Steven W. Curbow, Portfolio Manager and Equity Analyst, January 6, 2012
Energy permeates every aspect of our lives, from the power plants that provide electricity to our homes and businesses to the factories that produce everything from cars to furniture. Accordingly, affordable and efficient energy sources are crucial to the health of the global economy — particularly in countries like the United States, where the most energy per capita of any nation on earth is consumed, and China, where the demand for energy has skyrocketed in the wake of exponential economic growth in the past decade.
Energy in all its forms — from coal and oil to nuclear and solar — has fostered innumerable technological advances, created abundant wealth, and improved quality of life. But as recent events like civil unrest in the Middle East and Japan’s nuclear disaster remind us, energy also frequently plays a challenging role in our everyday lives. In addition to speeding innovation, energy has triggered wars, generated environmental problems, and exacerbated deteriorating economic conditions.
Examining energy’s creative and destructive effects, in our white paper we seek to identify where energy markets stand today. In looking at the factors behind the heightened price volatility of oil in recent years, for example, we offer an outlook on oil and assess the state of the natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy markets. In addition, we explore how energy continues to drive technological development while pushing lawmakers to consider policy change, to find a balance between energy supply and demand amid ever-changing consumption needs and behaviors.
Read Putnam’s white paper: Innovation and change in global energy markets.