Federal Gov’t energy use

I work for the federal gov’t in EPA, and I just learned that President Obama has ordered that fed gov’t must reduce its energy use by 28% by 2020. Great. Then we found out that of all the energy used for offices, labs, Army, etc. 60% is used for mobility needs other than fleet vehicles. 70% of that 60% is jet fuel. So, the biggest thing we could do to reduce gov’t energy use is to either fly our jets less or install more efficient jet engines in the fuel tanker airplanes, which are the least efficient. Interesting. It makes my efforts to turn out the lights in other people’s offices at the end of the day in perspective.

Interview with Sierra Club

Interview With an EV Owner: Adventure
Posted by: Crossroads Curator on February 25, 2010 at 9:51AM PST

courtesy Charlie Garlow

Charlie Garlow, a Sierra Club member from Silver Spring, Maryland owns a three-wheel electric motorcycle. Garlow is planning this summer to hitch a solar trailer to it and drive across the country with his dog Rex to raise awareness for EVs and renewable energy. His journey will probably launch after the EV drag race in June at the Mason Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown. Follow his progress on his website FunRunintheSun.org and his blog. This is the second of three interviews with EV owners. Read the first one here.
How did you get this electric motorcycle?


Veterans for Clean Energy. I’m a vet. US Marines.

As a tanker driver in Iraq, U.S. Army veteran Robin Eckstein saw firsthand the risk that fossil-fuel dependence posed to American troops. She drove a water truck in convoys with fuel tankers, and every trip outside the secure zone at Baghdad International Airport meant a potential meeting with sniper fire or improvised explosive devices.

But field stations in the surrounding area depended on that fuel for their vehicles and equipment that ran off generators.

More on how expensive nuclear (nuke you lure) is.

In mid-2007, a Keystone Center nuclear report (PDF), funded in part by the nuclear industry estimated capital costs for nuclear of $3600 to $4000/kW including interest. The report notes, “the power isn’t cheap: 8.3 to 11.1 cents per kilo-watt hour.” In December 2007, retail electricity prices in this country averaged 8.9 cents per kwh.

Mid-2007 has already become the good old days for affordable nuclear power. Jim Harding, who was on the Keystone Center panel and was responsible for its economic analysis, e-mailed me in May that his current “reasonable estimate for levelized cost range … is 12 to 17 cents per kilowatt hour lifetime, and 1.7 times that number [20 to 29 cents per kilowatt-hour] in first year of commercial operation.”

At the end of August, 2007 Tulsa World reported that American Electric Power Co. CEO Michael Morris was not planning to build any new nuclear power plants. He was quoted as saying, “I’m not convinced we’ll see a new nuclear station before probably the 2020 timeline,” citing “realistic” costs of about $4,000 per kilowatt.

So much for being a near-term, cost-effective solution to our climate problem. But if $4,000 per kilowatt was starting to price nuclear out of the marketplace, imagine what prices 50 percent to 100 percent higher will do.

In October 2007, Florida Power and Light, “a leader in nuclear power generation,” presented its detailed cost estimate for new nukes to the Florida Public Service Commission. It concluded that two units totaling 2,200 megawatts would cost from $5,500 to $8,100 per kilowatt — $12 billion to $18 billion total! (These are the actual costs, not adjusted for inflation.)

Lew Hay, chairman and CEO of FPL, said, “If our cost estimates are even close to being right, the cost of a two-unit plant will be on the order of magnitude of $13 to $14 billion. That’s bigger than the total market capitalization of many companies in the U.S. utility industry and 50 percent or more of the market capitalization of all companies in our industry with the exception of Exelon … This is a huge bet for any CEO to take to his or her board.”

An October 2007 Moody’s Investors Service report, “New Nuclear Generation in the United States,” concluded, “Moody’s believes the all-in cost of a nuclear generating facility could come in at between $5,000 – $6,000/kw.”

In January 2008, MidAmerican Nuclear Energy Co said that prices were so high, it was ending its pursuit of a nuclear power plant in Payette County, Idaho, after spending $13 million researching its economic feasibility. Company President Bill Fehrman said in a letter, “Consumers expect reasonably priced energy, and the company’s due diligence process has led to the conclusion that it does not make economic sense to pursue the project at this time.”

MidAmerican is a company owned by famed investor Warren Buffet. When Buffet pulls the plug on a potential investment after spending $13 million analyzing the deal, it should give everyone pause.

Let’s take a look at one more example. Earlier this year, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intends to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” That would be more than $6,400 per kilowatt. But wait, that’s not all. As reported by the St. Petersburg Times, “The utility said its 200 mile, 10-county transmission project will cost $3-billion more.” If we factor that cost in, the price would be $7,700 a kilowatt.

Amazingly, the utility won’t even stand behind the exorbitant tripled cost for the plant. In its filing with state regulators, Progress Energy warned that its new $17 billion estimate for its planned nuclear facility is “nonbinding” and “subject to change over time.”

And it gets even better (by I which I mean, worse) for Florida ratepayers. Florida passed a law that allows utilities to recoup some costs while a nuclear plant is under construction. How much? About $9 a month starting as early as next year! Yes, the lucky customers of Progress Energy get to each pay more than $100 a year for years and years and years before they even get one kilowatt-hour from these plants.

This would seem to be the exact opposite of the old claim for the nuclear industry, “Too cheap to meter.” Now it’s so expensive the company raises your rates before the power even gets to the meter!

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund

V2G makes your EV a cash cow.

These are our friends from University of Delaware.
U.S. researchers unveiled a vehicle Thursday, 2/18/2010, that could earn money for its driver instead of guzzling it up in gasoline and maintenance costs.
The converted Toyota Scion xB, shown at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is the first all-electric car to be linked to a power grid and serve as a cash cow.

Let’s Move. A great idea and my letter to the editor, Wash Post

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If Michelle Obama can lead us to bipartisan harmony with her Healthier America initiative [“Michelle Obama: ‘Let’s move’ on childhood obesity,” Style, Feb. 10], I hope she can lead our children to more healthful habits. I wonder whether she is being too timid, though, when she said that “this isn’t about inches or pounds.” Why not, in a fight against obesity? If “one in three children . . . is overweight or obese,” those kids need to shed pounds and inches.

And why is the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports cutting the focus on push-ups and sit-ups as good things to do? Strenuous exercises such as these are great at helping you look and feel better about yourself while also helping you shed pounds and inches.

Since obesity drains $147 billion from our economy every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is past time to get serious.

Charlie Garlow, Silver Spring
See the Stay Fit section of this web site for more info.

Nuclear power costs a lot. Florida

What happened to all those federal loan guarantees that would make it easy for utilities to get a loan and then charge customers AFTER the nuke was built, when electricity was actually being PROVIDED?????
Florida ratepayers have filed a lawsuit against Progress Energy Florida for charging its customers for the planned construction of two nuclear reactors even as the company CEO expressed doubts about the project’s future.

Progress Energy Inc. customers are paying construction costs for two reactors proposed for Levy County, which is along the Gulf of Mexico. The company has collected about $200 million in advance of the project, which Citizens for Ratepayers Rights claims is unconstitutional.

The Florida Legislature in 2006 allowed utilities to collect funds in the form of electricity rate increases to pay upfront costs of new nuclear construction. The Florida Public Service Commission approved cost recovery for Progress Energy’s and Florida Power & Light Co.’s new reactor construction last October (E&ENews PM Oct. 16, 2009).

Progress Energy has estimated building the two reactors at Levy County will cost about $17 billion, although that price is likely to grow, given project delays. The reactor the company plans to use, the Westinghouse AP1000, is drawing scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which asked Westinghouse to redesign a shielding wall before the agency can continue reviewing the reactor’s design certification.
“We tried everything to get someone to listen — the Governor, House, Senate, PSC, Attorney General — anyone that would help stop the madness of allowing $17 billion to be collected by Progress with no requirement that any service be provided nor the nuclear plant even be built at all,” said Suzan Franks, founder of Citizens for Ratepayers Rights, in a statement.

Michelle Obama says no to childhood obesity

Right on, Michelle. Here is my letter to the editor of the Washington Post in response to their basically great article.
If Michelle Obama can lead us to bi-partian harmony with her Healthier America initiative (Obama says no to obesity, Washington Post, 2/10/10), I hope she can lead our children to healthier habits. I wonder if she is being too timid, though, when she said that “this isn’t about inches or pounds”. Why not, in a fight against obesity? If “one in three children is overweight or obese”, then those kids need to shed pounds and inches. And why is the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports cutting back on push ups and situps as good things to do? Strenuous exercises like these are great ways to look and feel better about yourself, while shedding pounds and inches, at the same time that we mention health and well-being. Since obesity drains $147 billion per year on our economy, it is past time to get serious.

Electric cars, since the 1800s !

In 1896, an electric car beat five gas-powered vehicles in the first motor race ever held on American soil. By 1900, there were a dozen manufacturers of electric cars; they produced 28% of the 4,192 autos built in that year. Powered by lead acid batteries, they were silent, clean and simple to operate. Their normal cruising range was 25 to 40 miles at speeds approaching 20 miles an hour – fast enough for the primitive roads of the time.” – Fortune Magazine, April 27, 2009.