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...
22nd November 2013
We live in extraordinary times. Real interests are negative, have been negative for several years and the forward guidance from central bankers suggests that they believe they are going to stay that way for several years to come. Yet this is a very unnatural state of affairs: the long run interest rate should roughly approximate the growth rate. Assuming that this is about two per cent then that too is roughly what the long run interest rate should be.
14th November 2013
The state of British infrastructure is the source of almost continuous study and criticism. There is now a host of new demands in water, energy, transport and communications which require a step change in investment. The Coalition government has made a series of reforms—to planning, finance, and the setting of priorities—which have been drawn together in National Infrastructure Plan statements. A number of high-profile and large-scale projects have been advanced...
22nd October 2013
The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, announced in his autumn party conference speech a series of proposals for electricity prices and electricity market reform. These include: A price freeze for 20 months from the date of the General Election in May 2015. A Pool for the wholesale electricity market. The break up of the Big Six energy companies. The abolition of OFGEM and its replacement by a new regulatory body. An Energy Security Board. The decarbonisation of the electricity system...
10th September 2013
The consequence of the ’project wish list’ approach rather than an integrated plan is not just that many things don’t get done, but that the costs tend to be much higher
1st September 2013
Paper from the BBC / Reuters Institute symposium in January 2013. HERE.
30th May 2013
The End of the Commodity Super-Cycle? Commodities have had a good run. Despite the biggest economic crisis for half a century or more, commodities have marched ever upwards. The reasons might be many and various – from a flight to safety (gold) to Chinese demand (oil, copper and iron ore) – but the trends have been common. Now there has been a wobble. Does this mean the commodity super-cycle has come to an end?
2nd March 2013
Dieter Helm explains how an environmental balance sheet is necessary to ensure that our natural environment does not depreciate further. CLICK HERE
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