Saturday, January 26, 2019

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 5, Day 1 Of Negotiations -- UK Grid Running On Fumes?

Super Bowl. Is it time for a daily quote from The Big Lebowski between now and February 3, 2019? Yeah, why not? First:
“You brought the *****' Pomeranian bowling?”- The Dude
Actually, 2018 was a pretty good year. American Greatness. Victor Davis Hanson. 

UK running on fumes? The grid holding during the current cold spell. Link here.
As many have been pointing out as the day has gone along, things have been getting pretty tight on the power grid. Above is the current situation at 5.30 pm.
Wind power has supplied little all day, and is currently running at under 2% of capacity. Solar power of course is effectively irrelevant at this time of year. [This is the UK: it has lots and lots of wind capacity -- but look at that -- running under 2% of capacity.]
Meanwhile, CCGT has been running flat out, and so too is nuclear given that Hunterston is currently shut down.
The government intends to close all coal power plants by 2025, which can realistically only be replaced by 13GW of CCGT, about half of our total capacity now, and equivalent to fifteen Carrington power stations.
Construction of Carrington took three years, but planning added a further five years.
Given that there is very little in the pipeline at the moment for new CCGT and the uncertainty surrounding future capacity auctions thanks to the ECJ, there seems to be little prospect that anything like 13GW will be available by 2025, or for that matter many years after. [Europe at a tipping point.]
Saturday Afternoon
North Texas
January 26, 2019

Photo by Sophia.

Ronnie Milsap's Duets
Released January 18, 2019

From Rolling Stone:
With his 76th birthday and the release of a brand-new album of duets just one month away, tireless entertainer Ronnie Milsap plans to spend plenty of time in the new year where he’s right at home — on the concert stage. The Country Music Hall of Fame legend, whose pop-country hits including “Any Day Now,” “Stranger in My House” and “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me,” kicks off the upcoming trek, the 76 for 76 Tour, with a January 16th birthday show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, which is likely to feature several surprise guests. Dates are currently on the books through May.

Mere hours after Milsap’s birthday celebration ends, another begins with the release of The Duets, a collection of many of the singer’s best-known tunes featuring a country music who’s who, including fellow Hall of Famers George Strait, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson as well as Kacey Musgraves, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and newcomer Jesse Key. Of special note are collaborations with the late Leon Russell and the final recorded performance by the late Troy Gentry of duo Montgomery Gentry.

“When you have a singer’s singer like Kacey Musgraves inside ‘There’s No Getting Over Me,’ or Luke Bryan bringing his whole heart to ‘Stranger in My House,’ let alone a good friend like Willie doing a brand new Mike Reid song or Dolly asking if she can write a verse to ‘Smoky Mountain Rain’ to make it ours, well, that’s all you can ever ask of the songs,” says the six-time Grammy recipient. “Mine have not only done me well, they’ve made a lot of people I love happy, too.”
It's an incredible album. I think the album moves Milsap a little closer to the center of the pantheon, perhaps next to Willie himself.

Lucy Angel at wiki.
Lucy Angel journeyed to China twice in 2009. The first time was in January when they gained the distinction of being the first American/Western group ever to be invited to perform at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, doing so before an audience of dignitaries and government officials.[
In May 2009, the group was invited back to China for the Zhangjiajie International Country Music Week in the Hunan Province.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Lucy Allen and Ronnie Milsap

Week 4: January 20, 2019 -- January 26, 2019

Top international story of the week: hard to say. Relatively quiet in the big scheme of things. No war with North Korea, for example.

Top international energy story of the past week: Europe now #1 customer for US LNG; overtakes South Korea and Mexico. Venezuela continues to implode; announces that it suspends its crown jewel, the Citgo refinery in Corpus Christi, TX.

Top national story: government re-opens. Things back to normal. What was the partial shutdown all about; what did it accomplish? Mitch McConnell seems to be one of the few adults in the room.

The top energy story next week could be the natural gas story / polar vortex of 2018.

The top energy story this past week: US crude oil inventories soar. Records will be set through 2027, then level off until 2050. US refiners post record crude oil processing in CY18.

Top energy stories of ND from Geoff Simon; none worth writing about.

Perhaps the big Bakken story of the week: district judge approves air permit for the Teddy Roosevelt memorial refinery.

Hess to put 14 wells on one drilling unit just outside of Epping
Slawson's ten Torpedo Federal wells are finally completed/reported
NOG to double output year-over-year

The Bakken has plenty of water; in fact, usage seems to be flattening out

It's complicated -- commentary

Another natural gas connector in to cross the river

Canadian, Bakken CBR is back; and, here;

Bakken 101
Pad drilling
Shale is choking historic gasoline trade

Bakken economy
North Dakota oil revenue study, 2008 - 2018
Still doing fine, but Legacy Fund deposits slump 
20 - 70 years of Bakken drilling

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 4, Day 1 Of Negotiations

Germany utility costs set new all-time record for inefficiencies due to wind. Data point at this link:
  • costs to stabilize the German grid
    • 2017: 1.4 billion Euros; an all-time high
    • 2016: 880 million Euros
    • 2015: 1.1 billion Euros; a previous high
  • about 10,200GWh was curtailed and approximately 10,238GWh of reserve power was ordered to stabilise the grid 
  • re-dispatch costs increased in 2017 as Europe experienced a continent-wide cold spell in the first quarter of the year placing a strain on the German grid
  • preliminary data suggested wind power supplied more power to the grid than it had in previous years
  • wind generated 100TWh in Germany in 2017, up from 76TWh the previous year
So, as wind-generated electricity goes up, so do costs. Color me shocked! Shocked!

US wind: the fad has peaked. Off-shore the fishermen don't like it (Cape Cod); on-shore, homeowners don't like it (Falmouth, MA). EIA projection suggests it will be solar growth, not wind growth in the out-years; most of that solar growth will be niche growth and roof solar panels; much will be due to regulations (California requires new homes to be built with solar panels).

Tesla: I forgot to plug in my Tesla overnight, and now I have to wait 45 minutes for a quick charge before driving to Starbucks. Shucks. Not true. I don't own a Tesla but if I did I probably could have written that as an unfortunate event.

Music: Frank Sinatra in Starbucks -- time to listen to Norah Jones on iPhone/Alexa music. Seriously. Amazing. And my seriously old iPhone SE still has the old "phone jack," the RJ-11. LOL. My wife has the AirPods. Maybe it's time for me to go that route. I'll get a chance to see how much energy the iPhone uses -- we're at 75% right now, 8:23 a.m. [Later: uses almost no electricity: at 9:12 a.m. down to 74% while music was playing all that time.]

Reading: off the net for awhile. Reading Arrian's Alexander Campaigns. 

The Book Page

The Campaigns of Alexander: The Landmark Arrian, edited by James Romm, c. 2010

From the book:
The Cretans were among the few Europeans who trained their youths extensively in archery. Bowmen recruited from Crete formed an important auxiliary force in Alexander's army. He added to the numbers of this force as his campaign progressed, after seeing its utility in countering Asian missile-firing troops.
Alexander became king at age 20. He died at 33. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Alexander was his eye for innovation. The above note regarding archery is but one example. Other examples:
  • Indian elephants (it turns out that elephants panic horses)
  • naval power (growing up in land-locked Macedon, Alexander was initially intimidated by the sea; then he saw that naval power would be needed to consolidate his global conquests)
  • the importance of mobility by the king in battle (the Persian kings remained static)
  • the importance of training so that unit commanders could make decisions without their king's input
  • logistics: except for one case, his long supply line never came up short; his troops did not live off the land
  • tactical surprise
  • tactical retreat to re-organize, re-attack
Upon arrival at Troy, now a dusty, tourist town, in the spring of 334 BC:
Alexander is said to  have sacrificed to Priam at the altar of Zeus of the Courtyard, hoping to appease Priam's wrath against the family of Neoptolemos, to which he himself belonged. According to Greek mythic beliefs, Priam, aged king of Troy, was ruthlessly executed by Neoptolemos, Achilles' son.
Isn't that interesting? Wow, perhaps we've found the etymology of the Ptolemaic kingdom. Ptolemy, one of Alexander's favorite generals eventually took Egypt.

We keep coming back to the Macedon - Greek story. It is very, very clear that Macedon was it's "own people." Macedon was not Greek. Macedon was not a Greek tribe. Alexander, as a transition figure blurred the Macedon-Hellenic line. Scholars continue to debate this and I'm sure my world view is way wrong, I feel very comfortable now that I understand Alexander and the Macedon - Greek division/line/controversy. It is most likely the common religion of Macedon/Greece that "confuses" the issue. But just as the common religion of France/Italy is Roman Catholicism, no one would confuse a Frank with an Italian.

So, the big picture:
  • Alexander, b. 356
  • throne, at age 20, 336
  • protects his flank, to the north, Danube, spring of 335
  • south to Thebes, summer of 335
  • Troy, spring of 334
  • look how far he moved, how fast  he moved between 336 and 334
It is said Alexander had a Odysseus-like / godlike longing to explore; always wanted to see what was next; had no time for advisors who told him to slow down.

He was much more ruthless than modern school children are led to believe. For whatever reason (and I can think of many) he was "cut a lot of slack." But at the end of the day, he was ruthless.

An aside, since the name keeps popping up, from wiki:
Heracles, a demigod, glory/pride of Hera, born Alcaeus was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon. 
He was a great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus.
He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae, and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters.
In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves.
The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.
Also from wiki:
Heracles of Macedon (c. 327 – 309 BC) was a reputed illegitimate son of Alexander the Great of Macedon by Barsine, daughter of Satrap Artabazus of Phrygia. Heracles was named after the Greek mythological hero of the same name, from whom the Argeads claimed descent.
In 327, Alexander was 29 years old, and had only four more years to live.

It appears the "Heracles, son of Alexander" is a made-up story/myth. His early years were a mystery; he shows up about age 17; remains in obscurity; ultimately murdered through royal intrigue.

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 3, Day 1 Of Negotiations

Moonshot: wow. Look at this --
At Sundance:
Billed as "a cinematic event fifty years in the making," director Todd Douglas Miller's "Apollo 11" premiered Thursday (Jan. 24) as one of the festival's opening night films. The 93-minute documentary, presented by Neon and CNN Films, was crafted from a newly-discovered trove of large-format, 65mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings to provide a new look of one of the most iconic and historic moments in human history. Disclosure: The author of this article, editor Robert Pearlman, served as the historical consultant on "Apollo 11." 
Can you imagine? A treasure trove of newly-discovered large-format, 65 mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings?
Hunch: next Christmas, a new Apollo 11 book / DVD combo.
Just in time for Disney's opening of Star Wars Land. Opening date not announced. I'm betting they plan for Memorial Day but if glitches will open July 4th. Plan accordingly. My recommendation if going: take Uber; don't -- whatever you do -- don't drive and park.

Last chance: Forever stamps, 50 cents each today. Tomorrow: 55 cents, each. A ten-percent jump overnight. I guess doing it over the weekend so no one notices. But in all fairness, it's not how much a stamp costs, it's how much one's overall mailing costs are. Ours: almost nothing. Ship direct from Amazon to friends, family with free shipping. Snail mail? E-mail.

Exception(al): Laura Allyn greeting cards. Some of the best on the market. Handmade. Hand-delivered (by the USPS).

Birthday: it's hard to believe that Ellen DeGeneres is 61 years old today. She seems so 20ish. Sixty is the new twenty, I guess. I haven't seen her in a  long, long time, so I assume she has changed a bit since I last her, maybe thirty years ago.

New caravan: 8,000 and growing.

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 2, Day 1 Of Negotiations

Nissan. Wow. For quite some time now, I've been talking about Nissan making inroads across Texas. Huge inroads. Nissan seems to have a model in absolutely every niche. Three times out of four when I'm rending from Enterprise, I get a Nissan and am always impressed. Most recently, the Nissan Altima and before that, Nissan Rogue. I loved the Nissan Rogue. Could be my next car but I doubt I will give up the Honda Civic for a Rogue. If I lived in the mountains, no question.

Diesel truck battle: look at this. Diesel truck battle between F-150 diesel and the Nissan Titan XD. Nissan has an entrant in literally every niche. My hunch: Ford will come close to losing its braggin rights to most pick-up trucks sold in its F-150 class sooner than later. Even if I'm wrong, it's an open-book test. Best time to buy an F-150 -- just before the annual sales figures come out. Ford will do whatever it takes to keep those bragging rights. At the linked story:
  • the 3.0-liter diesel V-6
  • years ago in the Winnebago Via, an RV built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis
  • that RV engine in a Ram EcoDiesel some years later; how now disappeared
  • but now, two new pickup trucks with huge diesel engines: F-150 and Nissan Titan XD
  • the new F-150; uses a UK-built 3.0 liter diesel V-6, basically the same one used in the Range Rover
    • 250 HP,  440 lb-ft of torque
    • not as powerful as the standard-issue 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6: 375 HP and 470 lb-ft
    • hooked to Ford's excellent ten-speed automatic, co-developed with GM
  • the Nissan Titan XD
    • elaborate Fender audio system (new feature introduced in 2019)
    • 5.0-liter Cummins V-8: 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque
  • no wonder it's called a Titan
  • but Titan's towing capacity limited by Titan's massive weight
  • towing capacity:
    • Nissan Titan XD: 12,710 lbs; payload, 2,490 pounds
    • F-150 diesel: 11,400 lbs, 1,940 pounds
Measles outbreak, a US declaration of emergency. Gee, I wonder how this happened? Link here. Data points:
  • Washington state; state of emergency; two dozen people affected (actually 26); mostly children
  • disease was eliminated in the US in 2000
  • comeback tied to imported cases (thank you Mr Obama) and anti-vaccine movement (thank you Mr Hatch)
  • outbreak began near Portland, OR (wow, color me surprised)
Apple: an op-ed on the iPhone in The New York Times; interesting reading; not sure what to maek of it; premise:
Mr. Jobs seemed to understand the iPhone as something that would help us with a small number of activities — listening to music, placing calls, generating directions. He didn’t seek to radically change the rhythm of users’ daily lives. He simply wanted to take experiences we already found important and make them better.
The minimalist vision for the iPhone he offered in 2007 is unrecognizable today — and that’s a shame.
Alexa: it would be interesting to see some good metrics comparing all aspects of Alexa vs Siri. I don't use Siri at all. I use Alexas. I don't use Apple maps; I use google maps. And I'm Apple's fan boy #3.

Echo Dot. I love the Echo Dot. Our daughter gave us two at Christmas, and then gave us a third when her husband said four in their huge house was one too many. In fact, I would argue that in their huge house, four is two too few.

The next big thing: I think nursing homes should put an Alexa in every private room. And, now, I learn Echo Dot has "drop in" capabilities. Apparently I can ask Alexa to "drop in" on friends or family that have an Echo Dot. If they happen to be within voice range of their own Alexa, we essentially have "intercom-connectivity" even across the country, or around the world. Years ago, Sprint marked "intercom-capability." That seemed to have gone by the wayside; the concept was resurrected by Amazon. The "drop-in" feature would be perfect in nursing homes for untold number of reasons.

Mothers-in-law: would love the "drop-in" feature. LOL.

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 1, Day 1 Of Negotiations

New blog link: focus on fracking. This will be linked at the sidebar at the right. I was remiss all these years not linking it at the sidebar; not sure why I missed this one. It's been around since 2014; a weekly update; and, no ads. I used to be able to say I had an ad-free site but our middle granddaughter shamed me into putting ads on the site. So I did. Mostly I wanted to see how it was done. Kind of a pain to get started but now on auto-pilot. Someone else chooses the ads and I'm not a bit happy with the ad selection but I have no control over that. That's fine. I'm sure they know more about marketing than I do.

Credit cards: all of a sudden, credit cards appear to be introducing a new gimmick -- letting card holders decide how they want to manage their "cash back". Credit card companies are allowing folks to choose their "3% cash back category." It seems Discover was the first major credit card company to do this. "What's in your wallet" Capital points that out every 30 minutes on some business / news channels. Now, at least two other credit card companies are doing the same -- letting customers decide. Amazon Visa, I think has 5% cashback, on many categories. This is a better return than what banks are offering those holding checking / savings accounts.

The cash builds up quickly. I haven't paid for much over at Amazon in a long time. I don't buy books as much as I used to -- I've run out of book space -- and at my advanced age, I'm running out of time to get them all read as it is -- LOL. But any books I do "buy" from Amazon now are pretty much free.

The fastest way to "make/save" 5%: pay utility bills on-line with a credit card, and then immediately cover that payment with an electronic transfer from a bank account. It takes an extra step but it's 5% off your bill. 

With the money I spend at Starbucks, I probably break even.

Omaha Steaks. I used to be a regular customer, then quit for about three years. Not sure why, but I did. Last week I made my first Omaha Steaks order in a very long time. Yesterday, while watching the Golf Channel, there was an Omaha Steak commercial: $49 for a pretty good combo. I gave them a call; it was impossible to turn down the add-ons. The original offer was $49 + $18 for shipping. But for another $49 offer, the shipping would be free. Choice: $67 for original offer, or $98 for doubling that offer. No-brainer. Being sent to brother-in-law in California. No tax. And free shipping. What's not to like.

Silver bullion. I got a telemarketer call the other day noting that I was a collector of rare coins. Nope, I don't collect rare coins. I have a few but I don't collect them. I told the telemarketer that I buy the new American silver dollars (BU). She abruptly hung up, but not until muttering "bullion." I never thought of American silver dollars (BU) as bullion, but they certainly aren't rare coins, so I guess to a telemarketer of rare coins, they are bullion. Disgusting. LOL. But the 2019 China Pandas have been released. My biggest "coup": a year or so ago buying a few novelty silver coins (BU) and now they are hard to find; doubled in price. They go to the daughters and granddaughters. I don't know why. I guess I'm like a lot of folks that like shiny objects. The China Panda story is very, very interesting. I doubt anyone really knows how many are minted any given year, and it wouldn't surprise me if China "re-minted" old vintages. You know, stamp 2011 on coins minted this year. (2019). Nothing coming out of China would surprise me. But the buzz at the coin shows: as more and more Chinese move into "middle class," more and more will buy China Pandas.

Top stories of the week. I will do the top energy stories of the week later, maybe while watching Sophia at gymnastics and swimming. She does both on Saturdays.

Politics: I try very hard to avoid network/cable news, business shows. About all I watch is TBS comedy re-runs; TCM classic movies; Golf Channel; NASCAR (when the season begins again). The latter could fall off my radar scope; gradually losing interest. Rule-makers are ruining the sport.

Golf. It's entertaining to listen to commentators talking "up" Tiger Woods. He did have some brilliant moments last year, but this week at Torrey Pines, San Diego, he is doing miserably (tied at 48th). At -4 after two rounds he barely made the cut (-3). The leader, Justin Rose, is -15, tied for the all-time score at Torrey Pines after two rounds. Next, Hideki Matsuyam, -12, and then three at -10. But from the network's point of view, it appears that the PGA and this tournament is all about Tiger Woods. He gets more "screen time" than the leaders combined, it seems.

Natural Gas Could Well Be The Energy Story Of 2018 - 2019 -- January 26, 2019


January 26, 2019: see first comment --
As this week's report noted, our natural gas supplies are now above those of the same weekend a year ago....that's because the temperatures over recent month have been considerably warmer than the equivalent month of last year, and hence much less natural gas has been needed from storage....
Over the 5 weeks ending January 18th, we only needed to withdraw 303 billion cubic feet of natural gas from storage to meet our needs; however, over the 5 weeks ending January 19th of last year, we found it necessary to pull 1,133 billion cubic feet of natural gas from storage to meet our needs, which were even less at the time, with considerable electrical generation and export capacity having been added in the past year...
The forecast cold for the coming week should put our supplies for this year to the test...
Original Post 

The blog that will follow this story very, very closely: focus on fracking. The next weekly update should be tomorrow, Sunday, January 27, 2019.

Other blogs that will follow this story:

The most recent natural gas fill rate / drawdown:

Natural Gas Fill Rate / Withdrawl

That subject line, that natural gas could well be the energy story of 2018-2019, was first posted September 29, 2018.

This was posted about a month later:
After reading it again, I've taken the liberty to add a line on the graphic to project where "we" could be if the winter of 2018-2019 is anything like the winter of 2013 - 2014. I am unaware of anyone making that comparison yet, but it's a scenario that needs considering.
Then, a month later, November 26, 2018, a long note from a reader, with more on the subject.

Last night, major league storms -- the 2019 polar vortex will hit early next week.

This morning, four links over at Drudge (this is why the loony left wants to shut down Drudge; this does not fit the AGW narrative):
From Europe:

Looking forward to a very, very interesting week.