Energy Scam.. change in the wind?

The Great Renewable Energy Scam: Is There A Change in the Wind?

by Patrick J. Michaels

 

This article appeared in Forbes.com on January 19, 2012.

 

 

People don’t like being forced to purchase things they may not want, which is why over half of us are hoping that the Supreme Court throws out the individual insurance mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

There’s also a worldwide rebellion brewing against being forced to purchase expensive electricity produced by so-called “renewable” sources, now being exacerbated by the availability of very cheap natural gas from shale formations.

But, here in the U.S. there are some 30 different statewide “renewable portfolio standards” (RPSs) that also mandate pricey power, usually under the guise of fighting dreaded global warming.

RPSs command tha. a certain percentage of electricity has to come from wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass. Given that this power generally costs a lot more than what comes from a modern coal or gas plant, your local utility passes the cost on in the form of higher bills, which the various state utility commissions are only too happy to approve in the name of saving the planet.

When are governments going to learn that they ought to butt out of the energy business?

RPSs generally do not include hydroelectric power, which produces no carbon dioxide. It’s also much more predictable than solar or wind, and costs about the same as the average for gas and coal combined. It’s not in the portfolio standards because dams are soooo 20th century, and it isn’t a darling of the green lobby, like solar, wind and biomass. But hydro can deliver more juice than solar is ever likely to.

Nor do RPSs allow for natural gas. There are massive quantities in shale formations around the country, and new horizontal drilling techniques are releasing so much of it that it is now the cheapest source of electrical power. If our environmentalist friends were at all serious about climate change, they would enthuse over it becaus. it produces significantly less carbon dioxide than an equivalent quantity of coal when used for power generation. Instead, they are horrified that cheap gas will destroy solar and wind.

Their worries are quite well-founded. In November, NextEra Energy, the country’s largest wind-energy producer, said it would develop no new wind projects this year, as utilities sell cheaper gas power.

 

Patrick J. Michaels is a Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute.

More by Patrick J. Michaels

When are governments going to learn that they ought to butt out of the energy business? RPSs that specify certain technologies are essentially picking winners and losers based more upon political pull than market logic.

One needs to look no further than ethanol as a motor fuel, mandated by the feds. Sold as “renewable” and reducing pernicious carbon dioxide emissions, it actually produces more in its life cycle than simply burning an equivalent amount of gasoline. It also—unconscionably—consumes 40% of U.S. corn production, and we are the by far the world’s largest producer of this important basic food.

The popular revulsion against ethanol has succeeded in cutting its massive federal subsidy, of $0.54 per gallon, which ran out on Dec. 31. But that doesn’t stop the federal mandate. Last year it was for roughly 14 billion gallons from corn and it will be nearly 15 billion in 2012. By 2022, up to 20 billion gallons will be required — all from corn — unless there is a breakthrough in so-called “cellulosic” ethanol, which, no matter how much money the government throws at it, hasn’t happened. Indeed, the largest cellulosic plant, Range Fuels, in Camilla, Ga., just went bankrupt. The loss to American taxpayers appears to be about $120 million, or about 25% of a Solyndra.

Don’t expect Congress to zero the ethanol mandate anytime soon. Farm country tends to be conservative on pretty much everything except propping up corn prices, which is what ethanol mandates do.

Having seen the ethanol debacle, will the states put solar and wind in their rightful (small) niches by repealing the RPSs? Increasing utility bills with renewable mandates is politically dangerous, and there is less and less political will to subsidize and otherwise prop up energy sources and technologies that cost too much.

Look for a movement in the many state legislatures that approved the outrageous RPSs without asking people how they liked being forced to buy something they don’t want. Or will cheaper natural gas and hydro be allowed in the standards in the place of wind and solar? There is likely to be some legislation introduced this year and a lot more in the future, as the U.S. catches on to the great renewable energy scam.

WEINSTEIN: Greens want terror oil in your gas tank

WEINSTEIN: Greens want terror oil in your gas tank

Using Canada’s ethical oil makes economic, national security sense

Illustration: Canadian oil by Linas Garsys for The Washington TimesIllustration: Canadian oil by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times

Canada, not the Middle East, is the No. 1 supplier of oil to the United States, a symbiotic relationship that has existed for decades. What’s more, the Canadian province of Alberta is home to the world’s third-largest petroleum reserves. Viewing America as the most logical market for its expanding production, the government of Alberta and the TransCanada Corp. are proposing a pipeline called Keystone XL to bring crude oil from Alberta to refineries along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Although the State Department concluded in August that there would be no significant negative environmental impacts from the pipeline, it has hosted a series of hearings in communities from Montana to Texas in recent weeks. A final hearing is scheduled for Washington on Oct. 7.

The economic benefits from constructing the pipeline have been well publicized: $20 billion in new investment, 13,000 new American jobs in construction and related manufacturing, and more than 100,000 spinoff jobs during the two-year construction period. But more important than the short-term stimulus, which certainly is needed in today’s moribund economy, the completed pipeline will help increase America’s energy and national security.

Today, most of the crude oil processed by Gulf Coast refineries comes from Mexico and Venezuela. Production in both countries has declined in recent years, and while U.S.-Mexico political relations are friendly, U.S.-Venezuela relations are anything but. By contrast, Canada is a strong and reliable American ally, as well as a key North American Free Trade Agreement partner.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline certainly is not unique. TransCanada already operates a pipeline from Alberta to Cushing, Okla., and the XL would simply shorten the route while adding an extension from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. Lower transportation costs associated with the XL would save Gulf Coast refiners almost $500 million annually, which, in turn, could mean lower prices for consumers at the gas pump. What’s more, the planned route of the XL would link oil producers in the booming North Dakota Bakken region to the national pipeline network, providing efficiency gains of $36 million to $146 million annually, according to a recent study by the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Despite the strong economic and energy security case for permitting the Keystone XL, opposition to the project has been growing. Last month, several hundred protesters were arrested in front of the White House, including a number of Hollywood celebrities. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have expressed their opposition to Keystone XL (in full-page newspaper ads paid for by the Natural Resources Defense Council) as has New York Times food critic Mark Bittman. Both pro- and anti-pipeline advocates are back on the streets of Washington as the Oct. 7 hearing date approaches.

Although opponents argue the pipeline is inherently dangerous because of potential harm to farms, wildlife and water aquifers as it cuts across Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, in truth, the anti-XL campaign is aimed against expansion of the Alberta oil sands. Environmentalists claim production in the oil sands is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, destroying the arboreal forests and killing migratory birds. On a recent visit, I saw no evidence of these claims. Indeed, relative to both the geographic and carbon footprints of most onshore and offshore oil production, the Alberta oil sands compare quite favorably.

If the Keystone XL project is blocked, the pace of oil sands development in Alberta won’t diminish. Recent investments by Chinese companies suggest a growing alternative market across the Pacific. But without the pipeline, America will be unable to benefit from cost-efficient Western Canadian oil while Gulf Coast refiners remain dependent upon unstable suppliers.

Bernard L. Weinstein is associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute and an adjunct professor of business economics at Southern Methodist University.

 

REPORT: The Dirty Secret Behind Clean Jobs | Cascade Policy Insitute

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But Todd, a huge number of government jobs are dependent on keeping these facts under wraps. As in government schools these days, facts are subservient to political correctness…and must be “vetted” for accuracy by.. well, government and those who aid and abet the illusion in exchange for special favors (subsidies, etc.).

» Segel: Green Energy – America’s Lie

Segel: Green Energy – America’s Lie

By Thomas D. Segel

It is doubtful that if a truly honest person could be found, Americans would elect that individual to public office.  We have historically managed to gather a collection of fork tongued intellectuals and slick talking con artists together into one large gang and allow them to run the country.  You think not!  Well it is not only in America.  Liars have been running the governments of all nations since the days when Plato and Aristotle spoke on this human failing.

One of the biggest deceptions being voiced by our current Administration and its minions in Congress concerns the viability and practicality of Green Energy. Those who have already swallowed this government mythology have strongly bought into the idea that these multiple alternative energy sources will end our need for fossil fuels, clean up our environment, reduce costs and save the planet.

You have read in previous articles my rage about the government lies related to corn-based ethanol.  It not only limits one of our main food sources, but also drives up the price on dozens of products from soda pop to plastics that utilize corn in their manufacture.

Farmers can grow and average of 7,110 pounds of corn per acre.  This can be processed into 328 gallons of ethanol.  That same corn requires 140 gallons of fossil fuel, which at today’s pump prices, would total more than $1200.  Using that rationale, ethanol has already been heavily subsidized even before it is processed from the raw corn.  During the processing there is only 8 percent extracted in the form of alcohol, with more energy expended to reach that point.  An additional process is required to produce the 99.8 percent pure ethanol needed for mixing with gasoline.  It requires 131,00 BTUs of energy to make one gallon of ethanol and that one-gallon only produces 77,000 BTUs of energy, or a loss of 54,000 BTUs of energy for each gallon of ethanol produced.  It costs $1.74 per gallon to produce ethanol. 95 cents is the cost to produce a gallon of gasoline.  On top of all this, the government is subsidizing ethanol to the tune of $1 billion a year.  You do the math on the value of this green energy source.

Wind energy may be the closest we have come to reaching balance of cost vs. result.  It too, has limited value. There just might be strong value in wind farms located in Deep South Texas. Most of the time there is wind blowing off the Gulf of Mexico.  However, national studies have revealed that a utility company can only count of wind generated electricity for about 30% of its power.  The remainder of the time wind is not blowing strong enough to yield satisfactory electrical output.

Since each turbine blade is more than 120 feet in length, the noise level of wind driven energy is severe.  People who reside within a mile of a wind farm must suffer a continuing noise background and incorporate it into their daily lives.  In reality it means wind farms must be located far away from population centers, thus increasing the cost of connecting them to the main grid.

“So”, you ask, “what about solar?”  It has been touted as being silent and quietly operating every day.  It has been praised for adding to the savings on electricity.  It places no pollutants into the air or our overall environment.

My best example of solar folly can come right from my hometown of Harlingen, Texas.  The city fathers have been elated at their newest contribution to green energy.  Headlines in the daily newspaper read “Solar Panels Equal Savings for Harlingen.  Just what are those savings?

Through the American Reinvestment Recovery Act, which many citizens refer to as “Porkqules”, the city received a grant of $645,100 to install 308 solar panels on a municipal building.  According to City Commissioner Robert Leftwich, “This will save the city money in the long run and will create a more sustainable and economically responsible model.”

Well, the commissioner must have forgotten his calculator.  By the city’s own estimates these panels will save the taxpayers $7,500 a year in energy costs.

If some quick math is undertaken it can be seen that in 25 years a savings of $187,500 will be realized by Harlingen.  Since the project has a cost of more than $600,000, which already came out of taxpayer pocketbooks…and since the life span of a solar panel is only 25 years, the American public has taken another tax loss beating.

But, go ahead America; keep buying into the fraud of Green Energy.  After all more than 40% of you are not putting any money into the operation of our nation.

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Just the tip of the “iceberg”…

California Green Project:: Cost $10 million- Produces power for one 60 watt light bulb

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Larry Eisenberg, a former “Greeny” from Washington County in the Portland suburbs .. moves to LA and promptly burns through $10 million dollars of taxpayer’s money.. resulting in enough “green” electricity to fire up a 60 watt light bulb during “average winds”. He did this to the Los Angeles College District.. Proving once again that when you let government bureaucrats loose with big bucks, they will not stop till they fritter it all away. Says he’d do it again if given the chance.

The waste of wealth by government is simply unacceptable.. especially these moonbat ideas that are so obviously flawed that it is unimageinable these people are somehow put in the position to waste so much money for NOTHING in return. People should never wonder why California and other states are destroying the economy and imposing a declining standard of living on all residents. In China, this fellow ( and his cadre of managers) would be marched into the square and shot for ripping off the treasury.

Here’s the clincher.. Eisenberg, who was in charge of the “effort” says if given the chance, he would do it all over again. Thaks, Larry.. I think we’ll pass. Has our government sector simply been taken over by stark raving mad loons?