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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Better Place, Another Green Energy Company Bites the Dust

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 27, 2013

The Wall Street Journal reported that Better Place Ltd. has filed for liquidation over the weekend.  This Israeli-based company had investors that included French automotive giant Renault, HSBC Holdings PLC, General Electric Company and Morgan Stanley.

Better placeBetter Place’s business strategy was to sell battery-operated electric cars, which instead of having batteries recharged at stations, would have them exchanged for fully-charged ones quickening the process.  Sound like a great idea?  Sure, but only if you are a crony capitalist chasing governments’ favored programs.

The reason Better Place failed involve a minor problem; lack of consumer demand.  According to its current CEO, Dan Cohen: “Unfortunately, after a year’s commercial operation, it was clear to us that despite many satisfied customers, the wider public take up would not be sufficient and that the support from the car producers was not forthcoming,”

Better Place joins a lengthy list green energy companies that have failed in recent years that include

A123 Received $249 million from the Department of Energy (DOE)  to produce batteries for electric cars.

Abound Solar Received $400 million DOE loan guarantee to build thin-film solar panels.

Beacon Power Received $43 million DOE loan guarantee to build flywheels for energy storage.

Ener1Received $118.5 million grant to produce batteries for electric cars.

Solyndra: Received a $535 million loan guarantee to build a factory for producing solar panels.

Nevada Geothermal PowerReceived a $98 million DOE-backed loan for a geothermal power plant.

Fisker AutomotiveReceived a $529 million DOE-backed loan to produce electric cars.

In 2009, Time magazine named Better Place’s founder and president Shai Agassi one of its top people of the year.  This was in keeping with the mainstream media’s promotion of Barack Obama and his green energy policies.  They, like the rest of the mainstream media, owe the American people an apology for unprofessional and biased reporting.  But we should not hold our breath.

Who is responsible for this waste of taxpayer money?  Who is being held accountable?  The answer to both questions is a telltale sign of a government out-of-control and uneducated electorate.

The same knuckleheads that decided to invest taxpayer dollars in the above listed failures have also created Obamacare.  If history is a reasonable judge, the results will be ugly.

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Posted in Government Ineptness, Government Waste | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Increasing US Oil/Gas Production Damaging Progressive Agenda

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 14, 2013

The article below was posted on BBC News earlier this month.  With the noise emanating from the three scandals currently infecting the Obama Administration, this type of important story is not getting the press it deserves.

There is a game changing events occurring in world’s energy production, a result of new drilling technologies.  More abundant and cheaper energy leads to higher standards of living and a happier and better fed world population.  This is truly good news, however, not for Leftist environmentalists.  Ever since the decrepit days of the Carter Administration, Leftists have ranted over the supposed dwindling world energy supplies.  When this narrative began to be proven false in the 1990s, the Left then pivoted and jumped on the man-made global warming bandwagon.

The actual agenda of Progressives of the Left has nothing to do with energy conservation or global warming.  Their agenda is purely political, focusing on power and consolidating their governmental authority.  The current scandals ongoing in Washington show the danger to individual liberties emanating from the Left.

Finally, given how wrong the Left’s science was on the supposed shortage of carbon-based fuels, it is difficult to trust their science relating to man-made global warming, a much more complicated issue to predict.

US shale oil supply shock shifts global power balance

4 May 2013

A steeper-than-expected rise in US shale oil reserves is about to change the global balance of power between new and existing producers, a report says.

Over the next five years, the US will account for a third of new oil supplies, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  The US will change from the world’s leading importer of oil to a net exporter.  Demand for oil from Middle-East oil producers is set to slow as a result.

“North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.  The surge in US production will reshape the whole industry, according to the IEA, which made the prediction in its closely-watched bi-annual report examining trends in oil supply and demand over the next five years.  The IEA said it expected the US to overtake Russia as the world’s biggest gas producer by 2015 and to become “all but self-sufficient” in its energy needs by about 2035.

The rise in US production means the world’s reliance on oil from traditional oil producing countries in the Middle East, which make up Opec (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), would end soon, according to the report.

Slower growth

US production is set to grow by 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) from 2012 to 2018, accounting for some two-thirds of the predicted growth in traditional non-Opec production, according to the IEA.  Meanwhile, global oil demand is set to increase by 8% which would be met mainly by non-Opec supplies, the report said.

The IEA still expects production capacity among traditional Opec suppliers in the Middle East to continue to grow over the next five years, but at a slower rate.  Opec capacity, which counts for 35% of today’s global oil output, is expected to rise by 1.75 million bpd to 36.75 million bpd in 2018, about 750,000 bpd less than predicted in the IEA’s 2012 forecast.  The IEA cites the “growing insecurity in North and Sub-Saharan Africa” in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings as a key reason for the slowdown.  “The regional fallout from the ‘Arab Spring’ is taking a toll on investment and capacity growth,” the IEA said.

Fracking

The sharp rise in US oil production is largely thanks to shale oil, a product many have hailed as the saviour of the US energy market.  Fracking, the process of blasting water at high pressure into shale rock to release oil (or gas) held within it, has become widespread in the US.  But critics of shale oil point to environmental concerns such as high water use and possible water contamination, the release of methane and, to a lesser extent, earth tremors caused by drilling.  The process has been banned in France, while the UK recently lifted a moratorium on drilling for shale gas.

Posted in Energy, Environmentalists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fisker, Another Government-Backed Green Company Heading for Bankruptcy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 27, 2013

Fisker, an Anaheim, California-based automobile company, missed a loan payment due on Monday.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Fisker has hired bankruptcy lawyers and fired most of its staff.

fiskerThe failure of Fisker is yet another example of governmental ineptness and wasting of the People’s money.  It is but one of various green energy companies given US taxpayer funds to promote the Obama Administration’s green energy policies, which have since failed.

According to the Journal, initially Fisker planned on producing low-volume luxury cars and in 2009 requested from the US government a $169 million loan under a Department of Energy program.  However, the Obama Administration convinced Fisker to not only build the cars in the United States, but also to become a high volume manufacturer.  It induced Fisker to take this direction by loaning the company $529 million and becoming its largest investor.  In addition to the taxpayers’ loss, green energy guru Al Gore convinced his partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to also invest in Fisker.

The Fisker failure is bringing down other companies.  Its battery supplier, A123 Systems, is already in bankruptcy proceedings.

President Obama has shown a total lack of understanding of economics, business, as well as technology, when it comes to pursuing his agenda for green energy.  Progressives naïvely believe that by merely desiring a certain outcome they can will a solution.  The failures of Fisker, A123 Systems, Solyndra and others have been a costly experiment for taxpayers, allowing these amateurs to fiddle with markets they know nothing about.  However, these failures are trivial compared to the cost to taxpayers and society to come for Obama’s intervention in the health care system that involves 1/6 of the American economy.

Posted in Government Waste | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gasoline Prices Double Under President Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 5, 2012

We know, it has to be Bush’s fault.

Posted in Energy | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Huge Energy Find in Gulf of Mexico

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 26, 2011

Earlier this month Exxon Corporation announced significant energy discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico.  Two involved natural gas discovered in 2009 and 2010, but withheld until a nearby third well was completed that has since proven to contain significant oil reserves.  Together finds include about 700 million barrels of oil equivalent, one of the larger energy finds in the Gulf during the past decade.  It is estimated that these fields could produce over 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day when fully operational.

The new Gulf finds, together with significant other gas and oil discoveries worldwide, raise interesting issues.  It is evident that the world is not running out of fossil fuels, as the doom and gloom folks on the Left predicated in the 1970’s.  Remember when President Jimmy Carter announced in the late 1970’s that the United States would run out of natural gas within a decade?  That’s as bad as any of the many Carter wrong calls.

Carter’s false predictions concerning world energy supplies are eerily similar to more modern predictions of immanent doom from manmade global warming.  Both were/are based on junk or flawed science.  Both were/are proffered to allow Progressives redistribute wealth on a worldwide basis, the primary goal of this philosophy.  Both damage humanity.

Posted in Energy, Oil | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Trade Deficit Increases

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 11, 2011

The U.S. trade deficit significantly increased in March.  While the knuckleheads in Washington DC continue to blame America’s trade imbalance on China, that trade gap actually decreased in March.  Nearly all of March’s increase was  due to rising oil prices.

The U.S. trade deficit increased to $48 billion from $45 billion the month before with America’s crude oil imports climbing to $28 billion from $21 billion in February.  Total American energy- imports climbed from $27 billion in February to 36 billion March.

Next to the America’s overall government debt, our trade deficit is the most serious economic issue facing the Country.  We barrow money from foreign governments to satisfy our immediate needs at the expense of future generations.  The only way to address this generational robbing is to immediately open up energy exploration throughout the United States.  President Obama is derelict in his duties when it comes to his radical environmentalist energy polices.

Posted in Energy | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Inflations Figures, Anther Government Hoax

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 15, 2011

The Wall Street Journal in today’s daily News Alert reported that America’s core inflation rate is under control, rising only 0.1% for March.  The core inflation rate is the government’s published figure that excludes energy and food prices that the government considers volatile.  With food and energy prices included, the inflation rate actually increased a significant 0.5% for the month.

Any first year business student knows that energy and food costs are an important part of consumers’ budgets and would questions statistics that exclude these items from consideration.  But that’s not the case with our government.  And the Left wants to trust these same knuckleheads with running American’s health insurance?

Posted in Government Ineptness, Inflation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama Tells Brazil to Drill Baby Drill

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 23, 2011

President Obama has become infamous for policies with disjointed strategic goals.  Such is the case with Obama’s energy polices, as exhibited in his recent sojourn to Brazil.

Let’s start with the President’s policy relating to drilling for oil in the United States.  We are currently in the seven-year of an offshore drilling ban for both coasts of the United States, the Alaska’s continental shelf and much of the Gulf of Mexico, with a near moratorium on all other areas.  Team Obama is also stalling plans for a new pipeline to deliver Canada’s tar sands oil to the U.S.  So what does the President tell the Brazilians during his visit?

We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely.  And when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

He also stated in a USA Today op-ed: “Brazil holds recently discovered oil reserves that could be far larger than ours.  And as we seek to increase secure-energy supplies, we look forward to developing a strategic energy partnership.”

It is not comprehendible why the President has stopped drilling in the U.S while promoting it in Brazil.  Does Obama believe that the environmental dangers are any less in Brazil?  Whatever happened to our global environment, as expounded by Progressives with Global Warming gig?  Alternative explanations to Obama’s disjointed policies are even scarier.

Adding an explanation mark to the President’s illogic on energy, Obama has in the past railed against tax breaks for U.S. oil companies.  At the same time, his Administration supports the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s lending of $2 billion to Brazil’s Petrobras for further oil exploration.  This boggles the mind.

The United States is quickly heading towards a major energy crisis.  With the developing countries increased thirst for oil and the Middle East unrest, as well as the Japanese nuke accident and we have the makings of a perfect storm.  Instead of addressing this crucial problem while there is time, Obama promotes windmills and solar power, technologies that are years, if not decades, from putting a dent in our requirements of fossil fuels.

When General Motors was ready to go under, Obama said that without a bailout our economy would have dire consequences.  When auto sales tanked, we were told that we needed Cash for Clunkers to save the economy.  When housing market continued in the doldrums last year, we consumer rebates were required to save that market.  And if economic Armageddon was not enough, unless we stopped burning carbon-based fuel, the oceans will melt and swallow up our coastal cities.

It is amazing that with the many hypothetical threats of economic challenges that President Obama has used to pursue his Progressive agenda, he ignores real problems that are here today, such as the energy crisis.  It seems that Barack Obama is destined to displace Jimmy Carter as the most inept president of modern times.

 

Posted in Energy, Oil | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Soaring Food Prices Show Consequence of Governmental Meddling in Markets

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 20, 2011

USA Today published some troubling figures relating to worldwide food prices that included:

  • Corn prices up 52% in the past 12 months.
  • Sugar prices up 60%.
  • Soybean prices up 41%.
  • Wheat prices up more than 24% in 12 months

While Americans have not yet felt these huge food price increases since commodities are often traded in depreciating U.S. dollars, less developed countries have.  This has led to instability in some countries, as well as hunger.  The World Bank estimates that 44 million people worldwide will descend into extreme poverty and hunger because of soaring food prices.  Given that in less dev eloped countries 50% of a family’s budget is spent on food, it doesn’t take much of an increase in prices to create a lot of pain.

There are various reasons for the rapidly increasing cost of food.  Some are difficult to control such as increasing population and affluence that lead to higher demand for food.  However, much of the current food price increases are the result of governmental interventions in markets with examples including:

  • Aggressive Monetary Policies – Western governments including the United States have attempted to forestall the aftershocks of the 2008 financial meltdown through aggressive monetary policies that include artificially low interest rates and the printing of money.  This has led to still other bubbles being created that include speculators running up prices on agricultural products.  It has also caused inflation by pushing down the value of the U.S. dollar for which many commodities are traded.
  • Distorted Energy Policies – United States energy policies have been grotesque.  While worldwide demand increases, America, the largest energy consumer, has stifled development of its vast energy resources.  In addition, Washington has promoted and subsidized the use of ethanol that is nothing more than a subsidy for American farmers.  While it has not increased energy supplies appreciably, Ethanol subsidies have been an incentive to American farmers to concentrate production for energy usage at the expense of food production, driving up food prices.  Making matters worse, as energy prices increase, even more farming efforts are moved to energy production with the World Bank estimating that the U.S. corn crop going to ethanol has increased from 31% in 2008 to 40% this year.

This story of increasing food prices and its growing problematic tentacles is a microcosm of the dangers of governmental intervention into markets.  When a crisis or supposed one occurs, Progressives inevitably claim that without radical governmental intervention the consequences to society will be worse.  With the world jumping from one crisis to another at increasing frequency since the 2008 financial collapse, it is becoming apparent that this logic is fallacious.

While the free market is an imperfect mechanism, it is superior to the Progressive view of governmental  market manipulation because it is cold, continually dynamic and self-regulating.  It does not favor one class or political view over others and it almost instantaneously responds to the changing needs of the market via the unbending rules of supply and demand.  Unfortunately, it will likely take more and increasingly worse crises for the Progressives that manage most economies to except this inevitable reality.

 

Posted in Food Prices | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Confluence of Events put Pressure on Energy Prices and the U.S. Dollar

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 14, 2011

Enduringsense.com is temporarily modifying its format while the editor recuperates from rib injuries.  Snippets of stories from various news sources will be included with a bit less commentary than usual due to typing challenges.  In addition, guests’ postings may be included.

The two articles are from disconnected parts of the world with both having implications on oil prices and the U.S. dollar’s value.

The first article was just reported by the Wall Street Journal involves yet another explosion at one of Japan’s nuclear plants damaged by the earthquake and Tsunami.  This tragedy continues to grow.  It will impact energy prices long into the future as the world becomes even more wary of the safety of nuclear power generation.  Given tight supplies, oil prices will likely rise in the coming months.

In addition, Japan has historically been a large purchaser of U.S. Treasury Bonds.  The huge cost of reconstruction for Japan will likely force it to stop buying U.S. Treasuries and to even sell dollars so it has funds for the reconstruction.  This will put pressure on the value of the U.S. dollar as demand for it drops.  In order to attract Treasury buyers, interest paid on them will have to rise causing many interest rates in the U.S. to increase.

In another article, startfor.com has reports that Saudi Arabian troops have entered Bahrain to help its Sunni government put down the protest by mainly its Shiite population.  This intervention is the result of the Saudi government attempting to stop Shiite Iran, its long-term enemy, from becoming more influential in the region.  In addition, the Saudi government fears similar protest from its own population.

It remains to be seen if the Saudi efforts are successful in putting down protest in Bahrain or if leads to even more problems from its own population.  In either case, the Saudis will likely need more funds to spread amongst its potentially restive population, leaving less for U.S. Treasury purchases.  In addition, this ongoing turmoil in the Middle East can only push oil prices higher.

Unforeseen events of huge magnitudes have occurred throughout history and the world always finds a way to work through them.  That said the world has placed itself in a more precarious economic position at this time because of the huge build up of sovereign debt.  Many countries have already spent their reserves and reached their credit limits. That leaves little wiggle room for these evolving tragedies that continue to unfold.


 

Posted in Nuclear Power, Oil, Sovereign Debt | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »