Energy Policy

Hillary’s Hot Air Balloon [Updated]

Featured image I’m starting to think Hillary Clinton believes her own B.S., or represents the first attempt at a human self-inflated hot air balloon.  Back in the 1960s, Great Society liberals told us that they’d abolish poverty in 10 years (Sargent Shriver declared this confidently in Capitol Hill testimony). Yeah—how’d that work out for them? Having learned nothing from that kind of grandiosity, Hillary Clinton today “pledged to take steps as president »

First They Came for Your Light Bulbs. . .

Featured image I’m always struck by the irony that the same kind of people who say government should stay out of your bedroom have no hesitation about getting into your bathroom, and have mandated such splendors as low-flow shower heads and toilets (or commodes that are no longer commodious). And then they moved on to light bulbs and clothes washers and dryers. So now the feddle guvmint has a new idea to »

Gas Pains? Take A Lump of Coal For It

Featured image The AP is reporting that the latest Energy Department data shows that natural gas has overtaken coal as the leading fuel source for electricity generation in the U.S.: Natural gas overtook coal as the top source of U.S. electric power generation for the first time ever earlier this spring, a milestone that has been in the making for years as the price of gas slides and new regulations make coal »

Nuclear Power Story-fied

Featured image One of the social media techniques in vogue with “millennials” is stitching together a number of Twitter posts to lay out a whole argument.  There’s even a website that will compile your tweets into a single one-stop-shopping post, called Storify.com. Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute, a pro-nuclear power environmentalist (and also an “Ecomodernist“), put together this Storify panel on the wrongheaded environmentalist complicity in strangling nuclear power 40 years »

U.K. Utility Customers Are Not Amused

Featured image Illuminating (heh) story from this morning’s Wall Street Journal: Power Companies Are Overcharging U.K. Customers, Government Probe Finds LONDON—Britain’s six biggest power companies have been overcharging customers by about 5%, a U.K. government investigation said Tuesday, but the report blamed green-energy subsidies, a lack of competition and transparency and ineffective regulation for higher prices. (Emphasis added.) Only government can subsidize something and still make its retail price go up. Of »

“Green” Taxes Out of Control in Great Britain

Featured image At breakfast this morning, I did something I hadn’t done in years–I read a physical newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph. The headline on the front page reads, “U-turn on ‘excessive’ green taxes.” The story documents one more step in the inevitable unraveling of “green” energy policies. Britain’s new Conservative government has something to do with it, too: The cost of subsidizing new wind farms is spiraling out of control, government sources »

“Earth First! We’ll Drill the Other Planets Later”

Featured image That’s the snarky bumper sticker I recall from the late 1980s and early 1990s when the monkey wrench gang known as Earth First! was in its heyday. Why not: Earth First’s unofficial motto was “Back to the Pleistocene!” The perfect slogan, I thought, for reactionary environmentalism. I’ve been meaning for a while to make note of the total collapse of one of liberalism’s most dear clichés about energy: that the »

Someone Tell the Pope: Environmentalism Crushes the Poor

Featured image Yesterday the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a report that documents how the Obama administration’s war on coal (and on cheap energy generally) has hurt poor and middle-class Americans. While I can’t vouch for the calculations, the report is an impressive piece of work, based on energy consumption and price data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, along with data from the Census Bureau and »

A Grab Bag of Things

Featured image I’m on the road today and tomorrow doing some archival research for a book project, so postings will be light. But here are a couple of placeholders in the meantime: • I’m working on several energy and climate items, but for the moment it is worth noting that the indispensable Energy Information Administration (EIA) has produced an independent assessment of the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” to reduce greenhouse gas »

How Many Windmills Has the Pope?

Featured image Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication. The letter, some 129 pages long, is directed to Catholic bishops, but Francis grandly says that it is intended for every person in the world. The letter has not yet been translated into English in its entirety, but portions of it have been run through Google »

More Blues for the Greens

Featured image Now matter how many greenbacks the government throws at “green” energy, everyone ends up feeling blue. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal updated the story we’ve been covering for a long time now about the dismal performance of the Brightsource solar energy array in the California desert: High Tech Solar Projects Fail to Deliver $2.2 Billion California Project Generates 40% of Expected Electricity By Cassandra Sweet Some costly high-tech solar power »

The Liberal Learning Curve Is Flat

Featured image Last fall Ross Koningstein (whom I know slightly) and David Fork, two Google engineers who headed up Google’s ambitious RE<C project—which stood for “Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal”—wrote a cogent explanation of why Google decided to pull the plug on RE<C: Unfortunately, not every Google moon shot leaves Earth orbit. In 2011, the company decided that RE<C was not on track to meet its target and shut down the initiative. »

Oh Frack! EPA Lets the Greens Down

Featured image This morning the EPA released its long-awaited, multi-year study of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking,” though those of us with more refined sensibilities call it “rock-massaging”), and it’s going to be a major bummer for the anti-energy left. Here’s the Wall Street Journal headline: Fracking Has No “Widespread Impact” on Drinking Water, EPA Finds A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there »

Memo to the Gas Industry: You’re Next

Featured image Lenin said capitalists would sell the rope with which they’d be hanged, which intersects Churchill’s famous definition that  “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Both of these came to mind a couple years back when the news leaked out that Chesapeake Energy had secretly given $26 million to the Sierra Club to boost the Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign that was compelling many »

Today’s Energy Unicorn: The Scent of Musk

Featured image What is it about Elon Musk? People must think his name is “Steve Jobs” in some obscure Slavic language. Sure, I think the Tesla is cool, and think they might lead to something useful some day, but right now they’re a boutique toy for affluent people. (A friend who drives a Tesla in a Midwestern state has a custom bumper sticker: “How do you like my coal-powered car?”) And I »

This Week’s Energy Unicorn

Featured image The belief that we can power the world with unicorn flop sweat, Obama’s incandescent speeches, refined banana peels, etc runs deep. I call it “energy romanticism,” and like all other kinds of romanticism it is hard to shake, even with things called facts, which are always inconvenient to the dreams of world-saving liberals. Typical is the story last year about how we could put solar panels on roads, a really »

Tom Friedman Beclowns Himself Again [With Update By John]

Featured image The New York Times makes it very difficult to settle on who is their worst op-ed columnist, and it is hard to break the tie between the obnoxiousness of Paul Krugman and the know-it-all smugness of Tom Friedman. Elsewhere Niall Ferguson has a nice beat down of Krugman today at the Puffington Host (Niall makes the case that Krugman is the biggest loser of the British election last week), so »