A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from January 2010

Remembering When Enron Saved the U.S. Wind Industry (January 1997)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 19, 2010

January 7, 1997, some 13 years ago, was one of the worst days in my 16-year career at Enron. Enron had already entered into the solar business (1994) in partnership with Amoco (Solarex), and the U.S. wind industry was on its back. Zond Corporation was struggling, and rival Kenetech had recently suspended its dividend and was on the way to  bankruptcy. Enron bought Zond on this day and renamed it Enron Wind Company.

Enron Wind would never turn a profit, and it would be sold in May 2002 by the bankrupt parent to GE. (GE and Enron would have other ominous parallels.)

Enron came in at just the right time for a troubled, undeserving industry by

  1. Putting a big-name corporation in the U.S. wind industry for the first time;
  2. Issuing countless press releases on ‘wonderful’ green wind for the next several years; and
  3. Successfully lobbying Texas politicians to enact the most strict renewable mandate in the country in 1999.

‘The People vs. Cap-and-Tax’: James Hansen and the Left’s Civil War on Climate Policy

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 17, 2010

“Washington appears intent on choosing a [cap-and-trade] path defined by corporate greed. Unless the public gets engaged, the present Administration may jam down the public’s throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all.”

“Cap-and-trade’s complexity provides a breeding ground for special interests…. [T]ry reading the Waxman-Markey 2,000-page bill to figure out who would get the money! Why do those special interests deserve it anyhow?”

– James Hansen, “The People vs. Cap-and-Tax,” paper delivered to the Chairperson of the Carbon Trading Summit, New York City, January 12, 2010.

James Hansen is losing patience. He is upset at the Obama Administration and its advisors, such as John Holdren (read his futile letters). Hansen is mad at the New York Times; after all, he got suckered by their editors and by Paul Krugman regarding his pre-Copenhagen opinion-page editorial.

Pioneer Press Op-ed: We’re Warming, but not so Fast

By Chip Knappenberger -- January 16, 2010

I recently had an opinion-page editorial in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Pioneer Press in which I pointed out that the recent behavior of the earth’s weather/climate system was not much in accordance with some of the rather alarming predictions/projections coming from climate models or interpretations thereof. Perhaps we don’t understand the inner workings of the earth’s complex climate system as well as some people think we do.

A large collection of observations are indicating that our forecasts seem to be erring on the high side (notice I didn’t say that observations suggest that climate change wasn’t occurring, but that they suggest that the projections of climate change are too extreme). As such, I suggested that we ought not rush headlong into efforts aimed at attempting to restrict carbon dioxide emissions for the sake of trying to alter the course of future climate, considering that a) the future course of climate doesn’t seem to be all that bad, and b) that any impact that we may make would likely be minimal.

Smart Grid Passion–It’s On Your Dime (Part II)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#robertmichaels">Robert Michaels</a> -- January 15, 2010

Power Generation Industry Forecast: Natural Gas as Fuel of Choice, Little Change for Other Technologies (Part II)

By Robert Peltier and Kennedy Maize -- January 14, 2010

Power Generation Industry Forecast: Natural Gas as Fuel of Choice, Little Change for Other Technologies (Part I of II)

By Robert Peltier and Kennedy Maize -- January 13, 2010

‘Smart’ Grid: New Critics of a Bad Idea (Part I of II)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#robertmichaels">Robert Michaels</a> -- January 12, 2010

Energy Innovation as a Process: Lessons from LNG

By Vaclav Smil -- January 11, 2010

Houston’s Climate Debate (Hundreds respond to Neil Frank’s Op-Ed, ‘Climategate: You Should Be Steamed’)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 10, 2010

“[Nuclear] Fortunes in Cap-and-Trade” (Part III of “Political Capitalism: Understanding the Beast that Broke the Cage”)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#r_donway">Roger Donway</a> -- January 9, 2010