12th January 2015
The Labour Party has followed up its manifesto promise to freeze prices for 20 months if they win the General Election in May with a proposal for legislation now. Ed Miliband says: "We're going to bring before the House of Commons a vote in Parliament to say the government should bring forward fast-track legislation to ensure that we give the regulator...the power to cut prices." He is not alone. George Osborne has demanded falls in fossil fuel prices feed through to electricity customers, the...
3rd December 2014
The recent falls in oil prices have come as a shock to many. Only a few months ago, the IEA and many other mainstream forecasters predicted the price would gradually go up. This fitted with the political assumptions that lay behind the dash for wind and current generation solar across Europe, and the Energiewende in Germany. Suddenly it is all change. Even the IEA has changed its tune. Europe’s dependency on Russia looks less worrying, whereas oil (and gas) producers like Russia are in real...
4th September 2014
The Big 6 British energy companies are under sustained attack from politicians and the media, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) inquiry is being urged to consider whether they should be broken up. Unsurprisingly the companies have been putting up a robust defense of their conduct, and have argued that the vertical structures are in the interests of customers. These arguments matter, but they are not the only ones – or indeed necessarily the most important. This short paper will...
26th June 2014
Though no part of any grand plan, and certainly not by intention, the British energy market has morphed from a liberalized quasi-competitive market into one that is driven by the state. It has happened largely by accident rather than design, but it also has a remorseless political economy logic behind it. It is the unintended consequence of a long series of well-intended interventions. The result is closer to the old nationalized industry command-and-control structures, which had the Central...
1st June 2014
After a short pause, the borders of east and southeast Europe are again in flux, as they have been on and off since the early Russian people established Kiev as their capital. Crimea was annexed by Catherine the Great. The British and others fought the Crimean War in the nineteenth century and Russia’s imperial expansion towards the Balkans helped to trigger the First World War. Stalin created the greatest Russian empire – the Soviet Union – which Gorbachev lost. Putin regards...
22nd May 2014
Third in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network
16th March 2014
Second in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network
11th February 2014
First in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network
28th January 2014
It is fashionable to state that there are three objectives of European energy policy: security of supply, low carbon and affordability. Yet this “trilemma”—how to achieve all of these three simultaneously—is far from straightforward. None of the three objectives is well defined. What does security mean? Some suggest this means self-sufficiency, yet a moment’s reflection tells us that if in the last century Europe had pursued this, then not much economic development...
12th December 2013
The geopolitics of oil has remained remarkably static for the last 40 years since the Iranian Revolution at the end of the 1970s. The stylized facts have been that the US would have to import ever more oil to meet its ever growing demand, and that the Middle East would increase its dominance. To meet this demand, the US remained committed to keeping the Gulf open, and to support Saudi Arabia as its key ally against the pariah state of Iran. The established order relied on three related...
|The road to re-regulation|
|The price of oil|
|Beesley Lecture: Energy Policy Post 2015 - where do we go from here?|
|What future for vertically integrated energy companies?|
|The Return of the CEGB - Britain’s central buyer model|