Clean, Green, Renewable: What Could Go Wrong?

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Post Event Summary
Recent analyses of renewable energy suggest that the reliance on renewables is leading to less reliable, more expensive energy. On Friday, energy experts expressed conflicting views on the benefits of renewable energy during a lively discussion at AEI of two recent studies. AEI visiting scholar Benjamin Zycher and University of Wyoming professor Timothy Considine presented their monographs, both of which concluded that renewable energy does not solve the energy and economic problems of the United States. Mr. Considine concluded that conventional oil and natural gas bring about the greatest economic development, and that renewable energy subsidies should be diverted to research and development. Zycher’s presentation tore down the five major rationales for renewable energy subsidies, concluding that the subsidies do not create jobs, and that investment in sectors would not be profitable  without energy subsidies.


Jimmy Glotfelty, co-founder and executive vice president of external affairs at Clean Line Energy, raised issues with the renewable energy price data used in both papers, contending that wind energy is both viable and a strong economic driver; Zycher responded that if wind energy were truly competitive, then there would be no need for subsidies. Center for American Progress’s Kate Gordon wrapped up the discussion by pointing out that neither study explored the opportunity costs associated with the status quo. Ms. Gordon observed that in addition to economic considerations, there were environmental, equity, and international competitiveness issues at stake that add an important dimension to the overall discussion.

Event Description

From both the left and the right, "renewable energy" sources such as wind power, solar power and biofuels have been promoted as the answer to a laundry list of energy-related concerns, such as oil price shocks, supply interruptions, funding terrorists, local pollution and global climate change. Many states have enacted renewable energy standards, and, as is often the case in environmental matters, California has been an early leader in implementing ambitious renewable energy standards. But two new analyses suggest that the renewable energy paradigm is failing: rather than providing abundant, affordable energy, the increasing reliance on renewables is leading to less reliable, more expensive energy. Join us as AEI visiting scholar Benjamin Zycher and University of Wyoming professor Timothy Considine discuss the results of their recent research into renewable energy, with counterpoints from Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress and Jimmy Glotfelty,  co-founder and executive vice president of external affairs at Clean Line Energy.

If you cannot attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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About the Author

 

Kenneth P.
Green

 

Benjamin
Zycher
  • Benjamin Zycher is the John G. Searle Chair and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on energy and environmental policy. He is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

    Before joining AEI, Zycher conducted a broad research program in his public policy research firm, and was an intelligence community associate of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State.  He is a former senior economist at the RAND Corporation, a former adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the California State University Channel Islands, and is a former senior economist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  He served as a senior staff economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues.

    Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.

  • Email: benjamin.zycher@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Regan Kuchan
    Phone: 202.862.5903
    Email: regan.kuchan@aei.org

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