Category: Blog

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Energy for whom? Energy for what? Envisioning alternative energy transitions in Mexico

by Lorenzo Sapochetti

In Mexico, the energy transition is the subject of an increasingly heated debate. Despite the president’s vow to de-privatise the energy industry and foster renewables, grassroots activists are questioning the government’s new course; they deem its energy policies as unjust and unequal, aimed at favouring the economic interests of private companies instead of addressing the needs of the people, and claim for alternative energy transitions.

Read More

Is it really renewable, for peat’s sake?

by Lydia Cole

During the ‘Energy Debate’ panel hosted on Friday 13 November as part of Energy Ethics 2020, it became clear that the challenges of powering the world on renewable technologies were as palpable as the need to overcome them in order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; and reducing this reliance is imperative if we are to limit the impacts of ongoing climate change.

Read More

The Work of Activism

by Sarah O’Brien

Supporters and opponents of fossil fuel infrastructures offer different visions of an energy transition – and different insights into what they consider meaningful and desirable work. In this post, I reflect on such concerns around work and employment in the context of resistance to the shale gas industry in the north of England.

Read More

The Comeback of the Plastic Straw: Are we sacrificing sustainability in the face of COVID-19 safety?

by Anna Rauter

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic initially led to a drop in global CO2 emissions, post-lockdown emissions are reported to be back in line with their previous trajectories. Along with this resurgence of carbon emissions, I am observing an increasing use of single-use plastics and other environmentally unsustainable practises. How do coronavirus measures, whether we agree with them or not, affect our sustainability efforts?

Read More

Oil, Oil, Who Wants Some Oil? Part 3: Anticipating the Future and Financializing Oil

by Mette M. High and Sean Field

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, demand for crude oil fell suddenly. The pandemic exposed the logistics and storage constraints of the US landlocked oil infrastructure that was oversupplied by domestic and imported crude. But it also raised fundamental questions about the role and importance of financial trading on the futures market.

Read More

Biomass – An Energy Source of the Future?

by James Crooks

The production of energy through the burning of biological materials has been considered a renewable, reliable and even relatively clean alternative to the use of fossil fuels. However, as the industry has grown these claims have faced increased scrutiny; critics have claimed that biomass on a large scale has negative long- and short-term environmental impacts not only on pollution but on biodiversity generally. So we have to ask: is biomass an energy source of the future?

Read More

What Have Whales Got To Do With Fossil Fuels And Renewable Energy?

by Russell Fielding

Across the world, energy systems are making the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. This energy transition, unlikely as it may sound, is influenced in a small but meaningful way, by whaling. This post considers how findings from environmental research conducted in collaboration with a small whaling community in the Caribbean provide key evidence for the healthy and sustainable benefits of renewable energy systems, especially in the context of small island developing states.

Read More

World Crisis, Energy Crisis? Part 2. Overcapacity: an energy crisis you’ve never heard of

by Pauline Destrée

When half the world struggles with inadequate electricity supply, what happens when we have too much energy? In this post, I look at situations in which overcapacity leads to a “renewable overkill”, creating landscapes of abandonment where wind turbines and other renewable energy projects lie as stalled, prevented or temporarily stranded assets.

Read More