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In 2024, people in countries with a combined population of 4 billion will be heading to the polls, and the results of those elections could have a big impact on global energy. Those elections are one of the topics covered by the energy gang in their look at the people, places and technologies that could be making the energy headlines this year.

Host Ed Crooks is back for the first show of the year, with regulars Amy Myers Jaffe of NYU’s Energy, Climate Justice and Sustainability Lab and Dr Melissa Lott, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

The team begin by looking at some of the key players in the world of energy in 2024. President Biden is Amy’s pick: he finds himself facing conflicting pressures, as environmental campaigners push against new LNG export facilities, while allies seek increased supplies to offset the loss of pipeline gas exports from Russia. President Biden's support for the Inflation Reduction Act shows his commitment to moving towards lower-carbon energy, but he is facing an election that could change the trajectory of US energy policy.

COP28 in Dubai may be only just behind us, but the world is already looking ahead to COP29, which will be held in Azerbaijan. With Brazil lined up for COP30 next year, that will make three consecutive UNFCCC COPs in large oil-producing countries. The gang discuss how that could shape the energy transition.

Then there are the technologies to watch in 2024, including Melissa’s choice, enhanced geothermal power. Fervo Energy’s Project Red geothermal facility went online in December, marking a major milestone for an energy source with huge potential. As Melissa explains, there are not too many energy sources that can offer “clean firm power”: low-carbon generation that is available 24/7. The technological advances used in enhanced geothermal power could mean it can become an important part of the global energy mix.

Another clean firm power source discussed in the show is small modular reactors (SMRs). After the cancellation of a key SMR project in the US last year, this could be a critical 12 months for the future of the technology.

The gang also discuss some big stories from the world of energy that have been flying under the radar but could emerge to greater prominence in 2024, and some potential good news that we could hear during the year. Finally, they talk about their energy-related New Year’s resolutions, including one that has already been broken.

You can find us on most platforms – we’re @theenergygang. Subscribe to the show so you don’t miss the next one, out every second Tuesday.