Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Political Fact: Poll Finds Hanger Leads Corbett 51% to 32% And Is Strongest Candidate Against Governor Corbett

The latest poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) of the Pennsylvania's Governor's race is full of great news for my campaign. I lead Governor Corbett 51% to 32% and am the strongest candidate against Corbett.

Among the announced candidates, I am the strongest candidate against Corbett with men, women, independents, and African Americans.

Among men, I lead the beating the Governor 56%-30%. With women, I lead the Governor, 47%-30%. I am also beating the Governor among independents and African Americans by respectively 59%-20% and 74%-15%.  Again, no other candidate performs that well against the Governor with these groups.

In the May 2014 Democratic primary, PPP also finds that I am statistically tied for second with McCord and McGinty among announced candidates. McCord got 10%, McGinty 9%, and I am at 8%  (PPP included Jack Wagner in the poll, though he has not a candidate now and has not said that he intends to be one.).

Allyson Schwartz leads in the PPP poll with 21% but is not rising. The winner of the primary will likely need 30% of the vote.

By contrast, our campaign's got real momentum that is now starting to be reflected in public polling. We are gaining strength every day. Our goal is to get 30% or 300,000 votes in the May 2014 Democratic primary, and that total will be enough to win.

The campaign website is Support and donations are much appreciated.
Also, our facebook page is:

Peak Fact or Fiction: University of Michigan Studies Find US Reached "Peak Car" In 2004-2005

Let's talk "Peak Car." Evidence gathered by researchers at the University of Michigan is growing that the number and use of light vehicles peaked in 2004.

Here is what Michael Sivak, one of the researchers, states:

"The findings of the present study indicate that the corresponding rates for fuel consumed also reached their maxima during [2003-2004]. Thus, the combined evidence from these three studies indicates that -- per person, per driver, and per household -- we now have fewer light-duty vehicles, we drive each of them less, and we consume less fuel than in the past..."

Though the number and use of light vehicles has declined since 2004, Sivak is actually not saying that either the number or use of cars will never exceed the 2004 peak. Never or forever is a really long time.

But important changes in ownership rates, living patterns, fuel efficiency have produced now nearly a decade of declining vehicle numbers and gasoline usage. That's both remarkable and important.

Stunning Fact: Utility Consumers Have Paid $28 Billion For Non-Existent Nuclear Storage Facility

How would you like to pay $28 billion and get nothing for it? That's what collectively happened to customers of nuclear plants who have paid $28 billion over decades for a central storage site to store highly radioactive waste.

A federal court last week ordered that a 0.1 cent per kilowatt-hour charge to customers of utilities be stopped after decades of collection. Those fees have created a $28 billion fund that earns $1.3 billion of interest per year and was still collecting annually $750 million in new payments.

These numbers are just astonishing and certainly put tax credits for renewable energy in a favorable light. Those credits have helped to create more than 60,000 megawatts of wind generation and 10,000 megawatts of solar generation, with much more on the way.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stunning Fact: MIT Study Finds Air Pollution Causes 200,000 Premature Deaths Per Year In US

Air pollution remains America's biggest public health problem. If you want to argue that proposition, please read first a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here is the link:

The MIT study finds that air pollution causes 200,000 premature deaths per year in the USA. The biggest source of early death is pollution caused by burning diesel. MIT says this diesel pollution causes 53,000 deaths per year.

Power plant pollution from mainly coal-fired power plants causes the second largest amount of early deaths: 52,000.

The MIT study is full of sobering data!

Sad Fact: Duke Energy Renewables Pleads Guilty To Killing 18 Protected Eagles

I make no apologies for loving wind power and for having supported the building of all of Pennsylvania's 24 operating wind farms. I buy 100% wind energy for my home and urge others to do the same. Go to:

Pennsylvania's 24 wind farms will generate 3 billion kilowatt-hours of power or enough for 330,000 homes. And they do so without withdrawing clean water from streams, discharging polluted water, or any air emissions--no soot, mercury, lead, arsenic, carbon dioxide. Nothing!

Though I love and buy wind power, I know that it is not perfect. One sad consequence of wind turbines is a small number of bird deaths each year. Indeed, the total of bird deaths from wind turbines pales in comparison to the huge number of bird deaths caused by cats, power lines, windows, cars.

Yet, for some bird lovers, wind turbines are terrible. And the federal case from Wyoming, where 18 protected eagles were killed by wind turbines, will be a talking point for those who hate wind farms.

Here is another sad fact.  Every wind turbine that is not built means more coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power that is consumed. And the environmental impacts from those energy sources dwarf those of wind. Wind is not perfect, but it is already darn good and actually getting better!

Monday, November 25, 2013

PA Loses 7,400 Jobs In September & Gains None In October, As PA Jobs Disaster Continues

Pennsylvania's jobs disaster grew worse in September and October. Pennsylvania actually lost 7,400 jobs in September and gained zero in October. This astonishingly bad news came late, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics were delayed by the federal government shutdown!

Pennsylvania's jobs performance gets worse, even as America creates more jobs. The Arizona State University jobs index shows that America created 2, 299,000 jobs from October 2012 to October 2013.

Pennsylvania's worsening jobs performance is clearly shown in the bar graph below that was produced by the Keystone Research Center. There is no way to put lipstick on this pig:

Reality Check: New Study Confirms Shale Gas In PA Provides Directly & Indirectly About 1% Of Jobs Needed

Another major study documents that shale gas drilling will create about 1% of all the jobs Pennsylvania must have to be at full employment. Or to put it another way, Pennsylvania must get 99% of the jobs it needs from something other than the shale gas industry.  That's a reality that Governor Corbett continues to deny.

Governor Corbett's economic development plan is nothing more than a very bad version of "Drill Baby Drill!" He has dismissed legitimate concerns, undermined local governments ability to zone, refused to tax, slashed enforcement.

And despite all the evidence to the contrary, such as Pennsylvania losing 7,400 jobs in September and creating none in October, the Governor still suggests that gas drilling brings broad prosperity to Pennsylvania. It has not, cannot, and will not.

Pennsylvania's terrible jobs performance under Governor Corbett is rooted in the Governor's horrible misunderstanding of Pennsylvania's economy. To create broad prosperity in Pennsylvania, education, health care, agriculture, manufacturing, retail, tourism, transportation, clean energy industries all must be strong and growing. Yet, Governor Corbett has attacked or neglected everyone of those industries for the last 3 years!

And now the results can be seen by all!

Friday, November 22, 2013

September Generation Scoreboard: Solar Up 106%, Wind 35%, Nuke 2%, Coal Up 6% But Gas Down 6% & Hydro 4%

Solar, wind, and coal are the three big winners on the September 2013 Generation Scoreboard.

Solar rose in September 2013 an incredible 106%, compared to September 2012. Wind production jumped a huge 35%. And coal's 2013 rebound continued, with its production up 6%, compared to a year ago.

On the scoreboard, the two big losers are natural gas and hydro, both down 6% and 4% respectively.  Gas and coal continue to mirror each other, with the increase in coal generation almost precisely matched by the fall in gas-fired electricity production.

Stunning Fact: Wind Provides 25% Of Iowa's Power & May Generate 50% By 2018

If you want to see the future of wind power in America, take a look at Iowa today. Wind power is now providing about 25% of Iowa's electricity. And Iowa is still expanding rapidly wind generation.

By 2018, wind could provide a truly incredible 50% of Iowa's power needs. Just amazing!

Wind generation has reshaped Iowa's generation system and is big business. That power transformation has made attacking wind power, as Governor Romney did, a real political loser in Iowa, where even Tea Party hero, Congressman Steve King, strongly supports the wind industry.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Key Fact: Gasoline Cars Fire Risk Is 5 Times Greater Than Tesla But Feds Investigate Tesla

The bed-of-roses period has come to an end for Tesla. It is now under fire for fires. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the safety of the Tesla Model S.

Proving once more that he is no shrinking violet, Elon Musk is out with a strong statement, defending Tesla's performance and attacking the media treatment of 3 Tesla fires. Here it is:

Musk's statement stands on the foundation of facts that establish the risk of a fire in a gasoline powered vehicle is 5 times greater than the risk of a fire in a Tesla.  Musk notes that there have been about 250,000 gasoline vehicle fires, in which 400 people died, since Teslas took to the road.

There are currently approximately 19,000 Teslas driving our roads and again 3 of them have caught fire following an accident. If Tesla had the same fire rate as gasoline cars, 16 to 17 Teslas would have caught fire by this point.

Most importantly, nobody died or was injured in the 3 fires, one of which happened in Mexico.  Moreover, Tesla has been judged to be the safest car ever produced by Consumer Reports.  Moreover, Tesla has said it will increase the road clearance of future models to reduce further fire risks.

Yet, Musk is facing a media environment were a video of a burning Tesla could well lead the national news. And that media environment has caused Tesla's stock to lose about 35% since its peak. Ouch!

Colorado Tires of Drilling Air Pollution & Proposes Toughest State Air Rules In Nation

Colorado has experienced significant air emissions and methane leakage caused by gas drilling that uses a combination of old equipment that is not well maintained and the failure to install available best pollution control technology. As a result of these bad practices that had been allowed under the current regulations, the increased emissions from gas drilling in the counties gas drilling are documented and have contributed to unhealthy air quality in some counties.

On Monday, Colorado proposed a new set of regulations compelling the industry to cut substantially air emissions and methane leakage. Mark Brownstein's analysis of the rules is here:

Technology exists to slash air emissions from gas drilling by about 90%, but the gas industry has not broadly implemented the best pollution controls. Colorado has had enough and now will compel a clean up. State and federal regulators should follow Colorado's lead!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wind Generation Sets New Generation Records Across America In 2013--Up To 60.5% Of Power Supply

Wind generation is setting eye-popping records all across America during 2013.  In California, wind has provided up to 17.5% of total electricity supply. In ERCOT Texas, 28.1%. In Xcel, Colorado, an astonishing 60.5%.  Though these records are big, they will fall sooner rather than later.  Why?

Simply put, the current wind generation records will fall because so much more wind generation will be built in next 20 years.  The country is nearing 5% of its electricity coming from wind but the wind industry is still young and has much more growth ahead. Wind will reach 20% of US electricity supply and possibly more.

Indeed, wind's future growth will be bigger than once expected, since the cost of wind is still declining.  And wind already is among the lowest cost electricity sources of supply in many states.

And so, America has likely built no more than a quarter of the wind power it will build before the wind industry plateaus.

Stunning Fact: Demand For Electricity Falls 9% In TVA Region--An Example Of The Energy Efficiency Revolution

Buried in the reporting on the Tennessee Valley Authority's announcement that it will close 8 coal-fired power plants was the fact that electricity demand in the region has fallen 9% since 2008.

A decline in electricity demand of 9% in the TVA region is astonishing! And that demand decline is as responsible as any other factor in the TVA decision to close generating capacity.

Falling demand is putting substantial downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices that is in turn pushing the least efficient or highest production cost generators to the financial edge.  Falling demand is a product of numerous energy efficiency successes rooted in both better technology, processes, and policies financing energy reduction initiatives.

Falling demand also is reflecting the large amount of distributed solar in some regions. Distributed solar reveals itself not as new generation capacity but as less electricity demand at a home or business.

Despite the critical role of declining or flat electricity demand in reshaping energy markets, little attention is being paid to energy efficiency and the demand side of energy markets.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stunning Fact: China To Install 12,000 Megawatts Of Solar In 2014, Increasing Global Solar Tsunami!

China intends to install more solar during 2014 than is now operating in America. The projected solar Chinese solar installation is now 12,000 megawatts next year, with 8,000 megawatts on roofs.

Twelve thousand megawatts of solar will produce about as much power as 3 medium sized nuclear plants. These numbers are simply astonishing!

The linked to story projects global solar demand to reach 45,000 to 55,000 megawatts next year, the equivalent of 11 to 14 nuclear plants, and up from about 35,000 megawatts in 2013.  With solar booming in China, Japan, India, 25,000 megawatts of solar could be built in Asia during 2014!

Solar is booming this year and will have a mega-boom in 2014. And then comes 2015! The enormous size of the solar tsunami coming to energy markets is just becoming visible and is big enough to transform global energy markets.

Reality Check: EIA Confirms Coal Mining Jobs Rose 7% From 2008 To 2012, Even As Coal Generation Fell!

Just because coal-fired generation declined substantially since 2008 does not mean that the number of coal mining jobs fell too. Here are the surprising facts:

Coal-fired generation declined from 48% of the nation's total supply in 2008 to 37% in 2012.  Even as burning coal to make electricity fell substantially, coal mining jobs increased 7%, according to the EIA and its most recent Short Term Energy Outlook.

Don't believe it? This is what EIA wrote:

"National coal mining down 2.2% from the same period last year, after increasing by approximately 7% from 2008 to 2012."  Again, coal-mining jobs were up from 2008 to 2012!

While coal jobs grew nationally from 2008 to 2012, they are down 2.2% so far in 2013, even though coal-fired generation is up about 5% this year. The number of coal-mining jobs and the amount of coal-fired generation actually moved in opposite directions since 2008.

In Pennsylvania, the nation's fourth biggest coal producing state, coal mining jobs actually increased 10% from 2008 to 2012. That is a fact that has drawn little or no attention from the media, even though the GOP ran campaigns in 2012 claiming that President Obama and Senator Casey were killing coal jobs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reality Check: Gas-Fired Generation Jumps From 20% To 50% Of Electricity Supply In New England & New York

Over the last 12 years, New York and the 6 New England states have closed substantial amounts of oil and coal power plants. While renewable energy has grown in this region, the region has mostly turned to natural gas to replace the closed coal and oil plants.

In 2001, natural gas provided 21% of the electricity supply in New York and New England. But that percentage is rising substantially. As of 2013, natural gas power plants generated about 50% of the total.

The reliance on gas for electric power in the combined New York and New England region is already about twice the portion of America's power provided by natural gas. And the region may be on the way to consuming even more gas, as Vermont will close a nuclear station and Massachusetts its largest coal plant in the next few years.

This region has a lot to learn from California, where non-hydro renewable energy already provides 19% of its power supply.

Here is another thought. The region produces almost none of the huge gas supplies it consumes and buys gas without insisting on the use of the best technology to protect the environment and safety. That is a missed opportunity to reduce local impacts.

Both regulators and consumers should require producers use green completions to limit methane leakage, install best available technology to cut emissions and noise, ban the use of drilling wastewater pits, not discharge drilling wastewater to waters, limit flaring, and take other steps to minimize impacts.

Stunning Fact: California Gets 19% Of Electricity From Non-Hydro Renewables--Up From 12% In 2008

EIA reports that 19% of California's electricity came from non-hydro renewable sources in the first 9 months of 2013. In 2008, non-hydro renewables provided 12%. By comparison, America currently gets 6% of its power from non-hydro renewable energy resources but that number is growing rapidly as well.

The portion of California's electricity coming from non-hydro renewable energy has increased 60% in just 5 years. California is showing that renewable energy can provide even today 30% of our most populous state's power. That is a powerful example.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Coal's 2013 Rebound Falters: TVA Closes 8 Coal Plants In Kentucky and Alabama

In another sign that the coal-fired generation rebound in 2013 will end soon, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it will close 8 coal-fired power plants. TVA states that 2 of the 8 plants will be replaced by natural gas generation. TVA also continues to build a long-delayed nuke.

The TVA currently generates 38% of its power from coal, which is almost identical to the portion that coal provides of America's electricity.  The TVA currently generates just 8% of its electricity from natural gas, while gas provides about 27% of America's power.

The TVA generates also a substantial amount of power--32%--from nuclear power. While TVA plans to decrease its reliance on coal, it expects to increase its electricity from nuclear plants as well as gas.

The TVA coal closures follow Duke Energy's similar closings in North Carolina and remind that coal's 2013 rebound in generation market share from a low of 37% for 2012 will end soon.

Pollution Fact: TVA Coal Ash Storage Causes Groundwater Pollution At 11 Sites

Once coal is burnt, coal ash is produced, and safe disposal of coal ash remains challenging. Indeed, a new report finds that TVA has polluted groundwater at 11 locations, where it has been storing coal ash.

The pollution from coal ash typically includes arsenic, boron, cobalt, sulfates that can make water unsafe to drink.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stunning Fact: Navigant Research Forecasts Solar Will Cost $1.50 to $2.19/Watt By 2020

Navigant Research is not the Sierra Club or the Obama Administration. It is corporate America.  And so its stunning numbers about the costs of solar might be taken seriously by those folks who still sneer and joke about power from the sun.

Navigant forecasts that solar around the world will cost fully installed $1.50 to $2.19 per watt without subsidies and produce electricity nearly everywhere  at a price as cheap or cheaper than grid power.

By comparison, the nuclear power plant that the United Kingdom has just decided to build and that will operate in about 10 years will supposedly cost $12 per watt.

As a consequence of cheap solar, Navigant forecasts that the global solar market jumps from 35,000 megawatts in 2013 to more than 70,000 megawatts by 2020.  Or the solar market would go from the equivalent of building about 9 nuclear plants this year to 18 in 2020.

You could be excused of thinking that the Navigant forecast must be at the high end of the range. Actually, it is not.  For example, Deutsche Bank's forecast is similar or even more bullish for solar.

Warming Fact: Hungry Polar Bears Hunt Humans Twice In Churchill, Canada

Churchill, Canada is a small community of 900 people to which tourists travel to see Polar Bears.  If you go, please be careful.

The warming Arctic is shortening the season for Polar Bears to hunt seals on ice and making more bears hungry, desperate. And so, in Churchill, bears have attacked this fall humans twice.

The Guardian writes:

"The attack was also a reminder of a warming Arctic under climate change. The loss of sea ice is bringing hungry bears into closer contact with humans as they hunt for food, with potentially lethal consequences for both, scientists said."

You have been warned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

AP Ethanol Investigation Finds Corn Ethanol A Major Cause of Water Pollution--43% of Corn Used For Ethanol; 2 Billion Tons Of Extra Fertilizer

Sometimes the best of intentions go wrong.

The AP has done a major investigation of corn ethanol and its damage to water resources and land.

Here are some of the key facts in the AP report: This year 43% of the corn crop will be used to make ethanol and 45% for animal feed. The AP estimates that the ethanol boom has caused 2 billion tons of extra nitrogen fertilizer to be spread on corn fields, with substantial amounts of it ending up in groundwater, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.

In some cases, the large amounts of nitrogen fertilizers have caused nitrate levels in river water to exceed human health standards, making the water unsafe for drinking, without treatment. But the problems caused by large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer go beyond fouling drinking water.

Nitrogen pollution contributes to dead zones in oceans around the world, including the Gulf Of Mexico. Indeed, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is as big as Connecticut.

Unfortunately, at this point, nitrogen runoff is among America's largest water polluters, and corn ethanol is one of the main causes.

German Carbon Emissions Are Rising Again--Up 2% In 2013 After Also Increasing In 2012

Virtually no country has done more to reduce carbon emissions than Germany. But Germany's immediate closure of 8 nuclear plants following the Fukushima disaster is another obstacle to reducing carbon emissions. And so far it is an obstacle that the Germans have not successfully overcome.

German carbon emissions rose in 2012 and are on track to rise again in 2013. The likely increase in 2012 will be between 2% to 3%, as more coal and oil burning drive up emissions in Germany.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ford Tops Electric Vehicle Sales In October--Beating GM, Nissan, & Toyota

Move over GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Tesla.  Ford is moving forward.

October saw Ford, for the first time, be the top seller of electric cars, with sales of 2,294 vehicles.

Total electric car sales in October were approximately 9,500 or more than 100,000 on an annualized basis. And in this strong month for electric vehicle sales, Ford's surge to the top spot underlines how competitive and diverse the electric car market already is.

But more competition is on the way. Volkswagen, BMW, and other car manufacturers are joining the electric car revolution.

Powerful Fact: Haiyan Three Times More Powerful Than Katrina With Tornado Strength Winds

Tropical storms are increasing in strength. And Haiyan may well have been the strongest storm since modern measurements of storm strength have been made.  Here are some of the stunning facts about the strength of Haiyan that are emerging.

Haiyan was at the top of the Category 5 storm classification system, while Katrina was a Category 3.  Yet, Haiyan was three times more powerful than Katrina that devastated New Orleans!

Katrina was a strong storm but not unusually so. It caused devastation mainly because of the topography of New Orleans, erosion of natural protection by development over decades, and completely inadequate storm barriers around the city.

Compared to Katrina, Haiyan is off the charts. Haiyan had sustained winds of at least 175 mph, with the US military saying its sustained maximum winds were up to 195 mph. Haiyan's gusts were over 200 mph. The winds themselves were like a tornado and destroyed strong structures.

While Haiyan's winds were catastrophic, Haiyan also produced a 20 foot storm surge that acted like a tsunami. This wall of water swept away all before it and killed probably many thousands. Haiyan was like no storm before now. But it may be an example of what lies ahead.

Why are tropical storms on average increasing in strength? Seas are warming!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stunning Fact: Duke Energy Closes 7 of 14 Coal Plants In North Carolina This Year

Around the country, 2013 has seen coal-fired generation rebound but not in North Carolina. EIA data shows that North Carolina is one of just 9 states where coal-fired generation has fallen during 2013.

Coal's decline in North Carolina continues, because Duke Energy is closing 7 of 14 coal plants.

Among the closed coal plants is a plant that opened in 1929 or 84 years ago. That's a reminder that most of the closing plants are at least 40 years old and are inefficient to operate.

Massachusetts Named Most Energy Efficient State--California Ranked Second

Which state is the fairest one of all in terms of energy efficiency?

California is going to have to try harder, because it ranks as the second most energy efficient state. Massachusetts took top honors in the annual rankings of states calculated by ACEEE.

New York, Oregon, and Connecticut round out the top 5.  States that use energy efficiently have a significant competitive advantage, in addition to reducing air, water, and climate pollution in there states.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Microsoft Makes First Green Power Purchase & It's Big: 110 Megawatts Of Wind

Tech giants like Apple and Google have been among the earliest and biggest purchasers of renewable energy. But Microsoft had demurred to buy green power. That is until now.

Microsoft is buying the full output from a 110 megawatt wind farm in Texas for a 20-year period!

While the large declines in solar costs has drawn lots of attention, big drops in the cost of wind power over the last 5 years has not attracted much ink. Yet, the decline in wind power costs is real and means that wind power now often brings immediate savings to consumers as well as providing a fixed long-term electricity price.

Microsoft's plunge into wind is one more demonstration of wind power's attractive economics!

Warming Fact: The Rise In Atmospheric Concentration Of Carbon Dioxide Accelerates In 2012

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing and, to make matters worse, the rise in the concentration is accelerating. The World Meteorological Organization has no good news:

The WMO reports: "The amount of the gas in the atmosphere grew by 2.2 ppm, higher [than] the average of 2.02 ppm over the past 10 years."  Atmospheric concentrations are now over 400 ppm.
In addition to an acceleration in the rate of rise in atmospheric concentrations, the volume of heat trapping gas released to the atmosphere in 2012 hit record levels. As I said, the WMO report on 2012 has no good news.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tea Party Has A Terrible Night, Losing Three Big Races

The big message of election 2013 is that the Tea Party is waning, for it had a terrible night.

Its darling in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, lost the Governor's race, making this the first time since 1973 that Virginia elected a Governor from the party who holds the White House.

Governor Christie who blasted the government shutdown and preaches bi-partisan cooperation won New Jersey. Christie's approach to government rebukes Tea Party refusal to compromise.

In an Alabama GOP Congressional Primary, the Chamber of Commerce Republicans, who think defaulting the Government is dangerous lunacy, beat 52%-48% Tea Party adherents who supported a candidate who outright stated President Obama was born in Kenya.

One bad night does not end the Tea Party, and its losses last night were narrow.  But election night showed that the country, and perhaps the GOP, is leaving the Tea Party.

Key Fact: GOP Establishment Beats Tea Party In Alabama Congressional Primary

The GOP establishment may be tired enough of losing primaries to Tea Party insurgents to start winning. Indeed, the GOP business establishment struck back against the Tea Party last night in an Alabama Congressional primary.

A flood of corporate money carried Bradley Byrne to a narrow 52-48 victory over Tea Party firebrand Young.  Time will tell if this victory for the US Chamber of Commerce GOP is an isolated event or the start of a major reversal of fortune for the Tea Party within the Republican Party.

Updated: Voters Favoring Fracking Moratoriums/Bans In 3 Of 4 Communities

Voters may be passing fracking moratoriums or bans in 3 communities and narrowly defeating it one town, according to an article up in the Denver Post. The results are not final.

I just looked (7:10am) at the Denver Post website and here is the link to most current vote totals:

Voters supported by significant margins a moratorium in 3 communities. The vote totals in Broomfield are very close, with a slim lead for those opposed to a moratorium. The Broomfield count is so close that I am not sure it is final.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stunning Fact: Wind Provides 60.5% Of Colorado Utility's Total Electricity For One Hour, Setting New Record

The record for the portion of total electric supply provided by wind keeps rising. We are now just learning that wind provided 60.5% of the electricity consumed for a one-hour period by the customers of a Colorado utility--XCEL.  It happened on May 24, 2013 from 1 to 2 a.m, and the lights stayed on!

Wind penetration records are set by a combination of strong winds and low-system demand. Spring and Fall seasons are when the conditions are most likely for the setting of wind penetration records.

Finally, as the wind penetration record set by XCEL shows, grid systems can reliably operate with large percentages and quantities of wind.

Plug-In Prius Sales Almost Double In October, As Volt And Leaf Sales Increase Modestly

October was a very good month for the Plug-In Prius. Its sales soared from 1,152 to 2,095 cars.

The Plug-In Prius becomes the third electric vehicle to sell 2,000 or more cars in a month, joining the Volt and the all-electric Leaf.  Tesla does not report monthly sales but will disclose this week its sales for July-to-September quarter.

October sales of electric vehicles probably were between 8,000 to 9,000. If so, electric vehicles in the US are selling at an annual rate of approximately 100,000--an important milestone for the industry.

Monday, November 4, 2013

EIA Data Suggests US Shale Oil Production Peaks In 2015 Without Major New Investment

Tom Whipple of, using EIA data, has a solid analysis of US shale oil production, suggesting it will peak by 2015, without an investment surge in drilling rigs. Here is the link:

Oil production in the US has jumped by 2.5 million barrels per day since 2007 and is still growing. But Oil Price's analysis shows that the growth is slowing. Currently, the net increase from new oil wells drilled minus decline from existing oil wells in the Bakken and Eagle Ford oil shales is 50,000 barrels per day. That net increase, however, is likely to go to zero by 2015.  There is, however, one caveat.

The trend toward no further growth in oil production by 2015 would continue, unless investment in more drilling rigs happens. Is that likely to happen?

The price of oil globally will likely determine whether more capital flows into shale oil production. It is widely accepted that shale oil production in the US requires a market price of $80 per barrel. Recent declines in oil prices, if they continue, would make more investment in shale oil drilling less likely.

And so, current facts suggest that the growth in US oil production will stop around 2015. Yet, current facts may not be future facts. A significant degree of uncertainty exists.

Hot Fact: NASA Data Shows September 2013 Ties For Hottest September On Record

Around the world, temperatures in September were at record levels. September 2013 tied with September 2005 for the hottest September on record. Globally, according to NASA data!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Renewable Energy On Pace To Set Record For Annual Production

Production of renewable energy set an annual production record in 2011.  While last year was a strong year, it was not a record year, with total renewable energy production falling below the level of 2011.

Yet, after the first 7 months of 2013, renewable energy is on pace to set this year a new record for annual production of renewable energy.  Wind and solar is booming, and those big gains outweigh declines in hydro and biofuels.

But, if 2013 turns out to be a new record year, it won't be my much--probably by 1%.

Defense Department To Make Huge Electric Vehicle Purchase: 92,000 EVs By 2020

The Defense Department is charging into electric vehicles. It will buy 92,000 electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, by 2020. That number is equal to the total number that will be sold in 2013!

DOD sees electric vehicles as improving combat capability in two ways:

“In remote theaters of operations, the cost of moving fuels to forward military locations can be a multiple of the cost of the fuel itself,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research.  “The military’s approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption from non-tactical operations includes acquiring increasing numbers of vehicles powered by ethanol blend and biodiesel blend fuels; but the majority of the investment will go toward HEVs and PEVs.”
One particular area of focus for the military market is the development of microgrids in tandem with vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled PEVs.  Microgrids can enable bases in both tactical and non-tactical operations to utilize energy generation sources more efficiently and to operate independently of conditions on the grid.  V2G-enabled PEVs used solely in non-tactical applications provide an additional layer of energy support and storage that can assist islanding microgrids and balance distributed energy generation resources by providing power from the vehicles’ battery packs to buildings.

While DOD improves its war-fighting capabilities by using electric vehicles, its big purchase will be a big boost as well to the civilian commercialization of electric vehicles.