Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted November 28, 2016
There is indeed critically important climate progress being made in the United States, thanks to an energy transition – though perhaps not precisely the one EPA’s Gina McCarthy had in mind. It’s natural gas – the increased use of which is the primary reason the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects U.S. energy-related carbon emissions this year will be the lowest since 1992.
Posted October 28, 2016
For the oil and gas industry, former buildings, facilities, well pads and rigs often hold promise of a second life for both local communities and the environment, whether it’s turning an offshore rig into an artificial reef, reclaiming an onshore drill site or repurposing a building or port to fit a variety of socially beneficial needs. All are examples of industry’s commitment to being a responsible neighbor on land and in the sea.
Posted October 11, 2016
Posted January 12, 2016
During his last State of the Union address, President Obama could declare victory – an energy victory that has seen surging domestic production, lower consumer costs, economic growth and environmental progress, all happening together, on his watch. The president can say this U.S. model is winning the day, because it is. He should say this model is exportable to the world, because it is.
Fact: The U.S. is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas. The domestic revolution in the production of oil and gas has reduced net oil imports and positioned the U.S. to claim its place as a major player in global energy markets. At the same time, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: Affordable natural gas – the average price at the national benchmark Henry Hub in 2015 was the lowest since 1999 – is largely the reason wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs (on a monthly average for on-peak hours) were down 27 percent to 37 percent across the U.S. last year compared to 2014. That’s a real benefit for consumers.
Fact: Natural gas is winning in the marketplace. This is reflected in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing the change in annual U.S. energy consumption by fuel source over the past decade.
These are all characteristics of the U.S. model, a market-driven model for energy growth, consumer benefits and climate progress. The president can own it. We wouldn’t mind a bit.
Posted October 16, 2015
It’s been a tough week for corn ethanol producers and supporters of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
First, a new University of Tennessee report finds that the RFS and its ethanol mandates fall short on a number of environmental fronts, and that without mandated ethanol use the corn ethanol industry couldn’t survive commercially. The report:
Looking back over the last 10 years, the RFS and its resulting promotion of corn ethanol as a leading oxygenate supplement to conventional transportation fuels did not meet intended environmental goals. Corn ethanol’s environmental record has failed to meet expectations across a number of metrics that include air pollutants, water contamination, and soil erosion. Corn ethanol has resulted in a number of less favorable environmental outcomes when compared to a scenario in which the traditional transportation fuel market had been left unchanged.
Posted March 7, 2015
The politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are on display this weekend in Iowa, a key presidential primary state. Nothing against Iowa – or ethanol, for that matter – but the RFS illustrates that when you mix energy policy and politics bad public policy can result.
Certainly, the RFS shows the difficulty of trying to apply central planning to the marketplace, of trying to mandate consumer behavior. The RFS is a relic of the era of energy scarcity in the U.S. whose best intentions have been superseded by surging domestic oil and natural gas production.
Still, the RFS remains and along with it potential risks to the economy, vehicle engines and more. It also risks unintended consequences, including a moral/ethical dilemma over whether food should be turned into fuels, as well as concern for the environmental impact of corn ethanol production.
Posted December 22, 2014
A new peer-reviewed study of transportation fueling options generated a pretty good buzz last week, basically for the finding that electric vehicles might not be as good for the environment as previously thought. Another of the study’s conclusions also is worth underscoring: the negative environmental impacts of corn ethanol in fuels.
A team of University of Minnesota researchers assessed life-cycle air quality impacts of 10 alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles. On corn ethanol:
We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or “grid average” electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.
Posted November 3, 2014
Sometimes the public policy debate occurs at an academic level, and it’s easy to overlook the impact on real Americans. A good example is the campaign to push higher ethanol-blend fuels into the marketplace, which could negatively affect millions of consumers and hinder the broader economy. True enough, but we should also look at the real-world impacts of forcing increasing levels of ethanol into the fuel supply, impacts on individual Americans like Russell Garcia in Chicago.
Garcia owns five independent service stations in Chicago. He recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune to point out the consequences of a city council proposal to require Chicago gas stations to carry E15 gasoline – fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol, 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 gasoline that’s prevalent across the country.
Garcia wrote that E15 won’t deliver benefits promised by proponents, such as cost savings and environmental improvements. Instead, he wrote, it would impact consumers and small business owners like himself and ultimately be worse for the environment.
Posted April 30, 2013
Bloomberg – Approve Keystone Now
Bloomberg’s editorial board argues that rather than encouraging more study on the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama should “now prod the State Department to move as fast as possible” to approve the project.
AEI Carpe Diem Blog – Texas Oil Output Continues
Mark J. Perry writes, “The exponential increase in Texas oil production over the last several years is nothing short of phenomenal, and is a direct result of … game-changing drilling technologies in America that have now revolutionized the nation’s production of shale oil.”
Posted November 28, 2012