EnergySource

Technology, policy, consumer preference, and price are driving dramatic changes in the energy mix, and the United Arab Emirates is at the forefront of efforts to innovate and diversify.

In an interview with Randolph Bell, director of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, chief executive officer for petroleum and petrochemicals at the UAE’s Mubadala discussed the future of oil demand, changes underway in the global energy market, and Mubadala’s forward-looking strategy for energy innovation.

Q: What is your view on the future of oil demand, and how do you manage uncertainty in oil demand?

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Solar power has been gaining ground in the global energy mix, and its importance will likely only continue to grow. However, the contribution that solar ultimately makes in the power sector, and whether it will make inroads in other energy intensive sectors, will be shaped by a range of factors, including technology development and innovation and a the enabling policy framework.

In a recent visit to their office in a Dallas, Texas technology park, the Global Energy Center’s Ellen Scholl discussed the future of solar with Arun Gupta, CEO and founder of Skyven Technologies, a solar technology startup focused on using new technology to improve the efficiency of solar panels.

The following is an excerpt of their interview.

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While it might be difficult to tell, as the lights are still on, the global electricity system is in the midst of a profound transformation—one that will impact every facet of people’s daily lives. The transformation underway will ultimately lead to an energy system that delivers more usable energy to more people across the globe at a lower cost, and with a smaller environmental impact. The energy transformation will likely lead to increased utilization of indigenous energy resources—such as wind, solar, and biomass—providing a greater level of domestic energy security. Beyond transforming the system, these changes will also put key decisions about how energy is produced and used into the hands of consumers.

In short, the energy system is transitioning from one based on large, centralized conventional power plants, to one that includes both conventional power plants and new emerging technologies that are either centrally located or distributed throughout the network, to serve local electricity demand.

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In a new report, Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group Chairman and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Senior Fellow David Goldwyn and co-author Andrea Clabough examine the progress Latin American countries, including the Southern Cone countries, Central America, and the Caribbean, have made in working toward their climate goals, with a focus on modernization and improved sustainability of the countries’ energy systems.

The Issue: In December 2018, countries will meet in Katowice, Poland for the 24th Conference of the Parties to assess progress towards their commitments under the Paris Agreement. In advance of that meeting, Latin American countries have made impressive—if uneven—strides toward their climate goals, but serious challenges remain in many countries.   

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Note: This blog is the third in a series examining the global energy transition through the lens of communities with a significant stake in the traditional energy economy. In examining the social, political, and economic dynamics, policy choices that are made or missed, and the approaches that seem most promising and scalable, there is the possibility of strengthening social cohesion and equitable outcomes amid the global energy transition.

Kentucky has been hit hard by recent trends in energy markets, particularly the downturn in the fortunes of coal. Beyond the trends, it has also been deprived of some of the positive policy architectures that helped to buttress San Joaquin Valley.

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The planned Croatian liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminal is a critical, if yet unrealized, piece of the Central and Eastern European energy security puzzle. If constructed, the terminal would provide a gateway for LNG to reach landlocked markets in the region, thus creating competition for Russian gas and ensuring access to alternative supplies in a crisis. However, without financial support from Central and Eastern European governments, who stand to benefit the most from the proposed terminal, and concerted diplomatic engagement by Brussels and Washington it will not be realized anytime soon.    

From a purely market perspective, the Croatian terminal is a classic case of redundant infrastructure. However, from a security of supply perspective, it is absolutely vital.

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The Atlantic Council, in partnership with the Department of State’s Energy Resources Bureau (ENR), hosted a premier group of Central American energy ministers, US and Mexican energy policymakers, and private sector representatives for a Central American senior-level natural gas policy and investment roundtable on April 16, 2018. The roundtable featured a candid discussion of how natural gas can help achieve the energy security goals of Central American governments and how the region can support its burgeoning natural gas markets during a period of tremendous change for gas markets globally.

The State Department press release is available here, and the full event webcast is available here.

While the discussion was wide-ranging, there were four key takeaways worth highlighting:

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Note: This blog is the second in a series examining the global energy transition through the lens of communities with a significant stake in the traditional energy economy. In examining the social, political, and economic dynamics, policy choices that are made or missed, and the approaches that seem most promising and scalable, there is the possibility of strengthening social cohesion and equitable outcomes amid the global energy transition.

Despite assumptions that California is an affluent and prosperous state, a comprehensive assessment of various US congressional districts on metrics of health, education, and income in 2008 placed the San Joaquin area’s 20th congressional district as the worst performer in the United States. In 2010, the San Joaquin Valley earned the moniker “Appalachia of the West.”

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The Henry Hub in North America is the most successful natural gas market in the world. Its success has stimulated discussions in other natural gas markets about the creation of new natural gas hubs to emulate Henry Hub’s operations. The question is: how can countries who want to create a hub in theory actually establish one in practice?

Creation of a natural gas hub is perceived in international quarters as a way of meeting national goals for competitive natural gas supply and delivery, providing market prices adequate to inform producers and consumers, and creating a security of supply based on diversification of sources.

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In their new report, Oil on the Water: Illicit Hydrocarbons Activity in the Maritime Domain, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Dr. Ian Ralby and co-author Dr. David Soud of I.R. Consilium present an extensive though not exhaustive breakdown of the global illegal activity involving oil and fuel in the maritime domain, together with recommendations for how to address it.  This report builds on the research detailed in their previous reports, Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends and Remedies and Downstream Oil Theft: Implications and Next Steps.

The Issue: Oil and fuel theft in the maritime space constitutes billions of dollars of losses annually for governments and billions of dollars in criminal profits for corrupt individuals, reckless companies, transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups. 

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