October 3, 2011

Let's focus on 'Brown Energy' where the money is and the jobs are

How North Dakota Became Saudi Arabia

Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be "completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century."

"President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy," he adds. We can't come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into "green energy" sources like wind and solar, he argues. It has to come from oil and gas.
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"We expect our reserves and production to triple over the next five years." And for those who think this oil find is only making Mr. Hamm rich, he notes that today in America "there are 10 million royalty owners across the country" who receive payments for the oil drilled on their land. "The wealth is being widely shared."
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The White House proposal to raise $40 billion of taxes on oil and gas—by excluding those industries from credits that go to all domestic manufacturers—is also a major hindrance to exploration and drilling. "That just stops the drilling," Mr. Hamm believes.
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It's hard to disagree with Mr. Hamm's assessment that Barack Obama has the energy story in America wrong. The government floods green energy—a niche market that supplies 2.5% of our energy needs—with billions of dollars of subsidies a year. "Wind isn't commercially feasible with natural gas prices below $6" per thousand cubic feet, notes Mr. Hamm. Right now its price is below $4. This may explain the administration's hostility to the fossil-fuel renaissance.

Mr. Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, I say. He smiles.

A Brown Jobs Bonanza Reshaping America

While the government has been spending billions of dollars to produce a handful of sickly green jobs without much staying power, a veritable gusher of ‘brown’ jobs in traditional mining and energy extractive industries is on the brink of rejuvenating the American economy
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The much despised brown jobs sector grew by 58% in the years after 2006 when economic growth as a whole slowed, Kotkin finds, creating more than half a million new jobs, and this is one of the best paying sectors in the economy, with average annual wages of more than $100,000 a year.

Why doesn't the Administration embrace brown energy?  I don't understand it. Why were seven North Dakota oil companies charged with the death of 28 migratory birds while wind companies get away with killing 400,000+ every year?   The Wall St Journal called it "bird-brained" and even the American Bird Conservancy called the selective enforcement hypocritical.

American Bird Conservancy President George Fenwick. “Every year wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds, including eagles, hawks, and songbirds, but the operators are being allowed to get away with it. It looks like a double standard.”

The build-out of wind power is anticipated to increase 12-fold in the next 20 years and bird mortality will dramatically increase.  After years and untold millions spent in saving eagles, one wind farm in California is estimated to have killed more than 2000 eagles!  In Salon, Michael Lind writes

The environmental movement since the 1970s has been fixated religiously on a few "soft energy" panaceas -- wind, solar, and biofuels -- and can be counted on to exaggerate or invent problems caused by alternatives. Many of the same Greens who oppose fracking because it might contaminate some underground aquifers favor wind turbines and high-voltage power lines that slaughter eagles and other birds and support blanketing huge desert areas with solar panels, at the cost of exterminating much of the local wildlife and vegetation. Wilderness preservation, the original goal of environmentalism, has been sacrificed to the giant metallic idols of the sun and the wind.

In Massachusetts, with the construction of 120 wind-powered turbines off the cost of Cape Cod for Cape Wind, consumers will end up paying at least four and half times the going rate.

Once the subsidies go, it makes no economic sense for utility companies to invest in wind power.  The Wind Farm Scam

In 2007 (the last year for which verified data is currently available) the Department of Energy reported that there were 389 wind-farms producing electricity in the United States, with a net generation capacity of 16,596 megawatts.  If all of those windmills were churning out electrons at capacity all of the time, they would have produced a little over 145 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2007. How much did they in fact produce? A little less than 27 million megawatt hours, or less than twenty percent of capacity (also called “capacity factor” in the business).

At least one wind farm project was scuttled  Wind farm project was a billion dollar boondoogle

When the New York Power Authority formally pulled the plug Tuesday on the offshore wind farm project, NYPA officials said it wasn’t “fiscally prudent” because even a 150-megawatt project – on the small side of the agency’s guidelines–would require subsidies of $60 million to $100 million a year. That was two to four times the subsidy a similarly sized land-based wind farm would require to be economically feasible.

In England, Christopher Booker calls the £250bn wind power industry the greatest scam of our age -

The megawatts supplied by our 3,500 turbines is derisory: no more than the output of a single, medium-sized conventional power station...The second great lie about wind power is the pretence that it is not a preposterously expensive way to produce electricity. No one would dream of building wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy.

No wonder, Green Energy Industry Staggers

As the Energy Department hustled to get another $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for green tech companies out the door before time ran out and the program ended last week, yet another solar panel manufacturer was wilting in the sun, and the green jobs scam was looking more threadbare than ever.
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Perhaps even worse from the green point of view, a cascade of discoveries and technological advances has dramatically increased the supplies of oil and gas in the western hemisphere — including huge new domestic energy supplies in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York.  These discoveries are devastating to the politics of the environmental movement.

Mark Steyn wrote about Obama's magical thinking on green jobs

The Obama administration’s $38.6 billion “clean technology” program was supposed to “create or save” 65,000 jobs. Half the money has been spent – $17.2 billion – and we have 3,545 jobs to show for it. That works out to an impressive $4,851,904.09 per “green job.” A world record! Take that, you loser Spaniards! USA! USA!
Posted by Jill Fallon at October 3, 2011 2:47 AM | Permalink