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5/31/2011
Iberdrola gets shareholder nod for Renovables buy-back
Iberdrola Renovables says just under 74% of minority shareholders voted in favour of the fusion at a general meeting in Valencia.

Iberdrola already controls 80% of Iberdrola Renovables shares and the reincorporation plan has not been without controversy, with several significant minority investors complaining about the offer price and claiming that their rights have been impinged.

Under Spanish corporate law the operation is classified as a merger and Iberdrola is allowed to vote with its 80% stake, overriding minority shareholders.

Some minority investors also questioned the wisdom of de-listing Renovables in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, claiming that the company’s sluggish share price is likely to recover strongly in the medium term.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/29/2011
Cuomo expands ’hydrofracking’ review
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has ordered an expanded environmental review of proposed “hydrofracking” for natural gas in New York after an accident in Pennsylvania caused a well to gush salty, chemically tainted water for two days.

An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation to review and learn any lessons from the April mishap in Pennsylvania’s Bradford County.

The memo dated Friday said the “blowout” raised issues about the controversial technology that need to be evaluated before New York decides whether to allow a major expansion of the potentially lucrative gas-extraction method, which has been assailed by some environmentalists as unsafe.

The memo was from Cuomo’s director of state operations, Howard Glaser, to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens, a Cuomo appointee.

(Click top read the entire article)
5/28/2011
Feds rebuff AG’s hydrofracking lawsuit threat
Despite facing the threat of a lawsuit from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will not—and can not—take up a study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River basin.

Schneiderman threatened to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by May 18 if it didn’t move to halt the rulemaking process for natural-gas drilling and hydrofracking in the Delaware River basin, which includes parts of Broome, Delaware, Chenango and Ulster counties as well as the western part of the New York City watershed.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/27/2011
NYSERDA awards contracts to spur energy efficiency improvements and green jobs training
CBOs were selected through a competitive process. The CBOs receiving contracts are:

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has selected 14 Constituency-Based Organizations (CBO) and coalitions of constituency-based organizations across the state to conduct grassroots outreach to encourage energy efficiency improvements and participation in training opportunities for green jobs.

■Pathstone (Finger Lakes Region)
■Northeast Parent and Child (Capital Region)
■Affordable Housing Partnership of the Capital Region (Capital Region)
■Adirondack North Country Association (North Country Region)
■Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (Bronx)
■Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island (Kings and Richmond Counties)
■El Puente (Kings and Richmond Counties)
■Downtown Manhattan Community Development Corporation (New York County)
■Asian Americans for Equality (Queens County)
■Rural Ulster Preservation Company (Mid-Hudson Region and Westchester County)
■Long Island Progressive Coalition (Long Island)
■Public Policy and Education Fund (Central New York Region)
■Public Policy and Education Fund (Southern Tier Region)
■People United for Sustainable Housing (Western New York Region

(Click to read the entire article)
5/26/2011
RG&E To Expand Mandatory Hourly Pricing
The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) says it has authorized Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. (RG&E) to implement its plan to expand mandatory hourly pricing (MHP) to customers with demand greater than 300 kW. Previously, the utility was only required to offer MHP to customers with a demand greater than 1 MW.

According to the PSC, the expansion of hourly pricing benefits the electrical system through potential reductions to peak-period prices, enhanced peak-period reliability and wholesale market power mitigation. The PSC has also found that hourly pricing yields more equitable customer bills than does the existing less exact, average energy rate.

RG&E will phase in the new program in two steps: Customers with a demand of 500 kW or more for two of the prior 12 months will begin participating in the MHP program with their first full billing period falling on or after Sept. 22, 2011, and on Sept. 22, 2012, all the remaining eligible customers will be required to take service under the MHP program. Any customer with a demand of 500 kW or more between September 2010 and August 2011 who is not already on hourly pricing will be notified of their qualification.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/25/2011
Windsor group finalizes huge gas lease deal
After a brief hiccup, a group of 40 Windsor landowners and a Denver-based energy company have finalized the area's largest gas lease deal in more than a year.

The $8.25 million lease agreement for drilling rights on 3,000 acres of land was struck in January, but became snared when Inflection Energy asked an Albany-based lawyer to review the legal documents before the company signed off on them.

After the details were ironed out, the basic terms of the deal remain the same: Landowners will net $2,750 per acre in bonus payments, and an 18 percent royalty payment on any natural gas extracted from their land.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/24/2011
Wind executive warns of natural gas competition
Wind energy advocates have kept a wary eye on the rise of less expensive natural gas as an energy source competitive with wind and Ignacio Galan, chief executive officer of Iberdrola , brought the matter into the open by commenting that “shale gas makes the production of electricity from other sources not attractive enough”.

Galan’s comments were in a an article in the Financial Times. Iberdrola, a Spanish-based energy conglomerate, is the second-largest operator of wind farms in the U.S., including farms in Iowa near Mason City and another in Crawford County.

The price of natural has has been cut in half since 2008 by increased production from new shale gas fields in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and New York.

Wind power development stalled in the U.S. and in Iowa in 2010 in part because of uncertainty surrounding the continuation of investment tax credits for wind energy but also because of the emergence of natural gas as a plentiful fuel.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/23/2011
KLA, Reed meet on hydrofracking
KLA (Keuka Lake Association) representatives met with US Congressman Tom Reed of the 29th US District. Discussions focused on concerns related to horizontal slick water hydrofracking for natural gas in Keuka and the other Finger Lakes.

KLA representatives stressed the value of the Finger Lakes Watershed and the importance of the wineries, tourism and agriculture in the region. The KLA urged Congressman Reed to support the EPA in its scientific study of hydrofracking.

Congressman Reed was receptive and indicated he shared in some of the KLA’s concerns. The Congressman indicated that he would encourage KLA representatives to participate in his upcoming hydrofracking meetings. Congressman Reed also suggested that the KLA should be closely working with the NYS-DEC on this issue.

The KLA believes that Keuka Lake and the Finger Lakes Watershed should be treated separately because of its unique geology, the value of its natural water resource and closeness to the surface of the Marcellus Shale layer. Furthermore, the KLA estimates that only 15-20 percent of the potential Marcellus Shale natural gas in New York State lies under the Finger Lakes due to the thinness of the shale layer in this region

(Click to read the entire article)
5/21/2011
Dimock residents tell cautionary tales on gas drilling
Several residents of Dimock, Pa., – where a bitter dispute over a cluster of drinking water problems blamed on gas drilling has made national headlines in recent years – told their stories to a crowd of approximately 200 people Thursday evening at Corning West High School.

Because of contaminated water he blames on faulty gas wells drilled nearby by Cabot Oil and Gas, Craig Sautner told the audience how he and his wife, Julie, rely on a daily delivery to fill their 550-gallon “water buffalo,” or tank, for showering and doing dishes. Their drinking water comes from five-gallon jugs of spring water.

The Sautners are one of more than a dozen families from Dimock involved in a lawsuit against Cabot.

Although testing by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environment Protection and independent firms has indicated his water contamination was due to Cabot’s wells, the company has never admitted wrongdoing, although they pay for his water deliveries, Sautner said.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/20/2011
The Fracking Controversy
Blackstone Group LP (BX), the world's largest private equity firm, is set to invest $1 billion in unconventional oil and gas projects in North America through a joint venture with Alta Resources, which has cemented a spotlight on fracking.

A U.S. Senate committee has been conducting a hearing on the safety of hydraulic fracturing, as it is formally known. The province of Quebec, the state of New York, and the entirety of France have recently banned the technique. And two new studies claim that fracking-derived shale gas is actually worse for the environment than mining and burning coal. With so many claims flying around about this unconventional practice, let's get a closer look at the facts.

The study suggests that between 3.6% and 7.9% of the methane in natural gas is lost from the time a well is plumbed to when the gas is used. On top of that, a recent study from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA suggests an interaction between methane and certain aerosol particles significantly amplifies methane's already potent greenhouse gas effects. In addition, thousands of trucks are driving every minute of every day to bring fracking fluid to drills and to remove wastewater. When all is factored in, Howarth and his colleagues conclude the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is likely 20% greater than coal per unit energy, and may be as much as twice as high.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/19/2011
Gas Drilling Companies Hold Data Needed by Researchers to Assess Risk to Water Quality
For years the natural gas drilling industry has decried the lack of data that could prove—or disprove—that drilling can cause drinking water contamination. Only baseline data, they said, could show without a doubt that water was clean before drilling began.

The absence of baseline data was one of the most serious criticisms leveled at a group of Duke researchers last week when they published the first peer-reviewed study linking drilling to methane contamination in water supplies.

That study—which found that methane concentrations in drinking water increased dramatically with proximity to gas wells—contained “no baseline information whatsoever,” wrote Chris Tucker, a spokesman for the industry group Energy in Depth, in a statement debunking the study.

Now it turns out that some of that data does exist. It just wasn’t available to the Duke researchers, or to the public.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/18/2011
DEP fines Chesapeake $1 million
One of the most active companies in Pennsylvania's natural gas drilling boom was fined more than $1 million on Tuesday, including a penalty that state officials called the single largest fine for an oil or gas operator in the state.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said the action stems from Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s contamination of private water supplies with methane in Bradford County and a February tank fire at a drilling site in Washington County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"It is important to me and to this administration that natural gas drillers are stewards of the environment, take very seriously their responsibilities to comply with our regulations, and that their actions do not risk public health and safety or the environment," DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said in a statement.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake said it had voluntarily entered into two separate agreements with the DEP and improved its well construction practices, although it did not assume blame for methane gas migrating into wells.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/17/2011
Iberdrola to invest $3.9 billion in wind energy in U.S. by 2012
Iberdrola Renovables is the company that has installed the most renewable energy in the United States in recent years representing 11% of U.S. installed wind power.

Chairman Ignacio Galán informed the Secretaries of State for Energy and Commerce. Of this amount, $3.9 billion will go to new wind power farms and $2.1 billion to improve the supply quality. In the last five years, the Company has invested $25 billion in the country and directly employs 5,000 professionals.

The Chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, met in Washington with the U.S. Secretaries of State for Energy and Commerce, Steven Chu and Gary Locke. During these meetings, Galan announced the intention of the Company to invest $6 billion in the U.S. by 2012.

Of this figure, 65% - $3.9 billion -- will be devoted to the construction of new wind farm plants in the U.S., where Iberdrola Renovables, the world leader in renewable energy, is already the second largest wind turbines producer with 4,700 megawatts (MW) of installed wind power capacity. This will be possible, in part, thanks to incentives/grants awarded to the Company by the U.S. government, amounting to $1.0 billion.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/16/2011
New York Power Authority Chairman Doubts Offshore Wind Plans
New York Power Authority board chairman Michael Townsend publicly questioned the viability of the agency’s plan to develop offshore wind on the Great Lakes, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported yesterday.

“From my perspective, I don’t think that project is very viable at this time, politically or economically,” Townsend said.

The NYPA, an independent state agency, is reviewing proposals to build an offshore wind farm in state waters of Lakes Ontario or Lake Erie. A decision is expected by June, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. NYPA spokeswoman Connie Cullen said that the review process is continuing.

“While we greatly respect the opinions of our trustees, NYPA hasn’t yet completed its review of the bids,” she said. “We hope to present the full results of the review to our trustees in the next couple of months.”
5/14/2011
Chesapeake Energy Resumes Extracting Natural Gas
LeRoy Township, Pa. - Chesapeake Energy announced Friday they are resuming extracting natural gas from its wells in Pennsylvania immediately.
The process has been on hold since April 19th when a well blowout in Bradford County leaked thousand of gallons of fracking fluid on to farmfields and a nearby creek.

Company officials say they've learned from the incident and have taken steps to lessen the risk of it happening again. They add that they're confident they will *safely* resume their operations.

Chesapeake officials say the valve problem that caused the leak is extremely rare. They say it's the first of this magnitude in more than 15,000 wells they've completed since the company was started.
5/12/2011
Gas-drilling advocates present their case in Albany
After groups opposing hydraulic fracturing swarmed Albany three times in the past two months, the natural gas industry got its day at the Capitol on Wednesday.

About 50 members of industry and other pro-gas groups met with lawmakers on the Legislature's environmental conservation committees, urging them to stand back and let the state Department of Environmental Conservation complete its review of permitting guidelines for hydrofracking, the technique in which chemical-laced water is injected deep into tight shale formations to release gas.

Dozens of bills that deal with the gas industry have been introduced by the Legislature this year and last, from legislation concerning liability issues to a bill introduced by Sen. Anthony Avella, D-Queens, that would ban hydrofracking altogether.

"The DEC is staffed by the engineers and scientists who have the expertise to navigate this issue and put in place the protections that are needed," said John Conrad, president of Poughkeepsie-based Conrad Geoscience Corporation.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/11/2011
Tracking fracking water goes high-tech
Water, as much as natural gas, is the lifeblood of the Marcellus Shale play. Drillers need millions of gallons of water to flush the gas out of its hiding spot, deep below ground. Water is hauled by truck, imported by pipeline, collected on-site by retention impoundments and spirited away to a treatment or disposal facility once the fracking fluid has been spent.

Not only do drillers need a lot of water, they also need a very specific amount of water -- per week, per day, even per hour.

So how do they track all that water?

Increasingly, by computers, using a complex network of software, GPS devices and electronic manifests. The more transport and trucking companies that adopt such real-time tracking technologies, the less chance of a rogue hauler taking wastewater where he's not supposed to or dumping it in a river.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/10/2011
Study finds gas in drinking water near drilling
New research is providing some of the first scientific evidence that a controversial gas drilling technique can contaminate drinking water.

The study published Monday found potentially dangerous concentrations of methane gas in water from wells near drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania, although not in central New York, where gas drilling is less extensive.

Of the 60 wells tested for methane gas, 14 had levels of methane within or above a hazard range set by the Department of Interior for gas seeping from coal mines, all but one of them near a gas well. In nine wells, concentrations were so high that the government would recommend immediate action to reduce the methane level.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/09/2011
State pension invests in hydrofracking firms
The State Comptroller's Office has invested hundreds of millions of dollars from the state pension fund in natural gas and hydraulic fracturing companies in recent years, a review of the fund's most recent listings shows.

In all, the $140 billion fund had more than $1 billion invested in more than a dozen energy companies as of March 31, 2010, a review by Gannett's Albany Bureau shows. That includes $72 million in natural-gas giant Chesapeake Energy Corp. and $145 million in Schlumberger Ltd, a company specializing in hydrofracking and oilfield services.
The issue of gas drilling and hydrofracking has divided the state, with some touting the economic and energy benefits associated with the fuel.

Others say the extraction process, which involves the injection of millions of gallons of water and chemicals to fracture shale formations, is environmentally destructive and could lead to water contamination.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/08/2011
Iberdrola Profits From U.S. Renewable Energy Market
Spain's power utility Iberdrola SA posted Thursday a 10% rise in first-quarter net profit, on a bigger contribution from its fast-growing U.S. wind power operations, but warned that lower energy prices may slow its push into the U.S. market.

Iberdrola said net profit rose to €1.01 billion, up from €922 million a year earlier, beating analyst expectations of €927 million. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, rose 4.4% to €2.27 billion, also more than anticipated.

Profits were driven by a 24% increase in power generation in the U.S., where renewable energy output rose 48%. That offset flattish generation in Latin America and double-digit declines both in crisis-hit Spain and the U.K.—evidence that Iberdrola's strong push into the fast-growing U.S. wind power market is bearing fruit.

Iberdrola, the world's largest wind power producer and the second largest in the U.S., increased its U.S.-based installed capacity in the quarter by 19.2%. Iberdrola produced 3,090 gigawatt hour worth of renewable energy in the U.S., almost as much as in Spain.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/06/2011
DEC challenged on gas drilling rules
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas want the state Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt a more detailed level of environmental review for the limited use of the technique already allowed by the state.

The claim was made in legal papers filed Wednesday with the DEC by Advocates for Cherry Valley, an Otsego County environmental group. It focuses on the use of hydrofracking -- a high-pressure injection of a mix of chemicals, sand and water to break up underground formations of gas-bearing rock -- already used on vertical wells in Cherry Valley, an area north of Cooperstown.

DEC relies on a 1992 review on oil and gas drilling to allow vertical hydrofracking, which is much more limited than horizontal hydrofracking, in which multiple horizontal fractures are done from a single vertical well. Horizontal wells can cover much larger areas underground than vertical wells.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/05/2011
Kessel at NYPA asks for your input by reviewing their sustainability report!
Sustainability efforts have been a cornerstone of my administration at the Power Authority in demonstrating to the public our commitment to provide future generations with an improved environment.

In celebration of Earth Week, we issued our first Sustainability Annual Report, Generating Sustainability, outlining NYPA’s efforts in achieving the goals we set in improving our workplace, community, environment, marketplace and operations.

We will continue to advance these efforts, such as energy efficiency, clean energy and modernization projects at our own facilities, as well as supporting our customers and stakeholders in implementing their sustainability goals too.

Please join in our initiative by reviewing our report here.
5/04/2011
On Green Energy: Plainly Not Helping Spain
What they found confounds the usual green job rhetoric:

• The study calculates that since 2000 Spain has spent €571,138 to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.

• The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.

• Principally, the high cost of electricity affects costs of production and employment levels in metallurgy, non-metallic mining, food-processing, beverage, and tobacco industries.

• Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

• These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/03/2011
Wind company favors old law
Iberdrola Renewables last week asked the Town Council to keep in place its "reasonable" wind law and not adopt the recommendations of the town's wind advisory committee.

The company, which wants to build its Stone Church Wind project in the town, believes the town's existing law "is reasonable and consistent with the majority of 15 operating wind farms in New York state," said spokeswoman Jenny L. Burke.

The wind advisory committee's recommendations — addressing sound limits, property setbacks and a requirement that Iberdrola reimburse owners who believe a wind farm would lower their property value — essentially would kill the project, Ms. Burke said.

"If you take the committee's recommendations as is, you're eliminating a project before a site-specific plan and our environmental impact statement have even been produced," she said.

(Click to read the entire article)
5/01/2011
Kessel out as NYPA chief?
New York Power Authority CEO Richie Kessel is a loud, brash Long Islander. He has a history of clashing with people because of it. There's been widepsread speculation his tenure at NYPA is tenuous.

Today, our colleagues at public radio station WXXI in Rochester are reporting Kessel may be on the way out, via a slip by Assemblyman Joe Morelle talking on a live radio show:

“I think it’s been announced,” said Morelle. “If not, you just got a scoop – because he’s going. He’ll be sorry to hear this.”

NYPA denies any such move has been made. But Kessel is a main topic today at the state capitol.
LaBella Associates sees a role in 'fracking'
LaBella Associates' acquisition of a Pennsylvania engineering firm could help the Rochester company get into environmental issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, LaBella President Robert Healy said Friday.

The "hydrofracking" technique involves the blasting of water, sand and chemicals into underground rock fissures in order to release natural gas. The process is on hold in New York while the state Department of Environmental Conservation studies it, with critics alleging that hydrofracking could result in chemicals getting into water supplies.
Hydrofracking has been used in Pennsylvania in natural gas recovery from the vast Marcellus Shale formation, which also sits beneath much of New York's Southern Tier.
"We think there will be an opportunity in New York to be involved in this and to help answer some of the environmental questions with respect to wastewater and disposal," Healy said.

(Click to read the entire article)
Fenner, NY Wind Turbine Collapse



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