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Energy, Utilities

POSTED: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 12:38 PM
Filed Under: Energy, Utilities

Does it feel like the United States is in a race to the sun as it was back in the '60s when we sought to put a man on the moon?

Arun Majumdar, Acting Under Secretary for Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, said it should. The nation that figures out how to lower the cost of solar energy from the current $3.50 to $4 per watt for installed utility use to $1 will win that race and create a huge business, he said.

"There is a small window of opportunity," he said. "We need to grab it, or some other country will."

POSTED: Thursday, April 7, 2011, 1:14 PM

I managed not to write about the price of gasoline or the price for a barrel of oil at all in 2010. No such luck this year.

Most of us only care about gas prices when they're going up, and that's where they have been heading for weeks now. Gas prices are the highest they've been since 2008 when station owners had to rummage around for their $4 signs.

Spring and summer are the seasons when demand for gasoline rises. However, Bloomberg News said data from the U.S. Energy Department, which tracks gasoline consumption, shows demand at its lowest level for this time of year since 2003.

POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011, 11:53 AM

Protesters interrupted a speech by Sunoco Inc. chairman and chief executive Lynn L. Elsenhans at a luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on Thursday afternoon.

The head of the Philadelphia oil refiner and marketer was being honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce with its Paradigm Award, given to a businesswoman whose accomplishments are seen as a model of success.

It’s rare for protesters to crash usually staid chamber of commerce events. But then, few Paradigm Award winners have enacted such sweeping changes through their organizations as Elsenhans has since becoming CEO in August 2008. She sold its chemicals business, closed or sold three of its five refineries, laid off hundreds of workers, and announced plans to spin off its SunCoke Energy business.

POSTED: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 2:59 PM

Protesters interrupted a speech being given by Sunoco Inc. chairman and chief executive Lynn L. Elsenhans at a luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Thursday afternoon.

The head of the Philadelphia oil refiner and marketer was being honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce with its Paradigm Award, given to a businesswoman whose accomplishments are seen as a model of success.

As Elsenhans began her speech, several protesters who'd been seated in the ballroom stood and walked toward the podium, carrying a sign, as another addressed the audience of about 750 people by asking, "Does anyone see a leader here?"

POSTED: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 11:50 AM

The Enron scandal still has much to teach us nearly a decade after it was uncovered.

The collapse of the Houston energy marketer in 2001 was a spectacular failure of corporate governance and auditing integrity.

And now, thanks to the donation of board minutes and other documents by former Enron board member Herbert “Pug” Winokur Jr., the Hagley Museum & Library has posted online the paper record of those once dubbed “the smartest guys in the room.”

POSTED: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 12:00 PM
Filed Under: Energy, Utilities

Oil experts this week seem to be tripping over themselves to offer dire predictions of where the price of a barrel of oil is headed.

Nomura Holdings Inc. analysts said they expect $220 a barrel if production is disrupted further in Libya and Algeria. Someone else burped up $300 to $400 a barrel.

Prediction is a fool’s game for reporters, so don’t look for one here. But recognize that such high estimates represent Armageddon-style planning. (How many Americans still have duct tape and bottled water in their basement?)

POSTED: Friday, February 18, 2011, 12:13 PM

After 15 years as CEO, A. James Dearlove will retire from Penn Virginia Corp., the Radnor natural gas and oil exploration company, after the annual shareholders meeting in May.

The board promoted H. Baird Whitehead from chief operating officer to president Thursday and elected him to the board. The company said in a statement that the board is expected to name the 60-year-old Whitehead CEO in May.

Whitehead joined Penn Virginia in 2001 after more than 20 years as an executive with Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

POSTED: Monday, October 11, 2010, 8:05 AM

I thought I’d seen a ghost, or at least a misprint, when I saw that Community Energy Inc. had raised its first round of capital last week.

Hadn’t a Radnor company by the same name been bought by the Spanish wind-energy company Iberdrola S.A. for $30 million in 2006?

Yes, it had, said Community Energy chief executive officer Brent Alderfer. But Iberdrola really wanted the wind farms, those built and those unfinished, that Community Energy had developed in the United States.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

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