Tag Archive for: GreenEnergyMyth

Is There an EV in Your Future?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Discussions about converting the American fleet of over 275 million vehicles to EVs keep accelerating as more car companies begin to offer EV models.  In California, the enlightened leadership has dictated that no internal combustion vehicles will be sold in the state after 2034.  Let us look at the practicality of this conversion.

This investigation began in conversation with a friend who knows the vehicle market as well as anyone.  Not only is he one of my go-to guys regarding his in-depth knowledge of cars, but he operates a leasing/car acquisition company and has detailed knowledge of the vehicle market.  The discussion was during the highest gas pricing phase in California. He stated he regularly gets calls from people wanting EVs. He advised clients that the additional cost of an EV – even at that moment when gas prices had hit their highest point – did not make economic sense.  Overall, you will still pay more for the EV in total cost than with a gas-fueled vehicle, and that includes rebates.  This was before the price of EVs escalated significantly because of the soaring cost of lithium and cobalt — essential to the building of EV batteries. 

Is that all the costs for converting to an EV?  I had some discussions with a general contractor and electrical contractor who work with these issues regularly.

I inquired what it would cost to retrofit my home for an EV.  The electrical contractor said though not every home would have the same costs, this is what it would cost for my home.  I would have to retrofit my electrical panel and that would run around $2,500. He cautioned not every home needs that.  I would need to run a line for the EV to my garage costing from $850 to $2,000. The price of that would go up if both the Beautiful Wife and I were to get EVs. 

The general contractor pointed out that Siemens, an international company, in coordination with an American company, ConnectDER, had developed a simplified EV connector.  The device is a collar to your home electrical meter.  The cost of the collar has not been announced yet.  The reception of the power companies having a device connected to the meter which derives power for an EV has not been sorted out either.  This device is supposed to cut the cost of adapting your electric panel from the current thousands of dollars.  This may work for single-family detached homes, but it does not resolve the bigger problem – apartment buildings and condos.

This discussion came from a story the general contractor told me about consulting with the owner of an eleven-unit building who wanted to add eleven charging stations.  The building original conceived as condos was being renovated to be sold off as condos after the renovation.  The cost to put in charging stations for all the units was budgeted at $10,000.  They had discussions with DWP (the Los Angeles power company).  The DWP would not drop in a new service just for the EVs.  DWP was requiring a new main distribution panel/electrical closet at a cost of over $100,000.  The owner passed on putting in the charging stations.

Whereas a single family detached home may have enough room on their electrical panel to expand for an EV, an apartment or condo building is built without that level of flexibility.  In a 50-unit building the panels are designed for the anticipated load of the existing units.  The electrical contractor pointed out each vehicle would need a charging station and they would not be operated by credit card as they are in commercial areas. 

The building would need to be rewired for the charging to be billed separately to each unit. The electrical contractor estimated the cost for retrofitting the building at between $400,000 and $500,000.  Also, the entire electrical service in the building would have to be shut down for an unknown period.

The electrical contractor then conveyed that the power company (DWP in LA) must redo their lines to accommodate the load capacity of the new EV chargers.  Since often there is a street with multiple apartment/condo buildings, the power company would need to completely re-engineer their delivery system to accommodate all these new EV charging stations.  The electrical contractor would not begin to estimate the cost and inconvenience of that or how long it would take to redo the entire city. 

The two contractors suggested the power company was in no way prepared to handle the huge demand that would be generated by the statewide dictate to convert to EVs.  I set out to check with the DWP of Los Angeles.  The community affairs spokesperson directed me to their annual glossy report.  The most recent one spoke only of having 45,000 commercial charging stations by 2025 and 120,000 by 2030.  This is in a city of four million people and an estimated two million residences.

I asked her the following, “How is DWP going to rewire for every apartment building, condo and single-family residence that will need to install EV chargers as dictated by the Governor?  What would the costs of that be?  That is what I am seeking.  Also, how much additional energy draw would there be?” She said she would get back to me.  When she did, she stated “The information from our Briefing Book is our answers to your questions.”  My reply was “Otherwise you have no real plan to deal with millions of charging stations.”

Many people have seen a few charging stations added to commercial buildings.  You may be thinking what is the big deal?  Commercial building owners do not need to rewire their buildings because they only have a few stations.  Those stations allow charging by credit card.  The cost of the installation is not borne by the building owner.  The owner typically passes those costs through to tenants as operating expenses under terms of their leases and recoups the full cost of those installations within a year.  Once there are mainly EVs on the road, the home charging stations will function as the principal source of energy.

Apartment owners have no such means to recoup their extensive costs.  In most cities in America (certainly in California), there is rent control.  There are no discernible means to recoup the funds.  They cannot increase rents.  That will not stop the city councils of many cities to fall in line with this “Dreamsville” plan for EVs to dictate that building owners install these charging stations.  Renters will, of course, say the “rich” apartment owners can afford to install the charging stations.  It is not their money.  And then there is the condo building where anyone who has lived in a condo knows the boards are designed to wreak havoc.

This is the end game of what happens when you elect people to run your state/city who have never run anything in their lives.  They dictate idealistic plans while not thinking their way through to the end of the scenario.  Gallivanting Gavin will be off running for president touting this as one of his accomplishments while leaving us with his unachievable, idealistic mess.

Let me leave you with this thought: If EVs are so good why do they have to be mandated? Why has the federal government had to commit billions of dollars and recommit more billions of dollars to subsidize their purchase?

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This article was published by Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Energy Shortage and Mineral Dependence

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: Although the November 8th election here in Arizona will be focused on economic issues and our southern border invasion, the Inflation Reduction Act should be a central issue for the Senate race between Blake Masters (R) and incumbent Mark Kelly (D). Similarly, incumbent Kyrsten Sinema (D) will attempt to remain in her Senate seat in 2024. Both of these leftist Senators represented a 51st vote that passed the dishonestly named Inflation Reduction Act. It was really a disguised Green New Deal bill passed by reconciliation (50 Democrat votes + the VP) and represents enormous threats to America’s national security and economy. The following article factually describes these threats and the absurdity and danger of Mark Kelly’s and Kyrsten Sinema’s votes. They claim to be voting in Arizona’s interests but the reality is the opposite. Both deserve to be defeated in the November and 2024 elections respectively. In Blake Master’s senatorial quest, be assured he would never support such a bill, including the obscene weaponization of the IRS with 87,000 agents new agents.

 

The Biden Administration got its key legislation through Congress, thanks in large part to Senators Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona. Previously, they had opposed key provisions of the larger Build Back Better, but caved to this latest spending travesty. As Bloomberg News put it ” it is a climate bill, just don’t call it that.”

The misnamed Inflation Reduction Act contains large provisions for suppressing oil and gas production and forcing a change over to so-called “renewables” and electric vehicles. It embraces what has become known as the Green New Deal.

This is coupled with the Biden policy of selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, largely to help Democrats in November by temporarily putting pressure downward on gasoline prices.

The typical news report will tell you that sales from the reserve now push America’s reserves back to levels last seen in 1985.

That is true as far as it goes, except the economy is larger than in 1985, which means the level of reserve is even lower in relative terms to total output and population.

Per capita, oil consumption has fallen from 1985 largely because of increased efficiency. But overall consumption is about  26% greater.

In comparing levels of the reserve with 1985, you must consider the economy is much larger than in 1985, and the population is considerably greater as well.

Presently, the US uses approximately 19.78 million barrels a day, versus 15.69 million barrels in 1985.

Real Gross Domestic Product, which is GDP adjusted for inflation, a more accurate measure of the size of the economy, was just under $20 Trillion in 2021, versus about $8.5 trillion in 1985. In other words, our economy is almost 2 1/2 times larger. That we have that kind of economic growth and only increased oil consumption by 26% is a remarkable testament to increased efficiency, which of course means less “greenhouse gases.”

The population has grown from 238 million people in 1985 to over 338 million today.

The problem is, that it leaves the country much more vulnerable to energy shocks caused by geopolitical events. The SPR  must support a much larger economy and a substantially greater population. So the result is to leave us much worse off than we were in 1985.

Moreover, all the oil taken from the reserve needs to be replaced, which means all that was provided to the economy to help moderate gasoline prices in the short term for election purposes, will have to be reversed at some point, lest the country is left in a bad state of energy insecurity. This oil needs to be replaced at the same time Biden and his green goblins are reducing production. This obviously adds to demand at some point while production is falling, a formula for higher prices.

Meanwhile, it appears that the forced transition to electric vehicles is hitting some significant snags, that potentially are extremely dangerous. However, no consideration is given to these issues as the legislation pushes demand for electric vehicles through loans, and subsidies,  even while battery production cannot possibly meet demand.

No less than the left-leaning Economist Magazine, a reliably anti-Trump screed, points out the problem in their most recent issue. In a remarkable article, “Could the EV boom run out of juice before it really gets going?”, the magazine points out a total lack of capacity to meet demand and extreme dependence on China for both production and the minerals necessary for production.

To quote from the article:

Most troubling for Western carmakers is China’s dominance of battery-making. The country houses close to 80% of the world’s current cell-manufacturing capacity. Benchmark Minerals forecasts that China’s share will decline in the next decade or so, but only a bit—to just under 70%. By then America would be home to just 12% of global capacity, with Europe accounting for most of the rest.

Other metals such as cobalt come from unstable areas such as Congo, and much of the lithium comes from Chile.  Chile this fall will vote on a revision of its constitution that if passed, will nationalize natural resources.  This recalls the famous quote attributed to Milton Friedman to the effect that “if the government were to take over the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in five years.”

Moreover, it takes 5 to 25 years to build new mines, and Chilean production using ponds consumes enormous amounts of water in extremely arid regions.

And then there is the extreme dependence on China, a country that is hostile to the US. As the Economist puts it:

“Even if the West’s EV industry somehow managed to secure enough metals and battery-making capacity, it would still face a giant problem in the middle of the supply chain, refining, where China enjoys near-monopolies. Chinese companies refine nearly 70% of the world’s lithium, 84% of its nickel and 85% of its cobalt… as with battery manufacturers, Chinese refiners gobble up dirty coal-generated electricity. On top of that, according to Trafigura, both European and North American firms are also expected to rely on foreign suppliers, often Chinese ones, for at least half the capacity to convert refined ores into the materials that go into batteries.”

Burning coal to make batteries.  Make sense to you?

Besides battery assembly and raw material supply issues, there is evidence charging stations don’t work.

And when batteries catch on fire, they can electrocute first responders and are almost impossible to extinguish.

Readers need to appreciate that this is not a normal transition in energy sources such as we have had in the past. This is a top-down, politically driven effort based on the dubious science of global warming. Since when have politicians ever designed anything as complex as this without making a complete hash out of it? Rather than adapting to climate change (which is naturally occurring all the time), they are attempting to change the climate of the earth and the very basic way we live.

It would seem appropriate that new systems to replace existing systems should be thoroughly tested before implementation. But the green industrial complex is in a hurry lest we get wind of their failures.

That is dangerous enough. The track record of the Department of Energy is strewn with failures. But clearly, this effort is coupled with a policy to suppress that which we have (domestic oil, gas, and coal capabilities) which in fact makes us very dependent on both production and refining of essential minerals from countries with shaky politics. And in the case of China, the US is made dependent on an outright hostile regime for the production and refining of vital materials. Finally, we are about 80% dependent on battery production itself.

Ironically, if we do get Chinese production, it will be on the back of massive coal consumption. How does that move the needle on global warming, the underlying cause for this incredibly arrogant attempt to alter the climate in 100 years?

Is it wise to leave a nation’s energy grid and transportation sector in the hands of hostile powers? Are there any realists left in the Departments of State and Defense anymore? Is the security of the nation of no consideration here?

We are moving from energy independence to energy dependence, and almost complete production and mineral dependence on a country that is our enemy. Given the nature of the world, as it is, this is a move beyond stupid to suicidal.

Senators Kelly and Sinema, do you care?

 

 

 

Democrats Look To Sustainable Investing Craze As Means For Pushing Climate Agenda

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • Democrats have increasingly pushed their expansive climate agenda through the financial sector and legal system as Congress has failed to implement Green New Deal reforms.
  • “Congress is really unwilling to impose much in the way of costs and to address climate change,” David Kreutzer, the senior economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Frustrated by that, people in Washington want to use non-legislative ways to impose these costs and raise the price of energy-intensive goods and energy in general.”
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a sweeping set of rules Monday that would require companies to disclose their carbon emissions and how they were planning to transition away from fossil fuel reliance, the latest example of the sustainable investing movement.
  • “This is just an attempt by the left to use the business community, the finance sector, companies … to accomplish with other people’s money, what they can’t accomplish at the ballot box,” Andy Puzder, the former CEO of CKE Restaurants and a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF in an interview

Democrats, banks, regulators, and activists have increasingly set their sights on the financial sector and legal system, not Congress, for pushing their aggressive climate agenda.

In the latest example of the ESG and sustainable investing movement, the Democratic-majority U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a sweeping set of rules Monday that would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their carbon emissions and how they were planning to transition away from fossil fuel reliance. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey was one of many lawmakers to immediately slam the proposal, saying it “hijacks the democratic process and disrespects the limited scope of authority that Congress gave to the SEC.”

“Congress is really unwilling to impose much in the way of costs and to address climate change,” David Kreutzer, the senior economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Frustrated by that, people in Washington want to use non-legislative ways to impose these costs and raise the price of energy-intensive goods and energy in general.”

“One of the ways that they’re doing it — it’s like an all fronts attack — is under the guise of environmental, social, and governance investments,” he added. (RELATED: New York To Divest Pensions From Fossil Fuel Companies)

Regulators have also targeted Americans’ pensions. In October, the Department of Labor (DOL), which is tasked with regulating private sector pensions under the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Actreversed a Trump-era rule that placed barriers to fiduciaries’ ability to consider ESG factors when selecting investments.

Similar to the SEC proposal Monday, the DOL rule stated that “climate change and other ESG factors can be financially material” for investors. (RELATED: Biden’s Green Transition May Usher In More Energy Insecurity. Here’s How)

“The primary purpose of fiduciaries is to look out for the wellbeing of the pensioners who contribute to these funds,” Pat Pizzella, the former deputy secretary of labor during the Trump administration, told the DCNF. “Not to speculate on risky or trendy, expensive ESG products. I think their priorities are a little misplaced.”

He added that the Trump administration’s view was to look at ESG investing from a legal point of view. Pizzella predicted that individuals with pensions managed by fiduciaries that invest in risky ESG-focused companies or funds would eventually take the institutions to court….

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Continue reading this article at Daily Caller and is reprinted with permission.

The Russia/Bermuda Dark Money Subterfuge

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

If there is one thing you can say about the Russians it is that they stick to their proven playbook no matter what carnage they inflict on the innocents or how greatly they deceive the gullible.

During the height of the Cold War, they sought to stop America’s introduction of sophisticated weapons that would have blunted any planned invasion of Western Europe by the Red Army by infiltrating the “peace movement” with money and resources.

So it should come as no surprise that members of Congress continue to express deep concern that Putin’s Russia may be preventing the West’s energy independence by promoting through third parties, who may be unwilling dupes or active co-conspirators, “green” alternatives that are either impractical, aspirational, or an outright fiction.

It has been reported that Russia has been using a legal loophole to actively fund opponents of American energy independence, by funneling untraceable money through an entity in Bermuda, a nation that does require disclosure as to whether funds originated from a foreign government.

The loophole has apparently been serving as an open invitation for Russia — in particular its largest oil and gas company, Gazprom — to channel unlimited, unaccountable millions in dark money (anonymous donations) to American non-governmental organizations; these then fund “green” programs that discourage “dirty” energy exploration, and encourage the use of “clean” energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines. Unfortunately, even if they were able to meet all energy needs — which is disputed — they are not widely available or ready for use.

Such a strategy would not only be consistent with past Soviet/Russian practices but would be expected by a Putin whose long game of chess seeks to hold the West hostage by becoming the major supplier of natural gas to Europe at a time when his operatives have helped shut down viable energy alternatives. So as Putin seeks to decapitate Ukraine, he knows that one source of income for his war machine remains the natural gas that nations such as Germany must have in order to survive economically.

Not surprisingly, the Biden administration’s seemingly inept energy policy has played directly into Putin’s hands. Americans, from the first day of the Biden administration, have been devastated by skyrocketing inflation. The most dramatic example is at the gas pump. In just one year, the price of gasoline — $2.17 a gallon in 2020 — has doubled, with no signs of slowing.

How did we get here?

To appease the Progressive wing of his party, Biden, within days of his inauguration, began shutting down virtually America’s entire energy independence and oil and gas exploration industry, and is still freezing future oil-and-gas drilling leases. The move not only threw thousands of Americans out of work, it has also forced Americans to pay premium prices for just about everything in the American economy — whatever is processed, manufactured, or transported — all of which require fossil fuel energy. Wind turbines and solar panels do not truck supplies to your supermarket, or even build the electric vehicles — costing more than $56,000 a car — that the Biden administration wants you to buy. If you cannot afford $5-a-gallon gasoline, hey, an electric vehicle is your answer! Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s questionable suggestion was, “Take the bus.” The current administration policy seems to be, “Let them eat electric vehicles.”

Some members of Congress understand that this kind of response is more than ludicrous. Buying oil from Russia, Iran, and Venezuela is basically counterproductive. Given the nature of potential threats, it would make America a vassal state.

Congressmen Jim Banks and Bill Johnson have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, asking for an investigation into the reported Russian manipulation of American “green groups” that are seemingly funded with “dark money.” The letter was following up on an earlier letter sent by Representatives Lamar Smith and Randy Weber to then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2017. Their letter notes:

“According to Sea Change’s tax filing, in 2010 the group received $23 million, half of its total annual contributions, from a Bahamian shell corporation tied to the Russian government. Sea Change then passed that money to groups like the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress who lobbied strongly against fracking and pro-energy policies, to reduce competition with Russian oil and gas. In 2020, the Center for American Progress donated over $800,000 exclusively to Democrat politicians and groups’ and Sierra Club Independent Action spent $3.7 million supporting Democrat candidates.

“Russia also used its state media and social medial disinformation campaigns to attack America’s energy industry. Russia Today is especially focused on energy policy. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Russia Today’s coverage ‘is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.’ In 2021, after Biden’s first year in office, Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company, earned record profits.”

The paper trail is chilling and as clear a warning as one could ask for. Yet, as of this writing, it is not clear if Yellen has replied.

Recognizing the one strategic card the Russians have to play, the late U.S. Senator John McCain once said “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

In whatever private moments Putin may allow himself, he knows that Russia’s energy exports are the one truly genuine weapon he has against the West, democracy, and the forces of history that are coming for him. If he can prevent affordable energy independence from being achieved by America and her allies, he will have secured a victory beyond measure. But he will need the duped assistance of those in the White House to achieve that objective.

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This article was published by the Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.