Ruled By The Dollar

It seems as if any attempt at honesty in the energy field is met with lots of dollars being donated to oppose it. We know that the Saudis have funded a large portion of the anti-fracking movement in America because they don’t want to lose their monopoly on oil. Well, that is not the only place money is fighting science.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about pushback from the wind industry’s lobbying arm.

The article reports:

Not long after Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a 60-day review of green energy policies’ impact on electric grid reliability, the wind industry’s lobbying arm devised a strategy to push back against the study, according to a leaked memo.

Perry’s April announcement worried the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and others that the requested study could be used to bash subsidies and policies that allowed wind energy production to rapidly grow in recent years.

AWEA laid out a plan to engage with federal lawmakers, regulators and the media to push back against a study they saw as “supporting baseload sources such as coal and nuclear,” according to a leaked memo obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In March 2011 I posted an article about Spain’s attempt to convert to green energy. The attempt was a total failure–green energy is not reliable–the wind does not blow consistently 24/7 and the sun does not shine every day. The blades of windmills and the pressure around the blades kills birds, and the air above a solar farm can literally fry birds flying by. The attempt to convert to green energy caused energy prices to skyrocket and almost tanked the Spanish economy.

The green energy lobby is already taking aim at the review of green energy policies:

Green energy supporters and environmentalists interpreted the department’s study as a lifeline to coal and nuclear power plants, many of which have been slated for closure in the coming years. The Trump administration may be more focused on promoting coal and nuclear, green energy advocates fear.

AWEA quickly circulated a memo with other green advocates to push back against Perry’s study. The group planned a media and advocacy blitz in preparation for a study critical of wind power.

AWEA personnel would discuss the study with “contacts” at the Energy Department and present their own research to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the electric grid, according to the memo sent out by AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan on April 17.

Kiernan also wanted AWEA to “pursue late April meeting with Secretary Perry and wind CEOs” and to lock down a meeting with Perry in Dallas, Texas.

The memo mentions teaming up with the Solar Energy Industries of America and the pro-green energy Advanced Energy Economy to issue a “joint response” to the study. Kiernan also suggested working with allies in Congress and the media, including The New York Times.

It’s really about the money–not the environment–the green energy industry is worried about losing its government subsidies. My feeling on that is if you can’t make green energy economically feasible without government money, then it isn’t really economically feasible and you need to go back to the drawing board and invent something better!

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.

 

 

 

Green Energy At Its Finest!

I am not against green energy. I am against government subsidies of green energy. If the free market is allowed to work in the alternative energy segment of the economy, we will get the best, most efficient, and least expensive form of alternative energy possible. Someone will make a huge profit from their invention, but I am fine with that. However, whenever the government gets involved, things get more expensive and less efficient.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted a story that is a glaring example of this. The story is about a solar roadway in Idaho.

The article quotes The Daily Caller:

An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

On March 29th, the solar road panels generated 0.26 kWh, or less electricity than a single plasma television consumes. On March 31st, the panels generated 1.06 kWh, enough to barely power a single microwave. The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.

I have no problem with Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways trying to develop a road that generates electricity. Go for it! However, I do have a problem with my tax dollars paying for their research. Let them create a prototype that investors would be interested in and go from there. That is the way the free market works. That is how people actually prosper.

 

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.

Environmentalism Gone Beserk

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported that because of the unusually cold winter in Europe and the reliance on green energy, there are major power shortages in Europe.

The article reports:

European Union nations, including Greece and Hungary, hoarded power due to the cold winter weather. That hoarding triggered shortages that cut off electricity to tens of thousands of homes and sent power prices soaring to record levels.

Temperatures across southern Europe are expected to drop below freezing again next week. The continent has been unable to meet electricity demand, as green energy tends to go offline in the cold. Solar power, for example, tends to produce less energy in the winter because the days are shorter.

“What I see in the Balkans is clear evidence that everybody first secures its own consumption and only then, if they’re in a position to do so, they’ll help the others,’’ Andras Totth, the deputy CEO of the Hungarian utility MVM, told Bloomberg.

The transition to green energy (if that is possible) will happen when governments stop interfering in the free market and let the industry grow without government help. Just as a baby chick needs to break the egg it is in to gain strength to live in the outside world, the free market will allow the most efficient and inexpensive technologies to gain strength and survive. When the government picks winners and losers and attempts to move to a technology that has not yet been fully developed, we all lose.

Former Governor Dalrymple’s Statement About the Dakota Access Pipeline

On Wednesday, The Grand Forks Herald posted former Governor Dalrymple’s statement regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. As usual, much of what you have read in the press is untrue.

This some of what the former Governor said:

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been marred by a steady stream of misinformation and rumor. As governor of North Dakota, I feel it’s important to share facts regarding the route, permitting and our North Dakota law enforcement’s exemplary management of protesters.

North Dakota’s connection to the pipeline began in 2014 when Energy Transfer Partners officially filed an application for corridor compatibility and a route permit through our Public Service Commission. It is the job of our three-person elected commission to handle all such matters according to state law. A 13-month review process included public-input meetings held across the state. As a result of these meetings, the route was modified 140 times to ensure environmental safety, including a shift to follow an existing gas pipeline corridor so an entirely new pathway didn’t have to be created. The final route was legally approved and permitted by the state of North Dakota. The location for the crossing of the Missouri River was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And the easement was forwarded to the assistant secretary for signature.

There are some essential facts in this unfolding situation.

  • First and foremost, not one person from the tribe attended any of the meetings and hearings publicly noticed by state regulators over the course of two years.Second, the pipeline’s permitted route never crosses tribal land.
  • Those opponents who cite the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie to dispute who owns the lands conveniently ignore the later treaty of 1868.
  • Finally, with respect to the pipeline’s proximity to the Standing Rock Reservation’s water supply, its existing intake already was scheduled to be shut down by the end of 2016 and replaced by an intake in South Dakota, some 70 miles away.

All of these facts were validated by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., who ruled against a request for an injunction.

While the right to disagree with projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline absolutely exists, and those who disagree are welcome to exercise their right to free speech to declare that, it never should be acceptable to ignore straightforward facts and trample on a legal process that was followed carefully. It is unacceptable that the facts of the permitting process not only were omitted in much of the discussion among those who disagreed with the pipeline but were twisted in order to paint the state of North Dakota and federal government as reckless and racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

…Who were these people who came from all over the country to Cannonball? Hundreds of them were peaceful protesters, drawn to the general cause of environmental protection by a flood of social media calls for “help.” But many were actually professional agitators recruited by large environmental activist organizations to intimidate people to drop their support for the project. This subgroup hurled rocks and debris at law enforcement and harassed their families. What started out as a tribe’s objections to a pipeline siting grew into something far different.

This particular pipe is state-of-the-art when it comes to safety. It will be buried 92 feet below the bottom of the Missouri River. It will be double the strength of the pipe buried on land. And it will have sophisticated flow-monitoring devices on both sides of the river with automatic shut-off valves.

To date, the 1,172-mile pipeline is virtually complete from North Dakota to Illinois — with the exception of this river crossing. When complete, the pipeline will deliver one-half of the petroleum production from the Bakken region to markets throughout the U.S. And it will be much, much safer from an environmental standpoint than the alternative modes of truck or rail transportation. Again, the pipeline does not cross reservation land.

Please follow the link to read the entire article and the entire statement. One thing to remember here is that there are people who will make a lot of money if this pipeline is not built. Those people own the rail cars the oil is currently being transported on. Pipelines have a much better safety record than rail cars and have a much lower carbon footprint, so the protest cannot really be about the environment. Also, many of the protesters are paid protesters. It would be interesting to know who is paying them and how much.

The statement concludes:

What ultimately has happened is that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s voice now largely has become overshadowed. Environmental activist organizations, which never before showed much interest in North Dakota, used a massive social-media machine to drive misinformation about the pipeline and protests and to accuse law enforcement and the National Guard of criminal mistreatment of protesters. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now that winter, including several feet of snow and subfreezing temperatures, has settled into our state, law enforcement and several neighboring communities have gone above and beyond to help rescue and shelter people who came unprepared. Public schools have been opened as shelters, and law enforcement repeatedly has given warnings to safely leave camp ahead of major storms.

We are proud of the restraint and the professionalism of our law enforcement officers. Attacks on their conduct have been totally inaccurate, and I hope time will help reveal the facts surrounding this ongoing situation and that reason will prevail.

Like it or not, our economy is carbon-fuel dependent. Until the technology in green energy improves, that is not going to change. Oddly enough, the technology in green energy will not improve until the government removes itself from the green energy market–right now green energy depends on government subsidies and has no reason to become more efficient. The government’s support of companies like Solyndra did not advance the cause of green energy. The free market will advance green energy if it is allowed to function as it should.

Green Energy Isn’t Really Cutting Carbon Emissions

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted a story about the impact of green energy policies on carbon emissions in various states.

The article reports:

There’s no link between the pro-green energy policies of states and falling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but there is a statistically significant link between falling CO2 and natural gas electricity, according to statistical analysis conducted by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Statistical analysis and regressions run by TheDCNF found no statistically significant link existed between the amount a state’s CO2 emissions fell since 2005 and the number of policies supporting green energy implemented by the state. The analysis showed there is an 81 percent chance there’s no link between CO2 emissions and the number of pro-green energy policies, meaning a link between the two likely doesn’t exist. The very small correlation between CO2 emissions and policies was going in the opposite direction from environmentalist claims.

Think about this a minute. According to data from British Petroleum, America ranks fifth in the world for the largest natural gas reserves. We now have a link between lower CO2 emissions and the use of natural gas. We can easily convert our electric plants to natural gas. This would be a big step toward making America energy independent and providing jobs for Americans instead of sending money overseas.

Please follow the link to the article in The Daily Caller to look at the charts which illustrate that the states with fewer green energy policies were the ones that were more successful in cutting CO2 emissions.

The article notes:

The DCNF’s (Daily Caller News Foundation) analysis found states like New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Georgia, Nevada and Alaska cut higher percentages of CO2 since 2005 than any others. These states had a combined average of 39 pro-green energy policies. The national average of all states was 51 pro-green energy policies. This suggests the more pro-green energy policies a state has, the less likely it was to reduce CO2 emissions.

This is another example of how excessive government involvement and interference in the free market makes a problem worse instead of solving it. There is a quote, generally attributed to Milton Friedman, that applies to this situation–“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” I truly believe that.

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.

If Investors Ran Their Portfolios Like The Government Runs Theirs…

Today’s Detroit News reported today that the government has revised the estimated losses from the auto bailout up $170 million.

The article reports:

In the government’s latest report to Congress this month, the Treasury upped its estimate to $23.77 billion, up from $23.6 billion.

Last fall, the government dramatically boosted its forecast of losses on the rescues of General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance units from $14 billion to $23.6 billion.

Much of the increase in losses is due to the sharp decline of GM’s stock price over the last six months.

Three solar companies the government invested in went bankrupt or laid off workers last week. The losses in the bailout of the auto companies were considerably more than what was initially projected. Have we learned yet that the government should not be investing taxpayer money in private businesses? Government interference in the free market has done nothing but take large amounts of money out of taxpapayers’ pockets and increase the national debt. Someone is needed in Washington who can put a stop to the overspending and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

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It May Be Part Of Our Future, But It Is Not Part Of Our Present

 Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line about some recent events in the quest for green energy. On Friday, the Huffington Post reported that the lithium-ion batteries in the Chevy Volt have caught fire after being involved in crash tests. The fires did not occur immediately–in one instance the car was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Google has abandoned its quest for running its data center entirely on green energy.

The article reports:

Meanwhile, Google has quietly abandoned an alternative energy program that it launched with great fanfare just two years ago.  Google’s “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal” project featured all the hallmarks of the pie-in-the-sky energy mongers, especially the “it’s-just-around-the-corner” trope.  Google’s green energy czar at the launch, Bill Weihl, predicted that renewable electricity cheaper than coal would be achieved quickly: “In three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out there.”

The article also reports on Google’s other investments in green energy:

“Google’s stakes in the wind farms are ‘tax equity’ investments, in which investors buy into a project and use federal tax credits granted to the project to offset their own taxes.”

Remember all the uproar from Occupy Wall Street about corporate welfare? This is what corporate welfare actually is–the government granting a tax break to a company that funds the government’s pet project. This is what crony capitalism is about. Taxes and government are being used to control the behavior of corporations. When you consider that many of the major investors in green energy companies are key players in Congress, this begins to look really ugly.

Green energy is a wonderful idea. I suspect we will see it actually work sometime in the near future. However, pouring government money into a technology before it is ready for prime time is not a wise move.

 

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Why I Will Be Voting For Anyone But Obama In 2012

Saturday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America. He was the original discoverer of the gigantic and prolific Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota that have already helped move the U.S. into third place among world oil producers.

Mr. Hamm was in Washington recently for a ‘giving summit’ with wealthy Americans who have pledged to give at least half their wealth to charity. He reports on his brief conversation with President Obama:

When it was Mr. Hamm’s turn to talk briefly with President Obama, “I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this.”

The president’s reaction? “He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.'” Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, “Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing.” 

Evidently President Obama is blinded by the fact that many of his friends and major financial supporters have substantial investments in green energy. There is nothing wrong with green energy, but right now we have a need for oil and gas. It is a shame that our President is so blinded by self-interest that he is unwilling to address that need.

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How To Use Washington Politics To Discourage Economic Growth

Wind turbines at Altamont Pass near Livermore,...

Image via Wikipedia

According the the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2011 the unemployment rate in North Dakota was 3.3 percent. Why does North Dakota have such a low unemployment level?Oil production. However, Washington has just attempted to slow that industry down in the state.

Yahoo News reported on Friday that seven oil companies have been charged in federal court with killing migratory birds that died after allegedly landing in oil waste pits in western North Dakota. Between May 6 and June 20, 28 birds were discovered in oil waste pits.

The article reports:

The so-called reserve pits are used during oil and gas drilling operations. Once a well is completed, companies are required to clean up the pit, and it must be covered with netting if it’s open for more than 90 days. None of the pits referenced in the charges were netted, but it’s unclear how many of them were open beyond three months, documents show.

The increasing number of dead birds has state officials debating whether to ban waste oil pits and require companies to recycle liquid drilling waste.

Authorities say a dozen dead birds were found in Slawson pits, including three mallards, two gadwalls, two blue-winged teal, one redhead, one common golden eye, one northern pintail and two birds of indeterminate species.

The death of the birds is unfortunate, but it pales in comparison to the number of birds killed by windmills on a regular basis. In September of 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported:

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont. 

Windmills are being encouraged by the Obama Administration. Many of the President’s biggest campaign donors are involved with ‘green energy’ and any ‘green energy’ production is being encouraged and its negatives overlooked.

Right now the oil production in North Dakota is helping that state’s economy, as well as providing a domestic source of energy. The Obama Administration might do well to keep its hands off success and go find someone else to harass.

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