Guest essay by Lawrence Hamlin California Governor Jerry Brown recently proposed via an executive order that the state establish an escalated future greenhouse gas emissions reduction target whereby year 2030 emission levels would be 40% below 1990 emission levels.
The state’s present emissions reduction target set in 2006 through AB 32 is to back off emissions to year 1990 levels by the year 2020.
But a proposed bill (SB 32) presently before the Assembly incorporating Brown’s escalated year 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirement lacks strong support.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon noted that “it’s not imperative” this bill clear the Assembly this year with the Legislature set to conclude business by August 31st. The Assembly rejected SB 32 last year. Brown has opened a fund raising committee as a first step to putting an environmental initiative on the ballot in 2018 if the Legislature fails to act on SB 32.
Concern by legislative members regarding increasing costs of emissions reductions targets to constituents that result in higher gas and electricity prices particularly in the states economically struggling interior regions are being questioned.
Brown is running into numerous and significant challenges regarding not only his newly proposed greenhouse gas emissions reduction scheme but also in regard to the legality, appropriateness and effectiveness of the states present emissions reduction mandates.
A number of these challenges were summarized in a recent article addressing the states cap and trade problems (https://calmatters.org/articles/with-cap-and-trade-in-doubt-key-questions-go-unanswered/) as follows:
“Is cap and trade, which essentially levies fees on major polluters, a success? How do we know? Which companies still exceed their allowed emissions? Which don’t? The air board has consistently said California would reach its emissions targets; how much is cap and trade contributing?”
“A lawsuit by the California Chamber of Commerce asserts that the price major polluters pay for excessive emissions is an illegal tax. Should the suit prevail, the 2006 law that authorized cap and trade could be voided. New legislation would need approval by two thirds of state lawmakers. That would mean some Republican support — a big ask.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown’s scooping up of auction proceeds to help fund the state’s controversial high-speed rail project has given cap and trade’s opponents a fulcrum for complaint, and the Legislature has yet to decide whether to extend the law past its 2020 expiration date. That’s not a sure bet.”
“The uncertainty surrounding the future of cap and trade has resounded in the market where emissions credits are bought and sold. Since 2015, each quarterly auction had produced at least $500 million until the one held in May, which yielded only $10 million. A June reserve auction was cancelled after no bidders registered.”
According to CARB data California’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked in the year 2004 at about 488 million metric tons CO2e per year.
The present year 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target was established under AB 32 with this law ridiculously called the “California Global Warming Solutions Act” and labeled as such in 2006 before the highly embarrassing global temperature pause forced climate alarmists and propagandist media to adopt the misleading and deceptive “Climate Change” label to try and hide the failure to see increasing global temperatures as projected by flawed climate models.
AB 32 set 431 million metric tons CO2e as the reduction target in year 2020 which represents about a 57 million metric ton CO2e emission reduction over the 16 year period from the 2004 peak year.
The latest 2016 EIA IEO report shows that during the 16 year period between 2004 and 2020 the world’s developing nations (China, India, etc.) will increase their CO2 emissions by more than 9 billion metric tons per year to a total of over 22 billion metric tons per year rendering California’s emissions reduction target as globally irrelevant and demonstrating the absurdity of the AB 32’s ludicrous title.
California’s year 2020 emissions reduction target is literally lost in “the round off” of huge and growing global wide CO2 emissions increases by the developing nations which EIA forecasts will continue to grow from year 2020 by more than an additional 3 billion metric tons per year by 2030.
Since 2006 California has collected more than 4 billion dollars in cap and tax fees under AB 32. More billions of dollars in increased costs have occurred because of the impact of higher electricity prices due to mandates for costly, unreliable and highly government subsidized renewable energy.
The U.S. has been far more effective in reducing CO2 emissions since 2004 than has California with the nation taking advantage of significantly increased use of lower cost natural gas supplies provided through fracking technology to both reduce CO2 emissions as well as reducing energy costs.
U.S. CO2 emissions are lower by 12% versus peak year versus about 9.5% lower greenhouse gas emissions for California even though Brown continues to boast that the state has “the toughest climate laws in the country”.
The U.S. success in reducing CO2 emissions has been achieved despite the actions of the nations climate alarmist in chief President Obama who has done everything in his power to deny the nation increased access to natural gas.
Obama has decreased the amount of federal land available for natural gas production, significantly decreased the number of leases issued by BLM for oil and gas production and significantly increased the days BLM requires to process new permits. (http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/oil-and-gas-production-on-federal-lands-still-a-disappointment/).
Governor Brown and his cronies are so blinded by their own misguided political and ideological beliefs concerning climate issues that they are driving state policy in directions which are imposing harsh, unjustified and unnecessary costs, restrictions and mandates that add burdens to the lives of tens of millions of Californians who struggle to make ends meet each and every day.
The states ruling bureaucracy is lost in a contrived make believe world of man made climate change political assertions built upon nothing but speculation and conjecture unconnected to and unsupported by real data but for which limitless amounts of bureaucratic meddling and interference can be justified and imposed upon the states peoples.
Governor Brown’s climate change actions and proposals represent nothing less than a disaster for California’s economy, individual freedom and future prosperity.
As a competitor to the State of California, I strongly support its stand on arbitrary taxes for CO2 reduction, and further suggest that it makes its industries even less marketable by charging any business still making a profit a wildlife conservation tax to fund the search for, and develop habitats suitable for, the fabled wild unicorn of Fresno….
Give me your bright, your creative, your over-taxed masses …
The first figure is useless. This is late 2016, NOT 2013.
And I didn’t even see a curve for the economic growth. And the dots on the graphs are round but the Key dots are squares, so they don’t match the curves.
Even I am much better at using Excel graphs than that rubbish.
Actually the target is a 2030 California population 40% below 1990 levels.
That target might be easily met by eliminating the Illegal Immigrant situation in California
California has just updated its greenhouse gas inventory results through 2014 which is the latest data available. For the ten year period from peak year 2004 through 2014 the state reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 9.5% as indicated in the article.
For the U.S. CO2 emissions peaked in 2005 and results of data for the ten year period through 2015 which is the latest data available is a reduction of 12% as indicated in the article.
The big difference is that U.S. CO2 reductions occurred by reducing energy costs while California’s reduced emissions imposed billions and billions of dollars in increased costs to its residents.
The graph provides a clear picture of the year 2020 reduction target for the state as well as the escalated 2030 proposed reduction target. It’s also clearly shows how irrelevant these reductions are relative to global developing nations massive and still growing CO2 increases.
CARB operates with about a 400 million dollar per year budget with 1,400 bureaucrates creating daily damage to businesses and residents through massive regulations, onerous enforcement mandates and ever increasing energy and regulatory related costs.
The situation is out of control but these massive costs and problems are concealed from the state’s residents by a climate alarmist propagandist media working in concert with the state’s ruling bureaucracy.
Give the out-migrants care and compassion as they exit and pass your way. Compassion that the Dust Bowl migrants did not receive earlier.
On top of that I suggest they can reduce the net economic loss per CA resident by increasing the number of illegal ones.
What will Jerry Brown do when people start starving? Is this guy for real?
We need a jackellope tax to save their habit. A few billion a year should do it. The fact it does not exist is not relevant, and other environmental taxes like AB32 tackle nonexistent problems with made up data.
I am concerned that studying jackalope habitats might involve a lot of arduous fieldwork. Can I suggest that we combine forces to develop a computer model of the interaction between Jackalopes and Fresno Unicorns?
Studying Jackalopes and Fresno Unicorns wouldn’t prove fruitful unless you are willing and able to both Admit to Anthropogenic Climate Morphism and can present Hard Model Output Data to prove the negative impacts of the latter upon the former.
Geezer writes: “Can I suggest that we combine forces to develop a computer model of the interaction between Jackalopes and Fresno Unicorns?”
I would only support this initiative if it included a study of methane emitted by aging opiate addicts in the San Fernando Valley. Octogenarian Pharting Farmers on Drugs must be controlled or it’s no deal!
Damn! San Joaquin, not San Fernando!
The jackellope does not exist because our evil, CO2 polluting ways drove it to extinction! The only way to prevent this from happening to Sasquatch is to either give up most of my money, all of my freedoms, and eat only what I can grow without pesticides or GM crops OR become a Democratic politician OR become a green activist.
If you don’t know Bigfoot…You don’t know Squatch
Are you saying the jackalope doesn’t exist. Wrong. I saw several of them at Wall Drug in South Dakota this summer.
Bill is correct. First time at Wall Drugs was 1956. Free ice water was a big deal before interstates and car A/C. Have not been there in a couple of years but since the jackellope has not been listed on the endangered species list; they must be doing fine.
Also do not miss the Corn Palace, Badlands, Wind Caves, Mount Rushmore, and Deadwood.
They’re endemic in Thayne Wyoming. You trip over ’em.
This jackalope tax is a chimera. What we really need is a manbearpig tax.
Hey why just jacklope? What about Jake the alligator man up here in the great North Left? Lol.
Looking at the first graph, it appears Jerry Brown is demanding further reductions in California’s economic activity.
So what you’re basically saying is that for the first time in a long while, California is seriously disadvantaged relative to hillbilly country in terms of access to fracking gas?
Isn’t it about time that hillbilly country had a chance to be wealthy for once?!
Flatland red necks in Louisiana are getting rich too.
Note that the large step change in emissions was in 2008-2009, both for California and the U.S., coinciding with the recession. Economic hardship and a shrinking economy, not governmental GHG policies, have been largely responsible for the reductions, aided a bit by a shift toward natural gas and little to none by “renewables.” Brown or Obama may claim success in reducing non-pollutants such as CO2, but only to the extent that their policies have thwarted economic recovery.
Ontario is proving even a modest addition of solar and wind power drives electricity prices through the roof.
Ontario like India is pursuing a protectionist path with local content rules on projects in addition to the theme of fighting global objectives on climate. That equates to high bidder wins instead of the other way around. For those jurisdictions that tax electricity consumption, that means double taxation….for the children of course.
Thanks Resourceguy, I didn’t know about the effect of local content rules in this issue. Just wow. More evidence of “racketeering” by elected officials.
Wikipedia defines a racket as: “A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party.” That certainly describes the IPCC and governments who subscribe to it.
Ron Clutz – You could also be describing most Home Owners Associations…
I am sure Ron Clutz knows how bad the Ontario electricity system is … along with the 226,000 people in Ontario who didn’t pay their 2015 electricity bill:
Chip California off, let it float away…
“Governor Jerry Brown recently proposed via an executive order that the state establish an escalated future greenhouse gas emissions reduction target whereby year 2030 emission levels would be 40% below 1990 emission levels.”
Clever and smart. that way California gets lost with a bunch of ‘needless’ folk.
We used to be the world’s sixth largest economy but we are improving rapidly. I think we are now up to ninth in the world, so we are making great progress under Moonbeam Brown.
His Dad Pat Brown, was considered a first class manipulator of the system, but his son is far superior at that.
Reminds me of the seminar on How to have a Successful Small Business.
Step 1, start with a large one.
Why is he trying to kill the goose that his golden egg.i,e oil and gas? Oh wait. Maybe he has all ready made his millions and screw the plebes. Mind you, who cares? As Dodgy Geezer said,we here in Alberta could use some of Californicated businesses before the Natural Destructive Party and Red Rachel destroy us!
The basic claim that CO2 is pollution is a political declaration. In reality, adding CO2 to the atmosphere is good. Anyone who understands agriculture, ecosystems, botany or photosynthesis in the real world knows this obvious fact.
We had a period in the decades following WW2 when working people could live a middle class life. A factory worker could have a home, a car, a cottage and a boat. America was a wonderful place for the majority of its citzens. Those jobs are mostly just a memory.
Today, America sucks for a growing number of people. Trump says “Make America great again.” Hillary and Obama say “America never stopped being great.” It shows how out of touch the Democrats are.
Thomas Frank has written Listen Liberal! He points out that the Democrats have abandoned the working people. The Democrats now worship an entitled, out-of-touch bunch of little s**ts, the professional class. That class loves theories, like CAGW, and manages to almost completely ignore reality.
That fits with the destructive pattern of forcing out low and middle income families from economic centers with permit costs and huge impact fees for housing, public utility commission objectives turned upside down, and minimum wage hikes that further stratify and exclude workers. All of this is even wrapped in a nice label called gentrification. It should be exposed as a form of genocide instead.
There’s something to that. Middle aged under-educated white folks are dying in increasing numbers (almost as many as died in the AIDS epidemic). This story explains why. They’re the folks the Democrat party used to stand up for. They’ve had the American Dream yanked out from under them.
In the years following WWII, the factories for most of the rest of the developed world had been bombed to rubble. The US had the only functioning first world economy. So of course they were fat years for factory workers.
It was also something that couldn’t last.
It wasn’t free trade that brought this situation to an end.
It was not evil businessmen that brought this situation to an end.
It was the simple fact that the rest of the world recovered from the devastation of WWII.
Had the US spent those fat years investing in infrastructure, we would have been in a position to compete.
Instead we decided to buy labor peace by paying factory workers unecomonical wages. The result was inevitable. The rest of the world rebuilt using the latest technology, while the US still had our 1940’s era factories that could no longer compete with the rest of the world.
The best politicians money could buy (both parties) declared war on the workers. They made it easy for companies to offshore jobs. That way the companies didn’t have to invest in new technology to bring their facilities up to date.
Japan and Germany updated their factories, the rest of the world didn’t. The third world is competing just on low wages and we’re making our workers compete with them, until automation becomes so easy and cheap that even third world workers can’t compete.
Check out the Sewbot. This robot and its brothers are going to bring the garment industry back to America – minus the jobs. This time the newly unemployed workers are in Vietnam.
We have a problem. Neoliberal economics is not the solution.
…. and labor unions that insisted mill workers be paid as doctors.
In 2008 I attended a California Air Resources Board (CARB) meeting on alternative fuels where CARB indicated that they would meet their Low Carbon Fuel Standard using cellulosic ethanol. Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 had just mandated production of 16 billion gallons of Cellulosic Ethanol and 16 B gal of Corn Ethanol which together would displace 10% of our crude oil use (16B gal = 1 million bbl/day). Today, 8 years later, CARB can count on national production of just 317 bbl/day of CE. This is a total failure of DOE to achieve mandated goals by funding research and development projects that are technical capable of succeeding in converting cellulose into any fuel, let alone useless ethanol.
One company at a technical society meeting stated that they could produce all the jet fuel the airlines needed to meet their GHG emissions reductions goals at $6.50/gal using corn sugar to isobutanol to isoparaffinic kerosene conversion technology. And corn sugar is a far cry from cellulose as a cheap feedstock being much more readily available and easier to convert, but probably 4X more expensive. So if you cannot make cost competitive fuel with readily available feedstocks, I consider the technology a failure.
Cellulosic ethanol economics look something like this. Feedstocks (woody waste, switchgrass, corn stover, etc) generally costs $60-80/ton to grow, gather and deliver to a plant. The plant need at least 2000 tons/day to produce maybe 2500 bbl/day of ethanol. Thus the feedstock alone at best costs $48/bbl fuel produced, and the energy content of ethanol is 33% less than gasoline. Not included in operation costs, maintenance, labor and debt service which will easily triple the cost of fuel production depending on what technology is used and how it is financed.
Thus California will not meet its LCFS goal of displacing 10% of all fossil fuel used in the state with biomass derived fuel. The LCFS is designed to increase the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel to such an extent that biomass derived fuels will displace fossil fuels to the desired amount. OPIS (Oil Price Information Service), a company that tracks all energy commodity product prices, indicated that the LCFS will necessarily increase gasoline cost to $6/gal if fully implemented. This projection was done when gas was $3-4/gal in CA. As only crude pricing as dropped, not cellulosic feedstock price, this is probably still a valid projection.
Time will tell if the California residents will tolerate this cost to “Save the Planet” or CA as the case may be, from CAGW.
I must respectfully disagree, Dr. Bob, that ethanol is “useless.” I make use of it most days.
But that cellulostic ethanol mandate is an example of “if we mandate it, it will happen,” similar to the president saying he has increased car efficiencies to over 50 mpg. He hasn’t done squat. Others still have to make it happen.
Cellulosic ethanol was a deflection from corn ethanol in the mandates and policy objectives. But it was always by and for the benefit of corn ethanol special interests. Make no mistake about it. Not meeting a hollow policy objective while furthering the corn ethanol lobby is mission accomplished.
An interesting side note re cellulosic ethanol: When Henry Ford first designed the Model A he built it to run on ethanol [that was before prohibition] he knew that the infrastructure was not in place for the typical farmer out in the ‘sticks’ to be able to get any other kind of fuel in adequate amounts. Thus he figured that farmers, being the ingenious folks they are would find a way to make ethanol from farm cellulose. He also knew they knew how to brew and distill ethanol from corn sugar so THAT technology was available. Turns out they couldn’t make it work – neither has anyone else since but it is NOT for lack of trying. Source – Washington State Grange newsletter archives
If it was really about the carbon, those nukes would be everywhere, right?
Every time I hear someone use the term, “carbon pollution” I know I’m in the presence of a true scientific imbecile. In other words, Jerry “Moron” Brown and all his evil liberal imbecile cronies.
California can easily meet it emissions target. All they have to do is raise taxes high enough, increase electricity prices high enough, make regulation onerous enough, refuse to fix existing infrastructure so they can built the train to nowhere, and dump all of their fresh water in the ocean. At some point people will get the hint and they will leave the state, and CO2 emissions will decline, Wash, rinse, repeat.
They can also shut down all of their instate power plants and use coal fired plants in neighboring states instead. Something they have already started doing.
California’s carbon law AB 32 requires the state’s greenhouse gas emissions return to 1990 levels by 2020, and in doing so, sets in-state plant performance standards that are too stringent for conventional coal units. Once current power contracts expire in 2027, it will be illegal for California utilities to get coal power from out-of-state plants. As a result, the plants will need to be shuttered or converted to natural gas.
The Guv seems determined to paint us into a corner.
MarkW likes to make up stuff. It should be easy for him to provide a link to the facts.
Here is how you set up your smoke and mirrors. California end contracts with coal plants in the west and takes credit. Other utilities pick up the contracts. The coal plants keep burning coal as before.
Before I retired, I had a map of BNSF coal trains which also had major natural gas pipelines. The reason was to explain to young engineers the reality of the economics of cheap coal and natural gas. If the transportation for said fuels is cheap, nuclear can not compete.
My own internet troll.
I point out his short comings, and he devotes the rest of his life to making up lies about me.
That 79% premium on industrial electricity use is enough to drive entire industries out of the state, along with jobs. By way of precedent, the commercial aircraft painting industry was all but driven out of the state many years ago by state environmental regulations (especially those concerning solvents) and took some related industries with them. History repeats itself, mainly because people repeat their mistakes.
It is said that a wise man never makes the same mistake twice, but a smart man never makes the mistake the first time. it is also said that doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result is insanity.
California seems to be neither wise nor smart.
Yes, the joys of CARB and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)rules. I was a painting contractor in California, and the rules were ever variable. Every time the rules changed, it required retraining on how to get the new formulation to “work”, if possible. Notably, even “water based” paints usually contained alcohols/glycols, and were covered by the rules.
Everybody makes mistakes. Smart people are more capable of not making big ones.
Yeah, California’s been doing this for a generation. Then, when everyone leaves the state because they’ve destroyed the economy – and goes up to, say, Oregon – they bring all their votes with them and put the same types of idiots in office and they do the same bloody thing here.
Thanks Cali – you wear those pretensions like a badge.
I can vouch for your story. A flock of my in-laws fled So-Cal to see their grand kids grow up away from the pestilence, which they actively helped create.
So now they are up there in a Portland suburb, and they brought their politics with them.
Although Oregon is my “home ” State , I really don’t want to move back up there, to face winter fuel bills, and it already is weird enough up there anyhow.
It was a nice place in 1961.
Oregon is still a beautiful state with a mild climate.
How hard is it to avoid Portland?
Oregon has no sales tax and Washington has no income tax. Want to guess where I live and where I shop?
Portland is forcing it’s will on the rest of the state – everything from it’s minimum wage laws, to it’s environmental policies. They dominate every election in the state, and they wont allow expansion so everyone is forced to live in the cities. THAT’s how hard it is to avoid Portland if you happen to live here. And because all the urban greenies control eco-policy, they’ve also killed the logging industry, all but banned the public from the forests, crippling hunting, fishing – which makes the woods a pile of unkept kindling during the fire-season, by the way – allowed predators like cougars to proliferate to the point where they’re stalking grade schools – are implementing a gas/carbon tax, and banning even the transport of fossil fuels – or really any kind of power source at all – through the state. Meanwhile, on the city streets, they’ve flooded literally every bare patch of sidewalk or grass with aggressive homeless addicts, banned pesticides, so rats are openly running through the streets – and almost none of this comes to a vote because they simply pass it by executive fiat or by ’emergency special session’ vote in the legislature.
But hey, you got a nice sanctuary state for illegals and Syrian ‘refugees’, extremely lax sex-trade laws, and legalized pot (and of course, an influx population of the type of people who are attracted by that sort of thing) so what’s not to like?
And all the extralegal immigrants provide the urban elites on the coast with plenty of cheap, exploitable labor for their lifestyle maintenance (cleaning, cooking, landscaping, personal service, etc).
All the feelgoods of being “progressive” and “compassionate” re Sanctuary City/State, without the hassle of actually being compassionate to the undocumented men and women who work for you. Textbook Leftist Slacktivism.
Mr. Hamlin is completely wrong about California electricity prices higher “due to mandates for costly, unreliable and highly government subsidized renewable energy.”
My blog has details, sowellslawblog and keyword “electricity.”
I’ll have time for a more complete response in approximately 8 hours.
While Roger is correct in this, I predict his response will be a big fat lie. Yes, an easy prediction.
The reason for high power prices is hidden taxes on the generators. Also 1/3 of the power is imported. Power companies sell the cheap power to themselves and market more expensive power when they can.
Costly, unreliable and highly government subsidized renewable energy does not help the matter.
That’s taxpayer funded; NOT Government funded.
Many studies clearly establish that states with government renewable energy mandates have much higher electricity prices than those states which wisely avoid such mandates.
These mandated renewable energy driven higher electricity costs reflect requirements for expensive backup energy that is inherently inefficient to supply, increased transmission project costs, higher cost renewable projects and the hidden costs of increased fees and taxes that fund renewable energy subsidies.
That’ll be cool to see, since the top tier rate in California for electricity is almost $.40/Kwh. But all you really need to do is never turn on air conditioning, never heat or cook with electricity and be poor to get on the subsidized CARE program for lower rates.
California electricity prices have been a bit higher than US average for decades, so it is quite surprising to see Mr. Hamlin cite renewable energy as the reason for higher prices.
The truth is that California’s electricity prices have barely kept up with inflation since at least 1990, when residential electricity prices were a bit more than 18 cents per kWh compared to US average at 10 cents per kWh. In real terms (inflation-adjusted), California residential electricity has declined 2 cents per kWh since 1990 (prices from EIA) see figure 1 at this link (presenting EIA data for prices and Consumer Price Index for inflation factor):
The second and most important point is that US states’ residential electricity prices are very strongly and negatively correlated with annual kWh used per customer (r-squared value 0.9997) when grouped into quintiles of 10 states each. EIA data for 2014 clearly shows that states with low consumption per customer (including California and many northeastern states) have higher prices per kWh, while states with high consumption per customer (e.g. Louisiana, Arkansas, and other hot, humid southern states) have lower prices per kWh. see figure 1 at this link:
California has low electricity consumption per customer because of the very dry air (not humid as one commenter stated) and mild temperatures along the coasts where most of the population lives. The EIA describes California as follows:
“In most of the more densely populated areas of the state, the climate is dry and relatively mild. More than two-fifths of state households report that they do not have or do not use air conditioning, and almost one-seventh do not have or do not use space heating. Residential energy use per person in California is lower than in every other state except Hawaii.” Things have changed, but only slightly, since EIA wrote that, as Maine has barely edged out California for second place (now third behind Maine) in residential electricity use per customer.”
Any HVAC designer knows that air conditioning load is significantly impacted by the outside air ambient temperature and humidity. Building thermal losses also play a significant role, as does air leakage. California simply has low humidity and mild temperatures for most of the year, so air conditioning load is small or even zero for most of the consumers.
Next, to examine the impact of solar and wind power in California:
Solar power had almost zero impact in California as little as 5 years ago. Only in the past 5 years, since 2011, has solar power been added at the grid scale. At present, there is a bit more than 8,000 MW of grid–scale solar power installed, almost all of which is PV. The remainder is solar thermal. Summer of 2016 shows peak solar output in excess of 8,300 MW. The contribution of solar power is small, at approximately 6 to 7 percent of annual power sales. It is clear, therefore, that the impact of solar power could not be a factor before 2011, yet California prices were 25 to 30 percent higher than the national average since 1990.
The contribution of wind power in California has increased from 1.5 percent in 2001 to approximately 6 percent in 2014 of all electricity generated in-state, per the California Energy Commission data. The fact is that wind resources in the state are few in number and below average in output, as measured as percent of installed capacity. California wind turbines produce approximately 22 to 26 percent of installed capacity on an annual basis, compared to the Great Plains states of 45 to 42 percent of installed capacity. Essentially, the wind blows stronger and more steadily in the Great Plains states.
What is true in California is that the installed cost per kW is higher for solar and wind power, relative to gas-fired plants. However, a substantial benefit from solar power is the power production occurs in the heat of the day when the least efficient gas-fired power plants would otherwise run. Only in the final three or four hours after 4 pm of a sunny day are the gas-fired power plants called on in great numbers to meet the grid demand.
As the chart in the article clearly shows California electricity costs are among the highest in the nation and these already high costs will continue to climb higher in the future as unreliable renewable energy is mandated to increase even more.
Clueless renewable energy advocates try to falsely claim that renewable costs are competitive but they are not. Non dispatchable, unpredictable operating schedules and huge requirements for costly and inefficient reliable backup power to sustain reliable service all significantly drive up the costs of electricity which renewable advocates completely ignore.
Reliable electric systems cannot operate economically with large amounts of renewable energy. Pretending otherwise does not change that proven reality.
The greater the amount of renewable energy mandated for use in California the sooner the next reliability “energy crisis” will occur.
For Larry Hamlin,
Re “As the chart in the article clearly shows California electricity costs are among the highest in the nation and these already high costs will continue to climb higher in the future as unreliable renewable energy is mandated to increase even more.”
My articles that use EIA data show that California electricity prices have been higher than US average for decades. Renewables have absolutely nothing to do with that, a fact that is indisputable. (CA is 9th highest for residential price)
California prices have barely kept up with inflation since 1990, also as shown with valid EIA and US CPI data, more facts that are indisputable.
Your assertion that costs will continue to climb higher in the future is mere speculation. Solar PV power systems at grid-scale have lower installed costs than in previous years, and that trend will continue as economies of scale and improved PV cells are installed.
You also fail to mention grid-scale storage systems that completely eliminate any intermittency issues. Cheap, reliable, and long-lasting batteries coupled with solar PV remove the need for backup power plants running constantly in case a cloud shadows a solar PV site. Such batteries already exist, and SCE has installed a few and ordered a 100 MW battery. The improved batteries from BioSolar are not yet on the market but the outlook is quite good.
“Clueless renewable energy advocates try to falsely claim that renewable costs are competitive but they are not. Non dispatchable, unpredictable operating schedules and huge requirements for costly and inefficient reliable backup power to sustain reliable service all significantly drive up the costs of electricity which renewable advocates completely ignore.”
Knowledgeable and impartial renewable energy advocates such as myself know that utility executives bitterly cling to their favored technologies. Renewable energy costs were not competitive in the past, but that has changed already, and will continue to improve in the next few years. Grid-scale solar PV can be installed for $1800 per kW. Very soon that will be $1500 per kW. Grid-scale batteries will soon be available for $100 per MWh.
“Reliable electric systems cannot operate economically with large amounts of renewable energy. Pretending otherwise does not change that proven reality.”
False, as the evidence clearly shows. Wind power in Iowa at 31 percent of all electricity sold has not increased their electricity prices, which continue to be below the US average. California prices have not increased dramatically, if any, with 25 percent renewables of which 11 percent (approximately and on an annual basis) is from wind power and solar power.
“The greater the amount of renewable energy mandated for use in California the sooner the next reliability “energy crisis” will occur.”
Another false statement, as solar power and to some extent, wind power in California have already averted a blackout crisis due to the natural gas shortage from the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility leaks. It could be true, however, that shady utility executives conspire to create a false crisis by claiming power plants are broken and unavailable for ramping up when needed Then, they can blame solar PV plants for being unable to keep the grid stable, at least until substantial battery storage is installed. One hopes that this does not happen, but past experience (Enron and the market manipulation, SCE and SONGS nuclear plant fiasco) tells many of us otherwise.
Mr. Hamlin should know that state law requires the grid operator to provide safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally compliant electricity. Renewable technology has already progressed and will improve even more so that solar PV at 55,000 MW and high-tech batteries at 30,000 MW with 8 hours storage will be a reality in California within 15 years. Electric power price will be essentially the same then as in 2016, after adjusting for inflation.
Are you factoring in the subsidies that everyone contributes to regardless of energy usage? I didn’t think so.
Gov Brown and Obama are both spitting images of King Derwin of Didd.
Condemn and evacuate Malibu for their own protection.
As a CA resident tired of paying these exorbitant rates, I can tell you I can’t wait to get out in 5 years when my wife retires. That idiot Schwarzenegger was the one who proudly signed this bill when he was the Governor. Another celebrity full-bore alarmist.
I really don’t think California has a problem aside from its politics and Hollywood activists.
Nature abhors a vacuum. As people of means leave, other people of less means will move in given the warm, California climate and social services. Plus, you can pick from surfing to mountain climbing to hot south, cooler north, and skiing in the mountains. Not hard to see the attraction – at least till a shaker in the San Andreas turns it into a new country.
The future is already evolving. In 2050, there will be more rich, and there will be more poor. However, manufacturing in California is strong and with strong competition for work, labour costs may offset increased energy costs simply because of the huge population. Some middle class will relocate but a new working class will evolve to fill the jobs.
The nearly 40 million people in California have a very good population profile with the largest group (in the report below) at 25 years of age. There is no bubble and population tapers with age. It actually looks very healthy so perhaps it is self supporting in spite of Moonbeam and friends. Service Sector, agriculture and efficient manufacturing will likely provide lots of jobs.
Surprised me a bit when I looked up the data, but then I live in the sparsely populated Frozen North. Hot humid, densely populated California doesn’t interest me. But the climate (in spite of fires and mudslides) is generally pretty benign. I can understand why 40 million people, including a number of friends, like it in California.
..You mean like all the illegal aliens ?
That is what I thought when I moved from a nuke plant in Michigan to one in California 1986. Since I did not need to live in a big city, I thought I could avoid the problems my siblings in experienced.
The first problem is expensive housing. Zoning and building codes preclude affordable houses for young families. I owned my first house while going to college in Indiana on my junior enlisted navy salary. My sister also owned their own house on one income in California as did my father. Fifteen years later, that was no longer an option for our children.
The second problem is high property, sales tax, and income tax.
Third was bad schools. A few of the teachers were good and were not happy with the system. Many of the teachers were pot smoking (or worse) underachievers. It is not that parents can not compensate, but it makes raising kids harder.
Crime and pollution spills out of the city. The skiing was great. If did not mind hearing F this and F that on the sloops. When my oldest was in junior college I met him on the tennis courts on the way to work yearly in the morning. Large adult was cursing up a storm like he was in a navy boiler room. I went over and quietly asked for him to tone down. His response was to get in my face and ask me who the F I was. I dropped my tennis racket and took a half step forward so I was making bodily contact with him and repeated his question with a long string of navy expletives that he could only hear. He was the athletic director. I said ‘x-athletic director and to answer your question I am a father of a student and a Californian taxpayer.’ We then had a wonderful civil conversion about what a great job he had.
There is also the problem with liberal politics. Taking your kids to Sunday school, thinking they should do their home work, not smoke and drink, and not have sex until they can be responsible for the consequences is not good parenting but controlling behavior that should not be tolerated. California is not family friendly.
California is not nuclear power friendly. A few years after the nuke plant closed I gave looking for a good job and move to a nuke plant in another state.
In the 20 years since leaving the sunshine state, we have lived in two small cities in two states. Affordable housing on one income. Low taxes. No crime. Great schools ranked very high nationally. Teachers enthusiastic about helping kids work hard to achieve their potential.
Everyplace has all the same problems, it just the degree of the problem. There are always kids sneaking a smoke. I am sure there was beer at parties. Some of the girls in their may have been hiding a family way under graduation robes but parents were not openly encouraging the behavior. Parenting is about giving kids a series of good choices. It is much harder when society presents bad choices.
I would bring home marine recruiting posters. Serving your country is honorable, having a judge giving a choice of boot camp or jail to straighten out your like is not a good choice.
California is blessed with natural resources and talented people. The resources remain but many of the people have turned their talents to creating poverty.
Ron Clutz defines a ‘racket’ above:
A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it…”
Here is Gov. Brown’s ‘bullet’ train racket, with a possible solution:
After two legal terms (and one not-so-legal term) as Governor, Jerry Brown is dreaming about what every politician craves: his legacy. Gov. Brown’s proposed “Bullet Train” is his chosen legacy.
But there are problems. The train is über-expensive: ≈$100 billion is the ‘official’ guesstimate, but as usual that number will probably double when gov’t estimates and reality collide.
A train is a 19th century invention, made unnecessary by modern alternatives. So here is a compromise that should keep the Governor happy, and it would save the state’s taxpayers from his billion dollar train racket:
Instead of a train, the Legislature should propose building a pyramid as the governor’s legacy. Gov. Brown’s legacy pyramid would have a single portal placed high on one side. That portal would be designed so that at the precise peak of every Full Moon, a moonbeam would pierce the interior darkness and illuminate a 24k gold plaque bearing the inscription: Gov. Brown’s LEGACY.
The cost of this legacy pyramid should not exceed $3 billion (or $285 million if non-union labor is used, and the job is awarded to the lowest bidder). Furthermore, the train’s eternal fare subsidies would no longer be an issue.
In all the debate over Gov. Brown’s legacy train, one question is never discussed: Why do we need another way to travel??
And where is the demand? There are no complaints about the difficulty of getting from one end of the state to another because travelers already have plenty of choices. Cars are more convenient, planes are much faster, and there are already two trains on the same route.
Right now travelers can fly Southwest or Alaska airlines from SF to LA in only one hour, for a little over a hundred bucks with an advance fare purchase. Or they can drive using a couple tanks of gas, with complete freedom to stop along the way, and with the convenience of not having to rent a car when they arrive. Or they can take Amtrak or CalTrain for around $35 — both far cheaper than Brown’s legacy train.
They claim this bullet train will take only 4 ½ hours for the same trip. But since every little town along the route will demand a train station, just like they did in the 1800’s when the railroads were expanding out West, we can optimistically figure on 6 hours, minimum.
Also, the governor’s legacy train would cost far more than he admits, because every fare will have to be subsidized — forever — and a strip of land almost a quarter mile wide by 360+ miles long will have to be condemned by eminent domain, then purchased by the state for rights of way for tracks, and parking lots, and train stations, etc. And since 2012 real estate costs have nearly doubled, but they still use the old, pre-2008 valuations.
This legacy train will never turn a profit. That would be like repealing the law of gravity. And once that land is bought by the state, it will never again pay any property taxes. Instead, it will suck up tax money forever. Depending on ridership, every fare will have to be subsidized according to the number of people who would prefer to ride a train for most of the day, versus a one hour plane ride.
But a Legacy Pyramid would keep everyone happy! And there are other advantages to a pyramid racket. During every Full Moon tourists could buy tickets to file through and witness the monthly celestial event. Done right, legacy-pyramid tourism could offset a bit of the expense. Disneyland experts could be called in. The possibilities are endless…
Yes, both proposals are rackets. But the pyramid racket would be easier for taxpayers to swallow, since it would be so much cheaper than Gov. Moonbeam’s ‘train to nowhere’. And what politician would turn down his own legacy pyramid?
The only Greenhouse Gas that is Big enough is Water Vapor. Water Vapor can absorb and release vast amounts of heat energy when changing to and from Water or Ice at Earthly Temperatures. Carbon Dioxide can only change directly to and from ice (Dry Ice) and never a liquid, at MINUS 109 degrees Farenheit, a temperature that never happens on Earth. For full details, see Paullitely.com
“They dominate every election in the state, and they wont allow expansion so everyone is forced to live in the cities. ”
Rant like Joel’s are easy to dismiss based on personal observation. We have been looking for houses or building lots in Oregon. Everyplace but in the big cities. Thousand of choices. People who live in cities have some strange views about other places.
“all but banned the public from the forests,”
In our travels in Oregon, we have found a huge number of campsites that are either free of a nominal cost. Here is one example: https://freecampsites.net/#!65159&query=sitedetails
I took the picture and it is an example of excess biomass being cleared from the forest. Besides the beautiful state parks, there is land open to dispersed camping managed by US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Corp of Engineers.
“and banning even the transport of fossil fuels”
We are currently camped in between the railroad and the Columbia River. Fossil fuel of all sorts being transported.
Roger Sowell is the pot calling the kettle black. Roger is the king of speculation.
It is not speculation to state that variation in power prices are significantly affected by the price of natural gas. The price of natural has been driven driven by the fracking boom.
The effect of the minor contribution of wind is just more speculation. Since the cost of many wind projects is absorbed by national taxpayers, it would not show up in the in the average price of power.
Since wind is a local resource, Iowa is not California. It is necessary say that because Roger is an attorney and clearly an example of California clueless.
Roger likes to speculate on PV and thermal solar as well as batteries. It is not speculation the SCE failed at SONGS steam generator replacement. There is a ton of evidence that solar is a huge failure to meet expectation. If fact, the solar industry has yet to provide the first evaluation of solar that shows it not a case of big time FAIL.
Roger is not objective. Every wind and solar project on the planet is a demonstration project. The jury is still out on some but so far everyone demonstrates that wind and solar is a terrible way to power the grid.
Before my time in the nuclear industry, there were demonstration reactors. Some did not work very well. BWRs and PWR are light water moderated reactors that supply about 20% US power. There was a time during my tenure where some failed to meet design expectation while other exceeded expectation. Applying the lessons learned, all US operating reactors now exceed expectations.
How significant is this achievement? It is like building 30 new reactors of the original size.
And that is not speculation, that is an achievement to be proud of.
Typical liberal feel-good ideas that cost a lot but do very little. All this law does is burden Californians with additional costs but in the big scheme of things means nothing.
For me, a great definition of California itself: “…irrelevant, costly, elitist driven and purely political..”
Let it go.
The information below is not speculation, but factual information on the recent history of renewable solar PV power in the US: from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory publications.
Title: “Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”
Publication Type Report LBNL Report Number LBNL- 1006037
Year of Publication 2016
Authors Bolinger, Mark, and Joachim Seel
The utility-scale solar sector has led the overall U.S. solar market in terms of installed capacity since 2012. This report—the fourth edition in an ongoing annual series—provides data-driven analysis of the utility-scale solar project fleet in the United States. We analyze not just installed project costs or prices, but also operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement (“PPA”) prices from a large sample of utility-scale solar PV and CSP projects throughout the United States.
Some of the more-notable findings from this year’s edition include the following:
• Installation Trends: The use of solar tracking devices continued to expand in 2015. In a reflection of the ongoing geographic expansion of the market beyond the high-insolation Southwest, the average long-term insolation level across newly built project sites declined for the first time in 2015. Meanwhile, the average inverter loading ratio has increased among more recent project vintages, to 1.31.
• Installed Prices: Median installed PV project prices within a sizable sample have steadily fallen by nearly 60% since the 2007-2009 period, to $2.7/WAC (or $2.1/WDC) for projects completed in 2015. The lowest 20th percentile of projects within our 2015 sample were priced at or below $2.2/WAC, with the lowest-priced projects around $1.7/WAC.
• Operation and Maintenance (“O&M”) Costs: PV O&M costs (from a very small sample of projects) were in the neighborhood of $15/kWAC-year, or $7/MWh, in 2015. These numbers include only those costs incurred to directly operate and maintain the generating plant, but exclude property taxes, insurance, land royalties, performance bonds, various administrative and other fees, and overhead.
• Capacity Factors: Project-level AC capacity factors range widely, from 15.1% to 35.7%, with a sample median of 26.4%. This variation is based on the strength of the solar resource at each project site, whether the array is mounted at a fixed tilt or on a tracking mechanism, the inverter loading ratio, and likely degradation. Improvements in these factors have driven mean capacity factors higher over the last four years, to nearly 27% among 2014-vintage projects.
• PPA Prices: Driven by lower installed project prices and improving capacity factors, levelized PPA prices for utility-scale PV have fallen dramatically over time. Most PPAs in the 2015 sample are priced at or below $50/MWh levelized, with a few priced as aggressively as ~$30/MWh. Even at these low price levels, PV may still find it difficult to compete with existing gas-fired generation, given how low natural gas prices have fallen over the past year. When stacked up against new gas-fired generation, PV looks more attractive—and in either case can also provide a hedge against possible future increases in fossil fuel costs.
At the end of 2015, there were at least 56.8 GW of utility-scale solar power capacity in interconnection queues across the nation. The growth within these queues has come primarily from Texas and the Southeast, Central, and Northeast regions, which is a clear sign that the utility-scale market is maturing and expanding outside of its traditional high-insolation comfort zones of California and the Southwest.”
The absence of subsidies for solar power is telling. Without full and complete information quantifying how much solar power really costs the country, everything else is just cherry-picked confirmation bias.
Subsidies are important, no doubt. They change from year to year with renewables. Presently a solar grid-scale gets a 30 percent investment tax credit. So, the US treasury receives a bit less revenue. Except it doesn’t. I wrote on this recently, see my blog and “tax credit.”
The government borrows much more than these tiny subsidies, and borrows at approximately 2 percent interest. The net effect of ITC for renewables is nearly zero. Nobody’s electric bill increases. Nobody’s tax bill increases.
One must also state the amount of subsidies for other power generation forms:
Hydroelectric was built almost entirely (75 percent) by government funds.
Coal power was heavily subsidized by being exempt from air pollution laws for decades.
Nuclear power remains heavily subsidized with several forms of subsidy, including no liability for radiation-created harm, construction loan guarantees, production tax credits equal to wind power (2.3 cents per kWh for first 10 years), no lawsuits allowed during construction, relaxed safety rules to allow continued operation, government refuses to conduct a proper study on radiation illnesses in populations near the plants, and others.
For retired Kit P, re
“Coal and nuclear pay lots of taxes and fees. They are not subsidized.”
False, they are heavily subsidized.
“Roger makes lots of baseless assertion”
False, every statement is true and supported with facts.
“that are often repeated by anti-nukes. The nuclear industry is self insured.”
False, the Price-Anderson Act gives detailed facts.
“Safety rules have not been relaxed.”
False, as detailed in published study.
@ Government has extensively studied the effects of radiation.”
True, but not the health impacts of real people who live close to US reactors. One study glossed over by looking only at deaths but was very badly conducted.
“Nuke plants are required to maintain levels of offsite exposure to a tiny fraction of background and monitor to show that they are in compliance.”
They do monitor but always say Oops! It was dispersed in the environment.
Really, Kit P, you should read my 30 articles on Truth About Nuclear Power. Everything in them is 100 percent fact. The articles have more than 20,000 views.
See sowellslawblog keywords “truth nuclear power.”
A subsidy must be paid for. Who pays? The taxpayers, of course. And rate payers aren’t the issue, they’re just a means for selling the product. They benefit from the subsidy, but the money is given with one hand, then taken back and then some, by the government’s other hand.
Subsidies distort the market, and give an unfair advantage to one group over another. I’ve stated here repeatedly that with very few exceptions, I think there should be no subsidies. No tax credits, either.
Let people decide what to spend their money on, with no hidden subsidies or other ‘incentives’. In other words, let the market decide—not the government in cahoots with special interests.
With good information people generally make the right decisions. Total costs, including all tax credits and subsidies should be publicly available. But that info is very hard, if not impossible to find. I wonder why …?
re subsidies, there are arguments for and against. An excellent reference is “Introducing Fisheries Subsidies,” Fish and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Technical Paper 437 (2003) by Schrank, W.E. Part 1 of that document, “The Nature of Subsidies” is linked below. It gives the general case for and against subsidies. It is well worth the time to read.
“When economists justify subsidies, they usually do so in one of three ways.
First, there is the “infant industry” argument. An industry, for instance, may be dominated by foreigners (e.g. textile manufacture by England during the early days of the United States) and for reasons of social policy, the government may want to develop an indigenous industry. Insufficient private capital may be available to permit the private sector, on its own, to accumulate sufficient capital to make the indigenous industry commercially competitive. The government then could subsidize the industry through grants, loans, equity infusions, tariff protection or tax incentives. When the industry has been built up to the point where it is self-sufficient, the subsidies would be removed. . . .
The second argument in favour of subsidization is that a large, important, firm may run into serious temporary difficulties and be in danger of ceasing operations. The government, in such a situation, would have at least three options: it can play no role and let the full market effects be felt; or it can directly subsidize the endangered firm with cash or equity infusions, loans or loan guarantees; or it can let the firm go bankrupt but intervene through the monetary system to prevent the bankruptcy of the firm from affecting other, healthy, firms. . . .
The third argument in favour of subsidization is tied to current interests in environmental protection. Subsidies can be used to encourage firms and industries to behave in environmentally friendly ways. Fishing vessel and license buyback programmes fall into this category. As we shall see, while some economists favour such subsidy programmes, others believe that effective fishery management and market based solutions would be more effective than subsidy programmes.
Additional reasons for the implementation of subsidies, rarely justified by economists unless tied somehow to one of the arguments stated above, are to provide an industry with a long-term advantage in the international marketplace and to permanently assure a reasonable level of employment in a geographical area. Norway, for instance, has a policy of subsidizing the northern part of the country to sustain the physical presence of a population there and to maintain the fishing culture. For many years, until 2001, the Canadian government subsidized the uneconomical steel works on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Examples of this kind of subsidy are legion.”
In the US, and in the electricity industry, subsidies have long existed. Although many people squawk loudly when I write about it, the nuclear power industry would not even exist absent massive government subsidies. That is as true today as it was 60 years ago when the first reactors were built. Other countries also must subsidize nuclear power plants or they simply do not get built.
The government has a website that gives particulars on government load guarantees and grants, with one major category going to electric generating plants. Those are of almost every kind, not just solar, wind, but also fossil fuel plants.
As I wrote above, almost all of the hydroelectric dams in the US were built entirely with government funds, so that approximately 75 percent of all hydro power is fully subsidized. A wonderful example is the Hoover Dam and its generating plants. One-hundred percent built with government funds.
Coal-fired plants also enjoyed a form of subsidy, as most plants were exempt from the Clean Air Act since 1970. That loophole recently closed and the old, polluting coal-fired power plants are shutting down in record numbers.
Solar and wind power plants also have subsidies, as they are considered infant industries with great social benefits. The subsidies were scheduled to expire a few years ago, but the industry had not yet made progress to compete against its chief rival, natural gas. Natural gas price kept falling, as we all know. The solar and wind power subsidies were extended, with the happy result that even better technology now exists and wind power is now sold for 2 cents per kWh, with the wind plant owner receiving another 2.3 cents per kWh from the government. That subsidy, the production tax credit, reduces over 5 years and will end after 5 years.
That leaves natural gas fired power plants, which have no subsidies as far as I know.
In other industries, there are huge subsidies. Railroads, for example, were given free land grants to build the intercontinental railroad. The land granted was ten square miles for every mile of track laid. I’ve seen the map of the Union Pacific Railroad’s land that was granted. It is an enormous amount of land. Not only the land, but all the mineral rights were conveyed also. The social benefit was a fast and reliable transportation system connecting the two coasts.
Farmers get so many subsidies it is hard to count them all. In California, farmers pay almost nothing for irrigation water, a major subsidy to them.
Government research grants are a form of subsidy, and some companies receive grants to manufacture products after the research is completed. We all know of the boondoggles in this area, with Solyndra at the top of the list.
On the other hand, Howard Hughes received government money in WW2 to design and build a flying boat for military transport, which he did and was called the Spruce Goose. The war ended before the plane was ready for production.
I read your (long) link. Thanks for providing it. I still disagree with subsidies and tax credits in all but the most extreme cases (war, etc).
Subsidies always begin with good intentions. But look at what’s happened with ‘green’ subsidies.
Subsidies and tax credits are chameleon tax increases, or they’re transfer payments from the taxpaying public to a limited special interest (or both). For example, your link says:
Subsidies can be used to encourage firms and industries to behave in environmentally friendly ways.
Of course they’ll say that. It’s the public face of their noble cause corruption. They’ll also say they’re in favor of Mom, apple pie, and the Flag.
But what always happens? General Electric sees an opportunity, and starts constructing giant windmills everywhere. How are those windmills “environmentally friendly”?
Your link was actually about fishing subsidies, but the fact remains that subsidies are almost always counter-productive:
The expansion was largely financed by subsidies… It was clear that the fleet overexpanded, thus removing any economic justification for the programme. Yet the programme continued… These examples illustrate the tenacity with which a subsidy, possibly instituted for good reason, can continue in existence long after the reason for its being has passed.
A subsidy immediately creates a special interest. How could it not? And try to get rid of a subsidy that was sold to Congress based on helping an industry become ‘competitive’. As your link says, after a subsidy is created:
…the industry may then become self-sustaining, but it may be difficult to wean the industry off the subsidy.
“Difficult” is an understatement. The U.S. government subsidized the Spanish-American War with an excise tax on telephone service, which was still in effect 108 years later. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to wean the ‘green’ industry off of all their subsidies. Elon Musk has a lot more influence with Congress than you or I do. Maybe Elon Musk IV will have to compete without subsidies, but I doubt that Elon the First will have to compete without them.
Once again: let the free market decide. The ‘market’ is people voting with their dollars without interference. If they want windmills, no subsidy is necessary. Here’s an econ lesson for a free country, in four E-Z steps:
1. Government is force
2. Good ideas do not have to be forced on others
3. Bad ideas should not be forced on others
4. The free market is necessary for citizens to reveal the difference between good ideas and bad ideas
Subsidies are inherently anti-liberty. They are based on coercion: an armed State confiscating money from citizens, and handing it to special interests. The sad thing about it: subsidies are not necessary—no matter what their ‘noble’ proponents claim.
The first problem with LBNL- 1006037 is that I can not get to the full report. I should be able to download government reports.
“$7/MWh, in 2015”
So much for the no O&M costs.
“but exclude property taxes, insurance, land royalties, performance bonds, various administrative and other fees, and overhead.”
Those are still O&M costs.
“Capacity Factors: Project-level AC capacity factors range widely, from 15.1% to 35.7%”
Not true. CF is the actual measured power production not the ‘expected’ production. There are many utility scale that produce 0 kwh so the CF=0.
Using this method to determine CF, all nuke plant would be 100%. Why because that is the expectation.
“clear sign that the utility-scale market is maturing ”
That is an assertion.
Retired Kit P,
It appears the 2015 report is not yet published. Last year’s report was published in September 2015 so we all may have to wait a few weeks.
Here is a fact. Not one ‘utility scale’ PV system has been built because a business plan without subsidies showed it would be good for customers.
The long term merit of PV remains to be seen.
“Hydroelectric was built almost entirely (75 percent) by government funds.”
Yes, and it was a great investment.
Coal and nuclear pay lots of taxes and fees. They are not subsidized.
Roger makes lots of baseless assertion that are often repeated by anti-nukes. The nuclear industry is self insured. Safety rules have not been relaxed. Government has extensively studied the effects of radiation. Nuke plants are required to maintain levels of offsite exposure to a tiny fraction of background and monitor to show that they are in compliance.
Retired Kit P,
Here is but one factual refutation of your assertions above. Safety rules have very much been relaxed. My statements above are all factual.
“The NRC has been working with nuclear power plant owners to routinely weaken safety regulations, which allows the plants to continue operating, according to a 2011 investigation by AP (Associated Press). see link below. The plant owners argue that the safety regulations in question are overly-safe and unnecessary. Yet, many of the relaxed regulations are alarming. It is doubtful that the general public is aware of just how dangerous the plants are in the first place, and made even more unsafe by relaxing the regulations.
From the AP investigation: “Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.
Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP’s yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.” ” — text from my blog article “The Truth About Nuclear Power – Part 15: Nuclear Safety Compromised by Bending the Rules”
link to AP report is http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-nuke-regulators-weaken-safety-rules/
Are you saying those issues can’t be fixed?
The U.S.A. used to be a “Can-do” country. Now people go around wringing their hands and saying, “But what if…?”. Meanwhile, China is building nuclear power plants, while we give Iran’s mullahs hundreds of $billions to build nuclear bombs. Are our priorities screwed up, or what?
If today’s media was around in the 1960’s, we never would have gone to the moon.
Does the California Bar Association know about your unethical behavior?
Regulation for nuclear power plants are provided in 10CFRR50. Please cite which was relaxed?
The AP and Roger’s blog is not a source of facts. Roger’s tactic is to make a long list of allegation and to repeat them over and over ignoring any attempt to explain them.
“When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit.”
Which valves? Safety related containment isolation valves are list in the FSAR. There is not an individual limit. Local Leak Rate Tests (LLRT) are performed periodically and after maintenance that would affect leakage. The leakage of all the valves is added together. If a valve leakage increases it would be evaluated in the context of total leakage limit.
“radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing”
SG tube failures are analyzed as an abnormal occurrence not an accident. It is not a safety issue. To be sure, it is an important maintenance issue. A tube failure would result in a costly forced outage and an investigation of the cause. This is what closed SONGS.
Roger claims nuclear power is dangerous. You would think he could find at least one person hurt by the tube rupture at SONGS and a few other plants or for that matter core meltdowns at TMI and Japan.
As a member of the bar Roger has the legal responsibility, to present to the NRC violations of the law. Of course false claims, are unethical.
For Retired Kit P,
You have a very strange and false impression of an attorney’s duty to report. Attorneys in private practice have no mandate to report except in very special circumstances. We do, however, enjoy substantial First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech on matters of public concern.
Now, to your next ridiculous statement:
“Roger claims nuclear power is dangerous. You would think he could find at least one person hurt by the tube rupture at SONGS…”
My statement is not the issue. Millions of people around the world agree with me that nuclear power is unsafe. The NRC itself required Southern California Edison to shut down SONGS, or comply with their written order to identify the exact cause of the premature tube failure and correct that problem. The issue is one of safety. SCE opted to shut it down forever, instead of define the cause of the premature failure.
Nuclear power has almost endless examples of unsafe operation. The California Rancho Seco nuclear plant near Sacramento was shut down after only 18 years of unsafe operation. The list of unsafe incidents there would fill a library. My own blog catalogs a near-miss every three weeks, on average, over the past several years in just the US reactors. Worldwide there are many more. These incidents are not made up, they are from NRC incident reports. Per the NRC, there were 89 serious safety incidents over a 6-year period 2010-2015 inclusive.
In a sane society, we don’t wait for injuries or deaths to occur when the potential for such deaths and injuries is in the millions. For smaller numbers, we do make progress in small increments, such as for automobile safety standards over the decades. Nuclear power is quite different by its very nature. There are extraordinary dangers to millions of people from every single one of the 99 operating reactors. NRC requires, therefore, extraordinary steps to prevent the radiation injuries and deaths. Such steps include evacuation plans, seismic studies, radiation release warning systems, distribution of iodine tablets, and many others.
As a nuclear industry insider, you should know all of this.
For dbstealey, re
“Are you saying those issues can’t be fixed?”
Not sure which issues you refer to. If nuclear safety issues, of course some of them can be fixed, but at what cost in capital? Nuclear power via fission has inherent dangers that can never be entirely fixed. Also, Nuclear power already is hopelessly un-economic. We cannot design and construct anything that is 100 percent safe, but we can make judicious choices about how much safety our money will obtain.
“The U.S.A. used to be a “Can-do” country. Now people go around wringing their hands and saying, “But what if…?”. Meanwhile, China is building nuclear power plants, while we give Iran’s mullahs hundreds of $billions to build nuclear bombs. Are our priorities screwed up, or what?”
We are still very much a can-do country, at least the fellows are that I hang around with. We look at coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, solar, ocean current, and the various storage technologies. The best answer we have is that nuclear has zero chance of improvement, because we’ve given it our best shot for decades and that was one helluva shot. Nuclear can never compete. I’ve written on this in depth on my blog.
Coal is a losing proposition, not because of technology but because of limited resources. It is a solid fact that current prices limit recoverable coal to less than 20 years in the US, and 50 years world-wide. Perhaps government will subsidize coal by $1 or $2 per ton produced, which would be only $9 to $18 billion (in US dollars) annually worldwide. That would increase coal’s economic life by a few years at most. Then what?
The can-do attitude is in finding much more natural gas than anyone ever expected via precision directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing in shale deposits. Lucky for mankind, shale deposits occur world-wide.
The can-do attitude is also alive in designing and installing economic wind turbines and solar PV systems. Sandia Labs has a fabulous new design for a flexible-blade wind turbine that continues to provide power in high winds. That will cause capacity factors to skyrocket. New tower materials will allow 300 meter hub heights, with 50 MW turbine-generators. The combination of more output and greater size will make wind power even more attractive.
The best, and perhaps most important can-do attitude is in plants that harvest electricity from the oceans’ currents. Those are renewable, inexhaustible, environmentally benign, and hold far more energy than mankind will ever need. The plants are not yet economic, but they will be. It’s just a matter of time.
The can-do attitude is very much alive with battery innovators and inventions, such as the BioSolar halogenated polyactylene super battery. That is not science fiction, it is a reality. As I wrote on my blog, and Anthony cross-posted here on WUWT, the HPA battery is a game-changer. Tesla has already made electric cars, while not perfect and not yet economic, his new car the Tesla 3 will be close to economic.
Finally, “If today’s media was around in the 1960’s, we never would have gone to the moon.”
We had mass media in the 1960s. The media was on-board because we also had a fear that the Russians would occupy the high ground of outer space and drop rocks on our cities. Big ones. The rocks, that is. I remember those times, with the can-do attitude coupled with careful research and data acquisition by sober, somber and talented people. We didn’t fudge the numbers just to get the desired result. Rockets exploded or fell out of the sky without that, as it was. Space is a very unforgiving place. Physics had to be right, and the engineering had to be solid. I grew up in Houston in the 1960s and my family knew some of the important players in the Space Race. I met and got to know Astronaut Gus Grissom’s younger son.
Today’s climate scientists with all their data manipulation, making up data, using false statistics, should never be allowed anywhere near a space program.
My personal view is that the climate or global warming scare today is taking the place of the Soviets-in-space scare of the 1960s. The global warming scare is spurring innovation in certain industries that will be very beneficial long-term as the Earth runs out of economic coal and nuclear plants close by the hundreds, yet the people still need electricity.
My reply ended up in the wrong place. It’s upthread a few comments, here:
August 24, 2016 at 5:31 pm
Sorry about the confusion.