A rosy outlook for clean energy now takes on an air of uncertainty as renewables look to avoid becoming a casualty of an era of low oil prices.
Energy could provide fertile ground for bipartisan compromise in the next Congress, two former Senate majority leaders and the head of a think tank said at a Monitor breakfast Thursday. That could mean legislative action on anything from Keystone XL, to energy efficiency, to oil exports.
Plummeting oil prices seem like good news for US consumers, who are paying less at the pump than they have in four years. But cheap crude has its drawbacks – from undermining domestic oil production, to discouraging investment in new energy sources.
Oil prices have plunged in recent months, which is bad news for energy firms who have relied heavily on debt to finance their operations. Amid low oil prices, could a shakeout of the oil industry spark a broader financial crisis?
The cancellation of South Stream, a proposed gas pipeline to Europe from Russia, comes amid fraying ties between two critical centers of energy supply and demand. It's the clearest signal yet that Russia's grip on European energy markets is slipping.
Falling oil prices benefit China because the country does not make money on oil. Instead, it buys it, and is the world's largest net importer of oil. The lower oil prices fall, the more affordable it becomes for China to develop its economy.
Germany is weighing whether or not to undertake another monumental energy transition – shutting down its coal-fired power plants in order to slash carbon emissions. Europe's largest economy is already charting an impressive path forward with renewable energy.
If oil prices continue to slide, OPEC will almost certainly achieve its goal of preventing significant investment in new US oil production. But low oil prices will also put financial pressure on some of the cartel's most vulnerable members.
By letting oil prices slide and maintaining market share, OPEC is playing a risky game of chicken that will take years to play out.
Industrialized nations make good on a pledge to finance sustainable development. Iraqi troops reportedly retake the Baiji refinery. The US Senate votes down the Keystone XL pipeline. Catch up on global energy with Recharge.
Several US states that are overly dependent on oil to meet their budget forecasts are up for a big disappointment. They're experiencing the challenge of budget woes as a fall in oil prices could pose serious consequences for their economies.