Duke Energy’s business approach has been to reap favors, tax breaks and advantages by virtue of its cozy relationship with government, with benefits that have redounded to them in the form of subsidies, tax shelters, government grants and mandates for wind farms (despite its failure to provide energy on a broad scale, even though it has been around forever) and other unproven cockamamie ideas.
But one of those schemes has got Duke in big trouble. In May NLPC reported how its coal gasification plant under construction in Edwardsport, Ind., suffered approximately $1 billion in cost overruns and led to Duke’s pursuit of a (too-)friendly rate recovery deal, as well as the recruitment of the top lawyer at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. At the same time that lawyer, Scott Storms, took part in cases Duke had before IURC, and his behavior drew fines and punishment from the Indiana … Read More ➡
Duke Energy, along with General Electric and General Motors, are three of the major companies that are often criticized for their rent-seeking ways by free-market minded people, because their corporate earnings focus seems to depend more on subsidies and tax breaks from government rather than sales of their products. That all three support cap-and-trade policies (although it appears GM has left the US Climate Action Partnership) – as long as the gaming of the credit-trading system falls in their favor – is one example of this.
Duke’s, and its CEO Jim Rogers’s, appetites for government giveaways seem to be particularly insatiable among investor-owned utilities. The company is not shy about pursuing unproven, costly technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, just so long as taxpayers foot a lot of the bill.
For a few years now, Duke has been on what looks like a wind and solar … Read More ➡
General Electric announced this week it will relocate its X-ray business to Beijing in order to capitalize on the burgeoning Chinese health care market.
Bravo for them. Kudos. I’m sure it’s a smart business move for the company – just like not paying taxes in the U.S., rent seeking for “Green” subsidies and mandates, and reducing American jobs are also bottom-line wise.
But let’s please stop listening to GE CEO Jeffery Immelt (if he ever was really taken seriously), who is the head of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, whenever he tries to lecture other American corporations on how to conduct their businesses. His hypocrisy is astounding, as illustrated in a Wall Street Journal report about his visit to one of his own gas turbine factories in South Carolina just two weeks ago:
Mr. Immelt said the wage differential between the U.S. and China and India
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Back in April some on the Internet tried (and failed) to argue that Walmart had abandoned political correctness – especially with regard to environmental causes – because the company had suffered seven (now eight) straight quarters of same store sales declines. NLPC showed that if anything, Walmart was more committed to “sustainability” than ever.
Those priorities, under CEO Mike Duke (in photo), may have reached absurd new heights last week as the world’s largest retailer announced a partnership with utility giant American Electric Power to give away electricity. That’s right – free electricity! But as you might imagine, there’s a catch.
Turns out you need to possess one of those hard-to-find new electric vehicles produced by General Motors (Chevy Volt) or Nissan (the Leaf). As part of what Walmart calls its “Sustainability 360” initiative, the superstore chain and AEP announced the placement of … Read More ➡
The latest pressure tactic engaged in by global warming activists is to crank out their own journalism, then get an allegedly objective news organization to run their stories. Such was the case recently with the group SolveClimate and the Reuters news agency, when they co-published an article that attempts to pressure corporations to adopt climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
The report was fused with another environmentalist strategy: use shareholder compulsion to convince corporate leadership of the need to address global warming. As National Legal and Policy Center reported in recent months, activists have:
SolveClimate began its story with one … Read More ➡
National business associations have been targets of intimidation tactics by environmentalist groups for some time now. For example, Greenpeace trespassed on the grounds of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the eco-gangs attacked their climate change positions to the point where individual members left the organization. Meanwhile “Green” investors have pressured companies to leave the chamber as well.
The environmental groups have similarly gone after the National Association of Manufacturers, and now “Green” investment groups have turned up their campaign against corporate members of the group to “explain themselves” with regard to “contradictory stances” between what the companies individually say about climate change, versus the position that NAM takes. Specifically the eco-financiers are upset that in March NAM backed an amendment to a small business bill that would prevent EPA from “overregulation” of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources (that is, smokestacks from industry and utilities). NAM explained:
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Recently a guy who is trying to sell a book about Wal-Mart’s supposed “Green” heroism, Edward Humes, has written in various places about the giant retailer’s eco-friendly innovations and efficiencies. The tone has been, “Hey, believe it or not, this mass merchant practices sustainability!”
For example, in an op-ed last week for the Los Angeles Times, he wrote:
This isn’t Al Gore saying green is good for the economy; it’s Wal-Mart, which puts the discussion in a very different place. Yet progressives so revile the retailer, and the idea of a greener Wal-Mart generates so much skepticism among environmentalist organizations and their donors, that they have failed to capitalize on this golden opportunity to push through a green agenda for America. They’d rather lose the battle, it seems, than say something positive about their traditional enemy, even though Wal-Mart is using its vast scale and power to
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A report on the Businessweek Web site Thursday illustrated how Chevrolet, General Motors’ subsidiary which gets most of its media love these days over the hyper-sensationalized electric Volt, is building its “Green-cred” in ways other than by the vehicles it manufactures.
But just as with the tax credit program for the Volt, in which dealers were discovered to be selling the vehicles to other dealers who then claim the $7,500 credit for themselves, all is not what it appears to be.
The story is about a program Chevy announced late last year, in which the company promised to purchase carbon dioxide offsets that would fund “environmentally-friendly” projects, which would counterbalance the emissions created by the 1.9 million vehicles the company expects to sell in 2011. Among the projects Chevrolet said would be funded were forestry projects, methane capture from landfills, wind farms, solar farms, and energy efficiency projects and … Read More ➡
According to a report in USA Today, venture capitalists are throwing tons of money into clean and “Green” technology companies. In fact, investor Alan Salzman of VantagePoint Capital Partners says, “It’s not alternative: We think of it as mainstream.”
How mainstream? The newspaper says:
Several venture capitalists interviewed say it could be hundreds of billions of dollars — if not more — when adding up various slices, such as wind (estimated $60 billion) and solar ($20 billion to $30 billion).
There is little doubt what VCs think: They poured $4.9 billion into domestic start-ups last year, up 40% from 2009, says market researcher Cleantech Group.
The numbers suggest “strong long-term VC interest,” says Sheeraz Haji, an analyst at Cleantech Group who notes that an increase in the average size of deals shows a “continued bias towards later-stage deals.”
Wow. And the evidence just flows and flows … Read More ➡
Last month NLPC reported that Duke Energy CEO James Rogers faced increasing questions about his leadership, in part because of conflicts of interest with top company officials and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Now the state’s Ethics Commission has fined a former top lawyer at IURC because he discussed a potential job with Duke while he participated in cases that would determine cost recovery for the utility’s controversial Edwardsport coal gasification plant.
The Indianapolis Star reported that the lawyer, Scott Storms, committed three violations of state law in the scandal, and the Ethics panel fined him $12,120 and barred him from future state employment. From the report:
In a six-page ruling, the ethics commission said Storms, while general counsel and chief administrative law judge at the IURC, was negotiating for a job or “had an arrangement” concerning prospective employment with Duke as he took part in cases involving the company’s
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