Matt Ridley, against the wind

Matt Ridley published another brilliant commentary on the idioc UK “renewable energy” policies and their huge unintended consequences.

Wind Makes Electricity Expensive and Unreliable Without Cutting Emissions
http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/wind-power/

A few of his quotables….

[Policies favoring “Renewable Energy”] has COST wealth, jobs, landscapes, wildlife, security of supply: and all for NOTHING in terms of emissions savings.

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The DECC’s numbers show that small businesses will be paying 77 per cent more per unit for electricity by 2020 than they would be if we were not subsidising renewables.

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The coalition promised secure, affordable and low-carbon power, but instead gave us unreliable, expensive and high-carbon power.

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Ever wonder where electricity comes from? (U.S. edition)

What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?

In 2012, the United States generated about 4,054 billion kilowatthours of electricity.  About 68% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), with 37% attributed from coal.

Energy sources and percent share of  total electricity generation in 2012 were:

My problem with electric cars

I have been intending to write something on electric cars for a while, and  my friend Luther finally triggered the words for me during a conversation on Facebook today. (Thanks, Luther!)

  • I tend to look at the whole system, so electric vehicles
    • do not reduce emissions,
    • they increase them,
    • but the emissions get dumped “in someone else’s back yard.” (i.e. in the area of the coal or natural gas fired electric plant).
  • Making matters worse, the only thing that makes owning an electric vehicle financially feasible is:

A quote from Adam Smith that made me think of Tesla Motors

The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

 — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Just recently, I saw that Tesla Motors president, Elon Musk, had proposed that the government should increase taxes on gasoline. Continue reading

Galactic Roundup 16.May.2013

Print Your Gun Parts at Home, from Reason.com by J.D. Tuccille

In February, the techie gun-rights group Defense Distributed unveiled a 3D-printed lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle that withstood hundreds of rounds of fire. A YouTube video of the component in action was accompanied by the terse statement, “Does not fail from firing stresses. 600+ rounds.”

The Public/Private Surveillance Partnership, from Schneier on Security by Bruce Schneier

Our government collects a lot of information about us. Tax records, legal records, license records, records of government services received– it’s all in databases that are increasingly linked and correlated. Still, there’s a lot of personal information the government can’t collect. Either they’re prohibited by law from asking without probable cause and a judicial order, or they simply have no cost-effective way to collect it. But the government has figured out how to get around the laws, and collect personal data that has been historically denied to them: ask corporate America for it.
Continue reading

Are you ready for $5/gallon gasoline? How about $6/gallon?

Are you ready to pay $5-$6/gallon for gasoline this summer – and it will have nothing to do with “Big Oil” or huge profits. It will have to do with environmentalism that kills.

Thanks to ill-advised and short-sighted legislation that forces us to buy gasoline with ethanol at the pump, not only do we get worse fuel mileage, but we get increased pollution!

Corn Ethanol Will Not Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Scientific American, April, 2009

Now, we can’t produce enough of this more-polluting, more expensive fuel additive that is required by law. Oops! Continue reading