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No Power, No Running Water, No Toilets: Millions of Americans Are Living in Third-World Conditions

No Power, No Running Water, No Toilets: Millions of Americans Are Living in Third-World Conditions

Scattered around the nation, there are parts of the country in which millions of Americans are living without the basic amenities that most of us take for granted.

I’m not talking about high-speed internet or frivolous things. I’m talking about electricity, flushing toilets, and clean running water.

But this isn’t a problem that only exists in one state or to one demographic. It’s happening across the nation more and more. Let’s take a look.

Millions are living without running water.

new report says that more than 2 million Americans in West Virginia, Alabama, Texas and the Navajo Nation Reservation in the Southwest are living without clean running water or indoor plumbing. They’re drinking from polluted streams. They’re carrying buckets of the same water home for washing. They’re urinating and defecating outside with no wastewater treatment.

Race and poverty are the strongest predictors of water and sanitation access, according to the study. Native American families are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing, while black and Latino homes are nearly twice as likely. Meanwhile, federal funding for water infrastructure is just a small percentage of what it used to be, the authors wrote.

“Access to clean, reliable running water and safe sanitation are baseline conditions for health, prosperity, and well-being,” DigDeep CEO George McGraw and US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox said in a statement. “However, they remain out of reach for some of the most vulnerable people in the United States.”

The 2 million figure includes 1.4 million people with homes who lack access to hot and cold running water, as well as a sink, shower, bath or flushing toilet. (source)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Country Using The Most Electricity May Surprise You

The Country Using The Most Electricity May Surprise You

In 2017, global electricity consumption increased 2.5 percent to reach 25,721 Twh.

When it comes to consumption, China uses the most of any country at 25.9 percent, followed by the United States with 17.5 percent; but, as Statista’s Niall McCarthy noteson a per capita basis, the situation is different.

According to the IEA Atlas of Energy, electricity consumption in Iceland was 54.4 megwatt hours per capita in 2017, the highest level of any country.

Infographic: Which Countries Use The Most Electricity?  | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

That’s primarily due to abundant natural resources that make electricity production affordable along with energy-intensive industries. The harsh and dark Icelandic climate also contributes to heavy demand for electricity.

The situation is similar in Norway which comes second with 23.7 megawatt hours per capita.

Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait follow due to considerable demand for air conditioning.

Is California’s Second Biggest Utility On Verge Of Collapse Next: Edison Plunges After Saying It May Be Responsible For Deadly 2018 Fire

Is California’s Second Biggest Utility On Verge Of Collapse Next: Edison Plunges After Saying It May Be Responsible For Deadly 2018 Fire

With California’s largest utility, PG&E,  now bankrupt after starting the deadliest fire in California history, and cutting power to its customers at the mere hint of a windstorm that could leave it exposed to more multi-billion lawsuits, leaving millions in the dark, California’s second largest utility, Edison, may soon be insolvent too.

The stock of Edison International, which is California’s second biggest electricity provider through its Southern California Edison subsidiary, which distributes electricity to 5.1 million customers in central, coastal, and southern California, collapsed after the close when the company reported in its earnings call that California investigators concluded equipment owned by Edison International’s utility caused one of the most destructive fires in state history, which killed three people and burned down entire sections of Malibu.

California county fire officials said that the Woolsey Fire, which raged for weeks in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in November 2018, was sparked by the utility’s electrical equipment, Edison CEO Pedro Pizarro said in a call with investors on Tuesday.

EIX shares plunged as much as 19% to $52.75 in after-hours trading before modestly recovering some losses to trade at $62.95. Edison investors had expected the company would be blamed for the fire.

The finding comes as California grapples with a wildfire crisis that’s pushed the state’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., into bankruptcy.

While the company said earlier this year that it believed equipment owned by its Southern California Edison utility may be cited as the cause, and it took a $4.7 billion charge in connection to wildfires in 2017 and 2018, the question now is whether that charge will be sufficient, and whether the company may in fact follow PG&E into the abyss of insolvency as it scramble to file for protection from mounting lawsuits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are Electric Cars Good for the Environment?

Are Electric Cars Good for the Environment?

This article is Part 5 of an 11-part series analysis of Tesla, Elon Musk and EV Revolution. You can read other parts here.

My wife loves driving the Model 3, not for all the selfish reasons I like to drive it (it is fast and quite the iPad on wheels) but because she feels she helps the environment. Is she right?

Unlike an ICE car, which takes fuel stored in the gas tank, combusts it in the engine, and thus creates kinetic energy, Tesla takes electricity stored in the battery pack and converts it directly into kinetic energy. That’s a very clean and quiet process. However, the electricity that magically appears in our electrical outlets is not a gift from Thor, the thunder god; it was generated somewhere and transmitted to us.

As I write this, I am slightly disturbed by how the topic I am about to discuss has been politicized. I am not going to debate global warming here, but let’s at least agree that an excess of carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) is bad for you and me, and for the environment. If you disagree with me, start an ICE car in your garage, roll down the windows, and sit there for about 20 minutes. Actually, please don’t, because you’ll die. So let’s agree that a billion cars emitting CO and CO2 is not good and that if we emit less CO and CO2 it is good for air quality.

Roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in the U.S. is sourced from fossil fuels. The good news is that only half of that comes from coal; the other half comes from natural gas, which produces half as much CO2 as coal (though it has its own side effects – it leaks methane). Another 20% of U.S. energy comes from nuclear, which produces zero carbon emissions. The remaining 17% comes from “green” sources, such as hydro (7%), wind (6.6%), and solar (1.7%).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’: Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World Uses

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’: Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World Uses

“Let’s get going!”

Shanghai Donghai Bridge's 100mw offshore wind power project is China's first national offshore wind power demonstration project in the early morning light of morning in Shanghai, Oct. 4, 2019.
Shanghai Donghai Bridge’s 100mw offshore wind power project is China’s first national offshore wind power demonstration project in the early morning light of morning in Shanghai, Oct. 4, 2019. (Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

A new report from the International Energy Agency released Friday claims that wind power could be a $1 trillion business by 2040 and that the power provided by the green technology has the potential to outstrip global energy needs. 

“Talk about a breath of fresh air,” tweeted writer Steven E. de Souza.

The IEA report looks at the business of wind power and opines that as investment increases and the technology becomes cheaper, the sector could explode. 

The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040. This is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations. That’s just the start—the IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policy makers.

“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

It would take a major infrastructural commitment to develop wind power to the point that the renewable energy resource could take over the majority of global energy needs, but it’s not impossible. As The Guardian pointed out Friday, “if windfarms were built across all useable sites which are no further than 60km (37 miles) off the coast, and where coastal waters are no deeper than 60 metres, they could generate 36,000 terawatt hours of renewable electricity a year.”

“This would easily meeting the current global demand for electricity of 23,000 terawatt hours,” added The Guardian.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America’s Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Set To Finally Close Its Doors

America’s Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Set To Finally Close Its Doors

Few people know that sitting across from the reactor that suffered a partial meltdown on Three Mile Island in 1979 – is another unit that still remains one of the region’s largest power sources. In fact, the second unit has provided power for 45 years without incident. Now, according to Bloomberg, that unit is finally slated to shut down. 

Plant owner Exelon says that it will shutter the entire Three Mile Island facility 15 years before its license expires. While the first reactor was brought down by human error, the second is being brought down by the economics of the utility industry.

The original meltdown that occurred in 1979 was a result of steam generators that were unable to draw heat out of a reactor and a stuck valve that let coolant escape from the reactor core. 

The unit that melted down originally has stood dormant and quiet since the incident. 

Compared to Chernobyl, which resulted in 4,000 deaths, Three Mile Island is considered minor. It was determined that about 2 million people in the surrounding area “were exposed to less radiation than they would have received from a chest X-ray.”

But naturally, the immediate reaction to the event was fear and confusion. Schools closed, people stayed indoors and officials told children and pregnant women to evacuate the area. Public support for nuclear power predictably waned after the incident. 

The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, thanks to the “shale revolution”. This has caused a glut of the fossil fuel, dragging down its price and making it the largest source of the country’s electricity. Wind and solar have also been contributing to the nation’s energy glut. As a result, seven U.S. nuclear plants have shut down since 2013, with additional plants slated to close, despite states like New York and Pennsylvania offering subsidies for nuclear power. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

45 Reasons why wind power can not replace fossil fuels

45 Reasons why wind power can not replace fossil fuels

Source: Leonard, T. 2012. Broken down and rusting, is this the future of Britain’s ‘wind rush’? https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116877/Is-future-Britains-wind-rush.html

Preface. Electricity simply doesn’t substitute for all the uses of fossil fuels, so windmills will never be able to reproduce themselves from the energy they generate — they are simply not sustainable.  Consider the life cycle of a wind turbine – giant diesel powered mining trucks and machines dig deep into the earth for iron ore, fossil-fueled ships take the ore to a facility that will use fossil fuels to crush it and permeate it with toxic petro-chemicals to extract the metal from the ore. Then the metal will be taken in a diesel truck or locomotive to a smelter which runs exclusively on fossil fuels 24 x 7 x 365 for up to 22 years (any stoppage causes the lining to shatter so intermittent electricity won’t do). There are over 8,000 parts to a wind turbine which are delivered over global supply chains via petroleum-fueled ships, rail, air, and trucks to the assembly factory. Finally diesel cement trucks arrive at the wind turbine site to pour many tons of concrete and other diesel trucks carry segments of the wind turbine to the site and workers who drove gas or diesel vehicles to the site assemble it.

Here are the topics covered below in this long post:

  1. Windmills require petroleum every single step of their life cycle. If they can’t replicate themselves using wind turbine generated electricity, they are not sustainable
  2. SCALE. Too many windmills needed to replace fossil fuels
  3. SCALE. Wind turbines can’t be scaled up fast enough to replace fossils
  4. Not enough rare earth metals and enormous amounts of cement, steel, and other materials required
  5. Not enough dispatchable power to balance wind intermittency and unreliability
  6. Wind blows seasonally, so for much of there year there wouldn’t be enough wind

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – March 2019 Edition with data for January 2019

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – March 2019 Edition with data for January 2019

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The EIA released the latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on March 26th, with data for January 2019. The table above shows the percentage contribution of the main fuel sources to two decimal places for the last two months and the year 2019 to date.

In January, the absolute amount of electricity generated rose back to levels not seen since the end of summer in September 2018, probably as a result of the need for longer hours of lighting during the longer nights coupled with the increased needs for heating in the middle of winter. Coal and Natural Gas between them, fueled 61.49% of US electricity generation in January, with the contributions from Nuclear and Conventional Hydroelectric declining. The contribution from Natural Gas was up at 33.25%, from 31.71% in December, with the amount generated rising from 106,978 GWh to 118,935 GWh. Generation fueled by coal increased from 96,825 GWh to 101,019 GWh resulting in the percentage contribution falling from 28.70% to 28.24%. The amount of electricity generated by Nuclear plants increased from 71,657 GWh to 73,701 GWh with the resulting contribution actually declining from 21.24% to 20.60% in January. The amount generated by Conventional Hydroelectric increased from 23,728 GWh in December to 24,544 GWh in January with resulting contribution decreasing to 6.86% as opposed to 7.03% in December. The amount generated by Wind increased from 21,154 GWh to 22,493 GWh with the resulting contribution rising very slightly from 6.27% to 6.29% in January. The estimated total solar output rose from 4.962 GWh to 5,859 GWh with the resulting contribution rising from 1.47% to 1.56%. The contribution of zero carbon or carbon neutral sources declined from 38.59% in December to 37.41% in January.

The graph below shows the absolute monthly production from the various sources as well as the total amount generated (right axis).

chart/

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The First New Deal Ruined Energy Innovation

The First New Deal Ruined Energy Innovation

About the only disappointing aspect of Burton Folsom’s New Deal or Raw Deal is that it doesn’t go far enough in its critique of FDR’s rural electrification program.

The Roosevelt Institute claims, in all seriousness, that “while 90% of urban dwellers had electricity by the 1930s, only 10% of rural dwellers did and roughly 9 out of 10 farms had none,” as if electrons magically stopped flowing in the presence of barnyard animals and corn cribs.

But farmers used electricity before Roosevelt took office; they just produced or procured it themselves instead of taking it off a federally subsidized grid.

Strangely, pundits on the left continue to laud FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration even though it increased demand for electricity created largely by “dirty” sources, especially coal, while squelching demand for electricity generated by local, often green, means. 

To this day, South Dakota’s prairie remains dotted with the skeletons of farm windmills abandoned long ago thanks to the Rural Electrification Administration. 

This is not to say that all electricity from the grid was dirty, as some of it came from hydroelectric plants, like those along the Missouri and Niagara rivers, nor that all locally generated electricity came from green sources, as some of it came from fossil fuel–powered generators and flatulent mules. But the point here isn’t to count kilowatts; it is to point out what the New Deal cost us in terms of green-energy innovation.

Although, since the New Deal, farms in the United States decreased in relative terms and absolute numbers, they still number in the millions. And although farmers are notoriously “cash poor,” only a small number are “dirt poor.” 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – January 2019 Edition with data for November 2018

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – January 2019 Edition with data for November 2018

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chart/

The EIA released the latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on January 25th, with data for November 2018. The table above shows the percentage contribution of the main fuel sources to two decimal places for the last two months and the year 2018 to date.

In November, the absolute amount of electricity generated declined sightly as mild fall temperatures gave way to colder winter temperatures with demand for air conditioning giving way to demand for heating. Coal and Natural Gas between them, fueled 61.99% of US electricity generation in November, with the contributions from Nuclear and Conventional Hydroelectric edging up. The contribution from Natural Gas was down at 33.18%, from 38.11% in October, with the amount generated falling from 124,027 GWh to 106,804 GWh. Generation fueled by coal increased from 87,452 GWh to 92,738 GWh resulting in the percentage contribution rising from 26.87% to 28.81%. The amount of electricity generated by Nuclear plants increased from 59,397 GWh to 63,948 GWh with the resulting contribution actually rising from 18.25% to 19.87% in November. The amount generated by Conventional Hydroelectric increased from 18,779 GWh in October to 22,174 GWh in November with resulting contribution increasing to 6.89% as opposed to 5.77% in October. The amount generated by Wind decreased from 19,507 GWh to 17,991 GWh with the resulting contribution falling from 5.99% to 5.59% in November. The estimated total solar output fell from 7,625 GWh to 5,859 GWh with the resulting contribution falling from 2.34% to 1.82%. The contribution of zero carbon or carbon neutral sources rose from 34.10% in October to 36.97% in November.

The graph below shows the absolute production from the various sources as well as the total amount generated (right axis).

chart/

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Germany Plans to Quit Coal by 2038 ‘But There’s a Problem’

Germany Plans to Quit Coal by 2038 ‘But There’s a Problem’

In an effort to fight climate change, Germany announced plans to quit coal mining and burning by 2038.

All 84 of the country’s coal-fired power plants will be shut down over the 19-year time frame, a government-appointed commission announced Saturday, according to The Los Angeles Times.

It’s a significant move as nearly 40 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.

“This is a historic accomplishment,” Ronald Pofalla, one of four commission leaders, announced at a news conference after more than 20 hours of negotiations. 

“It was anything but a sure thing. But we did it,” he added. “There won’t be any more coal-burning plants in Germany by 2038.”

The commission’s plan provides about $45 billion in aid to coal-producing regions affected by the phase-out. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is expected to adopt the plan.

“Good for the economy and climate: The report of the climate/coal commission is widely supported by business and environmental organizations,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a trusted advisor to Merkel, tweeted on Saturday. “Less CO2, more new jobs. Security of supply and affordability: a strong signal!”

Gut für Wirtschaft und Klima: Der Bericht der Klima/Kohlekommission wird von Wirtschaft- und Umweltverbänden breit getragen. Weniger co2, mehr neue Jobs. Versorgungssicherheit und Bezahlbarkeit: Ein starkes Signal!

If the exit goes according to plan, renewable energy will effectively supply 65-80 percent of Germany’s power in two decades’ time, since the country also pledged to close all its nuclear reactors by 2022, the Times noted. 

Renewable energy replaced coal as Germany’s main power source for the first time last year, accounting for 41 percent of the country’s electricity, according to Reuters.

But some environmentalists warned that the commission’s recommendations are not ambitious enough for Germany to meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – December 2018 Edition with data for October

EIA’s Electric Power Monthly – December 2018 Edition with data for October

chart/

chart/

The EIA released the latest edition of their Electric Power Monthly on December 26th, with data for October 2018. The table above shows the percentage contribution of the main fuel sources to two decimal places for the last two months and the year to date.

In October, as usual for this time of the year, the absolute amount of electricity generated continued to decline with the mid summer demand for air conditioning falling away further. Coal and Natural Gas between them, fueled 64.98% of US electricity generation in October, with the contributions from most other major sources edging up slightly. The contribution from Natural Gas was down at 38.11%, from 40.01% in September, with the amount generated falling from 142,745 GWh to 124,027 GWh. Generation fueled by coal declined from 96,743 Gwh to 87,452 GWh resulting in the percentage contribution falling from 27.12% to 26.87%. The amount of electricity generated by Nuclear plants decreased from 64,725 GWh to 59,397 GWh with the resulting contribution actually rising very slightly from 18.14% to 18.25% in October. The amount generated by conventional hydroelectric increased from 18,663 GWh in September to 18,779 GWh in October with resulting contribution increasing to 5.77% as opposed to 5.23% in September. The amount generated by wind increased from 16,022 GWh to 19,507 GWh with the resulting contribution rising from 4.49% to 5.99% in September. The estimated total solar output fell from 9,153 GWh to 7,625 GWh with the resulting contribution falling from 2.57% to 2.34%. The contribution of zero carbon or carbon neutral sources rose from 32.01% in September to 34.10% in October.

The graph below shows the absolute production from the various sources as well as the total amount generated (right axis).

chart/

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Electricity won’t save us from our oil problems

Electricity won’t save us from our oil problems

Almost everyone seems to believe that our energy problems are primarily oil-related. Electricity will save us.

I recently gave a talk to a group of IEEE electricity researchers (primarily engineers) about the current energy situation and how welcoming it is for new technologies. Needless to say, this group did not come with the standard mindset. They wanted to understand what the electricity situation really is. They are very aware that intermittent renewables, including wind and solar, present many challenges. They didn’t come with the preconceived notion that oil is the problem and electricity will save us.

It wasn’t until I sat down and looked at the electricity situation that I realized how worrying it really is. Intermittent wind and solar cannot stand on their own. They also cannot scale up to the necessary level in the required time period. Instead, the way they are added to the grid artificially depresses wholesale electricity prices, driving other forms of generation out of business. While intermittent wind and solar may soundsustainable, the way that they are added to the electric grid tends to push the overall electrical system toward collapse. They act like parasites on the system.

We end up with an electricity situation parallel to the chronic low-price problem we have for oil. Prices for producers, all along the electricity supply chain, fall too low. Of course, consumers don’t complain about this problem. The electricity system also becomes more fragile, as we depend to an ever greater extent on electricity supplies that may or may not be available at a reasonable price at a given point in time. The full extent of the problem doesn’t become apparent immediately, either. We end up with both the electrical and oil systems speeding in the direction of collapse, while most observers are saying, “But prices aren’t high. How can there possibly be a problem?”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Can We Escape Control of The Wire?

Can We Escape Control of The Wire?

“He’ll See Everything!  He’ll See the Big Board!
— Dr. Strangelove

What is The Wire?  

Why is it so important?

Who controls it?

Answer those three questions and you can answer a number of problems plaguing our world today.

The Wire is simply a metaphor for the transmission of information.  The Wire takes many forms.  And if you aren’t sure whether something is The Wire just ask if you have control over it or not.

The Internet?  The Wire.

Electricity?  The Wire

Roads?  The Wire.

Media?  The Wire.

Money?  The Wire.

In short, The Wire is the main conduit through which we communicate with each other.  Money?  Really?  Yes, really.  What are prices if not information about what we are willing to part with our money in exchange for?

Without The Wire modern society fails.  So, government can’t shut it down but neither can it allow unconstrained access to it.

Electricity, commerce, communications, everything, goes over The Wire.  

This isn’t a radical concept but like all important ideas, once it is presented to you you can’t unsee it.

But, identifying The Wire isn’t the important thing.  What’s important is knowing who controls The Wire and what they are willing to do to maintain that control.

If you look at all of the things listed above you will see massive government intervention into these markets.  They need control of them to maintain the illusion they have control over you.

They sell you on the idea that speech, speed, education, commerce, defense, information, etc.  all need to have sensible limits placed on them.  But do they really or is this just yet another example of some jackass talking his book?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Our Delusional Economy Is Poised To Slam Into The Brick Wall Of Reality

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Our Delusional Economy Is Poised To Slam Into The Brick Wall Of Reality

Will you thrive, merely survive, or fail?

While life has always been uncertain, today our choices matter more than ever. The decisions each of us make today will determine if we thrive, merely survive, or fail during the future time of upheaval ahead.

The window of opportunity to change course for humanity is all but closed.  There’s simpply no more time to hope that somehow, magically, the world’s entire energy complex will suddently evolve to a bountiful and sustainable new plane — whether by market forces, by maverick billionaires like Elon Musk, or by happy accident.

As we hammer home constantly here at Peak Prosperity, energy is everything. Without it, our society simply can’t function.

And it’s critical to appreciate that it takes an investment of energy to migrate from energy solution to another.

Imagine you heat your house with wood, but want to switch to a forced air gas furnace.  Is there energy involved in doing so?  You bet there is.  Besides the obvious new need for natural gas, there’s a huge amount of embodied energy in the manufacture and installation of your new furnace, all the duct work, and the delivery lines that will bring the gas to the furnace.  Further, there will be electricity required to force the air from the furnace, through the ducts, and into your house.

The same is true when making transitions at the national level. What’s involved in the much larger projects of switching industrial agriculture away from the fossil fuel driven process of plowing, planting, fertilizing, irrigating, harvesting, drying or cooling, and then transporting food from the field to your table?

At each stage there’s an enormous amount of energy infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt and reconfigured to run on “something else.”  Let’s examine the current dream that we’ll switchover to powering all of our farming needs with electricity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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