American Elephants


Colorado’s Dream of “Clean Energy” Sabotaged by Pot Growers. by The Elephant's Child

Steven Hayward noted a recent story from the Denver Post at Powerline. It seems that surging electricity consumption by Colorado’s new marijuana industry is sabotaging Denver’s push to use less energy—as urged  by the White House’s Clean Power Plan to shut down coal-fired power plants because carbon pollution.

Citywide electricity use has been rising at the rate of 1.2 percent a year, and 45 percent of that increase comes from marijuana-growing facilities, Denver officials said Wednesday.

Denver has a goal of capping energy use at 2012 levels. Electricity is a big part of that.

The latest Xcel Energy data show cannabis grow facilities statewide, the bulk of which are in Denver, used as much as 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014, utility officials said. City officials said 354 grow facilities in Denver used about 121 million kwh in 2013, up from 86 million kwh at 351 facilities in 2012.

I thought this was really funny. Lots of problems with the marijuana industry, not the least of which is pot being put in candies and cookies attractive to children. This is not going to go well.

On the other front, no matter how much the administration pushes “clean energy,” wind and solar are not going to replace electricity produced by fossil fuels. Wind is too intermittent and solar too diffuse. It’s the inherent qualities of the “natural” sources and cannot be remedied by technology. If the subsidies provided by the taxpayers are removed, there will be no wind and no solar. And there is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon is not a pollutant, but one of the building blocks of life.

Do Denver taxpayers know that they are not only paying extra for “clean energy” but their city actually has a “sustainability strategist” named Sonrisa Lucero? They are requesting guidance from the Department of Energy for best practices and technical help.



Stop Trying to “Win the Future,” Mr. President. It’s Not a Game! by The Elephant's Child

On Monday, the Obama Administration “announced a number of new initiatives designed to accelerate the modernization of the Nation’s electric infrastructure, bolster electric-grid innovation, and advance a clean energy economy.”

Aimed at building the necessary transmission infrastructure and developing and deploying digital information or “smart grid” technologies, these initiatives will facilitate the integration of renewable sources of electricity into the grid; accommodate a growing number of electric vehicles on America’s roads; help avoid blackouts and restore power quicker when outages occur; and reduce the need for new power plants(emphasis added)

“A 21st Century grid is essential to America’s ability to lead the world in clean energy and win the future,” said John Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor.

This pushes all of my annoyance buttons. Dr, Holdren managed to get most of the administration buzz words all in one sentence. Why is there something special about “21st Century?” Why is it desirable to “lead the world in clean energy?” And please spare me the “WTF”, it’s absolutely meaningless.  A lot of countries have invested a lot of their citizens’ wealth in wind farms and solar arrays, and it hasn’t worked out anywhere. The promoters and rent seekers are driving forward, but the engineers and energy experts say that it’s a dead-end road.

Wind is free, but attempts to capture that energy fail because wind is too intermittent.  It is the nature of wind that is the problem, something that innovations in turbines cannot change. Solar energy is too diffuse, and the sun has the nasty habit of sinking beneath the horizon for half the day.

All “these efforts build upon the historic $4.5 billion in grid modernization investments provided in the Recovery Act.”  The Department of Agriculture has $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology in rural America. You can’t win the future by wasting more money.

The very detailed  illustration above  is devoid of information, if you enlarge it, it doesn’t help, there’s nothing there except for a solar panel on the roof.  They suggest that consumers can get more information about their energy usage, and you will be able to contact your house for its energy use with your smart phone!

To manage the energy shortage created by the Obama administration by starving the nation unnecessarily of energy, we can call the house and turn down the heat?  Or will the federal government decide how much power we may use? The Smart Grid will help us to eliminate greenhouse gases and lead the world in clean energy.

The carbon dioxide that Obama is so worried about makes up about 38/1000 of 1% of the atmosphere.   The amount represented by human activity is approximately 15/10,000 of 1% of the atmosphere. The climate has not warmed for the past ten years, and the sun has gone quiet.  We may be in for another Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), the most bitterly cold part of the Little Ice Age. It’s too soon to know, but cold is far more lethal than the 1 degree of warming that we have had over the last 100 years.

Ronald Reagan got it right, back  in 1981:

We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down.  Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive and free. Trust the people.

It is American ingenuity that has learned how to do slant drilling, to drill in deep offshore waters, to release oil from shale formations providing the whole world with ample new supplies of fossil fuels. Government cannot do a better job. Government cannot fix the economy,  Government cannot put America back to work.  Stop interfering and trust the people.




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