Stories by Amy Myers Jaffe

Expert Voices

New energy technologies are disrupting the power of OPEC

Mohammed Barkindo speaking from a lectern
OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

The convergence of automation, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and big data analytics is poised to remake the transportation, electricity and manufacturing sectors in ways that could eliminate oil use. This comes just as the same energy innovations are making it easier and cheaper to extract oil and gas.

Why it matters: These technological changes mark an end to the psychology of oil scarcity that made Western democracies more tolerant of erratic actions by OPEC and other oil-producing states.

Expert Voices

Despite rise in U.S. oil production, OPEC still steers global prices

A general view shows oil pumping jacks and drilling pads at the Kern River Oil Field
The Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia announced an oil production cut of 500,000 barrels per day on Tuesday, just weeks after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said "U.S. friends in the Middle East" would compensate for the drastic decline in Venezuelan oil production driven by U.S. sanctions.

Why it matters: Although U.S. production continues to rise, it still accounts for only 11% of global consumption, compared to OPEC’s 32%. The recent supply cuts illustrate that sudden disruptions and U.S. sanctions that take oil out of the market can put OPEC, and Saudi Arabia specifically, back in charge of global oil prices.

Expert Voices

Green New Deal could support needed upgrades to energy infrastructure

A down transformer is photographed in Paradise, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.
A downed transformer in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo: Randy Vazquez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The sweeping ambition of the Green New Deal (GND) has raised questions about how it will be paid for. But it’s important to consider how its potential outlays might intersect with investments that will need to be made anyway to replace aging U.S. energy infrastructure.

The big picture: The U.S. already needs to increase its infrastructure investment by more than $3.8 trillion by 2040 in clean water, energy and electricity, transportation networks and telecommunications. The GND could offer a way for policymakers to direct the infrastructure repair and upgrading that already needs to be done in service of fighting climate change.