Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chinese buy another US fracking and drilling giant.

What if I told you all that patriotic addvert shit you see early evening in the news, and in (my) newspaper about American oil and American gas and American jobs and puff up your tits and strut...... well today Chesapeake Energy the darling of the natural gas world, deep in debt, it's CEO and his family accused of corruption, the guys that gave tap water the ability to burn, sold 50% ownership to China.

So all this profit that is to swell the wealth of America thorough energy independence, will be mailed instead to Communist China.  Not the first Oklahoma City company to sell it's soul and its trade secrets to China, every major pipe valve shop, wellheads, joint, fishing tool or pump builder down there let the Chinese look under their dress, outsourced, even started factories there and now have competitors, uh hu, Chinese competitors.

Only a few weeks ago China bought another big drilling company here, Chesapeake wasn't the first to lift their "fracking" skirts for a dollar.

What about the fracking of shale oil and shale gas?  Besides the environmental costs, a new study by geologist report it's not what it suppose to be.  Fracked wells were suppose to supply natural gas for 40 years or more, it turns out the majority peter out in 5 years or less.  (see the chart above) The extraction is estimated at getting only 10% of the gas down there, it would be prohibitive to continue building pressure to get more, but over the years some of that will continue to weep up polluting air and water on the surface.  It also reports that not all hydrocarbons are equal.  NG from these sources don't produce as much energy when burned, you buy the cubic feet volume, but get less bang.  The amount of energy used to drill and retrieve it is also out of whack, in 1913 it took one barrel of oil to produce 100, in 2013 it takes 20.  It seems fracking is a destructive bubble that may pop.  Drilling into a mirage the reports writer said.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Red states may follow ALEC to higher energy prices.

The price of wind energy is shown by these circles.  The price trend line is declining.  In my area the turbines that went into service in December are selling in the low $30's /MWh.

Those red lines are what ALEC is telling legislators and the news media, and it's wrong.
ALEC is a group funded by the Kochs and like minded corporations who want to put a stop to wind energy.  In this chart they pretend to forecast future electric prices if more wind farms are built.  As an attempt to act all neutral and fair, they claim to  run 3 different models, just to be sure.

How the fuck do they come with a straight face saying wind will cost multiples higher if we continue to build them.  When wind costs more than Coal, Nukes, and Natural Gas generation, ALEC won't need to fight it.  It will die on it's own.  But, wind is the cheapest, that's why every new system is sold out for years before the tower goes up.   You can read my three posts below to see the data.  ALEC claims by 2020 rates will go up $660 on residents if we allow more windmills.

ALEC is a boiler plate right wing law writing service that hands out ready to vote laws to lazy red states on: Mexicans, gays, abortion, voting rights, healthcare, tax, and in this case attempting to make it less desirable to approve wind energy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Department of Defense declares global warming, again!

In 2008, in the closing weeks of Bush the Lesser's regime the Pentagon put out a paper declaring global warming was real, and it would cause us problems, and much of the world.  Rising temperatures, water shortages and failed crops would drive mass migrations, wars over these resources, failed nations.

2010 DOD issued another finding, the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, laying out the dramatic shifts under way and that would escalate and complicate strategy and actions worldwide, due to Global Warming.

Last week DOD published yet another document, CCAR, The Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.  This one lays out a list of hardships that will befall the military as harsh weather takes a toll.  Expenses will skyrocket as harsh weather, collapse of permafrost, rising seas, crack runways, flood bases, wash out roads, damage foundations, in general the infrastructure cost on bases and training grounds is going to cut deep into weapons purchasing and the ability to train and respond.

Hey GOP, still don't believe it, don't believe the Generals?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Divestment, calling a spade a spade.

On dozens of college campuses student bodies are voting for the college to divest from fossil fuel and gun/ammo makers stocks.  It's working.  Already some schools are instructing their endowment managers to sell stock and bonds in these companies.
Even more powerful, a number of cities have done the same, instructing city employee retirement fund managers to divest.  City retirement funds are among the the biggest stock holders in the nation.
If you are in a position to speak up about such a retirement funds investments, or a college's investments, or unions, do so.
Divestment, all these institutions selling stock will not collapse those markets, others will buy in where a good asset exists.  But due to the overall size, gun makers may see some long term decline from this, fossil fuel, so large it will not.  But like the multi-year divestment of South African stocks years ago, divestment stigmatizes these companies, the shine wears off when these groups renounce them in this way, it's known then they are not good corporate citizens.  It hampers their PR efforts, their recruiting, even some financial institutions will turn from working with them.

The funny thing is, a few simple acts could put this fire out, but they won't do it.  Gun manufacturers could knock off the crazy shit and return to sane products and practices, and fossil fuel could stop harassing and undermining science while investing in renewables instead of pollution.

win win for the Greedy Old Party

Virginia is about to (or maybe did yesterday?) impose a new tax.  Yes, from the GOP, hater of taxes under any name, a tax on hybrid cars.  $100 a year.  Why?  They really don't say.  For sure it's Koch brothers and their ilk behind it.
Hybrid cars help us all.  When you see the hybrid sticker next to you at the light, know that he's using less gas, competing less for the gallons you need.  Hybrids, even if you don't have one, helps lower gas prices.  It may not seem that way lately but it does.  So........why punish the hybrid driver?  For big oil it's simple, cause they hurt profits and they are the future trend!

Pope Brownback of Kansas is caught by the Wichita Eagle "investigative reporters" (an almost extinct species) in a 2 billion dollar lie.  For months he has pranced about claiming spending has been cut $2 billion from the bad old days of Democrat governors.  Pants on fire, spending is up, it's higher than when he took over.  He also claims a whole wraft of shit about school funding and kids performances, Pants on fire, all false.  But since the story came out Monday, nothing much said, life goes on, no other press picked it up, and the state house is busy busy busy today writing 4 very important bills; make it harder to permit wind farms, more restrictions aginst abortion, make it more difficult for union (not only public employee unions but all) dues to be paid/handled/forwarded in the state, a law forcing police in Kansas to arrest any Federal employee/law enforcement type taking a gun or enforcing any gun law....... this one even the red neck state attorney general said is poison as the FBI or ATF would have to turn around and arrest the local cops for obstruction of justice or at a bank robbery local cops would arrest FBI for taking the gun from the suspect or drug dealer....... oh this state is so fucked.

Back to oil.  Gas is up 40 cents in 2 weeks, in a few cities prices are over $4 already.  Why?  The national fleet is being driven less, partly due to the recession, and new cars get better mileage than old ones headed to salvage, every day we are using a little less to go the same distance.  Drill baby drill is paying off to.  More drilling rigs have been at work the last 4 years than anytime, ever.  Oil prices are set on world markets, the fact we have more oil than ever doesn't mean shit, it's world demand, combined with speculators and big oil holding finished product off the market.  So why the price jump?    Like Enron traders said about jacking up utility rates for no good reason, leaving the elderly in the cold, fuck these old ladies.  And there it is, it's just greed and evil.  Plus, they don't mind slowing the economy while they profit, win win for them, make Obama look bad and stuff your pockets.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The phone call

This is from:  http://climatesight.org/

Me: Hello?
Caller: Hello?
Me: Yes, hello?
Caller: Hi, I’m from the local paper.
Me: Okay. (We get these calls several times a week. It’s getting kind of tiresome.)
Caller: Do you currently receive the paper?
Me: No.
Caller: Would you like to become a subscriber?
Me: No, thank you.
Caller: Well, have you ever read it?
Me: Yes, and that’s why I don’t want to buy it.
Caller: Say again?
Me: I’m not happy with your science coverage.
Caller: Science?
Me: Yes. I’m a scientist and I’m not happy with the quality of science journalism in the paper.
Caller: Well, I didn’t write it.
Me: I know. I’m just telling you why I don’t want to buy it.
Caller: Is it anything in particular? I mean, you say “science”…
Me: Climate science, in particular.
Caller: Climate science.
Me: Yes.
Caller: Was it a specific article?
Me: No, it was a pattern of articles over several years, relating to climate change. I’m a climate scientist and your coverage of this issue was so far off base that I could no longer support the paper.
Caller: Oh.
Me: Thanks for your interest. Please don’t call again.
Caller: My…interest?
End of call

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 3, I don't think you understand wind energy

Day 1 (2nd post below) explained why idle wind turbines do not make them a failure, and how utilities snatch up 20 year contracts to hedge against coal and natural gas price uncertainties.  Day 2 (post below) laid out the prices nationwide.   Today, local benefits of Wind Energy.

Wind farms pay farmers a royalty based on the amount of watts produced.  Currently the big turbines net land owners almost $5,000 a year each.  Kansas farmers harvested over $12 million in 2011.  Due to some odd rules about taxing of power generation equipment, it is not subject to property tax, likewise the coal generation plant is not either.  Instead, in order to get county permits, wind developers enter into agreements to "donate" to counties, school districts, emergency service districts.  In 2011 this netted over $13M in Kansas, in some cases to sparsely populated farm counties.  Annually over $24M of free cash blowing into local banks.

Additionally some counties made upward of $30K in building permits and title registration fees, as each windmill is registered with various leans, mortgages against it etc.  Sales tax in some counties were $40K over normal the year of construction.  Construction workers filled the local motels, camp sites, restaurants, pubs, increased deliveries, sales and services in every sector.  Employment leaped by hundreds during construction of each wind farm, and left 10 to 30 full time employees once in operation, most of them high paying positions.   30 new families with high income into a county of 6,000 is a significant event for these areas.

Saving scarce water resources, done.  Wind (like solar) energy does not use any water, very important in dry agricultural communities.  All conventional sources boil water for steam, much of which is lost during the process, a local catastrophe not addressed in most publicity.

Recruiting new industry is easier when wind mills are in the area.  County officials report when they speak with multinational or high profile companies about expansions into their area, almost all of them have sustainability and clean energy on their checklist.  These are not tree huggers, but they understand in the long run these things mean lower costs.

If you read all three of these posts, and they are accurate and true.  You see that nearly everything we hear and read about wind energy is untrue.  Shame on the press and the wind energy for not explaining this.

Wind 11am est Feb.20

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

lesson #2, I don't think you understand wind energy

In yesterdays post I said wind energy was competitive, and some of the newest systems being installed are lower than other sources of energy.  Here are the numbers.

Cost * of energy generation in 2010 dollars per MWh:
Wind with the production tax credit = $68.25, without $90.25.
Nuclear $103.20.
Coal $104.35.
Natural Gas $177.20.

Of these only wind has a known cost for the years ahead.  From 2006 to 2011 utilities saw the average price of coal increase by 39%, this is, or will be, passed to consumers.  Natural gas prices have trended up over the years, although down the last 2 years, still generation equipment for burning natural gas is far more expensive than for coal (per MWh capacity) leaving the total cost the highest of all methods.

Drilling and fracking have created a glut of natural gas.  Yet, due to high equipment costs it does not appear it will ever lower our electric bills.  The glut is spawning pipes to port cities where it will be liquified and sold to foreign nations, which will soon lead to price rebounding.  The low prices may not endure as long as the damage to the environment will.

Without the tax credit new wind is still competitive, still offers a hedge against fluctuation of fossil fuels.  Yet, with credits developers are ensuring a quicker and stronger moderation, maybe a reversal, of always climbing electric rates.   Since 2001, residential rates increased nationally all but one year.  Additionally, the public and the GOP often suggest this tax credit prevents utilities from operating in a free market atmosphere, well this is funny, since utilities are wholly regulated by regional rate commissions and a number of government agencies, making the newest and lowest energy source singularly more expensive hardly seems like a free market move that would benefit the consumer.

* There is more than one way to calculate energy costs, numbers here are the "levelized" method, the most common.   If you really care what it is you can find on-line explanations.  The prices above are averaged over many plants across the nation.

Below you will find more information.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I don't think you understand wind energy

The common complaints and attacks are: expensive, gov. handouts, unreliable.

The facts are these.  Every wind farm built is sold out for 20 or 30 years before the first tower arrives.  Utilities, and corporations are eager to sign up.  The newest wind turbines being installed are competitive in pricing, in Kansas the last two went on line in December were below all other forms of energy.  Wind mills are getting better at turning wind into watts, and operating at both lower and higher  speeds.  Even if the tax deductions (they are not technically subsidies but tax credits) are removed, they are still competitive within the mix of various sources (and all get subsidies/credits)  Unlike gas coal and nukes, the fuel is free. Therefore they offer decade long fixed price contracts.  This means the utility knows today what it will pay for wind for many years.  With coal or natural gas the price changes daily, up, down, over the years trending up, always up.

The utilities have never, unlike the public and politicians, thought of wind as a constant.   This is the main misconception, that it fails because on some days it idles.  If it ran more that would be better, but even as it is it fits their needs and pressures other sources to hold down prices.  Utilities are buying wind to smooth out their costs, moderate the peaks in price, wind is a price hedge.  The large traditional power plants can run anytime, all the time, but almost every year they cost more to run.  So here is how they manage it.  They contract for all the wind they can get, when they get it they turn down the boilers in the coal plant,  turn off the natural gas plant, bringing them back up when wind can't supply the load.  This multi-fuel sourced approach averages the cost lower.

Another reason utilities and large corporations snap up every new system that is offered, they want energy from wind and solar as a hedge against future regulations, pollution taxes, and public scorn.    Multi-national companies find they suffer in some markets for their carbon footprint in another, more and more when they shop for a new plant site clean energy sources are on the "must have" list.
Wind patterns@ 9:00est Feb18, 2013

Obese sculpture finished

 Ganesh, Indian Hindu God.  12" tall limestone, 31 lbs.   I lost count, I think I have about 50 hours in it.  Below is the reverse order of progress from a block.  I still may tinker another hour with some detail, fingernails, belly button, maybe maybe not, can't decide.
Now, what do I do?  Here's the exercise, match the idea with the material available.

NO, this is not the GOP elephant, although clearly he  is a glutton which may be why you thought he was Republican,  but he is not, he is serene, relaxed, thoughtful, content.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hubris, Rachel Maddows special, Monday

MSNBC, Monday, 18th, "Hubris" Selling the Iraq War.  She always comes up with some new info, and it will be honest stuff, she is good at this.

my neighbors won the lottery and partied hardy.

OK, not really neighbors, but in the same part of the state.  2 brothers are Kansas lottery winners walking off with a 75k jackpot, cashed it at and with pockets full of cash dashed to their meth dealer, then hurried home and poured lighter fluid all over the bong holding their jackpot, and maybe a little spilled in the kitchen, and who among us hasn't found that soaking your dope pipe and kitchen in accelerant isn't the surest method to get a stubborn dope pipe going?  Fumes and a pilot light met while they hunted for matches.  Poof!  Both are in jail swaddled in bandages. The fire burned up most the meth, cash, and house.  

Less crazy than that.  Bills put forward in Kansas house, one will prevent state agencies from seeking accreditation from the federal government or outside the state.  So, I guess our hospitals, schools, fire departments, will no longer meet any government standard if this passes.  I guess a police department could not get federal funds after that, or a health clinic could not see medicare patients.

I say the brothers are not as reckless as Kansas legislators.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

GOP who voted to increase minimum wage under Bush, and are still in office

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)Sen. John Thune (R-SD)Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA)Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL)Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)Rep. Candace Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI)Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH)Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)Rep. Frank Wolf (R-KY)Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL)