Commentary: Nuclear Power Is Making a Big Comeback All Around the World

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that California Gov. Gavin Newsom was spearheading an eleventh-hour effort to pass legislation to extend a lifeline to Diablo Canyon, a 2,250-megawatt nuclear plant that supplies some 8 percent of the energy produced in the Golden State.

Under pressure from lawmakers and environmental activists, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) agreed in 2016 to decommission Diablo when its operating licenses expire in 2024 and 2025. But in light of the recent energy policy environment, California lawmakers had second thoughts.

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Top 10 Tough Votes Democrats Had to Take During Vote-a-Rama for Massive Spending Bill

During a “vote-a-rama” on their $739 billion reconciliation spending bill that has hundreds of billions for climate and health care programs, Democratic senators had to take a series of uncomfortable votes on hot-button issues — particularly tough for those representing swing states.

The bill, which also includes federal funding for 87,000 new IRS agents, passed on a party line vote 51-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

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Barry Loudermilk Attacks Biden’s ‘War on American Energy’

Georgia’s 11th Congressional District (GA11) Representative, Barry Loudermilk, criticized President Joe Biden and the EPA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget on Tuesday.

“Biden’s war on American energy production is getting an assist from the Democrat-led Congress in the FY23 Interior and EPA appropriations package. [It] restricts offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and restricts new projects in designated areas of the continental shelf,” Loudermilk said.

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Commentary: Democrats’ Radical Green Policies Don’t Help, They Hurt

Joe Biden

Last week, Michigan Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow bragged that on her way to Washington, D.C. she drove past “every single gas station” in her brand-new electric vehicle “and it didn’t matter how high [gas] was.” Apparently, Stabenow’s message to Americans struggling to afford their commute to work and school is to buy an expensive electric vehicle. For Americans – and especially Michiganders like me – Stabenow’s comment is as unhelpful as it is condescending. But Stabenow isn’t the only Democrat embracing a “let them eat cake” attitude. Climate activists are hurting Americans with their green agenda.

The Biden administration has made EVs a pillar of its anti-U.S. energy agenda. Last year, Joe Biden set a goal that by 2030, half of the vehicles sold in the country would be EVs. More recently, Biden pledged to use taxpayer dollars to build EV charging stations across America. And just a few weeks ago, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested that families anxious about rising gas prices should just buy an EV, which have an average price tag of more than $60,000. Meanwhile, in more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia, drivers are paying more than $5 for a gallon of gas. Painfully high fuel prices aren’t an accident. They’re the momentum driving Biden’s energy “transition.”

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CNBC’s Rick Santelli Hammers Biden’s Inflationary Energy Policies

CNBC editor Rick Santelli unloaded on the Biden administration on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning, saying anti-fossil fuel policies helped to spur inflation.

“What was the forward guidance with this administration on energy?” Santelli asked. “We know the answer. Maybe they can’t get things to happen faster, but by giving positive forward guidance, by not closing pipelines, by not talking pre-election about how much they don’t like fossil fuel, maybe things would have turned out a bit different.”

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Commentary: Bitcoin Could Spark a Cheap Energy Boom

People who have a problem with how much energy it takes to mine Bitcoin should take a more long term view of the situation and realize Bitcoin´s energy requirements are a feature, not a bug. Bitcoin mining provides a powerful market incentive for energy producers worldwide to increase the production of cheap energy, which could potentially drive down global energy prices. That’s great news for everyone, but it’s especially good for the least well-off in society, as they’ll be the ones who benefit the most from cheaper energy.

Bitcoin relies on a consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Work (PoW) which requires energy to issue new tokens into existence. PoW is a complex computing process performed with specialized machines that consume a lot of energy. Thanks to this technological innovation, today we all have access to a new form of money that exists in the digital world. Therefore, Bitcoin can be seen as both an “energy currency” and a “digital currency.”

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Commentary: The Energy Security and Emissions Two-fer That Nobody Is Talking About

by Dan Byers   Famed energy historian and author Dan Yergin recently remarked that the “energy divorce” between Europe and Russia is speeding up. With each passing day of the war, Yergin observes, the pertinent question becomes less about if it happens and more about when it happens—and which side initiates…

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Commentary: Energy Myths Are Triggering a New Dark Age in Europe

Europe has an energy crisis. Factories are halting operations in the face of soaring energy prices; families are paying 50% more for heating (or opting to freeze in their homes), and  Europe as a whole continues to destabilize its political position by making itself dependent on Russia for natural gas.

Europe shows what happens when you adopt policies based on false ideas—myths about energy that all but guarantee high prices, power blackouts, and a crashing economy.

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Biden Asks Congress to Punish Oil Companies Not Drilling More

President Joe Biden asked Congress to hit oil companies with fines for not producing energy on permitted leases as part of his sweeping plan to address U.S. energy prices.

“Today, President Biden is calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing,” the White House said in a fact sheet on Thursday.

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‘Shortfall’: Trump Energy Secretary Casts Doubt on Biden Gas Deal with the European Union

Dan Brouillette

Former Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette suggested that President Joe Biden’s recent gas deal with the European Union (EU) wouldn’t be enough to help the continent wean itself off Russian energy.

Brouillette — who served as deputy energy secretary between 2017-2019 and energy secretary between 2019-2021 — noted that the U.S. wouldn’t be able to fill the gap left by Russian energy during an interview with CNBC on Monday. He added that the EU cannot expect to consume less total energy as part of its plan to ditch Russian gas.

“Frankly, I’m not quite sure that everyone can make up that shortfall,” said Brouillette, according to CNBC. “That’s an enormous amount of gas.”

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Commentary: Ukraine Crisis Reveals New Bipartisan Energy Opportunities

city factory at night

In just the last three weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly altered our national energy policy landscape and dramatically shifted the political dynamics around legislative priorities and political possibilities in Congress. The roiling of global oil markets, underpinned by an already tight supply situation from the post-pandemic economic awakening, has been driven by perceived risks of supply disruption caused by the Russian invasion. Risk premiums and a formal American embargo of Russian energy have sent prices skyrocketing and revealed, once again, that we have few good short-term options when faced with energy supply challenges. While our tools are limited today, the current moment may present an important window of opportunity to develop a policy approach that reduces this vulnerability and limits our exposure next time. This renewed attention to energy security combined with a focus on fighting energy inflation has the potential to galvanize a bipartisan policy pathway that would have been unthinkable as the year began.

The broad support that materialized in Congress and the White House for a ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports earlier this month is a case in point. Remarkably, widespread congressional support for the ban occurred despite already high gasoline prices, with oil prices well over $100 a barrel and gasoline averaging more than $4.30 a gallon across the nation.

As President Biden said when announcing the ban, “Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and have made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war… This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be costs as well here in the United States.”

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Commentary: ‘Wokeness’ on Energy Is Weakness

As Joe Biden’s approval numbers sink further into the sewer, the only thing he’s building back better is 1970s-style inflation. Up until Biden, most polls usually named Jimmy Carter as one of the weakest and most inept presidents we’ve ever had. That was until Biden showed up and said, “Hold my beer!” Which you have to know has brought so much joy to Carter. Heck, he probably has a set of “Let’s go Brandon!” PJs that he wears every night as he thanks God for the gift of Biden. 

Fact is, this country is now being “led” by a man who absolutely will go down as one of the worst presidents in our history. In just over a year, Biden has brought inflation roaring back to levels not seen in 40 years, has destroyed our southern border as millions of illegal aliens, along with Chinese fentanyl, flood the country, and now we have been involved in two major international debacles with Afghanistan and Ukraine. The list could go on, but perhaps that’s too depressing. 

Rest assured, however, it’s not going to get better. Biden is like the anti-Midas, turning everything he touches into crap.

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Commentary: The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around

Rising inflation threatens the value of Americans’ retirement savings. Now the Biden administration is finalizing a rule to loosen safeguards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) that protect private retirement savings. The new rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” stems from President Biden’s May 20, 2021, Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which directed senior White House advisers to develop a strategy for financing the administration’s net-zero climate goals, including the use of private savings. 

Predictably, Wall Street is cheering the prospect of undoing ERISA safeguards. According to one analysis, 97% of comment letters support the proposal. But as I show in my RealClear Foundation report The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around, it’s the remaining three percent that should give the Department of Labor (DOL) cause to rethink its deeply flawed approach.

Under ERISA, retirement savings must be invested for the exclusive purpose of providing retirement benefits. The May 2021 executive order illustrates the very danger that ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule is designed to guard against. To achieve the goals set out in the order, DOL is instructed to “suspend, revise or rescind” two Trump-era rules designed to uphold ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule.

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MidAmerican Energy Files $3.9B Renewable Energy Project with Iowa Utilities Board

Field of wind turbines

MidAmerican Energy announced Wednesday it filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a $3.9 billion renewable energy project in Iowa.

Wind PRIME would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation, a news release from the Des Moines-headquartered company claims.

MidAmerican estimates the project will create more than 1,100 full-time jobs during construction and another 125 ongoing full-time positions for operations and maintenance, along with $24 million in local property tax payments on wind turbines and solar facilities and $21 million in annual landowner easement payments. The company plans to complete construction by the end of 2024, if it receives IUB approval.

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European Tech Firm Chooses Arizona as First American Location

A European solar power tech company has chosen Arizona as its first location in the United States.

Switzerland-based mechanical engineering company Meyer Burger Technology AG is establishing a production site for high-performance solar modules in Goodyear, Arizona. Production is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, creating an initial 250 jobs and more than 500 jobs at full capacity.

“I am very pleased to welcome Meyer Burger to our community,” Mayor of Goodyear Joe Pizzillo said in a news release.“The decision to make a large investment in our community shows Goodyear is an excellent location for advanced manufacturing businesses. Our highly skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and low cost of doing business has created an environment where companies can thrive.”

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Commentary: The Brain May Use a Ton of Energy Because It’s ‘Leaking’

Your brain may be leaking … energy, according to a new study that may explain why your noggin consumes 20% of the energy needed to keep your body running.

The study researchers found that tiny sacs called vesicles that hold messages being transmitted between brain cells may be constantly oozing energy, and that leakage is likely a trade-off for the brain being ready to fire at all times, according to a new study published Dec. 3 in the journal Science Advances. 

“The brain is considered a very expensive organ to run,” said senior author Timothy Ryan, a professor of biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

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Hackers Allegedly Breach Nine Companies Involved in Defense, Energy, and Other Vital Sectors

Ryan Olson

A security firm claims that foreign hackers have infiltrated at least nine companies in several crucial sectors of the economy and government, including defense, energy, technology, and others, according to CNN.

Palo Alto Networks (PAN) shared the information on the breaches with CNN, showing that other affected sectors include education and healthcare. They say that the National Security Agency (NSA) is working with cybersecurity researchers to expose this and other ongoing efforts by foreign entities to hack American infrastructure. PAN’s report included information contributed by a division of the NSA which focuses exclusively on threats against American industrial defense bases by foreign hackers.

Examples of the breaches include the inconspicuous theft of passwords, with the goal of using these passwords to remain inside these networks for a prolonged period of time without anyone even being aware that there was a breach. This would allow hackers to freely receive sensitive data sent over basic communications such as email or information contained on internal storage drives.

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China Ramps Up Coal Production Despite Its Climate Promises

The Chinese government ordered its domestic coal suppliers to ramp up production and rubber-stamped approvals for new mines as the country faces an energy crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported.

China, like Europe and many other parts of Asia, has faced rapidly increasing energy costs over the last several months as its economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the WSJ. The rising cost of coal — which accounts for the vast majority of China’s energy supply — has been a main driver of the overall price increases.

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Commentary: America Should Put More Resources into Nuclear Power

Nuclear and solar power energy

Recent news in the energy world has not been encouraging. Prices are rising rapidly due to a supply crunch coupled with blistering, post-pandemic demand. Renewables like wind and solar are faltering in an unprepared electrical grid. Coal burning is set to spike to make up for energy supply shortfalls at a time when the world needs to aggressively decarbonize.

Some of this hardship might have been avoided if, over the past couple of decades, policy makers had the guts to support the safest, most reliable form of energy, which also happens to be carbon-free: nuclear. Instead, Germany is taking its nuclear fleet offline and replacing it with fossil fuels, as the country’s already exorbitant electricity prices soar. California is shutting down its last nuclear plant, further imperiling its notoriously fragile grid. All the while, Americans remain divided on nuclear power.

Again, the data is clear: despite nuclear’s damaged reputation, clouded by a few high-profile accidents, nuclear power kills fewer people per electricity produced than any other energy source. It is also the most reliable. Nuclear’s capacity factor, a measure of how often a power plant is producing energy at full capacity over a certain period of time, is the highest by far – almost double that of coal and more than triple that of solar. And nuclear is clean, producing no carbon emissions. Though its radioactive waste often attracts negative press, coal plants actually create more. Moreover, all of the waste that America’s nuclear power plants have collectively produced in a half-century could fit on one football field. This is because nuclear is incredibly efficient. In the U.S., just 55 nuclear power plants produce 20% of the country’s electricity! It takes nearly 2,000 natural gas plants to produce 40 percent.

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New Report Says Biden Energy Policy Is Misleading and Unattainable

Recent experiences in three states provide an insight into how problematic President Joe Biden’s push for renewable energy could be for electric customers nationwide, according to a new report from Power the Future.

The report, titled “Lights Out: How Green Mandates are Undermining the Affordability and Reliability of Electricity,” was written by Larry Behrens, western states director for Power the Future, a nonprofit trade group that speaks for oil and gas workers.

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Commentary: Daylight Saving Says It’s Time to ‘Spring Forward’ – But Is It Worth It?

This weekend, public service announcements will remind us daylight saving time is over. This means you have to set your clocks back an hour later at 2 a.m. on November 1.

This semiannual ritual shifts our rhythms and temporarily makes us groggy at times when we normally feel alert. Moreover, many Americans are confused about why we spring forward in March and fall back in November, and whether it is worth the trouble.

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Oil and Gas Production to Account for 68 Percent of Energy Consumption Over Next Two Decades

Over the next two decades, oil and gas production is projected to account for 68 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. and will play a key role in the energy transition to a low carbon future, according to a new report published by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Natural gas is increasingly powering plants to produce electricity, but oil and natural gas are revitalizing the U.S. petrochemical industry, growing the liquefied natural gas industry, and boosting high-tech materials, the report states.

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Commentary: A Ban on Fracking Would Kill 6 Million Jobs Across Seven States by 2025

Joe Biden upended the historic formula of a Democratic presidential nominee. Usually, the hopeful plays his liberal greatest hits to the primary crowd, before tacking to the center as the election dawns and ordinary Americans start listening.

Since his assisted capture of the nomination, Biden has veered leftward, crafting, with the help of the party’s progressive wing, the most progressive platform since the ill-fated George McGovern in 1972.

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