Energy

An all-of-the-above energy policy is good for our communities, good for jobs and good for the environment.

Summary

  • An abundant, stable, and secure source of energy is absolutely vital to our economy, our national security, and to sustaining our way of life.
  • Energy policies should be rooted in reality and science, not fear and wishful thinking.
  • Government should not use the tax code, subsidies, and regulations to pick winners and losers.
  • Free markets and competition are the best, most effective way to provide affordable energy, reduce consumption, and develop new sources.
  • Free and fair international trade in energy should be pursued.

Issue Background

Energy is the fuel for our modern economy. From providing heat and electricity for our homes, to fueling for our vast transportation network, to producing everything from food to computers to skyscrapers – energy is required.

Over the last several years, innovation and scientific breakthroughs have enabled the United States to become more energy independent, which improves our economy and national security.

Meanwhile, liberal and environmental interest groups adhere to a fear-based approach to climate change, disregarding economics, property rights, and science, and attempt to impose unrealistic “renewable” energy mandates that will severely harm our economy.

Innovation leads to progress, and requires a stable foundation of low barriers to entry – including abundant, cheap energy. A stable energy grid leads to a stronger economy and new inventions. But unrealistic government mandates threaten the stability of that grid. Globally, developing nations seek to attain the level of energy independence and access to affordable sources that we in the West have enjoyed for more than a century – meanwhile, many in our country want to keep our abundant energy resources undeveloped forever, and use scare tactics and misinformation to impose bans on “fracking” which fly in the face of science.

In addition, many politicians are inclined to use taxpayer money to artificially prop up industries that they prefer, but which cannot survive on their own. This is a remarkable waste of resources.

The risk of climate change has been politicized and used as an excuse to pursue specific economic agendas. The issue has become so political that it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate scientific fact from rhetoric. But as with every other environmental scare, the reality is that free enterprise, market pressure, and competition drives human ingenuity, innovation, and technological progress to develop solutions and improve our quality of life.

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, have inherent limitations which prevent them from being able to fully replace the conventional sources we currently rely overwhelmingly on. That is why wind and solar continue to comprise only a small amount – less than 8% — of our total energy pie, despite years of taxpayer subsidies and periodic bailouts. Yet at the same time, growing piles of red tape and unreasonable regulations are preventing other, more realistic, sources of future clean energy from being developed in this country. Meanwhile, other nations are surpassing the U.S. as leaders and users in nuclear technology.

It is, and will be, the free market that will provide answers to our energy challenges, not bureaucrats. A sensible American energy policy will ensure that:

A) A regulatory system is in place that does not unreasonably discourage or inhibit domestic energy exploration, research, and production;

B) Free markets and competition, rather than subsidies and  government manipulation of the marketplace, are used to determine the best sources of energy, and to drive reductions in cost and consumption and the development of clean future sources; and

C) Reality and objective science informs policy makers rather than emotion, fear, and agenda-driven “science.”

Governing Principles

Free Market: The primary principle which should direct national and state energy policy is that of the power and efficiency of the free market. Natural market pressures and competition will provide solutions to energy challenges far more efficiently, effectively, realistically, and inexpensively than centrally planning or government manipulation of the market.

Truth: The principle of realism or truth also comes into play with energy policy. Honest, objective analysis of issues such as climate change and energy production, as well as an unbiased understanding of the technical processes, should direct policy decisions rather than ideology, emotion, and political movements.

National Security: An appreciation for national security is also a principle which relates closely to energy policy; unfettered access to secure sources of reliable energy is essential to the survival of a nation. Energy policies should promote responsible access and reduce reliance on other nations or international associations, such as OPEC, that have potentially adversarial interests.

Solutions

  • Rollback restrictive regulations that prevent innovators from tackling carbon output levels by leveraging the full creativity and power of the free market.
  • Remove redundant and/or ineffective environmental regulatory restrictions on energy exploration and production.
  • Reduce or eliminate subsidies and other governmental supports for specific energy sectors.
  • Equalize tax treatment of all energy sectors.
  • Streamline permitting process for LNG export terminals.
  • Reduce regulatory restrictions and simplify permitting process for pipelines, refineries, and nuclear plants.
  • Open non-protected federal land to availability to leasing for energy exploration and production.
  • Remove import tariffs on energy technology, including for renewables.
  • Eliminate renewable energy mandates.
  • Leave regulation of hydraulic fracturing and other production-specific processes to the states.
  • Allow states to have a greater say in energy production activities on federal land located within their borders.
  • Promote international free trade in energy, including the dismantling of OPEC.

Key Statistics

  • 80% of US energy consumption is from fossil fuels (U.S. Energy Information Agency, Apr. 2018)
    • 37% Petroleum
    • 29% Natural Gas
    • 14% Coal
    • 9% Nuclear
    • 11% Renewable
  • 78% of Energy production is fossil fuel (U.S. Energy Information Agency, Apr. 2018)
    • 33% Natural Gas
    • 28% Oil and Natural Gas Liquids
    • 17% Coal
    • 12% Renewable
    • 10% Nuclear
  • 84% of US energy is produced in the United States (Energy Information Agency)
  • The United States consumes about 19% of the world’s energy (Energy Information Agency)
  • The average American consumed 312 million Btus in 2011, down from a high of 359 million Btus in 1978 and 1979. The average energy consumption per person globally is about 75 million Btus. (Energy Information Agency)
  • US energy consumption by economic sector: (Energy Information Agency)
    • Industrial: 32%
    • Transportation: 28%
    • Residential: 22%
    • Commercial: 18%
  • US gasoline prices are currently the lowest since May 2009 as a result of falling crude prices (Energy Information Agency)
  • United States Net Electricity Generation: (Energy Information Agency)
    • All fuels: 4,058,209,000 megawatt hours
    • Coal: 1,585,998,000 megawatt hours
    • Petroleum liquids: 13,410,000 megawatt hours
    • Petroleum coke: 13,453,000 megawatt hours
    • Natural gas: 1,113,665,000 megawatt hours
    • Other gases: 12,271,000 megawatt hours
    • Nuclear: 789,017,000 megawatt hours
    • Hydroelectric: 269,136,000 megawatt hours
    • Other renewables: 253,328,000 megawatt hours
      • Wind: 167,665,000 megawatt hours
      • Solar: 9,252,000 megawatt hours
      • Geothermal: 16,517,000 megawatt hours
      • Biomass: 59,894,000 megawatt hours
    • Other: 12,355,000 megawatt hours
  • Colorado Net Electricity Generation: (Energy Information Agency)
    • All sectors: 53,396,000 megawatt hours
    • Coal: 33,982,000 megawatt hours
    • Petroleum: 10
    • Natural gas: 10,704
    • Hydroelectric: 1,258
    • Other Renewables: 7,643
      • Wind: 7,382
      • Solar: 199
      • Biomass: 61
  • Colorado Total Energy Consumption: (Energy Information Agency)
    • Coal: 19,065,000 tons
    • Petroleum: 25,000 barrels
    • Natural gas: 89,306,000 mcf

Government subsidies and support:

  • Nearly half of all federal energy subsidies and financial supports go to renewables, despite representing only 11% of U.S. energy consumption.
  • In 2013, more than $8.7 billion in direct subsidies went to renewables; in 2016 it was still more than $900 million.
  • In 2016, more than $5.3 billion in federal tax breaks were given to renewable industry.

Climate Change

  • Over the past 15 years, global surface temperatures have had no increase. (Source: Heritage Foundation)

Resources:

Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development
http://www.cred.org/

American Petroleum Institute
http://www.api.org/

Colorado Oil and Gas Association
http://www.coga.org/

Energy Information Administration
Homepage
https://www.eia.gov/

Energy Explained
https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/

Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2016
https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

Institute for Energy Research
https://instituteforenergyresearch.org/