Saturday, September 10, 2016

Update On The Soda Mountain Solar Project -- Still, NIMBY -- September 10, 2016

Back in June, 2015, I posted an earlier note about the Soda Mountain (California) solar project -- it sounded like everyone thought the project was a great idea -- just not in their backyard. I had completely forgotten about the project.

Don sent me an update, of sorts. As I read it, it jumped out at me again. The writer thinks solar farms are great. Just don't put them in her backyard. And don't make them too big. Here is the link:
Silicon Valley is leading the nation’s charge toward renewable energy development by making significant investments and pioneering technological advancements. This is important and commendable. However, in the effort to move toward a sustainable energy future, some companies are failing to seriously consider the size and location of their industrial scale renewable projects.

The largest projects can exceed the size of a small city.
In some cases, they are being located in places that cause severe environmental harm to our national parks and wildlife. Such poorly-placed solar plants erode public support for a clean energy future. [And in some cases, they are being located in my backyard.]

A few Silicon Valley companies and the Department of Interior are leading us astray by pursuing harmful projects – and they must correct course.

The proposed Soda Mountain Solar project, owned by Menlo Park-based Regenerate Power, is the poster child of this reckless path.
Because, I guess, it's in the writer's backyard. My hunch is that wind farms in North Dakota don't bother her a bit.

The writer, by the way, will get a bit more mileage out of her article if she refers to the developer as Degenerate Power.

Right Out Of Hollywood
We've Seen This Movie Before

From Seattle Times

HOLLYWOOD, Ala. (AP) — After spending more than 40 years and $5 billion on an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, the nation’s largest federal utility is preparing to sell the property at a fraction of its cost.

Data points (some numbers rounded):
  • Bellefonte Nuclear Plant; planned 1,200 MW facility
  • to be sold by TVA
  • work began back in the mid-70s; work halted in 1988; demand for electricity never materialized
  • sale includes 1,600 surrounding acres of waterfront property on the Tennessee River
  • two unfinished nuclear reactors; transmission lines; buildings galore; eight miles of road; a 1,000-space park lot and more
  • minimum bid: $36 million
  • has never been stocked with radioactive fuel; not one single watt of electricity generated
I see a mall and museum coming, along with a 1,600-acre solar farm. Or sugar beets.

California Blind Spot

This is quite hilarious. First the article.

Then the comment.

Here's the article:
California regulators moved a step closer on Friday to the first mandatory U.S. energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors, gadgets that account for 3 percent of home electric bills and 7 percent of commercial power costs in the state.
How much will that save a California homeowner?
The standards for desktops, which use far more energy than notebooks, will add about $14 to the retail cost of computers but save consumers more than $40 in electric bills over five years, according to commission estimates.
Here's the comment:
How ironic they want to reduce electricity use in California while they have their eyes set on forcing consumers to to purchase electric vehicles.
They never think out far enough to question where are they going to get all the electricity to power these thousands of electric vehicles they want to put on the road while they are in the process of shutting down one of our nuclear power plants that has never had any problems. Are there any plans to build new gas-fired plants to generate the electricity they need for these cars? No. I guess the electricity will just magically appear. Great idea in hot weather when we already reach our maximum capacity with brown outs.
I had the very same thoughts and posted them back on September 4, 2016.

The Haves Vs The Have-Nots

I have just finished an incredible book, The Witches, Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff. I write about it elsewhere. I will now go back and read it again; there is so much there. This is the definitive study of the subject. It's hard for me to believe that any other author will ever feel the need to take on this subject to this degree.

The author is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover.

From wiki:
Phillips Academy Andover (also known as Phillips Academy, Andover, or PA) is a highly selective, co-educational preparatory high school for boarding and day students in grades 9–12, along with a post-graduate year.
The school is located in Andover, Massachusetts, United States, 25 miles north of Boston.
Phillips Academy has 1,122 students, and is part of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization as well as the G20 Schools Group.
For the academic year 2016/17, Phillips charges boarders $52,100 and day pupils up to $40,500 per year, making it more expensive than any other HMC school and amongst the most expensive boarding schools in the world. [Amongst.]
Schiff would have been immersed in Andover witchology while in high school, and her book, perhaps, is the culmination of that immersion.

From Legends Of
Located about 15 miles northwest of Salem Village, Andover got its start when a portion of land was set aside for an inland plantation in 1634. Early colonists were offered incentives to move to the area and the first settlement was established in 1641 by John Woodbridge and a group of settlers from Newbury and Ipswich.
In May, 1646 the settlement was incorporated as a town and was named Andover, probably in honor of the town of Andover in England. The first recorded town meeting was held in 1656 in the home of settler John Osgood.

During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Andover, like other area villages, found itself in the midst of the hysteria. In fact, more people from Andover were accused and arrested for witchcraft than from any other town in New England.

The atmosphere of the town at the time was charged with fear of the unknown and political upheaval. The Massachusetts Bay Colony charter had been revoked by the crown, the church was split by the differing ideologies of two pastors, and Indian raids were occurring in nearby Haverhill and Billerica.

Unfortunately, the witch hysteria in Salem Village soon spread to Andover. The first accused was Martha Carrier, who was known as a strong-minded woman who would speak her mind. Unfortunately, this was not a trait admired by Puritans at the time. She was accused by her neighbor, Benjamin Abbot, after they had gotten into an argument that involved a land dispute. After the disagreement, Abbot fell sick and blamed his illness on her bewitching him and would later testify that she had killed one of his cows. 
The article then goes on at length about some of the same stories re-told by Schiff. 

SIC: Stupidity, Irony, And Clueless All Rolled Into One Photograph; "Out Of Gas" -- September 10, 2016

This photograph can be found at two entries in the new 2017 Funk and Wagnall's Dictionary of Western Slang. The two entries: "irony" and "stupidity." I am suggesting a third entry: "clueless."

This is an un-retouched photograph taken of anti-DAPL protesters just south of I-94 on their way to Standing Rock Reservation. In addition to everything else, they obviously had no concept of the large distances in North Dakota.

For those who may be unable to read the words on the cardboard "sign": "out of gas." On the window: "Oil spills. Oil kills." As if the better alternative is CBR. Clueless. From "Bill Curl's" Facebook page.

I can't make this stuff up.

Sacred Land

There are rumors that tribal leaders are willing to "trade" their sacred land for several millions of dollars. If true, that sounds like a bribe, and in some parts of the world that's illegal.

Flashback: 2012

Boombown Girls
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Look How Operating Cost / Bbl Of US Shale Crude OIl Compares With That Of Saudi Arabia -- September 11, 2016

Note the operating cost/bbl for US tight oil.

For more on this graphic, see this post:

By the way, in the graph above, we are not provided the denominator for calculating the CAPEX costs for a bbl of oil. Over time, those CAPEX costs will come down immensely at the same time production capacity will be seen to increase.

One last point made by the reader who sent me the article: when one considers the shipping costs (Saudi oil to the US gulf coast) vs the pipeline costs (Permian crude oil to Houston), $5 Saudi oil might be at a competitive disadvantage to $8 Permian oil. Perhaps not a disadvantage, but certainly helps level the playing field.

Apple Temporarily Shuts Down New iPhone Ordering -- September 10, 2016

New Apple iPhones Already Over-Subscribed

Apple temporarily quit taking new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus orders due to overwhelming response. This is nothing new for Apple. It's part of the game. The Obama administration shuts down pipeline projects; Apple shuts down new iPhone orders. It's all part of an alt-right conspiracy.

Bloomberg's Op-Ed On Harold Trump

Article here.

A reader sent me the article. My reply, not ready for prime time, with minimal editing:
Sounds like this guy has a "beef" with Harold Hamm. And, of course, Bloomberg, a strong Hillary supporter, would definitely print an article negative of Harold Hamm, a strong Trump supporter.
To the extent that it's accurate, in all fairness, I agree that the US should not put a tariff on imported oil, and to the extent that it's accurate, I would fault Harold Hamm for advocating this. I do not want artificial "quotas" on oil production. Look what the "Fed" rate does to the equity market. I think a free oil market is exactly the way to go.
Having said that, this writer, too, has a blind spot, is missing the bigger story, and except for one graphic, doesn't say anything new.
The writer still writes about the relevancy of OPEC. In fact, as others have written and I have said for a long time, OPEC is irrelevant. There really never was an OPEC: it was all about Saudi Arabia. Whatever Saudi Arabia did, the other "OPEC" members simply went along.

The other blind spot in the article: the usual canard that the Mideast has the lowest capital and operating costs to produce oil. That matters not a bit. Saudi Arabia budgets for $100 oil. It doesn't matter what it costs Saudi to produce oil: it's their only product; it accounts for 90% of their government's revenue.Without oil, Saudi is toast. (Actually, with summer temperatures at 120 degrees in the summer, Saudi is toast without air conditioning, but that's another story for another time.)

But the graphic was interesting. Note the the "operating costs per bbl." That is incredible: $2 - $7 for Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia; and only $8 for tight oil in the US. Nothing else comes close. That is amazing. Sure, the capital costs per bbl are crazy, but one would think some of that will come down. The US shale industry is not particularly "mature." As it matures, CAPEX comes down appreciably. As just two examples: infrastructure projects costing $60 million are still going up in the Bakken; and, the DAPL, is budgeted for well over $3 billion.

I think this is the bigger story: just the fact that Saudi Arabia is still considering a freeze suggests that they recognize they are in a lot of trouble. My hunch is that there are two factions among the Saudi princes: a) one faction wants a freeze in production; b) the other faction wants the market to sort things out. But neither faction is talking about flooding the market with oil to kill the US shale oil industry. That would be hard to do with US shale operating costs at $8/bbl.
That's the big story and why the article is worth reading, if only to look at the graph.
One last point made by the reader who sent the article: when one considers the shipping costs (Saudi oil to the US gulf coast) vs the pipeline costs (Permian crude oil to Houston), $5 Saudi oil might be at a competitive disadvantage to $8 Permian oil. Perhaps not a disadvantage, but certainly helps level the playing field.

By the way, in the graph below, we are not provided the denominator for calculating the CAPEX costs for a bbl of oil. Over time, those CAPEX costs will come down immensely at the same time production capacity will be seen to increase.

Week 36: September 4, 2016 -- September 10, 2016

Of course, the big international story this past week was the decision of the Mexican government to unilaterally freeze (actually decrease) crude oil production this year in support of Saudi's cash crunch. Likewise, Iran has also frozen production, and, not much has changed in Venezuela -
another basket case which will soon join Greece, which is also back in the news. Even Saudi has cut back on production. So, it looks like OPEC is coming together on the proposed crude oil production freeze after all.

The big crude oil story in the US was the spectacular find announced by Apache -- a reservoir that could add 3 billion bbls of crude oil and 75 trillion cubic fee of natural gas to their reserves: Alpine High in west Texas.

The Apache story was only slightly bigger than the EOG story: buying Yates Petroleum and stealing the Permian for about $1,500/acre. Enbridge wants to buy Spectra but the regulators won't like this proposal either (at the same EOG-Yates link).

Serious talk on Wall Street that the Fed might actually, possibly, maybe, but who knows, raise "the rate" a quarter of a percent sent the US stock market into a tailspin unlike anything we've seen in, oh, maybe ten days. Meanwhile, the rest of the western world continues to lower their central bank lending rates and are now in negative territory, which Japan is now re-thinking -- maybe not such a good idea.

Most interesting was the killing of the DAPL, which now joins the Keystone XL and the Sandpiper making it a trifecta. Now that this is over, the North Dakota Native Americans at Standing Rock can go back to what they were doing before they were so rudely interrupted by the sound of progress. The good news is that North Dakota will most likely approve a 3.4-mile Alexander Connector pipeline which will move 100,000 bopd to a Montana terminal. (Again, that's less than four miles long, so hopefully the Obama administration won't step in.) Killing the DAPL is simply a political statement with little relevance: there is excess CBR capacity and operators like CLR already have enough pipeline to ship the crude oil they produce. Welders and investors will be primarily inconvenienced, neither of which are found on Indian Reservations.

By the way, the FAA still bans passengers from taking more than three ounces of fluid when flying commercially, but allows those same passengers to take their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices on board and even using them, although they advise flyers not to use them -- these devices are well known to explode. Sort of like MuskMelon's Tesla. And his SpaceX Falcon 9. Samsung has recalled every last Galaxy Note 7 but FAA bureaucrats are often the last to get the news.

Speaking of spontaneous combustion, we have some good news: atmospheric CO2 has dropped for the second month in a row; it now stands at 402. At 400 ppm, the earth had been expected by some to spontaneously combust although it felt pretty hot in north Texas this past week. 

On a single day, nine permits expired
On a single day, twenty-eight (28) permits renewed
The number of active rigs in North Dakota jumped 

CLR's Rath Federal extended long laterals are now being reported
The Oasis Andersmadson wells are huge 
Newfield's Jorgenson Federal wells are huge

Mike Filloon had another update on Bakken mega-fracks 

DAPL killed; see narrative above

Corn, wheat crops are at record production levels; nothing like a little global warming and a bit more atmospheric CO2 to make things really take off
California utility Sempra buy's Mexico's largest wind farm
Stony Creek Rail Yard has about 1,000 wind tower components to build-out the Lindahl 75-wind turbine farm north of Tioga, Williams County, east of Williston
Record-tying earthquake in Oklahoma was outside the STACK/SCOOP