“Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” Turns 25

By Jon Boone -- August 25, 2022 2 Comments

[Ed. note: On August 27, 1997, the Cato Institute published Policy Analysis #280, which criticized the government push to subsidize politically correct renewable energies. This review by Jon Boone, published ten years ago, is reprinted below.

“The policy implication of [a thorough examination of renewable technologies] is, stop throwing good money after bad. All renewable energy subsidies from all levels of government should cease.”

Such is the conclusion voiced today by a rising chorus of energy experts, economists, even politicians, after many years of failed renewables projects and more expensive utility bills in the growing shadow of a $16 trillion national debt ($140,000 per taxpayer). But, remarkably, fifteen years have passed since Rob Bradley crafted this statement for the Cato Institute as the bottom line of his comprehensive six-part policy alarum, Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’

An Opening Shot

Few knew about or shared Bradley’s concerns at the time.…

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Lay/Bush/Perry: Fathers of the Texas ‘Clean-Energy Powerhouse’ (an ERCOT backstory)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 8, 2021 1 Comment

“‘I think ultimately we’re headed for an era in which my grandchildren will be driving electric cars, powered primarily by renewable energy,’ [George W.] Bush said. Oil, he said, brings economic, environmental and national-security problems.

– Kate Galbraith, “W. is for Wind,” Texas Tribune, May 25, 2010.

Let history note that Enron and Texas governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry created an industry that consumers in a free market did not. With the help of the federal Production Tax Credit of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, since renewed 13 times, as well as the $6.9 billion CREZ transmission line, Texas became the wind power state on the backs of national taxpayers and in-state ratepayers.

Bush’s “America is Addicted to Oil” reference in his 2006 State of the Union address did not come out of nowhere.…

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Shell’s van Beurden Shames Oil and Gas

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 8, 2020 1 Comment

“If we believe that somehow the market is going to take care of this, that you put a price on carbon and everything will sort itself out, or that we can shame companies into doing it, then I think we’re kidding ourselves. This needs a very significant interventionist approach and all industries have to be part of the intervention.”

– Ben van Beurden, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell. Quoted in Akshat Rathi and Laura Hurst, “Look Who’s Talking About Zero Emissions.” (Bloomberg: June 9, 2020)

Enron’s Ken Lay. BP’s John Browne. Duke Energy’s James E. Rogers. T. Boone Pickens. GE’s Jeff Immelt. And now Shell’s Ben van Beurden.

Welcome to the swamp of political correctness when industry leaders morph into apologists for mineral energies and endorse open-ended government intervention for forced energy transformation from dense, reliable energies to dilute, intermittent ones.…

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Fossil-fuel BP vs. Fossil Fuels (a contra-capitalist company at work)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 30, 2020 1 Comment

“… we have set ourselves the ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get to net zero…. We will need support from partners, investors, policy makers, customers – and trade associations…. (Bernard Looney, CEO, BP, 2020)

“BP’s $100-million annual investment in clean energy equals only about 1 percent of the company’s overall expenditures of $12.5 billion.  While this positions the company to gain market share in a growing industry, it does little to reduce vulnerability to policies that reduce demand for carbon-intensive products.” (Seth Dunn and Christopher Flavin, 2002, p. 41)

BP is a fossil-fuel company with token investments in solar, wind, and biofuels. The new CEO, Bernard Looney, is taking the company back to the John Browne’s “beyond petroleum” days.…

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“Execs’ Open Letter to 2020 Candidates Promotes Oil & Natural Gas”

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 26, 2020 5 Comments Continue Reading

A Legacy of T. Boone Pickens: Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 24, 2019 1 Comment Continue Reading

T. Boone Picken’s Little Green Deal (remembering a stillborn crony scheme)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 19, 2019 5 Comments Continue Reading

$150 Oil? Don’t Go Malthusian (geopolitical premium at issue)

By -- August 15, 2018 1 Comment Continue Reading

Contra-Capitalism as a Business Syndrome

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 27, 2018 5 Comments Continue Reading

Political Capitalism as a Distinct Economic System

By Randall Holcombe -- March 26, 2018 1 Comment Continue Reading