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Energy Roundup: BP Drops Jatropha, Wal-Mart Eco Index, Climate Debate Fireworks and More

BP leaves D1 Oils Jatropha biofuels venture -- D1 Oils has reached an agreement to buy BP's50 percent interest in D1-BP Fuel Crops Limited, a joint venture to plant Jatropha. Signs of BP's exit have been on the horizon since last month and will allow D1 to join its planting and plant sciences businesses, according to D1 CEO Ben Good. BP will turn its attention to ethanol, an area where it is already investing funds. [Source: FT, Houston Chronicle]

Wal-Mart sustainability index could boost carbon accounting industry -- Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, will start asking its more than 100,000 suppliers to track greenhouse gases, water use and waste production as part of its sustainable index program. Suppliers will be given an initial 15-point sustainability checklist, which could send a lot of business to companies that track carbon emissions. [Source: Greentech Media]

Senate hearing on climate change strays from topic, racism allegations ensue -- The Senate hearing "Ensuring and Enhancing U.S. Competitiveness while Moving Toward a Clean Energy Economy" sounds straightforward enough. But in addition to hearing from leaders in clean technology including John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an argument over race erupted between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Harry Alford, chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. [Source: U.S. Senate, Grist]

GE, Tendril join to connect smart appliances to grid -- Tendril, a Boulder, Colo.,-based startup, is producing software to help GEsmart appliances connect with the country's electrical grid and communicate with utilities. The partnership's first utility could be Reliant Energy in Texas and Tendril expects to begin testing in the fourth-quarter of 2009. [Source: CleanTech Brief]

Shell mulls cutting staff at U.S. refineries -- Shell Oil, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, may cut staff at its refineries and chemical plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast to reduce costs. The company has not determined how many jobs may be cut, although Shell has previously said thousands of staff worldwide could be eliminated. [Source: Reuters]

Offshore leases back up for grabs despite legal concerns-- The U.S. Interior Department will go ahead with an offshore oil and natural gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico planned for next month despite some legal concerns yet to be resolved. The U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the department to rewrite the 2007-2012 leasing plan developed by the Bush administration because it did not receive the proper environmental review. [Source: Washington Post]