Policy & Finance

A list of some of the energy policy and finance articles I have written

Will the Market Stability Reserve do the trick?

In February 2015, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted for reform of the European Union’s flagship Emission Trading System (ETS). To address the chronic problem of an oversupply of carbon allowances, and to signal that it is serious about fighting climate change, the committee approved a proposal to park millions of carbon allowances in a Market Stability Reserve (MSR), starting on 31 December 2018. https://www.nicnewmanoxford.com/will-the-market-stability-reserve-do-the-trick/

ENPCs: the future of business energy management?

Nicholas Newman Daily Telegraph 2 March 2015

With energy performance contracts starting to gain traction in the UK, discover how an ENPC could help your business save money. A well-designed energy performance contract (ENPC) could benefit many companies. Indeed, the Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that business could save £500 million each year by adopting them. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/business-energy/11440033/encp-business-energy-management.html

The decline in gas demand – a European problem?

20 November 2014 by Nicholas Newman

Ever since the global financial crisis and the onset of recession the demand for gas in Europe – particularly from the power generation sector – has steadily declined. In 2010 gas consumption in the EU and Switzerland was equivalent to 522 billion cubic metres (bcm) but by 2013 demand had dropped to 462 bcm. This fall of 60bcm in gas consumption is roughly equivalent to the annual gas consumption of Italy according to Eurogas 2014. However, gas consumption in 2014 appears to have bottomed out according to Professor Jonathan Stern, Natural Gas Research Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES). Furthermore, he adds, “most forecasts see demand slowly turning round and increasing but it will not get back to 2010 levels until the early or mid (and in some projections late) 2020s.


African Finance: A look at the fiscal challenges facing the banking sector in financing Africa’s current and future energy projects

Infrastructure investment is critical for the economic and social development of the African continent. The African Development Bank estimates current levels of infrastructure investment across the continent at around $45billion annually. However the World Bank estimates infrastructure-funding requirements in the continent at US$93bn annually for the next ten years. Almost half of this amount is needed to address the continent’s current power supply crisis which allows frequent blackouts and leaves many in energy poverty. Currently, two out of three sub-Saharan Africans — 600 million people — lack access to electricity, forcing them to spend significant amounts of their income on costly and unhealthy forms of energy such as smoky and scarce wood for indoor fires for cooking. http://issuu.com/alaincharles/docs/ora_4_2014_final/12?e=4518041/7636064

Why are energy companies failing to communicate with the public?

Europe’s energy companies are facing public protests and opposition to almost every newly announced potentially disruptive energy project. For example, protests against a new power line in Bavaria occurred in July 2014. Widespread and prolonged opposition by locals and outsiders, camped in the village of Balcombe UK, protested against fracking in 2013 and protests against wind farms in Ireland occurred during January 2014. There are too many examples of energy projects generating protests and opposition leading to costly delays and even abandonment in spite of the likely environmental, market and energy security benefits such schemes are likely to bring to communities and the country. http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id=4300

Advancing the Alleviation of Energy Poverty

Living without any or limited access to energy has been termed “energy poverty”—a simple name for a complex problem. Energy poverty has proven challenging to alleviate; it’s also been difficult to define. The World Bank’s Global Tracking Framework (GTF) is the world’s premier approach to tracking energy poverty.


 Climate Finance: Cough up the Money

Adaptation and mitigation of climate change will be expensive. Inaction, however, will induce costs rising exponentially as we put off delay. Will the Warsaw COP convince economies that it’s better to pay now? There’s a positive aura about the odds for success in Warsaw. There is a chance, however remote, that the conference will draw a road map for a global agreement to reduce emissions to prevent the temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. http://cleantech.cleantechpoland.com/?page=edition&id=6&id_article=30#page_top

Why is British Energy Policy led by a bunch of Amateurs? –

Energy has been much in the news recently, including threatened closure of an oil refinery, high-energy bills etc. What we are seeing are symptoms of chaos and confusion in British energy policy and markets. The Grangemouth refinery story for instance has been treated in the media as a simple industrial relations story. However, what is being ignored is the larger story, that the European refinery industry is in trouble, due to competition from abroad caused in part by the US shale gas and oil revolution, construction of new refineries in the Middle East and China, falling demand, high energy costs and productivity issues caused by failures to invest in new technology. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/Why-is-British-Energy-Policy-led-by-a-bunch-of-Amateurs.html


German Federal Energy Policy: Party Platforms

Germany’s federal election was held on 22nd September 2013. All the political parties support the country’s dash towards renewables and the promise, following the Fukushima disaster, to close all nuclear power stations by 2022. Nevertheless, there is an increasing realisation that the Renewable Energy Sources Actof 2000, which promised 20 years of guaranteed prices and priority access to the power grid together with the promised closure of 16 per cent of the country’s electricity capacity, has created unintended consequences of price distortions, surging costs and the threat of blackouts. http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/wiley/cornerstone_2013autumn/#/26

The Green Deal: A Dysfunctional Policy

The Green Deal is a new policy instrument designed to raise the energy efficiency of some 14 million homes in the UK. Alongside the Green Deal stands the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which is a continuation of previous obligations on energy companies to deliver energy efficiency measures and reduce fuel poverty. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/Green-Deal-and-Energy-Companies-Obligation.html

 Tackling air pollution

“The Beijing – Tianjin – Hubei region witnessed historically high air pollution records this January,” says Huang Wei, energy campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia. Janez Potocnik, European Union (EU) Commissioner for the Environment, has stated that current air pollution statistics were “simply not acceptable” while Conni Hedegaard, his fellow Commissioner for Climate, said in the EU Parliament on 31st January that “air quality is an important issue that should be of concern to all of us”. It is therefore not surprising that the EU has named 2013 the Year of Air. http://www.energyrealities.org/content/tackling-air-pollution/erpD6908B7153CD41E4A


Energy 2.0 – The art of the possible?

Energy policymakers worldwide face the daunting task of meeting demand for energy at an acceptable price, protecting the environment, providing energy security and ensuring competitive markets. http://www.energyrealities.org/content/energy-20-the-art-of-the-possible/erp191852011CC6AB134

Green Deal and Energy Companies Obligation

This book is an overview of the entire energy market. It provides an in-depth descriptions of all of the major energy commodities. Plus geopolitical oriented discussions of how energy decision-making affects the price, availability and politics of global and regional markets. In addition, primers on load forecasting, tolling agreements, natural gas storage, and more. A practical introduction to risk management for investors in such markets as Indonesia, Italy, UK and Europe. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Energy-Business-Today-Leadership-ebook/dp/B00B1K0N3W/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358335382&sr=1-10

“Defining the prize for CCS is the problem” – OIES

Britain is preparing to make a ‘dash for gas generation’ which may prove to be the more affordable option than renewables. “Following the government’s change in policy direction, it is now time and money that will determine whether a power plant, equipped with viable Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, will be in operation by 2020,” says Howard Rogers, Director, Gas Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES). http://gastopowerjournal.com/markets/item/999-defining-the-prize-for-ccs-is-the-problem-oies

Ready for a revolution?

Drastic reforms are needed if Japan is to overcome its power crisis. Proposed remedies include unbundling transmission and distribution grids from the country’s ten major region power companies so that new entrants can enter the market. But Nicholas Newman asks if Japan is ready for such changes and will they work. http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/print/volume-20/issue-8/power-report/ready-for-a-revolution.html

Is Britain’s energy leadership failing?

National energy leadership requires clear policy around investment to manage risk and investment, and a healthy balance between the market, and the consumer (taxpayer)? The question of energy and especially its price has always been a politically sensitive issue. The question, is whether Britain’s energy policy is failing? Many would suggest that significant parts of it already have. In fact until recently, the United Kingdom did not enjoy an overarching energy policy framework; instead it depended on guidance from European energy policy for much of the day-to-day implementation of operational issues. In a sense, what there was of a discernible British energy policy was merely an incomplete jigsaw. What is certainly clear is that successive British governments have failed to demonstrate “responsible” energy leadership. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/Is-Britain’s-energy-leadership-failing.html

A crisis in leadership in Japan’s nuclear industry.

Failing to make the right decision is easy to do. Regrettably, despite years of technological progress and experience, governments and energy companies continue to make such mistakes. Nevertheless, due to the increasing scale of investment and environmental hazards that the industry faces, the world energy leadership needs to do better than it has in the past. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/A-crisis-in-leadership-in-Japan’s-nuclear-industry.html

Black Swans Bring New Challenges to Energy Leadership

At the GB Gas Security of Supply Seminar held on the 2 February 2012 at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering London, there were two groups, the first the free market ideologues, who held that it was not necessary for government to intervene. That existing efforts were unnecessary. http://oxfordprospect.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/black-swans-bring-new-challenges-to-energy-leadership/

The World Is Not Desperate For Energy in 2012!

Current forecasts suggest that global energy consumption will only increase by 3% in 2012, not much different from 2011. This is not surprising given the state of the world economy. Current market figures suggest that like in 2011, the world will enjoy a net surplus of energy capacity. http://energyjournalist.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/the-world-is-not-desperate-for-energy-in-2012/

The World is Desperate for Energy Engineers!!!

It’s not a scarcity of oil the world should be worried about but more importantly a desperate skills shortage of engineers. This is especially so for the global energy industry. For many jobs, the number of vacancies exceeds the number of skilled experienced engineers that are available. Already, such shortages are causing significant delays and costs for major projects including development of offshore oil fields off Angola. Whilst in Brazil, the home of samba, tropical rainforests and traffic jams, this developed county is in a desperate search for engineers to construct 12 super tanker sized FPSO’s over the next decade. Such skills deficiencies are harming energy security, harming economic recovery and the ability of the world to meet its ambitious CO2 targets. http://newmanenergy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/world-is-desperate-for-energy-engineers.html

World Energy Market Prospects 2012

A quick look at various aspects that make up the global power generation sector, including wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and coal power station prospects.Despite the popularity of renewable technology, development of conventional power plants continues to grow a pace. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/World-Energy-Market-Prospects-2012.html

The high price of oil

The surging price of oil appears to be at the root of all our economic woes, but there may be darker days ahead.In recent months, world oil prices have broken the $100 per barrel barrier for crude oil; it was only spring last year that the price of crude was around the $50 a barrel mark. http://www.oxfordprospect.co.uk/The-high-price-of-oil.html

Arctic oil: an environmental disaster waiting to happen?

The Arctic is facing many threats to its environment and including problems posed by human activities, including resource exploration and exploitation. The trouble is many of the current Arctic environmental laws, guidance and regulations can be best described as dysfunctional. http://www.offshore-technology.com/features/featurearctic-oil-enviromental-disater-waiting-to-happen/