This Pretty Much Says It All

At a Pennsylvania State House Consumer Affairs Committee hearing, solar industry representatives decried the level of State interest in solar energy production relative to more traditional sources of energy production.

[T]he potential for the industry to flourish still exists, said the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), if only the state revamped some of its policies to incentivize more investment.

And this from SEIA’s Mid-Atlantic Senior Manager of State Affairs, Scott Elias:

Some states have more aggressive goals. Even 2.5% by 2030 would increase the demand in Pennsylvania.

The Biden Oil Price Spike

President Joe Biden (D) has killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, is blocking oil production from Federal lands, killed oil production in northern Alaska, is working to kill fracking altogether, is working to kill American oil (and natural gas) production, and has given the go ahead to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In sum, he’s actively working to kill American energy independence.

All of that is driving up American citizens’ energy costs, and that is reflected in the market’s anticipation of spiking oil costs. Here are a couple of graphs illustrating that. They illustrate the expectation that oil will soon cost $100/barrel, after several years of $50-$65/barrel. The first presents the spike since the start of the year in the number of West Texas Intermediate $100/barrel futures contracts against a current $70 price.

Nord Stream 2 and Joe Biden

President Joe Biden (D) likes to present himself as talking big. Unfortunately for the rest of us, and for our nation, he acts small. In the latest example, he said that he

lifted sanctions on the Russia-to-Germany pipeline Nord Stream 2 “because it’s almost completely finished.”

He also said, after having agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift sanctions on and stop blocking Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline,

I’ve been opposed to Nord Stream from the beginning…they know how I feel[.]

In the Land of YGTBSM

Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago, Texas had several days of electricity (and associated natural gas) blackouts, some of those areas lost water for a number of days, and some areas lost Internet connectivity—and Internet-based communications—for some time.

A Wall Street Journal ran an article last week that looked into the sources of the electricity failures; it’s well worth the read in its own right.

A couple of items jumped out at me, though, concerning ERCOT, a State-level regulator about which I’ve written before.

Stop Worrying about Drilling Bans on Federal Land

The United States actually had the right idea—several of them, in fact—years ago. Today, the Federal government “owns” around 640 million acres of land—28% of the land area of our nation. That’s way too much, and it’s the largest source of leverage the Feds have over oil and natural gas production by our private economy.

There are a couple of things Congress can do to reduce to irrelevance Executive Branch volatility regarding Executive Orders and access to Federal land for mineral extraction; both of them involve reduction of American land that the Federal government presumes to own.

A Proposed Response

Texas State Congressman Matt Shaheen (R, Dist 66 [which includes my county]) has tweeted access to a Request for Comment regarding last week’s snow and cold storm with various utilities’ associated failures to keep supplies of electricity, natural gas, and potable water flowing in major areas of the State.

Kudos to Shaheen for publicizing this RFP.

Below are my inputs.

  1. All, without exception, ERCOT board members and senior executives (C-suite equivalents and their deputies) must reside within Texas. Half of the board members, a separate half of the C-suite, and a separate half of their deputies must reside in separate rural regions of Texas. Within that last, a C-suite executive and his deputy must not reside in the same region.

What’re You Going to Do, Joe?

Iran has begun accumulating the immediate precursor to weapons grade uranium metal.

…report was given by UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to its members and states Iran had on Monday produced a small amount of uranium metal, after importing new equipment into a nuclear facility that is under IAEA inspection[.]

To be sure,

The material produced was a small amount of natural uranium metal…meaning it wasn’t enriched. To use uranium metal for a nuclear weapon’s core, Iran would need around half a kilogram, or slightly more than one pound, of highly enriched uranium metal….

However. There’s always a however.

People Like Me

President Joe Biden’s Climate MFWIC, John Kerry, traveled to Iceland to accept an Arctic Circle award for his climate “leadership.” Of course, Kerry traveled by flying in his private jet (which has a much larger per-passenger carbon footprint than a commercial jet, but we won’t mention that).

An Icelandic journalist, Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, asked him how that works. Kerry said,

If you offset your carbon—it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.
I negotiated the Paris Accords for the United States.
I’ve been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with President Xi to bring President Xi to the table so we could get Paris.

Good Union Jobs

But not good enough for President Joe Biden (D).  Recall that Biden ran on “good union jobs,” among other causes, and that phrase—”good union jobs”—became so ubiquitous in his speeches as to resemble a tic.

But not all union jobs—labor is another area where Progressive-Democrats choose winners and losers. When Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, he killed roughly 11,000 good union construction, construction-related, and ancillary jobs. No matter: Progressive-Democrats, led by Biden, don’t approve of those jobs.

And that doesn’t begin to address the job losses in Canada, jobs that depended on both the pipeline construction and on the subsequent flow of oil.

Reusable Grocery Bags

…and reusable shopping bags, generally. These are supposedly better for our environment than nominally single-use plastic or paper bags (though both, until they wear out, can serve other purposes than holding food or other goods—usually two or three reuses until they’re truly ready for the trash or the recycling bin).

The serious questions, though, and ones that have been missed until the current COVID-19 situation has exposed them empirically, are:

For whose environment, exactly, are reusable shopping bags better?

Who, exactly, are the ones doing the reusing?

The answer to the first is…germs.