Summary of Romney Energy Plan

Romney’s campaign published a whitepaper describing his energy plan on August 23, 2012. It focuses primarily on oil, and does not give much guidance relevant to electricity. One news source quipped, “’oil’ is mentioned 154 times; ‘climate’ zero”. Notable positions that would impact electricity can be gleaned from additional sources, including the Romney website and other articles, and these are summarized at the end of this document.

In a later post, I will comment on and consider the impacts of the Romney & Obama energy policies, particularly as they relate to electricity.

Summary of Romney Energy Independence Plan:

  1.  A cheap supply of energy would have the impacts of revitalizing domestic manufacturing, creating income for the Treasury, reducing our trade deficit, and strengthening the US dollar.
    1. Manufacturing of steel, fertilizer and petrochemicals is notably intensive in oil-based feedstock and energy consumption. Therefore cheap supply of oil & natural gas could have the impact of revitalizing domestic manufacturing through cheaper inputs and need for materials
      1. e.g. Steel mill in Youngstown, OH to reopen in 2012 to supply parts for fracking.
    2. Cheap energy would give the US a competitive advantage over trade partners
      1. e.g. Natural gas prices are 7 times higher in Beijing (acc to T. Boone Pickens)
    3. Expansion in extraction and export of oil would increase income to Treasury through lease payments, royalties and taxes
    4. Deficit to decrease and dollar to strengthen due to fewer energy imports and more manufacturing exports.
  2. Main proposals to create and ensure cheap domestic energy:
    1. Streamline onshore energy development through giving states control over permitting, especially on federal land (mainly oil and fracking, but will extend to renewables (transmission?) on federal lands also)
    2. Open offshore areas for development and resource evaluation (oil)
    3. Facilitate cross-border energy trade and investment with Canada and Mexico (oil)
    4. Reform permitting and regulatory process (mainly oil, gas and coal; also renewables, transmission
    5. Facilitate private-sector development of new technologies: equip NRC to revitalize nuclear investment & development; encourage natural gas as transportation fuel; “don’t pick winners”/Solyndra reaction

Romney vs Obama on Electricity Policies:
Source: Yahoo News, “Obama vs. Romney 101: 7 ways they differ on energy issues,” Aug 31, 2012; Available: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/obama-vs-romney-101-7-ways-differ-energy-165630258.html

  1. Coal:
    1. Obama pushed for cap & trade. After its failure, EPA went ahead with other regulatory mechanisms, such as the first standard limiting mercury and other toxins from coal plants
    2. Obama has a goal to deploy cost-effective clean coal in 10 years, and have commercial demonstration plants operating in 4 years.
    3. Romney would amend the Clean Air Act to exclude greenhouse gases from its purview.
      1. Under Obama, the EPA found that GHGs threaten human health and welfare (Endangerment Finding, Dec 2009), and therefore began to regulate it under the CAA.  Power plant GHG emissions are regulated under New Source Performance Standards.  Good info available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Greenhouse_Gases_Under_the_Clean_Air_Act
      2. On March 27, 2012, the EPA proposed GHG standards for new power plants, proposing that new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross).
    4. Romney would ensure that all environmental laws account for cost in regulatory process
      1. [My guess is this affects MACT standards (“maximum available control technology”), as these don’t take into consideration costs because they mandate the EPA to impose “maximum” standards.  Meanwhile, BACT standards (“best available control technology”, as discussed my previous post), do take cost and other impacts into account with the intent to seek the “best” solution.  Notably, the recent mercury and air toxics rule for utilities, aka MATS, regulates power plants using MACT.]
  2. Nuclear
    1. Romney aims to allow further nuclear power development
      1. Expand NRC capabilities for approval of additional nuclear reactor designs
      2. Streamline NRC processes, particularly for reactors on or adjacent to approved sites using approved designs
  3. Gas
    1. Romney aims to increase gas production through streamlined regulations and permitting.
  4. Renewables
    1. Romney would concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research
      1. Would not extend PTC or ITC
      2. Supports Renewable Fuel Standard that subsidizes development of advanced biofuels. “Ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.”
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About libbyenergy

An energy professional creating a better world.
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