Category Archives: Energy

Big Tech Isn’t As Clean As You Think, Irina Slav

High technology must haves like smartphones bear heavy environmental costs From Irina Slave at oilprice.com:

They are among the biggest—and most generous—backers of the renewable energy shift. They are advertising themselves as environmentally responsible companies that source their raw materials from ethical locations and cutting the offering of products that consumers don’t use to reduce packaging-related emissions. And they are the driver behind a global electronic waste crisis. Meet Big Tech. Last year, Apple said its iPhone 12 will sell without a charging adapter, like the latest Apple Watches, to reduce the amount of electronic waste its products generate.

“There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out there in the world, and that’s not counting the billions of third-party adapters. We’re removing these items from the iPhone box, which reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials,” Wired quoted Apple’s VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson.

Yet it’s not the chargers that are the big problem, according to e-waste experts. Last year, the world generated a record amount of e-waste, topping 53.6 million metric tons, E-Waste Monitor said in its latest report. This amount represented a 21-percent increase over five years. And e-waste will continue growing, the report warned. It could reach 74 million metric tons by 2030.

Recycling rates, meanwhile, are meager. Last year, they stood at less than 20 percent of the total e-waste the world generated. Unless something changes very quickly and radically, this rate is unlikely to change much in the future, either.

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Market Friday: Russia Wins Oil War With Saudi Arabia, by Thomas Luongo

It looks like Russia, not the US or Saudi Arabia, will call the tune in the oil markets. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

bin-salman-saudi-arabia

If you missed the big story of this week I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a big story, bigger than riots in D.C.

Russia became the de facto controller of the marginal barrel of oil.

This is a bigger story than what happened on Capitol Hill on Wednesday because that was a continuation of a story whose end was already written.

Joe Biden will be President. The Era of Trump is over.

Now that has far-reaching effects on a number of markets, including oil. But, again, we’ve known Biden was taking office, if we’re being honest with ourselves, since election night when the civil war in the U.S. officially began.

So, we’ve known that Trump’s push to become the controller of oil markets was coming to an end. We’ve also known since the Coronapocalypse that U.S. oil production had peaked and could only go down from there.

Yes Russia’s production dropped by a similar amount, around 2 million barrels per day, averaging 10.27 millions of barrels per day in 2020. But the difference here is not in how much is produced but in what it costs to produce those barrels.

And not just any barrel, but the marginal barrel… the last barrel.

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Capitalists and Ropes, by Eric Peters

American car companies appear quite willing to kill their businesses in a politically correct way. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 
 

Lenin was right about capitalists and ropes.

GM – one of the major pushers of electric cars – just announced that sales of its not-electrics are up 4.8 percent. Almost all of these sales being of large SUVs and pick-ups, the very vehicles about to be pushed off the market by electric vehicle mandates.

Including the Stealth EV Mandate – which GM supports – that all new vehicles (cars and trucks) average close to 50 MPG by about five years from now. This is the “fuel economy” (also styled “emissions”) mandate pushed by California that’s propagating to the rest of the country because major automakers such as GM (and let’s be fair, Ford and some others as well) have amen’d it even as the retiring Orange Man did his best to prevent its propagation.

It is Stealth EV Mandate because nothing that isn’t at least partially electric – i.e., a hybrid – is going to average 50 MPG or even 40, for that matter.

Certainly nothing that’s an SUV or pick-up – which are the ones GM is crowing about selling more of. Soon, it will be selling fewer of them.Including the little ones.     

A 2021 Chevy Equinox — which is a small SUV about the same overall size as a Toyota Corolla – achieves 31 MPG  . . . on the highway  . . . with a 1.5 liter four cylinder engine.

The Corolla just barely crests 40 – also on the highway.

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Lockdown Proponent Bill Gates Quietly Funding Plan to Dim the Sun’s Rays, by Rusty Weiss

Bill Gates is determined to save the planet from itself. Who saves us from Bill Gates? From Rusty Weiss at menrec.com:

A project conducted by Harvard University scientists and funded largely by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to test sun-dimming technology to cool global warming is quietly moving forward in Sweden.

We know what you’re thinking – this can’t be real.

Well, friends, it is.

Reuters reports that the Harvard project “plans to test out a controversial theory that global warming can be stopped by spraying particles into the atmosphere that would reflect the sun’s rays.”

In Sweden, plans to fly a test balloon next year are already underway.

The test balloon will not release any particles into the atmosphere, but “could be a step towards an experiment, perhaps in the autumn of 2021 or spring of 2022.”

Those experiments may see “up to 2 kg of non-toxic calcium carbonate dust” released into the atmosphere.

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Forecast 2021 — Chinese Fire Drills with a side of French Fries (Jacobin-style) and Russian Dressing, by James Howard Kunstler

Jim Kunstler has a long list of provocative and contrarian predictions. From Kunstler at kunstler.com:

As I write, the presidential election is still not resolved, with dramatic events potentially unfolding in the first days of the New Year. I’m not convinced that Mr. Trump is in as weak a position as the news media has made him out to be in these post-election months of political fog and noise. The January 6 meet-up of the Senate and House to confirm the electoral college votes may yet propel matters into a constitutional Lost World of political monsterdom. The tension is building. This week’s public demonstration by one Jovan Hutton Pulitzer of the easy real-time hackability of Dominion Voting Systems sure threw the Georgia lawmakers for a loop, and that demo may send reverberations into next Wednesday’s DC showdown.

There may be some other eleventh-hour surprises coming from the Trump side of the playing field. As I averred Monday, we still haven’t heard anything from DNI Ratcliffe, and you can be sure he’s sitting on something, perhaps something explosive, say, evidence of CIA meddling in the election. There have been ominous hints of something screwy in Langley for weeks. The Defense Dept., under Secretary Miller, took over all the CIA’s field operational functions before Christmas — “No more black ops for you!” That was a big deal. There were rumors of CIA Director Gina Haspel being in some manner detained, deposed and…talking of dark deeds. She was, after all, the CIA’s London station-chief during the time that some of the worst RussiaGate shenanigans took place there involving the international men-of-mystery, Stefan Halper, Josepf Mifsud, and Christopher Steele. Mr. Ratcliffe seemed to be fighting with the CIA in the weeks following the election over their slow-walking documents he had demanded.

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Out of Sight: What to Do With Germany’s 1.35 Million Tonnes of Toxic Wind Turbine Blades? by No Tricks Zone

It looks like Germany’s all-knowing energy planners and green-power dreamers overlooked one tiny detail. From No Tricks Zone at climate-science.press, with a hat tip to SLL reader uwe.roland.gross

The rush to an all wind and sun powered future has left Germans sensing the kind of regret that comes with youthful exuberance – something about acting in haste and repenting at leisure springs to mind.

Having carpeted Deutschland with more than 30,000 of these things over the last 20 years, many of them are at the end of their serviceable life and a ‘green’ conundrum has arisen: what to do with all the toxic junk left behind.

Principal amongst the German green’s concerns is what to do with more than 90,000 turbine blades; each of which weighs up to 15 tonnes; each of which cannot be recycled; each of which has been deemed hazardous waste.

No Tricks Zone reports on another green disaster in the making.

1.35 Million Tonnes of “Hazardous Material”, Germany Admits No Plan To Recycle Used Wind Turbine Blades
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
21 November 2020

Germany began installing wind turbines in earnest some 20 years ago. Now that their lifetime has been exceeded, many are being ripped down. But there’s a big problem about what to do with the leftover carbon and glass-fibre reinforced blades.

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The Riddle of Steel . . . and the EV, by Eric Peters

Electric cars will never come close to the ease of filling up gasoline powered cars. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 

James Earl Jones, playing the evil snake cult leader Thulsa Doom, explains to Conan the Barbarian the meaning of the Riddle of Steel:

He beckons a disciple standing on a ledge, high above, to “come to him.” She does – and jumps to her death.

“That is power!” Doom exults. “What is steel, boy, compared with the power of the hand that wields it?”

Gasoline is like that.

The power it contains is so remarkable it has become taken for granted – like food in the ‘fridge.

A single gallon contains enough power to propel a typical car more than 30 miles, at a cost of around $1.50 (the actual cost of the fuel itself, before the extortionate and regressive taxes are added to the price).   

It can be easily and quickly transferred from pump to tank – or  jug – without need of special apparatus or expensive technology. It can be stored for long periods of time without depending on anything more involved than a physical container that can be kept air-tight.

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Europe Embraces Multipolar World With Nord Stream 2 and China Investment Deal, by Finian Cunningham

When it comes down to major dollars and cents, Europe is not so willing to toe the US line. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Material need usually wins out against ideological creed. Necessity over dogma. Twice this week, the European Union demonstrated that maxim in practice when it rebuffed Washington over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia; and then again over a major investment pact with China.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointedly stated this week that the European bloc was going ahead with completion of the Nord Stream 2 project in partnership with Russia. Construction of the pipeline under the Baltic Sea had been temporarily halted by U.S. sanctions. But now Germany is saying it won’t be deterred from finishing the project.

Maas said that while the EU looks forward to having better relations with the United States under a new Biden administration, the bloc was asserting its prerogative to trade with Russia for increasing natural gas supply as a matter of sovereignty.

“We do not need to talk about European sovereignty if it means that, in the future, we will only do everything Washington wants,” Maas is quoted as saying. “The [German] federal government will not change its position on Nord Stream 2,” he added.

Given that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will double the flow of relatively affordable Russian gas to the EU this is also a vital matter of helping to boost European economies.

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New York can’t buy its way out of blackouts, by David Wojick

As the politicians push for ever more “renewable” energy and electric cars, it’s become ever more apparent that their numbers aren’t going to add up. From David Wojick at wattsupwiththat.com:

New York City will soon be home to the world’s biggest utility-scale battery system, designed to back up its growing reliance on intermittent renewables. At 400 MWh this batch of batteries will be more than triple the 129 MWh world leader in Australia.

The City of New York’s director of sustainability (I am not making this title up), Mark Chambers, is ecstatic, bragging: “Expanding battery storage is a critical part of how we advance momentum to confront the climate emergency while meeting the energy needs of all New Yorkers. Today’s announcement demonstrates how we can deliver this need at significant scale.” (Emphasis added)

In reality the scale here is incredibly insignificant.

In the same nonsensical way, Tim Cawley, the president of Con Edison, New York’s power utility, gushes thus: “Utility scale battery storage will play a vital role in New Yorks clean energy future, especially in New York City where it will help to maximize the benefit of the wind power being developed offshore.”

This puts the Con in Con Edison.

Here is the reality when it comes to the scale needed to reliably back up intermittent renewables. For simplicity let us suppose New York City is 100% wind powered. Including solar in the generating mix makes it more complicated but does not change the unhappy outcome very much.

NYC presently peaks at around 32,000 MW needed to keep the lights on. If Mr. Biden makes all the cars and trucks electric it might be closer to 50,000 MW but let’s stick to reality.

This peak occurs during summer heat waves which are caused by stagnant high pressure systems called Bermuda highs. These highs often last for a week and because they are stagnant there is no wind power generation. Wind turbines require something like sustained winds of 10 mph to move the blades and more like a whistling 30 mph to generate full power. During a Bermuda high folks are happy to get the occasional 5 mph breeze. These huge highs cover many states so it is not like we can get the juice from next door.

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Oh, What a Feeling! by Eric Peters

If you account for the power generation necessary to fuel an all-electric car fleet, and the C02 emissions from that power generation, electric cars are not a “green” technology in the sense that they reduce C02. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

While GM’s Mary Barra signals virtue, the grandson of the founder of Toyota speaks an inconvenient truth.

“The current business model of the car industry is going to collapse,” warns Akio Toyoda – if the virtue-signaling (and mandating and subsidizing) of electric cars isn’t dialed back. Because there’s no mass market for electric cars, which are too expensive to be mass-market cars.

It’s the math, man.

This idea that people who can barely manage a six-year-loan on a $25,000 car will somehow manage a loan on a $32,000 electric car (the lowest-priced electric car currently available) is as ridiculous as the idea that everyone will eat steak and lobster twice a week if the government so orders.

Unless someone else pays for it. Who will that be?

If from subsidies, then the people will pay that way – via taxes – and have even less ability to afford to replace their $25,000 non-electric car with a $32,000 electric car.

It can be printed, of course. Or hey! presto!’d into digitized existence. But  then the people pay via inflation – the depreciated buying power of the money they have available. This is why the car industry will “collapse” if Electric Car Dementia isn’t treated somehow.

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