The Energy Blog

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

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.

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Is it really renewable, for peat’s sake?

Is it really renewable, for peat’s sake?

by Lydia E.S. 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.

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The Work of Activism

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.

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

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?

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Biomass – An Energy Source of the Future?

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?

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