As We Now Think

Reflections, commentary and analysis from Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

The social costs of energy transitions

Illustration of drop causing ripples in water

Energy systems create waves that ripple outwards throughout society.

by Clark A. Miller

Even as leader after leader in New York exhorted each other last week to take action to address climate change, a steady drumbeat of news has also highlighted just how rapidly global energy systems are beginning to change — and how fast the disruptive social and economic consequences of energy transitions are beginning to grow. Facing a dramatic expansion of distributed renewable energy generation, including off-grid developments, utilities worldwide are fighting a pitched battle to halt losses of revenues and customers. New technologies of hydraulic fracturing are quickly transforming the geography of global oil markets — and soon perhaps global natural gas markets, if the U.S. begins exports — in ways unexpected even a decade ago. Those same technologies have dramatically reduced natural gas prices in the United States. These dynamics, along with new regulations and the growth in renewable energy generation in both the U.S. and Europe, are driving utilities on both sides of the Atlantic to retire coal-fired power plants.

Read complete article in The Hill.

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This entry was posted on October 1, 2014 by in Energy, Science Policy, Technology and Society, Technology Policy.
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