State of Our Energy Markets

Feb 10, 2004
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Dr. Lynne Kiesling
Director, Applied Energy Research, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science
Northwestern University 

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As the population of the United States grows dramatically, so too grows our demand for energy.  Because the amount of natural resources at our disposal is finite, we must constantly strive for ways to do more with less.  When tackling this issue, policymakers walk a perilous tightrope, balancing the need to explore and discover new resources against the desire to conserve and protect the environment.

Through both rapid technological advancements and changes in consumer behavior, our use of fuel has tended to become more efficient over time.  Nevertheless, we still must find better ways to harness, distribute, and effectively utilize existing resources.

Perhaps the greatest development in the area of energy distribution in the past quarter-century has been the emergence of energy markets.  In our country, as well as other parts of the world, energy markets serve to promote the efficient allocation of existing resources by facilitating the open exchange of resources and capital across nations and boarders. 

The environment in which we live is constantly changing and evolving.  Recent domestic crises, such as the California and New York City blackouts, as well as international turmoil in the Middle East, has caused many to question the reliability of energy markets as an instrument for exchange.  Driven by technological advancement, public policy reform, and growing public concern for the issue of energy production and allocation, it is clear that energy markets are poised for radical transformation.  Now more than ever, policymakers need to understand how energy markets work, and what reforms are necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Capitol Hill Campus is proud to announce a new quarterly series on The State of Our Energy Markets.  Featuring  a leading scholar on the economics of energy, this new series will bring participants a deeper perspective of the issues, and help facilitate the exchange of ideas among Hill staff.