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July 17th, 2012 Archives
By ALISTAIR MACDONALD Updated July 16, 2012, 6:17 p.m. ET
TORONTO—Chinese companies once were happy to let Canadians and Americans represent them here. No longer. Today, they're using Chinese nationals as they invest billions into natural resource projects. These nationals can be seen from one end of Canada to the next, variously negotiating deals with Native American groups or prospecting for minerals in remote areas.
Meanwhile, a new breed of small Chinese players—many of them private investors—are looking for smaller, early-stage projects. These Chinese executives are building an on-the-ground presence to better manage risks and avoid the sort of political backlash that sidelined some past deals here and in the U.S.
Chinese companies have spent around $23 billion buying Canadian-based resources companies since 2005, according to researcher Dealogic.
The local engagement has attracted attention from Canadian intelligence, which has begun asking about the budding relationships between Chinese investors and Native American groups.
Referred to as "First Nations" in Canada, native groups exert significant influence over resource projects due to traditional claims to large tracts of Canadian territory.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303933704577530870461914202.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
Published: Monday, July 16, 2012, 2:26 PM Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012, 2:36 PM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Ambre Energy, the Australian company shooting for two coal export terminals along the Columbia River, is in hot water with its business partner in a Montana mine that's supposed to supply the coal Ambre would ship to Asia.
Last week, Cloud Peak Energy sued Ambre in U.S. District Court in Montana, alleging that Ambre's export plans for the Decker mine were developed without Cloud Peak's approval and asking the court to remove Ambre as the mine's manager.
Since buying a half-share in the mine last November, Ambre has engaged in "various self-dealing transactions" designed to give Ambre a "disproportionate share" of profits on Asian sales, the complaint says.
Ambre is pursuing two export terminals along the Columbia, the Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview and a "Morrow Pacific" project spread between the Port of Morrow and the Port of St. Helens.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/07/lawsuit_clouds_ambre_energys_p.htmlShare This Post
By Brad Plumer , Updated: July 16, 2012
Armed with new drilling techniques, companies are spreading out across the United States, cracking open shale rock in search of vast new stores of natural gas. It’s not an exaggeration to say that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has revolutionized the U.S. energy industry. Cheap natural gas has become America’s top source for electricity, displacing coal and bringing back jobs to once-decaying states like Ohio.
But the fracking boom has also led to plenty of environmental concerns. Local communities are worried that the chemicals used to pry open the shale rock can contaminate nearby drinking water supplies. (So far, there’s scant evidence this is happening in places like Pennsylvania, but the science is still in its infancy.) Excess gas is often vented off, producing air pollution. And the disposal of fracking wastewater underground appears to be linked to earthquakes in places like Ohio.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/16/how-states-are-regulating-fracking-in-maps/Share This Post
By KATE GALBRAITH July 14, 2012
FREEPORT, Tex. — The largest chemical complex in the Western Hemisphere resembles a city of pipes and stacks. And Dow Chemical, its owner, is spending more than $4 billion to make it even larger.
“In terms of dollars, this is the biggest expansion since we built the place,” said Earl Shipp, vice president for Dow’s Texas operations, who works out of the vast Freeport facility that dates to 1940.
More Texas chemical plants — a dozen, at least — are also moving forward with new projects. The hydraulic fracturing technology that sparked a drilling frenzy around Texas and the nation has proved a boon for the petrochemical industry, which is converting cheap and abundant natural gas into resins and polymers that go into items like synthetic clothing and cellphones. Experts say this represents the largest petrochemical expansion in Texas since the days of cheap oil in the 1980s.
But the growth comes amid concerns about future shortages of water and electric power statewide, as well as worries about the industry’s impact on air pollution in the Houston area.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/texas-oil-boom-promises-20000-new-jobs-but-also-water-and-electricity-shortages.html?_r=1Share This Post
By SOPHIA LI June 26, 2012, 4:03 pm
Seven years ago, Paul Edmiston was working in his laboratory on a potential way to detect the presence of explosives. By accident, he created a material that acted as a powerful sponge that could absorb small organic compounds like gasoline, motor oil, and pesticides dissolved in water.
Today Dr. Edmiston, a professor of chemistry at the College of Wooster in Ohio, is hoping that his invention, dubbed Osorb, will have a new commercial application: cleaning the wastewater created by the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.
In fracking, a mix of water, sand and chemical additives is injected into a drilling well under heavy pressure to release natural gas from shale deposits. At the end of the process, some of the chemical-laden water returns to the surface along with salts, radioactive elements and other contaminants absorbed from the shale. Safely disposing of the waste from fracking without contaminating drinking water and waterways has been a major environmental and health concern.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/a-novel-way-to-clean-wastewater/?src=recgShare This Post
Industry veteran suggests emphasis on utility side
Phil Carson | Jul 16, 2012
Steve Collier, an electrical engineer and IEEE smart grid "expert" (so designated due to his experience with the grid and the new technologies being applied to it), has worked in many roles in the power, telecom and software industries. We talked earlier this month about a few issues in grid modernization.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.intelligentutility.com/article/12/07/change-grid-not-customer&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=IU_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-MemberShare This Post
Site covers thousands of acres in Seneca County
Barry Cassell | Jul 16, 2012
ENTECCO LLC and its team are proposing a renewable power generation project that will be a “Renewable Energy Delivery Hub,” dedicated to the generation of photo voltaic (PV) or concentrated photo voltaic (CPV) solar energy at a size of up to 2,000 MW, to be located in Seneca County, N.Y.Share This Post
By John Farrell
Grist guest contributor
Cross-posted from Energy Self-Reliant States
I often get flak when I publish research on the cost trajectory for solar (my “Rooftop Revolution” report estimates 100 million Americans reaching grid parity by 2021). About half think I’m too conservative, and half think I’m too overconfident that solar will continue to drop in price by 7 percent per year indefinitely.
But I’m not alone in perceiving an enormous cost reduction opportunity for solar in the United States. An article in Forbes last week suggested that we can “Cut The Price Of Solar In Half By Cutting Red Tape.” It provides a chart (reproduced below) like one I published in March, that shows how a similarly sized residential solar array in Germany costs 60 percent less than one built in the U.S.Share This Post
by Chris Clarke
on July 16, 2012 9:51 AM
If you've been to a large chain hardware store recently, you've seen the display kiosks in the aisles that tell you you can install solar panels on your home for no upfront costs. The companies behind these ads make up what just might be the fastest growing section of California's renewable energy trade: solar leasing companies.
The basic idea behind solar leasing is that a firm will inspect a property, determine whether it's suitable for solar and how much, then install solar photovoltaic panels. Property owners don't have to shell out thousands of dollars in upfront costs; many pay nothing upfront at all. Instead, they pay a fixed-rate monthly lease fee to the leasing company. The property owners pay less in lease fees than they did in monthly electric bills, and they get the satisfaction of consuming renewable electricity.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/rooftop-solar-leasing-dominating-residential-pv-in-california.htmlShare This Post
Biologists are elated to find wild steelhead trout on Washington's Olympic Peninsula — a sign of success for one of the largest river-restoration projects ever undertaken.
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
July 15, 2012, 5:00 a.m.
PORT ANGELES, Wash. — When it comes to disappearing species and humanity's harmful imprints on nature, hardly anybody expects anything to go right. People move in, engineers build, wildlife dies: It's an old story.
Perhaps that's why two biologists wading through a tributary of the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula not long ago were chortling and grabbing for their cellphones. The cause for celebration: a gray speckled trout hovering powerfully in the fast-running stream. The 35-inch fish was probably the first wild steelhead to find its way up the middle reaches of the river in 100 years.
As fish stories go, the fleeting sight of a trout in a river wouldn't usually be huge, but this one marks a crucial chapter in the efforts to reclaim the Elwha from the devastating effects of two hydropower dams.
For the better part of a century, the dams cut off salmon and steelhead from 90 miles of pristine river, much of it in Olympic National Park.
In September, as part of the largest river-restoration project ever undertaken, the 108-foot-high Elwha Dam was blasted down. Engineers since then have been chipping away at the even bigger Glines Canyon dam about eight miles upstream. The hope is that the $325-million project will restore the legendary fish runs that once saw 100-pound chinook salmon fighting their way up the majestic river.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-trout-success-20120715,0,595732.storyShare This Post
Posted By Heather On July 17, 2012 @ 12:00 am By Todd R. Brown
California Health Report
Original source: http://www.healthycal.org/archives/9220
Maria Herrera grew up in a farm worker family, moving from Michoacán to Orange Cove when she was three. Like many migrants, the family made a living picking fruit grown in the area’s orchards and fields, be they lemons, tomatoes, oranges or stone fruit.
As she grew older the family moved on to other tiny towns like Cutler, Orosi and Sultana along the foothills in Fresno and Tulare counties, and she joined in the picking on weekends and during summers, plucking olives to collect in buckets and helping in the grape harvest.
But while the Central Valley’s produce grows hearty under the hot sun, the laborers who get the product from orchard to processing plant face an unpleasant runoff from their very livelihood: The local groundwater that provides well water for drinking is heavily contaminated with nitrates, a poisonous byproduct of fertilizers and other agricultural sources.Share This Post