Sunday, June 12, 2022

Fan of Electric Cars Takes One on Road Trip, Ends Up Exposing How Bad They Are - Now She Won't Buy One

It’s been said a progressive is someone who can be persuaded to touch a hot stove twice. They have such faith in their ideology, they believe reality will obey their preferences.

Emily Dreibelbis, a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, recently did an admirable thing. She put her progressive beliefs to the test, and honestly shared the less-than-stellar results. However, she ended up still endorsing her fantasy, as opposed to learning from the experience.

Dreibelbis made a road trip from Princeton, New Jersey, to Arlington, Virginia, and back in an electric car. The difficulties and frustrations she encountered showed her the drawbacks of electric vehicles and proved to her that now was not the time for her to buy one.

As reported in, Dreibelbis borrowed her parents’ 2019 Chevrolet Bolt for the trip. The 200-mile trip there was troubled by scarce, broken and slow electric vehicle charging stations.

At one rest stop in Maryland, three chargers failed, and even the one that worked had an out-of-order message on its screen.

When they function, a Level 3 “fast” charger takes about an hour to give the battery a 100-mile range.

Others are slower: a Level 1 plug for home outlets can take up to 10 hours, and a Level 2, found in public parking lots, can take up to four hours — if a charger can even be located. That turned out to be the next hurdle.

When she was trying to charge up in Arlington, Google directed Dreibelbis to a charger that turned out to be inaccessible, as it was in a private condominium complex. Then Google sent her to a public garage that charged $11 for entry. “Frustrated, I surrendered the money. They only had Level Two chargers, so it took two and a half hours of reading a book in the cold until the car had enough power,” she wrote.

On the way back to her parents’ home, she barely made it.

“Thirty minutes from my house, a ‘Low Battery – Charge Vehicle Soon’ message surfaced. Confident in the 40 miles of buffer on top of what I needed to get home, I continued.

“But the cold December weather was draining the battery faster than I anticipated. Fifteen minutes later, the warning message upgraded to a mysterious ‘PROPULSION POWER IS REDUCED.’ Then, just one mile from home, the final blow: ‘OUT OF ENERGY, CHARGE VEHICLE NOW.’”

After some deliberation with her parents over the phone about whether to try calling for a tow truck on Christmas Eve, Dreibelbis decided to keep driving. It was a white-knuckle finish, but she managed to limp home.

This trip occurred in some of the most heavily populated blue regions of the country. If she encountered such maintenance and availability obstacles there, imagine the problems flyover country would experience.

Dreibelbis decided, “I’m not ready to put my own money down for one. I’d like to see the states use the federal funding as a proof point that stress-free EV trips are possible, even if for only a segment of the population to start. Until then, I’ll be watching – and waiting – to join the future of driving.”

She did not think through the practical implications of what her trip showed her. America is nowhere near ready to switch over to the limited abilities and high costs of electric cars.

The elites have decided electric cars are going to be our enforced future.

Joe Biden said as much when he talked about the catastrophic gas prices his policies have caused. He bragged about the pain of high energy prices as part of “an incredible transition” to an impractical utopian scheme, where renewable energy powers the world.

The goal is for 50 percent of car sales to be electric by 2030. In 2021, four and a half percent of car sales were electric. There’s a long way to go, and for what purpose?

Left out of the equation of these supposed carbon savings is where the electricity comes from in the first place to power the cars: fossil fuels. Generating enough electricity for America’s transportation needs would strain the power grids and even increase pollution.

Another negative factor is how long it takes to charge an electric car. Even the fastest (and most expensive) charging stations take an hour to charge even the limited-range electric car batteries have.

Can you imagine being on a trip, waiting in line for an hour for every car in front of you to charge, before you get the chance?

It’s impossible to meet the energy needs of the United States with electric vehicles. We do not have the resources to convert our modes of transportation on such an immense scale. It seems like a plan designed to cause suffering and collapse, rather than improvements.

Still, Dreibelbis felt compelled to pledge her enduring commitment to the leftist cause. In her mind, more government spending, also known as taxpayer money, will ultimately provide the infrastructure to support her virtue signaling.

“Despite it all, I remain an EV supporter. There’s just something to the smooth ride of a battery-powered car, and the miracle of transportation without emissions,” Dreibelbis stated.

She must not know about extra emissions “green” cars cause, as tires are worn down by the immense battery weight.

Dreibelbis would touch that hot stove again, causing even more pollution, wasting time, squandering money and replacing an efficient system with a less effective one, all for an illusion of “progress.”


Former Vice President Mike Pence at Work Rooting Out ESG Political Bias in Biden Administration

Advancing American Freedom (AAF) yesterday announced a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) seeking information related to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) political bias in the Biden Administration’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

”ESG ratings empower shadowy, unelected bureaucrats and activists to rate companies based on their adherence to left-wing values,” said AAF Executive Director Paul Teller. “ESG scores potentially place Americans at severe financial risk because they are inherently political, completely subjective, and lack transparency. AAF is determined to shine a light on these progressive policies and restore our free markets.”

On May 31, 2022, AAF submitted a FOIA request to the SEC seeking documents pertaining to potential conflicts of interest present in offering ESG-related products and services.

These conflicts of interest were identified in a January 2022 report compiled by SEC staff, who identified “several areas of potential risk to [credit ratings agencies]” including “the potential risk for conflicts of interest if a [credit rating agency] offers ratings and non-ratings ESG products and services.”

AAF has serious concerns that providing ESG-related products and services conflict with the credit rating agencies’ goals of credibility and reliability and believes that credit rating agencies (or Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, NRSROs) should be fully transparent about how they determine ESG factors and the specific social and political goals and ideologies they pursue. The current lack of transparency is a potential reason that Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft received more favorable ESG scores from S&P than their American counterparts (Exxon and Chevron), even though the Russian government owns or exercises a plurality of shares of the former companies.

This FOIA request intends to provide the American public with information about the SEC’s oversight of ESG-related products and services, and to provide the American public with the information necessary to understand whether the SEC under the Biden Administration is placing progressive political and social policy goals over the economic interest of the American people.

AAF specifically seeks the release of the following records:

Any and all records of policy or procedure directives, guidance documents, memoranda, or similar records created by the SEC or its staff relating to or concerning the oversight of ESG-related products and services, including records of communications between the SEC and other Executive Departments or Agencies, the White House, or the Executive Office of the President;

Any and all records of policy or procedure directives, guidance documents, memoranda, or similar records, relating to, concerning, governing, or informing the determination of the SEC staff in its January 2022 report that the offering of ESG-related products and services by NRSROs presents the potential risk for conflicts of interest; and

Any and all records relating to or concerning communications between the SEC (including those communications where the SEC is copied or blind copied) and any other entity concerning the potential risk for conflicts of interest if an NRSRO offers ESG products and services, including any such disclosures from NRSROs or their affiliates to the SEC or inquiries from the SEC to NRSROs or their affiliates about potential conflicts of interest.

AAF founder and former Vice President Mike Pence recently wrote a Wall Street Journal op-Ed titled, “Republicans Can Stop ESG Political Bias.” The op-Ed implores states to “pass model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council requiring government pension-fund managers to vote the state’s shares, rather than delegating that authority to huge Wall Street firms” and suggests that “[s]tate and local governments should entrust their money to managers that don’t work against their residents’ best interests.


Persistent Lies about Green Power

When drug companies try to sell you a particular cure for what ails you, the television ads typically consist of 10 seconds of saying how good the drug is and 20 seconds of disclaimers and warnings about possible negative side effects. If only renewable energy companies were that honest!

To my great annoyance and disgust, a power company in Texas promises the state’s electricity users can choose a plan that delivers electricity 24 hours a day powered by the sun. Solar power.

As anyone exercising an ounce of common sense must realize, that is a lie. As sunny as Texas and much of the southwestern United States are, the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day anywhere on Earth. That means the electric power you use at night or during cloudy or rainy days is coming from other sources.

It is not until you go to the company’s website or call them that you get to see the disclaimers in the fine print. What they are really selling you is a plan that purchases renewable energy credits equivalent to 24 hour a day of solar. That’s not at all the same as purchasing solar power.

In fact, the credits may be awarded for generation by wind turbines, biofuel production, biomass burning, or even sales of electric vehicles. Or it could be a combination of these. It could even be fraudulent, as past carbon offset credit schemes have so often proven to be.

Numerous scammers have claimed to generate green energy credits but do not actually undertake or complete the projects that are supposed to offset the carbon dioxide emissions and generate the credits. They have bilked taxpayers and investors out of billions of dollars. What homeowner or business buying 24-hour solar would know whether the renewable energy credits are being purchased by the company and reducing emissions?

The only thing we can say for sure about this so-called solar plan is that it is not providing 24-hour-a-day solar. Most of the time the electricity is probably being generated by another source, which in Texas is likely to be natural gas, coal, or nuclear.

Misleading advertising and outright fraud are all too common among companies and politicians promoting green energy schemes. Two of the biggest scams are biofuels and biomass burning for electric power.

Trees are carbon sinks, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis and storing it in their limbs, roots, and trunks. When trees are cut down, they cease to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and what is left behind after logging, as it decomposes, releases stored CO2 back into the air. Numerous studies show when waste materials or even whole trees are processed to make usable wood pellets for fuel, more CO2 is released. Even more is released when the wood pellets, waste timber, and whole trees are burned to produce power.

Even if new trees are planted, they remove carbon dioxide only slowly over time, as opposed to the immediate release when they are burned. As a result, “[i]t takes decades of regrowth to offset the carbon released in burning before the net addition of carbon to the air even equals the amount released if power plants had just used fossil fuels,” wrote the Los Angeles Times (LAT) a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, even more trees are being harvested for fuel, carbon dioxide sequestration declines, and atmospheric CO2 levels increase.

Burning wood to provide electricity “produces two to three times as much carbon per kilowatt hour as burning coal or natural gas. … To replace just 2% of the world’s fossil fuels with more wood would require doubling the commercial harvest of trees,” concluded the LAT, which would devastate the world’s forest ecosystems and biodiversity while removing a huge carbon sink.

And that’s when the companies keep their promises to plant new trees, maintain the forests, and ensure the trees grow to maturity. The news is even worse when, as detailed in a recent BBC story, the claim of tree planting is itself fraudulent, whether allegedly for biofuel replacement or as a direct carbon dioxide removal/carbon credit scheme. Sometimes money is collected and credits are given but no trees planted. In other cases, the trees are planted in unsuitable locations or are the wrong species for the site, and the trees die. The dead trees then add carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere as they decompose. In the Philippines and India, grand tree planting programs were funded by the sale of carbon dioxide credits, only to have those in charge of the program abandon the “forests” once the saplings were in the ground. In the Philippine case, an audit found 88 percent of the trees failed. I’m not typically a gambling man, but I would wager that 100 percent of the carbon credits were cashed in.

Criminal and civil enforcement of these agreements is almost entirely absent, because no agency with authority exists or no common method for determining the amount of carbon dioxide “removed” is determined in advance for most of these schemes, especially with international programs. As a result, corporations get away with greenwashing on a massive scale, making self-congratulatory claims of being carbon-neutral or moving that way, while emitting the same or even more emissions than they had before grandly taking up the “climate fight.” Often it’s simply hard to account for or track the success of the claims. In other cases, corporations’ assertions of going green consist of nothing more than a series of claims made in a PR campaign. Rarely are these statements investigated and confirmed. In the rare cases where greenwashing is exposed, the common practice is for the companies to issue a mea culpa. They say, in effect, “Okay, you caught us cheating, but we’re serious this time, and we’ll really start to get green now.” Little or no penalty results from these scams—maybe a donation/payoff to a radical green group. Often no concerted, consistent investigation of the follow-through on their new green commitment is undertaken.

As for biofuels, they no longer typically require more energy to produce than they deliver, thanks to technological improvements and increased efficiencies, but it is still doubtful they produce net benefits for the environment or the climate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency writes,

[B]ecause many biofuel feedstocks require land, water, and other resources, research suggests that biofuel production may give rise to several undesirable effects. Potential drawbacks include changes to land use patterns that may increase GHG emissions, pressure on water resources, air and water pollution, and increased food costs. Depending on the feedstock and production process and time horizon of the analysis, biofuels can emit even more GHGs than some fossil fuels on an energy-equivalent basis. Biofuels also tend to require subsidies and other market interventions to compete economically with fossil fuels, which creates deadweight losses in the economy.

In addition, because the dominant biofuel—ethanol—contains less energy than an equivalent amount of regular gasoline, vehicles’ fuel mileage declines as ethanol is added to the mix. As a result, more fuel is used than would have been consumed without the biofuel.

While the expansion of green energy is not reducing overall carbon dioxide emissions or preventing climate change (as if that were possible), it is wreaking havoc in electric power systems in the United States and abroad. In California, the United States as a whole, India, and elsewhere, dozens of stories have been published in recent months warning of widespread electric power shortages already occurring or looming, as the supply of reliable electric power wanes because dozens of fossil fuel, nuclear, and hydroelectric power plants are being prematurely closed and replaced with wind, solar, and sometimes a small percentage of battery backup.

Wind and solar power are particularly unsuited to supply modern, interconnected power systems because they work only when the weather conditions are just right.

A large-scale power grid consists of two segments: baseload power and peaking power. Baseload power is the minimum amount of energy needed for the grid to function properly while delivering power on demand to every user who needs it during a normal day. The grid requires a fairly consistent flow of power. Coal, nuclear, and to a lesser extent natural gas have, for a century or more, served developed nations’ baseload demand because they operate full-time, with onsite backup to provide power during routine maintenance or breakdowns.

Peaking power is the additional power needed when the system is faced with unusually high demand, such as during the summers in the southern United States, Asia, and India, and during the cold winters in northern states and Scandinavian countries. Natural gas, where available, often serves to provide peaking power because natural gas plants can be built to scale, fuel can usually be delivered as needed, and facilities can be cycled on and off quickly as needed.

Neither wind nor solar can be relied on for either baseload or peaking power. Wind turbines generate power only when the wind blows between certain speeds, and the power they generate fluctuates constantly with wind gusts. Solar provides no power at night or when the cells are covered by snow, ice, or soot, and it provides reduced power on cloudy days and during storms. Except on completely cloudless days with clear skies, the power generated by solar panels fluctuates second-by-second with the passage of clouds.

Both solar and wind require baseload power systems to run constantly at less-than-peak levels, to regulate the flow of fluctuating power delivered to the grid from turbines and solar panels when they are operating and to take up the slack during periods when either or both sources of weather-dependent power shut down.

States in India are restarting previously closed coal-fueled power plants to avoid widespread outages across the country and are opening new coal mines and reopening old ones. In greener-than-thou, blackout-plagued California, the state government warned residents to expect more blackouts this year and beyond. Regulators there are allowing thousands of backup diesel generators to remain on standby and available for use during all-too-common green power shortfalls and emergencies.

Public relations campaigns and activists’ claims to the contrary, green energy isn’t that green, and it certainly isn’t good for consumers.


Hydrogen hot air

When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared in his election victory speech that his new government would work to make Australia ‘a green energy superpower’, those who knew anything about the problems involved groaned aloud.

Australia is already a major power in energy markets as it has vast reserves of coal and natural gas that other countries want, despite all the talk about net zero, and which can be easily transported. Renewable energy is different. Every country can generate its own energy, with equipment imported from China, and it is far more difficult to transport over long distances.

Admittedly some countries have less space for such activities, such as Singapore, Japan and the UK, but renewable energy activists are full of ideas for offshore wind generators and even floating generators, or photovoltaic panels on every rooftop and never mind what happens in the rainy season. They also all want to be energy superpowers, or ‘the Saudi Arabia of wind’ as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston put it when he announced plans to build yet more offshore wind turbines around the UK.

In other words, why would any country buy expensive energy from Australia when they can generate their own expensive energy, especially as the problems of transporting energy many thousands of kilometres from Australia wind farms and solar installations will add greatly to the cost of that energy?

This point was forcefully made by renewable energy advocate Andrew Blakers, a professor of engineering at the Australian National University, on the Conversation in early April. He says that the federal government has already set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to help create a major green hydrogen export industry, particularly to Japan, for which Australia signed an export deal in January. However, he also points out that Japan has more than enough solar and wind energy to be self-sufficient in energy and – assuming all that energy is harnessed – does not need to import either fossil fuels or Australian green hydrogen. Whether or not you agree with Professor Blakers that Japan can realistically meet all of its energy needs from local renewable energy the country can certainly generate hydrogen locally.

In fact, Japan is already doing so with a government-supported facility for producing hydrogen derived from a token 20 MW of solar power, which started operating in March 2020. (Major coal power plants generate 2,000 MW plus.) The resulting small parcels of the gas are shipped in hydrogen tube trailers to be used in stationary fuel-cell systems and in specially adapted cars and buses. This is hardly world shattering but it far more than Australia is doing at the moment. However, Japan has pledged to develop the first full-scale hydrogen supply chain and is interested in importing the fuel, having built the Suiso Frontier, the first ship in the world designed to carry hydrogen. This has shipped one load of hydrogen from Australia which was produced using steam and natural gas, the usual method of producing hydrogen for industrial processes and far cheaper than using electrolysis (sticking two bare ends of wire attached to the same power source into water).

The Suiso shipment in January attracted some media attention without the stories noting that the shipment only involved a test quantity of around 70 tonnes. A good-sized LNG carrier will take 72,000 tonnes. The exercise would also have represented a net power loss, for the process of making, condensing and shipping hydrogen is known to be technically challenging and wasteful.

Professor Blakers cites an estimate that converting energy to hydrogen, shipping it to where it is needed and then converting back into energy could consume 70 per cent of the energy generated. Michael Liebreich, a senior contributor to BloombergNEF (new energy finance) wrote in 2020 that as an energy storage medium, hydrogen has only a 50 per cent round-trip efficiency – far worse than batteries. As a source of heat, he estimates that hydrogen costs four times as much as natural gas. Hydrogen pipelines also cost three times as much as power lines.

Activists who talk so glibly about using hydrogen to store energy are no doubt thinking of liquid natural gas, which is now the basis of a thriving international trade using purpose-built container vessels. The international trade in LNG, in which Australia is a major player, started growing in the 1960s with the large-scale adoption of techniques for liquifying the gas in giant facilities called ‘trains’ and for keeping it liquid for long periods in what amounts to giant thermos bottles. LNG requires low temperatures, minus 160 degrees centigrade, but the gas itself is a source of energy and some of that energy can be used to power the liquification process. Once at that temperature the liquid form of the gas can be stored relatively safely at atmospheric pressures.

But hydrogen is not methane. It is a much smaller molecule so seals and pipes that would comfortably prevent methane leakage do not keep hydrogen in. The liquification temperature for hydrogen is also much lower, specifically minus 253 degrees centigrade or just 14 degrees above what physicists call absolute zero – you can’t get any colder – requiring considerably more energy to achieve and maintain. The Suiso Frontier cargo was liquified in a special facility that was powered from the grid. Hydrogen is also a considerably more dangerous gas than methane. Transmission lines are safer, but the same problem with demand arises. One group has been trying to raise interest in building a $16 billion transmission line from northern Australia to Singapore for years. But if the Singaporeans felt the need for intermittent energy why not take it from neighbouring Malaysia which also has all sorts of schemes to generate green energy and transmission would not be so expensive? While activists are on the subject, they could calculate just how much intermittent energy would have to be transmitted over the proposed line to justify the investment.

But as demonstrated by the suspension of senior HSBC executive Stuart Kirk by HSBC pending an internal investigation into a presentation he made at an event, the Financial Times Moral Money Summit, in late May, reality in renewable energy debate is not the issue. Kirk’s presentation, entitled ‘Why investors need not worry about climate risk,’ pointed out that most of the projections of economic loss due to climate change either have to fudge the figures or come up with numbers that are too small over the long periods involved to matter at all. Among other valid points in his presentation, Kirk likened the climate crisis to the Y2K bug that predicted a widespread computer glitch at the turn of the millennium and declared that ‘unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are always wrong’. But as far as the greens are concerned reality and economic analysis are simply not relevant.




No comments: