In the Pipeline: 3/1/13

This is going to be fun. We’ll see you in Houston on the 9th. 



At every turn, the story behind wind energy gets more depressing. It’s like a kid who starts out in Mom and Dad’s basement after Harvard; it’s cute for a few months, and then you realize they may never leave. Green Tech Media (2/27/13) reports: “‘Capacity factor measures the power output from a generator as a percentage of its maximum capability. With most forms of generation, you would operate at whatever capacity factor is economic,’ Moland said. “With wind, it is dictated by however much wind is blowing.”…The best wind sites have about a 40 percent capacity factor, meaning they produce an average of 40 megawatts per 100 megawatts of nameplate capacity over ‘all the hours of a year.’…‘If you’re losing — curtailing — two percent of that generation,’ Moland said, ‘it really has a big impact.’ Capacity factor is reduced to 38 percent, perhaps five percent of a wind farm’s production. ‘All the cost of a wind plant is upfront,’ Moland explained. ‘All the financial models looking at rate of return on investment assume a certain level of wind availability.’”


It’s so obvious even the Obama Administration has to acknowledge it. Reuters (2/27/13) reports: “As U.S. oil and natural gas production booms, the Obama administration’s energy policy has been ‘fluid’ by necessity to adapt to the huge economic opportunities and climate challenges posed by growth, the top White House energy and climate adviser said on Wednesday… In a speech to a room packed with energy analysts and lobbyists, Obama adviser Heather Zichal acknowledged that U.S. energy policy “might not look perfectly pretty from the outside” as it evolves to shifting supply-and-demand scenarios… ‘It is a little bit fluid, but the landscape is changing,’ Zichal said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank.”


Open up, big oil, and take your medicine. WSJ (2/28/13) reports: “Firearms manufacturers are well aware that if semiautomatic rifles are banned, bolt-action guns are next. It is a mistake to cede a millimeter on any issue, because it simply invites more demands. People in the gun culture know their opposition… Consider, by way of contrast, the foolish actions of Chesapeake Energy, a major producer of natural gas. Time magazine revealed last year that Chesapeake gave the Sierra Club $26 million. Presumably the Machiavellian reasoning was that the Sierra Club would use this money to attack Chesapeake’s competitor, the coal industry… Now the Sierra Club is trying to shut down hydraulic fracturing—the entire basis of Chesapeake’s natural-gas business. According to reports this week, the natural-gas boon from fracking could be a boon to the U.S. economy for 30 years, if the industry doesn’t fumble the opportunity… If Chesapeake’s managers had understood the environmental movement, they never would have subsidized Sierra Club.”


Boxer, Sanders, Harvard, Stanford, AEI, RFF, Duke, Exxon – this won’t even be a fair fight once the American people know who is pushing this monstrosity. E&ENews (2/28/13) reports: “So almost every day in Washington, D.C., one think tank or another is discussing the pros and cons of the carbon tax… Yesterday, it was the nonpartisan Resources for the Future’s turn. The think tank hosted a forum on carbon taxes that drew not only the usual assortment of policy analysts and environmentalists, but also Democratic and Republican Capitol Hill staff and industry representatives… ‘We think that the appeal of a carbon tax in the United States is only going to increase over time,’ said Ian Parry of the International Monetary Fund, who convened yesterday’s panel.”


Let’s review what IER has to say about this carbon tax thing. IER(2/28/13) reports: “A recent story in EnergyGuardian (sub. req’d) centered on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) support for the carbon “fee” bill introduced by his colleagues Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Fortunately, the newly-released NERA study gives us a quantitative estimate of how much their scheme would hurt the U.S. economy. The whole episode fulfills the warnings that many of us have been making during the carbon tax debate. Specifically, advocates of a carbon tax rely on a bait-and-switch, where they make wild promises about the alleged environmental benefits of a relatively modest tax rate. As the NERA study shows, however, if the tax rate is modest, the environmental impact is negligible, but if the rate is high enough to really reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, the economic impacts are absolutely devastating.”


The following think tank chiefs are opposed to a carbon tax. Please contact us at [email protected] if you wish to join our growing ranks. We are thinking about starting a new list – trade association heads. We fear, however, it will be pretty small.

Tom Pyle, American Energy Alliance / Institute for Energy Research
Myron Ebell, Freedom Action
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
William O’Keefe, George C. Marshall Institute
Lawson Bader, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Andrew Quinlan, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity
Joe Bast, Heartland Institute
David Ridenour, National Center for Public Policy Research
Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America
Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Sabrina Schaeffer, Independent Women’s Forum
Barrett E. Kidner, Caesar Rodney Institute
George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
Thomas A. Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste
Bill Wilson, Americans for Limited Government

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