Delhi eager to own natural gas that’s 85 percent cheaper than Middle East supplies because of a glut in the U.S.
As head of the second-largest U.S. natural gas supplier, McClendon met executives of Asian power utilities and state-run energy companies on a 14-day trip last month. He said they’re unfazed by Chesapeake’s $10.3 billion debt load, more than twice Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)’s burden, and gas trading near a 10-year low of $2.23 per million British thermal units — two factors that have helped send its stock down 26 percent in the past year.
Wow, the strongest stance against in favor of new fuels I’ve ever seen from recent administrations. I’m impressed such strong words are used.
NASHUA, N.H. — With his re-election fate increasingly tied to the price Americans are paying at the gas pump, President Obama asked Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and vowed to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”
Mr. Obama, in an appearance at Nashua Community College here, took a page out of his jobs strategy of last year, calling on Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and demand a vote on the oil subsidies in the next few weeks.
“You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”
The president criticized Republicans who have called for the country to increase its own oil production, declaring that “anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” With the United States consuming more than 20 percent of the world’s oil while having only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, Mr. Obama said “we can’t rely on fossil fuels from the last century.”
Mini-Editorial | A very curious article that is worth looking into. Germany cutting solar subsidies? Why? The article explains.
In light of the apprehension about nuclear energy following Japan’s meltdown, and now the unflattering situations of both Germany and the US (with its solar industry’s lingering dark cloud of bumbled Solyndra investments), the outlook for new energy developments seems to have taken a blow.
Lomborg concludes with stating governments must focus more on R&D before stressing production. Yet considering another recent Project Syndicate article, it must be pondered how these setbacks will influence public pressure (Political Will?) to request continued R&D in a time of global economic uncertainty.
COPENHAGEN – One of the world’s biggest green-energy public-policy experiments is coming to a bitter end in Germany, with important lessons for policymakers elsewhere.
Illustration by Newsart
Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies – totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University – to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?
There is a fundamental problem with subsidizing inefficient green technology: it is affordable only if it is done in tiny, tokenistic amounts. Using the government’s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed “acceptable.” It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill
For more of my thoughts throughout the week and see what news I’m following, I invite you to join the conversation via Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. Or visit my main website, INFLUENCE with Jesse Parent to view Case Studies, Reports, Editorials and more.
It’s been 34 years — and several nuclear accidents later — but a divided federal panel on Thursday licensed a utility to build nuclear reactors in the U.S. for the first time since 1978.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, opposed licensing the two reactors at this time even though he had earlier praised their design.
“There is still more work” to be done to ensure that lessons learned from Japan’s Fukushima disaster last year are engrained in the reactor design, he told his colleagues. “I cannot support this licensing as if Fukushima never happened. I believe it requires some type of binding commitment that the Fukushima enhancements that are currently projected and currently planned to be made would be made before the operation of the facility.”
“There is no amnesia,” responded Commissioner Kristine Svinck, speaking for the 4-1 majority and noting that the industry has been directed to adopt those lessons.
The licensing covers two reactors estimated to cost $14 billion that the Southern Company wants to add to its existing Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. Preliminary work has already begun and plans are for the first new reactor to be operating in 2016. ….
Yea for more computing power!
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, along with Berkeley Lab and UC leaders, broke ground on the Lab’s Computational Research and Theory (CRT) facility yesterday. The CRT will be at the forefront of high-performance supercomputing research and be DOE’s most efficient facility of its kind. Joining Secretary Chu as speakers were Lab Director Paul Alivisatos, UC President Mark Yudof, Office of Science Director Bill Brinkman, and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. The festivities were emceed by Associate Lab Director for Computing Sciences, Kathy Yelick, and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates joined in the shovel ceremony.
Investment in India out-paces the rest of the world, thanks to the improving cost-competitiveness of wind and solar
New Delhi, London and New York, 2 February 2012 – Clean energy investments in India reached $10.3bn in 2011, some 52% higher than the $6.8bn invested in 2010. This was the highest growth figure of any significant economy in the world. There is plenty of room for further expansion - in 2011, India accounted for 4% of global investment in clean energy.
The large growth was driven by a seven-fold increase in funding for grid-connected solar projects: from $0.6bn in 2010 to $4.2bn in 2011. Solar almost reached the same level of investments as wind, which totalled $4.6bn.
So many excellent points made. Thank you, Steve Anderson, for being a brave and thoughtful American to say these things, in light of tremendous opposition and politicization.
A personal favorite, and something I will be writing an upcoming article about…
Two weeks ago I read that Dubai will invest $2.7B in solar energy next year. Now Dubai is an emirate surrounded by the world’s largest oil fields and their economy is 250 times smaller than ours, yet they are astute enough to see the consequences of an oil-dependent economy and are willing to invest now in renewable energy in a huge way. Why aren’t we?
An uncertain international gas market, an unpredictable regulatory environment with more stringent emission goals and decreasing natural gas reserves over time all point to the growing need to continue developing renewable technologies.
“Effective use of renewables, namely wind and solar, are still many years away,” Jacoby says. “How we tap into those resources and effectively work them into our electric grid still needs to be figured out. To get us there we need a robust R&D program so we’ll have renewable energies up and working effectively later in future decades when emissions regulations are stricter, and gas reserves are depleting.”
Shale might provide the flexibility to meet reduction targets at lower costs today, making it a strong “bridge” in the short term to a low-carbon future. But the report concludes that we can’t let “the greater ease of the near term … erode efforts to prepare a landing at the other end of the bridge.”