Recently in Energy Category

So true - hypocrisy

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From Woodsterman:

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A simple proposal

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Let's see if BillG would agree to this:

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I really like their President - from The Guardian:

Mexico was once a climate leader – now it's betting big on coal
The men on the midnight shift smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes in the glow of their helmet lights as they prepared to go underground. They were loading safety equipment and coils of pipe on to wheelbarrows, in readiness for a second shift due to start working later that week.

“We’re reactivating the industry,” said Arturo Rivera Wong, who had just taken on 40 more workers at the mine he owns in the scrublands of the border state of Coahuila.

As the climate crisis worsens and clean energy prices plunge, governments around the world have been weaning their economies of coal and other fossil fuels.

Mexico is moving in the opposite direction.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as Amlo, has unveiled plans to buy nearly 2m tons of thermal coal from small producers like Rivera. He also plans to reactivate a pair of coal-fired plants on the Texas border, which were being wound down as natural gas and renewables took a more prominent role in Mexico’s energy mix.

Wonderful news - makes a lot of sense.  We have loads of coal and the modern plants are efficient and clean. It is a stop-gap until we deploy nuclear but perfectly fine for the next 500 years or so.

Whoops - energy reliability

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The problems in Texas would have been moot if President Trump's administration had their way.
From Eric Worall:

The Trump Energy Resilience Plan which Could have Saved Texas
Has Trump derangement syndrome cost Texan lives? Back in 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry proposed paying Coal and Nuclear Power Stations to keep at least 90 days worth of coal fuel onsite, for disaster resilience.

At the time the resilience proposal was widely criticised as being a thinly disguised Trump scheme to pump government money into the coal and nuclear industries. But in hindsight, a bit more resilience might have saved Texas from days of painful electricity blackouts.

Keeping several months of fuel is costly - Perry's plan was to eliminate that cost via Federal Subsidy. The goal was grid reliability and not money.

Keeping several months worth of fuel onsite is a cost which does not contribute to company profits. The cost of all that reserve fuel represents money which could instead have been used to pay down capital debts, or pay out dividends to shareholders. Power companies which choose to wear this kind of expense are at a competitive disadvantage compared to power companies which run leaner operations, by running their reserves down to the bare minimum. The expense of keeping fuel in reserve impacts market share and company growth; consumers frequently flock to the lowest price energy service, without considering the long term consequences.

Rick Perry’s plan would have eliminated the financial penalty for keeping a fuel reserve onsite, by compensating power companies for the cost of maintaining substantial fuel reserves.

More at the site.  alt.energy is not reliable. Fun stuff to play around with but...

Clueless - Alexandria Occasional-Cortex

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Those crazy eyes - this woman is certifiably nuts.  From The Daily Wire:

Ocasio-Cortez Slams Texas: That’s What Happens ‘When You Don’t Pursue A Green New Deal’
On Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took a swipe at Texas political leaders, propounding that the suffering Texans are experiencing because of the freezing cold and concomitant power outages could have been addressed by her “Green New Deal.”

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal. Weak on sweeping next-gen public infrastructure investments, little focus on equity so communities are left behind, climate deniers in leadership so they don’t long prep for disaster. We need to help people *now.* Long-term we must realize these are the consequences of inaction.”

Excuse me but the reason Texas is in such a world of hurt is that they went all renewable and alt.energy and alt.energy does not work in cold weather. Alt.energy has been publicly shown to be the epic fail that it always has been and the big fools say to push on.

Power in Texas - the Green Nude Eel

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Tucker Carlson weighs in:

Great website for tracking power outages in the USA: PowerOutage.US

Portland, Oregon is still in a world of hurt...

alt.energy in the news - Germany

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From Australia's Sky News:

World’s ‘solar and wind capital’ freezing due to snow ‘blanketing millions’ of solar panels
Germany is held up as the world’s solar and wind capital by “renewables luvvies” but Germans are freezing through winter due to “millions of solar panels blanketed in snow” and turbines sitting idle, according to Rowan Dean.

“Germany’s long been held up by the likes of these renewable luvvies, they say Germany’s the world’s great wind and solar capital,” Mr Dean said.

“But as we speak millions of solar panels are blanketed in snow and 30,000 wind turbines are sitting idle because there’s no wind.

“Freezing Germans shivering in their lederhosen’s are desperate for coal fired power to heat up their wurst and sauerkraut.”

The word we are thinking of is Schadenfreude.  The word they are thinking of is baseload.  We have Schadenfreude.  They do not have baseload.  They used to but they shut all of theirs down because it did not conform to the environmental narrative. It was not green.

Time to build some coal and gas power plants as temporary measures and then go for modern nuclear - molten salt reactors using Thorium as fuel.

An inconvenient truth - wind power

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Great commentary at CNS News - full of links to corroborating data (I'm a numbers guy and just love that):

Clean Renewable? There Is No Wind Energy Without Fossil Fuels
Many people today praise wind and solar energy as clean energy and trust them as the power sources of the future, the sources that will replace fossil fuels.

President Joe Biden has announced his intent to force the transition. With a couple of executive orders that curtailed fossil fuel use, he is marching towards his intensive plan to increase dependency on renewables.

And the numbers:

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a highly respected global professional association, calls wind turbines the “pure embodiments of fossil fuels,” and it is 100 percent right to do so.

Every stage in manufacturing wind turbines involves fossil fuels, and plenty of them. Without steel, cement, and fiberglass, there is no wind turbine. All the three are produced with fossil fuels. No fossil fuels, no wind turbines.

According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimation of material requirements, “1 MW of wind capacity requires 103 tonnes of stainless steel, 402 tonnes of concrete, 6.8 tonnes of fiberglass, 3 tonnes of copper, and 20 tonnes of cast iron.”

As IEEE puts it, to produce 25 percent of the global electricity demand using wind energy, we would require roughly 450 million metric tons of steel. And steel is manufactured predominantly using coal, implying that we would require “fossil fuels equivalent to more than 600 million metric tons of coal.”

The process would also require 90 million metric tons of crude oil for the rotor mass and various other hydrocarbon byproducts needed for coating and turbine lubricant.

An energy industry observer points out that “state-of-the-art wind turbine blades are made of carbon fiber, which consists of layers of plastics and plastic resin, both of which are derived from oil and natural gas.”

In plain language, the production, installation, and maintenance of a wind turbine is completely dependent on fossil fuel or fossil fuel derivatives. Wind energy cannot be termed clean unless fossil fuel is also clean.

And this little item: rare earths

In addition to their complete dependency on fossil fuels, wind and solar energy rely on the supply of rare earth metals such as europium, lanthanum, and neodymium —mined mainly in China under environmentally disastrous conditions.

And don't forget the birds:

It is also ridiculous to call wind energy “clean” when wind turbines kill millions of birds, resulting in a systematic reduction in population of raptors and migratory birds, including those species classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable and threatened.

The article only touches briefly on my pet bugaboo - hot standby.  For a 1 MW wind turbine, the utility also has to maintain a 1 MW natural gas (in the USA and places where nat. gas is plentiful) electric generating turbine on what they call "Hot Standby: which means that the turbine is running, burning natural gas but just not at the full 1MW capacity - more like 1/50th of the full capacity.  This is needed as if the wind dies during a time of peak demand, they need to be able to switch in a reliable source of power as fast as possible.

Starting from a cold non-running state, it takes 20+ minutes to bring a diesel generator of that size to full power and more than one hour for a natural gas turbine. Having them running continuously on "hot" standby (all the while burning fossil fuel) is the only realistic option.

Warren Buffet, Oil and the pipeline

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In one infographic from Mostly Cajun:

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NOW do you get it?
Six more good ones at the site.

How is that working out for you? Utah

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Looks like the Ute Indian Tribe is having the same problems that New Mexico is. Maybe the Orange Man was not so bad after all. From Reuters:

Oil-producing Native American tribe seeks exemption from Biden drilling pause
An oil-producing Native American tribe on Friday asked the U.S. Interior Department for an exemption from the recent temporary suspension of oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal and tribal lands, saying the move would hit its economy and sovereignty.

The pushback from the Ute Indian Tribe reflects the financial strain some communities will face from a freeze of the government’s fossil fuel leasing program. The new administration of President Joe Biden announced the move this week as part of a raft of measures intended to combat global climate change.

“The Ute Indian Tribe and other energy producing tribes rely on energy development to fund our governments and provide services to our members,” Luke Duncan, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee in Utah, said in a letter to acting U.S. Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega.

And the Biden administration? Their choice for the Department of the Interior:

Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department, Deb Haaland, is poised to become the first Native American to head a cabinet agency once she is confirmed in Congress.

She has said she would prioritize climate change and conservation as secretary and has previously opposed drilling in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas.

And the reply from a spokesman?

A spokesman for the Interior Department declined to comment.

You seriously expected a comment?  A reply? The Activists are running the asylum. Utah voted for President Trump but the election was stolen so this did not count.

They voted for Biden - sent Five Electoral votes to Congress. From Associated Press:

Biden’s pause on oil cause for big concern in New Mexico
President Joe Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits is prompting widespread concerns in New Mexico, where spending on education and other public programs hinges on the industry’s success.

Top Republicans in the state as well as local leaders in communities that border the Permian Basin — one of the most productive regions in the U.S. — say any moves to make permanent the suspension would be economically devastating for the state. Half of New Mexico’s production happens on federal land and amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties each year.

Congressional members from other western states also are raising concerns, saying the ripple effects of the moratorium will hurt small businesses already struggling because of the pandemic.

“During his inauguration, President Biden spoke about bringing our nation together. Eliminating drilling on public lands will cost thousands of New Mexicans their jobs and destroy what’s left of our state’s economy,” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway told The Associated Press on Friday. “How does that bring us together? Environmental efforts should be fair and well-researched, not knee-jerk mandates that just hurt an already impoverished state.”

I love the quote from H. L. Menken:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Case in point.  Vote the Orange Man out of office, say hello to the deep state.
Oh, by the way, the unelected Activists think that cheap energy is bad so we are shutting you down.  OK? OK...

ShotUNITED ASSOCIATION OF UNION PLUMBERS AND PIPEFITTERS ENDORSES VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT
ChaserKEYSTONE XL DECISION WILL RAISE ENERGY COSTS FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES

The Shot is from Monday, August 17, 2020, the Chaser from Monday, January 18, 2021 - amazing what five months will do to a person's outlook.

Biden was never ever not going to shut this down.  Doing so gives him cred with the environmental activisits as well as putting some money into Warren Buffet's pockets.  The oil is going to move regardless and moving it on Buffet's railroads is a lot more expensive.  Guess who profits? Guess who loses?

Make mine Thorium but you get the picture

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Thorium is much better for power generating reactors than Uranium. Lots of reasons. Much cheaper too.

From Daily Timewaster:

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Good news. alt.energy is a financial rat-hole. It is not sustainable, it is not renewable, it is not cost effective without our taxpayer dollars being used to prop up the shaky numbers (federal subsidies). From the Tacoma News-Tribune:

‘No more wind.’ WA state utility questions efficacy of wind farms for power generation
A road trip through the amazing landscapes of Eastern Washington is like being in a classroom with wheels and a windshield. Even if you never venture off the interstate, you’ll learn a lot just through observation about geography, geology, modern agriculture — and energy policy.

A recent — recent, as in the last two decades — addition to those landscapes is the wind farm, each with dozens of three-bladed turbines distributed across ridge tops and slowly churning away as they generate electricity.

Those turbines aren’t just the recent past of the Northwest’s electricity generating future, they’re supposed to be a big part of its future. Renewables, a category that also can include solar and more exotic forms like geothermal or tidal, will, so the theory goes, help “de-carbonize” the region’s generating portfolio of coal and natural gas, leading eventually to an “all-green” electric grid.

Achieving that goal will require a whole lot more solar and a whole lot more wind, which makes it all the more interesting that one utility is breaking with energy orthodoxy by saying, “No more wind.”

Nice to see some people finally seeing "the light" - a bit more:

“We are continuing to sound the alarm regarding the unacceptably high risk of power grid blackouts in the Pacific Northwest being precipitated by overly aggressive clean energy policies and deepening dependence on wind power to replace retiring coal plants,” the commissioners say in a news release. “Benton PUD is calling on Governor Inslee and our state legislators to learn from California’s experience and to believe what utilities in Washington State are telling them. Rolling blackouts jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of all citizens and cannot be accepted in a region that, thanks to hydropower, is the envy of the nation when it comes to clean and low-cost electricity ...

“While development of wind farms may be politically fashionable and appeal to many in the general public as a harmonization of nature with electricity production, the science and economics indicate powering modern civilization with intermittent generation resources like wind and solar power comes at a high financial and environmental cost.”

Wonderful - some administrators with brains and a backbone. They see through the sham that is being pushed - the narrative. Public Utility Districts (PUD) are owned by the customers and are beholden to them, not some far-off group of "investors"

Fun and games with our power grid - China

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Another reason to decouple from China - from Real Clear Energy:

End China’s Infection of the US Power Grid
China and “probably one or two other” countries can shut down the U.S. power grid through a cyberattack. This disturbing revelation was made by Admiral Michael Rogers, former head of the National Security Agency, to Congress – in November 2014.

China has also become the world’s leading supplier of transformers – the “spine” of electricity grids -- according to a 2014 U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) report. This also presents significant challenges to U.S. grid security.

For economic and security reasons, the United States should no longer purchase transformers and other electric grid equipment manufactured in China. It is important to end relationships that U.S. utilities have directly with Chinese businesses and multi-national companies manufacturing transformers in China.

These actions are envisioned under a May 1 Executive Order President Trump issued on protecting the bulk-power grid. Chinese power equipment provided to the U.S. can be embedded with software and hardware to remotely commit mischief from Beijing, enhancing its ability to commit cyberattacks.

Good. It is amazing that stuff like this does not get covered by the media. Trump identified a real issue and then corrected it but nobody notices. People are too focused on the manufactured racial issues and not on the real stuff.

California of course

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Renewable? From Kambree Kawahine Koa:

Solar panels have a useful life of about thirty years. Guess what? The first major push for solar electricity started thirty years ago. From Wired:

Solar Panels Are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash
Solar panels are an increasingly important source of renewable power that will play an essential role in fighting climate change. They are also complex pieces of technology that become big, bulky sheets of electronic waste at the end of their lives—and right now, most of the world doesn’t have a plan for dealing with that.

But we’ll need to develop one soon, because the solar e-waste glut is coming. By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. While the latter number is a small fraction of the total e-waste humanity produces each year, standard electronics recycling methods don’t cut it for solar panels. Recovering the most valuable materials from one, including silver and silicon, requires bespoke recycling solutions. And if we fail to develop those solutions along with policies that support their widespread adoption, we already know what will happen.

“If we don’t mandate recycling, many of the modules will go to landfill,” said Arizona State University solar researcher Meng Tao, who recently authored a review paper on recycling silicon solar panels, which comprise 95 percent of the solar market.

Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight to electricity. When these panels enter landfills, valuable resources go to waste. And because solar panels contain toxic materials like lead that can leach out as they break down, landfilling also creates new environmental hazards.

The primary component is silicon - beach sand. No value there. A little bit of copper and aluminum. Some numbers?

Tao and his colleagues estimate that a recycler taking apart a standard 60-cell silicon panel can get about $3 for the recovered aluminum, copper, and glass. Vanderhoof, meanwhile, says that the cost of recycling that panel in the US is between $12 and $25—after transportation costs, which “oftentimes equal the cost to recycle.” At the same time, in states that allow it, it typically costs less than a dollar to dump a solar panel in a solid-waste landfill.

Pissing money (our tax dollars) down the renewable rat-hole. Nuclear anyone?

Going green - epic fail - California

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Great writeup from Bloomberg:

There’s a Lesson for the Energy Transition in California
California’s first rolling blackouts since the 2001 energy crisis are a stark reminder that achieving 100% carbon-free energy is harder than it looks.

With the worst heat wave in generations fueling near-record electricity demand, the state’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels is making it difficult to ensure that the lights stay on. California, guided by one of the world’s most ambitious clean-energy policies, has shuttered a massive amount of natural gas-fired generation in its bid to for carbon-free power. Now, the blackouts are raising questions about whether that shift happened too quickly.

And a bit more:

During a heatwave last year, nuclear plants helped keep the lights on in Paris. In London, utilities relied on coal and gas plants. But California, which has one of the cleanest grids in the country, has retired more than 9 gigawatts of gas generation in recent years in a bid to green its grid by 2045. While the state still gets more than a third of its power from gas, that isn’t always enough meet demand at peak hours -- especially in the evening, when solar production wanes.

Solar and wind are not baseload. They cannot deliver 24/7. Nuclear anyone? Modern designs are cheap to build, cheap to run, walk-away failsafe and have minimal waste problems.

Wising up - California / Electricity

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Even the blind have moments of vision from time to time. From Breitbart:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom: Time to ‘Sober Up’ About Green Energy’s Flaws
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state had to “sober up” about the fact that renewable energy sources had failed to provide enough power for the state at peak demand, and needed “backup” and “insurance” from other sources.

Newsom addressed journalists and the public in the midst of ongoing electricity blackouts that began on Friday, as hundreds of thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers in northern and central California lost power.

There is currently high demand for electricity across the state, as the entire West Coast has been hit by a heat wave and record-breaking temperatures.

One reason the state lacked power, officials admitted, was its over-reliance on “renewables” — i.e. wind and solar power.

Nuclear anyone? The most common reactors in use today are direct decendents of designs first sketched out on cocktail napkins 70 years ago.

There have been some wonderful advancements in basic reactor design. Liquid salt reactors do not need a pressure vessel, there is no danger of melt-down and they are walk-away safe. Fukushima would never have happened. Add to this that these designs are a lot more efficient (they use about 70% of the available fuel as opposed to the Pressurized Water reactors that only use 5%). The waste from these reactors is dangerous for only about 400 years. Plus, they can burn the waste from the original reactors and use that for energy.

The cherry on top is that the salt reactors use Thorium as fuel. Thorium is about as common as lead in the earth's crust. Dead common. Uranium is about as common as platinum - much more rare. Cheap to build, cheap to run and cheap to deal with the waste.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Rolling blackouts hit up to 250,000 PG&E customers as ‘heat storm’ drives up energy use
California’s energy-grid operator imposed rolling blackouts Friday evening for the first time in 19 years.

With the rare move, the California Independent System Operator sought to preserve the stability of the system that provides power for tens of millions of residents and businesses. The last time grid managers implemented this kind of power cut was in 2001, when the state was in the throes of an electricity crisis.

The effect was felt promptly in Northern California, as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began shutting off power to large blocks of customers for up to an hour at a time. In a news release, the utility said that each rotating block of blackouts could affect up to 250,000 customers.

Geee - if they only had a cheap and reliable source of baseload energy. Nuclear? Naaaaaaa...

With each house running the air conditioner. From The Daily Beast:

Brace for Blackouts in the Summer of COVID-19
Quarantine is about to take a dark new twist.
Hot weather blackouts have long plagued neighborhoods and towns from New York to California to Texas. But now experts are warning that millions of Americans who are working from home or are unemployed—cranking their air conditioners as the temperature rises on sunny days—will only strain transmission lines and transformers further.

Energy producers and distributors are quick to point out that America’s overall power usage has plummeted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the shuttering of large commercial and industrial buildings. But those structures usually sit on the most capacious portions of an urban electrical grid, said Yury Dvorkin, assistant professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. By contrast, the power infrastructure in residential areas is typically designed to accommodate heavy use in the early mornings and evenings, with hours to cool off during the day. Consumption patterns in these districts have already changed during the crisis, with demand spiking in the daytime. Overall usage is already up by an average of 7 percent in New York City apartments, and by 15 to 20 percent in homes in California. 

As the summer heat peaks, and juice-sucking air conditioners remain on through the afternoon, the risk of failure in aged transformers and other equipment increases.

Not clear how widespread but our grid is very carefully designed and built with very little spare capacity - that costs serious money. Downtown buildings feed off very large grid ties while residential (especially sub-urban and rural homes) have pretty minimal capacity. Each house may have a 200 AMP service but heaven help the neighborhood if everyone fires up their welders at the same time.

Wonderful (almost) news

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Energy independence for the United States - what's not to love. From Just the News:

Trump moves ahead with plans to revive U.S. nuclear program, domestic uranium production
President Trump is moving ahead with plans to revitalize the country’s nuclear energy sector and help the domestic uranium industry – releasing a blueprint report this week on how the U.S. can regain its “competitive global position” with China and Russia “aggressively moving to surpass the United States.”

The 32-page report released Thursday by the Energy Department follows uranium recently being put on the list of strategic minerals and Trump requesting in July 2019 that federal officials draft a plan to restore America’s competitive nuclear advantages.

The first steps include calls for the federal government to revive and strengthen the uranium mining industry, bring top talent back to the industry, further pursue technological innovation and move into markets now dominated by Russian and Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Cue the greenies in 3... 2... 1...  This is really good news - not only for Uranium but also for the Rare Earth minerals (used extensivley in technology) as well as Thorium which is a common by-product of REMs. Compare that to Hillary and Obama's Uranium One deal with Russia - giving them 20% of our current domestic uranium mining. Glad we have some adults in the room finally.

Howls of protest in 3... 2... 1...

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Leftie hero Michael Moore took a good look at Alternative Energy and produced a film showing its very unsavory underbelly.

Needless to say, the various greenies out there do not want their rice bowl taken away - especially by someone with as much street-cred as Michael Moore. From The Daily Caller:

Climate Activists Want Michael Moore’s Doc Panning Green Energy Banned, Say It’s Chock Full Of Misinformation
Anti-fossil fuel activists unsuccessfully attempted to lobby to remove Michael Moore’s documentary panning green energy over claims that it contains pro-oil industry misinformation.

Activist Josh Fox, climate scientist Michael Mann and other environmentalists signed onto a petition Friday asking the producer to take down “Planet of the Humans,” saying Moore’s film relies on old data to claim solar and wind energy is dependent on fossil fuels. Films for Action, which claimed credit for the film, said in a statement Saturday that it nixed the film before putting it back online, saying the move was meant to engage in debate.

The information in the movie was correct and up to date as far as I know.

As for this line: claim solar and wind energy is dependent on fossil fuels - that was true then, it is true now and it always will be true until vastly cheaper and more efficient methods of energy storage are developed. Maybe in five or ten years but I am not holding my breath.

Wind and solar power are not baseload. They are not continuous. They come and go at random intervals. In order to back up the expected energy and not suffer power outages, you have to have the equivalent amount of conventional power generating capacity available to come online when needed. Since it can take five or ten minutes for even a natural gas turbine generator to reach full capacity, these generators need to be running on hot-standby. Running at full speed but without any actual load. 

My only gripe about the movie is that it did not offer a future with the new technology nuclear power reactors. There are some amazing designs out there that would solve all of the worlds energy problems cheaply and reliably. We have about 5,000 years of known Thorium reserves. Uranium is about as common in the Earth's crust as Platinum. Thorium is about as common as Lead. Thorium is a much more efficient fuel too and its waste products only need to be sequestered for about 300-400 years.

These "activists" need to find a real cause and get behind that. Do some real good. Bring the industrial revolution to Africa - lift them up out of their poverty. Bring the agricultural revolution to the third world. Feed them. Don't hector them for not following the green diktat, S.T.F.U. and feed them.

Shareef don't like it

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Interesting happenings with the price of oil now that the United States is a net exporter - from Zero Hedge:

Saudi Arabia Starts All-Out Oil War: MbS Destroys OPEC By Flooding Market, Slashing Oil Prices
With the commodity world still smarting from the Nov 2014 Saudi decision to (temporarily) break apart OPEC, and flood the market with oil in (failed) hopes of crushing US shale producers (who survived thanks to generous banks extending loan terms and even more generous buyers of junk bonds), which nonetheless resulted in a painful manufacturing recession as the price of Brent cratered as low as the mid-$20's in late 2015/early 2016, on Saturday, Saudi Arabia launched its second scorched earth, or rather scorched oil campaign in 6 years. And this time there will be blood.

Following Friday's shocking collapse of OPEC+, when Russia and Riyadh were unable to reach an agreement during the OPEC+ summit in Vienna which was seeking up to 1.5 million b/d in further oil production cuts, on Saturday Saudi Arabia kick started what Bloomberg called an all-out oil war, slashing official pricing for its crude and making the deepest cuts in at least 20 years on its main grades, in an effort to push as many barrels into the market as possible.

In the first major marketing decision since the meeting, the Saudi state producer Aramco, which successfully IPOed just before the price of oil cratered...

Without the oil revenues, the Arabs have nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. All of their glamorous cities and apparent wealth is a crude maquette propped up by the continuous influx of hard currency from oil exports. Lose that and they lose their world status. I do not doubt that they have forseen this day and have solid investments to carry them forward but still, sucks to be them right now. Some serious belt tightening is in order.

Title of the post? One of my favorite Clash songs:

Looks like these two nations see the hype behind the climate change scare and see it for what it is. Political and not scientific. From Watts Up With That comes this essay with some inconvenient numbers:

China and India rejecting renewables for coal-fired futures
China and India are NOT buying into the global alarm movement. Never in human history have we seen two countries (China and India), each with over a billion people, in need of such gargantuan amounts of energy to keep their economies accelerating and their citizens alive.

China and India are the two most populous countries in the world. As of 2018, China had almost 1.4 billion people, a figure that is projected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2045. India accounted for approximately 1.3 billion people in 2018 and is expected to grow to almost 1.7 billion by 2045.

Though China has spent more on clean energy than any other country and is pushing to burn natural gas (a different fossil fuel) instead of coal to counter smog, it’s still pumping money at home and abroad into coal-fired generation.

Bloomber reports that China has enough coal-fired power plants in the pipeline to match the entire capacity of the European Union, driving the expansion in global coal power and confounding the movement against the polluting fossil fuel.

Over half (5,884) of the world’s coal power plants (10,210) are in China and India whose populations of mostly poor peoples is roughly 2.7 billion. Together they are in the process of building 634 new ones. They are putting their money and backs into their most abundant source of energy – coal.

More at the site.

Makes a lot of sense - coal is cheap, abundant and we have about 500 years of known reserves at the current rate of consumption. We would be foolish not to use it - especially developing nations who do not have the financial resources to blow taxpayer money on pie-in-the-sky scams schemes for elusive magic unicorn energy. Coal in its native state is not a clean fuel but the scrubbing technology is mature and cheap to implement - even cheaper when integrating it into a new plant. You would be stupid not to use it.

Headlines a few days ago about Bill Gates buying a hydrogen-powered yacht. The designer, Sinot, says no today.
Here is a screen-cap from their website:

20200211-sinot.jpg

I was wondering as we do not have the hydrogen infrastructure and even in the best of situations, it will cost many more times to run than bunker or diesel. Hydrogen is not a fuel. It has never been a fuel and it never will be a fuel. It is an energy-transport mechanism. It is created with energy and it yields energy when combusted.

Still get a foul taste saying those two words - the guy thought he was an intellectual but in reality, he was just a narcissistic tool of radical socialists. Absolutely classical case of Dunning-Kruger Effect. From Watts Up With That.

The post is about yet another failure of a much-touted alternative energy scheme:

It is in the news, as expected Crescent Dunes, the world largest concentrated solar power plant featuring 10 hours of molten salt thermal energy storage, just went bust.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/letters/letter-much-touted-crescent-dunes-solar-plant-goes-bust-1935510/

https://www.cato.org/blog/crescent-dunes-another-green-flop

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/another-federally-backed-solar-energy-project-just-went-belly-116506

From the Infogalactic entry for Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project

20200204-crescent.jpgDividing One Billion Dollars (total cost so far) by the 418,849 MW-h brings us the cost to the customer of the electricity. I will scale it to the more familiar kiloWatt per hour. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we pay about 10¢ per 1kW-h. The cost of the electricity generated by this facility is $2.38 kW-h. All of the overruns and expenses are coming out of our wallets - this is all tax-payer subsidies. The projected cost to market of this electricity was 0.08kW-h. Fat Chance.

This is why alt.energy will never work. It is not reliable. It doesn't operate at night. It is not baseload. This last is the most important. The dirty little secret is that for every 100MW (100,000,000,000 watts) of alt.energy generation capacity, there is another 100MW of natural gas turbine running on standby for when the wind stops blowing or when the sky gets cloudy.

Modern nuclear is the way to go. Every single nuclear accident that has happened so far has been with a reactor whose basic design is more than 60 years old. Think of the progress of technology - computers, cell phones, televisions, medical equipment, etc... Imagine what a modern nuclear reactor would be like - smaller, cheaper and walk-away safe. We have them, we need to show the political will to build them.

And speaking of light - some common sense

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From Reuters:

U.S. rolls back standards on energy saving light bulbs
The Trump administration on Friday said it has finalized a decision to roll back a 2007 rule calling for energy-efficient light bulbs, a move that states including New York and California are challenging in the courts.

The administration finalized a proposal made in September to roll back the standard that Congress passed in 2007 when George W. Bush, a Republican, was president and which was to come into effect next year. The Department of Energy said that increasing the efficiency of bulbs could cost consumers more than 300% compared to incandescent bulbs and that Americans do not need regulation because many are already buying efficient bulbs.

Great news - when the temps are cold, I use incandescent bulbs in a reflector to keep my hummingbird feeders warm. It has been getting really difficult to find them at the local box store. A bit more:

The move is part of the administration’s push to ease regulations by requiring agencies to ditch two old regulations for each one they propose.

Thank you President Trump. And of course, the nanny staters want to enforce what is "best" for us:

The roll back on light bulbs has been challenged in court by 15 states and Washington, D.C. who say it would harm state efforts to fight emissions blamed for climate change.

Environmental groups decried the decision. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit, said it would cost consumers $14 billion in energy bills annually and create the need to generate the amount of electricity provided by an additional 30 500-megawatt power plants.

Excuse me but I am perfectly capable of looking at what I want to do and making an informed decision. Thank you very much. The NRDC does not represent me. I do not have to kowtow to their non-scientific emotional appeals.

Peak Oil - some actual numbers

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A great post from al fin next level - the headline is: Just. Wow.

Oil: For Every Barrel Consumed, Two Are Discovered

“For every barrel of oil consumed over the past 35 years, two new barrels have been discovered.” In other words, technology has increased the available oil despite the fact that humans have been using it at an increasing rate for over a century. For the past 15 or so years, fracking (and directional drilling) is the main reason that proved reserves have increased. __ https://www.e-education.psu.edu/emsc240/node/527

Peak Oil Armageddon is postponed, as global oil reserves keep rising.

Much more at the site. I knew we had oil reserves but had no idea they were so massive. We are set for the next couple hundred years at least and that is not counting new abiogenic deposits. More than enough time to get a decent intelligent nuclear design scaled out.

Life in a 3rd world nation - California

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Power going out again. From their Pacific Gas and Electric blog:

PG&E Could Shut Off Power for Safety in Portions of 16 Counties on Wednesday; Six Other Counties, Previously Targeted for Shutoff, Will Not Be De-Energized
Customers in portions of 16 counties have been given a 24-hour notification by PG&E about a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) starting Wednesday morning.

Gee - if they had only taken some of their money and used it to maintain their infrastructure instead of blowing it on various alternative energy rat-holes, they would not have to do this.

Nuclear power is the way to go.

Nice chunk of change - Volkswagon

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Nope - no corruption here. From Deutsche Welle (German World):

German government expands subsidies for electric cars
The German government and car industry have agreed to increase joint subsidies for the purchase of electric cars on the same day automobile giant Volkswagen began production of a new all-electric vehicle.

The agreement between the government and the automobile industry was reached following a Monday evening "car summit" aimed at fostering the mass production of cleaner transportation. 

And how much?

Under the agreement, consumer subsidies for electric cars costing less than €40,000 ($44,500) will increase to €6,000 (about $6,700) from €4,000. Purchasers of plug-in hybrids in this price range would be given a subsidy of €4,500, up from €3,000.

This money is coming out of German taxpayer's wallets and is being used to subsidize coal-burning cars. Electricity is not a fuel, it is an energy transport medium and these cars are burning coal and natural gas.

I wonder who Volkswagon had to bribe to get this free lunch.

The California winds

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Following up on Cliff Mass' forecast earlier today, PG&E is in a spot of trouble - from Zero Hedge:

California Faces "Biggest Blackout Ever" As 2.5 Million PG&E Customers May Have No Power For Days
Earlier this week we joked that with PG&E now scrambling to enforce intentional blackouts every time there are powerful winds for fears the bankrupt company's aged infrastructure could cause a new fire, "every time the wind blows California will become Venezuela."

Turns out it wasn't a joke.

On Friday, with its stock crashing to a new all time low amid speculation it may have been responsible for the latest California inferno, the Kincade Fire...

20191026-PG&E.jpg

... PG&E warned it will shut off power again on Saturday to as many as 2.5 million people as violent winds batter the state, in what according to Bloomberg will be "California’s largest intentional blackout ever."

According to a Friday statement, approximately 850,000 homes and businesses in Northern California, including much of the San Francisco Bay Area, may be impacted beginning Saturday evening. And with data models indicating the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations through Monday, large swaths of the region could be without power for days.

Bay Area? This is going to be brutal. If only they had taken some of their money and spent it on maintaining their infrastructure instead of building pie-in-the-sky alt.energy pipe dreams. Rooftop solar that feeds the grid instead of local storage? Insane.

BTW - out of morbid curiosity, I checked and it is now trading for $5/share. Looking at the decade view, you can see a nice steady climb until mid to late 2017 when it peaked at $70 and then it is down the tubes after that.

A  modicum of Googling will show you why. The beginnings of the idea that their infrastructure was failing and they ceased paying dividends on their shares of stock. If I had some FYM, I might be tempted to buy a few thousand shares but they will probably reorganize into a different corporate entity to screw out all shareholders (and employee pension obligations). Nice people.

California power line problems

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With all of their preemptive blackouts, this still happened - from One America News:

Power Lines Suspected Of Igniting The Saddleridge Fire In Calif.
Authorities believe a power line is to blame for last week’s deadly wildfire in California. According to an official statement Monday, power lines are suspected of igniting the the Saddleridge Fire in Los Angeles County. The blaze, which was 44 percent contained as of Monday, has been blamed for two deaths as well as the destruction of 17 homes and structures.

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the fire started in a 50-by-70 foot perimeter beneath a high voltage transmission tower on October 10th. The utility company which owns that tower, Southern California Edison, confirmed its systems were impacted at the time it reportedly started.

The article talks a bit about this fire and others and then closes with these two paragraphs:

Power lines belonging to the state’s largest utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, has been blamed for several deadly wildfires in the past. One of these fires includes last year’s Paradise Fire, which is now considered the states most destructive in history. This particular wildfire resulted in 85 deaths. The company has been forced to file for bankruptcy because of this after it was forced to pay victims damages.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear what will happen to Southern California Edison if they are found guilty of starting the blaze in Los Angeles.

All of the money that they sunk into various alt.energy scams - they should have been maintaining their infrastructure.

Very good news - nuclear

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From Bloomberg:

INSIGHT: NELA—A Big, Bipartisan Opportunity for Nuclear Power
Nuclear science is hard, and most Americans don’t realize how close our country is to losing the skills and experience needed to engineer, construct, and operate nuclear reactors—something that will have deleterious effects on national security, electricity reliability, and the climate.

On Sept. 20, Three Mile Island shuttered for good after decades of service providing power to customers across Pennsylvania. The generator’s closure underscores a grim fact: Our nuclear fleet is aging rapidly and struggling to remain competitive even as the demand for clean renewable energy continues to climb. Without investment in education, research and development, and reactor design, America risks falling behind in this critical area.

Very true - what is to be done:

Stop America’s Nuclear Bran Drain
Without better technology and legislative action, utilities are unlikely to invest in nuclear power. It is past time for Congress to take action to stop America’s nuclear brain drain.

The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Senate with a House companion by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), is a bipartisan proposal to support the continued development of American advanced nuclear technologies by boosting investment in research and development, fuel security, and workforce development.

This legislation addresses the short, middle, and long-term needs of the nuclear generation industry over the next decade. It would establish goals that align federal lab and private-sector efforts to help accelerate nuclear power generation, while also supporting research and development to ensure the safety and reliability necessary to license new, state-of-the-art concepts.

This still does not address the building of new technology reactors (LFTR anyone?). These designs are walk-away safe and much cheaper to build. Still, a wonderful start and they are recognizing that this problem exists.

From Fast Company:

Tesla owners in California get a warning to charge their cars before the power goes out
Pacific General & Electric (PG&E) is cutting power across large swaths of Northern California, including the Bay Area, in a drastic bid to prevent wildfires.

Now Tesla is warning people that before they settle into their outage outrage, they should really charge up their electric cars.

You see, electric cars are great options—except when there is no way to power them up. To be as proactive as PG&E, after hearing the news of the impending power cut, Tesla jumped into action, sending out an in-car alert to the dashboard display warning owners to charge their vehicles fully ahead of the outage.

I love my electric bicycle and use it several times/week but it is not my primary transportation and I would never have a electric vehicle as my primary transportation without an alternative way to keep it charged (solar panels are useless unless you put in a large array).

Besides, your average Tesla owner is charging their vehicle with coal. Supplies about 70% of US power.

As liberal heads start exploding

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The outrage I tell you... Yawn... From FOX News:

Feds open California land to oil, gas drilling, aiming to strengthen energy independence
The federal government has opened hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in California for oil and gas drilling as part of a broader effort to strengthen energy independence.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its final decision Friday, allowing oil and gas leases on plots mostly in the Central Valley and parts of the Central Coast.

The 725,000 acres of public land in Central California had been off-limits to oil and gas drilling since 2013.

Another shred of Barry's "legacy" in the dumpster where it belongs.

From Jalopnik:

How China Built Some Of The World’s Most Versatile Vehicles Around A $150 Engine
Back in 2015, I visited China and found myself enamored by a vehicle so simple that it didn’t even have a hood to cover its single-cylinder diesel engine. That basic motor, which can be cranked by hand, is a part of what I later found to be one of the most incredible modular vehicle architectures I’d ever seen.

More:

At the time, I didn’t know what this thing was, all I knew was that it was the first stock, street-legal vehicle I’d ever seen with a completely exposed engine, and it steered kind of funny. Also, it was everywhere, working on farms, hauling dirt at construction sites, and popping around the city carrying cargo. Everywhere I turned, I saw a tiny diesel engine hanging off the front of various types of vehicles, so I had to learn more.

Completely modular - here are three photos and a video:

20191006-tuo-la-ji-01.jpg

20191006-tuo-la-ji-02.jpg

20191006-tuo-la-ji-03.jpg

Shades of the old-school Lister engines which are still being manufactured in places like India and East Asia.

Cheap to buy, economical to run. Completely modular and extensible. What's not to love...

Renewable resources - wind

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The dirty side to wind power - they don't last forever. Quite a short lifetime actually. From the Cowboy State Daily:

Wind turbine blades being disposed of in Casper landfill
The Casper landfill will soon be the home of more than 1,000 decommissioned wind turbine blades and motor housing units.

According to Cindie Langston, solid waste manager for the Casper Regional Landfill, the materials will be deposited in an area of the landfill designed to hold construction and demolition material.

CRL is one of the few landfills with the proper permits and certifications to accept the decommissioned turbine materials.

The turbine disposal project, which started this summer, is slated to continue until the spring of 2020, bringing the CRL estimated revenue of $675,485. Such “special waste projects” bring in about $800,000 a year, which helps keep CRL rates low, Langston said.

20191001-wind.jpg

The turbines last about 20 years and are then completely taken down - no option to rebuild. Not exactly renewable.

From Pierce Points:

WILL THIS TRUMP MOVE TRIGGER A COAL AND NUCLEAR BUILDING SPREE?
You probably haven’t heard about it. But one of the most critical energy developments in years is now gearing up for a major battle in America.

That’s a slate of new regulations around power pricing across the U.S. Which have been proposed by the Trump-era Department of Energy (DOE), in order to give coal and nuclear power generation a boost — opened for public comment this week.

Here’s the crux: the new DOE rules aim to ensure “reliability and resiliency” of power generation in America. By rewarding electricity producers who are able to generate continuous and steady power supply.

There are a couple of key pieces to the exact wording here. One being that electricity grid operators will be required to provide “full cost recovery” to some power-producing facilities. Specifically, those power plants that “maintain 90-day on-site fuel supplies”.

That basically means nuclear and coal-fired plants. With these solid-fuel driven facilities being the only ones that keep large fuel inventories on-site — unlike alternative generation methods like natural gas, hydro and renewables.

Very good news - it was cheap reliable energy that lifted us out of the stone age. The more we have, the better our standard of living and quality of life. Also, the more we can spread this around to developing nations and raise them up as well.

Given my druthers, I would go 100% nuclear but that is just my two cents.

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