Category Archives: Energy

Animal’s Daily Special Election News

And then there were three.  Excerpt:

The dust has settled in Alaska’s special U.S. House race, with the three final candidates meeting for two forums on Sunday and Monday before they scattered across the state to begin another chapter in a campaign that has continued to surprise and sometimes confound voters and election officials.

“Every day seems to be a new chapter of this race. We don’t seem to even get two consecutive days of the same chapter,” said Mary Peltola, the Democratic candidate who is facing Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich.

The three candidates used the forums — one hosted virtually by the Alaska Black Caucus and the other held in-person by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce — to draw attention to their differences while still praising one another repeatedly.

Image from linked article.

“I’m very, very thankful that we have great candidates up here,” said Palin, a former governor and vice presidential candidate making her return to Alaska politics after a 13-year hiatus. “You guys have good choices, kind of can’t go wrong.”

Energy – especially gas prices – will be a big, big factor in the general elections this November, and on that ground, there seems to be little daylight between the three candidates:

Begich said, “We need to start unlocking energy production with the United States,” and “Alaska has a huge role to play as it related to our energy security.”

Palin said her goal is “to win the war against President Biden’s anti-energy independence agenda” and that “Alaska needs to be tapped into.”

Peltola said, “We’ve got to be developing positive relationships with other members of Congress in order to impress upon them the importance of Alaska’s oil and gas resources.”

Alaska fireweed

Mary Peltola, of course, should she win the seat – unlikely, I should think, but not impossible – she will be badly hampered in her pro-Alaskan energy hopes by her own party, while either of the other two candidates would be among the mainstream of the GOP on this issue.

And, of course, it’s maybe a special election, but it’s still an election, and the candidates are all politicians.  Promises and policy statements grow as fast as Alaska fireweed springs up along the roadsides this time of year.  I do think energy will be a, if not the issue.  Abortion isn’t that much of a much here; abortion access is already a matter of law in Alaska, and I don’t see too much talk about overturning that pre-Roe law.  Gun control is a non-starter in the Great Land, and I’m not seeing much talk about that.  West Virginia v. EPA could end up being a significant issue, but it will remain to see what happens in that quarter.

And, of course, all of this is just setup for November.  Alaska’s politics don’t figure all that much on the national scale, sadly; but whoever wins this special election and gets that brief stint in the Imperial City gains a big advantage for November.

Animal’s Daily Energy Bills News

Gasoline.

How much have your energy bills gone up?  A lot?  I’m just going to leave this here.  Excerpt:

Across the country, energy prices continue to skyrocket under President Biden’s agenda that strangled American energy independence. It’s being felt at the gas pump, where Americans are paying the most — ever — after the national average cost per gallon recently doubled under Biden’s policies. 

But in another less-obvious way, electricity rates have also been spiking under Biden. There’s no illuminated sign on the corner showing the price Americans pay per kilowatt hour, but the burden of increasing residential electricity rates is hitting wallets. 

Townhall reviewed the latest available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to find which states’ electricity costs made the biggest jumps by comparing average residential retail price of electricity (RRPE) in cents per kilowatthour between January 2021 and March 2022 when Biden took office — and the pain caused by the combination of Biden’s inflation and energy crises is abundantly clear. 

Lots of graphs follow.  Go read the whole thing.

Interestingly, we aren’t doing as bad in the Great Land as folks in lots of places; our overall energy bills have only gone up a tad over six percent, according to this piece.  I have a hard time drawing comfort from that when gasoline is at $5.51/gallon, as of yesterday.  Needless to say we’re not driving a lot when we can help it.

Add to this issue the fact that America’s electrical grid is aging, badly, and we’re anticipating rolling brownouts over much of the country this summer.  Our entire society relies on electricity; without it, we’re kicked back to 1850, and our country at the technological level of 1850 can’t support 335,000,000 people.  You’re looking at mass starvation, especially in the cities, and open civil conflict, if this happens.

I’d point out that “Hey!  No more mean tweets!”  But honestly, I didn’t see a plan from the GOP on addressing the problems with the grid.  Production, sure, some lip service.  But lip service ain’t getting us anywhere.

Animal’s Daily Electrical Grid News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Bacon Time, Pirate’s Cove and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!  Also, check out the latest installment in my current fiction series over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  I found this an interesting read:  The Day The Electricity Died.  Excerpt:

First, we need to understand a little bit about how electric grids work. They cannot store electricity without a battery. Batteries are scarce and expensive. Electric demand must be met with electricity generation, always. If supply cannot keep up with demand, the utility will shut down electricity for some or many.

For nearly a week, Texas utilities were unable to meet demand. They shut down the electric grid. Five million people lost power, and from 250 to 700 died. If an electric grid breaks, all the people it serves will be without electricity for weeks or months.

Nonetheless, Progressives favor energy policies that will make grid failures more frequent, widespread, and prolonged. They want to close coal plants without enough full-time power ready to take their place. They seem unconcerned about reliability. They want coal plants torn down even if we have to keep paying them—like selling your car to get a newer one while you still owe lots on the first.

The people of the upper Midwest will pay the price this summer. Their multi-state grid operator, MISO, has warned that it will be 5 GWs short of electricity this summer. California also could be up to5 GWs short, enough to power 1.3 million homes. Texas warned that there might not be enough electricity for last week’s unexpected 90° weather, or for hotter days coming this summer.

What do they all have in common? Increasing their reliance on solar and wind and closing coal plants. A dirty green secret is that coal is full-time power and wind and solar are not. Electric grids must have full-time, on-demand power all the time—plus some—or blackouts are guaranteed.

The author refers to “Progressives,” but most of the policies attributed to those people here are regressive – as in, regressing our technological society back to about 1850.

Truth is, our current technological society if a tremendous, tottering house of cards.  (Read William R. Forstchen’s One Second After to get a look at what a complete collapse of the electrical grid might look like.)  Anything that could disrupt that house of cards – already very fragile – has civilization-ending possibilities.  Some folks will come through better than others, of course; plenty of folks up here in the Great Land as well as in rural communities elsewhere in the States are capable of fending for themselves.

But imagine our major cities going without power for even a few days.  Then imagine them going without for weeks, or months.

“Catastrophe” doesn’t begin to cover it – but that’s where “green” energy policies are driving us.

Rule Five Energy Reality Friday

The energy blog Master Resource ran this a while ago, but I stumbled across it while on an airplane last week and found it an interesting read:  Antidote to Magical Thinking.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

In an article filed under “climate crimes,” The Guardian claims that environmental nirvana is reachable if only politicians stop listening to Big Oil and start listening to social scientists. Author Amy Westervelt argues that the technology needed to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions is at hand; we just lack the will and the laws to implement it. She quotes from a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

Factors limiting ambitious transformation [to address climate change] include structural barriers, an incremental rather than systemic approach, lack of coordination, inertia, lock-in to infrastructure and assets, and lock-in as a consequence of vested interests, regulatory inertia, and lack of technological capabilities and human resources.

At least this quotation refers to real limitations, which contradicts Westervelt’s claim that:

The report made one thing abundantly clear: the technologies and policies necessary to adequately address climate change exist, and the only real obstacles are politics and fossil fuel interests.

The technologies to achieve what these people want – zero carbon emissions – do no exist, and will no exist in the foreseeable future, for a number of reasons.  As Vaclav Smil points out:

In a recent interview with the New York Times, energy expert Vaclav Smil offers an antidote to Westervelt’s magical thinking. Smil’s latest book, How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going, examines what he calls the “four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics, and ammonia.” Creating these requires burning huge amounts of fossil fuels.

Given this reality, Smil maintains, we are not going to achieve decarbonization by 2050, much less 2030. “What’s the point of setting goals which cannot be achieved?” Smil asks. “People call it aspirational. I call it delusional.”

Check the China statistics. The country is adding, every year, gigawatts of new coal-fired power. Have you noticed that the whole world is now trying to get hands on as much natural gas as possible? This world is not yet done with fossil fuels. Germany, after nearly half a trillion dollars, in 20 years they went from getting 84 percent of their primary energy from fossil fuels to 76 percent.

Can you tell me how you’d go from 76 percent fossil to zero by 2030, 2035? I’m sorry, the reality is what it is.

Yet, Smil does not counsel despair:

[W]e are constantly transitioning and innovating. We went from coal to oil to natural gas, and then as we were moving into natural gas we moved into nuclear electricity, and we started building lots of large hydro, and they do not emit any carbon dioxide directly. So, we’ve been transitioning to lower-carbon sources or noncarbon sources for decades.

Exactly so; carbon dioxide emissions in the Western world have been declining steadily for decades now, not because of the maniacal shrieking of climate activists but because of basic economics; improvements in technology delivering more product (energy) more efficiently, therefore cheaper.

One of those facts, of course, is that we do have a source of electricity generation right now that results in little or no carbon emissions and is cheap to boot:  Nuclear power.  But, at least in the United States, the regulatory process is so onerous that it’s difficult (and in some places impossible) to open a new nuclear power plant.  We keep hearing as well of the possible advent of small modular reactors that could power a neighborhood or a small town, but one would expect that the regulatory burden placed on those would render them impossible as well.  And that’s a shame, because I can tell you from experience that would be a damn fine solution for places like our little rural Alaska community.

The article concludes:

Amy Westervelt in The Guardian implies that all that is needed to solve global warming is will. Politicians, properly schooled, can wave their legislative wands, creating good and banishing evil. Green energy sources will pop up like mushrooms across the land, and fossil-fueled power plants will vanish into the mist.

Smil reminds us that physical laws and resource scarcities matter. Economics matters. Reliability matters. National, regional, and personal interests matter. Time matters.

Indeed.  We solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s technology, and in many cases a lot of those technological solutions are unforeseen.  For example, I can tell you with great certainty that in the 1970s nobody predicted the Internet, and yet here we are today, with a tool that has literally changed the world and ushered in the Information Revolution.

But facts matter.  Reality matters.  And the reality is that the climate activists, including Amy Westervelt, have been drinking too much Kool-Aid.