Covanta Accelerating Zero-Waste-to-Landfill

Last week Covanta (CVA:  NYSE) opened a new materials processing facility in Indianapolis, increasing waste handling capacity by 500%.   The waste handler has been in operation in the community for three decades, collecting and processing over 2,100 tons of solid waste every day to steam energy in a waste-to-energy incinerator.  Citizen Thermal Energy buys the steam to heat the buildings of its commercial customers.

The new materials processing facility increases Covanta’s waste handling capacity.  The company is targeting manufacturers in the Indianapolis area that are still sending wastes to landfills.  Covanta wants to collect more waste as well as attract waste types unique to manufacturers that need special handling.  With the new facility Covanta can handle liquid as well as solid waste and will be able to breakdown finished and packaged products.

zero waste-to-landfill
Subaru’s Indiana plant

Manufacturers are under pressure from customers to clean up their contribution to the supply chain.  The ability to certify components or even final products as free of landfill waste can help win supply contracts and improve customer loyalty. Recycling can also reduce operational costs as some wastes earn revenue streams. Certifications can be earned from Underwriters Laboratory or Intertek.

Automotive manufacturer Subaru (FUJHF) is one of Covanta’s customers in Indianapolis.  Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, mandated zero-waste in 2002.  Subaru Indiana achieved zero waste-to-landfill within five years.  It was the first U.S. automotive manufacturer to meet this goal.

Part of the success was apparently Covanta’s extra effort to find buyers for Subaru’s recyclable waste materials such as aluminum, wooden pallets and plastics.  Covanta’s particular configuration in Indianapolis is a plus for Suburu because about 5% of its discards cannot be recycled.  For example, the auto maker produces some parts that engineered are in layers and cannot be pulled apart for recycling.  Covanta is able to keep even these items out of the landfill by producing energy with the incineration process and using the ash for road-resurfacing materials.  This leaves zero waste.

The Indianapolis facility is one element in Covanta’s long-term growth plan.  The company has invested over $1.0 billion over the last three years in advancing its facilities and capacity.  Most of the capital budget is covered by the company’s internal cash resources.   Over the last three years Covanta has converted 22.2% of revenue to operating cash flow.

Covanta has financed some of its expansion with long-term debt.  At the end of March 2018, the company held $2.3 billion in long-term debt on its balance sheet, bringing debt to 3.6 times equity.  That may seem like a hefty leverage load, but Covanta’s times-interest-earning ratio is a comfortable 2.0 times.

The analysts who follow Covanta have posted lower earnings for the year 2018, but apparently see something of a recovery in 2019.  The range of earnings estimates is wide, suggesting there is little agreement on how Covanta will perform over the next couple of years.  In 2018, earnings estimates range from a loss of $0.13 to a profit of $0.33 per share.  The widely different perspectives continue into 2019, with a range of earnings estimates from a loss of $0.16 per share to a profit of $0.45 per share.

The stock is trading at 37.7 times the optimistic view on 2019 earnings.  That may seem like a rich valuation, but investors should also consider Covanta’s cash generating capacity and solid competitive position.  A premium multiple may be justified.  As an added benefit Covanta offers a 6.1% dividend yield at the current price level.

Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of Crystal Equity Research, an alternative research resource on small capitalization companies in selected industries.  Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

The post Covanta Accelerating Zero-Waste-to-Landfill appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

Covanta Accelerating Zero-Waste-to-Landfill

Last week Covanta (CVA:  NYSE) opened a new materials processing facility in Indianapolis, increasing waste handling capacity by 500%.   The waste handler has been in operation in the community for three decades, collecting and processing over 2,100 tons of solid waste every day to steam energy in a waste-to-energy incinerator.  Citizen Thermal Energy buys the steam to heat the buildings of its commercial customers.

The new materials processing facility increases Covanta’s waste handling capacity.  The company is targeting manufacturers in the Indianapolis area that are still sending wastes to landfills.  Covanta wants to collect more waste as well as attract waste types unique to manufacturers that need special handling.  With the new facility Covanta can handle liquid as well as solid waste and will be able to breakdown finished and packaged products.

zero waste-to-landfill
Subaru’s Indiana plant

Manufacturers are under pressure from customers to clean up their contribution to the supply chain.  The ability to certify components or even final products as free of landfill waste can help win supply contracts and improve customer loyalty. Recycling can also reduce operational costs as some wastes earn revenue streams. Certifications can be earned from Underwriters Laboratory or Intertek.

Automotive manufacturer Subaru (FUJHF) is one of Covanta’s customers in Indianapolis.  Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, mandated zero-waste in 2002.  Subaru Indiana achieved zero waste-to-landfill within five years.  It was the first U.S. automotive manufacturer to meet this goal.

Part of the success was apparently Covanta’s extra effort to find buyers for Subaru’s recyclable waste materials such as aluminum, wooden pallets and plastics.  Covanta’s particular configuration in Indianapolis is a plus for Suburu because about 5% of its discards cannot be recycled.  For example, the auto maker produces some parts that engineered are in layers and cannot be pulled apart for recycling.  Covanta is able to keep even these items out of the landfill by producing energy with the incineration process and using the ash for road-resurfacing materials.  This leaves zero waste.

The Indianapolis facility is one element in Covanta’s long-term growth plan.  The company has invested over $1.0 billion over the last three years in advancing its facilities and capacity.  Most of the capital budget is covered by the company’s internal cash resources.   Over the last three years Covanta has converted 22.2% of revenue to operating cash flow.

Covanta has financed some of its expansion with long-term debt.  At the end of March 2018, the company held $2.3 billion in long-term debt on its balance sheet, bringing debt to 3.6 times equity.  That may seem like a hefty leverage load, but Covanta’s times-interest-earning ratio is a comfortable 2.0 times.

The analysts who follow Covanta have posted lower earnings for the year 2018, but apparently see something of a recovery in 2019.  The range of earnings estimates is wide, suggesting there is little agreement on how Covanta will perform over the next couple of years.  In 2018, earnings estimates range from a loss of $0.13 to a profit of $0.33 per share.  The widely different perspectives continue into 2019, with a range of earnings estimates from a loss of $0.16 per share to a profit of $0.45 per share.

The stock is trading at 37.7 times the optimistic view on 2019 earnings.  That may seem like a rich valuation, but investors should also consider Covanta’s cash generating capacity and solid competitive position.  A premium multiple may be justified.  As an added benefit Covanta offers a 6.1% dividend yield at the current price level.

Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of Crystal Equity Research, an alternative research resource on small capitalization companies in selected industries.  Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

The post Covanta Accelerating Zero-Waste-to-Landfill appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

Oklahoma Earthquakes Continue to Decline Significantly Halfway Through 2018

The latest United States Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show that the number of “felt” Oklahoma earthquakes —those registering magnitude 2.8 or greater on the Richter scale — have continued to decline at the midway point of 2018, even as oil production in the Sooner State soars to record levels.

The monthly average of M-2.8 or greater earthquakes so far in 2018 is 76 percent below the monthly average in 2015, when seismic activity peaked in the state. In fact, the number of felt earthquakes this past June was 86 percent below Oklahoma’s most seismically active month of June 2015.

Felt seismic activity thus far in 2018 is also 21 percent below rates observed over the first half of 2017, continuing a steady downward trend that began three years ago after measures were taken to reduce wastewater injection volumes in seismically-active regions of the state.

These declines have come even as drilling activity has ramped up considerably in the state over the past two years. Oklahoma oil production has reached record levels — 17.7 percent above 2015 monthly production — while average weekly rig counts have increased nine percent. Put another way, seismic activity in Oklahoma continues to trend downward even as shale development booms in the Sooner State, further dispelling the misleading media narrative that fracking is to blame for the state’s increased seismic activity.

In its latest effort to clear up public confusion regarding the distinct differences between hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal the USGS recently noted:

“Only a few of the over 2000 magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes since 2009 that have occurred in Oklahoma have been connected to hydraulic fracturing. The majority of earthquakes in Oklahoma are caused by the industrial practice​ known as “wastewater disposal”. Wastewater disposal is a ​separate ​process in which fluid waste from oil and gas production is injected deep underground far below ground water or drinking water aquifers. In Oklahoma over 90% of the wastewater that is injected is a byproduct of oil extraction process and not waste frack fluid.”

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has also explained:

“Most of the wastewater comes not from hydraulic fracturing operations, but rather from producing wells. The water exists in the producing formation and comes up with the oil and natural gas.”

A vast majority of Oklahoma wastewater is what is known as produced water, also called brine or formation water. Brine is co-produced along with oil and natural gas by virtually every well in the United States, regardless of whether the well has been hydraulically fractured or not.

The Tulsa World recently reported that wastewater injection volumes in earthquake-prone areas of Oklahoma have declined roughly 63 percent (3 million barrels per day to 1.1 million barrels per day) from their 2014 peak.

How can this be happening at the same time shale development is surging in the state?

Not only did Oklahoma regulators implement measures in 2015 that either shut in or reduced volumes of injection for more than 700 disposal wells throughout a 15,000-mile “Area of Interest” — reducing wastewater injection volumes 40 percent from 2014 levels — development in the state has also shifted from the Mississippi Lime formation to the SCOOP and STACK formations.

Wells developed in the Mississippi Lime typically co-produce a large amount of saltwater, sometimes 10 to 15 barrels for every barrel of oil produced, according to Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) director Jeremy Boak. Back when oil prices were above $100, such wells suddenly became far more economical, leading to an increase in drilling in these regions and, subsequently, a significant increase in produced water from day-to-day production that needed to be disposed of in Class II disposal wells.

In contrast, the SCOOP and STACK formation yield far less co-produced saltwater than the Mississippi Lime, and most formations in general. Even though wells developed in the SCOOP and STACK typically require hydraulic fracturing to be brought into production, the fact that they produce little brine — and subsequently less wastewater disposal volumes — explains why seismic activity in Oklahoma is decreasing significantly even though production from the region is booming.

Coupled with the fact that wastewater disposal from the Mississippi Lime formation has decreased dramatically, some researchers are optimistic that Oklahoma seismic activity could return to background levels in the near future.

This data is just the latest evidence that pragmatic mitigation measures to address Oklahoma’s induced seismicity are proving effective, a sharp contrast to calls by “Keep It In the Ground” groups to ban oil and gas development in the state, an extreme measure that would have devastated Oklahoma’s economy.

 

 

 

 

The post Oklahoma Earthquakes Continue to Decline Significantly Halfway Through 2018 appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth

List of High Yield Alternative Energy Stocks

This is a list of renewable and alternative energy stocks with dividend or distribution yields above 4%.  The list includes most Yieldcos (high distribution companies that own renewable energy operations), but is not limited to Yieldcos. Some Yieldcos may be excluded if their yield is below 4%.

wind and solar
The wind energy park “Schneebergerhof” in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate). In the foreground thin film solar cells. In the center a wind turbine Enercon E-66 (1.5 MW), on the right Enercon E-126 (7.5 MW) and at the very right side again an E-66. Photo by Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Atlantica Yield plc (AY)
Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (AQN, AQN.TO)
Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd. (BSIF.L)
Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. (BEP)
Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (CIG)
Covanta Holding Corporation (CVA)
Enviva Partners, LP (EVA)
Foresight Solar Fund plc (FSFL.L)
GATX Corporation Series A (GMTA)
Global X YieldCo ETF (YLCO)
Greencoat UK Wind PLC (UKW.L)
Green Plains Partners LP (GPP)
Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (HASI)
Hydro One Limited (H.TO, HRNNF)
InfraREIT, Inc. (HIFR)
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (INE.TO,INGXF)
John Laing Environmental Assets Group Limited (JLEN.L)
Northland Power Inc. (NPI.TO, NPIFF)
NRG Yield, Inc. (NYLD,NYLD-A)
Pattern Energy Group Inc. (PEGI)
Polaris Infrastructure Inc. (PIF.TO, RAMPF)
Power REIT PFD SER A 7.75% (PW-PA)
Red Eléctrica Corporación, S.A. (REE.MC,RDEIY)
Seaspan Corporation (SSW, SSW-PD, SSW-PH, SSW-PG, SSWA, SSWN)
TerraForm Power, Inc. (TERP)
TransAlta Renewables Inc. (RNW.TO, TRSWF)
The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited (TRIG.L, RWFRF)
Veolia Environnement S.A. (VIE.PA, VEOEY, VEOEF)

 

If you know of any high income (distribution yield over 4%) renewable or alternative energy stock that is not listed here, please let us know by leaving a comment. Also if you notice stocks in the list where the yield has fallen below the 4% threshold.

The post List of High Yield Alternative Energy Stocks appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

*UPDATE* Article Highlights High-Paying Jobs That Are In Demand Because of Shale

UPDATE (7/9/18, 9:30 AM EST):  Bloomberg Business reported last week that the oil and natural industry was the top paying U.S. sector in 2017 based on median worker compensation. From Bloomberg’s July 5 article:

“Spurred partly by the shale boom, the median pay for energy workers last year was $123,000, according to data newly mandated by the U.S. That topped all sectors, including utilities, tech and health care. While energy chief executives made an eye-popping 120 times more, the gap with their employees was still the second-smallest among all industries.”

Echoing the Motley Fool article detailed below, Bloomberg’s analysis of company proxy statements revealed the demand for geologists and petroleum engineers has vaulted the oil and natural gas industry to the top spot on the list of highest paying U.S. sectors.

“What’s fueling this paycheck potency? First, a reliance on geologists, petroleum engineers and other highly skilled, well compensated professionals…”

Original Post (6/7/18)

EID reported last year about how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the surging U.S. oil and natural gas industry to drive U.S. jobs growth through 2026. And as exciting as that news is, the quality of the jobs being created by the oil and gas industry is just as notable as the quantity the BLS is forecasting.

The latest evidence can be found in a recent Motley Fool article headlined “12 jobs with the highest starting salaries.” Three of the top six jobs highlighted happen to be directly tied to the oil and gas industry.

Drilling engineers are listed second on the Motley Fool’s list, with a mean starting salary of $89,167 per year, according to the story. The Motley Fool also notes that in addition to paying well, drilling engineers are expected to be in high demand for the next several years:

“The outlook for drilling engineers is great, with job growth in petroleum engineering projected at 15% through 2026.”

The latter outlook, of course, can be traced to the fact that third party experts such as the International Energy Agency expect the ongoing U.S. shale revolution to make the United States “the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide” over the next decade, with production growth 50% higher than any other country has ever managed.”

The shale revolution has created high demand for chemical engineers — a profession listed fifth on the Motley Fool’s list with an annual median starting salary of $71,842. With petrochemical manufacturing booming due in large part to shale gas. The Motley Fool article states:

“As far as jobs go, employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow 8% over the next eight years — not too shabby.”

Geophysicists are listed sixth on the Motley Fool’s top-12 list with an annual median starting salary of $71,721 per year and — not surprisingly — are in a similarly high demand as drilling engineers:

“Jobs prospects… are strong for geophysicists, with a 14% projected growth rate through 2026.”

Of course, these are just three examples of numerous good-paying jobs with direct ties to the oil and gas industry that are expected to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

As EID highlighted late last year, the BLS foresees “faster-than-average” employment growth “for a number of oil and gas occupations, including roustabouts, service unit operators, rotary drill operators, and derrick operators.” Rotary drill operators have a mean annual wage of $55,590, while service unit operators make $51,220 and derrick operators make $50,770 on average.

These professions fall under the BLS’s “Support Activities for Mining” category, which business research firm LimeLeads late last year noted tops the charts of fastest growing American industries by a long shot — with employment growth more than 13 times the national average. From the LimeLeads article:

“Of all American industries, Support Activities for Mining experienced the fastest growth rate in the past year. This sector added 52,500 new jobs, bringing its total employment number to 307,000a whopping increase of 20.6%.”

Notably, 30,000 of those 52,500 new jobs were oil and natural gas support workers.

And of course, increased oil and gas development has led to a resurgence of employment for drilling contractors and extraction companies (which aren’t included in BLS’s “Support Activities for Mining” category) while also creating jobs for numerous other mining-related occupations, which cumulatively pay an annual mean wage of $58,200.

A recent Energy Futures Initiative report noted that oil and gas extraction employment has increased 16 percent since 2009 — a trend that has correlated directly with the shale revolution. Energy jobs, spearheaded by oil and gas, increased five percent over the past 12 months as the industry recovered from an OPEC-induced commodity price downturn in 2015 and 2016. Fortunately, all signs point to this positive trajectory continuing, as BLS expects all jobs in the oil and gas industry to see an annual job growth rate of 1.7 percent per year through 2026.

And of course, the shale revolution has also had a positive employment impact in sectors not directly tied to the oil and gas industry.

A 2016 study by researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) found that for every two jobs directly created by fracking, at least one more is created in the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing boom has had a particularly profound impact in Texas, and truck drivers in the Permian Basin are demanding salaries in the $140,000 range according to a recent Bloomberg piece.

All told, a recent American Petroleum Institute report finds that the oil and gas industry supports 10.3 million American jobs, a 500,000-job increase since 2009. Not coincidentally, the United States has enjoyed nine consecutive years of economic growth since 2009, illustrating the undeniable fact that the shale revolution is fueling the American economy in more ways than one.

The post *UPDATE* Article Highlights High-Paying Jobs That Are In Demand Because of Shale appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth

Suniva, SunPower, Enphase, SolarBridge and SolarWorld – Six Degrees of Solar Separation

by Paula Mints

In June, Suniva crawled out of its badly managed grave courtesy of a request to the U.S. Bankruptcy court made by its partner-in-tariff-petition, SQN Capital Management, which had sought relief for itself and Suniva’s other creditors. A public auction will be held sometime between June and August for, what was described as, some of Suniva’s manufacturing equipment. Meanwhile, back on planet hope-springs-eternal, investment is being sought to restart manufacturing with whatever equipment remains. Lucky SQN now owns Suniva’s monocrystalline cell manufacturing capability, its module assembly capability and its licenses.

Comment: Concerning the upcoming auction … if you’ve got a dollar and are tired of Vegas odds, go for it. Seriously though, the company’s US module assembly was already outdated (most of its modules were assembled in China and even there, focused on 60 cell modules) and its cell manufacturing uncompetitive – because – the cost structure in the US is higher than that of China (and other Asian countries). Concerning 60 cell modules, manufacturers such as LG, still offer these modules as premium products for the rooftop residential market.

Labor costs are higher – much, much higher than in Vietnam (<$3.00 per hour), China (<$6.00 per hour), Thailand (<$3.00 per hour), India (<$3.00 per hour). In the US the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and is higher in some states.

Though other countries may have overtime laws the base pay is lower and so, again, does not compare to the US. The cost of inputs is lower in other countries. The manufacturing concern may be well-supported by local and central governments in other countries. The manufacturing concern may not pay taxes, or, may pay significantly lower taxes in other countries and land for the facility may have been free or close to free (no rent) in other countries.

And … lest we forget, there is the cost of the Trump Administration’s tariffs on, basically, everything and against, basically everyone. These tariffs have led to retaliation from, basically everyone, on basically everything. The added cost of inputs (steel, aluminum, et al) is already trickling through the US economy (and, that of, basically, economies everywhere).

Finding an investor willing to buy what is left of Suniva’s equipment after the auction, and who will then restart manufacturing of cells and/or modules, will be (and should be) difficult.

The What Ifs for SunPower of Suniva’s possible reemergence

If whatever entity buys whatever is left of Suniva restarts its cell manufacturing, a major strategic coup for SunPower (SPWR) will be reduced. As the only US cell manufacturer (if the SolarWorld US acquisition is finalized) SunPower would have the control over requesting an extension for the 2012/2014 and current 201 tariffs, and could allow them to sunset, ask for an extension, or pursue another country. If Suniva successfully restarts cell manufacturing SunPower’s control in this regard is somewhat diluted. However, a successful restarting of Suniva’s cell manufacturing is a big if with very little upside to it, is frankly hard to justify, and though it may happen, hard to imagine. Granted, the unimagined happens every day. Perhaps one of the companies that has announced plans for module assembly in the US will consider Suniva a cheap buy worth retooling.

Lesson: This is not a lesson about the struggle of a little company to survive. This is a lesson on how to read announcements for what really matters. The announcement was about an auction. More will be forthcoming after the auction.

Enphase buys SolarBridge with immediate plans to shutter a lesser rival

In June, right on the heels of its SolarWorld acquisition announcement, SunPower announced it had sold its microinverter division (SolarBridge) to microinverter manufacturer Enphase (ENPH). SolarBridge was founded in 2004 in Austin, Texas. In 2013, longtime SunPower Executive Bill Mulligan was named SolarBridge’s CEO. In 2014, SunPower acquired SolarBridge.
Enphase acquired SolarBridge for $25 million and will issue 7.5-million shares of stock. Enphase also gets a supply agreement with SunPower for its microinverter product. Enphase stated it would immediately shut down production of the SolarBridge microinverter technology.

solar microinverter
Enhpase M190 microinverter by Maury Markowitz [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

Comment: If the price Enphase paid for SolarBridge, a company it does not want with a technology it intends to shut down, seems cheap, Enphase paid for a pipeline. SunPower got funding to help defray the cost of its SolarWorld acquisition. In the case of Enphase, if the SunPower potential pipeline proves less robust than expected, this would be an expensive way to shut down a minor and annoying competitor.

The real competing technology for Enphase remains string inverters with power optimizers.

Lesson: This is another lesson on how to read announcements. Enphase bought a pipeline. SunPower got rid of an underperforming and expensive asset, and secured funds to help with its SolarWorld US acquisition costs. Happens all of the time. You want a new purse … sell the old one on eBay. Kudos all around.
This is also a lesson about expectations. Just like the future, expectations are ephemeral and are a product of our hopes, dreams and in some cases fears. This means that worst case, Enphase paid $25-million and issued stock to get rid of a rival technology. The success of the worst case depends on how big a rival SolarBridge really was for Enphase. If SolarBridge had negligible market traction, then the worst case scenario is pretty expensive, and if the pipeline is less robust than expected, the expense is hard to justify.

Paula Mints is founder of SPV Market Research, a classic solar market research practice focused on gathering data through primary research and providing analyses of the global solar industry.  You can find her on Twitter @PaulaMints1 and read her blog here
This article was originally published in SPV Reaserch’s monthly newsletter, the Solar Flare, and is republished with permission.

The post Suniva, SunPower, Enphase, SolarBridge and SolarWorld – Six Degrees of Solar Separation appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

Suniva, SunPower, Enphase, SolarBridge and SolarWorld – Six Degrees of Solar Separation

by Paula Mints

In June, Suniva crawled out of its badly managed grave courtesy of a request to the U.S. Bankruptcy court made by its partner-in-tariff-petition, SQN Capital Management, which had sought relief for itself and Suniva’s other creditors. A public auction will be held sometime between June and August for, what was described as, some of Suniva’s manufacturing equipment. Meanwhile, back on planet hope-springs-eternal, investment is being sought to restart manufacturing with whatever equipment remains. Lucky SQN now owns Suniva’s monocrystalline cell manufacturing capability, its module assembly capability and its licenses.

Comment: Concerning the upcoming auction … if you’ve got a dollar and are tired of Vegas odds, go for it. Seriously though, the company’s US module assembly was already outdated (most of its modules were assembled in China and even there, focused on 60 cell modules) and its cell manufacturing uncompetitive – because – the cost structure in the US is higher than that of China (and other Asian countries). Concerning 60 cell modules, manufacturers such as LG, still offer these modules as premium products for the rooftop residential market.

Labor costs are higher – much, much higher than in Vietnam (<$3.00 per hour), China (<$6.00 per hour), Thailand (<$3.00 per hour), India (<$3.00 per hour). In the US the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and is higher in some states.

Though other countries may have overtime laws the base pay is lower and so, again, does not compare to the US. The cost of inputs is lower in other countries. The manufacturing concern may be well-supported by local and central governments in other countries. The manufacturing concern may not pay taxes, or, may pay significantly lower taxes in other countries and land for the facility may have been free or close to free (no rent) in other countries.

And … lest we forget, there is the cost of the Trump Administration’s tariffs on, basically, everything and against, basically everyone. These tariffs have led to retaliation from, basically everyone, on basically everything. The added cost of inputs (steel, aluminum, et al) is already trickling through the US economy (and, that of, basically, economies everywhere).

Finding an investor willing to buy what is left of Suniva’s equipment after the auction, and who will then restart manufacturing of cells and/or modules, will be (and should be) difficult.

The What Ifs for SunPower of Suniva’s possible reemergence

If whatever entity buys whatever is left of Suniva restarts its cell manufacturing, a major strategic coup for SunPower (SPWR) will be reduced. As the only US cell manufacturer (if the SolarWorld US acquisition is finalized) SunPower would have the control over requesting an extension for the 2012/2014 and current 201 tariffs, and could allow them to sunset, ask for an extension, or pursue another country. If Suniva successfully restarts cell manufacturing SunPower’s control in this regard is somewhat diluted. However, a successful restarting of Suniva’s cell manufacturing is a big if with very little upside to it, is frankly hard to justify, and though it may happen, hard to imagine. Granted, the unimagined happens every day. Perhaps one of the companies that has announced plans for module assembly in the US will consider Suniva a cheap buy worth retooling.

Lesson: This is not a lesson about the struggle of a little company to survive. This is a lesson on how to read announcements for what really matters. The announcement was about an auction. More will be forthcoming after the auction.

Enphase buys SolarBridge with immediate plans to shutter a lesser rival

In June, right on the heels of its SolarWorld acquisition announcement, SunPower announced it had sold its microinverter division (SolarBridge) to microinverter manufacturer Enphase (ENPH). SolarBridge was founded in 2004 in Austin, Texas. In 2013, longtime SunPower Executive Bill Mulligan was named SolarBridge’s CEO. In 2014, SunPower acquired SolarBridge.
Enphase acquired SolarBridge for $25 million and will issue 7.5-million shares of stock. Enphase also gets a supply agreement with SunPower for its microinverter product. Enphase stated it would immediately shut down production of the SolarBridge microinverter technology.

Comment: If the price Enphase paid for SolarBridge, a company it does not want with a technology it intends to shut down, seems cheap, Enphase paid for a pipeline. SunPower got funding to help defray the cost of its SolarWorld acquisition. In the case of Enphase, if the SunPower potential pipeline proves less robust than expected, this would be an expensive way to shut down a minor and annoying competitor.

The real competing technology for Enphase remains string inverters with power optimizers.

Lesson: This is another lesson on how to read announcements. Enphase bought a pipeline. SunPower got rid of an underperforming and expensive asset, and secured funds to help with its SolarWorld US acquisition costs. Happens all of the time. You want a new purse … sell the old one on eBay. Kudos all around.
This is also a lesson about expectations. Just like the future, expectations are ephemeral and are a product of our hopes, dreams and in some cases fears. This means that worst case, Enphase paid $25-million and issued stock to get rid of a rival technology. The success of the worst case depends on how big a rival SolarBridge really was for Enphase. If SolarBridge had negligible market traction, then the worst case scenario is pretty expensive, and if the pipeline is less robust than expected, the expense is hard to justify.

Paula Mints is founder of SPV Market Research, a classic solar market research practice focused on gathering data through primary research and providing analyses of the global solar industry.  You can find her on Twitter @PaulaMints1 and read her blog here
This article was originally published in SPV Reaserch’s monthly newsletter, the Solar Flare, and is republished with permission.

The post Suniva, SunPower, Enphase, SolarBridge and SolarWorld – Six Degrees of Solar Separation appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

U.S. Per Capita Carbon Emissions at Lowest Levels Since 1950 — Thanks to Natural Gas

New Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released this week show that U.S. per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest levels since 1950. As the second column from the right from the following EIA chart shows, 2017 U.S. per capita CO2 emissions were 15.8 metric tons per person, their lowest levels in 67 years.

For some perspective, per capita carbon emissions haven’t been this low since the beginning of the Korean War and the publication of the very first Peanuts comic strip (Good grief, Charlie Brown!).

Visit EIDClimate.org to read the full blog post.

The post U.S. Per Capita Carbon Emissions at Lowest Levels Since 1950 — Thanks to Natural Gas appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth

Rig Count Rise Snaps Three Week Slide

Rig Count Rise Snaps Three Week Slide

Five rigs come online
Drilling activity increased this week, breaking a three-week slide, according to the latest edition of Baker Hughes Weekly Rig Count.

A net five rigs came online this week, cancelling out the five that shut down last week. All five rigs are land-based, meaning there are now 1,029 land, four inland waters and 19 offshore rigs active in the country, for a total of 1,052 rigs operational.

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Source: Oil & Gas 360

Federal Court Rules DRBC Will Have to Go to Court Over Its Proposed Fracking Ban

Landowners in Wayne and Pike County, Pa., had a bit more reason to celebrate this Independence Day, as the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a 2017 U.S. District Court ruling throwing out the landowners’ lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) over its nearly decade-long moratorium on natural gas development and recently proposed fracking ban. The U.S. District Court will now be tasked with determining whether or not fracking constitutes a “project” that the DRBC has authority to oversee.

As E&E News reported,

“The DRBC has jurisdiction over ‘projects’ in the basin that could affect water resources. The legal dispute centers on whether fracking counts as such a project under the terms of a 1961 compact that created the commission.

“The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said the term was unambiguous and sided with the DRBC last year. The 3rd Circuit rejected that conclusion today and is now remanding the issue to the lower court to do ‘fact-finding’ on the intent of the compact’s writers.”

While the courts will make a determination as to the validity of the DRBC’s alleged authority, the fact remains that there is no scientific justification for a ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (DRB). In fact, the neighboring Susquehanna River Basin Commission determined that shale development has had no “discernable impacts” on the Susquehanna River Basin, which is home to the majority of Pennsylvania’s unconventional wells.  And Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell recently testified that in regard to fracking, “what we’ve seen in the studies that we’ve seen are; it has been fine on the SRBC side.”

Activists inaccurately called into question the validity of the SRBC’s findings during recent hearings on the DRBC’s proposed fracking ban, yet that isn’t the only study to reach such conclusions. As EID’s recent infographic shows, there have been four peer-reviewed studies of the Appalachian Basin in the past 14 months that found fracking is not a major threat to groundwater.

The DRBC has yet to release the final draft regulations that include a ban on fracking in the DRB, and with this latest turn of events, it appears the courts will have the final say in whether or not it can legally do so. Regardless of the legal outcome, as the Scranton Times-Tribune editorial board recently noted, these scientific studies “should have a major place in the Delaware River Basin Commission’s decision on whether to authorize deep drilling within the Delaware watershed.”

The post Federal Court Rules DRBC Will Have to Go to Court Over Its Proposed Fracking Ban appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth

Mexico-US Border: Pipelines Run Through It

Mexico could have a bright future as a key net importer, while still being an exporter, experts concluded at Hart Energy’s recently held Midstream Texas conference and exhibition.

Currently, Mexico imports more oil and gas products than it exports, according to Brandon Seale, president of Howard Energy México, a subsidiary of Howard Energy Partners. That is, if refined, finished and petrochemical products are removed from the equation and offset with crude exports—and through 2022, that picture could be “pretty acute.”
Source: Oil & Gas Investor

Storage Injection In-Line with Expectations, Prices Steady on EIA Release

Natural gas storage inventories increased by 78 Bcf for the week ending June 29, according to the EIA’s weekly report. This injection is in-line with market expectations, which were expecting 77 Bcf. The August 2018 contract was trading similar to yesterday’s close at $2.84 per MMBtu ahead of the storage report. Since then, the contract has increased slightly, trading at $2.85 at time of writing.

Working gas storage inventories now sit at 2.152 Tcf, which is 717 Bcf below last year and 493 Bcf below the 5-year average.

Looking ahead, there are 18 weeks left of this injection season and if injections average 75 Bcf/week, inventories will end the season at 3.5 Tcf. This level compares to the previous low of 3.58 Tcf of 2012, which will put upward pressure on prices. This year, the injection season started late with the first injection reported during the last week of April and since, injections averaged 87 Bcf/week. With summer heat starting to materialize, production will need to continue to increase to fill inventory to a level the market is comfortable with before the winter season begins.

See the chart below for projections of the end-of-season storage inventories as of November 1, the end of the injection season.

This Week in Fundamentals
The summary below is based on PointLogic’s flow data and DI analysis for the week ending July 6, 2018.

Supply:

– Dry gas production is up 0.24 Bcf/d week-on-week, with increases in Texas leading the way (+0.12 Bcf/d).
– Canadian imports are up 0.40 Bcf/d week-on-week.

Demand:

– Domestic natural gas demand increased by 1.90 Bcf/d week-on-week, led by the Power sector (+3.67 Bcf/d) and offset mainly by Res/Com (-1.80 Bcf/d).
– LNG exports were down 0.10 Bcf/d week-on-week while Mexican exports were relatively flat.

Total supply is up 0.64 Bcf/d and total demand is up 1.85 Bcf/d week-over-week. With demand greater than supply, a smaller injection is expected in next week’s EIA release. Last year’s injection for the same week was 58 Bcf while the 5-year average is 79 Bcf.

The post Storage Injection In-Line with Expectations, Prices Steady on EIA Release appeared first on Drillinginfo.

Source: Drilling Info

Storage Injection In-Line with Expectations, Prices Steady on EIA Release

Natural gas storage inventories increased by 78 Bcf for the week ending June 29, according to the EIA’s weekly report. This injection is in-line with market expectations, which were expecting 77 Bcf. The August 2018 contract was trading similar to yesterday’s close at $2.84 per MMBtu ahead of the storage report. Since then, the contract has increased slightly, trading at $2.85 at time of writing.

Working gas storage inventories now sit at 2.152 Tcf, which is 717 Bcf below last year and 493 Bcf below the 5-year average.

Looking ahead, there are 18 weeks left of this injection season and if injections average 75 Bcf/week, inventories will end the season at 3.5 Tcf. This level compares to the previous low of 3.58 Tcf of 2012, which will put upward pressure on prices. This year, the injection season started late with the first injection reported during the last week of April and since, injections averaged 87 Bcf/week. With summer heat starting to materialize, production will need to continue to increase to fill inventory to a level the market is comfortable with before the winter season begins.

See the chart below for projections of the end-of-season storage inventories as of November 1, the end of the injection season.

This Week in Fundamentals
The summary below is based on PointLogic’s flow data and DI analysis for the week ending July 6, 2018.

Supply:

– Dry gas production is up 0.24 Bcf/d week-on-week, with increases in Texas leading the way (+0.12 Bcf/d).
– Canadian imports are up 0.40 Bcf/d week-on-week.

Demand:

– Domestic natural gas demand increased by 1.90 Bcf/d week-on-week, led by the Power sector (+3.67 Bcf/d) and offset mainly by Res/Com (-1.80 Bcf/d).
– LNG exports were down 0.10 Bcf/d week-on-week while Mexican exports were relatively flat.

Total supply is up 0.64 Bcf/d and total demand is up 1.85 Bcf/d week-over-week. With demand greater than supply, a smaller injection is expected in next week’s EIA release. Last year’s injection for the same week was 58 Bcf while the 5-year average is 79 Bcf.

The post Storage Injection In-Line with Expectations, Prices Steady on EIA Release appeared first on Drillinginfo.

Source: Drilling Info

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns

by Jim Lane

In Washington, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned.

Scott Pruitt
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Scott Pruitt) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump announced the exit on Twitter, commenting, “President Donald Trump announced Pruitt’s exit, saying on Twitter “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler becomes acting administrator.

The Digest’s Take

Elsewhere in the media, it is widely reported that Pruitt was undone by a growing number of controversies and investigations relating to his conduct as EPA Administrator, particularly relating to allegations of self-dealing and using EPA aides for personal tasks. Examples are herehere and here. The frame fits the facts, but doesn’t explain the timing. Our take? The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the US Supreme Court, we think, is a factor that should be highlighted.

Given the President’s avowed list of potential Supreme Court nominees, almost no support for confirmation could be expected from Democrats in a closely-divided US Senate. That puts Senate farm-state Republicans — including the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley — into a position of strength in the months-long battle by farmers to stop attacks by the EPA on the Renewable Fuel Standard, and to move the EPA ahead on approval for E15 ethanol year-long blending. It might be read as no accident that Senator Grassley issued a swift statement supporting the Pruitt ouster and citing two factors:

“President Trump made the right decision. Administrator Pruitt’s ethical scandals and his undermining of the President’s commitment to biofuels and Midwest farmers were distracting from the agency’s otherwise strong progress to free the nation of burdensome and harmful government regulations.”

For sure, there are widespread reports of displeasure and weariness at the White House with the narrative surrounding Administrator Pruitt. But why act now? We think the need to rally the GOP around a successful Supreme Court Justice confirmation is a frame that not only fits the facts, it fits the timing and fits the narrative coming out of the Senate and not just the White House press corps.

The Pruitt biofuels backstory

In May, we reported in “Trump in a pickle: support his beleaguered EPA Administrator over oil refinery bailouts, or rally his Midwestern farm-state base?” of the biofuels brouhaha that was beginning to lay a shadow over GOP efforts to bolster farm-state support as November elections begin to draw near. At the time, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa tweeted:

“I’ve supported Pruitt but if he pushes changes to RFS that permanently cut ethanol by billions of gallons he will have broken Trump promise & he should step down & let someone else do the job of implementing Trump agenda if he refuses.”

Grassley explicitly called on Pruitt to back a key campaign pledge from 2016 that helped unlock farm state support and propel Trump into the White House.

1/19/16 Trump at IA Renewable fuels summit: EPA shld make sure blend levels match statutory level set by Congress THAT’S 15B GALLONS/Pruitt shld work hard to make sure he doesn’t undercut the president’s support of ethanol.

Pruitt had also been the subject of numerous investigations at the federal and state level stemming from travel, budget, and transparency issues, although the embattled EPA head had enjoyed support from anti-regulatory and anti-environmental forces.

In May, we reported that United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) sent letters to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and Carl Icahn, billionaire former adviser to President Trump and Chairman of CVR Energy Inc., to request information on reports that the EPA granted CVR an “economic hardship waiver” from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The senators have previously raised concerns about Icahn’s actions related to the RFS and his access to key Administration RFS decision makers when he was a White House special adviser.

In June, we reported that the American Coalition for Ethanol is pretty teed off that “despite repeated public endorsements from the White House to allow the sale of E15 unleaded gasoline year-round, EPA has taken no action to lift the outdated regulatory barrier prior to today’s start of the low Reid vapor pressure (RVP) season. E15 was tested and approved in 2011 for use in any car or light truck from model year 2001 and newer. EPA’s interpretation of RVP regulations effectively bans the sale of lower cost, higher octane E15 from June 1 through September 15, even though E15 has lower RVP and emissions than the gasoline sold in most markets each summer.”

Stakeholder reaction

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa

“President Trump made the right decision. Administrator Pruitt’s ethical scandals and his undermining of the President’s commitment to biofuels and Midwest farmers were distracting from the agency’s otherwise strong progress to free the nation of burdensome and harmful government regulations. Fewer things are more important for government officials than maintaining public trust. Administrator Pruitt, through his own actions, lost that trust. I hope Acting Administrator Wheeler views this as an opportunity to restore this Administration’s standing with farmers and the biofuels industry. I’m looking forward to working with Acting Administrator Wheeler to do just that.”

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen
“For the past year, Scott Pruitt had been waging war against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the biofuels industry, and the millions of farmers and rural Americans who helped Donald Trump get elected. It appears these missteps finally caught up with Mr. Pruitt, who apparently thought that RFS stood for ‘Refinery First Strategy.’ Mr. Pruitt’s failure to follow President Trump’s directive to remove the red tape that restricts E15 from being sold in the summertime likely played a part in his demise, and the straw that broke the camel’s back may have been Mr. Pruitt’s recent proposal for 2019 RFS requirements that failed miserably to repair damages done to our nation’s farmers and biofuel producers. So, that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief coming from the Midwest. We look forward to working with Acting Administrator Andy Wheeler, whose long career focusing on policies that recognize economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive is not undermined by an unmistakable anti-ethanol, anti-farmer bias”
National Biodiesel Board VP of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik

“The EPA plays an important role in implementing policies that have a great impact on our industry. For that reason, we look forward to working with Mr. Wheeler and hope he will act more in line with President Trump’s support for America’s farmers, biofuels producers and the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

National Corn Growers Association president Kevin Skunes

“It’s no secret corn farmers have been frustrated with Scott Pruitt’s ongoing actions over the past year that have seriously undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Even with this leadership change at the EPA, our priorities do not change. We will continue to push the EPA to stop granting unjustified RFS waivers. We expect the EPA to account for the more than 1.6 billion gallons the agency waived from 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations, and we will continue ask EPA to follow through on the president’s commitment to remove outdated regulations to allow higher blends of ethanol like E15 to be sold year-round. We are hopeful Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler will work with America’s corn farmers to give consumers more options at the pump to save them money and reduce emissions and provide farmers with certainty in the marketplace that comes with RFS integrity.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor

“Administrator Pruitt’s tenure as administrator of the EPA put a heavy strain on this administration’s relationship with supporters, farmers, and biofuel producers across the heartland. We urge the EPA under the new leadership of acting Administrator Wheeler to reinforce those bonds and work as a partner to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House in efforts to revitalize rural communities and unleash American biofuels. He can start today by reversing the demand destruction caused by EPA waivers, acting on the president’s pledge to unlock E15, and upholding a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

Advanced Biofuels Business Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman

“Scott Pruitt’s decisions on biofuels drove a wedge between President Trump and his backers in the Midwest. We’re very hopeful this will open a new chapter in the relationship between the EPA and rural communities. Andrew Wheeler could very easily come out of the gate strong by acting on the president’s pledge to lift regulations on E15 and halting abuse of refinery waivers. It would earn him a deep and loyal bench of supporters across rural America.”

New Energy America Executive Director Mike Carr

“While today’s resignation of Scott Pruitt is undoubtedly a victory for the environment and against corruption in government, it should also stand as a stark warning to other members of the Cabinet. As we’ve been saying, putting your personal and political agendas ahead of the real interests of voters will come back to bite you.  While reporters will enjoy citing the salacious details of the scandals, they’ve been there from day one of his ethically-challenged tenure. It’s been the revelation over the last weeks of the depth of the damage he’s done to the Renewable Fuel Standard and the related jobs in the heartland that took Scott Pruitt down. Now, the rest of the Administration have to deal with the tremendous damage Scott Pruitt’s waivers have done to the renewable fuels industry and the rural economies that rely on biofuels. Until this damage is undone, Pruitt’s actions will continue to lie at the feet of the President and the Republican Party.”

Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook

“Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator. He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments. Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration. So while Pruitt is gone, and good riddance, our resistance to all he stood for will continue undiminished.”

American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle

“In the short time Administrator Pruitt was at the EPA, he accomplished much to reorient the Agency towards environmental improvement and away from an obsessive focus on global warming. The work he started on transparency, on the Clean Power Plan, on Waters of the United States, on State authority, on the federal fuel mandate, on the ethanol mandate, and on a host of other issues will ensure that the Agency remains focused on improving the environment rather than inhibiting consumer choice or compromising prosperity. We look forward to continuing to work with Acting Administrator Wheeler to fulfill the promise of this Administration, and we are confident that his knowledge, experience, and judgment will help the Trump Administration achieve its objectives with respect to environmental and energy issues.”

American Future Fund founder Nick Ryan

“Scott Pruitt was an embarrassment to Republicans, and President Trump made the right call by getting rid of him,” said Nick Ryan, AFF’s founder. “The EPA administrator should be someone focused more on the president’s agenda than scoring personal luxuries at the expense of taxpayers. Hopefully, the EPA will now become a true partner to lawmakers working to promote real prosperity in the heartland.”

Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas CEO Johannes Escudero

“The RNG Coalition looks forward to working constructively with Acting Administrator Wheeler to ensure that the Renewable Fuel Standard continues to benefit the American people, our economy and the environment by growing domestic production of biofuels like renewable natural gas and reducing dependence on foreign oil.”

Latino Victory Fund President Cristóbal J. Alexon

“Back in April, Latino Victory joined a group of organizations calling on EPA Administrator Pruitt to resign. Pruitt’s cuts to the EPA directly hurt communities of color across the United States. His self-interest and self-dealing hurt the agency and mission he swore to uphold. We cannot even begin to fully evaluate the damage Pruitt has wreaked on our environment and our community. This is not the last time we will hear about Scott Pruitt, there must be legal ramifications for the many investigations that arose during his tenure. His successor should know that we are watching him closely.”

Jim Lane is editor and publisher  of Biofuels Digest where this article was originally published. Biofuels Digest is the most widely read  Biofuels daily read by 14,000+ organizations. Subscribe here.

The post EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns appeared first on Alternative Energy Stocks.


Source: Alt Energy Stocks

What You Should Know About the Sierra Club Endorsement of Polis

If you have seen Congressman Jared Polis on the campaign trail running for Governor of Colorado recently, you have no doubt heard him enthusiastically tout his endorsement from one of the biggest national anti-fracking groups in the country, the Sierra Club – and if you haven’t, he’ll be out and about with Sierra Club this weekend for a joint “GOTV rally & canvass launch.”

Source: Jared Polis Facebook Page

Here at EID, we find the endorsement rather telling, if not somewhat amusing. And with this week’s E&E News report about the next level support Sierra Club’s Colorado Chapter is extending to Polis by way of a $600,000 contribution to his campaign, it even made us belly laugh for a minute.

“Colorado Rep. Jared Polis will benefit from a new, large environmental investment in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

“The state Sierra Club today announced a $600,000 campaign for the progressive Democrat, who has a reputation in Congress as a staunch environmentalist. The effort includes television ads and mailers, organizing and digital campaigning.” (emphasis added)

Source: Sierra Club Colorado Chapter Facebook

The new flood of big money coming in from the Sierra Club to support Polis only adds another layer to the Polis/Sierra Club onion we unpeel below. Recall that for the past several months, media in Colorado have been calling attention to his evolving stance on Colorado’s energy issues. Even the activist community is often wondering “which Jared will show up?”

Just How Extreme is the Sierra Club?

For starters, let’s take a closer look just how extreme the Sierra Club and their stances against domestic energy production are. On their site, they make absolutely clear:

“The Sierra Club opposes the use of hydraulic fracturing.”

Hydraulic fracturing in Colorado has been an economic boon to the state. Recent reports prove just how much of an economic driver the oil and gas industry has been for the state of Colorado over the past decade, providing $31 billion to the state’s economy annually while directly and indirectly providing north of 230,000 jobs. No wonder Colorado’s oil and gas industry enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support.

Yet the Sierra Club is one of the leading national organizations working to outright ban oil and gas development in Colorado. This year they are strong backers of an anti-energy ballot measure designed to shut down Colorado’s energy sector, which not even Conservation Colorado will support. That’s also true of their support of the Boulder climate lawsuit, which Democrats and green groups refuse to back.

A new study out this past month provides a little more background on where the Sierra Club gets its funding. The Sierra Club has ties to some of the wealthiest green group funders like Bloomberg, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers, Hewlett Foundation, and the Energy Foundation. These groups use Sierra Club as just one of many pass-through organizations to funnel dark money into the anti-oil and gas effort. The millions upon millions of dollars pumped into the Sierra Club are in turn is used to prop up anti-fracking ballot initiatives in Colorado, support frivolous lawsuits, and the latest venture, to support Polis for governor.

What about the 2014 Anti-Energy Ballot Measures?

And then there is the little matter of the 2014 anti-energy ballot measures that Congressman Polis backed, and then pulled, leaving many in the anti-fossil fuel community feeling a sense of betrayal.

The Boulder Weekly reports what happened with those anti-fracking ballot measures back in 2014.

“Petitions for the two 2014 ballot measures, one that would’ve increased setbacks to 2,000 feet, garnered more than enough signatures to put the issues before voters. But due to a last-minute compromise between Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Jared Polis, who had bankrolled the signature-gathering effort, the measures were scrapped at the final hour, literally.

“Soon after the failure to turn in the more than a quarter-million signatures, Boulder Weekly received an email sent to supporters of the measures from Nick Passanante, the campaign director for Safe. Clean. Colorado., the group funded by Polis that controlled the measures. In the email, Passanante wrote, ‘We simply did not have the financial backing to make that happen. In fact, we were being actively blocked by three of the largest national enviro groups in the nation — Sierra Club, Environment America, and to a lesser extent LCV [League of Conservation Voters].” (emphasis added)

So this is interesting.

The Sierra Club national organization and the Sierra Club Colorado chapter have parted ways on the setback ballot initiative saga, with the national group throwing in the towel on this one.

In 2014, Sierra Club national made a sizable donation to the Colorado setback ballot initiative campaign before playing a major role in scrapping the ballot measures before they made it to Election Day.

And again in 2016, the Sierra Club threw money and rallied the troops to get behind taking another swing at trying to pass the initiative that cycle. As mentioned, this attempt was also unsuccessful, falling flat when ban-fracking activists delivered “half-empty” boxes during the signature-gathering portion of the ballot approval process, which ultimately led to the measure never making the ballot. Let’s not forget, not only were empty boxes part of the story here, but later, forged signatures became a huge part of the conversation leading up to the campaigns failure to make the ballot. Clearly, the ban-fracking ballot initiative history is fraught with embarrassing failures. But even after failing to win statewide support in 20122014, and again in 2016 despite the support and resources of national “Keep it In the Ground” groups, anti-fracking activists are back for more.

But in 2018, the national group has decided to give a hard pass on the setback fight in the state, which is rather odd given the fact that the Colorado Sierra Club chapter officially endorsed the 2018 setback ballot initiative campaign.

The Boulder Weekly reached out to the national group to find out what’s up with the split on positions – here’s what the national group had to say about the Colorado setback ballot initiative:

“The Sierra Club supports Colorado Sierra Club’s endorsement of Ballot Initiative 97. As Coloradans know firsthand, there is no manner to make oil and gas operations safe, so at absolute minimum, we must prevent them from threatening our schools, our homes, and our families.”

The Boulder Weekly goes on to clarify:

“That’s not an endorsement of the initiative, it’s an endorsement of the state chapter’s right to endorse the initiative.”

Bottom Line

Congressman Polis’ enthusiastic embrace of the Sierra Club endorsement and hundreds of thousands of dollars reveals his cozy relationship with the group on multiple issues that are even too extreme for Colorado’s environmental community. For example, we’ve heard crickets from Conservation Colorado, a well-funded group with ties to California billionaire Tom Steyer.

According to a recent report from the Denver Post, Steyer, who holds the strings to the coin purse for many of the large national environmental groups, indicated the following in his interview with the Post:

“Colorado’s open governor’s race is barely on his radar. He considered a potential state ballot measure to limit oil and gas drilling, but he decided to pass.”

Could it be the consecutive failures of the efforts have dimmed the appeal for many of the large national groups? The organization running the ballot initiative this year, Colorado Rising, put out this statement regarding the Sierra Club/Polis situation.

Source: Colorado Rising

It’s clear we aren’t the only ones who smell something fishy given Polis’ recent distancing from his hardline extremist position on banning fracking in the state. Case in point – on the campaign trail in Greeley in February 2018, Polis was quoted in a Greeley Tribune news report as saying the following regarding the 2018 setback ballot initiative:

“’Health and safety should come first,’ he said, ‘but there needs to be flexibility for landowners who want to permit oil and gas production closer than a rigid setback might allow.’”

With that said, it’s confusing that Polis apparently does not endorse the 2018 ballot setback campaign but on the other hand accepts the endorsement from the Sierra Club Colorado chapter – a group that does endorse the 2018 ballot setback campaign. Furthermore, the Sierra Club Colorado chapter endorsement press release even cites several of the usual ban-fracking talking points.

These two positions juxtaposed begs the question: does Polis’ embrace of the Colorado chapter Sierra Club endorsement (and the $600,000 contribution) fill the void in his gubernatorial campaign platform when it comes to his wobbly position on banning fracking in the state? He talks a mean talk about 100 percent renewables, but what about the present energy development happening in the state – where does he really stand? Is he trying to have it both ways?

Let’s just say, birds of a feather flock together. There’s definitely something telling about Polis’ affiliation with the Sierra Club Colorado chapter, a chapter that in the same month, endorsed Polis for governor and also endorsed the 2018 setback ballot initiative, and has even convinced the gubernatorial candidate to accept their support.

What we know is that

“Four years ago, the Democratic congressman backed an effort that put forward nine ballot measures to prohibit or limit oil and gas operations in the state — including one to increase setbacks to 2,640 feet. This year, he opposes an effort to increase the distance between drilling rigs and communities to 2,500 feet.

The difference between then and now, political observers say: Polis is running for governor of Colorado.” (emphasis added)

 

The post What You Should Know About the Sierra Club Endorsement of Polis appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth

What You Should Know About the Sierra Club Endorsement of Polis

If you have seen Congressman Jared Polis on the campaign trail running for Governor of Colorado recently, you have no doubt heard him enthusiastically tout his endorsement from one of the biggest national anti-fracking groups in the country, the Sierra Club – and if you haven’t, he’ll be out and about with Sierra Club this weekend for a joint “GOTV rally & canvass launch.”

Source: Jared Polis Facebook Page

Here at EID, we find the endorsement rather telling, if not somewhat amusing. And with this week’s E&E News report about the next level support Sierra Club’s Colorado Chapter is extending to Polis by way of a $600,000 contribution to his campaign, it even made us belly laugh for a minute.

“Colorado Rep. Jared Polis will benefit from a new, large environmental investment in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

“The state Sierra Club today announced a $600,000 campaign for the progressive Democrat, who has a reputation in Congress as a staunch environmentalist. The effort includes television ads and mailers, organizing and digital campaigning.” (emphasis added)

Source: Sierra Club Colorado Chapter Facebook

The new flood of big money coming in from the Sierra Club to support Polis only adds another layer to the Polis/Sierra Club onion we unpeel below. Recall that for the past several months, media in Colorado have been calling attention to his evolving stance on Colorado’s energy issues. Even the activist community is often wondering “which Jared will show up?”

Just How Extreme is the Sierra Club?

For starters, let’s take a closer look just how extreme the Sierra Club and their stances against domestic energy production are. On their site, they make absolutely clear:

“The Sierra Club opposes the use of hydraulic fracturing.”

Hydraulic fracturing in Colorado has been an economic boon to the state. Recent reports prove just how much of an economic driver the oil and gas industry has been for the state of Colorado over the past decade, providing $31 billion to the state’s economy annually while directly and indirectly providing north of 230,000 jobs. No wonder Colorado’s oil and gas industry enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support.

Yet the Sierra Club is one of the leading national organizations working to outright ban oil and gas development in Colorado. This year they are strong backers of an anti-energy ballot measure designed to shut down Colorado’s energy sector, which not even Conservation Colorado will support. That’s also true of their support of the Boulder climate lawsuit, which Democrats and green groups refuse to back.

A new study out this past month provides a little more background on where the Sierra Club gets its funding. The Sierra Club has ties to some of the wealthiest green group funders like Bloomberg, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers, Hewlett Foundation, and the Energy Foundation. These groups use Sierra Club as just one of many pass-through organizations to funnel dark money into the anti-oil and gas effort. The millions upon millions of dollars pumped into the Sierra Club are in turn is used to prop up anti-fracking ballot initiatives in Colorado, support frivolous lawsuits, and the latest venture, to support Polis for governor.

What about the 2014 Anti-Energy Ballot Measures?

And then there is the little matter of the 2014 anti-energy ballot measures that Congressman Polis backed, and then pulled, leaving many in the anti-fossil fuel community feeling a sense of betrayal.

The Boulder Weekly reports what happened with those anti-fracking ballot measures back in 2014.

“Petitions for the two 2014 ballot measures, one that would’ve increased setbacks to 2,000 feet, garnered more than enough signatures to put the issues before voters. But due to a last-minute compromise between Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Jared Polis, who had bankrolled the signature-gathering effort, the measures were scrapped at the final hour, literally.

“Soon after the failure to turn in the more than a quarter-million signatures, Boulder Weekly received an email sent to supporters of the measures from Nick Passanante, the campaign director for Safe. Clean. Colorado., the group funded by Polis that controlled the measures. In the email, Passanante wrote, ‘We simply did not have the financial backing to make that happen. In fact, we were being actively blocked by three of the largest national enviro groups in the nation — Sierra Club, Environment America, and to a lesser extent LCV [League of Conservation Voters].” (emphasis added)

So this is interesting.

The Sierra Club national organization and the Sierra Club Colorado chapter have parted ways on the setback ballot initiative saga, with the national group throwing in the towel on this one.

In 2014, Sierra Club national made a sizable donation to the Colorado setback ballot initiative campaign before playing a major role in scrapping the ballot measures before they made it to Election Day.

And again in 2016, the Sierra Club threw money and rallied the troops to get behind taking another swing at trying to pass the initiative that cycle. As mentioned, this attempt was also unsuccessful, falling flat when ban-fracking activists delivered “half-empty” boxes during the signature-gathering portion of the ballot approval process, which ultimately led to the measure never making the ballot. Let’s not forget, not only were empty boxes part of the story here, but later, forged signatures became a huge part of the conversation leading up to the campaigns failure to make the ballot. Clearly, the ban-fracking ballot initiative history is fraught with embarrassing failures. But even after failing to win statewide support in 20122014, and again in 2016 despite the support and resources of national “Keep it In the Ground” groups, anti-fracking activists are back for more.

But in 2018, the national group has decided to give a hard pass on the setback fight in the state, which is rather odd given the fact that the Colorado Sierra Club chapter officially endorsed the 2018 setback ballot initiative campaign.

The Boulder Weekly reached out to the national group to find out what’s up with the split on positions – here’s what the national group had to say about the Colorado setback ballot initiative:

“The Sierra Club supports Colorado Sierra Club’s endorsement of Ballot Initiative 97. As Coloradans know firsthand, there is no manner to make oil and gas operations safe, so at absolute minimum, we must prevent them from threatening our schools, our homes, and our families.”

The Boulder Weekly goes on to clarify:

“That’s not an endorsement of the initiative, it’s an endorsement of the state chapter’s right to endorse the initiative.”

Bottom Line

Congressman Polis’ enthusiastic embrace of the Sierra Club endorsement and hundreds of thousands of dollars reveals his cozy relationship with the group on multiple issues that are even too extreme for Colorado’s environmental community. For example, we’ve heard crickets from Conservation Colorado, a well-funded group with ties to California billionaire Tom Steyer.

According to a recent report from the Denver Post, Steyer, who holds the strings to the coin purse for many of the large national environmental groups, indicated the following in his interview with the Post:

“Colorado’s open governor’s race is barely on his radar. He considered a potential state ballot measure to limit oil and gas drilling, but he decided to pass.”

Could it be the consecutive failures of the efforts have dimmed the appeal for many of the large national groups? The organization running the ballot initiative this year, Colorado Rising, put out this statement regarding the Sierra Club/Polis situation.

Source: Colorado Rising

It’s clear we aren’t the only ones who smell something fishy given Polis’ recent distancing from his hardline extremist position on banning fracking in the state. Case in point – on the campaign trail in Greeley in February 2018, Polis was quoted in a Greeley Tribune news report as saying the following regarding the 2018 setback ballot initiative:

“’Health and safety should come first,’ he said, ‘but there needs to be flexibility for landowners who want to permit oil and gas production closer than a rigid setback might allow.’”

With that said, it’s confusing that Polis apparently does not endorse the 2018 ballot setback campaign but on the other hand accepts the endorsement from the Sierra Club Colorado chapter – a group that does endorse the 2018 ballot setback campaign. Furthermore, the Sierra Club Colorado chapter endorsement press release even cites several of the usual ban-fracking talking points.

These two positions juxtaposed begs the question: does Polis’ embrace of the Colorado chapter Sierra Club endorsement (and the $600,000 contribution) fill the void in his gubernatorial campaign platform when it comes to his wobbly position on banning fracking in the state? He talks a mean talk about 100 percent renewables, but what about the present energy development happening in the state – where does he really stand? Is he trying to have it both ways?

Let’s just say, birds of a feather flock together. There’s definitely something telling about Polis’ affiliation with the Sierra Club Colorado chapter, a chapter that in the same month, endorsed Polis for governor and also endorsed the 2018 setback ballot initiative, and has even convinced the gubernatorial candidate to accept their support.

What we know is that

“Four years ago, the Democratic congressman backed an effort that put forward nine ballot measures to prohibit or limit oil and gas operations in the state — including one to increase setbacks to 2,640 feet. This year, he opposes an effort to increase the distance between drilling rigs and communities to 2,500 feet.

The difference between then and now, political observers say: Polis is running for governor of Colorado.” (emphasis added)

 

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Source: Energy In Depth

Litigants Want Energy Companies to Pay for Climate Change, But They Omitted One Key Detail

Last week, plaintiffs’ attorneys filed documents in two separate court cases that aim to make energy companies pay billions of dollars for climate change. But the filings reveal an inconvenient truth for the litigants: they ascribe costs and damages to the defendants that are either undefined or do not exist.

One of the filings was a memo from Hagens Berman, the law firm representing San Francisco and Oakland in their lawsuit. The memo argues that the judge need not consider the “utility” of fossil fuels or whether those benefits outweigh their “costs.”

David Bookbinder, the attorney behind a set of climate lawsuits in Colorado, filed the second document in a related case brought by New York City, which is also represented by Hagens Berman. An investigation by Energy In Depth found that Bookbinder may have misled the public about his involvement in the climate cases taking place outside of Colorado, as evidence suggests he has been coordinating with Hagens Berman on their lawsuits.

See what the two key flaws in their arguments are at EID Climate.

The post Litigants Want Energy Companies to Pay for Climate Change, But They Omitted One Key Detail appeared first on .

Source: Energy In Depth