July, 2017

The Reality of American Energy

The Hidden Costs of Electricity Policy
  • Jordan Lofthouse

    Associate Director, Academic and Student Programs
  • Ryan M. Yonk

  • Megan Hansen

    Research Director, Center for Growth and Opportunity, Utah State University
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This book dispels common myths about electricity and electricity policy and reveals how government policies manipulate energy markets, create hidden costs, and may inflict a net harm on the American people and the environment.

Climate change, energy generation and use, and environmental degradation are among the most salient―and controversial―political issues today. Our country's energy future will be determined by the policymakers who enact laws that favor certain kinds of energy production while discouraging others as much as by the energy-production companies or the scientists working to reduce the environmental impact of all energy production.

The Reality of American Energy: The Hidden Costs of Electricity provides rare insights into the politics and economics surrounding electricity in the United States. It identifies the economic, physical, and environmental implications of distorting energy markets to limit the use of fossil fuels while increasing renewable energy production and explains how these unseen effects of favoring renewable energy may be counterproductive to the economic interests of American citizens and to the protection of the environment.

The first two chapters of the book introduce the subject of electricity policy in the United States and to enable readers to understand why policymakers do what they do. The remainder of the book examines the realities of the major electricity sources in the United States: coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydrodynamic, wind, biomass, solar, and geothermal. Each of these types of energy sources is analyzed in a dedicated chapter that explains how the electricity source works and identifies how politics and public policy shape the economic and environmental impacts associated with them.