Reaction to Britain’s decision to go ahead with natural gas fracking reverberates around the Island Kingdom today. Ben Jackson in The Sun notes that Britian’s shale gas reserves could be worth £1.5 trillion. Analysts at Credit Suisse say there are 20 stocks that stand to benefit from the shale boom around the world. But The Guardian’s Damian Carrington says fossil fuels remain a delusion. Meanwhile Rowena Mason of The Telegraph says the problems of fracking should be resolved by paying people to accept fracking in their local communities.
Departing Senator Dick Lugar (above) has used his valedictory to urge Congress to approve natural gas exports. The Indiana solon says we could help free NATO nations from a dangerous dependence on Russian gas. ExxonMobil says it is ready to roll of gas exports and Alaska is looking to Korea to market its vast “stranded” supplies from Prudhoe Bay. But The New York Times reports that a group called Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy has asked President Obama to block exports because of the health dangers of fracking.
Wall Street welcomed two IPOS yesterday – SolarCity and PBF Energy. The pair offered an interesting contrast – SolarCity installs PV panels on rooftops, PBF is one of the country’s largest independent oil refiners. Both did well, although SolarCity’s debut involved a little footwork. PBF went out at $26 and raised $533 million. The price climbed 6 percent the first day. SolarCity got worried last week, however, and reduced the offering price from $14 to $8. When shares climbed 47 percent to $11.79 the first day, the company declared victory. Still the $92 million haul was 40 percent under what the company had hoped. Fans of renewable energy were saying the company had "beat the solar curse" and were celebrating Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur who has created the Tesla and serves as board chairman at SolarCity. But MarketWatch notes that Wall Street still takes a shine to fossil fuels.
Finally, Xcel, the Midwest’s largest utility, is mapping its long-range strategy by asking rate hikes in most of its markets. Minnesota granted a 9 percent temporary electrical increase but the company is seeking 14 percent. In Colorado it is asking for a gas rate increase to replace aging pipes. And Xcel is eyeing a request for higher rates in New Mexico by 2014. But upscale residents of Boulder have had enough of it and are trying to set up their own municipal utility to expand renewable power – even though Xcel is the nation’s largest purveyor of wind. A lot will depend on how the wind production tax credit fares in Congress over the next two weeks.