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IHS: Prospects have dimmed for bitumen upgraders in Alberta

March 28th, 2013

Prospects for new bitumen upgraders in Alberta have soured since the global recession of 2008, notes a study published by IHS on the same day plans were reported cancelled for a large project near Fort McMurray (OGJ Online, Mar. 27, 2013).

Aerosol Corrosion Prevention and Energy-Saving Strategies in the Design of Green Data Centers

March 28th, 2013

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es304790f

MARKET WATCH: Oil, gas prices climb in volatile markets

March 28th, 2013

Markets were down in early trading Mar. 27, but front-month crude managed a 0.2% increase by the time floor transactions ended in New York. Natural gas continued its cold weather rally, up 2.5% in the session.

US drilling rig count up 2 units to 1,748

March 28th, 2013

The US drilling rig count made a slight gain of 2 units during the week ended Mar. 29 reaching a total 1,748 rotary rigs working, Baker Hughes Inc. reported. That compares with 1,979 rigs working in the comparable week last year.

Low Acetate Concentrations Favor Polyphosphate-Accumulating Organisms over Glycogen-Accumulating Organisms in Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal from Wastewater

March 28th, 2013

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es304846s

UV-Induced Formation of Bromophenols from Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers

March 28th, 2013

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es304785f

Cooling Down Climate Change, While Heating Up Grocery Bills: ES&T’s Top Policy Analysis Article 2012

March 28th, 2013

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es4009129

UK Energy Minister John Hayes moved in reshuffle

March 28th, 2013

John Hayes has today been moved from his post as UK Energy Minister and replaced by fellow Conservative MP Michael Fallon.

Hayes is to become Prime Minister David Cameron’s senior Parliamentary advisor as well as minister without portfolio.

Fallon (pictured) is currently Minister for Business and Enterprise, a role he will keep and juggle alongside his energy duties. Quite what these duties will be remains to be seen: an announcement on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website states that the “exact portfolio of the energy minister is still to be confirmed”.

Fallon has previously been a minister for Education and Science and is a former director of several businesses, including health clubs, nursing homes and brokers.

Few in the renewables’ industry will lament the moving on of Hayes – he was an outspoken opponent of wind farms and his views clashed with those of his boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Fallon comes with no such energy baggage and it is believed that he will bring a greater business focus to DECC. 

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of trade group RenewableUK, said: “Renewables will play a major role in green growth and we are delighted that today’s announcement recognises that.”

She said Fallon’s dual role will ensure that the energy and business departments would “work even more closely together in order to deliver tens of thousands of low-carbon jobs”.

Davey said today: “I am delighted to welcome Michael Fallon to DECC. He brings with him a wealth of business experience and will make an excellent addition to the team.

“He will help to cement the links I’ve been making across government as energy is such a critical industry for the UK’s growth prospects, and the creation of green jobs.”

Of his time working with Hayes, Davey said: “John and I have worked well together as an effective team, and I’m especially grateful for his work on steering the Energy Bill through Parliament. I wish him well in his new post.”

Fallon said of his energy-business role: “Both departments share a strong focus on business and the economy and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to build on their cross-cutting work on this agenda.

“Energy policy has a key role to play in securing sustainable future growth in the economy, strengthening supply chains, keeping people’s bills down and tackling climate change”.

RWE and E.ON selling up in Hungary

March 28th, 2013

Two leading German energy companies are planning sales of assets in Hungary.

RWE ((FWBRWE) is set to cut its investments in the Eastern European nation by 50 per cent as it is frustrated at what it sees as unfair policy, which is having a negative impact on the energy sector.
Martin Herrmann of RWE
The Chief Executive Officer at RWE East, Martin Herrmann told a conference in Prague on Thursday that the move was prompted by the Hungarian government’s actions and added that he hoped Brussels will "put an end to [Hungary] violating EU regulations."

"What is happening in Hungary stands without precedent and is completely unacceptable. I have to have high hopes in Brussels since the Hungarian state clearly violates EU law," Hermann said.

Mr Hermann believes other energy companies are set to curb their investment by as much as 80 per cent as a response to the unilateral government measures.

“You cannot carry out investments in an environment where you are de facto close to being nationalised," This is something that certainly must be done away with”, he said.

Utilities working in the Hungarian market have been hit by a new utility tax, a hike to the sectoral tax and a 10 per cent cut in energy tariffs for households.

Local media reported last week that RWE is selling its minority stake in north-east Hungarian gas distributor Tigaz to majority shareholder ENI of Italy.

Meanwhile Russia's Gazprom wants to buy German peer E.ON's (FWB: EOAN) gas-fired power plant in Gonyu, according to the Budapest Business Journal. The paper learnt E.ON is open to the sale.

Gazprom also seeks a partnership with the state-owned Hungarian energy group MVM to operate gas-fuelled power plants in Hungary as well as domestic gas storage facilities that MVM will soon acquire from E.ON.

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Dubai gears up for new renewables drive

March 28th, 2013

Dubai is planning an increase in investment in renewable power to meet an expected boom in housing and subsequent demand for power.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority says it is better prepared for the task of supplying essential utility services to the ever-growing population. And the authority hopes to reduce power and water usage in a city not known for reserved consumption, according to the Financial Times.

Dubai
By 2030, Dubai plans to source 5 per cent of its energy from renewables, 12 per cent from nuclear power, 12 per cent from “clean coal” and 71 per cent from gas. The renewable component will come primarily from solar power via the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

The government has awarded the first-phase construction contract to US-based First Solar for a modest 13 MW photovoltaic plant opening later this year.

Dubai is also in the process of approving plans to allow homeowners to set up cost-effective solar panels for domestic use and to feed electricity into the grid.

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