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California LCFS Ruled Unconstitutional

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: January 4, 2012 at 8:17 AM

A federal judge has ruled to block California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, arguing that it “unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state producers and tries to regulate activities that take place entirely outside state boundaries.” The standard “impermissibly treads into the province and powers of our federal government, reaches beyond its boundaries to regulate activity wholly outside of its borders,” the judge said. [The New York Times] The standard would function by using life-cycle analysis to identify the CO2 intensity of fuels. Fuel-makers whose products have lower CO2 intensity would be rewarded with tradable credits. Those selling higher CO2 fuels would have to… [more]

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Looking Forward to 2012

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: January 3, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Between the Solyndra scandal, the disaster at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the deliberation over the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama’s aggressive new CAFE Standards, protests over lighting standards, EPA’s MACT rules, and more, 2011 proved to be a controversial year for energy and energy policy, even without major energy legislation.

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Analysts Predict High Oil Prices in 2012

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 30, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Oil prices are expected to average between $100 and $120/barrel in 2012. “Economists say they expect prices to remain high despite the relative weaknesses of the American and European economies because global demand for oil … is escalating and outstripping supply.” [New York Times] Due in part to consumers driving less and purchasing more fuel efficient cars, the United States economy has weathered high oil prices relatively well in 2011. Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, told the Times that “the danger is if oil starts to move toward $130 a barrel, or even higher… Then… [more]

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Iran Threatening to Close Strait of Hormuz

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 29, 2011 at 8:59 AM

The New York Times has reported that Iran has threatened to block all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which serves as a transport corridor for approximately 1/5 of world oil supply. The threat is in response to U.S. sanctions on Iran that are awaiting President Obama’s signature. The sanctions, if enforced, would penalize foreign businesses for doing business with Iran’s national bank, which is responsible for collecting payment on much of the country’s energy exports. The sanctions are in response to a November IAEA report, and are intended to penalize Iran for pursuing secretly nuclear weapons in spite… [more]

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Can Electric Markets Ever Be Truly Free?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 28, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Earlier this month Sean Casten published an op-ed on Grist.com arguing that “further deregulation of electricity markets is a good and necessary thing”, but that “full and total deregulation of electricity markets is probably impossible, and certainly amoral.” Casten argues that “parts of the electric system warrant full deregulation, while other parts would be better suited to fully regulated economic models.” Certain aspects of electricity markets, for example the “last mile” of transmission, impose natural barriers to new market entrants in a truly free market, he says, thereby undermining the market’s efficiency. Further, Casten argues, in truly free electric markets,… [more]

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Outcomes from Durban

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 27, 2011 at 8:55 AM

The UN climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, wrapped earlier this month with two notable accomplishments: a pledge to create a new international treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2020, and the creation of a multi-billion dollar fund to help developing nations adapt to the effects of climate change. Some have expressed disappointment in Durban’s outcomes, and have pointed to the challenges inherent to the current UN negotiating framework. Among the challenges: asking national environmental ministers to hammer out an international framework that must go well beyond environmental concerns to be effective, and the tiered system of “developed”… [more]

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Wind Tax Credit Expiring

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 26, 2011 at 8:40 AM

The production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy is currently set to expire December 31st, 2012. The credit is currently 2.2¢ per kWh created by wind. The average price of electricity nationwide is 11¢ per kWh. A study released recently by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) states that without an immediate PTC program extension, wind energy “jobs will drop by nearly half, from 78,000 in 2012 to 41,000 in 2013.” According to the report, an extension of the program through 2016 could create nearly 17,000 wind industry jobs. Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO, has stated that “these jobs could vanish if Congress allows… [more]

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DOE Weatherization Program Targeted in Coburn’s Wastebook

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 23, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released the 2011 Wastebook, his annual “guide to some of the most wasteful and low priority government spending”. Among the report’s targets is DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a program that improves the energy efficiency of low-income family homes. Among the criticisms of the program highlighted by Senator Coburn: The DOE Inspector General found in a 2010 survey that the program suffered from poor workmanship, inflated contractor and material costs, and substandard home inspections to a level that “put the entire program at risk.” WAP-funded job training programs are sometimes unable to place trainees in… [more]

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EPA Announces MACT Rules

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 22, 2011 at 8:32 AM

On December 21st, 2011 the EPA announced its newly proposed MACT Rules, placing stringent requirements on mercury and toxics emissions from power plants. The new rules were issued under the authority of the Clean Air Act, and are expected to heavily impact existing and new coal-fired power plants. According to AP, EPA “has estimated that 14.7 gigawatts — enough power for more than 11 million households — will be retired from the power grid in the 2014-15 period when the rules take effect.” The rules have received a great deal of criticism, ranging from the anticipated impacts on industry and employment to EPA’s “methodology… [more]

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ExxonMobil’s 2012 Outlook for Energy

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM

ExxonMobil recently released its 2012 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, a report forecasting energy trends out for the next several decades. Among the projections highlighted in ExxonMobil’s announcement: “Global energy demand is expected to rise by about 30 percent from 2010 to 2040, [but] demand growth would be approximately four times that amount without projected gains in efficiency.” “ExxonMobil sees advanced hybrid vehicles accounting for 50 percent of the cars people will drive in 2040, compared to about 1 percent today. This, plus improved fuel economy in conventional vehicles, will cause demand for energy for personal vehicles to… [more]

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