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Carbon Credits Funded by US Taxpayers

October 28, 2016

The World Bank, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), will guarantee the price of carbon credits for projects that cut methane and other greenhouse gasses in developing countries. The WSJ article said:

“Under the [carbon trading] system, projects that reduce emissions in the developing world produce carbon credits, which companies in industrialized nations can then buy to offset their own emissions.”

The money to back these guarantees comes, at least in part, from US tax payers.

This is being done to bolster the price of carbon credits that has fallen, in recent years, according to the WSJ, from around $23.00 to 35 cents.

The World Bank conducted its first two auctions for projects that would cut methane and CO2 emissions, where it guaranteed a price of $2.40 per carbon credit at the first auction, and $3.50 at the second.

Part of the reason for these guarantees is to revive the building of projects that cut methane and CO2 emissions, which could help countries achieve emission goals set at COP 21 in Paris.

The WSJ article said there are around 1,200 projects in Brazil, India and Indonesia that, if implemented, could cut emissions 850 metric tons by 2020.

While this sounds impressive, it’s a mere drop in the bucket when compared with US 2004 emissions of 5,905,000,000 metric tons. And China’s CO2 emissions are even greater.

It would appear as though US tax payer dollars are being spent on a publicity stunt to bolster support for this administration’s various actions for cutting CO2 emissions.

The World Bank said, that with its guaranteed price for carbon credits, its clients would be more interested in starting emission cutting projects.

However, why should US tax payer dollars be used for this effort?

Especially when the program doesn’t actually cut emissions, it merely provides a mechanism whereby companies can continue with their current emissions without increasing total emissions by buying credits.

This program was started under the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty the United States did not ratify, so why should tax payer dollars be used to support a program the United States did not ratify.

octopus

 

This demonstrates once again, the octopus-like tentacles that have been wrapped around the American economy by the environmental movement.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 14, Impossible Objective, provides data on the quantity of CO2 emissions from each sector of the U.S. economy, and why it’s impossible to cut CO2 emissions enough by 2050 to stop climate change, if it really is caused by CO2.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Paying Money for Nothing

October 25, 2016

Not many people want to pay good money for nothing, but a relatively new business has the organizations operating your grid doing just that.

Grid operators are paying for negawatts.

Negawatts are watts that don’t exist, but an overzealous approach to demand response has turned them into gold for negawatt accumulators.

Demand response (DR) has been around for nearly as long as the grid has existed.

In the past, utilities would have large customers, usually industrial and commercial users of electricity, cut back their usage during peak periods when the grid was becoming overloaded. These customers had portions of their operations that could be shut down for short periods of time, maybe for as long as a few hours. Utilities would often give these customers a special rate so that they would incur the expense and inconvenience associated with reducing their usage of electricity.

Supermarkets could, for example, turn off half the store lighting. A factory could shut off half the lighting in the factory and offices.

Now, this has been taken to the extreme, where aggregators get small users to agree to cut back their usage of electricity during peak periods, or when there are unforeseen supply interruptions.

For this service, the aggregator can sell negawatts to grid operators.

If a customer turns off a 100 watt light bulb, it creates a 100 negawatts.

If the aggregator can get 1,000 customers to each turn off a 100 watt light bulb, it creates 100,000 Negawatts or 100 negative KW.

Negawatt symbol from Green Alliance

Negawatt symbol from Green Alliance

Obviously the grid operator is only interested if the aggregator can deliver Megawatts of negawatts.

All of this has been endorsed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and encouraged by proponents of wind and solar generated electricity, and by some politicians.

The reason FERC has endorsed negawatts is because wind and solar are unreliable, and can result in the sudden interruption of supply.

When the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, wind turbines and solar installations stop generating electricity … and this can happen very suddenly.

The grid operator must replace this lost supply very quickly, within minutes, or the grid can become overloaded and collapse.

Traditionally, grid operators have relied on spinning reserves, usually natural gas turbines, that can be brought online very quickly.

Negawatts are supposed to achieve the same effect by having a multitude of small customers cut back on their usage.

The aggregator establishes an automatic process, where hundreds, or thousands, of small users with whom he has an agreement, will quickly cut off the portion of their usage that is not essential.

These negawatts have the effect of lowering demand, which reduces the need for bringing spinning reserves online.

There would, of course, be little need for negawatts if it weren’t for unreliable wind and solar power plants being added to the grid.

The concept of Demand Response isn’t new, and it can be used by utilities wherever there is a need.

Larger communities, such as the city of Richland, which was cited in a Wall Street Journal article promoting negawatts, can be enlisted in any such program sponsored by the utility. There is no need to pay negawatt aggregators to do the job.

Demand Response works without fancy new terms and complicated procedures which can only make the grid less reliable. Complexity increases risk.

The supposed allure of negawatts, is the idea that homeowners and small businesses can join the Demand Response team. Factually, however, homeowners and small business have very few opportunities for cutting back their usage of electricity, over and above what utilities can already accomplish.

Utilities, for example, can organize, homeowners who have electric water heaters to allow the utility to shut off the water heaters for short periods of time. They can do this by themselves, or by forming a non-profit to do the job for them. There’s no need to pay an aggregator to do this.

Negawatts are being used as a propaganda tool to promote the use of wind and solar.

Negawatts have become “politically correct”.

Demand Response has been used for decades, and utilities can implement DR programs wherever they may be needed. Adding the complexity of paying aggregators, and embellishing the concept of DR with a new politically correct term, negawatts, makes little sense.

Politicians should leave utilities alone and permit them to do the job of providing low cost, reliable electricity to all Americans.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New Concentrating Solar Power Plant

October 21, 2016

The newly installed Crescent Dunes CSP plant near Tonopah, Nevada, is an important improvement over the ill-fated Ivanpah CSP plant.

The Crescent Dunes and Ivanpah Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants use mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto a heat exchanger at the top of a 600-foot-tall tower during the day to heat a fluid that is used, either directly or indirectly, to produce steam to drive a turbine generator that produces electricity.

  • The 392 MW, Ivanpah CSP plant heats water directly to produce steam.
  • The new, 110 MW, Crescent Dunes CSP plant heats molten salt to a very high temperature. The heated salt is then passed through a heat exchanger to produce steam. Importantly, the salt stores heat for use any time during the day or night.

It’s the ability to store heat that is the most important distinction between the Crescent Dunes and Ivanpah CSP power plants.

Ivanpah produces unreliable, intermittent electricity, while Crescent Dunes is supposed to produce electricity 24/7. In this sense, it provides baseload power, though it will require a period of continuous operation to demonstrate it can actually operate 24/7.

Crescent Dunes has entered into a 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) to sell electricity to NV Energy at 13.5 cents per kWh.

One negative regarding Crescent Dunes that has not yet been clarified is whether the plant continues to kill birds that fly through the concentrated sun rays.

Aerial view of Crescent Dunes CSP, courtesy of Solar Reserve LLC

Aerial view of Crescent Dunes CSP, courtesy of Solar Reserve LLC

While Crescent Dunes CSP power plant is a significant improvement in reliability over the Ivanpah plant, it still cannot compete with natural gas or coal-fired power plants.

Presumably, the 13.5 cent per kWh price incorporates the benefits of the 30% tax credit afforded solar investments, and the $737 million government loan guarantee received by Crescent Dunes’ owners.

A levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) calculation for Crescent Dunes will therefore be greater than 13.5 cents, but any LCOE calculation at this time is not meaningful, because there is insufficient information about operation and maintenance costs. No one knows with any certainty, for example, whether the mirrors will be damaged by blowing sand, or how much it will cost to clean the 10,00 house-sized, 1,200-square-foot mirrors.

Building a CSP power plant is far more expensive than building a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant.

The Crescent Dunes CSP plant cost just under $1 billion, or $10,000 per KW, which is approximately 10 times the cost of an NGCC plant at $1,100 per KW.

CSP power plants must be built in desert, or otherwise uninhabitable areas, having high levels of insolation, with large amounts of available land area. The 110 MW, Crescent Dunes plant uses 1,600 acres, (2.6 sq. miles) while the 392 MW, Ivanpah plant uses 3,500 acres, (5.8 sq. miles). A 200 MW, NGCC power plant would use around 4 acres.

NGCC power plants are far more economic than CSP plants, and generate electricity at low-cost with a high level of reliability.

NGCC plants generate electricity at around 6 cents per kWh, compared with the Crescent Dunes plants reported long-term contract price of 13.5 cents per kWh.

In summary:

  • NGCC levelized cost of electricity is 6 cents per kWh, while building costs are $1,100 per KW.
  • Crescent Dunes contract price for electricity is 13.5 cents per kWh, while its building cost was $10,000 per KW.

Electricity from a CSP plant costs more than twice as much as does electricity from an NGCC power plant, and a CSP plant costs nearly ten times more to construct than an NGCC power plant.

Under normal conditions, without political hysteria, a CSP plant probably wouldn’t be built in the United States.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 7, Concentrating Solar Power, provides an overview of the different types of CSP, though it does not contain information on the newly constructed Crescent Dines CSP plant. This article augments the information in Chapter 7.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited.

Who Pays the Carbon Tax?

October 18, 2016

At first blush, it’s the corporation, i.e, the utility generating electricity, the refinery producing gasoline, the natural gas driller, the car manufacturer, or whichever corporation is legally responsible for paying the carbon tax.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) for example, in its determination of levelized cost of electricity (LCOEs), adds a $15 charge for a carbon tax on electricity from coal-fire power plants. A $15 carbon tax increases the levelized cost of electricity, from coal-fired power plants, from 6 cents to 9.5 cents per kWh.

But who actually pays the tax?

carbon-tax

Corporations are currently taxed at a high rate. To pay the tax, corporations add the cost of the tax to their products or services.

States add sales taxes for many products and services. For example, every state has a sales tax on gasoline.

In effect, all taxes paid for by corporations are hidden taxes. They are hidden from the consumer because they are included in the price of the product.

Sales taxes, at least, are itemized at the point of sale.

The correct answer to the initial question?

Ordinary people pay for all taxes, including those hidden in the price of products people purchase, where corporations are the involuntary collector of taxes for the government.

This would include any carbon tax that the government might impose.

Corporations are involuntary tax collectors, and would be collecting more taxes if a carbon tax is added to the list of taxes.

When corporate taxes are increased, which would be the case with a carbon tax, the prices of their products are increased.

Higher prices affect the middle class and lower-income groups who use a higher percentage of their income to purchase goods and services than do wealthy individuals.

Lower and middle-income earners are hurt the most when corporate taxes, including any carbon tax, are increased.

The people proposing a carbon tax admit this, because they also propose to redistribute some of the carbon tax, once the government collects it, to low-income people.

In that sense, a carbon tax is merely another method for wealth redistribution.

A carbon tax merely adds to the slush fund that politicians can dole out to their favored communities.

All taxes, corporate, sales and personal, are paid for by consumers, and this includes the carbon tax.

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

EPA Targets Freedom

October 14, 2016

The technical implications of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) are not easily understood, but the threat to America’s freedom is clear.

Here is how a Wall Street Journal editorial described the CPP:

“In the name of reducing carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan, or CPP, requires states to reorganize their energy economies across electric plants, energy-intensive industries and even households.”

The EPA’s CPP goes beyond merely imposing the COP 21 agreement on Americans, it threatens Americans in multiple ways.

First, the CPP will result in large increases in the cost of electricity, that will harm families and undermine the ability of industry to compete.

Second, it threatens America’s freedom.

Every honest expert will tell you that electricity generated by wind and solar is more expensive than electricity generated by coal and natural gas power plants. Even the Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes data showing this to be true.

Wind and solar also create huge problems for the grid, which impose additional costs not captured by the EIA’s levelized cost of electricity calculations (LCOE).

Wind and solar also threaten the grid’s reliability, potentially affecting the safety of every American. Without reliable electricity there is the threat of blackouts and even higher costs as users adopt measures to protect their businesses and information.

These are the obvious problems created by wind and solar being forced on Americans by the CPP.

But the threat to Americans of the CPP goes beyond economics and safety.

It threatens every American’s freedom.

constitution-convention

An article by David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman described the effects of the CPP on freedom, far better than can I, so here is what they said.

“The Clean Power Plan implicates every evil associated with unconstitutional commandeering. It dragoons states into administering federal law, irrespective of their citizens’ views. It destroys accountability, by directing the brunt of public disapproval for increased electricity costs and lost jobs onto state officials, when the federal government deserves the blame. And it subverts the horizontal separation of powers, by allowing the executive branch to act where Congress has refused to legislate.”

“One can only wonder what will be left of our constitutional order if the plan passes judicial muster.”

“The federal government would no longer be a government of limited powers, but instead be able to compel the states to do its bidding in any area. The states, in turn, would be reduced to puppets of a federal ventriloquist, carrying out the dirty work for which federal actors wish to avoid accountability. And the federal executive, in many instances, could effectively create new law by working through the states, free of the need to win over Congress.”

The constitutionality of the CPP will be decided in the courts.

The Supreme Court, immediately prior to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, rejected the CPP, sending it back to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for review. But this lower court has been packed with liberal justices, so there is a strong possibility they will declare the CPP constitutional. The issue will undoubtedly go before the Supreme Court again, which by then, will have received a new justice to replace Justice Scalia.

The root cause of this debacle is this administration’s determination to cut CO2 emissions 80%, in accordance with the Paris COP 21 agreement.

The issue of whether CO2 is causing global warming remains undecided. The CO2 hypothesis is being promoted primarily by politicians and the media. Opposing that view are over 31,000 scientists and engineers who have said CO2 is not the problem.

Science is not decided by consensus or the government, or by some government body or group of bureaucrats. It’s decided by facts. And the facts point elsewhere, not to CO2.

The facts are very clear. The EPA’s CPP will harm all Americans, not only by imposing higher energy costs, but by also undoing the constitution and unleashing the full force of the power of government on Americans.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 4, explains why the CO2 hypothesis is wrong, while chapter 14 describes why it’s impossible to cut C02 emissions 80% without destroying our standard of living.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tesla, GM, & Toyota Battle for Customers

October 11, 2016

The electric vehicle battleground at the end of September saw a major increase in the number of PHEVs and BEVs being sold during the 3rd quarter, and a continuing shift away from Hybrids, such as the original Prius.

 

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs & Extended Range Vehicles

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & EV

January

20,967

3,137

3,576

27,680

6,713

February

24,371

3,909

4,424

32,704

8,333

March


28,756


5,290


7,815


41,861


13,105


Total 1Q

74,094

12,336

15,815

102,245

28,151

April

28,988

5,842

6,266

41,096

12,108

May

30,573

5,619

6,526

42,718

12,145

June


27,679


6,094


7,678


41,451


13,772


Total 2Q 2016

87,240

17,555

20,470

125,265

38,025

July

32,633

6,525

7,762

46,920

14,287

August

32,206

6,372

8,601

47,179

14,973

September


31,286


6,037


10,032


47,355


16,069


Total 3Q 2016

96,125

18,934

26,395

141,454

45,329







YTD Year 2016

257,459

48,825

62,680

368,964

111,505

YTD Year 2015

296,375

29,169

51,267

376,811

80,436

% change


-13.1%


67.4%


22.3%


-2.1%


38.6%


Total sales of light vehicles YTD

13,044,080

BEV % of total sales

0.48%

Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association







 

Overview of different types of electrified vehicles:

  • BEVs are vehicles powered entirely by battery power.
  • PHEVs use the battery to travel the first 35 miles, then switch to an internal combustion engine to extend its range.
  • HEVs are essentially battery-assisted vehicles that use the internal combustion engine to power the car. Batteries don’t provide the motive power for the vehicle.

Observations:

  • Tesla also sold cars in Europe and elsewhere. Total Tesla BEV sales for the 3rd quarter were 24,500 vs the 15,425 sold in the US.
  • There appears to be a shift away from HEVs to PHEVs. Toyota has indicated it may ditch the HEV Prius for the PHEV version.
  • Year to date, PHEVs have had the largest percentage increase in sales, three times that of BEVs, but BEV sales were 22% greater than PHEVs.
  • BEV sales are still less than 1/2 of one percent of total light vehicle sales, which is the same as last year.
  • Since 2010, a total of 268,785 BEVs and 242,203 PHEVs have been sold.
  • Since 2010, federal and state governments have used tax payer money to subsidize plug-in vehicles to the tune of $3,500,000,000.
  • Tesla has received $390,000,000 from its sale of California Zero Emission credits.
Tesla

Tesla

Until now, PHEVs and BEVs have been a niche market, comprised of the rich and famous, environmentalists and technology early adopters.

The introduction of the Bolt by GM, and Tesla’s Model 3, priced at $35,000, and still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, could determine whether battery powered vehicles will go mainstream.

Government policies are supporting battery-powered vehicles. These policies include the subsidies mentioned above, Zero Emission Vehicle requirements, as well as mandates for increasing fleet mileage requirements from today’s 26 mpg to 54 mpg in 2025. See, EPA Mileage Gap & Paris Climate Accord.

EVs have three important impediments.

  • Insufficient range, compared with ICE vehicles
  • The high cost of batteries, which results in the high cots of EVs
  • Time required to charge batteries

PHEVs eliminate range anxiety, and partially reduce the cost penalty for the battery.This could be why they are growing in popularity.

The real issue is whether EVs and PHEVs can become a replacement for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles, without subsidies and mandates.

If not, they are a detriment to the economy, and have imperceptible environmental benefits.

* * * * * *

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Saudi Arabia Capitulates

October 7, 2016

In August 2015, Saudi Arabia declared war on shale oil development in the United States.

In October 2016, Saudi Arabia capitulated.

As in any conflict, there have been casualties. Perhaps 60 U.S. drilling companies have declared bankruptcy. Stock prices of oil companies collapsed. Thousands have been put out of work.

But the aggressor also suffered damage, with Saudi Arabia’s financial reserves falling by around 15%.

Meanwhile, those fighting for survival in the U.S. oil patch, found ways to improve drilling techniques, improve output from wells and lower costs.

The aggressor found its enemies getting stronger, while beginning to suffer economic strains at home.

Saudi Arabia has been producing oil at close to its maximum sustainable output of around 10.5 million barrels per day. It could increase output by about another 1.5 mmb/d, but only for relatively short periods without risking damage to its wells.

Saudi Arabia has inherent problems that will devour the country unless it can effectively change from a society based on handouts to its citizens, to a society that can produce economic value, for and by its citizens.

This is the goal, as stated by Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

His goal is to create jobs for Saudi citizens, and transform the country from merely being a producer of oil.

To accomplish his goal, he needs money. While he initially thought the U.S. frackers could be put out of business, which would have allowed Saudi Arabia to effectively control the price of oil, he has found the frackers to be resilient … and in fact, becoming stronger.

There is no question shale oil producers can, not only survive, but also increase production, with the amount of increase dependent on the price of oil.

At $50 per barrel, the frackers can focus on the Permian and Stack to maintain output while making money.

At $65 per barrel, frackers can begin to increase output from less profitable plays, such as the Bakken. At $80 per barrel, shale oil production can be widespread.

Saudi Arabia’s new challenge is to allow the price of oil to rise enough to provide the money for implementing Muhammad bin Salman’s strategy for economic development, but not so much as to allow excessive production by the frackers.

Meanwhile, the collapse in CAPEX for ocean exploration and development around the world, will contribute to the demand for oil, overtaking supply.

In an odd twist, the frackers have become the swing producers.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

The primary danger for frackers today comes not from Saudi Arabia, but from the U.S. government and the EPA, which are bent on eliminating fracking so as to cut the use of fossil fuels.

The frackers have won their war against Saudi Arabia, but can they survive attacks from the U.S. government?

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.