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.

The Wind Doesn’t Cut It

Hot Air posted an article today about changes in Germany’s energy policy. Germany has often been cited as an example of effective use of green energy. Well, evidently green energy is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The article reports:

Germany plans to stop building new offshore wind turbines to lower the costs of electricity and prop up its ailing power grid, according to a revision to a new energy law.

The revision of the law will come into force at the start of 2017, and will sharply limit the construction of new offshore wind farms, reports Reuters. The motivation behind the law is that Germany’ over-reliance on wind power “has pushed up electricity costs in Europe’s biggest economy and placed a strain on its grids,” the article reads.

“Germany now has electric rates for consumers that are among the highest in the world. Energy poverty has become a reality for millions of German families,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The article goes on to explain that Germany has made good use of wind energy, but that there are two problems with wind energy. First of all, despite the fact that the government has subsidized wind energy, the consumer prices of electricity generated by wind are much higher than the price of electricity generated by fossil fuel.  Second of all, wind power is neither stable or predictable–in order to supply electricity 24 hours a day (expected in most western countries), wind power needs a fossil-fuel powered back-up.

The article concludes:

Keep that in mind here in America where we have a vastly larger and more complex grid. We can’t operate this huge system without a predictable energy supply which can be regulated to match fluctuations in demand. Wind can be a great booster to the energy supply in the areas where it can be produced, but the technology remains too expensive in most cases to stand on its own feet and the wind still has an unpleasant tendency to stop blowing sometimes.

 

Speaking The Truth By Accident

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article yesterday about statements made by Lena Moffitt, who runs the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign. The Sierra Club has been very active in ‘the war on coal,’ causing thousands of middle-class Americans to lose their jobs.

The article reports:

Here is what Lena Moffitt, who runs the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, says: “‎We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. Our board recently passed a policy that we oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking on our books.”

The article points out:

natural gas is a clean-burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants, too. There have been no reported cases of water contamination from fracking technology, as even the Obama administration has admitted. But facts don’t matter much in this debate.

…In the same interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence, she admitted: “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way.”

‎”I look forward to seeing the same success brought to taking down gas plants to ensure that we’re actually moving to a 100% clean energy future,” she continued. “That is the one Sierra Club policy that we are all working toward: getting us to 100% clean energy, which, of course, would include no new gas.”

It would be interesting to know exactly who funds the Sierra Club. Their war on American energy is not helpful either to the American economy or the American national security. Although the idea of sustainable green energy is attractive, it is not yet commercially (or governmentally) feasible. When we discover a perpetual motion machine, we may find the green energy solution for power right next to it. I’m not holding my breath.

Spain attempted a number of years ago to switch from carbon fuel to green energy. The policy nearly bankrupted the country, and Spain was forced to go back to fossil fuels. As of right now, green energy is not reliable twenty-four hours a day–it has to be supplemented. Therefore, you still have to have fossil-fueled energy plants. The war on American energy is a really destructive idea–it hurts the middle-class Americans that politicians keep saying they want to help.

Following The Money On Climate Change

On July 30, The Insurance Journal posted an article about the climate change industry. Yes, you read that right. Climate change has become an industry.

This is a chart taken from the article:

Source: Climate Change Business Journal

The article reports:

On Monday the final version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, national air pollution regulation aimed at curbing carbon emissions from power plants, is scheduled to be released.

Ferrier believes the plan may eventually prove to be a driver of further growth in the industry. That is if the plan withstands any legal challenges from states, industries and entities opposed to it.

“I think the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has a lot more teeth to it than many other attempts of the past,” Ferrier said. “I think we’ll see more (growth) out of that.”

Following this more climate change policy could come out of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, also called COP21 or CMP11.

“I think we’ll see the U.S. and China possibly make more comprehensive commitments rather than at past meetings, where they let the European leadership of the group make commitments while they sat on the sidelines,” Ferrier said.

Policy, or the anticipation of new policy, has been one of the biggest drivers of the industry, the report shows.

I suppose we need to give the Obama Administration credit for growing the economy at least in one area. The fact that his policies are causing Americans to lower their standard of living and taking away our freedoms and national sovereignty does not seem to bother the President.

It Sounds Good, But It Doesn’t Work

Spain went ‘green’ a few years ago. They began heavily subsidizing solar and wind energy projects in the early 2000’s. Last Thursday, the Daily Caller posted an article updating us on the results of this program.

The article reports:

“For years, President Obama has pointed to Europe’s energy policies as an example that the United States should follow,” said IER (Institute for Energy Research) in a statement on their new study. “However, those policies have been disastrous for countries like Spain, where electricity prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is over 25 percent, and youth unemployment is over 50 percent.”

This really does not sound like an example we want to follow.

Not only did Spain’s green energy program hurt the Spanish economy, it didn’t help with the carbon footprint.

The article reports:

The IER study also notes that Spain’s green agenda was not able to keep its carbon footprint from rising. Between 1994 and 2011, Spain’s carbon dioxide emissions grew 34.5 percent, despite the country’s green push which began in the 1990s.

“While the renewable policies themselves were likely not the cause of the emissions increase, the upward trend does prove that renewable energy policies were insufficient to reduce CO2 emissions over a roughly twenty-year period,” according to IER.

“is anything but the model for American energy policy,” reads the IER study. “The country’s expensive feed-in tariff system, subsidies, and renewable energy quotas have plunged a sizable portion of Spaniards into fuel poverty, raised electricity bills, all while having almost no meaningful impact on curtailing carbon dioxide emissions.”

Green energy may eventually provide better ways to fuel the world’s economy, but we are not there yet. We need to allow the free market to determine our steps forward. Government subsidies are obviously not the answer.

The Agenda Behind The Myth Of Global Warming

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio next week.

The article reports on one agenda item at the conference:

“We recognize that subsidies for non-renewable energy development should be eliminated and replaced with a global tax on the production of energy from non-renewable energy sources,” the UN draft agenda, amended by non-governmental organizations at the invitation of the UN, says. “The income of this tax should be allocated to renewable energy development.” The draft agenda was obtained by the Center for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a group skeptical of the UN’s position on global warming.

There is no proof of global warming or that man contributes to it. This is simply a way to redistribute the weath of countries that have prospered to countries that have not prospered. Generally speaking, countries that have prospered are countries with private property rights, freedom, and free economies not controlled by their governments. If the UN really wanted to bring prosperity to the poorer nations of the world, shouldn’t they be working toward establishing freedom in the countries where poverty is rampant?

The article further reports:

CFACT reported in December that negotiators at the UN conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa, discussed the future implementation of “a new tax on every foreign currency transaction in the world,” that would disproportionately fall on the United States because “transactions within the Eurozone won’t have to pay this new tax.”

It really is time for the United States to get out of the United Nations.

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The Politics Of American Energy Independence

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday’s Washington Times posted a story about a Marcellus Shale gas-drilling study released earlier this month by the State University of New York at Buffalo’s Shale Resources and Society Institute. 

The article reports:

Released earlier this month, the report concludes that Pennsylvania regulators have done an effective job cutting down on environmental incidents within the state’s burgeoning natural-gas industry, a sector driven almost entirelyby hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial practice of using water, sand and chemicals to crack deep underground rock and release huge quantities of natural gas.

Its authors, including SUNY-Buffalo employee and institute Director John P. Martin, have come under increasing fire from critics who say they’ve spun figures from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection in order to cast a favorable light on fracking and the companies that employ it.

Fracking is the technique that will give America access to its vast natural gas resources, which could easily lead to energy independence for America. It is opposed by radical environmentalists who want to turn to renewable sources of energy rather than carbon based sources. Unfortunately, our current economy is based on carbon sources and barring some miracle fuel invented in the private sector (where free market forces can allow the competition to determine the best product), an abrupt transition to green energy would be very cumbersome and painful for all Americans.

The article further reports:

Only 25 of the 845 environmental events in Pennsylvania from 2008 through August 2011 were considered “major” incidents. They included land spills, site-restoration failures and well blowouts.

Critics contend that the study glosses over the fact that the number of major events shot up from one in 2008 to 10 in 2011. As a percentage of wells drilled, that equates to 0.6 events per 1,000 wells in 2008, and 0.8 events per 1,000 wells drilled in 2011.

All forms of energy have risks and downsides–I reported on April 30 that a recent study showed that windmills cause global warming (rightwinggranny.com). We know that windmills are a danger to certain birds. Man has been looking for the perpetual motion machine for a long time. It doesn’t exist–either in machine form or in energy form. Energy independence is a national security issue as well as an environmental issue. It’s time to grow up, face the facts, and get on with making America energy independent.

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Exposing The Lies In The President’s Energy Speech

Yesterday Investors.com posted its fact check on President Obama’s recent energy speech. They noted five lies and posted the relevant facts.

Here is the summary:

1. The President claimed that he was focused on production. Actually, the current increase in production is due to the actions of the Bush Administration before President Obama took office. President Obama has closed down exploration and slowed down the issuing of permits for offshore drilling.

2. The President stated that America has 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but consumes more that one fifth of the world’s oil. Actually, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to “fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.

3. The President stated, “Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled.” According to the Federal Energy Information Administration (EIA), production of renewable energy increased 12% between 2008 and 2011.

4. The President stated, “We need to double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.” According to the EIA, renewable energy will account for just 13% of U.S. energy production by 2035.

5. The President stated, “There are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices.”

The article reminds us:

Obama could drive down oil prices right now simply by announcing a more aggressive effort to boost domestic supplies. When President Bush lifted a moratorium in 2008, oil prices immediately fell $9 a barrel.

President Obama’s nose is growing.

 

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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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