Archive for Sunday, October 3, 2010

Obama promotes clean energy

October 3, 2010


— Wind, solar and other clean energy technologies produce jobs and are essential for the country’s environment and economy, President Barack Obama said in promoting his administration’s efforts.

The president used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, a month away from congressional elections, to charge Republicans with wanting to scrap incentives for such projects.

“That’s what’s at stake in this debate,” the president said. “We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive.”

Part of the House GOP’s recently released “Pledge to America” calls for freezing spending from last year’s stimulus bill. The stimulus included $90 billion for clean energy projects ranging from electric vehicles to solar loan guarantees, although a big chunk of the money has already been obligated or spent.

Republicans disputed Obama’s criticism, saying they support investments in renewable energy technologies.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took aim in the GOP radio response at government spending, saying Democrats are “maxing out the national credit card on a failed stimulus bill and a government-run health care bill.”


devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

"Wind, solar and other clean energy technologies produce jobs and are essential for the country’s environment and economy" And they take away jobs from energy technology that already exists. It isn't clear at all that wind and solar are essential for the country's economy.

"We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country." Our country got weak when alternative energy technologies like wind and solar were pursued instead of domestic oil and gas. The failure is the failure to allow the market to decide. Regulation, taxes, subsidies and demonization has rendered business in America a non-competitor in global markets. We descend into economic malaise at a rate determined by the increase in government involvement in the economy.

"Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive." Industries are not growing. Wind and solar are not innovative, they are old technologies whose costs and pollution just cannot be overcome by government subsidies. They don't work.
The idea that government spurs innovation is a bad joke. Government gets in the way of innovation. There's hardly been a new industrial innovation in the world in decades. And those that have come along are based upon science of the 1950s and before. In areas that took off before the government could get their hands on it. Today, forget it. Money sits on the sidelines, waiting for a real new idea. Waiting for a seam in the wall between innovation and the public.

And that wall is government. Central planning of innovation is a paradox.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Which is why Nixon declared war on drugs. And Johnson had his war on poverty. And, well, virtually every president has a war on something. The difference between these and real war is that people were dieing in a real war. People whose fathers and mothers were of the type to innovate.

Today, innovation is virtually dead. Patent rent-seekers, government regulation, litigation, and a shocking lack of fecundity from science leaves the inventor left with "pocket fisherman"-type possibilities.

My comments regarding windmills are spot on. Has windmill technology improved in modern times? Yes. But the basic turning of a shaft by the capturing of straight-line wind is very old. People a long time ago knew when, where, and how to make wind more reliable so that the mill didn't run only 10% of the time. The props, steering, and generators have been developed based upon science of a century ago.
Until electrical storage improves tenfold, there will never be an economical way to use energy delivered on a 25% duty cycle. And that is just what to expect from wind and solar.

You must have so much backup generation from fuel that it doesn't make economic sense to use the unreliable wind and solar. Wind and solar are not power generators, they are energy generators. They can't be relied upon to produce a rate of energy. They are useful to produce a bolus of energy, but in their own time and place. They deliver energy. But they cannot be relied upon as a part of the grid.

Spain spent a lot on windmills. And they spent even more on combustion engine driven generators to backup the windmills. The Danes wouldn't be able to use the windmills they have were it not for the massive nuclear generating capacity residing in France.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 6 months ago

"The failure is the failure to allow the market to decide."

I take it that you would agree with instituting a carbon tax to replace other forms of taxation, which would have the effect of ending the externalized costs of fossil fuels, thus allowing the market to work its magic.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Externalized costs are undefined, fuzzy, highly political creations of the mind. Let's see, Nigeria is having a bunch of turmoil, in no small part because of the wealth provided by oil. The whole friggin' country is about to blow up politically because of the usual concentration of wealth and the problems that ensue.

Is this oil's fault? How much? Before western folk showed in sub-Saharan Africa everybody was poor. No toilet paper, no chickens or cows, no penicillin, etc.

So there is an externality to penicillin? You bet. Automobiles and guns, tomatoes and potatoes, soybeans and nitrogen fertilizer have all contributed to the change of the entire planet, too. They all carry "external" costs. Reminds me of paying reparations to the great-great grandsons of slaves. Undefinable. Endless. Simply a political tool for transferring of wealth, whether it is a good idea or not.

Here ya go, bozo:

Notice that a 3% increase in coal-fired costs are attributed to externalities by this government group. What about the external costs of oil industry jobs? What about the external costs of noisy, bird-killing? All ill-defined and up-for-grabs in this government controls everything mentality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 6 months ago

Any costs of anything on a macro scale are hard to determine with 100% precision, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Refusal to acknowledge them and make some attempt to account for them isn't an indication of "clear thinking." On the contrary, it's merely an indication of how driven you are by pure ideology.

Your patronizing, but not surprisingly ignorant, comments about how the uncivilized brown people of Africa have squandered all the efforts of enlightened white folks like you do nothing to advance whatever argument you're trying to make.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Which is why I didn't say the things that you attribute to me. Did I say squandered? Did I even imply that? No. I implied that western culture came in and changed their culture. Yes it included slaughter, slavery, and Christianity. It also included mosquito nets and schistosomiasis drugs. Some cultures in Africa have done fine with it (Ghana). Some struggle with it, especially when the wealth is in the form of money. You give money to a culture that has long had trouble in times of plenty and you get wealth consolidation and riots from the poor. It has nothing to do with skin-color and I resent that you inferred it from my comments.

And your comments regarding costs on a macro scale are weasel words. I acknowledge externalities. I also warn that they are ill-defined and endless. My ideology is engineering based upon Newtonian mechanics and the concepts of energy that flowed from them. As such, I challenge "clear thinkers" to add up the capital and operating costs of solar or wind. They don't make sense. But in your world of "external" costs, they do....because you can define those costs any way you want, including the disruption of ancient civilizations or the "environment"", whatever that is.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

Amazing how some folks over on the sinister side of the fence are such total swine when it comes to leaving their trash in public places. Scroll down to the last 3 of the original 15 photos.

Centerville 7 years, 6 months ago

Check out 10:10 and tell me that environmentalism isn't the last refuge of a fascist.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Another si se puede moment for our illegal, marxist, and socialist transformers. Too bad they had to be paid and threatened in order for them to show up at this trashy party.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

"Many people forget that television is the main reason we no longer have radios, or movies...." I'd bet your car has a radio. You should turn it on sometime. No more movies? Dude, you're not even trying anymore.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

What did you post that got removed, ag? Post it again so I can see it.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

As with all technology, we have lost human interaction. Air conditioners have allowed people to stay inside on hot summer nights instead of sitting on their porches. Cars have separated people who used to walk, ride trains, or even ride horse-drawn wagons. Technology has replaced the artisan.
There is an identity crisis in America today derived from technology. People used to be "cabinet makers", "wheelwrights", "glassblowers", and "family doctors".

No longer. Jobs have left America in vast quantities. Jobs at all levels, not just blue-collar jobs. And along with it is the loss of self-realization, self-worth, and identity. Obama will not change that with a few jobs in industries that don't work. If jobs are created for "green" technology, then either the technology is not cost effective, or there will be more jobs lost than gained.

My assertion is that there will be more jobs lost than gained, and all the jobs will be government subsidized.

All industries you site are examples of good ole fashioned capitalism. Radios, movies and TV all exist today. And computer-based content is growing fast. It may be that all information is conveyed via the internet within a few years. But the older technologies grew because they were allowed to compete. Big radio was CBS. Big TV grew with the 3 networks. And now they are dwindling because they are limited by the FCC far more than is cable. A good way to screw up an active, thriving industry is to regulate it, unionize it, tax it, subsidize it. If alternative energy was viable, it would be happening at a rate that staggers the world economy. It isn't because of engineering and physics based fundamentals. It doesn't work.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

How do you explain the subsidization of oil and gas energy? Wars being waged at taxpayer expense to provide access for multinational corporations? Free or subsidized access to reserves held on public lands?

Certain forms of energy certainly seem to receive a good deal of subsidy from our current government. Why do you suppose they are successful in gaining that assistance?

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

For the same reason that all activities today receive assistance. We live in a country at a time when we have been moving more and more toward government. Government is involved in everything. Regulations, economic incentives, economic restrictions, manipulation of markets. Oh, and engineering and science as well. Government has a hand in everything. Is this paranoia? My lawn must be mowed (city ordinance). It must be mowed by a mower that passes inspection by the EPA (emissions) and OSHA (safety). The gas I put into it comes with a warning that the fumes cause cancer. The manual that comes with it is unreadable. It is composed of so many warnings cautions, and notices that trying to find where the on/off switch is the last thing in the manual. Oh, it isn't on/off anymore either. It is a funny symbol, or a 1 and a 0. European regs, don'cha know.

War? Ha. Wars are about power. Oil-type power, political power, other business-type power, power. We are in the middle east because of Islam. Islam threatens Israel, oil, India, France, and world power structures of all kinds. Iran gets a nuke, the house of Saud falls. Sunnis, Shi'ite and Sufi battle each other and the whole world gets sent back to 632 a.d.

This will actually fit in quite well with the antiquated energy sources we will be using. We will be sustainable, pious, and humble before the ruler. Sounds great doesn't it? Unless you are gay, or a woman, or an artist. But it is just about the oil, isn't it?


notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"Certain forms of energy certainly seem to receive a good deal of subsidy from our current government. Why do you suppose they are successful in gaining that assistance? "

Just a shot in the dark, but because the people that elected that government wanted those things subsidized? Has it occurred to you that the owners of the 250,000,000 registered passenger vehicles in this country might have wanted oil, not windmills?

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

Or because they have successfully captured control of our political process and successfully protect their monopoly.

Why not take 1/10th, or even 1/100th of the value of the subsidy the extractive energy industries get from our government and instead invest it in alternative energy?

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, again, just a shot in the dark, but because the owners of those 250,000,000 registered passenger motor vehicles want oil, not alternative energy?

Centerville 7 years, 6 months ago

The big problem with "wind and solar" is how much tax mony is required to quiety employ hidden old technology which is required just to prop up the illusion.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 6 months ago

How much did it cost us to assist in the capturing of the oil fields of Iraq for Shell/BP/Exxon?

How much will we spend to secure the trans Siberian pipeline and all the minerals recently "discovered" in Afghanistan?

How much did the events of 9-11 cost our country? Why did those attacks occur?

Which industries and which illusions are being propped up?

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Why, you're absolutely correct, scottie! Why, those evil monsters in the oil companies - they're the only ones who benefited from Iraq's being removed from the hands of a dictator who started the occasional Middle East war!

I mean, the billions of people in this world who depend on oil didn't benefit one bit! After all, it didn't hurt the economy or interfere with peoples' daily lives when gasoline was going for $4/gallon.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Do we know how many billions in tax dollars are fed to the coal and nuke industries annually as we speak?

The cost of additional nuke plants and insurance of additional nuke plants will be covered by tax payers otherwise they will not be built. This is one reason CEO's, shareholders and golden parachutes love nuke power. All profit little monetary risk. Yet we ratepayers still get a monthly bill in spite of the fact we own them. Very very expensive and toxic power.

Kansas,New Mexico,Pennsylvania,Colorado and many others have wind farms online as we speak. I-70 near Salina displays a wind power system that goes for several miles.

Benefits of a 20 Percent by 2020 National Renewable Electricity Standard

Job Creation - 355,000 new jobs—nearly twice as many as generating electricity from fossil fuels

Economic Development - $72.6 billion in new capital investment, $16.2 billion in income to farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners, and $5.0 billion in new local tax revenues

Consumer Savings - $49 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills

Healthier Environment - Reductions of global warming pollution equal to taking nearly 71 million cars off the road, plus less haze, smog, acid rain, mercury contamination, and water use

A national renewable electricity standard1 would require electric utilities to supply a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy. Similar policies have already been enacted in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. Senate has voiced its support for a 10 percent by 2020 national standard three times since 2002—most recently in June 2005. Congress has also considered a national standard of 20 percent by 2020.

In 2004, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) used the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) National Energy Modeling System computer model to examine the costs and benefits of a 20 percent by 2020 national standard. We modified the model using more optimistic assumptions for renewable energy technology costs and performance that are more in line with projections by the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Our analysis found that a 20 percent standard would reduce electricity and natural gas prices and provide significant economic and environmental benefits for America.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

OCTOBER 2007 UPDATE Analysis of the House-passed 15 percent by 2020 Renewable Electricity Standard.

In August 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed energy legislation (H.R. 3221) that included a 15 percent by 2020 national standard. Although the Senate passed an energy bill in June 2007 that did not include a national standard, it has supported the policy three times since 2002 (most recently in June 2005). House and Senate negotiators will have to decide whether to include a national standard in the final bill. UCS updated our July 2007 Cashing In on Clean Energy analysis to examine the effects of the House-passed standard and found that it would provide the following benefits:

Consumer Savings $13 billion to $18.1 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $27.7 billion to $31.8 billion by 2030)

Energy Diversity Increase in clean, renewable energy capacity to between 3.6 and 4.5 times over 2005 levels

Climate Solutions Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking between 13.7 and 20.6 million cars off the road

Download the updated Cashing In on Clean Energy analysis including a breakout of consumer energy bill savings by state.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget that brownouts are a good way to enforce energy conservation, right, merrill?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

Nuclear Power Is Not Clean or Green!

No contemporary energy source is as environmentally irresponsible, imposes such a high liability on taxpayers, or is as dangerous as nuclear power. Industry efforts to "greenwash" nuclear energy make a mockery of clean energy goals. Although nuclear reactors do not emit carbon dioxide, promoting nuclear risks to reduce greenhouse emissions is the classic jump from the frying pan into the fire!

The Real Dirt on "Clean" Nuclear Energy

* The mining, milling and enrichment of uranium into nuclear fuel are extremely energy-intensive and result in the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

* Estimated "energy recovery time" for a nuclear power plant is about 10 to 18 years, depending on the richness of uranium ores mined for fuel. This means that a nuclear power plant must operate for at least a decade before all the energy consumed to build and fuel the plant has been earned back and the power station begins to produce net energy. By comparison, wind power takes less than a year to yield net energy, and solar or photovoltaic power nets energy in less than three years.

* The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated that collective radiation doses amounting to 12 cancer deaths can be expected for each 20-year term a reactor operates, as a result of radioactive emissions from the nuclear fuel cycle and routine reactor operations. This calculation assumes no unplanned accidents and does not consider radiation releases from high-level nuclear waste "disposal" activities. Nor are nonfatal health impacts related to radiation exposure counted in this tally.

* Thermal pollution from nuclear power plants adversely affects marine ecosystems. "Once-through" cooling systems in use at half the U.S. nuclear reactors discharge billions of gallons of water per day at temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the water into which it flows.

The Waste Problem/Security Risks/Cost to Ratepayers

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

The cost of additional COAL plants and insurance of additional COAL plants will be covered by tax payers otherwise they will not be built. This is one reason CEO's, shareholders and golden parachutes love COAL power. All profit little monetary risk. Yet we ratepayers still get a monthly bill in spite of the fact we own them. Very very expensive and toxic power.

ralphralph 7 years, 6 months ago

I want ... No! I NEED ... the Federal Government to take over every detail of my life. I just can't deal with all this individual freedom, having to decide things and make choices all the time, and, sometimes, even having to do stuff I don't want to.

Please, Barack, relieve me of my few remaining liberties! I NEED you.

camper 7 years, 6 months ago

Oil and coal is currently benefiting from federal subsidies (not to mention the costs of forever trying to stabalize world affairs of oil producing countries in the Middle East). The idea that our dependence on oil is based on market economics is simply not true. If we diverted some of the oil/coal subsidations to renewable energies, the palying field would be more fair.....and more wise for long term energy strategy. Unfortunately, we don't seem to regard long term to much.

This is not to say oil is bad altogether. It will still be an efficient energy source, and is not as bad as coal. But we should begin the process of weaning ourselfs off of this energy supply....though not necessarily entirely. President Obama is actually forward thinking here, and he is right. Unfortunately we won't be able to get anything done unless a severe crisis emerges.

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

Of course, camper. There are no free markets left in the world. As I said earlier, government is in into everything, at every level. Oil subsidies are of great benefit to the feds. Big Oil pays more money to the U.S. government than any other business.
Look at Exxon's quarterly report. Half of its expenses are government payments....that's before income tax. If Big oil goes down, the economy really tanks. The government is truly broke.

We divert billions of oil revenue to alternative energy. Not only that, but coal pays a big tax bill every year....and wind and solar get billions to explore batteries, smart grid technologies, solid state photovoltaics and basic science. Take a look at this government budget. Coal gets a 3% addition for future contingencies. None of the other technologies are expected to pay for any unforeseen externalized costs. Oil and gas and coal are taxed, levied, charged for all kinds of things. Big oil must continue to keep Louisiana, California, Alaska, Texas, Wyoming....(oh heck the list is too long) from going bankrupt.

And subsidized solar panels simply cannot replace, or even augment, fossil fuel. Again, if battery technology improves an order of magnitude, then maybe. Billions are being spent in this area. But the improvements are either marginal or are sophisticated "science" experiments. Laboratory science is a long way from an engineering prototype. Unless I have missed some new chemistry based on dirt.......I don't see it happening.

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

Except for his doing what was necessary to make sure our country didn't fall into another Great Depression, passing a major health care policy that will make sure many millions of people who would otherwise be denied access with have access to medical care, signing legislation that puts necessary limits on the actions of Wall Street, eliminating banking from being the middleman for student loans, and ending the fighting in Iraq.

Well how about that, looks like plenty has worked after all.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"passing a major health care policy that will make sure many millions of people who would otherwise be denied access with have access to medical care"

The usual liberal lie. Nobody in this country is denied access to health care. And most of the people who will now have health insurance are people that could have had it before but chose not to.

beatrice 7 years, 6 months ago

Who is this anointed one in which you speak? In America, we have elections. The PEOPLE -- those very people you claim to support and love so much -- are the ones who voted for Obama, and likely will re-elect him as well.

Now, to the rest of your incorrect stance -- the less than 10% unemployment is far less than it was during the Depression. No, it isn't 8%, but it sure isn't 40% either, which seemed possible at one point at the end of 2008. The Mavericky team and their fundamentally sound economy would have been a complete disaster for America.

Most Americans don't want healthcare? That is just silly. Assuring insurance is a major step in the right direction.

Given how trading in derivatives through the mortgage industry led to our current economic crash, Wall Street absolutely needs regulations.

Seeing to the needs of students is the job of the government, not banks. You are very wrong on that account.

Yes, the surge was important. Thank goodness Bush did something correct in the war he started -- a war that shouldn't have been fought at all! While we engage militants still in Iraq, we have finally withdrawn troops and we not attacking. This was a horrible mess to begin with, which screams "damned if you do, damned if you don't." We never should have gone there in the first place. Period, and that is on Bush.

You may not like what Obama has done, but you are mistaken about sharing your radical anti-American, voter-hating views with the majority of Americans.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"and likely will re-elect him as well"

Somebody hasn't been paying attention ...

"Most Americans don't want healthcare? That is just silly."

Who's being silly? What the post you attempted to respond to said was "Most Americans don't like it, don't want it so if you mean he went against the wishes of the American people and forced it upon us then thats and accomplishment?" Obama didn't force health care on anyone, it's his worthless legislation - that yes, was passed against the wishes of the voters - that was forced on the American public. The only thing he accomplished was to force people who didn't want insurance to buy it.

notajayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Seems to be past yours, you're the one yawning. Or do your posts bore you as much as the rest of us?

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