Asia Global Energy International News DRIESSEN: Obama’s Wishful Thinking

Posted in the Business News Forum

Since: Jan 13

UK

#1 Feb 5, 2013
Wishful thinking guides today’s federal energy policymakers. The Obama administration is now exploring ways to exert control over hydraulic fracturing technology that has increased U.S. petroleum production — despite federal leasing and drilling delays and moratoriums — even though the states have successfully regulated the practice for decades.

The administration lavishes billions of taxpayer dollars on sun, wind, wave, algae and cornfield energy that they hype and hope will replace fossil fuels. They ignore health and environmental laws in order to green-light these favored technologies, overlooking killed birds and bats, the impact to scenic and wildlife habitats, and harm to people’s well-being from wind turbines, rising energy costs and high unemployment resulting from their actions.

Other policies tilt the playing field against sources they fear and loathe, especially hydrocarbons that provide 83 percent of all U.S. energy, versus 2 percent for biofuel and 1.4 percent for wind and solar.

Whereas renewable energy schemes and scams require tens of billions in annual taxpayer and consumer subsidies, hydrocarbons generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars annually in royalties, taxes and economic activity. Yet the administration continues to throw senseless obstacles in the path of fossil fuel production and hinder proposals for a pipeline that would carry Canadian oil to American refineries.

Innovative private companies perfected new fracking techniques in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana, where the federal government ownership of land varies from 2 percent to 5 percent. That would have been impossible in our 13 Western states, where the feds own 30 percent of Montana and 85 percent of Nevada.

Fracking drove U.S. natural gas prices down to $3.20 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btu) today — versus a high of $14 in 2008, and more than $14 in Europe and Japan today. This has yielded cheaper electricity for homes, businesses and hospitals, fuel for natural gas-powered vehicles, and feed stocks for petrochemicals. It also translates into competitive advantages and more jobs, economic productivity and tax revenues.

IHS Global Insight calculates that this revolutionary technology has already created 1.7 million new jobs, pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and generated more than $60 billion in federal, state and local tax receipts during 2012 alone. By 2035, it could create another 2 million jobs, rejuvenate American manufacturing, inject more than $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the U.S. economy, and generate $2.5 trillion in additional government revenues.

Fracked gas has replaced coal in factories and electric power plants, reducing emissions of particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide.

Hydro-fracking has also reduced U.S. oil imports and U.S. dollar exports, making Russia, Venezuela and OPEC states nervous that shriveling demand for their oil will reduce global prices and their revenue. It persuaded the United Arab Emirates to bankroll Matt Damon’s recent anti-fracking film,“Promised Land.”

Contrary to Mr. Damon’s allegations, more than 1.5 million fracked wells prove the process is safe. The industry increasingly uses kitchen-cabinet chemicals and recycled saline water that is unfit for agriculture. It has disproved virtually every claim of groundwater contamination. The “controversy” over fracking was manufactured to enrich pressure groups and justify their loathing of hydrocarbons.

Since: Jan 13

London, UK

#2 Feb 5, 2013
What you say guys? This one is good huh?

Since: Dec 13

Amsterdam, Netherlands

#3 Dec 25, 2013
Michiganders Need Renewable Energy Now
We need to get to work on promoting clean energy. Clean energy is more sustainable and reliable than fossil fuels, requires the same daily planning for grid operators, and keeps energy prices stable.

Michigan predominantly gets its energy from coal and natural gas. Coal causes environmental harm from its mining to its burning. Pollution resulting from coal includes fly ash, bottom ash, mercury, and other harmful materials. The use of coal causes many negative health effects such as respiratory problems, asthma attacks, cancer, etc. Coal is believed to shorten the lives of about 24,000 Americans a year ["Thousands of Early Deaths Tied to Emissions," June 9, 2004, nbcnews.com ].

Hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" wastes exorbitant amounts of water from the Great Lakes and blasts chemicals into the environment and our drinking water. Michigan does not even require companies to disclose which chemicals they use. Fracking not only contaminates our groundwater, it also pollutes our air and causes surface contamination from spills.

Michigan is already on track to achieve 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. A recent report by Michigan's Public Service Commission concluded the state's utility companies could get 30% of energy from renewable sources economically and reliably by 2035 ["Michigan Can Triple Its Wind, Solar Energy Production by 2035, Report Finds," Detroit Free Press, September 20, 2013]. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows it is possible for renewable energy technology that we already have today to make up 80% of our electricity generation by 2050 [nrel.gov].

While it's true the wind isn't always blowing and the sun isn't always shining, all forms of energy -- including fossil fuels and renewables -- poses challenges to the energy grid. The grid operators have to be able to switch to other or additional power plants at a moment's notice if there is a surge of power use, power outages, planned maintenance, etc. Renewable energy causes no more planning and spontaneous changes to the grid than coal or natural gas. In fact, renewable energy has its benefits. Coal-burning power plants are so large that they make the grid less flexible and more prone to cause blackouts when they do go offline.

To further improve reliability of renewable energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a federal agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of energy, is working on new ways to manage the grid. For instance, using different sources of renewable energy over a larger geographic area creates better balance on the grid. If the sun isn't shining is one geographic area, it is in another. This can be achieved by upgrading our transmission lines to handle transmission over a greater geographic area. New lines would also increase energy transportation efficiency, allow the implementation of large scale use of renewables, and lower costs.


Renewable energy is also financially beneficial to consumers. Renewable energy prices are steadily dropping while prices of dirty fuels are rising and are very volatile. Rate stability would be very much welcomed by consumers in this economy.

Luckily, we as citizens can take action to promote renewable energy. We can contact our members of Congress to support the bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, which would give renewable energy companies the same low-cost financing and tax benefits that fossil fuel producers receive. If this passes, it would open the floodgate for private investment. We also need to ask Congress to extend the clean energy tax credits expiring at the end of the year.

We need to submit public comments to the EPA stating that we support the EPA's new proposed strong standards to reduce power plant carbon emissions.
Stanley Veil

Switzerland

#4 Dec 26, 2013
Renewable energy: Tony Abbott signals he could wind back or scrap targets

PM says while Coalition supports 'sensible use' of renewable energy, scheme is 'causing pretty significant price pressure'

Tony Abbott has signalled next year’s review of the renewable energy target could wind back, or even scrap, the scheme, saying lower power prices are the government’s primary goal and the rationale for the RET no longer exists.

Announcing modest government assistance for Holden, the prime minister also revealed he would chair a new taskforce to find ways to make industry more competitive, with reducing the cost of energy a primary aim.

Asked whether that could involve scaling back the RET, which was set up by the Howard government and requires energy retailers and large customers to source a proportion of their energy from renewable sources, Abbott said:“We support sensible use of renewable energy, and as you know it was former Howard government which initially gave us the RET and at the time it was important because we made very little use of renewable energy.”

But times had changed, he said.
“We have to accept that in the changed circumstances of today, the renewable energy target is causing pretty significant price pressure in the system and we ought to be an affordable energy superpower … cheap energy ought to be one of our comparative advantages … what we will be looking at is what we need to do to get power prices down significantly,” he said.

Abbott said he would also “consult closely” with his Business Advisory Council, chaired by Maurice Newman, as the taskforce looked for ways to increase industry competitiveness.

Newman has previously called for the RET to be scrapped because he believes the scientific evidence for global warming and the economic case for renewable energy no longer stack up.
The former chairman of the ABC and the Australian Securities Exchange said persisting with government subsidies for renewable energy represented a “crime against the people” because higher energy costs hit poorer households the hardest and there was no longer any logical reason to have them.

Newman acknowledged Coalition policy was to retain the current target to generate 20% of renewable energy by 2020, at least until the review was held, but told Guardian Australia in his opinion “the whole science on which this is based is somewhat in tatters”.

He has supported a “landscape guardians” group opposing new windfarms in the southern highlands south-west of Sydney, and was one of a group of landholders who have threatened to sue a neighbouring farmer for "substantial damages" if their health or property values are harmed by his agreement to allow wind turbines to built on his property.

Abbott said in a radio interview he understood why people were anxious about windfarms that were "sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields of our country".

“If you drive down the Federal Highway from Goulburn to Canberra and you look at Lake George, yes there’s an absolute forest of these things on the other side of the lake near Bungendore,” he said.

“I absolutely understand why people are anxious about these things that are sprouting like mushrooms all over the fields of our country. I absolutely understand the concerns that people have.

“And I also understand the difficulty because while renewable power is a very good idea at one level, you’ve gotta have backups because when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the power doesn’t flow. So this is an obvious problem with renewable energy in the absence of much more sophisticated battery technology than we have right now.”

According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, the RET makes up less than 1% of the average household electricity bill.
Danyell Torgerson

Switzerland

#5 Jan 1, 2014
Biodiesel production rising amid fraud concerns

HOUSTON — Biodiesel production has soared in recent months, although concerns about fraud in the market remain.
Reported production of biodiesel, which is made from discarded animal fats, used cooking oil and other materials, jumped 74 percent in October, compared with production in October 2012, according to the most recent survey data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Production in July, August and September also jumped by at least 40 percent compared with the same months in 2012, the agency reported.
Texas is the nation’s leading producer of biodiesel, with a capacity to make 408 million gallons of the fuel each year.
Noah Cherros

Belgium

#6 Jan 2, 2014
Plan Calls for Renewable Energy to Power NY State and More

NEW YORK — As worry grows over climate damage caused by carbon-based fuels like gas, oil and coal, some environmental engineering experts, such as Stanford University’s Mark Z. Jacobson, are offering new plans for energy independence via renewable power sources.

Jacobson became the rare engineering professor to appear on a network TV talk show when he was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in October. He was there to discuss his studies finding that wind, water and solar energy could rapidly replace all but a tiny fraction of fossil fuels, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and in a relatively short two or three decades.

“The technologies we’re focusing on are the cleanest, and therefore the most sustainable, in terms of improving human health, reducing climate impacts, reducing water supply impacts, but also providing energy-price stability,” Jacobson said in an interview.“The fuels we’re looking at, like wind and sunlight, have zero cost, and as a result, the only costs really are the installation costs.”

In their latest report, published in the journal Energy Policy, Jacobson and co-authors at Cornell University and the University of California, Davis, map out how New York State could transition to wind, water and solar power by 2030. They calculate there would be enough energy left over to power every vehicle in the state as well, and that 4,000 fewer people would die each year from disease caused by air pollution in New York State.
Caroleine Moore

Istanbul, Turkey

#7 Jan 5, 2014
City approves project to turn organic waste into energy to heat homes

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway announced at a press conference Thursday the city's approval of a plan to convert organic waste and wastewater from schools and as many as 100,000 homes into a biogas that is mostly methane, which is already being used to power thousands of homes in the city.

Organice waste from schools and homes, such as old fruits and vegetables, will be converted to house-heating energy through a program introduced by the city on Thursday.

The city's new scheme for getting rid of food waste is a gas, gas, gas.
It works like this: Collect banana peels, apple cores and other organic waste from city public schools and haul them to the Waste Management garbage treatment facility in Williamsburg to be turned into a soupy bio-slurry.

Ship that to the nearby Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint and mix it with wastewater sludge to create a biogas that is mostly methane, the main component of natural gas.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/...
Samantha Lines

Istanbul, Turkey

#9 Jan 6, 2014
Renewable energy - Rueing the waves

Britain is a world leader at something rather dubious

SINCE October sightseers on the hills above Edinburgh have gawped at a brand new landmark. Across the Firth of Forth, on a test site, stands the biggest wind turbine in Britain. The tips of its blades rise 196m above sea level. Its rotor sweeps an area twice as large as the London Eye. This monster and others like it are bound for the North Sea—part of the biggest and most ambitious offshore wind programme in the world.

Britain gets more electricity from offshore wind farms than all other countries combined. In 2012 it added nearly five times more offshore capacity than Belgium, the next keenest nation, and ten times more than Germany. Its waters already contain more than 1,000 turbines, and the government thinks capacity could triple in six years. Boosters think Britain a global pioneer. Critics say ministers are flogging a costly boondoggle.

Two things explain Britain’s enthusiasm for offshore wind turbines. First, the country is committed by European law to generate about 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from about 13% now. Nuclear energy does not count and Britain is well behind on solar power, which means lots more wind turbines and biomass plants (mostly wood-burning power stations) will be required.

http://www.economist.com/news/britain/2159261...
Keerthi Wong

Jurong East, Singapore

#10 Jan 7, 2014
The Economist explains - Why is renewable energy so expensive?

MOST people agree that carbon emissions from power stations are a significant cause of climate change. These days a fiercer argument is over what to do about it. Many governments are pumping money into renewable sources of electricity, such as wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric and geothermal plants. But countries with large amounts of renewable generation, such as Denmark and Germany, face the highest energy prices in the rich world. In Britain electricity from wind farms costs twice as much as that from traditional sources; solar power is even moredear. What makes it so costly?

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-expl...

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