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Energy investment: quantity or quality

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The World Energy Investment Outlook, published by the IEA in November 2003, questions the conditions for financing future energy investments, especially in developing countries for the power sector, and for energy exports to the OECD. Mitchell reviews the role of governments in energy investment in OECD countries. This leads to a conventional wisdom about conditions which OECD investors would like to see, but not much guidance on issues of resource rents or conflicts arising from differences between local costs and national benefits. An "Institutional agenda" of initiatives (WTO, TRIMS, GATS and the Energy Charter Treaty) seeks to export OECD conditions and promote "good governance" in developing countries. There is also a "Behavioral agenda" in which international companies are persuaded to promote a variety of millennium goals, including human rights, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability. These factors have different relevance in different countries in which major energy investments are foreseen. Finally, Mitchell suggests that "acceptability" is an inclusive concept under which the OECD type initiatives can be combined with regard for the circumstances and interests of the different non-OECD countries, to give an operational definition of investment "quality."

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-05-01

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