A few highlights:
Summers says US energy secretary Stephen Chu appeared to agree with the theory advanced by Professor James Hamilton that the 2007- 08 oil price shock was responsible for the 2008 US downturn. (The EIA will publish the speeches later for those who want to check.) Chu was also concerned about the receding Sierra mountain snows and implications for California’s water supply.
A panel session focused on oil, which included speakers from Pemex, PFC Energy and Energy Intelligence Group, looked at some of the main oil-producing countries and was pessimistic about Venezuela, optimistic (unsurprisingly) about stabilising production levels from Mexico, viewed Petrobras as a success and Nigeria as a “failed state”. Middle East states and Russia were also discussed.
The natural gas session was fairly technical but one speaker noted there were “‘lots’ of natural gas folk coming into the new administration”.
Summers also wrote about the renewables session with some interesting comments from the Electric Power Research Institute. Bryan Hannegan of EPRI said wind would lead the market penetration, although supplementing wind with natural gas wouldn’t be enough, and he also talks about the difficulty upgrading the grid.