The 33 Billion Dollar Train That Couldn’t

Couldn’t be built for 33 or 77 or maybe even 100 billion dollars, that is. (And yes, that is Billion, with a capital “B.” This Train Won’t Leave the Station: If high-speed rail can’t make it in California, it can’t make it anywhere.

In the face of cost overruns, and sliding tax revenues, California Governor Newsom canceled most of the high speed rail in California.

This effectively puts an end to former governor Jerry Brown’s “legacy” project, the lone tangible accomplishment for a second gubernatorial stint that had been far better at raising taxes and imposing draconian legislation than building things. Brown wanted to build his beloved train in a state with some of the nation’s worst roads (despite its second-highest gas taxes), a deteriorating water-delivery system, and massive pension debt. With Brown finally in retirement, Newsom took the opportunity to free up billions of dollars that his Democratic allies would like to spend in other ways.

This probably is also bad news for the Green New Deal. But don’t expect the Liberal Left to acknowledge that.


Electric Vehicles Don’t Like Cold Weather

Or perhaps I should say that lithium-ion batteries don’t do well in the cold. AAA confirms what Tesla, BMW, Nissan electric car owners suspected — cold weather saps EV range. Even turning on the car drains power. But then I don’t much like cold weather either.

The reporter is shocked to discover that all manufacturers have the same problem, as if chemistry would work differently for BMW and Tesla than it does for Chevy.

Different factors can affect the loss of range, he and other experts have noted. Simply turning on the electric vehicles, or EVs, AAA studied in 20 degree weather revealed a 12 percent loss in range.

And that is BEFORE you turn on the cabin heat or heated seats.

Using climate control revealed an even bigger surprise, according to Brannon, as range dipped by an average 41 percent — which would bring an EV like the Bolt down to just 140 miles of range.

Again, I have no idea why this should be a “surprise.” (Or why they only list the bad numbers relative to the Chevy, and not relative to say Tesla.) Apparently reporters live in a world where energy – like heat – appears out of nowhere. The author of the piece seems to be genuinely surprised that internal combustion engines have waste heat that they can use, while electric motors don’t, (or don’t have enough for this use) and have to use electric heating elements whose energy comes out of the battery. The proposed mitigation, BTW is stupid.

Grewe has experienced sharp reductions in the range of his own Chevy Bolt, but he also said there are ways to limit the impact of cold weather. That includes storing a battery car in a garage, preferably one that’s heated. And wherever it is parked, it helps to keep the EV plugged in.

Of all the homes I’ve owned in the past 30 years, all but 1 have had a garage. None of the garages has been heated. Indeed, it is a standard to make sure that in an attached garage, fumes from the garage CANNOT enter the house. (This may actually be a part of the building code.) So no vents, heating ducts, etc. and an effort should be made to keep the drywall intact and sealed. Otherwise you risk asphyxiation. So you would need a separate furnace for the garage. And probably a new garage door, and extra insulation, etc. So where did all that energy saving go now? And 20 degrees F? That would have been like a heatwave coming through here last week, the mercury hit minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit. That is BEFORE windchill, so yes, you would need to use ‘climate control.’ (Otherwise the windshield would fog up.)

As for keeping the car plugged in all the time… contact your employer, the local cinema, your favorite Mexican restaurant, Walmart, Starbucks, and anywhere else you might ever go to ensure that every parking space has an outlet. Oh, and don’t ever plan on leaving your car at the airport in long-term-parking, unless that is heated and/or has an outlet.

Electric vehicles also lose range in hot weather, even before you turn on the air-conditioning. (Hat tip to Pirate’s Cove and Not a Lot of People Know That.)

Note: I put this in the “Math is Hard” category, but I should probably make a “Science is Hard” category for it.

The WaPo: “It’s Global Warming!”

I almost didn’t link to them, because they get enough clicks based on this insanity. Pacific Gas and Electric is a company that was just bankrupted by climate change. It won’t be the last..

The fires are totally the cause of Global Warming. PG&E deferring maintenance on the transmission lines, not doing brush clearing around the lines, and environmentalists fighting EVERY attempt at forest management to try and remove at least SOME of the dead trees, had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the fires.

The Sacramento Bee, on the other hand, manages to tell the truth about the situation, even while trying not to. ‘A statewide problem.’ How PG&E’s bankruptcy could soil California’s green-energy movement.

A year later, Williams is out, PG&E is bankrupt – and the utility is making noise about backing out of some of its commitments to use renewable energy. In a court filing Tuesday, PG&E told the bankruptcy judge it wants the authority to cancel some of its renewable-energy contracts – many of which force PG&E to buy power at above-market rates.

Since “deregulation” – right before the Enron disaster – to today, California energy markets have been micromanaged by the State. (Because legislators are SO competent to be in the power-engineering game.) And no, it wasn’t real deregulation, the state controlled what kinds of contracts the utility could sign. Which was only short-term contracts before Enron which left them open to price manipulation in a big way, and only long term contracts after Enron, which locked them into unusually high energy costs for several years. Today it is “green energy.” Because there is nothing the Socialists in California hate more than a free market, where individuals are free to do what they feel is best.

Now, however, the company has more contracts in place, as the California Legislature has dramatically ramped up the requirements on utilities to make use of renewable energy.

The state’s first “renewable portfolio standard” was signed into law by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. The law required utilities to become 20 percent renewable by 2017.

A 2011 law established a 33 percent green-energy minimum by 2020 – the threshold that PG&E boasted about meeting three years early. And last September, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 100, requiring utilities to be 50 percent green by 2026, 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045.

Yeah, that sounds TOTALLY like a deregulated energy market. Or maybe not. Any bets on how stable the California power grid will be in 2045? (Hint: Take a look at Australia.) For a review of California’s Camp Fire, see this link.

$140 Per Day Electricity Cost in Australia

Because renewables. Nearly a billion dollars for electricity for just one day — $500 per family. That $140 (Aus) is per capita, so if you live by yourself, you might pay more. And 1 Australian dollar is 72 cents US, at the current exchange rate.

For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not be aware of what happened. Coles and Woolworths will have to add a few cents to everything to cover their bills, and the government will have to cut services or increase taxes. No one will know how many jobs are not offered or opportunities lost. This is the road to Venezuela. [My emphasis, Z-Deb]

Which seems to be the road that all the Left wants to be on.

How did Australia (Victoria in particular) end up here? Well, let’s look at an article from Victoria’s Herald Sun: VICTORIANS SWEAT THROUGH A GREAT GREEN HOAX. The story starts out with reiterating the usual Green mantra:

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victoria’s warmist Minister for Energy, in 2017 claimed Labor was helping to “deliver affordable, sustainable and renewable energy”.

Turns out, it is none of those things.

Affordable? Victoria actually had wholesale power prices hit $14,500 per megawatt hour – when prices used to average less than $40.

Sustainable? Wind power generators on Thursday delivered a feeble 3.8 per cent of the state’s power, thanks to fickle winds. They could not deliver when needed most.

Reliable? Victoria – which helped drive the giant Hazelwood coal-fired generator out of business – ran short of electricity in the heat wave, and suffered blackouts that hit 200,000 homes and premises, even after it ordered big power users like the Portland smelter to shut down.

And just for perspective, consider that people with health problems can be really impacted by blackouts. Oxygen concentrators stop working, and people have to switch to backup tanks. Which means a caregiver had better be present, and someone needs to be managing the backup supply – if blackouts are frequent occurrence. Even a lack of air-conditioning can be hard on the infirm. Insulin has been made shelf-stable, so the loss of refrigeration doesn’t impact diabetics the way it used to, but there are probably some medicines that need to be temperature controlled. (Should we talk about the use of diesel generators?)

The green contingent often downplay the economic realities, but a 36,000 percent increase in the wholesale cost of power, means you have just destroyed your economy. No one voted for that. Could you afford a $3000/month electric bill? Evey month? Most people can’t. Those who can, probably have to means to move elsewhere.

Why does Victoria, sitting on hundreds of years of supply of coal and big gas reserves, have an electricity system that can no longer deliver enough electricity?

In a word, Renewables. (Hat tip to Ice Age Now, and Pirate’s Cove.)

PG&E Bankruptcy Hardest on Green Power Companies. Or Something

Numerous fires caused by lack of maintenance around PG&E lines, and gas pipelines exploding, 86 people dead in the Camp Fire, but none of that is the biggest problem. PG&E bankruptcy could undermine utilities’ efforts against climate change .

Solar and wind developers depend on creditworthy utilities to buy electricity from their projects under long-term contracts, but that calculus changes in a world where a 30-year purchase agreement doesn’t guarantee 30 years of payments.

No mention of the fact that those 30-year-purchase agreements are not too closely tied to the reality of power prices. And that pipeline explosion? San Bruno, in 2010. Gas pipelines explode, that is a fact of life. But usually it is because someone did something (dug it up with a backhoe for example) or didn’t do something (like replace a steel pipe past its expiration date.)

The Golden State has dramatically reduced planet-warming emissions from the electricity sector, largely by requiring utilities to increase their use of solar and wind power and fund energy-efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses. Lawmakers recently set a target of 100 percent climate-friendly electricity by 2045.

But those government mandates have depended on Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities being able to invest tens of billions of dollars in clean-energy technologies

No, those mandates haven’t depended on anything. Unicorns have more touch with reality than California legislators thinking about energy policy. All those billions invested in “clean technology” meant that the power transmission lines couldn’t be maintained, kept clear of brush, etc.

Wind Turbine Kills Rare Bird

So are wind-tubines good for the environment? Rare bird last seen in Britain 22 years ago reappears – only to be killed by wind turbine in front of a horrified crowd of birdwatchers.

The white-throated needletail is usually only seen in Asia and Australasia
Forty birdwatchers dashed to the Hebrides to catch a glimpse of this one
But as they watched it was knocked ‘stone dead’ after impact with turbine

Hat tip to 90 Miles From Tyranny.

2018: The Year With No Violent Tornadoes?

Violent Tornadoes in the US since 1950So they keep telling me that Global Warming (or is it Climate Change?) will create more severe weather, like more tornadoes. 2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes in the United States. In fairness, the year isn’t (quite) over yet.

Clicking on the image will take you to the article, where you can find a larger view of the image… You need to page down.

We’re now days away from this becoming the first year in the modern record with no violent tornadoes touching down in the United States. Violent tornadoes are the strongest on a 0 to 5 scale, or those ranked EF4 or EF5.

It could also be a year where we see a record low number of tornado-related deaths.

Hat tip to 90 Miles From Tyranny who asks, How Will Climate Alarmists Explain US Having Fewest ‘Violent’ Tornadoes Ever in 2018?

In August, The New York Times — “All the News That’s Fit to Print” — reported that “Tornadoes on the East Coast May Be a Sign of Things to Come.” And why, you may ask? Well, you probably needn’t have asked.

Go look at the image (linked above) and at the regression lines fit to the data.