NEPI | National Energy Policy Institute Creating a rational energy policy leading to sustainable new energy businesses. Thu, 14 Oct 2010 16:32:10 +0000 en hourly 1 Changing the Game?: Emissions and Market Implications of New Natural Gas Supplies Wed, 02 Oct 2013 16:07:01 +0000 doreen-griffiths Read more…]]>

The EMF 26 working group has issued its final report on Changing the Game?: Emissions and Market Implications of New Natural Gas Supplies. This study evaluates the channels through which shale formations and new natural gas supplies can change energy, economic and environmental opportunities within North America. Hillard Huntington of Stanford University is the project coordinator for the report, which was published by the Energy Modeling Forum in September 2013. NEPI was a sponsor of this report.

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Building America’s Energy Future – A Portfolio of Promising Policies Mon, 24 Jun 2013 20:00:59 +0000 mhaddican The National Energy Policy Institute publishes the report of its new study:  Building America’s Energy Future – A Portfolio of Promising Policies.  Note that Adobe Acrobat is necessary for viewing this report.  A printer-friendly version of the report is available here.

NEPI has crafted a report that quantifies an aggressive target by 2035 to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions.  It shows how a set of five policies can achieve these goals at a surprisingly low cost and will enhance our national security, create a healthier environment, and take a significant step toward mitigating climate change.  The report highlights off-the-shelf technology and political practicality.

An Executive Summary of the report is available here; a printer-friendly version of the Executive Summary is available here.

In addition to the report, several supporting background papers and technical reports were commissioned by NEPI.  Those reports are available here:

Brown, Stephen P. A., and Ryan T. Kennelly (Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Consequences of U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil

Deal, Anna Lee What Set of Conditions Would Make the Business Case to Convert Heavy Trucks to Natural Gas – a Case Study

Foster, Mark A., A Review of the Impacts of an ALL CLEAN Clean Energy Standard for Selected Regions & States

Gillingham, Kenneth (Yale University) The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards versus Feebates

Rothwell, Geoffrey (Department of Economics, Stanford University) Small Modular Reactors: Costs, Waste and Safety Benefits

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BUILDING AMERICA’S ENERGY FUTURE – A PORTFOLIO OF PROMISING POLICIES Thu, 20 Jun 2013 19:12:23 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> Are there low-cost, politically viable energy policies using current technology that adequately reduce imported oil and carbon dioxide emissions?  This question was discussed on June 27, 2013, at the NYU Constance Milstein & Family Global Academic Center – Abramson Family Auditorium.  The event featured the presentation and discussion of the NEPI publication”Building America’s Energy Future – A Portfolio of Promising Policies”.  Guests included Jim Messina, National Chair, Organizing for Action; Hill Huntington, Executive Director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University; Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and Tony Knowles, President of NEPI and Former Governor of Alaska.  Kalee Kreider, former Communications Director and Environmental Advisor at the Office of Al Gore served as moderator.  Please click here to view PowerPoint presentation given by Tony Knowles.

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Liquefied Natural Gas as a Marine Fuel Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:51:20 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> New rules by the International Maritime Organization and the U.S. EPA have created limitations on the sulfur emissions for the marine industry and changed the economics of LNG as a marine fuel.  Compared to other emissions compliance options, LNG is an economically viable option for some vessels.  Over time the lower operating costs (fuel and emissions compliance) can pay for the large capital investment in an LNG conversion project or new build LNG powered vessel.

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Think tank offers solid ideas for energy security Wed, 08 May 2013 18:32:53 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> “Many paths could lead to North American energy security, but none can be reached without a road map.  A comprehensive national energy policy would provide a map….NEPI is selling its plan as one emphasizing market solutions rather than Washington mandates.  It stresses “goals” rather than diktats.  This is the right approach and far less intrusive than any energy policy coming from environmental activists…”

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National Energy Policy Institute’s plan called practical, politically viable Sat, 27 Apr 2013 18:19:00 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> What sets the energy policy presented by the National Energy Policy Institute apart is not only its cumulative effectiveness but its ability to be implemented with current technologies and be politically viable, the report’s authors said Thursday.

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National Energy Policy Institute publishes five-step plan for nation Fri, 26 Apr 2013 18:23:27 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> The United States can curtail oil imports while increasing production, reducing air pollution and fortifying clean energy technologies by adopting five policies detailed in the summary of a National Energy Policy Institute report released Wednesday, officials with Tulsa-based NEPI said.

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NEPI Announces Publication of New Energy Policy Report Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:30:36 +0000 mhaddican Read more…]]> April 24, 2013



Doreen Griffiths, NEPI at The University of Tulsa, 918-631-2082

Tony Knowles, NEPI President, 907-230-0104

Mary Haddican, NEPI Research Director and Report Project Manager, 918-706-1716


The University of Tulsa, Great Hall, Allen Chapman Activity Center


April 25, 2013 at 9:30 – 10:00 am, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm, AND 2:00 – 2:30 pm

Program of conference available here.

Building America’s Energy Future – A Portfolio of Promising Policies  is available at at 10:30 am April 24, 2013

Tulsa-based institute previews national energy policy report

TULSA—America can significantly reduce oil imports and carbon dioxide emissions at negligible cost to the federal government while saving electricity and natural gas costs to household consumers, according to a report previewed this week by The University of Tulsa-based National Energy Policy Institute (NEPI).

News media can learn about the report and contact its authors at the place and times listed above.

The report is the product of a project spanning several years by a team of national energy experts from universities across the country, including Stanford, Yale, Maryland and Nevada, Las Vegas, among others as well as from industry. The work was funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

The report highlights off-the-shelf technology and political practicality. Positive interactions among five energy policies address foreign oil dependence and climate change without increasing electricity rates or natural gas prices, and at little tax cost.

“This is good news,” said NEPI President Tony Knowles, former Governor of Alaska. “America’s economic dynamism has always been linked to energy. We have shown that link can remain robust while we also address national security and economic vulnerability to oil imports, health impacts of air pollution and the climate impacts of carbon dioxide emissions.”

The body of the report is complete. Titled, “Building America’s Energy Future—A Portfolio of Promising Policies,” the document will be previewed in conjunction with a NEPI Conference of the same name at The University of Tulsa on Thursday. The total report will receive a national release later, with backing documents and an executive summary.

NEPI’s combination policy includes five major, complementary elements:

  • NEPI Clean Energy Standard (NCES), moves electrical generation to 80% clean energy by 2035 using a system of credits which utilities can trade nationally;
  • Oil Security Dividend, a moderate and graduated oil tax that is fully rebated to consumers through income tax reductions, with net economic benefit due to improvements in the taxation system;
  • CAFE Standards, the vehicle efficiency rules already adopted in 2012;
  • LNG trucks, encouraging faster adoption of technology that already saves truckers money by converting from diesel to liquefied natural gas;
  • Energy efficiency, extending policies for conserving energy in buildings and end-user installation of renewable energy.

Each element of the combination policy relies on existing technology to make rapid progress on energy goals and is designed to be politically palatable. The interaction of the elements cancels many of their costs and negative impacts, as the report explains in Part 3. Through the end of the study period, in 2035, the total cost for all elements of society, known as welfare cost, is estimated at $313 billion. The impact on Gross Domestic Product proved too low to accurately estimate. Federal and consumer costs are negligible.

The combination policy produces a reduction in oil use of 2.7 million barrels a day by 2035, compared to Energy Information Agency (EIA) projections for that year. Oil use would fall to 14.4 million barrels a day in 2035 from the 18.2 million barrels per day used 2010. During this same period domestic oil production is expected to rise 1 million barrels per day.  Thus, under the policies, imported oil would fall almost 5 million barrels per day.

The combination policy cuts 18.4 gigatons (billion tons) from EIA’s cumulative carbon dioxide emissions projection of 144.5 gigatons for 2035. This cut accomplishes 85% of a target previously set by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.  Harmful health impacts of sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions would be reduced more than 50% beyond amounts targeted by the EPA, and nitrous oxide emissions a further reduction of 20%.

Natural gas is a key to the rapid impact of the combination policy. Natural gas-generated electricity will increase from 24% to 34% of all electricity generated to become the single largest fuel used for electrical generation in 2035. The policy uses natural gas as a bridge fuel, weaning electricity generators from carbon-intensive coal immediately while giving time for technology to advance for greater use of renewable energy and nuclear power. Natural gas is favored both through the NCES and the LNG truck policy.

Sharp increases in renewable energy as well as energy efficiencies create significant reductions in carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants, while actually decreasing costs of electricity and natural gas to households.  Renewable energy from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal would expand by more than 300%.  Electricity generation from wind would increase more than 200 billion-kilowatt hours by 2035.

All of these trends are good news for Oklahoma’s economy and for Oklahoma as a national center for energy. The increase in domestic oil production is already reflected in five straight years of increased production, now at 250,000 barrels per day, ranking Oklahoma as the 5th largest oil-producing state.

The combination policy’s surge in natural gas use would also be supplied from Oklahoma, which has natural gas production now at almost two trillion cubic feet per year, ranking it 4th in the country. Oklahoma also is the national headquarters for two of the nation’s largest natural gas exploration and production companies, Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy.

Oklahoma plays a large part in the renewable energy industry, as it is the home of Bergey Windpower in Norman, Oklahoma, the leading manufacturer of wind turbines for on-site electrical generation. Oklahoma is America’s 4th ranked state in new wind energy created in 2012. Oklahoma City-based Climate Master is the largest American manufacturer for geothermal HVAC systems, a key component of energy efficiency savings.

The report was produced in a two-phase process. In 2010, NEPI partnered with Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C., think-tank, to screen 35 proposed energy policies using a common computer model and set of measures. This new report takes the five most promising policies found in the prior report to assemble a plan of complementary parts with the results shown this week.

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The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards versus Feebates Wed, 24 Apr 2013 08:15:23 +0000 mhaddican Fuel economy standards are the workhorse of U.S. policy to reduce emissions and oil use by the light duty fleet,
and are slated to be dramatically tightened over the next decade.  In this paper Ken Gillingham elucidates the relationship between fuel economy standards and “feebate” policies that penalize low fuel economy vehicles with a fee and reward high fuel economy vehicles with a rebate.  The analytical results show how a feebate can be designed to exactly match a fuel economy standard, both under the previous regulation and the current regulation.

Moreover, this paper shows how the current footprint-based standard leads to a perverse incentive to upsize vehicles, and how this could carry over to a “footprint-based feebate.”  To more concretely show the effects of both policies, it uses the National Energy Modeling System modified for this study (NEMS-NEPI) to simulate the current fuel economy standards and an equivalently stringent feebate policy.  Both policies are found to have broadly similar effects, although the implementation of these policies in NEMS-NEPI leads to minor differences in the uptake of different vehicle technologies. 

This paper highlights the importance of the policy details in the final welfare implications of both fuel economy standards and feebates.  For reasons of policy transparency, complementary policies, and administrative costs, one could make a reasonable case for preferring feebates over fuel economy standards, but the final verdict depends on the particular standard and feebate policy implemented.

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Small Modular Reactors: Cost, Waste and Safety Benefits Wed, 24 Apr 2013 08:10:11 +0000 mhaddican In this paper, Geoff Rothwell analyzes cost, waste and safety issues that surround the further use of nuclear power in the U.S.  After many years without nuclear power plant construction, five nuclear power plants are being built in the U.S. While there are 10 other applications for construction and operating permits, the construction cost for advanced nuclear power presents a barrier to finishing these units. These costs reflect a redesign of nuclear power plants to rely on natural safety systems, also known as passive safety.

In deregulated markets, the electric utilities must shoulder the entire risk of building and operating them. This makes Wall Street edgy, increasing the risk premium on anything nuclear. While the up-front costs of nuclear power are large, the operating costs are relatively low, exactly the opposite of combined-cycle natural gas generation with low upfront costs, but very volatile operating costs. Combining them minimizes the weighted risk-adjusted levelized cost of electricity. However, building nuclear plants hinges on the cost of capital available to nuclear investors.

One way to lower that cost is by completing the plants under construction on time and on budget. Another way to lower the cost of capital is to reduce the size of upfront costs required to add a nuclear plant to a portfolio of generating assets. Small Modular Reactors, SMRs, can provide nuclear power at a lower initial investment. All SMRs being considered for near-term development in the U.S. (but not in other countries) are passively safe, e.g., after the Babcock & Wilcox mPower reactor shuts itself off, because of its underground design, the reactor’s heat dissipates into the earth surrounding it. The U.S. nuclear navy has been safely using small Light Water Reactors for almost 60 years.

Deploying a new technology also allows the formation of a new system for handling used nuclear fuel. If Congress is able to remove the requirement that licensing interim used nuclear fuel facilities depends on licensing a geologic repository, electric utility-owned interim storage facilities can provide storage to the year 2222 for less than electric utilities’ contributions to the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund.

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