The Week In Cleantech (May 11 - May 17) - Coal's Clout
On Monday, Chris Baltimore at Reuters discussed how Democratic candidates were playing up "clean coal". It's always interesting to read about politicians courting different audiences. In this case, out of convenience, both candidates are avoiding substantive debate on energy policy, during which it would certainly emerge that clean coal is more dream than reality.
On Monday, Julian Murdoch at Hard Assets Investor told us that it was in the wind. An interesting piece on one of my favorite sectors, wind, with a discussion of a few good plays. Speaking of wind, T Boone Pickens was responsible for the wind announcement of the year to date this week.
On Tuesday, Mike Taylor at Renewable Energy World compared the cost of utility-scale solar: PV vs. CST. Quick article but useful in what to watch for in the solar space in the next few years. Large-scale storage - no surprise here!
On Thursday, Tyler Hamilton at Clean Break informed us that grocery manufacturers were launching a smear campaign against biofuels. These are presumably deep-pocketed opponents, and this campaign won't help corn ethanol's already shaky image. Neal at Cleantech Blog, who is generally in support of corn ethanol, reports on a study that claims that corn ethanol has lowered gasoline prices in the US, and claims that the case for government support is therefore not as weak as is often argued here.
On Friday, Keith Johnson at the WSJ's Environmental Capital wondered about the future of German solar subsidies. I've come across a few pieces over the past while discussing this backlash in Germany. It is unrealistic to expect rate and tax payers to subsidize the renewables industry foreover, especially where customers pay a lot for power. So maybe instead of heavily subsidizing renewables and non-renewables, policy-makers should look into ending subsidies for fossil fuels and forcing the market to fully internalize the costs of pollution and CO2. Germany was the main culprit in handing over too many carbon emission allowances to its utilities in the first phase of the EU ETS, which resulted in huge windfall profits for some of the dirtiest power producers in Europe. Sounds to me like someone wants to have their cake and eat it too, and it's unclear how sustainable that is.