July 13, 2017

Did Someone Say "Government Boondoggle?"

Not our government this time, but that of South Australia (which should be thought of as "like Canada" because down under it gets colder as you go south, not warmer, and because they have a higher than average propensity for telling people what to do, and going along with what they're told.)

Elon Musk's Tesla has contracted to provide the "world's largest battery storage facility" for connection to South Australia's electrical grid. The 100 Megawatt, 129 Megawatt-hour array of thermally-managed rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs "will be able to power around 30,000 homes at max capacity, which Tesla says is equivalent to how many were without power during a storm that caused a state-wide blackout in South Australia in 2016. The real goal, however, is to help stabilize the South Australian electric power grid, by controlling power delivery according to peak demand."

Nevermind that the storm lasted for days, and the battery can power all of those homes for just a little more than an hour, the real necessity is grid stabilization. Not because loads fluctuate any more than they ever have, but because generation by wind is inherently variable and unreliable. And if wind speeds are either too low, or too high, for more than that hour-plus, the same problem would occur.

But why is SA in this situation?

South Australia needs this project because of decisions by its political leaders:

Over the last three years, South Australia has decided to shut down its coal-fired power stations and instead rely on wind, solar and gas.

I won't debate the merits of such policy here except to wonder whether building additional gas-fired electrical generation would be a far less costly and more reliable solution than relying on wind and batteries.

Fear not - they're doing that too:

The system will not solve South Australia's grid woes by itself.

The response plan also includes a new government funded, A$360 million, 250 MWe fast reacting gas turbine power plant, a bulk electricity purchase contract designed to encourage construction of a new privately owned power plant, a taxpayer financed exploration fund for additional natural gas supplies, special powers granted to the SA energy minister to order plants to operate, and a requirement for electricity retailers to purchase a fixed portion of their power from SA generators.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2016

If Elon Musk were in 'Atlas Shrugged'...

... he would be Oren Boyle.

It has been widely reported that among SolarCity, Tesla, and the rocket company SpaceX, Elon Musk's confederacy of interests has gotten at least $4.9 billion in taxpayer support over the past 10 years.

This is almost half of Musk's supposed net worth - taken from the pockets of American citizens and put into companies that can survive only by cannibalizing each other, spending without end, and promising that success is always just beyond the horizon and yet never arrives.

The American people are being taken on a ride by SolarCity, Tesla, and Musk. The ride is fueled by a cult of personality in Musk. And it costs billions of taxpayer dollars as he promises us not only the moon, but to harness the power of the sun and send us all to Mars.

In the cases of Enron and Bernie Madoff, in the end the cheated victims wished to have woken up sooner to the hubris that enabled such a downfall - or that at least regulators had pulled their heads out of the sand before the full impact of the collapse was realized.

We've seen this story before and we know how it ends.

But one of the good things about changing regimes in Washington D.C. is that cronies often get uprooted.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have launched a probe into tax incentives paid to solar companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The committee probes, led by their respective Republican chairmen, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, have found an appropriate and disturbing target to begin this work.

SolarCity, a solar installation company set to be purchased by Tesla Motors Inc., is one of the seven companies named in the initial investigation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2016

Condor Cuisinarts

A popular joke of my youth:

"What do you call a bird that's been run over by a lawnmower?"
"Shredded Tweet!"

Forgive us Sister, we grew up without PETA.

But, in completely unrelated news, the wind industry just picked up a license for 4200 Eagles.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on "proposed improvements" to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That's a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

This from a great guest editorial by Robert Bryce [Review Corner]. Bryce mentions one double standard:
The double standard is stunning. In 2011 the Fish and Wildlife Service convinced the Justice Department to file criminal indictments against three oil companies working in North Dakota's Bakken field for inadvertently killing six ducks and one phoebe.

I'll see his and raise the stock footage of oil-drenched birds both after the Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska and Horizon Deepwater in the Gulf. It's heart-wrenching to watch the poor creatures plucked from the sea doused with oil. It rips you in two -- I know because I have seen it about a thousand times.

But the greasy birds are the result of what we call in my country "a disaster:" a very bad and unusual discontinuity from the way things are supposed to work. Ships are not supposed to crash, Oil platforms are not supposed to explode. But there is some risk. Yet the bird shredding -- far more commonplace -- is business as usual. Some grisly footage exists on YouTube but we don't see it unless we're looking. The oil-spill birds are trotted out every Earth Day or any time legislation is pending which affect the Oil industry.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

You have to slaughter a few national icons to salve your own self-hatred.

Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2016 3:18 PM

May 11, 2016


It's almost as if the stock prices were held artificially high by subsidies. Naah, that couldn't happen! IBD says the rally is on (thanks to Amazon!) But the solar sector is gtetting massacred.

On the downside, SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) fell 18% to 18.53 in huge volume despite a spectacular Q1 report that included a 164% jump in earnings of 58 cents a share, trouncing Wall Street's consensus view by 45%. The solar panel inverter expert's net margin sharpened to 18.6%, a quarterly high. Yet sales growth of 45% to $125.2 million represented a slowdown from revenue gains of 183%, 121%, 72% and 70% in the prior four quarters, respectively.

SolarCity (SCTY) also got rocked, sinking 24% to 17, nearly taking out its Feb. 11 all-time low of 16.31. Volume was running more than five times its 50-day average. The solar systems installer suffered a wider net loss in Q1 at 25 cents a share and cut full-year guidance. The company is also feeling the chilling effect of a decision by the state of Nevada to cut solar-energy-related subsidies to homeowners and businesses.

The Energy-Solar subgroup ranks in the bottom quartile of IBD's 197 group rankings and is down 43% year to date.

Watt's Up With That? wonders if Elon Musk is overrated. They may say that, I couldn't possibly comment...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2016

Unintended Consequences

I love this.

Penn & Teller point out that a hybrid car, by carrying an extra motor and drive train "is liking having a couple extra lesbians in your trunk!" (You maybe have to see the whole show...) Well, it turns out that that extra weight, considering the brakes to stop it and the tyres tires to turn it, ends up eclipsing the economic benefits from the cleaner energy source.

Electric, hybrid and other eco-friendly cars fill the air with as many toxins as dirty diesel vehicles, scientists have found.

The greener alternative produce more tiny particles from tyre and brake wear because batteries and other parts needed to propel them make them heavier.

It happens because when eco-cars accelerate or slow down the tyres and brakes wear faster, in turn producing more particulates. More particles are also whipped up from the road surface because of the extra weight.These extra emissions are almost equal to the toxic particulates saved by reduced engine use, according to Jonathan Leake at The Sunday Times

UPDATE: In completely unrelated news, Elon Musk is a Crony Capitalist:
Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling "carbon credits" to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits -- but which are not "zero emissions" vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Not so fast! (with the love)

Professor Sokhi said the findings highlighted the significance of non-exhaust emissions and a need for legislation.

And this:

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department of Transport said eco-vehicles still had huge benefits in cutting CO2 emissions.

Neener neener! Bitumen, rubber and brake dust aren't "pollution" - CO2 is!

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2016 2:11 PM

April 27, 2016


Reduced electrovalence leads to lower than expected energy output from fossil fuels in West last year.
No, wait...
Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

"What do you mean by "candle famine" grampa?"

"Well it wasn't directly a shortage of candles, you see. But in the great cool-down of ought-thirty, when global wind patterns calmed by fifty percent, most of our larger cities were dependent on wind turbines for baseline electrical generation. And when the wind stops blowing, there's no support for the grid that used to run on the safe and abundant hydrocarbon fuels that our ancestors used for so long. Voilla, everyone was in the dark from sundown to sun-up. At least those who hadn't had the good sense to stock up on candles and kerosene."

"Now be a good boy and run down to the cellar for another bucket of coal. It's getting cold in here again."

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2016 2:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I would chortle openly, but I am still reeling from this video.

Charles C. W. Cooke provides a serious, lukewarmer perspective against Bill Maher and a handful of TV stars. The audience cheers at the President's bankrupting of Coal and boos nuclear.

Take your Lithium before watching. (All we need to do is watch a TED talk and do what Elon Musk says.)

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2016 3:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

That video was enervating, to be sure. What TED talk is worthwhile, JK? I've given up on them except for anything by Dr. Ridley.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 28, 2016 11:12 AM
But jk thinks:

That one was bugging me this morning, almost 24 hours after watching it. Donald Trump is (rightly if the quote is accurate) criticized for an out-of-mainstream view on "climate disruption." Then the whole -- not Charles CW Cooke-- panel makes just as outrageous unsubstantiated claims -- and they're the smart ones. Ay-yi-frickken-yi.

I have seen the exact TED talk to which our I-play-an-astrophysicist-on-TV actor refers. Elon Musk draws a red 10 x 10 mile square in New Mexico and claims that much solar panels (no doubt purchased from him at generous subsidy but am I wandering off topic?) would power this whole great nation. Umm, if there were wires. Or batteries (doesn't he sell batteries with generous Federal subsidies?)

All bad, no -- Ridley is great, Hans Rowling's washing machine is the greatest voice for liberty of all time -- an I, Pencil for the YouTube generation. Just like NPR it skews waaaaaay left, but something is not bad, ipso facto, because it is a TED talk. And when you do get a good one, it has credibility to lefties and millennials because of the bright red logo.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2016 11:52 AM
But jk thinks:

Outside the political realm, Susan Cain a good TED talk on introversion.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2016 11:56 AM

April 26, 2016

Quote of the Day

I am not disrespecting the talent of the engineers who achieved this feat. Flying a solar plane around the world is a remarkable achievement. But this achievement does not demonstrate the technology is viable. What it demonstrates is that solar is a ridiculously poor source of power. A solar collector the size of a 747 just managed to collect enough electricity, to keep an incredibly lightweight plane aloft. -- Eric Worrall
Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Just imagine the luggage surcharges on Super Duper Solar Airways flights!

But hey, at least travelers will feel good about "doing no harm" to the atmosphere. Heck, flying solar is even better than walking, with all of that CO2 "pollution" that their increased respiration would bring.

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2016 2:07 PM

April 22, 2016

Happy Freakin' Earth Day!!!

All Hail Harsanyi!

Have you experienced a school "science week" lately? You should.

The chances that you'll find a student whose goal is to one day extract fossil fuels more effectively or use genetically modified crops--or any real innovation, for that matter--to help the fortunes of billions of impoverished humans around the world is around zero. Most students will mimic what they hear, and claim to want to turn pond scum or discarded plastic bottles into eco-fuel. They get an A for caring.

'Many kids confuse science with environmental activism. Who can blame them? Science isn’t only the systematic study of structure and behavior in physical and natural world through observation and experimentation, but a moral elixir.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2016

Fresh Danish

After recently learning [first comment] that former long-time Democrat Boulder County Commissioner Paul Danish has changed his registration to the eevil Republican Party and is running for his old seat, I also discovered that he's been writing columns for the Boulder Weekly newspaper. Here is an excerpt from a great one of those, and it involves the principal reason he decided to challenge an incumbent commissioner at the polls.

Government should pay a decent respect to people's fears and concerns. But it should also pay a decent respect to scientific fact, the imperatives of successful agriculture, and the truth.

And the truth is that after 20 years of growing and consuming GM crops the question remains: Where are the victims?

Usually this is the point in the conversation where GMO opponents start talking about the precautionary principle: "Above all, do no harm." The problem with the precautionary principle is that it doesn't take into account harms that can come from inaction. Maybe that's why it's a principle and not a law of nature.

And when the world is faced with an existential threat - the sort of threat that a combination of rising temperatures, rising population, and rising expectations presents - the precautionary principle may have to take a back seat to the survival principle: "Whatever it takes, baby."

I'm old enough to remember a time when people who thought this way were not principally called "Republicans," they were called "human beings."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2016

Coming to their senses?

Who says there's no good news in the papers anymore? Robert Bryce [Review Corner] has a guest editorial in the WSJ today Juxtaposing Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I - Venezuela) calls for renewal energy with opposition in his home state of Vermont.

If Green Mountain Staters have tired of windmills, I pronounce them dead.

Why are so many Vermonters opposed to wind energy? The Sanders presidential campaign did not respond to questions. But Sen. [John S.] Rodgers told me by email that the state must protect its tourism industry. "People come here from around the world for our scenic vistas and rural working landscape." Asked whether concerns about climate change should trump the concerns of rural communities, Mr. Rodgers was frank: "Destroying the natural environment in the name of climate change is moronic."

Bryce lists several wind projects which have been recently been rejected.
In July the town board of Somerset, N.Y., voted to oppose a proposed 200-megawatt project known as Lighthouse Wind. And the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on large wind turbines in the county's unincorporated areas.

"Wind turbines create visual blight," said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Skyscraper-size turbines, he added, would "contradict the county's rural dark skies ordinance which aims to protect dark skies in areas like Antelope Valley and the Santa Monica Mountains."

I've considered them visual blight for years, but the world -- particularly near Boulder, Colorado -- is not ThreeSources. Bryce is not an impartial observer, but it's good too hear the opposition is rising.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2015

How Did I miss This?

Oh for a real live snopes -- I'd love to know the truth


Really, it sounds a little high, there are no real citations, and it's just a blog. I wonder... A cursory search shows it authoritatively debunked several times. But all from sites that look no more convincingly authoritative.

A Washington Times story seems more credible:

Hawaii provides the favorite example: The 37 turbines at the Kamaoa Wind Farm stood derelict for more than six years after it was discovered that repairs were more expensive than replacements. This is just one of six abandoned wind farms in one of the most wind-ideal places on the planet.

The Altamont Pass Wind Farm in Northern California used to be the largest wind farm on Earth. Now it is best known as the largest killer of eagles and other raptors. The turbines are shut down for four months a year to protect the birds during their migration. So much for that pro-forma.

As many as 4,500 wind turbines have been built -- and abandoned -- in California alone.

A real number would be very good to know, but I don't think it's computable to the pajamed Internet sleuther. Anybody know any good sites on this?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

UK Daily Mail

So how many windmills have been abandoned across the U.S.? It is an intensely sensitive subject for wind enthusiasts, who will quibble that it depends on how you define ‘abandoned’.

They wouldn’t, for instance, count ones that are working again today, even if they were switched off for years. They also argue that many of those that were left to rust were technologically outdated and set for the scrapheap anyway.

Wind power sceptics estimate 14,000 turbines across the U.S. have become derelict since the Eighties, while there are around 38,000 in operation across the country.

Paul Gipe claims the number abandoned in his state of California is around 4,500, of which 500 are still standing.

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2015 3:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And then there's the "canard?" about "it takes more energy to produce the materials and parts of a wind turbine than it will every produce in its lifetime."

Went looking for a basis for that claim and found a Scientific American article that I thought was going to be authoritative. But it doesn't list any conclusions! Only references.

There was this interesting tabulation in a comment, however.

PV solar 2.3:1

Biomass Boiler: 3.5:1

Onshore Wind: 3.9:1

CSP Solar : 9.6:1

Natural Gas: 28:1

Coal: 30:1

Run-of-River Hydro: 35:1

PWR Nuclear: 75:1

No authority or explanation, save a hyperlink, but seems reasonable, suggesting that the "energy return on investment" [EROI] of coal is more than 7X that of wind, and 13X that of solar PV.

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2015 3:48 PM

December 15, 2015

Propsworthy II: People are Smarterer than Media Allows

Or...Brother jg was right...

As in any group of people -- like, say, a random collection of well educated journalists stationed safely north of the Mason-Dixon line, one of whose members suspects a missing jetliner has been swallowed up by a black hole -- some members of the Woodland community expressed fears that, to the better informed, were not well grounded.

Notwithstanding Hawkins' sermonizing about the "global consensus that solar power is one of the cleanest and most renewable alternatives to oil and coal," the Woodland town council meeting appears to have featured a group of ordinary Americans, civically engaged, who reasonably decided not to re-zone to permit a solar farm. But of course, reporting it that way would deprive the media of the opportunity to portray an entire community as a collection of yahoos. -- Andrew McCarthy NRO

Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Me, right? It happens.

Chapter 732,85,998 of 'Why People Hate the Media' was written this morning.

Since we woke to a blizzard I had tuned to the local affiliate of NBC for some road and weather info. At the top of the hour the NBC national narrative came on and discussed, as the first story, the high poll numbers of one Donald Trump. There was footage from a speech he made in Las Vegas, ahead of the GOP debate there tonight. "There were a few hecklers in the crowd, who were quickly escorted out of the building, but not before one of them could make a Nazi gesture. [video: Sieg Heil!]"

Let me translate that for you, dear reader: "Here is your proof - all Republicans are Nazis."

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2015 5:43 PM

October 2, 2015

Renewable Energy vs. Real Energy

Courtesy of the "Boulder Valley & Northern Colorado Economic Profile & Market Facts" glossy mailer just arrived from BizWest.

On the Energy page, we find that Oil & Gas provided more than 110,000 jobs (5 year averaged trend 6.7% growth) to northern Colorado, whereas the Renewable industry (aka, Vestas) provided 3000 (4.1% growth). One wonders why they didn't include all the various, crunchy solar installation companies... couldn't have hurt the numbers...

Real Energy for real shiny people....

Posted by nanobrewer at 2:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 4, 2015

Nice graphix can't help KOS-niacs understand economics of Nuke & Coal

An interesting series titled GETTING TO ZERO (CO2 emissions, that is), from which the nicely-done graphic comes.

(UPDATED... it worked!)


Higher graph = better. Good article and explanation of the buffered bit as well:

n this study, "unbuffered" is the raw generation without storage, while "buffered" includes the cost of pumped hydro storage where it is needed to buffer the difference in peaks between production and consumption

Now that I've read the comments: I see that even a well-written article which was not blasted in the Comments section, nevertheless did not make much headway (I only spend few min. in the comments section). Best summary:
OK Nukes might help, but I've got problems with waste...
One even cited her HS Chemistry teacher (still having her brain in a jar I suppose).

Others pattered about not being able to get CSP on their rooftops (DOPES: this is about massive amounts of energy...like quads and stuff).

Hat tip to PowerLine (once again)

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

My appreciation for Cato is well known 'round here. Their energy guys assure that "you can take a lefty's solar/biomass/wind proposal, do a global replace for "nuclear," and hand it to someone of the right.

The exact same levels of subsidies are required -- but the nuke plants need it for insurance, permitting, &c. I hear that as gub'mint protection from gub'mint, but some people I admire greatly say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


say the current technology is not economically viable. They all wet?

Yes, the currently employed technology for nuclear power plants in today's (horribly overblown) regulatory environment is not viable.

Why? Because current technology employed are 40-50 year old designs! It's been a coon's age since I've looked into it - once professionally, once as a lurking/blogger - but the state of the art designs are very viable, or so says the PM with whom I interviewed (who would have no reason to lie to me)! There's a small cadre of companies, a few local, sitting on very nice designs and just waiting.... which is why I didn't get the job! Greenwood Village.... just as well, I suppose.

The regulatory environment is - well, let's just say it would be quite comfortably familiar to the architects of the ACA.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 6:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

CATO energy guy: is that Chip Knappenberger?

Btw, that same article I cited has a great explanation of how the energy storage in Norway & Sweden's copious dams is what makes Danish wind power close to viable: when the wind blows, the Danes send power north & the northern folks hold their water, when it doesn't the water & electrons flow south.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 5, 2015 4:20 PM

January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolution

In the interest of all the creatures of the world except myself, I herewith resolve:

- To become a vegetarian,
- To purchase an electric car,
- To wear clothing woven from hemp fiber,
- To shower weekly instead of daily,
- To install solar panels on my home, battery storage in the basement, and break my unhealthy connection to the filthy industrial power grid,
- To stop resisting humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of everyone on earth at the expense of American prosperity,
- To say, "Yeah man" more often.

I realize that this is, in itself, not enough to atone for my selfish lifestyle for the past five plus decades, but it is only a beginning and I intend to redouble my efforts again next year. And I don't even consider it a sacrifice, as it is for the good of all life on earth. (Well, maybe not so good for plant life but we can't all be winners, right?] I have no doubt about the power of my intellect to wean myself from the unhealthy foods made from other creatures, like hamburgers, steak, chicken wings, bacon, ... ... ... nevermind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:38 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. This is getting slightly better play on Facebook.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

A popular gag at my place of employment is to get on somebody else's (unlocked) computer and send group emails swearing gay love or antithetical opinions in the person's name. I got a queasy "he's been hacked by the NorKs" feeling before I hot the punchline.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps you were expecting an "unfriend" announcement as well? LOL

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2015 4:11 PM

November 27, 2014

"...and snacks and stuff."

The funniest stuff I've read in a long time is in this "article" on the California ballot initiative voters "approved" to build a high-speed rail line to Hawaii.

"This is a great day for California," says Walter Miller, leader of the Yes on 49 campaign. "Sure it's relatively easy and cheap to fly to Hawaii. But why would you want to take a 5-hour flight, when you can take a 15-hour train ride in an underground tube?"
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2014

Silly Lefty, This is What Mandates Are For

The Daily Camera reports: Boulder plots path to climate goals

The city also needs a marketing campaign to engage the community in a shared goal, he [Boulder Senior Environmental Planner Brett KenCairn] said. (...)

"What motivates a community to participate in this level of transformation?" he said. "The way we have been framing the problem and the goal is now part of the problem. Aspirational goals are deeply personal. Climate as catastrophe is not a good motivator."

Question: Once regional drivers pass the city limit sign, don't they belong to someone else's ambitious climate goals?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance of the Day

Religion here doesn’t mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live one’s life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should not. It does so in ways that fulfill deep-seated emotional needs that, at their profoundest level, are devotional. Given the confusions of a secular world being rapidly transformed by technology, demography, and globalization, this movement has assumed a spiritual aspect whose adepts have undergone a religious experience which, if not in name, then in virtually every other aspect, can be considered a faith.

The author most likely, it seems, is writing about the modern environmentalist movement. Nay, in fact, the Tea Party.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2014

Speaking of Anti-Poverty Policy...

That is one of the two "biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century" according to Patrick McCulley at international rivers dot org, who posted [in 2004] Twelve Reasons to Exclude Large Hydro From Renewables Initiatives. Spoiler alert: None of the 12 reasons is "Large hydro is non-renewable." To the contrary, reason #12 admits that it is, precisely, renewable:

12 - Large hydro reservoirs are often rendered non-renewable by sedimentation

Dam reservoirs are depleted over time by sedimentation, a problem that eventually
seriously impedes or ends the ability of a hydro plant to produce electricity. The
great majority of annual sediment loads are carried during flood periods. The high-
er intensity and frequency of floods due to global warming are therefore likely to
increase sedimentation rates and thus further shorten the useful lives of reservoirs.

No word on the required maintenance or "useful lives" of wind, solar or small hydro.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

D'ja see Jon Caldera on this? If water and gravity are "renewable" then we make all the quotas and cannot continue the graft to wind & solar providers.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2014 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Precisely. And that is, unapologetically, the direct basis for "reasons" number 1 and 2 and indirect basis for numbers 5 and 8 of the twelve, as stated in the summary list created by International Rivers Network in Berkeley.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2014 1:09 PM

February 6, 2014

Drill Baby Drill, Drill

I really need to visit Minnesotans for Global Warming more often. This is from 2011 but still as relevant as ever.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2014

Another "dirty little secret" of renewable energy

I wonder if readers will be as surprised as I to learn that the energy required to produce a 1,000 watt solar panel is on the order of 20,000,000 watt hours? That is the gist of this 1997 Australian whitepaper - Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture?

It depends on the particular type of panel of course, and efficiencies may have improved but still, I wonder how many solar PV evangelists know that the energy produced in the first 2-10 years of their system's operation all goes to pay back the energy consumed to create the things in the first place? "Woo hoo, halfway through my solar PV warranty period I'm finally net energy positive! Feel the clean power baby!"

I heard this topic discussed on a local liberty-oriented radio show last night, where the claim was that the energy of manufacture exceeds the energy produced over a lifetime. While that may be true at extreme latitudes it's a credibility-destroying exaggeration.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

And the batteries in that plug-in Prius already have 40,000 miles of equivalent impact on them.

Talking with a friendly on FB (yeah, there's one -- I met him at LOTR-Flatirons), I'm concerned about something else photovoltaic: From Dr. Gray's Global Warming speech, the solar energy hitting earth is ~4W/m2 -- is that not a maximum? 5 x 5 m to light a 100W bulb? Good thing they're illegal.

Me missing something?

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, 4 watts is way low. Click the Atlantis Farm Weather widget on the sidebar any time to find a graph of real-time solar radiation in watts per square meter. In winter the peak is about 500 and in summer about 1000. Even averaged over a 24-hour period it is about 80 watts in winter and 160 in summer.

Which means, now that I think about it, a 1kW peak power panel can't produce that much year-round, which means the years to break even is higher than advertised.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2014 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Very cool, thanks. Me need to read Dr. Gray again.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 6:13 PM

December 11, 2013

T-Shirt Meme of the Day




End the insanity - ban wind power!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's telling that my first reaction was "They're playing the 3-9-1 Vikings this week, and Petersen is doubtful. How much more saving do they need?"

I wonder whether eagle paté tastes like chicken.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:


The eagle failed to make its saving throw versus Wind Farm.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't read the O-admin's jackass rule yet but it is entirely possible that they've made it legal, under federal law, to kill eagles but not to possess their feathers. Although if they did have enough forsight to exempt employees, the only persons in North America legally authorized to possess eagle feathers would be Native Americans and wind farm workers.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2013 6:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I stand corrected on my initial comment - the Vikings are now 4-9-1. The Eagles failed to make their saving throw versus Minnesota.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2013 1:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

The Eagles made their saving throw, it just came in an odd form called the Green Bay Packers. Just as the Broncos saving throw came from some guys in orange and blue with Dolphins on their shirts. :-)

Posted by: dagny at December 16, 2013 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Yaaaaay Dolphins!!!

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2013 1:26 PM

August 6, 2013

EV Price War

Following Nissan's lead, manufacturers of electric or hybrid electric vehicles are slashing prices by the thousands as they all chase a wafer-thin 0.5% share of the new car and truck market. And one of them, Honda, has added a new sweetener - unlimited mileage leases! Which sounds good until you think about how far an EV can go on a charge, and how many hours it takes to recharge, and how many hours there are in a day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

"Double your IQ or NO money back!" "I dunno, it sounds pretty good to me...." -- Gary Larson

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2013 3:20 PM

July 11, 2013

Some Rational Optimism for Thursday

Very much in the spirit of his "The Rational Optimist" [Review Corner]. Sadly very much not in the style of "saucily exhibiting Kelly Slater's package".

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

How much would we have to pay Kelly to recite this speech for a promo video?

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lies! All lies! Ridley is obviously a shill for Big Prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:54 PM

November 1, 2012

Better to Burn Out Than to Fade Away...

I suppose that all the cars that were submerged in sea water will be treated as a "total loss" by their insurer anyway, right?

More Than A Dozen Fisker Karma Hybrids Caught Fire And Exploded In New Jersey Port After Sandy

UPDATE: Fisker released the following statement:

“It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.

Hmmm. I wonder why they made sure to mention that none of them were "being charged at the time?"

See below to form your own opinion: "Damaged by fire" or "caught fire and burned to the ground?"


I snark, but in my professional experience as a product development engineer I know that there are always glitches with new technology. Problems such as this are to be expected in complex systems. But then, that's why it is prudent to engage in lengthy laboratory and road tests of prototypes before lobbying politicians for venture capital and rushing products to a clueless customer base.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:40 PM | Comments (7)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Yeah, even prototype robotic tape libraries have been known to impersonate a Bic...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 1, 2012 5:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I accuse my engineer brothers of excessive kindness. These were not prototypes in a test lab. These were staged for delivery to wealthy, productive Americans.

And subsidized by the taxpayer.

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2012 6:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not that I remember, but I do recall some fancy light dimmer switches that, due to a novel yet unreliable line-connected power supply, had a 66% mortality rate after 3 or 4 years. (Nothing as spectacular as a Flaming Fisker Flambe though.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2012 6:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Very nice; snap poll in the Denver Compost gives the "Sandy not caused by AGW" the edge 54 - 41% over those who would dump science for politics.

No. Bad weather has been around for ages, and there's no way to prove this storm was man's fault.

Yes. This is another in a series of increasingly extreme weather events that mankind is at least partly to blame for.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 2, 2012 12:48 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Only three rules of owning a Fisker Karma:

(1) Don't get it wet.
(2) Don't expose it to bright light.
(3) Never feed it after midnight.

We've now seen what happens when you get it wet.

I know AMC used the name first, but shouldn't these be marketed as the Fisker Gremlin?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 2, 2012 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The other conclusion I draw from all of the official Fisker statements is that the only time their car can be counted on to NOT burst into flames is when it is being charged. I don't think I'd ever be comfortable unplugging it.

Posted by: johngalt at November 2, 2012 4:27 PM