Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Ray of Sunlight

You would think it would dry up the mud, but someone is blocking it:

"Obama orders agencies to cut greenhouse gas output by 40%" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, New York Times  March 20, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday to set new goals for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of federal agencies, his latest use of executive authority to address climate change....

The goals are also part of Obama’s effort during his last two years in office to use an expansive interpretation of his presidential authority to unilaterally address climate change in the face of the Republican-controlled Congress’s opposition to advancing legislation that would do so.

“We’re proving that it is possible to grow our economy robustly while at the same time doing the right thing for our environment and tackling climate change in a serious way,” Obama said during a visit to the Energy Department on Thursday to announce the order. “America once again is going to be leading by example.”

The federal government’s share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is minuscule — less than 1 percent in 2013, the last year for which data are available — so the order by itself is unlikely to make a major dent in the president’s broader goals to cut emissions.

That's exempting the Pentagon, of course -- the biggest polluter on the face of planet Earth.

But because the federal government is the largest user of energy in the US economy — encompassing 360,000 buildings, 650,000 fleet vehicles, and $445 billion in annual spending on goods and services — it can influence private companies to step up their emissions-cutting targets.

It's impact is minimal but it's the largest user? That doesn't add up, and all those political trips and such need to come to a halt. What's the spew on all those preaching restraint to use in the face of cold?

In conjunction with the executive order, the Obama administration released a scorecard to allow federal suppliers to disclose their emissions and track their reductions.


Several large companies that do business with the federal government — including International Business Machines Corp., General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc., and Northrop Grumman Corp. — announced new emissions-cutting goals of their own.

Oh, the war contractors are behind it, too, huh?

“As we get economies of scale, and demand for solar and wind and other renewable energies grows, obviously that can help drive down the overall price, make it that much for efficient, and we start getting a virtuous cycle that is good for the economy and creates jobs here in America,” Obama said after touring the Energy Department’s solar-paneled rooftop.

Really? The makers here (think Evergreen) got tax dollars and still moved to China.

At a round table with representatives of some of the private corporations taking part, Obama praised the companies for stepping up with new or enhanced emissions-cutting targets.

I could use a vulgar metaphor to describe what he is doing there; however, the credibility of the entire effort was just smashed to $h** with me. Sorry, but corporate goodwill and governance just ain't getting it done for me considering the mass misery across this nation and world.

The administration is also expected to release new rules for ‘‘fracking’’ — hydraulic fracturing to release gas or oil — on public lands as early as Friday.... 

Yeah, I saw those.


And leaving the wastes of money like Solyndra and such, did you know that it is firms like Goldman Sachs and Google that are benefiting from the altrui$tic government effort?

And those responsible for global warming?

"Utilities fight rise in home solar power; Industry seeking hefty surcharges for consumers" by Joby Warrick, Washington Post  March 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels. 


If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from declining retail sales and a loss of customers to ‘‘potential obsolescence,’’ according to a presentation prepared for the group. ‘‘Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,’’ it said.

The warning, delivered to a private meeting of the utility industry’s main trade association, became a call to arms for electricity providers in nearly every corner of the nation.

Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the country’s government-regulated electric monopolies. 

Oh, a CALL TO ARMS against an INSURGENCY says the Washington Post! Talk about the SELF-INTERNALIZATION of WAR VALUES! It's bleeding out the choice terminology the pos WaPo chooses to use -- as if people with solar power panels on their homes are out blowing up pipelines and power stations! Talk about MIXED ME$$AGES!

So how is that plane ride going anyway?

The campaign’s first phase — an industry push for state laws raising prices for solar customers — failed spectacularly in legislatures around the country, due in part to surprisingly strong support for solar energy from conservatives and evangelicals in ‘‘red states.’’

Praise God!

More recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a more successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers.

In a closely watched case last month, an Arizona utility voted to impose a monthly surcharge of about $50 for net metering, a common practice that gives solar customers credit for the surplus electricity they provide to the electric grid. Net metering makes home solar affordable by sharply lowering electric bills to offset the $10,000 to $30,000 cost of rooftop panels.

A Wisconsin utilities commission approved a similar surcharge for solar users last year, and a New Mexico regulator also is considering raising fees. In some states, industry officials have enlisted the help of minority groups in arguing that solar panels hurt low-income people by driving up electricity rates for everyone else. 

After and as they push to drive up prices even though they didn't need to -- 

"Heading into this winter, generators jacked up electricity prices by as much as 40 percent in anticipation of natural gas shortages, which were passed on to consumers by utilities. But those natural gas shortages and electricity price spikes did not happen this winter, partly due to increased LNG shipments."

I'm at a loss for words. The electric rates rose, we all saw it in the bills, and now the Globe is saying it didn't happen in the same paragraph they say it did, and there was no shortage of gas even as they claimed there was earlier. I suppose all that agenda-pu$hing gas in my bu$ine$$ sections and other places was just that.

-- and at least you now know why May got a raise this year! 

Oh, right, now they are going to drop prices again, good guys that they are!

‘‘The utilities are fighting tooth and nail,’’ said Scott Peterson, director of the Checks and Balances Project, a Virginia nonprofit group that investigates lobbyists’ ties to regulatory agencies. Peterson, who has tracked the industry’s two-year legislative fight, said the pivot to public utility commissions moves the battle to friendlier terrain for utilities.

The commissions, usually made up of political appointees, ‘‘have enormous power, and no one really watches them,’’ Peterson said.

Industry officials say they support their customers’ right to generate electricity on their own property, but they say rooftop solar’s new popularity is creating a cost imbalance.

On the bottom line of their profit statements!!!

While homeowners with solar panels usually see dramatic reductions in their electric bills, they still rely on the grid for electricity at night and on cloudy days. The utility collects less revenue, even though the infrastructure costs — from expensive power plants to transmission lines and maintenance crews — remain the same.

Awww, poor power companies!!! Will have to take back those CEO raises then!

Ultimately, someone pays those costs, said David K. Owens, an executive vice president for Edison Electric Institute, the trade association that represents the nation’s investor-owned utilities.

Hey, ratepayer!

‘‘It’s not about profits; it’s about protecting customers,’’ Owens said. ‘‘There are unreasonable cost shifts that do occur [with solar]. There is a grid that everyone relies on, and you have to pay for that grid and pay for that infrastructure.’’

All the more reason to GET OFF the GRID, and how $hamele$$ is that, huh?

Whether home-solar systems add significant costs to electric grids is the subject of intense debate.

And as long as that is powered the utilities will still collect!

A Louisiana study last month concluded that solar roofs had resulted in cost shifts of more than $2 million that must be borne by Louisiana customers who lack solar panels. That study was disputed by clean-energy groups that pointed to extensive ties between the report’s authors and the fossil-fuel lobby.

They want that money!

Other studies commissioned by state regulators in Nevada and Mississippi found that costs can be outweighed by benefits. For one thing, researchers found, the excess energy generated by solar panels helps reduce the strain on electric grids on summer days when demand soars and utilities are forced to buy additional power at high rates.

Passing the costs on to you, of course!


Here's a penny for some thoughts. 

Even Buffett is letting go of his gas.