Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy.
Understanding New York and New England Fractivism
If you really want to understand what motivates the opposition of wealthy New Yorkers and Bay Staters to fracking and absolutely essential pipeline development in a region ever more dependent on natural gas, it’s worth reading this article about what’s happening with California housing.
The gentry class has several reasons to oppose natural gas development, including hedge fund investments in “green energy,” protecting land scams designed create private preserves around their own holdings and assuaging of their trust-funder guilt, but keeping out the rabble may be the biggest:
[It] recalls the aristocratic, even feudal, days of yore when the lords in their estates didn’t wish to be crowded by the bourgeoisie, to say nothing of the peasantry.
To be sure, modern political niceties prevent the lords and ladies of today from pronouncing that they wish the rabble to be gone. And so the exclusionist argument is laundered through the green vernacular of “sustainability.” It’s by this linguistic transmutation that the selfish NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) activist is elevated into a high-minded eco-hero.
It’s fair to say [this] greenwashed NIMBYism—is the dominant ideology in California. Bolstered by big money from tech gods and trust funders, [the] gentry [class has] simply bought the state’s politics.
Well said, I’d say. “Green vernacular” is employed as a facade for old-fashioned NIMBYism and keeping the rabble of employed middle-class folks associated with gas drilling and building pipelines as far away as possible.
The beauty of renewables, of course, is that they’re always just over the horizon, awaiting the one technological gains leap, except that the horizon keeps moving due to other technological leaps with natural gas. The giant leap needed for renewables is said to be storage, but that’s not doing so well either (emphasis added):
Oregon was the first state to follow California in implementing an energy storage mandate. But, as Pacific Power’s recent filing with the Oregon Public Utility Commission shows, the economics of energy storage may take more time to become favorable, at least for some.
In 2015, Oregon’s legislature passed H.B. 2193, which requires the state’s two main investor-owned utilities, Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp’s Pacific Power, to have a minimum of 5 MWh of energy storage in service by January 1, 2020. The mandate is capped at 1% of a utility’s peak load from 2014, except for a project of “statewide significance.” The law also allows the utilities to recover the costs of those energy storage systems through electric rates…
In its analysis, Pacific Power used seven different use-case scenarios, but found that energy storage is not cost effective in any modeled scenario…
Based on its forward looking projection for energy storage on the PacifiCorp network, the utility estimated that energy storage has the potential to become cost effective in 2029.
Yeah—2029—that’s it. That’s the horizon now. Meanwhile, natural gas storage effectively serves as the real electricity storage and the gas industry technology leaps continue.
FERC says it wants input on updating its regs. Well, good. Here’s what up:
…the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking stakeholder comments on whether, and if so how, it should adjust its current policy1 on certifying new natural gas transportation facilities. Specifically, it requests input on:
“(1) its methodology for determining whether there is a need for a proposed project, including the Commission’s consideration of precedent agreements and contracts for service as evidence of such need;
(2) its consideration of the potential exercise of eminent domain and of landowner interests related to a proposed project; and
(3) its evaluation of the environmental impact of a proposed project.”
The full notice, unfortunately, gives almost no attention to the single greatest problem right now; the corrupt abuse of the Section 401 Water Quality Certification process by Andrew Cuomo and others who are using it to insert them into every aspect of FERC’s authority. The agency is looking for comments and I have but two suggestions.
The first is to draft a rule that says: (1) water quality certification must be about water and not FERC’s business, (2) that one-year to act means one-year and not several, and (3) decisions must be based on real water quality criteria and not speculation or different criteria than would be applied to any other activity. Secondly, it’s time to end the abuse of the FERC process itself by Delaware Povertykeeper types who only seek to kill projects by delay. Keep them out of the process as intervenors. Check out the notice and make your comment!
The German Energiewende continuers to unwind:
This is yet another blow to Germany’s Energiewende (transition to green energies). A few days ago, I reported herehow the German solar industry had seen a monumental jobs’ bloodbath and investments have been slashed to a tiny fraction of what they once were.
Over the years, Germany has made approvals for new wind parks more difficult as the country reels from an unstable power grid and growing protests against the blighted landscapes and health hazards.
Now that the wind energy boom has ended, the Baseler Zeitung reports that “the shutdown of numerous wind turbines could soon lead to a drop in production” after having seen years of ruddy growth.
Today a large number of Germany’s 29,000 total turbines nationwide are approaching 20-years-old and for the most part, they are outdated.
Worse: the generous subsidies granted at the time of their installation are slated to expire soon and thus make them unprofitable.
After 2020, thousands of these turbines will lose their subsidies with each passing year, which means they will be taken offline and mothballed…
The Baseler Zeitung adds that some 5,700 turbines with an installed capacity of 45 MW will see their subsidies run out by 2020…
So with new turbines coming online only slowly, it’s entirely possible that wind energy output in Germany will recede in the coming years, thus making the country appear even less serious about climate protection.
Who could have seen this one coming? Pretty much anyone with an ounce of common sense. Renewables can’t be forced. They have to compete. Moreover, as they say, political correctness that simply can’t go on, won’t.
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