Washington Post: The Economy Is Growing, but Carbon Emissions Aren't
Roughly a year ago, the International Energy Agency announced a wonky yet nonetheless significant development. Looking at data for the year 2014, the agency found that although the global economy grew -- by 3.4 percent that year -- greenhouse gas emissions from the use of energy (their largest source) had not. They had stalled at about 32.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, just as in 2013.
It now seems like 2014 wasn’t just a fluke -- IEA is saying the same thing about 2015. In a news release Wednesday, the agency said that 2014’s hint of decoupling had now been “confirmed,” as 2015 also saw flat emissions combined with 3.1 percent global GDP growth. Emissions, the agency said, were just 32.1 billion metric tons in 2015, based on preliminary data -- indicating perhaps even a slight downturn from 2014.
New York Times: The Financial Alchemy That’s Choking SunEdison
If SunEdison enters into bankruptcy, the autopsy will no doubt reveal a suicide, finding the solar energy company done in by financial engineering that was too clever and by a failure of its executives and investment bankers to remember the lessons of the financial crisis.
SunEdison is not dead yet, but it is floundering. The immediate cause of its distress is the now-terminated agreement to acquire Vivint for $2.2 billion that was struck last July.
The highly leveraged deal flashed caution from the start. SunEdison agreed to acquire Vivint Solar, but could not afford to pay the $2.2 billion. Instead, the deal consisted of cash and SunEdison common stock. SunEdison did not have the cash so it arranged to borrow $500 million from Goldman Sachs Bank USA. That was not enough so SunEdison also agreed to issue $350 million in convertible notes to Vivint holders, debt instruments that SunEdison would pay out later at 2.25 percent interest. This type of self-financed debt is the last resort of acquirers.
International Business Times: Tesla Autopilot Feature Back on Hong Kong Streets After Five-Month Moratorium
Tesla Model S electric car owners in Hong Kong recovered a couple of key semi-autonomous driving features taken away from them five months ago at the behest of local authorities. Owners saw their auto steering and auto lane-changing functions were remotely reactivated by the Silicon Valley electric car maker.
“Tesla's Autopilot is back in Hong Kong with v7.1,” said a post on the Facebook page of Charged Hong Kong, a local electric car group, referring to the latest vehicle software update.
The update was permitted after Hong Kong’s Transportation Department approved the two features, which use the Model S electric sedan’s bevy of sensors to automatically keep the vehicle in its lane and change lanes when the driver activated the turn signal.
Washington Business Journal: Lockheed Martin to Launch $150M Energy Business
Lockheed Martin Corp. is going to market with its energy portfolio, announcing Tuesday it was creating a new line of business called Lockheed Martin Energy.
The Bethesda-based company is trying to get ahead of a shift in the global demand for energy. Frank Armijo, the newly appointed vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy, said he anticipates that the need for new energy generation capacity will be driven by renewable sources -- as much as 70 percent of new energy generation in the U.S. alone -- in the years to come.
UtilityWeek: U.K. Government Gives £50M Boost to Energy Storage
The U.K. government has confirmed it will allocate at least £50 million to help innovation in energy storage, demand-side response (DSR) and other smart technologies over the next five years.
The government said it welcomed the recently published report by the National Infrastructure Commission as an “opportunity to transform the future of the U.K.’s electricity sector." The report suggested a future U.K. energy system principally built on storage, DSR and interconnectors could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030 and help the U.K. meet its 2050 carbon targets.
In the Budget 2016 policy paper, the government confirmed it will implement the commission’s recommendations, and work with Ofgem to remove regulatory and policy barriers, “positioning the U.K. to become a world leader in flexibility and smart technologies, including electricity storage."