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Uncovering the Forces that Impact Oil Prices

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: May 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

The crude oil price spikes and high fuel costs experienced in the U.S. over the past ten years have encouraged many attempts to identify the underlying causes of these trends. Diminishing oil resources, slowing rates and increasing costs of production, financial speculation and geopolitics are all common arguments used to explain the recent volatile price changes in oil. But is there a correct answer? According to a recent MIT study, one theory can be ruled out: financial speculation. “We show speculation had little, if any, effect on prices and volatility,” and may have even decreased prices, wrote the authors of… [more]

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Is FracFocus Working As A Regulatory Compliance Tool?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: May 1, 2013 at 1:35 PM

According to a recently released Harvard Law School report, the website FracFocus.org “fails as a regulatory compliance tool” for energy companies developing oil and gas wells using hydraulic fracturing. FracFocus, an online national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry managed by the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, was established to provide the public with access to reported chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing within their area. Currently 11 of the 18 states that require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals allow companies to use FracFocus as their reporting method. FracFocus was also proposed by the Bureau of Land… [more]

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Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013

Author(s): Floyd DesChamps
Senior Vice President of Policy & Research
Alliance to Save Energy
Date: April 29, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESICA), S. 761. This bipartisan legislation will spur the use of energy efficiency technologies across residential, commercial and industrial sectors, while fostering job creation. Energy efficiency is the best way to address our energy needs, increase the competitiveness of our businesses and create sustainable jobs. ESICA is supported by over 200 entities, from industry to environmentalists, ranging from Dow Chemical to the Sierra Club. This broad support illustrates the value of identifying points of consensus and how energy efficiency is such an area… [more]

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How Much (And What Kind) of Energy Is Enough?



Author(s): Dr. Bruce Dale
University Distinguished Professor
Michigan State University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Date: April 22, 2013 at 4:05 PM

High energy use (power consumption) increases wealth, health and education levels. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, most energy has come from fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. Whatever the eventual lifetimes of these fossil energy resources, they are not renewable. Sooner or later, fossil energy will not be available to underpin our prosperity. Thus non-renewable energy is not a long-term option. We must have renewable energy if we are to maintain high living standards among advanced economies, and if more people in developing nations are to access enough energy to develop their human potential. But how much… [more]

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Important Energy Figures in President Obama’s 2014 Budget

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 16, 2013 at 1:30 PM

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, released April 10th, contains many of the energy initiatives previously outlined in his Energy Blueprint. Programs such as the Race to the Top energy efficiency challenge and the Energy Security Trust are included, along with slight adjustments to the enacted budgets of the primary agencies that shape energy policy – the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the DOE budget would see total funding growth of 8%, with funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy increasing 40%. The DOI budget would increase 4%, and include an… [more]

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Is Net Metering a Sustainable Policy for Utility Customers?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM

A battle is heating up in California regarding the State’s net metering policy as the California Public Utilities Commission is reviewing the policy’s costs and benefits.  Net metering is an incentive that allows consumers who produce their own electricity, from rooftop solar panels for example, to sell excess back to the grid (often) at full retail price. Opponents of net metering contend that the volumetric retail rate includes fixed costs that are essential to the long-term stability of our utility infrastructure. They claim that net metering customers get the benefit of using the grid, but pay less to do so… [more]

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What Are the Costs and Benefits of Offshore Drilling in the Arctic?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 2, 2013 at 1:51 PM

The increased focus on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic has identified numerous issues. Oil and gas exploration is a significant challenge for policy makers at all levels of government. In the recent Review of Shell’s 2012 Alaska Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration Program, the Department of Interior identified seven critical principles for safe and responsible offshore drilling, including improved management of contractors and integrated government oversight. It has been noted that with the substantial oil and gas resources believed to exist in the Arctic, geopolitical considerations will greatly impact domestic policy. A Center for Climate and Energy Solutions… [more]

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Will the Bonanza of Cheap Natural Gas Postpone the Transition to a Clean Energy Future?

Author(s): Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: March 27, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Thanks to breakthroughs in seismic imaging, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the US in 2012 reduced its reliance on much dirtier coal by shifting to gas-fired power plants. This trend is expected to continue, spurred by low gas prices and increased regulation on coal. The move to shale gas is being heralded as a key to economic prosperity and a clean energy future. But there are other options for displacing baseload electricity from retired coal plants, the principals being nuclear, renewables and energy efficiency. Will the gas bonanza enable or postpone the transition to these cleaner options? While natural gas… [more]

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Are Global LNG Markets Changing?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 21, 2013 at 9:39 AM

A recent report by analysts at Ernst and Young predicts that the global LNG market will shift away from its current pricing model, tied to international crude oil prices, to more spot or hub-based pricing. The report, “Global LNG: Will new supply and new demand mean new pricing?” explains that strict oil indexation will become less tenable because “From the global supply side, oil is becoming somewhat scarcer while gas is more plentiful,” thus creating the “inherent conflict of persistently-high oil prices and a growing surplus of natural gas.” More specifically, the report concludes that oil indexation of gas contracts… [more]

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Sizing Up President Obama’s Energy Blueprint

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 15, 2013 at 5:36 PM

According to The President’s energy blueprint, the Obama Administration is calling on Congress to establish a $2 billion Energy Security Trust to invest in breakthrough research into technologies, such as advanced electric vehicles, homegrown biofuels, fuel cells, and domestically produced natural gas. The funds would come from oil and gas royalty revenues generated from development in Federal waters off the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Other highlights of the blueprint include: Making the renewable energy Production Tax Credit permanent and refundable; A new $25 million prize for the first, natural gas combined cycle power plant to integrate carbon capture and storage;… [more]

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