How the U.S. Shale Energy Boom Can Help During Crises Like in Ukraine

The crisis in Ukraine illustrates clearly the importance of energy security. The Wall Street Journal reports that Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled oil and natural gas company, is using natural gas prices to pressure Ukraine:

Russian state-controlled natural-gas giant OAO Gazprom said Tuesday it would raise natural-gas prices for Ukraine—a move that ratchets up financial pressure on Kiev and raises the economic stakes in the standoff between Moscow and Western Europe.

Ukraine’s lack of energy security has placed it in this unenviable situation.

Today, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy released its 2nd International Index of Energy Security Risk, measuring the energy security of 25 large energy-consuming countries. Norway is at the top of the list followed by Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Ukraine ranks last.

For the United States, its energy security situation is quite different. It ranks six, climbing one place since last year and four places since 2002 because of the shale energy boom.

The Index finds that increased U.S. energy production has resulted in lower price volatility and improved energy security for all countries in the Index. For instance, increased production by the United States (835,000 barrels) made up for Iranian oil production (687,000 barrels) taken off world markets because of economic sanctions.

The report finds that the shale energy boom also has lowered natural gas supply risks:

Gas import risks remain very high for many countries, especially in Europe and Asia. It is now expected that by 2020, the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas. This is already having an impact on overseas markets, where shipments once destined for the United States are being diverted to European and other markets.

In short, improved energy security in one country–the U.S.–has improved energy security in all countries.

Going back to the Ukraine situation, an implication from the Index is that if oil and natural gas export barriers were removed, U.S. energy abundance could play an important role in stabilizing world energy markets during times of instability and global uncertainty.

Christopher Guith, vice president for policy at the Energy Institute told Bloomberg, “This is a geopolitical fulcrum that we could be utilizing if we didn’t have this protectionist constraint on U.S. energy.”

On a press call, Steve Eule, vice president at the Energy Institute noted that since Russia is “not afraid to use its energy power for political ends” this argues for greater U.S. energy exports.

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, also on the call, added, “Sending a market signal” like speedy approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities “will have a calming market effect.” “Democratic [oil and natural gas] molecules from the West” will reduce volatility and improve energy diversity and security for both a Europe reliant on Russia for gas, and a Japan who has become less energy diverse following the Fukushima reactor disaster in 2011.

Foreign policy analysts agree. “[A]dditional suppliers will give European customers leverage they can use to negotiate better terms with Russian producers, as they managed to do in 2010 and 2011,” write Council on Foreign Relations Fellows Robert Blackwill and Meghan O’Sullivan [via Lachlan Markay].

The Ukraine situation makes clear that by lowering energy export barriers, the United States’ shale energy boom can help lower energy price volatility and improve global energy security especially in times of crisis.

The full International Index of Energy Security Risk and an interactive map can be found at the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s website.

UPDATE: Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacon reports that Congressional leaders are calling for lifting energy export restrictions in light of the Ukraine situation. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for example:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told an audience in Houston on Monday that current export restrictions are reducing the country’s ability to “respond quickly and nimbly” to punitive market manipulations by Russia and others.

“If this was a situation where we wanted to use our natural gas opportunities as political leverage, we’re not in that place now,” she said.

Keystone XL is Proof Obama Opposes U.S. Economic Growth

It’s taken nearly five years, but Americans are finally aware that President Obama is opposed to anything that contributes to the economic growth of the nation. Along with a Democratic controlled Senate and its opposition to anything generated by the Republican House, Obama has saddled the nation with the highest debt in its history and squandered billions on failed alternative energy firms.

The most dramatic example is Obama’s five-year delay of the implementation of the Keystone XL pipeline that would safely transport oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

There are approximately 55,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S. with another 30,000 to 40,000 smaller gathering pipelines that feed it to the major ones.

In a February 17 U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisement in The Weekly Standard, its president and CEO, Thomas J. Donahue, wrote that “In the same time that the Keystone XL pipeline application has been under review by the Obama administration, the Hoover Dam, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Empire State Building were built—a clear indicator of how cumbersome and political today’s permitting process has become.”

Donahue pointed out that “The Keystone XL pipeline would not only transport fuel safely, but it would boost economic activity along the way. Building the pipeline would create more than 42,000 new jobs while adding $3.4 billion to the economy. The pipeline would generate more than $5.2 billion in property taxes for communities on the route, pumping cash into state and city coffers for schools, law enforcement, and local projects.”

“Radical eco-zealots have chosen Keystone XL as the place to make their stand,” says Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) a free market think tank. “They claim this project is unsafe for the environment and the people it would pass near, and that it would greatly contribute to alleged ‘global warming.’”

The State Department is accepting public comment on the pipeline and CFACT has a petition for which it is seeking signatures to move forward on its acceptance. Take a moment to sign it.

Even Obama’s Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, has gone on record saying that the nation’s railroad infrastructure was not ready to handle the huge increase in all oil production coming out of places like North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation, urging that pipelines are the best option. “Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions, and in terms of safety.”

Keystone XL has become the environmental movement’s front line in its attack on the nation’s economic growth and political pundits commonly say that Obama’s refusal to permit its construction is based on his intention to keep their vote, but I am inclined to believe that it is part of his effort to convert the economy and political structure of the nation from a vigorous capitalist entity to one in which millions of Americans, unable to find employment and experiencing a reduction in their personal wealth are forced onto government doles of one sort or another.

Paul Driessen, a CFACT senior policy advisor, points out that “Most Americans are no longer fooled by empty hope and change hype. In December only 74,000 jobs were created (many of them low-paying part-time seasonal positions), while 374,000 more people gave up looking for work. Not surprisingly, recent polls have found that three-quarters of Americans say the country still appears to be in a recession, two-thirds don’t trust the President to make the right decisions for the country, and barely 30% say the nation is ‘heading in the right direction.’”

One is reminded of Obama’s claim that his $787 billion dollar “stimulus” program would help fund “shovel ready” jobs waiting to be filled. It utterly failed to do that, instead directing the money to alternative energy firms that went bankrupt while their owners pocketed much of that funding. Obama later admitted that there were far fewer shovel ready jobs than he believed existed. Government regulations have so slowed and delayed construction projects of every description that until they are removed, the economy will continue to stagnate.

The environmental claim that the pipeline will contribute to “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), is utterly false because CO2 plays virtually no role whatever in affecting the Earth’s weather or climate. The claim is based on computer models, 95% or more of which have proved to be wrong.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal on February 20, Richard McNider and John Christie disputed Secretary of State John Kerry’s claims about “climate change”, pointing out that “When the failure of become clear, the modeling industry always comes back with new models that soften their previous warming forecasts…The models mostly miss warming in the deep atmosphere—from the Earth’s surface to 75,000 feet—which is supposed to be one of the real signals of warming caused by carbon dioxide. Here, the consensus ignores the reality of temperature observations of the deep atmosphere collected by satellites and balloons, which have consistently shown less than half of the warming shown in the average model forecasts.” McNider and Christie are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society.

Even Kerry’s Department of State’s own final environmental impact statement said that the Keystone XL pipeline would contribute little to global greenhouse gas emissions. Obama’s alleged climate policies ignore the science that disputes any connection between CO2 and the climate, but it is his primary instrument to delay and eliminate any economic growth.

Regrettably, on Feb 19, a Nebraska judge ruled that the law allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built across the State is unconstitutional, thus delaying the project still further.

The greenhouse emissions claims are a huge lie created to advance “global warming”, now called “climate change”, but the bottom line is that Obama is using them as a weapon against the nation’s capacity to grow the economy

We have a President who is doing everything he can to reduce jobs, reduce construction, eliminate coal-fired plants to produce electricity, and to wage an economic war on America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Science Magazine Editor-in-Chief: “Time to Move Forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline”

Construction of the Gulf Coast Project pipeline in Prague, Oklahoma, U.S., in 2013. The Gulf Coast Project is part of the Keystone XL pipeline. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

Another former Obama administration official has endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline. Marcia McNutt, prominent scientist, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey, and now the editor-in-chief of Science magazine writes in an editorial [subscription required]:

I drive a hybrid car and set my thermostat at 80°F in the Washington, DC, summer. I use public transportation to commute to my office, located in a building given “platinum” design status by the U.S. Green Building Council. The electric meter on my house runs backward most months of the year, thanks to a large installation of solar panels. I am committed to doing my part to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize global warming.At the same time, I believe it is time to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands deposits of Alberta, Canada, and from the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In an NPR interview, McNutt said she was initially against the pipeline, but changed her mind. The lack of a pipeline “did not stop the development of the tar sands,” she stated. They’re being moved by other means. The State Department came to a similar conclusion in its environmental analysis of the pipeline.

“But McNutt goes on to say she’s now convinced that building Keystone would not speed up oil sands development, and notes that developer TransCanada changed the initial proposed route to avoid an ecologically sensitive region of Nebraska,” National Journal’s Ben Geman reports.

McNutt joins other former Obama administration officials such as former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and former National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon in supporting the pipeline.

To borrow McNutt’s words, “it is time to move forward.” The administration should approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

ACTION ITEM: Energy Citizens requests you Tell the State Department that it’s time to build the Keystone XL Pipeline!

Florida based rocket scientist is America’s best Climate Prediction Expert

Who Is America’s Best Climate Prediction Expert? It’s a fair enough question, given all our government and the mainstream media have been telling us about the threats we all face from climate change (a.k.a. man-made global warming).

With twenty five years and tens of billions of dollars spent by the US government alone on understanding what the causes and effects of climate change are, surely someone has risen to the top in terms of making accurate climate change predictions, right?

The answer is likely a surprise to most. I have an idea who this person is.

According to any number of internet searches, there is one person who may well rank number one in this question of who the best American climate prediction expert is. He has risked it all in publishing his predictions on line, with the science to back it up for all to see, and critique. In doing so, this lone researcher has been subjected to the ‘slings and arrows’ of the established scientific community and those who have invested so much capital, political power and personal prestige at making sure manmade global warming and its experts come out on top.

Despite being heavily criticized for years, this person has amassed an impressive list of major climate predictions that as of today makes him one of the best if not the best climate expert in the Americas. However he is not as you may surmise, on the list of the thousands of researchers the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC) has been using for its many climate reports. He is not a solar physicist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and definitely does not work for NASA’s Goddard center where much of the US media gets its manmade climate info. He is not on the staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or any of its several centers that deal extensively with climate change research. He is not a PhD professor at some prestigious university and also is not working for the Department of Defense or any national science agency.

In fact, this maverick among climate researchers is a single individual with a courageous band of other scientists from around the world who have, with little funding to speak of have been operating out of a small office with no special interests assisting from either side of the climate debate. Yet this team, led by this one person have routinely beat the best US government science agencies and the United Nations (UN) for the past six years in telling us what the Earth’s climate is doing and what it will do in the future.

John L. Casey, President of the Space and Science Research Corporation

Mr. Casey has had a distinguished career in any case. A former White House space policy adviser consultant to NASA Headquarters and a space shuttle engineer with a major aerospace contractor, he is no stranger to tackling and solving tough problems. For example, after the space shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986, NASA brought him in to chair an internal investigation into the breakdown in quality and space flight safety systems that were at the heart of the tragedy.

Many years later in 2007, while doing some solar physics research he stumbled on a curious pattern among sunspots that would prove to be the most important problem he had ever confronted – what causes climate change and what is the planet’s next climate era going to be like? A few months later after completing his research, he made several a startling announcements to the world. In April and May of 2007 he said:

1. Global warming was about to end, within three years!

2. The Sun was going to begin a “solar hibernation” beginning with the next solar cycle #24 (which began in 2008). This hibernation would result in a record reduction in the energy output of the Sun.

3. The Earth’s atmosphere and oceans were about to begin a long term drop in temperatures lasting for decades.

4. A new cold climate era was beginning that posed a serious threat to all with the potential to bring global crop damage and loss of life through starvation, cold weather fatalities, and social upheaval on a historic scale.

He proposed that a new climate theory which he called the “Relational Cycle Theory” or simply the “RC Theory” should replace the greenhouse gas theory of manmade climate change and asserted that the Sun and not mankind was the primary cause of climate change.

His announcement and predictions at that time were received with hostility reminiscent of that Galileo received by the Catholic Church when he said the Sun was at the center of the solar system instead of the Church’s opinion that the Earth was. Once more, by saying the Sun was at the center (of climate change) and not the Earth (not mankind), he immediately was attacked by all sides of the global warming debate including conservatives and liberals. He was slandered and demeaned by members of the established scientific community, some of whom were reaping windfall research grants to study man’s emissions of CO2. So called ‘authorities’ at prominent internet science blog sites were equally as unkind. The most prominent science periodicals and many in the media as well as the government did even worse – they ignored him!

Even Casey admits his timing was bad for his predictions by saying, “My announcements and predictions could not have come at a worse time. Both presidential party candidates were saying manmade global warming was real and they were going to fix it. Al Gore and the UN were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work in alerting the world to the effects of man’s industrial emissions on the climate. Many former friends stopped returning may calls or emails. My message was one that no one wanted to hear.”

Now six years later much has changed. Scientists outside the US and not tied to US politics or US government research funding began to take notice of his work. In June of 2011 when he published his internationally acclaimed climate science book, “Cold Sun,” it included some of the strongest endorsements yet seen from other scientists for a climate book. Other scientists have called his work “…simply a great work!” or “…adds a brilliant page to the history of science…,” or “…this is an Earth-shattering book!”

Here we are in early 2013 and his diligence in getting his word out about what is really happening with the climate for all to read has led to Mr. Casey becoming the most often quoted and referenced on the web on the subject of climate change to a cold era. He still sees a few lingering critics repeat personal attacks and derogatory remarks from 2008 but no one has countered any of his science. They can’t!

Other scientists have joined his team and are actively cooperating with him in their own countries by trying to alert their countrymen to the dangers of the coming cold climate. His prominent and vocal stance on the next climate change has made it easier for others to now come forward to make similar predictions. Past researchers who made such forecasts many years before Casey are now seeing a resurrection from the dusty science journals where their research was buried and are once again seeing the light of day.

Because of his success in climate prediction, other scientists from around the world in earthquake research have now asked him to help in the great humanitarian cause of saving thousands of lives yearly by finally predicting the world’s largest quakes well in advance. As of December 2012, this new group has already had some success!

He is now frequently called on to do interviews and speak to large groups of interested citizens on his RC Theory, his book “Cold Sun,” and most importantly how to prepare for the coming difficult cold climate.

In March of this year Mr. Casey stepped up the gain on describing what is happening with the Earth’s climate by publishing the Global Climate Status Report (GCSR) ©. This heavily researched and data filled resource he and his supporting scientists have published, is intended for all individuals and leaders who want to have a different perspective on climate change from the one they have been receiving from the government and the media. As Casey puts it, “Too long now our people and our leaders have been given only one side, the wrong side, of the climate change story. With the regular publication of the GCSR, anyone can now have a single source for the true status of the Earth’s climate rather than the heavily politicized version we have been force fed for twenty five years now.”

But what about the accuracy of his predictions?

Why should he be on our list of candidates for America’s best climate researcher? This one is easy. All his predictions, as disruptive and controversial as they were in 2007, have now either come to pass or are about to! This remarkable record according to internet searches is without peer. Casey acknowledges this by commenting, “No other climate researcher that I can find has such a public record for similar major climate predictions. There is nothing predicted by the UN-IPCC, NASA or NOAA from 2007-2008 that comes even close to what I was forecasting. In fact they all said that global temperatures could only go up for the foreseeable future and yet as I correctly predicted, they have been dropping.”

But, there is something else.

Among his major predictions he made a very specific one of a detailed scientific nature that goes far beyond simple chance that some may ascribe to it. In early 2007, he contacted NASA’s top solar physicist to discuss what Casey believed was a significant error by NASA in predicting the behavior of the Sun during the next 11-year solar cycle (cycle #24). Casey said at the time that NASA was, “way off” in its calculations for the peak year and level of activity for the next solar cycle. NASA was at the time saying cycle #24 was going to be of record high level of activity and as measured by sunspot count would be at least 145 average sunspot count, likely much higher, and peaking in 2011. Casey, on the other hand, said his math showed the peak would be in 2012 and would be no more than 74 sunspots at peak. In other words Casey told NASA they were more than 100 % in error! The NASA opinion in a joint conference with NOAA scientists went the same. They all said cycle #24 was going to be one of the most energetic ever.

This month, NASA, after making downward adjustments with NOAA every year since 2007, have now issued their latest forecast for cycle #24. Guess what? Now in the peak period for cycle#24, NASA says the peak will be this year, in 2013 with an average of 70 sunspots plus or minus 18 with a likely final cycle average of 69 sunspots! It looks like Casey has done it again – he has beat the US government best scientists on predicting the very complicated nature of the Sun’s behavior to an astounding level of accuracy! And he did it with a shoe string budget by himself, compared to these science agencies who had thousands of researchers, state of the art advanced computers and billions of dollars at their disposal.

According to one of Casey’s now growing number of supporters in a recent email, a Mr. RV said “In 2007 you said the (cycle#24) peak would be in 2012 and the sunspot count would not be greater than 74, half of what NASA was saying…Your prediction turned out to be SPOT ON! Congratulations on your prediction. That was nothing short of awesome.”

But what about the peak in 2013 as NASA now predicts. Casey said the peak of activity would be in 2012. Actually he got that call right also, Casey elaborates with, “ Most except a few solar physicists are not even aware that the typical 11-year solar cycle has a double peak, the first being the primary followed a year or two later by a lesser secondary peak. We then average the two as the cycle winds down and we are certain both peaks have passed. If we look at a chart of sunspots for cycle #24 we did in fact have the primary peak in 2012 as I predicted.”

When it comes to picking America’s best climate prediction expert there are also some intangibles I think we should consider. The first that comes to mind is how tough a challenge was it for the researcher to make his predictions? Were they easy to make scientifically, or were they controversial and likely to bring the researcher much criticism? It takes a lot of endurance to last out a solar cycle and maintain one’s opinion in face of incredible public, media, scientific, and political opposition.

Second is purpose. Casey from the outset has said his goal and that of his company, SSRC is to do what they could to alert the people to the next climate change so they can be prepared for what he calls a “life altering event.” He never expected to get rich as many “warmists” have by pushing manmade climate change. He has on the contrary, spent all he had keeping his research going and the lights on in his little office. As to purpose, Casey reflects on a quote from his book “Cold Sun,” by George Elliott, by saying, “I think Elliott was right with his question, ‘What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?’ ”

Is there any doubt. Casey gets my vote. He is not only America’s best climate prediction expert, but he is also among America’s best, period!

References: NASA’s latest Solar Cycle prediction

RELATED COLUMNS: 

Charles Krauthammer—The Myth of Settled Science

PAPER: 20-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists ‘puzzled’…

REPORT: 500 stranded on drifting ice floes…

PAPER: It’s the cold, not global warming, we should be worried about…

Florida Power & Light: The Smart Meter Challenge Continues

People in Florida are taking a stand against “smart meters” being installed across the state of Florida.  Two different groups of approximately 100 people have filed 2 separate petitions with FP&L. These people did not want a smart meter attached to their homes and now FP&L wants to charge them extra for their old analog meters.  Did you have a choice?  What benefits are you really getting from having a smart meter on your home?  Have you noticed any savings on your bill because of your smart meter?  What about your privacy, safety and health?  Who is answerable to you, the customer?

If you haven’t been aware or noticed what kind of meter you have on your home you might want to check it out… if you are one of the 4.5million FP&L customers who are getting them it’s time for you to educate yourself and see what you have attached to your home.

David, that’s you, the homeowner really hasn’t been truly educated on these transmitters, keep in mind that FP&L saved a ton of money by getting rid of meter readers, those folks now get to enjoy more leisure time with their friends and family while you, David, get to enjoy radio waves transmitting from your home.  Remember FP&L received $500,000.00 from the federal government to have GE build these meters to be placed on your home.  Why?

Safety standards for the smart meters are not a concern to Goliath (FP&L) but they should be of grave concern to David (the homeowners) who has them attached to their homes.  There is a lot of information out there on some of the safety hazards of smart meters…one distinct hazard are of fire.  “Smart meters are often installed in pre-existing meter sockets. Meter sockets are expected to operate safely for many years. However, the safe operating life of the meter socket may be reduced by many factors including (but not limited to) excessive moisture, environmental contaminants, frequent changing of meters, excessive electrical load (overload or short circuit), vandalism, ground settling, storm damage, and other conditions.

As utilities move toward two-way communications for meters and remote meter reading, the opportunity for inspection of meter sockets is expected to decline. The interval between site visits by utility personnel could be more than 100 times longer than current monthly schedules”  Who will have the liability for this problem?

Privacy issues with smart meters are:

Homeland Security said our electric grid should not be dependent on wireless systems, which are by their nature extremely vulnerable. We understand that police will be allowed to subpoena the data that the ‘smart’ meter collects from utility companies.  In addition, third party corporations will be able to access and analyze your private household appliance use data without your knowledge or consent.  For example, if your health insurance company found out from your utility that you opened your fridge often in the middle of the night, they may raise your premium to cover their liability for your unhealthy lifestyle.”

Some people are not concerned with having their lives out there for anyone to view and use, I for one care very much for my privacy and have never given consent to any utility to use my data or spy on my lifestyle.

Health concerns are wide and varied, coming from multiple sources and doctors.

“ Exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation from these meters is involuntary and continuous. The transmitting meters may not even comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “safety” standards (see http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf/). However, those standards were initially designed to protect an average male from tissue heating (cooking) during a brief exposure. These standards were not designed to protect a diverse population from the non-thermal effects of continuous exposure to microwave and radiowave radiation. Therefore, these “safety” standards were not designed to protect the public from health problems under the circumstances which the meters are being used.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has called for a moratorium on the installation of transmitting utility meters on the basis that:

“Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.”

I applaud these David’s in taking on Goliath as years from now who will know the final toll this will have on your health and the health of your children.  Are you willing to risk your well being, health, safety and privacy of yourself and your loved ones, I’m not!

Maine and California have a opt out option for Smart Meters and it looks as if Massachusetts is set to follow.

Sources:

http://www.electricalpollution.com/smartmeters.html

smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Business_Strategy

http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Metering/Smart-meter-fire-hazards-A-safe-and-sane-approach-5167.html#.UwT9FumPLmQ

Obama’s War on America: Killing Coal to Kill U.S. Electrical Power

President Obama, supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, is seeking to deprive America of the use of its enormous reserves of coal in coal-fired plants that produce the electricity on which the economy and all life in America depends.

This isn’t just a “war on coal”, it is a war on America and one free market think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) has been joined by six major unions to ensure that the EPA’s proposed energy proposal, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule does not become a regulation that they call “nothing less than industrial sabotage by regulatory means.”

The EPA’s current regulations have resulted in the shutdown over more than 150 coal-fired plants over the course of Obama’s first term and his second represents a threat to everyone living in America. We are living through one of the harshest winters in recent years and the 17-year-old cooling cycle which the entire Earth is experiencing promises to last decades.

Commenting on the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants, Bonner R.Cohen, PhD, a CFACT Senior Policy Analyst laid out the reasons why MATS has no basis whatever in science.

Any regulation seeking to limit the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere deliberately and deceptively ignores facts that anyone can understand. Bonner spelled out the basic scientific facts, but it is essential to keep in mind that CO2 is essential to all life on Earth, providing the “food” that all vegetation depends.

“Current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are 400 parts per million (ppm). Human activities in all their forms account for 4% of that total. The United States is responsible for 3% of that 4%, all the rest of the CO2 in the atmosphere (96% of the total) comes from purely natural causes, such as volcanoes, undersea venting, animal fluctuation, etc.,” said Cohen.

“The total U.S. contribution to atmospheric CO2 is one tenth of 1% or 00.1%. This 0.01% includes the CO2 that is emitted every time one of the approximately 315 million Americans opens his or her mouth to speak, cry, or engage in any verbal activity.” There are seven billion people on Earth contributing CO2 just by exhaling.

“The contribution of coal-fired plants to the U.S., much less global CO2 emissions, is so miniscule that it cannot be measured with any degree of accuracy. And the contribution of those entities targeted by the EPA to the Earth’s climate also cannot be measured. Thus the EPA has absolutely no way of saying how its proposed regulations will affect the climate.”

800px-Coal_consumption

Data from the US Energy Information Administration website. For a larger view click on the image.

The EPA is moving toward imposing these baseless regulations despite the fact that China and India have been building coal-fired plants to provide their nations with the energy to expand and compete in the global marketplace. China’s CO2 emission increased by 167% between 1999 and 2009, while the U.S., the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, emitted 17% over the same 10-year period.

According to an analysis by Climate Central, from 2005-2009, China added coal-fired electricity capacity that is equivalent to the entire U.S. fleet. From 2010-2013, it added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again. Powered by cheap and abundant coal, China’s economy has lifted 600 million people out of abject poverty and into the middle class over the last two decades.

Carbon dioxide, however, is vital for all life Earth despite decades of lies about it by environmentalists falsely claiming it warms the Earth. It is the food that all vegetation requires in the same way all animal life requires oxygen.

“For EPA to impose carbon-pollution standards that by design will make the introduction of new coal-fired power plants all but impossible is to adapt a policy that by design will drive up the cost of electricity by limiting America’s sources of power,” said Cohen. “The EPA is engaging in a complete fabrication, one that will put an end to an industry that supplies the U.S. with 37% of its electricity.” When Obama took office in 2009, coal-fired plants were providing nearly 50% of U.S. electrical energy.

This is a criminal act against all Americans and one based on the totally false claims about “global warming”, now called “climate change.” The President, during the recent State of the Union speech lied when he said that science was “settled.”

CFACT is not alone in opposing the Obama administration’s attack on the provision of energy. Six unions are petitioning the Senate to hold hearings on the EPA coal plant rules. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and five other unions have sent a letter to top senators on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The United Mine Workers, Boilermakers and Utility Workers said that the proposed rules would result in the closing of 56 gigawatts of coal-fired generation and the loss of approximately 250,000 jobs. These unions have been pushing back against the Obama administration for years at this point.

In 2011 the Congressional Research Service reported that America’s reserves of coal are unsurpassed, accounting for more than 28% of the world’s coal. It estimated that U.S. recoverable coal reserves were approximately 262 billion tons—not including massive, cut difficult to access Alaskan reserves.

The U.S. consumes around 1.2 billion tons of coal a year and our coal reserves add up to centuries of coal use which the White House and the EPA is seeking to deny to all Americans.

If the White House and the EPA is permitted to implement the MATS regulation the economy will dramatically decline. Life in America will resemble that of third world nations. It is entirely based on lies.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORY: Obama To Announce Coal Regulation Via Executive Fiat (Recession to Follow)

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of “press-stone-coal” and taken by Benutzer: Stahlkocher. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

EPA-Mandate Will Mean Higher Electricity Costs, Says Obama Official

Carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) mandated in a proposed EPA greenhouse gas regulation on new power plants will mean higher electricity costs, a Obama administration official admitted to a House of Representatives subcommittee.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/DNtjOpj3Kys[/youtube]

When asked by how much CCS will add to the cost of electricity generated by coal plants, Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal Dr. Julio Friedmann told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that first generation technology will add “something like a 70 to 80 percent increase on the wholesale price of electricity.” The cost increase from more efficient, second generation CCS is expected to onlybe half that amount.

CCS is the cornerstone to EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power plants. The technology is still not commercially viable. As Dan Byers wrote in a post on EPA’s proposed regulation:

The EPA is mandating carbon capture sequestration (CCS), but as an integrated technology, CCS has never been demonstrated on a commercial power plant, and is nowhere near ready for broad deployment. This fact has been argued by the federal government itself….

Not only does the Obama administration acknowledge that the technology isn’t ready, it also admits that it will significantly increase electricity costs.

The Sierra Club Hates Energy

If I told you that you should hate coal, oil and natural gas, you might think I was crazy and you would be right. Everything we do involves these three energy reserves and the U.S. has so much of them that we could be energy independent of the rest of the world while, at the same time, exporting them.

When you think about energy reserves, think about the hundreds of thousands of jobs they represent. Then think about the huge revenue in leases and taxes they represent to the government that needs to reduce its debt. Ultimately, though, try to imagine a nation that does not utilize petroleum in thousands of ways or fails to tap its enormous coal and natural gas reserves to generate the electricity upon which that everything depends.

I recently received an email from the Sierra Club praising the President’s State of the Union speech in which he claimed that climate change—by which they mean global warming—is real and that the science is “settled.” No, the science entirely refutes it—except if one means that the climate has always been a state of change. The most recent climate change is seventeen years of cooling that has gifted us with record-breaking cold as far south as Florida.

What Sierra Club focused on was Obama’s call for “new sources of energy” other than the traditional ones. He was referring to solar and wind energy. A recent news article on CNSNews noted that “Solar power, which President Barack Obama promoted…accounted for 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply in the first nine months of 2013, according to data published by the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration.”

According to the EIA, “the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office…From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent.”

Some might take this as a good thing, but “electricity has gotten more expensive since 2008—with the electricity price index at an all-time high.” So we are paying more while getting less.

The Sierra Club, however, criticized Obama saying “As long as his administration keeps throwing lifelines to old sources of energy like oil and gas, we won’t be able to lead the world on clean energy solutions like wind and solar.” They called for an “end to oil and gas fracking on public lands.” What they are not saying is that the Obama administration has virtually put an end to any exploration and extraction of energy sources on public lands. And you can forget about the massive reserves estimated to exist off-shore of our coasts.

In early January, Mark D. Green, the editor of Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, examined the reality of our vast energy sources. Keep in mind that every product we purchase is dependent in some way on oil. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil” that provide power for our vast transportation needs and thousands of other uses. Oil is the basis for the creation of plastic. Try to imagine living without anything that does not utilize plastic in some fashion.

As for natural gas, experts predict that lower prices as more is discovered via fracking, will increase industrial output 2.8 percent by 2015 and 3.9 percent by 2025. Policies that would allow the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas would generate between $15.6 billion and $73.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and help reduce our deficits and debt.

The Sierra Club doesn’t want to see the U.S. benefit from coal, oil and natural gas. It wants to see the landmass filled with solar farms and thousands of wind turbines that would not produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nation, let alone a major city. Because they are unpredictable, all require the backup of traditional plants.

Nor does the Sierra Club make any mention of the Obama administration’s war on coal that has forced 153 plants to shut down. It’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that would require new plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not commercially available! Nor is there any reason to capture carbon dioxide, the gas that is the “food” that every single piece of vegetation requires; a gas that plays virtually no role at all in the Earth’s climate.

As this is being written, the State Department just released a report that would clear the way for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada after a five-year delay by the Obama administration. Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and natural gas. If the U.S. cannot gain access to the oil, it will go to China and other nations.

The prospect of the pipeline was rejected by the Sierra Club. Friends of the Earth announced that it would join with the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and other radical Green groups to hold vigils around the nation Monday to protest its possible approval and construction.

The Sierra Club is not only lying to its members, it is lying to all of us when it says “Getting all of the energy we need without using fossil fuels is no longer a question of whether we can—but whether we will.” We can’t, we shouldn’t, and we won’t…but we must wait until Obama is no longer in office and, as early as the 2014 midterm elections, we must rid our nation of his supporters in Congress.

Then we will watch our nation’s economy expand with more jobs and more revenue.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Terrorists attack CA Power Station: National Power Grid Vulnerable

Today’s  Wall Street Journal  (WSJ) had a front page story that raises question of the vulnerability of our national power grid to terrorist attack given an incident that occurred in Silicon Valley in April 2013. It is only now surfacing  in the national media, “Assault on Power Grid Raises Alarms”.

In the early morning of April 16, 2013, the Metcalf, California transmission substation in Silicon Valley was attacked by what federal investigators believe was a highly professional terrorist team .  That sniper  assault  caused 17 transformers to crash severing power to  Internet Service Providers  and other power users in  Silicon Valley.  Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) was forced to  increase and reroute power to the area served by the disabled transmission station.  The recovery  took 27 days for PG&E to repair and bring  the transmission substation back online.

Grid Attack diagram WSJ 2-5-14

Graphic of timeline of Metcalf attack. For a larger view click on the image.

Here is the time line of the Metcalf incident as compiled by the WSJ:

At 12:58 a.m., AT&T fiber-optic telecommunications cables were cut—in a way that made them hard to repair—in an underground vault near the substation, not far from U.S. Highway 101 just outside south San Jose. It would have taken more than one person to lift the metal vault cover, said people who visited the site.

Nine minutes later, some customers of Level 3 Communications,  an Internet service provider, lost service. Cables in its vault near the Metcalf substation were also cut.

At 1:31 a.m., a surveillance camera pointed along a chain-link fence around the substation recorded a streak of light that investigators from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office think was a signal from a waved flashlight. It was followed by the muzzle flash of rifles and sparks from bullets hitting the fence.

The substation’s cameras weren’t aimed outside its perimeter, where the attackers were. The shooters appear to have aimed at the transformers’ oil-filled cooling systems. These began to bleed oil, but didn’t explode, as the transformers probably would have done if hit in other areas.

About six minutes after the shooting started, PG&E confirms, it got an alarm from motion sensors at the substation, possibly from bullets grazing the fence, which is shown on video.

Four minutes later, at 1:41 a.m., the sheriff’s department received a 911 call about gunfire, sent by an engineer at a nearby power plant that still had phone service.

Riddled with bullet holes, the transformers leaked 52,000 gallons of oil, then overheated. The first bank of them crashed at 1:45 a.m., at which time PG&E’s control center about 90 miles north received an equipment-failure alarm.

Five minutes later, another apparent flashlight signal, caught on film, marked the end of the attack. More than 100 shell casings of the sort ejected by AK-47s were later found at the site.

At 1:51 a.m., law-enforcement officers arrived, but found everything quiet. Unable to get past the locked fence and seeing nothing suspicious, they left.

A PG&E worker, awakened by the utility’s control center at 2:03 a.m., arrived at 3:15 a.m. to survey the damage.

Watch this video for the Santa Clara Police Department released in June 2013 published in the San Jose Mercury:

The WSJ noted that PG&E put out a news release saying it was “vandals” who caused the incident.  Note what former Federal  Electrical Regulatory Commission (FERC) head, Jon  Wellinghoff  uncovered after the event:

Mr. Wellinghoff, then chairman of FERC, said that after he heard about the scope of the attack, he flew to California, bringing with him experts from the U.S. Navy’s Dahlgren Surface Warfare Center in Virginia, which trains Navy SEALs. After walking the site with PG&E officials and FBI agents, Mr. Wellinghoff said, the military experts told him it looked like a professional job.

In addition to fingerprint-free shell casings, they pointed out small piles of rocks, which they said could have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.

“They said it was a targeting package just like they would put together for an attack,” Mr. Wellinghoff said.

Mr. Wellinghoff, now a law partner at Stoel Rives LLP in San Francisco, said he arranged a series of meetings in the following weeks to let other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, know what happened and to enlist their help. He held a closed-door meeting with utility executives in San Francisco in June and has distributed lists of things utilities should do to strengthen their defenses.

A spokesman for Homeland Security said it is up to utilities to protect the grid. The department’s role in an emergency is to connect federal agencies and local police and facilitate information sharing, the spokesman said.

The WSJ article drew attention to the problem of replacing the transformers, the target of the Metcalf terrorist  attack:

The country’s roughly 2,000 very large transformers are expensive to build, often costing millions of dollars each, and hard to replace. Each is custom made and weighs up to 500,000 pounds, and “I can only build 10 units a month,” said Dennis Blake, general manager of Pennsylvania Transformer in Pittsburgh, one of  [only]seven U.S. manufacturers.

Given our work on the EMP threat to our national grid, there are 300 critical transmission substations like Metcalf that are vulnerable to such a terrorist assault. See: Interview with Jerry Gordon on The Electronic Armageddon -The … .   A rolling assault by trained terrorist  teams  against  these 300  sub stations  could  create havoc  and a shutdown of the national  grid  far in excess of the 50 million who lost power when the Northeast grid crashed in 2003.  The grid  vulnerability  is reflected in the limited  US manufacturing capacity for large Extra High Voltage (EHV) transformers.  Most of the world’s EHV transformer manufacturing capacity is located in China, South Korea and Germany.  A study by the National Academy of Sciences indicated  that  replacement of just the 300 EVH transformers from  limited US and offshore producers could take upwards of a decade. Further national security concern is the more than 100 military bases  connected to these vulnerable civilian grids. The WSJ article also illustrates the underlying problem of utility industry opposition to HR 2417: Shield Act sponsored by  Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) which would set standards including provision for standby replacement transformers. Based on work of the  Congressionally chartered EMP Task Force a thin shield for the national grid might cost $200 million, while a more robust program could run between $10 to $20 billion.  The impact on electric utility users would be an increase in electrical rates per user of less than $.20 cents per annum.

The  North American Electric Reliability  Corporation (NERC), the principal electric utility standard setting organization,  has opposed passage of the Shield Act calling the network “resilient”.  Au contraire  says  an official of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) cited by the WSJ: “The breadth and depth of the attack was unprecedented” in the U.S., said Rich Lordan, senior technical  executive. “The motivation”, he said, “appears to  be preparation for an act of war.”  When we checked the websites of House Energy and Commerce Committee  Chairman  Fred Upton (R-MI ) and  Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) their major concerns as regards the security of the grid is vulnerability to cyber attack.  According to the WSJ  retiring  House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) raised concerns  about the lack of federal  authority to undertake protective actions regarding the safety of the national grid during FERC oversight hearings in December 2013.

Whether it is  a terrorist attack like the Metcalf substation incident, the threat of a massive geo –magnetic storm during   or an EMP caused by either North Korea or Iran , this latest WSJ report should embolden US taxpayers and electrical users to request serious  Congressional  consideration of HR2417: The Shield Act .   If any of those events occurred  that would  bring us back to pre-industrial times. If that occurs, the estimates are that more than 200 million Americans could succumb to a  pandemic  virus from lack of food, water, sanitation  and  medical treatment caused by the breakdown of industrial , transportation and communications networks.  If you are concerned about this lack of security of the national  grid, you should consider signing a petition requesting Congressional consideration of the Shield Act , here.

Listen to this August 2012 Electronic Armageddon Rob Schilling Radio Show interview with Jerry Gordon.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

A Very Cold Reality

It’s not as if those in the Northeast have not experienced bone-chilling cold or that it is predicted to extend from the Midwest down into our southern States. There may possibly be a snow storm that will require the National Football League to reschedule the Sunday, February 2nd Superbowl at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Crews spent 18 hours working to remove the snow from last week’s storm.

A visit to IceAgeNow.info yielded headlines of news stories last week that included “Record Cold—Millions of Americans hit by Propane Shortage”, “Ice and Snow Closed Texas highways This Morning”, “Ice-cover Shuts Down Work on New Hudson River Bridge”, and so you understand this is a global phenomenon, “Kashmir—Heaviest January Snowfall in a Decade”, “Heavy Snowfall Sweeps Eastern Turkey”, “Romania—Heavy Snowfall and Blizzard”. And “Bangkok Suffers Coldest Night in Three Decades—Death Roll Mounts.”

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and editor of IceCap.us says that, as the President addresses the nation on Tuesday, every State will have freezing temperatures and parts or all of 27 States will be below zero.

All this is occurring as President Barack Obama is anticipated to talk about “climate change”, a warming Earth, during his Tuesday State of the Union speech. He will be speaking to the idiots who still think the Earth is warming because they are too stupid or lazy to ask why it is so cold.

Michael Bastasch, writing for The Daily Caller on Saturday, confirmed D’Aleo’s and other meteorologist’s forecasts. “The bitter cold that has hit the U.S. East Coast is expected throughout February, and on Jan 28—the day of the address—the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to be hit with freezing cold air that could drive temperatures below zero in big cities among the I-95 corridor.”

Washington, D.C. will be one of those cities, but as Bastasch reported, “Environmentalists and liberal groups are urging Obama to use the speech to reaffirm his commitment to fighting global warming. ‘President Obama should rank the battle against climate change as one of his top priorities in his State of the Union speech next week’, said Center for Clean Air Policy president Ned Heime.”

For environmentalists, it does not matter if the real climate is a deep cold. They committed to the lies about global warming in the late 1980s and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) has maintained the hoax ever since. Along the way we learned that the computer models on which it based its assertions and predictions were rigged and bogus, but that has not deterred the IPCC which is now referring to a “pause” in global warming. This is lying on a global scale.

It was the environmental group Greenpeace that put out a television advertisement featuring a Santa Claus telling children that he might have to call off Christmas because the North Pole was melting. How malicious can they get? When a group of global warming scientists and tourists took a ship to the Antarctic to measure the “melting” ice down there, the ship got caught in the ice which also resisted the efforts of two icebreaker ships to rescue them.

We are dealing with environmental groups, the IPCC and government leaders like Obama for whom the telling of huge and blatantly obvious lies about global warming is nothing compared to the billions generated by the hoax for the universities and scientists that line their pockets supporting it and industries that benefit by offering ways to capture carbon dioxide or conserve energy by first banning incandescent light bulbs.

The “pause” has lasted now for seventeen years and, as is the case with all climate on the Earth, the reason is the Sun.

A report published by CBN News noted that “The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.”

Jens Pedersen, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, said that climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.

“Global warming is nowhere to be found,” said David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, in a January 16 commentary in The Washington Times. “As frigid conditions settled over the nation, global-warming alarmists went into full denial mode”, adding that “weather extremes also seem to bring out the lunatic fringe” and that is why the public is being told that cold weather has been caused by global warming!

Whatever the President has to say about “climate change” should be taken as just one more example of five years of lies to advance policies that have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans needing jobs or the execrable Obamacare attack on the U.S. healthcare system.

The cold reality may well be a Superbowl played on another day and a President for whom the truth is incidental to his shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the increase in the nation’s ever-growing debt, a lagging economy, and his intention to by-pass Congress rather than working with it.

That kind of thing will put a chill up any American’s spine if you think about it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED COLUMNS:

New Polar Plunge Could Be Winter’s Coldest…
New study suggests global warming decreases storm activity and extreme weather | Watts Up With That?
Energy emergency…
CHICAGO CHILL -45°…
LIVE MAP…

High Energy Prices Has Europe Rethinking Energy Strategy

Europe is realizing that reliable, affordable energy is critical to economic competitiveness, and policies that pick energy winners and losers can have unintended consequences. This stems from a New York Times story on how the European Union (EU) is rethinking how it deals with greenhouse gas emissions:

On Wednesday, the European Union proposed an end to binding national targets for renewable energy production after 2020. Instead, it substituted an overall European goal that is likely to be much harder to enforce.

It also decided against proposing laws on environmental damage and safety during the extraction of shale gas by a controversial drilling process known as fracking. It opted instead for a series of minimum principles it said it would monitor.

Europe pressed ahead on other fronts, aiming for a cut of 40 percent in Europe’s carbon emissions by 2030, double the current target of 20 percent by 2020. Officials said the new proposals were not evidence of diminished commitment to environmental discipline but reflected the complicated reality of bringing the 28 countries of the European Union together behind a policy.

The “complication” being that high energy prices is one factor that’s holding back Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Take Germany, which is undergoing a energiewende or “energy revolution,” an attempt to drop both nuclear and fossil-fuel energy use from its economy and rely primarily on renewable energy. The Economist explains this audacious goal:

Germany’s last nuclear plant is to be switched off in 2022. The share of renewable energy from sun, wind and biomass is meant to rise to 80% of electricity production, and 60% of overall energy use, by 2050. And emissions of greenhouse gases are supposed to fall, relative to those in 1990, by 70% in 2040 and 80-95% by 2050.

In order to ramp up electricity production, renewable energy is heavily subsidized. So much so that Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe. As the London Telegraph reports, the result is that  German companies are becoming less competitive:

Energy prices are 40% more expensive than in France and the Netherlands, and the bills are 15% higher than the EU average. Even though Germany’s energy-intensive manufacturing sector is given a break with reduced levies, industries such as chemicals and steel are among the hardest hit, with energiewende costs of up to €740m a year.

Ironically, since Germany is giving up nuclear energy, it must turn to new coal-fired power plants for baseload electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

These kinds of unintended consequences happen when government stacks the deck for one type of energy source, especially one that’s not yet market competitive.

While Europe wades through its self-inflicted morass, this is also a lesson for environmental groups demanding that the Obama administration stop pushing an “all of the above” energy strategy (which has been lip service) and go solely down the renewable energy path.

Renewable energy has a role in a country’s economy. However, renewable energy that’s more reliable and competitive doesn’t come out of thin air; it needs innovation and investment, and both require a growing economy; and a growing economy needs dependable and affordable energy.

A sound energy policy is one that embraces America’s energy abundance and diversity. America’s energy security needs nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables, and a robust energy mix means more certainty for businesses to invest and grow.

Visit Energy Works for US to learn more about the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s proposals on making renewable energy more competitive and making America more energy secure.

Obama promise kept: “Your Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket”

There is no reason for the U.S. to be in such a slow recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. If President Obama would get out of the way, our national debt could be dramatically reduced and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created in the nation’s energy sector, leading to the expansion of its manufacturing sector and still more jobs.

As Daniel Simmons, the Director of Regulatory and State Affairs for the Institute of Energy Research told the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements in February 2013:

“The federal estate contains vast energy resources, but the federal government allows energy production on a very small percentage of taxpayer-owned federal lands. The Interior Department has leased just two percent (2%) of federal offshore areas and less than six percent (6%) of federal onshore lands for oil and gas development.”

“These technically recoverable resources total 1,194 billion barrels of oil and 2,150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that is owned by the federal taxpayer…the value of the estimated oil resources is $119.4 trillion and the value of the estimated natural gas resources is $8.6 trillion for a grand total of $128 trillion.”

As 2014 began, Mark D. Green, editor and lead contributor to Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, noted that “Oil and natural gas are the energies of our lives.” They heat and cool our homes and apartment dwellings. They fuel our vehicles and aircraft. They are components of products we use every day. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil for these uses and more.”

Green also noted the important role the energy industries play in our economy, citing the “5.6 percent (5.6%) of total U.S. employment. “With the right policies in place—pro-development policies that increase access to domestic reserves—the industry could add another 1.4 million jobs by 2030.”

Jobs for younger workers would increase because 50 percent (50%) of the oil and natural gas industry’s skilled workers could be retiring within a decade. Pro-development policies would fuel a renaissance in manufacturing as lower energy prices would reduce outsourcing and attract manufacturers to build and expand facilities in the U.S.

One factor stands in the way of this brighter economic future and that is President Obama and those who direct the work of the Environmental Protection Agency—an enemy of the coal industry—and the Department of the Interior which has slowed the provision of leases to energy companies to expand the discovery and extraction of energy resources.

Instead, Obama has delayed the construction of Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would generate jobs to build it and jobs resulting from it. Green says that “As unimaginable as it might have been just five years ago, the right policy decisions could see the U.S. meet 100 percent (100%) of its liquid fuel needs domestically or from Canada by 2014.”

Energy industries already send $85 million a day to the U.S. Treasury in income taxes, royalty payments, and other fees. Obama, though, wants to raise the nation’s borrowing limits after having added six trillion dollars in debt in his first term.

It was Obama who wasted a trillion dollars on a failed “stimulus”, discovering belatedly that there were few “shovel-ready” jobs while at the same time wasting billions in loans to wind and solar companies that went into bankruptcy shortly after receiving them.

As Simmons points out, “In 2011, wind power produced 1.2 percent (1.2%) of the energy used in the United States, solar power produce 0.1 percent (0.1%) and hydroelectric power contributed 3.3 percent (3.3%) of the total energy used. Solar and wind energy is unpredictable and require back-up from traditional electrical energy plants. “Today, there are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States and construction began for all of these reactors prior to 1974.”

Thanks to the EPA 153 coal-fired plants have been shut down!

What the public is not told is that the coal-fueled electric sector has invested $110 billion in a variety of clean coal technologies that reduced emissions by 90% and intends, over the next decade, to spend $100 billion more. Even so, the EPA continues to issue rules—New Source Performance Standard—that make operating coal-fired plants too costly to operate.

The Obama administration’s justification for its policies is the bogus claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for “global warming” or “climate change” when it plays NO role whatever regarding the Earth’s climate.

The same lies the Obama and Democrats in Congress, as well as the Health and Human Services department told Americans about the Affordable Health Act are reflected in their lies about the nation’s energy sector.

Obama has been waging a war on America’s energy needs and the benefits that would result from its expansion.

Until Obama leaves office and voters remove the opponents of the nation’s energy sector, the enormous benefits to Americans in jobs and debt reduction will not occur.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED COLUMN AND VIDEO: Under Obama, Electricity Rates Are ‘Necessarily’ Skyrocketing

Obama is Denying Energy Independence to America

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East, it occurred to me that, if we had a president who had even the slightest grasp of energy facts, we could be living in a nation that is not dependent in part on Middle East oil.

Instead, we have a president who will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be extended from Canada at no cost to American taxpayers while providing thousands of jobs, short and long-term and whose administration denies access to the nation’s vast energy reserves.

Why? Some observers say President Obama is trying to maintain his bona fides among environmentalists and it’s important to keep in mind that virtually every major environmental organization opposes any and all forms of energy development. I suspect the President simply sees the pipeline as symbolic of his overall attack on America’s ability to have sufficient energy to meet its needs and provide for growth. It is an attack on our economy.

Billions of gallons of crude oil is used daily in America and the nation has an extensive network of pipelines to transport it; approximately 55,000 miles. In addition there is also an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines, located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. Right now, hundreds of miles of Keystone XL pipe sit idle on 83 acres of leased land outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Testifying in April before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, said that both America and our neighbor Mexico are energy rich countries with total recoverable oil reserves that exceed 1.7 trillion barrels. At our current rate of use, that is enough for the next 242 years.

In terms of natural gas, North America has approximately 4.2 quadrillion cubic feet, enough for 176 years at the current rate of use. U.S. recoverable coal reserves are estimated at more than 497 billion short tons; enough for nearly 500 years at our current rate of use.

As events in Egypt are reported, commentators note the importance of the Suez Canal through which much of the oil the West uses must pass, but given the U.S. oil reserves our nation could function independent of that imported oil.

Ironically, we will have to build more pipelines to transport it internally and we need to build more liquid gas facilities to export our huge reserves of natural gas. This is not likely to occur over the remaining years of the Obama administration, nor will the shutdowns of coal-fired plants in a nation that is the Saudi Arabia of coal cease. Coal in federally controlled land is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but it remains barred from mining.

Not only could the U.S. be energy independent, but could be a major exporter to other nations because oil, natural gas, and coal will comprise almost eighty percent of the global energy supply in 2040. Energy demand is expected to grow by fifty-six percent between now and 2040, mostly due to the economic growth of nations such as China and India.

The nation remains mired in an economy that is barely growing at two percent annually and part of that is due to the energy policies of the Obama administration. As this is being written, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies have quietly raised their estimated “social cost” of carbon emissions from $21 per ton to $35 per ton. The increase was not debated in Congress, nor available for public review. Instead, its announcement was buried in an unrelated Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens!

Having been defeated in its efforts to impose a tax on carbon emissions, the Obama administration is engaging in the outright fraud of claiming that carbon emissions are causing global warming/climate change. As part of its war on energy provision the Obama administrated wasted billions on wind power, solar power, and electric car company failures throughout its first term. Without mandates and subsidies, none of these enterprises could remain in business or be competitive.

The U.S. economy should be booming given the huge reserves of natural gas and oil that exist nationwide, but instead it remains hostage to nations such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time a major oil exporter, Iraq, has seen its exports reduced due to the turmoil that has escalated since the U.S. military was withdrawn. Sanctions on Iran affect its oil exports. Expect the cost of oil to remain high for years to come.

The U.S. is suffering from the attacks on its energy sector by the major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth at the same time the Obama administration continues its regulatory attacks to reduce the coal mining industry and restrict access to oil reserves. In states and on privately owned lands, there is a boom in natural gas extraction.

Every American who fills up his auto’s gas tank, air conditions or heats their home or apartment, and whose livelihood is directly affected by the cost and availability of energy is being held hostage by the Obama administration, forced to pay higher costs and forced to suffer the loss of opportunity in a nation whose access to its own vast energy reserves is being denied.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Smart Meters – The Gateway to Time of Use Rates

Smart meters collect detailed energy usage data at certain time intervals. When initially deployed, utilities and government entities will talk up the reasons and benefits as being “to provide users with more information in order to better manage their energy”. Consumers who have studied the smart grid and the purpose of smart meters will point to their main purpose as being necessary for “time of use (TOU) billing.” Utilities and government officials will accuse them of “fear mongering”.

Well, California is ahead of Florida, so let’s look at their experience with smart meters. A few days ago, San Francisco Gate reported that the California Public Utilities Commission is proposing sweeping new rate changes for California’s Investor Owned Utilities. Guess what they entail – time of use pricing!

SF Gate reports that residential customers with typical monthly usage of 600 kilowatts will see their bills rise 13% if they stay on flat rates and 16% if they switch to TOU pricing and don’t “change their habits”. What changes in habit are they talking about? Running those dishwashers and washing machines at times that they don’t want you to use energy.

For residential customers who use 1200 kilowatts, well they will see reductions of 14-17% in their bills. What you say? Hasn’t everyone been saying we need to conserve energy so we don’t have to build power plants and turn on peak power plants? The article goes on to claim that changes made during the last energy crisis caused an imbalance in pricing where heavy users were subsidizing low users.

Although there is a choice, note that everyone will be automatically enrolled in TOU pricing unless they “specifically” choose to stick with tiered rates.

Last year, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) proposed time of use pricing too. An editorial in the Sacramento Bee stated “The current system results in heavy users unfairly subsidizing low-use customers who use a disproportionate amount of electricity during times of peak demand. It sends the wrong price message to customers.”

The narrative is changing in California. But that is no surprise, as it changed in other places around the globe that have deployed smart meters and then later mandated time of use rates.

I questioned the Public Service Commission back in May 2012 on smart meter deployment asking “FP&L states we can have access to our usage on a continually basis. … The only time this becomes important information, as a consumer to have, is when you move to pricing based on “time of day usage”. Is this where we are heading with this “smart grid” and if so shouldn’t the public be alerted now?”

Walter Clemence responded in an e-mail on June 6, 2012 as follows:

“Will time-of-use rates become mandatory after smart meters are deployed?

Time-of-use rates are optional and customers may continue to take service under their current rate schedule.  Customers have had the option of time-of-use rates since 1974. “

Pay close attention to the words he used. He did not say that there were “no plans to move to TOU pricing”. And in fairness, California is letting those that want to stay on flat rate pricing do so. But as smart consumers know, that with nearly 20% rise in rates, eventually good comrades do what the State demands. They comply.

Google “smart meters and dynamic pricing” and see what you find.  There is a 10-year audit trail on their plans to move everyone to dynamic pricing and change behaviors through pricing. And just for the record, TOU pricing is just an interim step; the ultimate goal is “real time” pricing (RTP). This is a staged implementation for a reason. It’s like the frog. Put him in boiling water and he will jump out. Put him in cold water and gradually turn up the heat and he stays there until he can no longer get out.

Skeptics (pro-smart grid) will argue changing consumer behavior is essential and they will talk about the overloaded grid. But the forecast for electricity load growth tells a different story. Check out this Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, July 23, 2013 presentation to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Electricity Load Growth is expected to decline.

Source: July 23, 2013, Utility Business Models in a Low Load Growth/High DG Future, Charles Goldman, Andy Satchwell, and Peter Cappers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

What’s in store for Florida? Can all its seniors handle staying up until 7:00 p.m. to do their laundry? Perhaps they will offer senior special discounts so they can afford to run the air conditioners during those hot summer afternoons. The rest of us will pay or sweat.

EDITORS NOTE: TOU means that instead of a single flat rate for energy use, time-of-use rates are higher when electric demand is higher. This means when you use energy is just as important as how much you use. To learn more about time of use rates watch this video from Pacific Gas & Electric:

RELATED COLUMN: DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

Florida Public Service Commission caves to FP&L smart meter demands

As expected the Florida Public Service Commission approved the staff recommendation today to allow FP&L to charge $95 upfront and $13 per month to those customers who wish to opt out of a smart meter.

My apologies, I did not know you could call in and make verbal public comments at this meeting over the phone. One citizen did that.

The OPC did little but suggest a reduced fee of $75 upfront and $10/month and based it off of California. They also recommended two paragraph’s be included in the Order. It was read quickly and I did not fully understand the significance, if any, of those inclusions. But basically OPC supported the tariff and the fee being charged.

Health and medical exemptions were never even discussed. No discussion of the definition of a non-communicating meter occurred, nor any of the other issues brought up to mitigate costs such as self-readings.

FP&L did admit that the fee needed to be and was designed to be high enough to disincentivize opt outs!

When questioned, they claimed customers who had an analog could keep it but also said there were NO savings by people opting out (which is not true since they will not be spending money putting on a smart meter). They also re-enforced that at any time if a customer wants to switch from an analog to a smart meter that there would be NO fee. Those customers refusing to pay the fees will be put into their normal collection process for non-payment. They admitted that the $77 visit charge may not occur for all customers but some customer may have 5 visits and it is meant to be an average assumption (so much for cost based and cost causer!).

If you wish to watch the meeting, it will be archived at this link and Item #6 starts at the 57 minute mark: http://www.floridapsc.com/agendas/audiovideo/index.aspx

FP&L will be revising their tariff and resubmitting today to reflect the staff recommendations. They indicated that they expected this service to become effective in May 2014 (I assume that is when they will start charging us).

If no protest is filed, the Order will become effective in 21 days.