Energy in Foreign Policy
The modern and complex societies are existentially dependent on the sufficient provision of energy supplies. Since the distribution of the resources is uneven and great majority of states is energetically self-insufficient, the energy issues hold as an inevitable part of foreign policy. Energy relations are usually perceived through the strategic (geopolitical) and market approach. The rationalistic framework of both approaches naturally offers only a limited understanding of identities and, consequently, of behavior performed by the foreign policy actors. CENERS for that reason develops a constructivist research program which would, through obtained complex knowledge, differentiate between the structural effects, that is, the dynamics of regional security complexes, defined by energy interdependencies; and domestic level which affects the process of foreign policy-making through the specific socio-cultural and institutional conditions.
- Energy Security Conceptualization.
- Energy Interdependence and Regional Security Complexes.
- Internal Foreign Policy Factors (Energy Discourse, Organizational Culture, Perception Analysis).
Energy Market Liberalization
The unitary internal energy market is one of the EU long term goals. Although already third liberalization package has been adopted, the process of creation of the single market is far from being finished. Especially in the natural gas sector, reluctance of some member states to adopt related European legislation seems as a key obstacle in the process. Along with enforcing existing legislation the EU engages in ongoing debate over further direction of the process itself, be it over strengthening customer rights or adjustment of long term gas contracts.
- Models of Possible Energy Market Arrangements.
- Impact of EU Liberalization Packages on the Individual Member States' Energy Sectors and Energy Companies.
- Efficiency of Different Liberalization Market Models.
- Financial, Legal and Security Consequences of Energy Markets Liberalization.
- Disputes of Supranational and National Organs with Energy Companies.
European Energy Policy
Although the primary EU law guaranties sovereignty to the member states in terms of choosing the energy mix, the secondary legislation misbalances this right in many aspects (for example, by setting the obligatory support to renewables). Energy-related topics are in that manner slowly passing under the charge of EU. Simultaneously, there are more or less successful efforts to achieve a unified approach of the member states towards external trade partners.
- EU Energy Law and its Impact on the Member States' Energy Sectors.
- The Development of the Foundational EU Energy Dimensions (Management of the Mutual Energy Market, Enforcement of Environmental Provisions and Ensuring the External Energy Security).
- Building the Common EU Energy Policy, the Role of Member States and their Energy Priorities.
- Energy Conflicts between the EU and Member States' Authorities.
- Rules Regulating the Functioning of the Energy Companies at the Common European Market.
New Energy Consumers
The international energy markets were for a long period of time dominated by the Western consumers. In the last decade, however, the new world consumers, mainly China and India, started to make difference in terms of these markets' character. CENERS is on the long term basis devoted to identifying actors and patterns which characterize the foreign energy policies of new consuming countries, to monitoring the relations between new consumers and world producers and impacts which China's and India's strategies had on traditional consuming states (Japan, for example). The special attention is devoted to the current issues associated with the development of new consumers (usually the construction of oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia, China's marine strategy directed to the protection of SLOCs, or the development of nuclear power industry in Asia following the accident in Fukushima).
- Actors and Patterns Characteristic for the New Consumers' Energy Policies.
- Development of Relations between the World Producers and Traditional Consumers.
- Contemporary Issues Related to the Growth of New Consuming Countries.
Power Utility Sector
Electrification of energy consumption is a dynamic trend which significantly increases the demand after electricity production and stability of transmission and distribution networks. The technical and regulatory adaptation of cross-border flows of electricity is getting on its importance, whose gradually rising amount is in contradiction with an effort of some European states to decentralize the system of electricity production.
- Specific Usage of Particular Resources within the Electricity Sector.
- Economic, Environmental and Political Characteristics of Fuels.
- Centralized vs. Decentralized Energy Systems.
- Transmission Network Issues in International Politics.
Oil and Gas Midstream and Downstream
The transportation of oil and natural gas is one of the most politicized aspects of energy trade. Forming and functioning of the oil and natural gas markets to a great extent reflects wide range of inputs, from physical properties of the commodities as much as the extent of political influence over particular markets.
- The Stability of the World Oil Market.
- The Development of the LNG Technology and Interconnection of the Continental Gas Markets.
- Political Aspects of Current and Planned Pipeline Infrastructure in Europe and Asia.
- The New Great Game in Central Asia.
- Security of Supply of the Central and Eastern European Region.
- Future of the Refining Industry in the Central and Eastern Europe.
Shale gas is probably the most important event of the world energy industry in the last decade. Until recently economically unprofitable resource has suddenly flooded the North American natural gas market bringing along a spill-over to other regions connected to the world LNG network. Currently, adaptation of energy consumers takes place, who within their operational processes replace mainly coal with natural gas. In the future, we may well expect a further increase of demand and, consequently, of prices, a greater emancipation of the gas market in comparison to the coal market, the developing importance of LNG and decline of the relevance attributed to the traditional suppliers.
- Extending the Shale Gas Extraction behind the North American Continental Borders.
- Sustainability of the Shale Gas Development: Legal, Economic and Environmental Aspects of the Shale Gas Development.
- Shale Gas' Impact on the Gas Industry in Europe and on the European Gas Market.
- Political Implications of the Current Gazprom's Withdrawal.
Not only in the democratically arranged societies is building of infrastructural projects often associated with the phenomena of local oppositions. It is usually explained by, in the literature gradually more criticized, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) concept designating the situation when the local communities are not willing to carry the burden and risks of the project; the rational behavior alone, therefore, results in the socially sub-optimal solution. Normative, structural and individual factors are, therefore, neglected, whether it is the dominant perception of the particular project, opportunity structure or emotional bond (place attachment). A more efficient involvement of the local communities, in addition, strengthens the legitimacy of the decision-making process, increases the quality of the resulting solution and reduces the costs of the project. The goal of CENERS is to link an adequate (construstivist) explanation of local oppositions with concepts indicated in stakeholder analysis, mapping the position of interested actors and the dynamics of conflict, in order to be able to use these findings for understanding and facilitating compromise in concrete situations.
- Conceptualization and Theoretical Clarification of Local Oppositions.
- Stakeholder Analysis of the Energy-Related Projects.