Economist: Mapping the Invisible Scourge in China

The Chinese capital’s “airpocalypse,” the choking smog that descended on Beijing in the winter of 2012-13, galvanized public opinion and spooked the government. The strange thing is, though, that information about air pollution -- how extensive it is, how much damage it does -- has long been sketchy, based mostly on satellite data or computer models. Until now.

Responding to the outcry, the government set up a national air-reporting system which now has almost 1,000 monitoring stations, pumping out hourly reports on six pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, ozone and (the main culprit) particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, or PM2.5. Scientists from Berkeley Earth, a not-for-profit foundation in America, have trawled through this recent cloud of data for the four months to early August 2014, sieved out the bits that are manifestly wrong (readings where the dial seems to be stuck, for instance) and emerged with the most detailed and up-to-date picture of Chinese air pollution so far.

PV Tech: Yingli Green Heading Toward NSE Delisting Warning

Major tier-1 PV manufacturer Yingli Green Energy is at threat of receiving a NYSE delisting warning as its shares have traded below the US$1.00 threshold for the last 20 days of consecutive trading.

Yingli Green’s shares have traded on the NYSE below the US$1.00 threshold since July 21, 2015 and would trigger a delisting notice after trading below the threshold for 30 consecutive trading days. 

The company issued a "going concern" warning in its 2014 annual report, in mid-May, while its shares have declined around 75% in the last 12 months.

Washington Post: Power Companies Have Figured Out a Way to Crack Into Solar

This battle over so-called “net metering” has been often depicted as a zero-sum conflict between an upstart and an incumbent -- but new research out of the University of Texas at Austin suggests there could be a kind of “middle ground” in the conflict between some utilities and solar installers.

The potential “win-win,” as the researchers put it, involves so-called "community solar" -- solar energy projects or panels that are in effect shared by a group of people, such as the inhabitants of an apartment building, rather than sitting on a single residential rooftop. The study, recently published in Energy Research & Social Science and led by Erik Funkhouser of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and three university colleagues, found that at least some utility companies seem to like community solar programs, are already offering them, and plan to expand them.

Houston Energy Insider: U.S. and OPEC Keep Pumping Even With Oil Price Declining

Oil resumed its decline as U.S. drilling increased and Iran said OPEC production may rise to a record after sanctions on the country are lifted.

Futures slid as much as 2 percent in New York to trade near the six-year intraday low reached Aug. 14. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may boost output to 33 million barrels a day after Iran’s international export restrictions are removed, according to the nation’s OPEC representative. The number of rigs seeking oil in the U.S. rose by two to 672, the most since May, Baker Hughes Inc. data show.

Rig Zone: As Canada's Oil Debt Soars to Record, an Industry Shakeout Looms

Canadian energy companies’ debt loads are the heaviest in at least a decade, boosting concern that some won’t survive the collapse in crude prices. Trican Well Service Ltd., Canada’s largest fracking service provider, said last week it may be unable to continue because it’s in danger of breaching the terms of its debt. It’s the latest firm to see crude’s descent to a six-year low sap the cash flow needed to meet financial obligations.

Oil’s plunge has pushed a measure of the average debt burden among Canadian energy firms to the highest since at least 2002, and another measure of their ability to make interest payments to the third-lowest level in a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Facing some of the highest production costs in the world and carrying more debt than U.S. peers, the Canadian industry has become ripe for acquisitions.