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Energy Storage and the Cost of Going Off-Grid

 New energy storage offerings from Tesla and other manufacturers are widely expected to enhance the attractiveness of rooftop solar power and other renewables.However, recent analysis from the Brattle Group shows that even with rapid cost...

Posted July 8, 2015    

Rare Earths Not So Rare?

The bankruptcy of the main US producer of "rare earth" materials signals the end of a multi-year crisis over their global supply and cost.The announced Chapter 11 filing of US-based rare earths mining and refining company Molycorp effectively...

Posted June 29, 2015    

Where Is the Stimulus from Cheap Oil?

Those expecting a boost to the US economy from lower oil prices--the opposite effect of past oil price spikes--have been disappointed by the anemic response so far. In GDP terms cheaper net oil imports have been offset by cuts in oil & gas...

Posted June 9, 2015    

EPA's Blown Call on Ethanol

EPA's proposed revision to renewable fuel quotas achieves the appearance of compromise by cutting non-existent volumes, while still attempting to force more ethanol into the market than consumers seem to want.Last Friday the US Environmental...

Posted June 2, 2015    

Is United States Energy Independence in Sight?

The data analysis arm of the US Department of Energy is forecasting that despite low oil prices, the US will become energy independent within a decade. That result depends on frugality as much as resource abundance, and it includes...

Posted May 6, 2015    

An Energy Perspective on the Iran Nuclear Framework

With enormous natural gas reserves and renewables potential, Iran has little need for nuclear power, and even less for uranium enrichment.If Iran's sacrifices in pursuit of its nuclear program cannot be explained by a gap in its energy mix...

Posted April 14, 2015    

How Will Low Oil Prices Affect Natural Gas?

The growth of US natural gas output in recent years has been sustained partly by gas produced in conjunction with shale or "tight" oil. The slowdown in oil drilling in response to lower oil prices could also affect future natural gas production...

Posted April 6, 2015    

IEA Sees Fundamental Shifts in the Current Oil Price Drop

The IEA's latest medium-term oil forecast is a useful update to the thinking behind its current long-term outlook, which predated much of the current price drop.They expect shale output to be relatively resilient and rely on Iraq's capacity to...

Posted March 9, 2015    

A Lesson in Oil Pricing

The recent oil-price collapse confirms what we should have learned in 2007-8 about the influence of the last increments of supply and demand on price.This also means that future oil prices should be largely independent of the size of the oil market...

Posted February 23, 2015    

What Will Fuel Today's Advanced Vehicles?

Last month I attended the annual "policy day" at the Washington Auto Show, which typically emphasizes green cars and related technology. This year it included several high-profile awards and announcements, along with a keynote address by US...

Posted February 12, 2015    

How Much Will Low Oil Prices Stimulate Demand?

Since weak oil demand growth is a major ingredient in the current oil price crash, higher demand stimulated by low prices could be a moderating factor.While US demand has risen since prices fell, there are several reasons why the global response may...

Posted February 2, 2015    

Was 2014 Really the Warmest Year?

The media is widely reporting 2014 as the warmest year on record, yet the underlying data don't support that conclusion. The data actually lead to a different finding, of 2014 tied with 2010 and 2005 within the margin of error, reflecting ...

Posted January 22, 2015