Institute for Energy Research


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[i]The [url=http://www.InstituteforEnergyResearch.org]Institute for Energy Research[/url] (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.[/i]

Most Recent Articles by Institute for Energy Research:

The Philosophic Roots of the Paris Agreement: Deep Ecology vs. Human Progress

May 27, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

In his essay “The Church of Environmentalism,” Jeremy Carl told the story of Julian Simon participating at an environmental forum.

“How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?”, Simon asked. After a roomful of hands were raised, Simon then asked: “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” After silence, he followed up: “Is there any evidence I could give you—anything at all—that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?”

After more silence, Simon answered: “Well, excuse me. I’m not dressed for church.”

Despite the Paris Accord, India and Pakistan Will Continue to Use Coal

May 21, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

Pakistan’s Water and Power Ministry is committed to building as many as 12 new coal-fired power plants over the next 15 years as part of a large infrastructure investment project that China and its partners are funding. About $33 billion will be spent on 19 energy projects, including coal-fired and renewable power plants, transmission lines, and other infrastructure as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But the majority of the new generating capacity (roughly 75 percent) will come from the new coal plants. Pakistan will use its own coal reserves of 175 billion metric tons, which are sufficient to fuel the country’s energy needs for several decades‚Äîgrowing its economy, creating new jobs, and fighting unemployment and poverty.1

At least 300 million of India’s 1.25 billion people have no electricity and many of those that do have access to electric power find it available for just three or four hours a day. The lack of power limits efforts to advance living standards and to increase the country’s manufacturing sector. As the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2015, India is attempting to build a modern industrialized economy, and bring electricity to its entire population, without dramatically increasing carbon emissions. But, to keep up with the increasing demand for electricity, India must add about 15 gigawatts of generating capacity annually for the next 30 years. Most of the country’s electricity is supplied by coal-fired plants. Not only does the country need additional generating capacity, it also needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure, which is in poor shape.2

Obama’s Energy Efficiency Rules Cost More Than They Saved

May 21, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

A study found that the cost of former President Obama’s residential audit program exceeded the value of the energy savings and the environmental benefits. The computer models projected that the subsidies provided to homeowners would save far more money than they actually realized. The realized savings were only 58 percent of what the computer models predicted. (The efficiency rules were projected to save 2.5 times more financial value than they actually realized.) Further, they generated only $0.20 in environmental benefits per subsidy dollar spent. The study concluded that when all the benefits had been calculated, the auditing program had a negative rate of return of about 4 percent.1 The Obama Administration’s home audit program, managed by the Department of Energy, was created as part of the 2009 stimulus bill.

s_policy_summary.pdf” rel=“nofollow”>Haas School of Business

As the Trump Administration evaluates efficiency measures of the Obama Administration, it should keep this study in mind.

Illinois and New York Rescue Nuclear Plants; Other States May Follow

May 10, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

Illinois and New York approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep their nuclear reactors open for the next decade, limiting emissions that would have come from new fossil fuel consumption since natural gas plants would likely replace them.1 Nuclear units are finding it hard to compete against low-cost natural gas. Five nuclear plants have retired over the past 5 years2 and several more have been announced. Even Diablo Canyon in California—a nuclear plant that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ranks as one of the best in performance—is being shuttered after this decade supposedly to be replaced by renewable energy and efficiency programs. However, in reality, it is likely that they will be replaced, at least in part, by natural gas units as has been the case for other nuclear unit retirements.

Other states that may follow in Illinois and New York’s footsteps are Ohio, Connecticut, and New Jersey where nuclear units are providing most of the state’s carbon dioxide-free electricity. In Connecticut, the Millstone nuclear plant produces 98 percent of the state’s low-carbon power, and in New Jersey, nuclear reactors produce 97 percent.

The Paris Climate Deal Must Go

May 9, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

President Trump made a campaign pledge to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.1 As of now, he has yet to do so. His daughter, Ivanka, his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, others in the White House, and Exxon Mobil along with several other companies are urging him to break his pledge and stay in the deal, which President Obama negotiated and refused to send to the U.S. Senate for ratification.2

The Northeast Desperately Needs More Pipelines

May 6, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

In a new report, the Chamber of Commerce quantified the economic and job losses arising from limiting natural gas infrastructure development in the U.S. Northeast where several states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, have denied construction of natural gas pipelines. According to the report, if no new pipelines are built, it would cost the region over 78,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in GDP by the year 2020,1 and the displacement of over $4.4 billion in labor income.2

Earth Day Marchers Ignore the Economic Science of Climate Change

May 3, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

On April 22nd, thousands of people in cities around the world turned out for the “March for Science.” Although the official motivation was a general support for the scientific method, the subtext was a rebuke of the Trump Administration’s proposed funding cuts and its positions on issues such as climate change. The smugness was on full display, including signs such as this:

Yet ironically, when it comes to climate change, the vast majority of those marching are ignoring the “consensus” on the economic science.

Wind Subsidies Should End

May 2, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

It is time for the federal government to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on subsidies for wind power. In its Annual Energy Outlook 2017, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) compares the levelized costs for units coming online in 2022 and found that the levelized cost of wind turbines is competitive with the levelized cost of new natural gas combined cycle units even without wind power’s most significant subsidy—the Production Tax Credit (PTC).1 And, with the production tax credit, wind turbines are 18 percent less than a new natural gas combined cycle unit, according to EIA. With levelized costs competitive with its closest competitor, natural gas, there is no reason to continue to subsidize wind power.

Further, wind turbines pose others problems. Due to the uncertainty and intermittency of wind resources, reliable electricity sources must be available so grid operators can quickly power the grid up or down. This creates additional costs to the system and results in greater emissions than if more reliable electricity sources were to run at their normal rate. And, the best wind resources are usually located in remote locations, causing the need for extra transmission infrastructure and power loss inefficiencies. Further, a British study has found that the life of wind units is on the order of 12 to 15 years, rather than the assumed life of 20 to 25 years.2

White House Puts Offshore Resources Back in the Game

Apr 28, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

WASHINGTON – Institute for Energy Research President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement on President Trump’s plan for renewed offshore energy development in the U.S.:

IER Applauds National Monuments Executive Order

Apr 27, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

WASHINGTON – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) applauds President Trump for instructing the Interior Department to review national monument designations under the Obama administration. IER President Thomas Pyle released the following statement:

Green Jobs: A Bipartisan Mirage

Apr 26, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

Bipartisanship—that romanticized political ideal of a bygone era when Democrats and Republicans could commune together without vitriol and unite behind shared goals—is dead.

Five months removed from the most socially-divisive presidential election in living memory, the likelihood of politicians reaching across the aisle to work together seems exceedingly thin. Political scientists describe our present era as among the most polarizing in our nation’s history.

Governor Cuomo Objects to Pipelines Despite Acknowledging their Necessity

Apr 21, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

New York Governor Cuomo claims that he supports pipeline infrastructure, commenting that pipelines are viewed as the least hazardous method of moving a combustible fuel. Cuomo further stated, “Many studies say that using a pipeline as a conduit is safer than rail travel and truck travel. Realistically you have to move fuel, so a pipeline is the safest way if it’s done right.” Yet, within the last year, his Department of Environmental Conservation denied certification to the proposed Northern Access pipeline and water permits sought by the Constitution Pipeline.1 Cuomo has also fought the Algonquin Pipeline expansion and has been dawdling on an 8-mile spur to a new power plant in Wawayanda.2

While New York State has access to a portion of the Marcellus natural gas field, Governor Cuomo has banned the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas from that field. Nearby Pennsylvania, however, has used that technology along with horizontal drilling to develop its Marcellus field, benefiting from the natural gas produced from it. The pipelines would bring natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York, but Governor Cuomo is denying the residents of New York State access to that natural gas by limiting the expansion of pipeline capacity.

Trump Administration Should Be Wary of Shifting Carbon Tax Pitch

Apr 19, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

An op-ed in The Hill from the R Street Institute showcases yet again the shifting goal posts in the carbon tax debate. Before Donald Trump won the White House, a few vocal writers urged conservatives and libertarians that only by offering a massive new carbon tax, could they hope to win the rollback of top-down environmental regulations. Yet now that the Trump Administration is moving forward on such a rollback, the argument (from R Street and others) is that we should still go ahead with a carbon tax anyway. Besides the shifting rhetoric, these appeals also mislead readers on just how damaging a carbon tax would be to the economy—as even its supporters implicitly admit with their own models.

Forbes Column: Ban Fracking? Bad Economics, Bad Ecology

Apr 18, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

Institute for Energy Research Founder and CEO Robert Bradley recently penned a column for Forbes.com titled “Ban Fracking? Bad Economic, Bad Ecology.” In the piece, Bradley explains how the practice of hydraulic fracturing is not only safe but also helps bolster America’s economy.

Warning: low-cost, clean energy may be hazardous to your health.

Or so say environmental activists who will trot out any line of attack in their crusade against fossil fuels.

For years, the green movement has spread falsehoods about hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — the practice of unlocking hydrocarbons by injecting high-pressure liquid deep into the earth. Lately, the leave-it-in-the-ground lobby has doubled down on its mission to thwart the latest oil and gas extraction techniques.

But research consistently shows that fracking is a secure — and economically savvy — form of energy production. Banning it, as New York State and Maryland have done, hurts economies — and the environment.

Would a Carbon Tax Dividend Help Poor Households?

Mar 28, 2017 — Institute for Energy Research

IER President Tom Pyle recently wrote an article for National Review‘s online magazine responding to George Schultz and Ted Halstead’s own NRO piece making their case for a carbon tax. Pyle did a good job covering the important points of the argument, but space constraints prevented him from focusing on one issue in particular: If we could (naïvely) trust the federal government to refund all carbon tax receipts in lump sum checks, is it true that “the bottom 70 percent of Americans would come out ahead,” as Schultz and Halstead claimed?

As I’ll show in this post, their argument doesn’t actually prove what they’re suggesting. Even on its own terms, a carbon-tax-and-dividend scheme would still impose the biggest hardships on poorer households, since energy expenditures are a bigger share of their budget. Even if they “made money” on the deal, they would still be hurt by higher energy prices, and so Schultz and Halstead’s claims are very misleading, even if we take them at face value.