Over the last three decades, author, journalist, and public speaker Robert Bryce has published more than 1,000 articles and five books. His byline has appeared in dozens of publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and National Review to the Sydney Morning Herald and New York Times. In 2010, he published Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. His most recent book, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong, was published in 2014 by his longtime publisher, PublicAffairs, and is now available in paperback. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he lives in Austin.
Proponents of wind-energy projects frequently claim that wind is free. That may be true, but creating jobs in the wind-energy business is a very expensive proposition.
The battle over the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which amounts to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour and expires at the end of the year, is heating up. Last month, the senate finance committee approved a plan to extend the PTC. Republican nominee Mitt Romney has said that, if elected, he will let the credit expire. President Obama wants to extend it: Last week, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, he declared that “thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines.”
Corn ethanol is the Franken fuel of American politics. Neither party, neither candidate dares question the program that requires motorists to buy a corrosive, low-heat-content, hydrophilic fuel adulterant—even though that program is now consuming 37 percent of all American corn production and driving up food prices.
The corn-ethanol boondoggle got a free pass in Tampa. The Republicans didn't talk about biofuels during their hurricane-shortened convention; the GOP’s 2012 platform doesn’t even mention ethanol. And this long-running robbery of taxpayers will get another free pass from the Democrats during their wingding in Charlotte, N.C.
About one train per hour. That’s the target loading rate for the massive silos, conveyors and hoppers at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyoming, the most productive coal mine in the world. And on a cool, nearly windless day in late March, Scott Durgin, a regional vice president for Peabody Energy, was happy.
Never mind the drought, shrinking corn crops, rising food prices, or the possibility of global grain shortages, let’s talk about the evils of foreign oil.
That was the message put out last week by ethanol lobbyists just a day or so beforeJose Graziano da Silva the director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for “an immediate, temporary suspension” of America’s corn-ethanol mandates to “give some respite to the market and allow more of the crop to be channelled towards food and feed uses.”
Weighing Pros and Cons of Increased Oil and Gas Production
PBS NewsHour August 10, 2012
Jeffrey Brown talks to National Resources Defense Council's Kate Sinding and the Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce about increased domestic energy production and whether economic benefits outweigh environmental concerns.
(Note: this article was co-authored with Jonathan Lesser.)
Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly said he wants to close down Indian Point, the 2,083-megawatt nuclear plant 35 miles north of Midtown. He may have the leverage to do it — but he’d better look at the costs before he does so.
Indian Point provides about 25 percent of New York City’s electricity — and replacing it will mean a host of costly and protracted permitting and legal battles over how, and where, to build new generation capacity.
Blackouts crippled India last week, leaving more than 600 million people without electricity. Trains were stranded, traffic snarled, and the country's economy ground to a halt. According to news reports, the blackouts were caused by excess demand, with some states in northern India taking more power than they had been allotted by the grid operator. And while the investigation into the disaster continues, one result is certain: India won't be abandoning coal any time soon.
Every day that the drought continues garroting the American Midwest, the lunacy of turning corn into motor fuel becomes ever more obvious and ever more outrageous.
Over the past six weeks, corn prices have soared by about 50 percent.They recently hit $8.20 per bushel, an all-time high. And if drought conditions in the U.S. and Europepersist, prices may continue climbing. Several factors are influencing grain prices, among them the reduced amount of grain available in storage and increased meat consumption in the developing world. (Remember, that most corn is used as livestock feed, not food for humans.) But there is no doubt that the corn ethanol mandates imposed by Congress are distorting the market,whichwill mean higher prices for everything from milk to cheeseburgers.
Standing in the dispatch office of the North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Gillette, Wyo., Scott Durgin pointed at a flat-panel display. The regional vice president for Peabody Energy smiled. The most productive coal mine in the world was on target. Since midnight, about one train an hour had been loaded, each carrying about 16,000 tons of coal.
I asked Durgin how long Peabody could continue mining in the region. Easily for five more decades, he replied. "There's no end to the coal here."
The timing of Jimmy Glotfelty’s July 17 article, “Wind Power’s Success Doesn’t Stop Opponents’ Urban Legends” — in which he attacks me for what he calls “recycled, questionable diatribes” about the wind-energy industry — couldnt have been much better. Much better, that is, for my side in this controversy.
Had Mr. Glotfelty read the news lately, he would have noted yet another large public demonstration against wind energy. The anti-wind protest on Monday in Lowell, Vermont, attracted some 150 angry people who blocked a road in an attempt to halt a controversial 21-turbine, 63-megawatt project being installed atop Lowell Mountain.
The United States is leading the world in reducing its emissions of carbon dioxide. And it’s doing so by a wide margin.
Yes, you read that right. The United States – the country that is routinely vilified by the Green/Left for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol or impose carbon taxes or institute a cap-and-trade system – is dramatically cutting its production of carbon dioxide. Proof of that has come from both the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington.
It’s summer. It’s hot. And once again, we are hearing from the usual suspects that we must change our entire way of living. Repent, they say. Carbon dioxide emissions are killing Mother Earth. Give up hydrocarbons and embrace renewable energy.
Doing so, we’re assured, will result in a gentler climate and myriad other benefits, including scads of “green” jobs. Sounds easy, no?
Last week, just before the opening of the U.N.’s Earth Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the New York Times ran an op-ed that decried the rapid rise in carbon dioxide emissions during the two decades since a similar meeting was held in Rio.
The authors of the article — Christian Azar, a professor at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, and two economists from the Environmental Defense Fund, Thomas Sterner and Gernot Wagner — claimed that the world needs to “kick its addiction to fossil fuels” and that renewable energy provides the road to salvation because “the seeds of an environmental revolution are being sown.”
Advocates of wind energy are actively lobbying Congress for a multiyear extension of the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit.
The Obama administration has made an extension of the tax credit part of the president's reelection strategy. During the American Wind Energy Association's recent WindPower 2012 convention in Atlanta, Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president on energy and climate issues, declared that if Congress doesn't extend the tax credit, "factories will close and tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs."
Lobbyists for the wind-energy sector are actively lobbying for a multi-year extension of the production tax credit, the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy given to producers of wind-generated electricity. To justify that lucrative subsidy, which expires at the end of this year, the wind lobby continually portrays itself as being an alternative to fossil fuels.
Mark Twain once said that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Twain wasn’t talking about energy, but his line applies to the EPA’s proposed prohibition on the construction of coal-fired electricity generators. Indeed, we need only look back a few decades to see how the EPA’s misbegotten rule rhymes with what Congress did back in 1978 when it banned the use of natural gas for electricity production.