Losing the race to sound conclusions on the Production Tax Credit

Michael Giberson When I worked on public policy issues in Washington, DC, I used to read the National Journal. It tended a bit toward Washington-establishment thinking, but at least it gave evidence of thinking. Now much farther from the daily fray, I only occasionally come across the National Journal, and usually just the so-called Energy … More Losing the race to sound conclusions on the Production Tax Credit

Any economic historians in the audience who can spot check this energy development claim?

I want to believe that the level of discourse on matters of importance in our nation’s capital is higher than that exhibited in the National Journal’s energy blog collection of opinions on the case for the Production Tax Credit. I want to, but evidence pulls me toward oblivion. … More Any economic historians in the audience who can spot check this energy development claim?

The fraying of support for wind power’s PTC subsidy

Michael Giberson The coalition in support of  wind power’s Production Tax Credit has always had a bit of a “Baptists and Bootleggers” flavor: environmentalists making a clean and green argument in favor of wind power and the multinational wind power development corporations funding the political muscle needed to get things done. The coalition has proven … More The fraying of support for wind power’s PTC subsidy

No, the federal solar power subsidy does not pay for itself

In effect, US PREF analyzes subsidies as if the companies, workers, and investors have no alternative prospects for income and would consume less electric power in the absence of subsidies for solar PV projects. In addition, US PREF ignores conventional analytical tools for investment analysis (net present value, for instance) even as it tries to claim that the solar investment tax credit is a good investment. I’d rate the report a FAILED policy analysis. … More No, the federal solar power subsidy does not pay for itself

NYT Energy For Tomorrow Closing Plenary video

Lynne Kiesling Last week the New York Times hosted a conference called “Energy For Tomorrow”, and they have made video from all of the sessions available; there are several sessions discussing energy efficiency, natural gas, renewables, etc. I watched the closing plenary on Friday, for which the topic was subsidies in any or all energy … More NYT Energy For Tomorrow Closing Plenary video

Measuring success by how much you spent on the program: A renewable energy example

Michael Giberson In general, in public policy analysis, you’d like to judge ultimate success or failure of a program by its net results, by actual benefits less the costs involved in achieving those benefits. Admittedly sometimes benefits are hard to measure, but ultimately the point of a policy change is to bring about some improvement … More Measuring success by how much you spent on the program: A renewable energy example

A.C. Pigou, public choice economist, on the use of government

Michael Giberson At the end of a comment on Windfall, a new documentary on the effects of wind power development on a community in upstate New York, Michael Munger pulls out the key Pigou quote. Pigou is relevant because the best possible case to be made for subsidizing wind power production involves correcting for the … More A.C. Pigou, public choice economist, on the use of government

Loss of ethanol subsidy boosts gasoline prices a little, E85 prices a lot

Michael Giberson The basic math is pretty simple: most gasoline in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol, so the the 45 cents/gallon VEETC subsidy reduced the price of gasoline about 4.5 cents. The subsidy expired at the end of 2011, so one reason gasoline prices have gone up a few cents since New Year’s … More Loss of ethanol subsidy boosts gasoline prices a little, E85 prices a lot

Marc Gunther on the brewing solar PV trade wars

Michael Giberson Marc Gunther asks, “Should we worry about Chinese government subsidies to its solar industry? Or send the Chinese a thank-you note?” The issue is a “dumping” complaint filed by several U.S. based manufacturers with the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging China so subsidizes its solar PV production that the PV panels are being sold … More Marc Gunther on the brewing solar PV trade wars