The Watering Hole, Friday October 18 2013; Four ‘Energetic’ GOP Wrist-Slashers

I couldn’t help but notice a collection of four articles that were recently posted on Think Progress’ Climate page concerning some remarkable advances in “thinking” concerning energy production. First of all, America’s most hated arch-enemy, France, has finally managed an ‘absolute’

. . . ban on fracking [which] was finally completed Friday [October 11], as its constitutional court upheld a 2011 law prohibiting the practice and canceling all exploration permits. The decision posted on the court’s website said the ban “conforms to the constitution” and is not “disproportionate,” effectively protecting it from any future legal challenge.

U.S. driller Schuepbach Energy brought its complaint to the court after two of its exploration permits were revoked due to the ban. Schuepbach attempted to argue that since no study had established fracking risks, there was no cause for the ban, and that since fracking isn’t banned for geothermal energy projects, it was unfair. The court didn’t find that convincing, citing the differences between geothermal and shale gas exploration.

Environment Minister Philippe Martin framed the decision as a victory in the larger effort to limit fossil fuels and carbon emissions. “Beyond the question of fracking, shale gas is a carbon emitter,” he said in a statement. “We must set our priorities on renewable energies.”

Well, it is the French after all. How did Mark Twain put it? Something like, ‘man was originally created on the level of the angels but has been slipping ever since to where now he’s somewhere between the angels and the French.’ Oh well, no more French Fries will surely serve to improve our nation’s health.

Then there were a pair of surprises . . . BIG surprises, given the political bent of the two states. First, New Arizona Solar Plant Uses Salt To Keep Producing Electricity When The Sun Goes Down . . .

The 280 megawatt (MW) Solana solar plant just came online in Arizona, with one unique distinction: for the first time in the U.S., the plant will use a ‘salt battery’ that will allow it to keep generating electricity even when the sun isn’t shining.

The three-square-mile commercial-scale facility near Gila Bend, Arizona will use thermal energy storage, in the form of a molten salt system, to continue producing clean energy without sunlight. “This technology enables Solana to produce electricity at full capacity for up to six hours after sunset, including the early evening hours when customer demand for power typically peaks in Arizona,” according to an Arizona Public Service (APS) press release.

This is a big step forward from the more common solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, which requires direct sunlight to create electricity.

And . . . not only is the Solana plant a technological breakthrough in terms of thermal energy storage, it’s also the largest plant in the world to use to use parabolic trough mirrors to concentrate solar energy. This concentrated solar power (CSP) technology uses the mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on pipes, heating a synthetic oil that flows to boilers, which create the steam that drives two 140 MW turbines to produce electricity, much like a traditional power plant.

And then, miracle of miracles, there’s this from, of all places, Inhofe’s Oklahoma: Oklahoma Utility Buys 600 MW Of Wind Power To ‘Provide Substantial Savings To Our Customers’ . . .

Oklahomans will soon be paying less for their electricity because their utility looked at the market and decided that wind power would be the most cost-effective option.

On Thursday, the 100-year-old Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) — a division of American Electric Power (AEP) — signed an agreement to buy 600 megawatts of power from wind farms being developed in the northwestern part of the state. Currently there is just one large-scale wind farm in the Panhandle and in almost two years, there will be three more.

“The Panhandle of Oklahoma truly is one of the mother lodes of wind in this country,” said Clean Line Energy Partners President Michael Skelly.

The initial plan was just to buy one 200 MW project, but PSO tacked on another 400 MW “after seeing extraordinary pricing opportunities that will lower utility costs by an estimated $53 million in the first year and even more thereafter,” according to Tulsa World.

The Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement means that on January 1, 2016, 600 megawatts of wind energy will be available, enough to power 200,000 average American homes. This is pending the approval of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

So. Progress seems to be on the move. At least one country has said absolutely NO to any and all fracking, and in the US, electric utilities in a pair of deeply red states are seriously advancing the renewable energy programs which, with persistence and a little bit of luck will one day in the not too distant future overwhelm the fossil fuel industries once and for all and for good.

And finally, this pertinent ‘footnote’: Renewable Energy Patents Booming, Led By Solar And Wind.

” . . . while patents in fossil fuel technologies grew modestly, and nuclear technology remained flat, between 2004 and 2009 the number of patents issued annually for solar energy increased by 13 percent per year, while those for wind energy increased 19 percent per year on average.

“The study attributes investment in R&D and market demand for helping spur such growth, which for solar and wind exceeded patent growth rates for semiconductor and digital communications technologies.”

It appears as though THE major capitalist driving force may be coming into play in the energy world: Profit! Imagine the consequences . . . cleaner air, less environment destruction, not to mention a great many less Republicans to stand in the way of thoughtful progress. Of course, someone will have to clean up the mess left behind by all the slashed wrists, but I’m sure that’s a more manageable task than, say, cleaning up the mess left behind by a leaky oil pipeline.


92 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Friday October 18 2013; Four ‘Energetic’ GOP Wrist-Slashers

  1. Based on the words of his papa, “King” Cruz apparently came by his nuttiness honestly.

    God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church. The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian “kings” who will accomplish the “end time transfer of wealth.” Then “God’s bankers” will usher in the “coming of the messiah.” The government is being shut down so that God’s bankers can bring Jesus back.

  2. The upper midwest is also ripe for wind farms. In my drives to Ohio last year (going through southern Minnesota, Northeast Iowa, North-Central Illinois, central Indiana I was impressed with how many wind farms I saw.

    Minnesota has a program where electric companies have to offer you the option of buying renewable energy. It costs a little bit more but I’ve been on the plan for several years now.

    The way the plan works, is they have to make a buy from a green renewable source equivalent to the number of KW hours I use, and reduce their production/buy from a non-green source.

    • i’m looking at solar for our home. the new systems are “plug and play”. no battery configurations, or special wiring, etc.

      there is a unit that meters the power used-to-power-self generated which is supplied by the utility. at the end of the month, you pay net usage or get a credit

      there are state and federal tax credits and utility incentives. i’m just now looking into all this. here’s the company the serves our area.

      and we get a nice tax credit….

    • The progress towards more renewables is indeed heartening, but there are few major hurdles still to voercome in the huge energy problem we are racing to fix before the Long Emergency (h/t Clusterf**k Nation) comes.

      1. Renewables from variable sources, like wind and solar can realistically only reach 20% of the total grid supply – the grid and the technology managing it can’t handle the variability beyond that rough limitation.
      2. The grid – it’s old, underinvested and falling apart. Thank you deregulation (h/t Greg Palast – I have one of his older works on the electricty industry before Exxon Valdex and he became more choosy about his causes and a bit more sensationalist). we need major legal unravellings of ‘deregulation’ to make smart, local grid systems viable for small local generation/consumption. The legal framework and the economic frameworks are not in place.
      3. 110+ years of carbon based transportation infrastructure – we spent a long time getting into this mess and have to undo all of that to make any alternate transportation model viable.

      WTF – that asteroid will be here in 19 years…. so the Daily Mail says, then we can get on with our post-carbon economy without fuss.

  3. nice tactic by our great president, bringing up the immigration bill. kick them in they teeth while they’re reeling, by making them take a stand against a huge Hispanic population among others.

    as Alan Grayson says, “at this point, the Tea Party is no more popular that the Klan”

  4. “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! – screams the Daily Mail in one of its traditional Friday ‘Oh fook you really need to be scared of something today and Ted Cruz has returned to his dirt-filled coffin!’ pieces that as soon as you read it isn’t actually the case. And though you may think its time to get out of Chicago real estate…… its only for illustrative purposes. And to think this reactionary rag has been polluting my father’s brain for decades now. I only read it to find out what Courtney Stodden has done to her boobs lately and what Rita Rusic is wearing in Miami every week. Just sayin’

    • Gee, thanks. Chicken’s for supper tonight.

      Not nuggets though. I had a nugget once. Late eighties when oldest daughter was maybe five yrs old. I took one bite out of one nugget and swore them off forever. Yuck.

      • LMAO!……i don’t think i’ve ever had a McNugget. i truly don’t can’t remember the last fast food i’ve eaten.

        that being said, we do eat a lot of chicken, so this column was an interesting read for me, and i’ve forwarded it to my wife.

        as much as i dislike fish, i guess that may be our next alternative.

  5. The American Conservative examines the self-delusion of the Republican base:

    “[A]nyone who is psychologically satisfied by actions that in fact cost taxpayers additional money, and that are counterproductive in the public arena, really an opponent of big government? A feeling of courageous satisfaction here is perverse: it subverts the principle it’s supposed to support.

    Imagine what the Tea Party would accomplish if this incident became paradigmatic: government would grow, anti-government sentiment would be discredited, and the people responsible for both would continue to applaud themselves as the only true champions of limited-government principle.

    The self-defeating emotionalism of Ted Cruz’s admirers won’t allow them to think through this problem. Instead they present themselves with a false dilemma between Cruz’s counterproductive incompetence and RINO liberalism. That there could be a more intelligent strategy for limited government than merely doing what feels good never occurs to them—it’s too painful to contemplate.

    Because small-government conservatism is a harder sell than many of the alternatives, it is especially important for its advocates to make good judgments about what is possible and to make sound decisions that prove that they are capable of running a government of reduced and limited powers. Neither of these has been on display in the last few weeks, everyone can see it, and it would be senseless for anyone to offer up spin to the contrary.”

    • Oh wow FB – missed this…. it was a powerful read yes? An experience I have heard of experienced again and again here. At least dude wasn’t rendered to the Yemen for more ‘discussion’ like they did with Maher Arar, back in the days when Syria ‘was for us before they were agin us’. another case of ‘we know you are a humans rights violator because we kept copies of the invoices’….

    • Did I miss something? Or did I miss the bit where the Tea Party was about (laughingly) ‘Taxed-Enough-Already’….. where does teh gay fit into this tax thing?

      Or is it much simpler than that…. dude feels guilty about having the taste of tubesteak in his mouth and is lashing out for Jesus here….?

  6. “why I will never return to the United States” – how others see you

    This is what an endless diet of fear, being told who to fear and coupled with a failure of education and a steady diet of ‘American Exceptionalism’ ends up…..a country so scared and ignorant of what it is being told to be scared of….. this is not the America I thought I was coming to, but the one I see all around me, even here in the blue NW. And why once again I am having second thoughts about becoming a citizen.

  7. Sun’s out, temp’s 47, 6″ of snow reduced to only a few patches here and there. Old saying here: “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait ten minutes and it’ll change.”

  8. Ok, here we go MUSIC NIGHT starts here……

    This week a (well by my standards) eclectic mix of songs drawn from the news of the week – and all the love stories, requited and unrequited that we saw being played out in the halls of power and … maybe a Mexican restaurant downtown…..

    …. ok, and this one too. ‘I drink alone’ (I woke from a terrible dream so I called on my buddy Jack Daniels and his partner Jimmy Beam).

    Next up, I assume is this nasty little weasel. This one is for him and here’s our man RJD for you purists 🙂 (though I am trying to catch Adrenaline Mob sometime \m/\m/

    Is it just me or does Raffy Cruz have that Bela Lugosi thing going? Anyhow, pass out the garlic someone. Here’s some Johnette 🙂 – Goth before Goth was cool….See Johnette live here with *very* early Jon Stewart at the end

    You know he is though…. at least in his own mind.

    Very dated song, all about the protests and resistance to Reagan stationing missiles in Europe in the 1980s, escalating the Cold War to near breaking point in 1983. Wait until you hear the chorus though…. it’s catchy and contemporary as we are ‘Cruzing to Disaster’ (my ed) all over again in January.

    And Batshit, bless her bugfooknutz little heart, was back in the news this week, her train has definitely left the rails. I’d missed you so much, sweetpea. Muah!

  9. Well I did a big music night post right above Ebb’s astronaut song…. but it’s in moderation…. so….. I’m off to the tailgate party….. see ya 🙂

    • Aside from being evil,TheDick is paranoid.
      Any group that wanted to do-him-in wouldn’t waste the time to ‘send a jolt’ to his damn heart when a bullet and/or bomb would do.

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