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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute
The renewable energy bubble has burst
1. Washington Times — “Is green energy a fad that has run its course? The investment community seems to think so. RENIXX World, the Renewable Energy Industrial Index of the world’s top green energy companies, hit an all-time low below 146 on November 21, down more than 90 percent from the December 2007 peak (see chart above).”
2. RigZone – The impressive investment returns in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas continue to attract investment capital – an expected $28 billion in 2013, according to Wood Mckenzie, which will represent 27% of the total capital expenditures for oil and gas investments in the lower 48 states next year. In terms of overall investment from 2012 through 2015, capital expenditures in the Eagle Ford are expected to surpass the projected capital expenditures of the entire Kashagan project in Kazakhstan, the world’s most expensive standalone energy project to date.
3. Matt Ridley encourages the U.K. to follow America’s lead and “get fracking”:
“Cheap energy is the surest way to encourage economic growth. It was cheap coal that fueled the Industrial Revolution, enabling British workers with steam-driven machinery to be far more productive than their competitors in Asia and Europe in the 19th century. The discovery, 12 years ago, of how to use pressurized water (with less than 1 percent kitchen-sink chemicals added) to crack shale and release gas has now unleashed an energy revolution almost as far-reaching as the harnessing of Newcastle’s coal.”
“Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the price of natural gas in the US is now one third of the price in Britain. This explains why America’s chemical companies and manufacturing firms are busy “reshoring” their operations from Europe and Asia to states like Pennsylvania, where energy is dirt cheap. America’s energy cost advantage now beats China’s labor cost advantage. In other words, if we do not treat the shale gas revolution as a huge opportunity for Britain, then it will become a dire threat to our economy: if we do not dash for cheap gas, we will lose much of what’s left of our manufacturing to countries that do.”
“Stronger economic growth remains the only way to solve our nation’s fundamental fiscal problems other than either huge tax hikes or crippling austerity. With America about to join the ranks of major natural-gas exporters and with the nation’s rising oil production reducing imports, the energy boom seems poised to both boost our global competitiveness and drive economic growth well above today’s paltry levels.”
“This puts President Obama in a dilemma. To please his core green constituency, he can strangle the incipient energy-led boom in its cradle through dictates of federal regulators. On the other hand, he can choose to take credit for an economic expansion that could not only improve the lives of millions of middle- and working-class Americans, but also could assure Democratic political dominance for a decade or more.”
“Ultimately the decision on embracing an energy-led growth strategy may well determine whether President Obama can improve middle-class prospects. In the coming months, he will need to choose between pleasing the green purists around him and generating a long boom that would elevate him to Mount Rushmore levels and assure his party’s political dominion for a generation.”
HT: Warren Smith
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