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Energy Update

Athena @ ST 31 May 2018

Since our robot's last look at energy futures in November 2017, oil prices have shifted upwards. The short-term, forward look contains a lot of uncertainties given increasing geopolitical and other national policy issues and these will have long-erm effects too.
What is changing?















Do contact us to see how we can help you track future energy developments as they are announced or reported.

Sentiment analysis
Recent improvements in sentiment towards energy come from increasing annoucements on more use of wind and solar power in the U.S. and Europe, expectations of much more efficient batteries and energy storage systems including vehicle-to-grid are on the horizon.

The shift towards electric vehicles will see demand for traditional road transport fossil fuels replaced with demand for electricity.

Pie charts
It's 31 years since the Bruntland Commission first coined the term sustainable development, including energy in its ambit. Though renewable energies are gaining momentum, particularly in Europe and China, Asia and Africa still have a long way to go to wean themselves off oil and coal. Athena thinks the tipping point for global acceptance of the need for universal renewable energy will likely take another generation until 2042. The difference between electric cars and gasoline cars will only grow-cementing the role of electric vehicles in halving U.S. oil use and cutting global warming emissions.

We are showing the cloud this week to bring home the point that our world relies on traditional energies with renewables not yet the dominant force and unlikely to be until well into the 21st century.

The top ten sectors most likely affected by changes in future energy policy and pricing will be manufacturing, food & agriculture, the environment, energy, government, retail, healthcare, construction, support services, aerospace and defense. But, the top three: manufacturing, food & agriculture, and the environment stand out as the key sectors likely to experience transformative change. All ten sectors are likely to continue looking for energy savings as global economic growth continues a low and possible, future recessionary path from 2019 onwards bringing the benefits of reduced resource use, less pollution, lower energy costs and distributed power.

Five years from now we are likely to see the better use of energy systems in smart cities, better batteries and states, particularly the US becoming increasingly energy independent as new technologies come on stream.

Heat Map

Late to the party and despite Donald Trump' withdrawal from the Paris agreement and emaciation of the EPA, the US is likely to continue to benefit from its shale gas projects and major investments in solar and wind. By 2040, Canada and the USA are projected to double 2015 production of shale gas. The United States is already a net exporter of natural gas because of growing shale gas production. Trump is not seeing the boost in coal production he promised at the time of his election. Per an EIA release, US coal exports will drop to 88.1 million tons in 2018 and further decline to 84.6 million tons in 2019.

Norway whose economy used to rely almost entirely on petrochemicals is now embracing clean energy and could even become one of the world's fully electric powered country.

And, adoption of solar power is occurring rapidly in Australia and soon will account for about 90% of residential energy consumption and meet about 50% of the country's needs. Australia could become a superpower in exports of renewable energy in the medium term.


The world will need much more energy to sustain the expected extra two point seven billion people that will likely inhabit the Earth by 2050. Asia and Africa are expected to represent almost 80% of the world's population by 2050.

More than half of the global population growth leading up to 2050 will occur in Africa and Africa's population is expected to expand by 1.3 billion. The majority of the increases will come in India, China and Nigeria. India is expected to account for 30-40 percent of overall demand growth for energy in the next two decades.

The U.S. and Australia are becoming independent of energy imports and will likely be major exports, while Russia continues to look for oil and gas export markets to sustain its sanction restrained economy. Iran will follow suit soon.
Continued geopolitical issues particularly affecting Venezuela, the Middle East and Western and Eastern Europe are likely to create continued volatility in energy prices in a very complex market.

Energy is an expensive commodity for most organizations so its no surprise that most sectors have his as very high on their priorities.

The chart below shows the key influencers Athena used to create this report. It's becoming increasingly noticeable across most topics we have recently covered that the EU is having considerable influence on regulatory matters: energy is no exception.

Athena used the sources below as the top ones to create this report and determined which embedded forecasts are included in this Trend Alert. She found 18,553 forecasts in seconds on the 24th May 2018 to allow us to publish this summary in less than an hour. She can turn these into PowerPoint slides and Audio files in minutes too as you wish, or we can prepare a full customized and professionally written brief for you to order covering all 18,553 forecasts.


Athena does show duplicates to aid your understanding of themes as well as contradictory forecasts. She may also show near-duplicates. You can speed read past the duplicates and near-duplicates if you wish, though the latter may show additional information. You can use the contradictory, and likely uncertain forecasts she finds to imagine different scenarios. The future is unpredictable, but we can examine the possibilities and choose our preferable future from the choices she presents.

Athena is apolitical. She will report forecasts from different viewpoints however distasteful that might be to our own values. Wearing rose-colored glasses is not her purpose; reporting potential futures is. So, we recommend you check her veracity before responding to her extracted forecasts.

Just like humans, Athena can be fallible. Do recognize that you and your associates are biased too. But whereas you tire, make mistakes and only recognize what interests you, she does not. She might miss or misinterpret as you do, but with far less frequency and she'll take uncomfortable truths and alternative ideas in her stride. But, please let us know if you feel her bias can be reduced. We want to do our best for you. And, as with any research, you should check and triangulate her findings for yourself.

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