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Energy

The next generation of climate change disputes

Hydroelectric dam

As the tide of public opinion tips ever further toward the reality of climate change, a much greater arena of dispute has opened up.  Once we acknowledge that climate change is happening, we move on to the much thornier question of what we should do about it.  Here, the moral …

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Oil’s Minsky Moment… or something a lot worse?

Oil Crash

An editorial in the Financial Times notes the similarity between the volatility in traditional financial markets documented by economist Hyman Minsky and the new volatility in the oil market: “A period of stability leads to rising investment, financed by borrowing, which drives up asset prices until cash flows generated by those …

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Rooftop solar could provide 40 percent of US electricity

Rooftop Solar

A new study by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory claims that rooftop solar alone could meet 40 percent of current US electricity demand.  The figure has been: “revised upwards by more than 80 per cent since the last study in 2008, mostly because of improvements of module efficiencies, building …

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Saudi Arabia seeks to lock-in market share

Oil Refinery South Africa

Faced with the massive increase in output from US shale, Saudi Arabia faced a stark choice between cutting production in order to maintain prices, and turning the taps on in order to maintain its share of the global market for oil.  It chose the latter; with the result that prices …

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UK oil production rises… for now

UK oil production rose last year according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration.  But before you get too excited, the sobering fact is that even with the increase of around 100,000 barrels per day; UK output is just a third of its 1999 peak. More alarmingly, the …

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Andrea Leadsom highlights Britain’s energy predicament

Andrea Leadsom

In taking on the anti-fracking movement, Minister of State for Energy, Andrea Leadsom has highlighted just how bad Britain’s energy predicament is.  In a briefing note on the Politics Home website she states: “As things stand, we have 40% of our gas being supplied from the North Sea basin and …

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What Alaska can teach the UK about peak oil

Alaskan oil pipeline

Alaska is the latest place to be taught an important lesson about the curse of oil. The curse is that the income a state derives from selling oil is sufficient to obviate the need to develop a balanced and prosperous economic base.  This is all too obvious in the Middle East, …

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Did Amber Rudd give the game away over Brexit?

EU Energy Union

In any discussion of UK energy policy, we have come to expect Energy Ministers to appear upbeat even as the UK’s margin between supply and demand slips into the red.  But move to a different context – such as the current in/out UK referendum campaign – and the veil may slip …

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Russia/OPEC “oil freeze” is meaningless

OPEC

Western oil markets rallied briefly on the announcement of another meeting of oil producers in Doha on 17 April to discuss freezing oil output.  However, critics point out that the only countries (e.g. Russia) that have agreed to “freeze” their production are those that have no additional capacity to spare …

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Scotland charts UK route to a carbon-free economy

Longannet power station

Scotland’s last coal fired power station at Longannet is set to close later today as its last reserves of coal are burned up.  While environmental groups have welcomed the demise of the 2,400MW power station (for a comparison, this is nearly five times the output of Britain’s biggest offshore wind …

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