The global energy landscape has not been this uncertain in decades. Policy- and technology-driven change has created the prospect of “peak oil demand”—the moment when global demand for oil reaches its zenith and begins to recede—but no one can say for certain when or if this will occur. Shale oil in the United States continues to be resilient, responding quickly to price increases and dampening the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s efforts to buoy “lower for longer” global oil prices. Gas surpassed coal as the primary fuel for power generation in the United States for the first time in 2016, but coal is expected to take back the crown in 2017, only to be surpassed by gas again in 2018. Further, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently revised its global renewables forecast upward for the next five years, projecting 43 percent growth by 2022, the fastest growing of all power sources. All told, the energy mix in five years or twenty-five years is uncertain, but what is clear is that the mix is experiencing profound structural changes.

Vision and Mission

The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center promotes energy security by working alongside government, industry, civil society, and public stakeholders to devise pragmatic solutions to the geopolitical, sustainability, and economic challenges of the changing global energy landscape.

In its third year, the Global Energy Center has become a go-to policy organization for governments, industry, and civil society to understand and navigate the energy transition, with the ultimate goal of helping shape a world with secure and sustainable energy.

The Global Energy Center’s work provides pragmatic solutions to the challenges presented by the rapidly changing energy landscape, working to enhance energy security for countries and individuals around the world.

How We Work

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic community’s central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.

The Global Energy Center works with its government, corporate, and civil society partners to help them navigate the changing global energy landscape. Utilizing its own and external experts and in close collaboration the Atlantic Council’s regional centers and functional programs, the Center convenes high-level gatherings in Washington, DC and beyond—including our annual Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi and Istanbul Summit—to provide a forum for a public debate on regional and global energy issues; produces timely and relevant analysis; and engages directly with policymakers, business leaders, and academic experts to inform and shape the energy policy debate in capitals around the world.

Our Focus

The core pillars of the Center’s work are:

Geopolitics and Energy Security
The Global Energy Center works to pinpoint key trends at the intersection of energy and geopolitics that could disrupt regional stability and global energy markets. Leveraging the Council’s analytical and convening power, the center engages with key stakeholders to consider the geopolitical implications of the energy needs of states—in terms of supply, demand, and transit—and of the geographic, economic, and social factors that impact those needs. 

Understanding and Managing the Energy Transition
The global energy mix is changing, and navigating the rapidly evolving markets and shifting geopolitics is more challenging than ever. Using the latest research to identify market trends and model future scenarios to understand potential disruption, the Global Energy Center builds strategies for policy makers and business leaders amidst the changing global energy landscape.

New Models for Climate Action
In 2018, the Global Energy Center is launching a new initiative that looks beyond beltway partisanship to find common ground and alter the conversation about climate change. By emphasizing green technology as a tool for US military, economic, and diplomatic leadership, the Global Energy Center hopes to identify lessons and best practices to support global climate change commitments and efforts to expand access to sustainable energy in developing countries.

Energy Markets and Governance
Energy producers and consumers alike are managing an uncertain future for oil prices, new possibilities for market integration, and the continued rise of renewables. Meanwhile, policy intervention impacts the energy landscape, from the use of energy sanctions as a foreign policy tool, to incentivizing new—or old—energy sources. The Global Energy Center seeks to interpret this dynamism and build new frameworks for the business and policy communities to manage energy uncertainty.