With huge hydrocarbon finds being unearthed in both conventional and unconventional sectors across the Americas, energy independence is being hyped to epic proportions in the United States. The scorecard now shows 6.5 trillion unconventional barrels of oil in the Americas, running from Canada all the way to Argentina, versus 1.2 trillion conventional barrels in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. and Brazil sit comfortably in the middle of the expected windfall, and even Mexico, long lost to the annals of hydrocarbon blunders, boasts major new unconventional reserves. Given the awesome scale of these figures, it is hardly surprising […]

BEIJING — Following recent declines in headline inflation, weak power generation in October and deepening financial losses for power companies, speculation has once again picked up regarding potential coal and electricity pricing reform in China. While some form of price adjustment looks imminent, structural reforms to pricing mechanisms affect multiple domestic interest groups and are proving hard to manage for the party-state. Beyond pricing, many broader reforms are already delayed, and the struggle to build consensus looks likely to cause further disruption. China’s ambition to wean itself off coal is well-documented. Draft versions of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) outlined […]

If the phenomenon of nuclear renaissance has a true believer, it is India. In the next decade, India envisages monumental growth in its nuclear energy production. Today, nuclear energy contributes only 3 percent of the country’s total energy mix — a meager 4,200 megawatts. By 2020, India plans to increase nuclear energy production tenfold, to 40,000 MW. But the question now facing New Delhi is whether hostile public opinion will scuttle India’s nuclear energy expansion. Massive anti-nuclear protests in India have brought progress on the Koodankulam nuclear power plant to a grinding halt. Before that, the Jaitapur nuclear project ran […]

Power is the ability to affect others to obtain preferred outcomes, and that can be done through coercion and payment or attraction and persuasion. Generally, people associate coercion with military power resources, but that is too reductive. After all, economic power resources can also be used for coercion. Even in terms of what is considered “normal” economic behavior, the boundaries are not always so clear. As Thomas Schelling has argued, “The difference between a threat and a promise, between coercion and compensation, sometimes depends on where the baseline is located.” After all, once compensation becomes an expectation, withholding it for […]