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A PSA for EMPs

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
Choose a political tribe, and I will tell you their concerns, doubts, fears, and enemies. Those threats I could categorize include climate change, tyrannical government, terrorism, big corporate, national debt, financial collapse, and so forth. Some of those threats are more serious than others and most of them, when mixed with others, produce a much more potent threat. For instance, terrorists with nukes, or corporations using puppets to make bad law that hits everyone else. When you consider a threat, you must consider what you can control, whether it can be prevented or mitigated, at what cost, and what is…
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Electricity from Natural Gas – The Game Changer; I’ll Say!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Last week, I mentioned that having a diversified fleet of power generating plants is a smart strategy for any utility; specifically, diversity by fuel source.  The recent natural gas bonanza cut loose with the perfection of hydraulic fracturing and mind-blowing drilling capability (vertical a few thousand feet, then horizontal a few thousand feet) has unleashed a fury of kneejerk policy and utility strategy changes. As is common with the Energy Rant, Jeff says, not so fast.  It isn’t that easy.  There are consequences and major challenges with racing down this road without thinking.First we have the federal government (the EPA)…
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DC Circuit’s Smackdown of FERC re Demand Response

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
I’ve written dozens of proposals, and I’ve read dozens and dozens of requests for proposals from all sorts of entities including states, local governments, private corporations, and of course, utilities.  With this comes scope of work requested, required proposal content, rules, terms and conditions, and due dates.  I always consider content of the RFP to mean what it says, and if it isn’t clear what it means, either ask a question via the process detailed in the RFP, or ignore it and work it out later, or it is a minor thing – irrelevant in the big picture. Enter the…
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Federal Fuel Mileage Con Job

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government No Comments
A few weeks back I lampooned the federal government’s desire to implement energy efficiency policy, and in particular, Shaheen Portman.  You can view the key elements of that in that post, but one thing mysteriously missing is automobile mileage – the crown jewel of federal energy efficiency regulations.  Why is this?  I don’t know, but one thing I can explain is how these regulations are as modern as building codes for ancient pyramids.  Nobody knows why pyramids were ever built, but I’m sure it involved male instincts prior to the development of calculus.  For example, put a guy in charge of…
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Independence, Finally

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments, Uncategorized No Comments
Here is some good news in my view.  Despite nearly 40 years of political claptrap to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, technology from the private sector, not cockamamie pie in the sky, physics-defying dumb ideas will deliver it.  That is, unless of course Washington snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, which it is 100% capable of doing. I went looking for data on our dependence on foreign oil since the first oil shocks of the 1970s.  There is one significant dip in the import percentage Figure 1 and that is due to (1) a deep recession in the early…
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Protest, Loser

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
It has been quite a year for protests.  From Glenn Beck (although he swears it wasn’t a protest) and Jon Stewart (ditto) taking up the entire National Mall in Washington, to the months long battle royale in the 85 square miles surrounded by reality – also known as Madison, WI.  For what it’s worth, you can check out the spin in both directions regarding the recent jobs report and Wisconsin.  More time is needed to draw any conclusions. The primary problem of course in all these cases, including the greased pig wrasslin match in Washington in recent weeks, is governments…
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Energy Star Black Eye

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability No Comments
For years, beginning in the 1990s through just a few years ago I considered ENERGY STAR® to be fluffy foo foo feel good goo – kind of like eating meringue smothered in corn syrup after chopping wood all day. Then they introduced the ENERGY STAR rated homes and ENERGY STAR rated commercial buildings.  Both of these seem to be solid “programs”.  ENERGY STAR for commercial buildings is based on energy intensity, which is energy consumption per square foot, climate region, type of facility and a few other things.  To “earn the ENERGY STAR” commercial buildings must be in the 75th…
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