June 27, 2012
National Review Online

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.”

June 22, 2012
Manhattan Institute

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."

June 13, 2012
Energy Tribune

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.

June 11, 2012
National Review Online

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.

May 29, 2012
Wall Street Journal

Before Facebook's recent initial public offering, the media obsessed over superlatives. It was the largest-ever IPO for a U.S. technology company. It was the third-largest in U.S. history. And now the obsession is over the company's lackluster revenue prospects and possible misconduct by investment bankers involved in the offering.

Missing here is any awareness of the enormous quantities of electricity Facebook and other data-intensive technology companies require. Those requirements expose a fundamental mismatch between the high-power-density world of Big Data and the low-density electricity production inherent in most renewable energy projects.

May 29, 2012
Slate

Are the coal states red or blue? Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is working hard to convince voters in key swing states that also produce coal--Ohio, Pennyslvania, and Virginia--that the Obama administration is anti-coal.

That shouldn’t be a difficult task. In late March, the EPA proposed a rule that could prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. (Public comment on that rule ends on June 12.) That move was cheered by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups that are pushing their “beyond coal” campaign.

But here’s the reality: Whatever happens in the presidential election won’t matter much to the booming global coal market. Furthermore, it will have almost no effect on soaring global carbon dioxide emissions, which have increased by about 28 percent over the past decade.

May 8, 2012
National Review

“Clean energy” is the political darling of the moment. President Obama has made promotion of clean energy one of the centerpieces of his administration and his reelection effort. The Democratic National Committee claims that “clean energy” investments are “helping pave the way to a more sustainable future, creating new jobs and entire industries here in America.” Last month, the Center for American Progress, a leftist think tank, released a report that touted the need to build a clean-energy economy.

April 25, 2012
National Review

(This article was co-authored with Steven F. Hayward)

If legislators need any more evidence that American energy policy is broken, they need only look at how some of the world’s biggest corporations used “green” energy projects to snatch billions of dollars under section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the federal stimulus bill). 

Between 2009 and late 2011, $9.8 billion in cash grants was disbursed under the stimulus bill, and the vast majority of that money — $7.6 billion — was received by the wind-energy sector. An analysis of the 4,256 projects that won grants from the Treasury Department under section 1603 shows that nearly half that sum — $3.25 billion — went to just eight companies, all of which are board members of the American Wind Energy Association. The biggest winners were two foreign companies, theSpanish utility Iberdrola and the German energy giant E.On.

April 25, 2012
Slate

Rising gasoline prices are hurting President Obama’s re-election campaign, and like most politicians grappling with a complicated, unpopular issue the president has opted to torture some numbers in his quest for a snappy talking point. Last week during a press conference in the Rose Garden at which he called for more policing of oil-trading markets, the president said “we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.”

April 16, 2012
National Review

Get ready for the next Solyndra. Sure, you’ve heard those words before. Over the past few months, several companies that had federal backing — Beacon Power, Range Fuels, and Ener1 — all failed. And another one is almost surely on the way. Here’s my prediction: Within 18 months, A123 Systems, the battery maker that got a $249 million grant from the Department of Energy, will be bankrupt.

April 5, 2012
National Review

So now we know that when President Obama says he wants an “all of the above” strategy for energy, “the above” doesn’t include the energy source in which America has the biggest advantage over the rest of the world: coal.

March 25, 2012
The Weekly Standard

They’re not calling it a carbon tax or cap and trade. But make no mistake, the national “clean energy” mandate introduced earlier this month by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and eight cosponsors entails both a tax and a trading measure.

The Cost Of Renewable Electricity Mandates :: Energy Policy And The Environment Report

The Cost Of Renewable Electricity Mandates

Manhattan Institute  February 29, 2012

Energy Policy And The Environment Report

February 23, 2012
National Review

At the very same time that the shale revolution is saving the economy hundreds of millions of dollars per day, directly creating tens of thousands of jobs, decreasing the need for foreign oil, and spurring growth in manufacturing that will lead to billions of dollars of new investment and still more jobs, the president is bashing the oil-and-gas sector. Not only that, but in Obama’s new budget, he continues to insist that “clean energy” will drive America’s future competitiveness.

February 13, 2012
Counterpunch

After years of successful marketing and lavish subsidies from taxpayers, the global wind industry now finds itself facing an unprecedented backlash. And that backlash – largely coming from rural landowners – combined with low natural gas prices, and a Congress unwilling to extend more subsidies, has left the American and Canadian wind sectors gasping for breath.

A new and thoughtful look at the fight against Big Wind is Laura Israel’s new film, Windfall, a documentary that focuses on the fight over the siting of wind turbines in the small town of Meredith, New York. Indeed, Israel’s film underscores an essential question: what, exactly, qualifies an energy source as “green” or “clean”? If you listen to President Obama, nearly every energy source qualifies as “clean” with the notable exception of oil.

February 5, 2012
New York Post

Documentary makers are always hoping that their film will come out at just the right moment, when a favorable news cycle and popular sentiment are converging so that the public is primed for their message.

In 1989, Michael Moore made his career with “Roger & Me,” a documentary that pinned the decline of his hometown — Flint, Mich. — on General Motors. By focusing his fire on GM’s chairman, Roger Smith, Moore tapped into the public’s anger at tone-deaf corporate bosses as well as the growing disenchantment with the American car industry.

February 2, 2012
National Review

In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama touted renewable energy and declared that he would “not walk away from workers” such as Bryan Ritterby, who is employed by a wind-turbine manufacturer in Michigan.

But in their rush to embrace the wind-energy business, Obama and numerous other politicians are walking away from rural residents such as David Enz and his wife, Rose. A year ago, the couple abandoned their home near Denmark, Wis., because of the unbearable low-frequency noise produced by a half-dozen 495-foot-high wind turbines that were built near the home they’ve owned since 1978. The closest was installed about 3,200 feet from their house.

January 23, 2012
New York Daily News

Amid the ongoing battle in New York and elsewhere over hydraulic fracturing, one thing has become clear: The pro-drilling side is losing the public relations fight.

Any fair-minded analysis of fracking would conclude that the process is having a positive effect on the U.S. economy. Thanks to fracturing, drillers are extracting vast quantities of natural gas and oil from shale deposits.

January 31, 2012
Robertbryce.com

During my reporting on the problem of wind-turbine noise, I have interviewed a number of homeowners who have abandoned their homes due to the noise. One of those people: Wisconsin resident Dave Enz. After talking with him on the phone, he sent me the following statement. I edited only for punctuation. I have added some follow up questions at the bottom of his statement. -- RB

My name is David Enz. My wife and I used to live about 3,000 feet from the nearest wind turbine driven generator. There are five more within about one mile of our home. These Glenmore turbines are some of the tallest in the state at 492 feet.

We raised our children in this house we built in 1978. It was a great place to live but we can no longer live there. We are now living with children, friends and in our RV. So far we have received no offer of compensation. We get sick in an hour or less most times when we return to get food or different clothes. Other people also get sick when they spend time at our place. We found new homes for our dog and chickens so they could be cared for. We try to go to our home when the turbines are down because we are fine then. The turbine owners are going to sound test our home, but it doesn't matter what the test results are, the results for us are we can no longer live in our home. We and others get sick outside and inside the buildings. From the research I have done our symptoms are consistent with the other folks who are driven out of their homes.

January 20, 2012
City Journal

More than three decades ago, the British economist E. F. Schumacher stated the essence of environmental protection in three words: "Small is beautiful." As Schumacher argued in a famous book by that title, man-made disturbances of the natural world—farms, for example, and power plants—should have the smallest possible footprints.

But how can that ideal be realized in a world that must produce more and more food and energy for its growing population? The answer, in just one word this time, is density. Over the course of the last century, human beings have found ways to concentrate crops and energy production within smaller and smaller areas, conserving land while meeting the ever-growing global demand for calories and watts. This approach runs counter to the beliefs of many environmental activists and politicians, whose "organic" and "renewable" policies, as nature-friendly as they sound, squander land. The real organizing principle for a green future is density, which not only provides the goods that we need to survive and prosper but also achieves the land-preservation goals of genuine environmentalists.

January 20, 2012
FoxNews.com

With his win in the New Hampshire primary last week, Mitt Romney may be well on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for president. In my view, he's still unlikely to be beat Barack Obama in November, but never mind that.

If Romney wants to win the White House, he's going to need to embrace big issues that resonate with voters. Given that, here's some free advice for Romney: 1) Come out swinging on the issue of energy; and 2) Declare your intention to make energy as cheap, abundant, and reliable as possible.

January 19, 2012
Wall Street Journal

Nearly four decades ago, British economist E.F. Schumacher stated the essence of environmental protection in three words: Small is beautiful. As Schumacher argued in his famous book by that title, man-made disturbances of the natural world—farms, for example, and power plants—should have the smallest possible footprints.

But how can that ideal be realized in a world that must produce more and more food and energy for its growing population? The answer, in just one word, is density.

December 21, 2011
FoxNews.com

The American Wind Energy Association has begun a major lobbying effort in Congress to extend some soon-to-expire renewable-energy tax credits. And to bolster that effort, the lobby group’s CEO, Denise Bode, is calling the wind industry “a tremendous American success story.”

But the wind lobby’s success has largely been the result of its ability to garner subsidies. And those subsidies are coming with a big price tag for American taxpayers. Since 2009, AWEA’s largest and most influential member companies have garnered billions of dollars in direct cash payments and loan guarantees from the US government. And while the lobby group claims to be promoting “clean” energy, AWEA’s biggest member companies are also among the world’s biggest users and/or producers of fossil fuels.

December 15, 2011
New York Post

Opponents of gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in New York got a boost last week when the EPA issued a draft report that found that chemicals used in gas wells may have contaminated a shallow-water aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo. With the state Department of Environmental Conservation having extended the comment period on its proposed rules for drilling and “fracking” to Jan. 9, the critics will surely point to the Wyoming case as cause for New York to just ban drilling.

December 8, 2011
National Review

The biofuels bust continues. The latest failure: Range Fuels.

Last week, the company defaulted on a government-guaranteed $80 million loan that it had used to build an ethanol plant in Georgia. AgSouth Farm Credit, the servicer of the loan, will begin a foreclosure sale on the plant in January. The foreclosure provides yet another indictment of the Obama administration’s energy policies.

December 1, 2011
National Review

Electric-car sales are on fire. Okay, well, only a few electric cars have actually gone up in smoke. But with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opening a formal safety investigation into fears about fires started by the much-hyped Chevrolet Volt, it’s become clear yet again that electric vehicles are The Next Big Thing — and they always will be.

November 30, 2011
Counterpunch

On Monday, leaders from dozens of countries began meeting at the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa. They might as well have stayed home.

The meeting in Durban will fail, just as all previous climate confabs have failed, to impose any meaningful limits or taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. Understanding why the Durban meeting will fail doesn’t require any deep political insight or any expertise into atmospheric physics. It only requires an appreciation for simple math and these three numbers: 28.5, 47, and 1.3 billion. 

November 21, 2011
National Review

The two big energy stories of the moment are the Obama administration’s announcement that it will wait another year before making a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, and the continued pummeling of the Department of Energy and Energy Secretary Steven Chu for their handling of the $529 million loan guarantee to Solyndra.

So how do those two projects compare on critical issues such as economic impact and overall energy use? Even a cursory look at the two deals shows that, once again, the Obama administration’s energy priorities are — how to put this charitably? — misguided.

November 15, 2011
National Review

Ford Motor Company’s most expensive sports car is the Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible, a 500-horsepower rocket sled that retails for about $55,000. Compare that to the $97,000 for the base model hybrid-electric Karma, the high-performance sports car made by upstart Fisker Automotive.

Those two price points should have tipped off the Obama administration as to why providing a $529 million loan guarantee to Fisker would end up a public-relations blunder. But in 2009, the administration went ahead with the deal. “We’re making a bet on the future, we’re making a bet on the American people, we’re making a bet on the market, we’re making a bet on innovation,” said Vice President Joe Biden.

November 9, 2011
National Review

Paul Krugman may be a Nobel Prize–winning economist, but his most recent column in the New York Times, which condemns hydraulic fracturing and praises solar energy, displays an astounding disinterest in numbers and woeful ignorance of the facts.

Without providing any sources, Krugman writes, “We know that [fracturing] produces toxic (and radioactive) wastewater that contaminates drinking water; there is reason to suspect, despite industry denials, that it also contaminates groundwater.”

October 19, 2011
Manhattan Institute Issue Brief

For years, politicians, environmental groups, and the renewable energy lobby have been claiming that widespread use of wind energy would result in substantial reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions. This report—which relies on data published by the Energy Information Administration and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory— finds that if wind energy were to reduce carbon dioxide, the savings would be so small as to be insignificant and so expensive as to be impractical.

Achieving the oft-stated goal of getting 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs from wind by 2030 would require a total expenditure of more than $850 billion. Yet the likely carbon-dioxide savings from that expenditure would be just 2 percent of global emissions in 2030.

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