The ‘Death Rattle’ of Carbon Policy

In both the EU and the US carbon policy correctness has run its course having been discredited by scandal, the persistence of scientific method, and public pressure to recognize market realities. The proponents of carbon policy changes are caught between panic and despair. They came so close to implementing their policy regimes, and cannot now accept that the world has said ‘No!’ The evidence of the death rattle of carbon policy has been presenting itself for a while but like a degenerative …Continue Reading »

EPA Plays ‘The Hunger Games’ with Coal

The US EPA proposed new rules March 27, 2012 that limit the amount of carbon dioxide that may be emitted at new US power plants.  The notice of proposed rulemaking was careful to point out that the proposed rules would not apply to existing power plants, modified plants or those under construction. The practical effect of the proposed rules on carbon emissions would be to ban new coal plant construction unless the new plant reduces its emissions output to the level of a natural gas fired …Continue Reading »

The Cushing Manifesto

"Right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast.  And today, I am directing my administration to cut through red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority."  --President Barack Obama That was the absolutely astounding message from President Obama in person in Cushing, Oklahoma taking credit for the decision by the pipeline sponsor to end run his …Continue Reading »

The Good News and Bad News about Energy in President Obama’s Budget

President Barack Obama's FY2013 budget includes $27.2 billion for the Department of Energy. US DOE says the budget priorities are focused on the 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy laid out in the President’s state of the union message. There are many lofty energy goals articulated in the budget: R&D support for clean energy technologies including $276 million for clean coal and carbon capture and storage; $350 million for more ARPA-E early stage R&D; Reduce the cost of solar energy …Continue Reading »

Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Put Off until After the 2012 Election

President Obama decided to delay a decision on the$ 7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline expansion running from Alberta to the Gulf coast until after the 2012 Presidential election.  The State Department technically has the lead role in approval of the pipeline construction permit since it crosses the Canadian border.  In a statement the State Department said it needed more time to review alternate routes out of an abundance of caution over the groundwater risk to the Ogallala Aquifer of any oil spill …Continue Reading »

Disruptive Economics for Growth

I will spare you the latest reports from the dismal science of economics.  We all feel the pain.  Part of that pain is our frustration that our politicians are acting true to type---like politicians running for cover or for reelection or both.  This week we will get a double dose in the latest Republican candidate debate and the President’s latest ‘speech’ about what he is planning to do about the economy if only his political opponents would put country before party and let him have his …Continue Reading »

America’s Energy Policy Reality #4: Use the Bust to Plan the Next Boom

The energy business has always been a boom and bust place to be.  Driven by supply and demand fundamentals we always seem to repeat the same behaviors that got us where we are. Since we served energy, utility and investment banking clients at Henwood Energy Services, then Global Energy Decisions, then Ventyx as the business grew over time, we learned to live with that boom and bust cycle and build our product strategies around it. If you studied the lessons of the fundamentals you learned that …Continue Reading »

America’s Energy Policy Reality #2: Green (sustainability) = Green (economic growth)

President Obama recently nominated John Bryson to be US Secretary of Commerce.  Bryson is the retired Chairman and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of southern California Edison, the giant utility and merchant energy company.  Bryson has another highlight on his credentials as one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  He would replace Secretary Gary Locke, former Governor of Washington State, who has been named Ambassador to China. This story is not about …Continue Reading »

Time for a Grand Bargain on Energy?

In the January 2011 Jeffrey Leonard, CEO of the Global Environment Fund, proposed eliminating all US Government energy subsidies in a Washington Monthly story which added up the cost of the subsidies to about $20 billion but from the story it is tough to figure out how he got to that number. Much of what Leonard is talking about is focused on the fossil fuel demand for power generation as well as nuclear energy, renewable energy like wind and solar and biofuels including ethanol. President …Continue Reading »

Will QE Get us Anywhere We want to Go?

There is a thin line between rivalry and cooperation in global markets and monetary policy.  One country's QE is another's currency manipulation. Gold hit $1400+ per troy ounce as markets reacted to QE2 and the major exporters either whined or salivated depending upon whether their products were denominated in dollars. President Obama is in India this week on a trade and global finance trip capped off by a meeting of the G20.  It is good he is there because America has a key role to play in …Continue Reading »