Washington Post: DC Mayor Rejects Pepco-Exelon Plan
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and two other key parties involved in the beleaguered proposed merger of Pepco and Chicago-based Exelon said Tuesday that they can no longer support the plan, all but dooming a deal to create the nation’s largest electric utility.
Bowser’s team had negotiated for the utility companies to pay the District $78 million in exchange for the city’s support for the $6.8 billion merger, which already had approval from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and federal regulators.
San Diego Union-Tribune: How Low Oil Prices Are Slamming Hybrids and Electric Cars
The cratering price of oil has not only put a stranglehold on oil companies.
It's also hammering the sales of electric and hybrid cars.
"Fuel efficiency isn't as important to consumers right now as it was when gas was a lot higher," said Akshay Anand, commercial insights manager for Kelley Blue Book, the Irvine-based company that researches and assigns values to cars.
MIT Technology Review: Protests Rise as China Lays Off Millions of Coal Workers
China is finally making progress in curing its coal addiction, but the withdrawal symptoms are starting to hit some of its most vulnerable citizens. The government said on Monday that 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries will be laid off this year, representing more than 10 percent of the total steel workforce and fully one-fifth of the workers in the coal industry, according to economic research firm IHS Insights. The central government says it will invest more than $15 billion in retraining and job placement for laid-off workers.
Vox: Why America Abandoned Nuclear Power (and What We Can Learn From South Korea)
More than safety or waste issues, cost is nuclear's Achilles' heel. Modern-day reactors have become jarringly expensive to build, going for $5 billion to $10 billion a pop. Worse, the price tag seems to be rising in many places. Back in the 1960s, new reactors in the U.S. were one of the cheaper energy sources around. Two decades later, after a series of missteps, costs had increased sixfold -- a big reason we stopped building plants.
Ever since, experts have been debating whether or not nuclear's cost problems are an intrinsic flaw that will doom the technology. Nuclear skeptics, such as Joe Romm, argue that soaring costs are inevitable if you try to build massive reactors that need layers of safeguards.
But there's also an optimistic story for nuclear -- one that I think is worth hearing out. A recent paper in the journal Energy Policy by Jessica Lovering, Arthur Yip, and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute looked at construction costs for hundreds of reactors built in the U.S., France, Canada, Japan, German, India and South Korea between 1960 and 2010. Their data tells a more nuanced story.
Houston Chronicle: NRG Shifts Away From Green Power
NRG said it's cutting its annual dividend nearly 80 percent from 58 cents to 12 cents a share to reallocate about $145 million annually for capital spending and debt reduction. Gutierrez repeatedly emphasized the focus on cutting costs, including an additional $600 million in debt reduction the rest of this year.
"A static dividend approach is not an appropriate use of capital, given the deep cyclical nature of our sector," he said.
NRG also still intends to sell or spin off much of its stake in its home solar and electric-vehicle charging businesses in the spring as previously planned. The power company decided it will keep its solar business for commercial and industrial customers, which Gutierrez said shows NRG is not abandoning renewables.