The Energy Spectator

The Energy Spectator

Solar Industry Wins a Round

By 10.23.15

The wording of a proposed amendment to Florida’s state constitution that would oblige the state to promote solar power and would allow the solar industry to generate and sell power in an unregulated way has been approved by the Florida Supreme Court.

The court’s ruling was not to the proposed amendment’s merits (if you’re not in the solar power business there are none), but affirms that the language of the amendment, put forward by an outfit called Floridians for Solar Power, is clear and treats only one subject.

“We are thrilled with the high court’s ruling so that voters may have the opportunity to vote on removing a barrier that currently blocks Florida’s families and businesses from greater energy choices through the power of the free market,” said Floridians For Solar Power chairman Tory Perfetti after the decision came down.

The Energy Spectator

Oklahoma Earthquake Shakes

By 10.20.15

The Great ShakeOut, the annual “PrepareAthon” that advocates earthquake readiness, took place across the globe on October 15, at 10:15 AM — 10/15 @10:15. Unless you have a child in a participating school, the “Ready Campaign” may have passed without your awareness. I grew up in Southern California, where earthquakes were so routine, we paid them no mind; we didn’t have earthquake drills.

But that was then. Now, the Great ShakeOut is a global campaign. Now, Oklahoma has more earthquakes than California — and students in Oklahoma participated on 10/15 at 10:15. As if choreographed, Oklahomans had a reminder 4.5 earthquake just days before the drill.

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Twenty-Six Democrats Are a Start

By 10.14.15

Americans are sick of the bickering in Washington and want both parties to cooperate and get something done. Friday, October 9, offered proof that this can still happen. The House passed H.R. 702, the bill to lift the decades old, and outdated, oil export ban with 26 Democrats joining the majority of Republicans and voting for it.

Yes, the Republicans could have passed the bill without the Democrats—but there are strategic reasons why it was important to bring as many Democrats on board as possible. And, getting them on board wasn’t easy; it didn’t happen naturally—especially since, two days before the vote, on Wednesday, October 7, the White House issued a veto threat in the form of a “Statement of Administrative Policy.” It says: “Legislation to remove crude export restrictions is not needed at this time.… If the President were presented with H.R. 702, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

The Energy Spectator

Pro-Iran Deal? Lift the Oil Export Ban

By 9.15.15

“Whether you support this deal or not, we can all agree that America’s commitment to Israel remains unshakeable. And we will continue—Democrats and Republicans united—to stand with Israel,” says a statement from Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). Yet, despite widespread opposition from Israel and pro-Israel groups, Schatz, and almost all his fellow Jewish Senators and Representatives, supported the Iran nuclear deal that appears to be done.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on September 10, announced: “There’s no doubt whatsoever that the Congress of the United States will allow this agreement to go forward.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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