Energy Policy

Coming Soon to a Utility Bill Near You?

Featured image The New York Times today has a long news story (“Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England”) about soaring utility bills in the Northeast, where many people are seeing 100 percent increases in their energy costs over just a few months ago: For October, [John York] had paid $376. For November, with virtually no change in his volume of work and without having turned up the thermostat in his two-room »

Oil, Oil, Toil and Trouble [Update]

Featured image Further to our series on falling oil prices, the Dow Jones average closed down about 300 points today, finishing its worst week in more than two years. The usual buzz has it that the fall in oil prices is responsible for this slump. But falling oil prices ought to be a net plus for the economy as a whole and should be good for stocks overall in the long run, »

NPR drills down

Featured image Falling oil prices are a boon for the common run of mankind. As Steve Hayward notes, however, “environmentalists are all upset about falling oil prices.” As a result, the mainstream media will be searching for stories seeking to convey the dark side of falling energy prices. NPR has now conducted its initial exploration in this vein, drilling down a little too deeply to turn it into a seasonal story. The »

Welcome to “Pique Oil”

Featured image As everyone knows, oil prices have fallen sharply and “unexpectedly” over the last few months, though this is not really unexpected to anyone who believes in markets or technological progress. But confidence in markets and technology does rule out a lot of liberals and virtually all environmentalists. As such, it’s fun to recall his Krugmanness declaring four years ago that “peak oil” was here to stay. In “Our Finite World,” »

Surprise, Surprise: Russia Sponsoring Foreign Environmental Protests

Featured image Put on your best Gomer Pyle imitation (“surprise, surprise, surprise!”) for this next story. We know that back during the Cold War, the Soviet Union provided substantial funding and organizational heft to the useful idiots protesting against Western plans such as the intermediate-range missile deployment in 1983. So given that Russia is now ruled by a former KGB officer, why should we be surprised, as the New York Times seems »

Oil, Oil, Toil and Trouble

Featured image The fall OPEC meeting is under way right now in Vienna, and all eyes are on the Saudis, to see whether they will lead a strategy to stop the fall in oil prices, which is putting the crimp on Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, among other worthies. We’ve commented previously about what the Saudis may be up to (here and here), and today Business Insider reports that the Saudis show no »

Renewable Energy Will Never Work, But Can Nuclear?

Featured image Via the indispensable Watts Up With That? come two of the most interesting articles I have read in a very long time. The first is by two Google engineers who were charged with thinking creatively about how to replace fossil fuels with renewables. After four years, Google shut down the project. The engineers concluded that it simply couldn’t be done: At the start of RE »

Energy Flotsam and Jetsam

Featured image Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal story about the production difficulties of the Arizona supplier that Apple selected to make sapphire screens for the iPhone 6 was fascinating in its own right, but there was one little detail in the story that zipped by too quickly: Mr. Squiller, the GT operations chief, told the bankruptcy court that GT lost three months of production to power outages and delays building the facility. Whoa, »

If You Like Your Utility Rates, You Can Keep Your Utility Rates

Featured image When the EPA announced in June its proposed climate change regulations that it admitted would do nothing about climate change, it also claimed that its aggressive restructuring of the American electric power sector would see cost reductions for consumers. You almost expected EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to say, “If you like your utility rates, you can keep your utility rates.” No one over the age of six, or not a »

Liberals Still Not Giving Up on Keystone

Featured image Gail Collins has a column on the Keystone Pipeline in today’s New York Times. It illustrates why so many consider the Times to be the last redoubt of the ignorant. Collins begins by complaining that Republicans, victorious in last week’s election, keep mentioning approval of Keystone as something the new Congress will do. Which is bad because…well, she never says. Republicans talk about Keystone because it is low-hanging fruit, something »

“Our Friends,” the Saudis

Featured image While we gear up for a long day and evening tracking election returns, we should update our story from three weeks ago entitled “What Are the Saudis Up To?” There I wondered about the Saudi decision to maintain current production levels in the face of falling oil prices: But could there be a more sinister reason? If oil prices keep falling, it will not only hurt some of the Saudis’ »

The German Disease: Coming Soon to a Country Near You?

Featured image The cover of this week’s edition of The Economist, nearby, combines a lot into a little. Above all, it has a Monty Python reference. You can never go wrong with a Monty Python reference. Overseas the macro news is bad. Germany’s sluggish economy may take the rest of the Eurozone down with it. Japan, which has been unsuccessfully fighting deflation for two decades now, has just issued bonds with negative »

Fusion at Last? Not So Fast

Featured image One of the easiest scams to pull off in the energy world these days is to get a breathless story planted in the media about a laboratory “breakthrough” on energy from some advanced or unconventional source, like banana peels (when you aren’t smoking them) or unicorn flop sweat. Often these technologies are real, but the “journalists” never think to ask two basic questions: how much does it cost compared to »

Tom Friedman Gets One Right

Featured image Maybe this needs to be filed under the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” department, but Tom Friedman actually wrote an interesting and probative column a couple days ago about what’s going on with the falling price of oil, and I’m still picking myself up off the floor in amazement. Here are the three key paragraphs: Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil »

Brightsource But Bad Idea?

Featured image We’ve reported before about the Ivanpah Brightsource solar power facility in the California desert near Las Vegas that is frying birds wholesale and blinding pilots.  A Power Line informant passes along this notice to pilots from the airline pilots association: Blinded by the Light? Report It to the FAA! Have you seen a flash of bright light from the ground while flying near Las Vegas—in the daytime? If so, the »

Environmentalism Kills Poor People

Featured image Are you in favor of banning fossil fuel consumption, or making it more expensive? Probably not, but pretty much every Democrat is. To insist on “green” energy sources rather than fossil fuels is to doom millions of people to poverty, disease and premature death. This video, by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, doesn’t try to cover the whole global warming waterfront, but it does a great job of making one »

Oil: What Are the Saudis Up To?

Featured image The biggest energy story of the last decade obviously has been the U.S. oil boom, which defied everyone’s predictions—including the oil companies themselves. You simply can’t find a single forecast from 10 years ago that called for the kind of increase in domestic oil production that we’ve seen in just the last four years. When the price of oil started rising more than a decade ago—topping $60 a barrel at »