In the aftermath of President Obama’s Keystone Pipeline decision, it looks as if Canada may be turning its gaze more to Asia in marketing its tar sands oil. Speculation north of the border is that TransCanada may be able to build the pipeline in stages. Other observers predicted the pipeline may win approval after the November election. Meanwhile, the Administration defended the decision, running an ad in several states criticizing the pipeline and saying clean energy can do better.
Entergy had a good day, restarting its Indian Point reactor and winning a decision in federal court on Vermont Yankee. The Mississippi-based utility will be able to keep the Vermont reactor open in the face of state efforts to shut it down. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave VY a 20-year license renewal last March but the state had attempted to exercise a 2001 agreement that it would have veto power over any renewal. Entergy argued successfully that the state’s main concern had been safety, which is the exclusive jurisdiction of the NRC. The state may appeal.
California began a new phase of its Green Revolution with the launching of the “Green Button,” an Internet-based system that will allow residential customers instant access to data about their energy consumption. The program is a favorite of White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra (above), who was present at the launch in San Diego. The hope is that code writers will invent applications that will enable consumers to save energy.
Renewable Energy Group, an Iowa-based biodiesel manufacturer, launched an IPO that garnered $72 million in new investment. The company runs six plants in the Midwest. The USDA has also introduced an ethanol data map that it hopes will encourage investment in the technology. Investment in renewable technologies hit an all-time high in 2011 but Patrick Michaels, writing in Forbes, still calls it a “scam.”
Finally, the United Kingdom has launched a “Green Car” initiative bent on making hydrogen fuel cell cars commercial by 2014. Opel-Vauxhall and several other major manufacturers have joined the initiative. Apple has also taken out patents in the technology. Hydrogen cars had a bit run in the US in the early 2000s but fizzled. Canada’s Ballard Power Systems has been at it since the 1990s. But maybe it will succeed this time.