U.S. Battery, Plug-in Car Push Costs Exceed Rewards, New Study Says
U.S. government incentives to spur a market for battery-powered autos aren’t a cost-effective way to cut oil use and tailpipe emissions compared with boosting sales of hybrids and plug-in cars that go short distances on electricity, a study said.
Battery breakthroughs, more-expensive oil and a more- efficient electric power grid will be needed to justify the expense, weight, and assembly-related costs of “large battery pack” cars, according to the review by Carnegie Mellon University, Arizona State University and Rand Corp., published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Hybrids similar to Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius and plug-in hybrids that go about 10 miles on battery power offer fuel-use and carbon-exhaust savings similar to more advanced rechargeable models such as Nissan Motor Co.’s electric Leaf and General Motors Co. (GM)’s Volt, and at lower cost, the study found. (Bloomberg)
Delaware’s Very Own Solyndra
Paul Driessen, coauthored with John Nichols
Delaware’s political establishment thinks First State electricity consumers should subsidize the manufacturing of super-sized fuel cells, under the auspices of California-based Bloom Energy, to replace natural gas and coal-fired power plants in generating electricity.
The politicos want to build a factory in Newark, where rail service is available to ship Bloom’s 10-ton, 100-kilowatt, “eco-friendly” Energy Servers to presumed eager buyers across America.
Bloom claims its “revolutionary new design” and “breakthroughs in materials science” make its new solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology “clean, reliable and affordable.” Governor Jack Markell, Department of Natural Resources Secretary Colin O’Mara, Department of Economic Development Secretary Alan Levin and assorted legislators insist their plan will create jobs and put Delaware at the forefront of the Green Revolution.
If that’s the case, and if Bloom had a viable business plan, investors would be clamoring to get in on the action. There would be no need to stick Delaware ratepayers with a bloomin’ tariff (“green premium”) that will add at least $600,000,000 to household and business electricity bills over the next 20 years – above what they would pay for electricity generated by combined cycle natural gas plants. There would be no need for the Economic Development Department to contribute another $16,000,000 in startup costs.
Actually, the green premium could be much higher – based on a 2016 “levelized cost” of $215 per megawatt hour for the fuel cell tariff versus $66 for combined-cycle natural gas generators. The $149 difference times 5,200,000 MWh from fuel cells is $774,800,000! (Townhall)
SolarCity latest to see U.S. loan loss post-Solyndra
Solar panel installer SolarCity said on Friday it was the second company in as many days that will not get finalization of U.S. government loan aid by a September 30 deadline.
The Department of Energy informed SolarCity of its inability to close the loan 48 hours ago, blaming increased paperwork resulting from a Congressional investigation into the DOE’s $535 million loan guarantee awarded to bankrupt solar company Solyndra, SolarCity said in a letter to the Republican lawmakers heading the probe.
The DOE loan guarantee program — under fire for missing signs that its first recipient of loan aid, Solyndra, was bleeding money before it went bankrupt — has nearly $9 billion in loans still to finalize. (Reuters)
California treasurer: Put renewable-energy tax exemption on hold
The head of a California panel that hands out sales tax exemptions to renewable-energy manufacturing companies wants to suspend the program in the wake of the Solyndra scandal.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said he will ask fellow members of the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority at a meeting Tuesday to not approve any new applications for exemptions from paying California sales tax. The exemptions are aimed at encouraging the purchase of equipment used to make solar panels and other energy-saving projects. (LA Times)
The dangers of cherry-picking evidence
It’s one thing to produce a bias-free experiment – but the second, crucial stage is to synthesise the evidence fairly
Last week the Daily Mail and the Today programme took some bait from Aric Sigman, an author of popular sciencey books about the merits of traditional values. “Sending babies and toddlers to daycare could do untold damage to the development of their brains and their future health,” explained the Mail.
These news stories were based on a scientific paper by Sigman in The Biologist. It misrepresents individual studies, as Professor Dorothy Bishop demonstrated almost immediately, and it cherry-picks the scientific literature, selectively referencing only the studies that support Sigman’s view. Normally this charge of cherry-picking would take a column of effort to prove, but this time Sigman himself admits it, frankly, in a PDF posted on his own website.
On CBD and Marita Noon’s piece in ET of September 16, 2011
By Michael J. Economides
On September 20, 2011 I received a demand notice from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in response to an article we had published here on September 16, 2011 by Marita Noon. We stand by our decision to publish the article on, among other reasons, the important merit of counter-acting exactly what CBD has attempted to do since then. (Energy Tribune)
Go Industrial, Not ‘Green’ (Part I)
by Alex Epstein
September 23, 2011
[Editor note: Mr. Epstein, a new Principal at MasterResource, is Founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. Part II of this post will appear tomorrow.]
In the wake of two recessions following two fleeting, largely service-sector bubbles—the dot-com bubble and the housing/financial bubble—America’s intellectual and political leaders are championing the need for industrial progress. (MasterResource)
Go Industrial, Not ‘Green’ (Part II)
by Alex Epstein
September 24, 2011
[Editor note: Mr. Epstein, a new Principal at MasterResource, is Founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. Part I appeared yesterday.]
But what about the “environmental impact” of industrial development? Isn’t the “green” movement providing a salutary influence us by helping us combat that problem? Again, no. (MasterResource)
Asbestos industry strikes back at critics in high-stakes PR battle
Andy Blatchford, Today, Canadian Press
MONTREAL – A prominent asbestos merchant is headed to Parliament Hill as part of a broader counter-offensive to salvage the reputation of his beleaguered industry.
Baljit Chadha is fighting back this week after Canada’s asbestos sector has absorbed a public-relations pummelling, both here and abroad, in recent months.
The public-relations battle comes at a critical time.
The Quebec government is considering whether to help Chadha save one of Canada’s last two asbestos mines, in the town of Asbestos, with an Oct. 1 deadline looming on a decision.
Chadha is now determined to dispel what he describes as myths about the contentious mineral, which he argues has been unfairly vilified by a highly organized “anti-asbestos lobby.” (The Tylee)
Robots Extract Coolant From Old Refrigerators
RECYCLING refrigerators — especially those made more than 15 years ago — is a tricky job. The coolant in old appliances (now banned from newer versions) can cause serious trouble, warming the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer.
The silliest part about it is that the basis for the argument doesn’t really exist – it is all about making it inconvenient for shoppers (to reduce your consumption of Gaia’s goodies, don’t ya know?)
A Sack Standoff in the Checkout Aisle
The plastic bags shoppers use to carry their goods home from the store have become an environmental battleground, and statistics are a key weapon in the fight.
Cities around the U.S. have banned or considered banning the bags because of their environmental impact. Manufacturers of the sacks have dueled with environmentalists and makers of reusable bags over carbon footprints. And last week, a maker of reusable bags settled a lawsuit filed by a plastic-bag manufacturer over competing numerical claims on bags’ imprint on the environment.
GM food solutions at risk from lobbyists, research suggests
Powerful lobby groups opposed to genetically modified food are threatening public acceptance of the technology in Europe, research suggests
Powerful lobby groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) food are threatening public acceptance of the technology in Europe, research suggests.
They are also hampering Europe’s response to the global challenge of securing food supplies for current and future generations, researchers claim.
Drawing upon a decade of evidence, researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Warwick University say that Europe’s regulation of GM crops has become less democratic and less evidence-based since the 1980s.
Anti-GM groups such as organic food lobbyists and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dominate the decision making process, they claim, resulting in greater restriction of plant biotechnology research and development in Europe compared with most other parts of the world.
Another Professor Resigns – From The Belgian European Society of Engineers and Industrialists SEII
By P Gosselin on 24. September 2011
Yet another professor, Dr. Ir. Henri A. Masson, has resigned from yet another once prestigious organisation, which too has succumbed to the darkness of climate dogmatism and censorship. (No Tricks Zone)
APS: AGW is controvertible
This appears to be the surprising implication of a statement by the American Physical Society. Hot on the heels of the resignation of Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever from its membership, the society hasissued a statement declaring that it has all been a terrible misunderstanding.
The APS says it that its climate change statement does not assert that “anthropogenic” (man-made) climate change is incontrovertible – but that the evidence of global warming is.
The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010
Guest post by Indur M. Goklany
Proponents of drastic curbs on greenhouse gas emissions claim that such emissions cause global warming and that this exacerbates the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms such as hurricanes and cyclones. But what matters is not the incidence of extreme weather events per se but the impact of such events—especially the human impact. To that end, it is instructive to examine trends in global mortality (i.e. the number of people killed) and mortality rates (i.e. the proportion of people killed) associated with extreme weather events for the 111-year period from 1900 to 2010. (WUWT)
IPCC models have failed to correctly deal with changes in air density
September 25th, 2011 by Warwick Hughes
Canadian scientist Dean Brooks has written a provocative paper pointing out that GCM’s have not handled atmospheric density changes correctly. You can download his 1MB pdf paper “The ‘Pot Lid’ Hypothesis: Where Does the Air Go?”.
He has also written and published on “The Decline Effect – The law behind diminishing returns and wildly varying outcomes in markets, politics, culture, religion, disease, and war” – his 30 odd page Chapter 1 is downloadable, only 400Kb – Looks like a must read. (Warwick Hughes)