We reveal our most popular stories of 2015. They reveal what is preoccupying our readers the most. Yes, it’s all about the End of the Age of Oil – and the beginning of something new.
The results for 2015 are in: our-best read story of the year is a highly original analysis written by Elias Hinckley, strategic advisor and head of the energy practice with international law firm Sullivan and Worcester, which we published in January. In it he argues that Saudi Arabia has turned on the oil spigot not merely to shake out higher-cost competitors, but more fundamentally, because it sees the end of the Oil Age coming.
The Saudis understand, writes Hinckley, that to avoid catastrophic global warming, most of the world’s carbon reserves will need to stay in the ground. That’s why they have decided to sell their oil wealth before it’s too late.
This is a controversial analysis. Most people would argue that Hinckley has his timing wrong. They would say that the end of the Oil Age is not that close. And yet, who knows?
Interestingly, our second-best read story, a republication from the Australian website Reneweconomy written by journalist Sophie Vorrat, makes a point that is closely related to Hinckley’s argument. Vorrat reports that according to Australian research the prices of batteries will plunge 40-60% by 2020.
So what if this means that the electric car revolution really gets underway then? Wouldn’t that be a devastating blow to the oil industry? Don’t forget that the oil sector really only has one leg to stand on: transport.
Moreover, the outcome of the Paris climate summit reinforces Hinckley’s argument. The national climate plans (INDCs) that will presumably determine the course of energy policies over the next decades, are expected to put an end to the fossil fuel age by around 2050. That’s not very far away.
With the billionaires of the world now putting their money into finding “breakthrough energy technologies”, and the cost of existing renewables continuing to plunge (see the numbers 8 to 10 of our top-10!), the Twilight of the Gods of Oil, as Peter F. Varadi put it in a recent Energy Post article, may be closer than we think.
In any case, here is our top-10:
- Elias Hinckley, Historic moment: Saudi Arabia sees End of Oil Age coming and opens valves on the carbon bubble
- Sophie Vorrat, Energy storage megashift ahead, battery costs set to fall 60% by 2020
- Energy Post News, Solar power passes 1% global threshold
- Karel Beckman, Interview Steve Holliday, CEO National Grid, The idea of large power stations for baseload is outdated
- Sonja van Renssen, Intervew Ad van Wijk: “The energy sector has nothing to do with energy companies anymore”
- Energy Post News, “Mercedes, BMW and Peugeot models consume 50% more fuel than official results”
- Pepe Escobar, The new China-Europe connection: how China’s new Silk Road strategy will change the face of the world
- Ramez Naam, How cheap can solar get? Very cheap indeed
- Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann, The myth of the dark side of the Energiewende
- Mike Parr, The myth of expensive offshore wind: it’s already cheaper than gas-fired and nuclear
The numbers one and two were both read well over 100,000 times. Energy Post drew 440,000 unique visitors this year, compared to 272,000 in 2014, a growth of 62%. Needless to say, we are tremendously happy with this result. We are determined to continue our growth next year.
While we are taking a Christmas/New Year break, we hope you might want to browse through our top-10 stories, or indeed some of the other 800+ plus articles that we published since we started in June 2013! In line with our mission, to report on and analyse the underlying trends and shifts in the global and European energy landscape, you will find that most of them are still as timely today as when they were first written.
And this is not all we did in 2015. To mention just a few of our actitivies: we organised a successful conference in Brussels, with French energy company EDF, about the integration of renewables into the electricity system. You can still download EDF’s accompanying report on our website. We held a webinar, sponsored by US company Opower, on how to be successful in the energy transition. We carried out an event partnership with KIC InnoEnergy for their Business Booster event, Creating the future of sustainable energy technology today.
In addition, we have just launched, for the first time, an App, together with Shell Brussels. With the new EUenergy app, which makes available European climate and energy data in a convenient format, we hope to provide our readers with a tool to support the European energy debate.
Most importantly of all, looking back over the year, we have a lot to be grateful for. We want to thank our sponsors Gasunie and Opower, all the partners we worked with, including Shell and KIC InnoEnergy, the authors who generously contributed to our website, the publications who generously shared content with us and of course our readers.