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Government and the American Economy: A New History
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Energy > New Energy Study: Guidance for a National Energy Policy

New Energy Study: Guidance for a National Energy Policy

Powering Arizona: Choices & Trade-Offs for Electricity Policy

Provides action points for national energy policy 

Sponsored by: The Communications Institute, the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Arizona State University with funding from The Thomas R. Brown Foundations 

The future of the nation is tied to energy. For example, the quality of life in a state such as Arizona was improved dramatically with the development of modern air conditioning and the availability of abundant energy. That has been true of the entire nation but now we are in the midst of a massive global demand and a debate over global climate change. Global demand means people in every town and hamlet in America will all pay more energy to power their cars and their homes. 

The imposition of massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to reduce the damage alleged to be caused by climate change in the next century or so will also cost consumers more money for their energy. Dealing with these issues and even our own personal energy consumption is all about economic trade-offs. 

The United States is caught in an immense economic battle between developing nations and developed nations for scarce energy. Most of homes in China are not electrified and the nation is building one new coal fired plant a week to meet that demand. The Chinese are subsidizing drivers in China $50 billion to keep gasoline prices down and hence pushing demand. 

The Study's Goal - This study puts these realities in perspective and context for Arizona but truly this report has application around the nation and for every state and for every citizen. How should be meet the demand for future energy and what are we willing to give up to deal with potential problems caused by its use on the long and short run and are there other options to deal with that impact. It provides policy makers, leaders from all sectors, and citizens with an overview of the long term demand and costs for energy based upon a variety of scenarios. 
Forming a National Energy Policy
Applying Analysis of a State’s Energy Challenges to the Nation

The formation of a national energy policy for the United States has been a topic of discussion for decades, but has proven to be an elusive goal. In 2008, a comprehensive analysis of Arizona’s energy future was published which could provide valuable input to the energy debate.

The study, Powering Arizona: Choices and Trade-Offs for Electricity Policy, was undertaken following a question by Governor Janet Napolitano to the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. The Governor asked how much energy would be required if one million new homes were constructed in the state, and how much of that projected energy demand could be derived from renewable sources? Powering Arizona analyzed the current energy supply and the impact of various energy options for the future in meeting demand and cost to consumers.

The research was analyzed by a team of economists from Penn State and Arizona State University and was sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and The Communications Institute with independent funding from the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. It was reviewed by scholars and leaders from all sectors of public and private industry prior to its release.

Key points from Powering Arizona that are germane to the formation of a national energy policy include:

  • The nation needs a balanced portfolio of generation assets including oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable sources.
  • Energy efficiency and conservation policies encourage the best use of scarce resources.
  • Reliance on natural gas and renewable sources of energy and rejection of coal and nuclear will significantly increase consumer prices for energy in the short term.
  • Coal and nuclear need to be recognized as essential components to providing electricity in the near term as well as bridges to the future.
  • Renewable energy technology, excluding hydroelectric, can provide new energy sources for the long term future, but statistically remain a very small percentage of total energy generated by the nation.
  • All energy sources should be judged by their economic and technological viability, independent of government subsidies, in order to insure the optimum use of taxpayer’s dollars and energy expenses.
  • Continued research in new sources of energy including nuclear, fusion, solar, wind, and other sources should be continued. Research also needs to continue to optimize the use of coal, oil, and natural gas and other proven domestic sources.

This study provides valuable information based upon objective economic and engineering analysis that could contribute to the adoption of a national energy policy for the United States. We believe these principles are helpful in determining the direction of the nation’s energy future as well as that of Arizona. 

Get a copy of the report:click here. is a service of The Communications Institute
Los Angeles, CA (818) 349-5555