West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil Prices - 70 Year Historical Chart
US$ per barrel, inflation adjusted, recessions in grey. Source.
There is considerable uncertainty in the energy sector. Technology is changing rapidly, geopolitical forces around energy supply and demand are unstable, significant environmental risks from its use are emerging, and users' and society's reactions to all these change has been and will continue to be significant.
Consequently new risks and opportunities will emerge on short time scales relatively to those of our energy research. The assumptions that underpin our current research activities will change. We need to be monitoring international developments in both technologies and markets to assess the impact on New Zealand, along with the way developments are playing out in New Zealand.
It will therefore be essential to have a programme of horizon scanning - monitoring these trends and increasing our understanding of how the New Zealand energy sector is likely to respond. We need to systematically monitor and enlarge our understanding of the New Zealand energy sector, focusing on risks and opportunities and taking account of its changing environment.
As new risks and opportunities emerge that are beyond business as usual so new areas of research will emerge over time. Also the results of new and existing programmes of research will inform new research, and there will be a need to develop an evaluation framework to ensure our research investments are effective.
This will ensure New Zealand's energy research strategy remains current.