Publications

- April 1, 2016; Vol. 3, Number 4

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Investing in an Era of Energy Abundance: Trying to make money in the glutted energy sector has become more difficult than ever

by Benjamin Cole

The Peak Oil crowd held center stage only a few years ago, having resurrected themes from the Limits to Growth troupe of a generation earlier. But, again, dramatic predictions of tightening scarcity have instead dissolved into widening gluts.

The upending of natural gas and oil markets in 2016 is savaging investors in fossil fuels, and could yet undermine entire nations. There are further ramifications for the whole range of energy industries, including alternative or renewable energies.

Some may consider current low fossil-fuel prices a refutation of renewables and alternatives, which were usually premised on higher prices, and even then often on nonmarket crutches. To be sure, what appear practical energy options at $100 a barrel become much less so at $30. Meanwhile, natural gas prices are plumbing 1980s-era price points.

Yet, there is another take on the energy sector: Alternatives are here to stay, and they may help place a soft ceiling on energy pr

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