ICEED’s occasional papers series provides timely works by leaders in the fields of energy and the environment. Topics include the development of alternative energy, geopolitics, energy supply security, and environmental trends. Contact us to request copies.
Reinventing the West: The Role of Its Natural Resources in the 21st Century
By J. C. Whorton, Jr. and John Whorton.
Energy Revolution Offers Return of 20th Century U.S. Strategic Weapon: Spare Production Capacity
By William Murray.
When Genius Continues to Fail: What We Didn’t Learn from Penn Square Bank, Enron, and Chesapeake Energy
This paper compares three case studies—Penn Square Bank, Enron, and Chesapeake Energy— in which lapses in corporate governance between senior management and the best interests of the major stakeholders occurred. Penn Square Bank was a privately held bank federally regulated by the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Enron Corporation was a high-profile publicly traded corporation with very visible controls, policies, and procedures in place while key employees committed fraud and criminal acts to circumvent public transparency in reporting. While both Penn Square Bank and Enron are now insolvent entities, Chesapeake Energy Corporation is a going concern but it has serious corporate governance and financial issues that must be addressed to ensure its future viability. In particular, this article highlights the governance challenges that Chesapeake faces, which are similar to other public companies that are run by the original founders and managed and governed as though they were still privately-held enterprises with little or no accountability. As the authors examine these three examples over the last 30 years each is irrefutable proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same; leading them to question, why does it always seem that every lesson must be relearned by a new generation?
If Not Now, When? Addressing Oil Shale’s Contribution to Climate Change in the Midst of the U.S. Production Boom
This article discusses the regulation of oil shale in the Green River Formation, arguing that analyses of the relationship between its development and climate change, conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), have not provided a meaningful discussion of related greenhouse gas emissions and how they may be mitigated. The first part of this article provides an overview of oil shale and its effects on the environment and documents Canada’s experience becoming a major producer of unconventional fuels. Part II discusses how policy makers weigh considerations of climate change into NEPA analyses. Part III examines how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has addressed climate change in the process of opening federal lands within the Green River Formation for application for leasing for oil shale development. Part IV provides a critical analysis of this process and outlines options for mitigating the impacts of oil shale development upon the climate that the BLM has not considered. The fifth section concludes by arguing that a thorough discussion of the contributions major energy-related initiatives will have upon the climate is needed prior to these initiatives’ implementation.
Unsold Solar: A Post-Mortem of Papua New Guinea’s Teacher’s Solar Lighting Project
Papua New Guinea’s electrification rate positions the country among the lowest in the world. Given its overall low population density, household income levels, and geophysical barriers, energy access is unlikely to be greatly expanded through grid extension in the near future. Renewable energy technologies present an alternative solution and have been promoted through various donor-driven efforts in recent years. One such example is the World Bank-assisted Teachers Solar Lighting Project, scheduled for implementation from 2005-2010, which aimed to sell 2,500 solar home lighting kits to out-posted school teachers while also supporting the growth of local, renewable energy industries. The project was terminated before its target end-date and only one solar kit was sold. To understand this apparent failure, we review the project by drawing from in-country fieldwork conducted in March 2010 and semi-structured research interviews held with representatives from the implementing agencies, relevant public and private sector bodies, and school teachers targeted for participation. In addition to the traditional techno-economic barriers that impeded diffusion of renewable energy, we posit that social and cultural factors were also significant barriers.