Article from: OGEL 2 (2005), in Editorial
At present, the world faces what might be a temporary or more lasting imbalance in oil supply, partly due, it seems to decades of under-investment by the major oil companies more susceptible to pressures from the capital markets and to the relative closure of OPEC acreage to international investment - in addition, naturally, to huge demand increases from in particular China and India. The situation of the oil market can easily get out of hand, should additional crises - e.g. political and economic mismanagement of different sorts in Venezuela and Russia, terrorism in Saudi Arabia, escalation of the never ending US war in Iraq, - break out.
It is normal that at that time we are compelled to look for alternatives to oil. These are far from close in pragmatic and realistic terms as the large consumers (Chinese and Indian industrialisation, US private car consumption) seem to be still impervious to the current (not tax enhanced) prices of gasoline. But there has to be, and will be, a new emphasis one energy efficiency (logically the most efficient way to save oil) and alternative sources (which all have their limitations - nuclear the decommissioning and security, windpower the investment requirements and the stability of wind supply etc).
But the more the price of oil moves up (let us think of 100 US$ per barrel as a possible target in a not favourable, not inevitable, but possible scenario) and if the prices of oil remain at levels over 50 US$, the economic feasibility of virtually every alternative and energy efficiency measures will also increase significantly.
With an earlier OGEL special issue in 2004, we have highlighted renewable energy sources. With this issue, we highlight windpower. Windpower is not the only solution, but it could well be one essential part in a mix of measures which include energy efficiency, windpower and other renewables, expansion of nuclear and new technologies (carbon sequestration). This special issue will be followed some time later by a special issue on coal.
The special issue illustrates both development in windpower, and regulatory, financing, investment and commercial challenges. Thanks to our contributors and to Carol Smoots of Perkins Coie LLP in Washington, a colleague and friend with decades of experience in US and international energy law and regulation.