Anyone who watched the results of the last election roll in, or who simply turns on cable news, would see a country enormously divided on key issues. And, judging by the rhetoric on coal jobs, environmental regulation and climate change, energy policy is no exception.
But the national dialogue is largely missing a revolutionary change in the energy industry that’s sweeping across the country, creating real opportunities for convergence. Driven by new resources and fuels, large swaths of the nation that historically accounted for very little in terms of energy investment and production are becoming major players. It is a trend that has already boosted local economies and could now be opening the door to a surprising possibility: Americans across the political and ideological divide may increasingly be drawn together around a common set of ideas and goals on energy policy.
Consider this: In 2004, on the eve of the shale-gas revolution, there were just 34 counties in the U.S. that produced more than 100 billion cubic feet of gas annually. By 2015, that number had surged to 80 counties. And while traditional producers like Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma accounted for a sizable share of the growth, 40% of the increase came from new production powerhouses like Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
An even more dramatic story has unfolded in U.S. electricity markets. Less than a decade ago, the nation’s grid relied on a few hundred coal plants for more than half its power, and the large majority of that coal was mined in just three states. While we still get a third of our power from coal, the system has evolved into one that includes more than 50,000 utility-scale wind turbines and one million rooftop solar installations spread across the entire country. Today, these fuels account for less than 10% of U.S. power generation, but their share is growing rapidly as costs fall…
Areas of Focus: Climate Change
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Climate Change
Climate change is an urgent global challenge. EPIC research is helping to assess its impacts, quantify its costs, and identify an efficient set of policies to reduce emissions and adapt...
Climate Economics
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Climate Economics
Climate change will affect every sector of the economy, both locally and globally. EPIC research is quantifying these effects to help guide policymakers, businesses, and individuals working to mitigate and...
Climate Law & Policy
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Climate Law & Policy
As countries around the world implement policies to confront climate change, EPIC research is calculating which policies will have the most impact for the least cost.
Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Fossil Fuels
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Fossil Fuels
Under current policies, fossil fuels will play an important role in the energy system for the foreseeable future. EPIC research is exploring the costs and benefits of these fuels as...
Renewable Energy
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Renewable Energy
Lower technology costs and supportive public policies are driving an increase in renewable energy in markets around the world. EPIC research is assessing the costs, benefits, and efficiency of policies...
Electric Power
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Electric Power
As the electric power system faces new pressures and opportunities, EPIC research is working to identify the mix of policies needed to accelerate the global transition to clean, reliable, affordable...