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Energy

Germany 2030: Germany's Prosperity Rests on Innovation

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Abstract in English: 
In the coming years, prosperity in Germany will have to be generated through technology and knowledge to an increasing degree. Technological progress will become the sole driver of growth in the long run as growth contributed by labour and capital declines in the face of demographic change.
Germany must now chart the course for this transformation.

Radical technological change will slash marginal costs, opening up completely new business models. This will change value added in key sectors including mobility, healthcare and energy, and increase integration with services.

Germany must take more concerted action than it has so far to set the course for industrial policy going forward. Although Germany still boasts a range of outstanding benefits as a business location, it must tackle weak points in the start-up environment, venture capital, public investment and regulatory parameters for key technologies.

The strategic priorities of German industrial policy must continue to be the deepening of the European single market and the international trade and investment regime. Bilateral and multilateral trade policy has moved into rougher waters while the untapped potential right here in the European Union
is wholly underestimated.

In the digital world too, a good balance must be found between productivity and social cohesion. While this vision is still forming on the horizon, the political course taken now will determine whether it will turn into a positive or a plaintive reality.
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40
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A US Strategy for Sustainable Energy Security

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The national energy system of the United States is aging and has to be renewed in a dynamic fashion to adapt to the transformative changes in the world of energy. Failure to do so will result in substantial economic disadvantage and national security vulnerabilities, and risk the United States’ position as the leading global power in the twenty-first century. The need for modernization represents a unique opportunity to upgrade the United States to a cutting edge system of energy hardware and software. Moreover, climate change is a severe threat to the United States and an existential one to much of the rest of humanity. Climate change represents an ever growing, direct risk to the American people as extreme weather events wreak havoc, rising sea levels engulf coastal cities, and natural beauties and wildlife habitats degrade.
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Security and Public Order Report

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The security situation facing the Middle East is grave and appears to be trending toward greater violence and instability. The Middle East Strategy Task Force's Security and Public Order report, published in cooperation with the Brookings Institution, demonstrates that states of the region have tended to focus on traditional, external threats but the internal threats they face—from domestic unrest, state failure, and civil war—have become both more common and dangerous.

It is highly unlikely that these security problems will solve themselves or that regional states will be able to resolve them on their own. Given the ongoing importance of Middle Eastern energy resources to the international economy, the region’s central geographic location, its multiplicity of terrorist groups, and the extent of regional anger at numerous other countries for their predicament, it would be a mistake to assume that these security problems will not affect the wider world. Already the problems of terrorism and refugees generated by Middle Eastern upheaval have made many Americans, Europeans, Russians, and Middle Easterners want to take action themselves.
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48
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Munich Security Report 2015: Collapsing Order, Reluctant Guardians?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, January 26, 2015
Abstract in English: 
this report described in the press release as "an annual digest on critical questions and important trends in the field of international security policy." The first section of the report focuses on the roles of international actors, Germany, United States, Europe, NATO, Russia, and emerging powers. The second section discusses three "hot spots"-- Ukraine, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. The third section reviews major issues such as terrorism, energy security, and refugee crises, and the fourth section suggests additional reading and research materials.
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The Future of Electricity in Fast-Growing Economies

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Electricity markets in fast-growing economies face different challenges than those in more mature markets. Mature markets with stable demand for electricity are transitioning to a more sustainable mix of power generation technologies while continuing to support economic growth with affordable and secure power. Fast-growing markets are trying to serve voracious new demand for electricity as their economies grow, as more customers are connected to the grid and as per capita consumption grows.

This report recognizes the need for policy to balance the objectives in the Forum’s energy architecture triangle: security and accessibility, short- and medium-term affordability, and environmental sustainability. The fact that 1.2 billion people lacked access to electricity in 2012, combined with the scale of poverty, will inevitably focus attention on accessibility and affordability. But even as they make progress on achieving reliable universal access, fast-growing markets will need to develop roadmaps that take advantage of new technologies to make their power affordable while increasing environmental sustainability.
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Circular economy in Europe — Developing the knowledge base

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, January 18, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The report describes the concept of the circular economy and outlines its key characteristics. It draws attention to both the benefits and challenges in transitioning to such an economy and highlights possible ways to measure progress.

Europe is bound to the rest of the world through multiple systems that enable two-way flows of materials, financial resources, ideas and innovation. As a result, Europe's economic, ecological and societal resilience is and will continue to be significantly affected by a variety of global and interdependent social, economic, political, environmental and technological trends.

Global material resource use in 2030, for example, is expected to be twice that of 2010 (SERI, 2013), while the most recent United Nations forecast suggests that the global population is likely to exceed 11 billion by the end of the 21st century (UN DESA, 2015). With 7.2 billion people today, however, the planet is already struggling to meet humanity's demands for land, food and other natural resources, and to absorb its wastes. Indeed, there is evidence that some planetary boundaries, which define a safe operating space for human development, may already have been transgressed. These include the biosphere's integrity, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, climate change and land system changes
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42
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Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Abstract in English: 
A surge in new supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is about to hit the global market over the next several years. LNG export projects already under construction worldwide will add up to 175 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG capacity by 2020, mainly from Australia and the United States, and additional projects will move ahead as developers line up more customers.
The rise in LNG supplies will encounter substantially lower gas prices than in recent years and a slowdown in global gas demand, raising questions about the economics of LNG projects. For US exporters, liquefaction and tanker transport will add about $5.30 per million British thermal units (mbtu) in costs for LNG sent to Japan. The cost is similar to liquefy, transport, and regasify LNG sent to Europe, where the cost of regasifying LNG needs to be included to compare its price with pipeline gas.1 With average prices for LNG falling below $8 per mbtu in Japan and even lower in Europe, there is little margin for profit even with Henry Hub prices currently at about $2.40 per mbtu.2 However, LNG exporters are likely to continue selling as long as their variable costs can be covered.
For US exporters, the outlook is more favorable for companies who have concluded a final investment decision to go ahead with an LNG export project. Most of these projects are under construction and have much of their planned output already contracted to sell over twenty years. Most of the US sales will not begin until after the next two years, when demand may be stronger.
The majority of Australia’s projects will already be up and running by 2018 and therefore pose less competition for US exporters seeking to acquire new LNG customers. US projects are also ahead of proposed projects offshore East Africa and in the Eastern Mediterranean, which may not come online until after 2020.
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28
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Moving Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond oil

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Abstract in English: 
After a surge in prosperity over the past decade fueled by rising oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s economy is at an inflection point. We see a real opportunity for the country to inject new dynamism into its economy through a productivity- and investment-led transformation that could help ensure future growth, employment, and prosperity. In a new McKinsey Global Institute report, Saudi Arabia beyond oil: The investment and productivity transformation, we discuss how the country has significant opportunities to transform its economy to become more sustainable and less dependent on oil. Among our findings:

- The oil price boom from 2003 to 2013 fueled rising prosperity in Saudi Arabia, which became the world’s 19th-largest economy. GDP doubled, household income rose by 75 percent, and 1.7 million jobs were created, including jobs for a growing number of Saudi women. The government invested heavily in education, health, and infrastructure and built up reserves amounting to almost 100 percent of GDP in 2014.
- The country can no longer rely on oil revenue and public spending for growth, in the face of a changing global energy market and a demographic transition that will significantly increase the number of working-age Saudis by 2030. The current labor participation rate is 41 percent, and productivity growth of 0.8 percent annually from 2003 to 2013 trailed many emerging economies.
- Our model integrating Saudi Arabia’s economic, labor-market, and fiscal perspectives shows that even if the country responds to these challenging conditions with policy changes such as a budget freeze or immigration curbs, unemployment will rise rapidly, household income will fall, and the fiscal position of the national government will deteriorate sharply.
- However, a productivity-led economic transformation could enable Saudi Arabia to double its GDP again and create as many as six million new jobs by 2030 (exhibit). We estimate this would require about $4 trillion in investment. Eight sectors—mining and metals, petrochemicals, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, tourism and hospitality, healthcare, finance, and construction—have the potential to generate more than 60 percent of this growth opportunity.
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156
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The future of electricity transmission : cost-benefit analysis of a biodiversity-friendly vegetation management in forest corridors

Author: 
Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 30, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Vegetation is a threat for electricity transmission when overhead high-tension lines are crossing forest areas. For this reason, Transmission System Operators (TSO) often proceed by regular vegetation destruction in order to prevent any electrical blackout that could be triggered by trees, by contact or by fall.

The innovative LIFE Elia-RTE project (funded partly by EU) decided to think about alternative methods that could ensure not only electrical safety, but also enhance biodiversity ! These methods should aim at protecting species and natural habitats encompassed by the European Natura 2000 legislation. Indeed, for a good ecological state, we need core areas and connection corridors. This is where high-tension lines have a strong potential to be converted as green corridor for biodiversity.

On a 30 years timescale, biodiversity-friendly vegetation management has been estimated to be 1.4 to 3.9 cheaper than traditional vegetation management ! And not only for its cost savings, it also brings many other benefits.

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24
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Zero-carbon London: A plan for the next mayoral term

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 23, 2015
Abstract in English: 
London is not on pace to meet its current emissions target, a 60 per cent reduction by 2025. We call on the next mayor of London to pick up the pace – and provide a plan for how they could pursue an ambitious new target, for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2050.

This presentation-style report sets out nine 'Essentials' and 12 'Desirables' for the next mayor to deliver, if the 2050 emissions target is to be achieved. As well as providing benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, many of these policies and investments will benefit Londoners by promoting economic growth, creating jobs, improving health and life expectancy, saving residents and businesses money and energy, and making London a nicer city to live in.

At the same time, London has a great opportunity to take a global leadership role in city-led climate change action, sharing with and learning from major towns and cities across the UK and internationally.
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28
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