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In Johannesburg in mid-July 2010 as part of a whistle-stop world lecture tour, Dr Carol Dahl, Professor of Mineral and Energy Economics at the Colorado School of Mines in the USA, conducted a two-day workshop on Energy Economics at the Glen Hove Conference Centre.

Why are there high prices, high profits, low prices, low profits, volatility, brown outs, blackouts, bottlenecks, cut-offs, power outages, load shedding and environmental degradation? What are the economics behind this? What is to be done about them? What affects the electricity price? This factor is often overlooked by those working on the energy budget for country and company. Prof Dahl is a world authority on these matters.

Hosted by the Fossil Fuel Foundation the workshop entitled “African Options in a Global Context” examined the volatile situation facing Africa and the international scenarios and drivers that may have significant impact on regional and national economies.

What is the cost of transition from conventional energy to renewables and nuclear? How does the international demand and supply of coal affect trends and what is the impact on regional exporters? What is the net energy released in cradle to grave energy use. Global and regional environmental policy including carbon trading and sequestration was also analysed.

The challenging programme unpacked topics close to the financial heart of engineers, economists, business managers, natural and social scientists and decision makers in both the public and private sector. Those who sought a good overview of both global and local energy markets benefitted from important institutional detail, data sources, fundamental drivers and analytical techniques necessary for economic modelling.