Some notes about Energy

There are three profound challenges facing the energy sector around the world.

  • First, although the great commodity super cycle has come to an end, there has been a lot of volatility and sharp rises in not only oil prices, but also coal and gas. The return to a gradual decline as decarbonisation takes effect has halted, but it is unclear whether this is temporary.
  • Second, the climate challenge is upon us. If it is to be addressed, the fossil-fuel industries will have to close down over the rest of this century, with or without carbon capture and storage (CCS). It remains to be seen whether COP26 is going to be a moment of accelerating decarbonisation, or a point where the momentum is lost for the decade to come.
  • Third, and partly spurred by the drive for low-carbon forms of energy, technical change is bringing a transformation not seen since the nineteenth century. New forms of electricity generation, storage, smart infrastructures and radical changes to energy demand are already undermining the conventional technologies. Electric cars and the challenge of new materials to the petrochemical industries are playing their parts, too, in this great period of change. A possible future for nuclear is emerging and hydrogen is gaining momentum.

These three great changes all fit together.

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