December 21, 2011

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

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.

October 14, 2011

It’s easy to pick the dominant environmental issue of the last decade. It has been the issue of climate change and what—if anything—the countries of the world can do to limit, or reduce, carbon dioxide emissions.

But during that same decade, global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 28.5 percent to some 33 billion tons. And by 2030, the International Energy Agency expects global carbon dioxide emissions to rise by another 21 percent to about 40 billion tons.

October 12, 2011
National Review

The more people know about the wind-energy business, the less they like it. And when it comes to lousy wind deals, General Electric’s Shepherds Flat project in northern Oregon is a real stinker.

I’ll come back to the GE project momentarily. Before getting to that, please ponder that first sentence. It sounds like a claim made by an anti-renewable-energy campaigner. It’s not. Instead, that rather astounding admission was made by a communications strategist during a March 23 webinar sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy called “Speaking Out on Renewable Energy: Communications Strategies for the Renewable Energy Industry.”

October 6, 2011
Wall Street Journal

Wall Over the past two months, environmental activists have held protests at the White House and elsewhere hoping to convince the Obama administration to deny a permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Some of those same activists have launched a series of demonstrations called "Moving Planet" to move "the planet away from fossil fuels towards a safer climate future." And next month, leaders from dozens of countries will meet at the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.

September 12, 2011
National Review

Over the past two weeks or so, several hundred protesters assembled outside the White House to oppose the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to transport bitumen produced from oil sands in Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. During the protest, actor Daryl Hannah, climate scientist James Hansen, and author and activist Bill McKibben were among some 1,200 people who were arrested.

The protesters are hoping that President Obama will block the $7 billion pipeline. Their rationale: The pipeline will result in major increases in carbon-dioxide emissions, and therefore it must be stopped or catastrophic climate change will ensue. Protest as they might, a State Department report found that the pipeline will not have a major environmental impact.

Here are ten reasons why the Keystone pipeline will be built.

September 7, 2011
Huffington Post

The recent bankruptcy of solar-panel-maker Solyndra shows, once again, that the entire concept of "green energy" jobs was bankrupt from the start.

"Green jobs" are the last refuge of the subsidy seekers. Industries that can't survive in the free market like to claim they are creating "green jobs" because that helps them justify their subsidy-dependent businesses.

August 29, 2011
National Review

Wednesday brought yet another unspeakably hot day to Texas and, alas, it was yet another day when wind energy failed the state’s consumers.

Indeed, as record heat and drought continue to hammer the Lone Star State, the inanity of the state’s multi-billion-dollar spending spree on wind energy becomes ever more apparent. On Wednesday afternoon, ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, declared a power emergency as some of the state’s generation units began to falter under the soaring demand for electricity. Electricity demand hit 66,552 megawatts, about 1,700 megawatts shy of the record set on August 3.

August 19, 2011

Barack Obama’s biofuels insanity continues. And it continues without any regard for history, basic arithmetic, or the recent spike in food prices. Last month, the Farm Foundation a centrist non-profit group based in Illinois, released a study which named biofuels as one of the key factors that is driving up grain prices. That study, done by three agricultural economists from Purdue University, is the seventeenth report that has exposed the link between increasing biofuel production and higher food prices.

August 18, 2011

Since Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982, the U.S. has held seven presidential elections, launched about 130 space shuttle missions, and successfully landed robotic rovers on Mars. But Washington still lacks a viable long-term plan for the radioactive waste produced by its commercial nuclear reactors. That inaction is costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

August 12, 2011
Huffington Post

Thirteen months ago, Denise Bode, the head lobbyist for the American Wind Energy Association, declared that the "U.S. wind industry is in distress."

If last year was bad for the U.S. wind industry, then 2011 is looking to be positively disastrous. A combination of cheap natural gas, growing resistance to wind turbine installations, and the inability of cash-strapped governments to continue hefty subsidies, is taking the wind out of wind.

August 12, 2011
National Review

Hot? Don’t count on wind energy to cool you down. That’s the lesson emerging from the stifling heat wave that’s hammering Texas.

Over the past week or so, Texans have been consuming record-breaking quantities of electricity, and ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, has warned of rolling blackouts if customers don’t reduce their consumption. 

August 10, 2011
Washington Examiner

Last month, with Washington mired in the debt ceiling battle and facing a potential default, public disapproval of Congress reached a record 82 percent.

That figure might have been a little lower had Congress succeeded in solving another long-festering issue: putting an end to the massive subsidies being given to the corn ethanol scam. Alas, it was not to be.

July 25, 2011

Given the parlous state of the US economy, discussions about climate change, carbon dioxide emissions, and cap-and-trade schemes have largely disappeared from the political discussion.

That’s a good thing. Why? Even if the US were to launch an attempt to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, as President Barack Obama has said it should, the rest of the world will keep using carbon-based fuels, and lots of them, thereby swamping any reductions that might happen here.

August 1, 2011
Huffington Post

Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared that he would "crush" citizen groups who oppose large-scale renewable energy projects. Well, governor, here's some advice: you'd better pack a lunch.

July 28, 2011
Energy Tribune

Three years ago this month, T. Boone Pickens launched a multi-million dollar crusade to bring more wind energy to the US. “Building new wind generation facilities,” along with energy efficiency and more consumption of domestic natural gas, the Dallas billionaire claimed, would allow the US to “replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years.”

July 19, 2011

Facts are pesky things. And they're particularly pesky when it comes to the myths about the wind energy business.

July 15, 2011
National Review

The shale-gas (and shale-oil) revolution is the single most important development in the North American energy sector since the discovery of the East Texas Field in 1930. But you won’t get that story by reading the New York Times.

July 08, 2011
Huffington Post

In December, another alphabet soup congregation on climate change will meet in Durban, South Africa to discuss efforts to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. Durban may be a fine city. But if the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wants a dose of reality regarding carbon emissions, it should convene in Hanoi.

June 23, 2011
Energy Tribune

In the recent history of overpaid American corporate executives, there are two distinct classes: Aubrey McClendon and everybody else. You may not have heard of McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, America’s second-largest natural gas producer, but he’s been drilling his shareholders dry for years.

June 13, 2012
Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is on the verge of an industrial renaissance if—and it's a big if—policy makers don't foul it up by restricting the ability of drillers to use the technology that's making a renaissance possible: hydraulic fracturing.

June 7, 2011
New York Times

In April, Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines by signing into law an ambitious mandate that requires California to obtain one-third of its electricity from renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind by 2020. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have renewable electricity mandates. President Obama and several members of Congress have supported one at the federal level. Polls routinely show strong support among voters for renewable energy projects — as long as they don’t cost too much.

June 7, 2011
National Review

Back in January, during his State of the Union speech, President Obama said that he wanted the U.S. to “become the first country to have 1 million electric  vehicles n the road,” and he wanted it to happen by 2015. Given current sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, the president may hit his target . . . sometime in 2064.

May 18, 2011
Washington Examiner

ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson, 59, and General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt, 55, are about the same age. They both head iconic U.S. companies. Last year, the two chief executive officers made about the same amount of money, with Tillerson at $21 million and Immelt $19.6 million.

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