“Price controls cause shortages, and government allocation exacerbates it. This was learned the hard way during the 1970s, particularly with oil, thanks to Republican President Richard Nixon.”
George Melloan’s review of Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2016) criticized her foray into energy and energy policy:
Ms. Mayer might herself benefit from an economics course. She writes that Richard Nixon imposed economic controls on oil and gas in 1971 to “address the energy crisis.” The Nixon price controls helped to cause the energy crisis.
Intrigued, I bought Dark Money to see exactly what she said. Here is the passage from Mayer (p. 91) referenced by Melloan:
The fossil fuel industry’s fondest wishes were also fulfilled.
“The media tries to glamorize solar power rather than doing a professional job of reporting the obvious story and what’s behind the story.”
A recent news story trumpeted an announcement from the Air University at Mawwell Airforce Base about power from space.
A team from the Air University has proposed installing PV solar panels in space to capture the energy from the sun and transmit it to Earth. The team is in line to receive a $10 million grant from the Department of Defense for the team’s proposal, “Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill.”
The news story didn’t explain why this proposal was any different from those made over a decade ago. Just a lot of hyperbole, such as this lead:
Sci-fi isn’t all fiction anymore. Harnessing the power in outer space is closer than we think, and in just a few years, electrical energy from the sun could be beamed down to charge the smartphone in your pocket.
“‘Green’ to ‘nongreen’ cost-shifting is legal under current laws and regulations. Whether the actions of the purchasers — not to mention the promotion of the schemes by DOE, EPA and NREL officials — is morally acceptable is a separate question.”
I received this notice from the Green Power Network regarding a “free” webinar from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (US Department of Energy), to be held February 24, 2016:
More than 60 universities have used solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) to deploy more than 100 megawatts of solar PV on campuses around the country. This webinar is intended for university financial planners and other stakeholders who are assessing the financial aspects of deploying solar. The speakers will provide an overview of how universities are using PPAs and key PPA components.