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April 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Energy Reset: Free Markets vs. Government Influence

by: James Koehler
Associate Director
Berkeley Research Group

The National Capital Area Chapter for the U.S. Association for Energy Economics (NCAC-USAEE) held its annual energy policy conference on April 6th entitled “Energy Reset? Conflicting Forces in the Energy Space.” The event captured the economic implications of the announced and expected shift in energy policy between the Obama and Trump administrations. One reoccurring theme was the evolving role of government and market influences. It began with Thad Hill, CEO and President of Calpine Corp., emphasizing the need for “markets not mandates” and Tom Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, detailing President Trump’s energy deregulation agenda.

A panel …

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April 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Will Trump’s Plan To Bring Back Coal Jobs Work?

by: Greg Gershuny
James E. Rogers Energy Fellow
The Aspen Institute

Photo by Kimon Berlin

Coal isn’t coming back although with real investment in carbon capture and sequestration, it could continue to contribute to a clean energy economy. In 2006, coal accounted for nearly half of all electricity in the US; by 2016, it was down to 29%. The decrease in coal by the electricity sector is because of economic reasons, as it has been outcompeted by low cost natural gas. Building new wind and utility scale solar generation is less expensive than building new coal plants, even without subsidies.

States are already decarbonizing. The Clean Power Plan, the …

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April 3, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The Effects of Energy Tax Policy on Markets and the Environment

by: Devin Hartman
Electricity Policy Manager
R Street Institute

The Federal government supports energy investment and production through the tax code and spending programs administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). In 2016, energy-related tax preferences cost an estimated $18.4 billion, while relevant DOE spending programs cost $5.9 billion.

DOE programs advance knowledge benefits, which the private sector underproduces because companies cannot capture all the benefits for themselves. Early-stage research and development (R&D) has the largest “knowledge spillovers,” yet DOE direct investments in applied (late stage) energy research is more than double those in basic (early stage) research. Tax preferences may encourage knowledge benefits for nascent technologies but deter

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March 27, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Reconsidering the Indian Point Nuclear Plant Shutdown

by: Herschel Specter
Micro-Utilities, Inc.

In January, New York Governor Cuomo, Riverkeeper, an environmental group, and Entergy, a nuclear utility, announced a joint agreement to shut down the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point (IP) by April 2021. Replacement power will be provided by clean energy sources consistent with New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires 50% of the State’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030. It is claimed that this can be achieved with a negligible cost to ratepayers. The plant currently provides carbon-free and low cost electricity for about one quarter of the power consumed by New York City and …

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March 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Withdrawing Federal Funding for ENERGY STAR

by: Scott Sklar
The Stella Group, LTD

This month, reports surfaced that critical energy savings programs like ENERGY STAR could be defunded as part of the Trump Administration’s FY’18 budget. Last week, the President’s Budget Blueprint confirmed the rumors to be true. According to E&E news, a draft of the proposed budget cuts contained language stating “EPA should begin developing legislative options and associated groundwork for transferring ownership and implementation of ENERGY STAR to a non-governmental entity.”  Today, millions of consumers and businesses choose ENERGY STAR—demonstrating that the program has earned credibility in the marketplace. When the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency developed …

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