BEIJING””U.S. solar-panel maker First Solar Inc. and China Power International New Energy Holding Ltd. said they will collaborate on solar-energy projects in China, the U.S. and elsewhere.
The arrangement helps First Solar gain access to China’s solar sector amid shaky conditions in Europe, the world’s leading solar market.
China Power “has a tremendous advantage and strength in operating in China, and we have a tremendous advantage and strength in technology but also in building utility systems,” Kevin Berkemeyer, First Solar’s China representative, said at a Tuesday news conference.
The companies will explore opportunities within China. First Solar also will assist China Power, a unit of China Power New Energy Development Co., to find investment opportunities in the U.S. and elsewhere. China Power has planned 2 gigawatts of projects for the domestic market. First Solar has 2.4 gigawatts planned in North America.
“We are very pleased to build an extensive and in-depth relationship with First Solar, a global leader in solar photovoltaic technology,” said Li Xiaolin, China Power’s chairwoman.
TransCanada Corp. said Monday its Keystone pipeline system spilled about 500 barrels of oil at a pump station in North Dakota, amid heightened scrutiny from Washington over plans by the company to expand the pipeline.
The spill occurred early Saturday morning, resulting from a valve failure at a pump station about 40 miles southwest of Milner, N.D. The spill was contained on TransCanada’s property, and two dozen workers have been able to clean up 300 barrels so far, company spokesman Terry Cunha said on Monday.
The pipeline currently carries up to 591,000 barrels a day of heavy oil from oil-sands
A new campaign is being launched in Virginia to encourage the development of offshore winds.
The campaign calls itself “VA4Wind” and it’s set for launch on Tuesday in Richmond. Its organizers include the Sierra Club and the Green Jobs Alliance.
The waters off Virginia’s coast are viewed as prime for large-scale wind power. Gov. Bob McDonnell has included offshore winds in his bid to make Virginia an energy power, but critics have questioned his emphasis on offshore oil and gas exploration.
Dominion Virginia Power is studying the possibility of an offshore electric transmission line to support wind farm development.
With oil companies such as ExxonMobil announcing a jump in profits of nearly 70 percent while gas prices are hovering around $4 a gallon, Republicans are trying to avoid any impression of defensiveness over their strong support for Big Oil. Many are now saying they do not support subsidies, while others assert that these help keep gas prices low and create U.S. jobs. But Republicans have reason to be nervous.
Many are now saying they do not support subsidies, while others assert that these help keep gas prices low and create U.S. jobs. But Republicans have reason to be nervous.
Even with his boost in the polls after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the recent increase in gas prices has clearly had an effect on President Barack Obama’s approval rating, and it holds significant danger for Democrats. However, the multibillion-dollar-plus profit announcements by ExxonMobil and other oil companies, coupled with the recent gaffe on oil subsidies by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), could give Democrats a chance to turn the tables.
Boehner had indicated that ending subsidies for oil companies should be on the table, despite the Republican caucus’s three votes this year to protect these taxpayer-funded giveaways.
While some Republicans are now trying to disavow those votes, Boehner quickly backed away from his comment.
But the White House and congressional Democrats pounced on Boehner’s remarks, demanding an end to the subsidies.
This is a strong issue for Democrats. Voters are furious with oil companies, according to our polling, and overwhelmingly support ending subsidies. These subsidies are a key piece of a larger debate about the parties’ priorities, as we argued before. It can be viewed as part of the Republicans’ pattern of support for a budget that cuts taxes for corporations and the rich while ending Medicare as we know it and raising taxes on the middle class.
Chief executives in the oil and gas, telecom, financial and consumer goods sectors were paid more than bosses in other industries in 2010, according to a study of proxy statements conducted for The Wall Street Journal by management consultancy Hay Group.
CEOs of oil and gas companies had the highest median value of total direct compensation at $13.7 million in 2010, up 17.3% from the year before. Total direct compensation is the sum of salary, bonuses and the granted value of stock, stock options and other long-term incentives given for service in fiscal 2010.
Oil and gas CEOs have traditionally …
Senate Democratic leaders are ramping up efforts on multiple fronts this week to push for the repeal of billions of dollars worth of tax incentives for major oil companies.
But the messaging push comes amid competing views about whether the savings should be used for deficit reduction or to fund alternative energy and efficient-vehicle incentives.
Tuesday morning a group that includes several Senate Democrats facing tough reelection battles will unveil a bill to “end to taxpayer handouts to the 5 largest oil companies making record profits and use the savings to reduce the deficit,” according to an advisory from Democratic leadership.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is likely to face a tough reelection battle next year, floated plans Monday to kill billions of dollars’ worth of oil industry tax breaks.
Democratic plans to end tax incentives and royalty waivers are piling up on Capitol Hill as the party tries to avoid political fallout from high gas prices and counter GOP calls to greatly widen offshore drilling.
Senate Democratic leaders plan to launch a floor fight over industry tax breaks as soon as this week.
Brown announced his plan Monday at a gas station in Cleveland. It would end $4 billion annually in tax breaks, subsidies and royalty waivers for the five largest oil companies, his office said.
Paul Ryan’s rangy arm is cocked over a high school sign, his thumb turned down. The playful insult, captured in a black-and-white picture 23 years ago, was aimed at the rival school here in his hometown of 62,000 people. The gesture also harmonizes with his message today on the direction of federal energy spending: down, down, down.
Within Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget resolution is a 70 percent cut to clean energy programs, compared to the president’s plan, and deep reductions to U.S. EPA funding. By way of comparison, Ryan’s goal is to spend about $1 billion a year on “basic science” research for energy, compared to more than $7 billion annually planned by President Obama.
He also supports eliminating renewable energy tax credits. Together, those reductions threaten the expansion of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, according to businesses and advocates in the state, where manufacturing jobs in car plants, paper mills and machine shops continue to disappear. The plan also reduces research on alternative transportation fuels as Wisconsin is seeing gasoline prices steadily rise.
After the House passed the first of three bills to speed up and expand offshore drilling on Thursday, Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey says that the only way to combat high energy prices is to crack down on speculators, deploy the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and put a clean-energy policy in place.
“Americans are shackled to an uncompetitive and corrupt global oil market””one that is draining wealth from the U.S. economy at a rate of $1 billion a day,” Markey writes in a USA Today op-ed.
Markey writes that consumers are stuck between a speculative market and manipulators such as Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, who he says are responsible for price volatility.
The oil industry ramped up efforts Monday to undercut plans by Democrats to eliminate a slew of tax breaks for the largest oil companies.
The effort comes as Senate Democrats are girding for a floor fight as early as this week on a proposal to slash tax breaks for the five largest oil companies.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), the country’s most powerful oil and gas industry trade association, blasted the proposal Monday at an event at the National Press Club.
The Senate proposal is a “vindictive use of the tax code to target one industry over another,” API senior tax adviser Brian Johnson said.
The American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the oil and gas industry, said it backs an overhaul of the U.S. tax code rather than ending benefits for selected energy companies.
Increasing taxes paid by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), ConocoPhillips,Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and BP Plc (BP/), as proposed by Democrats, would lower oil and natural gas output and raise costs for gasoline and electricity, the institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council said today at a Washington news conference.
“Let’s look at everyone, let’s look at every company across the board, not just pick five,” said Brian Johnson, senior tax adviser at the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute. “You’re clearly trying to form winners and losers.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on legislation that would increase penalties — including possible prison time — for environmental crimes.
“The tragic explosion of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig last year is just one example of why this legislation is needed,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the bill’s sponsor. “Eleven men died in that explosion, and oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico for months, with deadly contaminants washing up on the shores and wetlands of the Gulf Coast. The catastrophe threatened the livelihood of many thousands of people throughout the Gulf region, as well as precious natural resources and habitats.
With major oil players enjoying eye-popping profits on the back of high gas prices, there’s a growing political push to eliminate tax incentives for the petroleum industry. Senate Democrats and President Obama are behind a plan to strips billions in subsidies for the five biggest oil companies, with the money going either to clean energy, or simply to reduce the budget deficit. As Obama said in a speech on May 6:
If you’re already paying them at the pump, we don’t need to pay them through the tax code. Especially at a time when we’re scouring every part of the budget to try to figure out how we bring down our deficit and our debt.
There’s nothing new about politicians complaining about Big Oil””it usually kicks in automatically once gas prices rise above $3 a gallon””but this time could be different, if only because growing panic over the public debt has meant that all government subsidies are coming under attack. At the same time, there’s a growing understanding that alternative energy sources will struggle to earn market space as long as they’re fighting an entrenched oil industry. “The oil and gas industries have been living on subsidies for the past 100 years,” says John McCarthy, CEO of the next-generation biofuel startup Qteros. “We should have a level playing field.”
Federal officials Monday ordered the operators of a toxic-waste plant on the Cabazon Band of Indians Reservation to fix problems leading to potentially harmful emissions from the facility.
The Environmental Protection Agency said its order requires Western Environmental Inc. to stop accepting additional contaminated soils or solid waste material at the Riverside County facility without prior approval of the the agency.
Among other measures, the agency said, the facility must cover untreated material to prevent the release of noxious emissions into the air.
Mounds of untreated contaminated soil stand more than 40 feet high at the facility in Mecca, according to the EPA.
In late 2010, the EPA said, it received complaints that odors sent people to the hospital.
Last week, at a place called Bird’s Point, just below the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers, the Army Corps of Engineers was busy mining a huge levee with explosives. The work was made dangerous by outbreaks of lightning, but eventually the charges were in place and corps Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh gave the order: A 2-mile-wide hole was blasted in the earthen levee, and a wall of water greater than the flow over Niagara Falls inundated 130,000 acres of prime Missouri farmland.
The corps breached the levee to ease pressure on other floodwalls; if it hadn’t, the town of Cairo, Ill., might well have been inundated. But it’s not as if the problem has been solved. That water will reenter the Mississippi a little farther downstream as it surges toward the sea. “We’re just at the beginning of the beginning,” Walsh said. Col. Vernie Reichling Jr. of the Memphis District of the corps said: “We’ll have to fight this river all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t see it letting up.”