Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

No, The Oceans Did Not Begin To Rise With The Advent Of Fossil Fuel

Yesterday The Washington Post posted an article about some new information on climate change and rising oceans. The facts simply do not support the idea of the catastrophic sea-level rise that those who practice the religion of global warming have predicted.

The article reports:

In her latest paper, Ms. Curry  (Climatologist Judith Curry) found that the current rising sea levels are not abnormal, nor can they be pinned on human-caused climate change, arguing that the oceans have been on a “slow creep” for the last 150 years — before the post-1950 climb in carbon-dioxide emissions.

“There are numerous reasons to think that projections of 21st-century sea level rise from human-caused global warming are too high, and some of the worst-case scenarios strain credulity,” the 80-page report found.

Her Nov. 25 report, “Sea Level and Climate Change,” which has been submitted for publication, also found that sea levels were actually higher in some regions during the Holocene Climate Optimum — about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago.

“After several centuries of sea level decline following the Medieval Warm Period, sea levels began to rise in the mid-19th century,” the report concluded. “Rates of global mean sea level rise between 1920 and 1950 were comparable to recent rates. It is concluded that recent change is within the range of natural sea-level variability over the past several thousand years.”

Such conclusions are unlikely to find favor with the global-warming movement, or within the academic climate “consensus,” where some experts have predicted that mean sea level could rise by five to 10 feet by the end of the 21st century.

The article concludes:

She said she doesn’t believe her findings on sea-level rise are particularly controversial, saying that they jibe with those of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It’s pretty well-documented in the literature,” said Ms. Curry. “I frame the problem a little different, and my conclusions are a little different than some people, but this has been pretty well-documented and supported.”

Ms. Curry left academia in January 2017 for a host of reasons, one of which was the “craziness” associated with the politics of the climate-change debate. She moved to Reno and has since devoted her energies to her company, Climate Forecast Applications Network.

Her clients include the federal agencies and companies in the energy and insurance business seeking answers on the risks associated with climate change. After a lifetime spent in the ivory tower, she said she finds the real-world work rewarding.

“When there’s something that really depends on the outcome and the understanding of this information, rather than just using it as a political tool to drive policy, it’s really a different ballgame,” she said. “People making real decisions, people spending real money — their companies could be hurt by getting things really wrong in either direction. So that’s what I’m trying to help with.”

Given that nobody wants to be labeled a “denier,” what does she prefer to be called? That’s an easy one.

“I’m a scientist. And I regard it as my job to continually reevaluate the evidence and reconsider my conclusions. That’s my job,” Ms. Curry said. “And some people don’t really want scientists. They want political activists. But if you want a scientist, give me a call.”

Maybe at some point we can end the hysteria and get back to science.

He’s Back

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that former Vice-President Al Gore wants to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s energy system.

The article reports:

Al Gore wants to reverse modernity and save the world from itself through an elimination of its fossil-fuel-based energy system. During the final week of April, his newly created Energy Transitions Commission released a document setting forth a fool’s-errand pathway to “decarbonize” the world’s energy system.

…But, don’t worry! The all-in estimated cost to re-engineer humanity is only a mere $15 trillion—enough money to give every man, woman, and child in the United States more than $46,000.

Al Gore has been demonizing fossil fuels and attempting to marginalize all those involved in the traditional energy sector since 1988, the year the climate-change movement was rolled out in Washington, D.C., which happened to correspond with a nationwide heatwave and with Yellowstone in flames. Ever since, Gore’s pathway to political power and personal riches has been a successful one, to be sure, but his multi-trillion-dollar effort today is his most sophisticated effort to date. Unfortunately for him, it will also fail, because what he’s selling in his “new” proposal is bad for the people being asked to embrace it.

The plan suggested by the former Vice-President would tax carbon use at $50 per ton and gradually increase to $100 a ton. This would essentially destroy the market for the continuing development of fossil fuel. Since the world’s economy runs on fossil fuel, this tax would be devastating to the world’s economy.

I need to explain that I am concerned about keeping planet earth as clean as possible and providing the best living conditions for everyone living on the planet, but I don’t believe taxing carbon is the answer. I am also not impressed by those complaining about the carbon footprints of most Americans while they live in mansions and travel in private jets to climate conferences??!!

In August 2014, The Daily Caller posted an article which stated:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed global warming regulations aren’t just about stemming global temperature rises — according to agency’s chief, they are also about “justice” for “communities of color.”

“Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a teleconference call with environmental activists. “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.”

If you truly want to protect communities of color, you need to reform the welfare culture in those communities, and help the residents of those communities obtain the education and tools they need to be successful. You need to restore the two-parent family in all communities and bring back the values that made America great–hard work, equal opportunity (not equal results), honesty, respect for the law, and the concept of working together to help everyone reach their potential. We need to teach all Americans that nothing is free and that you can choose not to be a victim.

Meanwhile, hopefully Al Gore’s carbon tax will be dead on arrive in Congress and at the EPA.

 

The Unintended Consequences Of Green Energy

Wind energy has its positive traits. However, the wind does not always blow twenty-four hours a day, and a back-up source of energy is required. There are also other consequences.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the impact of a wind farm off the coast of Block Island.

The article reports:

The fishing industry is worried the first offshore wind farm to come online in the U.S. will ruin their way of life and kill jobs.

An offshore wind turbine three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, will kill large numbers of fish and potentially drive hundreds of small coastal enterprises out of business, according to a fishing industry representative. Fishermen fear offshore wind turbines will continue to pop up along Atlantic Coast, eventually make it impossible to be a commercial fisherman.

“This will absolutely cost jobs in the U.S.,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s administration gets what it wants from offshore wind that’s thousands of fishing jobs. It’ll rip the coastal communities apart.”

The article further reports:

“Block Island has messed up gill netters and trawlers,” Brady said. “They’re not going to certain areas because its a risk to the boat. The five turbines they put in place there are ruining one of the most productive bottoms around.”

Estimates from the liberal Brookings Institution suggest the U.S. fishing industry supports 1.5 million jobs and generated $90 billion annually.

“These are great jobs,” Brady told TheDCNF. “You can make a really good living working on a fishery. It is a solidly middle class life and a really good trades-job. We have more growth potential for fishing jobs in the U.S. than anywhere else, but we’re being removed from our fishing grounds because of offshore wind.”

There may come a time when ocean-based wind power makes sense, but that time is not now. In addition to the unreliability of the electricity produced by wind and the damage to the fishing industry, the cost of wind-powered electricity is about for to six times the cost of conventionally generated electricity. It may also turn out that in our rush to save the environment with green energy, we have damaged areas of the environment we chose to overlook because of political fads.

 

 

 

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

One of the problems with the idea of ridding ourselves from fossil fuels is that we really haven’t perfected the alternatives. Our economy runs on fossil fuels, and until we develop a safe, clean, inexpensive, efficient, and reliable alternative, our economy will continue to depend on fossil fuel. In 2014, I posted a story explaining what happened when Spain attempted to switch over to green energy. As far as I know, the only country in the world that has successfully made the switch to green energy is Iceland. They have been able to generate large amounts of electricity because of the volcanoes the island sits on. Recently scientists have discovered that there is a serious down side to solar energy (other than the birds that have been fried while flying over solar panels).

On March 1st, The Daily Caller reported that the construction of solar panels generates Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

The article reports:

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is a key chemical agent used to manufacture photovoltaic cells for solar panels, suggesting government subsidies and tax credits for solar panels may be a driving factor behind the 1,057 percent in NF3 over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.

NF3 emissions have rapidly increased in Asia as well due to its rapidly growing solar panel market, and researchers think that many nations are under-reporting their NF3 emissions by roughly a factor of 4.5.

NF3 emissions are 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period.

NF3 is also used in the production of semiconductors and LCD flat screens.

The article also points out:

The 1,057 percent increase in US annual emissions of NF3 from 1990 to 2015 compares to an increase of 5.6 percent in carbon dioxide emissions, according to EPA data in a recently-published draft of a new report

There is, however, some good news. The study concluded that the more modern solar panels will emit less NF3 and will have a positive impact on the environment. This conclusion was reached by considering the amount of CO2 that would not be released when the solar panels were used. After some adjusting of the numbers, solar panels could be shown to have a positive impact on the environment. It might be a good idea to keep in mind at this point that a good statistician can make any group of numbers say anything he wants them to say.

If It Won’t Work, Why Is The Government Funding It?

One of the biggest problems in the American economy right now is crony capitalism. Rather than a free market system where innovation is rewarded, we have devolved into a system where the federal government picks which companies will receive money from the government to become successful and which companies will simply have to rely on their own abilities to become successful. One of the places where this has been the most obvious has been the ‘green energy‘ industry. On Thursday, The Daily Caller posted an article stating some basic facts about green energy.

The article reports:

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have confirmed what many in the energy world already knew: Without government support or high taxes, green energy will never be able to compete with conventional, more reliable power plants.

…The MIT study also noted that solar and wind power are more than twice as expensive as natural gas, and tax on carbon dioxide emissions could increase electricity prices enough for green sources to compete. Even environmental groups such as The Sierra Club worry increasingly cheap energy will make the case for green power weaker.

The article goes on to explain that fossil fuel is cheap and reliable. As of yet, green energy is neither. We would probably have a better chance of developing green energy if the government would get out of the way and let the inventors take over and be rewarded for their efforts. Until change becomes extremely profitable (outside government subsidies), it is unlikely to happen.

The Use Of Coal Has A Positive Impact On The Environment???

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about the increase in the use of coal to generate electricity. The article includes the following chart:

It seems that the environmentalists are caught between a rock and a hard place–they don’t approve of coal and they don’t approve of fracking, which results in cheap natural gas that generates electricity in a more environmentally friendly way than coal.

The article points out that India regards the use of coal to generate electricity as its path to prosperity. Even worse, coal-generated electricity has cut pollution in India because it reduces the use of small wood-fueled cookstoves.  According to a recent global health study, small wood-fueled cookstoves are the largest environmental health threat in developing nations.

So where are we? Environmentalists are doing their best to shut down coal plants in America, despite the fact that the global warming scare is pretty much over. Developing countries are using coal because it creates less of an environmental problem than small wood-fueled cookstoves. Natural gas, the clean alternative to coal in electricity production is out of favor with environmentalists because it is obtained by fracking. So what are we supposed to do?

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