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Energy Roundup: More Cash For Clunkers, Equal Speculation, Spanish Solar and More

Cash for clunkers motors on -- Senate Democrats came to an agreement for a $2 billion extension to the popular "cash for clunkers" program that has spurred American car sales late Wednesday, brokering a deal that includes some (but not all) changes suggested by Congress to increase the environmental impact. Voting will take place Thursday. [Source: USA Today]

"Unprecedented" fall in European energy demand -- Coal-burning British utility Drax has measured what it says is a record-breaking drop in demand of eight percent this year, six percent in the first six months of 2009 alone. Most of the disappearing demand has come from industry, with households only accounting for about two percent. [Source: The Guardian]

Speculative trading limits for equality, not volatility -- In the ongoing saga of potentially regulating speculative trading on oil and other energy, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's head said he supported restrictions in order to keep a few powerful firms from taking over the market, not to prevent volatility, which is the stated aim of most politicians in curbing oil trading. [Source: New York Times]

Spain resumes role as solar leader -- Following embarrassing reports late last year that it had allowed companies to fraudulently manipulate its solar power feed-in tariff, Spain is trying to position itself as a leader in solar thermal power. The country has about 30 plants under construction, and could have up to 8,000 megawatts installed by 2020. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

More forged lobbyist letters from coal industry -- Six more forged letters to Congress in favor of the coal industry, making 12 total, have been turned up by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy, the group that hired lobbying firm Bonner and Associates to gin up "grassroots" support. The ACCCE has acted quickly to distance itself from Bonner, discounting the letters and saying it fired the firm. [Source: Washington Post]

Ocean trade won't decline with expensive oil -- Suggestions that transoceanic trade will diminish with higher energy prices are misplaced, energy blog Peak Oil Debunked points out: an average ship can get 1034.4 ton-miles per gallon of fuel, more than ten times that of a local-trade tractor trailor. An essential counterpoint to Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, a book just released by a former CIBC chief economist. [Source: Peak Oil Debunked]