The ghost of Herbert Hoover walked the land in his home state of California as the Little Hoover Commission issued a report saying the state is headed for big trouble in mandating renewable energy. The non-partisan group, following in the tradition of active government, said the renewable campaign is likely to lead to soaring energy bills for consumers. But in typical fashion, it recommended MORE government intervention, with the state's various boards and commissions consolidated into one big agency.
North Carolina regulators have finally given approval to the Duke-Progress merger, calling off a probe of the dismissal of 24-hour CEO Bill Johnson. But the price will be the forced retirement of current chairman Jim Rogers, who won't even be allowed to keep his seat on the board. But then Rogers may be headed for Washington as the new Secretary of Energy.
Things are beginning to get a little anxious north of the border as Canadians await the Obama Administration's decision on whether to accept the Keystone pipeline. After spending all those billions to develop the Alberta Tar Sands, Canadians face the prospect of not having anywhere to sell it. Asia is the obvious alternative, but the Canadians are having trouble with Asian countries' eagerness to buy up it's resources. Petronas is trying to sweeten it's offer to buy Progress Energy by promising to build an LNG export terminal, but Ottowa is still unconvinced.
Things are getting hot in the South China Sea as Vietnam accused Chinese fishing boats of deliberately cutting the cables on an oil exploration ship. Vietnam said it would now stop and search all Chinese vessels. Meanwhile India warned that it's Navy is preparing to confront China “to deploy naval vessels to the South China Sea to protect its oil-exploration interests there”. And you thought the Middle East was a hot zone.
Finally, the Obama Administration's drive to subsidize electric vehicles took a new twist as Immigration and Customs Enforcement began a probe of whether Tesla Motors is using imported parts in violation of it's $465-million government loan. Smith Motors announced it will start manufacturing a new electric truck in Chicago. Sales of the Chevy Volt have plunged 50% from an already low base, however and Seeking Alpha asks whether 2013 will be a turning point for EVs.