Tag archives for energy policy

The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over.  On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t…

In last night’s episode of the NBC post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, each of the characters faced the consequences of the risky alliances they made in their struggle to survive in a world without electricity. That world—complete with water-borne disease, warlords, and refugee camps—is a reality for many of the 1.2 billion people who live each day…

OK, with the government shutdown that kicked in at midnight this morning, it should come as no surprise that we have a highly dysfunctional Congress. Still, when Congressional gridlock derails a good, sensible, popular bill on energy efficiency in a country that harnesses less than half of the energy we produce and loses almost 30 percent due to inefficiencies, at least some attention should be paid.

The federal government’s latest international energy projections are out, and there’s no question we’re living in a time of enormous change—and perhaps remarkably little progress. The International Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration tries to identify the big trends and projections affecting the energy world through 2040. Some of the trends include: The…

Egypt remains mired in crisis since the military-backed ouster of President Mohammed Mursi July 3. The ongoing political instability will further delay attempts to address one of the country’s thorniest economic issues: long-standing fuel subsidies that account for a fifth of state spending, a reported $17.4 billion over the past year. Those subsidies played a…

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. But is duplicating “Race to the Top” the way to get a new energy grid up and running? If you don’t keep track of education policy, Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s signature schools initiative, with $4 billion in federal grant money awarded to…

Speaking at Argonne National Laboratory Friday, President Barack Obama emphasized the need for research on alternative energy technologies and called for an energy security trust to fund such research, pulling $2 billion in royalties from oil and gas leases over 10 years. Taking aim at the recent sequester-driven budget cuts and partisan budget battles in…

The question on many minds following the inaugural speech was: would climate change rank high enough as an issue to appear in his State of the Union address? And if so, would its inclusion indicate a strong intent on the part of the president to act quickly? Or would it be a mere mention to placate those worried about the planet’s health, with no assurance that anything substantive would happen? Last night we seemed to get our answer.

  Energy policy historically has been a matter of policymakers chasing events – and the most recent example is the current boom in natural gas. The controversial technique of fracking gets most of the attention, and there’s no question that fracking’s ability to  vastly increase the supply of natural gas is reshaping the energy world.…

If the people expecting the world to end when the Mayan calendar does on Dec. 21 are right, then we probably don’t need an energy policy. But NASA has an ironclad case that they’re wrong, and not many people seem to be taking the doomsayers seriously. Just about everyone is doing their holiday shopping as…

Surveys show the American public is more convinced of the reality of global warming – but how much will that really shift policy? Two surveys released this month, from the Pew Research Center and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, both find solid majorities of Americans who say global warming is real and growing…

A contentious exchange over energy policy occurred early in Tuesday night’s second presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. While Gov. Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of “keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas,” Obama continued to advocate for his “all of the above” plan to promote clean energy. “We’ve got to…

Most news coverage of energy and the environment is in love with the new: cool new technologies, new research, and all the impressive creative energy that’s being poured into these fields. Yet one of the most significant factors shaping the energy field is the power of old decisions. Take, for example, the power plants that…

I’ve begun thinking that one of the defining questions for clean energy is, “What’s the plan?” Not a company plan, but a country plan — one that realistically maps us to an economy that gets the vast majority of its energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and that has us drastically minimizing waste. Amory Lovins has taken a…

It’s a sad fact of modern politics that what politicians don’t say is as significant as what they do. That certainly seems to be true on energy and climate change in the 2012  campaign, where both sides seem to be ducking the issues as best they can. Unfortunately, that’s not much help to the voters.…

Two years ago, we did not know what kind of challenge was ahead of us. The Alerion Supermileage team, from Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, already has pushed the boundaries on fuel efficiency, taking first place in Shell Eco-marathon Americas for three consecutive years. Last year, on our winning run in Houston, we achieved…

One of the big debates in energy today is about the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” of natural gas deposits. Various groups have already taken entrenched positions and the crossfire of arguments pro and con has begun. For the casual observer the arguments and facts must be confusing as they try to form their own informed…

By now it is clear that climate change is an immediate threat as well as a problem that will affect our children in the distant future.  At a meeting of the Clean Investment Funds Partnership Forum in Cape Town there was a telling comment in a session I chaired on climate change science when a…

An important series of meetings on the Climate Investment Funds, hosted by the African Development Bank, began June 20 in Cape Town, South Africa. At one of the first events, discussion focused on how individual households, communities, cities, companies, and nations find and use tools to develop low-carbon, pro-growth, gender-sensitive, pro-access energy solutions. A key factor…

I’ve been in the energy business a long time. As CEO of Pace Global Energy Services, I’ve been actively engaged in the energy industry for more than 35 years. It’s always amazing to me how the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is especially true during periods of gasoline price spikes.…

Well, it had to happen: as oil prices edge up to $100 per barrel, members of Congress have started calling for the nation to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to hold prices down.  It’s not surprising. High oil prices cost votes. But believing the  petroleum reserve is actually going to solve our price problem…

Almost 400 million Indians—about a third of the subcontinent’s population—don’t have access to electricity. This power deficit, which includes about 100,000 un-electrified villages, places India’s annual per-capita electricity consumption at just 639 kilowatthours—among the world’s lowest rates. The access gap is complicated by another problem: more than three-quarters of India’s electricity is produced by burning…

A decade ago, the United States urged Israel to lean more heavily on Egypt as an energy supplier, in hopes that such an economic tie would foster cooperation and peace. But those bonds looked more like shackles after a weekend explosion in the north Sinai desert on a terminal serving the natural gas pipeline that…

Despite my seriously mixed feelings about the State of the Union speeches, I tuned in to last week’s speech for the first time in several years. Like many, I was disappointed if not surprised that President Obama didn’t mention climate change even once. Climate policy is hard sell in a down economy. I hope Mother…

Buried in the latest set of government energy statistics is a bombshell about our energy future. It’s a development that shows that big changes are possible,  yet still take decades to pay off. The Annual Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration sums up the government’s best estimates of energy trends through 2035.  Buried…