Follow the Money

India Power Grid
September 02, 2013
India's renewable energy industry is reeling from the implications of a state ruling that waives clean-energy targets and, yet again, makes the country's business environment as attractive as a beating by a howling mob. Regulators in Gujurat state have said power distribution companies don't have to follow the central government's clean-energy targets, after State utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam and Ahmedabad-based Torrent Power complained that sourcing seven percent of their power from renewable sources or pay for credits was too expensive.
A polite request to Burma's energy-hungry neighbors
August 15, 2013
Questions over the future of Burma's energy policy are arising yet again. Not only has Thailand's energy minister denied that bribes have been given by the state oil company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) but China has stepped up its pressure to reignite the environmentally bankrupt Myitsone dam project. Thai energy minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said that PTTEP had been doing business in Myanmar for over 20 years and had paid concession fees as specified in the contract. He added they had not paid any extra sum to any person close to the government and its accounts were checked by the Office of the Auditor General.
Conentrated solar power plant
August 09, 2013
China's solar industry is exuding signs of confidence again. Troubled Suntech and China Sunergy managed to regain their listings on the New York Stock Exchange, companies are gaining lines of credit again and order books look healthy. For all the cheer, however, there is still plenty of blinkered thinking on the future of the industry in China. The country’s solar companies are feeling more confident now that Chinese trade negotiators put one over on their EU counterparts. The day after the EU/China solar trade agreement shares of Chinese solar panel makers rallied in New York while European solar shares fell.
Stopping BMW in China
August 02, 2013
The crack of China's environmental whip was heard across the foreign investment community when BMW was told to pick up its environmental game. “Drinking polluted water while driving BMW sedans is certainly not the type of industrialization we are looking forward to,” China’s environment minister, Zhou Shengxian, told the People’s Daily. The environment ministry criticized an application to double capacity at a joint-venture factory, saying there had been insufficient investment in environmental protection measures.
Austerity ahead for the green sector
July 25, 2013
As China’s State Council announces a ban on any new government offices or buildings, a slowdown in China's growth continues to worry economists. Amid attempts by China's cabinet to beat the importance of frugality into its party apparatchiks and the central bank announcing 'banking reforms', ten major banks have committed themselves to supporting the green sector. It is optimistic news for the sector as the government tries to get a grip on spiraling levels of debt.
Obama's green State of the Union Address 2013
February 18, 2013
President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech had few surprises except in his use of China as way to motivate rivals to stand behind his green policies. Obama put most of the onus on new climate policies on a less-than-enthusiastic Congress, but dropped a strong hint that if they don't do something, he would use his executive muscle to address climate change “for the sake of our children and our future.” 
Santa claus on a melting ice floe
December 27, 2012
Sitting in South-East Asia contemplating Santa Claus and Christmas largesse, it's easy to forget the snow and ice associated with Saint Nicholas. The European tradition of elves at the North Pole, sleighs and reindeer, dating from the 1820s doesn't have the same immediacy when you're preparing for a typhoon or sunning yourself on a beach. But the future effects of having less snow and ice could make those typhoons more intense and perhaps make that beach disappear altogether.
CNOOC, Nexen and Canada's oil sands
November 12, 2012
The economic turmoil of the financial crash saw China being feted as a white knight with drawbridges being lowered to investment from Chinese companies. This has turned to bitterness, like a liberating army becoming an occupying force. Even with struggling solar and wind sectors, China has become the dominant global power it terms of renewable energy companies. This has resulted in the US Department of Commerce increasing tariffs to between 23.75 and 250 percent on solar cells which it calls a way of offsetting subsidies provided by China through one mechanism or another.
Obama Greenpeace catastrophic climate change campaign
November 06, 2012
It was like an elephant in the corner of the room as Hurricane Sandy came roaring through the Northeast United States, disrupting the lives of millions while chalking up to USD45 billion worth of damage, and yet neither presidential candidate mentioned climate change or flagged it as a policy imperative. Throughout the latter weeks of the campaign trail it became painfully obvious that neither Obama nor Romney were willing to utter policy pledges on climate change or anything environmental that could be considered hippy yogurt-weaving scare mongering.
India's Prime Minister faces the blackout
August 02, 2012
To paraphrase wit and playwright Oscar Wilde: “To lose one grid, Mr Singh, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”. For India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, the power collapse of, eventually, three power grids over two days leaving more than 600 million people without electricity, should be the starkest message yet that India and its politicians need to stop pandering to populism, bite-the-bullet on economic reforms and clean up its legal and regulatory act.