The Most Influential Research of 2019

I have written a couple of times about a paper titled “Doubling Down on Failure” which was published by Center of the American Experiment, the policy organization that I run, in March. The paper exposes the real costs of “green” energy and is, I think, enormously important. First, though, a Power Line note: “Doubling Down on Failure” builds on an earlier American Experiment paper, “Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure,” which was co-authored by our own Steve Hayward.

Why is “Doubling Down on Failure” so important? First, at a time when liberals are talking seriously about mandates requiring 100% of electric power to be generated by “green” wind and solar–which is impossible–it shows that even a relatively sane 50% mandate carries unacceptable costs. In Minnesota, a 50% wind and solar mandate would cost $80 billion, raise electricity rates by 40%, devastate energy-intensive industries like mining, manufacturing and agriculture, and unemploy 21,000 Minnesotans, while having no measurable impact on global warming.

Second, the paper has been enormously influential in part because it is fully transparent. Every data point, every assumption, every calculation is set forth in the report and its 17 appendices. No one has been able to dent the report’s conclusions, except by noting that some of its assumptions are probably too favorable to wind and solar.

Third, my organization has received a grant to work with organizations in other states to export our template for analyzing the logistics and costs of “green” energy mandates. Using the logic developed by the report’s authors, Isaac Orr and Mitch Rolling, the costs and consequences of “green” energy mandates in other states can be calculated. Thus, “Doubling Down on Failure” can play a key role in resisting the left’s “watermelon” strategy (green on the outside, red on the inside), as exemplified by the Green New Deal.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because the State Policy Network, the umbrella organization of conservative-leaning policy groups, has announced the finalists for the prizes that it will award at SPN’s annual meeting in October. “Doubling Down on Failure” is one of three finalists for the Bob Williams award for the Most Influential Research of the last 12 months. The finalists were chosen by SPN staff, but the winner will be determined by popular vote. You can go here here to read about the nominees and to cast your vote in the Most Influential Research category–I hope, for “Doubling Down on Failure.”

Voting closes on Friday. Thanks!


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