Energy Policy

Innovation Fuels Nuclear Energy’s Revival, But Challenges Remain

May 31, 2023

Technological innovations and advanced reactor designs that ensure enhanced safety, efficiency, and versatility are central to nuclear energy’s future. Breakthrough technologies, including advanced fuel cycles, thorium-based reactors, and small- and medium-modular reactors (SMRs), are gaining momentum and investment due to their cost-effectiveness, reduced waste generation, and flexible deployment.

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Breaking Free: The Nuclear Fuel Alliance Strikes Back At Russian Control

May 24, 2023

Moscow’s dominant position in the nuclear supply chain grants Russia influence over the nuclear renaissance in the West, vital for the transition to low-carbon energy generation and helps fund its war machine in Ukraine. To redress these challenges, last month the United States, France, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom formed the Nuclear Fuel Alliance (NFA) to develop a shared supply chain for nuclear fuel. It is 23 years overdue, but better late than never.

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War in Ukraine is creating new Silk Road corridor

May 22, 2023

In the year after Russia’s 2022 reinvasion of Ukraine, freight volume more than doubled on the Middle Corridor, a transportation network connecting Asia with Europe via rail, boat and highway. In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled a new U.S. approach to Central Asia that stressed the facilitation of the Middle Corridor, which bypasses Russia. This route removes Russia’s ability to extort its neighbors by leveraging its transit infrastructure while expanding an independent economic artery to the states of Central Asia and further to China.

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Top Six Transformative New Green Energy Companies

May 19, 2023

While newcomers abound, only a few are capable of being truly #transformative. These small companies are already producing technologies that could revolutionize #renewable#energy and induce fundamental transformations in international #geopolitics and #geoeconomics.

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The Global Take | Kazakhstan's Political and Economic Reform| New Lines Institute Event

May 19, 2023

Dr. Ariel Cohen participated in a panel discussion organized by the New Lines Institute and the International Tax and Investment Center on the strategic implications of Kazakhstan’s political and economic reforms and what Washington needs to learn from Kazakhstan’s pro-reform agenda to increase engagement with the country and other Central Asian states.

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The Global Take | Is a default in USA possible? | Spotlight Ukraine

May 17, 2023

The United States of America has been borrowing more money than it has been earning for decades. This has led to concerns about the country's ability to repay its debts and the possibility of default. In the case of the United States, default would have serious economic consequences both domestically and internationally.

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Chile’s Nationalization Of Lithium : “Green Protectionism” Endangering Energy Transition

May 16, 2023

The nationalization of industry isn’t the only thing Boric promised. According to Boric’s plan, the new, state-owned company is more than simply the long arm of the government collecting profit from a natural resource. It bets on an emerging technology called the Direct Lithium Extraction process (DLE). While DLE performed well in controlled environments, it is still unclear whether commercial use will succeed.

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Putin’s ‘Gambler’ Mentality is a Wild Card in Global Energy Markets

May 16, 2023

Interstate relations are normally governed by self-interest and restraint but the ongoing war in Ukraine, when coupled with Russia’s escalatory bent, have rendered predictions about a return of political and energy stability precarious, if not impossible.

The Cipher Brief recently spoke with Ariel Cohen, director of the Energy Growth and Security Program at the International Tax and Investment Center, about the spillover of the war into a global energy crisis and what that means for 2023, when Cohen says we may experience “the toughest circumstance in Europe probably since World War II.”

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Where In The World Are Putin’s Billionaire Cronies?

May 10, 2023

While Putin may no longer see the utility in showing unity with Russia’s business elite, going from “unshakable unity” in March 2022 to imploring “patriotism over profit” in March 2023, this does not mean they are unimportant. After being banned from traveling to most Western nations, these oligarchs lost 97 billion dollars and counting. Sanctions deeply hurt the Russian economy and even resulted in some non-energy oligarchs risking their lives publicly calling for peace.

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Central Asia: An Emerging Food And Energy Supplier For The World

April 25, 2023

The West must understand the groundswell of anti-Russian sentiment that is sweeping Central Asia while understanding the structural constraints facing these governments. An Atlantic Council event “How can Kazakhstan and Central Asia power and feed the world?”, for a forthcoming report by Margarita Assenova, Ariel Cohen, and Wesley Alexander Hill elucidates many of these problems and solutions.

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Investment In Batteries Can Supercharge Renewables

April 17, 2023

Power production will remain CO2 positive no matter how many wind turbines or solar panels we install until fusion is cracked. Long-term storage methods are required to fill energy baseload gaps in renewable generation, creating solutions for key technological and economic challenges surrounding the renewable energy transition.

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Russia’s Kowtowing To China: Energy And Beyond

April 13, 2023

On its one-year anniversary of invading Ukraine, Russian gas sales were halved compared to before the war. Russia hoped that Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow would allow for some relief. Xi did deliver some flowery language, stating “Right now there are changes – the likes of which we haven't seen for 100 years – and we are the ones driving these changes together” when describing relations with Russia. Xi also emphasized the importance of energy in an earlier open letter, writing that “China is ready to work with Russia to forge closer partnership in energy cooperation.”

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OPEC+ Oil Price Rise May Trigger A Recession

April 5, 2023

The OPEC+ cartel of oil-producing nations led by Saudi Arabia and Russia and chaired by Alexander Novak, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, is going to remove nearly 1 percent of total global oil production from the market in an apparent effort to increase prices. Despite earlier signals that OPEC+ would make no further reductions to oil production this year, the recent announcement was framed as a “precautionary measure” to ensure stability in the energy market. With oil prices surging 6.3% on Monday, to $85 a barrel for Brent, the Federal Reserve and other central bankers across the globe trying to get inflation under control, have been thrown a curveball.

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Greta Thunberg Has Embraced Nuclear Power: Will The Greens Follow?

April 3, 2023

The Green icon Greta Thunberg seems to be taking a pro-nuclear stance. The Swedish climate activist once decried nuclear energy as being “extremely dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming”. Her views seem to have changed in tandem with recent trends in public opinion as she recently argued that Germany shutting down its nuclear plants was a ‘mistake’. Greta, alongside other climate activists, emphasized that the alternative to nuclear would be coal, a most polluting energy source.

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How Electric Vehicles Can Leapfrog To Emerging Markets

March 28, 2023

The shift of technologies from the cutting edge to the mundane defines technological revolutions. We are amid such a revolution. As Electric Vehicle (EV) technology matures, electric cars are becoming cheaper and their customer base in advanced post-industrial economies is. continuously expanding. That expansion is also happening internationally, with the Global South joining the race for cheap EVs. This market growth is not just the fulfillment of the technological potential of EVs, but a great environmental gain as well.

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Has China Shifted the Middle East Balance of Power?

March 27, 2023

Earlier this month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic ties after seven years and signed a China-brokered agreement in what is being termed a breakthrough deal for the region. How does this impact and alter America’s geopolitical stature in the region? What are the first and second-tier consequences of weakening the U.S. presence and position in the Gulf in favor of Washington’s main geopolitical rival?

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Kazakhstan’s Parliamentary Elections Affect Energy Flows From Eurasia

March 23, 2023

On March 19th, 2023, Kazakhstan held competitive elections for its lower house – the Mazhilis – to decide the political direction of the young democracy established after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite some reported problems, the parliamentary elections were the freest in the country’s history and a vital step forward for Kazakhstan’s democratization and political pluralism.

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Protecting America’s Power Grids From EMP Attacks

March 20, 2023

The possibility of such an attack is growing as EMP technology is evolving. The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attacks, alongside military officials, warned years ago of the possibility of balloon-based EMP attacks. Given that our grid infrastructure is weak, aging, and lacks resilience, EMP attacks could become the choice weapons of America’s enemies, and not just China.

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Bipartisan Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism - A Political Unicorn?

March 15, 2023

A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) allows a country to impose a price on carbon emitted during the production of goods in the country of origin as import fees, thus incentivizing greener manufacturing. This has been a perennial aspiration of environmentalists for decades that once languished in obscurity but is now rapidly becoming policy. Now, this step forward in climate policy may be legislated with bipartisan support in the US Congress, with far-reaching implications not just for the environment but the international economy.

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Energy Diplomacy Isn’t Helping Russia In Africa

March 13, 2023

Concerns over food security and dependency on Russian foodstuffs force African states to remain distant from the conflict. Now in addition to this food dependency, Russia has begun augmenting its diplomatic playbook in Africa with changes in its energy diplomacy and military power projection.

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Asia’s Hunger For Energy Will Not Save Russia’s Economy

February 27, 2023

Over the last year, the West imposed sanctions on Moscow, cut back its purchases of Russian hydrocarbons, and sent military support to Ukraine. But the world’s largest democracy, and one of the United States' biggest allies in Asia, India, hasn’t done any of that. Rather, India has seized the opportunity to purchase cheap Russian energy to bolster its ailing economy. Surprisingly, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has pointed out that “India is welcome to purchase as much oil as it wants”, as it gets Russia oil at a large discount, up to 30 percent and more.

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The Coming Hurricane: Russian Energy-Giant Gazprom Is Creating An Army

February 22, 2023

Ukrainian intelligence has reported that Russian energy giant Gazprom is establishing its own private military company (PMC). The rationale for an energy company establishing a security force is at least vaguely plausible given the need to defend fixed assets in trouble spots. Western energy companies like Exxon and BP do the same. However, Gazprom is not establishing a private army to guard a few remote wells or pipelines, or even to be sent to Ukraine. Gazprom’s move is likely about control over valuable energy resources inside of Russia, but more generally, a scramble for power.

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US Grid Is A Magnet For Terrorists: How Can We Solve This?

February 17, 2023

Many people take the security of our national grid for granted. They should not.

Since the days of the Soviet threat during the Cold War, the US grid was in the scope of foreign militaries. In addition to China and Russia, Iran and North Korea drew contingency plans to destroy our sources of electricity. Yet, it is not only foreign governments that target our electric lifelines.

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The Biden Administration Should Learn Japan’s Painful Lessons On Hydrogen

February 13, 2023

Clean hydrogen has long been a promising but unrealized green energy source. A bipartisan infrastructure bill introduced last year suggests allocating 7 billion dollars to create clean hydrogen hubs.

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Tesla’s Crash And Musk’s Acquittal Is Good News For Electric Vehicles

February 6, 2023

Elon Musk was acquitted by a US district court over a tweet that forced him to resign as Tesla’s executive chairman in 2018. Now, fresh off his victory in acquiring the very same Twitter for an inflated price, Elon Musk and Tesla were slammed by a historically low 2022 earnings report which prompted a 70% decline in stock in 2022. This earned Elon Musk the dubious distinction of having the largest net worth decline in history — $200 billion — and prompted critical evaluation of his abilities to simultaneously run Tesla and Twitter. In January 2023, Tesla’s stock subsequently climbed 38% in a single month. Tesla’s stock roller coaster has prompted premature panic concerning the long-term viability of the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry and misplaced attacks on EV technology.

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