Institute for Energy Research


The Institute for Energy Research (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.

Most Recent Articles by Institute for Energy Research:

Ocean City Officials Strengthen Their Opposition to Proposed Wind Farms

Aug 18, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Ocean City Officials Strengthen Their Opposition to Proposed Wind Farms
Over a year ago, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the leases for two wind farms off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland—a resort town and commercial fishing mecca. The commission approved 62 turbines at least 14 miles off the coast of Ocean City to be developed by U.S. Wind—a $1.4 billion project—and a 15-turbine, $720 million project by Skipjack Offshore Wind LLC to be situated north of the U.S. Wind project.


Delays, Lawsuits, and Immigration Controls? The Many Abuses of NEPA

Aug 16, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Delays, Lawsuits, and Immigration Controls? The Many Abuses of NEPA
The Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) could not have come soon enough. When it was first signed into law in 1970, NEPA served as a way for federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions, helping them to balance a range of interests. Today, NEPA is a massively expensive and time-consuming liability that threatens to derail crucial infrastructure and energy development projects. NEPA, as it currently operates, is the model of an outdated regulation that has been exploited beyond recognition from its original purpose.


Oil and Gas Pipelines Needed in the Permian Basin

Aug 14, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Oil and Gas Pipelines Needed in the Permian Basin
A lack of pipeline capacity is hampering Permian Basin crude oil and natural gas production. Pipelines that were adequate a few years ago are now overwhelmed due to the tremendous growth in production. New pipeline projects are being considered to alleviate the bottlenecks, which are causing some of the region’s oil and gas to trade at steep discounts compared to benchmark prices. Producers selling oil in Midland, Texas, are receiving about $16 a barrel less than what sellers are getting in Oklahoma for crude oil, and the natural gas price differential between Waha Hub in Western Texas and Henry Hub in Louisiana is about $1 per million Btu.

Oil and Gas Pipelines Needed in the Permian Basin


Canadian Provinces Fighting Back Against Trudeau’s Carbon Tax

Aug 11, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Canadian Provinces Fighting Back Against Trudeau’s Carbon Tax
Saskatchewan was first to oppose Canada’s federal carbon tax plan. Recently, Ontario joined the western province in opposition. The provinces are challenging the federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax on provinces that do not comply with Canada’s climate change plan. To meet Canada’s international commitments, the Canadian government threatened to institute a carbon tax in any province that does not implement an effective form of carbon pricing to reduce its emissions. Provinces and territories have been given the option to come up with their own carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. If they fail to do so, the Canadian government will impose its own plan.

The Canadian government announced last year it was giving the provinces and territories until the beginning of September to outline how they are implementing carbon pricing systems that meet the federal standard. Those standards originally required a carbon price of $10 a metric ton be implemented this year, increasing to $20 on January 1, 2019 and to $50 in 2022.​ Trudeau’s government, however, has pushed back the imposition of the tax by one year. It is set to, take effect in January.


Milton Friedman, Climate Change, and a Carbon Tax

Aug 1, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Milton Friedman, Climate Change, and a Carbon Tax
In 2014, Bob Inglis chaired a forum at the University of Chicago titled, “What Would Milton Friedman Do About Climate Change?” Two Chicago economists argued that Friedman would have applied the textbook analysis of “negative externalities” to the issue of climate change, and therefore would have supported a carbon tax. The only problem is, they gave no actual quotes of Friedman supporting a carbon tax, even though he died in 2006. Furthermore, there is at least one quotation from Friedman in which he denounces the fear-mongering of the global warming movement. Contrary to the claims of a few academics and retired government officials, a U.S. carbon tax is not a “conservative free market solution” to the issue of climate change.




Technology Revolutionizing the Oil Industry

Jul 31, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Technology Revolutionizing the Oil Industry
First, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling made the shale oil industry economically viable; now new technology and smarter design are about to make the offshore oil industry competitive with it.


China High in Renewable Capacity, But Not in Production Efficiency

Jul 31, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

China High in Renewable Capacity, But Not in Production Efficiency
The growth of China’s economy and electricity demand have slowed in recent years. Yet, its construction program has continued for all types of generating plants, making them run at much lower capacity factors than their design capability. In particular, by the end of 2017, China had over twice the wind and solar capacity that the United States had, but the capacity factors of their solar and wind units were about half that of similar technologies in the United States, making China one of the least efficient renewable energy generators in the world.


The Population Bomb That Was A Dud

Jul 24, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

The Population Bomb That Was A Dud
Last week, a group of sustainable population organizations issued a global statement and call to action for World Population Day. According to the statement,

“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice warned that runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population is crippling the Earth’s life-support systems, jeopardizing our future. Identifying population as a “main driver” of the crisis, its recommended actions include reducing fertility rates through education, family planning and rallying leaders behind the goal of establishing a sustainable human population.”


Businesses Should Avoid Global Warming Politics

Jul 19, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Businesses Should Avoid Global Warming Politics
Kinder-Morgan, the nation’s largest midstream energy company, just announced a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project to move two billion cubic feet of natural gas each day from West Texas to Gulf Coast consumers. At the same time, on the other side of the country, a federal judge threw out a climate-related lawsuit against some of the largest oil and gas companies in world.

All this brings to mind two non-binding shareholder resolutions instructing Kinder-Morgan to issue an environmental sustainability report and to assess the risk of climate change policy on its operations.


IER Sues Treasury Department for Public Records of Immediate Public Interest

Jul 19, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

IER Sues Treasury Department for Public Records of Immediate Public Interest
WASHINGTON – Today the Institute for Energy Research filed an open records lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury relating to continuing efforts in Washington to quietly advance the “climate” industry. This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks certain, specific records relating to the “climate risk disclosure” campaign begun in 2012 by various activist groups including Ceres and Rockefeller Financial Asset Management and led by disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. That agenda, if implemented, would have immense economic and legal consequences.


China Looks to Increase Natural Gas Consumption and Supply

Jul 17, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

China Looks to Increase Natural Gas Consumption and Supply
In 2017, China was the world’s fastest-growing natural gas market. Consumption grew by 15 percent—over twice the rate of economic growth—and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports grew by 46 percent. In 2013, under the country’s National Action Plan on Air Pollution Prevention and Control, natural gas became a central part of the Chinese government’s plan for fighting air pollution. China’s thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) set goals for increasing the use of natural gas, including almost doubling the share of natural gas in China’s energy mix in five years—providing up to 10 percent of China’s primary energy by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030.

In 2017, natural gas accounted for about 7 percent of China’s primary energy consumption. Over two-thirds of the natural gas consumed in China is used in industry and buildings (mainly for heating) with little used in power generation due to China’s staggering coal-fired capacity in that sector. The Chinese economy relies heavily on coal, which produces more particulate matter and other criteria pollutants than natural gas. Transitioning from coal to natural gas can reduce China’s soot and smog. China suffers from serious air pollution problems.


Ocean City Wants Invisible Offshore Wind Turbines

Jul 15, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Ocean City Wants Invisible Offshore Wind Turbines
Over a year ago, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved wind turbines to be located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been reviewing those plans. But the town of Ocean City is creating a problem for the wind developer by requiring the turbines to be located at least 26 nautical miles offshore—about twice the distance planned—so that they cannot be seen by tourists that flock to the peninsula during the summer months. U.S. Wind, the developer, has offered the town incentives, including ‘free’ electricity, to get the town to renege on its stance but there is no agreement in sight.


Renewables Cannot Even Fill the Void of Retiring Nuclear Plants

Jul 6, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Renewables Cannot Even Fill the Void of Retiring Nuclear Plants
According to BP’s 2018 edition of its Statistical Review of World Energy, renewable energy has not been able to fill the void created by retiring nuclear plants despite its large growth in 2017. As a result, the share of non-carbon power generation has fallen slightly over the past 20 years. The data is further evidence that energy sources such as wind and solar cannot replace coal and other fossil fuels and will not lead to significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions despite decades of subsidies. Despite non-hydroelectric renewable generation increasing by 17 percent, wind and solar accounted for only six percent of total electricity globally.

Public and private entities spent $1.1 trillion on solar and over $900 billion on wind between 2007 and 2016. Global investment in these renewable sources was about $300 billion per year between 2010 and 2016. The $2 trillion in solar and wind investment during the past 10 years represents an amount similar to the global investment in nuclear power over the past 54 years, which totals about $1.8 trillion.

Renewables Cannot Even Fill the Void of Retiring Nuclear Plants
Source: Forbes


Could a Renaissance Be in Store for Existing Nuclear Plants?

Jul 4, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Could a Renaissance Be in Store for Existing Nuclear Plants?
Nuclear plants were originally issued 40-year operating licenses by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Most utilities had applied for 20-year renewals for their nuclear units, and have operated them for 50 to 60 years. Many utilities are now considering applying for a second renewal and four plants have begun that decade-long process. The initial operating license for nuclear units was issued for 40 years because it was believed that nuclear plants would last 40 to 50 years. But, they, like coal plants, have operated for much longer, providing reliable and relatively inexpensive electricity.


The Biofuels Industry Retains Pull in Washington

Jun 30, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

The Biofuels Industry Retains Pull in Washington
On Tuesday, the EPA released a proposal to raise the biofuel mandate 3.1 percent to 19.88 billion gallons in 2019.  Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), fuel suppliers are required to mix billions of gallons of ethanol into gasoline and diesel fuel each year.

Despite objections from across the political spectrum, supporters of the mandate continue to argue that the RFS reduces gas prices, promotes economic growth, and contributes to a cleaner environment. In recent years however, reality has set in as each of these claims has been proven false and the RFS has been exposed for what it really is: a transfer of consumer wealth to the ethanol industry.


China Joins Other Countries in Reducing Subsidies for Solar Power

Jun 28, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

China Joins Other Countries in Reducing Subsidies for Solar Power
On June 1, 2018, China, the world’s largest solar market, announced changes to its solar subsidies, causing estimates of its future solar construction to be slashed. China will terminate approvals for new subsidized utility-scale photovoltaic power stations in 2018.


Wind Power Increases Dependence on Fossil Fuels; Germany Must Soon Begin to Scrap Its Wind Units

Jun 26, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Study: Wind Power Increases Dependence on Fossil Fuels in EU
A study analyzing energy supply in the European Union shows that increasing the level of wind-generated electricity also increases the level of fossil fuel-generated electricity, the opposite outcome suggested by those who argue that renewable energy is necessary to “get off carbon-based fuels.” This is because, at times of insufficient wind, fossil-fuel plants generating plants are needed to provide back-up to the wind units. Further, the study found that increasing the number of power plants (whether wind or fossil-fuel) increased the power plant capacity that is idled, making the entire energy system less efficient and more costly. Wind turbines are idle when there is insufficient wind and fossil fuel plants are idled when the wind is blowing. Further adding to the issue is that, despite the increase in renewable energy in the European Union, carbon dioxide emissions increased, not decreased as was the intent. In 2017, the European Union increased its wind power by 25 percent and increased its solar power by six percent. Despite this massive investment in renewable energy, carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.8 percent.


Climate Alarm: Failed Prognostications

Jun 23, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Climate Alarm: Failed Prognostications
“If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit [between now and] the year 2025 to 2050…. The rise in global temperature is predicted to ... caus[e] sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.”—Philip Shabecoff, “Global Warming Has Begun.” New York Times, June 24, 1988.

It has been 30 years since the alarm bell was sounded for manmade global warming caused by modern industrial society. And predictions made on that day—and ever since—continue to be falsified in the real world.


Ontario Premier-Elect Doug Ford Ditches Cap and Trade

Jun 21, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

Ontario Premier-Elect Doug Ford Ditches Cap and Trade
Earlier this month, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario had a very good showing in the Canadian province’s general election. Not only will Doug Ford became Ontario’s next Premier (on June 29), but the Progressive Conservatives “won 76 of Ontario’s 124 districts” and his “win ends 15 years of Liberal Party rule,” according to Bloomberg. Because Ford ran on a populist, smaller government message, many political pundits are naturally grouping the Ontario election in with Brexit and Donald Trump.


Countries with Carbon Taxes See Higher Energy Prices

Jun 19, 2018 — Institute for Energy Research

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Governments and those that oppose the use of traditional energy sources are increasingly advocating for various types of carbon taxes and fees which are increasing costs for citizens.  In Australia, a carbon tax — which has since been repealed — caused electricity prices for the average family to increase by 10 percent.