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California Energy Update: Part V

• Green Power Keeps Shifting Costs to Ratepayers Who Don’t Use It
• What’s Best Way to Save Water and Energy During CA Drought?
• CA Desert Solar Tower Project Zoning Shifts Pollution to Las Vegas
• Appeals Court Rejects Nat Gas Power Plant on Same Day as Power Alert
• State Senate President Call for Carbon Tax on Gasoline
• L.A. Times Undermining of Climate Change Could Affect Court Fights
• Union Hires Pollster on Shifting to Municipal Power in Davis, California

Green Power Shifting Costs onto Ratepayers Who Don’t Use It

“Cost Shifting, a situation where the price of one product or service is higher than it should be in order to pay for losses on another product or service for which the price is too low.’”

– Cambridge Dictionaries Online

California Energy Markets recently reported that three California cities just won agreement from regulators to reclassify solar power transmission costs as distribution. The cities are Pasadena, Riverside and Azusa.

That means the cities reaped a 25 percent reduction in long-term solar power contracts. This seemingly bureaucratic fight over how electricity costs are divvied up provides another example of how the Golden State subsidizes “green” power behind the scenes and shifts its extraordinary costs onto all electric ratepayers. [Read more →]

April 17, 2014   4 Comments

Republicans for Obama Energy (Senate Finance Committee okays PTC/ITC subsidies)

“The April 3rd action by the Senate Finance Committee certainly helps explain why a recent Gallup Survey shows that Congress currently has a 13% favorability rating. If the nation’s ‘Millennials’ understand how the Congress is adding to the debt that they and their children will bear, they may assign an even lower rating!”

The Senate Finance Committee that manages to make life miserable for millions of tax-paying Americans with its manipulation of the U.S. Tax Code. The Committee’s latest aids its friends, punish ordinary taxpayers, and loads another $85 billion in debt on our children and grandchildren.

On April 3, 2014, by “voice” (no fingerprints) vote, the Senate Finance Committee reported out an $85 billion tax break ”extender” bill — which the Committee calls the “EXPIRE Act.” [1] The bill includes billions in unwarranted tax breaks for special interests, including the wind industry.

As long as Congress fails to pass a balanced budget, every dollar provided to special interests in this $85 billion “Extender” bill is a direct addition to the national debt for the future (our future) to worry about. Further, each dollar that Congress adds to the national debt will be DOUBLED in about 15 years due to interest that will accrue on that debt.

An egregious example of an unwarranted special interest tax break in the Finance Committee’s bill is Senator Grassley’s wind and other renewable energy “Production Tax Credit” (PTC) and “Investment Tax Credit” (ITC). Grassley insisted on extending this 20-year old “temporary” tax break for another 2 years at a cost, according to the Joint Tax Committee, of more than $13 billion over the next 10 years (and more thereafter).

When Senator Toomey attempted to eliminate unwarranted energy tax breaks from the bill, Republican Senators Grassley, Cornyn, Thune, Crapo, & Portman[2] joined Finance Committee Democrats in voting to keep the massive energy tax breaks in the bill! [Read more →]

April 16, 2014   1 Comment

AWEA Spins Price Distortions to Save PTC (hit on nuclear clouds CO2 rationale)

“Negative prices are not the goal of any healthy economy, yet the PTC fosters this behavior at the expense of other, reliable generation. Building more infrastructure to correct for this problem is exactly the wrong thing to do.”

The last extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) [1], its eighth in over twenty years, expired at the end of 2013 and the industry is again clamoring for another extension. But this time, big wind is facing a more sophisticated argument advanced by critics who contend that the PTC is artificially depressing wholesale power prices, disrupting market signals and undercutting more reliable generation including Exelon’s fleet of nuclear power plants.

Wind for nuclear–and in a way that increases greenhouse gas emissions, or certainly fails to reduce it?  The irony for climate policy has been noted by James Hansen who was informed that renewable-energy subsidies were intended to ”kill nuclear.” Wrote Matthew Wald in the New York Times:

To stave off climate change, sources of electricity that do not emit carbon will have to replace the ones that do. But at the moment, two of those largest sources, nuclear and wind power, are trying to kill each other off.

So much for wind power’s climate-change rationale.

Last month, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released a detailed defense of wind arguing that its impact on energy prices is positive, with or without the PTC. But rather than making its case, AWEA’s rebuttal repeatedly misrepresented the rules governing competitive electricity markets and how out-of-market revenues impact energy prices. In this essay, we examine several of the assertions made by AWEA and show how they fall short.

Claim 1: Wind energy displaces the most expensive generation and decreases electricity prices. [Read more →]

April 15, 2014   2 Comments

AWED Energy & Environmental Newsletter: April 14, 2014?

The Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED) is an informal coalition of individuals and organizations interested in improving national, state, and local energy & environmental policies. Our basic position is that technical matters like these should be addressed by using Real Science. It’s all spelled out at WiseEnergy.org, which is a wealth of energy and environmental resources.

A key element of AWED’s efforts is public education. Towards that end, every 3 weeks we put together a newsletter to balance what is found in the mainstream media about energy and environmental matters. We appreciate MasterResource for their assistance in publishing this information.?

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Greed Energy Economics:

London School of Economics Property Value Study

Senate Committee Passes Bill With Two-Year PTC Extension

Renewal of Wind PTC Will Lead to a Big Boost in Carbon Emissions

Excellent Letter re US Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC)

Shale Gas Boom Leaves Wind Companies Seeking More Subsidy

Obama Administration tries to justify higher wind energy costs

Lomborg: How green policies hurt the poor

Bumpy road for Chinese renewable energy

Informed farmers coalition to educate farmers on wind turbine projects

A good video about renewable (wind) electricity prices

Turbines have an average gearbox life of between 5 and 13 years [Read more →]

April 14, 2014   1 Comment

LEEDCo Lake Erie Wind Project: Joint Letter of Protest

“We ask that you deny any permit to LEEDCo for siting of 6-9 turbines in Lake Erie…. Sadly, it is extremely easy to refute and challenge the environmental guidance this project is putting before you. It is disappointing that this project has progressed even thus far.”

Many groups and individuals from OHIO and Canada and Europe, who care deeply about wildlife, birds, bats and habitat, have been communicating their concerns with the LEEDCo “Incubator” project proposed for 6-9 industrial wind turbines off the shores of Cleveland.

The signatories to this letter represent only a fraction of the sentiment about this proposed improper placement and immature concept of industrializing what is part of 20% of the world’s remaining fresh water reserves.

International Perspective: Ontario, Canada, has in place a precautionary PROVINCIAL offshore moratorium, and four others from Ajax, Pickering, Council of Scarborough, and the largest Conservation body in the province, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). These moratoria were the result of observations that the fresh waters of the Lakes deserve special caution and study.

To date, there is no information leading to a reversal of those decisions. The Lakes continue to be regarded both sides of the border as unique, having special problems of toxic waste filtered to the lakebed, unique patterns of wildlife and birds/bats, unique basin fragilities, unique intensive bird capital, and unique billions of dollars in birding and boating activities.

Ohio has one of the largest concentrations of birding activities in and around the Great Lakes, tens if not hundreds of millions, and as such deserves to be free of any industrialization that may confound this unique geography, habitat, and economy.

Environmental Testimony

Dr. Paul Kerlinger and Associates has been engaged to comment on any possible effect of the 6-9 incubator turbine proposal, and we are concerned that his testimony is possibly an environmental grounding point for the project. We strongly object to acceptance of any commentary on this project proposal by Dr. Kerlinger, and Associates.

Please see Dr. Paul Kerlinger’s biography here. [Read more →]

April 11, 2014   6 Comments

LEEDCo Wind Project’s Mega-Opposition (Junking Lake Erie at Taxpayers’ Expense)

[Editor note: The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) has proposed to erect between six and nine industrial wind turbines just off the shore of Cleveland. The so-called INCUBATOR project is currently before the Ohio Power Siting Board.]

“We are thrilled to have the strong support of the environmental community in Ohio,” said LEEDCo President Lorry Wagner, citing letters from the Ohio Environmental Council, Nature Conservancy, Environment Ohio, Sierra Club, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Ohio Interfaith Power & Light, and Earth Day Coalition.

Barely were those words spoken, when a damning letter arrived (Part 2 tomorrow) from a much broader, bigger, and sophisticated group of environmentalists and consumerists.

The letter provided brutally clear information and frank talk about one of the wind industry’s leading carnival barkers, Dr. Paul Kerlinger and Associates, whose environmental testimony is universally controversial and corrupted by industry money.

Groups who signed onto the anti-LEEDCo letter are: [Read more →]

April 10, 2014   2 Comments

Last Dance for IPCC Group II Report? (NYT’s Gillis, alarmism go wobbly)

“Natural forces causing climate change such as solar sunspots, earth’s orbit changes, ocean currents, volcanoes, etc. are considered unimportant during this period of increased fossil-fuel-produced carbon dioxide (mid-20th century to the present).  This is a serious distortion of the simple meaning of the term climate change.”

On March 31, the New York Times featured an article by Justin Gillis “Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk:  Worst is Yet to Come” that reported findings in the just released UN IPCC Working Group II report “Climate Change 2014:  Impacts, Adaption, and Vulnerability”.

The 44-page Summary For Policymakers defines climate change as follows:

Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes.

Thus “climate change” in UN IPCC Reports is changes in climate due to human-caused atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.  This marginalizes climate change that has occurred over the 4.5 billion-year history of the planet.

Natural forces causing climate change such as solar sunspots, earth’s orbit changes, ocean currents, volcanoes, etc. are considered unimportant during this period of increased fossil-fuel-produced carbon dioxide (mid-20th century to the present).  This is a serious distortion of the simple meaning of the term climate change. [Read more →]

April 9, 2014   1 Comment

Peabody Energy: Let’s Talk About Energy Inequality (coal for the masses, solar and wind for the elites)

“Policies that force use of more expensive, less reliable energy push costs throughout the economy and place the heaviest burden on the world’s poor and low-income citizens. We need all forms of energy to address global needs, and we must recognize the strengths and limitations of each choice.  Advanced coal is the sustainable fuel at scale that can meet these needs.”

- Gregory Boyce, CEO, Peabody Energy, April 3, 2014.

Peabody Energy–“the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining and clean coal solutions … in more than 25 countries on six continents”—has started a good conversation. Lifting countless millions out of energy poverty into energy modernism is worth our best thinking and debate.

Peabody’s call to reduce energy inequality between the haves and have nots challenges the “Let them eat cake” conceit of so many energy statists/elitists. “Let them have solar panels” is an insult given the cost and intermittency of solar compared to what central-station fossil-fuel power plants can deliver.

Solar might be a starter energy, a bridge fuel. But real power plants are the destination.

There are far too many people who do not have access to electricity. They need to upgrade economically and environmentally to coal-fired central-station power. And that power is super-clean compared to the uncontrolled coal plants of several decades ago.

The energy statists/elitists do not like Peabody’s conversation. “As for Boyce’s concern for the world’s poor, hey, with friends like these, who needs enemies?” wrote Tina Casey writer at CleanTechnica. She complains that climate-change (carbon dioxide) emissions are not part of Peabody’s position (hey—CO2 has benefits, and wood burning in the home is worse than coal by any environmental metric.)

Here is Peabody’s press release, titled Peabody Energy Chairman & CEO Greg Boyce Calls On Leaders To Solve Energy Inequality During Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics Interview: [Read more →]

April 8, 2014   No Comments

Solar Land Blues: The Eco Reality of Dilute Energy

“As citizens, we need to call on our leaders to make thoughtful choices about where to site industrial-scale development and renewable energy projects, and to create a legacy for our national parks and to public lands everywhere.” - Mark Butler, “Saving the Mojave from the Solar Threat,” Los Angeles Times , March 25, 2014. “‘Soft’ energy sources are horribly land intensive…. The greenest possible strategy is to mine and to bury, to fly and to tunnel, to search high and low, where the life mostly isn’t, and to leave the edge, the space in the middle, living and green.” - Peter Huber, Hard Green; Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists (New York: Basic Books, 1999), pp. 107–108.

Hard-green energies (fossil fuels, uranium) have a major ecological advantage over politically-correct soft energy (wind, solar): less infrastructure requirement, including land. This was recognized by the father of energy economics, William Stanley Jevons, in his 1865 tome, The Coal Question. Mainstream environmentalists are waking up to the problems of central-station solar now that they can physically see it and have operational results. California’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) is “the world’s largest gas-fired power plant (largest in physical size, not gas consumption),” said one eco-critic. And now Mark Butler in the Los Angeles Times has blown the whistle on the national showcase of Big Solar (full op-ed below). [Read more →]

April 7, 2014   No Comments

Right on Green: In Search of Authentic Free-market Environmentalism (Book review, ‘Responsibility & Resilience: What the Environment Means to Conservatives’)

“Conservative Me Too-ism is well represented in Responsibility & Resilience, at times almost to the point of tedium. The two American politicians with entries in the volume – former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg – are not exactly known as movement conservatives. And their entries do not disappoint.”

For many people, “conservative environmentalism” sounds oxymoronic. Since the rise of environmentalism in the 1960s, the Left has mostly managed to claim the moral high ground. They get to be for clean air, clean water, and saving the whales; for harmony with nature; and against pollution, deforestation, species extinction, and other bad things.

In response, conservatives have often let themselves be cast as the heavy in the Left’s morality tale, stuck talking about cost-benefit analyses and questioning whether low level exposure to some unpronounceable chemical compound is really so bad. But while these arguments and intellectually sounds and even controlling, they sound cold and bloodless.

The idea of a “conservative environmentalist” can raise skeptical hackles from those on the Right as well. All too often, self-described conservative environmentalists have quickly devolved into Me Too-ism, in which liberal policy prescriptions are simply repackaged as conservative, with an occasional quote from Burke or Hayek thrown in for flavoring.

Yet there is also a tradition of authentic free-market environmentalism, represented by such notables as Terry Anderson, Julian Simon, Bruce Yandle, and Robert Gordon. They have sought to use free market principles and insights to address and solve pressing environmental concerns. [Read more →]

April 4, 2014   1 Comment