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Posts tagged “energy policy”

By Robert Rapier on Nov 21, 2011 with 101 responses

How I Would Decide the Keystone XL Pipeline Issue

The following is a lengthy essay explaining why I would approve the Keystone pipeline despite finding myself on the side of those concerned over the negative environmental impact of tar sands development. I will debunk much of the misinformation going on in the pipeline debate and ultimately lay out my conclusions. I intend for this to be an alternative to the administration’s announcement to punt the decision for a later time, which I criticized heavily in a previous post. Tip of the Hat to McKibben and the Pipeline Protesters I have to hand it to Bill McKibben. Whether or not you agree with his position, take a look at what he accomplished. McKibben, an environmentalist and journalist, has been described… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 14, 2011 with 26 responses

Take a Stand, Mr. President

The Importance of Being Decisive When I worked in Scotland, one of my managers was a wise Englishman named Graham Walker. As with many people whose paths I have crossed in my life, some nuggets of wisdom were transferred from Graham into my long-term memory. One of the things that stuck with me was Graham’s push for decisiveness. He would tell me “Just make a decision and move on. We have a business to run here.” Graham would say that most of the time the decisions would prove to be correct, and when they weren’t we would live with them or correct them down the road. (And of course if a person frequently makes incorrect decisions, then they can be… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 18, 2011 with 35 responses

Newsflash: Pipelines Are Everywhere

Like many of you, I have been following the debate over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring crude from the oil sands of Canada to refineries in the U.S. I am on mailing lists covering both sides of the issue, and based on some of the e-mails I get it seems that many people don’t realize that we already have pipelines crisscrossing the U.S. I get the impression that some people feel that it would be unprecedented to lay an oil pipeline across the country. But below is a map showing the location of the major oil and gas pipelines in the U.S.: Figure 1: Major Oil and Gas Pipelines in the U.S. (Source). If you include smaller… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 19, 2011 with 24 responses

Why Might Novazymes Oppose My Biofuel Incentive Proposal?

Rewards for Performance, Not Over-Hyped Promises I recently wrote a post detailing some steps that I believe should be taken to improve the nature of how we provide incentives for biofuels: How to Fix the Broken Cellulosic Ethanol Incentive System. My proposal is like a feed-in-tariff for next generation biofuels. The highlights are that we should reward companies that deliver, and not those that make promises. We shouldn’t put the taxpayer on the hook for broken promises, and we should create a more level playing field for advanced biofuels. At present that playing field is tilted heavily in the direction of cellulosic ethanol. The original article was edited a bit and also published at Forbes: Fixing A Broken Biofuel Incentive… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 1, 2011 with 62 responses

Investor Interest in U.S. Biofuel Production Set to Soar

I just finished writing the 4th chapter in my book tonight. This chapter was a primer on renewable energy, covering biomass, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean energy technologies. Interesting tidbit from this chapter: The world’s largest producer of geothermal power is the U.S. oil company Chevron. How many people would have guessed that? The chapter kept me busy this week, but fortunately I have a timely guest post available. The following guest post from addresses last week’s announcement of a potential half billion dollar investment by several government agencies to develop advanced biofuels. ————————– On 16 August President Obama announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million by 2014 in… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 22, 2011 with 54 responses

Keeping Michele Bachmann Honest on Gas Prices

The Promise: Gas Below $2 a Gallon Like many of you, I am often unhappy with our political leaders. One thing that annoys me the most is that many will say or do just about anything to get elected. By now, you have surely heard the news that Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has promised a return to $2/gallon gasoline if she is elected president: GOP candidate Michele Bachmann: I’ll bring back $2 gas NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Michele Bachmann has a promise: $2 gas. “Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again,” Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. “That will happen.” “The day that the president became president gasoline was… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 18, 2011 with 35 responses

How to Fix the Broken Cellulosic Ethanol Incentive System

Overview: Mandates, Zero Production, Penalties, and the Failure of the Current System In the previous post, I discussed the annual ritual of rolling back the cellulosic ethanol mandates by 90% or more. For three years running, cellulosic ethanol production will come in far, far short of the mandated target volumes. In fact, of the 100 million gallons mandated last year and 250 million gallons mandated this year, there is still no qualifying production to date. For 2012, the EPA is considering reducing the 500 million gallon mandate to as little as 3.5 million gallons. This is a reduction of over 99%, and should be a crystal clear indicator that this system is not working as intended. But even though product… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 15, 2011 with 85 responses

Cellulosic Ethanol Targets: Mandating the Nonexistent

Another Year, Another Chapter In what is becoming an annual ritual, the EPA is once more scaling back the cellulosic ethanol mandate for 2012. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandated that we would use 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million gallons in 2011, and 500 million gallons in 2012. I said quite explicitly from the start that this was wishful thinking, and that there was practically zero chance of meeting these mandates. In one article, I wrote: The next few years will see a record amount of back-pedaling from most of the companies trying to establish a foothold in this space – and overpromising on their technology to do so. There will be the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 4, 2011 with 69 responses

The Need for a Real Domestic Alternative Energy Policy in the USA

The following is a guest post from Andrew Smolski of ———————————– Alternative energy (or renewable energy) is a new manufacturing industry paradigm that is in its infancy. However, the discussion is not new, and it looks as if the United States has positioned itself to be behind history on what can be a very promising industry for a stumbling economy. After the oil shortages in the 70′s, government officials began discussing energy policy as a matter of national security, but this misses the point of a globally competitive economic world. It was too early then to begin thinking that China could out-invest the United States in order to produce an alternative energy manufacturing industry. Yet, now we must come… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 12, 2011 with 43 responses

Barack Obama: A Mediocre President

In 2008, I believed all year long that Barack Obama would win the presidency. Even when Hillary Clinton was still the favorite to win the nomination, I thought Obama’s charisma would ultimately win him the Democratic nomination, and then the presidency. The night before the election I wrote that I thought he would capture more than 300 electoral votes (he got 356) and would beat McCain by more than 100 electoral vote (the margin of victory was 192 electoral votes). On the night of the election, I wrote a post congratulating him. I was happy to see him elected. But in the same post I also predicted that he would disappoint many. There is no question that Obama inherited a… Continue»