The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) conducts, supports and fosters applied academic research to inform local, state, and urban policy issues. Their Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative brings the latest academic knowledge to bear on issues of energy, environment, and climate policy. Below you'll find a list of links to energy - specific CLOSUP publications.
Energy is one of the major issues that affects the U.S. economy, consumer wellbeing, national security and the environment. The topic has many dimensions and public perceptions of energy are regularly buffeted by events ranging from power outages to oil spills, from volatile prices and fears of shortages to promises of plenty as new energy technologies are developed. Consumers are often surveyed about particular aspects of energy and questions about energy prices are included in general economic surveys.
This study analyzes the real impacts of raising Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard - the policy mandating the percentage of the state’s electric generation capacity that must be provided by renewable power. The study, sponsored by the University of Michigan Energy Institute, analyzes several scenarios, detailing the changes to different power generation sources such as coal and natural gas, the environmental benefits to the state, and the associated costs under each.
A country is only as strong as its capacity to build. Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and food. This report summarizes and expands upon the University of Michigan-sponsored daylong Symposium “Shale Gas: A Game-Changer for American Manufacturing,” held on March 28, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"In a time when a foreseeable complete transformation from a petroleum-based economy to a bio-based global economy finds itself in its early infancy, biowastes (e.g. agricultural wastes, municipal and solid wastes, sludge, wastewater and foodwastes), currently seen as low-valued materials, are beginning to be recognized as resources for the production of a variety of eco-friendly and sustainable products, with second-generation liquid biofuels being the leading ones."
The climate benefits of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have been debated for many years. Attempts to compare these fuels with one another and fossil-derived fuels such as gasoline and diesel confront many uncertainties, not all of which can be resolved through further data analysis. By scrutinizing the greatest sources of uncertainty and grounding analysis in the areas of high certainty such as combustion chemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle, this paper sheds light on this challenging subject and points the way toward new strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels.
"Carefully examining the locations and magnitudes of fuel-related emissions indicates that the proper policy focus is on the sectors that supply fuel rather than the choice of fuels in the auto sector. Therefore, beyond fundamental R&D, policies to commercialize AFVs are not necessarily required for climate protection at present."
TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines analyzes whether shipments of diluted bitumen have a greater likelihood of release from pipelines than shipments of other crude oils. The oil sands region of Canada is the source of diluted bitumen shipped by pipeline to the United States.
This National Research Council (NRC) report assesses the potential to achieve twin goals of reducing petroleum use and cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from U.S. cars and light trucks to 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2050.
ABSTRACT. Public policy supports biofuels for their benefits to agricultural economies, energy security and the environment. The environmental rationale is premised on greenhouse gas (GHG, "carbon") emissions reduction, which is a matter of contention. This issue is challenging to resolve because of critical but difficult-to-verify assumptions in lifecycle analysis (LCA), limits of available data and disputes about system boundaries. Although LCA has been the presumptive basis of climate policy for fuels, careful consideration indicates that it is inappropriate for defining regulations.
ABSTRACT. Improving the fuel efficiency of automobiles (cars and light trucks) is an important means of addressing transportation oil demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This report examines the efficiency attainable through evolutionary changes in U.S. automobiles that have fueling characteristics as well as performance, size and other attributes similar to those of today. The analysis combines results from previous engineering studies of powertrain efficiency and load reduction with new examinations of rates of technology change and cost reduction.