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Blown away? US suspends wind power subsidies, for now

Historic subsidies propping up US wind energy ended on January 1 and Congress refused to renew them, despite supporters arguing that the aid has made renewable power cheaper than coal. The United States has subsidized wind-sourced electricity since 1992 to promotes the use of green energy and crack America's dependence on the fossil fuels blamed for climate change. Last year, billions of dollars in wind production tax credits, or PTCs, amounted to some 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for an industry that has struggled to compete against oil and gas.

Franco-German energy firm seen focused on renewables: sources

PARIS (Reuters) - A French-German joint initiative in the energy sector announced by President Francois Hollande is likely to focus on renewable energy but is not aimed at forging alliances between major utilities firms, political and industrial sources said.

Obama orders review of U.S. energy infrastructure

By Jeff Mason and Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered a broad review of the country's energy infrastructure, noting that factors such as rising demand and climate change have put increased pressure on the aging system. In a statement announcing the launch of a Quadrennial Energy Review, the White House said an associated task force would spend the next year studying the systems required for "transporting, transmitting, and delivering energy."

Scientists urge EU action on tar sands - letter

By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - More than 50 top European and U.S. scientists have written to the European Commission president urging him to press ahead with a plan to label tar sands as more polluting than other forms of oil, in defiance of intensive lobbying from Canada. The draft law was kept on ice during trade talks between the European Union and Canada, the world's biggest producer of oil from tar sands, which culminated in a multi-million-dollar pact signed earlier this year.

German renewable subsidies comply with EU law: Econ ministry

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's subsidies for green energy and exemptions for some industrial firms from a surcharge to pay for them adhere to European law, an Economy Ministry spokeswoman said after the European Commission said it would open a full investigation. "We are strongly of the view that the Renewable Energy Law and rules on exemptions for power-intensive industry do not represent (state) aid and comply to EU law," she said, adding German industry had to remain competitive.

EU regulators launch in-depth probe of German industry subsidies

By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Wednesday it would open a full investigation into Germany's management of green subsidies, a decision that could lead to higher costs for industry and unsettle investors in renewable energy. Around 2,000 German heavy energy users, including chemical and steel firms such as BASF and ThyssenKrupp, have been exempt from a surcharge ordinary consumers have to pay.

U.S. drops royalty hike plan for some drilling; taxpayers hit: study

By Patrick Rucker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. taxpayers will forgo more than $1 billion in revenue in the next decade now that officials have dropped plans to increase royalty rates for drilling on federal land, a report released on Tuesday concluded. Officials have for years considered boosting the royalty rate for onshore oil and gas development as a way to protect taxpayers' stake in a domestic energy boom.

Exxon sees future of rising demand, better efficiency; solar, batteries, biofuels still pricey

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Exxon Mobil says the drive for higher living standards around the world will keep demand for electricity and transportation fuels growing even as economies get more efficient and governments put a price on pollution.

New solutions to energy challenges in Eastern Europe, Central Asia: UNDP report

New solutions to energy challenges in Eastern Europe, Central Asia: UNDP report UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday released a report compiling sustainable energy success stories from the UN agency's work in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The report, the third volume of Empowering Lives, Building Resilience, demonstrates how sound policies, capacities and financing lead to lasting change, UNDP officials said.

IEA raises oil demand outlook on European, US growth

The International Energy Agency issued an upbeat outlook for the United States and Europe on Wednesday, saying economic recovery in the advanced economies is expected to lift global oil demand. The IEA, highlighting strongly growing consumption in the United States as economic recovery takes hold, said that it was raising its oil demand forecast for 2013 and 2014. However, the post-recessionary bounce is not expected to last, particularly since the Asia-Pacific region is expected to drag global demand down with its trend of falling consumption.
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