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Discussion

The Water-Energy Nexus: How Can Collaboration Lead to Greater Impact?

Author(s): Diana Bauer
Director of Energy Systems Analysis and Integration
Department of Energy
Date: December 17, 2014 at 1:54 PM

This prompt is the second in a series of discussions led by invited speakers at the upcoming 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change to be held January 27-29, 2015 in Washington, DC. Energy and water systems have historically been designed and managed independently.  However, the systems are, in fact, interdependent.  In its simplest form, the energy-water nexus can be broken into two parts: “energy for water” —the energy required to treat, transport, or heat water—and “water for energy” —the water required for cooling thermoelectric power plants, oil and gas production,… [more]

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Abundance or Scarcity? Re-examining U.S. Oil and Gas Policy

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM

On December 3rd, 2014, OurEnergyPolicy.org hosted “Abundance or Scarcity? Re-examining U.S. Oil & Gas Policy,” a panel event at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC. The panel discussed how recent growth in domestic oil and gas production is transforming the U.S. energy sector and challenging the paradigm of energy scarcity that has underpinned federal policy for the last 40 years. Topics covered include policy issues related to exports, finance, climate change, infrastructure, natural gas as a transportation fuel and politically viable energy legislation. Find the full video below and the transcript here. Introduction: Bill Squadron, President, OurEnergyPolicy.org Opening remarks:… [more]

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Bipartisan Energy Policy: The Solution or the Problem?

Author(s): Peter Grossman
Clarence Efroymson Professor of Economics
Butler University
Date: December 3, 2014 at 7:22 AM

As I explain in U.S. Energy Policy and the Pursuit of Failure, bipartisan compromise is possible and has led to policy change in the past. However, that change has almost always been bad for the country. Bipartisanship has given us ill-conceived and wasteful programs for synthetic fuels, breeder reactors, “super cars,” windmills, and ethanol. The problem runs much deeper than the current President or the balance of parties in Congress. For the past forty years, U.S. energy policy has been premised on false concepts of markets, government, technology, and history. The basis for this policy paradigm goes something like this:  The… [more]

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How Can We Enhance The Efficiency Of The Existing Coal Power Plant Fleet?

Author(s): Janet Gellici
Chief Executive Officer
National Coal Council
Date: November 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM

The existing fleet of coal-fired power plants is critical to the economic prosperity of the U.S. As the leading provider of U.S. electricity generation (at 39%), low cost coal keeps electricity prices below those of other free market nations and provides a competitive edge for U.S industry. In addition, the “Polar Vortex” weather events of January and February 2014 demonstrated the contribution of the existing coal fleet to the reliability of the U.S. electricity grid. After limited natural gas resources were diverted from electricity production to residential heating needs, coal-fired power plants made up the difference. Nationwide, over 90% of… [more]

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Dynamic Distribution System: Transforming the Grid from the Distribution System Out

Author(s): Gary Radloff
Director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis
Wisconsin Energy Institute
Date: November 19, 2014 at 7:12 AM

This prompt is the first in a series of discussions led by invited speakers at the upcoming 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change to be held January 27-29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The environmental benefits and declining price of solar, wind, storage and other distributed energy resources are driving their increased use in the electrical utility system. As a result, more power is being generated at homes, businesses, and commercial buildings and used locally. This jump in power production at the distribution level presents a challenge to the traditional electrical… [more]

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California’s Solar Subsidies Have Little Impact On Adoption Trends

Author(s): Yevgeniy Vorobeychik
Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University
Date: November 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

The rooftop solar market in the US, and especially in California, has experienced explosive growth in the last decade. At least in part this growth can be attributed to the government incentive programs, which effectively reduce the system costs. One of the most aggressive incentive programs is the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a rooftop solar subsidy program initiated in 2007 with the goal of creating 1,940 megawatts of solar capacity by 2016. The CSI program has been touted as a great success, and it certainly seems so: over 2,000 megawatts have been installed to date. But how much of this… [more]

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Is this the end of the line for wind and solar energy tax credits? Should it be?

Author(s): Ben Finzel
President
RENEWPR
Date: November 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The American wind energy industry has grown in spite of the “boom and bust” cycle of wind energy development fostered by the renewal-expiration-renewal cycle of the wind production tax credit (PTC). The PTC is one of the primary tools used to spur wind energy development and expired at the end of 2013. The result was a 92% drop in 2013 installations, compared to 2012. Extension of the PTC will likely be the subject of debate about so-called tax extenders during the upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress as the wind industry seeks an extension of the PTC through 2015. The… [more]

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Growing Poor Slowly: Why We Must Have Renewable Energy

Author(s): Dr. Bruce Dale
University Distinguished Professor
Michigan State University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Date: October 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Human well-being is a direct function of power consumed, or the rate at which work is done. The relationship between rate of energy consumption and rate of wealth production should not surprise anyone. The faster work is done (more power consumed), the more wealth that is produced. It is impossible to think of a single wealth-producing activity that does not require work—the expenditure of energy. The great increase in the world’s wealth since the Industrial Revolution is the obvious outcome of using fossil fuels to provide the energy for machines to do work. We got rich in the last couple… [more]

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Should Tesla (And Other Auto Manufacturers) Be Able To Sell Cars Directly To Consumers?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Tesla will not be able to sell their electric cars directly to consumers in Michigan after Governor Rick Snyder signed bipartisan legislation on October 21st that clarifies existing state auto sales laws. Tesla has been fighting with numerous states to maintain their preferred, and successful, business model of selling vehicles directly to consumers, as opposed to the traditional method of selling to franchised dealerships that sell to consumers. The Michigan legislation isn’t unique; forty-eight states have had laws in place for years that ban or limit direct sales of automobiles. In the early years of the auto industry, manufacturers needed… [more]

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American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers

Author(s): Michael Spiak
Program Manager
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: October 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

The American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES) is a group of competitive retail natural gas and electricity suppliers committed to consumer education and media outreach, in order to help consumers better understand and take advantage of the benefits of energy choice.

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