Energy Policy

Don’t Expect Energy Sanctions To Stop Iran’s Crackdown

October 21, 2022

The Iranian government’s violent crackdown on protests stemming from the murder of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s Morality Police is driving the West to levy further sanctions against Iran. The US Treasury Department has already placed extensive financial sanctions on the members of Iran’s Morality Police with the US State Department promising more to follow. With the protests continuing to gain steam as Iran’s oil workers simultaneously go on strike - a vital part of the Shah’s 1979 downfall - there is widespread hope that Iran’s protestors can topple the Mullahs and bring the country back into the community of nations.

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China’s Energy Vulnerabilities Drive Xi’s Policies

October 19, 2022

Much of China’s economic planning and domestic policy is energy focused and rests on a proven trifecta the USA would be well advised to examine and emulate where possible. First, massive investments in nuclear power, uranium refining, and modular reactors are set to make China the leading nuclear power in Asia. Second, China’s massive investment and dominance in every step of the rare earth mineral supply chain, especially coltan and lithium, is helping China monopolize the energy infrastructure of the future. Thirdly and finally, large investments in hydroelectricity (although this cannot be practically emulated in the US for lack of capacity, environmental, and permitting reasons). China’s much-publicized investment in renewables complements this trifecta but doesn’t feature centrally in any energy plans.

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Russia Is Threatening Europe By Attacking Ukrainian Energy

October 11, 2022

Russia’s targets are not limited to nuclear. A September 12ttack on Ukraine’s second largest thermal powerplant left thousands in major metropolitan areas without power. The attack was a response to Ukrainian counteroffensives, where the Ukrainian military retook over 6,000 sq km of the Russian-occupied territory in the Balakleya, Izyum and Kupiansk regions, and seized the initiative. While this latest Russian attack was a spiteful response to battlefield reversals, the destruction of energy infrastructure has been an ever-present tactic throughout the invasion. Forcibly denying access to energy sources is not only designed to undermine Ukrainian morale and logistics, but also to threaten and undermine European unity.

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The Greed And Geopolitics Of The OPEC+ Oil Production Cut

October 7, 2022

This move is not unexpected. As I wrote here, President Joe Biden’s failure in Saudi Arabia in July to secure more oil production shook Saudi Arabia’s transactional relationship (security for oil) with the USA to its foundations. Saudi Arabia began importing Russian fuel oils for domestic use to free up more crude oil for export months ago, with the Biden Administration impotent to stop it. Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Russian President Vladimir Putin have enjoyed close personal relations for years. These events had already helped push oil to above $90 per barrel. However, the oil futures on October 7 remained below $90 due to recession fears.

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Russia’s Purported Sabotage Of The Nord Stream Pipeline Marks A Point Of No Return

September 29, 2022

There can now be no negotiated reopening or resumption of deliveries even if the battlefields of Ukraine instantly fall silent. The Russians have achieved their immediate goal, with Reuters reporting “Nord Stream AG said it was impossible to estimate when the gas network system’s working capability would be restored.” This winter, Europe is doomed to face the worst energy crisis since the Arab oil embargo of 1974, or worse.

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Pakistan’s Deluge Is Deepening Its Longstanding Energy Crisis

September 22, 2022

Rising energy bills and blackouts are not just a product of the devastation caused by the recent floods. They are a consequence of Pakistan’s non-diversified energy strategy and lack of infrastructural resiliency. These floods have shattered an already broken energy system.

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NIMBYism Is A Bipartisan Energy Problem

September 14, 2022

For better or worse the visual perceptions of energy production drive much of its policy debates. It was as much the ugly sight of fuming coal stacks and the soot on buildings as environmental or health concerns that led to their regulation. Unfortunately, the understandable human impulse to be surrounded by beauty or to avoid ugliness is turning NIMBYs, (not in my backyard-ers) and misguided environmental activists into strange bedfellows, inadvertently acting in concert to hurt the environment and impede America’s energy transformation.

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The Ghosts Of Fukushima & Japan’s Nuclear Turnaround

September 7, 2022

Kishida and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are investing a lot of political capital and their long-term industrial policy commitment in nuclear energy.


Will Germany Abort Its Nuclear U-Turn?

August 30, 2022

Germany could be a European and global leader if it embraces this renaissance and overcomes its petty inter-party squabbles. Or it can just keep importing coal… and Russian gas.

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Hot Cities And Cold Turbines: Energy In A Time Of Drought

August 24, 2022

Rivers are Europe’s economic and transportation backbone, and their drying will drive up energy and commodity prices.

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India, The Rising Power, Is Seeking Oil From The Middle East And Russia

August 19, 2022

The world’s most populous democracy is searching for ways to satiate its oil hunger, and it has decided to follow the well-worn path of engagement with the Middle East.


Pariahs And Pals: Emerging Russo-Iranian Energy Cooperation.

August 16, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met for a much-heralded meeting in Tehran on July 19th to discuss energy policy, maritime security, and Syria. Many are eager to portray the meeting as a convergence of principled anti-western leaders who will challenge the international system.


Energy Policies For Refugee Assistance: Sustainability And Access

August 14, 2022

Refugees crowded into squalid camps is not a new mental image. The numbers of refugees are continuing to climb globally. This humanitarian crisis is not just a disaster on its own terms but is also an underappreciated part of our modern energy crises.


Floating Solar: The Most Practical Green Technology?

June 28, 2022

Earlier this month, the US Army launched a large floating solar array at Camp Mackall on Fort Bragg in North Carolina— the country’s largest domestic military base. This launch marks a critical moment for floating photovoltaics (FPVs) which have yet to attract mainstream attention in the USA.


China’s Reopening is No Blossoming of Energy Markets

June 20, 2022

China experts may argue whether this is a setback for President Xi Jinping or not. In the face of faltering growth and energy crises, this haphazard reopening will bring turmoil to global energy markets, but not for the reasons you may think.


Sailing Solo: The Coming Shipping Revolution And LNG

June 13, 2022

The Prism Courage, the Hyundai Group’s 134,000-ton natural gas tanker, made history as the first large ship to make an autonomous voyage of over 10,000 kilometers. While many vessels are equipped with autopilot, the ship’s autonomous navigation system HiNAS 2.0 utilized artificial intelligence to steer and select optimal routes and speeds.


Kazakhstan Needs Stability And Economic Institutions To Develop Energy Resources

June 6, 2022

To understand the international agonies and opportunities that rising energy supply costs, exogenous shocks, increasing interest in renewables, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine present, there is no better example than Kazakhstan. It is singularly damaged by the current crises while simultaneously having so much potential to benefit from the global need for energy.


China’s Wind Power Push Threatens US Strategic Interests

May 23, 2022

Government priorities feature prominently in discussions over the transition to renewable energy. Enthusiasm may abound for wind power, but if the United States is serious about its future, it must address critical supply chain disruptions and market-distorting foreign competition.


Viktor Orban’s Goulash Energy Policy Makes Hungary Putin’s Trojan Horse In Europe

May 17, 2022

On Wednesday, Hungary demanded that shipments of Russian oil be exempt from the European Union’s proposed sanctions. This statement comes amidst tense negotiations between Budapest and Brussels over the EU’s sixth round of penalties against Moscow. Budapest has proven the most skeptical of the plan, which requires the unanimous consent of member states.


2022: The Great Boom or Great Bust for Electric Vehicles

May 9, 2022

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are booming. First-quarter results are in, and they rock. Despite supply chain issues and higher upfront costs, the auto industry reports strong performances in EVs, with Ford announcing a growth rate of 139%, Volkswagen of 65%, and Tesla of 81%.


Profits Skyrocket for US LNG Companies

April 27, 2022

The United States is poised to become the world’s leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by the year’s end. The US Energy Information Administration forecasts the country will export a whopping 12.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) average to surpass Australia and Qatar for the top spot.


How Biden’s New Energy Restrictions Defeat His Goals For Helping Ukraine

April 25, 2022

The Biden administration has reinstated restrictive policies under the guise of environmental protections that impact the construction of major infrastructure projects in the United States, including pipelines and highways. The timing could not be worse.


Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release Should Help Americans, Hurt Putin

April 4, 2022

Oil prices experienced their largest weekly losses in over two years following President Joe Biden’s announcement to release some 180 million barrels of oil (mbd) from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The 6-month, 1 million barrel per day (bpd) injection is the largest in U.S. history and marks the third time Washington has tapped into Department of Energy (DOE) emergency reserves in the past half-year.


Putin’s War in Ukraine Forces New Energy Reality on Europe

March 28, 2022

During President Joe Biden's visit to Europe, the US has struck a deal with the EU to boost its liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply as the trade bloc seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. The war in Ukraine highlighted the Old Continent's unsustainable Russian energy habit.


Can Energy Exports Save The Russian War Machine Facing Western Sanctions?

March 18, 2022

Last week President Joe Biden announced a complete ban on Russian oil and gas imports – the latest in a series of debilitating sanctions meant to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his crimes against Ukraine.