Morning Energy News – May 2, 2011
Shell Oil Company could fuel 25 million cars for 35 years by drilling in the Arctic, but big green and big government have other plans New York Times (5/1/11) reports: Shell Oil will present an ambitious proposal to the federal government this week, seeking permission to drill up to 10 exploratory oil wells beneath Alaska’s frigid Arctic waters… The forbidding ice-clogged region is believed to hold vast reserves of oil, potentially enough to fuel 25 million cars for 35 years. And with production in Alaska’s North Slope in steep decline, the oil industry is eager to tap new offshore wells…Shell has led the way, working for five years to convince regulators, environmentalists, Native Alaskans and several courts that it could manage the process safely, protect polar bears and other wildlife, safeguard air quality for residents and respond quickly to any spill in the region. But BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster a year ago put a chill on new offshore drilling…Shell’s renewed application will pose a test for President Obama, who promised to put safety first after the BP spill. But he has also reiterated his support for offshore drilling amid voter worries about rising gasoline prices.
Lawyer Up: Western Energy Alliance files suit against the Department of Interior for being derelict in their responsibilities with regards to oil and gas permits. Read the brief here.
The plan we can all get behind: Obama wants to emulate Spain’s green jobs program. We are almost half way there — Spain announces 21% unemployment CNN (4/29/11) reports: Spain’s unemployment rate rose nearly a point to 21.29%, with 4.9 million jobless for the first quarter of 2011, the government reported Friday, as the prolonged economic crisis continues to squeeze the nation…Some analysts had predicted the number of jobless might surpass 5 million. But while that didn’t happen, the latest statistics were another blow to the economy and to the embattled socialist government…The numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010 — 20.33% unemployment and almost 4.7 million jobless — already represented the highest joblessness rate in 13 years…The latest numbers, for the first quarter of this year, added more somber news. The number of unemployed increased by 213,000, pushing the overall number to 4.9 million…All major sectors — industry, construction, services and agriculture — shed jobs during the quarter. The number of Spanish households in which no adult had a job increased by 58,000, to a new total of 1.38 million, the government said…Earlier this month, embattled Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced he would not seek a third term. Elections are due by March 2012.
It’s the ethanol, stupid. CEO of major pork producer explains in simple terms that ethanol is making food more expensive Wall Street Journal (4/30/11) reports: Mr. Pope is the chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer by volume. He doesn’t mince words when it comes to rapidly rising food prices. The 56-year-old accountant by training has been in the business for more than three decades, and he warns that the higher costs may be here to stay…Courtesy of? “I’m not going to say, ‘a political policy,’” he tells me. (His senior vice president, a lawyer by training, sits close by, ready to “kick his leg” if his garrulous boss speaks too plainly.) But politics indeed plays a large role, as Congress subsidizes favorite industries and the Federal Reserve pursues an expansive monetary policy… What triggered the upswing? In part: ethanol. President George W. Bush “came forward with—what do you call?—the edict that we were going to mandate 36 billion gallons of alternative fuels” by 2022, of which corn-based ethanol is “a substantial part.” Companies that blend ethanol into fuel get a $5 billion annual tax credit, and there’s a tariff to keep foreign producers out of the U.S. market. Now 40% of the corn crop is “directed to ethanol, which equals the amount that’s going into livestock food,” Mr. Pope calculates.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me with wind energy and I must be out of my mind Telegraph (4/30/11) reports: The payments, worth up to 20 times the value of the power they would have produced, raises serious concerns about such subsidies, which are paid for by the customer…The six Scottish wind farms were asked to stop producing electricity on a particularly windy night last month as the National Grid was overloaded…Their transition cables do not have the capacity to transfer the power to England and so they were switched off and the operators received compensation. One operator received £312,000, while another benefited by £263,000…The payments were discovered by the Renewable Energy Foundation, a green think tank, which accused the Government of building too many wind farms in northern Britain.
There’s an app for that — Al Gore launches new climate app for the iphone and ipadTime (5/1/1) reports: No, Al Gore did not invent the Internet, but the former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner has always has a hand in high-tech, even as he warned the world about global warming. Those two interests are intersecting with the release of a new iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch app version of his recent climate and energy book Our Choice. The app is one of the first truly multimedia e-books, with interactive graphics, video, photos with geolocation and narration by Gore himself. Gore sat down with TIME’s Bryan Walsh in the New York offices of Gore’s firm Generation Investment to talk about the Our Choice app, the state of the climate movement and post-truth politics…Q: Does the app get you a new audience for the book?..A: Yes it does. We live in a multi-platform world. I think that the app experience is a magical one that will give it a lot of velocity as a media form because it combines books, movies, audio, animation and interactive features. There is nothing between you and the content, and there is no computer hurdle to clear. You just touch it with your finger, blow on it and manipulate it. It’s very intuitive.