Brazil’s Hot, Dry Summer May Lead to Energy Rationing

Brazil faces the possibility of widespread energy rationing for the first time since 2001, as a hot, dry summer has deprived hydroelectric dams of needed water while boosting power use to run air conditioners in sweltering cities.
Even if the country escapes rationing, electricity experts say it may have to boost use of thermo-electric power – a more expensive option which could undermine President Dilma Rousseff’s plans to lower energy rates.

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Arctic Sea

Why Does Arctic Sea Ice Matters

The vanishing veneer of frozen ocean isn’t just important for polar bears. The Arctic has seen better years than 2012. Its sea ice melted to an all-time low this summer, and by fall it was 18 percent smaller than at any point in recorded history. As U.S. scientists noted in their annual Arctic Report Card, the region’s sea ice is now “a younger, thinner version of its old self” — and that’s not as flattering as it sounds.

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FactBox: History of Recent Major U.S. Energy Incidents

A fire at an offshore oil platform run by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC on Friday, which injured at least four people, is the latest accident to hit the U.S. energy industry.

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Watch: For Solar Panel Industry, a Volley of Trade Cases

The solar panel manufacturing industry in the United States and Europe has begun a volley of trade cases against imports, following the same track as the steel industry before it — and for many of the same reasons. “Back in the ’60s and ’70s, all over the world, governments were investing in steel mills,” said Nicholas Tolerico, a retired American trade official and steel executive. “These days, they invest in solar panels, and you end up with the same overcapacity and cutthroat pricing.”

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Watch: Obama Administration Looking at Ethanol Rules

The Obama administration is reviewing the country’s ethanol policy amid calls from both political parties and the United Nations to suspend annual targets as the worst drought in 56 years spurs corn prices.
Twenty-five U.S. senators, both Republicans and Democrats, asked Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to halt or lower mandates on how much ethanol the country must use this year and next.

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EDF Energy: New Nuclear Could Boorst UK Economy by $7.8billion

Fulfilling the UK’s new nuclear ambitions could boost the economy by as much as GBP5 billion ($7.8 billion) and create more than 32,000 jobs per year, according to a report commissioned by nuclear developer EDF Energy. The report, published Tuesday by the Institute for Public Policy Research, showed that if nuclear power alone met the UK’s goal of developing 18 GW of non-renewable capacity needed by 2025, UK GDP would be boosted by up to 0.34%/year, with an annual economic gain of GBP5.1 billion.

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Study Finds Higher Earthquake Risk from Wastewater Injecting than Fracking

Underground injection of wastewater produced by hydraulic fracturing and other energy technologies poses a higher risk of causing earthquakes that can be felt by people than the hydraulic fracturing process itself, according to a recent study by the National Research Council.

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Internet Hoax Takes Aim at Shell’s Arctic Plan

Environmental activists staged an elaborate internet hoax this week in protest of Shell’s plans to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska, fooling thousands of viewers including some media outlets. The hoax started with a video purporting to show a public relations event hosted by Shell at the Space Needle in Seattle, where the ice-class drilling barge Kulluk and drillship Noble Discoverer are docked awaiting deployment to Alaska.

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China Solar Companies Gain on Europe Pain In Shift East

The world’s largest solar-panel makers are boosting production this year on expectations that demand in China will double, a surprise shift as the $36 billion market migrates from Europe to Asia. The five biggest producers of polysilicon solar modules, led by China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP) and Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co., will increase shipments 27 percent to 37 percent from 2011 levels, according to the average of estimates

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Great Barrier Reef in Danger – UNESCO

Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is under imminent threat from industrial development and may be considered for listing as a world heritage site “”in danger” within the next year, a U.N. report said this week. Citing the findings of a mission to the world’s largest living structure in March, the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) recommended that ““in the absence of substantial progress”, its World Heritage Committee would consider such a listing in February next year.

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