21 September 2010

Biofuels math, drilling insurance, packaging reduction, CSS economics and other green business news

Top Stories

"Oil industry set for surge in insurance premiums after Deepwater disaster"reliability high.
The Guardian reports "Oil companies face a sharp rise in the cost of insuring deepwater oil rigs at the start of next year in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion ... . ... global energy premium rates have gone up by between 10% and 30%, according to one of the largest insurers of energy risks, Lancashire. However, the full impact will not be felt until 1 January onwards when the bulk of reinsurance is bought, insurers warn. The disaster has also fuelled demand for insurance, as regulators are moving to a tougher stance on how much cover is needed by oil and gas companies." [While BP was self insured it and other big drillers will probably want to buy insurance in the future. Transocean was insured and its payout will be built into future rates. Any legislation to change spill liability caps will also affect insurance costs. Probably not enough to affect the economics of deep offshore drilling, but an additional cost to be passed on to oil consumers.]

"EU exec sued over biofuels as suspicions mount"reliability high.
Campaigners sued European Commission for withholding data on the negative consequences of biofuels. "Europe's biofuels policy could cause unwanted side-effects equal to as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases -- roughly the annual emissions of Russia or India, official reports warn. That means biofuels could produce more carbon emissions than gasoline over a 20 year time frame." More on European biofuels issues. See Reuters story.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Sainsbury's packaging case could be taste of things to come"reliability high.
A case against Sainsbury's for use of excessive packaging in violation of EU regulations could put retailers on alert. "Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner Julian Kirby said that to avoid the risk of future legal action, supermarkets must act now to minimise the amount of packaging on their products." See Business Green. [See next related item.]

"Waitrose drops meat tray packaging"reliability high.
Waitrose will stop selling meat in plastic trays and switch all of its meat to plastic pouches. "Waitrose claims it will save 9,000 tonnes of packaging each year." The trays have been used mainly to make meat look more appealing to consumers. Story in The Telegraph.

"Pattern Energy plans Texas wind-power export path"reliability high.
Pattern Energy Group wants to build a $1 billion 400 mile high-voltage, direct-current power transmission line from east Texas to northeastern Mississippi. Construction of the line would enable Texas wind power generators to serve energy markets in the Southeastern U.S. "'We will have a delivered price that is right around the avoided cost of power within the Southeast,' Parquet said. 'If there were an RPS, this would probably go quicker, but on a fundamental, economic basis, we think we can make this work.'" Reuters article.

"Financiers prepared to back 'competitive' CCS "reliability high.
A report based on a survey of private funding providers found that the "finance sector is willing to fund carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects – but only if the technology can demonstrate its viability without public funding". More highlights of the report. See BusinessGreen. Access report here.

"Walmart Centroamerica’s Supply Chain Success"reliability medium.
"Walmart Centroamerica, in partnership with The World Environment Center (WEC), released the results of an 18-month supply chain project aimed at implementing sustainability at 19 of the organizations key suppliers through the Cleaner Production Private Sector Partnership." See Sustainable Life Media.

Government and Regulation

"Australian regions prepare to roll out emission trading for electricity generators"reliability high.
"Although responsibility for pricing carbon should fall under federal jurisdictions, state governments are frustrated with the lack of progress and could effectively introduce a nationwide scheme if they all agree to price carbon in the same way." More about state and territorial efforts to price carbon. From BusinessGreen. [This explains why major Australian energy companies have been urging the new Federal government to set carbon pricing policy.]

"Chinese Vice President urges more efforts to save energy"reliability high.
"'The global climate change is deeply affecting human beings' living and development. Our country, now in a stage of fast industrial and urban development, is facing obvious environmental pressure,' Xi said here Saturday while attending activities to mark this year's National Science Popularization Day. ... Xi urged the whole society to continue energy-saving and emission-reducing campaigns and support the country's policies on climate change." Story in Xinhua.


"Pod Cars Start to Gain Traction in Some Cities"reliability medium.
"Is the pod car finally ready for prime time? After almost 50 years of trial and error, these futuristic personal rapid transit systems, or P.R.T.’s, may be coming to airports and city centers because of technological advances and a growing interest in sustainable transportation. ... Several projects have been announced, built or put through a trial in 2010." From New York Times Wheels blog.