“Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Brookings Institution audience in Washington, DC regarding his company’s 500e EV: ‘I hope you don’t buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.’ The reason the 500e exists is to meet zero-emission rules in California and elsewhere that might impose similar mandates. The company’s plan is to sell the minimum number of EVs it is required by law to sell, at whatever financial loss the company must bear, and then not to sell one more. Marchionne also said that if automakers are forced to suffer losses on EVs in order to satisfy political policies, then the companies will be back in Washington asking for new bailouts.”
Nissan (NSANY-OTC), the manufacturer of the LEAF electric vehicle (EV) has been the number one seller in the U.S. The June auto sales figures showed that Nissan sold 2,347 LEAF vehicles, up 5.5% over the sales for June last year, although they were down 770 units from May’s sales results, which was the record month for sales. June marked the 16th straight month of record sales compared to the prior year month.
Year-to-date, LEAF sales are up almost 30% from the same period for last year. So far in 2014, Nissan has sold 12,736 LEAFs versus 9,839 sold last year. Given its strong sales performance, one has to wonder about the latest announcement of the replacement battery pack pricing for the LEAF. [Read more →]
July 23, 2014 No Comments
“We as Ohioans and Americans have to be able to see through the scheme, demand proof of net environmental and energy benefits of wind, or force the industry out of the state to save our tax dollars and our electricity-bill dollars the industry has been drunk on since 2008.”
The Lima News may not be a household name, but it is at ground zero in the local and state wind wars. Here in Ohio, Governor Kasich and the Republican-led House and Senate put the clamps on intrusive wind power projects on private land. And the Wind Lobbyists are mad at their rare defeat.
The editorial below (in red), “Politicians Must Revise Wind Rules,” takes issue with that rare victory for taxpayers, ratepayers, and landowners in the Wind Wars. I respond in indented black. [Read more →]
July 22, 2014 No Comments
“[Tom] Steyer has proven himself a master at working the system, first to amass a fossil-fuel fortune, and now to bask in the applause of the environmental left even as he feeds at the green energy subsidy trough…. Thus has he descended into a display of crass dishonesty shameless even by Beltway standards.”
- B. Zycher, “He’s Explaining, and He’s Losing.” The Hill, July 18, 2014.
It’s good to have Benjamin Zycher, Ph.D economist and longtime energy scholar, at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
He continues the intellectual tradition carried on, most recently, by Stephen Hayward and Kenneth Green. And this tradition goes back to when AEI led the fight against oil and gas price and allocation controls in the dark 1970s. Twenty-five studies in their National Energy Project (1974–76) and Studies in Energy Policy (1976–85) helped make up for Resources for the Future taking a Malthusian left turn. 
In The Hill, Zycher wrote a devastating criticism of Tom Steyer’s fossil-fuel past and anti-fossil-fuel present. Zycher knows his climate science, energy, and climate policy, and his subject gets a multi-disciplinary bashing. [Read more →]
July 21, 2014 2 Comments
How could it? With only voluntary regulations, no accountability, and the industry hiding most of their mortality with rigged studies, these permits are nothing more than a rubber stamp from the Interior Department.
A few months back the Duke Energy case received a lot of national media attention for their killing of eagles. But despite what is being published, the Duke Energy case does not demonstrate that the FWS permit process works. If it was working, nearly every wind project in the country would be in legal trouble.
I read the impacts statements used in the approval process. They fraudulently claimed or estimated that eagle mortality from the turbines would be low. These impact statements were backed up with other bogus wind industry studies that hid most of the turbine mortality that took place.
If the permit process did work, the Duke energy wind farms would have been torn down due to the fraudulent documents used in the permitting process. Sure they paid a fine, but the FWS is still allowing Duke Energy to kill eagles with their turbines and the numbers killed will not be known. In addition the shills that put together all the fraudulent documents have never singled out for their part in any of this.
The current FWS permit process also allows other wind farms in the region of the Duke Energy turbines to kill even more eagles. [Read more →]
July 18, 2014 3 Comments
“Shiloh IV was handed a permit because they know agents like Lucinda Schroder and Sam Jojola are not around to hold them accountable for their lies and their slaughter. Actually, if agents now working for the FWS were not being handcuffed by Washington, wind farm companies would never even consider asking for an eagle kill permit. We would also have far more eagles, whooping cranes, and other rare species.”
The Shiloh IV Wind Project, a 3,500-acre wind farm near Rio Vista, California has received the first-ever permit that would allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has conservatively estimated the impact of up to five eagles.
Shiloh IV is only part of a larger wind resource area. It’s expected that eagles will be killed in these other sections. In fact every time a Shiloh turbine kills an eagle the company will have every opportunity to haul the carcass off to another section of this wind resource area so they can stay within their five eagles/five-year permit. Or worse yet not even report it like most of the wind farms do in Texas.
This permit is completely unenforceable, and it’s highly inconceivable that the company will purposely expose itself to federal prosecution if its turbines kill more than five eagles within a five-year period. Considering the massive potential for bird fatalities that turbines present, it’s ludicrous to think that the impact will be limited to five eagles in five years. Common sense dictates that the threat to eagles and birds is much greater.
In the past some wind power projects has been required to monitor and report mortality, but it’s well known that their reports have been highly manipulated to show few fatalities. There has never been and still will not be any wind industry accountability for the true slaughter that has occurred for decades. [Read more →]
July 17, 2014 1 Comment
“It has been well known that Shiloh’s wind turbines have slaughtered protected birds species for years. These fatalities have gone largely undocumented due to the wind industry’s practices of rigging their reports and handing them to the unquestioning USFWS.… [Now] comments submitted by two USFWS retired special agents who spent their careers protecting migratory birds and making cases against other energy companies … [have] a lot to say about the Shiloh five-year eagle killing permit.”
The Shiloh IV Wind Project, located in the Montezuma foothills in California, has received an unprecedented permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing it to kill eagles, hawks, peregrine falcons, owls and songs birds while not being subjected to the normal prohibitions afforded under the federal conservation laws. This company now gets a free pass from federal prosecution under the Bald and Eagle and Protection Act and the Migratory Treaty Act.
No other energy company has the liberty to kill birds so indiscriminately while remaining above the law!
The mitigation for this eagle-kill permit was the fixing of a few power poles by the PG&E. Yet PG&E has already been retrofitting poles in this area consistent with its Avian Protection Plan, and if the retrofitting of more power poles was needed the FWS cold have enforced this just as they have for 35 years with other utility companies. Now the FWS and EPA are accepting fraudulent data to trade the slaughter of eagles as if they were carbon credits. It is truly disgraceful.
This permit will allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm’s operators being penalized. Everyone has to understand that Shiloh IV is only part of this large wind resource area. All the other sections in this WIND resource area will also be killing eagles and other highly protected species.
July 16, 2014 1 Comment
“If resources are not fixed but created, then the nature of the scarcity problem changes dramatically. For the technological means involved in the use of resources determines their creation and therefore the extent of their scarcity. The nature of the scarcity is not outside the process (that is natural), but a condition of it.”
- Tom DeGregori (1987). “Resources Are Not; They Become: An Institutional Theory.” Journal of Economic Issues, p. 1258.
“Those in the mineral-resource world think in terms of proved, probable, and speculative quantities. Should another category be added–resourceship–that would make such supply open-ended? Unless peak-oil proponents can demonstrate peak-resourceship, open-endedness should be elevated in the debate.” (below)
The confounding of physics with economics has plagued a real-world understanding of mineral resource developments. The phenomenon of entropy and the laws of thermodynamics rule in their domain. But there is no economic law analogous to the physical conservation of matter. There is no law of conservation of value; value is continually, routinely created by the market process. And this value creation does not deplete–just the opposite.
This insight reorients the peak-oil debate from pessimism about hypothetical future physical resources to here-and-now concerns over incentives and institutions–or the ability of a free market to create a robust energy future.
Market Entrepreneurship … Mineral ‘Resourceship’
Israel Kirzner in the Austrian-School tradition has emphasized the open-endedness of market entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurial alertness [is] in principle inexhaustible,” Kirzner has stated,  wholly rejecting the notion of a “potential stock of entrepreneurial alertness in a society as some quantity ‘available to be used by society’.”  In the vernacular of the oil industry, there are no reservoirs of proved, probable, or speculative quantities for entrepreneurship.
The institutionalist conception of knowledge as the ultimate resource powerfully complements an Austrian theory of resources. Thomas DeGregori has defined resources as “a set of capabilities”  and “finite but unbounded” . He restated and embellished the “resources are not, they become” thesis of his mentor Erich Zimmermann as follows: [Read more →]
July 15, 2014 1 Comment
Julian Simon (1932–98) is the worldview scholar most associated with this blog. MasterResource takes its name from Simon’s characterization of energy as the master resource and human ingenuity as the ultimate resource.
This post reproduces some quotations in the ‘ultimate resourceship’ literature to illuminate the contra-Malthusianism worldview that a greater number of people is the solution, not the problem, in free-market settings.
“The world’s problem is not too many people, but a lack of political and economic freedom.”
- Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton, N.Y.: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 11.
“Discoveries, like resources, may well be infinite: the more we discover, the more we are able to discover.”
- Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, p. 82.
July 14, 2014 1 Comment
“The climate change adaption program could make EPA a powerful master that could dictate to all departments in the government. Already the Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Defense have numerous programs that promote President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”
At her public announcement June 2, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made the following comments about the economic consequences of the Clean Power Plan:
I know people are wondering: can we cut pollution while keeping our energy affordable and reliable? We can, and we will. Critics claim your energy bills will skyrocket. They’re wrong. Any small, short-term change in electricity prices would be within normal fluctuations the power sector already deals with. And any small price increase—think about the price of a gallon of milk a month—is dwarfed by huge benefits. This is an investment in better health and a better future for our kids.
Here is her math:
In 2030, the Clean Power Plan will deliver climate and health benefits of up to $90 billion dollars. And for soot and smog reductions alone, that means for every dollar we invest in the plan, families will see $7 dollars in health benefits. And if states are smart about taking advantage of efficiency opportunities, and I know they are, when the effects of this plan are in place in 2030, average electricity bills will be 8 percent cheaper.
Bottom line? [Read more →]
July 11, 2014 2 Comments
“Slight increases [in CO2] can have no effect on causing asthma or stimulating its attacks…. It may be that EPA’s calling ‘wolf’ causes parents to keep their children inside homes where actual air pollution is more severe. EPA should go back to the drawing board and work from the science out rather than from the agenda in.“
Along with the postmodernistic claims of averting catastrophic climate events, the Obama Administration introduced its proposed carbon pollution standards with a hearty, but bogus, claim of public-health benefits.
The Guardian (May 31) carried an article, “Obama heralds health benefits of climate plan to cut power plant emissions,” which described a presentation President Obama made–with white-robed individuals in the background–in an asthma ward at the Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington, DC. The President said, “just in the first year the plan would reduce asthma attacks by 100,000 and heart attacks by 2100.”
Ditto on June 2 when EPA Administrator Gina McCarty announced EPA’s Carbon Pollution Plan would reduces illnesses like asthma by reducing what she called carbon pollution. “The first year that these standards go into effect, we’ll avoid up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks–and those numbers go up from there,” she claimed.
A seven-page report from The White House, “The Health Impacts of Climate Change On Americans,” listed their claims of health problems from global warming.
Buyer beware. [Read more →]
July 10, 2014 4 Comments