Sunday, June 17, 2012

Electric Rates -- Nothing Directly Related to the Bakken -- But Energy Related

Back in 2008, or 2009, I forget, I was posting the "original Million Dollar Way" blog. If you think the current MDW blog has problems, that one really had problems. I loved it; my readers didn't. All three of them. So, one night, in a decision I regret, I deleted the entire blog with one keystroke. There were some great posts in that blog.

In the original blog I tracked electric rates. One of the sites I linked was this one: Michael Blue Jay's "Saving Electricity." I see that blog is still around, and this particular link has not been updated since 2004. But I don't think electric rates in this country have changed a whole lot. All-source electricity in this country is probably about 8 cents/kWh depending on the make-up of the source: coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar. So, let's call it a dime/kWh.

Look at what the Germans are willing to pay for going solar: about thirty cents/kWh.

The Japanese appear to have just announced, if I understand the story correctly, that "they" will be paying about 53 cents/kWh for solar, again, compared to a dime in the US for electricity generated from all sources.  

I see that the site I used to follow all the time for solar energy is still posting. These are their rates for solar. In North Dakota, a sunny climate state, solar would cost about three dimes/kWh; in a cloudy state like Washington State, it might cost up to six dimes. (Washington State has "dirt-cheap" hydroelectric power, but I digress.)

The following is from SolarBuzz, linked above.

For comparison, Cape Wind, the proposed wind farm off Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, agreed to pay more than double the rate for "conventional electricity":
The price, 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, is similar to the price National Grid agreed to pay when it signed a contract in 2010 to purchase half the power generated by Cape Wind. NStar will purchase 27.5 percent of the wind farm’s total output.

The utilities pay about 8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity and NStar originally balked at becoming a Cape Wind customer, arguing the wind farm’s cost was just too high. That position changed last month when, after nearly a year of negotiations, state energy officials agreed to endorse a proposed merger between NStar and Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities if NStar made several concessions, including buying power from Cape Wind. 
I always get in trouble when I talk about things I don't know a whole lot about, and when I talk in averages and generalities, but this is how I understand it.

Electricity from natural gas must be down to four or five cents/kWh, here in the US (a lot higher overseas), and Japan is willing to spend over 50 cents/kWh using solar power. Japan needs to ask Spain how solar power / wind power worked out for them. Spain suspended all renewable energy projects earlier this year.

Another Great Human Interest Story Coming Out of the Bakken -- Decals -- Also, The US Open

Link here to InsideClimate News/Dickinson Press.

Visit the link to read about an individual who is selling as many decals in the Bakken as he can sell in Las Vegas. He says he could stay in Williston year-round, but he's got a circuit to travel. Great story.

And speaking of a great human interest story. I had not heard of Webb Simpson until tonight; I follow golf, but not closely (I'm not a golfer). But I was watching the last hour of the US Open tonight, (following "Columbo" which I watch religiously every Sunday night) when the camera was on a very good looking couple inside the clubhouse. Webb Simpson and his wife were watching the last two players; if either player did not get a birdie or better, Webb would be the winner of the US Open. It was a blast to watch Ms Simpson's facial expressions as she was watching in real-time what was playing out. I can only imagine that what was happening did not sink in until it actually happened (if that makes sense) and it was all happening in slow motion.

Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken -- A123 Batteries -- A Mystery -- For the Bakken, Skip and Scroll


November 23, 2013: A123 is now B456, owned by the Chinese

Original Post

This story was on CBS Nightly News tonight -- Don alerted me to the story.

The story has to do with A123 -- a battery company located just "down the street" from where I'm staying. I've followed this story / this company for a very long time for many, many reasons.

For two earlier updates regarding A123, click here and here.

There are so many story lines, but the best I will save for last.

Story lines:
  • It shows just how challenging this battery "stuff" really is. No breakthroughs despite many companies and many billions spent. Steve Jobs of Apple Corp (the computer company) once said his biggest challenge for the company was a better battery. (There is a company in Belmont, MA, that is working on a new battery; they may be closer to a breakthrough.)
  • This is yet another company that received millions in stimulus money from the administration and has nothing to show for it.
  • I had read the company's press release a couple weeks ago about a new battery. I did not know what to make of the announcement. According to the linked CBS story: "many analysts seemed underwhelmed."
  • A123 is a battery company, so in light of the battery breakthrough announcement, this last paragraph in the story is very strange:
A123 isn't giving up. It still has more than 100 million federal stimulus tax dollars left to spend. Recently the company said it will hire 400 people -- not to build batteries for electric cars, but for power grids.
If the breakthrough was that big a deal, why wouldn't they be using the 100 million federal stimulus tax dollars and 400 new employees to press forward on this new technology?

That is a huge  story. In fact, some folks might think that is the big story, that the company, despite a breakthrough in battery technology, is moving into a new endeavor: "power grids."

Nope, this is the bigger story, and it starts earlier in the linked article:
The road wasn't always so bumpy. When President Obama announced 90-billion stimulus tax dollars for green energy, A123 stepped up for a slice of the pie. It spent $1 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies, and won 249 million in stimulus dollars.

When an A123 plant opened in Michigan in 2010, the company even got a call from President Obama. "I'm calling to congratulate A123 Systems on this tremendous milestone," he said.

Herrera was among 1,000 workers who landed jobs at A123.

But one month after that interview, A123 laid off 125 employees.

Then the luxury electric car Fisker Karma failed. It was powered by a faulty A123 battery. "It's low, it's sleek, it's sensuous... it's also broken! " said Consumer Reports.

Electric vehicles fall drastically short of Obama's 1 million goal
All of that was in the CBS transcript including that last link. 

[Note: CBS did not note that Fisker was a recipient of federal stimulus money also; if I remember correctly, the Fisker was going to be built overseas. But I digress.]

Finally: here's the big story -- CBS Nightly New has very limited time to present the news; the producer must be very, very selective in what he/she decides to air. The question is, and the big story is, why would CBS, a huge supporter of the president and liberal causes, air a story on another administration failure jut months before the election? In the big scheme of things, it's a pretty uninteresting story for the average viewer.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why CBS would air this story.

Health Care in Williston / Heart of the Bakken: Williston Could Use Ten (10) New Family Practice Physicians

Link to InsideClimate News/Dickinson Press.
Grimshaw said there is enough demand for 10 new physicians right now.

“We simply can’t hire them fast enough,” Grimshaw said. “We have highly-qualified applicants from all across the country who are willing to pick up and move to Williston, N.D., for the opportunities here, but the lack of available, reasonably-priced housing is a huge barrier.” 
The link will provide status of health care across the state, affected by the oil patch.

Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken -- Corning Glass -- For the Bakken, Skip and Scroll

Don sent me this.

I assume there is audio associated with it but I had it on mute while listening to something else. But the video is awesome. I think you will enjoy it most if you expand it to fill your entire computer screen, depending on resolution.  This is absolutely incredible and all of it is technologically possible now. We had the "heads-up" display in the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft 30 years ago.

A Day Made of Glass

Not Much Blogging Today -- A Look Back On Another Williston Basin Formation -- Not the Bakken

If you scroll down a bit, and ignore my rambling at the beginning, you will see a note about North Dakota oil. This is a a look back at some incredibly good wells in the southwest corner of the state (North Dakota). See first comment from Don. These wells were not "artificially" fracked; they were naturally fracked.  Scroll down to skip the first part explaining why I won't be blogging much today.

I was going to answer folks individually -- several have sent me notes -- but it was too many to reply to.

So, for everyone: I won't be doing much blogging during the day; perhaps later tonight.

****************SKIP --  FAMILY STUFF ************

Since it is Father's Day, I have been elected to spend the day with the granddaughters (their father will be going into work; yes, on a Sunday; I know). And then later, I have been elected to grill. It's really funny. After all these years, I don't get excited about grilling any more. But, I cannot articulate how much fun the granddaughters have. You should see their big smiles when I say I will be grilling. Kids are absolutely wonderful. They are incredibly accepting, and (generally) show their enthusiasm.

One last comment, about the granddaughters, and then I will get off the subject. They are both still learning to ride. They ride independently, of course, but narrow sidewalks (hedges or telephone poles are a challenge) and crowded areas are a problem. Today, we went exploring on our bikes, and found the "biggest parking" lot in the world, down the street from where we live.

Not more than two minutes unto the parking lot, and they run into each other. I have no idea how two cyclists on the "biggest parking lot in the world" can run into each other, but they can.

By the way, when airplanes were first being flown, proponents suggested that there would never be any mid-air mishaps because the "sky" was so big. Some proponents could not imagine two planes hitting each other... but they did.

A Look Back on An Incredibly Nice Oil Field in the Southwester Corner of the State
See Don's comment to this post

I feel guilty for not writing about North Dakota oil, so here is something I have had in draft for quite some time. It's not ready for prime time, but it just goes to show how much oil there might be in some payzones in some parts of North Dakota.

Back in 2006 (which isn't that long ago), Burlington Resources drilled a lot of great holes in the far southwest corner of North Dakota. Look at the relatively small IPs of these wells (compared to the Bakken), and look at the cumulative production. I consider a well has paid for itself (or well on its way to paying for itself at 100,000 bbls). The (estimated ultimate recovery) EURs of Bakken wells are estimated to be 300,000 to 1,000,000 bbls, depending on location. The wells below hit those numbers and they were drilled in the last six years (note: there were a lot of wells in the same area that are producing less, but almost no dry holes).  This was before man-made fracturing was well understood and although these wells are horizontal wells (directional wells, they were called, I think; not sure), I don't think they were fractured as I understand fracturing today.

You will probably see these wells again, someday down the road, when I have something more to add.
  • 15908, 752, BR, CHSU 33C-10SH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool; t2/06; cum 1.02 million; still producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 15939, 773, BR, CHSU 13C-10SH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t3/06; cum 716K 4/12;  still producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 15940, 483, BR, CHSU 13C-10NH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; 43/06; cum 498K 4/12;  still producing 3,000 bbls/month
  • 15951, 755, BR, CHSU 13C-4SH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t4/06; cum 872K 4/12;  still producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 15952, 180, BR, CHSU 13C-4NH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t3/06; cum 736K 4/12; still producing 3,500 bbls/month
  • 15953, 347, BR, CHSU 24C-3SH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t3/06; cum 720K 4/12;  still producing 4,500 bbls/month
  • 15954, 289, BR, CHSU 24c-3NH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t2/06; cum 796K 4/12;
  • 15995, 436, BR, CHSU 22C-34NH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t4/06; cum 669K 4/12; 
  • 15996, 520, BR, CHSU 21D-35SH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t4/06; cum 795K 4/12;
  • 15998, 147, BR, CHSU 33C-4SH 16, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t3/06; cum 956K 4/12;
  • 16008, 329, BR, CHSU 42C-34NH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B; t4/06; cum 808K 4/12;
  • 16059, 729, Petro-Hunt, USA 2D-3-1H, Charlson, a Three Forks well; t10/06; cum 1.26 million bbls 4/12; still producing 9,000 bbls/month; be sure to read this comment.
  • 16120, 383 , BR, CHSU 13-29SH 26, Cedar Hills, t6/06; cum 437K 4/12; producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 16122, 155, BR, CHSU 22C-5SH 16, Cedar Hills, t6/06; cum 533K 4/12; producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 16123, 349, BR, CHSU 22D-5NH 16, Cedar Hills, t6/06; cum 823K 4/12; producing 4,000 bbls/month;
  • 16124, 40, Samson Resources, Strom 25-36-163-99H, Ambrose field, Bakken Pool; t7/06; cum 136K 4/12; 4/12; still producing 1,000 bbls/month
  • 16149, 410, BR, CHSU 44D-29NH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t5/06; cum 501K 4/12; still producing 2,500 bbls/month
  • 16150, 316, BR, CHSU 44C-29SH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t5/06; cum 611K 4/12; still producing 5,000 bbls/month
  • 16151, 551, BR, CHSU 24C-29NY 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t8/06; cum 495K 4/12; still producing 4,000 bbls/month
  • 16152, 37, BR, CHSU 24C-29SH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t8/06; cum 460K 4/12; still producing 4,000 bbls/month,
  • 16155, 120, BR, CHUS 41-32NH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t7/06; cum 479K 4/12; still producing 4,000 bbls/month
  • 16156, 231, BR, CHSU 41D-32SH 26, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t5/06; cum 450K 4/12; still producing 2,500 bbls/month
  • 16239, 12, BR, CHSU 31B-6NH 05, Cedar Hills, South Red River B Pool, t8/06; cum 380K 4/12; was producing 4,000 bbls/month in 2011 when taken off-line