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Energy industry strategies for a post-coronavirus world. As a physician by first training and a Futurist advisor / keynote speaker on industry trends and strategy to over 400 of the world's largest 2000 companies, with a proven track record of longer term forecasting over the last 25+ years, here are some guiding principles for the energy industry including green tech beyond Coronavirus / COVID-19. The global crisis will accelerate many pre-existing trends Most mega trends described in my books, including The Future of Almost Everything, will continue to shape the world as before, but the Coronavirus pandemic will bring forward the timings of many key events in many industries. 

While energy consumption will fall in line with falls in GDP globally, with collapse in oil and gas prices, falls in manufacturing and falls in transport including aviation, recovery of energy consumption will grow fastest in some of the poorest emerging markets with fewer resources to resist spread of Coronavirus.  These nations will experience massive disruption but over a much shorter period than many European nations which will have some success in slowing spread.

Lower oil and gas prices will have a negative impact in the short term on growth of solar and wind, and reduce green tech investments.

I predicted many times future global threats from new pandemics

I have warned for over two decades about significant threats from new mutant viruses which appear roughly once a year, usually emerging in Southern China (for reasons unclear), just one of many potential Wild Cards that could strike down successful global business.  For example, when the SARS outbreak began to threaten our world in 2003, my media warnings about the threats from new mutant viruses reached an audience of over 300 million.

One reason I am so sensitive to the threat from new mutant viruses like Coronavirus is that 32 years ago, my own medical practice, looking after people dying of cancer at home in London, was hit by a new mutant virus called HIV - 85 million deaths since then. And 31 years ago, I started in our family home an international foundation called ACET preventing HIV spread and providing practical support in many of the world's poorest nations such as Uganda, Nigera, DR Congo, India, Thailand and so on as well as in nations like the UK and Ireland. So yet another new illness, like COVID-19, is no surprise.  It was only a matter of when.

Need for Agile Leadership and Dynamic Energy Industry Strategy

I have also warned many hundreds of times at global corporate events over the last 20 years that:

"The world can change faster than you can hold a board meeting. The days of having only one business strategy for an energy company are over.  You need plan B, C, D and E as well - because there is no time to plan when crisis hits, and in our hyper-connected world, the impacts are even greater and faster. That's why we need Agile Leadership and Dynamic Strategy."  I was not just talking about viruses - but a host of Wild Cards which can have gigantic impacts at the speed of light across nations and industries.

Book your own board strategy review and coronavirus update - contact Futurist and Physician Dr Patrick Dixon 

Coronavirus pandemic will sweep uncontrolled across most emerging markets, rapidly

Whatever happens in the EU, North America, Japan, Australia and so on, 85% of humanity lives in emerging markets, many of whom have very limited health care facilities, and which are likely to see very rapid, uncontrolled spread, at a time when developed nations are still employing all kinds of radical strategies to flatten their own peaks of cases.  

The result will be that so-called herd immunity (when 70-80% of a population has immunity from previous infection) develops much faster in poorer nations, albeit with huge death rates amongst older and more vulnerable people.

What this all means is that business will be returning to normal much sooner in the poorest nations (within 3-5 months from their first major cluster of cases), who will be impacted by many deaths, but whose "community resistance" will climb rapidly to Coronavirus.  Linked to this, economic activity of all kinds will also recover more rapidly, including energy use in manufacturing and transport.

However there are many unknowns - for example how long immunity lasts after infection before someone can be hit again by the same virus or a slight variant.

Energy demand in developed nations will be impacted for longer than in many emerging nations

Developed nations with the most powerful anti-infection strategies will have populations which are largely without any antibodies, for many months, maybe over a year.  Maybe longer.  Depends on many factors.  That will create an ongoing vulnerability to further rapidly growing clusters of infection, some of which may also become national threats.  The only answer to this will be very large scale vaccination, when the technology arrives.

Google N1N1 and look at Wikipedia entry to understand this more - repeated clusters some time after pandemic.

For these reasons, paradoxically, business disruption and reductions in energy consumption is likely to be much longer, and repeated, in many of the most developed nations, compared to the poorest nations.

Many global trends that impact long term energy use will not be affected by Coronavirus 

85% of humanity will still be living in emerging markets.

Most new middle class consumers will still be found in tomorrow's emerging markets.

The irresistible human desire to explore will drive growth in travel and tourism - when this is all over.

Green tech investment for decarbonisation will continue to boom.

Auto industry will still rush to electric vehicles with major implications for national grids.

Governments will take radical action to support national economies which will cushion falls in energy demand

Expect Central Bank lending rates at almost zero interest or going negative to mitigate economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Expect large-scale printing of money (digital equivalent is so-called "quantitative easing").

Whatever it takes to try to prevent this Coronavirus causing deflation and major recessions.

In the 2008-9 crisis, governments were worried about "moral hazard" - risks of bailing out banks and other financial institutions who may have contributed to the crisis any poor risk taking. If the bail outs were too generous, the argument went, banks etc might become even more careless in future. Hence moral hazard inhibited what governments did.

But this time around, there is no moral hazard.  There is no risk of rewarding poor behaviours in the past.

And because of huge steps taken to reduce risks in the banking sector, global banks are in a much stronger position on the whole than in the last, to withstand economic shocks.

The global economy was growing nicely before the crisis and many nations were seeing stable growth with low inflation, job creation etc, so the fundamentals are there for a strong recovery SO LONG AS governments manage to prevent massive closures of perfectly viable businesses, which would otherwise have a really great future.

Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chains

The Coronavirus pandemic will accelerate the longer term trend in many larger industries such as the Auto industry to shorter supply chains, within regions amongst small clusters of nations. While the pandemic will cause short term disruptions to manufacturing of many kinds, and while this will cause some company failures, most larger manufacturers will weather the storm, with some government support.

Irrespective of Coronavirus, successful manufacturers will become far more efficient, and prices of most goods will fall in real terms over the next three decades. They will achieve this with greater automation, larger factories, better design, thinner and stronger materials such as carbon fibre and composites, more recycling, improved energy efficiency, shorter supply chains, lower stock levels, and by moving factories to regions where labour costs are lower or to where demand is growing fastest.

Expect over $28 trillion a year of global trade by 2030, up from more than $18 trillion in 2019. Global trade will continue to grow around 25-35% faster on average than the entire global economy. For two decades, the use of shipping containers grew twice as fast as international trade, as companies seized the opportunity to be more efficient. But the container revolution is now complete, and so the growth difference will ease.

Book your own board strategy review and coronavirus update - contact Futurist and Physician Dr Patrick Dixon 


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