Gaping deficits wrought by tumbling fossil fuel prices are forcing states like Alaska and Wyoming to slash spending, but little is being done – at least for now – to address politically unpopular, longer-term questions about new revenue models that would lessen their dependence on boom-and-bust industries.
This year severance tax revenue in Wyoming is projected to fall to about 70 percent of 2014 levels. In Alaska, a more-than $4 billion deficit has set in, just three years after a $13 billion budget surplus. Policymakers are considering minor tax increases on things like motor fuel and alcohol and a planned tax on newly legalized marijuana that would collect a relatively small amount. But there may be no lasting fix for Alaska and Wyoming unless broad-based, unpopular taxes are introduced to help diversify revenue. For years, Alaska’s oil production has been on a downward trend, and Wyoming coal output has fallen steadily this decade. Those declines raise troubling questions about the road ahead.
This study presents roadmaps for each of the 50 United States to convert their all-purpose energy systems (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to ones powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight (WWS). The plans contemplate 80–85% of existing energy replaced by 2030 and 100% replaced by 2050. C
Rural America has long produced much of the nation’s energy. However, a majority of the nation’s energy is consumed in urban areas, where most of the nation’s people and infrastructure are located. This gap between energy production and consumption means that energy policy has very different implications for rural and urban communities.