Contact your representatives
Contact Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio
Bernie Becker and Mike Lillis - 05/07/13 12:10 PM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Tuesday that the online sales tax legislation that easily cleared the Senate this week was not one of the House's top priorities.
Boehner referred reporters at a news conference to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has expressed concerns about the Senate bill.
“I think they have jurisdiction over this. I've not talked to him about it,” Boehner said. “I don't know what his intent is, in terms of whether he's interested in moving it through his committee or not.”
“I'm for regular order,” Boehner added, when pressed about whether he is personally interested in the bill.
The Senate passed the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act by a 69 to 27 vote on Monday, with most Democrats — except for five who represent states without a sales tax — backing the bill.
Senate Republicans split roughly down the middle — 21 for, and 22 against — on the proposal. The breakdown underscores that the measure likely faces a rockier path in the GOP-controlled House.
But retail groups and state governments, which could gain more than $20 billion in new revenue each year under the bill, have made the sales tax measure a major priority. Because of that, Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other GOP leaders will find themselves under intense pressure to bring the bill to the floor, according to a leading House Democrat.
“I think the overwhelming number of Democrats are for this bill, I think a large number of Republicans are for this bill,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters shortly after Boehner’s comments. “I think they're going to get a lot of pressure from retail people in their states who are having to compete with online sellers who don't pay tax.”
Currently, states can only charge sales tax
Solar Stocks Paying for First Solar’s Miss: Suntech Power, MEMC Electronic Materials, , GT Advanced Technologies, Trina Solar, JA Solar Holdings
Posted : May 07, 2013
Solar stocks declined sharply after First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) missed earnings after the close of business on Monday and its paying dearly for the disappointment. It was not long ago when First Solar gained nearly 50%, on April 9, after issuing an extremely hopeful, some would say aggressive, forecast for the next few years at their investor day meeting. Investors seem reacting on failure of the company to back up their talk. The company gave a boost to China’s solar stocks last month, and now they’re paying for its miss.
FSLR was down 9% to $43.50.
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:STP) fell 3.9% today after keeping its Monday’s decline at -1.05% on below -normal volume of 2.17M shares. The stock settled at $0.605 after floating in a range of $0.58 to $0.62. Significantly, its latest price of $0.605 is at a discount of -42.52% to its 200-day moving average price of $1.06. Its 52-week range has been $0.30 to $2.67; it is trading at a discount of -77.34% to its 52-week high and a premium of 101.67% to its 52-week low.
MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR) fell 4% today after trading up on a volume of 4.40 million, lower than its standard daily volume on Monday. Shares have as added 1.48% to $5.50. Over the last twelve months, the stock has gained 52.35% and faced a worst price of $1.44 on Jun 5, 2012). The stock has moved up across its 50-day moving average of $4.63.
GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) declined 3% after ending -1.30% lower at $3.79 on below-normal volume of 2.85M shares during the last trading day. The most recent price of this stock was at a discount of -46.54% to the 12-month high of
May 6, 2013
Net sales of $755 million
Non-GAAP EPS of $0.69 per fully diluted share
GAAP EPS of $0.66 per fully diluted share
Cash and Marketable Securities of $1 billion
Maintains full-year 2013 guidance
TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2013. Net sales were $755 million in the quarter, a decrease of $320 million from the fourth quarter of 2012 and an increase of $258 million from the first quarter of 2012. The decrease in net sales from the fourth quarter of 2012 was primarily due to less revenue recognition from our systems business projects primarily related to the Topaz project, while the increase over the first quarter of 2012 was primarily due to higher sales volumes for third-party module sales and an increase in revenue from systems projects.
The Company reported first quarter net income per fully diluted share of $0.66, compared to $1.74 in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a loss of $5.20 in the first quarter of 2012, which included $444 million in pre-tax restructuring charges and costs in excess of normal warranty. The first quarter of 2013 was impacted by pre-tax restructuring charges of $2 million (reducing EPS by $0.03), compared to $25 million (reducing EPS by $0.30) in the fourth quarter of 2012. In both cases the pre-tax charges related to previously announced restructuring actions. The sequential decrease in earnings was primarily due to higher revenue recognition for Topaz in the fourth quarter of 2012, temporary construction delays at the AVSR project, and previously planned lower manufacturing utilization as the Company accelerated efforts to upgrade production lines, which is expected to enable the Company to achieve near term targets on its module cost and efficiency improvement roadmaps.
Cash and Marketable Securities at the end of the first quarter were approximately $1 billion, esse
EPA to defend its greenhouse gas emission rules tomorrow
Jeremy P. Jacobs and Jean Chemnick, E&E reporters
Greenwire: Monday, May 6, 2013
U.S. EPA will return to court tomorrow to defend its regulations for fighting climate change from multiple challenges by Texas and industry groups.
At issue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are two cases that center on EPA's implementation of greenhouse gas air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act after the agency determined the emissions endangered public health.
Both center on EPA's efforts to review state permitting programs for planned major facilities to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions were considered along with other pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.
In one case, Texas, Wyoming and several major industry groups argue that EPA rushed its review of the so-called state implementation plans, or SIPs, and "coerced" states into complying by threatening a ban on construction of new facilities.
In the second, Texas is challenging EPA's decision to retroactively revoke its SIP because the Lone Star State refused to add greenhouse gases to its permitting program.
The petitions are part of a concerted effort by opponents of EPA greenhouse gas regulations to win back some of the territory they have lost since 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that EPA must consider regulating heat-trapping emissions under the Clean Air Act, as well as subsequent similar rulings.
The first case comes from a broad industry coalition, including the Utility Air Regulatory Group and National Mining Association. When EPA began regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act in 2010, the agency issued its "tailoring rule" -- providing a way for large stationary emitters to be phased into coverage. A key component of
... First Solar seeks 5.5 gigawatts of sales to fill pipeline ...
May 7, 2013 at 6:59 am by Bloomberg
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the largest U.S. solar manufacturer by shipments, said it’s pursuing as much #$%$5 gigawatts of prospective sales, mainly in the Americas, after its pipeline of orders was unchanged in the first quarter.
The company reported $8 billion in expected revenue at the end of the first quarter, unchanged from the end of December, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hughes said during a conference call yesterday.
The company expects results in the second half of the year to be better than in the first half, reversing an earlier forecast, as it acquires new solar farms that will use its panels. Of the 5.5 gigawatts of potential orders, about 700 megawatts comes from mid- to late-stage projects that are nearing construction, Hughes said.
“We are focusing on replenishing our pipeline in 2014 and beyond,” Hughes said.
That includes projects in Chile, Canada and a “steady diet” of stranded solar projects that developers can’t complete in California and elsewhere in the U.S. Southwest, he said. The company forecasts its results using expected revenue from panels it will install at solar farms it’s developing and contracted sales to other developers.
Net income in the quarter was $59.1 million, or 66 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $449 million, or $5.20 a share, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a statement after the close of regular trading yesterday. Sales climbed 52 percent to $755.2 million. Excluding some one-time expenses related to restructuring, earnings of 69 cents a share were six cents less than the average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The shortfall in the quarter isn’t as important as the company’s long-term prospects, said Sanjay Shrestha, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets LLC in New York.
“We weren’t so focused on the quarter, as numbers will..
Zack Colman - 05/07/13 05:00 AM ET
Lawmakers who back natural-gas exports are trying to woo skeptical Democrats by arguing the sales would boost American power at the expense of Russia and Iran.
Russia has long dominated the market for natural gas in the Eastern hemisphere, with Iran being another major supplier. But booming production in the United States presents an opportunity to undercut those countries by selling more natural gas abroad, including to allies like Japan and India, boosters say.
Supporters of increased exports are increasingly citing the geopolitical benefits as they try to win over Democrats, many of whom fear shipping more natural gas abroad would cause price increases back home.
The issue will be front and center on Tuesday during a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that will feature testimony from two former Democratic senators — Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and Bennett Johnston (La.).
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), who serves on the subcommittee, said the geopolitical aspect of the export debate has the potential to bring the two parties together.
Terry was part of a bipartisan coalition of current and former lawmakers that met over the weekend with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. He said the Turkish officials indicated they would buy natural gas from the United States — instead of from Iran — if they had the option.
“He told us that, if the U.S. would sell them natural gas, then he would buy it today, and he wouldn’t have to buy it from anywhere else,” Terry said of Yildiz. “That’s a way we can shore up an ally in an unstable region that we need as an ally.”
The House hearing on Tuesday will touch on 20 proposals under Energy Department (DOE) review that would green light exports to nations that lack a free-trade agreement with the United States.
Such deals face more ...
Published 6 May 2013
Southeast Asia is showing a rising number of high quality investment opportunities in renewable energy (RE) sources, according to a new report.
Produced by clean energy investment firm Armstrong Asset Management, the report entitled, Entering a New Phase of Growth: Renewable Energy in SE Asia, analysed the region for its potential for renewable energy, citing opportunities in solar photovoltaics (PV), wind, hydro and biomass or biogas, and interest from both debt and equity providers to invest in them.
Compared to the price for power generation from marginal fossil fuel on an unsubsidised base, renewable energy offers Southeast Asia clean and secure power at fixed long-term rates that are lower in price.
Here is an overview of the report’s findings, together with some highlights of the investment opportunities and why renewable energy is worth investing on. Some key points first:
•It is now cheaper to produce renewable energy in some Southeast Asia countries than bulk grid power from imported natural gas and fuel oil;
•The cost advantage of renewable energy continues to grow in SE Asia as pricing, environmental and security risks associated with imported fossil fuels are more accurately evaluated;
•SE Asia has excellent renewable resources but rely on a high level of fuel oil for power generation due to their sprawling geographies and inadequate grid infrastructure;
•ASEAN-5 (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia) will need to install between 168 and 192GW of new power generation capacity by 2025 to maintain its projected economic growth rate of 5.8%;
•Governments in all Southeast Asian markets are significantly expanding their commitment to renewable energy as a proportion of the energy mix.
From 2000 through 2006, however, the emerging markets of ASEAN-5 generally adopted a cautious approach to the development of renewable
Anadarko income falls after year-earlier tax settlement
May 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm by Bloomberg
A natural gas well in the Greater Natural Buttes (Photo: Anadarko)
Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the oil explorer that’s been expanding production in Colorado and Texas, said first-quarter profit declined after a $1.8 billion tax-related gain boosted earnings last year.
Net income fell to $460 million, or 91 cents a share, from $2.16 billion, or $4.28, a year earlier, The Woodlands-based company said in a statement on Marketwired Monday. Excluding certain one-time items, earnings rose 15 percent to $547 million, or $1.08 a share, 13 cents more than the 95-cent average of 28 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Anadarko is the U.S. oil and natural gas producer with the biggest market capitalization after ConocoPhillips among companies that don’t own refineries or a chemical unit. It has seen rising oil output from projects such as the Wattenberg field in Colorado and Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, as well as gas output from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Anadarko’s exploration includes work in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Africa.
Brent crude futures, a global benchmark, fell 4.9 percent from a year earlier to average $112.64 a barrel in the first quarter. Gas futures traded in New York averaged $3.48 per million British thermal units in the quarter, a 39 percent increase from a year earlier.
Monday’s earnings report was issued after the close of regular trading on U.S. markets. Anadarko rose 1.2 percent to $87.62 at the close in New York.
PHOTOS/ The Big Picture: Today's Hot Pics!
The former Fugee packs some extra musical fire power at the Sirius-XM Satellite Radio studios in New York.
Bernie Becker and Ramsey Cox - 05/06/13 06:59 PM ET
The Senate on Monday approved legislation that would for the first time allow states to collect billions of dollars in online sales tax revenue from out-of-state purchases.
The 69-27 vote is a major victory for retail groups and state governments, who for years have fought to close what they see as a loophole that allows as much as $23 billion in annual taxes from online sales to go uncollected.
“I’ve been saying it for the past 12 years,” lead sponsor Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said ahead of the vote. “This bill is about fairness, it’s about leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar shops.”
The measure split Republicans senators, as 22 Republicans voted no in addition to five Democrats. Nineteen Republicans supported the measure.
Supporters said the overwhelming vote in the Senate will give the bill momentum as it heads to the House. They hope to get a bill to President Obama’s desk by the end of 2013.
Opponents, including some well-known conservative groups and the online retailer eBay, have vowed to keep up the fight in the House, where the path forward is less clear. They argue forcing small businesses to play tax collector for other states would be a huge burden, and that the bill would open retailers up to increased audits and compliance costs.
“Today the Senate is voting on whether to take a few more inches off the little guy,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. “I fear that what we’re going to do is crush some of those start-ups. ... This is a deeply flawed piece of legislation, [and] this debate will continue.”
The bill, which is backed by online powerhouse Amazon, empowers states to collect taxes on purchases made online by consumers in their states from out-of-state retailers. Under current law, states can only collect from companies that are physically located within their borders.
Ramsey Cox and Bernie Becker - 05/06/13 01:32 PM ET
The Senate is poised to approve legislation that would give states greater authority to collect sales taxes on goods sold online by out-of-state retailers.
Filibuster-proof majorities have already signaled their support for the bill in a series of procedural votes, and the upper chamber is scheduled to vote on final passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act shortly after 5:30 p.m.
Senate passage will be seen as a major victory for retail groups and state governments, who have fought for years for a bill they say will close a long-standing loophole and return as much as $23 billion in lost revenue.
The bill would empower states to collect taxes on purchases made online by consumers in their states from out-of-state retailers. Under current law, states can only collect from companies that are physically located within their borders.
Supporters say that bipartisan Senate approval will give S. 743 momentum in the House. But even though the legislation has the support of several prominent GOP governors, the bill’s path in the Republican-controlled lower chamber remains uncertain.
Opponents, including some well-known conservative groups and the online retailer eBay, have vowed to keep up the fight in the lower chamber, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), has outlined a host of concerns about the measure.
But Goodlatte and other leading Republican lawmakers, like Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have also suggested that the current set-up leaves brick-and-mortar businesses at a disadvantage.
Some senators in states without a sales tax tried blocking progress on the bill, arguing it would burden retailers in their states by forcing them to collect taxes for other state governments. Conservatives opposing the measure say it’s “a job-killing tax hike.”
Major oil sands producer: We need Keystone pipeline
By Ben Geman - 05/06/13 12:31 PM ET
A big player in Canada’s oil sands believes the Keystone XL pipeline will eventually be needed to keep expanding production of the resource.
“Long-term, we do need Keystone to be able to grow the volumes in Canada,” Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. President Steve Laut tells The Globe and Mail.
The comment could provide political ammunition to environmental groups battling TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline.
Keystone opponents argue it will be a catalyst for expanding oil sands production, thereby worsening greenhouse gas emissions.
As The Globe and Mail piece notes, Laut’s view breaks with other industry officials and a U.S. State Department analysis, which found that building Keystone wouldn’t have much affect on overall production growth.
The Obama administration is weighing whether to grant a permit for Keystone, which would bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands projects across the U.S. border en route to Gulf Coast refineries.
Judge seeks fast action on challenge to SEC oil disclosure rule
By Ben Geman - 05/06/13 10:52 AM ET
A federal judge hopes to move quickly on industry litigation challenging Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules that will force oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
The case is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit because appellate judges ruled in late April that the case should begin there.
In a Friday order, District Judge John Bates said he’ll consider the industry challenge to the 2012 rule based on the same briefs that were previously filed before the appeals court. He ordered the industry groups and the SEC to file them with the lower court by May 10.
The process laid out Friday is the latest development in a legal fight that pits the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against the SEC. Click here and here for more on the case.
Solar = Disruptive Technology (Graph)
I recently ran across this interesting graph on reddit:
Click to embiggen.
The title of the article in which the graph was housed (similar to mine above) was: “Solar Energy: This Is What A Disruptive Technology Looks Like.”
I think the graph is pretty clear — while the price of retail electricity, residential natural gas, and crude oil have all remained fairly constant in the past few decades (in inflation-adjusted terms), the price of solar has rolled down a long, big hill. And, the good news is, it’s still rolling.
For a bit more detail on the methodology, Brian McConnell, a software engineer and the creator of The Joule Standard, explains:
Using data from the Energy Information Agency, I pulled together a history of retail prices for natural gas, crude oil, gasoline and residential electricity, all adjusted for inflation. For each energy source, I converted the prices to $/gigajoule, using conversion factors from engineering tables. (For example, a million cubic feet of natural gas contains 1.083 gigajoules of energy content).
Next, using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other sources, I looked up the price history for solar power, in terms of dollar per Watt of system capacity (a standard unit of measure for solar). With this data, I built a cost model to translate the cost of a solar cell into $/gigajoule. The basic idea is to amortize the system cost over its useful life, and divide this by the average amount of power it generates per month. This allows the cost of solar to be compared directly to other sources.
The comparison shows quite clearly that the cost effectiveness of solar power is increasing exponentially. In 1977, solar cells cost upwards of $70 per Watt of capacity. In 2013, that cost has dropped to $0.74 per Watt, a 100:1 improvement (source: The Economist). On average, solar power improves 14% per year in
Solar PV Module Prices Have Fallen 80% Since 2008, Wind Turbines 29%
May 6, 2013 Zachary Shahan
I know most of you have seen such graphs many times, but I can’t resist sharing another one every once in awhile. And the truth is, a lot of people are completely oblivious to this. Those who follow cleantech news know the strong trend, but the common person certainly doesn’t. Do everyone a favor — share this graph with your friends!
Wind Power Prices Also Dropping
Wind turbine prices have followed a similar (if not quite as extreme) trend. Since 2008, wind turbine prices have fallen 29%. Wind power is more mature than solar. It is already the cheapest electricity option in many or even most places. You can see in the graph below that it had most of its massive price drops in the 1990s.
The full BNEF presentation those graphs come from was a presentation at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Delhi, India on April 17, 2013.
Stay tuned, because I’ve got a post coming in about one hour that goes very well with these, but takes things even a step further.
Statoil says higher petroleum tax risks harming investments
Posted on May 6, 2013 at 6:58 am by Bloomberg
Workers on Statoil's Maersk Developer platform in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo: Helge Hansen/Statoil)
Statoil ASA (STL) said the government’s unexpected move to raise taxes on oil companies risks harming investments and casts doubt over the long-term predictability of the framework for offshore production.
The government yesterday said it will limit the so-called upflift on cash flow to 22 percent from 30 percent and raise the special petroleum tax to 51 percent from 50 percent, keeping a top tax rate of 78 percent. The increase will raise total taxes by about 3 billion kroner ($520 million) a year, the government said yesterday.
Statoil, which is 67 percent owned by the Norwegian state, said today that the changes will cut operating cash flow by below 500 million kroner this year and increase to full effect after four to five years. It will reduce tax deductions by 38 million kroner for 1 billion kroner invested, the Stavanger- based company said.
“The proposed change in the Norwegian petroleum tax reduces the attractiveness of future projects, particularly marginal fields, and raises questions regarding the predictability and stability of the fiscal framework for long-term investments on the Norwegian continental shelf,” said Torgrim Reitan, chief financial officer of Statoil, in a statement.
Cheniere: LNG facility ahead of schedule
Posted on May 6, 2013 at 6:53 am by Associated Press
Tugboats pull an LNG tanker to Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in 2008. (Nick De La Torre / Houston Chronicle)
BATON ROUGE, La. — Cheniere Energy Inc. says construction is ahead of schedule on the first two units of its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas facility, with around 26 percent of the work complete as of March 31.
The company told The Advocate the Cameron Parish facility’s first two production units are expected to begin producing LNG in late 2015.
Meanwhile, two additional units have received all of the necessary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Energy approvals. The company is in the process of securing the financing to build those units.
The company borrowed $5.9 billion to build the first two units.
April EV & Hybrid Sales Report
May 5, 2013 Zachary Shahan
Unfortunately, the report below doesn’t include Tesla sales, but it still rounds up April 2013 sales for the other hybrid and electric vehicles for sale in the US. Have a look and let us know your thoughts!
Compared to April 2012, not many automakers can be too happy about their hybrid and electric vehicle sales. Basically, just Nissan and Ford have something to cheer about, and they certainly do!
Ford hybrid and EV sales were up 567.8% in April 2013 compared to April 2012 — 8,628 sales compared to 1,292. The bulk of the sales were for the Ford Fusion Hybrid (3,625, or 365.94% more than April 2012′s 778) and the Ford C-Max Hybrid (3,197; not on the market in April 2012). But the Lincoln MKZ (884 sales, 122.67% higher than the 397 sold in April 2012), Ford C-Max Energi PHEV (411; not on the market in April 2012), Ford Fusion Energi PHEV (364; not on the market in April 2012), and Ford Focus Electric (147; not on the market in April 2012) also boosted the companies green vehicle sales.
The Nissan Leaf, still riding the sales surge created by its considerable price drop, rolled off the lot 1,937 times in April 2013, 423.51% more than the 370 figure from April 2012.
Mitsubishi was the only other company to see a sales increase, with a modest 127 units of its Mitsubishi i sold, 60.76% more than the 79 sold in April 2012.
However, everyone else saw a downshift in views.
•GM had 12.08% fewer views in April 2013 compared to April 2012, with the Chevy Volt dropping 10.67%.
•Honda had a 12.08% drop over the same time period.
•Porsche had a 60.77% drop.
•Toyota had a 12.27% drop.
Overall, hybrids and electric vehicles (combined) grew 12.84% in April 2013 compared to April 2012. For the year to date, however, they are down 14.43% compared to 2012.
As you should be able to see in the table above,