Energy

Charlotte Huus-Henriksen, Terry Anderson
PERC's Terry Anderson and the Hoover Institution's Carson Bruno examine the hydraulic fracturing process and the market mechanisms which would allow us to take advantage of fracking's benefits and mitigate its costs.
Exorbitant production costs, pervading stench raise concerns about"green" technology Environment & Climate News June 2005 By Greg McConnell
Jane Shaw
A new series of books for young people offers objective and balanced discussions of controversial issues.
Jane Shaw
A new series of books for young people offers objective and balanced discussions of controversial issues.
Shawn Regan
PERC's new Policy Perspective explains how the government keeps tribes from developing their natural resources.
By Jane Chastain Some people learn from their mistakes. It appears Barack Obama is not one of them.
Dog waste is powering a gas light with methane in a Cambridge, MA, dog park.
Jonathan Fahey
A new drilling technology is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States. This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half.
Roger Meiners, Andrew Morriss
Hundreds of billions in government subsidies for green energy will not reduce pollution or revitalize the job market Competitve forces working in a free market are the most efficient and effective way to achieve these results.
Andrew Morriss
Promises that green energy will change almost everypart of our lives for the better is an enchanting idea, but it is also a myth.
Andrew Morriss
By Andrew P. Morriss
Roger Meiners
PERC's Roger Meiners writes that calls for massive changes in all aspects of modern life from transportation to food production in order to reduce carbon emissions are unrealistic. Repeated failures of such utopian experiments suggests extreme caution.
Reed Watson, Peter Hill, Shawn Regan, Laura Huggins
Listen as Aaron Flint of "Voices of Montana" talks with Reed Watson, P.J. Hill, Shawn Regan, and Laura Huggins about free market environmentalism.
Shawn Regan
Research fellow Shawn Regan talks with John Batchelor about his latest report, "Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations: Overcoming Obstacles to Tribal Energy Development."
Gary Libecap
PERC Fellow, Gary Libecap, talks with John Batchelor on the history of mineral rights in the United States.
Shawn Regan
Imagine if the government were responsible for looking after your best interests. How well would this work? Just ask Native Americans.
Gary Libecap
Thanks to secure property rights, this technology has the power to resuscitate our lagging economy.
Shawn Regan
On the January 15 show, PERC's Shawn Regan discussed the political origins of the incandescent light bulb ban with Detroit's personality and radio show host Frank Beckmann.
Shawn Regan
When industry and environmental groups claim that a regulation will solve all problems, consumers beware. It’s probably crony capitalism in disguise.
What's ahead for global energy markets? How will the U.S. shale revolution affect our energy future? To find out, we asked Stephen Arbogast, an expert with more than thirty years of experience in finance working with the energy sector. As Prof. Arbogast explains, when it comes to global energy markets, the next decade will look very different from the last four decades. Stephen Arbogast is an Executive Professor of Finance at the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. In that capacity, he has authored more than 70 case studies on technical and economic aspects of the energy business. He is also the author of the book Resisting Corporate Corruption, now in its second edition. Prof. Arbogast has taught in graduate MBA programs since 1987 and was awarded the Bauer College Payne Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.We thank Prof. Arbogast for taking the time to answer our questions. For more PERC Q&As, visit the series archive.Q: You’ve said that when it comes to the geopolitics of energy, the next decade could look quite different than the last four decades. What do you mean by that?A: The last four decades have been dominated by the operations of the OPEC cartel. With only occasional exceptions, this cartel has determined the general price level for crude oil. This price represents roughly two-thirds of the price of final products to consumers, so it is most consequential for the cost of energy in developed economies. The next decade could be different for two reasons. The first is the shale revolution. Right now, that revolution—unlocking oil and gas from tight rock formations—is catapulting the U.S. back to a position of world’s leading oil producer. What is not known is the extent to which this will spread to other lands. Many non-OPEC countries, including China, have vast shale resources. To the extent production surges outside of OPEC, the cartel’s dominance will certainly decline.The second issue is more ominous and concerns a key OPEC member, Saudi Arabia. For decades the Saudis have operated as OPEC’s flywheel, absorbing production cuts in times of glut and expanding production to combat scarcity. Will Saudi Arabia remain much as it has been in the years ahead? Will it still be ruled by the extensive Royal House of Saud? One looks at Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Iran and wonders.Q: How has OPEC shaped oil politics in the past, and where are we headed?A: In 1973, OPEC discovered it could dictate the short-term price of crude oil. The cartel saw that developed nation oil demand is quite inelastic over the near term. This means the cartel could and did dictate price to its customers. The result then was a 400% price increase that brought to the OECD nations. Over time, the cartel also learned that abrupt price hikes sow seeds of reversion. Price hikes to $40/b in 1980 led to a demand bust and price collapse below $10/b in 1986.These experiences led OPEC, under Saudi leadership, to a price targeting strategy. The cartel seeks prices which balance several objectives. First, they must be high enough to generate current revenue to fund the political models in these states. These political models concentrate wealth in the state and purchase political support with generous handouts and subsidies. Second, the prices should not be so high that they trigger demand destruction undermining the price level’s foundation. Finally, they also should not encourage sustained efforts to replace petroleum with alternative fuels.Surveying the history of price levels since 1973, it must be conceded that OPEC largely achieved these objectives. No alternative fuels “silver bullet” has emerged. Demand for petroleum has grown and most forecasts show it growing for decades to come. Only the shale revolution and regional political stability raise the possibility of shaking the cartel’s grip on the energy price.Q: What role does Saudi Arabia play?A: Saudi Arabia plays the role of “swing producer” within the cartel. This means the Saudi’s reduce production in times of glut and increase it during moments of peak demand. Cartels generally require some member willing to play this role—otherwise supply and demand excesses will drive prices to cyclical peaks and troughs.The Saudis have unique characteristics that, alone among OPEC members, allow them to play this role. First, they possess huge oil reserves, estimated to exceed 200 billion barrels. This allows the Saudis to add production capability and maintain the spare capacity needed to cushion demand peaks. Second, the Saudi have a small population. Until recently that population did not exceed 20 million. This meant that the Kingdom could amass large financial reserves during periods of peak demand and prices. These reserves could then be drawn upon to fund domestic spending when slack demand required the Kingdom to cut production.It is not as clear going forward that the Saudis will be able to play this same role. Despite their ample reserves, the Saudis seem to be having difficulty increasing production capacity beyond 12 million barrels per day. Much of their “spare” is less desirable medium and heavy crude that encounters refining bottlenecks during demand peaks. Meanwhile, a larger, more subsidized population has raised the cost of preserving social peace. Indeed, one can detect elements of domestic concern in the current Saudi hard line towards Syria and Iran.All this said, the graveyards are full of people who prematurely forecast the demise of the House of Saud. The shale revolution, ironically, could pose more of a threat than disturbances among their neighbors if it undermines the crude price and pinches the Saudi paternalistic ruling model. 
Shawn Regan, Fred Thomas
How opposition to coal exports is impacting one of the poorest communities in Montana — the Crow Indian reservation.
For every $100 billion that the United States centrally directs to clean energy, GDP may decrease by over 0.4%, says Dino Falaschetti.
Terry Anderson, Shawn Regan
In the Wall Street Journal, Terry Anderson and Shawn Regan explain how Washington rules prevent tribes from developing resources that could help lift them out of poverty.
Indian reservations contain more than $1 trillion worth of untapped energy resources. As Terry Anderson explains on the John Batchelor Show, tribes could unlock this tremendous wealth if they had the same rights as those living off reservations.
Charlotte Huus-Henriksen
Ryan Abman, a PERC Graduate Fellow and a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, is examining the effects of political influence over local natural resources this summer at PERC. Ryan focuses on the Brazilian Amazon and how local politics affect deforestation. In particular, he is exploring what he calls the political logging cycle—the close connection between political elections and deforestation rates in Brazil.
Terry Anderson, Shawn Regan
Indian reservations contain more than $1 trillion worth of untapped energy resources. If tribes had the same rights as those living outside of reservations, they could unlock the tremendous wealth of their lands.
Matthew Denhart
Our nation continues to pile precautionary energy policies onto a struggling economy, but we’re bumping into an inconvenient truth.
PERC and the George W. Bush Institute will host a conference on energy regulation on September 12, 2013 at the George W. Bush Center in Dallas, TX
Terry Anderson
Should you fret or fete about fracking? Terry Anderson says that the United States has vast amounts of natural gas resources, which would mean falling world oil prices as people switch from oil to natural gas.
Should the precautionary principle guide environmental policy? As Dino Falaschetti writes, rather than preventing harm, the precautionary principle can constrain economic opportunity while doing little to improve environmental quality.
Roger Meiners, Andrew Morriss
Recent developments in domestic energy production have shifted the political debate about energy independence. Get the facts about energy independence.
Roger Meiners
The EPA and some European countries are on the warpath against coal. Technology exists to capture most of its emissions, so coal burning is not the dirty process it was decades ago. But coal is the main CO2 culprit in the climate change (aka global warming) debate.
Shawn Regan, Charlotte Huus-Henriksen
As PERC’s Rick Stroup often says, “Efficiency has no constituency,” and that’s certainly true of environmental policy. The federal government is replete with inefficiencies resulting from overlapping, redundant, and wasteful spending programs.
Energy Production & Environmental Values
Terry Anderson
As oil continues to gush from BP's Macondo well and politicians posture, it is time for us to ask why we are drilling in such risky places when there is oil available elsewhere. The answer lies in the mantra NIMBY—"not in my back yard."
Shawn Regan
As America’s energy production reaches record levels, it's time for a new system of public land management that promotes cooperation instead of conflict.
By Brian Lutz and Martin Doyle -- Our research shows that for the Marcellus Shale significantly less wastewater is generated for every unit of natural gas recovered by hydraulic fracturing than by conventional gas production.
Andrew Morriss
For more than two decades, special interests have persuaded Congress to mandate Americans buy ethanol whether they want to or not. As a result, 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is now used for ethanol rather than food.
Sierra Crane-Murdoch
In this PERC Case Study, Sierra Crane-Murdoch explores the challenges facing a tribe atop the nation’s biggest oil play. While mineral owners off the reservation have earned thousands of dollars for each acre leased, most allottees within have earned only a few hundred.
H. Spencer Banzhaf
Saturday night marks the end of daylight-saving t
Holly Fretwell
Denis and Barbara Prager fear the day that hydraulic fracturing takes place on their land in the Shields Valley of Montana.
Holly Fretwell
According to Steven Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy and a Nobel physicist, “The most direct way to reduce our dependency on foreign oil is to simply use less of it.”  That makes sense.
Holly Fretwell
The current administration continues to push for cleaner air. That means reducing carbon emissions according to the 2009 EPA ruling that defines carbon dioxide as an air pollutant.
Jonathan Adler
The Washington Post reports the Environmental Protection Agency will release proposed regulations gover
Holly Fretwell
The Center for Biological Diversity announced that they, together with some 40-plus other organizations, were able to rally 793,000 signatories for a petition against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Jonathan Adler
Back in 2007, Congress created a biofuels mandate under which oil companies are required to use a minimum amount of cellulosic ethanol each year.  The mandate was supposed to encourage the development of a domestic cellulosic ethanol industry.  This has not happened.
Laura Huggins
National Geographic recently launched its "Seven Billion Special Series"--a year-long series on global population.
Discussions of renewable energy typically focus on technologies such as solar panels, wind power, and geothermal. In one state, however, a different conversation is taking shape—one that is focusing on refining an age-old source of renewable energy: wood.
Jonathan Adler
Others have commented on President Obama’s decision to punt on the Keystone XL pipeline project.
Jonathan Adler
In 2002, federal reguators predicted it would take between 18-months and three-years for the proposed Cape Wind energy project in Nantucket Sound to receive federal approval.
Holly Fretwell
We are running out of oil, so the story goes. A finite resource with limited supply and massive consumption -- at some point the last drop will be used up, right? Wrong.
Shawn Regan
PERC's Andrew Morriss appeared on MSNBC last week to discuss green energy and Solyndra with Dylan Ratigan:
Mike Higuera
One fellow at PERC's 2011 Enviropreneur Institute explored ways to create incentives for oil companies to work with conservation organizations like TNC to plan their projects to avoid sensitive areas and minimize impacts.
Jane Shaw
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is trying to become "coal-free" by 2020 but can't find any torrefied pellets, which are a biom
Roger Meiners
A useful principle in business is not to throw good money after bad trying to salvage a mistake.
Shawn Regan
Lynne Kiesling at Knowledge Problem has an interesting post that might be of interest to enviropreneurs.
Laura Huggins
According to the U.S. Bureau of land management, wind power is the fastest growing energy technology in the United States. With this growth comes the desire to develop a legal framework for wind rights.
Shawn Regan
Bjørn Lomborg draws upon the work of Bruce Yandle of PERC to warn against climate solutions touted by emerging green activist/big business alliances:
Roger Meiners
Cap and trade, a favorite of statists and even many economists who otherwise are not statists, continues to be touted as a great sc
In 1965, the American economist Kenneth Boulding popularized the phase “Spaceship Earth” expre
Shawn Regan
From Ron Bailey:
Holly Fretwell
Similar to politicians from the past, President Obama is pointing fingers at bogeymen for causing higher gas prices.
What will our energy future look like?
Holly Fretwell
Readers, writers, students, and teachers still confess to believing that there is a garbage problem. “We have too much garbage,” they claim.
Holly Fretwell
Holly Fretwell
Last Saturday night (March 26) was Earth Hour. A time that, presumably, billions of people turn out their lights to support energy conservation.
Holly Fretwell
It is often believed, and in fact intended, that regulations requiring increased energy efficiency will reduce energy consumption.
Holly Fretwell
Regulations requiring greater fuel efficiency in cars create unintended consequences such as more driving and more energy use because of the car's fuel efficiency.
A new book from PERC scholars Roger E. Meiners and Andrew P. Morriss, and co-authors William T. Bogart and Andrew D. Dorchak:
Shawn Regan
Just hours before Tim DeChristopher made false bids in a BLM oil and gas lease auction, he to
Holly Fretwell
Which of the following is not caused by climate change?
Laura Huggins
by Laura E. Huggins
by Holly Fretwell
by Pete GeddesWhat will our energy future look like? Of course, I have no special insights, but I see two interesting trends.
Shawn Regan
by Shawn Regan
Laura Huggins
by Laura Huggins
PERC senior fellow Bobby McCormick appeared on Florida's WUSF 89.7 today to discuss the White House's new ban on offshore dril
Shawn Regan
by Shawn Regan
Shawn Regan
by Shawn Regan
by Pete GeddesThe excellent Roger Pielke Jr. asks:
Shawn Regan
by Shawn Regan This summer, the unthinkable happened. Without litigation, an energy corporation and an environmental group reached a voluntary compromise on how to achieve two seemingly irreconcilable ends: environmental preservation and natural gas drilling. The Bill Barrett Corporation and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) agreed to limit drilling on Bureau of Land Management lands on the West Tavaputs Plateau in central Utah – an area rich in recreational opportunities, archeological resources, and natural gas.The story goes like this. The Bill Barrett Corp. had acquired leases to drill for natural gas near Nine Mile Canyon, an area revered by recreationists for its stunning landscapes and prehistoric Indian petroglyphs. The area is also home to abundant reservoirs of natural gas – a scenario that typically results in political jockeying and lengthy legal battles. However, a series of meetings between SUWA and Barrett negotiators resulted in a plan to limit the number of drill wells by about 70 percent and reduce the surface area impact from 3,656 acres to 1,603 acres by implementing “directional drilling” techniques. “This is the purest win-win we could come up with,” remarked Barrett’s vice president. The plan was also hailed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and others as an “unprecedented” and “historic” agreement.The unfortunate reality is that compromises between industry and environmentalists are the exception, not the rule, on public lands. Multiple-use mandates and environmental review processes keep public land managers in a perpetual state of political gridlock that is often marked by protracted litigation.But compromises between industry and environmentalists are not so uncommon on privately-owned lands, where land managers have the right incentives to reach such win-win agreements. In this way, private lands offer a valuable lesson on how to ensure that cooperation between such diametrically-opposed groups becomes less the exception, and more the rule.Consider the Paul J. Rainey Preserve in Louisiana, which is owned by the Audubon Society. For nearly 50 years, a natural gas company operated within the sanctuary under strict rules put in place by the Audubon Society, such as no pumping during nesting season and equipment requirements that makes less noise. This arrangement brought in more than $25 million for Audubon, which was used to improve the sanctuary and purchase additional lands for preservation.
Laura Huggins
by Laura Huggins
Bruce Yandle
Environmental Kuznets Curves for carbon emissions raise doubts about the feasibility of reducing global carbon emissions..
Federally owned forests in the United States are facing financial and ecological problems. In this case study Alison Berry explores the pros and cons of using woody biomass to create ethanol, electricity, and heat.
Roger Meiners, Andrew Morriss
This policy series, by two PERC senior fellows and two of their colleagues, is a summary of a larger study analyzing green jobs claims made by various special interest groups. The authors find that the claims are based on myths.

Features

Are subsidies for ethanol somewhat different from other subsidies???in other words, not all that bad? In this free-flowing dialogue, free market environmentalists debate the issue.
Are subsidies for ethanol somewhat different from other subsidies???in other words, not all that bad? In this free-flowing dialogue, free market environmentalists debate the issue.
Jane Shaw
 By Ashley Fingarson and Jane S. Shaw
Wind energy poses a wide range of difficulties.
Not according to Erich Zimmermann.
Gary Libecap
The benefits of ethanol are largely a myth, but its political life is nothing short of miraculous.
H. Spencer Banzhaf
Banzhaf argues that free market environmentalists should applaud the cap-and-trade approach over more government regulation.
Jonathan Fahey
A lack of transmission lines makes wind farming an iffy crop
Saws are buzzing on national forests, but these are not your typical logging operations. Instead of taking down big trees for shipments to lumber mills, loggers are cutting saplings and clearing brush from the understory.

Web Exclusives

Brandon Scarborough
Ethanol was once touted as a panacea to high fuel costs, energy independence, and even global warming. Now, after billions of taxpayer dollars and government mandates for its use, ethanol has become the usual suspect in global food shortages, skyrocketing food prices, and increased environmental degradation.

Columns

Daniel Benjamin
By Daniel K. Benjamin
Daniel Benjamin
By Daniel K. Benjamin If these advances continue, solar energy will displace fossil fuels to a growing extent over the next fifty years.
Daniel Benjamin
Fracking concerns

Perspectives

Holly Fretwell
Living in the Korogocho slum, a small settlement on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, is not easy. Think crowds, no running water or sanitation, minimal electricity, and widespread crime. Furthermore, property rights are limited, at best, and most goods and income are amassed in the underground marketplace.
Linda Platts
Compiled by Linda Platts
Linda Platts
If you like the scent of cooking turkey, you would probably like living in Plano, Texas.
Linda Platts
In the basement of an engineering building at Northeastern University in Boston, a strange eggbeater-type machine is strapped to a gurney in the corner.
A proponent of wind power takes on Thomas Tanton's article from December, and Tanton replies.
Linda Platts
In Wyoming's Powder River Basin, efforts to access a major new source of natural gas stalled when drilling for coalbed methane also produced millions of gallons of tainted groundwater.
Roger Meiners
“Chevron Guilty of Polluting the Amazon” reported Greenpeace on its website in February. Chevron was ordered by a court in Ecuador to pay $9.5 billion in damages for injuries imposed on people and the environment in Ecuador from its oil operation.
Linda Platts
A common shrub that grows beside the road is transforming hundreds of small villages in Mali, one of the poorest countries on earth.
Linda Platts
While the economy sputters and stalls, whiskey makers are on cruise control.
Linda Platts
California utility companies are investing heavily in solar power. The utilities, along with many industry experts, expect the tax breaks for solar producers will make the cost of solar energy competitive with power from coal and natural gas by 2016 when the credits expire.
Linda Platts
While wealthy industrialized countries are struggling to convince their populations to adopt solar energy, dozens of villagers in rural Laos are standing in line to sign up with a small energy company that provides solar power.
Linda Platts
On the European front, a battle is raging over the rights to the title of first ecological nightclub.