October 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm Contributed by: Chris
I’m very pleased to announce that I have recently launched a weekly podcast, “The Energy Transition Show with Chris Nelder.” In it, I seek out independent and knowledgeable experts on all aspects of energy transition for in-depth, data-filled interviews, and toss in some of my own observations and comments on recent energy-related news stories…plus some topically appropriate music clips. Please check it out and send us your feedback on what you like, don’t like, or would like to see covered in a future episode!
I made a guest appearance on The Energy Gang podcast today (a production of Greentech Media), to talk about peak oil and the challenges of energy and transportation transition. My segment runs for about the first half an hour. You can listen to it here or via your favorite podcast player, or just play it below.
My thanks to host Stephen Lacey for having me on the show!
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Belatedly, I thought I’d update my readers on what I’ve been up to for the past 18 months in my work at the Global Footprint Network, which is now concluded.
I created, launched and managed an innovative cost-benefit analysis methodology called NPV+, which internalizes real costs and benefits that are often externalized in budget decisions, and uses scenarios to set more a realistic context for future resource availability and prices. The pilot of the project was conducted under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, with the cooperation of the Maryland state government and the personal support of Governor O’Malley, and was featured in Governing Magazine and Fast Company magazine.
As more decision-makers look for ways to identify capital projects that produce sustainable and resilient outcomes, and to start pricing in carbon emissions, I expect this sort of analysis to become much more common. I encourage my readers to explore it and welcome comments and questions about it.
I have a new short piece in Petroleum Economist surveying the growth of wind and solar around the world, and the outlook for fossil fuels on the grid. The first few paragraphs are free to read, but the rest is behind a paywall.
December 12, 2014 at 9:40 am Contributed by: Chris
Oil is back above the fold as prices continue to crash, but most of the coverage has been overly focused on geopolitical narratives and missing the point, which is written in the data as plain as day. So I wrote a short explainer about what’s going on. Read it here: Drilling Down on the Oil Price Slide
October 28, 2014 at 10:07 am Contributed by: Chris
I am no longer writing regularly for anyone, as my full-time job has kept me quite busy. But this week I wrote up a huge (308 page) new report by geoscientist J. David Hughes for the Post Carbon Institute, which offers the most detailed and transparent data to date on U.S. tight oil and shale gas fields. Its conclusions are in sharp contrast to the EIA’s projection. Rather than seeing production from these fracking operations remaining large for decades into the future, as EIA does, Hughes’ analysis sees both tight oil and shale gas peaking before 2020, then declining at a far faster rate than EIA does.
For my final article for SmartPlanet, which is closing down as an independent publication, I take an in-depth look at the research to date on stranded carbon assets, and offer my own thoughts on the subject. I believe that the risks of stranded assets are far larger than has been contemplated thus far.
(Note: The title at SmartPlanet wasn’t mine. As my article details, estimates of the size of the “carbon bubble” vary from $1.1 trillion to $28 trillion, and I think even the latter estimate is too low.)
Back in early April, I had the pleasure of attending the Bloomberg New Energy Finance “Future of Energy Summit 2014” conference in New York City, where I heard from a large number of decidedly upbeat executives in the sector, who were very optimistic indeed about the future of renewable energy and cleantech in general. The buzz in the finance and insurance space was particularly interesting.
For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed a few (of many) echoes to my recent piece on the energy transition tipping point, and explained why I have decided to emphasize the progress renewable energy and efficiency are making, rather than the risks of peak oil and economic collapse.
I wrote a short piece for Petroleum Economist about why the next growth region for solar power may be the Middle East. Most of it is behind a paywall, but if you’re a subscriber you can read it here: Place in the sun
If you’d rather listen to my thoughts than read them, I have made three recent guest appearances on some podcasts.
– On the Extraenvironmentalist podcast with Seth and Justin: Episode 76 (I last appeared on the Extraenvironmentalist podcast in August 2012.) Update June 2, 2014: Thanks to Scott Bohachyk, an amazingly dedicated Extraenvironmentalist listener who transcribed my whole segment, you can read it as well: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
– On the KunstlerCast podcast with James Howard Kunstler: Episode 251
For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed the trends I have explored over the past several years and updated them with fresh data, and concluded that the world has reached a tipping point in energy transition from which there will be no going back.
February 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm Contributed by: Chris
For SmartPlanet last week, I reported on my trip to the 2014 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, and the slow progress United Arab Emirates appears to be making on its goals to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels and build Masdar City.
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the debate over whether the US should lift its ban on exporting crude oil. But whereas most of the opposition to lifting the ban has focused on jobs and prices, I see another even more important angle: the long-term energy security of the United States. In the 1980s, Britain went all-out on producing its North Sea oil and gas for export, and now it is paying punishingly high prices for imports of both, as well as for gas-fueled grid power. Do we really want to make the same mistake in this country, considering that several good, transparent models show US tight oil peaking and going into decline within the next 7 years?
December 15, 2013 at 9:37 pm Contributed by: Chris
For SmartPlanet this week, I featured a new report by geoscientist David Hughes, which is the first publicly available empirical analysis of actual oil production data from the Monterey shale formation in California. Widely touted as the next big play in fracking, the Monterey looks to be a dud.
November 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm Contributed by: Chris
For SmartPlanet this week, I followed up on my previous story about securitization and other financial innovations in renewable energy with a look at the emerging “green bond” market, which is bringing billions of dollars of financing to bear on climate change solutions. I also talked to a creative New York-based financing company that is packaging off-balance-sheet bonds to help cities implement self-financing energy efficiency improvements.