PM Abe Vows to End ‘Ad Hoc’ Response to Fukushima Crisis
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to end Japan’s “ad hoc” response to the Fukushima disaster as the government announced plans to spend 47 billion yen to stop leaks of irradiated water. The government is intervening after repeated leaks in the last month indicated that TEPCO, the utility who operates the stricken nuclear plant, is losing control of the situation. The 47 billion yen will be spent on an underground frozen wall to block groundwater from flowing into basements at the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant and an improved water treatment plant, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said.
Chinese Solar Defaults Shocks Investors as $8.4 Billion Due Nears
LDK Solar Co.’s delay in paying debt and Suntech Power Holdings Co.’s attempts to renegotiate obligations are prompting investors to brace themselves for losses as $8.4 billion in clean energy bonds come due by the end of 2014. Investors may consider a bailout as $1.3 billion of debt matures by the end of the year and $7.1 billion in 2014. Authorities will likely try to focus support for the solar industry on boosting demand rather than providing funds directly, says Wang Xiaoting, an analyst at Bloomberg. Bankruptcies may help weed out companies that are unable to meet their obligations, Wang adds.
Keystone Delays May Give Time for Climate Concessions
A decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline may carry over onto next year, giving opponents time to draw further effort against it. Once the U.S. State department finishes its environmental assessment, which is anticipated to completed within the next few days, begins a a 90-day review of whether Keystone is in the national interest. After that, other agencies have 15 days to appeal, which would send the matter to Obama to mediate- potentially pushing a decision into mid-December or January. Some analysts say the extra time may give Obama the opportunity to create offsetting policies to undercut the opposition.
China Sunergy Presses India to Discontinue Dumping Investigation
China Sunergy Co. and First Solar Inc. of the U.S. urged India to abandon a probe into solar equipment dumping, saying that the investigation is undermined by errors. India began examining claims last November that imported solar equipments had been sold below cost, hurting local manufacturers. China Sunergy says that India opened the probe without sufficient data to justify it legally and has broken disclosure rules by withholding information that should have been available to all parties. The squabble threatens to impede investment in India’s solar industry, jeopardizing the country’s goal of tripling output capacity to 5 gigawatts by 2020.