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energy policy

Map of Ukraine

100 Years and 50,000 Feet Over Ukraine

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m breaking my word from last week’s natural gas shakedown in which I noted I would write about customer intolerance for high energy prices this week. Since then, a kerfuffle has broken out in the Eurasian landmass. I was asked if I might be interested in writing about that, especially regarding energy. No! I don’t know much about it; it won’t impact our energy supply, and we should not get involved. After listening to some podcasts and news clips, my Gallup “strengths” got the best of me. My top four strengths are posted on the left, with a layperson’s definition...
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green energy

Does Green Investing Work? Expert Says No

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m just a mechanical systems[1] engineer but assume for a moment that I was a structural or civil engineer, and you asked me what it would take to build a bridge from Los Angeles to Honolulu. We can build anything, including that bridge. If the Golden Gate Bridge could be built in the 1930s, a nuclear submarine in the 1950s, and we put a man on the moon in the 1960s, we can sure as heck build a bridge to Hawaii in the 2020s. The bridge would be easier than zeroing out carbon emissions from the energy sector. See, I’m...
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Regulation v Deregulation in True Color

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Recent projects have led me to examine how deregulated electricity markets work. Since I am naturally curious, I wanted to investigate differences between electricity price performance of deregulated states versus those of regulated states. This week we examine the impacts of regulation/deregulation on pricing, and next week, we will look at the impacts that renewable energy has on pricing. Data used come from the Energy Information Administration[1]. Figures lie, liars figure, but Jeff merely presents all data available for you to decide, pound your chest, or cry. That is your prerogative. Often data which do not support a narrative is...
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Energy Policy – Stay in Your Lane, Bro

By Energy Rant One Comment
Ohio lawmakers are again at the beck and call of deregulated power producing titans as they pass a nuclear and coal plant bailout at the expense of energy efficiency. They also dumped mandates for renewable resources. Almost simultaneously, the Institute for Energy Research (IER) published this brand new report, which compares levelized cost of electricity from existing nuclear plants to that of new wind and solar generation, transmission, and required backup resources. It may explain why Ohio lawmakers did what they did. The word “may” is used because I am firmly convinced the political class is mostly clueless regarding regulated...
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Renewables Killed the Nuclear Star, And Other Price Oddities

By Energy Rant One Comment
In April of this year, I commented on the Center of the American Experiment’s report, Energy Policy in Minnesota: The High Cost of Failure. That post is here. As a wee lad, I liked Curious George, so let us dig in and see if we can tweeze the fibers that drive the cost of electricity. Wind and Electricity Prices American Experiment’s claim is that wind energy with near-zero marginal cost of production does not result in lower energy prices for consumers. In fact, they say it increases electricity prices. This is where I began. Data for this post come from...
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Trump on Energy Policy – Yawn

By Energy Rant No Comments
The Donald has been in office long enough for an assessment of performance, if I may use that term, on energy policy. States Matter Most, but not all, of us are employed under a patchwork of state policies. State houses and executives set the policies, and utility commissions see to it that the policies are carried out. States tend to zig when the federal government zags. It doesn’t happen overnight but over the course of several years. For instance, the Obama administration was anti-coal, anti-carbon, and as a result, purplish-red (raspberry, I guess) states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, pulled...
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deregulation

Betting with Deregulation – A Risky Proposition

By Energy Rant No Comments
Energy is a commodity, and like all commodities, it is wise to hedge risk; not go the other way and place bets. Unless you are a certain presidential candidate with privileged information on cattle futures, I would stay away from betting, er investing in, commodities in general, and energy specifically. To digress for a moment, recall when gasoline cost $4 per gallon, there were all kinds of calls to investigate price gouging and rigging the market. Bill O’Reilly would ignorantly rant about the “speculators”. I said then, in 2008 just before this blog was born, that was poppycock. Senators Chucky...
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The Super Genius Grid

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Utility Stuff 3 Comments
The barrier to having a decent energy policy is very similar to the barriers of solving illegal immigration.  Both the left and the right have their own vested interests in not fixing the problem.  I see the political spectrum as a circle, not a line from far left to far right.  It is a circle because when views get so extreme, they are supported by both the far left (e.g. Dennis Kucinich) and far right (e.g. Ron Paul).  Personally, I respect both of these guys and I have no doubt they are sincere in their beliefs and want the best...
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No Policy?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Utility Stuff No Comments
As administrations and congresses come and go, one thing remains the same: “there is no clear energy policy”, and “we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil”.  Neither one is ever addressed. First, what the heck is a clear energy policy anyway and are we sure we want one?  When the government messes with any market, the result is always negative for consumers and in some cases bordering on catastrophe.  The only exception I see is utilities, which lend themselves to monopolistic efficiency.  You may need to lie down after that head-spinning oxymoron.  But seriously, in order to have...
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Butterfly Wings

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Uncategorized, Utility Stuff No Comments
A couple years ago I was attending an ACEEE conference and I was speaking with a gentleman who with his company was a program implementer.  I remember him saying that program evaluators should always work for the regulators.  If evaluators worked for the program implementer, which in many cases is the utility directly, the results would be biased.  I thought, no way.  There is no way our profession is to be swayed by the desire to not make waves with the client.  As I say on our staff page I will tell people what they need to know, not what...
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