Green Energy Policies raise the Cost of Heating this Winter in Canada

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 19th, 2013

Week in Review

‘Manmade’ global warming is not science.  It’s politics.  Where those on the left secure their liberal base by pushing costly green energy policies that increase our electric bills (see Ontario electricity rates rising due to Liberal mistakes, opposition says posted 10/18/2013 on CBC News Toronto).

The governing Liberals’ politically motivated interference in the energy sector is hurting ratepayers who are trying to conserve electricity, Ontario’s opposition parties said Friday…

The price for off-peak power will rise by 7.5 per cent for a kilowatt hour, while peak hour rates will rise by four per cent, the board announced Thursday…

It’s another sign that the energy system under the Liberals has become an “expensive mess,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

Cancelling two gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga — which the province’s auditor general says will cost taxpayers up to $1.1 billion — to save Liberal seats is driving up prices, he said, just like putting wind turbines in communities that don’t want them, then paying to get rid of the surplus power…

The OEB said the Nov. 1 increase is based on estimates for the coming year that include more generation from renewable sources along with a higher price for natural gas.

Sunlight and wind may be free.  But the massive infrastructure to pull the energy from sunlight and wind is not.  That infrastructure is very, very costly.  Because you need a lot of it to produce useable energy.  Unlike a coal-fired or gas-fired power plant.  These plants are very costly.  But they produce so much electric power that the cost per unit of power produced is negligible.  The fuel (coal and natural gas) being the greater cost.   Of course, that’s only when they are running at capacity and people are buying what they produce.

Those two power plants would have produced inexpensive electric power.  Now not only are they going to be replaced with renewable sources the cost of that massive renewable infrastructure has to be added to the people’s hydro (electric utility) bill.  With renewable sources providing a fraction of what coal and gas provide the cost per unit from renewable sources is very high.  Requiring taxpayer subsidies.  And if that wasn’t bad enough because of the intermittent nature of wind those coal-fired and gas-fired power plants have to produce power even when the wind is blowing so it’s there when the wind isn’t.  Creating surplus power.  Very expensive power that no one is buying.

If only manmade global was real.  For if it were we could raise the temperature during the winter so we wouldn’t have to spend so much on costly and polluting power to heat our homes.  Why, the warmer winters would even make it easier for our wildlife to find food.  That’s right.  With manmade global warming everyone would be a winner.  But it’s not.  So we have more and more expensive heating bills to look forward to.

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Britain will have to add New Nuclear Power Plants to their Renewable Energy Mix to meet Demand

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 25th, 2012

Week in Review

Coal-fired power plants produce reliable and inexpensive electric power.  But they pollute too much for those on the left.  So they want to replace them with renewable energy sources.  The leading two being solar power and wind power.  Which require a lot more infrastructure to produce the same amount of electric power.  Making these sources very, very expensive.  So no one builds these unless they are highly subsidized by the taxpayers.

But they have other problems besides their high costs.  The sun doesn’t always shine.  And the wind doesn’t always blow.  Which means you can’t replace all coal-fired power plants with these renewable sources.  You also need something that can produce electric power when the sun doesn’t shine.  And the wind doesn’t blow (see Britain to Encourage Both Nuclear and Wind Power by STANLEY REED posted 11/23/2012 on The New York Times).

The British government on Friday announced far-reaching changes in energy regulation designed to encourage development of renewable energy and nuclear power while ensuring the country could meet its electricity needs.

The changes will gradually quadruple the charges levied on consumers and businesses to help support electricity generation from low-carbon sources, to a total of about £9.8 billion, or $15.7 billion, in the 2020-21 fiscal year from £2.35 billion currently.

The government forecasts that the new price supports will add 7 percent, or about £95 a year, to the average household electricity bill. Currently, such charges add 2 percent to energy bills, or £20 a year…

Electricity generated from cleaner sources like nuclear and offshore wind is much more expensive than power generated by coal- or gas-fired plants. Companies will invest in clean energy only if given substantial incentives. The government hopes to attract £110 billion in energy investment through 2020…

Others said they were appalled by support for new nuclear installations. While nuclear plants are low carbon emitters, they bring risks of accidents as well as the unresolved problem of what to do with spent fuel.

Stephan Singer, head of energy policy in Brussels for the World Wildlife Fund, said his organization was “fundamentally opposed” to price supports for nuclear power…

Britain intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Until now, wind power has been the main beneficiary of government intervention. Now the government has come to believe that while building more nuclear plants would be costly and controversial, they will be necessary to reach emission targets.

This is the price of going green.  Higher electric bills.  And more nuclear power plants.  For there are no renewable sources that we can build that can provide baseload power.  Power that is there 24/7 regardless of time of day or weather conditions.  Hydroelectric power could but pretty much all the good rivers have already been dammed.  Which lives only one emissions-free energy source.  Nuclear power.  With all the baggage it comes with.  Safety issues.  Spent fuel issues.  Terrorist issues.  Things you don’t have to worry about with a coal-fired power plant.  That’s why they provide the majority of our electric power.  There just isn’t anything else that can do it as well.

But because a coal-fired power plant may put into the atmosphere dangerous emissions over their operating lifetime equal to a volcanic eruption or two the environmentalists won’t have them.  No.  They’d rather you have higher electric bills.  And suffer more power outages.  Of course, they may change their tune once their Internet access becomes spotty due to those power interruptions.  But until then expect higher electric bills.  To fund those new windmills and nuclear power plants.  The costly renewable energy that will replace your beloved coal-fired power plants.

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Not showing the Carbon Tax on WA Electric Bills is Propaganda against the Carbon Tax

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2012

Week in Review

The carbon tax sure isn’t popular in Australia.  For the proponents of the carbon tax want to hide the full extent of its cost to consumers (see PM accuses Barnett of hoodwinking on tax by Daniel Emerson posted 7/16/2012 on The West Australian).

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reignited the Federal Government’s dispute with Colin Barnett over his refusal to allow information on the carbon tax to be inserted in electricity bills, accusing him of “hoodwinking” West Australians…

Ms Gillard said Mr Barnett was trying to solely blame the Federal Government’s carbon pricing, which will increase average power bills by about 10 per cent, for WA’s high electricity prices.

Mr Barnett has previously ruled out allowing the Commonwealth to insert information into Synergy bills, saying that would amount to “propaganda”.

Ms Gillard this morning said the average household would pay $3.30 extra a week on electricity as a result of carbon pricing, but Commonwealth assistance would be on average $10.10 a week.

“I want every West Australian, every Australian, to be able to judge the facts for themselves,” she said. “I have wanted in power bills in WA to see an insert that explains to people the impact on electricity pricing, the impact of the 10 per cent rise and also the assistance that’s available from the Federal Government.

“Unfortunately that won’t be happening because Premier Barnett, who has overseen a 57 per cent increase in electricity prices in this State, is hoping to not take responsibility for those increases but try and blame them on the Federal Government.

Confusing, yes?  Considering Ms. Gillard is more on the political left and Mr. Barnett is more on the political right.  So one would assume that Mr. Barnett would love to include the carbon tax as a line item on people’s electric bills.  So why doesn’t he?  And why would Ms. Gillard want to show the people a breakout of a new tax her government is adding to people’s electric bills?  Because there is more to the carbon tax than that the additional tax paid by the consumer.

The new carbon tax also imposes “a levy of Aus$23 (US$23.50) per tonne of carbon emissions on about 350 of the country’s top polluters.”  Apparently the federal government wants these polluters to pay this tax without passing it on to their customers.  Which, of course, they can’t.  As customers ultimately pay all taxes.  So it would appear that Mr. Barnett doesn’t want to include the tiny tax each and every customer is paying on their utility bill for it would mislead the people into thinking that was the full cost of the carbon tax.  Hence the “propaganda” claim.  The carbon tax will increase the cost of making electricity.  For this tax on the polluters is no different than an increase in fuel prices.  A cost born by the utility.  And passed on to the customer.

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British Electric Bills will rise by 27% to Subsidize Wind Farms and other Renewable Energy Initiatives

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 20th, 2012

Week in Review

Saving the planet isn’t cheap.  It takes a lot of taxes.  Subsidies.  And a significant reduction in your standard of living.  But that’s a small price to pay for not making a difference, isn’t it?  That’s what the British government thinks.  And they are willing to suck the quality of life right out of their people to prove it (see Electricity bills set to rise to pay for wind farm subsidies by Robert Mendick posted 5/20/2012 on The Telegraph).

This week the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will publish its draft energy bill, setting out how it plans to reform the electricity market and reduce the cost to households.

DECC has insisted that energy bills will begin to fall from next year and will be reduced by seven per cent – or £94 – by 2020 because of new energy efficiency policies.

These include the Green Deal, which will provide loans to fund loft and wall insulation; the roll-out of ‘smart’ meters to help control and monitor energy consumption; and the improvement in the energy efficiency of kettles and other appliances.

But a study of the Government’s own figures by the Renewable Energy Forum (REF), a specialist renewable energy consultancy, has accused DECC of deliberately misleading the public.

REF claims its analysis of the Government’s own figures shows that two-thirds of households, about 17 million in all, will be worse off – even if energy efficiency targets are met in full…

REF estimates that the UK’s climate change policies – which promote wind farms and other forms of renewable energy – will be responsible for ‘major increases’ in the retail price of electricity and gas.

It estimates that electricity prices on domestic bills will rise by 27 per cent by 2020 and by 34 per cent on bills for medium-sized companies. Gas prices will rise by seven per cent and 11 per cent respectively…

Earlier this year, 101 backbench Tory MPs wrote to David Cameron demanding that the £400 million a year subsidies paid to the onshore wind turbine industry be “dramatically cut”. In all, REF estimates that £1.5 billion a year is paid out in subsidies for all forms of renewable energy – including on and offshore wind – and that figure will rise to £8 billion a year by 2020.

The UK budget deficit in April of 2012 was £18.17 billion ($26.76 billion).  So spending £1.5 billion ($2.37 billion) a year they don’t have will not reduce their deficit.  It will only increase their debt.  And the interest they must pay on their debt.  Requiring higher taxes.  A bitter pill to swallow when the cost of electricity is rising at the same time.  Going green is going to impoverish the British people.  And by 2020 things will be over 5 times worse.

And all of this to save the planet.  Funny, really.  Because what the British do won’t be able to offset what the Chinese and Indians are doing.  Their economies are likely to continue to grow.  Pumping far more carbon into the air than the British can ever hope to remove.  So the British green policies will only hurt the British people.  Reduce their standard of living.  Without changing the world in the least.

And all the talk about insulating the UK from energy shocks?  Here’s something to think about.  Let’s say it’s winter. And the UK gets 25% of its electricity from wind farms.  Now let’s say a cold spell sets in.  And the wind stops blowing.  What do you think would happen if a fourth of the available electricity disappeared?  Can you say rolling brownout?  And blackout?  Not a problem you think?  Because your furnace uses natural gas?  Well, it takes electricity to run that furnace.  It takes electricity to pump hot water and blow hot air.  Anyone who lost their electric power in the winter can attest to that.  But the power companies can get the electricity back on line in a day or so.  Of course, you can’t do anything to make the wind blow.  Talk about irony.  To lose your power not from a storm with high winds.  But from a calm day.  Imagine worrying about losing your power whenever the winds don’t blow.  Instead of worrying the few days they blow really hard.  Of course, that risk doesn’t go away either.  Losing your power during a storm.  Sort of damned if the wind blows.  And damned if it doesn’t blow.  Which means you’re pretty much damned all of the time.

And if that wasn’t bad enough (and don’t you think it should be?), the British will be paying higher electric bills.  And higher taxes.  All while making no difference to the environment.  But at least they have the consolation of knowing that the people that are ruining their lives had good intentions.  Sort of makes everything worthwhile, doesn’t it?  Just remember that when you’re huddled under your blankets waiting for the wind to blow again so you can have some heat.

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Bernanke can’t Help this Bad Economy and Washington only Exasperates our Problems with their Regulatory Zeal

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2011

Congressional Action thus far has Scared the Bejesus out of Households and Businesses

All eyes were on Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Ben Bernanke was giving a much anticipated speech.  And the markets waited with bated breath.  They’re not bated anymore (see Bernanke pledges Fed support, but notes limits by Chris Isidore posted 8/26/2011 on CNNMoney).

“Most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank,” he said.

And he warned that when Congress weighs future deficit reduction plans, it should be careful to not hurt the economy in the short-term. They “should not…disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery.”

He said there needs to be a better way of Congress making decisions on taxes and spending. And he said a repeat of the this summer’s contentious debate over raising the debt ceiling would likely hurt the economy.

“It is difficult to judge by how much these developments have affected economic activity thus far,” he said about the threat of default and the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. “But there seems little doubt that they have hurt household and business confidence and that they pose ongoing risks to growth.”

The economy has big problems.  Problems, though, that will take more than monetary policy to fix.  But when Congress addresses these fiscal issues they should be very careful not to damage the fragile economic recovery.  Because thus far their words and actions have only been scaring the bejesus out of households and businesses.

Businesses Prefer Stability and Responsible Government that doesn’t Govern Against their Interests

Households and businesses are so frightened of what the future holds that they are sitting on their money (see Key Passages From Bernanke’s Jackson Hole Remark by David Wessel posted 8/26/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

“Financial stress has been and continues to be a significant drag on the recovery, both here and abroad. Bouts of sharp volatility and risk aversion in markets have recently re-emerged in reaction to concerns about both European sovereign debts and developments related to the U.S. fiscal situation…. It is difficult to judge by how much these developments have affected economic activity thus far, but there seems little doubt that they have hurt household and business confidence and that they pose ongoing risks to growth.”

Uncertainty.  The greatest fear of business.  Because you can’t plan uncertainty.  Because it is uncertain.  Businesses prefer stability.  Households, too.  That, and responsible government.  One that doesn’t govern against their interests.

The Department of Energy is going to raise our Electric Bills by 35%  

And so far government hasn’t been delivering what the households and businesses want (see US breaks ground on first industrial-scale carbon capture project by staff of Business Green, part of the Guardian Environment Network guardian.co.uk, posted 8/26/2011 on the Guardian).

The US government’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) efforts stepped up a gear this week, with the start of construction on the government’s first industrial-scale scheme and funds worth $41m set aside for another 16 research projects.

Work on the plant in Decatur, Illinois, which received $141m of public money and another $66.5m from private sector sources, started just a few weeks after American Electric Power abandoned plans to build its $668m CCS facility.

Is this responsible government?  After record deficits caused the first downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt ever should the government still be spending money on bad green investments?  How do I know this is a bad green investment?  Simple.  The private sector will only invest 32% of its total costs.  The taxpayers are picking up the other 68%.

The DoE said its selection yesterday of 16 projects across 13 states to share $41m funding over three years would further the aim.

Each project will focus on developing technologies capable of capturing at least 90% of CO2 produced, as well as reducing the added costs at power plants to no more than a 35% increase in the cost of electricity produced.

Oh, and the Department of Energy is only going to raise our electric bills by 35%.  So not only do the taxpayers have to pay for the construction of this plant, our electric bills will increase afterwards.  For both households.  And businesses.  Which will be a further drag on the economy.  Which won’t make Ben Bernanke happy.

Killing Businesses with Regulatory Compliance Costs

But it gets worse.  The EPA is causing uncertainty for American businesses.  And killing them with compliance costs.  So much so that John Boehner wrote a letter to President Obama demanding a tally of his punishing regulations (see Five EPA rules that will cost more than $1 billion by Conn Carroll posted 8/26/2011 on The Washington Examiner).

Boehner specifically mentions one regulation that “will cost our economy as much as $90 billion per year. That rule, titled “Reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone Primary and Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards” (aka “The Ozone Rule), is the biggest drag on growth that the EPA has formally proposed so far. The EPA is also working on global warming regulations that are sure to cost much more, but those proposals have not been published yet.

The EPA has published at least four other proposed regulations, however, that would inflict costs on the U.S. economy over or near $1 billion a year. These cost estimates are all from the EPA’s own numbers…

Here’s a chart summarizing the 5 regulations in this article:

 

And this is only 5 of them.  Imagine if you add them up in total.  Could it be holding back businesses?  Perhaps.  I mean, would you invest in anything new knowing billions of dollars of compliance costs were coming your way?  I wouldn’t.

Perhaps the Problem with the Bad Economy is the People trying to Fix It

Bernanke is right.  You can’t fix this stuff with monetary policy.  When you’re attacking American households and businesses like this, no one is going to borrow any money to invest.  No matter how cheap it is.

Furthermore, all of these costs are going to be passed onto the American consumer.  They always are.  So this means consumers will have less disposable income.  Which means this will be a further drag on the economy.  And less economic activity means less tax revenue.  Which takes us back to those growing deficits.  They ain’t going away.

Perhaps the problem with the bad economy isn’t due to a lack of demand as the Keynesians say.  Perhaps the problem is with the people trying to fix it.  And there is no quick solution to that problem.  As the 2012 election is still more than a year away.

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