Posts tagged “Mitt Romney”
Mike is a true clean energy entrepreneur, starting way back with a fuel cell start-up in the late 1990s, he’s run a venture capital firm, been an executive at a solar company and founded another solar company… and he’s voting for Mitt Romney.
Falling gas prices around the country have motorists breathing a sigh of relief, but a Mitt Romney campaign that has used rising fuel costs as a weapon during the lead-up to the presidential election may not be so happy to see pump prices dropping.
After relatively small drops over the first half of October, residents of some states are seeing prices as low as $3.20 per gallon, a major decrease from the $3.84 many drivers were paying only a few short weeks ago. While acknowledging that the cost of fuel is difficult to predict over the long-term, analysts remain optimistic that prices will continue to fall, potentially as low as a national average of only $3 per gallon, a rate not seen since 2010.
If Americans want to see sure, steady progress towards the goal of energy independence, they should vote for Mitt Romney, according to billionaire energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens. (See also: Duke Energy CEO Picks Obama Over Romney on Energy)
In an interview with CNBC, Pickens openly backed Romney as President, calling him “better suited” to deal with the increasingly grave energy problem in the United States because Barack Obama only wants to “talk his tax.”
With a large stake in the success of the alternative fuel industry given his deep investments, particularly in wind energy, Pickens’ vote of confidence in Romney appears to be fueled not by political views, but rather by a genuine interest in the future of the energy sector and its continued move away from fossil fuels. This is generating speculation among political analysts that his support could prove valuable for Romney in the battle for votes in oil-producing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio, among 27 more.
President Barack Obama has been given an important vote of confidence from within the energy sector, with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers telling news network CNN that the country is better off now when it comes to energy than it was before Obama’s election.
The statement comes just as the Democratic National Convention gets set to open in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Rogers acting as co-chairman of the event’s host committee. While the words come from within his own camp, Obama appears to be gaining ground on rival Mitt Romney with voters across the country where energy policy is concerned.
Power to the States
Yesterday, I wrote about the shortcomings of the Romney energy plan, saying that by looking simply at supply-side, it only goes halfway; a real energy policy addresses both demand and supply sides. There is one part of the plan, however, that I want to highlight because I believe it deserves praise.
The section that stands out as genuinely new and innovative is Romney’s plan to transfer control over energy production on federal lands to states. A Romney Administration would allow states to “establish processes to oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands within their borders” with the exception of lands “specially designated off-limits” (presumably national parks and the like). Federal agencies would certify state’s regulations as meeting an “adequate” level, but would leave most of the decisions to the states themselves. Romney would then encourage a “State Energy Development Council” that would allow states to share best practices and work together. This idea of Energy Federalism would allow states – the “laboratories of Democracy” in Justice Brandeis’ terminology – to test different regimes for energy production.
Dealing With the Total Picture
Last week, Governor Romney released his plan for “Energy Independence” that promises to “increase domestic energy production and increase partnership with Mexico and Canada to gain energy independence by 2020.” Briefly, the plan proposes to increase domestic fossil fuel production by opening new areas to exploration and by reducing regulatory barriers to the building of new power plants.
My concern is that this is simply a one-sided energy policy – it focuses solely on increasing the supply of energy (and almost exclusively on fossil fuels, especially oil). A true energy plan would realize that no matter how much oil your country produces, it can never escape the world market price. In a world with a globalized market for oil, OPEC will always be the most important price-setter, and the price of oil will not be set at home. The price will track with demand from economic growth in India and China and will follow supply shocks from the most recent unrest in oil-producing regions, whether Iran, Sudan, or the South China Sea.
Following Mitt Romney’s release of his energy plan, I intended to offer a detailed critique. However, there are already numerous critiques out there that would not differ much from my own. My critique would have been a near mirror image of Michael Levi’s Pipe Dreams at Foreign Policy, so instead here I offer some qualitative comments on the plan — as well as how I feel it could be strengthened.
In a nutshell, Romney’s plan looks to me like half a plan due to all of the things it does not address. It is mostly a series of Republican talking points, some of which make sense, some of which are over-reliant on dreams of U.S. energy independence, and some of which, in my opinion, should be modified. The highlights of the plan are:
- Empower states to control onshore energy development
- Open offshore areas for energy development
- Pursue a North American Energy Partnership
- Ensure accurate assessment of energy resources
- Restore transparency and fairness to permitting and regulation
- Facilitate private-sector-led development of new energy technologies
This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Most of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page. The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues. Community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com. Geothermal, Tesla & Fisker, BP, Food vs. Fuel New research funded by Google.org, found that there is three million megawatts of potential geothermal energy — accessible using current technology — below the surface of the United States. That’s ten times the installed capacity of coal power plants in the United… Continue»
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»