RCEM: Views on Energy News

Thanks to ESCP Europe's Research Centre for Energy Management's  wide network in the academic and business communities, our views on energy news give you comprehensive insight into energy issues. 

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A new era and an uncertain future

Few would go against the view that energy companies and policy makers are facing significant challenges as we enter a new era. The issues to be addressed are many: can we count on technological breakthroughs to cope with surging energy demand and at the same time handle the long term environmental constraints? What type of regulatory framework is most likely to provide the incentives for the necessary changes to take place? To what extent are nations ready to cooperate in addressing global energy challenges? Can we be assured that capital markets will provide the tremendous funds needed to develop energy infrastructures and improve energy efficiency?

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Shale development is a European economic imperative. Yet, only a handful of countries are seriously contemplating shale development at this time. The failure to act now in preparation for a post-2020 economy displays strategic short-sightedness and does not bode well for mid-and long-term EU economic well-being and competitiveness.    

In contrast, North America has embraced shale development. As a result, the price of natural gas in the US has declined to less than one-third the price of natural gas in Europe. This has been a boon to the US economy and helped US manufacturers achieve significant competitive advantages over Europe in some industry sectors - with the prospects of even greater advantages ahead. 

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Britain's new anti-corruption law, the UK Bribery Act 2010, came into force on 1 July 2011 after a legislative process that was long, complex, and controversial, mainly because of the implementing conditions. Companies in the energy sector, most of which have transnational business activities, are clearly covered under the law. This column will therefore briefly analyse the new set of rules and the scope of the law.

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Even a nuclear disaster like Fukushima cannot wipe out nuclear reactors from the world. Accidents, proliferation, social unease and high capital costs, all indicate that nuclear energy cannot grow fast, though in general, this is the case with almost all energy technologies that mature and succeed each other over many decades. Eventually, nuclear will play a larger role in electricity generation, but it will get there slowly.

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