Mixing and Matching Electricity Sector Policies

A number of concerns have emerged over the last decade about climate change, energy security, and energy efficiency, inspiring an equally long list of proposed policy fixes. The majority of these options, including renewables subsidies, performance standards, and emissions pricing schemes, apply directly to the power sector. Lawmakers can also choose to implement multiple policies […]

Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness in Proposed Climate Policies

Achieving the goal of an 83 percent reduction in US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissionsfrom 2005 levels by 2050 will require the electricity sector—which accounts for roughly 40 percent of US CO2 emissions—to make an enormous pivot away from fossil fuels toward non-emitting sources. Policy will be required to achieve this goal. In a recent RFF […]

Best of the Above

It looked like a reverse make-me-do-it  – President Obama in his State of the Union address saying don’t-do-that-again to some of his most committed supporters.  An array of groups had written to him just two weeks earlier about the failings of an “all of the above” energy policy, and the first words in his speech […]

Climate Benefits from the Production Tax Credit?

A year ago, we wrote about the potential expiration of the wind power production tax credit (PTC), which has helped support the US wind industry for most of the last 22 years. The PTC provides a subsidy of about $23 per megawatt hour (or roughly 30 percent above wholesale electricity prices). It was set to […]

Sourcing the Future of Wood Bioenergy

Some of the biggest bioenergy debates stem from a “food or fuel” problem, where agricultural lands have been devoted to growing grain as inputs for biofuels, at the cost of food production. According to a study by Searchinger et. al. of corn-based ethanol production, the large scale substitution  of corn ethanol over traditional fossil fuels […]

The German Energy Experiment

The rapid change in Germany’s energy mix – the Energiewende, or “energy shift”—is readily apparent to any visitor. Towering wind turbines sprout from ridges, just as across much of Europe and parts of the U.S. The bigger surprise—and bigger change in just the last few years—is the increase in solar deployment. Not just rooftops, but […]

Technology Flexibility and Stringency for Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The Clean Air Act provides the current regulatory framework for climate policy in the United States. A key component of US policy as called for in President Obama’s recent memorandum to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the use of flexible approaches in achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. EPA is expected to […]

An Economic View of Sen. Murkowski’s Blueprint

Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released her long-anticipated energy policy “blueprint.” Murkowski is a relatively centrist Republican and has historically made energy policy a priority. This makes her one of the most important votes in Congress on energy, and the blueprint is therefore worth a close look—it is an important indicator of what is possible […]

Do Renewables Policies Promote Valuable Investments?

Last month, a big battle over the production tax credit (PTC) for wind ended with Congress granting a one-year extension. This month, the focus has shifted to another renewable energy policy: state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). Just this week, the Heartland Institute recommended repealing Kansas’s RPS—the latest addition in a growing attack on state RPSs. […]

Why the Wind Tax Credit is a Bad Way to Cut Carbon

Eligibility for the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), established by Congress in 1992, is set to expire at the end of this month, causing calls for action and inaction. Is this policy change a big deal for carbon emissions? Let’s take a closer look. Currently,  the PTC provides renewable power projects with a corporate […]