Filed under: Politics | Tags: Chuchki Sea, Energy, Royal Dutch Shell, The Arctic
If you want to learn something about the energy business, take notice of the current environmental hissy-fit over news that the Obama Administration might allow a teeny bit of oil drilling in the Arctic.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has finally issued conditional approval to Royal Dutch Shell to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of northwest Alaska. The Arctic Ocean is estimated to hold at least 30 billion barrels of oil, and a potential 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas. A fresh stream of Arctic oil would replenish the Trans-Alaska pipeline and continue the U,S. energy boom driven by the shale revolution.
The real story is how long Shell has had to wait and how tentative this approval still is. Shell was awarded its leases in 2008 and has spent six years and $6 billion waiting to be able to exploit the contracts. The conditional approval on Monday means Shell must still obtain seven federal and state permits before it can touch a drill bit. The decision also comes with a bevy of new rules and restrictions on Shell’s operations. All this to begin a handful of exploratory wells.
Shell wants to start this summer after the ice breaks, but environmental groups will certainly go to court to try for further delays. The WSJ adds that:
The Administration seems to have made an exception for Shell in part because it was running out of excuses for delay. Our sources add that the government would lose all credibility with industry and the public if it reneged on such a costly lease contract.
President Obama’s decision to honor Shell’s drilling leases also must be viewed against his push to close off most other exploration. In 2010 Mr. Obama shut down half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Earlier this year he used executive authority to wall off most of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and he’s put most of the Arctic Ocean off-limits.
The green Left is howling about “license to despoil our last pristine ocean” but things have not been going well for them. The price of gas has dropped significantly enough to be a boon to the average family. Demand for electric cars is way off, the huge investment in wind and solar has resulted in chopped up eagles and solar-fried birds by the thousands. And green-energy companies keep going bankrupt. Taxpayers are soaked for $150 billion for wind and solar alone.
The Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must be a new invention of the Obama Administration in Obama’s ongoing efforts to grow the size of government. Russia has an aggressive program of Arctic exploration and Arctic dominance. They have rebuilt and reestablished their former Arctic bases and clearly are driving to dominate the region.
Americans need to remember that the American economy runs on energy, preferably cheap energy. It means more jobs, more prosperity, more innovation and more entrepreneurs. Leftist propaganda aside, that’s a good thing. If you are keeping tabs of the things that are a drag on the economy, consider over-regulation, and the cost of useless environmental lawsuits and wait times to get approval from a federal agency. Our government does not have to work so badly. Real efficiency may be asking too much, but there is always hope.
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Energy | Tags: Big Brother, Energy, Regulation, Taxes
More desperately important reasons to vote for McCain/Palin and do everything in your power in these last two days to make sure as many other McCain/Palin voters get to the polls as possible:
From an interview in San Francisco (naturally) last January:
And, in the same interview, he admits freely that his plans will necessarily cause electricity prices to skyrocket:
Obama wants to drive prices up. He thinks Americans must change their evil energy consuming behavior, and that it is governments’ place to force them to do so. He believes the American free market, where we use electricity when we want it, turn on lightbulbs at our leisure, buy things we want and use them when and how we want — you know, the economic model that has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty — must be fundamentally changed:
But we will have to subsidize energy for the poor! So not only are your personal energy costs going to skyrocket, you’ll be paying more taxes to subsidize energy for the poor.
And to what end?
As the video says, so that one day in the very distant future, the government will wave its magic wand and create a way to power the economy without oil, without natural gas, without coal, without nuclear — without any of the carbon producing, “dirty” energy sources that currently account for 90.4% of America’s electricity needs. That’s just electricity, it doesn’t even include America’s transportation energy needs.
And until the day when government can somehow make the solar and wind that currently supply 2.4% of our electricity needs, supply all the energy we need for electricity and transportation, you and your family, and your children, and their children, and their children’s children ad infinitum will have to suffer far higher energy prices, higher taxation, higher regulation of your personal behaviors and consumer choices….
THIS is what Obama means when he says he wants to bring about “fundamental change.” A level of Statism that has never, ever been known in this country. The government will tell you what, where and when you can travel. They will dictate through taxation and regulation how much energy you can use, what products you can buy, what temperature you can keep your house, what you can eat!
It is all implicit in his self-described vision. And it is contrary to almost every principle America is founded upon. Is Statism the change Americans are looking for? It’s the change they’re about to get!
Tell me where I’m wrong.
UPDATE: Sarah Palin responds to Obama’s vision for the coal industry:
(h/t Hot Air)
Filed under: Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Environment, Europe, Liberalism, News, Politics, Science/Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: Congress, Economy, Energy, Environment, Media Bias, Taxes
Denmark is usually cited as the world’s most successful wind-power pioneer. Denmark is a small, flat, windy country with a population of around 5.5 million people. Researchers have put a value on Danish wind energy. They believe that wind power cut $167 million (1 billion kroner) off Danish electricity bills in 2005. Danish consumers, on the other hand paid 1.4 billion kroner for subsidies for wind power.
The trouble with wind is that it doesn’t always blow when you need the electricity, and often blows when you don’t need it. Wind power cannot be stored. Thus you must have electricity constantly available as backup for the times when the wind isn’t blowing.
Denmark relies on their neighbors, Norway and Sweden, and takes their excess production of electricity, and conversely sends it’s excess wind-power generated electricity back to the neighbors. In 2003, the scale of subsidies caught the attention of the media, which claimed that the subsidies were out of control. When subsidies were cut back, the building of wind turbines ground to a halt.
One of the big problems seems to be that where wind is, there are not transmission lines. Often, the wind is far from the grid. Transmission lines run about a million dollars a mile. Most of Denmark’s electricity comes from plants that burn imported coal.
There are some lessons here, which suggest that the “experts” in Congress should get out of the way and let the market find the way. Congress doesn’t do well with making the rules for energy.
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Science/Technology | Tags: Energy, Michael Bloomberg, NYC, Solar, Wind
The mayor of New York City, like far too many other politicians, is determined to save his constituents from themselves. First he banned smoking, then he banned transfats, now he wants to save the Big Apple from the evils of petroleum by mounting windmills and solar panels atop New York’s bridges, landmarks and skyscrapers. Imagine the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge with giant pinwheels on top.
Now, I have nothing against wind power. Really. The wind contains energy; by all means let’s harness it. But the benefits it can provide are seriously limited, while the costs are extravagant. But Bloomberg and the Democrats are giving us yet another fine lesson in the dangers of the “do something disease.”
You’d think we would have finally learned our lesson with the biofuel disaster. In their rush to “do something” about global warming, our politicians, by giving farmers money to grow crops for gas tanks rather than dinner tables, caused skyrocketing food prices and contributed mightily to a world-wide food crisis. “Doing something” because it sounds good, can be an enormous waste of time and taxpayer money — or far worse — when it isn’t thought through.
Wind turbines take a fairly healthy amount of wind to move, they are enormous, and, some (like Ted kennedy and John Kerry) argue, unsightly. Solar panels require sunshine, and lots of it. Both need to be spread out over large areas to provide any significant energy benefit at all. But most importantly they also both require back up.
The problem with sun and wind is that they are not constant. Energy needs, by and large, are. And there are no batteries on the electrical grid. If the wind stops blowing, or the sun goes behind a cloud, that’s it! Blackout! So more reliable energy plants (ie: coal, oil, and natural gas) must be running at all times anyway to ensure a steady supply. And it is because they require constant back up, that wind and solar will never be able to account for more than a small portion of our energy needs.
Keep all that in mind, before indulging Bloomberg and the Democrats in their latest billion-dollar “do-something” boondoggles.
Update: Back to the Future? The times reminds us that New York had wind mills 400 years ago when it was New Amsterdam. And one has been on the city seal ever since. Do you think they found something more efficient?
Up-update: Architects and Engineers scoff at Mayor’s proposal.
Up-up-update: Apparently this is one green proposal that was a bridge too far for even the liberal media.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing off his suggestion to put windmills on city bridges and rooftops after newspapers mocked the idea with photo illustrations of turbines on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.
“There are aesthetic considerations,” Bloomberg said. “Number two, I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view.” [emphasis mine]
You don’t say!
Keep this in mind when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats start making their energy proposals next month.
Filed under: Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Election 2008, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, History, Liberalism, News, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics | Tags: Democrat lies, Democrats, Energy, Gas Prices, Liberal lies, Nancy Pelosi, oil
I wasn’t even aware of Pelosi’s call to open up the Strategic Oil Reserves for political expediency until I read it on Significant Pursuit. But I wanted to point out that Renaissance Guy has it exactly right — Pelosi’s call for the President to open the reserves because the extra oil will reduce gas prices, while intended to shift blame to Bush and the Republicans, directly refutes the entire Democrat argument that more oil won’t bring prices down. You can read his post here.
The truth is that Democrats have had their way on energy, whether in the majority or the minority, since at least the Carter administration. For most of that time, they have controlled at least one, if not both, chambers of congress and have been able to block more domestic energy production that way. When Republicans took control in 1994, Clinton blocked it with his veto pen. Republicans have pressed the issue every year since Bush has been in office only to be blocked by Democrat filibusters in congress and their demonizing and demagoguery to the public. Remember how they smeared Vice President Cheney for daring to consult the people who produce the nation’s energy when devising a national energy policy? Democrats would have us meet only with Greenpeace and the Earth Liberation Front.
As a result, while the population and energy needs of America have increased dramatically, our domestic energy supply has remained virtually unchanged for decades. THAT is entirely why we are now, “dependent on foreign oil.” The saying has become so cliche, I worry that people forget the reasons.
I heard Bill O’Reilly the other day claim that Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame in his his sanctimonious, “look how independent I am” tone. I wanted to reach through the radio and throttle him. But at least I remembered why I don’t listen to his show.
The fact is Republicans have supported alternative energy, they have supported wind, biofuel (ugh), and solar — they have even supported conservation efforts — but they also understand that none of those are capable, nor will they be capable any time even relatively soon of meeting our energy needs. They recognize that we need to increase oil production, increase refinery capacity, reduce “boutique” fuels and standardize the gasoline blends, increase clean coal, natural gas and especially nuclear energy.
Democrats on the other hand, have blocked virtually everything BUT wind, solar and conservation. They won’t allow new refineries, they block nuclear plants, they block oil production and even want to tear down the hydro-electric dams that power most of the Northwest to “save” the same salmon they eat probably at least once a week. The same salmon undoubtedly served in the congressional lunchroom alder-smoked or herb crusted with fresh lemon and capers. They filibustered the Republican energy bill when they were in the minority, and their so-called “energy” bill passed now that they are in the minority. You will notice prices have continued to increase — more rapidly if anything — not decreased since.
No, contrary to Bill O’Reilly’s claims, our increased dependence on foreign energy is entirely and solely the Democrats fault. One need look no further than the congressional record for the proof.
So, it is very welcome indeed that Nancy Pelosi is finally admitting that her party has been lying to the people all these years, and admitting that increasing the oil supply will lower prices. Just think of all the damage to the economy and to people that could have been avoided if they hadn’t been lying all this time.
(chart h/t: Michelle Malkin)