A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from February 2009

Solar Hyperbole 2009: Don’t Forget Enron/Solarex circa 1994

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 28, 2009

Solar hyberbole is decades old. Inevitably, every few months there are fresh headlines about significant cost reductions, insinuating that the competitive moment of solar panels is arriving. In a recent post at Climate Progress, for example, Joe Romm reports: “Solar prices set to fall by up to 40 per cent by year end.” Google “solar” and “advances” to see what you get for previous years and even decades!

But fossil-fuel technologies have advanced too, and the competitive gap between solar and hydrocarbons for generating electricity remains huge. DOE Secretary Stephen Chu told the New York Times recently that solar technology will have to get five times better than it is today to be part of the energy transformation that he and other alarmists think is necessary.

Why is “free” energy from the sun so expensive?

Addicting the U.S. to CO2 Cap and Trade

By Kenneth P. Green -- February 27, 2009

With little fanfare, President Obama is sneaking carbon emission trading in the back door: he’s planning to addict the US to revenues generated by selling carbon permits to fund his expanded healthcare, environmental, and educational agendas.

According to the New York Times:

His administration will attempt to close the large fiscal gap even while starting a major health-care initiative meant to substantially extend coverage; to do so, it foresees increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and using revenues from a new program: selling carbon credits to manufacturers as part of a cap-and-trade plan meant to slow climate change.

Now we have a time-line. Elsewhere in the Times, it is reported that:

… the 2012 projections include revenues from a source that does not yet exist: a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system.

The Mafia Finds Windpower: Report from Italy

By Carlo Stagnaro -- February 26, 2009

So, the bad guys are found in the green business, too. Police in Italy have charged eight people, allegedly with Mafia connections,  for corrupting local politicians in order to get a project for a wind farm in Sicily assigned to companies close to the Mafia. Honest people in the renewable industry, such as Carlo Durante of the Milan-based Maestrale Green Energy, have pointed out that the main reason why the Mafia can play the renewable game is the confusion and uncertainty in the licensing process, which has too many people involved in giving the authorizations and a great degree of arbitrariness. There is more than a grain of truth in this: It doesn’t apply to the renewable business alone, indeed, but it is a general feature of “doing business” in the country, as a World Bank survey demonstrates eloquently.

Beware of the New “Limits to Growth” (and looking for ReaganVision?CarterVision)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 25, 2009

Smart Grid, Dumb Economics

By Jerry Taylor -- February 24, 2009

A Warm Year? Or a Cool Decade?

By Chip Knappenberger --

Is Cap-and-Trade Inherently Protectionist?

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#mlewis">Marlo Lewis</a> -- February 23, 2009

Countries Buying Foreign Minerals–Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#m_lynch">Michael Lynch</a> -- February 22, 2009

The Pitfalls in Job Counting (“Green” jobs versus economic jobs)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#r_murphy">Robert Murphy</a> --

Mr. President, How About These Shovel-Ready Projects?

By Donald Hertzmark -- February 21, 2009