The Energy Blog

Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics

Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics

by Sean Field

In this blog post series, I examine the UK’s natural gas infrastructure, the market dynamics behind rising global natural gas prices, and who will be affected the most by Ofgem’s rate increase. In this part one, I show how the deregulation and financialization of UK natural gas over the last couple of decades has exposed UK consumers to the geopolitics of natural gas pipelines and fluctuations in financial market prices for natural gas. 

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Putting Energy at the Centre of Scotland’s History

Putting Energy at the Centre of Scotland’s History

by Ewan Gibbs

Scotland’s relationship with energy generation and related technologies is one fraught with human drama and political struggles. Miles Oglethorpe’s recent two part blog underlined the international significance of Scotland’s diverse energy history and the importance of preserving it. In this post I add to Miles’ important contribution by assessing how energy figures in our understanding of Scotland’s modern history.

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Understanding energy: Why are we talking about nuclear energy again?

Understanding energy: Why are we talking about nuclear energy again?

by Andreas Bock Michelsen

Nuclear energy is almost universally feared and reviled, and not without reason. And yet, China has doubled its nuclear capacity since 2014, climate scientists have called for an increase in nuclear power, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies increased production of nuclear energy as a key element in avoiding global warning. Why is such an obviously dangerous and polluting energy source considered an important element of the green energy transition?

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“It has gone full circle” – The role of private forest owners for Swedish energy.

“It has gone full circle” – The role of private forest owners for Swedish energy.

by Linnea Maria Sjögren

For Sweden, with its extensive forest cover, the bioenergy industry has the potential to become one of the most important industries moving forward. Whilst Swedish forestry is considered particularly sustainable – it is problematic to rely on this fragile ecosystem for all future energy needs. A heightened demand for forest derived products can put excessive pressure not only on the climate and local ecosystems, but also on the people to whom the forests bear a particular significance.

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Energy: Scotland’s Forgotten Industrial Heritage? Part 2

Energy: Scotland’s Forgotten Industrial Heritage? Part 2

by Miles Oglethorpe

Although the demise of coal can justifiably be blamed on the shift in government support to the nuclear industry, in truth the main challenge it faced was from petroleum. Initially, Scotland’s oil industry was also based on mining. Its geographical centre was just to the west of Edinburgh, not far from where the airport can now be found.

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Energy: Scotland’s Forgotten Industrial Heritage? Part 1

Energy: Scotland’s Forgotten Industrial Heritage? Part 1

by Miles Oglethorpe

These days, despite the constant stream of publicity highlighting the climate emergency, many of us still drift into a lifestyle driven by uncritical, passive mass energy consumption. It’s too easy to casually switch on devices without any consideration of how the energy that powers them has been derived. Yet, all strands of our energy industry have a fascinating history and associated culture, some of which has been truly heroic and, needless to say, also often troubling in nature.

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Oil, Oil, Who Wants Some Oil? Part 5: Betting on the Future

Oil, Oil, Who Wants Some Oil? Part 5: Betting on the Future

by Sean Field and Mette M. High

In May 2020, the two main financial regulators in the United States (the SEC and CFTC) launched investigations into the multi-billion-dollar US Oil Fund (USO). Over the last decade, USO has attracted huge numbers of private household investors eager to invest in oil. Its shares are easily bought and sold on internet trading platforms and the share price closely tracks movements in the spot price of the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil benchmark. But USO has been a volatile investment proposition.

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Understanding Energy: Reclaiming the air through sustainable aviation

Understanding Energy: Reclaiming the air through sustainable aviation

by Andreas Bock Michelsen

Flying is a convenient mode of transport, but it is also a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The question is, how could we make airplanes run on renewable energy? By considering the basic physics of the problem, in particular the concepts of energy density and combustion, we see what makes jet fuel such a brilliant fuel energy-wise, why batteries are not a likely alternative, and why hydrogen might be the key to sustainable aviation.

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Making Energy. Part 1: A Conversation with Solar-Tech CEO Paul Cheng of Plus Renewables

Making Energy. Part 1: A Conversation with Solar-Tech CEO Paul Cheng of Plus Renewables

by Anna Rauter

What energy solutions are there for individuals and households who have a steady supply of non-renewable electricity, but would instead like to have a more cost efficient, more energy efficient and more climate and environmentally conscious energy system? In this blog post, I discuss small-scale energy production with Paul Cheng, CEO of Plus Renewables, a company that manages and develops solar and wind projects around the globe.

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Oil, Oil, Who Wants Some Oil? Part 4: The Brent Crude Complex

Oil, Oil, Who Wants Some Oil? Part 4: The Brent Crude Complex

by Sean Field and Mette M. High

When West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil plummeted to a closing price of –US $37.63 on 20 April 2020, the spot price of Brent crude oil only fell to US $17.36. This striking price difference between these two rival crude oil benchmarks highlights important dynamics that pertain to not only the supply and demand of oil, but also the social construction of futures markets.

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