James L. Sweeney

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

James L. Sweeney, known for his work energy economics and energy policy, is a Hoover Institution senior fellow.

Sweeney analyzes economic and policy issues, especially those involving energy systems and/or the environment. He has particular research interests in global climate change, automotive fuel economy regulation, electricity market problems, and market structure issues.

He is a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University, where he was appointed to the faculty in 1971. He also is director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

At Stanford, Sweeney was chairman, Department of Engineering-Economic Systems & Operations Research, 1996–98; chairman, Department of Engineering-Economic Systems, 1991–96; director, Center for Economic Policy Research, 1984–86; chairman, Institute for Energy Studies, 1981–85, and director, Energy Modeling Forum, 1978–84.

He recently served on the review panel for the State of California Public Interest Energy Research Program, the National Research Council's Committee on Benefits of DOE R&D in Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy, and the National Research Council's Committee on Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards.

In 2000, Sweeney was appointed a fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. He was elected a senior fellow of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics in 1999. He won an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Stanford Society of Black Scientists and Engineers in 1989 and the Federal Energy Administration Distinguished Service Award in 1975.

Sweeney's publications include California Electricity Crisis (Hoover Institution Press, 2002), "Trade and Industry Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol," with W. D. Montgomery, in The Business Roundtable, October 1999; "Natural Resource Economics," The Social Science Encyclopedia, 2d ed. (London: Routledge, 1996), "Energy Economics," International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Elsevier Science, 2001), and Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, with A. V. Kneese (North Holland: Volumes I and II, 1993 and Volume III, 1995).

Sweeney earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966 and a doctoral degree in engineering-economic systems from Stanford University in 1971.

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Recent Commentary

California Capitol
Featured Commentary

Now is the time to invest in ending California's oil addiction

by James L. Sweeney, Sven Strohbandvia San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oil price volatility will take a toll on California until we diversify energy supplies and reduce oil demand. The time has come for us to end our addiction to imported oil...

Oil Drilling
Featured Commentary

Getting the facts straight on California’s energy policy

by James L. Sweeneyvia San Jose Mercury News
Saturday, May 8, 2010

California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) is due to take effect early next year. The closer we are to implementing this historic legislation to curb emissions, the greater the intensity of the surrounding editorial commentary...

An Energy Policy for the Twenty-first Century

by James L. Sweeneyvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2005

The challenge for the next four years: to implement energy policies that allow plentiful energy at reasonable costs, that enhance energy security, and that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. By James L. Sweeney.

Lights Out

by James L. Sweeneyvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Why was there a shortage of power in California? Largely because there was a shortage of common sense. Hoover fellow James L. Sweeney derives lessons from the energy crisis.

California Electricity Crisis Book Cover

California Electricity Crisis

by James L. Sweeneyvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Since the spring of 2000, energy problems have plagued California. Californians have faced blackouts, seen the state budget surplus disappear, watched Pacific Gas and Electric file for bankruptcy, and listened to state officials point fingers at many organizations and individuals for allegedly causing the crisis.

The California Electricity Crisis

The California Electricity Crisis

by James L. Sweeneyvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, January 1, 2002

California's electric power: from opportunity through crisis to blight.