A new study found that Canadian energy companies are factoring higher carbon-related costs in their investment, planning, and technology decisions. The study, prepared by the Ottawa-based think-tank Sustainable Prosperity, found the companies are using a self-imposed, internal carbon price as they plan for the future, suggesting they’re anticipating a day when carbon tax or cap-and-trade systems are more widespread.

Japan will begin restarting its idled nuclear plants once new safety guidelines are in place later this year, Prime Minister Abe said, moving to ensure a stable electricity supply for the country.

Fears that Britain might face a severe electricity shortage intensified this week after British Gas dropped plans to build four nuclear power plants, deemed vital to fill the gap left by the scheduled decommissioning of ageing coal-fired plants, a committee of MPs warned.

The US Energy Information Administration says the US energy intensity has been declining for decades and will continue to do so.

The US state of California is trying to avoid an electricity crisis that could arise from its growing reliance on wind and solar power. Regulators and energy companies met, hoping to work out a solution to the stresses placed on the state’s electric grid by sharp increases in power production from renewable sources which fluctuates wildly.

California’s Monterey Shale, which runs from Los Angeles to San Francisco, is thought to contain more shale oil than North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’s Eagle Ford.

The boom in shale-oil production increased US crude oil output by 14.6% last year to a 17-year high, data released by the federal Energy Information Administration show. Total US crude oil production totaled 6.474 million barrels a day, up 826,000 barrels a day from 2011. In volume terms, the gain was the largeston record since1900 when data was first kept. The percentage rise was the biggest since 1940.

US crude oil imports fell 5% in 2012 to a 15-year low of 8.492 million barrels a day. The drop of 443,000 barrels a day was the largest since 2009 and put imports at more than 16%, or 1.6 million b/d, below the peak hit in 2005.

US natural gas consumption rose 4.4% in 2012, to 25.5 trillion cubic feet, the highest level on records beginning in 1949, Energy Information Administration said. The rise came as natural gas delivered to electric power-generators jumped 20.6% to 9.1 trillion cubic feet, a record high on EIA data beginning in 1997.

Royal Dutch Shell said natural gas becomes the largest global primary energy source in the 1930s, ending a 70-year reign for crude oil.

Russia’s natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, intends to sign a contract to deliver natural gas to China’s National Petroleum Corp. by the end of 2013. Gazprom is seeking to increase supplies to Asia amid falling demand and regulatory pressure in Europe.

India’s electricity shortage may worsen over the next several years as increasing demand due to the country’s fast economic growth will outpace additions in generation capacity, the government’s economic survey showed.

Wind has overtaken nuclear as an electricity source in China. In 2012, wind farms generated 2% more electricity than nuclear power plants, a gap that will likely widen over the next few years as wind power surges ahead.

The International Energy Agency says that ‘a portfolio of renewable energy technologies is becoming cost-competitive in an increasingly broad range of circumstances, in some cases providing investment opportunities without the need for specific economic support’. It includes hydro, geothermal and bioenergy technologies in the list. It further adds that ‘cost reductions in critical technologies, such as wind and solar, are set to continue,’.

with h/t Tom Whipple

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