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Efficiency’s Problem: Cyborgs, Fragments, and Climate

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
The number of bipartisan political issues that can be counted on one finger is shrinking fast. All this while the definition of bipartisan has been lowered to a single vote from the opposing party. Energy efficiency is not among the bipartisan issue (sic). It is unfortunately limited to the left-wing of the political spectrum as once again demonstrated by Ohio where the deep red legislature in House Bill 6 passed a $1.1 billion bailout to keep two nuclear plants afloat, and efficiency - dead. Ohioans – Screwed, Coming and Going But there is more. Since it would be unfair to…
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Nuclear Power – What’s it worth to you?

By Energy Rant No Comments
Author’s Note: Mike Frischmann here. I’m doing my best Jeff Ihnen impression and filling in for the Rant this week. Your regular dose of Jeff will return next week. Nuclear power plants have fallen on hard times. There has been a dearth of new builds in this country for decades. The DOE, at the request of the nuclear and coal industries, is pushing to throw nuclear generators a lifeline for pricing preferences. Most of the recent plant construction cancellations discussed in the news are nuke plants. And there’s, of course, the global scale mess of the Vogtle plant in Georgia…
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Reverse Diversification Coming to a Utility Near You

By Energy Rant One Comment
In my Personal Finance class as an undergraduate, our instructor used the term diworsification for large stalwart companies. Diworsification occurs when a company buys another company it knows nothing about and isn’t complimentary to the core business. Utilities got into this in the wild west days of 1990s deregulation, buying telecommunication and even real estate companies. That didn’t end well, and they went back to their core business of the regulated monopoly.In recent years we have experienced a reverse diversification of our power supply – namely in the reliable, conventional, thermal power plant sector. We still get almost half our…
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Talking Heads

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff No Comments
This is not about the excellent 80s band, unfortunately. Companies that provide necessities of life serve as punching bags to the public, media, and politicians.  I’ve said this before.  This week, we have more examples of beating up electricity and other utility providers. First, as I was explaining in my “Energy Efficiency 101” course Friday for new and recent hires at Michaels Energy, power companies are expected to provide power 24/7, every minute of the day, hell or high water, with no emissions, no nukes, out of sight, and with negligible cost.  It would be easier and less controversial to…
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Atmospheric Cooling = Strong Tornadoes

By Energy Efficiency One Comment
We interrupt this rant for this special announcement.  Our cold spring in the northern plains is wreaking havoc in the form of tornadoes in the southern and middle parts of the country. I think the weather phenomena had a lot to do with my interest in mechanical engineering.  Growing up on the farm in the flatlands, I had seen a great many black clouds approaching on the horizon.  As they drew closer, they would either brighten to a lighter gray and rain, or they get ugly.  If the approach is led by a dark band of clouds followed by blue-green…
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