15 April '10
7:35 AM UTC
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Top Ten Players in Green Energy

March Top Ten Players In Green Energy

Welcome to the March edition of G.E.R.’s Top Ten Players in Green Energy. This month Chevron and its pragmatic green strategy takes the lead. Our ranking looks back over the previous month and  takes into account a player’s ability to influence the cleantech industry, whether it be because of a forceful policy position, access to funding or a combination of the two.

1: Chevron

Over the last decade, some oil and gas majors jumped right into the green energy revolution, hoping to leverage their considerable cash and energy expertise into a profitable sideline in renewables. That tactic has not weathered the recession well, as BP has shown in the last year. Enter Chevron with a new approach. The California-based company has been easing into green energy with an eye towards making its core oil and gas business less energy intensive. In March, The company opened Project Brightfield, an 8-acre facility to test solar panels under different conditions and compare the performance against benchmark technologies. Chevron is also testing concentrating photovoltaic technology at a mine in New Mexico and solar steam technology in Central California. It’s not a strategy that’s going to save the world, but it is moving green energy forward.

2: Steven Chu, Energy Secretary

Every day, there is one thing you can be sure Energy Secretary Chu thinks about: China, and how can the U.S. beat the rising green power to lead the global green economy. These days, the Secretary is not mincing words, reminding anyone who’ll listen that failure is not an option. He’s blunt and says that  right now, void of any climate change law and paralyzed by the loud voices of climate change deniers, the U.S. is losing that race! At a press briefing last month, Chu told reporters that on China, “the U.S. should sit up and take notice.” He added: “The [Chinese] leadership increasingly sees economic opportunity in cleantech… Having missed the industrialized revolution and the semiconductor revolution, they do not want to miss this opportunity.”

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24 March '10
9:20 AM UTC
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France Shelves Carbon Tax

Sarkozy is walking away from his campaign promise to tax carbon

France has abandoned its carbon tax, fearful that it would hurt the competitiveness of French businesses.

The decision underscores how difficult pricing carbon is not just in France but in the U.S. and across the globe. The law was actually one of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s cornerstone campaign promise and it came close to becoming law, before being slammed down by the country’s constitutional court.

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5 January '10
1:12 PM UTC
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Top Ten Players in Green Energy

December Top Ten Players in Green Energy: Nos 6-10

6:  Utility Scale Geothermal developers

Perpetual motion machines, unicorns… utility-scale geothermal?

Unfortunately for geothermal developers, it seems that tapping the earth’s core to generate energy has increasingly been consigned to fantasy land. Swiss authorities shut down one project, backed by former oilman Markus Häring, because studies showed that it could trigger earthquakes and cause damage to properties.

Then Google-backed AltaRock Energy gave notice to the Department of Energy in early December that it was abandoning its Geysers drilling project near San Francisco. Add these setbacks to the enormous cost and inexact science of drilling holes miles in the ground and you’ve got a technology that appears not to be ready for large-scale development.

The DOE remains keen, saying the technology has “enormous potential.” Recently, however, we’ve only seen enormous setbacks. Read More »

30 December '09
8:51 AM UTC
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French Government Scrambles to Rescue Carbon Tax [UPDATE]

Its back to square one for President Sarkozy's carbon tax

It's back to square one for President Sarkozy's carbon tax

UPDATE | 10:10 AM: The tax was set at 17 euros ($24.38) per ton of carbon-dioxide emissions. However, to ensure passage the legislation ended exempting almost 93 percent of all industrial carbon emissions in France. Read More »

16 December '09
11:04 AM UTC
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Copenhagen: The Importance of the Sideline Conversation

Picture-31Tensions between developed and developing countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen are very real and could still derail the talks.

On Wednesday the Danish chairwoman of the conference, Connie Hedegaard, who stepped down from the conference leadership, handing it over to Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen,

We are balancing between success and failure. Success is still within reach. But I must also warn you: we can fail.

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