U.S. to Examine Claims Oil Firms Undercut Renewables
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said it will review allegations that oil companies may be undermining efforts to distribute renewable fuels. Senators Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, earlier this month asked to investigate whether oil companies are violating federal anti-trust law by blocking the introduction of higher ethanol blends of gasoline. Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez made an assurance that her agency will make every effort to prosecute practices that violate any statute that the agency enforces.
Panasonic Sees Rooftops as Prime Market for Solar Power in Japan
Panasonic Corp., Japan’s largest consumer-electronics maker, is targeting rooftops for its solar panels as developers scramble to find large enough plots of affordable land in Japan that has access to transmission lines needed for utility-scale projects. The company is aiming to increase the volume of solar products by 25% with forecasts that the Japanese solar market may consume as much as 5 GW of solar cells through the remainder of the year and up until March 31, making it one of the largest in the world.
SunEdison Goes Solar, Spins-Off Semiconductor Division
SunEdison is spinning off its semiconductor business to help fund more of its solar initiatives. SunEdison Semiconductor Inc. will be launched with an Initial Public Offering for a minority stake planned for early next year. The company said it would release more details about the proposed transaction in a Sept. 9 conference call. Filings with the SEC will occur sometime between now and the end of next month, with the proposed IPO happening in early 2014.
Fukushima Hinders Abe’s Bid to Reactivate Nukes to Facilitate Economic Recovery
Fukushima’s leaks are threatening to thwart Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to reactivate nuclear power and deliver the lower energy prices needed to revitalize Japan’s economy. Prior to the Fukushima accident, nuclear power supplied more than 25 %of Japan’s electricity. Now, all but two of the country’s 50 reactors are idled. Apart from backing the use of nuclear power, Abe has made exporting nuclear technology a component of his economic plan. However, majority of the public was against restarts, according to a Kyodo News poll taken July 13-14, with 51% opposing and only 40% in favor of reviving the nuclear reactors.