Highlights of the 2017 Heartland Energy Conference

By Andy May

On November 9, 2017 Heartland held their “America First Energy Conference” in Houston, Texas. It was held in the JW Marriott Hotel next to the Houston Galleria. The venue and food were both very good. As a former employee (and sometime consultant) in the energy industry, I was very interested in what they had to say. In this post I will discuss what I considered the most important “take-aways” from the conference. There were two rooms and two simultaneous speakers at the conference most of the time, so this post only covers the talks I listened to.

Joe Leimkuhler, VP drilling for LLOG, breakfast key note speaker

Mr. Leimkuhler discusses whether the United States can dominate energy, as President Trump has said he wants us to do. Leimkuhler says the Trump administration has defined energy dominance as:

  1. Meet all our domestic demand/needs.
  2. Export to markets around the world at a level where we can “influence the market.”

He concluded that the U.S. can dominate in oil if the shale revolution is real, sustained and supported. In natural gas we can dominate, at least in the short term. Longer term it depends on finding more reserves, which he notes we can probably find if the government allows the industry to explore in more areas. Short term, coal has a problem exporting to the existing market because there are no coal exporting facilities on the critical U.S. west coast. This is because Washington, Oregon and California have prevented their construction by passing laws or delaying permitting. But, if this political situation changes or if the industry starts exporting through Vancouver, B.C., which has an existing coal export terminal, the problem will be fixed. The largest potential customers are in Asia, so to shipping to them requires a west coast shipping terminal. Once a solution is found, the long-term prospects for coal dominance are good. The U.S. has the largest coal reserves in the world, a 381-year supply. Further, our coal is much cheaper to produce and generally of higher quality than their existing suppliers can provide. So, if we could get the coal to market, we could dominate world coal exports. Our Wyoming coal mines could realize $5/ton more profit on their coal if they could export it to Asia.

Conventional nuclear power relies on uranium and the U.S. uranium reserves are miniscule, the U.S imports 89% of its nuclear fuel. Strict mining rules may account for, at least part of, this problem. It is unlikely that the U.S. will dominate nuclear power for this reason and because of our excessively long permitting and construction times. If newer technologies become commercial (fusion or thorium reactors for example) then this might change.

What about renewables, including hydro, wood/waste, biofuels, wind and solar? Hydro is maxed out in the U.S., there are few possible sites for more dams. Wind is facing increasing push-back because it is unsightly, noisy, and kills birds and bats. He notes that in 2009 ExxonMobil was fined $600,000 after 85 migratory birds (ducks, grebes, ibis, passernines, owls, martins and one hawk) died of exposure to hydrocarbons at a natural gas facility they owned. None of the birds were endangered. Yet, the wind industry has killed 888,000 bats/year, 573,000 birds/year, including 83,000 raptors and has paid little in compensation, see Smallwood, 2013 here for details. PacificCorp Energy, a wind electricity producer in Wyoming was fined $2.5 million after it was found to have killed 38 golden eagles, among other birds, with one of its wind farms, but there are few other examples. Certainly, companies should be held responsible for the damage they do to migratory or endangered birds, but every company should be treated the same.

Biofuels essentially means wood and ethanol from corn. These are marginally economic as it is and may be a net energy loss, see the Cornell University study here. When ethanol is mixed with gasoline it reduces the miles per gallon that can be achieved. Likewise, harvesting and transporting wood to be burned may actually use more energy than can be obtained from the wood and may produce more harmful particulate pollution than the equivalent amount of coal due to the high water content of wood (see here for a discussion and data).

Mr. Leimkuhler computed the amount of CO2 produced using the current sources of electricity in the U.S. and finds it is 2 pounds/kWh. A Tesla requires 16.6 kWh to travel 50 miles according to the Tesla website, this represents 33 pounds of CO2. He then found that driving a 35 mpg Honda Accord would produce only 28 pounds of CO2 to drive the same distance. If CO2 production is a priority, the Honda Accord is the obvious choice.

Economically, solar and wind make no economic sense. Mr. Leimkyhler presented the graph shown in figure 1 to illustrate this point.

Figure 1, source: Joe Leimkuhler

Figure 1 shows the price of household electricity versus solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind generation capacity for several countries and California. Notice the USA does very well in this graph with a cost of about 12 Euro cents per kWh, California at 18.3 Euro cents per kWh, not so well. He also notes that California imports 70% of their electricity, this may not be a wise thing for other states and countries to do. Denmark and Germany are the highest cost countries and have the highest PV+wind capacity.

So, where can the U.S. dominate in energy? Mr. Leimkyhler’s score card is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2, source: Joe Leimkuhler

Generally, the U.S should be able to dominate in oil and natural gas short term. Longer term, we can dominate in coal, but we need access to a Pacific port facility to do so, the large customers are in the Asian Pacific.

Energy and Prosperity

Mr. Paul Driessen tells us that modern coal and gas powerplants occupy about 300 acres and produce 600 MW of power 95% of the time. Indiana’s Fowler Ridge Wind Farm requires 50,000 acres and produces 600 MW of power about 30% of the time. If these figures are scaled up to supply the world electricity demand of 25 billion MWh, it would require 100,000,000 wind turbines, each would take 15 acres for a total land area of 1.5 billion acres, about 80% of the size of the contiguous 48 U.S. states. The cost of the raw materials for these wind mills is astronomical. Further, it is unlikely that wind mills can produce enough electricity even to manufacture another wind mill. In other words, fossil fuels are required to produce the wind mills, transport them and make them operational. The whole exercise is futile.

Wind mills do not operate when the wind isn’t blowing within their wind speed range. If battery backup is used to supply power for seven consecutive windless days, 5 trillion 100 kWh Tesla lithium battery packs would be required. Just the space to store these batteries would cover a land area 1.5x the size of the United States. This does not include the impact of charging more electric cars.

Mr. Driessen was followed by Nick Loris who remined us that the Clean Power Plan mercury regulations would save the U.S. about $5 million at a cost of the coal industry. Then Dr. Roger Bezdek reminded us that fossil fuels are, and will remain for the foreseeable future, essential for economic growth and jobs. To reduce 2050 greenhouse gases to 80-95% of 1990 levels, as proposed, will reduce our living standards to the levels of the 1800s. World per capita GDP will be reduced to those of the most impoverished nations, such as Bangladesh or Haiti. He quoted Bill Gates who once said in 2010:

“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy.”

Energy and National Security

In the session on energy and national security, Admiral Hayward noted that the “green fleet” program under President Obama cost $58 billion dollars. This was a plan to fuel 50% of the fleet, temporarily, on biofuels. The money for this silly political exercise was taken from the critical spare parts budget and was one reason so much of our fleet and naval aircraft became disabled due to the lack of spare parts.

Shale Oil and Gas

In the section on the shale oil and gas revolution, Mr. Isaac Orr noted that the U.S. produces more natural gas than Russia and is close to becoming the world’s largest oil producer, and may achieve this notable milestone next year, in fact on a monthly basis we may already be there. The shale revolution has resulted in 1.7 million jobs and lower prices for energy consumers. Mr. Joe Leimkuhler noted that the earthquakes seen in Oklahoma and elsewhere, are due to waste water injection and not hydraulic fracturing. In many areas of the country, like Wyoming and in the east coast Marcellus shale gas field, waste water is being processed and either recycled or re-used on the surface as a better alternative to injection, to minimize the water pumped back into the ground. Ms. Betty Grande mentioned that when the protesters at the DAPA pipeline were finally removed and the pipeline was finished it resulted in an additional one million dollars per day in revenue for the state of North Dakota.

The future of Coal

In the session on the future of coal Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Heath Lovell told us that dozens of coal companies were driven to bankruptcy under the Obama administration and tens of thousands of jobs were lost. The coal boom was initiated by President Carter, who encouraged the power industry to switch to coal from diesel because the U.S. was (and is) self-sufficient in coal. From the Carter administration to now coal has gone from producing 17% of our electricity to 30%, but currently it is declining due mostly to low natural gas prices. Coal use is not growing in the U.S., but is growing rapidly in Asia. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have a coal shipping terminal on the west coast and building one is being prevented by the coastal states. Fortunately, Canada has one in Vancouver and we may be able to use it.

Excessive government regulations

In the session on excessive environmental regulations we learned, from Mr. John Nothdurft, Mr. Richard Trzupek, Dr. Peter Hartley, and Mr. Isaac Orr that the most burdensome regulations from the Obama administration are the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the 2015 revised regulatory definition of the Waters of the United States act (WOTUS) and the CO2 endangerment finding. Currently, U.S. air pollution is down 73% from 1970 and the U.S. is back to 1990 levels on CO2 emissions, mostly due to the switch to natural gas. Clearly these new regulations are not actually needed and were only put in place to destroy the coal mining industry. We lost 36,000 jobs in the coal industry from 2010 to 2016. Dr. Peter Hartley (Rice University) has determined that there are 674 regulations that favor the wind energy industry and 977 regulations that favor the solar industry.

Mr. Richard Trzupek is an expert in EPA regulations and advises companies in how to navigate them when they want to build a new facility. Permitting a new power plant takes 510 to 930 days. Many companies cannot afford to wait that long and often give up during the permitting process which costs jobs and economic growth. During the permitting a process the public can raise any objection to a plant that they want and the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations take full advantage of the provision, since every public concern must be addressed, no matter how silly it might be. The Sierra Club, alone, brags that they have killed 192 power plant projects, which has cost the U.S. more than 100 GWs of power capacity and an untold number of jobs.

Energy and Agriculture

In the energy and agriculture session we learned from Dr. Craig Idso that a $150 per ton of emitted CO2 tax will reduce food intake an average of 150kCal per person around the world. This will raise the number of malnourished people by 300 million. In contrast, a 300 ppm increase in CO2 will increase the amount of available food by 33%. It varies by plant, but for example legumes will increase by 44%, roots and tubors will increase by 48%. Increasing CO2 increases the root to shoot ratio since the plant can get by with less leaf area when the concentration of CO2 is higher. If CO2 continues to rise as it has been, the world will see a $10 trillion benefit by 2050. Additional CO2 is responsible for 70% of recent global greening.

Michelle Smith is a farmer and lawyer and noted that cheap energy is a huge benefit for farmers, they also benefit from fertilizer made from natural gas. Farmers comprise 17% of the U.S. workforce and total 24 million jobs. 97% to 99% of farms are family owned and average 442 acres in size. Oil and gas mineral rights are a very significant source of income for farmers and have kept many farms from bankruptcy.

Conclusions

The conference was very well done, except for a few early audio-visual problems, and very informative. I learned a lot, even though I have worked in the oil and gas industry for 43 years. The central themes, mentioned many times, were that the EPA CO2 endangerment finding must be overturned and that Trump’s efforts to roll back Obama’s excessive regulations are having a very positive effect on our economy and jobs. Every effort must be made to not only remove these regulations but make the removals as difficult to overturn as possible. The other important findings were that the only measurable effect of addition CO2 is the significant greening of the Earth, a very good thing. Somehow, the public must be made aware that additional CO2 in the atmosphere is good, not bad. If it does have a detrimental effect on the Earth, we have seen no evidence, other than computer models, of it.

President Obama’s assault on ten million fossil fuel jobs with the Clean Power Plan and 24 million agricultural workers with the 2015 Waters of the United States regulations must be completely rolled back and the CO2 endangerment finding reversed. There is no doubt in my mind that these regulations and many other over-reaching regulations created by the Obama administration played a key role in electing President Trump. Threatening 34 million families with job loss, is a lot of votes. Essentially the radical left-wing environmentalists and their Democratic partners have only themselves to blame.

One would think that the CO2 endangerment finding would be easy to reverse, but it is a “heavy lift” legally apparently. Below is the view of Steve Milloy, here.

Source Steve Milloy.

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151 thoughts on “Highlights of the 2017 Heartland Energy Conference

  1. We have patented a Carbon Capture utilization System that will transform the CO2 out of combusted fossil fuels to useable-saleable products. Thousands of full time jobs will be created in a number of sectors.
    We are trying to tell the EPA that they don’t have to fight the environmentalists. Leave the CPP as it is and show America and those in the Paris Agreement that President Trump can show the Clean Coal that he has been talking about and it will be good for our economy as well as their atmosphere.

  2. Full points go to Heartland and its supporters.
    Sadly, it will go to waste unless this sort of information gets into the heads and hearts of the general public.
    My newly elected Prime Minister, has shouted her intentions for the push towards a clean and green New Zealand – by removing ALL subsidies for fossil fuels.
    Until she is pressured to do the same for ‘renewables’ then we are doomed to a certain future and the only way this will likely happen, is for the masses to pressure her to do so.
    BUT, an ideologue is hardly going to be moved by the mere opinion of the ‘people’, now is she!
    The ironic thing is, if ironic is the correct word, is that NZ is already 80 – 90% supplied with energy from renewable sources – but at 30c per k/Whr (I think) we do have a rather costly outcome for that source(s).

    • Yes, in NZ we do have a high proportion of electricity generated by renewables, but mainly hydro due to farsighted earlier pioneers. I’d like to see our new “leader” give details of the subsidies given to fossil fuels, wind, and solar. If the U.S. is anything to go by, the socialists regard normal writing off of business expenses by fossil fuel companies as a subsidy, but ignore the direct subsidies paid to wind, solar, and electric car manufacturers. TESLA of course is just a subsidy-farming operation, despite their inability to meet production targets. Wasn’t it fortunate timing that Musk was able to spot an entirely new business opportunity which justifies selling his Tesla shares after arranging for Tesla to purchase his almost bankrupt solar company!

      • Australian Greens talk about subsidies to fossil fuels but when pushed can only nominate the refund to miners of the road tax they pay on delivery of diesel fuel. This is rebated only when it can be demonstrated to have been used within the mine lease. Farmers and fishermen enjoy the “privilege” as well BTW.
        NZ doesn’t have a big extraction industry, does it?

      • This (exlicative) would mostly disappear if the corporate tax were eliminated. Half of the code is pure corruption, and the other half is just trying to mitigate the harm such a tax does. It’s a really stupid tax economically, and, in the US, mostly an artifact of 19th century constitutional law.

    • DBH you should point out that the cost you cite is NZ¢. For October, in Upper Hutt NZ, ¼ of my usage was charged at about 16 NZ¢/kWh and the balance was charged at about 27NZ¢/kWh. A daily delivery charge of 33 NZ¢/day is charged and there is a levy of 0.0015 NZ¢/kWh to the NZ Electricity Authority. Over all October cost me about 27 NZ¢/kWh. We get hit with 15% Goods and Services Tax on top of that.

      27 NZ¢ is currently about 19 US¢ or 16 €¢.

      • D’oh!!!
        You are quite correct….sheez, never gave that a thought.
        You’ve made my day actually, and now I can be SOOO much nicer to people – in this regard.

        Hang on…I don’t want to be nice ….it’d ruin my entire view on life.

        :)

        But thanks Gary, I do hate being wrong, and mis-informed.
        Weakens the argument when you are half way through a tirade and you have your argument destroyed by such facts.

      • So that is approximately 21.5 US cents / kWh, or 18.3 Euro cents. (No, you cannot leave off the GST on the actual price.) Hmm, seems to be exactly what California is paying for their folly.

        You are fortunate to have so much hydro already built. Although just wait a bit – you do know that one goal of the Green Mafia is to destroy those horrible dams?

  3. Something that is needed as much as repealing the CO2 endangerment finding is to stop nuisance law suits by environmental and social justice groups. That could be done with tort reform by Congress, though that in turn would require a significant Republican/ conservative majority in the House and the Senate as well as re-electing Trump. Tort reform would make significant dent in the cost of living to the average American. Just tort reform in the health care system could save billions.

      • For now. What we need, though, is a prohibition of the Federal Government ever settling a case; force it to go to a verdict at least in a lower court. Along with a requirement – enforced by automatic removal of any Justice Department official that does not obey – that all challenges to statutes must be defended completely.

        The current system allows the regulators to make new law by settling cases with no statutory authority to do so – and a new administration to exercise an “ex post facto” veto of statutes passed in previous administrations. Neither of which are Constitutional actions.

  4. “Short term, coal has a problem exporting to the existing market because there are no coal exporting facilities on the critical U.S. west coast. This is because Washington, Oregon and California have prevented their construction by passing laws or delaying permitting. But, if this political situation changes or if the industry starts exporting through Vancouver, B.C., which has an existing coal export terminal, the problem will be fixed.”

    I don’t know about the USA shipping much more coal through the port of Vancouver. It already ships a fair amount through Vancouver, but with the socialist NDP govt just elected this summer In British Columbia, talk is to completely shut down this access since USA just imposed very high import duties on Canadian (BC) lumber and is dragging its heals on fair negotiations for the renewal of NAFTA Free Trade Agreement. Expect to hear more about this the new year if things don’t improve fairly quickly with fair negotiations. It should be no surprise that BC and Vancouver take this very seriously, since BC lumber is the province’s largest export, and US customers are the ones who pay a higher price for the American import duties.

    The USA and Canada are potentially diverging as the worlds largest trading partners bigly as the Trump regime begins to sully the trade atmosphere, saying on one hand, the USA just wants to ‘tweak’ the trade deal to one of not even negotiating in good faith, so far. This has left a very sour taste in Canadians, and Canada is now looking at the inevitable collapse of fair trade with the USA. The Canadian federal gov’t is just signing onto a revised TPP Trade Agreement in Vietnam next week, (the one Trump canceled) and is considering entering into a massive free trade agreement with China which would be a whole new paradigm in trade relations in access to Canadian resources. Plus Canada just signed a free trade agreement with the EU this summer, with long term natural resource exports heading in that direction soon. The world will definitely want access to Canada’s vast natural resources forever, and if Trump blows the USA-Canada relationship up as he is close to doing, then the USA can count on a lot less trade and access to Canadian markets. Millions of Americans are dependant on a fair trade agreement with Canada, as is Canada currently dependant on exports to USA, but that can change over a short order of time and the long term loser would be the USA.

    The USA will only really become fully energy independent with a fair and balanced bilateral trading agreement with Canada, because if it alienates Canada into trading a lot of its future natural resources with Asia and Europe and elsewhere around the world, then the USA stands to lose a huge advantage that it currently and silently takes for granted. Which is long term energy independence, since Canada currently supplies a fairly significant amount of that now. While Canada and USA will remain good friends and allies/trading partners, if the USA pushes Canada into focusing its trade efforts into the rest of the world, then a very huge loss to the USA long term.

    • The solution to Washington, Oregon and California is to cut off ALL electrical lines that contain electricity from coal. One coal plant dumping onto a line means no electricity sent to these states. If we can’t ship it, they can’t use it.

      • I don’t think that would work very well since then the coal mining states of Utah, Montana, Wyoming etc, would have that much less coal to mine and keep their coal fired facilities going. Where would they send their electricity? California is already not renewing coal fired contracts from Utah when they expire, and that is from coal generators that still have a significant life span left. Perhaps the Federal Gov’t can put more pressure on cities and states that block new port expansions to allow for an export market, but then maybe that steps on States rights. But I agree with all of the above…it is just plain crazy.

    • Earthling2 @ November 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      I don’t think you have to worry about it.

      Asian demand for U.S. coal peaked around mid-2008 when China was binge building apartments. This resulted in temporary prices spikes in U.S. coal as the Chinese were using imported U.S. coal to make the needed structural steel. The high coal prices were, in turn, the motive force in the interest in exporting coal to Asia thru our West Coast ports. At the time I recall sitting down with my coal price forecaster. We could see the total cost of each Chinese apartment was in the neighborhood of $250,000 per in U.S. dollars. Given, the average wage of Chinese workers was very low it was pretty clear the Chinese couldn’t continue to pay premium prices for coal and were headed for housing bubble. We also noticed structural problems in China’s rail and mining industries were making coal delivery inside China difficult and adding to need for importation to China’s coastal areas. (i.e., Both industries were damned inefficient) Moreover we noticed that most the coal the Chinese were buying was high grade steel-friendly (i.e. high Btu) Central & Northern Appalachian coals — with some Illinois basin (ILB) coal thrown in. These coals are produced on the U.S.’s east coast and mid-west. Western U.S. coal consists of low Btu Powder River Basin (PRB) and Uinta coal with a Btu content similar to ILB. PRB’s not really suitable for making steel and while you can make do with Uinta… well the better the coal the better the steel. On top of that we could see the producers of ILB had made some nifty wall mining innovations that were likely to bring the price of ILB down. Anyway we could see the high-price situation was not sustainable and couldn’t stop giggling at the concept of sustained export out of U.S. ports – I mean that literally.

      Anyway my forecaster produced a contrarian long-term coal price forecast that predicted a near term collapse of U.S. coal prices. The forecast was so good my forecaster was picked by the World Bank…. where he’s now very happily making more money than we could pay him.

      Anyway, my read is a number of western coal producers and Wall Street financial types are holding on to the export dream. In my view… its hype.

    • “Earthling2 November 11, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      I don’t know about the USA shipping much more coal through the port of Vancouver. It already ships a fair amount through Vancouver, but with the socialist NDP govt just elected this summer In British Columbia, talk is to completely shut down this access since USA just imposed very high import duties on Canadian (BC) lumber and is dragging its heals on fair negotiations for the renewal of NAFTA Free Trade Agreement. Expect to hear more about this the new year if things don’t improve fairly quickly with fair negotiations. It should be no surprise that BC and Vancouver take this very seriously, since BC lumber is the province’s largest export, and US customers are the ones who pay a higher price for the American import duties.

      The USA and Canada are potentially diverging as the worlds largest trading partners bigly as the Trump regime begins to sully the trade atmosphere, saying on one hand, the USA just wants to ‘tweak’ the trade deal to one of not even negotiating in good faith, so far. This has left a very sour taste in Canadians, and Canada is now looking at the inevitable collapse of fair trade with the USA…”

      A) The TPP that Trump refused to sign was/is an regulatory nightmare and boondoggle with multilayered “provisions” to penalize the USA for failing to meet any portion of the provisions.

      The TPP was a massive document meant to serve for agreements with multiple countries; not a TPP negotiated and signed with each country.

      This construction of regulations makes for a living monster that is difficult to correct, adjust, update and near impossible for people to understand.

      You make a lot of noise about import duties on Canadian lumber, often dumped onto the USA market. You are correct that it is Americans who pay the fees; so what!? If the lumber is high quality, people will still buy the lumber.
      Or, Canada can pelletize the lumber and sell it to Europe. That is Canada’s choice.

      No monstrous committee developed TPP bible should ever be foisted upon people. If Canadians love their TPPs, well and good. The one the Obama Administration sang praises about wasn’t worth using as kitty litter lining.

      If Rick Perry wants to “subsidize” coal, the Federal Government can seize and condemn any coastal property desired for an outgoing coal port. The community will receive fair compensation, the port gets built, longshoremen get jobs and coal gets exported.

      There have been a lot of ‘progressive’ claims regarding diminishing coal use, less coal exports, just plain less coal.
      Most are quite specious.

      There is a substantial portion of the world building new coal plants.
      Yes, LPG is more efficient, if available via pipeline. Coal can be transported vial rail and road and used in all facilities.

      As long as there are coal users there will be a market for coal, especially quality coal.

      If Canada decides to go full isolationist and burn all trading agreements and bridges with the USA, so be it. We’ll see how well that turns out.

      Meanwhile, the USA is seeking to rebuild our industries that were exported overseas and to put Americans back to work.
      All those “Free Trade Agreements” enabled businesses to export labor costs and factories to lower cost countries. “Free Trade Agreements” that moved Americans to unemployment or subservient “part time” jobs that do not pay benefits. Some “Free Trade”…

      • I agree the TPP was a boondoggle red tape agreement that needed refinement, which Canada is insisting on this week in Vietnam. In fact, it didn’t show up on Friday to sign the agreement, since is wanting further refinements. But I think this places USA in the dilemma of allowing most of SE Asia ultimately falling into the trading orbit of China, which has unintended consequences for the USA the next 50 years. It is something that the USA should seriously consider, since if China is the net beneficiary of this then the USA may be the longer term loser.

        Personally, I don’t care much one way or the other about the lumber tariffs. It just drives the global price up for the American consumer, which we agree on, but it is only to satisfy the local USA lumber lobby. Perhaps important to retain some voting districts. In my case as a seller of timber to local Canadian mills, I actually get more $$ for my private wood because the demand, and price, is now that much higher for lumber. We are diversifying sales of lumber to Asia/China as well, so that margin of sales to USA will shrink over time. But we won’t be palletizing perfectly good lumber to ship to Europe. We have so much wood waste as it is just from the sawmilling, that we haven’t even gotten yet to grinding up all the millions of dead pine trees. Probably better to let them rot into the ground for future nutrients, but then it is a fire risk as we saw this year.

        The 15%-20% discount USA already gets on WS oil sands heavy crude is significant and that could dry up if Canada ever got its act together and could build pipelines to both coasts. America knows we have a stranded oil asset. For now, Warren Buffet and the railroad companies are making mega bucks shipping it by train. A lot of the refineries in the gulf states are reliant on heavy crude. Even the Keystone Pipeline, green lighted by Trump, still needs approvals from Nebraska, although I am assuming Nebraska won’t cross Trump. Canada exports up to 3.4 Million barrels a day to USA, so when America talks about being energy independent, I think it is including Canada’s share of exports as local. If that declines, then it is a USA loss since the oil will still get sold somewhere. Which would be a big loss to the USA, long term.

        My point about USA driving Canada further away into off shore trading and many more trade deals with the rest of the world is also a USA loss, long term. Canadians seem resigned to not getting a fair deal with USA, and so is planning for the possibility by opening up trade fronts on every continent. Although it looks like Trump usually starts his trade negotiations huffing and puffing, but I think he is smarter than the average bear in knowing a good deal when he sees it. A large part of the wealth of both USA and Canada has been being each others largest trading partner, and best friend. Hopefully that doesn’t change a lot. After all, we really are family sharing the same continent.

      • “Earthling2 November 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm
        I agree the TPP was a boondoggle red tape agreement that needed refinement, which Canada is insisting on this week in Vietnam. In fact, it didn’t show up on Friday to sign the agreement, since is wanting further refinements. But I think this places USA in the dilemma of allowing most of SE Asia ultimately falling into the trading orbit of China, which has unintended consequences for the USA the next 50 years. It is something that the USA should seriously consider, since if China is the net beneficiary of this then the USA may be the longer term loser…”

        And the solution for that is a monster complex TPP?

        Small easily negotiated agreements are far more useful and easily modified/renegotiated to reflect current needs/conditions.

        I am not convinced that the price of lumber in the USA will climb any higher. Lumber has multiple middlemen by the time it gets to consumers, contractors and even builders.

        I can visit my local mill and purchase oak, beech, hickory for less than what the big box stores want to sell similar conifer boards from Canada. Admittedly, the wood is fresh cut; but I’m not in a hurry and have rafters available for drying.
        Besides, who wants to plane hardwoods when they’re fully dried and quite hard?

        Consider, wood cut from Canada’s Boreal forests is milled, shipped, exported/imported, transported elsewhere in the USA, yet is allegedly cheaper than wood cut in American forests?
        What is wrong with that picture?

        Again, you claim that USA is forcing Canada to stop trading with the USA.

        Trump Administration is intent on bringing back production to the USA. After decades of exporting production, jobs and worst of all, production technology; it is time to correct the mistakes.

        The discussion starts above with pointing out that coal is technically a stranded asset on our Western shores.
        A logical solution is that East and Gulf coast shippers use shipping through the Panama Canal when sending coal to Asia.
        If the looney California, Oregon, Washington residents want to send all of that profit to Panama instead of putting residents to work, temporarily; so be it.
        Any rational economist will inform state leaders, representatives and residents for decades to come, that they chose to block earnings and jobs.

        That same answer goes against Canada if they decide to block our exports from their BC port(s). Canada spurns income that then goes elsewhere.

        Trump is a negotiator. His opening gambit is meant to overwhelm.
        I was baffled by the whole “Rick Perry” coal subsidies claim. When Trump and coal representatives went to the COP conference, it came as a realization to me, that the whole coal subsidy discussion is a master opening negotiation stroke.
        Most of the knowledgeable bureaucrats know darn well that fossil fuels.

        On one hand, Trump is steering America to prosperity and production again. The other aspect is a solid message to the world regarding fossil fuels and renewables.
        Trump did not send representatives to COP to meekly defend fossil fuel usage against anti-fossil fuel lunatics. He sent them to demonstrate that decades of false claims, wasted subsidies, bloated bureaucracies, unelected bureaucrats, etc. have failed to stop, stem, delay fossil fuels.

        That entire Euro renewable industry has barely deflected actual needs for fossil fuels. Though the Euro renewable industries have seriously impaired third world civilization improvements leaving billions without the benefits that fossil fuels enable.

        Virtually every American feels close camaraderie with Canadians viewing Canadians as full partners/brothers/sisters in North America. There is no “desire” to cease trade with Canada. There is significant desire for fair trade with Canada, but the alleged “Fair Trade Agreements” are not and have been rarely “fair”.

        Conflicts of interest fair notice.
        My Grandfather and his Brother accepted offers to come to North America, back around 1909.
        My Grandfather accepted transportation to Pennsylvania for work in the coal mines.
        His Brother, accepted Canada’s offer to farm in Canada’s cold steppes. Canada desired to turn frigid land into productive farms and for some reason thought that Poland and Ukraine had land and weather very similar to Canada’s steppes.

        But, that was back when the border with Canada wasn’t much of a border and more of our friends and neighbors.

        Grandfather was a Johnny come lately in our family line. I likely have Chippewa relatives in Canada too, only we lost touch with that part of the family well before Grandfather arrived on these shores.

      • I also agree that bilateral trade agreements are best – one on one. Country to country. Hopefully, Trump is able to impress that point on our leaders and trade negotiations, since I think we can actually fine tune a specific agreement which can be re-visited and updated without opening a can of worms with 13 other countries. Perhaps Trade Frameworks would be a better multi country agreement, where we state that a certain block of countries are going to do business with another in a general sense, but specific trading issues are best left to each individual trading nation to nation. Even if USA cancelled NAFTA which includes Mexico, the USA/Canada Free trade agreement would come back into force. It was signed a few years earlier, and would give much better opportunity to come to an agreement bilaterally without the burden of having to have Mexico included in every detail. This is probably what happens in the end, hopefully.

        I have many American cousins and fairly close ties to USA. My grandmother who I grew up close to on the Canadian ‘Steppe’ as you put it, was born enroute in a horse drawn covered wagon to homesteading settlers in Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1892. My mother was also born in USA as well as many other family members. All of my ancestors came through the port of New Yorker at some point or another. The bonds between USA and Canada are stronger than any politicians, so I am just hoping we can strengthen our trading relationship and ensure our mutual security and prosperity. Long live the friendship between Canada and the United States of America!

      • “Free trade agreements” can be written on two pages: “I won’t tax you, you won’t tax me.” Multi-thousand page “trade agreements” are just bureaucratic control and overregulation of trade.– they should be cancelled.

  5. Thank you for this nice (and useful) summary.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I had absolutely no idea that the U.S. doesn’t have a coal export facility on the West Coast.

    That’s just flat-out crazy.

  6. Thinking about Jacobsen 100% renewable dream is impossible because you won’t be Able to make concrete or steel which require fossil fuels in their manufacture

      • I don’t think they use a lot of aluminum in wind turbines. There’s a lot of concrete for foundations which require reinforcing steel. Some of the nacelle is steel.

      • Normally you need cheap hydro to make aluminum. This is one reason most U.S. aluminum production occurs in the North Western part of the U.S. As hydro generation is generally to valuable to sell to aluminum producers on in the mountainous areas of the U.S.’s south and east coasts. (Used to work in an aluminum reduction plant in Alabama).

      • Dave Kelly,
        No more aluminum reduction plants in the NW. All available firm KWs from Bonneville are spoken for for normal consumer and industrial sales. The NW USED to make a lot of Aluminum, not any more – the last reduction plant in Troutdale OR is being phased out as their equipment wears out. The price/kw it too high for aluminum.

      • NW sage @ November 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Thanks for the update on the status of aluminum production in the North West U.S. I got out of the aluminum business decades ago…. so wasn’t current.

        That said, your observations are bit disturbing, since I’m not sure it’s viable to produce aluminum in the U.S. anymore. I don’t like the idea of not being able to make this strategic resource inside U.S. borders.

  7. Good review. I would think much of the US shortage of uranium is due to regulations, not actual supply, like rare earths. Undoing decades of green blob mischief will take time and will.

  8. I’m not buying that it is “mostly due to low NG prices” that coal power is declining in the US. Obama’s War on Coal had a good deal to do with it as well. It can be turned around though. Coal can compete with NG, if given a level playing field.

      • “more powerful than nuclear plants”

        What?????

        What does the power rating of a power plant have to do with anything?

        Just down the road in China from the multiple units of 1600 MWe nuclear plants under construction where I worked before retiring, was a large multiple unit coal plant.

        While there is nothing wrong with upgrading coal plants, it is not done to reduce ghg. Nuke plants are not built to reduce ghg.

        Power plants are built to produce power. Who knew!

    • You may very well be right Bruce. But, if coal is rejected on ideological grounds without even thinking about it, we won’t know. Too many of these decisions have been made without thought.

    • Bruce Cobb & November 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      I tend to agree. The currently the primary obstacle to construction of new coals units are the Section 111 D rules that require “new” coal units be installed with carbon sequestration technology — effectively mandating the use of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle(IGCC) for carbon capture followed by Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Section 111 D lies outside the scope of the Clean Power Plan… which regulates existing power plants under Section 111 B.

      If the 111 D rule were removed, new coal units would be competitive with new gas units in many parts of the United States – although certainly not all.

      As it stands, a gas unit is going to beat a coal-based IGCC/CCS system every time.

  9. Credibility item: “Mr. Isaac Orr noted that the U.S. is close to becoming the world’s largest oil and gas exporter” ?? Sounds blatantly WRONG and confused, a shortfall in critical thinking? Gas exports (2014) USSR -184,500,000,000 cm/yr; US 7th with 42,870,000,000; oil exports (2013): Saudia Arabia 7,416,000 b/d, US 14th 1,162,000 b/d. [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_gas_exports] and [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_oil_exports] When credibility is important, he should be careful with claimed facts.

      • Andy,
        ‘Producer’ sounds better, I think.

        When I read the BP Statistical Review of World Energy [more years ago than I like to think . . . so take the figures that follow with a truck load of salt] Oil productions was: –
        1 USSR about 600,000,000 ton/tonnes/year
        2 USA about 480,000,000 tons/tones/year
        3 Saudi Arabia about 320,000,000 tons/tonnes/year

        I repeat the warning – those are old, o-o-o-ld figures – certainly pre-Anthropocene [/Sarc, Anthropododdle not yet universally defined”!].

        Auto

  10. A minor point, but mercury (Hg) is regulated under the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) not the “Clean Power Plan”.

    That said, Nick Loris was correct to point out the benefits of mercury regulation are insignificant compared to the cost. This issue was well know to the EPA at the time they implemented the MATS rule. Indeed the lack of economic justification was one of the reasons the EPA expanded the scope of the MATS regulations to include: particulate matter, hydrogen chloride and the non-mercury Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAPS) metals. The expanded scope of the rule allowed the EPA to inflate the claimed “benefits” of the so-called “Mercury” standard – while ignoring the plain fact that other regulations were going to achieve most of reductions in the other pollutants. A classic example of the sort of “bait and switch” tactics the EPA engaged in under the Obama administration.

  11. it is unlikely that wind mills can produce enough electricity even to manufacture another wind mill“. It would be nice to see someone do the calcs on this one. Even if a windmill can produce enough energy, it would be nice to know how much of its total energy output would be needed to provide its own replacement. Obviously the whole process needs to be energy-costed, from mining exploration and development through manufacture to delivery and installation.

    • And maintenance [especially at sea, in salty and damp atmospheres].
      And – if we are really Green (not just GreenBlob)- the eventual removal and reuse or recycling of the nacelle and blades, the tower, the footing, plus for sea-sited towers, the workboats, etc., and all the cabling needed to get the power to (fudged?) Market.

      That adds up to a tasty amount of energy.
      Can the windmills, on average, produce enough to enable production of a replacement, like for like, with reuse, or recycling [the footings may be reusable, the [bulk of] the cabling certainly should be]?

      Auto – keen to learn, and appreciating that these calculations/estimates will have error bars [unusual in Climate ‘Science’, it seems].

      • “Mike Jonas November 11, 2017 at 8:54 pm
        ATheoK – I understand what you are getting at, and I agree that no-one in their right mind is going to try to produce a windmill from scratch using only wind energy at the current level of technology. But the calcs can still be done, provided the associated assumptions are clear. So, for example, one could calculate the theoretical EROEI based on the assumption that battery (or uphill water etc) backup could deliver reliable-enough energy for the complete process.”

        Calcs can not be done. Saying so will not make it so.
        The sheer variability of wind and solar mean that the energy derived from them is extremely variable.
        Massing more variable energy does not provide suitable consistent high quality electricity.

        Precision machinery can not be made without precision quality electricity; e.g. bearings as just one of many examples.
        Industry spends terrific amounts of money to carefully filter and control the already high quality electricity provided by hydro, LPG, coal and nuclear. There is no feasible use of renewable electricity.

        Ensuring precise conditions are maintained is absolutely necessary for controlling chemical production lines.

        There are not sufficient places available for uphill water energy storage. A claim that ignores the fact that uphill water storage is a darn inefficient process for storing energy derived from stuffing wind turbine farms across all the land. Land that includes farms; thus also ruining crops and husbandry food supply.

        Battery technology to support industry does not exist. Period.

    • “Mike Jonas November 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm
      “it is unlikely that wind mills can produce enough electricity even to manufacture another wind mill“. It would be nice to see someone do the calcs on this one. Even if a windmill can produce enough energy, it would be nice to know how much of its total energy output would be needed to provide its own replacement. Obviously the whole process needs to be energy-costed, from mining exploration and development through manufacture to delivery and installation.”

      That quote must be mistaken phrasing.

      What wind and solar generation facilities can not provide is high quality consistent electricity!

      Most heavy industries, precision industries, smelters, refiners, resin manufacturers, etc. etc. require clean high quality consistent electricity for long periods of time.
      Fluctuating frequency, fluctuating amperage, fluctuating voltage, fluctuating supply severely disrupt, damage and even destroy equipment and production runs.

      Even with solid sources for high quality electricity, industry purchases and installs conditioners, often on every machine; that ensures that machine receives extremely consistent high quality electricity.

      e.g. Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Australia that solidified when their wind induced blackout stopped electricity.
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-alcoa-corp-australia-smelter/blackout-ramps-up-pressure-on-alcoa-australian-aluminum-smelter-idUSKBN13Q60L
      https://www.owler.com/reports/alcoa/correcting-and-replacing-portland-aluminium-smelte/1485005520591#!
      http://www.scrapmonster.com/news/alcoa-announces-partial-restart-of-warrick-aluminum-smelter-operations/1/65415

      No, diesel backup generators can not cover the gaps or smooth the electricity supplied. The electricity supplied must be consistent from beginning to end of the process.

      This is where wind and solar electrical generation fail, utterly.
      The metals, resins, graphite, fiberglass, coatings, windings, etc. used to construct wind and solar equipment can not be made while relying solely upon wind and solar.

      Or perhaps, it should be stated that no reliable respectable company will make critical components while using low quality electricity… That leaves room for certain overseas industry practice of cheap materials, cheap construction, throw away mentality.

      • ATheoK – I understand what you are getting at, and I agree that no-one in their right mind is going to try to produce a windmill from scratch using only wind energy at the current level of technology. But the calcs can still be done, provided the associated assumptions are clear. So, for example, one could calculate the theoretical EROEI based on the assumption that battery (or uphill water etc) backup could deliver reliable-enough energy for the complete process.

  12. “Denmark and Germany are the highest cost countries and have the highest PV+wind capacity”.
    Once again – and for good order: The Danish ‘household electricity price’ amounts to 8 Euro cents per kWh, tax is 12 Euro cents per kWh, and ‘green subsidies’ are 2 Euro cents per kWh; 25% VAT is added, raising the total consumer cost to between 27 to 28 Euro cents per kWh.
    So although I’m no supporter of wind/PV it’s not ‘fair’ to blame the high Danish consumer price level on renewables – when taxes are the real culprit!

    • And guess what those taxes were implemented for and usually called ?

      Here in the Netherlands we pay a sales tax on energy and an ‘ecotax’ … .but the Dutch being crazy, we actually pay sales tax on our ecotax as well!!!

  13. Re – the loss of jobs in the coal industry and the jobs provided by shale gas: The direct jobs in coal and/or gas are not very important. What really matters is the extent to which they facilitate job creation in the rest of the economy. So, for example, if coal production was fully automated then coal would still (indirectly) provide a massive number of jobs. NB. For those working in the coal industry: unlike Barack Obama and the greens, I am not advocating the destruction of coal jobs, I’m just pointing out the importance of indirect jobs. Note that coal employs a lot less people than it used to (per unit of production), but that doesn’t make it any less important.

    • Mike, it should be noted that here in the u.s. the unemployment rate has reached a low of 4.1%. This is the lowest that it has been since clinton was president. The expected accompanying inflation of the low unemployment has not materialized thanks in no small part to the relatively low costs of energy. During the bush years, electricity costs rose 33%. While during the obama years, electricity rates stayed flat. As well the gasoline prices of $4+ per gallon (under bush) have not materialized. They currently stand at just $2.50 per gallon. Cheap energy and the accompanying low inflation appear to be bringing the unemployment rate down to lows that we may not have seen in over half a century. Trump’s pick for fed chair (powell) is a centrist who seems ready to keep interest rates low as long as inflation stays low. So thanks to diversity in the energy sector, hopefully americans (and the rest of the world) will see a boom economy for several years to come…

  14. Good article. I think that in view of the difficulty in exporting coal, it might be better if we hang onto our own for a while. Any coal-fired plant can be built to be non-polluting, but you can’t convince the six Greenbeans in this area about that. You can’t see one smidge of emissions from the local coal-fired plant, but they are blind to that (pun intended).

    In regard to energy costs, I don’t know if my electric utility is getting transmissions to the grid from the power plant north, across the Wisconsin state line, but my bill goes to an office in Milwaukee. But I’ll quote my own electric bill costs here at per kilowatt hour.

    Electricity supply charge: $0.05798/Kwh
    Transmission services chg: $0.01351/Kwh
    Distribution facilities chg: $0.02781/Kwh
    IL Electricity distribution chg: $0.00118/Kwh
    Environmental cost recovery Adj: $0.00005/Kwh
    Renewable Portfolio Standard: $0.00189
    Zero Emission Standard: $0.00195/Kwh
    Energy Efficiency Program: -$0.00041/Kwh

    There are two taxes, state and municipal.
    There is a franchise cost at $19.14 X $0.48200%
    There’s a metering charge and a customer charge, both of them low. If the power comes from the plant to the north of me, that plant is also coal-fired and supplies many municipalities, large and small. As it is, my electric bill is quite affordable, and it disturbs me enormously to read that people in other countries (and we know which ones) charge so much for electricity that their customers simply can’t afford it. That is disturbingly medieval in its concept.

    I don’t know how much electricity is generated by natural gas, but my home is heated by it and I cook with it. It is my view that both of these resources are far more reasonably priced for consumer use than any wind turbine or solar power plant, and far less dangerous to migrating birds, especially since this entire area is part of the flyway and geese, ducks, cranes and other migratory birds follow landmarks south at this time of year. To put them and the local raptor population in danger of being smacked, badly injured and/or killed by windmills blades is as selfish as the Greenbeanies/Warmians can get. There are enough issues with birds smacking into buildings in Chicago during migration. We do NOT need to add killing useful birds like hawks and other buteos such as turkey buzzards to that list of damaged or dead birds.

    It may seem like exporting coal is a useful thing to do to generate jobs and income, but we may need that ourselves some day. Therefore, i’d prefer that we keep it here at home and let the Australians put themselves into power poverty. (Yeah, I know that’s not nice, but – well, “Mad Max – Road Warrior’!) I’d like to see more nuclear power plants built here, because they are cost effective in the long run, but I’d really like to know why Rosatom, AKA Uranium One, has a contract to mine OUR uranium here, take it to Canada for processing, and then return it to us. I know who was behind that and it stinks of pure greed.

    • “it stinks of pure greed”

      Sara, would like to be labeled greedy because I an betting when someone worries about greed it because they want more for themselves?

      When I retired, I worked for a French company. When I hired on, my engineering group was part of American power company. The Japanese also own a lot of American nuclear capability. So I would not worry to much about a Russian company doing business in the US.

      Uranium is not like coal when you think about volume. It takes a mile long coal train to fuel a large coal plant for a day.

      Two flat bed trucks are needed to deliver the crated fuel assemblies for two years of power generation.

      Nuclear fuel is a low volume business with a large excess of high capital cost facilities.

      One of the energy intensive and expensive parts of the process is enrichment to about 5% U235. Modern enrichment facilities use less energy. France used to use three reactors to provide power for enrichment, now uses one.

      The US has a modern facility in New Mexico

      The enriched U235 is then sent to a facility to manufacture fuel assemblies. I did safety evaluation for several years at one in the US. There are three in the US that make commercial fuel.

      Because of excess process capacity and low volumes, it makes sense to ship ore and yellow cake around rather.

  15. “Further, it is unlikely that wind mills can produce enough electricity even to manufacture another wind mill.”

    This statement is simpy not true.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

    The Energy returned on energy invested EROEI factor of wind turbines are about 18, in favourable areas up to 70. Including consturction and de-commissioning.

    This doesn’t mean that one catually use wind power to process steel. It’s in the energy mix.

    And, this counts only if the electrictiy can be used at the moment of pro production.

    And, in Germany we have no CO2-Reduction despite of having plenty of wind turbines.

    Still, the quote above vrom the Author of the article is wrong.

  16. TOTAL BS: “Likewise, harvesting and transporting wood to be burned may actually use more energy than can be obtained from the wood ”

    Up here in New England, we’ve been using wood for heat forever. Nothing is cheaper….PERIOD.

      • No, the paragraph started, and the context was “biofuels.” It included a reference to blending ethanol into gasoline, and there was no mention of the production of electricity.

      • I read the linked to article. It’s talking about using wood as feedstock for power generation, not heating your house with a wood stove..

    • C. Paul Pierett

      Try pricing the US cutting down trees, processing them into pellets, then shipping them across the Atlantic to the UK for use in the Drax power plant, which produces more CO2, I believe, than when it was powered by coal.

      And we to have an abundance of coal in the UK, so it makes no sense financially, or ecologically, to import processed wood pellets.

      • Transporting logs/waste to the mill, turning into chips, drying chips using natural gas, compressing into pellets, shipping to port, loading on ships, transporting across the Atlantic, unloading pellets, transporting to Drax, grinding pellets to powder to burn.

        whew, that’s a lot of energy.

      • You have no clue how pervasive using firewood for HEAT is.

        You must live where winter is mild. The amount of wood shipped to Drax is a drop in the bucket compared to what is used for domestic heat.

      • CO2 from firewood is really a moot point, since it is already a part of the terrestrial carbon cycle. It’s going back to methane/CO2 anyway as it rots. Coal is a FF that would have stayed buried, so technically it introduces new CO2 to the carbon cycle. Which may be good long term looking at how low Earth’s CO2 levels are getting at the peak over ice age. Life on Earth was heading towards extinction if it would have kept falling naturally as it has the last 2.5 million years (without human CO2 introduction the last 150 years) as it was only about 180 ppmv just 18,000 years ago. Below 150 ppmv, the food chain starts to slow down and die which I think had a lot to do with the extinction of 47 species of Megafauna just 12,000 to 20,000 years ago.

        Hardwood firewood is fairly high on BTU value, and maybe 1/3 less energy value than soft coal. Plus it burns cleaner than coal regarding micron size particulate matter. But then VW diesel don’t either, although nothing to get excited about. Yes, it seems crazy to import wood pellets from USA, although shipping is relatively cheap. Even crazier is to leave your coal in the ground and not burn it with perhaps better scrubbers. Personally IMO, I think where coal based generators are being retired before useful end of life would be better to burn a mix of coal and wood pellets, which would accomplish similar goals in CO2 management and pollution, as well as having that energy security as originally planned.

      • Exactly! Drax makes no sense and produces more CO2 than coal.

        Shut it down now.

        (you will find all green groups opposed to it)

      • Griff

        I’m not bothered about the CO2 emissions. As I have already pointed out to you before, there is no credible, empirical evidence that CO2 causes the planets temperature to increase. I will add a caveat to that; someone (David Whitehouse?) on WUWT pointed me to a study that apparently did. But the as Patrick Moore (the former Greenpeace activist who now condemns the organisation as evil) also claims there is no evidence, I’ll stick with that.

        So, no point is shutting Drax because of it’s CO2 emissions, just convert it back to domestically mined coal. I don’t object to Drax, I object to the expensive and wasteful virtue signalling.

      • HS: Patrick Moore was only ever an anti-nuclear protester. He never acted on any other green issue and when his group merged with others to form Greenpeace he promptly left.

        He has no track record or authority other than on protesting nuclear testing

        [and you have no authority other than being an anonymous troll -mod]

      • Not true Griff. Dr. Patrick Moore was also in on the many whaling protests after the nuclear testing in Amchitka, Alaska and the French atomic testing in the S. Pacific including being on the sunken Rainbow Warrior that was sunk by the French in 1985. Patrick Moore crewed the Phyllis Cormack in 1975 during the first campaign to save the whales, as Greenpeace met the Soviet whaling fleet off the coast of California. He was originally the only scientist in the whole lot in those early days and was President of Greenpeace Canada for 9 years after Greenpeace Int. was formed, and was a Director of the GP Int. for 6 years after many GP groups around the world wrestled for power and popped up like mushrooms and it morphed into a global organization. But Greenpeace itself was truly a Canadian invention of the early 1970’s of which Moore was clearly involved from nearly the beginning. I have a lot of respect for what Dr. Moore now talks about.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_(environmentalist) History of GP and PM.

        My only regret, is that while I on the front lines while Green Peace was formulating in Vancouver and western Canada, was that I continued to lobby against nuclear energy until the day I bought my first computer in the early 1990’s and discovered a new world of information, one of them later being how weather stations had been sited incorrectly, or existing weather stations on the outskirts of cities had much higher readings due to the UHI effect as cities expanded around them. That changed my thinking on the whole catastrophic global warming fantasy. Warming yes, but no catastrophe. In fact, warming is very good as compared to an equal amount of cooling. I still don’t think enough rational conclusive evidence has been formulated to counter the UHI and land change use temperature increase, and IMO, this is much more responsible for winter and night time warming in the northern hemisphere over the last 40 years than CO2. Time will tell all.

      • Griff

        You ought to learn something about the people you perpetrate Ad Hom attacks on.

        Patrick Moore left Greenpeace because he was the only member of the founding group with a science degree and was appalled at the political direction the organisation was taking.

        I suspect Earthling knows an awful lot more about him than you and I ever will.

      • Anonymous moderator said to Griff:

        “[and you have no authority other than being an anonymous troll -mod]”

        That might sound a little better if your weren’t doing it with your anonymous moderator hat on.

        [Per site rules, moderators are required to keep their moderator responsibilities separate from their public identities. -mod]

      • The first two paragraphs of that article should put to bed the claim that US oak forests are being clear cut to make pellets. It’s just not happening. Land is being clear cut, but the stuff being turned into pellets is waste (eg, limbs, deformed trees) and trees too small for lumber or veneer. It’s actually a fantastic use of a waste resource, although a horrible waste of money, IMO, to ship the stuff overseas for the sake of green virtue signaling.

    • “Nothing is cheaper….PERIOD.”

      That depends upon whether you include all of your “free” personal labor involved in burning the wood.

      My out of pocket cost is gas for the truck, oil and gas for the chainsaw, cost of a few new chains each year, and wear and tear on a chainsaw. I’d put those at about $300 or so, or $20 per face cord for the 15 face cords I tend to burn each winter. But I do all the work, the cutting, bucking, tossing in the truck, emptying the truck, splitting, stacking, sometimes re-stacking, transporting physically to the stove and into the stove, maintaining the fire as it burns, cleaning the stove, refurbishing the stove annually, and disposing of the ash. Plus, it makes a mess that has to be cleaned up regularly, both in the house and at the woodpile.

      If I cut out the first six or seven steps by buying split, seasoned, oak, each face cord will cost me at least $50 delivered, and probably more like $75 if it’s actually seasoned oak. But I still have to stack it, get it to the stove, etc. If I hired somebody to keep the fire burning, like paying one of my kids a reasonable wage for the time it would take them to move the wood, tend the fire, clean up the ash and rest of the mess, it would be at least $10 a day for, say, 150 days, or $100 per face cord burned. So now my “cheap” wood prices out at $150 to $175 per face cord, or at least $2,250 per winter (at $150). And I still haven’t considered wear and tear on the stove which is not trivial, at least a hundred dollars per year.

      So, yes, wood is “cheap” if you don’t consider your time. If you enjoy a wood fire (who doesn’t?), enjoy having an extra-warm spot in the house when you’re chilled, and feel more secure knowing that when the electricity inevitably goes off you can keep the house from freezing up even in sub-zero temperatures, then burning wood is great. But if you’re just burning it because it’s cheap, you either don’t put much value on your personal time, or you really just enjoy cutting, splitting, and stacking wood for the exercise (as I do.)

      • You didn’t count the divorce…from tracking in all the sawdust and dust and ash in the house. Just kidding. Yes, firewood is a secure form of heating, if you are there to tend the fire and do all the work, especially if the power goes out in a severe blizzard. But it costs a fair bit as you point out, and time. Plus it keeps you warm many more times over than just the fire itself, just doing all the work. But I never saw an acknowledgment on the health effects of staying in shape getting firewood from the forest to your stove. In my older age, I am considering pellets by the ton and having a hopper supply that will go 30 days or more with a back-up battery UPS electricity supply. Maybe just get a small pellet mill and make my own pellets, since have enough wood waste to heat a small town.

  17. Andy, thanks for the report. As for redoing the Endangerment finding, it is indeed heavy legal lifting. First, have to follow the proscribed CAA process. A minimum of three years, more with challenges to IPCC junk science comments. Then EPA has to survive the subsequent legal onslaught based on at least three attacks: insufficiently weighted junk IPCC science, improper process (you did not respond to my NGO comment),and weight of the previous finding- so politicized result. At least another 3 years in federal courts.
    Better to win the 2018 midterms, and just then revise CAA legislatively. A lot is at stake.

  18. I have to make an apology here for remarks I made about bat and bird deaths. I said that we were all sounding far too green (we sceptics) by citing bat and bird deaths as an objection to wind turbines.

    I stand corrected as I didn’t realise fossil fuel companies had been prosecuted for bird deaths while the wind turbine bird deaths are completely ignored.

    I have also since found out the the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is concerned at the numbers, although hardly vocal about it, and that bird deaths at offshore windfarm sites can’t be established because, of course, the carcasses either sink or float away from the death site.

    Now I get it. Apologies, and thank you folks.

    • Don’t feel too bad HotScot…a company can be fined up to a million dollars for killing a few fish. However, for about $20 or so, we can buy a fishing licence and catch and kill up to 8 fish a day. Yep…doesn’t make sense that wind farms get a free pass on killing birds and bats, and yet try and get bats out of you attic legally, (they are suddenly endangered) or oil companies get massive fines for some birds landing on a tailing pond.

    • Bird deaths at offshore wind farms have been extensively studied using observation and lidar.

      Here’s the result of the Danish study in question
      http://www.folkecenter.net/mediafiles/folkecenter/pdf/Final_results_of_bird_studies_at_the_offshore_wind_farms_at_Nysted_and_Horns_Rev_Denmark.pdf

      The RSPB backs wind turbines and is also vocal about the possible impact where windfarms might harm birds. They have successfully objected to those windfarms which might have been a problem

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26258271

      • Griff

        So that would be a report from Dong themselves, how convenient; and the BBC, which is well known for it”s partisan climate change reporting, almost as partisan as the Guardian. Not that the BBC tells us anything more than the London Array has been cancelled because the assessment period would take too long.

        As assessment period? Halting the desperate need for renewables in the face of impending climate doom? I’m sorry Griff, the BBC’s reporting of this is shallow and meaningless.

        The RSPB is at the forefront of environmentalism, but is the principle objector in innumerable examples of human progress including windfarms, fossil fuel power stations, nuclear power stations, airports, solar arrays etc. etc. but not least, desperately needed housing.

      • The RSPB objects when there’s a likely impact on birds.

        That is in effect its job.

        It only objects to those windfarms which would impact birds… very far from all of them.

        and you go look at that study and tell me where the fault in its methodology is. And if Dong commissioned it, you look at who did the research and published it…

  19. USA has a LOT of uranium. Just expensive to mine.

    Since nuclear power is not really price sensitive to the fuel cost, USA could well be more than self sufficient, if it chose not to import.

    a surprising faux position from an otherwise sane report.

    • You may be correct. There are probably millions of tons of gold in Colorado, but due to regulations the gold is too expensive to mine. The economics of extracting anything these days is dominated by regulatory compliance costs.

    • As you say Leo, nuclear power is not really price sensitive to fuel cost. With Yellow Cake Uranium averaging just over $20 a pound these days, it is probably just easier and cheaper to buy it on a long term contract. At least for now, and depending which way the whole nuclear debate goes with regards to building new nuclear plants. Just last week, one of the largest uranium producers, Cameco in Saskatchewan, temporally shuttered 2 large mines in northern Sask, laying off close to 1000 people. They said they could buy the yellow cake on the market for cheaper than they can mine it for. Too bad the world won’t embrace nuclear and built it smart and safe. If they had 25-30 years ago, we probably wouldn’t have all this fuss with unreliable renewables now.

      • They said they could buy the yellow cake on the market for cheaper than they can mine it for.

        How can western democracies compete with $5/hour labor elsewhere (even for thinking work, which can now be done via the internet)? The difference in cost-of-living is killing many professions in the west and that will lead to loss of capability in-country. Then we’ll really be screwed.

        Sure, eventually rates will rise outside of the west making the west more competitive, but it’ll kill careers, companies and people in the transition period. How long will the transition last? 5 years? 10? 15?

  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

    The Energy returned on energy invested EROEI factor of wind turbines are about 18, in favourable areas up to 70. Including consturction and de-commissioning.

    The EROEI for wind is closer to 4 when energy storage needs are considered. This is below th EROEI of 7 needed “to supply the surplus energy required to support a modern society.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/02/11/eroi-a-tool-to-predict-the-best-energy-mix/

  21. I a mix of Engineers and Politicians doing a tour of a components factory a Politician ( male ) asked what a pipe wrench lying on a workbench was used for ????
    Is there anybody out there that can devise a intelligence test for politicians ????
    Ah, intelligence, politicians, ( don’t sound right. )

  22. I’d say the USA has an awful lot of fissionable products, to use in nuclear power stations. Sitting in thousands of nuclear weapons.

  23. The wind industry has NOT killed 83,000 raptors a year.

    consider there were only 30,000 golden eagles in the US in 2009 and the population has increased since.

    this is a clearly false and unjustified extrapolation from the figures at the handful of sites damaging to birds, like Altamont Pass.

      • “39,000 U.S. wind turbines would not be killing “only” 440,000 birds (USFWS, 2009) or “just” 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats (Smallwood, 2013), but 13-39 million birds and bats every year!”

        which is clearly absurd.

        you check the figures alleged for golden and bald eagle deaths purely in the US agianst population estimates over the last 10 years.

        Altamont (cited) is a single, old design, badly sited wind farm absolutely untypical of anything built since about 1985

    • Very strange response, Griff. I assume you’re re-defining raptors as only being golden eagles. This is an unusual definition – in fact, it may be yours only. In fact, raptors include all the following. I included information about select species and habitats:
      Species Population Habitat
      Hawks Re-Tailed Hawks 1,960,000 North America
      Eagles Bald Eagles 115,000 North America
      Buzzards Common Buzzard 80,000 Britain
      Harriers Hen Harrier 70,000 Europe
      Kites Red Kite 24,000 Germany
      Old World Vultures
      New World Vultures
      Osprey Osprey 300,000 Worldwide
      Secretary Bird
      Falcons Peregrine 300,000 Worldwide
      Forest Falcons Collared Forest Falcon 2,500,000 South America
      Caracaras

      To be clear, this is not a list of all the raptor populations. This was the result of a quick Google search. Birds found in Germany also exist in other countries, but I didn’t bother looking them up.

      I was just curious why you selected the Golden eagle. It is not the most nor least populous raptor. I also would assume that some might include owls in the list, but officially, they are not included under the ‘raptor’ umbrella. But if you use only these numbers, 83,000 is about 1.5% of this total.

      So, your point was….

      • my point is the figures suggested for the US – for example by ‘save the eagles’ are extrapolated from a single worst source and clearly if they were at the levels suggested we would see the effects on raptor populations.

        and we don’t.

    • Griff: Raptors include Eagles,,Falcons, Ospreys, Kites, Owls, Hawks,and several more species. I suggest you look at the Wikipedia article re: Birds of Prey.

      • greym: I’ve looked at such figures as there are for all US species from hawks and vultures through kites and kestrel and ospreys.

        I just use eagles as an example.

        Clearly if 83,000 birds across the range of raptor species were being killed by wind turbines, we would see a very sharp decline. And we don’t.

  24. As usual the discussion is more scientifically educational than the article. Thanks to all.
    Two points from me: Heartland must be credited with developing another much needed and valuable conference. They spend lots of money on these events and rarely break even. Thanks Heartland.
    Second, as usual there was absolutely no media coverage of these event that I saw while I was exposed to continuous coverage of the climate frenzy conference in Europe. Darn it.

  25. “A Tesla requires 16.6 kWh to travel 50 miles according to the Tesla website, this represents 33 pounds of CO2. He then found that driving a 35 mpg Honda Accord would produce only 28 pounds of CO2 to drive the same distance. If CO2 production is a priority, the Honda Accord is the obvious choice.”

    Well …

    The majority of people spending roughly $70-$150k on a Tesla Model S will not drive a Honda Accord. It is cheap, not a status symbol and not particularly luxurious or high performance. To be fair we really should compare the Model S with a truly comparable car like the Mercedes CLS550. The CLS550 goes for roughly $85k in the most common configuration and gets very close to the performance figures of a Model S of the same price.

    According to my calculations(*) the CLS550 emits about 48 pounds of CO2 every 50 miles. So if you compare like with like, you’ll get significantly better environmental impact with the Tesla than the CLS.

    Now, I’m quite sure that everything said about the viability of fossil fuel energy versus renewables is accurate. However, when I did the calculations a year or so back, I discovered that in Florida and other states with reasonably sane energy policies (empathetically NOT California!), it’s significantly cheaper to power a Tesla via utility power than pay for gasoline at the pump.

    So a Tesla is still an excellent choice if you are staying close to home or are willing to break your trip into roughly 250 miles chunks to accommodate supercharging.

    (*) I used two formulae to approximate the difference. In one I just assumed that I could multiply the Accord’s 35mpg by the CLS’s 22 (observed using my own 2014 model). I got a figure of 44 pounds. I found a website with actual CO2 figures for the CLS which gave me a figure of 48 pounds when I did the calculation. Because those figures are so similar I don’t think I made any major errors in the units, etc. I used the figure for the CLS500 since there was none for the CLS550. I think the 550 is the US version. https://www.carleasingmadesimple.com/data/mercedes-benz/cls/co2-emissions/

    • “David H Dennis November 12, 2017 at 10:01 am”

      The issue is CO2 emissions. So if Tesla drivers were worried about CO2 emissions, they would drive the Honda. Clearly they are not and are simply virtue signalling.

  26. Actually there are no surprises in this report — mostly welcome reinforcing confirmation of what we already know, or what we’re pretty sure is known. The lasting problem is Heartland’s relationship to the Kochs, who’ve been very effectively neutralized by a colossal anti-Koch (need I say ‘desperate’?) PR campaign waged by the ‘greens’. The conference is money well-spent but the same factual information needs to be dispensed by many other sources as well, or we’re not going to get very far past just ‘making ourselves feel good’.

    • do the Kochs have a vested interest in the continued use of fossil fuels? a considerable monetary interest?

      I think they do.

      I don’t think they fund climate related things out of a desire for scientfiic truth ?

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