The Daily Energy

By Editors

Tens of thousands assembled in Washington on Sunday to protest construction of the Keystone Pipeline - and leave President Obama on the horns of a dilemma. The President is caught between his environmental supporters, who are vowing civil disobedience if necessary (and how easy will it be to sabotage a pipeline?) versus his self-styled image as an energy developer. Is there any way out? The Christian Science Monitor suggests one escape hatch. The President can argue that the shale gas boom makes Keystone unnecessary. Meanwhile, the Canadian press says the numbers at the demonstration weren't all that impressive. And it is their oil that's at stake.

China broke new ground by beginning operation of the world's first Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. There are three more under construction at the site and two more on the drawing boards. Meanwhile, in the US the concrete is ready to pour on the first two American AP1000s in South Carolina and Georgia. Foundation pouring has been one of the big problems that has delayed domestic nuclear construction. Another leak of waste material has been found at the Hanford site but a report from the Japanese government says there have been no ill health effects found in the vicinity of Fukushima.

Collapsing carbon prices have Europe's carbon-trading system in freefall as the European Parliament prepares to take a crucial vote tomorrow on whether to attempt to reform the system. Environmental groups are ready to scrap it saying there are better systems available - more government regulation? - but the major firms want to try to make it work. The alternative, they say, is a conflicting set of directives as the nations go their separate ways.

Natural gas prices continue to fall and there doesn't seem to be any good news ahead for the industry. Apache's profits have been hurt by the glut and Seeking Alpha says Chesapeake isn't the industry's only problem. Strangely enough, in the midst of all this, New England's almost complete reliance on natural gas for both heat and electricity, plus a cold spell, has caused prices to spike in the region.

Finally, wind energy has passed a landmark, exceeding 30 percent of electrical generation in Denmark in 2012. Texas is also expecting it could double its output, already the highest in the US. Matt Wald of The New York Times suggests that wind might be the solution to New England's electrical problems (windmills on the Green Mountains?) but Canada is checking people's hair to see if living near windmills produces stress hormones and in Britain a key court case this week will decide whether windmills are marring the historical quality of Britain's countryside.