Sunday, December 23, 2018

Progressive House Democrats Warn Colleagues Not To Stand In The Way Of A ‘Green New Deal’

The progressive bloc of House Democrats supporting a “Green New Deal” have a warning for their more moderate colleagues: Don’t get in the way of creating a “strong” climate committee.

“I think it’s in the political self-interest of people like Frank Pallone to be supporting a strong select committee,” said Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna, Politico reported Thursday.

“If I were looking at the politics and the movement and how strong the movement is, I’d be out there cheerleading for creating a strong committee and saying I look forward to working in partnership with that committee,” Khanna said.

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone and other top Democrats oppose creating a House climate change committee, preferring to shepherd any related legislation through the existing committee structure. Global warming wasn’t a top issue in the 2018 elections, but liberal Democrats are pushing for the House to put a major emphasis on the issue in 2019.

Khanna and Democrats supporting the so-called “Green New Deal” want a House climate committee that’s just as strong as others, meaning subpoena power and the authority to introduce bills

The “Green New Deal” being pushed by incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is backed by more than 40 Democrats. The plan calls for a House committee to draft “Green New Deal” legislation to move the U.S. to 100 percent green energy.

Pallone will chair the Committee on Energy and Commerce in 2019. He and other incoming committee chairs plan to hold hearings and introduce their own bills on global warming when they take the gavel next year. These incoming chairs don’t see the reason to create a whole new committee on the matter.

“In part, I think it may actually delay what the progressives are trying to achieve,” Pallone said in November.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supports reviving a House climate panel, but indications are so far that it would likely lack subpoena power. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t seem to mind the panel not having subpoena power, but environmental activists weren’t satisfied.

Activists with the Sunrise Movement at least twice protested in Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office in support of the “Green New Deal.” Ocasio-Cortez joined activists occupying Pelosi’s office in November, but still supports Pelosi’s bid for speaker next year.

Khanna, a “Green New Deal” supporter, said empowering a House climate committee with subpoena powers would help other committees.

“We’ve got to get the committees to realize that they are winners by empowering a new committee — not losers — and stop the Washington mindset of hanging onto turf,” Khanna said.

Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, who is set to chair the Committee on Rules next year, told reporters the exact makeup of the committee is still up in the air. McGovern supports the “Green New Deal.”

“I’ve got until January 3,” McGovern said. “There are ways to achieve all the goals that have been put out there within the existing structures.”


City Al Gore Featured in Movie Is Losing Millions After Going 100% Green Energy

The city of Georgetown, Texas, was praised by the left for switching to green energy, but they paid the price by losing millions of dollars.

Georgetown began powering its city on green energy in April 2017 and budgeted $45 million to fund it, according to the Statesman.

Unfortunately for Georgetown, their renewable energy bill ended up being $53.6 million, according to City Manager David Morgan.

The city was able to reduce the $8.6 million extra to $6.8 million through savings but was forced to pay the rest through reserves in the city’s energy fund.

Former Vice President Al Gore had praised Georgetown and featured the city in his 2017 film, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” The Daily Caller reported.

During Gore’s visit to Georgetown in 2016, he said that the city was demonstrating how “affordable” and “predictable” renewable energy is.

“And one thing that Georgetown demonstrates to these other places that are just beginning to think about it is that the power supply is not only more affordable the cost is predictable for at least 25 years into the future and really beyond that,” Gore said.

So much for predictable. If that was the case, Georgetown wouldn’t have lost millions of dollars in unanticipated costs.

“It’s costing them big time,” vice president of research at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Bill Peacock, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “This doesn’t appear to be the first time they’ve lost money, just the first time it was big enough to have to go public with it.”

As a result of the extra costs, Georgetown is now seeking to renegotiate their wind and solar contracts.

However, one Georgetown resident, Richard Gottlieb, brought up a good point: Energy companies might not be willing to negotiate a new deal considering the amount of money they’re making from the contracts. “Why would you negotiate? You have the city over a barrel,” Gottlieb told the Statesman.

Georgetown’s renewable energy mistake highlights one of the major problems with wind and solar energy: It’s not affordable, despite what Gore says.

One example of this is California, which will require solar panels on all homes built after 2020.

The state’s solar panel requirement will increase the cost of building homes in California by $10,000.

A solar panel can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a home, but the California Energy Commission says it all pays off in the long run.

Another example can be found in Virgina, where newly-built wind turbines will cost taxpayers $300 million.

Without extremely generous government subsidies, solar companies would struggle to even stay afloat.

It looks as though Gore might have been wrong about renewable energy’s affordability and predictability.



Germany's green transition has hit a brick wall

Even worse, its growing problems with wind and solar spell trouble all over the globe

Oddvar Lundseng, Hans Johnsen and Stein Bergsmark

More people are finally beginning to realize that supplying the world with sufficient, stable energy solely from sun and wind power will be impossible.

Germany took on that challenge, to show the world how to build a society based entirely on “green, renewable” energy. It has now hit a brick wall. Despite huge investments in wind, solar and biofuel energy production capacity, Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last ten years. However, during the same period, its electricity prices have risen dramatically, significantly impacting factories, employment and poor families.

Germany has installed solar and wind power to such an extent that it should theoretically be able to satisfy the power requirement on any day that provides sufficient sunshine and wind. However, since sun and wind are often lacking – in Germany even more so than in other countries like Italy or Greece – the country only manages to produce around 27% of its annual power needs from these sources.

Equally problematical, when solar and wind production are at their maximum, the wind turbines and solar panels often overproduce – that is, they generate more electricity than Germany needs at that time – creating major problems in equalizing production and consumption. If the electric power system’s frequency is to be kept close to 50Hz (50 cycles per second), it is no longer possible to increase the amount of solar and wind production in Germany without additional, costly measures.

Production is often too high to keep the network frequency stable without disconnecting some solar and wind facilities. This leads to major energy losses and forced power exports to neighboring countries (“load shedding”) at negative electricity prices, below the cost of generating the power.

In 2017 about half of Germany’s wind-based electricity production was exported. Neighboring countries typically do not want this often unexpected power, and the German power companies must therefore pay them to get rid of the excess. German customers have to pick up the bill.

If solar and wind power plants are disconnected from actual need in this manner, wind and solar facility owners are paid as if they had produced 90% of rated output. The bill is also sent to customers.

When wind and solar generation declines, and there is insufficient electricity for everyone who needs it, Germany’s utility companies also have to disconnect large power consumers – who then want to be compensated for having to shut down operations. That bill also goes to customers all over the nation.

Power production from the sun and wind is often quite low and sometimes totally absent. This might take place over periods from one day to ten days, especially during the winter months. Conventional power plants (coal, natural gas and nuclear) must then step in and deliver according to customer needs. Hydroelectric and biofuel power can also help, but they are only able to deliver about 10% of the often very high demand, especially if it is really cold.

Alternatively, Germany may import nuclear power from France, oil-fired power from Austria or coal power from Poland.

In practice, this means Germany can never shut down the conventional power plants, as planned. These power plants must be ready and able to meet the total power requirements at any time; without them, a stable network frequency is unobtainable. The same is true for French, Austrian and Polish power plants.

Furthermore, if the AC frequency is allowed to drift too high or too low, the risk of extensive blackouts becomes significant. That was clearly demonstrated by South Australia, which also relies heavily on solar and wind power, and suffered extensive blackouts that shut down factories and cost the state billions of dollars.

The dream of supplying Germany with mainly green energy from sunshine and wind turns out to be nothing but a fading illusion. Solar and wind power today covers only 27% of electricity consumption and only 5% of Germany's total energy needs, while impairing reliability and raising electricity prices to among the highest in the world.

However, the Germans are not yet planning to end this quest for utopian energy. They want to change the entire energy system and include electricity, heat and transportation sectors in their plans. This will require a dramatic increase in electrical energy and much more renewable energy, primarily wind.

To fulfill the German target of getting 60% of their total energy consumption from renewables by 2050, they must multiply the current power production from solar and wind by a factor of 15. They must also expand their output from conventional power plants by an equal amount, to balance and backup the intermittent renewable energy. Germany might import some of this balancing power, but even then the scale of this endeavor is enormous.

Perhaps more important, the amount of land, concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals, lithium, cadmium, hydrocarbon-based composites and other raw materials required to do this is astronomical. None of those materials is renewable, and none can be extracted, processed and manufactured into wind, solar or fossil power plants without fossil fuels. This is simply not sustainable or ecological.

Construction of solar and wind “farms” has already caused massive devastation to Germany’s wildlife habitats, farmlands, ancient forests and historic villages. Even today, the northern part of Germany looks like a single enormous wind farm. Multiplying today's wind power capacity by a factor 10 or 15 means a 200 meter high (650 foot tall) turbine must be installed every 1.5 km (every mile) across the entire country, within cities, on land, on mountains and in water.

In reality, it is virtually impossible to increase production by a factor of 15, as promised by the plans.

The cost of Germany’s “Energiewende” (energy transition) is enormous: some 200 billion euros by 2015 – and yet with minimal reduction in CO2 emission. In fact, coal consumption and CO2 emissions have been stable or risen slightly the last seven to ten years. In the absence of a miracle, Germany will not be able to fulfill its self-imposed climate commitments, not by 2020, nor by 2030.

What applies to Germany also applies to other countries that now produce their electricity primarily with fossil or nuclear power plants. To reach development comparable to Germany’s, such countries will be able to replace only about one quarter of their fossil and nuclear power, because these power plants must remain in operation to ensure frequency regulation, balance and back-up power.

Back-up power plants will have to run idle (on “spinning reserve”) during periods of high output of renewable energy, while still consuming fuel almost like during normal operation. They always have to be able to step up to full power, because over the next few hours or days solar or wind power might fail. So they power up and down many times per day and week.

The prospects for reductions in CO2 emissions are thus nearly non-existent! Indeed, the backup coal or gas plants must operate so inefficiently in this up-and-down mode that they often consume more fuel and emit more (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide than if they were simply operating at full power all the time, and there were no wind or solar installations.

There is no indication that world consumption of coal will decline in the next decades. Large countries in Asia and Africa continue to build coal-fired power plants, and more than 1,500 coal-fired power plants are in planning or under construction.

This will provide affordable electricity 24/7/365 to 1.3 billion people who still do not have access to electricity today. Electricity is essential for the improved health, living standards and life spans that these people expect and are entitled to. To tell them fears of climate change are a more pressing matter is a violation of their most basic human rights.

Via email

Fraud In The National Climate Assessment (Part 2)

Ruinous Australian energy policy is all pain with no gain

The Liberal Party has torn itself apart for a decade on climate and energy policy, and it is going to continue to do that next year as it battles crucial state and federal elections. The NSW moderates, who have taken over the state branch with an insidious brand of factionalism and patronage, are like the Blob from the 1950s sci-fi movie: spineless, pointless and smothering everything in their path. No one knows what the moderates stand for; most adroit at targeting those in Liberal ranks who espouse conservative values and policies, they echo Labor and leftist attacks on the Coalition and shrink from debate except against their own.

Their electoral legacy is there to behold: a minority federal government wallowing in the polls, a Victorian opposition trounced by a hard-left Labor government shrouded in scandal, and a NSW government facing the prospect of defeat despite presiding over an economy and infrastructure agenda that is the envy of the nation.

Federally, the 2016 electoral ­result tells the story. The Coalition has not been usurped by a rampant Labor Party. Rather, the right of centre has fractured, with One Nation and other minor parties and independents reaping the benefits. Labor has benefited from this mainly through preferences rather than a boosted primary vote — until the open warfare in Liberal ranks after the knifing of Malcolm Turnbull. Bill Shorten is the luckiest Australian since Steven Bradbury; he looks set to take a political victory that is the equivalent of winning the crucial last set of a Wimbledon final by receiving four double faults.

Don Harwin is the latest so-called moderate to display political and economic ineptitude, undercutting the re-election chances of his own team and the Morrison government, such as they are. As NSW Energy Minister, he proposes zero net emissions for his state by 2050 and accuses the Morrison government of ­refusing to build this target into national policy because of the federal Liberal Party’s “climate wars”.

Needless to say, he is portrayed as a hero by Labor, the Greens, the ABC, much of the Canberra press gallery and the vested corporate interests of the energy sector.

Harwin is unlikely ever to be asked, let alone answer, the obvious questions. Why would NSW reduce emissions to net zero? How could this benefit the planet when global emissions are rising? What would it cost? Who would pay? Has he commissioned a cost-benefit analysis? Why does NSW export cheap energy to the world in the form of coal but baulk at further use of this resource itself? Will his policy reduce or curtail global temperatures? What science and technology will be available to deal with these issues in 2050? How will people on fixed and low incomes deal with higher electricity prices? How will the reliability of supply be guaranteed? And, if voters really wanted to pursue such futile, risky and expensive climate gestures, why wouldn’t they just vote Labor or Greens?

It is difficult to grasp why Liberals would not focus on price and reliability to protect jobs, support families and underpin economic opportunity. This should be core business for those interested in mainstream politics.

If Harwin, Turnbull or anyone else could point to a looming crisis that could be averted by compromising our energy needs, then it might be worth considering. But they have to do better than the familiar mantra, seldom interrogated, that climate change is real and we must do something about it now. Those who claim to back a scientific approach often lack ­rational arguments. It seems silly to have to go through the basics but perhaps we should. Most of this debate is stuck in a superficial reverb about a dire crisis and a proposed response without justification of either.

As we know, the effect of global warming is a matter of considerable ongoing research, assessment and contention. Average temperatures have risen by about a ­degree during the past century but the climate stubbornly has refused to behave in accordance with the alarming models produced by most scientists. We have no control sample; we don’t know whether the planet would have warmed, cooled or hovered like a wine fridge were it not for the emissions we have produced, mainly in the second half of that 100 years.

While scientific consensus tells us increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to produce greater warming, there is legitimate debate about the extent, detrimental effects, benefits and the relative role of other variables in a changeable climate system.

Appropriate responses based on science and economics range from business as usual to ­abandoning mitigation in favour of adaptation. Technological ­developments are bound to play a major role in everything from cutting emissions to adapting to a warmer world.

Given bureaucrats and politicians have decided through the Kyoto and Paris processes that emissions reduction is the goal, there should be detailed debate about what policies can best deliver that outcome. When it comes to fixed power generation, this is a dilemma where there actually is a silver bullet — if we decided we ­urgently needed emissions-free, reliable electricity, we know how to get it. The fact nuclear energy is largely ignored in this debate tells us much about the agenda and real urgency, or lack thereof.

In this newspaper on Thursday, Bjorn Lomborg, a lonely voice of sanity in this debate, offered one of the pithiest and most important observations about global warming. “It is not the end of the world,” he said. It is funny because it is true and is at odds with the zeitgeist of catastrophism. From Al Gore to Tim Flannery, from last week’s Carols Against Coal to Shorten and Harwin, there is a never-ending procession of Chicken Littles to frighten our kids, poison our politics and burden our economies. Yet no scheme to make Australian households and businesses pay more for power will enhance the planet’s future. These policies exist primarily to trumpet the fashionable sensibilities of their spruikers.

Because we share one atmosphere, no nation sensibly would take a policy decision without considering what is happening in the rest of the world. This is where the overzealous activism of people such as Harwin, Shorten and the Greens is exposed as foolish and debilitating. We have turned our advantage of cheap and abundant energy into a competitive disadvantage. Power prices have increased an average of 70 per cent in real terms across the past decade, and low-income households now spend 10 per cent or more of their income on electricity.

Prices have been driven largely by the cross-subsidisation of renewables, leading to duplicated generation, additional transmission and mothballing of cheap power generation. Additional costs hit taxpayers directly from budget expenditure on grants and rebates for renewable schemes.

The Renew Economy website has estimated the additional investment at $60 billion. Some of this would have been required to replace or upgrade existing plants to increase capacity, but most was unnecessary except to promote renewables and reduce emissions.

Resultant financial pressure on families, businesses and industry has stifled spending and investment. Direct job losses have come from closure of coal-fired generators in South Australia, Victoria and NSW, and there have been indirect job losses in manufacturing, aluminium and steel plants where power costs have been a factor.

Reliability has been compromised too — South Australia left itself so reliant on interstate dispatchable generation that when its interconnector to Victoria was tripped, the entire state was blacked out for the first time in its history. The direct hit on its economy was calculated at $367 million and it triggered an extra $500m in state government spending on diesel generators and batteries to protect against future vulnerability.

Balanced against these costs are the benefits. So far, they amount to nil. The latest international data has global carbon emissions growing at 2.7 per cent annually, or by more than twice the total annual emissions from Australia. So, the amount of emissions we aim to cut annually by 2030 are being added by the rest of the world (mainly China and India) every four weeks.

For all our pain, there has been precisely no gain. Those countries that have reduced emissions are mainly those enjoying side benefits from economic decisions — switching to gas, using abundant hydro or nuclear. While dumping Paris, the US has lowered emissions from power generation by using fracked gas.

Other nations increase emissions as they lift people out of poverty. In Asia, the subcontinent and Africa, hundreds of millions of people only now are starting to enjoy the improvements in quality of life, longevity and prosperity that flow from abundant and ­affordable energy.

Australia alone has turned climate and energy policy into an economic millstone and political suicide bomb. Harwin, with the assent of Premier Gladys Berejik­lian, seeks escalation of economic hardship while driving wedges into the single largest and most damaging policy schism in the Coalition. Genius.

The NSW moderates think they will appeal to the enlightened denizens of their state and reap political benefits, wrongly interpreting the Wentworth by-election and Victorian election results as demands for a green-left consensus. The Coalition exists to be a beacon of economic good sense and pragmatism. It came into office in the 2013 landslide on the back of Tony Abbott’s campaign to axe the carbon tax and lower electricity prices. It forgot its mission after the Blob elimin­ated Abbott.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: