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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.


11:45 AM
Registration and Lunch

12:00 PM

12:05 PM
Panel Discussion

TIMOTHY CONSIDINE, University of Wyoming

JIMMY GLOTFELTY, Clean Line Energy
KATE GORDON, Center for American Progress

1:00 PM
Question and Answer Session


1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Hiwa Alaghebandian at [email protected], 202.862.5820.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Timothy J. Considine is the School of Energy Resources Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Wyoming (UW) and director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy. Prior to joining UW in August of 2008, Mr. Considine was a professor of natural resource economics at Penn State University for 22 years. Before working in academia, he was an economist with Bank of America, forecasting energy prices and interest rates. He also served at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, where he was the lead analyst on studies of natural gas market deregulation from 1981 to 1983.

Jimmy Glotfelty is a co-founder and executive vice president of external affairs at Clean Line Energy. He participates in all aspects of developing the company’s project portfolio and oversees regulatory and public affairs issues at the national and state levels. He additionally manages a team responsible for corporate communications, community outreach and regulatory affairs. Mr. Glotfelty brings a wealth of transmission knowledge to Clean Line Energy, having worked for more than 20 years in both the public and private sectors. He is a well-known expert in electric transmission and distribution, electric generation, energy policy and energy security. He most recently held the position of vice president of Energy Markets for ICF International, and developed their North American Electric Reliability Corporation compliance practice. Mr. Glotfelty likewise founded the Department of Energy’s Transmission Office under the George W. Bush administration and served as its first director. While at the Department of Energy, he led the investigation of the 2003 Northeast blackout and managed teams that focused on researching transmission and distribution technologies, gaining presidential permits for cross-border transmission lines, studying the impacts of Regional Transmission Organizations, identifying major transmission bottlenecks and securing the critical energy infrastructure for the United States. He is a member of the Working Group for Investment in Reliable and Economic Electric Systems and serves on the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) board of directors and is co-chairman of AWEA’s transmission subcommittee.

Kate Gordon is the vice president for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. Most recently, Ms. Gordon was the co-director of the national Apollo Alliance, where she still serves as senior policy adviser. She is nationally recognized for her work on the intersection of clean energy and economic development policy and also has a long history of working on economic justice and labor issues. Before joining the Apollo Alliance, Ms. Gordon was a senior associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy where she focused on corporate tax policy, progressive federalism and rural economic development. Before that, she served as an employment and consumer rights litigator at Trial Lawyers for Public Justice in Oakland, Cailfornia. She has authored or co-authored most of Apollo Alliance’s major reports, including “The New Apollo Program,” “Make it in America: The Apollo Green Manufacturing Action Plan,” “Green-Collar Jobs in America’s Cities” and the “New Energy” series. She is also the author of several published articles on contract fairness, federal preemption, mandatory arbitration litigation and regional economic development.

Kenneth P. Green has studied energy and energy-related environmental policy for nearly 20 years. An environmental scientist and policy analyst by training (and a former United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reviewer), Mr. Green’s recent studies include those on the efficacy of green job programs, drivers of oil and gas prices, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the embedded energy costs in consumer goods and resilient policies to address the risks of climate change. He has just published his second supplemental textbook, “Abundant Energy” — a concise guide to energy and energy policy intended for a college audience. In addition, Mr. Green has testified before regulatory and legislative bodies at the local, state and federal levels, including before the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at AEI, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute and the president of Benjamin Zycher Economics Associates Inc. He is also an associate in the Intelligence Community Associates Program of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State. He was a senior economist at the RAND Corporation from 1998 to 2004 and served as a senior staff economist for the president’s Council of Economic Advisers from July 1981 to July 1983. He is the author of the recent AEI Press book “Renewable Electricity Generation: Economic Analysis and Outlook.”

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