Category Archives: Energy Development

President Trump’s Speech On Infrastructure And The Swamp


The “swamp” that President Trump plans to clear is inhabited by hold-over big government partisans and the way over the top regulations.  President Trump’s experience in the building trades has shown him how the swamp works and he wants to change it. 

He gave a speech in early June announcing his overall plan calling for the investment of something in the range of $1 trillion of new and updated infrastructure.  Excerpts from the speech are shown in the following:

“We are here today to focus on solving one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately needed infrastructure, and that is the painfully slow, costly, and time-consuming process of getting permits and approvals to build.  And I also knew that from the private sector.  It is a long, slow, unnecessarily burdensome process.

My administration is committed to ending these terrible delays once and for all.  The excruciating wait time for permitting has inflicted enormous financial pain to cities and states all throughout our nation and has blocked many important projects from ever getting off the ground.  Many, many projects are long gone because they couldn’t get permits and there was no reason for it.

For too long, America has poured trillions and trillions of dollars into rebuilding foreign countries while allowing our own country — the country that we love — and its infrastructure to fall into a state of total disrepair.  We have structurally deficient bridges, clogged roads, crumbling dams and locks.  Our rivers are in trouble.  Our railways are aging.  And chronic traffic that slows commerce and diminishes our citizens’ quality of life.  Other than that, we’re doing very well.

Instead of rebuilding our country, Washington has spent decades building a dense thicket of rules, regulations and red tape.  It took only four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building.  People don’t believe that.  It took less than one year.  But today, it can take 10 years and far more than that just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project. 

These charts beside me are actually a simplified version of our highway permitting process.  It includes 16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies being governed by 26 different statutes

As one example — and this happened just 30 minutes ago — I was sitting with a great group of people responsible for their state’s economic development and roadways.  All of you are in the room now.  And one gentleman from Maryland was talking about an 18-mile road.  And he brought with him some of the approvals that they’ve gotten and paid for.  They spent $29 million for an environmental report, weighing 70 pounds and costing $24,000 per page.

We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money.  Our goal is to give you one point of contact to deliver one decision — yes or no — for the entire federal government, and to deliver that decision quickly, whether it’s a road, whether it’s a highway, a bridge, a dam.”

Nuclear reactor that generate electricity have been so bedeviled by all the regulations that raise the cost of building so high that investors are reluctant to take a chance.   If you have been around for a while you know that the green environmental machine has made nukes a target even though it essentially makes no CO2 when in operation. That they reject these units that have an excellent safety record, seems counterproductive.

It will take a lot of work to get these unnecessary systems revised. Using metaphors, lots of oxen to gore and sacred cows get rid of—thus a lot of people will be fighting Trump’s agenda.  Huge, wasteful, big government is fighting back. We need to keep supporting Trump’s initiatives. 

The numbers of regulations are staggering.  Next posting will show how big the job of getting rid of these many regulations there are.

Read President Trump’s full speech by clicking here.

h/t Camille Paglia

cbdakota

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Renewable Energy Uses 100X Manpower Compared to Fossil Fuels


solar-panelsThe International Renewable Energy Agency of the US Bureau of Statistics provided employment data for three categories–Solar; Oil and Gas Extraction; and Coal Mining.  Bloomberg drew a chart of employment over the period of 2012 to 2015.  That chart is shown below:

Energy Jobs

Stanislav Jakuba looked at the employment in each of these three endeavours to compare electricity production versus manpower in his posting “Renewable Energy: High Jobs, Little Power (inefficiency personified”.  He offered this analysis:

Ever wondered why has our standard of living not been improving?

The upward-aiming line in the above chart indicates one reason: growing employment in the renewable-energy sector. That employment contributes a miniscule amount to power production, and it does so at a dreadfully high operating cost.

Here are the numbers.

As illustrated, 200,000 people work in the solar industry (Photo-voltaic and Concentrated Solar Power combined), and they enabled the generation of 3.0 GW in 2015, which comes to 15 kW per employee. The down-sloping lines, combined, represent the 400,000 employees in the fossil fuel industry.

Assuming that about a half of those are needed just to supply fuel to generate the 310 GW electricity reported for that year, then the remaining 200,000 employees were responsible for 1550 kW per employee.

In other words, one employee in the fossil fuel industry produces 1550 kW, while it takes 100 employees in the solar business to produce roughly that amount.

Solar is thus the most expensive source of electricity. Plus, its output varies daily, sometime randomly (because of clouds and storms) and always intermittently (because of nights). Its inexhaustibility parallels the abundance of nuclear fuel, but the latter provides cheap and steady electricity, as well as heat, and is no less “clean” than solar.

The true cost of renewable energy is presently covered by subsidies drawn from our taxes, from Government borrowing abroad, and from various fees attached to our monthly utility bills.”

Jakuba has some addition thoughts on this topic in his  posting which can be read by clicking here.

I keep reading that solar and wind are now competitive with natural gas and coal.  Show me the cost number when they remove all the subsidies and when they  include operating cost and investment for the backup fossil fuel generated power–because these renewables not reliable supplies.

I am not sure that I completely  agree with the comparison technique, but they do have one heck of a lot of manpower for such a puny output of electrical power.

The politicians said these renewable projects would create jobs.  They sure were right about that.  Although, it looks like they carried it too far.

cbdakota

 

 

Some EV Sales Improvement, But Still Way Below Obama Forecast


ev-for-postingHave you been keeping up with the car buying public’s interest in electric vehicles (EV)? The many models of EVs that are on the market are quite astonishing.  Nearly all the manufacturers have a model or two.  The sales are still well below the Obama Administrations projections.  But 2016 brought some joy to the makers of plug-in EVs.

Probably most of you that are reading this know about the different versions on the market, but for those that have not been following EVs closely, let me give you some guidance.

The Toyota Prius has been the sales leader. Later on, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf came on the scene but they have not equaled the Prius sales volume.  Those three vehicles represent the three major categories of EVs.

The Hybrid (HEV) is a vehicle that has both batteries and an internal combustion (IC) or diesel, fossil fuel powered motor to propel the vehicle. The batteries are not charged by an external plug-in arrangement but are charged by the onboard motor. The Prius is a HEV

The PHEV has both a IC or diesel motor and batteries, but in this category the batteries are charged by plugging into an external power supply.     The Chevy Volt is a PHEV.

The BEV vehicle has only batteries for motive power and those batteries are charged from an external power supply.  The Nissan Leaf is a representative of this category as are the Tesla and the GM Bolt.

Continue reading

John Kasich (modern day Don Quixote) Tilting At Windmills


 

The Ohio legislature passed a bill which allowed communities to make Ohio renewable energy standards optional.

The present standard calls on Ohio utilities to secure 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources and increase their efficiency by 22.5 percent by 2025.

However, Governor John Kasich vetoed the bill saying he liked the idea of many fuel sources.

Renewables are still not competitive with natural gas and coal based electrical power.

Wow, and some people actually wanted to replace Donald Trump with John Kasich.  I believe the person that wanted that the most was Kasich.

The source of this posting is E&E News.

 

cbdakota

Pew Research Report Data Not Supported By The Interviews. Human Caused CO2 Claimed To Be 48% But In Reality Is 31%


Pew Research Center has just released a survey of American’s opinions about global warming. They interviewed about 1500 people over a period from 10 May to 6 June this year. There are many findings but the one I want to take issue with is their claim that about half of the American’s interviewed say Earth is warming due to human activity. From the Pew Research Center survey the chart displayed says that 48% believe Earth is warming because of human activity, 31% because of natural patterns and 20% say there is no solid evidence that Earth is getting warmer.

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The Pew document presents the results of the interviews. The above conclusion was made from the following interviews:

2016-10-05

 

Above is the first interview results. Only 26% said global warming is caused by human activity. Wow that would not do. I guess they were saying “how can we fix this. We can’t publish this.” So they came up with a plan.

Some of the interviewed said they were not sure or had no answer. So they decided to re-interview these people to see which of the three statements would be their second choice. Now there were 1534 interviewees in the beginning. Thus the “not sures” and the “no answers” would be 0.15X1534=230 people. In the next chart it appears that they only re-interviewed only 156 of the 230. Below are the results of the re-interview.

2016-10-05-1

The results of the re-interview is that 29% said their second choice would be human caused warming, 20% said the warming was natural and 41% there was no evidence that the world is getting warmer.

Now comes the magic. You can see it in the bottom part of the above chart where it says the “combined responses” gave a new set of percentages for each of the three possible answers. However the answer for one of the three changed. It now includes both human caused and natural caused warming even though there still is a natural caused warming category.

I have gone through the math. The “human caused” in the first interview was 26% or 398 people. The “natural” was 45% or 690 people. “No evidence” was 14% or 215 people. As noted above the number re interviewed was 156 although the percentage would have called for 230. Note also that the percentage listed in the chart is only 90% or 140 people. The bottom line for people actually giving an opinion looks to be 1443 rather than the 1534 they began with. But the discrepancies in total number make little difference to the outcome. The human caused would be 398 original people plus 45 of the re interviewed for a total of 443 representing the share of the total 31%. Natural 690 plus 31 for a total of 721 and 50%. No evidence came in with 215 plus 64 for 279 and 19%. So only 31% said warming was human caused.

Obviously the surveyors could not let the initial result stand—–only 26% thought warming in human caused. So they came up with a way to obscure the results.

I have plowed through the rest of the interview material. It is obvious that most of the people have little concept of the issues surrounding renewable fuels/renewable energy.

2016-10-05-6

Their level of the science knowledge is probably pretty well summed up by the interview question shown above where they were asked to name the major gas that makes up our atmosphere. Seventy-three per cent did not know the answer. I would hazard a guess that most of our politician would do no better on that question.

If you want to look in detail at the full report and the interviews click here and then click on “Complete Report PDf

cbdakota

UK Scientist Doubts Decarbonization by 2050 Is Possible. Thinks Other Unfunded Threats Are More Compelling.


M J Kelly, Electrical Engineering Division Department of Engineering, Universtiy of Cambridge has written “Lessons from Technology Development for Energy and Sustainability” and posted on the  Cambridge Journals on Line.

The following is the Abstract from his posting where he sets up the quandary that faces the organizations wishing to decarbonize the planet by 2050.

There are lessons from recent history of technology introductions which should not be forgotten when considering alternative energy technologies for carbon dioxide emission reductions.

The growth of the ecological footprint of a human population about to increase from 7B now to 9B in 2050 raises serious concerns about how to live both more efficiently and with less permanent impacts on the finite world. One present focus is the future of our climate, where the level of concern has prompted actions across the world in mitigation of the emissions of CO2. An examination of successful and failed introductions of technology over the last 200 years generates several lessons that should be kept in mind as we proceed to 80% decarbonize the world economy by 2050. I will argue that all the actions taken together until now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide will not achieve a serious reduction, and in some cases, they will actually make matters worse. In practice, the scale and the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project are without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An altogether more sophisticated public debate is urgently needed on appropriate actions that (i) considers the full range of threats to humanity, and (ii) weighs more carefully both the upsides and downsides of taking any action, and of not taking that action.

 

M J Kelly discusses this issue at length in his posting and I suggest you read it in its entirety . This posting will look at conclusions and some suggestions Kelly derives when he examined the current  programs to reduce CO2. He’s not optimistic that decarbonization has much of a chance of accomplishing what the greens want. In fact he thinks the money could be spend better on addressing more immediate threats than those posed by the so-call catastrophic global warming. Here he summarizes his thoughts:

It is surely time to review the current direction of the decarbonization project which can be assumed to start in about 1990, the reference point from which carbon dioxide emission reductions are measured. No serious inroads have been made into the lion’s share of energy that is fossil fuel based. Some moves represent total madness. The closure of all but one of the aluminium smelters that used gas-fired electricity in the UK (because of rising electricity costs from the green tariffs that are over and above any global background fossil fuel energy costs) reduces our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. 62 However, the aluminium is now imported from China where it is made with more primitive coal-based sources of energy, making the global problem of emissions worse! While the UK prides itself in reducing indigenous carbon dioxide emissions by 20% since 1990, the attribution of carbon emissions by end use shows a 20% increase over the same period.

Interestingly, he talks about the UK exporting manufacturing to other nations in order to reduce CO2 emissions.  Then the goods from these nations come back to the UK made in less efficient factories and the attributed CO2 result in an increase in the UK net emissions.     

It is also clear that we must de-risk all energy infrastructure projects over the  next two decades. While the level of uncertainty remains high, the ‘insurance policy’ justification of urgent large-scale intervention is untenable, and we do not pay premiums if we would go bankrupt as a consequence. Certain things we do not insure against, such as a potential future mega-tsunami, 64 or a supervolcano, 65 or indeed a meteor strike, even though there have been over 20 of these since 2000 with the local power of the Hiroshima bomb! 66 Using a significant fraction of the global GDP to possibly capture the benefits of a possibly less troublesome future climate leaves more urgent actions not undertaken.

Two important points remain. The first is that there is no alternative to business as usual carrying on, with one caveat expressed in the following paragraph. Since energy use has a cost, it is normal business practice to minimize energy use, by increasing energy efficiency (see especially the recent improvement in automobile performance), 67 using less resource material and more effective recycling. These drivers have become more intense in recent years, but they were always there for a business trying to remain competitive.

The second is that, over the next two decades, the single place where the greatest impact on carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved is in the area of personal behaviour. Its potential dwarfs that of new technology interventions. Within the EU over the last 40 years there has been a notable change in public attitudes and behaviour in such diverse arenas as drinking and driving, smoking in public confined spaces, and driving without a seatbelt. If society’s attitude to the profligate consumption of any materials and resources including any forms of fuel and electricity was to regard this as deeply antisocial, it has been estimated we could live something like our present standard of living on half the energy consumption we use today in the developed world. 68 This would mean fewer miles travelled, fewer material possessions, shorter supply chains, and less use of the internet. While there is no public appetite to follow this path, the short term technology fix path is no panacea.

Over the last 200 years, fossil fuels have provided the route out of grinding poverty for many people in the world (but still less than half of all people) and Fig. 1 shows that this trend is certain to continue for at least the next 20 years based on the technologies of scale that are available today. A rapid decarbonization is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle class people downgrading their own standard of living. The current backlash against subsidies for renewable energy systems in the UK, EU and USA is a sign that all is not well with current renewable energy systems in meeting the aspirations of humanity.

Figure 1. (a) The 40% growth of global energy consumption since 1995 and the projected 40% growth until 2035, with most of the growth between 1995 and 2035 being provided by fossil fuels, 21and (b) the cause of this growth is the rise in the number of people living in the middle class as described in the text. 22

 

Finally, humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. Have the engineers been supine and lacking in courage to challenge the orthodoxy? Or have their warnings been too gentle and dismissed or not heard? Science and politicians can take too much comfort from undoubted engineering successes over the last 200 years. When the sums at stake are on the scale of 1–10% of the world’s GDP, this is a serious business.

cbdakota

*M.J. Kelly (2016). Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability. MRS Energy & Sustainability, 3, E3 doi:10.1557/mre.2016.3.

 

 

Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?


Sixty Minutes sent a reporter to Oklahoma to find out if the significant upswing of earthquakes being experienced there is the result of fracking. He interviewed a number of home owners and a visiting geologist, and they convinced him that, yes, fracking is the cause.

Steven Hayward of “Powerlineblog.com” located a video from Stanford University’s Department of Earth Science that says their study finds that fracking is not the cause.

Before you view the 4 minute video, it probably will be helpful to have a little background on “produced water” which is central to the topic.

When wells are drilled they often encounter water which comes up with the oil or natural gas. This water is usually salty and/or has other contaminates so it can not be used for agriculture. This water is typically reinjected into the well for disposal. But sometimes the quantity is too great and other means of disposal must be found. Underground disposal in sites drilled deeply into the Earth is often used for this purpose. Produced water has long disposed of in this manner.

Other details about produced water will be provided after you see the video. Please note the speaker is very clear that the fracking is not the problem.

More background:

John Veil at the Ground Water Protection Council—Underground Injection Control Conference in February 2015 presented “New Information On Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices”.

There are nearly 1 million oil and gas wells in the US that generate large volumes of Produced Water.

He reported the estimated volume of produce water in 2007 21 billion bbl for the year.

Ninety-eight percent goes into injection wells.

His summary for the period from 2007 to 2012

US oil production increased by 29%.

US gas production increased by 22%

US produced water decreased by 2.4%

Viel notes:

Here is my hypothesis

  • Conventional production generates a small initial volume of water that gradually increases over time. The total lifetime water production from each well can be high
  • Unconventional production from shales and coal seams generates a large amount of produced water initially but the volume drops off, leading to a low lifetime water production from each well
  • Between 2007 and 2012, many new unconventional wells were placed into service and many old conventional wells (with high water cuts) were taken out of service
  • The new wells generated more hydrocarbon for each unit of water than the older wells they replaced.

So the conventional wells with hig levels of produced water were replace by fracked wells that generate less produced water per unit of production.

So, yes oil production, if ceased,  would probably make a big reduction in Oklahoma eartthquates. But fracking per se has not caused the problem. The  energy that is being released little by little will probably benefit someone  in the future.  I suspect if I lived there it would not be a big selling point. But of course,  oil and gas production are  the  big selling points to the people in the “oil patch.”

cbdakota