We Are Witnessing A Return To Energy Realism

We Are Witnessing A Return To Energy Realism

By David Blackmon |

A new survey conducted by Bain & Co. finds a rising percentage of energy executives willing to recognize the reality that the world will fail to achieve the “net zero by 2050” drop-dead goal pushed by the globalist community.

Bain & Co. surveyed more than 600 executives in oil and gas, utilities, chemicals, mining, and agribusiness during last November’s COP28 conference in Dubai and over the weeks following that event.

2050, of course, is the alarm-driven drop-dead date given to us by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the year we must achieve global net zero carbon emissions to prevent disastrous levels of global warming. But everyone knows that such alarmist projections have always been quite malleable and tend to shift to later dates in time once it becomes clear that the predicted disasters by certain dates aren’t actually coming about. You know, like all those alarms about the end of snow, the melting of the polar ice caps, Greenland’s ice shelf sliding off into the ocean, and Manhattan being inundated by rising sea levels. Al Gore kind of stuff.

Similarly, Bain & Co. finds that a rising percentage of energy executives now expect the ballyhooed “net zero” date to be pushed well past 2050, with fully 62% now anticipating it won’t be reached before 2060 or even later. That number is up from just 54% expressing the same opinion a year ago, and we can be sure it will keep rising in every subsequent year as the impossibility of reaching that 2050 goal becomes increasingly obvious to even the truest of true believers.

Here is how Bain puts it in its press release: “Clearly, the longer that executives on the front lines of the energy transition grapple with the challenges of putting decarbonization plans into action, the more sober they’re getting about the transition’s practical realities.”

Yes, pesky practical realities do have a way of intruding on the fantasy thinking that underlies so much of the energy transition’s prevailing narratives. In its next paragraph, Bain cites factors like rising interest rates and growing concerns about lack of “policy stability” in the US and other western democracies, i.e., democratic elections, as factors causing more and more of these executives to become skeptical about achieving the alarmist goals.

But weren’t those and other factors completely foreseeable to anyone who understands how the world really works? Of course, they were, but we must recognize that the key decisions related to this heavily subsidized transition are not being made by such people, but by politicians and bureaucrats. And therein lies the real trouble. Politicians look at impractical “solutions” like wind, solar, and electric vehicles and see shiny objects that they might be able to leverage with voters. Whether or not the solutions have any practical value is a secondary thought if they consider it at all.

We see this survey’s findings now reflected in remarks by industry executives at this week’s CERAWeek conference in Houston. CEOs from companies like Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, Shell, and others stated their views that the world will require more and more oil, natural gas, and coal for decades to come, and discussed their plans to rededicate more of their capital budgets to their core businesses and less to pleasing ESG investors by throwing away money at unprofitable green ventures.

Reality is setting in, slowly but surely. When Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tells an interviewer from E&E News that the Biden administration is trying to bring about “a managed transition,” as she did this week, more and more smart people in the energy space are coming to realize the threat that really represents.

Speaking to the CERAWeek audience Monday, Granholm claimed strong public support for the Biden Green New Deal agenda, saying, “Consumers are calling for change. Communities are calling for change. Investors are calling for change.” Again, Bain finds a rising percentage of executives actually in the business increasingly skeptical any of that is accurate.

What we are seeing here is a return to energy realism in the business community. That’s good news for everyone, whether the Biden administration and its alarmist supporters approve of it or not.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

David Blackmon is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation, an energy writer, and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

Arizona Corporation Commission Moves To Limit ESG Push By Energy Companies

Arizona Corporation Commission Moves To Limit ESG Push By Energy Companies

By Corinne Murdock |

A vote by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) earlier this week moved to limit energy companies’ push to meet Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) goals. 

The ACC voted 4-1 on Tuesday to draft rules to repeal existing rules and mandates for renewable energy as well as electric and gas energy efficiency: the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) Rules and the Energy Efficiency Standards (EE), also known as the Demand Side Management (DSM). Per the commission, the rules and mandates for REST and EE/DSM resulted in incentives for renewable energy projects and services, since utilities were required to file proposals describing REST compliance. 

Commissioner Ana Tovar was the sole “no” vote on the motions. The standards behind EE/DSM expired in 2020, but previous commissions didn’t repeal the rule. 

The commission noted in Wednesday and Thursday press releases that the rules, tracing back to 2006 for REST and 2010 for EE/DSM, have cost customers nearly $3.4 billion through corresponding surcharges. REST surcharges have cost ratepayers nearly $2.3 billion, while EE/DSM surcharges cost nearly $1.1 billion.

Commissioner Nick Myers said in Wednesday’s press release that the rules and mandates were unnecessary and would result in a drastic cost increase to consumers. 

“I believe it is time for the Commission to consider repealing these rules and mandates that appear to unnecessarily drive-up costs,” said Myers. “Utilities should select the most cost-effective energy mix to provide reliable and affordable service, without being constrained by government-imposed mandates that make it more expensive for their customers.”

In Thursday’s press release, Chairman Jim O’Connor — who filed the motion to repeal REST — said that the commissioners from nearly 20 years ago were “well-intentioned” in their vision for reducing the state’s carbon footprint through the REST rules, but that no cost controls were ever implemented, at the detriment of ratepayers.

“In 2006 when the REST rules supplanted the EPS rule, concerns by the dissenting Commissioner cited the lack of cost control measure that would negatively impact ratepayers, and the then-Chairman Hatch-Miller intended that the Commission review annually whether it was in the best interest of the ratepayers. Those reviews never occurred and costs were never considered,” said O’Connor. 

O’Connor further remarked that contracts in pursuit of environmental mandates ultimately burdened the ratepayers.

“We began the steps needed to repeal a rule that has cost ratepayers billions of dollars in out of market priced contracts,” said O’Connor. “Mandates distort market signals and are not protective of ratepayers.”

Commissioner Kevin Thompson — who filed the motion to repeal EE/DSM — stated in the press release that the repeal marked a victory for ratepayers, and the end of “feel-good programs” that lack affordability and reliability. 

“Arizona utilities have collected over a billion dollars in ratepayer surcharges for efficiency initiatives that have done little to avoid the need for new generation and have benefitted a select few,” said Thompson. “Energy efficiency programs are routinely pushed by vocal special interest groups where the economic benefits favor a small group of customers, and the large majority of ratepayers foot the bill.” 

Prior to the ACC acting on the draft rules, the commission will open up multiple public comment opportunities. The draft rules and intake for public comment will be located on the following ACC dockets: gas utility energy efficiency, electric utility energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

The entire rulemaking process will take over a year, according to commission staff. The REST and EE/DSM repeal are part of a greater, five-year review of existing ACC rule packages.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

The Corporation Commission’s Decision To Roll Back EV Subsidies Is A Big Win For Ratepayers

The Corporation Commission’s Decision To Roll Back EV Subsidies Is A Big Win For Ratepayers

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

If someone wants to own an electric vehicle (EV), it is perfectly within their right to do so. That’s what it means to have freedom. But EV owners should be the ones to bear the burden of any costs associated with the necessary infrastructure improvements. And they should absolutely be responsible for paying for any excessive demand placed on the grid.

But that’s not the way the left sees it.

As part of its Green New Deal dream, the left has been pushing an agenda that significantly increases the amount of EVs on the road despite slowing demand from consumers and companies like Ford losing billions on them just this year. And Arizona utilities have fallen right in line, planning for 1 million EVs by 2030 while APS alone plans to have a 100% “carbon free” vehicle fleet as part of its commitment to go “Net Zero” by 2050.

So, how exactly was APS planning to do this?


Arizona Corporation Commission Moves To Limit ESG Push By Energy Companies

Corporation Commission Should Reject Utility-Proposed ESG Net Zero Resource Plans

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

A History of Harmful Mandates

Arizonans have faced repeated attempts over the last six years by various interest groups to impose costly Green New Deal energy mandates on utility ratepayers. In 2018, liberal billionaire Tom Steyer bankrolled a statewide ballot measure to require utilities to obtain 50% of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Voters realized the danger of this California-style energy plan and rejected it by a 2 to 1 margin.

Immediately after the Steyer initiative failed at the ballot, the Arizona Corporation Commission began considering their own green energy mandate to completely ban fossil fuel generation in Arizona by 2050. The Commission’s plan was even more radical than the energy initiative, and this time the mandate was being pushed by our regulated utilities, not far left radicals. This caught most observers by surprise—the utilities were among the opponents of the Steyer initiative, and now they were cheerleading energy mandates.

Why the change of heart by our monopoly utility providers? The reason is simple—they knew that if the Commission adopted official policy requiring Green New Deal mandates, they would be guaranteed full cost recovery from their captive ratepayers. After fierce opposition from ratepayers and organizations like the Free Enterprise Club, this proposed mandate was rejected by the Commission in early 2022.

Unfortunately, this victory for ratepayers was short lived. Almost immediately after the Commission voted to reject costly energy mandates, the utilities announced that they would be implementing their clean energy agenda anyway, irrespective of what their captive ratepayers thought about it. This didn’t come as a total surprise, considering these utilities have gone all-in on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and the accompanying “Net Zero” commitments to ban fossil fuels in their SEC filings to shareholders, which our organization began advocating against at the Commission earlier this year.

We told the Commission that if the utilities are allowed to operate under ESG, every downstream policy decision would be shaped by it—ultimately resulting in massive ESG rate hikes for Arizona ratepayers. Based on the energy resource plans submitted by the utilities last month, it appears our predictions have been proven correct…