President Obama announced the US will delay its decision on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline until after the US presidential election is held in November 2012.  Seen as a political maneuver to keep environmental supporters onside who oppose the import of “dirty” oil from Alberta’s tar sands, this also led Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper to suggest that Canada could build a pipeline to the Pacific Coast and ship the oil to an energy starved Asia rather than send it to the US.  The purpose of the pipeline is to make the US less dependent on Middle East oil.

The European Union is expected to overtake the US as the world’s biggest oil importer in 2015.

Europe’s renewable energy companies are suffering from a global collapse in prices, massive oversupply and governments slashing subsidies in light of growing piles of debt. Solar and wind firms are facing a mix of high inventories, slower demand and banks tightening their purses regarding wind parks.

The first results from wells in Poland show Europe is unlikely to match the US boom in shale gas.

Chinese airlines aim to take the EU to court by the end of the year over its plan to enforce emissions curbs on flights to and from the region’s airports.

Some parts of central and south China are facing power cuts and electricity rationing as soaring coal prices discourage power plants from producing at full capacity. This heightens concerns that the country will have to live with power shortages over the next few months.

China will phase out incandescent light bulbs beginning next October. Under a three-step plan, imports and sales of incandescent bulbs 100 watts and higher will be prohibited.

China will add more than 2 GW of solar power capacity in 2011.

The Bangladesh government has raised domestic petroleum prices by 6 – 10% to cut growing losses faced by state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum and reduce subsidies on imported petroleum products.

Fossil-fuel consumers worldwide received about six times more government subsidies than were given to the renewable-energy industry, according to the chief adviser to the International Energy Agency.

If France wants to follow Germany and abandon nuclear energy it should think again said the country’s top utility chief for the price will be very high.  France gets 75% of its electricity from 75 nuclear reactors. It would need to invest some $544 billion to build new fossil fuel power plants to replace lost generating capacity if it shut down its reactors. That would have to be financed by a doubling of the price of electricity and would bring a 50% increase in France’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The cost of generating electricity from onshore wind will drop 12% over the next five years taking the technology to parity with natural gas fired power generation facilities, according to analysts.

More than 1 GW of rooftop solar power photovoltaic (PV) capacity has been installed in California, according to a recent report from the Environment California Research & Policy Center. 1 GW is the size of a medium-sized nuclear power plant.

A coalition of UK solar companies has initiated legal action against the UK government in response to its plans to more than halve solar subsidies. Effective December 12th, the UK government is cutting cut the rate paid to householders with solar panels under the feed-in tariff from 43p per kWh to 21p.

Israel’s reserves of natural gas, now under development in the country’s Mediterranean waters, are poised to rise substantially in the near future, according to a senior government official.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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