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Energy Roundup: Gazprom Teams with Petrovietnam, Fossils Trump Alts, Attack of the Jellyfish, and More

petrovietnam-243-06.jpgGazprom teams with Petrovietnam to explore Vietnam coast -- Russia's Gazprom and Petrovietnam have inked a deal to explore for oil and gas in Vietnamese waters. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was on hand at the signing ceremony at the Kremlin, along with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet. The Kremlin said that it aims to increase trade with Vietnam eventually to $10 billion. Western oil companies are also operating offshore Vietnam, with Chevron reporting a 6 trillion cubic foot natural gas strike last March. [Source: Upstream Online]

Will lower fossil prices nix interest in renewables? -- With oil prices less than half what they were at their peak in early July ($64 a barrel on October 25 vs. $145 July 3), interest in renewables appears once again to be on the wane. Some market watchers believe that they are seeing déjà vu all over again, à la the 1970s oil crunch, when high prices gave alternatives a boost which quickly subsided when prices went back down. [Source: San Francisco Chronicle]

Solar EnerTech completes facility two months ahead of schedule -- Photovoltaic provider, Solar EnerTech has completed the build out of its second cell production line in Shanghai two months ahead of schedule. The new line increases EnerTech's cell production by 100 percent to 50 megawatts. [Source: Energy Current]
HelioVolt and DoE win R&D magazine award for "revolutionary" technology -- Thin film innovator, HelioVolt, which last week open the doors on its new Texas facility, and U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, have won R&D Magazine's Editor's Choice Award for Most Revolutionary Technology. The two organizations won for their joint development of a simpler, faster process for printing thin film photovoltaic systems. [Source: CompoundSemi]

Regulatory delays put the bite on BrightSource -- Well-heeled solar startup BrightSource is facing possible regulatory delays in its attempts to erect a set of massive solar projects in the Southern California desert that could cost as much as $3 billion. The hold-up seems to come from the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management, which have yet to conduct environmental assessments and give approval. The company had hoped to break ground this month. BightSource is well funded, with $160 million in the kitty. Backers include Google.org, BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture, Black River, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Chevron Technology Ventures. [Source: Earth2Tech]

Diablo Canyon nuclear fights off attack of jellyfish -- Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant near San Luis Obispo, Calif., is running on reduced capacity due to "an influx of jellyfish." The nebulous critters appear to have snuck up a pipe from the Pacific Ocean, from which the plant draws water to cool its reactors. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the reactor's protection systems "operated as designed and the system was stable." Could Al Qaida terrorists have tamed the sylph-like sea creatures to nefarious purpose? Too early to speculate at this juncture. [Source: San Jose Mercury News]

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