Archive for Energy

Pheasant Over Glass

What wine do you serve with singed squab á la Mojave?


(Who thought this was a good idea?)

Environmentalists have hit out at a giant new solar farm in the Mojave Desert as mounting evidence reveals birds flying through the extremely hot ‘thermal flux’ surrounding the towers are being scorched.

After years of regulatory tangles around the impact on desert wildlife, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened on Thursday but environmental groups say the nearly 350,000 gigantic mirrors are generating 1000 degree Fahrenheit temperatures which are killing and singing birds.

According to compliance documents released by developer BrightSource Energy last year, dozens of birds were found injured at the site during the building stage.

The green fascists told us that global warming would lead to mass die-offs—and they were right! Only they were wrong about the extent of the warming: a thousand degrees is by my reckoning a lot warmer than 1.3C.

President Barack Obama has mounted a second-term drive to combat climate change, proposing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

His plan aims to help move the U.S. from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by wind and solar power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

President Obama is doing to the avian population what he did to American health care.

Careful birds, if the solar powered inferno doesn’t get you, the abattoir of the wind turbines will:

If you look around for statistics about bird deaths from wind turbines get you wildly different numbers. Some say just 10,000 birds a year meet their end at the hands (blades) of the wind industry. Others ramp that number up to 600,000. Now, a new study tried to actually use science to estimate.

In the end, using 58 mortality estimates that met their criteria, they came up with an estimate. According to the current literature somewhere between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die each year from collisions with wind turbines.

That’s not all, explains the blog Natural Reactions:

In addition, it appears that there is a greater risk of fatal collisions with taller turbines. This is a real problem, as larger wind turbines may provide more efficient energy generation. Consequently, it is expected that new wind farms will contain even bigger turbines, which will result in even more bird deaths. Future developments therefore will have to give very careful consideration to potential wildlife impacts when planning the type of turbine to install.

Okay, solar and wind are utterly destructive to the environment; that leaves nuclear and natural gas. Which is a-ok with me, but I don’t think Obama is serious about nuclear power. That leaves natural gas. Which again is a-ok with me, but it doesn’t make for much of an energy policy.

Not that condor fricassee does either.

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I Believe That Children Are The Future

Quoth the great Whitney Houston—enemy of women’s health:

“Imagine a democracy across space, time and class, where legislative bodies represented not only those living in the world’s low-lying areas but their great-grandchildren–and ours. Or imagine that our elected representatives were proxies for those people. Imagine those representatives determining our current energy policy. Is there any doubt that things would change more rapidly?”–Mark Bittman, New York Times, July 2

Wait. The New York Times counsels us to consider the state of unborn children?

What???

This is revolutionary!

For those hypothetical children to have standing in our energy policy, they would have to stand a chance of actually being, you know, children. Is the Times suggesting a bargain? They get a say on coal or gas if we get a say on whether they are born or flushed down the toilet?

Ooh, I need to think about this…

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A Man of His Word

President Obama (then Candidate Obama) in 2008.

So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

President Obama today:

Yes, technologically unlocked oil and gas has created an energy revolution and industrial bright spot in the otherwise dim Obama era. By 2020, according to Yergin, shale gas alone is expected to support 4 million jobs (versus 1.7 million today). And the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil exporter, according to the International Energy Agency. Natural gas, meanwhile, is on course to overtake coal as the second largest source of energy worldwide by 2025. …

That’s why the surging supply of natural gas, the least carbon-intensive of traditional energy sources, is welcomed by all except a deep-ecology fringe. Natural gas produces half as much carbon as coal and a third the quantity of nitrogen oxides. The more prevalent the use of natural gas, the cleaner the air across America.

Expanded oil and gas production benefits state and local government as well. North Dakota, which welcomed the industry’s new technologies, saw its taxable sales and purchases jump nearly one-third in 2012 compared to the year before. Oil and gas tax receipts for the current biennium came in at $3.8 billion, leaving the Roughrider State with a budget surplus of $1.6 billion.

Under this brave man’s leadership, America stands poised to depose Saudi Arabia as world’s leading producer of greenhouse fuels. And we produce more natural gas than Congress does on three-bean chili day at the Capitol commissary. Good jobs for American workers have followed—all at the expense of coal, as he promised.

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of this president.

PS: Can you believe the ingrates in North Dakota voted for Romney over Obama by 58%-38%? Racist bastards.

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Hating America

Okay, so maybe the president forgets the niceties once in a while:

Okay, maybe twice in a while:

Fine! It happens—

—with disturbing—

—regularity.

Are you quite done?

But no one has died because of his inappropriate behavior.

Until now:

Stop it!

Why, you…

The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation has found.

More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.

“It is the rationale that we have to get off of carbon, we have to get off of fossil fuels, that allows them to justify this,” said Tom Dougherty, a long-time environmentalist who worked for nearly 20 years for the National Wildlife Federation in the West, until his retirement in 2008. “But at what cost? In this case, the cost is too high.”

Documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press offer glimpses of the problem: 14 deaths at seven facilities in California, five each in New Mexico and Oregon, one in Washington state and another in Nevada, where an eagle was found with a hole in its neck, exposing the bone.

One of the deadliest places in the country for golden eagles is Wyoming, where federal officials said wind farms had killed more than four dozen golden eagles since 2009, predominantly in the southeastern part of the state. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the figures. Getting precise figures is impossible because many companies aren’t required to disclose how many birds they kill. And when they do, experts say, the data can be unreliable.


Do we have a problem, jug-ears?

Wyoming, huh? That’s Cheney country. You don’t suppose Obama is targeting eagles in conservative states, do you? I wouldn’t put it past him.

PS: I just have to:

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RPEC: Righteous Petroleum Exporting Countries

Between Israel’s off shore natural gas fields and America’s mammoth oil fields, we are together the Righteous Petroleum Exporting Countries:

The federal government is doubling its estimate of how much oil might be discovered and harvested in the booming area of the Dakotas and Montana, a region that’s already helping to drive the United States’ dramatic shift into a role as the world’s leading oil producer.

“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday in a conference call.

The surge comes primarily because of the Three Forks shale formation, which lies mostly in North Dakota and crosses into South Dakota and Montana. It was considered to have little potential for productive drilling the last time federal geologists launched an estimate of the area, four years ago. But advances in drilling techniques and growing activity by oil companies caused the U.S. Geological Survey to take a closer look.

The USGS now thinks the Three Forks formation contains 3.73 billion barrels of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil. Combined with a similar figure for the neighboring Bakken formation, it represents double the oil and nearly triple the natural gas that geologists thought the region held four years ago.

Manna came from Heaven; oil and gas from underground. But the effect is the same:

A new seismic survey indicates an even larger amount of natural gas in Israel’s offshore Leviathan reserve, partners in the project said Wednesday.

According to the current best estimate, the field contains 18.9 trillion cubic feet of gas, up from 18 trillion cubic feet, based on a survey released in March, said Ratio Oil Exploration Ltd. Partnership (RATI.L.TV), which holds 15% of the drilling license. The amount of natural gas assumed to be in the field has been estimated upward several times since its discovery in 2010, when it was initially thought to contain 16 trillion cubic feet.

The field is scheduled to start production later this decade, and lead to Israel becoming an exporter of energy, but the government hasn’t yet decided how much gas it will allow to be exported.

Talk of conserving fuel to be patriotic is so last decade. With America and Israel leading the way, fossil fuels are the new red, white, and blue (or just blue and white)!

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Electric Lemons

Cheer up, Volt drivers! Your car will go green by the time you’re gray!

For proponents such as the actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, the main argument is that their electric cars—whether it’s a $100,000 Fisker Karma (Mr. DiCaprio’s ride) or a $28,000 Nissan Leaf—don’t contribute to global warming. And, sure, electric cars don’t emit carbon-dioxide on the road. But the energy used for their manufacture and continual battery charges certainly does—far more than most people realize.

A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is a less than green activity. By contrast, the manufacture of a gas-powered car accounts for 17% of its lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions. When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: 14,000 pounds.

If a typical electric car is driven 50,000 miles over its lifetime, the huge initial emissions from its manufacture means the car will actually have put more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than a similar-size gasoline-powered car driven the same number of miles. Similarly, if the energy used to recharge the electric car comes mostly from coal-fired power plants, it will be responsible for the emission of almost 15 ounces of carbon-dioxide for every one of the 50,000 miles it is driven—three ounces more than a similar gas-powered car.

I suppose you could always tank up with non-coal-fired power sources, such as solar (snort!), wind (chortle!), or Aggie’s hamster wheel. Otherwise, it sounds like your Leaf, Volt, Fisker Karma, or Tesla roadster is just a complete waste of money and natural resources.

Just remember Bill Murray’s advice from Groundhog Day!

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Go South, Young Men and Women

O-o-o-o-o-klahoma, where the jobs come sweepin’ down the plain!

These trends point to a U.S. economic future dominated by four growth corridors that are generally less dense, more affordable, and markedly more conservative and pro-business: the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, the Third Coast (spanning the Gulf states from Texas to Florida), and the Southeastern industrial belt.

Overall, these corridors account for 45% of the nation’s land mass and 30% of its population. Between 2001 and 2011, job growth in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and the Third Coast was between 7% and 8%—nearly 10 times the job growth rate for the rest of the country. Only the Southeastern industrial belt tracked close to the national average.

Historically, these regions were little more than resource colonies or low-wage labor sites for richer, more technically advanced areas. By promoting policies that encourage enterprise and spark economic growth, they’re catching up.

Such policies have been pursued not only by Republicans but also by Democrats who don’t share their national party’s notion that business should serve as a cash cow to fund ever more expensive social-welfare, cultural or environmental programs. While California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota have either enacted or pursued higher income taxes, many corridor states have no income taxes or are planning, like Kansas and Louisiana, to lower or even eliminate them.

The result is that corridor states took 11 of the top 15 spots in Chief Executive magazine’s 2012 review of best state business climates. California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts were at the bottom.

The author explores the economic and sociological implications of this development, but one thing stuck in my mind. As Massachusetts, California, New York, Illinois, etc. are left behind—drifting away like an eskimo elder on an ice floe—maybe that, and only that, will shock the corrupt and sclerotic liberal political establishment to change. Nothing else has.

But the prospect of complete irrelevance—economic, because all the activity will be elsewhere; and political, because so will the population, hence electoral college votes—might be enough to shame our reprehensible leaders to behave more responsibly.

But what am I smokin’, and why so early in the day?

Still, nothing has made me feel more hopeful for the country in months.

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Paying Premium for Regular

The media are masters of peeing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.

But when it’s neither rain nor pee, but gasoline, there’s no disguising the smell:

Gas prices have risen for 32 days straight, according to AAA.

That means that the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has increased more than 13% over that period to $3.73.

It’s hitting wallets right in the middle of winter, when people are already looking at large home heating bills. And it comes just after many Americans have been hit with smaller paychecks, and are worried about looming budget cuts that could deliver an even deeper blow.

Whoa! That sounds like journalism! Where did that come from?

As the U.S. housing market experiences a resurgence, the jobs picture brightens and consumer spending expands, anticipation of higher oil demand is driving up prices.

That’s better. Unemployment “ticked” up last month, not down, and who doesn’t feel like filling up their tank every time a house is sold? That’s the CNN I know.

Still, there’s only so much wool you can pull over the eyes of the middle class American:

For the average American, all this couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

Most of the country’s 160 million workers are taking home less pay each week since the payroll tax cuts expired last month.

The government in 2011 had temporarily lowered the payroll tax rate for the first $113,700 of annual earnings in an effort to keep more cash in the pockets of Americans and provide a boost to the economy.

Now, workers earning the national average salary of $41,000 are receiving about $60 less on every monthly paycheck.

That’s about a tank and a half of gas. Come in awfully handy this winter. Still, if these boobs can’t afford to drive to their polling station, some good may come out of it.

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Who the Heck is Richard Windsor?

You don’t know? She just resigned from high office!

A Washington attorney suing the Obama administration for access to alias emails sent by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that a recent decision by the Justice Department to release thousands of those emails next month contributed to her resigning Thursday.

Jackson, in a brief written statement, said Thursday she is leaving the EPA after four years on the job, for “new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.”

The agency did not offer an explanation. But Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the scrutiny over the alias emails is clearly a factor.

“Life’s full of coincidences, but this is too many,” he told FoxNews.com. “She had no choice.”

Horner and CEI earlier this year had sued the EPA for documents pertaining to Jackson’s use of alias email accounts. She was said to operate under the name “Richard Windsor” — the use of those accounts has since drawn the scrutiny of Republican members of Congress, as well as triggered an audit by the EPA inspector general.

According to court documents, the EPA — represented by the Justice Department — two weeks ago agreed to release as many as 12,000 emails pertaining to the CEI request beginning by Jan. 14, at a rate of 3,000 documents per month. The court accepted the schedule last week.

Horner said the increased scrutiny on the alias account, coupled with what those emails might contain regarding the administration’s alleged “war on coal,” likely contributed to Jackson’s announcement Thursday.

“She, by her action, told us that these are records she doesn’t want the people to see,” Horner said.

Hillary Clinton could not be reached for comment.

Earlier in the month, the EPA inspector general’s office confirmed that it was opening an audit into the agency’s “electronic records management practices.” The office said they would look into whether the EPA was, among other things, encouraging the use of “private or alias email accounts to conduct official government business.”

Horner has said the agency’s use of secret email accounts dates back to the Clinton administration and then-Administrator Carol Browner. He called Jackson’s account a “deliberate, several stage deception.”

Most transparent administration evuh!

Oddly enough, the CNN account of her resignation made no mention of “Richard Windsor”.

So, we have to look elsewhere:

Horner told WND’s Greg Corombos that the Obama administration has routinely tried to squelch his requests by forwarding them to the wrong agencies, claiming he would have to pay huge fees for the documents to be processed or just flatly ignored. Several times, Horner has been forced to sue the government for the requests to be honored.

As frustrating as that bureaucratic maze can be, Horner said the administration is also guilty of intentionally breaking the law.

In his new book, “The Liberal War on Transparency,” Horner details how multiple officials, including former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina, conducted business on private email accounts so those communications would never end up on the public record. Messina, who is now manager of the Obama re-election effort, used a personal email account to negotiate with the drug industry and bring them on board the push to pass Obamacare in exchange for $4 billion in incentives.

Horner said those emails were deleted, despite federal law demanding that all government business be preserved and done through official means of communication. He warned that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Iceberg, huh? Is that supposed to be a global warming crack?

As usual, I blame the press. Governments try to get away with all kinds of stuff, which is why the very first amendment to the Constitution guarantees a free press. Alas, what the Founders giveth, Columbia Journalism School taketh away.

PS: If someone can pry that ice pack off Hillary’s forehead, perhaps she can issue a statement on responsibility and clarity. She won’t, of course, but is it too much to wish that anyone in the press could ask anyone in this administration an uncomfortable question?

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Hurray For Fracking!

Fracking has already brought our greenhouse gas levels back to 1992. It’s the Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and the Fabled Way Back Machine

You can enjoy Mr. Peabody and Sherman and The Improbable Way Back Machine on youtube.

Or you can travel back to 1992 here:

In a welcome development almost no one saw coming, America’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to 1992 levels and are expected to continue to decline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).
In addition to a sluggish economy and more fuel efficient cars, “fracking” has been a big driver of this trend. “Fracking” is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock. The EIA projects U.S. greenhouse emissions will fall below 2005 levels by 2040.
“It is a revolution,” says Joel Kurtzman, a senior fellow at the Milken Institute. “We should be using it. We should be embracing it. It’s domestic. We spend $350 billion a year buying foreign oil. We can replace almost all of that with natural gas.”
Indeed, there are multiple benefits to increased natural gas production, including less dependence on foreign oil and opportunities for the U.S. to be an energy exporter. Lower energy costs are also helping to revive U.S. manufacturing, creating jobs in addition to those directly associated with fracking activity.
The boom in domestic natural gas production has really been the biggest macro economic development of 2012 — even if the election, the fiscal cliff and various other concerns have overshadowed it.

And there’s a video at the site.

Boy, I just have to hand it to the fracking guys. Take that, you Lefist Bullies!! Score one for the team. Oh, and I certainly hope that the Arab Potentates are watching this carefully. Because if this takes off, they can go pound sand. Literally. (And don’t, don’t, bring me down with your talk about China and India and their insatiable need for fossil fuels. I just don’t want to hear it this morning. The Saudis can go pound sand. Say it. Embrace it.)

- Aggie

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Gaseous Emissions

Also from James Taranto:

“Shipping some of the newly abundant U.S. natural gas overseas would benefit the nation’s economy more than keeping it all at home, according to a long-awaited government study,” The Wall Street Journal reports:

The administration had said the study would be central to its decision on approving exports. It analyzed more than a dozen scenarios for U.S. production and exports of natural gas. It found that “across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits” from liquefying and then exporting natural gas.

But “‘impacts won’t be positive for all groups in the economy,’ the report found.” That’s because greater demand causes prices to increase:

The endorsement could turn the tide in a politically sensitive issue. Gas producers are eager to export more, while big consumers including manufacturers and chemical companies are leery that exports could raise domestic prices. Environmental groups, meanwhile, fear that allowing exports would encourage more natural-gas production.

Okay, so it’s not just the poor and minorities who will be hardest hit, but some industries too. But why should the price be kept artificially low to the detriment of the economy as a whole?

And my house is heated by natural gas! I love low prices, the more artificial the better! But I also want to see more Americans working.

Obama boasted in 2008 that he’d kill the coal industry. He told Brazil he wanted us to be the biggest customer for their oil, leaving ours to rot in the ground and under the sea (oh wait, oil already is rot). And now natural gas is under siege.

Some of my best friends belong to “environmental groups”, so I hope they don’t mind if I tell them to go [bleep] themselves. I’ve tried alternative forms of energy, but the algae growing in my bathtub just can’t heat the whole house, and the charcoal lighter I have to use to get it burning seems to defeat the purpose.

Aggie, you suggested buying an industrial-sized popcorn maker to keep up with the spectacle of the end of the world. But given the price manipulation from ethanol subsidies, I’m not sure we can afford the popcorn.

PS: I’m torn, actually. I don’t trust anything that comes out of this administration. A Department of Energy report is as subject to bias and manipulation as the rest of the propaganda this regime produces. Between Dow Chemical and Stephen Chu, who am I supposed to believe?

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Looking More And More Like The Carter Era

Gas rationing

For a different reason, to be sure, but it sure does bring back memories.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke Friday afternoon and said the state was “inching closer to normalcy” following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

But things seemed far from normal after the governor issued a gas rationing system to ease the strain several hours later. Starting at noon Saturday, New Jersey will move to an odd-even gas rationing system in 12 counties as part of a “limited state of energy emergency.”

Christie ordered odd-even fuel sales to help ease shortages and long gas lines that have occurred since Sandy decimated the coast earlier this week.

Let’s compare the Obama era to the Carter era. Crappy economy? Check. Gas lines? Check. Unexplained violence in the Middle East? Check. President wearing cardigans and refusing to leave the White House? Not exactly. This President loves golf more than just about anything and he’s very hip… no cardigans for him. But he is very into Green Energy, today’s cardigan.

- Aggie

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