Obama’s Green Energy: Electricity Prices Increased 33%, Electricity Production Fell

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


ELECTRICTY PRICE INDEX-1952-JANUARY 2014

Add Green to anything and you know that prices will go up and production and quality will fall. That’s the great achievement of environmentalism and while the Green Mafia haven’t done as much damage to the US as to the UK, Barack Obama has done his part to make life worse for Americans by making it greener and leaving them with less green.

The electricity price index soared to a new high in January 2014 with the largest month-to-month increase in almost four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, data from the Energy Information Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, indicates that electricity production in the United States has declined since 2007, when it hit its all-time peak.

The U.S. is producing less electricity than it did seven years ago for a population that has added more than 14 million people.

In December, the seasonally adjusted electricity index was 203.740. In January, it climbed to a new high of 207.362.

Back in January 2013, the electricity price index stood at 198.679. It thus climbed about 4.4 percent over the course of a year.

Historically, in the United States, rising electricity prices have not been inevitable. In the first decades after World War II, the U.S. rapidly increased it electricity production, including on a per capita basis. Since 2007, the U.S. has decreased its electricity production, including on a per capita basis.

The Green Mafia’s push for wind and solar means less capacity and more expensive energy as more efficient coal plants are taken down to make way for crony capitalist solar boondoggles. This phenomenon has become commonplace in Europe. And the US is unfortunately catching up.

  • onecornpone

    under my plan …electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.

    Who but an imbecile could fail to grasp that bit of audacity?
    Funny, the people this insane policy hurts most all voted for the Statist cretin, but then they are getting government help with their power bills too.

    • ebonystone

      A good part of 0bama’s voters aren’t hurt at all by rising electricity rates; their utility bills are paid by Sam — along with their rent, their grocery bills, their medical bills. And they don’t care how much the fools who work for a living have to pay.

      • onecornpone

        At some point we may have a surprise for them… =-O

    • what happened

      why does the wealthiest nation on earth need to be the slowest moving nation? who wants a coal fired power plant near their home?

      • blert

        Without economically priced electric power America really will be the slowest nation on Earth.

        NIMBY is not part of this debate. Irrelevant, it is.

  • blert

    One should never forget that a fair amount of American electric power consumption is embedded in manufactured imports.
    At the top of the list: solar cell power arrays from Red China. These suck down electric power in astounding amounts — from dirty coal plants that soot up Beijing!
    The resulting soot has already changed the precipitation in the northern latitudes. It causes the Arctic ice to melt big time in the summer. In the winter, it drops snow like crazy.

    • A Z

      I don’t understand the coal plant regulation on China. The big question is do the have scrubbers on the stack.

      In the 1990s they were still running a fair number of coal locomotives. That is about 30 or more years out of date.

      Chinese pollution is bad. The worst I have seen is Bangkok.

      • blert

        Siemens bought out Westinghouse precisely because the big movers and shakers in Red China were educated in America — on Westinghouse’s dime — going back to before WWII.(!) That buy-out was decades ago.
        When Red China expanded thermal power plant production, she went with Westinghouse/Siemens designs — which included bag-houses. These were integrated into the design — and pitched as permitting the consumption of essentially any coal quality without ecological calamities.
        Subsequently, the politicians wanted power rates capped. To hold down costs, they permitted their operators to bypass the bag-house ‘circuit.’ (Engineering-speak for turning a couple of massive air valves. This bypass is option is necessary for maintenance for the bag-house.)
        Bag-houses use forced draft air circulation. They are monumentally scaled air filters — like the ones on your car — scaled up to the size of massive buildings. Because the soot clogs them on a regular basis, they are cyclic.

        Their number one effect is to capture particulates: soot.
        More complicated schemes exist — such as suppressing sulfur dioxides — but these babies are the built with each Western design.
        Turning off the blowers saves money all the way around. So much so that it pencils out to about $ 0.010 to $ 0.005 per kW-Hr. That ends up being a fantastic sum when spread across the massive production figure.
        I can certainly imagine that Beijing permitted plants to be built without bag-houses. I do know that Beijing has permitted extremely poor grade coals to be mined. Ones that would be prohibited in the USA. (Too much sulfur.)
        Bag-houses can’t deal with sulfur dioxide — it shoots straight through. It then forms an aerosol — that chokes everyone.
        It’s notable that the latest news out of Shanghai is that the coal mining sector is going belly up. (!) Power use is well below projection — and it would seem (I’m surmising) that the worst coals are being rejected by The Party. (Ash is also a factor that gets caught by the bag-houses. Some coals are astoundingly rich in ash. This may figure in some of the impending bankruptcies. I surmise that the offending projects went ahead without regard to the ash content. High ash coal is so damaging — it can screw up the boilers, themselves.(!)
        It’s the kind of mistake that you’d expect mandarins to pull off. (Their version of 0-care — they didn’t figure on colateral impacts.)

        • A Z

          Thank you for the reply.

          Some of the mechanics are familiar to me. With some of the description you have given will make it easier to look up the rest. a description of coal plant operations and schematics

          I assume the boilers have a lot of scale. Scale can be blow off with steam generated from the boilers a few times a day. Except that is not perfect.

          The coal rich in ash possibly could be used though not as profitably if if was conditioned (slurry?) or just liquifiied to make fuel like the Germans did.

          “It’s the kind of mistake that you’d expect mandarins to pull off.” – If you do not ask the right questions you do not get the right answers. You can have decent enough engineers but if political leaders are treated with kid gloves and are ignorant non one tells them about high ash coal.

          I am going to have to look up baghouses for some schematics and other data.

          • blert

            Utility boilers that raise steam are provided ultra clean water and anti-corrosive agents. So they don’t scale from the inside unless the management is stupid.

            Ash destroys practically everything it touches. It’s hot and abrasive when it’s embedded in the flame front. Modern boilers use pulverrized coal that is blown in to create a burning zone.

            This is how ash destroys the boilers … from the outside.

            Pre-treatment can greatly reduce ash content — depending upon its incorporation. Some ash components just can’t be liberated cheaply.

            All of these issues were beaten to death — thirty-years ago when Carter spent large on coal to gas — and coal to liquids. Ash treatment immediately popped into view as a HUGE problem. The oil and gas sector has a virtually ash free product. The second anyone got serious about cleaning coal of its ash, it turned out to be a deal breaker for the entire scheme. None of the down stream processes can tolerate ash!

            Getting rid of it — a lot of it — in a reducing environment was a chemical engineering nightmare.

            BTW, the Monowitz annex to Auschwitz …

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monowitz_concentration_camp

            … abused forced labor from the condemned primarily to clean the process equipment from ash fouling. To say the task was brutal is an extreme understatement. Most inmates did not survive three-weeks. Murdering the innocent was how the sizaN

            ‘solved’ their ash problem.
            Other than removing the ash — now a glassy slag — from the equipment — the Monowitz crews had no other function. The rest of this critical war plant would’ve been under the control of loyal German employees. The opportunities for sabotage were all too obvious.

            Coal to liquids in South Africa also depended upon ultra-cheap labor.

            I don’t think that anyone will ever solve the matter — the one reducing agent that would work, hydrogen, is the process limiting step anyway you could figure it. If you have enough hydrogen to process ashy coal — then you don’t need the coal at all. There’s no end of heavy oils — without an ash problem — that are better prospects.
            No, the CCP has left the world a fine mess. They’re emitting enough particulates to affect weather as far away as America and Europe. California is dry and the Bering Sea is iced up because California rain landed prematurely as snow in the ocean.
            It’s now being acknowledged that this dry winter is breaking records going back forever.
            It’s what you get from a command economy — and Communisim.

          • A Z

            The Greens are blaming California’s dry winter on CO2 not the ash.

            Which reminds me, the old scientific theory of rain formation is wrong. They believe it is solely due to particulates.

            “Life at the Edge of Space.”
            Discover magazine April 2012 page 38 to 45.

            I don’t have a link to the story itself. Web search is being a bugger. A person is more likely to pull up a Discover magazine blog than the actual article :/

            http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2010/11/29/the-clouds-are-alive-my-new-podcast-on-aerobiology/

            http://www.realclearscience.com/2012/11/16/hunting_for_life_at_the_edge_of_space_250075.html

            http://www.universetoday.com/98497/hunting-for-high-life-what-lives-in-earths-stratosphere/#more-98497

            Plus Dr Spencer was ridiculed about his utlraviolet ray theory and cloud formation. Then CERN Backed him up. Yet Dr Spencer is still pessoa non grata.

            So we have two large holes in scientific understanding and this knowledge is not part of the climate models . the climate models are of by 2/3 rds of the growth in temp rise they predict and yet they persist in lying.

            http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments/cloud

            http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/10/cern-experiment-finds-key-ingredient-for-cloud-droplets/

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/24/breaking-news-cern-experiment-confirms-cosmic-rays-influence-climate-change/

            ***
            Ships blow steam at least once a day. It rains scale on the decks at that time.

  • truebearing

    Germany and Denmark rely on solar and wind generators for a higher percentage of their electricity than any other countries, and naturally, have the highest costs of any country. Germany is trying to cut back its reliance on alternatives because of the unreliability and the damage it does to the economy.

    Obama knows all of this, yet persists in his green nightmare despite irrefutable evidence that it will hurt people. It’s the same thing with every one of his initiatives. And people wonder why some of us say Obama is intentionally destroying America.

    We have several wind generators a few miles from us. They stick out like a sore thumb. Huge, imposing, and completely inactive. They have been up for the better part of three years and I’ve never seen them turning. At least we don’t have to look at them from here. I have a friend whose farm is practically surrounded by these ugly scarecrows. He’s thrilled.

    • blert

      I’ve seen statistics that put Spain at the top of the heap of folly… importing German PV arrays.
      Their scheme bankrupted the entire nation. The Socialists/ Greens had a deal that ended up paying Spainsh solar electric producers over $ 0.50 per kW-Hr — at WHOLESALE.
      I’m sure this looked okay in the beginning. The production was trivial. Its absurdity could be blended down into the huge rate base. But Madrid had enacted a statute/ a scheme that had no cap. (!)
      The result was that income producing farmland was converted over to solar electric provision. (!)
      Such ‘improvements’ were — and are — so uneconomic that rates had to climb and climb. Spanish retail power rates are now so extreme that small manufacturers have had to flee or shut down.
      The big boys get specific exemption from this national folly.
      A fantastic fraction of Madrid’s Euro debt to Germany is specific to this boondoggle. Naturally the MSM — on both sides of the Atlantic — can scarcely utter a word about the cause and effect.
      Of course, after the horse is out of the barn, Madrid shut off the scheme. Because of forward contracts turning this ship around is taking quite a bit of time.
      As for the Germans: Siemens booked a multi-billion Euro write-off and shut down her entire PV line of business.(!) Siemens was not alone. Germany has collapsed from number one to number zero in PV.
      Even Red Chinese solar cells at slave wage prices were not cheap enough to turn the trick. (Siemens arrays were built with a very high degree of automation — and Euro financing to juice the deals.)

      • truebearing

        I had read that Germany and Denmark were on top of the crumbling heap, but you obviously know a lot more about this than I do.

        The key takeaway on all of this is that Obama knows about these failures, too, so why is he persisting? The only assumption that makes sense to me is that he is intentionally including this guaranteed failure in his portfolio of destructive investments because he seriously wants this country bankrupted.

      • Raymond_in_DC

        The cost of the panels is dwarfed by the installation and maintenance costs over time. These same issues, and the absurdity of granting high tariff pricing (well above retail, never mind wholesale pricing) mean these energy alternatives remain far from viable.

  • blert

    PV arrays can NEVER be more than a trivial fraction of a national grid without destabilizing it. This trait is inherent.
    PV inverters are NOT designed to be load-following.
    In the larger scheme of things, the grid depends — for its stability — on what is known as an ‘infinite bus.’
    ALL of traditional, main power generation is achieved by way of SYNCHRONIZED ALTERNATORS producing three-phase power.
    The utility — out of public view — monitors the grid every second of every day. Voltage and frequency have to be kept stable. Because of this achievement, the general public can use AC to power the common alarm clock. It rides the utility frequency to provide you the time of day.
    PV arrays, no matter the scale, do not use Synchronized Alternators. Instead, they use trick, modern electronics to FOLLOW the wave-form existing on the utility grid — the ‘infinite bus.’
    The grid gets this nick name because additional generators enter and leave the grid — effectively without limit — without disturbing the wave. They are all synchronized.
    This is achieved by Tesla’s invention: the Synchronous Alternator. It’s very much different than the alternator in your car. (Which is three-phase, BTW. These three waves are converted by the three diodes into pulsing DC. The car battery suppresses that ripple.)
    Under operator control, the synchronous alternator has its excitation energy changed — a DC current that flows through slip rings into its Salient Poles. These have one signature trait. They don’t slip. They track the wave form of the infinite bus — dead nuts. If the rotor is too fast, they slow it up, and vice versa.
    It’s physically impossible to have a stable grid without synchronous alternators. They are the heart and soul of the grid. PV arrays have no heart — and can — and do — wander off — the split second the electronics fail or the signal connection is lost. When this happens, truly weird harmonics are stacked up on top of the power grid. The dominant feature of which is to BREAK DOWN INSULATION, all of it, everywhere. What this means in practice: buildings burning down all over the land. As you might imagine, all ‘listed’ (available for contractor installation) inverters are designed to drop out/ shut down if anything goes wrong.
    Which brings us to the various ‘dead’ windmills all over the world. They don’t use synchronous alternators, either. The wind is too variable.
    The result is that no genius can EVER make wind power economic. The mechanism has to be designed to handle severe weather — while spending the vast bulk of its time scarcely loaded — running at idle.
    When it surges, the power company HAS to shut off other alternators so that the grid remains stable. Ultimately the schem is the death of money, of wealth.
    Wind power only makes economic sense when it’s OFF THE GRID, when the need is so far from the grid that nothing else works cheaper.
    It’s natural market is the Arctic, the mountains. Everywhere else, PV beats it.
    An unstable power grid causes an entire nation to go dark on no notice. I recommend that you review Italy’s experience when the French-Italian inter-tie went down a few years back. It took Italy a week to fully boot back up.
    This issuer can not be engineered around. The Greens are fighting the laws of physics.
    Wish them luck.

    • what happened

      why haven’t I read or heard about buildings burning to the ground which use solar power? Germany currently generates 33% of their electricity from solar. why hasn’t Germany burned up?

      • blert

        Your logic is as impaired as are your statistics.

        Go slowly, and re-read my post.

        You may need to print it out and parse it.

        If, and as necessary, take it to an electrical engineer so that he can give you a personal, taylored instruction.

        BTW, the German utilities have ALREADY taken their plaint to the authorities. They are begging Berlin: no more wind power — please. The national grid has reached the breaking point — for all of the reasons detailed above.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    Look at this way: With 0′Bama at the helm we Americans as a nation can aspire to be the next United Kingdom. The has been island “nation” that can’t kick the socialism habit that is.

  • CowboyUp

    Importing tens of millions from South of the border without building any new power plants is a big reason California was having so many brownouts and rolling blackouts in the late 90s. I machine a lot of aluminum, and the price of it went through the roof when Canada started sending its’ juice to California, instead of using it to process ore.
    Democrats are so convoluted and short sighted that they almost always act at cross purposes to themselves. It’s hard for me to believe anyone is that stupid, so it almost has to be cloward piven. They rarely waste their own money that way.

  • exdent11

    Good thing you didn’t get paid to write this kind of BS when expensive personal computers and cell phones first came to market. Otherwise , if everyone listened to you ,we would never have reached the economies of scale that brought down prices as their efficiencies and capacities went into orbit.

  • what happened

    who among us doesn’t have enough electricity? this article is rubbish. my electricity bills haven’t risen 1% in the last year.

  • Raymond Del Colle

    “The cost of clean energy has dropped dramatically in recent years — even faster than experts expected.” http://clmtr.lt/c/Dov0Bbr0cMJ

  • blert

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/world/europe/spains-solar-pullback-threatens-pocketbooks.html?ref=science&_r=0

    This ^^^ goes into more of the zany specifics WRT Spain’s program.

    The trolls have much to read.