Illuminating National Energy Priorities
The Research Triangle Energy Consortium was created in 2007 by Duke University, NC State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International to collaboratively address the nation’s energy priorities, and those of the world by extension. Today it stands as a platform to discourse on these matters and to disseminate understanding on them. Financial support for the effort is now provided solely by RTI International.
Over the past few years, our thrust areas have remained much the same, and can be found in the Current Activity section. There we detail the areas of emphasis, including specific activity related to each objective.
Our Director Vikram Rao wrote the book Shale Gas: the Promise and the Peril published by RTI Press in 2012. A revised and updated edition, including shale oil and other recent occurrences, was released in 2015. The original book has been used in nine courses in 7 universities. Free PDF copies are made available to students in such courses. His book Sustainable Shale Oil and Gas, Analytical Chemistry, Geochemistry and Biochemistry Methods, was published by Elsevier Press in October, 2016. His latest, Particulates Matter, is a book on airborne particulates, released by Elsevier Press in December 2020.
The big story in energy in 2014 and 2015 had been the plummeting price of oil. The causes and consequences have been the subject of the Breakfast Forums and the Directors Blog. The commentary has included policy elements such as the effect of US restrictions on the export of oil (now lifted) and economics elements such as impact on renewables. A possible new normal of oil priced in the range USD 45 – 60 per barrel will create winners in the net importing nations such as the US, China and India, and losers in the exporting nations such as Venezuela, Russia and Nigeria.
Since we began this site solar energy has reached a high level of maturity. In many places material portions of electricity are sourced in this manner and the trajectory is positive. In India, a recent winning bid for utility scale solar promised electricity at prices lower than from coal. Since oil is minimally used to create electricity (pretty much only in the Middle East is it a major fuel for this purpose), the oil price drop is not a deterrent except for a minor contributory effect on natural gas price.
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