Archive for Energy

How Many Nuclear Power Plants Does it Take to Illuminate a Light Bulb?

Trick question: they’ve outlawed light bulbs!

And nuclear power plants.

But if you want to make a global warm-monger pant in anticipation (not that you would), show him this graph:

A life-cycle footprint measures the negative impact of human activities on the environment. It’s the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide, or CO2.

Better than solar (which fries birds that fly through its concentrated beams), better than wind (which minces birds and bats), better even than burning biomass (like aborted fetuses)—better than all of them is good old clean nuclear power.

As the issue of global warming continues to capture the focus of America and the world, it is vitally important to look at the role nuclear can play in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that continue to pollute the air and damage our ecosystem.

Nuclear energy is the most “eco-efficient” of all energy sources because it produces the most electricity in relation to its minimal environmental impact. There are no significant adverse effects to water, land, habitat, species and air resources.

Nuclear power plants produce no gases such as nitrogen oxide or sulfur dioxide that could threaten our atmosphere by causing ground-level ozone formation, smog, and acid rain. Nor does nuclear energy produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases suspected to cause global warming.

Electricity generated by nuclear avoids almost 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year in the U.S. The 2,100 tons of nitrous oxide (N2O) avoided by Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is the amount of N2O, released in a year by 110,000 passenger cars.

Me, I don’t give a crap about so-called global so-called warming. It’s junk science, peddled by junkie scientists (addicted to government graft). But there are plenty of people out there who do, or claim to. Why do I have to praise the benefits of nuclear power? Where’s Bill McKibben on the issue? Why isn’t Al Gore screaming about it?

The boy can scream when he wants to!

Has anyone seen Memphis? He looks like he ate it.

Comments

Wanted: Dead

We’ve written plenty about the mayhem, murder, and peril birds suffer from wind turbines. It’s like Hitchcock in reverse: these slicers and dicers are merciless on our feathered friends, including and especially our national symbol, the bald eagle.

But it’s more than just birds:

DISEASE and heedless management of wind turbines are killing North America’s bats, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture and human health.

Wind turbines nationwide are estimated to kill between 600,000 and 900,000 bats a year, according to a recent study in the journal BioScience. About half of those lost to turbines are hoary bats, which migrate long distances seasonally throughout North America. Eastern red and silver-haired bats, commonly seen in Central Park in New York City hunting insects at night, are also being killed by turbines by the tens of thousands.

We can’t afford to lose these creatures. In the Northeast, all of our native bat species eat insects. One little brown bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour, reducing the potential for mosquito-borne diseases. A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect crops from up to 33 million rootworms over a growing season. The Mexican free-tailed bats of Bracken Cave in south-central Texas consume about 250 tons of insects every summer night. The natural pest control provided by that species across eight Texas counties has been valued at nearly $750,000 as it protects the $6 million summer cotton crop. Nationwide, the value of bats as pest controllers is estimated to be at least $3.7 billion and possibly much more.

So, you’re okay with chopping bats and eagles into mincemeat, just to “save” the climate?

You are so stupid:

Edward B. of Vancouver, Wash., writes:

Do wind farms affect weather, at least ­locally?

Marilyn responds:

Yes, and the more widespread they become, the more these changes will go beyond the immediate area. Some effects, such as ground warming and drying for miles around, are already known, but cumulative ­effects on the weather—especially if wind farming grows signifi­cantly—are unpredictable.

One point to note is that while wind farms are a source of renewable energy, this doesn’t mean they—and other forms of renewable energy, for that matter—don’t cause change. Even ­improved engineering of the turbines (to reduce turbulence, etc.) cannot eliminate the fact that the machines remove energy from the wind, and this will have an impact on the weather and ultimately the climate.

That’s Marilyn vos Savant, the “smartest” person in the world (as measured by IQ) in Parade Magazine. Why it never occurred to us that the law of conservation of energy applies to wind farms shocks me. She’s absolutely right: has anyone done even a preliminary study on the effect of turbines sucking wind energy our of the atmosphere? Think of wind currents as waterways. If you keep draining off more and more of the current to turn more and more turbines, eventually the wind runs “dry”. Good news for the birds and bats of the world, but not so hot (rather, too hot) for the farmers.

Comments (1)

Clown School

I’ve never watched Stephen Colbert, but I understand his shtik is to play a conservative blowhard unconsciously lampooning the right through outrageous and over-the-top statements.

He should sue someone named Chris Hayes for copyright infringement, on the left:

Chris Hayes says that the only comparable time in history where rich and powerful interests have relinquished wealth to the degree that oil companies would have to do to prevent catastrophic climate change is in 1865, the liberation of the slaves. Slavery represented half of the wealth of the South in 1860.

Further:

Now, before we go any further, I am not comparing slavery to the burning of fossil fuel. The evil of slavery is specific, distinct, and incomparable. The only thing comparable to slavery is slavery.

What followed was the bloodiest conflict this nation has ever seen and 600,000 people dead.

Why do I feel he’s aroused by the very thought of that? Six hundred thousand fewer people is an environmentalist’s wet dream.

Anyway, who would possibly think he’s equating global warming with slavery? All he did was equate them for the purpose of not equating them. People are so sensitive.

PS: The “evil of slavery [may be] specific, distinct, and incomparable”, but hardly unique. It’s all over the world, even today, and always has been.

Comments

Got Peat?

Boy, they ain’t kidding about global warming, huh? That’s some pretty bad [bleep].

Good thing enlightened people are taking the threat of greenhouse gases seriously:

Japan is turning into a rare bright spot in the world coal market, stepping up coal-fired power generation to replace nuclear plants that went offline after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Plans by Japanese companies to spend billions of dollars on new coal-fired plants offer a striking contrast with the U.S., which has effectively blocked new coal plants using existing technology over concerns about global warming.

If the plans all come to fruition, Japan’s coal-fired power capacity would increase to around 47 gigawatts over the next decade or so, up 21% from the time right before the Fukushima accident.

It’s understandable that Japan might shy away from nuclear power (wrong but understandable), but do they really think coal is a safer bet?

The bodies of six miners trapped after a rock burst at a coal mine in central China’s Henan province were found by rescuers Friday.

What do the Japanese care? They still get their coal.

As somebody says, I’ll take global warming seriously when people act like it’s serious.

Comments (1)

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.

Comments

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…

Comments (1)

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.

Comments

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:

Comments

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)!

Comments

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!

Comments (3)

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.

Comments (1)

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.

Comments

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »