A free-market energy blog

Random header image... Refresh for more!

California Wineries Don’t Need Pricey ‘Green’ Power (1.6 or 7.1 cent/kWh?)

Bill Roberts, economist for the Bay Area Economic Forum, warned in a 2007 study on the municipalization of local power purchases and generation in California:

If Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) operates any retained generation and Sonoma Clean Power purchases 100% of its power supply in the competitive market, Sonoma cannot avoid higher average electricity rates than PG&E unless it subsidizes rates (or someone wins the gamble of ‘beating the market’). [page 13, paraphrased for clarity].

Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) officials and advocates were whooping it up with recent news that some 94 percent of its electricity customers had “chosen” to drop service from investor-owned utility Pacific Gas and Electric. Instead electricity customers would be transferred to its new municipal electric utility beginning in May (see Energy News Data, March 28). But Sonoma County electric ratepayers may want to think a second time about automatically “opting in” to the program.

Background

Sonoma County is located north of San Francisco Bay and enjoys frontage along the Pacific Ocean. Sonoma County is considered part of California’s wine country including Napa and Mendocino Counties.

Sonoma Clean Power is a new municipal electric utility created under the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) law in California. This allows cities to disconnect from having to buy power from PG&E and purchase their own power, or build their own new clean power plants. All customers are automatically transferred to the new city owned-utility unless they want to choose to opt out. PG&E would continue to handle billings, maintenance, and transmission and distribution of electricity.

The justification for creating Sonoma Clean Power is that it can deliver cheaper, cleaner power to customers than PG&E. [Read more →]

April 23, 2014   No Comments

“Happy Earth Day” (Julian Simon 25th anniversary essay speaks to us today)

“[It] is very frustrating that after 25 years of the anti-pessimists being proven entirely right, and the doomsayers being proven entirely wrong, their credibility and influence waxes ever greater. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is every scientific reason to be joyful about the trends in the condition of the Earth, and hopeful for humanity’s future, even if we are falsely told the outlook is grim. So Happy Earth Day.”

[Editor note: This post reprints the Earth Day 1995 essay of Julian Simon, "Earth Day: Spiritually Uplifting, Intellectually Debased." Posts about the ideas of Simon (1932–1997), an inspiration to this blog, can be found here]

April 22 [1995] marks the 25th anniversary of Earth Day. Now as then its message is spiritually uplifting. But all reasonable persons who look at the statistical evidence now available must agree that Earth Day’s scientific premises are entirely wrong.

During the first great Earth Week in 1970 there was panic. The public’s outlook for the planet was unrelievedly gloomy. The doomsaying environmentalists–of whom the dominant figure was Paul Ehrlich–raised the alarm: The oceans and the Great Lakes were dying; impending great famines would be seen on television starting in 1975; the death rate would quickly increase due to pollution; and rising prices of increasingly-scarce raw materials would lead to a reversal in the past centuries’ progress in the standard of living.

The media trumpeted the bad news in headlines and front-page stories. Professor Ehrlich was on the Johnny Carson show for an unprecedented full hour–twice. Classes were given by television to tens of thousands of university students.

It is hard for those who did not experience it to imagine the national excitement then. Even those who never read a newspaper joined in efforts to clean up streams, and the most unrepentant slobs refrained from littering for a few weeks. Population growth was the great bugaboo.

Every ill was the result of too many people in the U. S. and abroad. The remedy doomsayers urged was government-coerced birth control, abroad and even at home. [Read more →]

April 22, 2014   4 Comments

Common Core’s Climate Indoctrination

“Our science programs should stimulate students to have an inquiring mind–the very opposite of the science-is-settled, “consensus science” mindset. Obama’s Common Core is a Trojan Horse mixing propaganda with science for our youth…. [Such] one-size-fits-all learning smacks of collectivism in place of individual initiative.”

At a Chicago fundraiser May 29, 2013, President Obama chillingly stated, “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.”  At his swearing-in ceremony May 21, 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared he is “not interested in debating what is not debatable [in climate science].”  These remarks echo the long-standing assertion of climate alarmists that the “science is settled” in regard to the deleterious effects of fossil-fuel burning on global climate. The oxymoronic ”consensus science” is another political sound bite in this genre.

Would these statements come from true scientists interested in pursuing the truth about whether carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel is a global threat?  These remarks make very clear the policies of the United States government with regard to education or research on climate science. If proposed education material or research does not support abandoning fossil fuels, go somewhere else for financial support and airing your views. Close the door on the way out.

The shared narrative is that man, not nature, has been the main driver of climate change for most of the last century–and that this cannot be good, only bad. Support for this thesis is a series of Assessment Reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) released since 1990. 

NIPCC vs. IPCC

To counteract omissions, half-truths, and false statements in these reports, the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was formed in 2003.  Since 2009, the NIPCC has released six reports that give authoritative, easily-read information about the vast amount of experimental data showing negligible influence of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels on climate, financial losses from mitigation, and proper role of adapting to climate change. [Read more →]

April 21, 2014   4 Comments

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   5 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.?

—————————

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