August 15 News: Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks into Missouri River; How Will Renewables Fair Post-Stimulus?

August 15 News: Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks into Missouri River; How Will Renewables Fair Post-Stimulus?

A round-up of recent climate and energy news. Please post other stories below.

Natural gas pipeline leaks into Missouri River

A natural gas pipeline that runs under the Missouri River has developed a leak.

Enterprise Products of Houston reported a drop in pressure Saturday, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said. The affected section runs from Decatur, Neb., to just west of Onawa.

The company shut down the pipeline and an estimated 140,000 gallons of natural gas was being pumped out.

As of Sunday afternoon, the source had not been found but was suspected to be on the Iowa side.

Post-stimulus Financing: Will Renewable Growth Continue?

Money is flowing worldwide for many forms of renewable energy, as the industry presses forward with dramatic growth. CleanEdge reported US$188.1 billion in global revenue for biofuels, solar and wind energy in 2010, a 35.2% surge over 2009. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that clean energy investment worldwide reached $243 billion in 2010, nearly double the sector investment just four years earlier. And venture capital investment for clean technology in the US rose 54% in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period one year earlier, in a trend led by solar energy companies, according to Ernst & Young.

What has buoyed the market? Many in the renewable energy sector thank stimulus funds infused into the industry by governments throughout the world. But will the growth continue as stimulus funding winds down? Will private lenders and investors pick up where government leaves off in a post-stimulus world?

Several deal makers describe the state of today’s finance markets and provide their outlook into 2012 and beyond, including how hard – or easy – it is to attract private tax equity, project finance, venture capital and other types of loans and investments. Even as the world economy continues to struggle, renewable energy fares far better than many sectors.

Axelrod: Oil and military, not Perry, boosted Texas jobs

President Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod is seeking to undercut Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) jobs record in the Lone Star State as Perry prepares to jump into the presidential race.

Perry is readying to make his record on job growth a pillar of his campaign. But here’s Axelrod on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday:

“There’s a specific reason that Texas has done so well, and that’s because the oil industry has done so well in the last few years, and the military has grown because of the challenges that we have had overseas,” Axelrod said. “He’s been the beneficiary of things that he had very little to do with.”

EPA: Smog rule coming ‘shortly’

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated Friday that it intends to issue updated ozone standards “shortly,” but did not offer a specific deadline for finalizing the rules.

The regulations are still undergoing an inter-agency review process, the EPA said in a motion filed in federal court Friday on the status of the standards.

“EPA believes that this inter-agency review will be completed shortly, after which EPA expects expeditiously to sign the final action that will complete its rulemaking reconsidering the [ozone rule],” EPA said in the motion.

EPA says the court should direct the agency to alert stakeholders one day before signing the final ozone rule.

The EPA motion is a response to a motion filed by Earthjustice and other environmental groups earlier this week with the U.S. Court of Appeals asking the D.C. Circuit to require that the agency immediately issue the standards.

DOE awards $175 million for development of advanced vehicle technologies

Can you build a better car for $175 million? The U.S. Department of Energy hopes so, and Secretary Steven Chu has announced that the DOE will award more than that amount over the next three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. The funds will be distributed to 40 projects in 15 states with the overall goal is to improve the fuel efficiency of next-generation vehicles.

Working to assist automakers in achieving the recently announced fuel efficiency standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year 2025, the DOE is investing in advanced technologies that will significantly improve vehicle fuel economy and lead to a “clean energy future.”

BYD E6 and the EV Range Solution

BYD Co Ltd (Build Your Dreams 002594.SZ) is on schedule to enter the growing EV market with the E6 crossover in Q2 of 2012, reports senior vice president Stella Li to Alysha Webb of Plug-in Cars. It is an interesting time in EV marketing as each manufacturer tries to present their technological solution and win EV popularity. Tesla first gave us the sexiest electric vehicle. Nissan is trying to give us the mass-produced EV. GM is telling us not to be afraid. While all the manufacturers are happy to point out how clean these vehicles are to operate, an ever present undercurrent is the vehicle range and vehicle cost. With the BYD E6, we can focus on range issues.

A battery manufacturer that has started building vehicles, BYD could be expected to do something special with the battery. At 60 kWh, the E6 battery is almost 4 times the size of the battery in the GM Volt or Mitsubishi I, and it is more than twice the size of the Nissan Leaf battery. At 53 kWh, only the Tesla Roadster battery pack comes close in size. The capacity of the battery, combined with the way in which the car is driven, the efficiency of the vehicle, and the weight of the vehicle, will determine the vehicle range.


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