Watch: More Clean Energy for Minneapolis

Date: 18 Oct 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Click here for a more detailed article.   ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell presents to a big crowd at “Green Ideas and Ham,” a breakfast policy forum in Minneapolis, about the opportunity for the city to dramatically increase its control … Read More

Energy Independence or Clean Energy Self-Reliance?

Date: 4 Jul 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 3 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Update August 7, 2012: I’d like to this this qualifies as Friedman’s response to this column. In Thomas Friedman’s latest column, he praises Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts because he “took one for the country.”  Friedman sees that “America … Read More

Phase-Out of the Federal Wind Tax Credit a Good Thing?

Date: 14 Jun 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 4 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Energy and Environment News has a very long story on a new angle for the federal wind tax credit debate: a phaseout. This article raises several issues, apart from that policy strategy, that are worth a quick discussion. 1. Why … Read More

Cost of Fossil Fuels Makes Renewables a Harder Sell?

Date: 8 Nov 2010 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This story on Sunday suggests that utilities are pulling back from investments in renewable energy over concerns about the cost

Invenergy…had a contract to sell [wind] power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels.

“The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent.

Based on what price forecast?  The following chart illustrates the complexity of relying on fossil fuel prices when making decisions about renewable energy.  Note that wind and solar prices are relatively stable (i.e. zero).

The chart does a good job of showing the futility of predicting natural gas prices, but the timeline smooths out coal price changes, particularly by region.  Here’s a closer look at coal prices since 2007, courtesy of the federal EIA:

Utilities that are making shortsighted decisions about renewables based on current fossil fuel price trajectories are going to get burned, and so are their ratepayers. 

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How T. Boone Pickens’ Energy Plan Just Got Killed

The financial bailout bill passed by Congress may have once and for all put an end to T. Boone Pickens’ energy plan. Let me explain.

Until the financial meltdown obliterated all other news coverage, T. Boone and his energy plan were everywhere. His book, The First Billion Is the Hardest, is number two on the bestseller list. During the Republican and Democrat Conventions his press conferences were attended by a fawning media, virtually all of who filed stories with the theme "oil man turns wind energy advocate."

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