The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the share of U.S. electricity generated from coal will fall from 42% in 2011 to 36.8% in 2013. Some of that decline is due to advances in fracking technology making cheaper natural gas available for electricity generation. The driving force appears to be new environmental regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency which is making it difficult for coal-fired generation plants to operate. It is estimated these regulations will lead to the closing of 40 gigawatts of electric generation capacity or 12% of America’s current coal capacity.

Italian oil company Eni said it discovered more natural gas off the coast of Mozambique, expanding the yield of a major field off the East African nation that is the company’s largest find.

Saudi Arabia is on track to surpass its record oil output this year, analysts said today, offsetting a decline from Iran because of international sanctions.

Russia’s Lukoil Holdings and a consortium led by Exxon Mobil Corp. have submitted bids for an oil-and-gas field on Ukraine’s Black Sea shelf. Ukraine is seeking to develop oil and gas deposits to decrease its dependence on Russia for energy supplies.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said that crude oil production in the country has risen from 2.4 million b/d to 2.7 million.

Argentina is looking to China to fund its future plans to produce shale oil and natural gas.

China’s national electricity consumption is estimated to grow 6-8% this year to 2.6-2.65 trillion kWh in the second half of 2012.

In India, the eastern state of Jharkhand’s electricity commission approved a 16% increase in electricity rates.

State monopoly Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) is raising household electricity rates 3.9% and industrial rates 6%, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. Rates for agricultural use, which have stayed unchanged for 11 years, will go up 3%. KEPCO says it expects rates to be readjusted upward once again by the end of this year.

Korea’s per capita electric power consumption is 1.7 times larger than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average and ranks 10th among its 34 member nations. Its electricity rates, with the latest increases, still remain at 40% of Japan’s and 70% of the US.

There have been violent protests in the village of Linden in Guyana following the government’s announcement that it was planning to increase electricity rates from 300% to 600%. Residents of the South American mining town pay between $5 and $15 per kWh, while the average for the country is $64 per kWh. (Prices in Guyanese dollars.) The government has decided to put the increases on hold given the nature of the protests.

The Sudanese government has decided to suspend increases in the price of electricity “pending further consultations,” one week after their introduction stoked public discontent. The government had increased the price of electricity by over 150% without prior announcement. Officials later acknowledged the increase but said it only applies to those who consume more than 600 kilowatts a month.

The theft of electricity by consumers in southeast Europe has cost electrical distribution companies millions of euros. Some consumers steal electricity by manipulating the meters to reduce the amount of their bills. Others use cables to illegally connect to the grid. The countries suffering these loses include the Czech Republic, Austria, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo.

Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment. “It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes “permanently cheap”.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

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