Obama’s Energy Power Grab

Obama’s Energy Power Grab

Posted By Rich Trzupek On December 30, 2010 @ 12:43 am In FrontPage | 9 Comments

The USEPA announced its intention to deliver yet another body blow to the power and petrochemical industries, piling on another layer of unneeded, unwanted and economically disastrous regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. Before we consider the agency’s latest move, let’s take a moment to consider all that has been done and will be done in the name of fighting the non-existent problem of global warming. States and the feds are already moving forward with at least six major regulatory programs designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus decimate the energy sector:

  • New CAFÉ  Standards – This is arguably the least bad of the bunch, because the due date for the new 35.5 miles per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard is at least a few years out (2016). Nonetheless, the new CAFÉ standard [1] will make automobiles more expensive – as even the White House admits – less safe (lighter cars don’t do as well in accidents as compared to heavier ones) and will do almost nothing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards – More than thirty states, encompassing about three quarters of the population of the United States, have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards [2]. These standards require using ever decreasing amounts of electricity generated by the combustion of fossil fuels.
  • Regional Trading Programs – States in three parts of the country, the east coast, the west coast and the midwest, have formed partnerships to create regional cap and trade programs. The east coast cap and trade program [3] has been up and running for two years. The west coast and midwest programs will “go live” in the near future.
  • Permitting of Greenhouse GasesRecent USEPA guidance [4] directed state permitting authorities to treat greenhouse gases as regulated pollutants when considering the construction of new major sources and major modifications to existing sources. Permitting authorities are further directed to apply the Best Available Control Technology standard to the control of greenhouse gases from these sources.
  • New Ambient Air Standards – The USEPA’s new ambient air standards [5] for “traditional” air pollutants are so ridiculously low that it’s virtually impossible for any new facility to comply with them. This is thus a back-door way of ensuring that no new fossil fuel fired power facilities can be built.
  • New Hazardous Air Pollution Rules – The USEPA’s new rules limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers [6] are also draconian. Again, the net effect will be to ensure that new industrial boilers powered by fossil fuels are just about impossible to construct.

So, contrary to what environmental groups and leftist politicians would like you to believe, we’re already doing an awful lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use – far too much in my opinion – and we will continue to pay the economic price for these disastrous policies. Yet, the USEPA isn’t content. They have decided to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act and that legislative framework demands the construction of even more regulatory layers. The latest will be New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) which will, for the first time, create numerical limits on greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel burning power plants and oil refineries.

Despite the use of the adjective “New” in the acronym, NSPS standards apply to both new and existing sources of air pollution emissions. Typically, the agency uses a specific date in time to distinguish between new and existing sources. Sources built before the cut-off date have one emission limit to meet and sources built after have a different, more stringent limit. Given the record of Lisa Jackson’s USEPA so far, we can expect that the agency will adopt greenhouse gas emission limits on existing sources that will force some facilities to close and the rest to spend billions in retrofits. And the new source limit? Expect that to be so ridiculously low that nobody will even think of building a fossil fuel fired power plant or new oil refinery in the United States ever again. Of course, given the list of the other onerous regulatory initiatives provided above, building new energy or petrochemical infrastructure is no longer a feasible option anyway.

USEPA announced its intention to develop greenhouse gas emission limitations for the power sector and oil refineries as part of two proposed settlement agreements [7] between the agency and several states and environmental groups who filed suit against the USEPA over greenhouse gas issues. As part of the settlement agreements, USEPA promises to have greenhouse gas emission limitations in place for the power industry by May 2012 and limitations on petroleum refineries in place by November 2012. The agency describes this as a “common sense approach” to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintains that it is setting “a modest pace” in developing this massive new regulatory structure. More amazingly, USEPA administrator Lisa Jackson had this to say [8] about developing new greenhouse gas standards:

 

 

We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.

This is of course the same Lisa Jackson who believes that the Clean Air Act is solely responsible for American economic growth [9] over the last forty years. This latest statement by the delusional director shows that she’s drifted even farther into a green fantasyland. Eliminating America’s ability to use a cheap, domestically plentiful source of energy to power industrial growth isn’t going to attract a dime of private investment. Undercutting America’s ability to turn crude oil into refined products isn’t going to create one good job at home. Jackson is spinning yarns, utilizing all the right buzzwords, like threats to “health and welfare,” “attract[ing] private investment,” and “creat[ing] good jobs,” but those words are as hollow and meaningless as any ever uttered by the most cynical of professional politicians. The actions of Jackson’s USEPA and Congress’s continued unwillingness to rein her agency in guarantee that economic recovery and job creation will continue to be an impossibility as long as the Obama administration is in charge.

Your Coal-fired Electric Car

Your Coal-fired Electric Car

James
Lewis

 

Rush Limbaugh has coined some of the best words for saving our PC-corrupted
public language, but I think this gem should be remembered: Rush says that
electric cars are “coal-fired.”
Which is exactly correct, and it’s funny, too.
Millions of bubble brains in the media think the GM Volt is supposed to be
the answer to our energy needs. It is of course a fraud, as GM actually admitted
after it hyped the new Volt. It’s not
a “hybrid electric,”
as GM lied to the hearty applause of Obama and the New
York Times. Rather it’s a gas-powered car for 340 miles per tank, and you can
run it for 40 miles on batteries that will have to be replaced when they stop
taking a charge, as batteries do. That’s why your laptop battery has to be
replaced after a while. And it will cost you $ 41,000.00 to snoot out the other
Green suckers.
But the real fallacy, as Rush points out, is that electrical energy for
your hypemobile has to come from somewhere. It’s a scientific law called the
Conservation of Energy. You start out with 10 million ergs and turn it into 40
miles of driving your putt-putt down the highway. You lose half of your original
energy at every step in the chain from your coal-fired generator plant to the
rubber wheels moving your shiny new Volt.
In most of the world electrical energy comes from coal, with a lot less
from nuclear. Both of those are sinful energy sources. The Greenies imagine the
planet slowly dying from all that stuff.  But that little Volt you drive around
is really fired by electricity from a carbon energy source: coal. It’s the
“coal-fired car.”  And it’s China that is now building coal-fired plants fast
enough to outpace the rest of the world. That’s because the Chinese power class
listens to engineers, not ignorant headline writers.
Rush dropped that phrase a few weeks ago, and I hope it doesn’t disappear
down the vast collective memory hole, because “coal-fired” tells the
exact truth.
It takes all the steam out of the hypemobile.
It’s your coal-fired GM Volt.
Pass it on.

Page Printed from:
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/11/your_coalfired_electric_car.html

at November 30, 2010 – 05:40:15 PM CST

// <![CDATA[//  

Obama’s Green Energy Myth

Obama’s Green Energy Myth

Posted By Rich Trzupek On June 28, 2010 @ 12:26 am In FrontPage | 20 Comments

President Obama’s attempt to turn the Deepwater Horizon disaster into an advertisement for alternative “green” energies and “cap and trade” legislation was so offensive that even Senator Diane Feinstein was forced to observe [1] that “the climate bill isn’t going to stop the oil leak.”

In a June 15 column [2] published by the New York Times, Peter Baker took that analysis a bit further:

“The connection to the spill, of course, goes only so far. While (Obama) called for more wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, neither fills gasoline tanks in cars and trucks, and so their expansion would not particularly reduce the need for the sort of deepwater drilling that resulted in the spill.”

This entirely reasonable and technically accurate statement enflamed the president’s cheerleaders over at Media Matters, where Fae Jencks [3] took Baker to task:

“While wind and solar energy may not fill cars’ tanks, it will power their batteries. What Baker fails to acknowledge is that by ensuring that ‘more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power,’ Obama would ensure that those vehicles are powered with clean energy rather than with electricity produced by fossil fuel plants.”

Those two sentences summarize the green nirvana that the president is trying to foist upon America. It’s a goal that’s entirely unachievable, because of a number of technical and economic realties that lie just below the surface of simplistic analysis.  It’s not surprising that a technically-illiterate blogger who posts at a site devoted to echoing this administration’s progressive agenda would make such an assertion, but it’s quite disturbing that the man who is supposed to be the leader of the free world would utter such foolishness.

Both wind power [4] and solar power [5] are more expensive – incredibly so in the case of solar – than either fossil power or nuclear power. Worse, you can’t count on either wind or solar as a reliable source of energy, since the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Accordingly, for each megawatt of wind and solar capacity we develop, another megawatt of back-up power, typically powered by fossil fuels, has to be in place. This redundancy adds to the already unacceptable cost of “green energy.”

Even if we ignore the economic aspects and accept the progressive proposition that the government has an infinite supply of money available to spend, the idea that the wind and sun can power our cars makes no sense. The reason that our vehicles use gasoline is that gas is a very efficient means to store energy. A gallon of gasoline, which weighs a little over six pounds, contains far more useful energy than the six pounds of the best batteries on the market. So, before you factor anything else in, gasoline’s weight to power ratio makes it the better choice in terms of energy efficiency. Will batteries improve over time? Sure they will, although modern, high-capacity batteries typically involve using materials that come with their own environmental hazards. Still, no battery that exists or that is being contemplated comes close to matching the energy storage capacity of gasoline.

Next, there are the unavoidable inefficiencies of the electric transmission system itself. America’s power grid is a wonder of modern technology and it’s obviously necessary to distribute the power we need to run our refrigerators and computers, light our homes and keep the pumps and motors that industry depends on turning. Yet, electric power distribution is hardly the model of efficiency. A significant portion of the energy generated by power plants is lost in distribution [6], due to voltage drops, resistant heating and other line losses. In many cases, moving energy around the nation via a network of thousands of miles of metal cables represents the best way to transmit power, but it’s hardly the most efficient way to do it.

Consider motor vehicles. By the time we work our way through all of the inherent, expensive and unavoidable inefficiencies of generating, transporting and storing so-called green power in the vain effort to fuel our transportation needs, we are left with the unavoidable conclusion that doing so would create more of a demand for power, not less. Or, to put the president’s proposition another way, if America somehow transformed itself into a nation in which the transportation sector was fueled entirely by electricity, we would be significantly less energy efficient than we are today. We can, and should, continue to develop hybrids, for that technology provides even more bang for our fossil fuel buck, without pretending that the ultimate source of power – crude oil – isn’t our best energy option.

Ultimately, if we can figure out a way to use as-of-yet undiscovered solar-powered catalysts to produce hydrogen inexpensively, we may free ourselves from the tyranny of fossil fuels altogether. Yet, as technology proceeds along those paths, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the promise of a green energy panacea.

$7-a-gallon gas?

$7-a-gallon gas?

By BEN LIEBERMAN

Last Updated: 4:22 AM, June 18, 2010

Posted: 12:02 AM, June 18, 2010

President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.

That’s a Harvard University study’s estimate of the per-gallon price of the president’s global-warming agenda. And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess.

So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill?

Good question, because such measures wouldn’t do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak.

The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now-famous words, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste — and what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

That sure was true of global-warming policy, and especially the cap-and-trade bill. Many observers thought the measure, introduced last year in the House by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was dead: The American people didn’t seem to think that the so-called global-warming crisis justified a price-hiking, job-killing, economy-crushing redesign of our energy supply amid a fragile recovery. Passing another major piece of legislation, one every bit as unpopular as ObamaCare, appeared unlikely in an election year.

So Obama and congressional proponents of cap-and-trade spent several months rebranding it — downplaying the global-warming rationale and claiming that it was really a jobs bill (the so-called green jobs were supposed to spring from the new clean-energy economy) and an energy-independence bill (that will somehow stick it to OPEC).

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) even reportedly declined to introduce their new cap-and-trade proposal in the Senate on Earth Day, because they wanted to de-emphasize the global-warming message. Instead, Kerry called the American Power Act “a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence.”

But the new marketing strategy wasn’t working. Few believe the green-jobs hype — with good reason. In Spain, for example, green jobs have been an expensive bust, with each position created requiring, on average, $774,000 in government subsidies. And the logic of getting us off oil imports via a unilateral measure that punishes American coal, oil and natural gas never made any sense at all.

Now the president is repackaging cap-and-trade — again — as a long-term solution to the oil spill. But it’s the same old agenda, a huge energy tax that will raise the cost of gasoline and electricity high enough so that we’re forced to use less.

The logic linking cap-and-trade to the spill in the Gulf should frighten anyone who owns a car or truck. Such measures force up the price at the pump — Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs thinks it “may require gas prices greater than $7 a gallon by 2020” to meet Obama’s stated goal of reducing emissions 14 percent from the transportation sector.

Of course, doing so would reduce gasoline use and also raise market share for hugely expensive alternative fuels and vehicles that could never compete otherwise. Less gasoline demand means less need for drilling and thus a slightly reduced chance of a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon spill — but only slightly. Oil will still be a vital part of America’s energy mix.

Oil-spill risks should be addressed directly — such as finding out why the leak occurred and requiring new preventive measures or preparing an improved cleanup plan for the next incident. Cap-and-trade is no fix and would cause trillions of dollars in collateral economic damage along the way.

Emanuel was wrong. The administration shouldn’t view each crisis — including the oil spill — as an opportunity to be exploited, but as a problem to be addressed. And America can’t afford $7-a-gallon gas.

Ben Lieberman is senior anal yst of energy and environmental policy in The Heritage Founda tion’s Roe Institute.

More Global Warming Profiteering by Obama Energy Official

More Global Warming Profiteering by Obama Energy Official

Posted By Christopher Horner On April 26, 2010 @ 12:00 am In . Feature 01, Environment, US News | 18 Comments

Surprising documents [1] made available to this author reveal that Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi has a huge financial stake in companies likely to profit from the Obama administration’s “green” policies.

Zoi, who left her position as CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection — founded by Al Gore — to serve as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, now manages billions in “green jobs” funding. But the disclosure documents show that Zoi not only is in a position to affect the fortunes of her previous employer, ex-Vice President Al Gore, but that she herself has large holdings in two firms that could directly profit from policies proposed by the Department of Energy.

Among Zoi’s holdings are shares in Serious Materials, Inc., the previously sleepy, now bustling, friend of the Obama White House [2] whose public policy operation is headed by her husband. Between them, Zoi and her husband hold 120,000 shares in Serious Materials, as well as stock options. Reporter John Stossel has already explored what he sees as the “crony capitalism [3]” implied by Zoi being so able to influence the fortunes of a company to which she is so closely associated.

In addition, the disclosure forms reflect that Zoi holds between $250,000 and $500,000 in “founders shares” in Landis+Gyr, a Swiss “smart meter” firm. She also still owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in ordinary shares.

“Smart meters,” put simply, are electric meters that return information about customer power usage to the power company immediately and allow a power company to control the amount of power a customer can consume. These smart meters are a central component of the Obama administration’s plans to reduce electricity consumption as part of the “smart grid.”

In a rare moment of candor, Obama “Energy Czar” Carol Browner said to US News & World Report [4] last year: “We need to make sure that …[e]ventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able [sic] to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won’t operate at its peak, you’ll still be able to cool your house, but that’ll be a savings to the consumer.” (emphasis added)

Clearly, DoE funding to encourage the adoption of “smart meters” would very likely lead to much increased sales by Landis+Gyr — and a potential windfall for Zoi. But surely Zoi doesn’t participate in the relevant “energy efficiency” policy?

In fact, as a condition of her employment with the Obama administration, while Ms. Zoi maintained significant security holdings in Serious Materials and Landis+Gyr, she promised to “not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on the[ir] financial interest” without obtaining a waiver first.

But then, if she doesn’t participate in decisions that could have a “direct and predictable effect” on her Landis+Gyr holdings and she doesn’t participate in decisions that could have a “direct and predictable effect” on her holdings in Serious Materials, it seems worth asking in which decisions she can participate.

What, precisely, is she doing on our dime, and why is she permitted to carry such obvious conflicts of interest that appear to preclude her from working on nearly any matter of substance under her purview?

Doesn’t Zoi’s involvement in these issues raise serious ethical [5] or legal [5] issues? And what happened to the high ethics and complete transparency promised by the Obama administration?