Archive for the 'Cost of Green' Category

Northeasterners forced to give up oil heat?

August 10, 2009

Northeastern governors may ban home furnaces that burn oil in order to meet greenhouse gas emission limits.

The governors are expected to approve “a blueprint for slashing carbon dioxide from cars — and perhaps home furnaces — by January,” reports ClimateWire.

About half of Massachusetts 2 millions homes, for example, rely on oil heat. “Thousands of homes might have to replace oil furnaces with wood-burning heaters” or with heat from renewable electricity or natural gas, or upgrade furnaces to burning biofuels, ClimateWire reports.

New home furnaces cost between $3,000 to $5,000.

There would also be international trade implications from such a policy since about half of the region’s heating oil comes from Canadian tar sands.

Next: Cash-for-refrigerators

August 6, 2009

Actually, it’s already happening. The New York Times reported (Aug. 4):

Last week, New Jersey began a statewide program that offers residents a $30 rebate by recycling eligible refrigerators or freezers. Old refrigerators and freezers in Vermont also fetch $30, under a program begun last month.

But is the taxpayer subsidy necessary? According to the Times:

Utilities commonly estimate that homeowners can save up to $150 a year on their electricity bill by dumping their old refrigerator or freezer. Old refrigerators, made prior to 1990, also use three times as much electricity as new ones, the utilities say.

Americans to spend $15K per home, business replacing ‘perfectly good’ electricity meters, says Texas Instruments

August 5, 2009

Texas Instruments smart-meter marketing director Mark Buccini told SmartGridToday that,

Legislation is driving replacement [of electricity meters]. Perfectly good mechanical meters are being replaced [with smart meters]… In the past, a mechanical meter wasn’t replaced until it wore out. That changes the opportunity for us…

Buccini estimated that 500 million meters will be replaced in the next decade at a cost of $750 million per year — that’s $15,000 per meter change.

That’s just the beginning. Buccini said that “adjacent markets” — i.e., in-home displays, programmable thermostats, direct response (DR) units, distributed generation and plug-in vehicle technology] almost doubles the market to $1.4 billion per year.

Smart meters and adjacent technology are little more than a way for the government to monitor your electricity use and then to ration electricity to you via your local utility. It is an expensive and needless insult to Americans.

EIA gaslights America on Waxman-Markey

August 5, 2009

The Obama administration — via the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) — issued an economic analysis of Waxman-Markey concluding that the bill will cause electricity prices to increase only slightly through 2020.

While we’re still reviewing the report, here are a couple things you ought to know about it:

  • The EIA report appears to show merely that if no true CO2 control is put in place, electricity prices won’t increase. But as soon as true CO2 control is implemented electricity prices could more than double.
  • The report is chock full of demonstrably faulty assumptions and misleading economics. Assumptions include that nuclear power and carbon capture and storage are easily and inexpensively implemented on a large scale. The misleading economics portion includes the notion that Congress can impose more than $6 trillion of annual costs on energy production and use, and energy users won’t notice.

The real loser here is the EIA — America’s source of energy data — which is squandering its reputation in order to advance President Obama’s agenda.

Gas pipeliners want ability to raise prices at will

August 4, 2009

From Carbon Control News:

The natural gas pipeline industry [in the form of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA)] is drafting a legislative proposal for revising [Waxman-Markey] to … allow the industry to pass-along the cost of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to its customers without an explicit approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)…

While merchant power generators, utilities, and a number of other entities receive free allowances under the Waxman-Markey bill, pipeline companies do not. The INGAA spokespeson says the industry is not requesting free allowances, but instead is calling on Congress to allow the cost of purchasing allowances to be directly passed along to consumers, arguing that the allowance costs should be reflected in the delivered product.

“Unlike other industrial sources, we can’t simply raise our prices to reflect allowance” costs, the spokesperson says, noting that a pipeline company would need to go to FERC and formally request it, initiating a proceeding that can take a year or longer.

Instead, INGAA wants pipeline companies to be able to charge rates that “track” the fluctuating price of carbon allowances. Opening a new rate case would also “make the entire rate base subject to challenge and uncertainty,” something the companies want to avoid.

Here’s a novel thought: Why not oppose Waxman-Markey instead of trying to buff that legislative turd into a popsicle?

INGAA chief Don Santa: Why fight for what's right when you can surrender for what's wrong?

INGAA chief Don Santa: Why fight for what's right when you can surrender for what's wrong?

Gasoline refiners crippled by Waxman-Markey

August 4, 2009

From Reuters:

Ailing U.S. oil refiners could face a crippling period of contraction under a House-approved climate change bill, making the country more dependent on imported refined products…

The bill is “going to put them out of business,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago. “I think you’re going to see refiners close down, especially in this environment we’re in right now.”

Cost of green energy doubles in Australia

August 4, 2009

From the Sunday Times (Perth, Australia):

“While the fuel sources of renewable energy are inexpensive, the other costs associated with it are not, including the initial infrastructure cost, network costs, back-up generation and the like which are factors in the full cost of renewable energy,” Synergy head of corporate affairs Andrew Gasper said.

Greatest Generation’s Last Fight?

August 3, 2009

The ‘Greatest Generation’ may have enough left for one more fight.

Baltimore Gas & Electric’s request for an expedited regulatory review of its smart meter installation program ran into the third rail of American politics last week — the AARP.

AARP Maryland filed a letter of opposition to the fast-track process asking for a full hearing, according to the Baltimore Sun (July 28).

The Sun reported:

“The problem is what’s not in the filing,” said AARP Maryland’s advocacy director, Hank Greenberg. “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.”

Only with an evidentiary hearing, with sworn witnesses and testimony by experts, would the public be “able to substantiate whether there are savings and whether some of the claims in the filing can be verified and backed up,” he said.

In its letter, AARP also raises concerns about a “time-of-use” pricing scheme also included in BGE’s filing. The utility proposed charging about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays from June through September and 10 cents for other times during that period.

Not only should AARP be concerned about smart meters — a.k.a., energy rationing via high prices — the seniors’ advocacy group ought to be concerned about the Waxman-Markey climate bill now being considered in the Senate.

While Waxman-Markey will raise energy prices for seniors (and everyone else), it won’t increase their fixed retirement incomes.

Climate bill’s tax wolf in ‘free money’ clothing

July 30, 2009

Beware of greens bearing free carbon allowances.

Climate bill supporters are trying to attract Senate votes for Waxman-Markey by touting the free carbon allowances that would be allocated to individual states. This analysis by the World Resources Institute, estimates the range of free carbon allowances for energy consumer assistance programs on a per capita basis at $40/person (California) to $160/person (Wyoming) for the year 2016. The average assistance level is $90/person.

While such “free money” sounds great, it does have a hidden cost — higher energy prices that far exceed the value of the allowances.

For example, Georgia residents would receive about $80/person/year in free allowances to offset higher energy costs. But the head of the Georgia Public Service Commission recently stated that a climate bill would raise energy costs to the average Georgia Power customers by an estimated $66/month by 2020. So while a family of four might get free allowances worth $320/year, their cost of electricity would increase by $792/year, a net loss of $472/year.

Would you pay that much money annually for a government program that accomplishes nothing?

Obama spares BMW, Daimler from new mileage standards

July 28, 2009

The Obama administration’s new mileage standards are not slated to apply to vehicle makers that sell fewer than 400,000 cars per year in the U.S., reports the Wall Street Journal — taking BMW, Daimler AG, Suzuki and Mitsubishi Motors off the hook.

In effect, the provision would make it easier for Mercedes to keep selling cars like its $147,000, 12-cylinder S600 sedan, rated at 13 miles per gallon, while GM or Toyota would be required to meet tougher mileage standards with smaller, more efficient cars.

Do you think that Government Motors CEO Obama realizes the competitive disadvantage at which he placed his own company?