Global airlines called on the United Nations to assist in negotiating a deal to prevent a row over aviation emissions between China and the European Union spilling into a damaging global trade war. Two weeks ago China ordered its airlines not to join the European Union’s (EU) compulsory market-based system for regulating airline emissions. The EU says its scheme to charge airlines for emissions on flights into or out of Europe, which took effect on January 1, is needed as part of the fight against global climate change.

New research published by the Worldwatch Institute says that more than a billion people in the world still lack access to electricity, while another one billion have unreliable access. The effect is to stall global efforts for improving health, livelihoods and conserve the environment.

India is set to overtake China in global coal demand over the next two decades. Both nations are poised to be among the top three economies by 2030 driving global fossil fuel consumption primarily driven by electric power demand.

The Electricity Council said that China will face tightened supplies of electric power this year, with a shortage estimated to reach up to 40 million kilowatts. Both regional and seasonal power shortages will occur in 2012, the council warned.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the construction of two new nuclear reactors, the first to be built in that country since 1978.

The severe cold weather gripping Europe has forced Germany, which last year decided to abandon nuclear power, to restart several reactors it had taken off line. Eight of Germany’s 17 reactors have already been switched off and the nine reactors currently on line are due to be turned off between 2015 and 2022. Five of the eight reactors shut down are serving as reserve generators in case electricity demand cannot be met from other sources. In December, Germany imported power from neighbouring Austria to meet its electricity demands.

Canada’s wind power capacity increased more than 30% in 2011. There are now turbines capable of generating 5.2 GW across the country, enough power for about 2.3% of Canada’s electricity requirements. Canada ranks ninth in global wind power production.

The world’s biggest offshore wind farm opened last week in the middle of the Irish Sea. The 102 wind turbines cover an area of 73 square-kilometres with a total capacity of 367.2 MW.  It has the capacity to deliver electricity to 320,000 homes in the UK.

Czech Republic’s largest power company said it generated 427.7 GWh of electricity from biomass in 2011, which is an annual increased of 27% over the previous year. Despite the strong increase, biomass still represents less than 1% of the company’s total production.

Nigeria’s Electricity Regulatory Commission announced that electricity rates will rise as much as 88% by April 1st. Under the new pricing regime rates will rise 25-88%, though most customer classes will see a 50% increase in their power bills. The government says it is putting in measures to buffer the impact on those with low incomes.

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