Editorial: Happy New Year and oh thanks Mr President!

This is going to be easy, Happy New Year to all our readers. I don’t think there is much more to say is there? 2013 has started and we all […]

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By Sumit Bose

This is going to be easy, Happy New Year to all our readers.

I don’t think there is much more to say is there? 2013 has started and we all have our dreams hopes and aspirations for it. Many will only just be surfacing around midday (myself included) nursing some hangovers (myself excluded) and all of us will have a funny feeling about starting over again.

I never quite understand why midnight on Dec 31 means so much? The world doesn’t suddenly shift on its axis, sweep up all the crap in our lives and dump it over the edge, yet we all feel a sense of renewal with the changing of year.

So we make our resolutions. Health and wealth will be top of the pile for most of us, perhaps love, some will ask for the safe return of someone or the strength to quit someone or something. Health food stores will bulge and diet books will fly off the shelves. Gyms will be packed in January and lots of us will promise to be nicer or do something different to change our lives.

Last night the world would have looked very bright from space. All those buildings lit up, the millions of fireworks set off from Samoa to Sweden. Our planet would have used masses of energy to mark the passing of just one day. But perhaps there was a real reason to celebrate last night, the albeit temporary deal on the US economy thrashed out at literally the 11th hour helping the US avoid what’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff”.

Republicans and Democrats agreed a deal to avoid huge tax hikes and simultaneous spending cuts. In a speech welcoming it President Obama explained what the deal would mean for millions of Americans and he also pointed out it would importantly extend tax credits for “clean energy companies that are creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.” Yes energy policy is vital for the US economy and the US economy is vital for global energy policy.

The next few days we will see how the markets react to this and how much oil prices fluctuate. The energy year of 2013 is underway will it be less or more turbulent than 2012? No one can say yet. Big policy decisions will need to be ironed out here including the full details of the energy bill, shale gas, the green investment bank not to mention tackling our huge looming infrastructure crisis.

When ELN started in 2010 we were told 2013/14 would see construction of nuclear power plants, will that finally happen now? Will Scotland continue to pull away in terms of energy policy from the rest of the UK by going fully green to exploit its wind and tidal resources ahead of next year’s crucial referendum on independence? How strong will UK target setting be and has the love affair with electric vehicles already run out of juice? And of course prices what will happen to the cost of energy, yes it will rise but by how much?

Just some of the issues we will no doubt cover during the next 364 days. But for today we need not worry about a huge economic shock which would no doubt have sent energy prices stratospheric, Energy Ministers can take it easy knowing that when they come back to Westminster they have room to breathe. Thanks Mr Obama.