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Where Should Electricity Investment Go?

Author(s): Jennifer Morris
Research Scientist
MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
Date: May 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM

With a single executive order issued at the end of March, the Trump administration launched a robust effort to roll back Obama-era climate policies designed to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Chief among those policies is the Clean Power Plan, which targets coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants that account for about 40 percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions. Private and public-sector investors may see the executive order as a green light to double down on relatively cheap fossil fuels and reduce holdings in more costly, climate-friendly, non-carbon generation technologies such as wind, solar and nuclear. But they… [more]

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Energy Reset: Free Markets vs. Government Influence

Author(s): James Koehler
Associate Director
Berkeley Research Group
Date: April 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM

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 on… [more]

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

Author(s): Greg Gershuny
Interim Director, Energy and Environment Program
The Aspen Institute
Date: April 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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 Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation to limit… [more]

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The Effects of Energy Tax Policy on Markets and the Environment

Author(s): Devin Hartman
President & CEO
The Electricity Consumers Resource Council
Date: April 3, 2017 at 10:30 AM

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… [more]

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Reconsidering the Indian Point Nuclear Plant Shutdown

Author(s): Herschel Specter
Micro-Utilities, Inc.
Date: March 27, 2017 at 9:30 AM

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 Westchester… [more]

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Withdrawing Federal Funding for ENERGY STAR

Author(s): Scott Sklar
The Stella Group, LTD
Date: March 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM

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 the… [more]

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Border Adjustment Tax: Will Consumers Pay At The Pump?

Author(s): Robert Grant
Director of International Public Policy and Advocacy
Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Date: March 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM

In June 2016, House Republicans introduced their vision for comprehensive tax reform. Premised on a simpler, fairer code than today’s, the GOP’s plan looks to promote economic growth and create jobs. It also proposes taxing imports at 20%. As part of the plan, Republican Speaker Ryan introduced a border adjustment tax (BAT) that taxes imports but excludes exports. The Tax Foundation concluded that a BAT could generate roughly $1 trillion in revenue over the next decade. According to some oil market experts, “the bottom line with a BAT is the price of crude oil rises.” And with almost a fifth… [more]

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Is Over-Regulation Holding Back Energy Storage?

Date: March 6, 2017 at 11:15 AM

Energy storage, a potential solution for integrating intermittent renewables and improving grid stability, again saw rapid growth this past year. A “transition year” for U.S. energy storage, 2016 saw a more diverse market emerge “both in terms of the types of systems (market segments) deployed and the business models.” These trends are expected to continue in the U.S. with combined residential, commercial, and industrial energy storage deployments predicted to surpass 2 GW by 2021. Despite this rapid growth, there are those who claim that the adoption of energy storage has been slowed by a “web” of regulations at all levels.… [more]

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What Cars Will We Be Driving in 2050?

Author(s): Mark Drajem
Bloomberg's First Word Energy
Date: February 21, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Over the course of his first weeks in office, President Trump has outlined an America-first energy policy that appears to mean essentially one thing: More U.S. oil production. His policies are decidedly aimed at boosting oil production: green-lighting more drilling on federal lands, building more oil pipelines, and rolling back rules that harm the oil industry. But America First doesn’t necessarily mean a focus on American oil. From a different perspective, the Fuel Freedom Foundation aims to boost the American economy and cut its dependence on OPEC by expanding the fuels available for automobiles. Fuel Freedom, argues for “ending our… [more]

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A Carbon Dividends Plan

Author(s): Dan Miller
Managing Director
The Roda Group
Date: February 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Climate change poses a threat to the safety and prosperity of America’s and the world’s citizens. Every major scientific academy agrees that global warming is real, is mostly caused by humans, and requires urgent action. The signs of climate change are all around us. For example, the volume of the summer Arctic sea ice has dropped about 70% in the past 30 years and global temperatures have set records for the past 3 years in a row. And while most world leaders and climate scientists agree that we should not let the world warm more than +2ºC, we are on… [more]

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