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Global Natural Gas Issues and Challenges: A Commentary

Michelle Michot Foss

Year: 2005
Volume: Volume 26
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol26-No2-6
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Interest in the potential for natural gas to emulate oil as a �global� commodity has grown. While international trade in natural gas in liquefied form has occurred for roughly 40 years, natural gas transactions largely take place in local and regional geographies. Growing demand among large consuming nations relative to global distribution of natural gas resources makes for a compelling story with respect to international, transoceanic trade outlooks. However, natural gas and the natural gas �value chain� are imbued with unique characteristics that require careful consideration by developers, researchers, regulators and policy makers. This article provides an overview and suggests key questions and issues for further research.

Energy Economics: A Place for Energy Poverty in the Agenda?

Fatih Birol

Year: 2007
Volume: Volume 28
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol28-No3-1
View Abstract

The global energy system faces three major strategic challenges in the coming decades: the growing risk of disruptions to energy supply; the threat of environmental damage caused by energy production and use; and persistent energy poverty. The first two challenges have attracted a lot of attention from the energy-economics community, much less so the need to address the problem of energy under-development. On current trends, the number of people in poor countries relying primarily on traditional biomass for their energy needs will continue to rise, while the number lacking access to electricity will barely fall. To change this course, decisive policy action is needed urgently as part of the broader process of human development. Meeting basic human needs, such as food and shelter, must be at the heart of any strategy to alleviate poverty. Modern energy services help enable those needs to be met. In practice, concrete improvements in human welfare can be realised quickly at modest short-term cost. Strong political will and commitment on the part of the governments of the world's poorest countries will be crucial. Rich industrialised countries have an important role to play in this process too. In addition to moral issues involved, we have obvious long-term economic, political and energy-security interests in helping developing countries along the path to energy development. The cost of providing assistance to poor countries may turn out to be far less than that of dealing with the instability and insecurity that poverty creates.

The Impact of Climate Change on Nuclear Power Supply

Kristin Linnerud, Torben K. Mideksa and Gunnar S. Eskeland

Year: 2011
Volume: Volume 32
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No1-6
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A warmer climate may result in lower thermal efficiency and reduced load--including shutdowns--in thermal power plants. Focusing on nuclear power plants, we use different European datasets and econometric strategies to identify these two supply-side effects. We find that a rise in temperature of 1rC reduces the supply of nuclear power by about 0.5% through its effect on thermal efficiency; during droughts and heat waves, the production loss may exceed 2.0% per degree Celsius because power plant cooling systems are constrained by physical laws, regulations and access to cooling water. As climate changes, one must consider measures to protect against and/or to adapt to these impacts.

Renewable Electricity and Backup Capacities: An (Un-) Resolvable Problem?

Aaron Praktiknjo and Georg Erdmann

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Bollino-Madlener Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.apra
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Public support for renewables has led to an unexpected investment momentum in Germany. A consequence is a reduction in wholesale electricity prices, the so-called merit order effect of renewables. We estimate this reduction using an econometric approach and provide a quantitative overview of the financial situation of conventional generators. Our results indicate that investments in new conventional capacities are economically unviable. With the current market design, this situation is going to impact supply security, at least in the long run. A popular approach to address this issue is the introduction of additional public support for conventional power plants. However, we believe that subsidizing renewable and conventional capacities contradicts the idea of a liberal market. We present two alternatives: State control of investments in renewables through auctions (as proposed by the European Commission), and a premium paid to representatives of the demand side (such as retailers) in dependence of their shares of renewables.

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