When last in Margate, I caught sight of it’s venerable rollercoaster and it is Margate that comes to mind when I reflect on the astonishing rises and falls in energy prices over recent years. The ups and then downs have been greater and more rapid than at any point in modern economic history.
The rollercoaster is good for speculators who lose out in stable times but it is extraordinarily difficult for those investing in a new, renewable energy economy. It’s a shame then that today, the news from the USA is that there will be no real crack down or scrutiny of the speculation that adds to the ups, downs, twists and turns.
We have accepted as economic orthodoxy the idea that stable consumer prices are good for business. We now need new interventions, perhaps carbon taxes linked to price stabilisation thresholds, perhaps tighter caps on futures trading, all to make energy a fairer ride.