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Posts tagged “energy policy”

By Robert Rapier on Oct 23, 2007 with no responses

Renewable Energy: “Expensive and Impractical”

At least that’s the conclusion of the present government in the UK: Labour’s plan to abandon renewable energy targets Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain’s pledges to combat climate change that “effectively abolishes” its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces “severe practical difficulties”. According to the papers, John Hutton, the secretary of state for business, will tell Mr. Brown that Britain should work with Poland and other governments… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 5, 2007 with no responses

Debunking Thomas Friedman

I am in Norway at the moment, but I ran across a story that I wanted to call attention to. It is the same thing I wrote about in The Problem with CAFE: Debunking auto industry myths NEW YORK (Fortune) — I hesitate to pick a fight with a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. On the critical issue of developing a national energy policy to lessen our consumption of imported oil, he’s been early, smart, and right. But Friedman whiffed in his Times column yesterday, called “Et Tu, Toyota,” by hauling out one of the hoariest of urban myths: That forcing higher fuel economy standards on American car buyers is what’s needed to encourage more… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 28, 2007 with no responses

Dingell’s Got the Right Idea

In case you hadn’t heard, Representative John Dingell of Michigan is proposing a carbon tax. He is inviting the public to comment: Summary of Draft Carbon Tax Legislation Some have suggested that he isn’t really sincere on the matter. Here is the New York Times’ take: What Is John Dingell Really Up To? A tax on carbon emissions, covering everything from gasoline to electricity use, is the climate solution that economists and environmentalists have long dreamed of because it’s probably the most powerful, least bureaucratic way to discourage pollution. It has been favored by everyone from Al Gore to Alan Greenspan — everyone, it seems, except a single elected official of any significance. Until Mr. Dingell came along. For understandable… Continue»

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»