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Posts tagged “energy policy”

By Robert Rapier on Sep 23, 2007 with no responses

Recent Damning Biofuel Studies

There were a couple of recently-released studies on biofuels that readers have e-mailed to me or commented on. I will highlight them here. The first involves a study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. One of the authors is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist recognized for his work on atmospheric chemistry. The (UK) Times reports: Rapeseed biofuel ‘produces more greenhouse gas than oil or petrol’ Measurements of emissions from the burning of biofuels derived from rapeseed and maize have been found to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than they save. Other biofuels, especially those likely to see greater use over the next decade, performed better than fossil fuels but the study raises serious questions about some of the most… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 15, 2007 with no responses

USDA Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Check

I was getting some traffic from Grist, and I tracked it back to this story by Tom Philpott: The USDA goes all lukewarm on cellulosic ethanol Now this is good stuff. The same outfit that has exaggerated corn ethanol is now downplaying expectations for cellulosic ethanol: For decades now, the USDA has been dumping cash into cellulosic ethanol research (most recently through a joint venture with the DOE). So the USDA’s analysts should know something about the prospects for mass production of cellulosic ethanol, hailed by its boosters as a panacea that can wean us not only from oil, but also from corn as an ethanol feedstock. So what’s the latest from USDA analysts on this miracle fuel? From a… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 8, 2007 with no responses

Biodiesel Misconceptions

Sometimes I am astonished at the misconceptions people have. Take this article: Old cars become green machines The story is about a woman who has a number of cars that have been modified to run off of biodiesel. The cars include gas guzzlers like a Lincoln Continental Mark V, a Chevy Tahoe, and a Cadillac. But because she is running them on biodiesel, she thinks she is neither using oil nor polluting: Colette Brooks’ sprawling ocean-view property* is dotted with tricked out cars — from a low-rider Lincoln Continental to a Cadillac with plush leather seats. The petite 49-year-old business owner might be a car junkie, but she’s indulging her obsession without polluting the air by running her rides on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 5, 2007 with no responses

The Good and Bad in the United States’ Energy and Farm Bills

About a month ago I was asked to contribute to the next issue of Subsidy Watch regarding the recently passed energy bill. The issue was just published: Subsidy Watch, Issue 16, September 2007 My comments: The 2007 U.S. Energy Bill The recently passed energy bill from the U.S. House of Representatives signals a commitment to renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Standard mandates that by 2020, 15% of the electricity produced by investor-owned utilities is produced from renewable sources. The bill also contains an important incentive for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which should accelerate adoption of these vehicles by consumers. However, special interests succeeded in torpedoing several measures, including an increase in fuel efficiency standards, and a tax credit designed… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 8, 2007 with no responses

A Disjointed Energy Policy

Hypothetical question: If a group of farmers in Iowa cut a deal with Tyson Foods to produce 2nd generation renewable diesel via a hydrotreating process, would Congress step in to stop them from receiving the renewable diesel credit? Anyone? But it wasn’t a group of farmers in Iowa. It was an oil company in Texas, and so Congress is attempting to stop the credit and protect the first generation biodiesel producers. Measure targets fatty fuel tax break WASHINGTON — In language buried deep in an energy tax bill approved Saturday night, the House took direct aim at a plan by ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods to take advantage of a federal tax credit that could save them $175 million a year…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 5, 2007 with no responses

Pure Venom

It is disturbing to me that an industry that plays as important a role in modern life as that of the farmer is so vilified. It must be that people simply do not recognize the role the oil industry plays in their lives: From medicine to food to clothing to housing to transportation – today all are heavily dependent upon the oil industry. Yet somewhere a group got together and said “Hey, let’s slap a bunch of additional taxes and burdens on the oil industry. Surely they will bear the burden and there won’t be any impact on all of the citizens that depend upon their products”: House slaps $16 billion in taxes on oil industry “There’s a war going… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 29, 2007 with no responses

Google Solar, Hydrogen, and Farm Bills

I wanted to briefly comment on several issues. Some of them deserve their own essays, but I am too pressed for time. Google Solar If you are into solar, Google’s Solar Panel Project is incredibly cool. They provide real time data on their solar energy production. One thing that I have noticed is that the assumption of peak power times 5 hours to get the overall daily solar production appears to be too conservative. For instance, according to the link above, yesterday power peaked at 877 KW at 1 p.m., but total energy production yesterday was 7021 KWh. I have to multiply by 8 hours to get that. In fact, that’s been a pretty consistent theme this month. It may… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 9, 2007 with no responses

When Governments Dictate Gas Prices

This is what can happen: Queues resurface as Zimbabwe runs out of fuel APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Long fuel queues have resurfaced in Zimbabwe as filling stations ran out of petrol following a government directive to reduce prices by up to 60 percent, APA observed here. Only few filling stations in the capital, Harare, had fuel Sunday, resulting in long queues by desperate motorists. The government Thursday ordered oil companies to slash prices of petrol and diesel to 55 000 Zimdollars (or 46 US cents) and 60 000 Zimdollars (or 50 US cents), respectively, as part of a campaign to contain inflation. Before Friday, a litre of petrol cost 150 000 dollars while diesel went for 160 000 dollars. The shortages are… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 29, 2007 with no responses

America’s Energy IQ

I already knew that the general population has a poor understanding of energy issues. For that matter, politicians have a poor understanding as well, which is why we find ourselves burdened with irresponsible energy policies. The API has validated my impressions with a survey that they had commissioned by HarrisInteractive. To such questions as “Who supplies the U.S. with the most imported oil?”, respondents floundered. They grossly overestimated the size of publicly traded oil companies like ExxonMobil in relation to national oil companies like Saudi Aramco. And they grossly overestimated the potential for biofuels to displace fossil fuel usage. In fairness, some of the questions were quite difficult, such as “How many years does Oil and Gas Journal think our… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 28, 2007 with no responses

Energy Policy Insanity

Just enough quiet time this morning (still suffering jet lag and waking up at 4 a.m.) to knock out an essay. I told my daughter last night that I plan to keep writing, but I don’t plan to do it on their time. I will do it early in the morning, at lunch, or when the rest of the family is occupied with something. But I like writing too much to stop. I read an article yesterday in The Detroit News: Energy bill may gouge consumers The article was written by Mark J. Perry, an economics and finance professor at the University of Michigan, and discusses the pending energy legislation. There was been so much to write about on this… Continue»