The Energy Spectator

The Energy Spectator

Hidden Emails Reveal a Secret Anti-Fossil Fuel Network

By 9.3.15

Most of us feel that time goes by faster as we get older. It does. When you are five years old, one year represents 20 percent of your life. Yet, when you are fifty, that same calendar year is only 2 percent of your life—making that single timeframe much smaller. Those of us involved in fighting the bad energy policies coming out of Washington have a similar feeling: the second term of the Obama Administration seems to be throwing much more at us and at such speed that we can barely keep up. Likewise, they are.

We knew that President Obama was planning to fundamentally transform America, but even many of his initial supporters have been shocked as his true intentions have been revealed. Following his November 2012 reelection, his administration has removed any pretense of representing the majority of Americans and has pursued his ideological agenda with wild abandon—leaving many of us feeling incapacitated; thrown to the curb as it speeds by.

The Energy Spectator

Oil’s Down, Gasoline Isn’t — What’s Up With That?

By 8.25.15

A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60-ish and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below—yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.

Oil and gasoline prices usually travel up or down in sync. But a few weeks ago the trend lines crossed and oil continued the sharp decline while gasoline has stayed steady—even increasing.

Oil’s down, gasoline isn’t. Consumers are wondering: “What’s up?”

Even Congress is grilling refiners over the disparity.

The Energy Spectator

The Sun in Obama’s Eye

By 8.12.15

The solar industry is jubilant over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, released in its final form on Monday, August 3. The same day, however, some other news reminded the public of what happens when government policy mandates and incentivizes a favored energy source: Taxpayer dollars are gobbled up and investors lose out.

“The fundamental objective of the Clean Power Plan,” according to Solar Industry Magazine, “is the phasing out of coal-fired power plants in favor of low- or zero-emission sources…” It does this through three “building blocks,” one of which is: “increase electricity generation from non-emitting renewable sources, such as solar and wind.”

The International Business Times (IBT) reports: “The proposed regulations to combat climate change will likely spur an exponential amount of additional solar deployment.”

The Energy Spectator

Just Plain Silly Hillary

By 8.3.15

The Clinton campaign’s newly announced “ambitious renewable energy plans” move far beyond Obama’s highly criticized efforts that have increased costs and jeopardized reliability—but they appease environmental activists and wealthy donors. Obama’s policies push a goal of producing 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from renewables by 2030; hers is 33 percent by 2027. We are at 7 percent today.

At a rally in Ames, Iowa, Clinton said: “I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency.” She added: “And, I’ve got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention.”

I’ve got to tell you, the Clinton campaign isn’t paying attention—or, it is paying attention to the demands of wealthy campaign donors.

The Energy Spectator

Renewed Interest in Nuclear Power

By 7.29.15

Environmental activists privilege “renewable” power sources, such as wind and solar, and proclaim they can promptly reduce the West’s reliance on fossil fuels. But a new report on the economic and environmental contributions of nuclear power to the United States may help shift the debate.

As consumers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and even some U.S. states are fast finding out, renewable power is far more costly than other alternatives. Governments’ decrees to adopt green technologies drive many on fixed incomes into energy poverty, a scary scenario in which the poor or the elderly have to choose between eating and heating their homes during the harsh winter months.

The Energy Spectator

Mexico Begins to Share Its Oil Prize

By 7.21.15

Understanding the connection between energy and economic growth, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto set out to reform his country’s energy policy and invite outside intelligence and investment to boost slumping oil output. In late 2013, he succeeded in getting the constitution amended to allow private and foreign companies to explore and produce oil and gas in Mexico—for the first time in nearly eight decades. The amendments put an end to the government monopoly. Foreign companies can now compete with, or partner with, Pemex—the national oil company. Nieto hopes his reforms will bring in $50 billion in investment by 2018.

The Energy Spectator

The Other Nuclear Country

By 7.15.15

The fuel is now loaded into the reactor, following inspections, the switch will be flipped and, around August 10, the reactor will be fired up. Three days later, transmission of electricity is expected to start, ramping up to full power and commercial operation in September. The same process is expected to take place at a second reactor in September/October.

Despite public protest, Japan is going nuclear—again.

Following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the severe accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor in northeastern Japan, all nuclear reactors were gradually switched off for inspections. No commercial reactor has been online in Japan for nearly two years. Due to safety concerns, the country’s nuclear power generation has been at a standstill. Meanwhile, new regulatory standards have been developed and reactors are undergoing inspections.

The Energy Spectator

The Link Between Climate and Poverty

By 6.30.15

The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released “climate encyclical”—remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this Pope.”

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he claims is “palpable.”

The Energy Spectator

Gazprom Has Uber Problems

By 6.2.15

Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, has traditionally used its position as the second-largest exporter of natural gas to the European Union (EU) (Norway is the largest) as a means of flexing its political muscle, especially under the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it appears Russia’s days as the energy bully may be coming to an end, as years of using energy as a blunt political instrument to advance the Kremlin’s agenda and disruptive new technologies for oil and natural gas extraction threaten Gazprom’s bottom line much like Uber and other innovative ride sharing companies have usurped market share from traditional cab companies.

The new technologies upending the geopolitics of energy production are the combination of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, along with sophisticated seismic monitors that can detect oil and natural gas deposits thousands of feet below the surface. These technologies, frequently lumped together under with the term “fracking,” are the Uber of the energy production world.