Recently in Energy Category

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:


Good news. 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:


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.

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 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 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. __

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...


... 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 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 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.


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:




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.


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

From Pierce Points:

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.

Seriously? For fsck's sake - Middle East

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If it was not for their oil reserves, these nations would be nothing. From Zero Hedge:

Oil To Hit $100? Half Of Saudi Oil Output Shut After Drone Strikes Cripple World's Largest Oil Processing Facility
Update: The WSJ is out with an update hinting at just how much the price of oil is set to soar when trading reopens late on Sunday after the Saudi Houthi false-flag drone attack on the largest Saudi oil processing plant:

Saudi Arabia is shutting down about half of its oil output after apparently coordinated drone strikes hit Saudi production facilities, people familiar with the matter said, in what Yemen’s Houthi rebels described as one of their largest-ever attacks inside the kingdom.

The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil. The kingdom produces 9.8 million barrels a day.

And while Aramco is assuring it can restore output quickly, in case it can't the world is looking at a production shortfall of as much as 150MM barrels monthly, which - all else equal - could send oil soaring into the triple digits. Just what the Aramco IPO ordered.

And a bit more:

Fires burned into the morning daylight hours, with explosions also reported at the Khurais oil field, in what the Houthis said was a successful attack involving ten drones. "These attacks are our right, and we warn the Saudis that our targets will keep expanding," a rebel military spokesman said on Houthi-operated Al Masirah TV.

Glad to hear that President Trump is opening up ANWR to drilling. Now if we would just go forward with nuclear, things would be wonderful and we could kiss that 9th century culture goodbye.

Great news - new power reactors

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Wonderful news - I love this current administration. From Neutron Bytes:

Idaho National Lab Gets DOE Charter for Test and Demonstration of Advanced Reactors
In the late 1940s the federal government established the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) at a site on the dusty volcanic plain of the Arco desert about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls, ID. Now some 70 years later the government has again turned to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to create the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC).

The new initiative will support the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by harnessing the world-class capabilities of the DOE national laboratory system. It will be a test and demonstration center for these technologies and it will involve public / private partnerships with firms that want to bring these technologies to a mature enough level to attract investors and customers.

NRIC will be led by Idaho National Laboratory and builds upon the successes of DOE’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. GAIN connects industry with the national labs to accelerate the development and commercialization of advanced nuclear technologies. NRIC will coordinate with industry, other federal institutions, the national labs, and universities on testing and demonstrating these concepts.

The NRIC will provide private sector technology developers the necessary support to test and demonstrate their reactor concepts and assess their performance. This will help accelerate the licensing and commercialization of these new nuclear energy systems.

Nuclear is the way to go for power generation. is a stupid rathole. This is fantastic news.

Great news - England and Energy

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Wonderful - from the Mirror:

Tories plan mini-nuclear reactors for the North in major change to energy policy
A series of mini-nuclear reactors could be built across the North in a major power scheme.

Plants could generate energy in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire under a project spearheaded by Rolls-Royce for “small modular reactors”.

The Government is pumping in £18 million so the firm can develop the design of the reactors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to formally announce the plan in September and the first plant could be up and running within the next 15 years.

Good news - of all the "traditional" designs, SMRs are the very best of the lot. This is what the US and Russian navies have been doing for their ships and submarines. My personal choice would be for liquid thorium but that is another technology to be developed although we had a bunch of them back in the 1960's.. Thorium does not go Ka-boom like uranium and the 1960's was the height of the atomic weapons race and the US decided to not operate two nuclear supply chains. Uranium is about as common as platinum in the earth's crust; and about as expensive. Thorium is about as common as lead. Dirt cheap.

Seeing the light - Michael Moore

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Great news from journalist Don Surber:

Michael Moore grows up
Michael Moore finally grew up. He now realizes Captain Planet was just a front man for green energy boondoggles paid for by taxpayers.

The Associated Press reported, "What if alternative energy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? That’s the provocative question explored in the documentary Planet of the Humans, which is backed and promoted by filmmaker Michael Moore and directed by one of his longtime collaborators. It premiered last week at his Traverse City Film Festival.

"The film, which does not yet have distribution, is a low-budget but piercing examination of what the filmmakers say are the false promises of the environmental movement and why we’re still “addicted” to fossil fuels.

"Director Jeff Gibbs takes on electric cars, solar panels, windmills, biomass, biofuel, leading environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, and even figures from Al Gore and Van Jones, who served as Barack Obama’s special adviser for green jobs, to leader Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist and advocate for grassroots climate change movements."

This looks like an interesting movie - the facts are pesky. is not economically viable without huge taxpayer-funded subsidies. Nuclear (modern designs) are incredibly safe and cheap to build. The whole alternative energy movement has been a political scam from day one. Some people got very rich off it.

England's new Prime Minister

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Liking the cut of his jib - from the UK Times and Star:

New PM Boris Johnson supports calls for a nuclear renaissance
On his first day addressing his new Government, Copeland MP Trudy Harrison asked him: “Does the Prime Minister agree that the time is now for a nuclear renaissance and that Copeland is the centre of nuclear excellence?”

Mr Johnson replied: “It is time for a nuclear renaissance and I believe passionately that nuclear must be part of our energy mix and she is right to campaign for it and it will help us to meet our carbon targets.”

It comes in the week that the Government also launched a consultation into funding large-scale nuclear power stations and a proposed £18million investment into small modular reactors (SMR).

Wonderful - if you are going to use conventional technologies, the SMR is by far the best way to go. Other forms of are totally impractical and very bad for the environment when looking at the whole picture.

Yes! More nuclear

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Great news from the Idaho News:

Plan to build first small US nuclear reactors in Idaho advances
A plan to build the nation's first small modular nuclear reactors to produce commercial power is a step closer.

A Utah-based energy cooperative said Wednesday that it has sales contracts for enough carbon-free power to begin a license application process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build the reactors in eastern Idaho.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems already has agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy to build the reactors at the federal agency's 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

A small modular nuclear reactor can produce about 60 megawatts, or enough to power more than 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors.

The energy cooperative says it has carbon-free contracts for more than 150 megawatts. Its goal is to begin construction on the reactors in 2023.

The down side is that these are conventional reactors - 60 year old designs with the attendant problems.

The up side is that these are a lot smaller than the 1,200 megawatt units that are being built. If something goes wrong, things move a lot slower so it will be easier to correct. Plus, by using a lot of small cheap identical cores, you have the same redundancy that the US Navy enjoys. They use a lot of identical cores and if there is an issue with a coolant pump bearing or such, they figure out a solution and replace all of them. End of problem. The Navy's safety record is spotless.

My ideal nuke is a LFTR but that is a different story.

Fusion power in the news

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From technology website The Drive:

Skunk Works' Exotic Fusion Reactor Program Moves Forward With Larger, More Powerful Design
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes.

Aviation Week was first to report the updates on the CFR program, including that Lockheed Martin is in the process of constructing its newest experimental reactor, known as the T5, on July 19, 2019. The company's legendary California-based Skunk Works advanced projects office is in charge of the effort and had already built four different test reactor designs, as well as a number of subvariants, since the program first became public knowledge in 2014. The War Zone has been following news of this potentially revolutionary program very closely in recent years.

A lot more at the site - I love that this research is being privatly funded and that this fifth unit is large enough to be self-sustaining. Nuclear is the way to go for energy generation. All of the sources (wind / solar) are just pissing taxpayer money away and are worse for the environment than coal.

Sticking it to Russia - oil

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Russia is a cash-poor nation. Their only real source of hard currency is their oil exports to Europe. From Marine Link:

U.S. Oil Makes it to Ukraine, a blow to Moscow
U.S. crude exports are gaining traction in Europe as even Ukraine turns into a significant consumer of American barrels at the expense of Russian supplies amid heightened U.S. political pressure on Moscow and problems over contaminated Russian oil.

Ukraine this month received its first ever barrels from the United States, according to Refinitiv Eikon flows data, as the tanker Wisdom Venture unloaded 80,000 tonnes of Bakken crude in Odessa on July 6 for the Kremenchug refinery, the port said.

Russia often struggles to export oil from the Black Sea via the narrow Turkish Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits due to congestion, making the arrival of the U.S. crude into the Black Sea from the Mediterranean even more extraordinary.

The oil was sold by BP to Ukrtatnafta, sources said, adding Ukrtatnafta will receive a further similar amount of U.S. crude around July 24, and more purchases were likely in August.

Yeah - President Trump and Vladimir Putin were in collusion. Riiiiggghhhhtttt... Trump is drinking Vlad's milkshake and there is not a thing that Pooty-poot can do about it.

Morons in California

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What idiots - from the East Bay Express:

That Old Gas Stove Is Not Your Friend
As the United States has begun transitioning away from the use of coal and petroleum as a source of electricity and fuel, natural gas has been viewed as a relatively benign fossil fuel. After all, natural gas produces less carbon dioxide when burned than those other fossil fuels. It remains the energy source in about half of California's buildings.

But scientists have increasingly warned that methane, the main component of natural gas, is itself a key heat-trapping gas — 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first twenty years after release, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. In addition to the carbon dioxide created by its burning, the inevitable leaks as natural gas is extracted and shipped, make gas a serious climate threat in its own right.

State policy calls for the electrification of buildings — the source of about 10 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from natural gas. Several state agencies and many cities and counties are working on a variety of programs to promote electrification. But none have gone as far as the ordinance scheduled to come before the Berkeley City Council on July 9.

Once again, the City of Berkeley is considering a groundbreaking environmental policy: This time it's a ban on natural gas hookups in all new buildings, starting January 1, 2020.

Aside from the fact that a flame is a lot better to cook on than an electric hob (better heat control), are they seriously proposing electric resistance heating for cooking. Don't they realize that 70% of the electricity in this nation comes from coal and 25%+ from the combination of nuke, hydro and natural gas turbines. About 3% of this nation's electricity comes from "renewables" and it is our tax dollars that are paying the subsidies to make these work. Burn coal to cook food. Stupid self-centered idiots.

From Associated Press:

Arizona fire highlights challenges for energy storage
Arizona’s largest electric company installed massive batteries near neighborhoods with a large number of solar panels, hoping to capture some of the energy from the afternoon sun to use after dark.

Arizona Public Service has been an early adopter of battery storage technology seen as critical for the wider deployment of renewable energy and for a more resilient power grid.

But an April fire and explosion at a massive battery west of Phoenix that sent eight firefighters and a police officer to the hospital highlighted the challenges and risks that can arise as utilities prepare for the exponential growth of the technology.

Sure - capture magic pixies from the sun and store them in a battery that can blow up if mishandled and requires lots of toxic chemicals and rare earth elements to build. Great idea there poindexter...

Madness in New York State - climate

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The stupid is strong with these people - from The New York Times:

New York to Approve One of the World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plans
New York lawmakers have agreed to pass a sweeping climate plan that calls for the state to all but eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, envisioning an era when gas-guzzling cars, oil-burning heaters and furnaces would be phased out, and all of the state’s electricity would come from carbon-free sources.

Under an agreement reached this week between legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act would require the state to slash its planet-warming pollution 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and offset the remaining 15 percent, possibly through measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This is so stupid - it burns! There is no carbon-free source of energy with the exception of Nuclear - clean and safe nuclear. The basic designs of the reactors in use today were sketched out on cocktail napkins over 60 years ago. There are newer and much much safer technologies out there. Wind and solar are not baseload - they vary with the weather and clouds. For every 1,000MW of wind turbines out there, there is also a 1,000MW natural gas turbine generator running on hot-standby.

As for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? They are seriously proposing to remove plant food from the environment? CO2 is one of the key ingredients of photosynthesis - No CO2, no plants.

No mention is made if they will also ban outside sources of electricity and some high-carbon materials (beef, steel, etc...) in the news

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Sobering dose of reality from Germany by way of Forbes Magazine:

The Reason Renewables Can't Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To
Over the last decade, journalists have held up Germany’s renewables energy transition, the Energiewende, as an environmental model for the world.

“Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset,” thanks to the Energiewendewrote a New York Times reporter in 2014.

With Germany as inspiration, the United Nations and World Bank poured billions into renewables like wind, solar, and hydro in developing nations like Kenya.

But then, last year, Germany was forced to acknowledge that it had to delay its phase-out of coal, and would not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction commitments. It announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and forest in order to get at the coal underneath it.

Much more at the site. Nice idea but it simply does not pencil out without huge government subsidies (our tax dollars at work). Plus, because it is not a reliable source, the utilities have to maintain a backup generator running all the time on "hot standby" for when the wind dies.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Baker Hughes chooses Permian Basin to debut 'electric frack' technology
Houston oilfield service company Baker Hughes is using the Permian Basin in West Texas to debut a fleet of new turbines that use excess natural gas from a drilling site to power hydraulic fracturing equipment — reducing flaring, carbon dioxide emissions, people and equipment in remote locations.

Flaring is the burning off of unusable gases as a byproduct of oil extraction. What they are planning:

Baker Hughes estimates 500 hydraulic fracturing fleets are deployed in shale basins across the United States and Canada. Most of them are powered by trailer-mounted diesel engines. Each fleet consumes more than 7 million gallons of diesel per year, emits an average of 70,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and require 700,000 tanker truck loads of diesel supplied to remote sites, according to Baker Hughes.

“Electric frack enables the switch from diesel-driven to electrical-driven pumps powered by modular gas turbine generating units,” Simonelli said. “This alleviates several limiting factors for the operator and the pressure pumping company such as diesel truck logistics, excess gas handling, carbon emissions and the reliability of the pressure pumping operation.”

Sounds like win/win to me...

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