The next energy revolution: Glorious or bumpy? Winners or losers?

Is the next energy revolution going to be ‘glorious’ or a very bumpy ride in an already turbulent world?  Who are going to be the winners and losers?

The future green energy revolution is often pictured as a glorious combination of economic growth, employment and a solution to climate change. However the signs look more ominous.

Oil companies, the main stay of pension funds and western economies, have failed to turn themselves from extraction companies into energy companies. Their profitability is down or non-existent as energy returns on investment shrink and their debts are rising. Renewable energy is almost paying for itself, but solar is dominated by China and energy returns on investment anyway are an order of magnitude lower than Oil had in its hay day. Solutions to renewable energy intermittency still seem elusive.  How might this all play out in a world plagued by debt overhang and international trade and political tensions?

Professor Tim Foxon has looked at past revolutions in his new book “Energy and Economic Growth: Why we need a new pathway to prosperity” and they weren’t pretty. He will talk about what we can learn from them and what this might mean for a future revolution. Ingrid Holmes, Director at E3G, will give her perspective based on her extensive knowledge of energy and finance and broad experience of green energy politics.

How do you see the future unfolding?  Come and join the discussion.

Following discussion, there will be a wine reception.


Tim Foxon

Tim is Professor of Sustainability Transitions at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit). His research explores technological and social factors relating to the innovation of new … Read more

Ingrid Holmes

Ingrid is a Director at E3G. She leads E3G’s work on climate finance and investment. Her team focuses on the UK, EU, Latin America and … Read more

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School of Economic Science, 11-13 Mandeville Place, London, United Kingdom, W1U 3AJ


January 9, 2018

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