The sometimes outspoken Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and executive vice president, IHS Inc., spoke at the 2008 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 23. Some of his remarks may be of interest to readers of TEB.
“High energy prices, climate change and energy security are converging as the new engine driving the development of clean energy, There is a major shift in public opinion towards clean energy, which is being bolstered by the growing conviction that new carbon policies will reshape the competitive landscape of the global energy business.” . . .
Citing CERA’s new study, Crossing the Divide: the Future of Clean Energy, Yergin said that renewable power and biofuels could be supplying as much as 16 percent of the global electric and transportation needs by 2030. . . .
On current oil prices, he added, “A major reason for the current leap to around $100 a barrel is the economy – but now a weak U.S. economy, rather than the strong global economy that has been so important the last few years. A slowing U.S. economy, rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and expectations of more, and a weak U.S. dollar – along with the reappearance of inflation around the world – are driving investors into oil and other commodities. Instead of the traditional ‘flight to the dollar’ during times of uncertainty, we are seeing a ‘flight to oil.’” . . .
Two of his key insights from the Crossing the Divide study may be of special interest to readers:
Renewable power technologies are poised for substantial growth – Wind will make the largest gains, followed by solar power and biomass — despite near-term bottlenecks in wind turbine manufacturing, supply shortages in silicon and competitive pressures from escalating component costs. Conventional emission-free technologies – Nuclear and hydroelectric generation will account for most of the clean energy impact for the next decade, and almost half the gross clean power additions by 2030. The coal resource base and utilization in the United States and China will create a powerful drive to develop “clean coal” technologies.