EnergySource

From the campaign trail to the Oval Office, US President Donald J. Trump has made no secret of his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and has more recently called for legislation and a new agreement with key European allies to supplement the deal. With the May 12 deadline for the president to renew critical sanctions waivers to continue implementing the JCPOA looming, US diplomats and their European counterparts have a tough task ahead to reach an agreement that can satisfy the president’s demands, lest he withdraw the United States from the deal altogether.

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Natural laws, like the laws of thermodynamics, govern us all, and we ignore them at our peril. Nowhere is this more consequential, at the moment, than in dealing with climate change.

Energy, in any form, is subject to the laws of thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics says energy cannot be created nor destroyed and that the amount of energy in the universe is a constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that all any physical systems trend towards disorder (entropy).

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As technologies advance, costs fall, and policy support and public acceptance grow, the rapid commercial growth of renewable energy continues to be one of the biggest stories in global energy. As countries continue to transition to a low carbon future in the early years of Paris implementation, evidence suggests that the outlook for renewables’ growth is bright.

Expected to account for nearly all of the growth in primary energy demand, China, India, and other developing countries are critical to the transition. However, developments in the United States and Europe will also be significant and help pave the way for further efficiency improvements and driving reduction in the costs of these technologies.

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In a new working paper, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Alan Riley highlights the risks that could stem from the construction of the contentious proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russia to Germany. In the working paper, Dr. Riley emphasizes that the proposed pipeline would have negative implications for European energy security, including undermining transit security, reducing route diversity, creating a “Straits of Hormuz” risk for Europe, and undermining the single market.
March 8 is international women’s day. This year, the theme is to “press for progress” and one area women have been seeking—and making—progress is in representation in the workplace. Nowhere is this more in focus than in the Gulf countries, where the inclusion of women in the workforce is part of overall efforts to diversify economies away from hydrocarbon revenue.

 RBC Women in Energy Infographic

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Did Gazprom’s sudden move to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in early March give Europe a chance to secure an almost instantaneous improvement to its energy security?

Gazprom’s response to what it saw as an adverse February 28 ruling by an arbitration court in Stockholm, effectively ordering the Russian gas giant to pay  $2.64 billion to Ukraine’s national gas company, Naftogaz, was unexpected. Not only did Gazprom cut off its limited direct supply of gas to Ukraine­­—gas that Ukraine already paid for—on March 1, but Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller stated the following day that supplies transiting through Ukraine to customers in central Europe were also being terminated.  

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As the energy potential of the Eastern Mediterranean grows, so does the potential for conflict over resources. To reduce this potential, the United States and the European Union should play a more proactive role in defusing rising tensions in the region through two key channels of diplomacy. The United States and the European Union should reengage in Cyprus to facilitate a dedicated dialogue between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots over the development of energy resources and renew efforts to reach a settlement of the Israeli-Lebanese maritime delimitation dispute.

The need for such engagement is even more crucial given the level of activity over the last three months.

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The Global Energy Center report, Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s Energy Sector, assesses the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia’s energy sector, specifically targeting future oil development, in 2014.

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When it comes to electric vehicles, while there is no question sales will continue to rise, there are real questions about whether the electric power industry can keep up with new demand. However, past experience suggests it is a question that can be answered with a resounding yes for two reasons. First, the timing of the increase will allow the electric power industry to make the necessary capital investment. Second, the industry has experienced great growth in electric demand from new technologies in the past, and succeeded in meeting those challenges.

Timing of New Electric Investment

Some estimates suggest the number of electric vehicles on the road, currently around one million globally, could approach 24.4 million by 2030. To produce the high volume of electric vehicles that is projected, existing automobile manufacturing plants will have to be converted to produce electric vehicles or new production factories will need to be built.

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The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is already underway, and its pace is expected to increase in the coming years. The number of EVs on the road worldwide is projected to grow from one million this year to 24.4 million by 2030.

Such growth in the EV fleet will require a significant expansion of battery production, specifically of Lithium-ion batteries. Although several types of Lithium-ion batteries can be used in EVs, they all contain lithium, cobalt, and nickel, metals which can carry significant supply and price risks.

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