Politics and Energy

Nearly three-quarters of the USD 1.8 trillion of global energy investment is driven either by direct investing by state-owned enterprises or private-led investments incentivised by policies. In terms of direct investments, we see a growing role by state actors across all sectors in the past [...]

Access to Reliable Energy is Not Just Important, it is Necessary to Prosper

While money may not buy happiness, money, or at least a minimum amount of money, is highly correlated with happiness and satisfaction. Some happiness studies,1 which we believe are relatively poor measures, show that people in rich countries are somewhat happier than those in poor countries. [...]

The Non-Expert Dilemma

Policies about energy production, distribution, reliability, and sources are non-expert problems. Most people want energy to be abundant and affordable. The problem for politicians is to try to sort between competing claims and make decisions, all while knowing they are groping in the dark.

A Tale of Two States

With the rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing, the Marcellus shale play has become one of the most profitable sources of oil and natural gas in the world.

The Future of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in the U.S.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMR) have the potential to transform the nuclear energy industry in the US and across the world. SMR technology rejects the conventional wisdom of economies of scale in favor of a design and manufacturing environment that standardizes component production.

The Current State of Electric Vehicle Subsidies

Despite subsidies, for most consumers EVs remain less cost-effective than gasoline or gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. However, declining battery prices and the promise of future innovation suggest that adoption rates may accelerate.

The Local Impacts of Environmental Regulations

Affordable and reliable energy allows us to travel quickly, feed large populations, provide modern health care, and keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Yet, the energy we use to create higher standards of living can negatively impact our environment. Measuring [...]

U.S. Nuclear Power: Regulatory Barriers and Energy Potential

This report focuses on existing nuclear reactor technologies and begins by examining the history and science behind nuclear energy, as well as its potential benefits. It then reviews government policies that affect nuclear development, construction, and waste disposal.

Pipelines, Rails, and Trucks

Access to cheap and reliable energy is vital to the continued growth of the U.S. economy. In today’s energy market, oil and gas are both relatively cheap and reliable energy sources. The efficient transportation of these products ensures that Americans are able to fuel their day-to-day lives. [...]

The Footprint of Energy

Modern society requires a tremendous amount of electricity to function, and one of this generation’s greatest challenges is generating and distributing energy efficiently. Electricity generation is energy intensive, and each source leaves its own environmental and ecological footprint. Although [...]


Electricity generated from hydropower has been the largest component of the United States' renewable energy portfolio for over a century. Small and efficient hydropower installations have the potential to provide added amounts of clean and reliable renewable energy without substantial [...]

Renewable Portfolio Standards: North Carolina

The U.S. has no federal mandate for “renewable” power production. Instead, a majority of states, including North Carolina, have created their own state laws called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). These laws mandate that electricity generators and utilities provide a certain amount of [...]

The Value of a Statistical Life: Economics and Politics

Government agencies design regulations that are meant to benefit Americans. However, each regulation also comes with costs. Ideally, agencies use benefit-cost analysis to decide whether a proposed regulation is worth the cost.

How Good Intentions Backfire

For several decades, federal policymakers have passed environmental laws to limit pollution, preserve environmental quality, and promote human health. Despite seemingly noble intentions, not all outcomes from these laws have been beneficial. The Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah [...]

Unseen Costs of Energy

The Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University released four studies that highlight the unseen costs of producing coal, natural gas, wind, and solar-generated electricity. The overall findings of the studies suggest American consumers are often paying considerably more for their [...]

Unseen Costs of Natural Gas Energy

>Since 2000, natural gas has become one of the largest sources of electricity in the United States. The Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University examined both the explicit and implicit costs of natural gas-generated electricity. The explicit, or seen, costs of electricity [...]

Unseen Costs of Solar Energy

In recent years, US solar power capacity has grown rapidly. Government subsidies and mandates, not market forces, are encouraging the development of solar power. Policymakers at both the federal and state level have enacted incentives for solar power to address constituents' desire to [...]

Unseen Costs of Coal Energy

Coal-generated electricity has both explicit and implicit costs. The explicit, or seen, costs of coal-fired electricity include the costs of power plant development and construction, operation & maintenance, and constructing and maintaining transmission infrastructure. Often overlooked, [...]

Unseen Costs Of Wind Energy

This research explores both explicit and implicit factors that influence the cost of producing electricity from different sources. The explicit, or seen, costs of electricity include the costs of power plant development and construction, operation & maintenance, and transmission [...]

Ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard

Researchers at the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University released a report that examines the history and impact of government subsidies for the corn ethanol industry on the U.S. economy and, more specifically, “corn belt” counties in the Midwest. The report also shows the [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy

The Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University has released a new set of reports titled: Reliability of Renewable Energy. These reports are an examination of the five most common sources of renewable electricity generation: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydro. The [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy: SOLAR

Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, and policymakers have responded by subsidizing and mandating solar-generated electricity. These government policies drive the growth of solar power, not market forces. One way to determine whether policymakers have made beneficial [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy: WIND

Many Americans are looking to limit the use fossil fuels. Policymakers have responded by subsidizing and mandating wind-generated electricity. These government policies drive the growth of wind power, not market forces. One way to determine whether policymakers have made beneficial decisions [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy: GEOTHERMAL

Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, which has led policymakers to mandate and subsidize renewable energy sources like geothermal power. Despite government assistance, geothermal power only generated 0.4 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014. In the Reliability of [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy: BIOMASS

Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, which has led policymakers to mandate and subsidize biomass-generated electricity. Biomass is organic matter such as wood, grasses, or crop residues that are burned to produce electricity, much like coal. Despite government [...]

Reliability of Renewable Energy: HYDRO

Americans are becoming more concerned about climate change and environmental quality, and many want to see an increase in renewable energy sources. Hydropower has been an important source of renewable energy in the United States for over a century. About six percent of U.S. electricity came [...]

Sharing Renewable Energy Payments

Renewable energy comes at a cost, and too often that cost is born mainly by local governments whose resources are used to facilitate the development. Roads need additional maintenance, water resources are depleted, view-sheds are modified, and wildlife is displaced. The Public Lands Renewable [...]

Energy in National Monuments

The 1906 Antiquities Act made it possible for the President to designate an area a national monument, thus limiting the activities that are allowed within the monument. The act was born out of a growing movement during the late 19th century to preserve archaeological sites, especially those in [...]

Carbon Tax

In politics there are often pressures to “do something” about a perceived problem even if we do not know what is the correct something, what is the correct amount of something, or even if doing something is the correct thing to do?. A carbon tax may be an example—we do not know if it is the [...]

Green vs. Green

Renewable and carbon-neutral energy have been promoted as the future of energy production in the United States. Non-traditional energy sources show promise as alternatives to fossil fuels and may provide a sustainable source of energy in increasingly uncertain energy markets. However, these new [...]

Energy Regulation: Impacting Traditional and Green Energy Projects

Widespread and significant development of non-fossil, non-nuclear, non-hydro energy resources such as solar, wind, and geothermal faces three kinds of challenges: technical, economic and political. Each of these is as important to developing these energy resources as each leg of a three-legged [...]

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