Posts Tagged Energy
Friday, August 03, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
[NaturalNews] The Obama Administration continues to move forward with plans to completely shut down the American coal industry, as a record 57 coal-fired power stations are slated for shutdown in 2012. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 175 coal-fired generators that collectively represent a whopping 27 gigawatts (GW) worth of electricity-generating capacity are set to retire between 2012 and 2016.
A significant uptick from previous years, this high number of shutdowns represents 8.5 percent of the total coal-fired generating capacity during 2011. It also represents a 400 percent increase in shutdowns compared to the amount that occurred during the previous five-year period, when only 6.5 GW worth of coal-fired generating capacity was nixed from operation.
Based on the data, the bulk of these 175 plant shutdowns is set to occur in 2015, when 61 plants generating nearly 10 GW worth of electricity have been indicated for shutdown. The average age of the plants to be shut down during the 2012 to 2016 period is roughly 56 years old, while the areas most affected by the shutdowns will be the mid-Atlantic, Ohio River Valley, and Southeast regions of the U.S.
Framed by many media sources as a voluntary phase-out, the coal industry is actually being gradually forced into retirement as a result of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that specifically target coal production. Birthed during the Nixon era and amplified during the current Obama era, this forced regulatory phase-out of traditional energy sources is moving along as planned, and will likely have a continued negative impact on energy costs and availability.
“Under Obama, the EPA has proposed and promulgated the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule — more commonly known as ‘Utility MACT’ — imposing expensive control retrofits on coal-fired plants,” says U.S. News & World Report.
“The agency itself estimates the costs to the economy because of the new rule will be $10 billion per year. Private studies indicate it is more likely to be twice that, leading to higher electricity rates and, when combined with new rules on so-called ‘greenhouse gases,’ force most of these plants to close.”
It’s not just in the USA that a growing number of people are preparing for far-from-equilibrium scenarios resulting from economic or geo-political collapse.
Many Europeans have also taken note of the troubling signs all around them. In the following report, RT visits a man who wished to keep his name and location anonymous.
Like many Americans, he is preparing for all hell to break loose and has spent the last few years gearing up his home and supplies for the worst.
Like most preppers and survivalist, he has modified his lifestyle to become more self reliant and less dependent on the grid and existing government infrastructure.
In addition to generating two thirds of his current energy consumption with wind and solar power, he grows his own food and raises cattle to supplement his diet in the event grocery stores run out of food or prices get so expensive in Euros that no one can afford to buy it.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
By: Aurora Geib
[NaturalNews] The recent roll out of smart meters has brought about mixed reactions from consumers. On one hand, there are activist groups broadcasting the health and privacy concerns that smart meters may potentially have. On the other, the utility companies are championing the advantages of smart meters in the face of a $3.4 billion fund stimulus given by the government for smart grid technologies (it sure is nice of them to be advocating energy savings while they line their pockets with all that money from the government).
Curiously, in all this haste to accomplish the government’s energy program, no federal safeguards seem to have been designed to protect customer information from being accessed by others – information that smart meters could be sending (the activist group may have a point on this one). Worse, it appears that smart meters themselves are not an impregnable fortress – the meter can be subject to hacking.
Smart meters hacked in Puerto Rico
In 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated widespread incidents of power thefts in Puerto Rico believed to be related to smart meter deployment. The FBI believed that former employees of the meter manufacturer and employees of the utility company were tampering with the meters charging between $300 to $1,000 to reprogram residential meters and $3,000 to reprogram commercial meters.
The perpetrators were said to have hacked into the smart meters using an optical converter device connected to a laptop, allowing smart meters to connect with the computer. The hackers were able to change the settings for recording power consumptions using software available on the internet after making a connection. This method does not require the removal, alteration or disassembly of the meter.
Another recent example of smart meter hacking was demonstrated by Mike Davis, a security consultant. He reverse-engineered a meter bought on Ebay and installed a computer program that replicated itself across the wireless network and blocked the utility company as it went. Jack Bode, writing for Canada.com, made the wry observation that we won’t have to worry about getting bombed if ever we go to war again. The enemy only has to “hack us and turn off the power.”
by: Susanne Posel
July 12, 2012
The globalist design for micro-apartments is being championed by New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. These “studio and one-bedroom apartments” will be no bigger than 275 to 300 sq ft. These tiny living spaces are smaller than currently allowed by building regulations, according to a statement by Bloomberg’s office; however the zoning regulations will be waived in over to construct the first of many compact pack ‘em and stack ‘em housing model in the city-owned area of Kips Bay.
The intention is to construct an area in NY that accommodates restricted housing space, eliminates car use in favor for walking and bicycling and promotes mass transit. Herding the expanding population into dense areas will smaller living spaces will instill the new class of poor and obligate their psychological transition toward accepting the Agenda 21 megacity concept .
by: Charles Hugh Smith
July 11, 2012
According to the conventional account, the Great American Middle Class has been eroded by rising energy costs, globalization, and the declining purchasing power of the U.S. dollar in the four decades since 1973. While these trends have certainly undermined middle-class wealth and income, there are five other less politically acceptable dynamics at work:
- The divergence of State/private vested interests and the interests of the middle class
- The emergence of financialization as the key driver of profits and political power
- The neofeudal “colonization” of the “home market” by ascendant financial Elites
- The increasing burden of indirect “taxes” as productive enterprises and people involuntarily subsidize unproductive, parasitic, corrupt, but politically dominant vested interests
- The emergence of crony capitalism as the lowest-risk, highest-profit business model in the U.S. economy
Higher Energy Costs = Lower GDP, Lower Incomes
Let’s start with the conventional forces of higher energy costs. The abundance or scarcity of energy is only one factor in its price. As the cost of extraction, transport, refining, and taxes rise, so does the final price. EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) helps illuminate this point. In the good old days, one barrel of oil invested might yield 100 barrels of oil extracted and refined for delivery. Now it takes one barrel of oil to extract and refine 5 barrels of oil, or perhaps as little as 3 barrels of unconventional oil.
It doesn’t matter how abundant oil might be; it’s the cost that impacts GDP and income. Here we see that GDP in relation to the price of gasoline hit bottom in the wake of the 1979 oil shock. GDP soared in the late 1990s when oil plummeted to $15/barrel. It spiked lower when oil hit $140/barrel in 2008, and popped back up when oil dropped (briefly) to $40/barrel. (FRED charts courtesy of B.C.)
by: Susanne Posel
July 11, 2012
The California Senate has passed bill 21 – 16 that implements the financing for a high speed rail line across the Central Valley. The new law will require selling $4.5 in bonds to build this railway. They will also receive $3.2 billion in federal government stimulus.
The high speed railway will link to transportation lines.
Senator Joe Simitian said on the Senate floor: “I think high-speed rail makes sense in California … but we’re not being asked to vote on a vision today, we’re being asked to vote on a particular plan. Regrettably, the only conclusion I can come to today is that this is the wrong plan in the wrong place in the wrong time.”
Supporters of the bill claim that it would create jobs and promote public transit to protect the environment.
The high speed railway is the brainchild of America 2050, a non-governmental organization that supports Agenda 21 policies in the US. California Governor Jerry Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority “are to be commended on the revised 2012 draft business plan for high-speed rail, which cuts the project’s cost by $30 billion while making numerous improvements to previous proposals.”
Robert Yaro, co-chairman of America 2050 said: “Not only does this plan reduce the project cost substantially; it provides a new phasing strategy that will bring the benefits of high-speed rail to Californians more quickly.”
America 2050 claims that the railway will provide more trains to the growing population in California between San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles Basin. They propose this endeavor is necessary to “close the gap” between Northern and Southern California.