In years past, when my project work would divert me from posting about energy subsidies on the Earth Track blog, I'd get an incoming email from Michael Mariotte at NIRS. This wasn't an intrusive inquiry. Rather, he'd merely be checking in to be sure everything was okay, saying he'd noticed I hadn't posted in awhile and that he hoped I'd post again soon.
Energy resources vary widely in terms of their capital intensity, reliance on centralized networks, environmental impacts, and energy security profiles. Although the policies of greatest import to a particular energy option may differ, their aggregate impact is significant. Subsidies to conventional fuels can slow research into emerging technologies, thereby delaying their commercialization. Subsidies and exemptions to polluting fuels reduce the incentive to develop and deploy cleaner alternatives.
Last week, the New York Times ran an article ("Future of Solar and Wind Power May Hinge on Federal Aid" by Kate Galbraith) discussing the reliance of solar and wind energy on federal subsidies. Bernard L.
What Would Jefferson Do? The Historical Role of Federal Subsidies in Shaping America’s Energy Future
Using data culled from the academic literature, government documents, and NGO sources, in this paper we examine the extent of federal support (as well as support from the various states in pre-Civil War America) for emerging energy technologies in their early days. We then analyze discrete periods in history when the federal government enacted specific subsidies.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that Calvert Cliffs 3 ineligible for licensing because is violates the Atomic Energy Act's rules on foreign ownership, control or domination.
A quite interesting summary of the challenges associated with the Iranian nuclear program has been written by Gregory Jones, and released by NPEC. Some key points:
Spineless subsidies part 1: Ethanol
Ethanol blenders credit moves forward towards extension at current rates in the Senate. Even more ludicrous since even without the excise tax credit subsidy we are still forced to buy the stuff at above market prices under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.
Chuck Grassley makes a good point when he argues that you can't treat ethanol and oil subsidies differently:
A few useful resources on the potential links between civilian nuclear power and proliferation from NPEC. Here's a couple of recent postings by Henry Sokolski on the technology sharing agreements with Vietnam and UAE. A more detailed exposition of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty can be found here, with a variety of essays on what the NPT does and does not requ
Department of Energy: Further Actions Are Needed to Improve DOE’s Ability to Evaluate and Implement the Loan Guarantee Program
DOE has taken steps to implement the Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) for applicants but has treated applicants inconsistently and lacks mechanisms to identify and address their concerns. Among other things, DOE increased the LGP’s staff, expedited procurement of external reviews, and developed procedures for deciding which projects should receive loan guarantees. However, GAO found:
Just last week, the Economist magazine noted in an editorial that:
However you measure the full cost of a gallon of gas, pollution and all, Americans are nowhere close to paying it. Indeed, their whole energy industry—from subsidies for corn ethanol to limited liability for nuclear power—is a slick of preferences and restrictions, without peer. The tinkering that will follow this spill will merely further complicate it.