In The Pipeline 8/1/11

IER’s Dank Kish schools Center for American Progress on energy policy and also provides a psychological diagnosis of their behavior Washington Examiner (8/1/11) reports: Reading the latest ravings of the Center for American Progress (CAP, but increasingly recognized as the Center for Reversing American Progress) is akin to a family being forced at holiday to listen to the crazy old Uncle George repeat the same old complaints about some injustice he suffered when everyone knows what he suffered was of his own making…CAP’s latest screed is no different, screaming as they do about the profits of oil companies. What they never mention is that their policies – and the policies of other anti-energy groups including the Obama Administration – are what are making and keeping gas prices high. In psychology, it’s called projectionism; in politics, hypocrisy…We’ve all heard it before: “Big Oil Pumps Up Profits With Americans’ Cash” – the Left says the same thing with a different title every quarter when earnings reports are released…It’s been happening a lot under President Obama, since gas prices have doubled under his presidency. The subtitle of the piece is the real key to their objection, however: “Higher Gas Prices Lead to Healthy Balance Sheets in the Second Quarter.”…The Obama administration and CAP don’t seem to understand or like “Healthy Balance Sheets.” Just look at the federal budget. And it’s no wonder that the White House and CAP are simpatico on this feeling: CAP’s president, John Podesta, was the head of the transition team for Obama and together, they designed the policies and picked the personnel who have overseen the doubling of gasoline prices.

Someone get Rep. Issa a drink! He put auto makers on notice that he is investigating the CAFÉ negotiations and new regulations The Hill (8/1/11) reports: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) launched an investigation Friday into a series of closed-door meetings between Obama administration officials and major automakers that resulted in beefed-up vehicle fuel economy standards…Issa sent out letters to executives of the country’s major automakers Friday alerting them to the investigation and requesting that they keep all documents related to meetings with administration officials on the standards… In the letters, which were obtained by The Hill, Issa says the administration’s efforts to negotiate the fuel economy standards “raise serious concerns.” The new rules, which were announced Friday by President Obama, will also limit consumer choice, Issa says…“I am concerned about the agreements lack of transparency, the failure to conduct an open rulemaking process, as well as the potential for vehicle cost increases on consumers, and negative impact on American jobs,” the letters say…Obama outlined a plan earlier Friday to ratchet up fuel efficiency and cut harmful carbon pollution for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks. The plan sets a fleet-wide average standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025…The plan, Obama said, is “the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”Along with patio heaters, SUVs and incandescent lightbulbs, flat-screen TVs became one of the products most loathed by environmentalists over the past decade. But improving energy efficiency means they have become greener than the hulking cathrode ray tubes they replaced, and cut their average electricity consumption by more than half, new figures show.

Do you know what is the best part about this article? Technology, unimpeded by government mandates, made flat screens cheaper and more energy efficient The Guardian (8/1/11) reports: Technology advances have driven down the energy use of all new TVs by 60% since 2006, leaving a 42-inch LED TV today costing just £14 a year to run compared with around £80 for a plasma screen in 2006, in present day prices. Over 9.5m flat-screens were sold in the UK last year..Globally TVs account for about 6-8% of electricity consumption in homes…Ross Lammas, the founder of energy efficiency site Sust-it, who compiled the data by looking at 1,800 models, said new lighting developments were largely responsible: “The main thing that’s driving it is the LED technology to backlight the TV.” “..So-called ‘LED TVs’, which use light-emitting diodes only began to appear in significant numbers around 2009, despite the technology debuting in a Sony TV five years earlier. As well as using less energy, the sets are thinner and are becoming increasingly popular with buyers, accounting for as much of a fifth of LCD TV sales according to some reports…The research also shows that modern flat-screens now use less energy than the boxy TVs they were initially criticised for replacing. A new 32-inch LED TV uses about 75% less energy than a 32-inch cathode ray tube, costing £8 a year to run rather than £32.

It’s simple, really — when you can’t drill for oil, we all have less to go around Wall Street Journal (8/1/11) reports: Most European major oil companies posted a surge in quarterly profits last week, but their results were overshadowed by a trend that continues to trouble Wall Street and corporate boardrooms: Nearly every major oil company reported year-to-year oil-and-gas output declines, often in the double-digits…Big Oil is throwing huge resources at the problem with more open embrace of unconventional petroleum developments, high-risk exploration in frontier areas and corporate restructuring. But even if these strategies work in some cases, there is little doubt that anemic petroleum output signals a long-term challenge confronting the sector…The particulars varied across the sector. BP PLC’s 11% output drop was fueled in part by the continued hit from its reduced activity in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after last year’s disastrous spill. Italian giant Eni SpA’s production fell 15% due to its disproportionate exposure to war-ravaged Libya. Spain’s Repsol YPF SA, whose output fell 17%, was affected by both Libya and the U.S. Gulf, as well as by labor unrest in Argentina. Norway’s Statoil ASA saw a 16% output decline largely on production outages and maintenance in its home market in the North Sea. French oil major Total SA’s output slipped 2% from a year earlier, mostly due the loss of Libyan crude…Oil giants are more vulnerable to operational problems in part because of their declining dominance over key resources. Whereas in 1973, independent oil firms controlled three quarters of the world’s reserves, they hold as little as 10% today, according to some estimates. That has forced oil majors to rely to a greater extent on costly unconventional plays such as shale gas, deepwater exploration, and Arctic exploration.

Why not?  Once you become an adjunct of the federal government, who cares how ridiculous you look? Detroit Free Press (8/1/11) reports: General Motors’ venture capital arm said today it has invested $7.5 million in Sunlogics, a Rochester Hills-based solar energy system provider, which will lead to the creation of 310 jobs….Sunlogics plans to use some of the funding to establish its corporate headquarters and open a manufacturing facility in Rochester Hills, and to set up a manufacturing plant in Ontario. The headquarters is to eventually employ 200 and the Canadian facility will support 110 jobs…Michael Matvieshen, CEO of Sunlogics, said the company moved into the 190,000 building in Rochester Hills about two weeks ago. Matvieshen spoke at an event today attended by about 75 officials and local community leaders…He said Sunlogics expects to begin hiring structural engineers,

Step One — write an article the explains how solar energy is cost competitive in the marketplace with subsidies Huffington Post (8/1/11) reports:This past weekend, I attended the Aspen Institute’s Clean Energy Roundtable, an annual gathering of business, political and policy leaders working in clean energy. Inspired by the many insights and ideas presented, here are my thoughts on the state of clean energy today and what lies ahead…First the good news. Prices of key clean energy technologies are plummeting, bringing many technologies such as distributed solar and energy storage closer and closer to mass deployment. The cost of solar panels today is about 20% below that of a year ago. And it should continue dropping for the forseeable future. In other words, the performance/price ratio is improving exponentially, like computer chips if not quite as fast and for different reasons, cost economies for the most part as opposed to breakthrough technologies. The main driver of the plummeting costs is volume and successful efforts by the Chinese government to vertically integrate the Chinese solar industry — that now supplies over half of the world’s solar panels. (In advanced thin films, costs per watt are also coming down.) Even more dramatic price drops are occurring in battery storage across a range of chemistries with prices halving in the the last year. Plummeting prices that translate to rising performance are good news for developers, electric car-makers and the global industry at large…The story is more complicated, however, in the United States, where we are in what might be described as the best and worst of times. This past year saw torrid growth in solar deployment in the US with solar capacity doubling; wind installations also grew and wind is now a very competitive source of power. Solar — already competitive with subsidies — will be competitive without them in several years. That is the good news. The bad news is that solar generation still supplies only .2 percent of US electricity and, what’s more, growth has been driven by the 1603 provision in the tax law that allows tax credits to be redeemed for cash.

Step Two — argue that by removing those subsidies, renewable energy will be doomed forever Huffington Post (8/1/11) reports: Clean energy could be among the hardest-hit sectors if the U.S. government does not raise the debt ceiling and then defaults on the national debt…If there is a default, it could hurt in direct ways, by stopping payments for cash grants and loan guarantees that support many renewables projects. It could also hit innovation, by putting the Department of Energy program for cutting-edge energy technologies, ARPA-E, at risk…A default could also hit indirectly, by pushing down the value of the U.S. dollar, as well as pushing up interest rates, which would affect financing for renewables projects that require large up-front investment…Leaving Energy Subsidies, Credits Behind..Any kind of budget deal will have to include large spending cuts. According to a survey of experts by the National Journal, most energy subsidies and tax breaks could be cut back. Subsidies for wind and solar may fly under the radar and survive cuts–at least for a little while.

Speak Your Mind


Anonymous says:
Your email has been received. Thank you for signing up.