Visions of our energy future

February 26, 2010 | 00:00

Visions of our energy future

Since European Energy Review started as online medium on 2 December last year, our best read article has been Peter Odell’s grand vision of the world’s energy prospects. His article, Our Long-Term Energy Future: A Reality Check, a wide-ranging, well-reasoned view of what the future will hold, clearly filled a need for our readers.

Not that everyone agreed with Odell’s message. Odell, one of the best known energy economists alive, argues that carbon fuels will continue to dominate the world’s energy supply in the 21st century. What is more, he does not think this is a problem, as, in his view, there are plenty of fossil fuel resources and the threat of climate change is probably exaggerated.

This is a message not every one likes to hear. One reader accused us of “tabloid journalism”, another asked ‘I wonder who funds the good Professor?’ Well, I can assure our readers that Professor Odell is a man of integrity who has no hidden political or commercial interests. Indeed, he is a former advisor of the Labour government in Britain and has solar panels on the roof of his house – if that means anything.

European Energy Review, for those who don’t know us yet, specialises in well-argued visions of all aspects of our energy future. But, fortunately, in doing this we do not serve any special, let alone hidden, interests. We are a fully independent medium. If you think our content is influenced by corporate sponsors, like gas or oil companies, I recommend that you read another very popular essay that we published in January, Walt Patterson’s Down with Fuel. Patterson, a former campaigner for Friends of the Earth, writes that ‘Using fuel the way we do threatens the security of our energy services and the climate of the only planet we have’. A rather different message from Odell’s. Both Walt Patterson and Peter Odell are on our editorial board, by the way.

To be sure, we do believe there is nothing wrong with listening to what business has to say, so we were proud to present the World according to ExxonMobil. But we also go out into the Amazonian jungle to find out what the world is like according to Ecuadorian environmentalists. We examine the potential of unconventional gas – but also of geothermal energy and of solar power. The latter article, by Jaap Hoogakker and Eva Bik, which presents a very sunny outlook on the potential contribution solar power could make to our energy future, has also been among our readers’ favourites.

Far from producing “tabloid journalism”, we demand from our stories one thing above all: that they are clear and well argued. Our ambition is to become the best platform for the serious discussion of European energy issues. In this we do not wish to compete with think tanks and research institutions; on the contrary, we hope to cooperate with them and become, for all seekers of serious information, the gateway to more in-depth energy sources.

Why did we start a European energy review? Because we see that the European energy market is going through a huge transition. It is moving from a patchwork of national, monopolistic markets to an integrated (both physically and in terms of rules and regulatons) and liberalised market – with all the enormous changes that entails.
Moreover this change, momentous as it is by itself, is taking place against the backdrop of two other far-reaching developments: Europe’s increasing energy dependence and the climate change issue.

Karel Beckman is editor-in-chief of European Energy Review
These different developments inevitably affect each other in many ways. It is impossible to assess the wisdom of, for example, new investments in high-voltage interconnections or gas storages, without taking into account such factors as the European Commission’s drive towards a European energy regulator, the evolution of EU-Russia relations, the future of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), or the discussion about the unbundling of energy companies. To understand what is going in the European energy market, it must be viewed in its entirety, with all its multifarious relations.

This is what European Energy Review is trying to do, since, we believe, no one else is doing it – at least not from a truly European perspective.

I am glad to say that since we changed from our print edition to a fully online version, almost three months ago, visitor numbers to our website have continued to climb. We are also grateful that we have found a number of partners and advertisers who support us, although we certainly have room for more. One exciting development is that our articles will soon be translated into Russian and distributed in Russia by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepeneurs (RSPP).

At this moment, we are preparing several “sub-websites” under the flag of European Energy Review which will focus on some of the major issues facing the European energy sector today. This we hope will encourage debate and make our unique information more (and more permanently) accessible.

In the meantime, if you are new to European Energy Review, of if you have missed some of our stories, you might want to do some catching up. An obvious thing to do would be to start with our best-read stories of the past month, which you can find here on our homepage, or check out the list below, of our best-read stories ever. But I can assure you that on our website you can find many other excellent stories that do not appear in these lists. Enjoy your reading – and thank you for your interest.

Karel Beckman, editor-in-chief

All-time best-read articles on European Energy Review

  1. Peter Odell, Our long-term energy future
  2. Karel Beckman, Unmasking of the IPCC will put brakes on climate policy
  3. Yves de Saint Jacob, interview Christoph de Margerie, ceo Total
  4. Iana Dreyer, The competition case against Gazprom
  5. Jaap Hoogakker and Eva Bik, Europe’s Sunny Future
  6. Karel Beckman, The World According to ExxonMobil
  7. Reinhard Rümler, Robert Senger, Stefan Tenner, Germany leads spectacular growth in gas storage capacity
  8. Chris Cragg, Threat or Promise: the Complexity of Methane Hydrates
  9. David Haverbeke, Barbara Naesens, Wouter Vandorpe, Strengthening European regulatory powers
  10. Walt Patterson, Down with Fuel

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