From The WSJ:
The media are saying that the 113th Congress is on track to be "the least productive" on record—as if that's bad for the country. Let's hope gridlock lasts long enough to kill the crony capitalist special known as the wind production tax credit.
This subsidy that was supposed to be temporary is now 20 years old, providing a taxpayer gift to wind companies of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The handout would cost $18 billion over the next five years. The good news is that it is due to expire on December 31 unless Congress acts to extend it, so House Republicans can accomplish something for taxpayers by doing nothing.
With more than 60,000 megawatts of generation in the U.S. and utility-scale projects in 39 states, wind-power producers are no longer an "infant industry." The Department of Energy says that wind power made up 43% of all newly constructed generation in 2012, surpassing even natural gas.
Much of this production is due to the tax credit, which is so generous relative to the wholesale price of electricity that it is distorting energy investment. The handout brings the cost of wind production to nearly zero, which means wind producers are at times paying grid operators to take their wind electricity. This is discouraging investment in other forms of energy, especially in the natural-gas electric generation that is required to back up intermittent wind production—and to keep the lights on as the Obama Administration tries to kill coal-fired power.
The subsidy has become a giant wealth transfer to a few lucky states in the Midwest. A recent study by the Institute for Energy Research found that the top 10 wind-subsidy taking states—including Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois and Minnesota—received 72% of the subsidy transfer in 2012. Taxpayers in 30 states and the District of Columbia were net losers, paying more to support wind subsidies than wind producers in their states received in tax credits.
Facebook popped afterhours on the announcement it was added to the S&P 500 and the S&P 100. I own a bit of that but wouldn't touch Twitter at these levels.
USEC is half-way to my modest $9 target from my $8 cost basis. The fact that it wasn't down more on today's market selloff was encouraging. Some leaked bad news about Silex would be welcome here. Maybe we could start a rumor....
Oopsie. About a million liters of radioactive acid sludge accidentally poured out of a tank at the Ranger uranium mine in northern Australia. As if the spill itself weren't bad enough, the mine is also located in the Kakadu National Park, where most of Crocodile Dundee was filmed. That place is a national treasure.
Luckily, this catastrophic-sounding event might be resolved without too much destruction. The people who run the mine say they can clean up the mess easily and there's been "no impact to the environment," because the spill was confined to the mine. Whether or not this is actually true remains to be seen, as the radioactive acid sludge is strong enough to damage the local ecosystem if it makes it into the nearby water supply. Again, this would be bad since this mine is sitting smack dab in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What's a toxic uranium mine doing in the middle of a national park full of indigenous Australians and elegant wildlife, you might ask? The Green Party in Australia has no idea and has been trying to get the mine closed for years. However, the mine owners argue that the giant vat of radioactive sludge they've dug in the middle of the wilderness isn't technically part of the Kakadu National Park. Nevermind the fact that an estimated 100,000 liters of contaminated water leak from the mine into the ground on a daily basis, according to a 2009 government report, and that spills like this most recent one actually happen pretty often.
Yet the mine owners maintain it's all safe: it's just a radioactive uranium mine prone to leaks and spills in the middle of a national park. What could go wrong? [New Scientist]
From Wa Times review of “Stimulating Green Electric Dreams” which examines the link between taxpayer-funded subsidies and the bureaucrats who decide where to spread the money. There is no free market for intermittent power sources such as solar and wind that stop functioning at sundown or when the breeze stops. In its quest to create something that is inherently unsustainable, government will prefer to hand taxpayer cash to lobbyists, investors and political contributors rather than to entities trying to succeed on their own merit. It’s a recipe for cronyism.
During his last re-election campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bragged about securing money for solar and geothermal projects in his state of Nevada. Backers of the project also happened to be major contributors to Mr. Reid’s campaign. Intended or not, this sends the message that friends of Harry will be rewarded at taxpayer expense.
The rewards are substantial. Al Gore and former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson were stakeholders in a company called Abengoa, which spent $1.6 million on well-connected lobbyists to obtain a $2.8 BILLION federal loan. SoloPower, according to a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report, obtained a loan guarantee from the federal trough by trading on its connection to the Democratic National Committee’s 2008 “Obama Victory Fund.”
Rather than make choices to do what’s right for the nation, most politicians are focused on what’s best for the next election cycle. As such, the best way to implement campaign-finance reform wouldn’t be an unconstitutional scheme to limit the ability of Americans to participate in the political process. Instead, the most prudent and effective reform would cut off access to the federal spending spigot. Special interests won’t ply politicians with campaign contributions or hire high-priced lobbyists if they aren’t going to get anything in return.
From an Energy Blog:
Retired NASA climate alarmist James Hansen recently wrote an op-ed on the climate, and, as one might expect, his "insights" are profound. Specifically, he combines climate alarmism with shoddy constitutional scholarship when he writes in support of a lawsuit filed by young people against the federal government claiming "a constitutional right to a safe climate." They allege that they're being deprived of their right to a planet that supports life and want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to rule accordingly.
Hansen says, "It is correctly a legal argument, but it relates to a fundamental moral question." He claims that we "know without a doubt" that humans have cause global warming. "More than simply listing calamitous threats," he then laughably asserts, "we wanted to jump-start the discussion of how the world can take significant action. Now."
Of course, Hansen and his ilk never propose anything but heavy-handed government intervention and regulation -- punitive measures that hamstring the economy and achieve no measurable goal when it comes to man-made climate change. We hope the lawsuit gets laughed out of court before these naive young people get the economy they deserve but the rest of us want to avoid.
The stock dipped to $7.53 today, which would have been an amazing buy. By the time I logged in it was back to $8. Currently it's $8.32 which is a 4% profit.
The biggest headwind to the stock is the amount of people who bought at much higher prices and will be selling if they get their money back.
The NY Times article didn't really change anything, but it did raise the company's visability and some new shorts took advantage of it.
Today, I'm in it for the trade and will probably bail if it drops much below $8
What's your cost basis?
How much of your portfolio is USEC?
I don't think it will see $20 any time soon. Even if the ACP is a success, it's not the only game in town anymore.
I bought some today for $8 with a very modest price target of $9.
USEC has some severe challenges facing it, but today's initial drop was partly an attempt to panic weak longs. USEC is a very volatile stock.
USEC, which handles the American end of the Megatons to Megawatts deal, is asking the Energy Department for a $2 billion loan guarantee to commercialize the technology, which it is testing in Piketon, Ohio. For now, the department has given USEC a series of short-range performance targets that the agency calls “necessary but not sufficient” to get the loan guarantee. USEC must pass the next set of such performance reviews this month.
In a paper published Tuesday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, two prominent nuclear analysts, George David Banks and Michael Wallace, argue that with the growing concern over global warming, the use of nuclear power is certain to grow and the United States should have a native technology for making fuel and for disposing of it. That would allow the United States to supply fuel to developing nations for their nuclear reactors and take it back afterward, making sure that the countries use it to produce electricity and not bombs. “The lack of policy on the front and back end in the fuel cycle will really come back and bite us on the proliferation agenda,” Mr. Banks said in an interview.
If the United States gets out of the business of enriching uranium, there is little hope that it will be able to influence other countries’ policies, Mr. Banks and Mr. Wallace argue. And the end of the Megatons to Megawatts program could create an opening for a new supplier, experts say, although Russia will continue to ship low-enriched uranium to the United States.
There are private competitors too. G.E., which has substantially more nuclear experience and resources than USEC, is seeking to license an enrichment system that uses lasers instead of centrifuges. It is based on Australian technology and thus could not be used for fuel in a plant that makes tritium for weapons, according to G.E.
Some experts question whether the ability to enrich uranium will enhance American influence over places like Iran:.
This may be what is moving the stock:
Ebb in Uranium Enrichment in U.S. Raises Questions About Nuclear Policy
WASHINGTON — Energy Department officials will shake hands and exchange congratulations with Russian representatives at a Port of Baltimore dockside ceremony on Tuesday as a freighter from St. Petersburg is to arrive with the final shipment of enriched uranium that was once intended for Soviet warheads. The uranium will be turned into fuel for American power reactors, completing a 20-year program, called Megatons to Megawatts, that has eliminated enough highly enriched uranium to fuel about 19,000 warheads.
But amid the good cheer and talk of mutual cooperation, the United States’ policy on uranium enrichment — the same technology that is at the heart of the dispute with Iran — is a point of contention here, too, for much the same reason: the ambiguous overlap between the technology’s military and civilian use.
In the Middle East, the issue is why Iran has been producing enriched uranium in excess of its civilian needs. When further enriched, it can be used as bomb fuel.
The United States does not need enrichment to make any new nuclear weapons, because it already has thousands of them. But the United States could lose the ability to maintain its nuclear arsenal, many experts say, because its nuclear infrastructure is withering. The last American factory for enriching uranium that used American technology closed in May. It was a victim, after 60 years, of changing technologies and economics — some of it resulting from the Megatons to Megawatts program, which provided the enrichment needs for half of the civilian nuclear industry.
That plant was operated by USEC, a private company in Bethesda, Md. Now, USEC, with extensive government support, is developing a new kind of centrifuge that would have a military role by making low-enriched fuel for a Tennessee Valley Authority civilian reactor that produces a component of nuclear weapons.
USEC, which was form
Temperature estimates relative to today from over 800,000 years from the EPICA ice cores in Antarctica show that both the temperature today and the increase in temperature since the last ice age are well within normal variations. The most recent data available from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (May, 2013) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, and "globally", demonstrates current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are 399.77, and 396.72 ppm, respectively. Thus at essentially the same CO2 concentrations as those determined from ~3.5 million years earlier, and in the absence of "anthropogenic" CO2 production any where comparable to what it is now, Arctic temperatures then were ~8 degrees C warmer than at present.
Don't forget, many prominent Warmists such as Nasa's Michael Mann actively falsified data. Mann is most famous for the falacious "hockey stick" graph which has been thoroughly discredited. Global Warming has become a religion and has adopted religious trappings, even to the point of Teue Believers labeling their opponents "deniers"., as if scientific enquiry did not rely on constantly challenging your hypothesis to see if it adequately explains the data.
Since you were unaware that CO2 levels are increasing, doesn't that call into queestion the information sources you point to?
You have been propagandized to believe tha Arctic is now ice-free and you believe it, even though Arctic ice levels are surging.
Churchville, VA—The naïve advice of ardent activists can kill. Last spring, Paul Beckwith of Sierra Club Canada predicted that the Arctic seas would be ice-free ice this summer. (So did Britain’s BBC network.) This exciting adventure opportunity attracted a variety of yachts, sailboats, rowboats, and kayaks owners to try sailing the fabled Northwest Passage.
As a former sailboat owner I can understand their excitement, but my heart aches for the agonies they now face. The Arctic sea ice suddenly expanded 60% this fall, after the coldest summer in the modern Alaska temperature record. The passage is now impassable. More than a dozen of the boats are trapped, apparently even including a group of tiny American jet-ski “personal watercraft” that were attempting to cross from the east coast of Russia to the North Atlantic. Arctic observers are now warning that even Canadian icebreakers might not be able to rescue them.
It seems like our foreign policy is being made up as we go along and the only guiding principle is "Anything the previous Administration approved of must be wrong".
From the WSJ: Mr. Obama has now committed the U.S. to another major project: slowing or ending (it's hard to tell which exactly) Iran's nuclear-bomb program. Here Mr. Obama decided he would largely dismantle the economic sanctions regime against Iran. This was an international red line painstakingly assembled over 10 years. It was working. Three days before Mr. Obama announced the interim deal, the National Iranian Gas Co. declared bankruptcy.
Rather than let the mullahs deal with the rising stress of economic disintegration, Mr. Obama replaced the sanctions with his own negotiating red line: a six-month moratorium, which is "reversible."
The U.S.'s postwar system of foreign alliances is cracking, or even collapsing.
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally since the 1930s, is now openly derisive of the president. Egypt's military government just announced an era of "historic strategic relations" with Russia. Israel calls the Iran initiative a "historic mistake." What all these American allies have in common is that their insurance agreements with the U.S. have been canceled. But no worries; it'll be replaced with something "better."
Google the phrase "Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" and you will see that NOAA reports that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are increasing. In October 1998 (when global temperatures stopped going up) it was 370 ppm in October 2013 it was 398 ppm
Note: ppm is one of those chemistry terms. you better Google that too
Editorial from NY Post:
The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way.
Warmist claims of a severe increase in hurricane activity go back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The cover of Al Gore’s 2009 book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” even features a satellite image of the globe with four major hurricanes superimposed.
Yet the evidence to the contrary was there all along. Back in 2005 I and others reviewed the entire hurricane record, which goes back over a century, and found no increase of any kind. Yes, we sometimes get bad storms — but no more frequently now than in the past. The advocates simply ignored that evidence — then repeated their false claims after Hurricane Sandy last year.
And the media play along. For example, it somehow wasn’t front-page news that committed believers in man-made global warming recently admitted there’s been no surface global warming for well over a decade and maybe none for decades more. Nor did we see warmists conceding that their explanation is essentially a confession that the previous warming may not have been man-made at all.
That admission came in a new paper by prominent warmists in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics. They not only conceded that average global surface temperatures stopped warming a full 15 years ago, but that this “pause” could extend into the 2030s.
Mind you, the term “pause” is misleading in the extreme: Unless and until it resumes again, it’s just a “stop.” You don’t say a bullet-ridden body “paused” breathing.
Remarkably, that stoppage has practically been a state secret. Just five years ago, the head of the International Panel on Climate Change, told Congress the Planet has a fever.
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country's nuclear safety director said.
The highly radioactive material had been removed from its container, officials said, and one predicted that anyone involved in opening the box could be in grave danger of dying within days.
The cobalt-60 was left in a rural area about a kilometer (a half a mile) from Hueypoxtla, an agricultural town of about 4,000 people, but it posed no threat or a need for an evacuation, said Juan Eibenschutz, director general of the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards.
"Fortunately there are no people where the source of radioactivity is," Eibenschutz said.
Commission physicist Mardonio Jimenez said it was the first time cobalt-60 had been stolen and extracted from its container. The only threat was to whoever opened the box and later discarded the pellets of high-intensity radioactive material that was being transported to a waste site. It had been used in medical equipment for radiation therapy.
"The person or people who this took out are in very great risk of dying," Jimenez said, adding that the normal survival rate would be between one and three days.
I think the Iranians know what they're doing. I worry that our side can't say the same.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, a majority of Americans believe the United States is less important around the world and that it should mind its own business, a stunning rejection of President Obama’s foreign policy just four years after he received the Nobel Prize.
A new Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of people believe that the U.S. is playing a less important role as a world leader than a decade ago, the highest figure since 1984.
Worse: 70 percent said that the U.S. is respected less than in the past, almost matching the high reached under former President George W. Bush, whose foreign policy Obama pledged to reverse.
Other key highlights from Pew’s release:
— By a 56 percent to 34 percent margin, more disapprove than approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy. The public also disapproves of his handling of Syria, Iran, China and Afghanistan by wide margins.
— For the first time, 52 percent believe the U.S. should “mind its own business internationally.”
— Some 51 percent said the U.S. does too much in helping solve world problems.
— Most say the U.S. should engage internationally on economic issues. Fully 77 percent say that growing trade and business ties between the U.S. and other countries is good.
— Just 31 percent of the public say the war in Afghanistan has made the country safer from terrorism.
Another foreign policy disaster?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to “forge ahead” with Iran’s nuclear enrichment program over the weekend and announced the upcoming construction of a second nuclear reactor in the province of Bushehr.
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant came online in 2011 and is operated with the assistance of the Russians. Rouhani said that a second reactor would be built in the near future.
“Based on our estimates, the second nuclear power plant will be built in the same province and I hope that we can use the facilities of this province,” Rouhani said according to Iran’s state run Fars News Agency.
The nuclear announcement came just a day after Rouhani promised to continue the country’s controversial uranium enrichment program, stating that Iran’s “enrichment will never stop and this is our redline.”
Rouhani’s remarks come as the United States and other Western nations struggle to finalize the details of a recently signed accord that Tehran says will allow it to continue some of its most contested nuclear activities.
“Enrichment, which is one part of our nuclear right, will continue, it is continuing today, and it will continue tomorrow and our enrichment will never stop and this is our redline,” Rouhani was quoted as saying on Iran’s state-run television.
Despite a clause in the accord stipulating that Iran must freeze its program for six months and limit enrichment to a level of 3.5 percent, Rouhani said that the “uranium enrichment operation depends on the country’s nuclear facilities’ needs.”
Rouhani praised the Bushehr nuclear plant, which is not covered under the recently unveiled nuclear deal, in separate remarks over the weekend.
“Our first nuclear power plant is active in the [Bushehr] province which will develop, God willing,” Rouhani said during a Saturday evening speech in Bushehr.
Mossad has teamed up with Saudi Arabian computer experts to develop a malware worm far more destructive than Stuxnet. The aim is to target the Iranian nuclear program.
A source close to the Iranian Fars news agency has reported:
“Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides’ cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program,” (source)
The problem with computer viruses is that they rarely end up staying with the initial target. Like human viruses, they always seem to find a way out and the infection spreads rapidly to others…in this case other computers that may not even be located in Iran.
The question has to be asked, if the virus did get into other computers what the effect would be? Would it for example, have an effect on nuclear facilities in the United States? Could we find ourselves having an unexpected meltdown at one of our plants?
With increasing tensions between the United States and Israel, trying to talk Netanyahu out of such a thing would most likely be futile. The Israeli prime minister has made it quite clear he will do whatever he sees fit to prevent the Iranians from enriching uranium. Unlike most politicians, it appears that on this occasion, at least, he is a man of his word.
Proving hypocracy has no specific party affiliation...
Iowa Republicans Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Chuck Grassley, and Rep. Steve King are up in arms over the EPA's decision to roll back ethanol-to-gas volumes because ethanol producers have reached a blending wall in production. The trio -- who are ostensibly against government subsidies except in cases where it helps them -- have threatened legal action against the EPA because they believe the agency doesn't have the authority to arbitrarily reduce the amount of ethanol in gasoline. According to their logic, though, the EPA does have the authority to arbitrarily raise the amount.
These men who call themselves Republicans claim they are fighting for jobs in their state, but they have grown grossly overdependent on ethanol. Despite years of production, the product has never gained widespread use. Automobile manufacturers believe it may actually be harmful to engines, and recent studies have shown that it is wreaking havoc on the environment as well. Five million acres of land that has been set aside for conservation has been converted to grow corn to make ethanol, leading to the filling-in of wetlands and the dumping of billions of pounds of fertilizers that have seeped into drinking water. Corn prices have skyrocketed because so much of the crop is used for ethanol production, leading to an inflation of food prices as corn is used in the manufacturing of most processed foods. And ethanol has not led to a softening of gas prices in the U.S., which was another claim that producers used to popularize the additive.
Even with all these strikes against it, ethanol remains politically popular. No member of Congress with a farmer in their state dare speak out against it. And since Iowa is America's ethanol capital, every single person who runs for president also supports it because Iowa is the state that always kicks off the race for the White House.
Today’s WSJ takes a look at yet another example of the realities of renewables, as the plug has been pulled on what would’ve been the world’s largest offshore wind farm:
LONDON—A major European utility said Tuesday it would scrap a wind farm that was due to become the largest offshore wind project ever built, a sign of the struggles the industry is having in attracting investment.
The Atlantic Array, in the Bristol Channel off the west coast of England, could have generated up to 1,200 megawatts of electricity, almost twice as much as the largest farm operating in U.K. waters. But RWE said that continuing with the project faced problems that were “prohibitive in current market conditions.”
RWE’s decision highlights the central difficulty in achieving Europe’s wind targets. Huge projects are planned, but few investors are willing to stake the billions needed to build them in an environment where government subsidies are essential but uncertain and costs can skyrocket.
Catch that? Government handouts “are essential” to the viability of this project, as they are for the wind industry as a whole.