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Green Business Roundup – August 21st 2012

New Electricity Generation Capacity Dominated by Natural Gas and Renewables

Power Plantdolescum / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), new electric generation capacity added in the first half of 2012 is dominated by natural gas and renewable energy. They point out this is a pattern that has been with us for a while:

“Most of the new generators built over the past 15 years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States.”

Think Progress reported on the news and point out that we are talking utility scale installations and the figures don’t include the likes of rooftop solar projects. They also point out that 3,093MW of capacity was retired. Over half of this was coal with a further 20% petroleum fired. Not bad news at all.
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Green Energy Startups Rejected by Investors?

Jose Pagliery at CNN Money details how sentiment is hardening among investors when it comes to green energy startups. Potential cuts to tax credits and other supports to wind, solar, ethanol etc. are combining with decreasing natural gas prices to create a changed market environment. There are competitive pressures from Chinese solar panels, wind farms may lose their 30% tax credit and drought is causing rising corn prices and affecting ethanol. The bottom line though comes down to this “… they [investors] won’t lend money to green energy companies, especially startups, because they haven’t proven they can be profitable on their own.”
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Shell to Invest $1bn a Year Fracking in China

The Guardian reports today that Shell plan to invest at least $1bn a year in China’s shale gas. China is estimated to have the world’s largest reserves of shale gas which is exploited through the controversial practice of “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing).
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