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Energy Roundup: Big Solar, Russian Threats, Biofuel and Solar Bankruptcies

PG&E ups the stakes for BrightSource Energy -- Major California utility Pacific Gas & Electric has increased a previous agreement with BrightSource Energy for 900 megawatts of solar thermal power to 1,310 megawatts, which would make it the largest single solar plant in the world. Although BrightSource still needs a set of government approvals for the site near Ivanpah, it hopes to have the first 110 megawatts operating by 2013. [Wall Street Journal]

Russia readies for war over energy resources -- A Kremlin policy paper signed by Russian president Dmitri Medvedev suggests that the future of international relations lies in battles over energy, principally oil and gas. They're not just talking about diplomatic in-fighting, either; the paper notes that "use of military force cannot be excluded." [Al Jazeera]

World energy supply threatened by Google, gadgets, cheeseburgers -- Defending its rising share of energy use, web search company Google said on its blog that making a single cheeseburger consumes as much energy as 15,000 searches -- although it doesn't mention that yearly searches are at 60 billion and growing. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency warned that the rising requirements of the world's devices of all types are a threat to world energy security. [PaidContent, SmartMoney]

Greenfuel Technologies finally shuts its doors -- One of the first companies to promise biofuels from algae, Greenfuel Technologies has spent the last few years struggling to prove itself. The company is closing now, a self-declared "victim of the credit crunch". Unmentioned is the fact that neither Greenfuel's technology nor any other using algae has proven cost-competitive with gasoline, or even other biofuels. [Greentech Media]

DayStar Technologies ready to go under -- One of many CIGS thin-film solar producers, DayStar Technologies has found itself losing money and unable to raise more. The company's CEO has also resigned, a third of the staff is to be laid off and the company may soon file for bankruptcy. [PV-tech]

Pacific Ethanol reiterates bankruptcy warning -- In a final piece of bad news, major West Coast ethanol producer Pacific Ethanol proven unable to raise additional capital over the past month, and its sales have continued to fall. The company needs more money in the "very near-term" to prevent bankruptcy -- so, barring a miracle, expect to see a filing soon. [Central Valley Business Times]

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