WonkLine: June 5, 2009

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 05 Jun 2009 13:10:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.
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The New York Times reports that “cows at 15 farms across Vermont have had their grain feed adjusted to include more plants” instead of corn and soy, reducing their enteric methane emissions (burps) by 18 percent, without any loss in milk production.

President Obama may attend world climate talks in Copenhagen this December, marking the first visit to the annual U.N. conference by a sitting U.S. president since George H.W. Bush’s 1992 trip to Rio de Janeiro,” according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

The Washington Post finds that “corporate lobbyists have won billions of dollars of subsidies in the Waxman-Markey green economy legislation, including $500 billion for electric utilities and $12 billion for the auto industry.

Is Subsidizing Commercial Energy Projects the Best Way for America to Achieve its Energy Goals?

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:00:00 GMT

The ethanol mandate taught us that energy subsidies for commercial energy projects can lead to unintended consequences and ultimately be counterproductive. Yet Washington’s attempts to address America’s energy questions continue to rely heavily on preferences, mandates, and subsidies for energy commercialization. This is causing energy experts from across the political spectrum to begin questioning the role of subsidies in energy policy. Is this an area where liberals and conservatives might agree?

Join us for a panel with four politically diverse energy experts who will discuss these questions and others as they investigate where agreement exists on the role of energy subsidies, mandates, and preferences in commercializing energy in the United States.

Speakers
  • Peter Bradford, Vermont Law School, former NRC Commissioner and Union of Concerned Scientists Board Member
  • Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Doug Koplow, Founder, Earth Track
  • Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst, Energy and Environment, The Heritage Foundation
Hosts
  • Jack Spencer, Research Fellow in Nuclear Energy Policy, The Heritage Foundation
  • Henry Sokolski, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC)

214 Massachusetts Ave NE

Demand Subsidies vs. Funding R&D - Characterizing the Uncertain Impacts of Policy for Pre-commercial, Low-Carbon Technologies

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 30 Oct 2008 19:00:00 GMT

This is a seminar presented by DOE/EERE’s Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis and NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center, featuring Gregory Nemet, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin.

Demand subsidies or funding R&D – which works best? During this “bonus” seminar, Gregory Nemet of the University of Wisconsin will talk about his analysis combining an expert elicitation and a bottom-up manufacturing cost model to compare the effects of R&D and demand subsidies. In his work, he modeled the effects on the future costs of a low-carbon energy technology that is not currently commercially available, purely organic photovoltaics (PV). His research found that (1) successful R&D programs reduced costs more than did subsidies, (2) successful R&D enabled PV to achieve a cost target of 4c/kWh, and (3) the cost of PV did not reach the target when only subsidies, and not R&D, were implemented. He’ll also discuss how these results are insensitive to two levels of policy intensity, the level of a carbon price, the availability of storage technology, and uncertainty in the main parameters used in the model. However, a case can still be made for subsidies: comparisons of stochastic dominance show that subsidies provide a hedge against failure in the R&D program.

Gregory Nemet is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. He is also a member of the university’s Energy Sources and Policy Cluster and a senior fellow at the Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy. His research and teaching focus on improving understanding of the environmental, social, economic, and technical dynamics of the global energy system. He also teaches courses in international environmental policy and energy systems analysis. He holds a master’s degree and doctorate in energy and resources, both from the University of California, Berkeley. His undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College is in geography and economics.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory 901 D Street SW (adjacent to the Forrestal Building) or 370 L’Enfant Promenade; Ninth Floor.

Please contact Wanda Addison, of Midwest Research Institute (MRI), at wanda_addison@nrel.gov or 202-488-2202