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Discussion

Clean, Reliable, Affordable….can energy policy deal with its own increasing demands?

Author(s): Matt Futch
Vice President, US Retail Regulatory Strategy
National Grid, US
Date: November 12, 2013 at 7:05 AM

With the exception of EPA rulemaking and stimulus, federal energy policy has been at a virtual standstill since EISA 2007. That makes state legislatures and regulators the focal point for new ideas. California, with its aggressive efficiency and renewable targets, has continued to be a key market for addressing the financial and operational costs of configuring a new energy system. In a previous life, I remember an industry colleague’s advice on drafting energy legislation; “create principles regulators can tweak rather than inflexible legislative fiat”. This expression comes to mind as a litmus test for California’s new landmark energy legislation; Assembly… [more]

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Discussion

Why The EPA’s “Social Cost of Carbon” Fails

Author(s): Dr. Benjamin Zycher
Visiting Scholar
American Enterprise Institute
Date: November 5, 2013 at 7:03 AM

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is supposed to be “An estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in a given year”. However, the EPA’s “analysis” of the “social cost of carbon,” developed recently as justification for a rule constraining energy use by microwave ovens, ignores the fact that U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases are about 17 percent of the world total. Therefore, even an immediate reduction by half in U.S. emissions would yield a reduction in world temperatures of about one-tenth of one degree by… [more]

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Discussion

Should The Renewable Fuel Standard Change With Fuel Demand?

Author(s): Matthew Carr
Managing Director, Industrial & Environmental Section
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Date: October 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, co-signed by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), argues that growing renewable fuel obligations under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) have come into direct conflict with declining U.S. demand for transportation fuel.  The editorial asserts that current fuel distribution infrastructure and automobile engine guidelines limit the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline to 10 percent, creating a “blend wall” beyond which further blending of ethanol becomes economically unreasonable. Meanwhile, in response to high fuel prices, consumers have radically curbed their driving habits and sought out new cars that meet more… [more]

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Should U.S. Climate Policy Focus More on Innovation?

Author(s): Matthew Stepp
Senior Policy Analyst
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Date: October 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Most clean energy advocates believe that the world has all the low-carbon technologies needed to effectively address climate change. In their view – what we describe as the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus – the world doesn’t need technology breakthroughs, but political breakthroughs to drive widespread deployment of clean energy technologies. This translates to a policy environment heavily weighted towards deployment subsidies, mandates, and carbon prices. But The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) argues in its new report, “Challenging the Clean Energy Deployment Consensus,” that the world needs a more comprehensive Innovation Consensus that focuses on developing and deploying affordable… [more]

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Discussion

Fuel Choice and Energy Security

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 22, 2013 at 7:05 AM

A report, “Fuel Choice for American Prosperity,” recently published by the United States Energy Security Council (USESC), a group within the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), identifies challenges facing the United States’ pursuit of energy security. Despite oil imports expected to fall to their lowest level since 1987 (EIA), the total amount of money the U.S. spends on oil imports has increased. If energy security is defined as “reliable supply at an affordable price,” as the report’s authors define, the U.S. has improved the former, but failed to impact global oil prices, which have risen more than… [more]

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Discussion

Do Fugitive Emissions Undermine Natural Gas?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 11, 2013 at 8:18 AM

It has been recently suggested that natural gas is a more climate friendly alternative to many fossil fuels, and a necessary “bridge” to a low carbon future. The main component of natural gas is methane, which is a powerful GHG that has significantly more heat trapping potential than CO2. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, yet when it is extracted from the ground, unburned methane can escape into the atmosphere. Significant discussion has developed around the extent of these fugitive emissions and whether they undermine the climate benefits of using natural gas as a primary fuel. A 2011… [more]

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Discussion

How Do Utilities Survive And Thrive With Distributed Generation?

Author(s): Todd Foley
Chief Strategy Officer and SVP for Policy
American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Date: September 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM

With the recent growth of the distributed generation energy market and incentives for customers to produce their own energy and sell excess energy back to the grid, known as Net Energy Metering (NEM) in place in over 40 states, the traditional utility model has come into question. Facing competition from those who generate a portion of their own power and an associated loss in revenues, there is growing speculation that the traditional utility will struggle to survive if it doesn’t adapt to new market conditions. The Edison Electric Institute deemed rooftop solar “disruptive” – a threat to the traditional utility… [more]

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Assessing the Impacts of EPA’s New Coal Power Plant Rules

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 24, 2013 at 1:15 AM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft rules on September 20th, to limit carbon emissions from new coal power plants. The proposed rules are part of President Obama’s broader Climate Action Plan aimed at combating climate change and improving public health, according to the EPA. Under the rules, new coal-fired power plants would be limited to 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, or could opt to meet stricter average emissions limits that grant additional operational flexibility. The rules also would require new plants to implement partial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Critics of the proposed rules argue that… [more]

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Keystone Policy Center

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: September 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

The Keystone Policy Center is a non-advocacy nonprofit that brings together diverse stakeholders to address pressing and vexing policy issues with shared, action-oriented solutions. Its Energy Board, a learning- and relationship-focused project that Keystone has managed for almost 30 years, comprises roughly 50 individuals who represent different perspectives on energy policy, encompassing expertise from the industry, technology, environment, consumer advocacy, and state and federal government arenas. The group gathers three times a year for candid conversation on timely and complex issues in the energy and climate space.

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Discussion

Should Nuclear Power Receive Environmental Subsidies?

Author(s): Dr. Andrew C. Kadak
President
Kadak Associates, Inc.
Date: September 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

The availability of cheap natural gas in the United States has stalled the construction of new nuclear plants.  While four new nuclear plants are under construction in the US, many of the proposed 15 – 20 new plants were put on “hold” pending either an increase in electricity demand or increase in the price of natural gas. However, nuclear remains the largest source of emissions-free power in the U.S. at 19% of total electricity generation. The question posed for this dialogue is whether there is a justifiable reason to build new nuclear plants to provide base load power, despite the… [more]

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