A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from May 2012

New York's RPS: High-cost, Ineffectual, and Antienvironmental (30% goal perils)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#llinowes">Lisa Linowes</a> -- May 31, 2012

“Ultimately, New York’s RPS will cost ratepayers billions of dollars to support the construction of new generation. And if the state continues to rely on wind as the dominate resource, more turbines will be necessary to make up for low capacity factors. The program is up for review again in 2013. It’s time for the PSC to remove the rose-colored glasses and acknowledge the program for what it is: Regulatory Capture at its finest.

Tens of thousands of acres across New York State have been transformed into sprawling electric generating facilities. Specifically, some 18 industrial wind complexes house nearly 1,000 towering wind turbines that consume the landscape and threaten otherwise pristine communities.

Now, consider that another 1,500 giant towers will need to be erected by 2015 in order to satisfy the state’s 30% renewable energy mandate.…

Surprise! Current Motor Fuel Taxes Exceed the Estimated Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) in Most Industrialized Countries

By Indur Goklany -- May 30, 2012

“Simple math demonstrates that the average taxes (including duties) on gasoline and diesel in virtually every developed country exceed the average U.S. EPA’s (over)estimated global social cost of carbon now and through 2025 (at least). In fact, motorists in most European countries already pay taxes in excess of the upper bound estimate of the social cost of carbon through the middle of this century.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average global social cost of carbon (SCC), which is the level at which a global carbon tax should theoretically be set, ranged from $5.6 to $41.8 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2010 (in 2012 US$), and should rise to between $18.7 and $77.4 in 2050 (as shown in Table 1). Per the EPA, the “central value” is represented by the “3% Average” column in the Table.…

Bootleggers, Baptists, and Utility MACT

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#tfisher">Travis Fisher</a> -- May 29, 2012

The “Bootleggers and Baptists” theory of regulation, coined by Bruce Yandle in 1983 in Regulation magazine, uniquely explains what otherwise would be considered bizarre coalitions between moral crusaders and morally indifferent businesses.

In a later telling, Yandle explained how the theory

draws on colorful tales of states’ efforts to regulate alcoholic beverages by banning Sunday sales at legal outlets. Baptists fervently endorsed such actions on moral ground. Bootleggers tolerated the actions gleefully because their effect was to limit competition.

One such unholy alliance has emerged between environmentalists and some utilities in the context of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Utility Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (Utility MACT) rule.

Those unfamiliar with the Bootleggers and Baptists theory may conclude that those compliant energy companies are enlightened at long last. But those who know the theory will take a more cynical view.…

U.S. EPA: Playing Fast and Loose with Health and Welfare

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#p_dreissen">Paul Driessen</a> -- May 27, 2012

The Essential ‘Oil, Gas & Government’ (Kudos to a treatise in the age of the blog)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#aepstein">Alex Epstein</a> -- May 25, 2012

Professor Hicks's Business Ethics Course (Loyola Chicago's MBA class in for a real treat)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 24, 2012

Politics and the Nation's Next Nuclear Plant (Georgia Power's boondoggle under construction)

By Jim Clarkson -- May 23, 2012

American Products. American Power. (new website on petroleum's consumer bounty)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 22, 2012

'Offshore Oil Guide': Are You Ready for Some Real Free-market Jobs, Anyone Anywhere?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 21, 2012

Real World Economics (key to understanding real-world energy)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 18, 2012