The social costs of energy transitions

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 <a href=" view it now.pdf” target=”_blank”>retire coal-fired power plants.

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in The Hill.