A Primer On Energy

Earlier today, the Institute for Energy Research released an excellent short piece on the basics of energy policy, titled Hard Facts: An Energy Primer. It is an excellent starting point for understanding America’s energy resources and the basics of a sound energy policy. The publication includes a number of illuminating graphics, like this one, which shows how America’s energy consumption has remained in check even as GDP has risen rapidly, with pollution, meanwhile, declining drastically:

It is remarkable how environmental doom-mongering has persisted over the decades, in the face of what should be obvious realities. (But then, Steve Hayward is the expert on that phenomenon.) You really should read the whole thing, but here are a few short excerpts:

The reality is that we have more combined oil, coal, and natural gas resources than any other country on the planet. We have enough energy resources to provide reliable and affordable energy for decades, even centuries to come. The only real question is whether we will have access to our abundant energy resources, not whether sufficient resources exist. … According to the Congressional Research Service, we have the most fossil fuel resources of any country on Earth, but most of these resources are off-limits due to federal policies.
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Energy use per person in the United States fell 12 percent between 1979 and 2010 from 359 million BTUs to 317 million BTUs per person.
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China’s CO2 emissions increased by 167 percent between 1999 and 2009, while CO2 emissions from the United States decreased by 4.4 percent over the same 10-year period.

Total federal subsidies in fiscal year 2007 were $24.34 per megawatt hour for solar-generated electricity and $23.37 per megawatt hour for wind, compared with $1.59 for nuclear, $0.67 for hydroelectric power, $0.44 for conventional coal, and $0.25 for natural gas and petroleum liquids. In fiscal year 2010, the subsidies were even higher. For solar power, they were $775.64 per megawatt hour, for wind $56.29, for nuclear $3.14, for hydroelectric power $0.82, for coal $0.64 and for natural gas and petroleum liquids $0.64.

Electricity costs around $100 per megawatt hour. Do the math.

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