Cooking Grandma

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking about the way that California prices its electricity, which is never a good thing for a man’s blood pressure.

When I was a kid, the goal of the Public Utilities Commission and Pacific Gas and Electric was to provide cheap electricity. The Bonneville Dam and the Shasta Dam were lauded for bringing cheap, renewable electric power to the farms, just like the renewable electricity the Tennessee Valley Authority had supplied earlier. This cheap electricity was seen as liberating housewives from domestic slavery, and supporting business and manufacturing. It was hailed as the wave of the future and the path to success, and rightly so—cheap energy is the reason the developed world was able to lift itself out of poverty. And since we generated our own electric power when I was a kid, and had to live with the results when it went out, I know all about the ability of electricity to lessen even a kid’s load around a cattle ranch.

So … when did expensive energy become the new goal? When did raising the price of energy become a good thing? That’s topsy-turvy thinking.

I started this train of thought when I had occasion to revisit Anthony Watts’ outrageous electricity bill, which he discusses here.

PGE_rate_july22-23-2012

Figure 1. Why California is circling the drain …

Ninety-two cents a freakin’ kilowatt-hour? The utility companies have a monopoly, and they are allowed to charge ninety-two cents a kilowatt-hour? How can that be? Isn’t the California Public Utilities Commission supposed to stop that kind of thing?

The most aggravating part of all of this to me is that so many people see this kind of pricing as being a good thing. Not the ninety-two cents part, most folks find that outrageous.

But lots of folks apparently approve of the part where the higher the demand for the electricity, the more the utilities charge for it. This is called “Time Of Use” pricing, and a lot of well-meaning people think it’s a good idea … not me. I figure that’s because they just never thought it through all the way, they never saw what’s at the other end of the spoon.

Now, the utilities claim that Time Of Use pricing is a good thing because it spreads the load more evenly over the 24 hours … but why should I care? That’s their business, to provide enough power for all conditions when and as needed … but I digress. Hang on, I can likely find an example of their justification style … OK, they say the reason for Time Of Use Pricing is:

“To ensure greater power reliability and a better energy future”.

Impressive, who wouldn’t want a better future. Can I translate that for you?

“Greater power reliability” means so they won’t run out of power. If they were honest they’d say that they have Time Of Use Pricing “to avoid brownouts because we don’t have adequate generation capacity”. And ensuring a “better energy future” means “we hope we can provide future power but only if we raise prices on you today.” I’ll return to this issue in a moment.

But in any case, what kind of heartless bastards charge you more for something when you really need it? Because with “Time Of Use” pricing, when Anthony’s wife and kids are suffering in the scorching heat in Chico and really need the aircon, Pacific Gas And Electric (PG&E) and the California Public Utilities Commission say “Fine, you folks can turn on your air conditioners … but it will cost you almost a dollar a kilowatt to cool down.”

I never in my life thought I’d see electricity pricing used as a weapon against the poor and the old folks like that. That is criminal. What a plan. The seniors can afford to air condition their apartments or their rooms whenever they don’t need to … but when it’s hot, when they really need to air condition them, they can’t afford to. Catch-22, thy name is legion.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m sure the Public Utilities Commission didn’t intend that outcome. I’m not accusing them of deliberately trying to cook Grandma. To do that you’d need some smarts, and anyone implementing a plan like that clearly has no smarts to spare on Grandma. Sadly, it’s just another case of Noble Cause Corruption, where the noble cause of saving the world from Thermageddon™ has overwhelmed native common sense and compassion.

Seriously, folks, this kind of pricing is madness, it’s unacceptable. If we had a water utility, and they charged 5¢ a glass when you weren’t thirsty, and $5.00 a glass when you came in dying of thirst, everyone would scream bloody murder that as a public utility you can’t screw the customers like that. Pick a dang price for a glass of water and stick with it, you can’t be jacking the price through the roof on someone just because they’re thirsty, that’s not on.

But that’s exactly what’s happening with electricity. Air conditioning in Chico is becoming the province of the wealthy, due to the “Time Of Use” pricing policies of the PUC.

However, the PUC are not the villains here. They are caught in the middle because of the stupidity of the voters and of Governor Brown. The voters put in a very destructive “20% by 2020” plan requiring 20% of the electricity supply to come from renewables by 2020 … then Governor Moonbeam had a Brilliant Idea™, so he unilaterally raised it to 33% by 2020. I don’t know how he jacked it by himself, but his daddy was the Governor and he grew up in the state house, so he knows which side of the bread the bodies are buttered on … these things are mysteries to the uninitiated like you and I.

And of course, it’s nearly impossible to build a fossil-fired plant of any kind anywhere in California anyhow. I hear these days when you apply for a license in California to generate electricity from fossil fuels, the State Government just issues you a couple of lawsuits along with the permits, in order to save time …

So you can’t build fossil plants, and renewable plants are few and far between … and as a result the system operators, a company called CAISO, are always balancing on the edge of a “brownout”, when the power doesn’t go out, but you only get 90% of the voltage, or on the verge of rolling blackouts, the next step after brownouts … and we’ve seen both.

And to put the icing on the cake, somewhere along the line, some congenital idiot ruled that hydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source. I hope that person roasts in the place of eternal barbecue and HE doesn’t have the money to run the air conditioner. Truly don’t think I’ve heard a more expensive and destructive ruling than that one, especially after the TVA and Bonneville Dam and Shasta Dam have shown that yes, idiots,  hydropower is indeed renewable. Yeah, dams have problems and there’s lots of issues, but last I looked the rain is still working both reliably and renewably …

So by 2020 we’re suppose to get a third of our power from solar, and rainbows, and wind, and hydrogen, and biomass, and methane from the digestive apparati of unicorns, and fuel cells, anything expensive and out of reach will do. The suppliers of these nostrums have the state over a barrel, of course, and demand outrageous prices.

And as you would predict, this unbelievable idiocy has left the state woefully short of power. And as a result, the whole program has gone into reverse.

So now, rather than increasing the amount of cheap electric power available to the consumer like a utility should, we’re going the other way. The PUC and PGE aren’t encouraging people to utilize cheap power in order to better their lives. They aren’t doing their job of ensuring an adequate supply of inexpensive power. Far from it.

Instead, they’re doing whatever they can to push people back into the dark ages, because they are UNABLE TO GENERATE ENOUGH LIGHT OUT OF UNICORN ERUCTATIONS TO FILL THE DEMAND …

So that’s why, when they say the pricing is to “assure greater power reliability”, that’s a lie. They are using that pricing to discourage demand. Have you ever heard a dumber thing than a business working to discourage demand? Who anywhere tells their customers to buy less? Why jack your prices to force them to buy less?

Well, because they don’t have the power generating capacity. And this in turn is because for every two fossil-fueled or hydroelectric power plants you build, you need one unicorn-fueled plant, and those damn unicorns are proving much harder to catch than Governor Moonbeam figured …

But even given that that is the case, and given that the PUC is caught in the middle, there has to be a better plan than cooking Grandma to deal with that problem.

The people pushing these rattle-trap schemes, like “Death Train” Jim Hansen, always talk about the grandchildren … meanwhile, every one of their damn plans, of carbon taxes, and cap-and-trade, and subsidies, and requirements for “renewables”, and regulations, and all the rest, every one of them does nothing but screw Grandma and the rest of the poor.

Those plans do nothing but raise the cost of energy with almost no benefit to the environment.

They don’t reduce CO2. They don’t save the planet. They don’t help the environment. At best, with a following wind they might make a difference of a couple hundredths of a degree in a century. And indeed, because they further impoverish Grandma and the poor, they are actively harming the environment.

And meanwhile in the present, far from the ivory towers where they entertain their century-long fantasies, on the other side of the tracks, out of sight from the houses of the wealthy, the reality of these destructive, ugly policies hit Grandma and the poor of California the hardest. The head of the PUC doesn’t have to worry whether he can afford to air condition his sick child’s room … the CEO of PG&E isn’t losing sleep over his electric bill.

I fear I have no magic bullet to solve this. It will be a slow slog back to sanity. All I can do is to highlight the issues, and trust that at some point people will come to their senses.

So all of you folks that think that fighting CO2 will make a difference decades from now, remember the difference that this pseudo-green insanity is making today. Your actions are cooking Grandma, impoverishing the poor, and harming the environment today, and history will not find your part in inflicting pain and deprivation on society’s weakest members to be funny in the slightest. I truly don’t care if you think the poor in 2050 desperately need help from some imagined tragedy. You are screwing the poor today.

My best Independence Day wishes to you all, and remember, the beauty of America is that you’re all free to air condition your houses … but only when it’s not hot.

w.

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Warren in New Zealand
July 4, 2013 9:13 pm

Hoping for your after the fact permission to copy and send this to my local MP here in New Zealand Willis.
You have managed to write this using less expletives than I would have used, and in a more cogent and intelligent fashion
Thank you

July 4, 2013 9:16 pm

“Have you ever heard a dumber thing than a business working to discourage demand? Who anywhere tells their customers to buy less? Why jack your prices to force them to buy less?”
The local electricity suppliers here in Queensland do this , Willis. Nice TV ads.
I’m waiting for the follow ups from General Motors saying ” we’ve got this really nice new 2013 Holden Commodore with lots of safety features and it is a really, really nice car, but please don’t buy one. Make the old one last”

July 4, 2013 9:18 pm

Crimes against humanity. Posthumous punishment is far too late.
What are the coroners saying?
Meanwhile, buy a diesel generator and plug your airconditioner into that to take the edge off the day.

Admin
July 4, 2013 9:20 pm

A floating price is, or should be, a good thing. The missing piece is the ability to shop around, or since we don’t want to fiddle with our smart meter ever 5 minutes, to programme the meter to find the cheapest electricity (or the greenest, or whatever – according to individual preferences).
If Billy Bob could start up his old 10Kw coal plant, and sell you cheap electricity at a time of peak demand (your smart meter would automatically find Billy Bob’s offer on the Internet), then peak prices would be constrained – any attempt to charge high prices would have every amateur with a grid supply box jumping in with offers of cheap power.
In the absence of a functioning market, the only option is to constrain power by legislation – and that is also not occurring, thanks to California’s obsession with all things green.

Kurt in Switzerland
July 4, 2013 9:20 pm

Even the lower rate jumps ($0.09 – $0.25 – $0.88) are obscene. This will drive people to cook their meals using firewood more often. It will be devastating to the elderly in upper floor apartments on a fixed income.
Kurt in Switzerland

AB
July 4, 2013 9:21 pm

Something all New Zealanders need to see. Click the links in the video description – you will be astounded at the corruption and fraud done in the name of green environmentalism.

William A Blackwell CWO4 USN (ret)
July 4, 2013 9:21 pm

Willis, do you channel Robert Heinlein? I swear, you sound like him, you use hard science like him, and your logic is almost always irrefutable. Good luck waking the drones. Unfortunately, this site means you are preaching to the choir. Good luck getting the message across on a normal website. Science rocks, logic rules, but the barbarians and con artists will ALWAYS be at the gate, fleecing the marks.
Bill Blackwell

Chad Wozniak
July 4, 2013 9:23 pm

Willis, you’re wrong – there is not “almost no benefit” to the environment, there is HUGE DAMAGE done to it by so-called “renewables” and the green power mandates in California.
To wit: despoiled landscapes, poisoned and destroyed habitats, all sorts of new pollutants, ranging from arsenic and mercury brought up by geothermal to the toxic lubricants and coatings on wind turbine blades and solar panels; noise pollution from wind turbines; and worst of all, the assault by these contraptions on endangered species.
One might ask why this is so, if it’s all for the environment? But it isn’t for the environment – it’s for control over people’s lives, it’s for perverse motives to cripple the economy, and maybe the most disgusting of all, to enrich der Fuehrer’s crony capitalist buddies and let them make money on grossly uneconomic investments.
The state’s renewable mandate is a piece of energy market manipulation that makes Enron look like child’s play. As a division manager at a California municipal utility, I personally watched the entire power crisis of 2000-2001 unfold – and all the market gaming that took place (in which the state itself, incidentally, was an even bigger participant and culprit than Enron) was peanuts compared to the renewables mandate.
As for cooking Grandma – low-income Grandma is wondering how she’s gonna cook for and feed those grandkids she’s raising when gasoline goes to $10 a gallon (former Energy Secretary Ah-CHU’s target price) and electricity to 40 cents/kWh – and the cost of all other necessaries that move by electricity or motor fuel go up in proportion.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Kalifornia’s (DPRK) renewables mandate is another dimension of the leftist elite’s assault on poor people, as part of their campaign to reduce them and everybody else to utter dependency. When the poor are starving, they’re supposed to go to Uncle Big Brother for help, and vote for der Fuehrer in return for his “generosity”.

Admin
July 4, 2013 9:23 pm

That of course is the other option – with prices that high, its seriously worth considering going off grid – using some of the $20 / ton coal to produce household electricity.

jorgekafkazar
July 4, 2013 9:34 pm

Welkom to People’s Republik of Fornicatia. From this day on, official language of Fornicatia will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizen will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on outside so we can check….

mesocyclone
July 4, 2013 9:40 pm

You are more right than you know about “cooking grandma.” Elderly people can be dangerously susceptible to excess heat. Those with congestive heart failure (one in my family) can die with less than an hour of temperatures in the ’80s.
They aren’t just cooking grandma, they’re killing her – they just have the order confused – usually you kill then cook. But heck, it’s California.

Grey Lensman
July 4, 2013 9:44 pm

What will happen in North Carolina when they start clear cutting all its timber to feed Drax UK power station with 7.5 million tonnes of wood pellets per year?

martha durham
July 4, 2013 9:47 pm

Can anyone explain why hydro is not a renewable in California? Is it because it works?

Unite Against Greenfleecing
July 4, 2013 9:55 pm

Smart meters are revealing their true purpose of individual control. Energy slavery is a new phenomenon where less electricity production makes extortionately more money for the energy producers and government.
Smart meters are part euthanasia machines – these enviromentalist created consumer theft devices, where “charging you more than you can afford when you need it” will see the demise of the poor and elderly.
Electricity is now the domain of the rich.
Smart meters = Energy slaves.

Jon
July 4, 2013 9:59 pm

“Meanwhile, buy a diesel generator and plug your airconditioner into that to take the edge off the day.”
I have one with an original Yanmar diesel. Max 2800 watt, so around 2000 watt it should last, the generator(Italien).
It uses about 0.5 liter/Hour, I think. Since the diesel is not used for transportation on the road there is no tax on it, still it’s about 1 Euro here in Norway, which means about 25 cents/kWh.
What is happening in U.S.A. And California now is so mad and stupid that I am amazed. The only positive with it is that every politician behind this have failed the test to stay in office.

July 4, 2013 10:03 pm

@ martha durham on July 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm
“Can anyone explain why hydro is not a renewable in California? Is it because it works?”
Yes, as usual, Mr. Eschenbach has several things confused if not flat wrong.
California DOES count hydroelectric power as renewable, but only for small plants. Large hydroelectric plants do not count as renewable. This was done to encourage building more hydroelectric plants, and it is working. The last I looked, the cutoff was at 30 megaWatts.
Mr. Eschenbach normally censors my comments, so let’s just see if he censors this.

martha durham
July 4, 2013 10:10 pm

The only reason I can think of would be that it would meet the mandate and leave no room for the other renewables.

Neville.
July 4, 2013 10:12 pm

Great post Willis, I just wish I had the brains to write as well as you. But you’re correct, all this mitigation of CAGW is just a giant ponzi scheme con.
Just check the latest from the EIA projections of human co2 emissions until 2035. The OECD emissions will grow by just 6% but the non OECD will grow by 73% and from a much higher base.
By 2035 OECD emissions will be 14.3 bn tonnes and non OECD will be 28.9 bn tonnes or twice as much as the OECD.
The 2010 numbers are OECD 13 bn tonnes and non OECD 18.8 bn tonnes. Of course Germany and others are now building a number of new brown coal fired power stns after wasting over a 100 bn $ on useless solar and wind.
The return on investment for this fraud is zip and won’t make a jot of difference to climate or temp for thousands of years.
Just check out the lag for co2 in the ice core data. BTW if Murry Salby is correct then all bets are off and it’s all BS anyhow.

F. Ross
July 4, 2013 10:12 pm

The power supplier to the Sacramento area should have a massive “accidental” failure of transformers, especially those supplying state governmental bodies & agencies and the governor’s mansion. The “accidental” failure should occur in the hottest part of the year and day and should last, oh, say, three weeks before all the transformers can be replaced. This would give the state government a good taste of the “green medicine” we all must swallow on a daily basis.
Probably wouldn’t hurt to have it happen in D.C, as well.
Need I put the tag [ /sarc?]

July 4, 2013 10:14 pm

A good reason to holiday in Wyoming rather than California. But then, I like all the states between the Mississippi with the exception of the Denver/Boulder area … 😏

July 4, 2013 10:14 pm

oops – between the Mississippi and the Rockies …

J Martin
July 4, 2013 10:21 pm

In the UK our politicians seem to want to emulate California, though thankfully we have yet to catch up with you guys. Though in a revival of true British Imperial tradition I believe that plans have been mooted to relive past glories and overtake the world, as some congenital imbeciles (h/t to w. for the phrase ) think we should legislate an 80% reduction in co2 output.
One difference between the UK and California perhaps is that along with the ever growing amount of unicorn legislation, we also have a steady ramping up of requirements for insulation in new-build houses and offices. Some subsidies are from time to time available for insulation of older properties. This may help those able to afford to move into newer housing stock, but as always it’s the poor who will be trapped into paying the higher bills or freezing.
Another peculiarly British anomalies that hasn’t entirely disappeared s the fact that in the UK we have had a charging structure for natural gas and electricity for many years that charged a lower price for units consumed above a certain threshold. Although this shows signs of changing, some utilities still have this feature on some of their many and confusing charging structures. I certainly did the last time I checked the small print on the back of one of my bills. I have never managed to get to the level where those price reductions kick in though.
I don’t think that whatever reductions in central heating use these measures lead to will offset the cost increases caused by the desire of the watermelons to power our homes with rocking horse manure and such like. There comes a point when it isn’t possible to reduce electricity use any further without inflicting either a reduction in the standard of living or real hardship.
Do we reduce to just one fluorescent light bulb in one room perhaps ? Should we cease to use or have a fridge or freezer as these use a substantial amount of electricity. Perhaps we shouldn’t run the central heating pump and instead return to the days when most people had just one gas fire in one room.
These are choices that have already been forced on many pensioners in the UK. Things will get worse before they get better. The watermelon culture is so firmly entrenched amongst our political numpties, that perhaps the only thing that might bring about an awakening is prolonged and steep cooling. We can only wait and see if the Livingston & Penn effect brings a change of direction.

martha durham
July 4, 2013 10:23 pm

I would have said that hydro being counted would have met the mandate and would have left out renewable such as solar and wind unless they could compete in the marketplace.

July 4, 2013 10:24 pm

Grandma rarely gets “cooked” in California, despite Mr. Eschenbach’s claims.
In fact, California has assistance programs for low-income customers. Some of those programs are described here:
http://www.liheap.ncat.org/profiles/California.htm
Also, the highest power prices only apply to those who consume substantial amounts of power. Most of the elderly that I know never come close to the top tier of power usage. Most of them stay within the first tier of usage, the cheapest price. California also has a larger first tier for low income customers.
Finally, almost every California town and certainly the cities have cool buildings available for anyone during heat waves.
[Reply: “…the highest power prices only apply to those who consume substantial amounts of power.” ‘Only’? Does that include Anthony Watts? ~mod.]

July 4, 2013 10:27 pm

Some good thinking there, the whole concept of a ‘Just Price’ is an old one. Listen to this podcast, it has a short but great discussion on ‘Just Pricing’
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/11/munger_on_john.html

milodonharlani
July 4, 2013 10:28 pm

Cooking Grandma is probably preferable to her freezing in the dark, as in the bright, satanic windmill-riven UK of today. But she should be afforded the opportunity to chose.

vivendi
July 4, 2013 10:29 pm

@Roger Sowell: “Renewable” redefined depending on the size of the power plant? This is done to encourage building more hydroelectric plants? I admire the logic ….

martha durham
July 4, 2013 10:37 pm

Why is it beneficial to encourage small hydro? Capitalization costs vs capacity? I am not in favor of big vs small, but I need to understand the logic. Further, they are the same type of energy. Why exclude large producers? Aren’t there ways to encourage the small plants while still including the large plants in the count?

Warren in New Zealand
July 4, 2013 10:38 pm

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm
Finally, almost every California town and certainly the cities have cool buildings available for anyone during heat waves.
Just they aren’t able to have their own homes cooled? To quote one of Willis’s favourite words, I get “angrified” to read green tripe postulated as gospel.
Cheap efficient readily supplied power has got what some call the civilised world where it is today, the greens want us to return to the dark ages when life was short, brutal and not very nice.
Mr. Sowell, as much as I appreciate reading your comments, and thinking about them, you and I sir, will never be bosum friends as long as you continue to promote the needless waste of human resources and life.

July 4, 2013 10:40 pm

@ W. Eschenbach, re censoring comments.
“Roger, As far as I know, I’ve never censored a comment of yours, but perhaps I’ve forgotten. Certainly it is not something I “normally” do, I rarely censor anything. I’ve occasionally snipped some stuff that was way off-topic, but I’ve never censored a scientific comment.”
I believe the post was a year ago or more, and the topic was some legal issue, perhaps the Freedom of Information laws and various exceptions that apply. I posted a comment that contained some statutory language, and you snipped it, then you added a sarcastic comment.
I don’t accept being told to shut up, or be censored, unless it’s from a judge in a courtroom. On WUWT, Anthony’s site policies govern and I don’t believe I’ve violated the policies.
You sometimes have a valid point in your long-winded posts, but you do not have on this one.

milodonharlani
July 4, 2013 10:42 pm

@Roger:
Rounding up the often isolated old to gather them into cool havens doesn’t work well in practice. Think of all the old people who have died in Eastern & Midwestern US cities in prior heat waves because even their neighbors didn’t know them, & their families weren’t near or even in touch. Soaking in bath tubs could have saved them, had they tubs in which to do so or radios or TVs to tell them to do so. Or paid up water bills.

John F. Hultquist
July 4, 2013 10:42 pm

One explanation of the hydro-not-renewable statements in some places [link below]:
One reason renewable policies place qualifications on hydroelectric facilities is that most of them were already built when states started discussing the policies. Counting all available hydro would significantly water down the impact in some places.
“The whole point of a [renewable standard] is to increase the amount of renewable energy in a state,” says Kyle Aarons, a solutions fellow with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “Since hydropower has been around for over 100 years in some areas, if they counted all hydro their targets would have to be unrealistically high or they wouldn’t actually be encouraging any new renewables from coming online.”

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2012/01/13/renewable-or-not-how-states-count-hydropowe/
Note there is a distinction between renewable and alternative – but apparently both terms apply to wind despite wind having been used as a source of power since waaay back.

milodonharlani
July 4, 2013 10:47 pm

I mentioned Back East because of the prevalence there of brick buildings which become ovens radiating heat all night long.
The hydro as non-renewable issue frosts me. Environazis just can’t accept big, concrete structures whose construction released so much CO2 as green, yet they are in fact the greenest of the green & produce electric power at the cheapest rates possible in today’s economy. But they don’t jibe well with wind or solar, so are denigrated. Also, the Green Shirts don’t like their effect on fish, yet the slaughter of innocent birds & bats by windmills of death don’t stir their sympathies at all.

July 4, 2013 10:56 pm

@ W. Eschenbach re illiterate elderly persons.
“What Roger means is that he can’t see Grandma from his house.”
You, sir, are not allowed to put words in my mouth. You have no idea what I can see or not see from my residence. But just for the record, I spend quite a bit of time with the poor and elderly, with some of them clients who need my help. I have great compassion for the poor, because I come from a crushingly poor start in life. I know first hand what it is like to be the poorest person for miles around.
“Because if he could see her, he’d know that she’s illiterate, doesn’t have a computer, and won’t be following his link any time soon …”
False again. That is not “my link”, as i have nothing to do with it. I posted the link so WUWT readers (who are literate and do have computers) could verify my assertion.
The utilities still send out paper bills with all sorts of brochures in them, including ones in several languages describing the various assistance programs. Senior centers also spread the word. I certainly spread the word. Senior organizations such as AARP also spread the word. The seniors that I know also go to great lengths to help each other and share tips on cutting expenses.

u.k.(us)
July 4, 2013 10:56 pm

Per Wiki:
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems.
===========
Who knew ?
Can this knowledge be built upon , freely, or do we need an FOI ?

July 4, 2013 10:59 pm

The idea that you would cap the size of dams permitted to “encourage building more hydroelectric plants” makes no sense. Why not allow the building of any size? Why would building a big dam up north discourage building a small dam down south? Doesn’t compute.

It is absolutely insane. While on one hand they want to encourage the building of small hydro, on the other hand they are encouraging REMOVING of small hydro to restore fish migration,. California has two competing projects going. One to build dams, the other to tear them out. Dig a hole — fill it in.

Steve (Paris)
July 4, 2013 10:59 pm

Another Californian’s view:
“The elite mostly lead a reactionary existence of talking one way and living another.”
http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=6164
Very perceptive.

hrf
July 4, 2013 10:59 pm

I think you have it all wrong Willis. They’re very smart and using their heads. If you can cook all the grandmas, you up the statistics showing more deaths due to global warming. What better way than raising the price when it’s the hottest?

July 4, 2013 11:01 pm

If you consider the regulatory hoops one must jump through just to remove a tree that has fallen across a stream, imagine what would be required to dam it. And no sooner would you have it dammed, then your dam would be a candidate for consideration for removal.

July 4, 2013 11:02 pm

Hey Willis
There is a saying, “Don’t get angry, get even.” You should send this piece to all the MSM Opinion writers and see if they will print it in one of the papers.

J Martin
July 4, 2013 11:02 pm

I’m surprised that California hasn’t yet legislated against people trying to bypass the consequences of their watermelon legislation by using their own generators or burning coal in an open fire to stay warm. No doubt in the fullness of time…

Claude Harvey
July 4, 2013 11:03 pm

I built three small hydro plants in the 1980’s (none in California). I abandoned the rights to a dozen or so more in 1992 because it was becoming virtually impossible to get them permitted. The environmental community considers “hydro” possibly the most evil of all the power generating technologies and there are almost no limits to the means they will apply to prevent their construction. With the added barrier that any hydro plant requires a FERC (federal) permit to construct and operate, development simply became economically unfeasible.
It’s a real shame, because that old technology is nearly perfect from an engineering perspective and nothing on the planet can “chase load” (change it’s output) as fast as hydro.

July 4, 2013 11:11 pm

@ Warren in New Zealand
“Just they aren’t able to have their own homes cooled? To quote one of Willis’s favourite words, I get “angrified” to read green tripe postulated as gospel.”
Many homes and apartments in California have no air conditioning because the climate is normally pleasant. It makes little sense to spend thousands of dollars on an air conditioner that might be used four or five days per year. People here know this. It’s one of the big draws of California living.
For those with air conditioners, the assistance programs I described above are available.

martha durham
July 4, 2013 11:12 pm

I thank those who have replied to my questions. They always lead to further questions (unfortunately I do not know how to use this comment area to reply to previous posts and I am doing laundry making my replies untimely – I come from a state with off shore wind farms and it is cheaper to do at night). Hydro is hydro. So the goal was to improve renewables, they needed far more renewables than the existing hydro. So why not allow additional large hydro? Why not let large and small hydro fill the void?

Unite Against Greenfleecing
July 4, 2013 11:21 pm

Roger Sowell “because I come from a crushingly poor start in life.”
But you want the elderly to have a crushingly poor end to life, either that or walk to the nearest bus stop in blazing heat to catch the number 9 that drops granny 4 blocks away from a cooling centre where nobody else can get too either. The cruelty of your fake compassion is incredible.
Cheap reliable energy for the masses is the only decent thing.
Variable unreliable energy is cave man crap.

RockyRoad
July 4, 2013 11:23 pm

“Catastrophic Anthropogenic Genocidal Warmistas” is what I call people who are so consumed fighting CO2 they don’t realize other humans are being sacrified by their cult practices.
Education is the only remedy.

July 4, 2013 11:24 pm

I’m a fan of time-of-use billing and hope it will come to Austin soon. Though it might require some lifestyle changes, we would try to shift some of our electricity use to the times/days with lower demand (well pump/pool pump).

charles nelson
July 4, 2013 11:26 pm

Utterly fascinating to see the Warmist/Green mind at work as Roger Sowell, nit-picks minor points, tinkers with definitions and generally obfuscates to try and deflect attention from the fact that a bizarre cartel is forcing up energy prices, in what should be one of the most energy rich states, on the basis of discredited, millennial doomsday pseudo science.
Only an anally retentive, Warmist fanatic would label large hydro-electric power schemes as NON renewable energy.

Peter Miller
July 4, 2013 11:29 pm

Willis, you ask what the solution is to this green energy lunacy.
Unfortunately, the solution is that rolling black outs are needed and people will have to die in their tens of thousands from energy poverty. Paradoxically, a long heat wave (obviously induced by global warming and not by a natural high pressure system!) may be what California needs before the so called political elite sees sense on energy policy.
I shook my head at this comment by Roger Sewell: “Finally, almost every California town and certainly the cities have cool buildings available for anyone during heat waves.” while the intention is obviously laudable, it clearly represents green lunacy at its best – “Let’s create a goofy, unnecessary problem so we can feel smug by demonstrating our green credentials.” In reality it will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who will suffer and there will not be enough space in these cool buildings. The amusing irony is that they will probably have to use back up diesel generators to keep these buildings cool.
You have a policy of this type of shared misery in war time. Maybe, the “War on Terror” has now spread to the molecule of carbon dioxide.

Warren in New Zealand
July 4, 2013 11:31 pm

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

The utilities still send out paper bills with all sorts of brochures in them, including ones in several languages describing the various assistance programs. Senior centers also spread the word. I certainly spread the word. Senior organizations such as AARP also spread the word. The seniors that I know also go to great lengths to help each other and share tips on cutting expenses.

Mr Sowell, I’m sorry but I think you miss the main point of what Willis has written. Electricity is, and should be the cheapest commodity that is available. It is easy to produce, easy to transmit, and should be available to everyone if the will is there.
If you wish to make it expensive, controlled and subject to various taxes (carbon etc) in order to prevent some spurious and conjected possible and maybe future warming/climate catastrophe then please explain how what you propose or wish to foist upon us will help to either prevent this future/possibly catastrophic calamity, will lift the millions of humans that live in what are basically stone age conditions up to even 3rd world standards, will help lift those stone age cultures up from a subsistance life style, where having children is an insurance policy because so many die as infants.
I am gratified to read that you are involved with helping seniors in your area, I would suggest you cast your altruistic tendencies wider, and spend time in the Solomons, South East Asia, the Hill Tribes of the Golden Triangle, then come back and tell me that poverty, subsistance living, childhood mortality are what you wish to bring to the western world by making a cheap source of power too expensive to sustain the many who use it to increase their well being.
I appreciate that you may be more learned than I am, all I have done for the last 20 years is live among those people and seen the needless waste of potential, life and resources caused in main by various *AID* agencies that promote *sustainable* lifestyles, which prevent even the most basic of civilised amenities being introduced.

Warren in New Zealand
July 4, 2013 11:31 pm

Sorry, forgot the 🙁

Laurie
July 4, 2013 11:36 pm

What’s the carbon footprint of my cremation, years before I should need it? Heat make me weak and lethargic and cold makes my blood pressure spike. I have to bite the bullet when the utility bills arrive because I have a lot of living to do and my house temperature will be healthful. I don’t make the “assistance” level income to get a 20% discount, so I grow a garden, cook all our meals (even my own bread) and cut costs in many other ways.

LevelGaze
July 4, 2013 11:36 pm

Of course, there’s another credible reason why the watermellons don’t at all mind elderly people dying from the heat.
Sceaming headline: “40% more elderly die from this year’s heatwave than last”. Ergo… Gosh, greenhouse getting worse so we must make energy even more expensive to save our loved ones. Higher taxes, now!
Repeat process next year, and the next, and the next, and the…
I’m only half joking.

Hoser
July 4, 2013 11:37 pm

Where is CA’s Tahrir square? The elites live on the coast, and zone it so nobody else can live there. Force most of us to the interior, and then empty our bank accounts when we try to survive the heat. Well, maybe it’s time to take back the coast.
The good news is, most of these old hippies won’t be around much longer. They’ve made a real mess of things. If we actually had a free market, there would be no problem. But they’ve done quite a good job twisting markets for “our” good, which has worked out really well for them.

July 4, 2013 11:37 pm

Let’s just examine the facts, shall we? California just experienced a severe heat wave, with many areas having highs of more than 100 degrees F for two or three days. I did search to see if there have been any deaths, “cooked Grandmas” in Mr. Eschenbach’s over-hyped words, during this heat wave. With California journalists the way they are, such a death would be front-page news.
And I found, unfortunately and very sadly, one report of an elderly man who died during the heat wave. That is very sad, and my condolences to his friends and family. The report is shown below:
“A 77-year-old man whose air conditioning unit was blowing hot air was found dead in his Central Valley home in what appears to be the first death connected to California’s blistering heat wave, officials said Wednesday.
Firefighters found the man in an unresponsive state on the floor of his Stanislaus County home Tuesday evening, officials said. They began CPR and rushed the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The air conditioner in the room was blowing out air that was more than 100 degrees, according to the Stanislaus County Health Department.” Source: Los Angeles Times
So, does this count as a “cooked Grandma” (or Grandpa)? As tragic as it is, and to me, any such death is tragic, the answer must be “No”. This man was elderly, at 77, but his death was not due to being unable to afford electricity for the air conditioner. His unit was running, thus using electricity. Per the news story, the problem here was some failure in the air conditioning unit, which could be many things.
So, in a state with almost 40 million people, during a serious heat wave, there are no reports of elderly deaths because people could not or did not run their air conditioners.

pat
July 4, 2013 11:41 pm

read it all:
2 July: WLRN Florida: Transcript: Former Energy Secretary Wants Power Generation Decentralized
President Obama announced, last week, a hugely ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and push the country towards cleaner energy. Right now, just nine percent of our energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
Former U.S. secretary of energy, Stephen Chu, would like to see us get to 50 percent by the middle of the century. Chu left the cabinet in April, but even before that, he began talking to utility companies could adopt a radically different business model.
STEPHEN CHU: Well, it goes back to an old business model that the old AT&T used to have. They sold you phone service. They would supply you with the phone. They owned the phone. They maintained the phone.
MONTAGNE: Similarly, Chu would like utilities to start installing solar panels and batteries storage units in people’s homes. The idea hasn’t gained much traction yet, but Stephen Chu remains hopeful, and discussed with us how he sees utility companies making this work.
CHU: They will say, allow us to use your roof, allow us to use a little corner of your garage, and we will equip you with solar power. We own it. We maintain it. We’re responsible for it. You don’t have any out-of-pocket expenses. You just buy electricity at the same rate, or maybe even a lower rate. In addition to that, you have, you know, like five kilowatts of energy storage in your home. And five kilowatts – when you’re in a blackout situation and you want to keep your refrigerator going, you want to keep a couple of energy-efficient light bulbs lit at night – that goes a long way…
http://wlrn.org/post/former-energy-secretary-wants-power-generation-decentralized

July 4, 2013 11:44 pm

Kurt in Switzerland says:
July 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm
Even the lower rate jumps ($0.09 – $0.25 – $0.88) are obscene. This will drive people to cook their meals using firewood more often.

If that occurs and I expect it will, the irony is that they may in fact be doing something to cool the planet. Although, not by reducing CO2.
It’s my contention that the early 20th century warming resulted from reduced aerosol pollution, as people switched from fires to electricity and gas for cooking primarily, although for other things as well. This theory has the merit that it identifies a common cause for the both the early and late 20th century warming (aerosol reductions).
When I saw the Cooking Grandma headline, I read ‘cooking’ as an adjective rather than a gerund verb, and thought Willis was going to refer to this switch to electricity for cooking.

July 4, 2013 11:45 pm

I did a bit on the “smart” grid a while back:
http://www.ecnmag.com/articles/2013/06/smart-grid-future-energy
If you read carefully you will note I’m not too fond of the smart grid.

ScotA
July 4, 2013 11:45 pm

“But even given that that is the case, and given that the PUC is caught in the middle, there has to be a better plan than cooking Grandma to deal with that problem.”
Then let’s hear it.
Until then your choices are rotating blackouts or variable pricing.
Variable pricing at least gives people a choice.

Grey Lensman
July 4, 2013 11:46 pm

1. Why provide very expensive and inefficient “assistance” when all that is needed is easily available cheap power?
2. The worlds very first hydro power scheme is still operational. It was built in 1868 and is a place of beauty and a superb natural habitat.

adrian_oc
July 4, 2013 11:47 pm

Roger Sowell.
Wait, are you saying that the global warming scare is NOT about taking money from the poor and feeling smug about it?
Then, what’s the point of it all?

July 4, 2013 11:52 pm

@ W. Eschenbach, re being poor…
“You should be poor sometime, Roger, or at least read up on them. Cheap electricity was created for the poor. You are taking it away from them.”
I believe I addressed that earlier. I have been poor, for many years. Too poor to have new clothes, or decent food, or health care, or air conditioning. Being dirt poor is one reason I worked so very hard to obtain an education in engineering, then law school. It is another reason I help the poor and elderly at every chance. I just don’t brag about it.
I also champion the rights of the poor and elderly, and warned against the suffering that AB 32 in California would create for those groups. Some of my writings on this can be found here:
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/search?q=poor
“AB 32 Hits Poor the Hardest”
“AB 32 Hypocrisy vs Health and Poverty”
Again, Eschenbach, you make statements with zero basis in fact.

Jay
July 4, 2013 11:55 pm

Oh well people.. Its the tax funded green rush.. Nobody actually knows how to make any money any more.. So they pass environmental laws so they can set up a save the world from a harmless gas scam.. Governments benefit, Schools benefit, rich people benefit.. Pretty much everybody except the working class and the poor..
They got away with it because governments subsidized our hydro bills to shield us from the true cost of such CRIMINAL mismanagement..
Here in Ontario we should be paying about 1000 dollars a bill (every two months) for what the liberals have done to our power grid..
its coming real soon..

Grey Lensman
July 5, 2013 12:03 am

Roger, can I suggest you stop defending yourself and start defending the poor. They do not want “assistance”, they want food and energy at affordable prices. Your replies indicate that you do not think they should have that but “assistance” instead.

Admin
July 5, 2013 12:07 am

Roger Sowell, you’re a heartless pr*ck.
The utilities still send out paper bills with all sorts of brochures in them, including ones in several languages describing the various assistance programs. Senior centers also spread the word. I certainly spread the word. Senior organizations such as AARP also spread the word. The seniors that I know also go to great lengths to help each other and share tips on cutting expenses.
So you think people who are tired, elderly and feeble, have nothing better to do with their time than scour every piece of junk mail garbage which comes through their letterbox, in the hope of finding some government scheme they can scrounge to make ends meet?
All because you want to hit people you don’t like with uncomfortably high power bills?
Growing old with dignity is obviously something which you don’t value.

LevelGaze
July 5, 2013 12:11 am

Just visited Roger Sowell’s blog, and find my first impression of him was dead wrong.
This gent should be welcome at WUWT but perhaps his inbuilt legal hums and haws mitigate against him here.
I suggest others do what I did.
Just my 2 cents worth.

Grey Lensman
July 5, 2013 12:17 am

Seeing that there is a global price for coal, oil, gas etc, why do the poor in the UK have to pay as much for a bucket of coal as the global price in tonnes (rhetorical)?
Seeing that there is a global price for building electrical capacity, as near as matters, USD one million per megawatt.
Seeing that there is a global price for generating electricity around US cents 4 per KW/Hr.
Why in the hell should anybody pay silly prices. The major and immediate effect of that is to disadvantage and penalize the poor, the weak, the infirm.
They do not want “assistance”, they want self sufficiency, dignity and freedom of choice.
Similarly, Wind power needs land, That comes free, its not subject to the laws of supply and demand, Landlords will just sit back and give their land away!

Richard111
July 5, 2013 12:18 am

Solar panels, wind turbine generators and electric vehicles and such like won’t be all that useful when the cold and snow arrive. Food transport? (if any grows) Population reduction? Nah! Nobody could think of something like that. Could they?

July 5, 2013 12:22 am

Rather than engage in an endless, and apparently fruitless, round of comments and answers, I have prepared a Guest Post on this matter. I hope that Anthony will post it.

July 5, 2013 12:23 am

Great post Willis, I love this site. 🙂
Please, intelligent minds on this site, check out the following site for a possible reason for the “Renewables Madness”.
I’ll do a fuller reply later.
Thanks Willis.
🙂

stan stendera
July 5, 2013 12:25 am

Willis’ eagle soars again. At the end of this comment I am going to repeat a comment I have made on one of Willis’ excellent posts. I, perhaps fatuously, suspect he noticed my comment and that led to this post. After all Willis notices everything.
This is for you Roger Sowell: There is no circle in Dante’s Inferno COLD enough for these warmists and energy poverty instigators.

July 5, 2013 12:25 am

Logy brained with a cold & hay fever at the moment, sorry, the site is:
http://www.thrivemovement.com
Cheers,
JD.
🙂

Dan in california.
July 5, 2013 12:28 am

I also wonder why nukes are not counted among the non-CO2 emissions power generators. The US is about 19% nuke and that is never counted. Or maybe it’s not actually about CO2?

Adam Gallon
July 5, 2013 12:30 am

Re J Martin says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm
What’s happening there, is the utility company needs a certain amount of money to cover its fixed costs, so the options are a daily Standing Charge, then a Unit Rate, or a higher initial Unit Rate for the first X-kWh then a lower one for the subsequent units used.
The real madness in the UK’s system was revealed by the idea of paying larger users not to use as much at peak times (eg 4pm-8pm)!

Janice Moore
July 5, 2013 12:30 am

[I’ll understand if you “snip” this: it is related to an underlying principle, not to the main theme of your fine essay, Mr. Eschenbach.]
Not surprising to hear Grandma’s power needs are neglected given the attitude of the current administration in Washington, D.C. which matter-of-factly devalues Grandma’s life to allocate government-run medicine:
… we [includes Ezekiel Emmanuel, Obama Admin. healthcare advisor] propose an alternative: the complete lives system. .. it prioritises younger people … [but, not the youngest] prioritising adolescents and young adults over infants … Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without
a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments. …individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated (figure). *** Even if 25-year-olds
receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not. *** Ultimately, the complete lives system … empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions, “The Lancet” Vol. 373 at 423 – 431 (January 31, 2009).
(http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/PIIS0140673609601379.pdf)
Comment:
The inefficiencies of government-run healthcare create artificial “scarcity.”* Thus, their “ethics” rest on a lie, i.e., the “scarcity” they say they must allocate is not “genuine.”
[Note: The economics term “scarcity” is misused, likely due to the authors’ ignorance of basic macroeconomic theory — ALL resources are “scarce,” i.e., there is only so much of them. It is simply a superfluous stating of the obvious. The more useful term is supply, i.e., what is available in the market, at a given time. Short supply of a given resource can be genuine, e.g., crop failures, or contrived, e.g., payroll taxes so high that production cost per unit exceeds price per unit.]
**************************
If you allowed my comment to stand, Mr. Eschenbach, thank you. To me, while the fact of callousness toward the elderly v. a v. healthcare is not directly on topic, it is of VITAL importance and cries out to be told.

viejecita
July 5, 2013 12:32 am

Dear mr Willis Eschenbach
You have done it Again !. This is great. As your comments usually are. ( some of them are a bit difficult for an old woman with no qualifications like myself, to grasp ).
The same kind of policy is being put in place here in Spain. When I grew up, during Franco’s rule, Spain was isolated, and we had problems with energy, so Franco built dams, and dams, and dams. And with help from America ( Thank You , President Eisenhower ) we got out of the hole, and took place among modern countries.
Now, no new dams are being built, nuclear power plants are being closed, in spite of working satisfactorily, and of the people around them not wanting them to close, and we are paying taxes through our noses for subsidies to go to wind and solar plants we know do not fill our needs.
This idea you explain they probably have , of frying grandmothers is quite clever . But then : Why do governments forbid assisted suicide at the same time ? Would it not be more humane to let old people who need to keep cool in the summer, and warm in winter ( admittedly, our internal thermostat does not work properly any more, and we are expensive to keep comfortable ),and to let us instead die as we chose, and with help, legal help, from our doctors and our families ?
What I mean to say to our western governments is : Ok, hitch energy prices as high as you want, forbid dams , subsidize wind farms, etc etc but then , Please, legalize assisted suicide of old people, and even give them / us a rebate on their / our death duties, so that they / we will know they /we will be helping, their / our grandchildren to survive , instead of being a drag for them.
I hope I´ll send this properly, as of late, my posts get lost in limbo.
Thank you very much
Your old admirer from Spain ( one of many )

Other_Andy
July 5, 2013 12:49 am

@Roger Sowell
Read your comments with interest.
You make some good points but then you duck and dive.
You haven’t answered the most important question yet.
OK, you’re a lawyer, comes naturally.
The main question is:
Why would you want to artificially raise energy prices, why is that good in any way?

Janice Moore
July 5, 2013 12:55 am

@ jdseanjd — Get well soon! Take care of yourself.
**************************************************************
@Viejecita, dear “little old lady,” you are young at heart! How many viejecitas go online and comment on a science site like this one? You are una persona valiosa. Highly valued! (don’t you DARE think of taking YOUR life not ever, dear lady)
Re: “… we are paying taxes through our noses for subsidies to go to wind and solar plants we know do not fill our needs.” — Y que lo digas!
I hope you comment here una y otra vez!
Vaya con Dios.

DirkH
July 5, 2013 1:06 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm
“Grandma rarely gets “cooked” in California, despite Mr. Eschenbach’s claims.
In fact, California has assistance programs for low-income customers. Some of those programs are described here:”
Roger; please explain the logic behind that.
First the state allows a monopoly provider to jack up prices to unaffordable levels to reduce demand (and “unaffordable” is the explicit goal).
Next the state gives tax money to the customers who can’t afford the inflated prices.
My interpretation is this:
the real goal of Jerry Brown is to turn California into Cuba (except for the cronies of the party).
The real effect of Brown’s policies is that the working population will flee the state as long as the border is open (happens every time the Cuban economic system is introduced anywhere).

July 5, 2013 1:11 am

Everything is priced according to supply and demand. Even cars. Definitely vacations — you pay more in school holidays. Why shouldn’t electricity be the same?
It’s cheaper and less risky for electricity companies to charge more for what they *can* provide, than to build more power stations so they can charge the same for higher volume. Why go to all that effort building more power stations if they can make just as much profit simply by charging you more?
But a previous commenter was right, there should be the option for users to shop around at the point of consumption. Without that, the market is not free and suppliers have us over a barrel. It’s a good job regulation is there to protect us :).

July 5, 2013 1:16 am

@ Eschenbach, re your
” I don’t like some slimy lawyer making ungrounded and untrue accusations about my ethics, and then providing nothing to back it up. That’s just lowlife character assassination.”
Your statement above shows your character. Have we ever met? Do you know me? The answer to both is No. Yet, you call me a “slimy lawyer.” Somehow, I don’t think my clients would agree with you. I fight for the good guys. I fight for the little guys. And by the way, Anthony Watts retained my services for a couple of matters. Perhaps you could ask him if I’m slimy. If you would actually read the posts on my blog that I linked to above, you might just see that I advocate for the little guys. But, you are so blinded by your rage that I’m sure you will not.
You say I made an untrue accusation about your ethics. If you had any sense, you would dredge back through your countless postings on WUWT and find the post where you snipped my comment.
Now that you have made the above character assassination of me, for the whole world to read, it will be somewhat fun (if exhausting) for me to go back through WUWT archives and show where my comment was snipped. It may take me several days to find.
If anybody knows a quick way to find a WUWT post written by Eschenbach, with a comment or comments by Sowell, I’d be grateful to know how. It tried it using Google search with no success.

Janice Moore
July 5, 2013 1:19 am

Guten morgen, Dirk!
I agree. That rotter, “The Grinch,” [nope, not a nickname, I just dubbed him that — Ta… DAH!] Brown is dragging California down The Road to Serfdom (Hayek) with all his might. Hopefully, the voters can be educated to realize that [TAXES KILL JOBS — repeat] and he won’t turn “The Golden State” into the Rotten Banana Peel State where electric Christmas lights are ancient history.

July 5, 2013 1:19 am

Roger Sowell’s post on there being only one death from the recent heatwave is interesting. One of the warmists’ mantras is that higher temps in summer will kill people (implicitly, more people than do freezing temps in winter). But if only — and I mean no disrespect to the person or his family — one person died in this massive heatwave, where’s the evidence that AGW will kill more people? Or should I be looking at models instead of facts?

July 5, 2013 1:24 am

Folks, it was years ago but IIRC Roger Sowell is an anti nuke kook. We could end all this energy poverty nonsense but people like him will do everything to prevent this.

DirkH
July 5, 2013 1:27 am

DirkH says:
July 5, 2013 at 1:06 am
“My interpretation is this:
the real goal of Jerry Brown is to turn California into Cuba (except for the cronies of the party).”
…by which I mean; while some people propose that a free market would work best to provide affordable energy to everyone, Sowell proposes that energy be provided by a monopoly provider at unaffordable prices, followed by tax money gifts to those who now can’t afford the product anymore but need it – which in the end does nothing to curb demand. Instead of buying your electricity on the market you now beg the government for a voucher and buy it with that.
One “advantage” of this new scheme is that Jerry Brown (in this example) can control people by granting or not granting the vouchers. Like the IRS can decide to destroy this group or that group.
Reducing the demand of electricity is obviously not the goal – because the vouchers re-establish the demand.
Ergo, Cuba : income redistribution and political control of the peasants by the state.

July 5, 2013 1:38 am

@ Other_Andy says:
July 5, 2013 at 12:49 am
“@Roger Sowell
Read your comments with interest.
You make some good points but then you duck and dive.
You haven’t answered the most important question yet.
OK, you’re a lawyer, comes naturally.
The main question is:
Why would you want to artificially raise energy prices, why is that good in any way?”
I don’t want energy prices high. That is an assumption by Eschenbach, and others. If you read just one of my blog posts linked above in a comment, you would see that I’m against high power prices. That’s one of many reasons that nuclear power is wrong: it raises power prices. That’s why I’m against the present form of wind and solar power, they raise power prices. I’m on record stating that wind and solar will be economical only when cheap, reliable energy storage is discovered.
My argument on this post is the very one-sided version posted by Mr. Eschenbach, who clearly did not present a balanced review of electric power prices and their consequences in California. He also did not know, or chose not to state, that small hydroelectric power is considered renewable in California.

Dizzy ringo
July 5, 2013 1:45 am

And in the eu they are planning to install microchips in household appliances so they can turn them off from the generating company if you are using too much electricity. Oh and they call it demand regulation. I call it rationing.
Eat your heart out George Orwell.

Robin Hewitt
July 5, 2013 1:45 am

If something is in limited supply and demand rises then so does the price.
Limit supply of anything enough and it becomes a luxury.
Always so. Shakespeare gave us, “The farmer who hung himself on expectation of plenty”.
But if California stopped burning coal to make electricity, you should expect hundreds of smoky choky power stations to spring up just past it’s borders and supply expensive electricity to an unreal market.

richard verney
July 5, 2013 1:46 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm
///////////////////////////////////////////
Willis
This is a scenaario that one commonly sees with socialist policy. But it is self spiraling, forcing ever greater dependency upon the state.
In the UK, 25% of the elctricty bill goes to subsidising the fitting of insulation on properties owned by people who cannot afford to do this without help, and to help those in fuel poverty. This means that the bill is approximately a third higher than it would otherwise be, if this form of assistance/subsidy did not exist. The fact that the bill is about a third higher than it would otherwise be puts increasingly more peole in fuel poverty, and in fuel poverty by an increasing amount. This means that the assistance/subsidy element needs to be further increased to help those who cannot afford matters. This in turn places more people into fuel poverty and by greater amounts, so the cycle continues.
In the UK we see this in council tax (annual charge paid on property to the local community). About a quarter of one’s council tax goes to provide assistance for those whio cannot afford to pay council tax. this increases the bill total by about a third (ie., it would be about a third lower put for this portion of the bill). The net effect is that more and more people can no longer afford to pay their council tax, or at least not in full. Thus council gives out ever more subsidies forcing an ever increasing amount on to the bill total for those who can afford to pay.
Far more people would be able to pay their bills if only they eneded this circular subsidy assistance point.
turning to energy pricing, I see no reason why electrical companies should not be entitled to sell surplus energy at a cheap price. Eg night time energy wjhen there is surplus energy production and the energy would simply be wasted (not used0 since for the main part there is no energy storage system which would allow the night time generated surplus to be available the next day (i know that there are some water/hydro plants that can store this surplus).
If a customer can use cheap night time surplus energy (eg., for a swimming pool pump), then if the customer can get this surplus energy cheap good luck on them, and it is good for the energy company since they get a sale that would not otherwise have taken place.
But any pricing structure that leads to such a high price (which I would set at above 45 cents per kWh) is obscene, and whilst I do not like government intervention, it should be rendered unlawful since energy is not a luxury, but a necessity. In the necessity market (which is largely not a free market and there are usually just a few dominant players), the government should have rules/regulations that enable competition within the market but which ensures that energy is available for all citizens at a proce that is reasonably afffordable by all.

Les Johnson
July 5, 2013 1:48 am

Roger (and Willis). Only talking about heat and expensive AC affecting the poor is just a small problem compared to heating prices and cold.
In the UK alone, there are 20,000 to 35,000 excessive deaths, every year, from the cold Most of the deaths are the elderly, and many are in fuel poverty. Its literally “eat or heat” for many here in the UK.
And yes, there are subsidy programs, and warm buildings for the people to go to, but still 20,000 to 35,000 people die every year.
Related to this, is the excess mortality in cold and heat events. In cold events, the mortality rate increases during and after the event, eventually falling to the norm.
In heat events, the mortality goes up during the event, and falls after the event. Over the period, the mortality rate is essentially unchanged. The mortality rate is “displaced”, not increased. In coarser terms, people that were likely to die anyway, did so a little early. There is rarely “excess” deaths. Even in the famous European heat wave of 2003, the fall in mortality rates after the event nearly matched the increase during the event.

richard verney
July 5, 2013 1:50 am

Further to my above comment. The phrase in parenthesis “(ie., it would be about a third lower put for this portion of the bill)”, should have read (25% off, is about 33% on).

July 5, 2013 1:52 am

@ W. Eschenbach, here is the link to your earlier post and my comment you snipped.
“Yes, Virginia, there is an FOIA
Posted on July 2, 2011 by Willis Eschenbach
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/02/yes-virginia-there-is-an-foia/#comments
My comment reads:
“Roger Sowell says:
July 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm
The FOIA requests for University of Virginia regarding Dr. Michael Mann’s correspondence, data, and other records are not nearly as simple as it may seem. Below is, verbatim, a section of Virginia’s state law known as “Virginia Freedom of Information Act”. This section describes the numerous exclusions to application of this law – meaning that every single record must be compared to each exclusion, and if it matches that exclusion it will not be disclosed.
source: Chapter 37, Code of Virginia, Title 2.2, beginning at Section 3705 and following, found at
http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?000+cod+TOC02020000037000000000000
§ 2.2-3705.1. Exclusions to application of chapter; exclusions of general application to public bodies. … [Scads of legalese snipped. If people want to read it, you have the link. Please don’t post tons of text, folks. It weakens whatever argument you might be making. For example, in this case I have no idea what Roger’s point is, he lost me with the miles of text … – w.]”
I’ll leave it to others to decide if I’m a liar, as you claim. Here is the evidence, in black in white, in your own hand.

July 5, 2013 1:59 am

@ Robin Hewitt on July 5, 2013 at 1:45 am
“If something is in limited supply and demand rises then so does the price.
Limit supply of anything enough and it becomes a luxury.
Always so. Shakespeare gave us, “The farmer who hung himself on expectation of plenty”.
But if California stopped burning coal to make electricity, you should expect hundreds of smoky choky power stations to spring up just past it’s borders and supply expensive electricity to an unreal market.”
Actually, California law now prohibits importing any electric power from power plants (like coal) that produce more than a very low amount of CO2 per kWh. This effectively erases coal-power from being imported, but does allow nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas power if it is produced in the very efficient combined cycle gas turbine system. There is a brief time extension for existing contracts with coal-fired plants. Those contracts are not allowed to be renewed when they expire.

richard verney
July 5, 2013 2:05 am

Les Johnson says:
July 5, 2013 at 1:48 am
//////////////////////////////////////
The existence of this fact, the lack of publicity given to it, the lack of governmental concern and lack of action to redress this appallling state of affairs is the biggest scandal and disgrace in UK politics.
Just reflect on steps taken to increase road safety which action may save a handful of lives a year(at most measured in hundreds). Just reflect upon the number of news bulletins where there has been a car crash of coach crash claiming even just a few lives, Yet there is almost no mention of something where tens of thosands of people are needlessly and avoidably dying prematurely and in misery (there is little more misserable than feeling cold in one’s own home, and facing the choice at being uncomfortable and lethargic with hunger pains, or unconfortable and lethargic shivvering in the cold).
I know the missery that this inflicts. I have been there as a student when I have been so cold that I could not pick up a pen to write. I can recall on one occassion setting my jumper alight. I could not afford to run the gas fire in my student digs at a rate that would warm the room, so I ran it very low but had to sit right on top of it to feel any warmth. I was sitting so close that on one occassion my jumber set on fire. This was the only time that I was warm that evenning!
But seriously, this is a public disgrace. The MSM needs to get on the case, and then there may be some political will to address the problem. The only workable solution is one that will deliver reliable and abundant energy at a cheap a price as possible. This should act as an incentive for the UK to push ahead with shale, and to abandon its carbon floor price and all taxes on carbon.

Les Johnson
July 5, 2013 2:09 am

Roger: Nope. Willis posted your comment, and the link to the text he clipped. If the length was excessive, as he suggests, then it is justified in the context of space. There was no censorship, as he apparently left the link for others to read the full text if they wanted to. He also did not clip your words, which also acts against your claim of censorship.
Most blog T&Cs have a “length of post” exclusion. Or a maximum word count when quoting others. WUWT does not, except via the “we reserve the right bla bla”.
But, you were not censored. The link, and all your own words, were still there.

Other_Andy
July 5, 2013 2:12 am

@Roger Sowell
“I don’t want energy prices high. That is an assumption by Eschenbach, and others.”
Thanks for the reply.
Please read your comments, there is a reason they make the assumption.
From what I read here you seem supportive of subsidized energy for the ‘poor’. This is very admirable but in this way you seem to tolerate an artificially created problem.
“If you read just one of my blog posts linked above in a comment, you would see that I’m against high power prices.”
Looked but couldn’t find it.
Which blog post?

July 5, 2013 2:16 am

@ Other_Andy,
Most states have similar assistance programs for low-income customers and their utility bills. California is not alone in this.
Here is a link to my blog, with posts that discuss the harmful effects of high power prices on the poor.
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/search?q=poor

Les Johnson
July 5, 2013 2:16 am

Roger: I also don’t see where Willis called you a “liar”. He asked for documentation, as I recall.

DirkH
July 5, 2013 2:23 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 5, 2013 at 1:38 am
“California. He also did not know, or chose not to state, that small hydroelectric power is considered renewable in California.”
Small hydro power provides small amounts of power. It is of course subsidized here in Germany. It looks like its major effect are: shredding eels and trout to pieces; providing a living for their owners; ripping the ratepayer off. The power they produce is negligible and is only the pretense needed to achieve the reduction of biodiversity and the redistribution.

Neville.
July 5, 2013 2:25 am

Roger Sowell, what is it you don’t understand about simple kindy maths? The mitigation of CAGW is the greatest fraud and con for the last 100 years. There is zero you can do to change the climate or temp, just check out my numbers in comments above.
Why do you want to hurt the elderly and poor people when you must know that you are wasting money down the drain for a zero return?
You seem to have very ittle grip on reality and certainly don’t seem to understand simple logic and reason.

July 5, 2013 2:33 am

All part of the welfare state, the destruction of traditional values and the erosion of personal responsibility.

Other_Andy
July 5, 2013 2:34 am

@Roger Sowell
I read the blog post.
I find your stance somewhat confusing.
What is ‘Environmental Justice’?
Do you support higher energy prices but only if they don’t impact the poor?
Do you think ‘greenhouse gasses’ as a problem?
“Most states have similar assistance programs for low-income customers and their utility bills. California is not alone in this. ”
Just because others do it doesn’t make it right.

Grey Lensman
July 5, 2013 2:51 am

Oh No!!!! Roger said
Quote
Actually, California law now prohibits importing any electric power from power plants (like coal) that produce more than a very low amount of CO2 per kWh. This effectively erases coal-power from being imported, but does allow nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas power if it is produced in the very efficient combined cycle gas turbine system. There is a brief time extension for existing contracts with coal-fired plants. Those contracts are not allowed to be renewed when they expire.
Unquote
now they dye the electricity to identify it. What insane cobblers, they get coal generated power, the documents show, it was wind transshipped from Texas.
Idiocy of the first order.
Meanwhile Grandma gets Cooked again.

michael hart
July 5, 2013 2:53 am

So, to sum up, the public will be supplied with cheap electricity as soon as they learn to stop using it?

EternalOptimist
July 5, 2013 2:55 am

Rogers notion of getting the old and infirm together in a nice cool building instead of giving them cheap aircon could have some some value. It would be a great opportunity to learn new social skills or hobbies, like line dancing or communal singing. Roger could go along and speak publicly telling them his rags to riches story and explaining that they have never had it so good.
And tomorrow the chocolate ration will be increased from 30 grams to 25

July 5, 2013 3:20 am

@ Other_Andy
Environmental Justice, in California, is a movement to have polluting industries located in rich neighborhoods as well as in poor neighborhoods. Community organizers in poor neighborhoods obtain great concessions on this basis.
My stance is very well established on my blog posts. I am for the cheapest power prices, that bring safe, reliable power to customers.
I do not think that greenhouse gases are a problem, and have written extensively and made many speeches on this. See my posts at
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/warmists-are-wrong-cooling-is-coming.html
and
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/from-man-made-global-warmist-to-skeptic.html
Perhaps I misunderstand you. You wrote: “Just because others do it doesn’t make it right.”
Providing assistance to low-income customers for their utility bills is not right? If that is your position, I must disagree. Helping those who are in need is a crucial function of society, and an excellent use of taxes.
It is quite interesting to me that people who present a one-sided version of the CAGW science are skewered here on WUWT, (Mann, Hansen, Phil Jones, and others), and many posts here bring balance by presenting the skeptic side, the other side. I’m a skeptic and have written a half-dozen posts on WUWT. Yet, when a one-sided argument is made as was done in this post, and some of it is flat wrong, criticism is hurled against the one who points out the flaws in the argument.
Well, I don’t mind the slings and arrows, y’all. Bring it. Take your best shot. I’m quite used to it. But, bring some facts and good logic to your arguments. I regularly get booed and criticized on WUWT for my stances on nuclear power and renewable energy. I also have some supporters. Nuclear is dead in the US, and for excellent reasons. In this, I rejoice. Wind and solar forms of renewable energy will have their day, but only when cheap, reliable energy storage is discovered. Another viable renewable energy is one that is continuous, 24 hours per day. Believe it or not, there are actually a few renewable energy sources that are continuous, but not yet economic.
For the long-term survival of the human race, renewable energy MUST be made affordable and reliable and safe. That is a fact that cannot be ignored.

Cassio
July 5, 2013 3:29 am

Dear Mr Sowell,
You wrote that “Mr. Eschenbach normally censors my comments, so let’s just see if he censors this.”
Later you wrote that “I believe the post was a year ago or more … I posted a comment … and you snipped it ….”
Later you cited that comment, but have yet to mention any other(s) that you have posted on this site and that have been censored by Mr Eschenbach, “normally” or otherwise.
So “my comments” have become “a comment”. This suggests a propensity to exaggeration, and a lack of clarity, which is disturbing, especially when coming from a lawyer cum blogger.

Adam
July 5, 2013 3:34 am

Mr Eschenbach,
I think you’re putting the blame on the symptoms, rather than the cause. Looking at the subject from an economics perspective, using price to ration limited supply (rather than rolling brownouts) is the preferable choice. Regulating consumer prices while purchasing electricity on the open market is what caused the energy crisis in California around the turn of the century, so allowing prices to fluctuate is a good thing.
However, having a price mechanism to regulate demand in and of itself does nothing to cause high energy prices. Indeed, setting a fixed, regulated price (especially a low one to make consumers and voters happy) will usually cause long-term underinvestment into the system, setting it up for complete failure down the road.
Instead, as you’ve pointed out in previous articles, the real cause is a lack of supply, which is caused by California’s incessant regulatory meddling and half-witted “market reforms”.

Grey Lensman
July 5, 2013 3:36 am

Consider “Economies of Scale”
Looking at the above prices,
Low cost loans
It is now cheaper to generate your own individual power than buy from the grid using either natural gas or biodiesel as the fuel.
You just add the work, and grin
Sheesh

Brad
July 5, 2013 3:42 am

Why shouldn’t price track with generation cost. That seems like a great advantage. Now having the generation cost be $$ is unacceptable, but blaming variable rate pricing masks the solution.

Richards in Vancouver
July 5, 2013 3:55 am

Where such problems occur — California, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., and here in British Columbia and most of the rest of Canada — please remember that we elected the dolts responsible for them. And their responsibility is only secondary. The primary responsibility must fall upon us for having elected them.
Somewhere there is the faint glimmer of a possible solution.

Other_Andy
July 5, 2013 3:59 am

“Perhaps I misunderstand you. You wrote: “Just because others do it doesn’t make it right.”
Providing assistance to low-income customers or their utility bills is not right? If that is your position, I must disagree. Helping those who are in need is a crucial function of society, and an excellent use of taxes.”
No, you didn’t misunderstand me. I think it is a stupid idea to hold people to ransom by artificially inflate their power bills and then pretend to be all ‘caring’ and use the ransom money to give assistance to customers who can’t pay their power bills.

john
July 5, 2013 4:08 am

Willis, re “”roger sowell” sometimes it’s better just to ignore the ahole elitists with their unrealistic dreams of “saving the world” and “being a hero”. I do note, however, that if you visit his blog that “Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.” Just seems a little two-faced to me.

July 5, 2013 4:11 am

@ Janice Moore, thank you kind lady. 🙂
I’ve been bang ill for over 2.5 years now, & unable to work. 🙁
To keep my mind active, I decided to look into Global warming, & was horrified to find that it’s a huge global scam.
I dug further & came to this totally horrifying conclusion:
Global warming is for genocide.
The 1%s, basically are employing dozy, bent or blackmailed politicians & the mad marxists of the “environmental” NGOs: WWF, Greenpeace, etc to force through “Green” policies designed to de-industrialise & impoverish the first world, & depopulate the whole world.
I’ll post further to back up my outrageous conclusions, later when it’s cooler. It’s midday here in the UK, & it’s roasting this grandpa. 🙂
But please beat these facts in mind:
If you pop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it’ll hop right out.
If you pop that frog into a pot of cold water & raise the temperature by degrees you can boil that frog to death.
Well we’re frogs in a global pot & they’re turning up the heat.
The CO2 producers they’re after is you & I, & our kids & grandkids, & the control freak cowards at the govt political & NGO level think it’s saving the planet.
Those above them have the old power & money & personal survival, no illusions there.
As I posted earlier this is neatly summed up at:
http://www.thrivemovement.com
Which also contains the best exposition of UN Agenda 21 I’ve so far seen, by John Anthony.
On thrive, please start with the problem, a fairly lengthy essay. Then see The Movie. 2 hrs 12 mins. John Anthony’s film is 1 hr 23 mins.
All are well worth your time, there is no more important issue on this planet.
All the best,
JD.

Admin
July 5, 2013 4:16 am

Roger Sowell
Environmental Justice, in California, is a movement to have polluting industries located in rich neighborhoods as well as in poor neighborhoods. Community organizers in poor neighborhoods obtain great concessions on this basis.
Why? To force poor people to commute longer distances to work? To trash the value of rich neighbourhoods? What a bizarre idea.
My stance is very well established on my blog posts. I am for the cheapest power prices, that bring safe, reliable power to customers.
Then ditch renewables, or at least force them to compete on a level playing field with other energy sources such as shale gas. Stop cutting them special concessions which are driving up people’s energy bills.
I do not think that greenhouse gases are a problem, and have written extensively and made many speeches on this. See my posts at …
Something we agree on.
Providing assistance to low-income customers for their utility bills is not right? If that is your position, I must disagree. Helping those who are in need is a crucial function of society, and an excellent use of taxes.
If you created the problem in the first place, through artificial manipulation of the market to make renewables more attractive to investors, then its just a job creation scheme for bureaucrats.
You can’t get something for nothing. Rich people can afford to pave their roof with solar panels. Poor people can maybe get some subsidies, if they are prepared to spend enough time begging and researching the paperwork. Someone in between is paying too much for their power.
It is quite interesting to me that people who present a one-sided version of the CAGW science are skewered here on WUWT, (Mann, Hansen, Phil Jones, and others), and many posts here bring balance by presenting the skeptic side, the other side. I’m a skeptic and have written a half-dozen posts on WUWT. Yet, when a one-sided argument is made as was done in this post, and some of it is flat wrong, criticism is hurled against the one who points out the flaws in the argument.
Which parts are flat wrong? So far as I can tell you haven’t responded to Willis’ questions. Inquiring minds want to know.
Well, I don’t mind the slings and arrows, y’all. Bring it. Take your best shot. I’m quite used to it.
Perhaps you should work on your communication skills.
But, bring some facts and good logic to your arguments. I regularly get booed and criticized on WUWT for my stances on nuclear power and renewable energy. I also have some supporters. Nuclear is dead in the US, and for excellent reasons.
Which are?
In this, I rejoice. Wind and solar forms of renewable energy will have their day, but only when cheap, reliable energy storage is discovered. Another viable renewable energy is one that is continuous, 24 hours per day. Believe it or not, there are actually a few renewable energy sources that are continuous, but not yet economic.
Sure – some day we’ll be able to deploy self replicating robots to lay deep geothermal power systems without human intervention or effort, for an effective cost of zero. But meanwhile, lets try to stay in the real world.
For the long-term survival of the human race, renewable energy MUST be made affordable and reliable and safe. That is a fact that cannot be ignored.
That hasn’t been in any way established as a fact. For example, an average cubic yard of garden soil contains 60g of Thorium. Thorium is so energy dense, that the energy cost of recovering your 60g of Thorium from your wheel barrow of garden soil is far less than the energy you could extract from it. Its something we shall simply never run out of. Focussing efforts on Thorium would be far more beneficial than wasting time and resources building white elephant renewable schemes.

Gary Pearse
July 5, 2013 4:18 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 5, 2013 at 1:38 am
“That’s one of many reasons that nuclear power is wrong: it raises power prices. That’s why I’m against the present form of wind and solar power, they raise power prices.”
I believe you are a decent caring guy but you would appear to take as given (settled) the “science” behind all the stupid things being done in its name. I believe the law and not engineering is your forte and your choice, but you can still opt for critical thinking – you are, after all, also an engineer. A large part of the “high cost” of everything that green-fronted ideologues are opposed to has been “caused” by policies created to prevent their implementation.
Yes, nuclear can be high cost if you require a million hoops to jump through, decades of environmental studies, litigation, unproductive, activist-orchestrated “public” consultation meetings designed to kill the project, overly engineered construction, post commissioning dealing with activists … In France, which is about 85% nuclear electricity costs are among the lowest at ~Euro 0.14 (<20c a kWh – not bad – there will be a lot socialist taxes hidden in that too). The French have a lot of protesters but the authorities ultimately go ahead and do what has to be done.
Now the "many reasons" you mention. The truth is despite the 50year old engineering of the bulk of nuclear plants ~450 power generators and 250 research reactors there have only been….. wait for it… 33 accidents since 1952. Accidents are rated 1-7 and there has only been one "7" that of Chernobyl, built by the Soviets with no particular attention to safety and no public scrutiny. Here is an article by the UK socialist anti-nuclear, anti-hydro, pro wind and solar, newspaper (Guardian) so you can trust that they didn't miss any!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/14/nuclear-power-plant-accidents-list-rank
Also regarding fatalities:
~45 died at Chernobyl the world's worst and perhaps a dozen more in others. 4000 a year die in China in coal mines; 171,000 people died in two dam failures in China in 1975. Anyway you get the picture – nuclear is the safest and among the cheapest, of sensible energy generating capacity we have, even though we have not had the benefit of a computerized technological revolution since the last one was designed. I'm assuming the danger of them was one of your "many reasons". You see at WUWT you don't get away with just tired mass-inculcated rhetoric that I'm sure doesn't attract criticism on your blog. You have your feet put to the fire, generally in a firm, informative, but often friendly way. Does this make any difference to your thinking?

July 5, 2013 4:19 am

John Anthony’s film can be accessed if you put john anthony agenda 21 into youtube.
& the word motivation should have followed survival previously. Ajolopies 🙂

Bob Koss
July 5, 2013 4:21 am

Didn’t we just celebrate Independence Day?
It appears Roger Sowell sees nothing wrong with the supply of cheap electricity being artificially limited through government regulation using the guise of saving some mythical future world. After all nothing demonstrates the extent the government cares better than taking the crumbs off the table of the poor and making them increasingly dependent on government. Is this what this country is really about? No doubt, at some point in the future we will instead be celebrating Day and Roger will also see nothing wrong with that.
Frankly, I think Willis did a good job decribing the situation.
One other thing. It appears Roger was so eager to besmirch Willis he fumbled putting his website link under his name in his first few comments.

July 5, 2013 4:23 am

@EternalOptimist on July 5, 2013 at 2:55 am
“Rogers notion of getting the old and infirm together in a nice cool building instead of giving them cheap aircon could have some some value. It would be a great opportunity to learn new social skills or hobbies, like line dancing or communal singing. Roger could go along and speak publicly telling them his rags to riches story and explaining that they have never had it so good.”
Are you nuts? Do you realize that many homes in California have no air conditioning at all? What would you have us do, let those people die in the heat waves? Where is your compassion?
Yes, we have cooled buildings for anyone to go to in heat waves. We are not callous, cold-hearted people.

Bob Koss
July 5, 2013 4:25 am

Doh!
Missing /. Sentence should read. No doubt, at some point in the future we will instead be celebrating Day and Roger will also see nothing wrong with that.

July 5, 2013 4:33 am

@ Eric Worrall re nuclear power
Yes, even the power industry recognizes that nuclear power is dead.
http://www.powermag.com/gas/gas_power_direct/Is-Cheap-Gas-Killing-Nuclear-Power_5743.html

R. de Haan
July 5, 2013 4:36 am

A 12 Kw/h power generator from Briggs&Stratton consumes 2.12 gallons of propane. The price of propane at this moment is around $ 1.50 per gallon. So it would produce 12 Kw/h for a little more than $ 3.-. Of course you also need to calculate the price and the maintenance costs of the generator and the costs of the propane tank. There are propane tanks in the market with a pump that allows you to fuel up your propane converted car.
http://www.bsapowersolutions.com/pages/EM12-Generator.php
The combined use for propane to heat/cool your home, generate electricity and fuel your car(s) could be highly profitable but also provides you with the advantage of having your own fuel stack that could last a few months and it provides you with the opportunity to get completely independent from the grid.

Bob Koss
July 5, 2013 4:36 am

Ahhhg. I did it again. I hope this comes out right.
No doubt, at some point in the future we will instead be celebrating Day and Roger will also see nothing wrong with that.

Admin
July 5, 2013 4:38 am

Roger Sowell
Of course cheap gas has displaced nuclear – as long as the cheap gas holds out, there will be no need to do anything else.
I was referring to your comment that in the long term you think it will be necessary to make renewables affordable. I call BS – there are other options such as Thorium which would make expensive renewables utterly redundant forever.

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 4:39 am

Capacity to consume costs ratepayers big money. Reducing demand with peak charges is good for everyone. Yes, 93 cents per kilowatt hour seems excessive, but it does have the value of being able to capture the ratepayers’ attention.
Utilities carry massive fixed cost to have standby power. They could have high rates to pay for it (past practice), or they could have demand based rates to pay for it. Demand based rates make a lot more sense, as people are paying directly for what they are getting. Industrial customers have been paying direct demand charges for decades.
Big hydro doesn’t exist in California because they don’t have big rivers. Even if they did, they’d suck all the water out for metro water supplies.

July 5, 2013 4:41 am

Roger Sowell says:
This is a science blog. State your position clearly and defend it with facts and cogent arguments.
Being lawyerly, and weaving and dodging will win you no converts.
Frankly, all I see from you is evasion of the issues.

Bob Koss
July 5, 2013 4:42 am

Mod. Please delete my previous screwed up comments. Hopefully I have this one formated properly.
Didn’t we just celebrate Independence Day?
It appears Roger Sowell sees nothing wrong with the supply of cheap electricity being artificially limited through government regulation using the guise of saving some mythical future world. After all nothing demonstrates the extent the government cares better than taking the crumbs off the table of the poor and making them increasingly dependent on government. Is this what this country is really about? No doubt, at some point in the future we will instead be celebrating Dependence Day and Roger will also see nothing wrong with that.
Frankly, I think Willis did a very good job describing the situation.
One other thing. It appears Roger was so eager to besmirch Willis he fumbled putting his website link under his name in his first few comments.

July 5, 2013 4:45 am

@ Eric Worrall
You ask why I oppose nuclear power. I refer you to my article on this:
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/reconsider-nuclear-power-is-it-ever.html?m=0
And no, your arguments are not persuasive. Nuclear is deadly, dangerous, creates Millenial-long toxic wastes, and is too costly.

johanna
July 5, 2013 4:45 am

Power companies (and water utiliities, BTW) have been enthusiastic supporters of the CAGW campaign, because it gets them off the hook for their real responsibilities – which are to provide a reliable and affordable supply of the necessities of life. It has been a win-win for them. They no longer have to worry about the hassle and expense of building new power stations or dams – instead, we are being pressed to conserve their products and pay more for them to boot.
This notion of wholesome frugality has been bought lock, stock and barrel by affluent greenies. It is particularly galling that people like Roger Sowell seem to think that rounding up the poor and herding them into shopping malls for a few days is an acceptable way to deal with heatwaves, in a society which can quite easily generate electricity cheaply enough for them to remain at home in relative comfort and dignity. Alternatively, taxpayers are supposed to bail out the suppliers with welfare payments to cover their needlessly high bills. As others have pointed out, the situation is even more critical in cold climates. There simply aren’t enough shopping malls, nor is it viable, to keep people warm for periods of weeks or months.
There is nothing new about the notion of off-peak rates for electricity at low demand times – many countries have had this for years. Nor is it a bad thing. But what we are seeing now is a deliberate strategy to save on capital expenditure by penalising people at times which have always been peak loads – such as between 5pm and 8pm, and to a lesser extent between 7am and 9am. Families with kids, and people with jobs, can’t avoid cooking, bathing, or using lights and household appliances during those times. But we are steadily being softened up for the notion that peaks are inherently bad and we must be punished for them with higher rates to discourage extravagant use.
It is like a restauranteur complaining that most people have lunch between 12 and 2pm, and dinner between 7 and 10pm. That’s the nature of the business. But at least with restaurants we get plenty of choice of prices and service, even though their business model is inconvenient in some respects. With power and water, price competition is negligible or non-existent for most people, so public policy needs to exert pressure on them to keep prices down and supply up, not the reverse, as currently seems to be the case.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
July 5, 2013 4:50 am

The US rate you quote, Willis, is higher than I thought it would be. Here in England I’m on a fixed-rate until 2014 and pay 12p (18 cents) per kWh. We’re all-electric and pay £2,280 ($3415) a year for a rather modest-sized home. Five years ago it was half this!

Admin
July 5, 2013 4:52 am

Roger Sowell
And no, your arguments are not persuasive. Nuclear is deadly, dangerous, creates Millenial-long toxic wastes, and is too costly.
If you knew anything about nuclear power, you would know this is incorrect. Thorium cycle reactors produce low grade wastes which take decades rather than millennia to reach safe levels. And Thorium reactors can’t melt down – so they wont require the expensive safety precautions of Uranium and Plutonium reactors.
And of course, nuclear power produces energy on demand – something renewables will never be able to do.
Of course, opposition to nuclear power in the West is irrelevant. China and India are investing in Thorium nuclear technology in a big way. Its only a matter of time before they commercialise this technology, and start undercutting the cost base of economies too stupid to follow their lead.

Sandor Ferenczi
July 5, 2013 4:57 am

Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.
[Reply: You first. Show us the way. ~mod.]

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 5:09 am

johanna says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:45 am
Power companies (and water utiliities, BTW) have been enthusiastic supporters of the CAGW campaign, because it gets them off the hook for their real responsibilities – which are to provide a reliable and affordable supply of the necessities of life.
===========================================================
Responsible to provide affordable electricity? Ridiculous. They provide it at their cost plus their regulatory approved profit margin. “Affordable” has absolutely nothing to do with it.

July 5, 2013 5:12 am

Any chance a “small government” party will get elected anytime soon in California? And please don’t mention Ah-nuld.

Patrick
July 5, 2013 5:13 am

“Eric Worrall says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:52 am
China and India are investing in Thorium nuclear technology in a big way.”
While you are correct, the word “nuclear” is the scare word of the of the last few decades, especially in Australia (sigh!). Thorium needs a neutron to become U233 and then a usable fissile fuel. Even though there is, almost, no serious potential weapons grade fissile material that can be recovered in the process, Thorium power won’t happen in the “west”, primarily because of that one (Hijacked by the likes of Fonda and Lemon) word, sadly!

TomR,Worc,MA,USA
July 5, 2013 5:13 am

Roger Sowell says: ……….
Mr. Eschenbach normally censors my comments, so let’s just see if he censors this.
====================================
Ahhhhhh …… rules for radicals ……… accuse the other side of your own sides bad behavior.

EternalOptimist
July 5, 2013 5:16 am

no Roger, I am not nuts , and if aircon cost me one dollar a kwh, I wouldn’t get it installed either

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 5:16 am

Eric Worrall says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:52 am
China and India are investing in Thorium nuclear technology in a big way. Its only a matter of time before they commercialise this technology, and start undercutting the cost base of economies too stupid to follow their lead.
==================================================================
Jeeeeze . . . not the thorium hoax again.
“Its only a matter of time” is not the same as “they have gotten it to work.”
In the real world, nuclear fuel created by thorium alchemy must compete with other sources of nuclear fuel. We are hundreds of years from that happening.

Admin
July 5, 2013 5:20 am

Sandor Ferenczi
Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.
Whats your preferred method of culling the population? Late term abortions of families which try to have kids without a license? “Euthanasia” of “undesirables”? Raising the price of energy and food (through biofuel initiatives) until the poorest people can’t afford to eat?
Or maybe you’re a traditionalist – perhaps your preferred tool is plague, created through stuffing up the health system to the point it can’t treat sick people, or by giving nature a helping hand through genetic engineering?

peterg
July 5, 2013 5:22 am

The cost of delivering electricity is likely to be more proportional to the peak rather than average power consumed. An idling transmission line is almost as expensive in terms of capital and maintenance as a fully loaded one. Similar story with power stations. Best solution is to charge more for power delivered or sourced at peak of demand, and allow market forces to decide.
If AGW/CO2 usage was the only consideration, then pricing would be purely based on the average.

RockyRoad
July 5, 2013 5:24 am

Sandor Ferenczi says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:57 am

Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.

Problem is, the way they want the reductions, only the elitists and malcontents would be left. The rest of us–who use our brains and are pretty much the producers/industrialists–are just supposed to “disappear” somehow.
It would make the situation even worse.

Admin
July 5, 2013 5:26 am

Gamecock
Jeeeeze . . . not the thorium hoax again.
“Its only a matter of time” is not the same as “they have gotten it to work.”
In the real world, nuclear fuel created by thorium alchemy must compete with other sources of nuclear fuel. We are hundreds of years from that happening.

I’ve already said nuclear has been displaced by cheap gas, and will continue to be displaced as long as the supplies of cheap gas hold up – or until China or India create a nuclear system so cheap it displaces Shale Gas.
My point about nuclear power is that it is preferable to crappy unreliable and in some cases incredibly dangerous renewables.
The following is the story of the worst renewable hydro disaster in history, it killed over 100,000 people. No nuclear disaster other than the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which can hardly be classified as nuclear power disasters) has ever come close.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam

Kasuha
July 5, 2013 5:27 am

Any rise in CA heat stroke statistics wil be definitely blamed on global warming.

Richard Toland
July 5, 2013 5:31 am

u.k.(us) says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm
“Per Wiki:
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems.”
US engineering students in the early ’60’s were taught that the solutions were to be cost-effective.
Cost-effective power generation today is best represented by CCGT. Relative low first cost, high efficiency, small foot print , relative low emissions, plentiful fuel.

fadingfool
July 5, 2013 5:37 am

@ Sandor Ferenczi says:
Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.
My standard response to those advocating the reduction of the world’s population – after you dear boy……

RockyRoad
July 5, 2013 5:38 am

I believe, Roger Sowell, that once California cuts supplies of electricity from coal-fired power plants, you’ll find your electricity rates will “necessarily skyrocket”.
From what I’ve read, the US Government isn’t supportive of petroleum/natural gas exploration and development on their lands, so natural gas-fired plants won’t be expanding (which, from what I’ve read in your comments, you believe to be the only source of cheap, more plentiful electricity).
What is your solution to cheaper electricity? And please don’t use the “subsidize the poor” argument–that doesn’t make electricity cheaper; it simply requires that somebody else pay for it.
Your plan is…….what?

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 5:40 am

Eric Worrall says:
July 5, 2013 at 5:26 am
My point about nuclear power is that it is preferable to crappy unreliable and in some cases incredibly dangerous renewables.
======================================================
Agreed.

Annie
July 5, 2013 5:47 am

Perhaps Roger Sowell would be kind enough to tell us how old, illiterate, immobile, lonely Gramdma is supposed to get to one of these cool buildings he refers to; if she even knows about them. Why should she not be able to cool adequately at least one room in her own home in order to survive a very hot spell. Greenie patronising always makes me livid. They are just not living in the real world and obviously simply do not care about real people.

July 5, 2013 5:53 am

Roger Sowell it seems to me that this time you have slipped into defending the indefensible, the programs you are talking about are great but wouldn’t less people need them if the rates were lower? The whole point here (maybe I am wrong Willis would have to say.) is that gouging the customer when they need to power the most is wrongheaded and reprehensible and the people that these schemes say they want to help are hurt more by the scheme than if we had no scheme I have read your posts and while I disagree with your views on nuclear power I enjoy reading them but you seem to have seen this post as an attack on programs to help the poor when what it really says is the poorest of all are hurt the most regardless of programs put in place to help them with the bill if we didn’t have the idiotic programs in place that raised the electric bills less people would need those assistance plans…………but then again that could be the whole point as the more people that depend on the government for everything the more power said government has over their lives, we have come to a point where both Orwell and Huxley were correct and the powers that be are tightening the grip.

Admin
July 5, 2013 5:53 am

Annie
Greenie patronising always makes me livid. They are just not living in the real world and obviously simply do not care about real people.
Greenies think complex climate models are more reliable than simple observations, so it stands to reason that they would see the world in terms of the way they think it should be, rather than as it actually is.

kramer
July 5, 2013 6:06 am

I never in my life thought I’d see electricity pricing used as a weapon against the poor and the old folks like that.
Willis, here is what I believe is going to happen. Taxes on the middle class and higher will simply be raised to subsidize the energy costs for the people who can’t afford it which means the middle class will be getting it twice in the shorts from higher energy costs.
From what I’ve read, global warming looks to be a tool to redistribute wealth both within and between nations.

July 5, 2013 6:07 am

Every year the weather precipitates(snow, rain etc.) upstream from the dam.
Is this not (potential) energy that has been renewed? Of course it is.
Hydro-electric power is obviously renewable. To say it’s not is false.
For that to be in California’s legislation is blatant propaganda, crony capitalism for solar and wind boondoggles.

Chad
July 5, 2013 6:14 am

The mandate should be pretty easy for California to meet. Keep up the policies that are in place, a substantial portion of the population will move. The ones moving will likely be people with large houses that are expensive to cool – you know, the people who pay the taxes. Additionally the evil corporations will move. Shortly the demand will drop to where the existing capacity will meet the legislative requirements. By the way, Texas has more wind power and doesn’t have those $0.92/kWh rates.

aharris
July 5, 2013 6:14 am

Ah, but see, as insane as this is, low income grandma doesn’t have to worry. The ever benevolent state will step in a take some money from those of us who really can’t afford it, but our raw numbers say that we can. They’ll take it in the form of taxes and make programs to subsidize low income grandma so that she can power her air conditioner. It’s you and I who will have to find other ways to cool off when we have to cut back on our energy use because our money was taken and we can’t pay for energy during peak hours.

July 5, 2013 6:15 am

“” Sandor Ferenczi says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:57 am
Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.””
Sir, I trust your Sisters, Daughters, Nieces, Wife have all been properly sterilized.
you wouldn’t want to look like a hypocrite…

R. de Haan
July 5, 2013 6:19 am

Here’s a website about the avialebility of LPG in California: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/afvs/lpg_propane.html
I also have some German sites about LPG applications including home block heating systems with an efficiency of 90%. Just translate with Google translate and most of the content will be readable.
http://www.propan.de/anwendungen/heizenergie/blockheizkraftwerke
http://www.fas.de/
http://www.brc.de/
http://www.fluessiggas-direkt.de/?gclid=CJaLocetmLgCFXMdtAodRRoAog
http://www.progas.de/uploads/tx_rmbmdownload/Betriebstankstellen_0211_02.pdf

R. de Haan
July 5, 2013 6:23 am

I really think the time has come to think about home power generation opportunities. Getting off grid is the only way to make the power producers and our crazy government planners come to their senses.

Eric Barnes
July 5, 2013 6:24 am

Hopefully this is a joke.
What exactly is wrong with tying the cost of energy to the cost of producing it again? If people have a problem with coal/natural gas, then go off the grid with solar.

Bill Illis
July 5, 2013 6:27 am

My power bill says I’m paying $0.11130/KW.h
5 decimal points even.
Taxes and surcharges bump the total to $0.15 / KW.h

Chad
July 5, 2013 6:30 am

Eric,
If people go off the grid it will largely not be with solar, it will be with natural gas fired generators. Would you prefer Nat Gas be burned with 63% efficiency at a central location and then delivered with 5-10% line and transformer losses, or burned with 28% efficiency in a generator?

July 5, 2013 6:33 am

Where are the switches that California uses to discriminate between renewable and coal power?
How can power generation sources be discriminated once added to the grid?
Like CO2, it’s all the same; the “good” is indistinguishable from the “bad”.

Annie
July 5, 2013 6:35 am

BTW…where are people supposed to sleep in these cool havens if the hot spell lasts more than a day?
My experience of shopping malls in Australia and Dubai is that they are hell on earth. All echoey noise and ghastly muzak and uncomfortable seating and overpriced junk food…yuk. Not for this Grannie thank you!

BBorders
July 5, 2013 6:36 am

Willis—
Another fun and informative post. But as an aside, I noticed trademarks with “Thermageddon™” and “Governor Moonbeam had a Brilliant Idea”. Is that for real or a joke? I hadn’t seen TMs with those phrases. I scanned the comments to see if anyone had asked before me.
Thank you.

Annie
July 5, 2013 6:39 am

Kramer @ 6:06 am:
Spot on.

July 5, 2013 6:41 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm
So, in a state with almost 40 million people, during a serious heat wave, there are no reports of elderly deaths because people could not or did not run their air conditioners.

That does not mean that this was the only death casted by the heat wave. Most of the deaths can only be seen as a statistical increase in the death rate compared with the average death rate in the same area. This is a frequently used method to analyze the effect of extreme weather.
The European heat wave of 2003 was for instance analyzed in peer reviewed reports which places the death toll at 70,000. See: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1631069107003770
One should therefore expect to find at least some thousands extra deaths by using similar methods in California

Bob
July 5, 2013 6:43 am

A very enjoyable read. Electricity rates continuously vary according to demand. Supplier generation is either base load, picked up on “day ahead” estimates or spot demand estimates. The rates are all over the map, from positive to negative. In the PJM area they tend to stay in the $20-$80/MWh range. The rates also include peaking units that are paid when they run and when they don’t run (capacity payments) as well as subsidized RESIDENTIAL rates (granny’s rates).
Mr. Sowell seems to like the economic theory of arbitrarily raising rates and then subsidizing some of those hurt by the arbitrary rate raise. This is part of environmental justice. He sort of misses the lost economic opportunities from lower rates for every consumer. This is like keeping a water bucket with a hole filled and increasing the size of the hole as needed. I’m sure as an engineer he can give us the global (or even CA) temperature reduction from these actions and show that we can actually reliably measure the temperature change. One of the things I love about the AGW argument is that it is based on unreliable temperature measurements and then taken to resolutions you can’t measure.
The argument over who said what to whom is fruitless. Why, continue the argument, Willis? I buy the substance of your post, mostly.
PS. I’m not the expert others are on electrical rates and green energy. I’m the environmental manager for a company that has 16 landfill gas to electricity facilities in 6 states. We also convert LFG to pipeline gas that sells for about 3x the cost of natural gas. We produce electricity on the peaking market or to fill green energy portfolios. The RECs and green energy portfolio’s are scams in my opinion, but that’s our system now.

timc
July 5, 2013 6:45 am

As a Monty Python skit once said “I paid you five dollars for an argument” well it seems that Roger paid his and we are all invited. My two cents says some states have anti gouging laws and high rates in extreme heat would fall under that law for any business except a public utility, why? Because they failed to have enough capacity for their customers when it is all foreseeable mot a really good excuse.

July 5, 2013 6:47 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm
You sometimes have a valid point in your long-winded posts, but you do not have on this one.
============
The point appears quite simple. Folks in California, in a country where the free market is supposed to operate, are not free to buy power from the lowest cost source. Instead they are held hostage to exorbitant prices based upon where they live.
The wholesale price of electricity in the US is something like 3 cents per Kwh. With smart meters there is no justification for not providing consumers with the lowest cost power available, similar to what happened with long distance telephone calls. Consumers should automatically get the lowest rate, or be able to buy from the lowest cost supplier, with the power grid viewed as a public trust, exactly as was done with long distance service. You should not be forced to buy for the power company that put in the power lines in your neighborhood, but from any company on the grid that connects to that power company. The company should only be able to charge you for the power lines, not the power.
Instead consumers are being held hostage via the transmission lines and monopoly pricing. The power companies buy cheap power, then jack up the prices via their monopoly. Something that used to be illegal in the US, under numerous laws, but apparently the Power Commission is above the laws and a force unto itself.

Tom Stacy
July 5, 2013 6:51 am

The problem with Anthony’s analogy between time of use electricity pricing and time of use drinking water, is that drinking water can’t be stored for later use At no cost. Electricity is different. If we could affordably store electricity at our homes for hot summer afternoons, then it would likely be even more affordable to store electricity on the grid for later use. Only Hydro pump storage has found a way to do that, But even this technology is expensive. Furthermore, the vast majority of the United States does not have the mountainous terrain required to make pump storage viable.
Our society fostered and electricity system that was dependable, low-cost, and worked for us, not us For it, and that should not be allowed to change.
REPLY: Note who the author of the post is – Anthony

jonnie26
July 5, 2013 6:54 am

Terms of Reference were agreed at the first meeting of the Green Fiscal Commission on 29 May 2007
It will involve a substantial tax shift, such that, for example, 20 per cent of tax revenues come from green taxes by 2020;
http://www.greenfiscalcommission.org.uk/index.php/site/about/objectives/
make no mistake this has all been planed

Bruce Cobb
July 5, 2013 6:55 am

WRT hydropower, small-scale hydro may be useful in areas not currently connected to the grid, but other than that, building more of them, like all Greeny schemes makes no sense economically. Without mandates and generous subsidies, in most cases they would not be built, at least here in the US.
A rudimentary knowledge of economics is all that is required to know that raising the cost of energy is enormously detrimental, and yes, even lethal here in the “wealthy” USA. Cooked grannies are just for starters. If allowed to continue, the ultimate result could be world-wide economic collapse, with a death-toll in the millions. I guess there are some who want that.

johnmarshall
July 5, 2013 7:01 am

ONLY $0.92 per Kwh?
Get real and live in the UK. $0.92 sounds less than I pay for the so called cheap rate, or off peak as some suppliers call it.
I think I will move to California.

July 5, 2013 7:04 am

Willis, the State of California should be able to regulate that 33% of the power generated in the state be renewable. What they should not be able to regulate is that consumer’s in California must buy California power as opposed to Oregon power.
That should be illegal under numerous federal anti-trust and anti-racketeering laws. Every person in California should be free to buy power from the lowest cost producer as they see fit, regardless of which state it is made in, in the same way they are able to buy goods and services from any state, not just those made in California.
This was done with the telephone companies and the price of long distance has now become so cheap as to be effectively free. There are many power companies outside of California that would be very happy to sell power to Californians at a small fraction of what folks in California are paying. With smart meters there is no reason this could not be done, outside of the vested interests of those folks that control the Power Commission and the local Power Utilities.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 7:05 am

Thanks Willis,
The fuel poverty deaths in the UK (65/day in winter 2011/2012) are what these B@$T@..Ds are aiming for. It is a great way to get rid of the ‘Useless Eaters’ who are no longer of any use to ‘Society’ (Read don’t make money for corporations or cough-up taxes for the government.) Just kill off the old, poor or crippled and voilà, no looming Social Security problem.
The other method is also seen in the UK is government controlled healthcare. The Liverpool Care Pathway: minister orders report into the use of payments to hospitals for getting terminally ill patients onto a controversial care “pathway” to death. Doctors decide you are going to die anyway so they withdraw not only medicine but food and water to hurry up death to free up hospital beds and save money. Except that there are reports that patients rescued from the Liverpool Care Pathway did not die. link
Some reports say 60,000 patients [were] put on death pathway without being told… Even sick Children [are] placed on controversial ‘death pathway’
And just to make sure you understand this is not by chance. The eugenics movement Britain wants to forget and 01 October 2004: Why is Royal Society hosting a pro-eugenics conference?
These methods of killing off the ‘Useless’ without getting the lily white hands of the politicians dirty will be forever linked in my mind with the Eugenics and Neo-Malthusians.
CAGW and sky high electric rates could be considered a typical political SNAFU until you look at the other policies in the UK. Me, I do not like the Political Class treating me as if I was their cattle chattel.

arthur4563
July 5, 2013 7:08 am

In attempting to match up solar/wind renewable production with demand, California is building a number of pumped storage facilities in the mountains. But their are not enough sites to allow very many to be built, perhaps half a dozen. The capacity of the largest is around 1000 MW for about 10 hours. They are quite expensive – they don’t cost much less than an actual 1200 MW nuclear plant. Roughly 25 to 30% of power sent to these facilities for storage is lost in the process.

highflight56433
July 5, 2013 7:09 am

Well, you folks in Kalifornicatia made your own bed. And the nation has elected evil men to inflict suffering even greater pains than those pilgrims who fled Europe to the “free” world. The sheeple never change. All the “blue” cities with their progressive agendas rule. Freedom , liberty and justice are just old fashioned out of date rubbish to the ruling faction.
You want freedom from your power bill, then get off the grid. Make them eat their power bill. Or have a power bill revolt. Do something dramatic that gets their attention. Hurt them in the pocket book.
This is a good post that demonstrates how government really is about regulating and controlling. Logical thinkers are lost in the noise of do-gooder propaganda.

David L. Hagen
July 5, 2013 7:15 am

Willis
Can those seeking to restore fiscal sanity, sound stewardship and jobs with justice for the poor work together to achieve that?
See Pointman and his purpose:

The reason I began commenting was that I hated the effect the environmental movement was having on the developing world. A thinly veiled political movement, which is perceived as simply a fashionable lifestyle choice in the developed world, is causing death and misery amongst the eighty percent of humanity not fortunate enough to live well above the poverty line. Its influence and policies prevent the developing nations industrialising and maintain the status quo of keeping them in a state of permanent, grinding, border-line poverty. That is immoral and must be fought. Future historians, especially black African ones, will categorise the effects of the environmental movement as genocidal and they will be correct.

Please read Pointman’s critically important post: Working together

In the year 9 AD, a Roman nobleman called Publius Quinctilius Varus, led a force consisting of three full legions, six cohorts of auxiliaries and three companies of cavalry, eastward of the Rhein . . .about thirty thousand men . . . It was farmers up against three legions of battle-hardened veterans. . . .
Comes the day, comes the man, and for the tribesmen, that man was Arminius of the Cherusci tribe. He did two things, both of which most onlookers assumed were quite simply impossible. He not only put together a secret alliance of nearly all the bickering tribes to fight the roman invaders but also came up with a strategy, which would allow each tribe to fight in its own way that would still beat the Romans, without engaging in the type of formal pitched battle they’d certainly lose. . . .
one tribe attacked the middle of the column, and having massive local superiority and fighting on their own turf and in their own style rather than the Roman style, easily cut it in two. Liabilities, intelligently utilised, can become assets . . .
Irresistible and massive local superiority, guaranteed a win every time. . . .
You can easily overwhelm a much stronger force which has been spread out, by concentrating your own weaker forces on a narrow front, achieving local numerical superiority. . . .
The three things which carried the day at Teutoburg were; the different tribes acting in a concerted manner, concentrating forces to achieve irresistible local superiority and then deploying them in ways that played to their strengths against areas in which the enemy was weak. They picked the time, the place and the manner in which they’d fight – and that’s why they won. Basically, they seized the initiative.
The tide of the climate war is now turning in our favour. . . .
We are in the same situation as those Saxon tribes facing the might of Rome, but by using similar tactics, I believe we can dish out the equivalent of more than a few Teutoburgs to the alarmists.
Working together, we can accomplish more.

Roger Sowell is a chemical engineer turned lawyer who:

advises and represents companies and individuals in civil matters related to climate change, process safety, environmental regulations, engineering malpractice and other matters. . . .he worked for 20 years in more than 75 refineries and petrochemical plants in a dozen countries on four continents

As a chemical engineer, Sowell is exposing anthropogenic global warming fallacies by highlighting Dr. Pierre LaTour’s work. e.g. See Chemical Engineer Takes on Global Warming
Sowell is one of the few speaking up for the poor. e.g. see:AB 32 Hits Poor Hardest

Thanks to AB 32, the poor, who live with no excess income, will find that increases in prices of energy, food, necessities, and medical products will hit hard. Where is the Environmental Justice in that?
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

Why are you are shooting yourself in the foot by attacking Roger Sowell?
Why win a “battle” and lose the war?
Instead, what ways you can work effectively with Roger’s legal and engineering skills to redress the environmental abuses you work to publicize?
e.g., changing the classification of large dams to “renewable” should provide a major boost in available renewable electricity under AB32 and consequently a reduction in peak electricity prices. Every large hydro supplier would love to sell power at $0.50/kWh instead of $0.05/kWh which would still be strongly below $0.93/kWh.
How can you use your platform at WUWT to get a petition going to put a proposition on the ballot?
e.g., with Roger’s help, launch a petition to reclassify large hydro:
“All sizes of hydropower shall constitute renewable energy under AB32.”

Everyone wanting to reduce their electricity bill should be behind that one.
Lets together win the war, not kill each other to win a battle.

Rod Everson
July 5, 2013 7:16 am

Roger Sowell says: “The seniors that I know also go to great lengths to help each other and share tips on cutting expenses.”
You just don’t get it Mr. Sowell. Here’s Willis’s tip for cutting expenses. Quit trying to save the world from an insignificant (if any at all) temperature rise a century from now and build more electrical capacity using the strategy of finding the cheapest power source available, instead of the most expensive.
And his “tip” will do far, far, more than all of the coupon-clipping tips the seniors share to make their lives more comfortable.
Alternatively, you can screw the productive members of society and use their taxes to alleviate the inevitable pressures on the poor via government programs that build dependency rather than independence among the poor you so generously serve.
You might be attuned to the needs of the poor, and willing and able to help them, sir. But you are very misguided as to the best way to help them. The liberal “plantation” is not just a metaphor; it exists, and is growing daily under present leadership, both in CA and nationwide. And you sir, by defending it’s arrangements, have become one of the overseers regardless of your generous intent and actions.
To be clear, people on my side of the argument don’t want people to starve, or cook. We do, however, object to public policies that obviously increase the need for people to have to depend upon government programs for their survival, as does a policy of limiting the building of plants that would provide inexpensive electricity to all.

markx
July 5, 2013 7:20 am

Sandor Ferenczi says: July 5, 2013 at 4:57 am
….”..Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less….
There is more to fear, and more ignorance and impracticality shown in this one line than there is in all of Roger Sowell’s sniping and bickering.
But, Roger Sowell, why don’t you simply show where you disagree with Willis’ main point, and explain how price gouging to this degree in the periods of highest energy demand might help the people, the economy and the environment?

Grey Lensman
July 5, 2013 7:23 am

A point missed I think.
The state takes from the poor/low middle incomes, via taxes and levees, in order that it can assist the poor to pay the Corporation. Meanwhile the Corporation takes the profits and shares it with its richest friends.
Seems kinda cool and very fair, not

markx
July 5, 2013 7:28 am

Roger Sowell says: July 5, 2013 at 4:45 am
“.. Nuclear is deadly, dangerous, …..”
What makes you say that? Do you have some data we have not seen?
Here is an alternative viewpoint from someone who sounds like he knows a bit about it :
http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/03/17/economist-nuclear-view-impractical/#comment-154175

What they fail to understand is that it is an incredibly simple way to boil water once the engineers have done their magic.
My advantage in this discussion is that I once spent some intense years learning to operate small, flexible nuclear reactors and training others to operate them. I can bear testimony to the fact that they can be extremely simple and robust power sources that need very little support from external infrastructure.
If people look at a gas plant and see a low cost capital investment, they are only looking at a small portion of the overall cost because someone else had to invest the capital into the fuel delivery system that moves the vapor from the deposit to the plant. Methane does not carry much energy per unit volume, so it is not easy to move from place to place.
In contrast, the submarines on which I used to deploy could be loaded with 14 years worth of fuel (1970s vintage technology). These days, we load subs with a lifetime fuel supply – Virginia class boats deliver with a core rated for 33 years worth of operations and no provisions for refueling.
I also spent a few years designing a really simple nuclear heat engine that can compete on a capital cost basis with combustion gas turbines because it uses exactly the same kinds of turbines and compressors as those systems do. The projected fuel cost is about 1/3 that of even the “cheap” gas currently available in North America. There are no emissions, and there is no need for pipelines or fracking.

markx
July 5, 2013 7:36 am

Ya know, it is bloody pitiful when you sum up the purported position: (and I paraphrase):
“We are incredibly worried that the excess of anthropogenic CO2 emission is going to destroy the planet, and we MUST ACT NOW to do ANYTHING WE CAN TO SAVE IT, …. except we would like to specifically exclude the use of nuclear or hydro power, because that would be too cheap and easy.”
Dunno why I feel that perhaps short term profits and taxes, and mean green political power may be the main drivers.

Mikeyj
July 5, 2013 7:37 am

Alternate Plan. Southeastern Michigan(not exactly the rocket science capital of the U.S.) uses DTE Energy. I have one meter for the A/C and one meter for the house. We have a progressive rate system so this helps keep the rate down during peak A/C use. The catch is the A/C electrical service is interruptible so they can turn it off 15mins/hr. to balance the load. The air circulation fan is part of the furnace so even when the A/C compressor is off air still circulates, ie. by the time you notice the cooling has stopped the 15 minutes is almost up. Not that big of a deal.

Steve T
July 5, 2013 7:40 am

Roger Sowell says:
July 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm
@ martha durham on July 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm
“Can anyone explain why hydro is not a renewable in California? Is it because it works?”
Yes, as usual, Mr. Eschenbach has several things confused if not flat wrong.
California DOES count hydroelectric power as renewable, but only for small plants. Large hydroelectric plants do not count as renewable. This was done to encourage building more hydroelectric plants, and it is working. The last I looked, the cutoff was at 30 megaWatts.
Mr. Eschenbach normally censors my comments, so let’s just see if he censors this.
***************************************************************************************************
I have read Roger Sowell’s posts in he past and remember the name as one associated with sensible comments. However, this looks like spoiling for a fight. The last sentence above refers to ‘normally censors my comments’ , but then in subsequent comments he refers to “can’t find THE COMMENT” and eventually gives just the one example. Are there any more, or is this legal training/misdirection kicking in?
Steve T

Doug Huffman
July 5, 2013 7:44 am

milodonharlani says: July 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm “Cooking Grandma is probably preferable to her freezing in the dark, as in the bright, satanic windmill-riven UK of today. ”
Oh my, what a great line for a happy student of Blake,
“And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?”
More so for this being the Independence Day holiday weekend in FedGov’s US, as I have been promoting “A Song of Peace” http://www.art101.com/peace/peace.mp3 as antidote and anodyne.

Steve Keohane
July 5, 2013 7:47 am

Thanks Willis for another great piece. I can’t help but think of the green industry presenting something along the lines of Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’, but it isn’t sarcasm.

Nicholas in the Jerry Moonbeam Kalifnutso state
July 5, 2013 7:48 am

The powers spent a small fortune replacing windows and doors with double pane glass two years ago.
A Moonbeam type of activity since I experience the same heat and cold as before!
Why?
No changes were made in roof or wall insulation.
When it is very hot or very cold my bill increases as it did before!

G P Hanner
July 5, 2013 7:50 am

“But lots of folks apparently approve of the part where the higher the demand for the electricity, the more the utilities charge for it. ”
In the long run, the supply curve will shift to the right in response to increased demand. Capping supply is the California way, so prices will rise.

Gibby
July 5, 2013 7:52 am

The reason that hydro is not a renewable is because of groups like the Sierra Club that went around many years ago saying/showing that damming up a stream or river caused native habitats to be destroyed/altered so that the native species were negatively impacted (I think that it started in the 70’s) and as a result hydro found itself on the way out because coal could easily replace it . Kind of like the issue in CA over irrigating the fields in a particular area that had some sort of a native chub that was in the water that was being used feeding the irrigation system of the fields.
As far as the price of electricity in CA goes, a big reason it is so pricey is because it gets a very large percentage from out of state, Arizona being the largest provider. It also doesn’t help that every other “green” electricity project proposed in CA gets challenged by the environmental groups. Like Willis has shown, if you don’t allow power to be generated in your own state to meet the needs of the population you have to get it from somewhere and when you do you have to pay to get it there.

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 8:04 am

timc says:
July 5, 2013 at 6:45 am
My two cents says some states have anti gouging laws and high rates in extreme heat would fall under that law for any business except a public utility, why? Because they failed to have enough capacity for their customers when it is all foreseeable mot a really good excuse.
====================================================================
DAFT.
Power plants sitting idle 364 days a year “to have enough capacity for their customers when it is all foreseeable” is massively expensive. Expenses that will be paid by the rate payer ALL YEAR.
Gouge me now, or gouge me later. You will pay, one way or the other.

Taphonomic
July 5, 2013 8:08 am

We have met the Enron and he is PG&E.

Sam Hall
July 5, 2013 8:18 am

Roger Sowell says:
Actually, California law now prohibits importing any electric power from power plants (like coal) that produce more than a very low amount of CO2 per kWh. This effectively erases coal-power from being imported, but does allow nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas power if it is produced in the very efficient combined cycle gas turbine system. There is a brief time extension for existing contracts with coal-fired plants. Those contracts are not allowed to be renewed when they expire.
It seems to me that this policy is in violation of the Federal Constitution – Article 1 Section 8 gives Congress (and only Congress)s power to restrict and regulate commerce with both states and foreign governments.

July 5, 2013 8:31 am

Mr. Sowell, You might be technically correct that “no one is cooking grandmother” but I would argue that “we are invalidating grandmother as a person.” But the thing to remember is this: Perhaps grandmother WILL be baked like a lasagne at a later date? How can you ensure us that grandmother decides to NOT use an AC and that it bakes her for making that choice and if that choice is made DUE to higher energy costs, did California not just bank grandmother into a cheese and sauce filled dish? Excuse the language, just trying to be colorful and extend the metaphors.
In all seriousness, you tell grandmother that she has “government assistance” she can apply for and that there are free “Government buildings that are heated and cooled.” But you are also telling her that her time is worthless, that instead of spending time relaxing or getting things done in the comfort of her own home, she has to clean-up nicely, get on a dirty bus, and spend all day at a different location where she is going to be bored, and the kicker? She is actually going to increase pollution with her use of mass transit and/or her car. How is that for environmental justice? Now the poor neighborhood she lives in has that much more smog in it because that many more people are required to commute every-day it gets warm or cold. I personally don’t see that as a relevant solution and I see those solutions as callous, and over-simplified. If you really want to help her out, fight to have her power bill turned down so she can make her own decisions. Fight so that she can afford to keep her home comfortable and that no matter where in California she lives whether it be in the “nice climate areas” or in the heat of the Mohave.
That is my take on environmental justice, if you truly want people to have justice, give them the ability to fight for this justice instead of being forced to waste all time on Government assistance. Now for Willis’ post, if you wanted Willis to edit the post above I think the better solution than arguing like you were was to ask him to add simple corrections. If you do not think the title is proper, explain it and ask him to change it. Or perhaps you just want him to change the detail about hydro to put a small except on how smaller projects are considered renewable but larger hydro installations are lumped with coal as non-renewable.

July 5, 2013 8:35 am

Sandor Ferenczi, re your comment about population reduction:
So, are you going to go first matey?
Nah, thought not.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 8:41 am

J Martin says: @ July 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm
… Though in a revival of true British Imperial tradition I believe that plans have been mooted to relive past glories and overtake the world, as some congenital imbeciles (h/t to w. for the phrase ) think we should legislate an 80% reduction in co2 output….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Well Obama has even the Brits congenital imbeciles beat. He wants an 83% reduction in CO2.

November 25, 2009 The White House: Office of the Press Secretary
…The White House also announced that, in the context of an overall deal in Copenhagen that includes robust mitigation contributions from China and the other emerging economies, the President is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020 and ultimately in line with final U.S. energy and climate legislation. In light of the President’s goal to reduce emissions 83% by 2050, the expected pathway set forth in this pending legislation would entail a 30% reduction below 2005 levels in 2025 and a 42% reduction below 2005 in 2030. This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress and demonstrates a significant contribution to a problem that the U.S. has neglected for too long. With less than two weeks to go until the beginning of the Copenhagen conference, it is essential that the countries of the world, led by the major economies, do what it takes to produce a strong, operational agreement that will both launch us on a concerted effort to combat climate change and serve as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty. The President is working closely with Congress to pass energy and climate legislation as soon as possible.

On a slightly off topic note, I stumbled onto this site: The Energy Collective

The Energy Collective is an independent, moderated community of professionals focused on the complex challenges of meeting the world’s energy needs sustainably. Our members are our content contributors, and include leading scientists, activists, policy makers, executives and entrepreneurs.
Our members’ perspectives are as diverse as their backgrounds, but all share a commitment to respectful discourse and an appetite for innovation. We know that consensus on the way forward can only be achieved when stakeholders from all sides of the energy and climate debate have a seat at the table….
The Energy Collective’s mission and certain initiatives enjoy the generous support of Siemens Energy, a division of Siemens AG, and Royal Dutch Shell.….

Here is one of the articles: Obama Carbon-Shames Keystone Pipeline In Climate Change Speech
ERRRrrrr, what was that again about skeptics being in the pay of the EVIL ENERGY Co.s?

Steve Oregon
July 5, 2013 8:49 am

Roger Sowell,
IMO your entire premise is a convoluted and disingenuous contradiction.
You have been defending California’s unnecessary and purposeless high energy cost while at the same time claiming to be
“for the cheapest power prices, that bring safe, reliable power to customers.”
You have suggested poor people can request brochure offered assistance or seek refuge while ignoring the fact that it too adds to the cost of energy with relatively few people able to use it.
You pretend that the offered assistance and refuge is somehow sufficient to offset or balance the high energy cost they cannot afford.
That’s like a state lottery spending millions addressing gambling addictions and claiming they are offsetting any harm their lottery does.
All the while you have avoided the most cogent point and query Ellis raised.
“WHAT ARE WE GETTING FOR THE SACRIFICE? AND WHY MUST THE POOR SACRIFICE THE MOST?”
Because its sure not affecting the damn temperature … so tell us, Roger, you have the floor—what good has or will come from the California madness that justifies cooking Grandma? It won’t cool the planet enough to even be measurable? How is an unmeasurable benefit justify harming the poor?”
Roger, if you ignore the absence of benefits while justifying the sacrifice you are indeed a “callous, cold-hearted person.”
Would you have every state adopt California’s approach?
There is no upside to artificially high energy costs. And you have not provided any justification for the needless sacrifice.

beng
July 5, 2013 8:57 am

Hmm. Sowell has gotten persnickety in this post. Sometimes agree w/him otherwise, but he must have a hidden dog in this fight — how else to explain the Stokes-like behavior?

DirkH
July 5, 2013 9:10 am

kramer says:
July 5, 2013 at 6:06 am
“From what I’ve read, global warming looks to be a tool to redistribute wealth both within and between nations.”
Of course. Fighting an imaginary problem turned out great for expansion of the state’s powers. The only thing necessary is to relentlessly keep up the propaganda campaign. Therefore the controlled media; therefore the “climate scientists”.

timc
July 5, 2013 9:29 am

Gamecock says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:04 am
We have back up for wind and solar running at all times. A few small plants in rotation and able to add in for peak demand would not require them to be running all the time. It is called planing.

HelmutG
July 5, 2013 9:38 am

Well, Willis, anybody that lives in a home with AC isn’t exactly POOR in my book.
In fact, when 1 billion people are starving in this world, nobody living in California is poor in my book, and complaining about your Granny not being able to afford AC is ridiculous.
As to “what kind of heartless bastards charge you more for something when you really need it?”:
That’s called supply and demand. It’s one of the key concepts of capitalism – the system that got most of the world to rely on (cheap! – but only for the power company) coal for electricity in the first place, when everybody knows the plants’ dust is hurting people’s lungs (including your granny, and mine).

Keitho
Editor
July 5, 2013 9:53 am

HelmutG says:
July 5, 2013 at 9:38 am (Edit)
—————————————-
What a strange response. You, HelmutG, are far richer than billions of others on the planet so by your logic until we are all equally poor we have no grounds to complain. However I take the view that my society has progressed to the extent that many things are my right by dint of my society having been able to organise itself to the point we find ourselves at and that would include clothes, food, cars and AC to say nothing of having a home, food and a government to protect me and my interests.
As for capitalism, well that would be fine except we now have artificially created shortages of energy resulting in increasing prices and no way for the market to adequately respond thanks to mandated restrictions on what fuels can be used.
Perhaps you believe that the plants are causing damage to people’s lungs but there is no evidence of that from todays coal fired plants. Today we live longer than at any time in history, if you are fortunate enough to live in a western democracy, that is thanks to our ability to harness cheap, ubiquitous and reliable energy. Hating the success of the society in which you live has become an all too common theme in these times but I suspect you would rather live in a modern, market driven democracy than anywhere else as many from the third world show they would by trying to get here by hook or by crook.
High energy prices are iniquitous, and totally driven by green activists like yourself.

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 9:54 am

timc says:
July 5, 2013 at 9:29 am
Gamecock says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:04 am
We have back up for wind and solar running at all times. A few small plants in rotation and able to add in for peak demand would not require them to be running all the time. It is called planing.
=============================================================
It’s called “fixed cost.”

HelmutG
July 5, 2013 10:02 am

Keitho says:
July 5, 2013 at 9:53 am
“Perhaps you believe that the plants are causing damage to people’s lungs but there is no evidence of that from todays coal fired plants.”
Well guess what, there is, and lots of it, and I believe it.
Even in western europe (where coal plants are far cleaner than in most of the US), surveys find that they cause medical costs to the society.

Chad Wozniak
July 5, 2013 10:06 am

@Willis –
You are correct, that small hydro (up to 30 MW) s counted as renewable in California, But even that has been the subject of a lot of green whining, and PacifiCorp is now proceeding with plans to tear down three dams on the Klamath River that are small hydro. Also, small hydro provides only a small portion of the hydro power consumed in California – the vast bulk of it comes from the Bonneville Power Administration’s operations in the Pacific Northwest.
The greens demonize all hydro, which I would have to assume is because they demonize any kind of cheap energy – and demonize human well-being in general.

Tsk Tsk
July 5, 2013 10:09 am

ferd berple says:
July 5, 2013 at 7:04 am
Willis, the State of California should be able to regulate that 33% of the power generated in the state be renewable. What they should not be able to regulate is that consumer’s in California must buy California power as opposed to Oregon power.
That should be illegal under numerous federal anti-trust and anti-racketeering laws. Every person in California should be free to buy power from the lowest cost producer as they see fit, regardless of which state it is made in, in the same way they are able to buy goods and services from any state, not just those made in California.

Interesting idea. I’m not a lawyer -and therefore by definition a productive member of society- but it seems to me that restricting the type of imported electricity should run afoul of the commerce clause. I think the long distance phone experience is a good analogy. Anyone should be able to pay a reasonable tariff for the use of your electrical utility line just like they paid a reasonable tariff for the use of your phone line. Now THAT would really shake up the power market and could completely destroy all of the silly renewable mandates. “Power” states which did not require expensive green mandates could sell their electricity directly to consumers and the green companies would no longer have a captive market they could screw at will… I LIKE it!

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 10:28 am

Tsk Tsk says:
July 5, 2013 at 10:09 am
I think the long distance phone experience is a good analogy. Anyone should be able to pay a reasonable tariff for the use of your electrical utility line just like they paid a reasonable tariff for the use of your phone line.
==================================================================
Be careful what you wish for. Electrical power is a capital intensive business. You start screwing with the power companies’ ability to make money, covering their cost of investments like for power lines, and there will be no power lines.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 10:30 am

Willis Eschenbach says: @ July 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm
What Roger means is that he can’t see Grandma from his house.
Because if he could see her, he’d know that she’s illiterate, doesn’t have a computer, and won’t be following his link any time soon …
Your justification is that it’s OK to screw the poor as a class as long as you offer assistance, which might reach 5% of those affected … it sounds like that salves your conscience….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Just try jumping through all the hoops the government wants you to jump through to get assistance.
For example:

Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility for SNAP (food stamps) benefits is usually based on gross and net income (for families with at least one elderly or disabled member, just net income).
Gross income limits are established by the federal government and adjusted annually. Current gross income limits are available by clicking here. Gross income is total income minus verified legally obligated child support paid.
A family may have liquid resources (cash, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.) of up to $2,000. With one or more family members who are disabled or age 60 or over, the resource limit is $3,250.
Benefit Determination
If eligible, the amount of benefits received is determined by household size and adjusted gross income after these deductions:
a standard deduction.
a 20 percent earned income deduction.
a deduction for dependent care.
a limited deduction for medical expenses for elderly or individuals who are disabled.
a limited deduction for excess shelter care expenses.
Pre-Screening Tool
To help determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, you can use an online pre-screening tool provided by USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
This pre-screening tool is not an application for SNAP benefits.
An application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local office.
Employment and Training Program
The SNAP Employment and Training program requires those applicants who are able to register for work and cooperate in seeking and keeping employment. In certain counties, applicants are required to participate in this program….
All SNAP recipients must report anytime their monthly gross income is over the maximum allowed for their household size. Income maximums can be found on notices or by calling your Benefits Specialist. The income must be reported by the 10th day of the month, following the month the income exceeds the maximum.
All SNAP recipients are also required to complete a recertification (review) process once every 12 months. Most SNAP recipients will fill out a report form in the 6th month of their recertification period. Recertification and report forms will be mailed to recipients.
http://dss.sd.gov/foodstamps/eligibility/

Most lower income older folks are eligible but wouldn’t even know where to start and then there is PRIDE. You worked all your life and paid your own way and now the S.O.B.s have jacked up the price of everything so your hard earned savings is now worth pennies on the dollar. – That is the reason I HATE fractional reserve banking.
“Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effectual than that which deludes them with paper money. This is the most effectual of inventions to fertilize the rich man’s fields by the sweat of the poor man’s brow. Ordinary tyranny, oppression, excessive taxation–these bear lightly on the happiness of the mass of the community compared with a fraudulent currency and the robberies committed by depreciated paper.” ~ Andrew Johnson (December 9, 1868)
Now the rich have found another way to rob and control the working class.

Tsk Tsk
July 5, 2013 10:35 am

Gamecock says:
July 5, 2013 at 5:16 am
Eric Worrall says:
July 5, 2013 at 4:52 am
China and India are investing in Thorium nuclear technology in a big way. Its only a matter of time before they commercialise this technology, and start undercutting the cost base of economies too stupid to follow their lead.
==================================================================
Jeeeeze . . . not the thorium hoax again.
“Its only a matter of time” is not the same as “they have gotten it to work.”
In the real world, nuclear fuel created by thorium alchemy must compete with other sources of nuclear fuel. We are hundreds of years from that happening.

That’s a silly, arbitrary, and incorrect statement. The source of the fuel is not the problem with the Thorium cycle. Continuously reprocessing it is. We already have all of the Thorium we need to provide decades it not centuries of grid-scale nuclear power to the US (and world for that matter). It’s the engineering work we need to do on the reprocessors that requires the time and investment (OK, we need to do some work on the reactor as well but that was already mostly demonstrated 40 years ago). The current uranium cycle has relatively expensive fuel because of all the enrichment activities and the limited supplies not to mention the fact that we throw away 90+% of the energy in the assembly because solid assemblies are intrinsically inflexible and inefficient. Fast breeders? Been there, done that. Thorium lost out to them for purely political reasons and then for technical reasons they crapped out. Sea water harvesting? That’s awfully expensive compared to just using the rare earth tailings that are already heaped up.
I don’t have a problem with current nuclear technology but there are serious issues with it that we are simply unwilling to resolve, i.e. waste. We won’t reprocess it, and we won’t sequester it. Do you honestly think dry cask storage is a good solution for millennia? Even Gen III+ designs have meltdown and containment risks, not to mention the intrinsic proliferation risks involved with uranium enrichment. Thorium (LFTR to be specific) resolves most of these and reduces the last concern. So why exactly is it “hundreds of years” away? I’d certainly prefer having our $10B+ subsidies go to bringing up a Thorium pilot plant than giving GE shareholders and Elon Musk more of my money.
Oh, and we’ve got plenty of alchemy going on in current nuclear reactors today. Precisely where do you think plutonium came from? Hint: it’s virtually all man-made.

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 10:54 am

“We already have all of the Thorium we need to provide decades it not centuries of grid-scale nuclear power to the US”
Sir, thorium is not fuel. It can’t power anything.

ralfellis
July 5, 2013 11:15 am

DirkH says: July 5, 2013 at 1:06 am
Roger; please explain the logic behind that.
First the state allows a monopoly provider to jack up prices to unaffordable levels to reduce demand (and “unaffordable” is the explicit goal). Next the state gives tax money to the customers who can’t afford the inflated prices.
____________________________________
Why? Its socialist politics – creating a loyal client state. We had loads of this during the miserable Blair and Brown years in the UK.
The logic goes – you tax people up to their eyeballs. You then give loads of rebates and credits to the poor and even to the middle classes. This means that a great swathe of the population now has to come to you, the government, and doff their cap in gratitude as they receive their rebate or tax credit. ‘Bless you Mr Socialist Politician, for giving me a credit.’
And of course this great client state you have just created has to vote for you, otherwise they will lose all their credits and rebates. All power to the party. Communism by the back door.
.

July 5, 2013 11:18 am

Fred Berple says”
“Every person in California should be free to buy power from the lowest cost producer as they see fit, regardless of which state it is made in, in the same way they are able to buy goods and services from any state, not just those made in California.”
Fred, its not as easy as that. Let me tell you a bit about CAISO. I am far from an expert, but I did work on building this monstrosity – a very minor part, but it gave me access to the “brains” and I did ask questions. For those that don’t know, CAISO (the California Independent System Operator) manages the electricity market for the state of CA.
As originally conceived, CAISO does two things: First it provides the platform for people to trade electricity in several different markets (more on that below), and secondly, it manages the distribution network. It *has* to manage the distribution network, because if someone buys power from a specific generator, the network has to be capable of transferring that load from the generator to the buyer. If a buyer wants to skip his local generators because they are all too expensive, and buy only from some remote generator with better prices, but the capacity of the network isn’t there, maybe because other customers are also taking energy from their suppliers over part of the same network, the result could easily be blown transformers and melted transmission lines.
It is just not on to even imagine that consumers could switch supplier on a whim.
The opportunity to buy “green” power is a con. In most cases the electrons that those people consume will have been generated in a coal, gas, or (gasp!) nuclear power station.
To complicate all this, a bit more about the multiple markets.
This may have changes slightly since the inception, but this is essentially the way it was:
There is a “long-term” market. You can buy your electricity well in advance, at good rates, to cover what you estimate your load to be in X months hence.
However, electricity consumption varies a lot, depending on things like weather, and generators breaking. So there is a week-ahead market where you can buy more to cover what looks like a shortfall, or sell the excess that you bought. Of course, a week out, the prices are higher.
Then the is the hour-ahead market, this is to cover very short-term problems that you made in your purchases. Prices are again higher.
Then there is the real-time market, you couldn’t get what you wanted on the hour-ahead market, so you pay through the nose for energy to patch up your shortfall. This gets expensive because this is when the really expensive generators based on things like jet engines get fired up.
Being a simple-minded soul, I asked one of the market managers what was to stop me buying as much as I wanted on the long-term market, much more than I would ever need, and sitting on it, refusing to sell it, knowing that I had bought enough to ensure that the lights would go out in large areas of California if people didn’t pay my exorbitant price on the hour ahead or real-time markets.
The answer was a long stare, followed by, well, if you had the money, you could do that, but no-one ever would.
No-one but Enron that is.

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 11:23 am

pretty good screed.
another fact is that the California reform required the utilities to buy the electricity daily on the spot market auction, instead of writing long-term contracts. Somebody persuaded the Assembly that the spot market would almost always have lower prices than long-term contracts. When Gray Davis took over the purchasing of electricity and ran the govt into debt, he used his emergency power to declare that the state, but not the local utilities, could buy long-term contracts; the emergency staff who were hired were all from the energy industry, and they negotiated high prices for the long-term contracts. Anyway, those high prices reflect the prices bid in the spot market for short-term production (i.e. a few hours) of electricity.

Mikeyj
July 5, 2013 11:26 am

If renewable energy is so great why does it have to be subsidized? Forgot socialists don’t believe in the free market, they’re just smarter than the rest of us, they know what’s best.

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 11:26 am

Philip Peake says:
July 5, 2013 at 11:18 am
Are not the utilities required to buy on the spot market, as I wrote? Or am I out of date on this detail?

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 11:42 am

Willis, about this: But that’s exactly what’s happening with electricity. Air conditioning in Chico is becoming the province of the wealthy, due to the “Time Of Use” pricing policies of the PUC.
It’s the part of the market that’s actually a market: the price is set by the bidders. The cost is high because decades of obstruction have prevented the construction of cheap supply to meet the demand. If it were a *free* market, then entrepreneurs would probably step in to construct supply to meet the demand.
At those prices, even unsubsidized roof-mounted solar is a good investment for the home-owner or small business owner. You might say that California’s third rate energy regulations justify owners in financing a second-rate solution.
It isn’t just that the California energy environment is awful, but that the most awful policies are extremely popular.

July 5, 2013 11:49 am

I am blown away by the statement that small hydro plants are renewable whereas as large ones are not, in California.
This makes the designation of “renewable” a political, not a scientific, definition.
So much for science.

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 11:49 am

Willis Eschenbach: Supply and demand works very well as you point out … except when there are monopolies, including state-allowed monopolies, like with power and water.
The local retailers are monopolies, and CAISO is a monopoly, but the wholesale electricity suppliers are not a monopoly. Your earlier point about restrictions on construction were more pertinent to high cost, I think. California instituted severe restrictions on new power plant construction even as population and electricity demand were growing in neighboring states, so that the regional surplus of electricity was used up. Then there is that ridiculous law that a California utility can not buy from a coal-fired source, even out of state.

David L. Hagen
July 5, 2013 11:55 am

Willis’ point was highlighted by Brendan Wagner on Seeking Alpha:
California’s Renewable Energy Debacle

Why would our well-intentioned green lobby exclude large hydro, that is every bit as renewable as a small hydro project? Because if it were included, California would have already hit its 20% 2010 renewable target back in 2007. More recently,
California upped the RPS percentage target to 33% by 2020.
You can contact the California Public Utility C omission directly to ask for an explanation for this fraud, and you almost feel bad for the people replying. They’re rightly embarrassed to say that large hydro is excluded for no other reason than we’d already have hit the targets.
The CPUC’s reply to my request for an explanation of large hydro’s exclusion:
Large hydro does not qualify for the RPS and is thus excluded. If large hydro were included, the renewable portion of electricity in the State would be higher.

Furthermore, California is obviously “eager” to promote renewable utilities to achieve its prescribed 33% by 2020. See:
Another Large Solar Power Project Canceled in California

The 500-megawatt project would have occupied about 4,000 acres of open desert, most of it owned by the Metropolitan Water District. Obstacles to the project arose almost from its inception, including the discovery of a world-class Ice Age fossil deposit, concerns over the effect of the project’s concentrated “solar flux” on birds and other wildlife, and conflict with local Native people.

Consequence? “Green” organizations raise more “green” $.
More grandma’s will not be able to afford electricity when they need it!

July 5, 2013 11:58 am

Matthew: I honestly don’t know. I was there during the build-out of CAISO, and for a few weeks after the go-live. After the effects of Enron and Gray Davis I don’t know how it currently works, just that the Enron debacle was totally foreseeable, and that I, a non-energy person did actually foresee it.
One thing I forgot to mention was that in the old days, the utilities mostly generated their own power and there was a form of energy market to fix up real-time imbalance.
Since the prices were fixed, the utilities were motivated to get it right and not have to top-up with expensive last minute purchases.
That initially carried over to the new, deregulated scheme. But now, in their infinite wisdom, they allow the utilities to dynamically vary the rate. The consumer has no real control over where the power comes from, and the utility ha no real motivation to get forecasting right – if they screw up, that’s ok, they just slam the consumer with the increased price.

ralfellis
July 5, 2013 12:10 pm

RobRoy says: July 5, 2013 at 6:15 am
Sandor Ferenczi says: July 5, 2013 at 4:57 am
Yet another reason to get the world’s population down to a billion or less.””
Sir, I trust your Sisters, Daughters, Nieces, Wife have all been properly sterilized.
you wouldn’t want to look like a hypocrite…
___________________________________________
Rob, I think you will find that we have indeed already ‘sterilised’ our families, in the Western world — its called contraception. Never heard of it?? You must be from a specific USA and Italian culture. In reality our indigenous populations are already decreasing at a reasonable rate, in the West, and wisely so.
The problem does not lie with the West, it lies with the Second- and Third-World, and certain specific cultural groups where populations are out of control. The population of Anatolia, for example, has increased ten-fold in the last century and a bit, despite several genocides taking place in Anatolia during that time. Such escalations of population are indeed unsustainable, and it is grossely negligent of the West to import this over population problem, and label it as ‘beneficial’.
I would recommend you read Inferno by Dan Brown. It may be a fictional romp, but it does nail the population problem on the head.
.

Gamecock
July 5, 2013 12:10 pm

“See the wiki article Thorium fuel cycle for more details.”
It is a fantasy.
“In a thorium-fueled reactor, 232Th absorbs neutrons eventually to produce 233U.”
Where does it get the neutrons? Thorium is non-fissile, so the reactor is NOT a “thorium-fueled reactor.” It is a physical impossibility.
“Depending on the design of the reactor and fuel cycle, the generated 233U either fissions in situ or is chemically separated from the used nuclear fuel and formed into new nuclear fuel.”
In situ fission of created U233 has NEVER been demonstrated. I don’t believe it will be, but there are certainly people putting big bucks in trying to get it to work.
“At Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s, the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment used 233U as the fissile fuel as an experiment to demonstrate a part of the Molten Salt Breeder Reactor that was designed to operate on the thorium fuel cycle.”
Every gram of that U233 came from the Savannah River Plant. It was in fact produced by breeding in a high neutron flux government reactor. The thorium targets were subsequently run through separations to isolate the U233. None of the created U233 underwent fission, even though the neutron flux in the government reactor was 100 times that of a commercial power reactor. Understand that U233 atoms in a thorium matrix is NOT fuel. The separations process is too involved to be commercial. Other sources of nuclear fuel are cheaper. Only in situ fission would be commercially viable, and it has never been demonstrated. I don’t think it will be because the created U233 atoms will be broadly shielded by the remaining thorium atoms.
ADDITIONALLY, thorium placed in a reactor takes the space of other fuel. Real fuel. After spending $10B to build a nuclear reactor, you don’t want to reduce your production capacity by replacing some fuel with thorium. Reactor core real estate may be the most expensive in the world.

Videodrone
July 5, 2013 12:14 pm

love some of the comments about running the pool pump and night – doesn’t work well with solar heaters…
I’ve got some land with a year round stream and and area that I could easily dam several 100′ acre feet – don’t even think about approaching your local county, let alone the state and federal hoops – that’s just for the dam, now start talking about flow rates and downstream water rights to run a stable hydro source?

mark
July 5, 2013 12:14 pm

Uh, just for grins, here in the Republic of Texas, I pay $ .10 a KwH. and I know some people who are at 9 cents a KwH

Doug Huffman
July 5, 2013 12:15 pm

Yes, the cited Wikipedia article begins, “The thorium fuel cycle is a nuclear fuel cycle that uses the naturally abundant isotope of thorium, 232Th, as the fertile material. In the reactor, 232Th is transmuted into the fissile artificial uranium isotope 233U which is the nuclear fuel.”
Thorium is not nuclear fuel by the Wikipedia author.
Samuel Glasstone’s Sourcebook on Atomic Energy, 3rd Ed. (AEC, TID, Krieger Publishing 1979), article 15.12 goes into some technical detail to make the same point.
Thorium is not nuclear fuel according to Glasstone.

David L. Hagen
July 5, 2013 12:21 pm

One alternative to California’s regulation imposed high Time of Day electricity prices can be seen in:
Pakistan’s Energy Crisis: “They’ve pushed us back into the stone ages”

What you’re seeing is the effect of power outages on the city. Sector by sector, the electricity is cut off for an hour at a time, for several hours every day. Pakistan’s electricity network is struggling to fulfil the country’s power requirements, and it’s wreaking havoc with people’s lives, destroying jobs and even affecting education.
For those without generators or UPS systems, the high summer temperatures coupled with no power to run fans or air conditioners make it near impossible to sleep at night and difficult to work or study during the day.
To further add insult to injury, as the power outages have grown, electricity bills have also risen sharply over the years, adding further strain to Pakistani household budgets.

California’s regulations may soon achieve such utility “reliability”.

Noelene
July 5, 2013 12:48 pm

For Roger Sowell.
http://www.nrdc.org/health/climate/heat.asp
In the United States, an average of 400 deaths per year are directly related to heat, and an estimated 1,800 die from illnesses made worse by heat – including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease. Deadly heat waves swept across most of the nation in 2006, hitting California the hardest; the state saw an additional 16,000 emergency room visits during the two-week heat wave.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 1:53 pm

Mikeyj says:
July 5, 2013 at 7:37 am
Alternate Plan. Southeastern Michigan(not exactly the rocket science capital of the U.S.) uses DTE Energy…..
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Welcome to the world of smart meters. So far only 10% of the coal plants are slated to be closed. However Obummer wants to close ALL of them. That is ~80% of our electric energy.
Looks like you took the bait they dangled in front of you, but that is just the beginning. They want to do that to EVERTHING that draws a lot of power. Your frig, washing machine, dryer… The plans are already in the works.

The Department of Energy Report 2009

A smart grid is needed at the distribution level to manage voltage levels, reactive power, potential reverse power flows, and power conditioning, all critical to running grid-connected DG systems, particularly with high penetrations of solar and wind power and PHEVs…. Designing and retrofitting household appliances, such as washers, dryers, and water heaters with technology to communicate and respond to market signals and user preferences via home automation technology will be a significant challenge. Substantial investment will be required….
These controls and tools could reduce the occurrence of outages and power disturbances attributed to grid overload. They could also reduce planned rolling brownouts and blackouts like those implemented during the energy crisis in California in 2000.

Energy InSight FAQs
….Rolling outages are systematic, temporary interruptions of electrical service.
They are the last step in a progressive series of emergency procedures that ERCOT follows when it detects that there is a shortage of power generation within the Texas electric grid. ERCOT will direct electric transmission and distribution utilities, such as CenterPoint Energy, to begin controlled, rolling outages to bring the supply and demand for electricity back into balance.They generally last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood to spread the effect of the outage among consumers, which would be the case whether outages are coordinated at the circuit level or individual meter level. Without this safety valve, power generating units could overload and begin shutting down and risk causing a domino effect of a statewide, lengthy outage. With smart meters, CenterPoint Energy is proposing to add a process prior to shutting down whole circuits to conduct a mass turn off of individual meters with 200 amps or less (i.e. residential and small commercial consumers) for 15 or 30 minutes, rotating consumers impacted during that outage as well as possible future outages.
There are several benefits to consumers of this proposed process. By isolating non-critical service accounts (“critical” accounts include hospitals, police stations, water treatment facilities etc.) and spreading “load shed” to a wider distribution, critical accounts that happen to share the same circuit with non-critical accounts will be less affected in the event of an emergency. Curtailment of other important public safety devices and services such as traffic signals, police and fire stations, and water pumps and sewer lifts may also be avoided.

Add onto that the cost of energy in the USA sky rocketing (when and if you can get it.)

Obama’s war on coal hits your electric bill
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt…. These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.

Ohio is the state with the most coal plants closing (19) in or near the state so rolling blackouts and major sticker-shock can be expected in the near future for the people in that state. Most of the closings are in the mid-Atlantic area and will effect major US cities from Chicago to Washington DC to Philadelphia to Raleigh NC.
So WHO is benefiting?
The Financiers of course, who are jumping for joy because a whole new industry has been manufactured out of thin air. ( Broken Window Fallacy anyone?)

We see an attractive long-term secular trend for investors to capitalize on over the coming 20–30 years as today’s underinvested and technologically challenged power grid is modernized to a technology-enabled smart grid. In particular, we see an attractive opportunity over the next three to five years to invest in companies that are enabling this transformation of the power grid.
http://downloads.lightreading.com/internetevolution/Thomas_Weisel_Demand_Response.pdf

And just in case you think this is not about moving $$$ from your pocket into the pocket of the Ultra wealthy. Straight from the IMF In many countries the distribution of income has become more unequal, and the top earners’ share of income in particular has risen dramatically. In the United States the share of the top 1 percent has close to tripled over the past three decades, now accounting for about 20 percent of total U.S. income (Alvaredo and others, 2012).
However do not worry, you have just the type of mindset they have been working for.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 2:03 pm

benfrommo says:
July 5, 2013 at 8:31 am
Mr. Sowell, You might be technically correct that “no one is cooking grandmother” but I would argue that “we are invalidating grandmother as a person.” ….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
EXCELLENT POINT!
This is a good article that expresses my feelings about government intrusion on all levels better than I ever could. It is referring to government surveillance but extends to the whole nanny state philosophy and why it is horrible.

Privacy and the Threat to the Self
…..The connection between a loss of privacy and dehumanization is of course, a well-known and ancient fact, and one for which we don’t need to appeal to science fiction to illustrate. It is employed the world over in every prison and detention camp. It is at the root of interrogation techniques that begin by stripping a person literally and figuratively of everything they own. Our thought experiment merely shows us the logical endgame. Prisoners might hide their resentment, or bravely resist torture (at least for a time) but when we lose the very capacity to have privileged access to our psychological information — the capacity for self-knowledge, so to speak, we literally lose our selves…..
John Locke, who thought about all these ideas, described personhood in general as a forensic concept. By this, he meant that it was an idea with a legal purpose — and it is. We use it to decide who can be held responsible, and who has rights that the state should not violate. But the concept of an autonomous person has an additional role. It matters because it is the idea we use when we think of ourselves as just that — as developed adult selves. So while privacy, too, is a legal concept, its roots are deeply intertwined with the purposes and point of the more basic concept of having a self. And that in turn raises all sorts of questions worth asking. Some of these are philosophical and psychological: including the limits of, and underlying explanation for, the privacy of the mental. But others should get us to think about how our technologies are themselves changing our ways of thinking about the self.
However we resolve these issues, we would do well to keep the connections between self, personhood and privacy in mind as we chew over the recent revelations about governmental access to Big Data. The underlying issue is not simply a matter of balancing convenience and liberty. To the extent we risk the loss of privacy we risk, in a very real sense, the loss of our very status as subjective, autonomous persons….

Steve Oregon
July 5, 2013 2:04 pm

“… But even both of these abominations combined will not have any measurable effect on temperatures, even in a hundred years.
How is this a good plan under any stretch of the imagination?
Anyone?
w”
No one will or can.
The purposefully mendacious purveyors of this madness will certainly never answer or explain this agenda.
They are too busy dreaming up theoretical beneficial outcomes from their constant efforts to modify human behavior.
Even when their advocacy brings about precisely what they claim to be trying to avoid or compensate for.
As they lecture on about alternative forms of energy using forecasts of Peak Oil and $10/gal gas they know their obstruction to drilling and refining oil will cause what they predict.
These are horrible people who would choose to throw mankind under the bus of oppressive and useless regulation while at the same time bringing about the harm they pretend to be championing against.
I have my own question.
What would energy policies and prices look like today if skeptics had not been exposing and obstructing implementation?

July 5, 2013 2:32 pm

@ Eschenbach,
“so puffed up with your own importance that you think my actions were aimed at you personally.”
You, Eschenbach, are a real piece of work. How else could it be taken, other than personally, when a comment is snipped with such derogatory comments, by the blog post author. Just because you cannot read or understand “legalese” as you describe it, is no reason to censor a comment. If you are afraid to debate an issue on its merits, or you prefer the Communist style of only allowing the ideas in print with which you agree, then say so.
After that episode of your censorship, I have not usually read the posts you place on WUWT, but in the few that I have, there are laughable errors and just flat wrong statements. I restrained myself from commenting or correcting you, in the certain knowledge my comments would be censored yet again, which is exactly what “snipping” is in internet slang.
Perhaps I shall make a more concerted effort to expose your idiotic writings. You do more harm than good to the AGW skeptic cause.
In the alternative, you now resort to ad hominem attacks, which is indeed the last resort of one who knows he has lost the debate. You accused me of knowing nothing about the poor, and having no concern for their welfare. You claim to have been raised on a cattle ranch. Big deal, well so was I. Why don’t you man up, saddle up, stop with the ad hominems, and show the world where I am wrong. Does California have a low-income subsidy program for utility customers? Yes or no. Is hydroelectric power under 30 MW considered renewable in California? Yes or no. Have my previous writings demonstrated a compassion for the poor? Yes or no.
Man up, Eschenbach. Or if you prefer, Cowboy up.

Billy Liar
July 5, 2013 2:56 pm

jonnie26 says:
July 5, 2013 at 6:54 am
Interesting that only two former commissioners of the Green Fiscal Commission are now also ex-convicts!
http://www.greenfiscalcommission.org.uk/index.php/site/about/commissioners/

July 5, 2013 3:42 pm

@ Eschenbach, now we can see that you are a liar.
You wrote
“And to put the icing on the cake, somewhere along the line, some congenital idiot ruled that hydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source.”
“Now you are back and accusing me once again, after I’ve stated that I knew ab:ut it, of not knowing about small-scale hydro.”
Here, Eschenbach, you are caught in one of the finer arts of lying. Your first statement, from your guest post, states that “hydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source.” Then, you admit in a comment as quoted just above, that you did know that small-scale hydro counts as renewable energy. One form of a lie is making a broad statement that one knows is not literally true. That form of lying is used frequently by used car salesmen, who tell the buyer that the car to be purchased is in excellent shape when they know it has several problems.
Then, later you go off on a long-winded but fruitless explanation that can be summarized as “I, Willis Eschenbach, did not think that was an important point.” The fact is, you lied. You deliberately chose to make an affirmative statement that you knew was not entirely true. If this sounds a bit like a lawyer, well that’s exactly right. This is one way that attorneys discredit a lying witness on the stand. Attorneys sometimes win cases in that manner. We AGW skeptics have nothing to hide, and no reason for obfuscation and never for lying. People already distrust the warmists-alarmists for their deceptions and constant data adjustments. The skeptic camp needs men and women of good character, clear eyes, and who are brave enough to tell the truth.
So, now you are proven to be a censor, by “snipping” my comment, and now you are a liar.

Gail Combs
July 5, 2013 4:19 pm

Willis Eschenbach says: @ July 5, 2013 at 11:57 am
…So we’re committing economic suicide for noting. No gain. No benefit. Nothing.
How is this a good plan under any stretch of the imagination?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
It is a great plan if you do not give a hoot about other people and you want to snap up all that lovely land for a song and make a killing on boondoggles.
Again you can piece together various news stories.
Someone suggested living ‘Off the grid” This is what happened to a bunch of desert rats near LA:

L.A. County’s Private Property War
….On Oct. 17, 2007, Marcelle opened the door to a loud knock. Her heart jumped when she found a man backed by two armed county agents in bulletproof vests. She was alone in the cabin, a dot in the vast open space of the Antelope Valley, without a neighbor for more than half a mile.…..
The men demanded her driver’s license, telling her, “This building is not permitted — everything must go.” Normally sassy, Marcelle handed over her ID — even her green card, just in case. Stepping out, she realized that her 1,000-square-foot cabin was surrounded by men with drawn guns. “You have no right to be here,” one informed her. Baffled and shaking with fear, she called her daughter — please come right away.
As her ordeal wore on, she heard one agent, looking inside their comfortable cabin, say to another: “This one’s a real shame — this is a real nice one.”
A “shame” because the authorities eventually would enact some of the most powerful rules imaginable against rural residents: the order to bring the home up to current codes or dismantle the 26-year-old cabin, leaving only bare ground
…..

California Declares War on Suburbia: Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors
Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing much of the new hyperdensity development into narrowly confined corridors….
In San Francisco and San Jose, for example, the Association of Bay Area Governments has proposed that only 3% of new housing built by 2035 would be allowed on or beyond the “urban fringe”—where current housing ends and the countryside begins. Over two-thirds of the housing for the projected two million new residents in these metro areas would be multifamily—that is, apartments and condo complexes—and concentrated along major thoroughfares such as Telegraph Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula.
For its part, the Southern California Association of Governments wants to require more than one-half of the new housing in Los Angeles County and five other Southern California counties to be concentrated in dense, so-called transit villages, with much of it at an even higher 30 or more units per acre….

This is a pre-packed deal from ICLEI. “Smart Growth” even put out A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development: How to Tell if Development is Smart and Green I found it at this planing board site: http://www.co.berks.pa.us/planning (Note: Smart Growth Alliance banner) Someone commented Berk county within city limits, now requires you reapply for the zoning of your property after you buy it.
They even come right out and say it!

Green Practices/Sustainability:Land Planing Page
Apartments are the core of any sustainability strategy. They are more resource- and energy-efficient than other types of residential development because their concentrated infrastructure conserves materials and community services. As part of an infill or mixed-use development, apartments create communities where people live, work, and play with less dependence on cars. This reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and their carbon emissions.
Through the NMHC Sustainability Committee, the Council is advancing industry best practices; working with lawmakers to adopt voluntary and incentive-based energy policy; and developing and promoting standards to help firms market their sustainability quotient.
This online resource is designed to help apartment developers and managers build and operate more sustainable properties and to help policymakers craft effective energy efficiency goals.

And Bloomberg is putting it into effect in New York. He really must have LOVED Sandy since it means they can insist on Smart Growth housing as replacement.
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/07/6173436/micro-unit-mini-apartment-building-coming-new-york-city
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/5-super-efficient-tiny-new-york-apartments/unfolding-apartment-13-2/
That is pretty straight forward. They want to move the entire labor force into city apartments where off the grid is not an option and complete control is. Can you say “Company Town’?
Seems no one remembers Sixteen Tons any more.
Note in the first story they mention the Antelope Valley? Seems that is now the site of the
Antelope Valley Solar Projects. In January 2013, Warren Buffett bought the Antelope Valley Solar Projects the largest solar installation in the world.

Warren Buffett In $2 Billion Solar Deal
…The adjacent Antelope Valley Solar Projects will be built in Los Angeles and Kern counties and will generate 579 megawatts of electricity for utility Southern California Edison. At peak output that’s the equivalent of a big fossil fuel power plant.
SunPower, the Silicon Valley solar panel manufacturer and developer, will build and operate the projects for MidAmerican Renewables, a division of MidAmerican Energy, which is controlled by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway….

22. September 2011 Solyndra bankruptcy a potential headache for First Solar; loan selection process called into question
The Solyndra meltdown appears to be affecting more than just its employees. According to industry analysts, a number of First Solar’s photovoltaic projects awaiting loan guarantees could also be negatively affected. Meanwhile, a letter sent to U.S. Secretary Chu has questioned the DOE loan selection process….
According to the analysts, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm (DSSF) and the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 (AVSR) projects should receive the Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees promised to them, but that the Topaz project is likely to be sold without one….
Back in June, the DOE announced that it had granted a conditional loan commitment of USD$680 million for First Solar’s 230 megawatt (MW) AVSR photovoltaic project.
Furthermore, it said that the company’s planned 550 MW DSSR project, set to be located in California and which has a power purchase agreement with PG&E, was granted USD$1.88 billion in partial loan guarantees.
Finally, the proposed 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm, to be located in San Luis Obispo County, received USD$1.93 billion in partial loan guarantees which, as was announced today, have been withdrawn….
…Cliff Stearns, and Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power sent a letter to U.S. Secretary Steven Chu regarding 14 of DOE’s conditional loan commitments totaling $8.9 billion. These are said to include 10 projects totaling $8 billion under 1705, with the three First Solar projects reportedly accounting for half…..

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 4:23 pm

Willis Eschenbach: Quoting me: Even in California, most people include hydro-electric power among the renewable sources. It’s only the most active environmentalists who do not.
Willis wrote
Absolutely untrue, it’s a government regulation, not just a bad idea of the “most active environmentalists”.

Nowadays I try to clearly state “large scale hydro” and “small scale hydro” when appropriate. I think that even in California only the extremists consider large scale hydro not to be a proper renewable resource. Most people are surprised, I think, to learn about the state law deeming large scale hydro to be non-renewable.

Matthew R Marler
July 5, 2013 4:31 pm

Willis Eschenbach: And to put the icing on the cake, somewhere along the line, some congenital idiot ruled that hydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source. I hope that person roasts in the place of eternal barbecue and HE doesn’t have the money to run the air conditioner. Truly don’t think I’ve heard a more expensive and destructive ruling than that one, especially after the TVA and Bonneville Dam and Shasta Dam have shown that yes, idiots, hydropower is indeed renewable. Yeah, dams have problems and there’s lots of issues, but last I looked the rain is still working both reliably and renewably …
I’m sorry to say this, but you shot yourself in the foot there. You probably/possibly meant to write “large scale hydroelectric power”. What you wrote prompted a question and then the interchange between you and Mr Sowell. Now, he did say that you got several things wrong, but you were mostly correct. It is a irony that your statement could have been “some congenital idiot ruled that almost all extant hydroelectric power doesn’t count as a renewable energy source.” That would have outlined the problem more clearly — the most abundant renewable source of electricity, of which Californians buy a great deal, is not counted toward the renewable portfolio standard by law. It’s crazy.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 5, 2013 5:21 pm

Brad says:
July 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

Why shouldn’t price track with generation cost. That seems like a great advantage. Now having the generation cost be $$ is unacceptable, but blaming variable rate pricing masks the solution.

This is I think the key issue of this post. I know how dangerous it is to try to break up a fight, but I’d like to make peace between Willis Eschenbach and Roger Sowell and your question is an excellent place to start.
Electricity in this country is a regulated monopoly, which means rates are set by tariffs and every customer that qualifies under a given tariff gets the same rate and the utility must provide service. In the old days of wired phone service if you moved in to a new house or apartment and called the phone company, they had to provide you a phone line at the standard rate, regardless of their actual cost to provide it. So you lived in a sparsely settled area where the technician had to drive 20 miles to run your line from the poll, you still got the same rate as someone in a dense neighborhood close to the central office. And if you were ordering the 1,801st line served by an 1,800-pair cable, you didn’t pay any of the cost of running the additional trunk cable down your street from the central office so you could have a phone line. Of course the phone carriers have been charging different rates based on time of day for years — more on that later.
Similar rules apply for power.
I am not opposed to variable pricing provided:
1) The end-user rates reasonably reflect the suppliers actual variable costs.
2) The commodity is such that end-users are able to shift usage to avoid higher rates in most cases.
3) The pricing system is understandable to the typical end-user.
Principle #1 means the end user shares in the low prices when the provider can get them and likewise the higher prices when the provider has no other options.
Principle #2 means the end user has some control over their costs. Otherwise instead of an incentive to change behavior, the higher prices just become an insult.
Principle #3 means the average rate payer can actually understand how actions under their control will affect what they pay.
Now for a personal aside. I used to have long distance service through AT&T and at some point they jacked up their rates to well above the competition so I shopped around. I looked at so many plans it made my head spin. I even developed a spreadsheet that evaluated all the possibilities. After doing hours of research by plugging in details from the previous year of phone bills I had enough. I went with a very simple plan: no monthly fee, same rate per minute any time of day. Maybe not optimal but extremely simple to understand: don’t call long distance: don’t pay anything. Talk a little: pay a little. Talk a lot: pay more, but exactly the same rate: $0.045 per minute rounded to the nearest 0.10 minute as I recall (it’s been a few years since I compared rates).
So when it comes to variable rates, just how granular do you want to be? I decided for myself that simplicity and uniformity in costs was preferable to the lowest total cost some of the time. That freed up all the time I would otherwise spend obsessing over the phone bill for other activities. I suspect (someone here at WUWT will correct me if I’m wrong), that any large power grid operator juggles suppliers at a dozen different rates at any given time and probably double that over the course of a 24 hour period. Do you really want to follow all that detail? I donR