9 March '10
3:00 PM UTC
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Cornerstone Conversation

Comparing the Lists: WSJ’s Top 10 Cleantech Companies v. Greentech Media’s Top 50

Just to be clear, GER is not on this list. Neat badge though!

Ever since the untimely and inexplicable demise of WSJ.com’s Environmental Capital, the Journal has only been dipping the occasional timid toe into the cleantech waters.

Now that names Solyndra, Inc., the top cleantech company, followed by Suniva and eSolar. The (no doubt highly scientific) criteria NewsCorp.-owned VentureSource used to determine the rankings are hidden from view. How does this list stack up against Greentech Media’s (no doubt highly scientific) top 50VC-Funded Greentech Startups list?

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14 January '10
4:33 PM UTC
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Cornerstone Conversation

Environmental Capital is No More

WSJ.com’s Environmental Capital has posted its last post.

Lead writer Keith Johnson : Read More »

2 October '09
12:23 PM UTC
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More on Exxon’s Tillerson and The Carbon Tax

WSJ’s Environmental Capital, riffing on our earlier post on Exxon Mobil head Rex W. Tillerson, . If so many influential players support a carbon tax, can it be all bad?

A movement, like the call for a carbon tax, that can gather Al Gore, James Hansen, Rex Tillerson, Peter Orszag and Greg Mankiw under one roof must have something going for it.

One thing that a carbon tax has going for it: simplicity (though, again, Joe Romm at Climate Progress argues that is a fallacy). You need only look at the doorstops that are Waxman – Markey and Kerry – Boxer – which is amazingly vague, even at 800-plus pages – to see that cap-and-trade is not simple.

A particularly of the cap-and-trade v. carbon tax comes from, of all places, ESPN.com’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, which is written by policy wonk Gregg Easterbrook. It bears the catchy title, “Al Gore Heartbroken That World Refuses to End”, and please note, Easterbrook is, in most respects, not a conservative:

The current House-passed greenhouse gas bill, stalled in the Senate, is nightmarishly bad legislation – more than 1,400 pages of special-interest favors for political donors, command-and-control bureaucracy and handouts to the privileged. If enacted, it will do little to reduce greenhouse gases, while discrediting the notion of climate change legislation. Artificial global warming stands a better chance of being prevented if the House bill is mulched for recycling and a simple carbon tax enacted.

Which brings us back to Rex Tillerson, “that the American people want climate policy to be transparent, honest, and effective.” It’s certainly a fair point, but until Exxon starts lobbying (read: throwing lots of dollars around) for a viable carbon tax, it will be tough to believe that the company wants climate change legislation of any sort.

10 August '09
12:38 PM UTC
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Yes, Renewable Energy Produces Cheap Electricity

Can wind generation produce cheaper electricity? A report recently released by Wall Street buy-side research firm Bernstein Research says wind generation in Texas is lowering the cost of electricity because wind farms reduce the reliance on more expensive power generation, such as gas or coal-fired power plants.

The report says the decline of electric prices will likely continue as more   wind farms come online. The  lone start state is the world’s sixth  wind power producer.

The report, which was  well quoted by the Wall Street Journal’s , highlights:

[A]t hours of relatively low power demand, it will no longer be necessary to dispatch high cost gas fired generators to meet the prevailing load; rather, the system’s wind, nuclear and coal fired power plants will be sufficient to meet demand. As power prices are set by the variable cost of operation of the last unit dispatched, wind can have a material impact on the price of power.

Over the long-term, according to Bernstein, the growth of wind power will lower the consumption of coal and gas.

While a positive trend, it’s also important to note that today gas and coal-fired plants, unlike wind,  are the only energy sources able to meet peak electricity demand, which often occurs when wind generation is the least efficient– during the day or in the often windless, hot summers when ACs are cranked up.

24 April '09
5:09 PM UTC
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Clean energy financing: ‘in deep hibernation’

Despite unprecedented government support, clean energy is reeling these days, unable to tap the financing it needs to develop projects. GER has written about that before, highlighting that it would take some time for the stimulus money to reach developers.

Things are different  for traditional energy companies, as pointed out by Russell Gold at the Wall Street Journal‘s Environmental Capital. Citing veteran industry publication, the , he that 23 banks  recently stepped up to provide $3 billion in lending to support the construction of the Dolphin Energy project, a pipeline which brings natural gas from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates. MME notes the loan includes “attractive pricing.”

A recent report by research firm New Energy Finance said it best when it wrote that the capital market — venture capital, private equity or bank loans — in the clean energy sector  “was in deep hibernation.”