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.
From the WSJ:
The Justice Department announced late last week that a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company's wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was a long-overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.
As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal cime to kill federally protected birds .
This does not bode well for the future of "green" energy projects.
The new material has not yet been fabricated but has been christened “stanene”, a combination of the Latin word for tin (stannum) and the suffix found in the word graphene.
Stanene was discovered by researchers from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University and could revolutionize computing by replacing the copper wires still used in modern computer chips.
"Stanene could increase the speed and lower the power needs of future generations of computer chips, if our prediction is confirmed by experiments that are underway in several laboratories around the world," Shoucheng Zhang told Phys.org, a physics professor at Stanford and a team leader on the project.
Up until now we've relied on copper to relay electricity in various forms, and for good reason. As well as being cheap and ductile (this means it can be easily drawn into strips) copper is also very conductive.
However, modern computer chips deploy the metal on a scale that would be unimaginable to past generations. Technology site Extremetech has noted that in a modern chip the size of your thumbnail there can be up to sixty miles of copper wiring, with some of the strands just atoms thick.
At this point scientists are pushing the limits of the material, channelling so much electricity through it that the material's electrical resistance causes the wires to heats, potentially setting it on fire. If stanene fulfils on scientists’ promises then chips could get smaller and faster without running this risk of overheating.
Louisiana Energy Services has an enrichment plant in New Mexico.
In November 2008, Louisiana Energy Services (LES) announced plans to expand its $3 billion National Enrichment Facility (NEF)—now known as URENCO USA (UUSA)—in Eunice, NM, to 5.9 million separative work units (SWU) from 3 million SWU in order to meet the increased demands on its enriched uranium business. As a gas centrifuge enrichment facility, the NEF is designed to enrich uranium from a natural 0.7% isotopic concentration of uranium-235 (U-235) to approximately 4%–5%. This enriched uranium is needed in the manufacture of fuel rods and assemblies used in commercial nuclear power plants.
Also, GE is building a laser enrichment plant.
From the WA Times:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week ordered the Energy Department to stop charging nuclear-power firms $750 million in annual fees to pay for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in the wilderness of Nevada. Though more than $12 billion has been spent building the site, the administration has decided not to use it, in deference to the senior senator from Las Vegas and his decree of “not in my backyard.” The court said the administration had failed to present a convincing argument for further collection of the fees, and attempting to use “the old razzle-dazzle” obscures the fact that the government has no plan to spend the money.
Laurence H. Silberman, the senior judge, wrote that the government “cannot renounce Yucca Mountain and then reasonably use its costs as a proxy” for continued collection of fees for the Nuclear Waste Fund. After 30 years of fees and interest, the fund is brimming with nearly $30 billion, while the storage site, an enormous hole in a desert mountainside, remains empty. “The government was hoist on its own petard,” Judge Silberman said.
The appeals court had ruled in August that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been in breach of federal law for its refusal to complete a final review of the Yucca Mountain site. Like a naughty child fearing a scolding, the commission restarted the review process the day before the court slapped down the Energy Department for its dodgy fee-collection scheme.
The Obama administration has spent five years playing a game of claiming to back nuclear energy in principle while blocking it in practice. As the delaying tactics continued to waste money, the Energy Department deployed a blue-ribbon panel to recommend alternative storage solutions. The result was a report in 2012 that recommended building a new storage dump in a community somewhere — anywhere — that agrees to be the next host. So far, no takers.
I hadn't heard this before:
It turns out that when constructing the Daiichi nuclear power plant at Fukushima over 40 years ago, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) made one bad decision that resulted in the meltdown of three reactors after the earthquake and tsunami that struck the prefecture in 2011.
Official documents filed with Japanese authorities in 1967, show that when working on the construction of the new nuclear power plant, Tepco decided to reduce the natural, 35-metre seawall to just ten metres in height. A decision that left the facility vulnerable to the 14-15 metre tsunami that struck in March 2011.
When making the decision it had been agreed that typhoons, at no more than eight metres in height, were the biggest threat, and therefore leaving a ten metre seawall would be sufficient protection. “Most large waves in this coastal area are the product of strong winds and low pressure weather patterns, such as Typhoon No. 28 in February of 1960, which produced peak waves measured at 7.94 meters.”
Masatoshi Toyota, an 88 year old, former executive at Tepco who was part of the decision making team back in 1967, explained that the decision was made based on two lines of reason. One, that reducing the cliff by 25 metres would make it much easier to deliver heavy equipment to the site, which was mostly delivered by sea; and two, that it was much easier to access sea water to cool the reactors from 10 metres above sea level, compared to 35 metres.
Mr. Toyota spoke to the Wall Street Journal to say that “it would have been a very difficult and major engineering task to lift all that equipment up over the cliff. For similar reasons, we figured it would have been a major endeavor to pump up seawater from a plateau 35 meters above sea level.”
In the short term it's good for the stock market in general because it lowers the cost of oil.
In the intermediate term it may hurt USU by increasing the world supply of enriched uraniumj if Iran begins exporting.
In the long term it greatly increases the threat of nuclear war by greatly increasing the threat and adding one more highly unstable nuclear-armed player to an unstable part of the world.
Technical analysis breaks down in the face of exogenous events. USEC is moving on the financing news. There's an old saying "buy the rumor, sell the news" which is why the stock faded from it's opening pop today. Now it will be looking for a new equilibrium price. It's hard to predict where that will be. Ask yourself what will be the next news item?
The hunger strike by Philippine negotiator Yeb Sano over Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda has been the most dramatic moment of these negotiations. Climate campaigners have seized upon the Philippines typhoon as a rationale for supporting the proposed UN global warming treaty.
While we continue to encourage donations and humanitarian assistance to the Philippines and others in need, “loss and damage” is nothing more than a bid by developing nations to reap a tremendous redistribution windfall.
As Marc Morano of Climate Depot said at CFACT’s UN press briefing yesterday, “Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda was not the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines in recent history… it was the seventh worst.”
While climate pressure groups continue to attribute the typhoon to man-made global warming, there is no scientific or historical basis for that claim. Neither pro-warming scientists nor those who question warming accept the connection. However, campaigners and delegates from developing nations at COP 19 are asserting the typhoon-warming link as fact.
Shorts get boned again!
Item 1.01 Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement.
On November 20, 2013, USEC Inc. ("USEC" or the "Company") and its subsidiary American Centrifuge Demonstration, LLC ("ACD") entered into Amendment No. 010 (the "Amendment") to the cooperative agreement dated June 12, 2012 between the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") and USEC and ACD for the research, development and demonstration ("RD&D") program for the American Centrifuge project. The Amendment amends the cooperative agreement to provide for additional government obligated funds of $15.7 million, bringing total government obligated funding to $256.9 million. The Amendment also extends the current funding period and end date of the program until January 15, 2014, enabling continued work to be performed under the cooperative agreement through January 15, 2014. The other terms and conditions, including the milestones and performance indicators under the RD&D program were not changed by the Amendment. USEC continues to expect to meet the remaining three RD&D program technical milestones during December 2013.
The cooperative agreement provides funding for a cost-share RD&D program to demonstrate the American Centrifuge technology through the construction and operation of a commercial demonstration cascade of 120 centrifuge machines and sustain the domestic U.S. centrifuge technical and industrial base for national security purposes and potential commercialization of the American Centrifuge technology. The cooperative agreement, as amended by the Amendment, provides for 80% DOE and 20% USEC cost sharing for work performed during the period June 1, 2012 through January 15, 2014. DOE's contribution has been incrementally funded.
The world's poorest countries walked out of the Warsaw climate conference because rich countries refuse to discuss "compensation" for "extreme weather events" until after 2015.
Developing countries have demanded that a new UN institution be set up to oversee compensation but rich countries have been dismissive, blocking calls for a full debate in the climate talks.
"The EU understands that the issue is incredibly important for developing countries. But they should be careful about ... creating a new institution. This is not [what] this process needs," said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner.
She ruled out their most important demand, insisting: "We cannot have a system where we have automatic compensation when severe events happen around the world. That is not feasible."
My Comment: Having accepted Al Gore's claim that Hurricane Sandy was caused entirely by Global Warming, we can now be blamed for droughts, floods, and hurricanes the world over! Crazy.
Environment and development groups are protesting at slow speed and lack of ambition of Warsaw negotiations
Environment and development groups together with young people, trade unions and social movements have walked out of the UN climate talks on Thursday in protest at what they say is the slow speed and lack of ambition of the negotiations in Warsaw.
Wearing T-shirts reading “Volverermos” ["We will return"] around 800 people from organisations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union conferation and ActionAid, handed back their registration badges to the UN and left Poland’s National Stadium where the talks are being held.
“Movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. This will be the first time ever that there has been a mass withdrawal from a COP,” said a WWF spokesman.
“Warsaw, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. We feel that governments have given up on the process,” he said.
My Observation: If the pseudo-environmentalists are upset, the climate talks aren't as bad as feared! :^)
Via The Hill:
The White House is threatening to veto House GOP bills that would thwart Interior Department hydraulic fracturing rules and force regulators to speed up oil-and-gas drilling permits.
In a pair of statements Tuesday morning, the White House slammed two GOP energy bills slated for votes this week, arguing that they would dismantle important environmental protections.
The bill to block planned Interior Department regulation of the oil-and-gas extraction technique dubbed “fracking” would prevent Interior from ensuring that it occurs in a “safe and responsible manner,” the White House said.
“The bill, as reported, would undermine these efforts and instead require [Interior’s Bureau of Land Management] to defer to existing State regulations on hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands, regardless of the quality or comprehensiveness of the State regulations – thereby preventing consistent environmental protections,” the White House said of the bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas).
Interior is preparing rules, which would apply to fracking that occurs on federal and Indian lands, that force disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process and create standards around well integrity and management of so-called flowback water.
A second and broader bill on the floor this week would set new deadlines for issuing drilling permits; set a floor on the amount of land offered for oil-and-gas leases; and charge activists thousands of dollars in fees to lodge formal protests of leases and permits, among other provisions.
“[The bill] would reverse Administration oil and gas leasing reforms that have established orderly, open, efficient, and environmentally sound processes for energy development on public lands. Specifically, this bill would favor an arbitrary standard for leasing in open areas over leasing on the basis of greatest resource potential; limit the public’s opportunity to engage in decisions about the use of public lands, etc, etc, etc.
The decades-long run of environmentalists cloaked in holy righteousness is coming to an end, as the cost of their prescriptions comes due, while the fraud underlying the man-made global warming becomes obvious to all. France 24 reports:
At least 2,000 freight trucks blocked major highways across France on Saturday in a protest calling for the cancellation of an environmental tax on heavy loads. The protest comes despite government promises to suspend the so-called ecotax. (snip)
Protests over the "ecotax" on trucks, which aims to encourage environmentally friendly commercial transport, kicked off in earnest last month in the northwestern region of Brittany and eventually forced the government to backtrack and suspend the levy.
Despite the government's climbdown, protesters have continue to demonstrate for the complete scrapping of the tax, mostly in Brittany but also in other parts of the country.
Japan’s decision to drastically scale back its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions could hurt efforts to craft a global deal to fight climate change, delegates at U.N. talks said Friday.
The new target approved by the Japanese Cabinet calls for reducing emissions by 3.8 percent from their 2005 level by 2020.
The revision was necessary because the earlier goal of a 25 percent reduction from the 1990 level was unrealistic, the chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters in Tokyo.
The new target represents a 3 percent increase over 1990 emissions.
Given Japan’s status as the world’s third largest economy and fifth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the decision to back away from the more ambitious target could be a significant setback for efforts to reach a new global climate agreement in 2015.
I think we’re seeing the beginning of a movement where countries/people openly state they believe climate change is real, but it’s not a catastrophe. Plus since Japan is not currently pro-nuclear, it has no real way to cut back on CO2. Even if it goes to 100% electric cars, the electricity has to come from somewhere.
Some good news on the Energy front:
The Environmental Protection Agency dealt a blow to biofuels producers Friday with the release of a proposal for the 2014 renewable-fuel standard revising the total renewable volume obligations downward for the first time.
The 2014 mandate proposes a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons of biofuels to be added to the U.S. fuel supply next year, with a recommended target of 15.21 billion gallons within that range.
The target number, if it becomes law, would be a reduction of nearly 3 billion gallons relative to the statutory requirement for 2014 of 18.15 billion gallons.
It also proposes a range of 2 billion to 2.51 billion gallons of advanced biofuels with a recommended target of 2.2 billion gallons. The range falls below the proposed target of 3.75 billion gallons under the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.
On a call with reporters Friday morning, a senior administration official cited the blend wall, or the point at which ethanol exceeds 10 percent of the total fuel supply, as one of the principal reasons the agency decided to lower the mandate.
"The blend wall is an issue of particular interest in determining this year's standard because production of renewable fuels continues to increase but overall gasoline consumption continues to be less than what Congress anticipated when the program was established in 2007," the official commented, adding: "While under the law volumes of renewable fuel are set to increase each year this unanticipated reduction in fuel consumption brings us to a point where the realities of the fuel market must be addressed to properly implement the program."
The oil and gas industry has long warned that blending ethanol at levels above 10 percent of the total gasoline supply could damage car engines. Biofuels producers, however, have dismissed these claims as an attempt by the industry to weaken the standard.
TVA to close eight coal-fired power plants. The Tennessee Valley Authority intends to shut eight coal-fired power stations in Alabama and Kentucky as part of a 2011 agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to retire 18 such facilities by 2018. While expected, the TVA's move is a further blow to the coal industry as it struggles to cope with stricter environmental regulations and low natural-gas prices. The TVA is also reviewing some of its other coal facilities.
A less-than-flattering peek inside the Obama White House in today’s Politico. Check out how they treated Nobel-winner Secretary Chu:
In April 2009, Chu joined Obama’s entourage for one of the administration’s first overseas trips, to Trinidad and Tobago for a Summit of the Americas focused on economic development. Chu was not scheduled to address the media, but reporters kept bugging Josh Earnest, a young staffer, who sheepishly approached his boss, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, with the ask. “No way,” Gibbs told him.
“Come on,” Earnest said. “The guy came all the way down here. Why don’t we just have him talk about all the stuff he’s doing?”
Gibbs reluctantly assented. Then Chu took the podium to tell the tiny island nation that it might soon, sorry to say, be underwater—which not only insulted the good people of Trinidad and Tobago but also raised the climate issue at a time when the White House wanted the economy, and the economy only, on the front burner. “I think the Caribbean countries face rising oceans, and they face increase in the severity of hurricanes,” Chu said. “This is something that is very, very scary to all of us. … The island states … some of them will disappear.”
Earnest slunk backstage. “OK, we’ll never do that again,” he said as Gibbs glared. A phone rang. It was White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel calling Messina to snarl, “If you don’t kill [Chu], I’m going to.”
As Air Force One headed back to Washington, Messina found Chu—who has “no recollection” of this exchange, a person close to him says—sitting at the long table in the plane’s conference room. “What did you say?” Messina demanded, according to a witness. “What were you thinking?” he yelled. “And how, exactly, was this [f*****g] on message?”
USEC is not the only uranium play moving this week. URRE went from $2.45 to $2.90 based on a financing deal
Uranium Resources says executed pact to provide backstop financing through 2014
The company said, "Our near-term priority has been to address our liquidity and we have executed a non-binding agreement with our largest shareholder to provide backstop financing through 2014. We appreciate the support shown for URI by Resource Capital Funds in this funding. Further, we are on track with our cost containment efforts, have gained efficiencies with our consolidated operations and are advancing toward our near-term and mid-term objectives. We have also made substantial progress on our restoration activities and the rehabilitation of the Kingsville Dome holding pond. Once finished, this work will further reduce our future cash requirements." Cash at September 30 was $2.0M, compared with $5.3M at the end of Q2. During Q3, URI average expenditures per month had decreased to $1.1M, the company said.