A Free-Market Energy Blog

‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’ Revisited (book review)

By Ari Armstrong -- March 3, 2015

[Editor Note: MasterResource has reviewed Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels before, but new reviews are welcomed to better appreciate and promote one of the most important books of its genre (energy realism) since Julian Simon’s The Ultimate Resource (1981). For futher information about this review and its author, see below.]

Who would argue that producing and using fossil fuels is not only not shameful, but also positively virtuous? Alex Epstein would. And he has done so eloquently and thoroughly in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

Epstein aptly summarizes his book with its final sentence (p. 209): “Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value, and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.”

The main strength of Epstein’s book is that he explicitly and clearly states the fundamental alternative at stake: Will we embrace nonimpact on nature as our moral standard, or will we embrace human life as our moral standard?…

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NRG Energy’s David Crane: Energy Moralism Miscontrued

By -- March 2, 2015

Meet David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy, the nation’s biggest independent power producer (IPP). This company’s diversified generation interests are fueled by every energy source from coal to wind.

Crane’s pedigree is a lot better than mine–degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law and lots of business experience. With all that going for him, it may not surprise you that Crane has a philosophical bent to go with his industry smarts. The current issue of Energy Biz summarizes some of his recent thoughts in an article with the deep title, Carbon Morality: The Nearsidedness of Incumbency.

The message of Carbon Morality? The power industry has lost its moral stature, and American society is on the verge of doing something awful to it.

The crisis? There’s a “fast shifting moral landscape” that “threatens to leave our industry adrift, shunned by the customers we serve.” Good luck on the shun, given that most people have monopoly utilities, and the IPP industry where NRG operates is unknown to most of the public.…

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Firm vs. Intermittent Generating Resources: A Caveat on Wind Electricity’s Indirect Costs (Part II)

By Thomas Stacy II -- February 27, 2015

Part I yesterday established that wind electricity erodes the market share and utilization rates of our base-load fleet. But do governors and state legislators understood even that much?

I hope they do–or that they are coming to that understanding. Does wind electricity save some fuel? Yes. But that is all that it saves, while its cost impacts to electricity consumers extend beyond the direct costs of wind energy. It lowers the capacity factors of base-load generators which raises those generators’ per MWh breakeven price point to the extent those base-load generators have fixed costs.

Existing generators often have lower fixed costs than new ones due to the fact that their initial construction debt is partially or fully paid off. And it is true that new combined-cycle gas (CC Gas) generators have lower fixed costs than new coal or new nuclear plants.…

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Firm vs. Intermittent Generating Resources (primer on wind/solar power deficiency):Part I

By Thomas Stacy II -- February 26, 2015
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Dear IAEE: Cool It on Climate Alarmism, Renewable Bias (your founder)

By Jim Plummer -- February 25, 2015
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The Climate Debate: Ad Hominem Will Just Not Do

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 24, 2015
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IRS Rules for Wind Power: Legal or Not?

By -- February 23, 2015
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NOAA & NASA-GISS: Helping the Warming Narrative

By James Rust -- February 20, 2015
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Clean Energy Producers Act of 2015 (H.R. 493): Eagle Slaughter Amnesty for Industrial Wind

By Jim Wiegand -- February 19, 2015
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Not In Their Minds: Denial in the Wind/Health Debate

By Sherri Lange -- February 18, 2015
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