Energy Outlooks

The End of the Energiewende?

Energiewende demonstration in 2014 (photo Bundjugend)

The prominent German economist Heiner Flassbeck has challenged fundamental assumptions of the Energiewende at his blog site makroskop.eu. According to Flassbeck, the former Director of Macroeconomics and Development at the UNCTAD in Geneva and a former State Secretary of Finance, a recent period of extremely low solar and wind power generation shows that Germany will never be able to rely on renewable energy, regardless of  how much new capacity … [Read more...]

The future of OPEC: it won’t die, but it will become a different animal

OPEC meeting in Algiers with Algeria's minister of energy Noureddine Boutarfa

Regardless of the outcome of the meeting on 30 November, the future of OPEC looks uncertain. The organisation is facing a perfect storm, squeezed as it is between the revolution in shale oil, which has increased global supply and brought down prices, and the prospect of a global peak demand stemming from climate policies and falling costs of alternatives. Some have even declared the death of OPEC, but according to Thijs Van de Graaf, professor at … [Read more...]

India wants to become a solar superpower – but its plans don’t add up

Ban Ki-moon inaugurated Canal Top Solar Power Plant in Gujarat India Oct 2015 (photo UN)

India aims to build 1 terrawatt of global solar power – four times the current worldwide total – and become a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030. Those are great ambitions, but they still far short from what is needed for a true energy transformation away from coal, writes Dénes Scala of Lancaster University. Courtesy of The Conversation. … [Read more...]

Reinventing Fire in China

Municipal District Energy Infrastructure Development Project in the People's Republic of China (photo Asian Development Bank)

Amory Lovins’ Rocky Mountain Institute, backed by Chinese institutions and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has published a stunning roadmap for an energy revolution in China. If its ideas are taken up, it could lead to a transformation of the largest energy economy in the world – and serve as a model for other developing nations to follow, writes Fereidoon Sionshansi, president of Menlo Energy Economics and publisher of the newsletter … [Read more...]

Why the future belongs to decentralised renewables, not centralised hydrogen and giga-scale nuclear

IIASA building in Austria

What the future of our energy system will look like continues to be a subject of heated debate. According to one well-established tradition, writes Professor John Mathews of Macquarie University in Australia, the route to decarbonisation will run via massive nuclear power systems to the hydrogen economy. But China and to some extent India are emerging as the principal practitioners of an alternative vision of energy growth, underpinning their … [Read more...]