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Energy Roundup: Brazil Restricts Oil, API Astroturfing, Ford's Smart Vehicles and More

Petrobras takes more control of Brazilian oilfields -- The Brazilian state oil company will benefit from a new policy by the country's leaders that will limit foreign involvement in the 62 percent of offshore oil fields that have yet to be bid out to investments. Petrobras will benefit financially, but development may be slowed because of the mandate. [Source: New York Times]

American Petroleum Institute invests in astroturf -- The major oil lobbying organization is asking member companies to recruit employees, retirees, contractors and other connections for staged rallies against the Waxman-Markey climate bill, a form of faked grassroots organization snidely called "astroturfing". BP and Shell have declined to participate, noting that their views on the bill differ. [Source: Washington Post]

Ford designing vehicles to talk to power grid -- In a collaborative effort with 10 utilites and the Department of Energy, automaker Ford will design its electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to talk to the electric grid, helping to support its operation. Smaller vehicle companies have already announced similar plans. [Source: The Sacramento Bee]

Is $2 per gallon algal biodiesel coming? -- Aurura Biofuels, a California algae development company, says it has developed a strain of algae that breeds quickly and doesn't lose its genetic traits, meaning it can be used in cheap open racetrack ponds. The company still has to successfully navigate other challenges to commercialize its process. [Source: Greentech Media]

Smaller wind projects thrive in bad economy -- Huge wind projects like the one planned by T. Boone Pickens have suffered during the recession for lack of financing, but smaller projects ranging from 100 kilowatts to 30 megawatts are doing much better. Incentives can also work out well for a smaller project. [Source: Renewable Energy World]

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