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Category Archives: ‘Restructuring: N.America’
The firm has raised more than $1.1 billion since its founding. Bloom Energy is threatening profitability and an IPO in 2013.
Eric Wesoff: May 10, 2013
Fuel cell "startup" Bloom Energy just raised $130 million more in venture capital, according to a scoop from Fortune.
That takes the VC funding to beyond $1.1 billion for this firm and makes it one of the all-time leaders in VC funding. Along with Fisker and Solyndra -- not exactly great company.
According to Fortune, the first $100 million came from an unidentified new investor and $30 million came from Credit Suisse -- while existing investors did not participate. This funding was structured as an "extension to the company's Series G round that originally closed on $150 million in 2011 at a $2.7 billion pre-money valuation," as per Fortune. Existing investors include KPCB, NEA, Advanced Equities, Goldman Sachs, and DAG.
Bloom Energy had $101 million in pro forma Q3 2012 revenue alone. And Bloom suggests it will turn a profit, according to Dan Primack of Fortune. Bloom's valuation dwarfs the collective market cap of the public fuel cell firms and its revenue is greater than the collective revenue of those firms. A Bloom board member has spoken of an IPO this year or next.Share This Post
Policy Fix Needed
BY MARTIN ROSENBERG
Daniel L. Roderick believes that it is vital to embrace policies that insure we preserve nuclear power in our energy mix.
The chief executive officer of Westinghouse Electric talked about the future of nuclear power in this second installment of our interview.
To read the entire article go to: https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1Share This Post
Jeff Skilling's Persona Still Resonates
Ken Silverstein | May 10, 2013
Enron’s ‘brightest’ will get out of jail 10 years earlier, or perhaps by 2017. A federal judge has to Okay the deal but it is based on the fact that Jeffrey Skilling’s original sentence handed down in May 2006 was improperly calculated.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energybiz.com/article/13/05/enrons-painful-lessons&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=EB_DAILY&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
| Fri May. 10, 2013 3:01 PM PDT
Over the last couple weeks, scientists and environmentalists have been keeping a particularly close eye on the Hawaii-based monitoring station that tracks how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, as the count tiptoed closer to a record-smashing 400 parts per million. Yesterday, we finally got there: The daily mean concentration was higher than at any time in human history, NOAA reported today.
Don't worry: The earth is not about to go up in a ball of flame. The 400 ppm mark is only a milestone, 50 ppm over what legendary NASA scientist James Hansen has since 1988 called the safe zone for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, and yet only halfway to what the IPCC predicts we'll reach by the end of the century.
"Somehow in the last 50 ppm we melted the Arctic," said environmentalist and founder of activist group 350.org Bill McKibben, who called today's news a "grim but predictable milestone" and has long used the symbolic number as a rallying call for climate action. "We'll see what happens in the next 50."
We could find out soon enough: With the East Coast still recovering from Superstorm Sandy and the West gearing up for what promises to be a nasty fire season, University of California ecologist Max Moritz says milestones like these are "an excuse for us to take a good hard look at where we are," especially as the carbon concentration shows no signs of reversing course.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/05/we-just-passed-climates-grim-milestoneShare This Post
May 10, 2013
Original source: http://www.cacurrent.com/storyDisplay.php?sid=6860
A handful of California cities—with potentially more joining in—are pushing to divest employee retirement funds of any interests in fossil fuel companies.
Late last month both the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Berkeley City Council adopted resolutions that could lead to divesting pension fund holdings in fossil fuel companies.
A resolution adopted by the San Francisco board April 23 calls on the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Board to eliminate holdings in fossil fuel companies even if it would result in a lower yield for the system’s investment portfolio.
A Berkeley City Council resolution adopted April 30 asks the city manager to develop a report on how the city can divest any interest in fossil fuel companies within five years. “Berkeley has a history of socially responsible investing,” noted mayor Tom Bates. The resolution also calls for the California state employees’ retirement fund—known as CalPERS—to divest its interests.
In nearby Richmond, mayor Gayle McLaughlin signed a pledge to work to divest the city’s fossil fuel interests.
“Richmond is home to the second largest oil refinery and largest point source of greenhouse gas emissions in California,” she stated April 25 in an announcement that she had signed the pledge. She urged the city to “reinvest in a clean energy economy with new jobs for our residents."Share This Post
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: May 10, 2013 at 6:53 am
A group of 150 major Democratic donors and clean energy investors have sent President Obama a letter urging him to deny a presidential permit to the Keystone XL pipeline, comparing the decision’s significance to Abraham Lincoln’s push to end slavery through a constitutional amendment.
The missive, which was sent by the group Thursday and was obtained by The Washington Post, emphasized Obama’s respect for Lincoln and suggested the controversial pipeline–which would transport heavy crude from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast–marked a similar turning point in American history.
“He made one of the most important decisions of his presidency and for our nation when he decided that he would fight for the 13th Amendment to end slavery even if it took every ounce of his political capital,” they wrote. “Your decision on Keystone may not be so weighty, but we believe it holds a comparable urgency and importance, not strictly as a pipeline decision but as a presidential choice that will signal a fundamentally new direction for our nation.”Share This Post
The vice president on guns, global warming and why he's "the last guy in the room" on every decision Obama makes
May 9, 2013 1:50 PM ET
There is a keen Kennedy-like vigor to Joe Biden that overwhelms any room. As was once said of Theodore Roosevelt, he, too, wants to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Unlike President Obama, who speaks in interviews with Hemingway-esque sparseness, Biden rambles like Thomas Wolfe, painting a robust picture of an ever-changing America where coal miners will soon be working in clean-tech jobs, gun-safety laws will be tougher and China will be reined in by the White House from poisoning the planet with megatons of choking pollutants.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/joe-biden-the-rolling-stone-interview-20130509Share This Post
Published: May 10, 2013
Elon Musk, a founder of the electric carmaker Tesla and one of the technology industry’s most outspoken exponents of clean energy, has stepped down from a prominent Silicon Valley advocacy group that is pushing for changes to the nation’s immigration laws and that has sponsored advertisements that promote a contentious oil pipeline.
The advocacy group, Fwd.us, is spearheaded by Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and counts many tech industry executives among its supporters. To drum up political support for overhauling immigration law, the group has bankrolled ads for lawmakers who support the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a lightning-rod issue for environmentalists.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/technology/teslas-elon-musk-leaves-zuckerbergs-fwdus.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=feedly&_r=1&Share This Post
Updated: May 13, 2013 | 3:37 a.m.
May 12, 2013 | 12:00 p.m.
The Obama administration is set to unveil major new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method of extracting oil and gas, possibly as soon as Tuesday.
The proposed regulation is expected to be more lenient to the oil and gas industry than a draft rule issued last year by the Interior Department, reflecting heavy lobbying by fossil fuel companies, as well as President Obama’s desire to support the nation’s recent boom in natural gas development—and the jobs that come with it.
“We have observed that over the past few years, the administration has shifted toward a more favorable opinion of the value of natural gas to the economy and the nation’s energy security,” said Richard Ranger, a senior policy adviser at the American Petroleum Institute. “We think we’re being heard, but the proof will be in the pudding.”
Environmentalists say they expect to be disappointed by the proposal and fear it won’t do enough to protect sensitive water supplies in communities around oil and gas wells.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/new-fracking-rules-have-environmental-groups-worried-20130512?utm_source=feedlyShare This Post
By Kassie Siegel Special to The Bee
Kassie Siegel is director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, which is based in San Francisco.
Published: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5E
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 12, 2013 - 8:57 am
The risks are sinking in. For months, discussions about fracking in California have focused mostly on public disclosure. Should people living near fracked oil and gas wells, for example, be notified about this controversial procedure, which involves blasting huge volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals underground?
But being informed of fracking doesn't mean you'll be protected from its dangers. Now, three bills in the California Legislature have shifted the debate. Recently approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, all three bills would impose a moratorium on fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, while fracking pollution's threats to our air, water, climate and health are studied.
That's a sensible approach. This is an inherently dangerous process, and it's all the worse in California because fracking is happening without meaningful oversight by state oil and gas officials.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/12/5411944/bid-to-halt-fracking-in-state.htmlShare This Post
Danger lurks within.
On any given day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has the power to throw the environmental movement into complete disarray.
Tucked into a nondescript neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the court isn’t well known to the public, but it’s often called the second most important court in the United States. It has particular significance to the environmental movement because of its exclusive jurisdiction over regulations involving vital environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
In the early stages of the modern environmental movement, great progress was made through enterprising lawsuits brought by groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund to enforce the protective mandates of those landmark environmental statutes. But the challenge is different now, with judges on the bench seeking to derail, not enforce, these fundamental safeguards. How environmentalists respond to this threat could dramatically impact the success of the movement in combating 21st century environmental threats such as global warming.
Indeed, with Congress paralyzed by gridlock, the only path forward for effective responses to climate pollution is through administrative implementation of the Clean Air Act — which the Obama administration is vigorously pursuing. But that option is available only because of a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2007. In Massachusetts v. E.P. A., the court held that the act, as currently written, empowers the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollutants that cause global warming. The EPA is moving to exercise this authority, but the fate of all its regulatory initiatives will be evaluated, and in large measure determined, by the D.C. Circuit.
The court holds the cards on many environmental issues. Indeed, in the first two weeks of this month alone, the court is hearing cases involving emissions standards on sewage sludge incinerators, challenges to EPA rules requiring states to address greenhouse emissions in their permitting requirements, emissions standards for hazardous pollutants resulting from lead processing, and even a pair of cases regarding the importation of polar bear hunting trophies.
These cases sometimes go very badly for environmentalists. In October of 2012, after a 2-1 D.C. Circuit majority overturned EPA’s “Good Neighbor” rule — which constrained individual states’ contributions to air pollution in neighboring downwind states — Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and George Mason University professor Stephen Pearlstein observed that “dysfunctional government has become the strategic goal of the radical fringe [on the political right]. … Nowhere has this strategy been pursued with more fervor, or more success, than the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where a new breed of activist judges are waging a determined and largely successful war on federal regulatory agencies.”
As Pearlstein makes clear, cases are not decided by the court as an institution; they are decided by the judges who sit on that court. And there has been a concerted effort by conservatives to dominate the federal bench, and this bench in particular. Look no further than Senate obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Republicans have already led a successful filibuster against Caitlin Halligan, a highly qualified D.C. Circuit nominee who ultimately withdrew her nomination after more than two years of obstruction. Now they have introduced a bill to reduce the number of seats on the D.C. Circuit from 11 to eight in a nakedly partisan attempt to maintain conservative dominance over the makeup of the court.
President George W. Bush appointed three of the court’s seven currently active judges, Bill Clinton appointed three, and George H.W. Bush appointed one. President Obama has yet to make a successful appointment, despite four of the seats being vacant. But that does not tell the entire story. Many federal courts rely on judges who have taken “senior status” — a form of semi-retirement that involves still hearing cases — to help manage caseloads. Five of the court’s six very active senior judges are appointees of Ronald Reagan or H.W. Bush, and these firebrand conservatives continue to make their mark in environmental cases.
It is time for the environmental movement to involve itself more in the conversation about nominations. There is no downside to supporting well-qualified nominees to the bench and opposing mindless obstructionism. It’s also important to make clear that the environmental community doesn’t need treehuggers on the bench; it only needs judges who will follow the protective mandates of the statutes passed by Congress.
When it comes to addressing the nation’s 21st century environmental problems, environmentalists must pay far more attention to the third branch of government — a branch, after all, that is made up of people who are appointed not for four or six years, but for lifetime terms. The future of environmental law is inextricably linked with the future of the federal bench.
For more on the D.C. Circuit and its importance, see “Broken Circuit: Obstructionism in the Environment’s Most Important Court” [PDF], the cover story in the latest issue of The Environmental Forum.
Simon Lazarus is senior counsel with the Constitutional Accountability Center, a public interest law firm, think tank, and action center. Doug Kendall is president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
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“I don’t think people truly understand what just happened.”
Stephen Lacey: May 9, 2013
Conventional wisdom says that buildings are a sprawling, untamable black hole for energy. But a new analysis of federal data shows that the U.S. buildings sector has made enormous strides in efficiency over the last six years -- potentially eliminating the need to build any new power plants to support growth in the sector through 2030.
When sustainable architecture guru Edward Mazria looked at the EIA's latest Annual Energy Outlook, he noticed two surprising things: one, that 2030 projections for building energy consumption continue their steep decline; and two, that America plans to add over 60 billion square feet of new buildings by then. So even as a huge portfolio of new buildings is constructed in the next two decades, the energy needs in those buildings will be low enough to prevent the need for any new power plants to service them, concluded Mazria.
"There is no longer any need to build power plants to meet growth in the buildings sector," said Mazria. "This is a monumental shift."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/federal-data-shows-sweeping-savings-in-energy-usage-by-us-building-sector?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
by Chris Clarke
on May 10, 2013 2:50 PM
The City Council of Sebastopol, a liberal enclave in Northern California's semi-rural Sonoma County, voted Tuesday to require that all new residential and commercial buildings in the city include rooftop solar. Sebastopol thus joins the Mojave Desert city of Lancaster in banning new construction without solar panels.
According to the new regulations approved unanimously by the Sebastopol City Council, new homes and commercial buildings must include enough solar generating capacity to cover 75 percent of the building's annual power consumption, or two watts of capacity per square foot of "insulated building area." That means moderately sized homes of 1,000 square feet will be required to include two kilowatts of solar panels, significantly larger than the solar arrays often installed on small homes.Share This Post
By DARIUS DIXON | 5/8/13 5:16 AM EDT
Two former senators threw their energy policy weight Tuesday to make the case that the private sector — rather than federal government — should decide whether to export natural gas.
“Markets are dynamic. There are many factors [that] are working [that] change by the month. Some change daily,” former Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) told lawmakers on a House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel, citing fluctuating expenses like labor rates, interest rates and fuel costs.
“The market’s not perfect,” he added, “but I think it’s better than what the regulators would be.”
Johnston chaired the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1987 to 1995 and is now chairman of Johnston & Associates.
The hearing came as the Energy Department is reviewing several applications by companies that want to export liquefied natural gas — a sharp turnaround from just a few years ago, when U.S. gas supplies seemed limited.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/ex-senators-weigh-in-on-lng-exports-91037.htmlShare This Post
Nearly half of new oil and gas jobs in the US went to women in the first three months of this year, according to an analysis. Men still dominate the field, but new technologies are diversifying the workforce of the oil and gas industry.
By David J. Unger, Correspondent / May 9, 2013
Men still dominate the field – making up 82 percent of the oil and gas workforce, according to an analysis of government data by Rigzone, an oil and gas industry news and job recruitment website. But 46 percent of new jobs in the first three months of 2013 were filled by women. In the previous quarter, women filled 30 percent of new jobs.
The demographics reflect a changing industry. The image of the macho roughneck toiling on isolated rigs persists, but computer-assisted exploration and advanced petroleum engineering have diversified the profile of oil and gas workers.
"The industry itself is becoming more sophisticated, more technologically advanced," said Mary Usovicz, vice president of marketing and external affairs at OsComp, which develops compressed-natural-gas delivery technologies.
"When women look into it and see the technology advances that have happened – and see the need to keep those advances going – I think it's interesting to them," Ms. Usovicz, who also serves on the board of New England Women in Energy and Environment, added in a telephone interview.Share This Post