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Energy Roundup: Oil Lobby Jumps 30%, Nissan's Electric Car, Cleantech VC Funding Spikes, and More

Oil-and-gas companies boosts lobbying efforts -- Even the "inside the beltway" lobbying machine could not escape the global recession and credit crunch. Overall, the amount of money spent to lobby Congress and the Obama administration fell 1 percent to $814.6 million in the second quarter. There were a couple of exceptions, notably oil and gas companies including Chevron and ConocoPhillips, which increased spending 30 percent to $37.7 million in April, May and June of this year. ExxonMobil cut its quarterly lobbying expenses by 16 percent to $4.3 million. [Source: WSJ]

Introducing Leaf, Nissan's first all-electric car -- Nissan introduced its first all-electric car -- dubbed the Leaf -- on Sunday, a long-anticipated unveiling from Japan's third-largest automaker. Nissan and its partner, Renault, both aggressive proponents of emissions-free vehicles, plan to begin selling the cars in the U.S., Japan and Europe in the second half of 2010 and mass-market them globally in 2012. [Source: Reuters]

Venture capital firms sink funds into cleantech-- Venture capital investment in cleantech spiked 73 percent to hit $572 million in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2009, according to an analysis by Ernst & Young. The number of transactions increased 100 percent from the first quarter, although investments still lagged behind the second quarter of 2008. [Source: Cleantech Brief]

OPEC production rises, quota compliance slips -- Oil output among members of Organization Petroleum Exporting Countries increased for a fourth month despite agreements to cut production by 4.2 million barrels a day to 24.845 million. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar produced less than their targets in July, while other oil cartel member countries took advantage of rising prices by bumping up output. [Source:Bloomberg]

Renewable Ventures raises $200M for U.S. solar projects -- Renewable Ventures, the San Francisco project developer acquired by Fotowatio in March, has raised about $200 million to finance solar projects in the United States through its Solar Fund V. A 2-megawatt project in Colorado will be the first to use these funds. [Source: Greentech Media]

New Suncor to start trading this week -- Suncor Energy, with its takeover of PetroCanada officially complete, is Canada's largest energy company, fifth-largest in North America and quickly shaping up to be a must-have stock. Shares of the new Suncor began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday and will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Aug. 7. [Source: Reuters]

Image of Nissan's first all-electric car from Nissan-Global