Duke Energy’s ‘Clean Coal’ Power Plant Off to Bad Start

Duke EdwardsportDuke Energy’s “green” initiative to gasify coal for allegedly “cleaner” burning at its Edwardsport, Ind. power plant has already been vilified for cronyism, corruption, conflicts of interest, cost overruns, delays, waste, and mismanagement, but at least it became operational in June.

For six days.

The so-called “clean coal” project that was intended to have a carbon dioxide capture-and-storage component suffered breakdowns that left it inoperative on June 13, almost a week after Duke’s formal announcement that Edwardsport was on line, and only a day after the nation’s largest utility showed media members around the plant. The Indianapolis Star broke the news on Friday.

Eyebrows furrowed and heads shook not simply over the unexpected early stoppage, but given the questionable behavior surrounding the plant by previous CEO James Rogers and other Duke executives, the timing of the announcement followed by the quick shutdown only raised more …

Will Departing Duke CEO Rogers Officially Join the Obama Team?

Jim Rogers and windmill photoNow that he’s been forced out as chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, James Rogers is apparently looking for something else to do, and may now be more receptive to the idea of becoming President Obama’s next Secretary of Energy.

The new speculation, primarily from the Charlotte Business Journal, which is based in Duke’s home city, arose following an interview that Rogers did with Bloomberg News while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Whereas Rogers used to routinely dismiss suggestions that he might be up for a cabinet post, when asked this time by Bloomberg reporter Tom Keene what he would bring to the job if the president asked him to serve, he was unhesitant.

“What I would bring is someone that’s been in the industry a long time and understands the importance of getting the balance right between cheap, affordable energy and meeting our …

Walmart Black Friday Protests: We Told You So

Walkout on Walmart posterThe anti-Walmart protests today organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers union are the clearest evidence yet that the company’s campaign of appeasement of left-wing activist groups is failing. Indeed, it appears the policy has invited more defamation and harassment. We told you so.

NLPC documented the emergence of this policy in a Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Appease Liberal Interest Groups Will Likely Fail, Hurt Business. Written by John Carlisle, it was published in 2006 and updated in 2008. Click here to download the 24-page pdf version.

The Report details Walmart’s journey from a company that embodied Sam Walton’s bedrock values to a powerful instrument for liberal policy, culminating in Walmart’s support for ObamaCare and cap & trade legislation.

Our warnings to the company have been ignored. I took our message directly to the Walmart annual meeting in 2011. Here is a part …

NY Times Discovers Obama’s Favorite Utility

John Rowe photoAttentive NLPC readers were aware of the extent of Exelon Corporation’s activism to gain regulatory favor in support of “green” policies in which it reaped millions of dollars in government grants and mandates, but last week’s lengthy New York Times article about the cronyism-tainted relationship between the Chicago-based utility and the Obama administration revealed a few nuggets.

The story told how Exelon, with top executives as “early and frequent” supporters of the president as his political career ascended, were able to gain more access to the White House than others thanks to their longstanding relationships. According to one Exelon lobbyist, his employer was considered “the president’s utility.”

“White House records show that Exelon executives were able to secure an unusually large number of meetings with top administration officials at key moments in the consideration of environmental regulations that have been drafted in a way that hurt Exelon’s competitors, but …

Walmart Withdraws from ALEC, Wallows in Bribery Scandal

Mike Duke photoIn an unsurprising, capitulatory move last week, Walmart joined several other major companies and withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advances the principles of free markets and limited government at the state level through legislative idea exchanges.

The move preceded Friday’s annual shareholder meeting, in which executives emphasized their commitment to principles of integrity. That came into question especially since April, when the New York Times revealed that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in order to expedite building permits and other favors in Mexico.

A number of investors and pension funds attempted to remove some Walmart directors from the board, including CEO Mike Duke (in picture), former CEO Lee Scott, and S. Robson “Rob” Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton. Because the family holds nearly 50 percent of stock in the company, proposals they don’t support will always fail …

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty

white Coke can

A $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant owned by Duke Energy, built in order to pacify concerns over the fake global warming scare, will increase rates for its Indiana customers by 14.5 percent the next two years.

The Indianapolis Star reported last week that ratepayers will cover nearly $2.6 billion of the plant’s costs, as the result of a deal between the utility, its industrial customers, and Indiana’s government advocate for electricity consumers. Duke’s shareholders will pay for the remainder of the facility, built in Edwardsport, Ind. Between the Charlotte-based utility and its main contractors on the plant – General Electric and Bechtel – construction costs soared from an estimated $1.985 billion in 2006 to $3.3 billion. Carbon dioxide capture and storage, like much renewable energy, is a technology that has not proven viable on a scale that would meet the electricity demands of …

Al Gore & Duke Energy: Marriage Made in Regulation Hell

Rogers photoThe North Carolina fuel cell project in which former Vice President Al Gore has a conflict of interest as a director of Apple, Inc., illustrates how crony socialism and state mandates to utilize so-called “Green” energy converge to benefit wealthy corporatists at the expense of regular citizens.

Yesterday NLPC reported that Apple’s plans to build a costly fuel cell electricity generation facility adjacent to its new data center in Maiden, N.C., was a conflict for Gore, because plans show Apple has enlisted Bloom Energy to build the project.

In addition to his Apple role, Gore is also an investor in Bloom through his role as a senior partner with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. According to a report in The News & Observer of Raleigh last week, Bloom could reap as much as $30 million from the deal – about $6.7 million per megawatt – based upon calculations …

Apple’s Fuel Cell Project Presents Conflict of Interest for Al Gore

Al Gore photo

A major project to generate expensive (so-called) renewable energy at Apple, Inc.’s new data center in the North Carolina mountains highlights a conflict of interest for one of its directors, former Vice President Al Gore.

The massive server farm in the small town of Maiden has already been criticized for the large swaths of forest clear-cutting and burning to make way for a 100-acre solar project, and now more acres are being leveled to construct a $30-million fuel cell facility to generate electricity, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Apple is working with Bloom Energy to build the project. Gore is a senior partner with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, which in 2002 as the first investor helped launch Bloom on its independent mission to “make clean, reliable energy affordable.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, an investor …

Duke’s Rogers: Wind Subsidies Yield Big Profits

Rogers and windmill photoSay what you want about Duke Energy and the often-injudicious CEO James Rogers, but at least he is focused on his company’s profitability and the interests of shareholders.

Last week he composed an op-ed for The News & Observer of Raleigh in which he praised Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Sen. John McCain for their introduction of the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act. The bill would give American companies a “holiday” from the 35 percent U.S. corporate income tax, enabling businesses to – as James Valvo of Americans for Prosperity explained – invest in capital and R&D, hire and train employees, and pay dividends to shareholders.

“Duke Energy alone has $1.2 billion held hostage overseas by a tax system that penalizes U.S. businesses that want to bring their foreign earnings to America to create jobs,” Rogers wrote. “With the right changes to our tax laws, we can bring that …

GE, Duke Energy, Exelon Can’t Quit Their Self-Serving ‘Green’ Politics

grassy dollar signU.S. Climate Action Partnership members General Electric and utilities Duke Energy and Exelon Corporation are addicted to the politics of gaming environmental regulatory policy so they can make millions off mandates and subsidies, often at the expense to taxpayers and their own customers.

The latest example was the three companies’ purchase of tables at the second annual Teddy Roosevelt Dinner, hosted by Republicans for Environmental Protection in Washington. This year GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who as Utah governor a couple of years ago led the charge to bring his state into the Western Climate Initiative regional cap-and-trade agreement, keynoted the dinner.  Looks like the companies have a hard time giving up on political losers, considering that Huntsman has only 39 percent name recognition and has 2 percent support among Republican voters, leading Gallup pollster Frank Newport to identify him as the likely next Tim Pawlenty.

REP honored Exelon …

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