We hope you enjoyed the holiday break and are ready for a semester full of exciting events! This semester we are introducing our biweekly newsletter. A breakdown of the most important energy news you should know about, so that you are ready for your next interview and land your dream job 💡
1. REFLECTING ON 2019: A CLEAN ENERGY MILESTONE FOR THE UK’S ENERGY SECTOR. 2. 2020: OIL PRICES SURGE AS A RESULT OF TURMOIL IN THE MIDDLE EAST. 3. RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE STRIKE AN ENERGY DEAL.
REFLECTING ON 2019: A CLEAN ENERGY MILESTONE FOR THE UK’S ENERGY SECTOR.
What happened? During the third quarter of 2019, the UK generated more electricity from renewable energy sources than fossil fuels. This is the first time this has happened since the industrial revolution.
What does this mean? During July, August and September 2019 wind, solar, nuclear and hydro energy accounted for 48.5% of the UK’s energy generation, whilst fossil fuels made up 43% (8.5% was generated through biomass and waste). Over the past decade, the UK has managed to decarbonise electricity faster than 25 other major economies using market incentives such as subsidy schemes and carbon taxes. Although this is largely due to the growth in the renewables sector, the UK has also witnessed a decline in the reliance on coal power which was once the cornerstone of the British energy sector.
Why should I care? These figures are important in the UK’s long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Despite this progress, at current rates it is unlikely that the UK will reach its 2050 target if the progress in the electricity is not seen in other sectors such as heating and transport. Furthermore, the decline in the use of fossil fuels is partially made possible by the use of nuclear power, which today is responsible for roughly 19.5 % of the UK’s power generation. This figure is likely to rise due to the controversial creation of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Although nuclear energy is largely carbon neutral, many have warned that, in fact, there is no such thing as a zero emission nuclear power plant due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium. Many of these emissions are considered harmful to people’s health.
2020: OIL PRICES SURGE AS A RESULT OF TURMOIL IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
What happened? After the US killing of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, tensions in the region rose, causing oil prices to rise above $70 a barrel for the first time in over three months.
What does this mean? The assassination sparked intense tensions between Washington and Tehran that caused a considerable increase in the price of oil futures and has also scared investors. The tension is considered to be an increased risk to energy supplies in the region. Specifically, there are worries about the Strait of Hormuz, through which a staggering 20% of the world’s oil supply passes. Many of the biggest oil producers would be affected in the Strait could not be safely navigated.
Why should I care? Oil prices affect the overall economies of countries and the world. A rise in oil prices means that the cost of many goods increases as well. This is because a lot of products are made using petroleum as a component. Oil prices will indirectly affect the cost of transport, heating and many goods that consumers purchase.
RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE STRIKE AN ENERGY DEAL.
What happened? At the end of 2019, Russia and the Ukraine agreed on a deal that guarantees the flow of gas to Europe for a further 5 years.
What does this mean? The agreement means that the contract which stipulates that gas traded between Russia and many European countries passes through existing gas lines in the Ukraine will be renewed. The deal means that Gazprom will likely pump 65bn cubic meters of gas through Ukraine’s system in 2020. This benefits the Ukraine who charge for this process as well as Europe and Russia who represent the demand and supply of the industry respectively.
Why should I care? About 37% of European gas comes from Russia and therefore the deal helped to ensure the security of Europe’s gas supply. A decade ago, when tensions were high between Russia and the Ukraine, Europe’s gas supply was heavily affected. The deal is a step in the right direction to preventing this from reoccurring. However, many warn that Putin uses energy as a political weapon and advise the EU to break its reliance on Russian gas, which this new deal makes less likely.
Written by Sonja Rijnen