Archive for October, 2010
Charles KrauthammerÂ on our post-racial president:
In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who “sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.'” Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to go to the polls to exact political revenge on their enemies – presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.
This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends – not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution.
George Will puts political campaign spending in perspective:
Those who are determined to reduce the quantity of political speech to what they consider the proper amount are the sort of people who know exactly how much water should come through our shower heads (no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, as stipulated by a 1992 law). Is it, however, really worrisome that Americans spend on political advocacy — on determining who should make and administer the laws — much less than they spend on potato chips ($7.1 billion a year)?
An Irish filmmaker’s claim that footage from a Charlie Chaplin movie premiere in 1928 reveals a time-traveling woman speaking on a mobile phone has been debunked:
“As you can tell from these, old-fashioned mechanical or resonating hearing aids were not necessarily long and rounded,” said Philip Skroska, an archivist at the Bernard Becker Medical Library of Washington University in St. Louis. “Short, compact rectangular forms were not unusual.”
A hearing aid sounds about right, but I am still amazed that George Clarke (who discovered the footage and promoted the theory) skipped right over this woman is insane to this woman is a time traveler.
See the video that started it all here.
Â She’s been so busy lately, it’s good to see she still has time for a good ol’ fashionedÂ home invasionÂ in Paris.
SAINT LOUISÂ – A Missouri film production company has taken a gamble on a groundbreaking new comedy which shirks convention by declining to cast actor Zach Galifianakis. The film, whose working title is “Missouri Loves Company,” will reportedly not employ Galifiniakis’sÂ familiar comedic talents as an endearinglyÂ off-kilter and dishevelled sidekick.
Although Galifiniakis was hired to provide voiceover work for the film, the scenes were ultimately deleted to meet a targeted running time of 20 minutes.
Oregon deserves to know the truth about Republican gubernatorial candidate and ex-NBA player Chris Dudley.
What does a $300 million investment in green energy really buy for Missouri?Â Â Â Â
Lost Creek Wind Project:Â Â Â Â
- $300 million, $107 million of which came from funds provided by the stimulus bill
- 23,000 acres
- 150 megawatts (MW) maximum capacity (a very important distinction for wind power)
Tom Carnahan says Lost Creek:Â Â Â Â
- will power approximately 50,000 homes
- will save approximately 270,000 tons/year of CO2
- is the equivalent of 33,500 “cars/year off the road”
After a little research (this websiteÂ offered the most accessible explanation) I determined that on average the actual effective capacity of a wind farm is about 30% of its maximum capacity (it’s never windy 100% of the time, anywhere).Â The figures that I saw, mostly from renewable energy friendly websites, ranged between 20-40% effective capacity and thus 30%Â is a reasonable estimate.Â Â Â Â
How much energy does a typical Missouri home use?Â 1098 kilowatt hours (KWh) per month on average, which converts to 13.176 megawatt hours (MWh) per year.Â Â Â Â
With the 30% effective capacity average of a wind farm, and the 13.176 MWh average Missouri energy home usage, we can find a very reasonable estimation of how many homes per year a 150 MW capacity wind farm will power.Â Â Â Â
(150 MW)*(.30) = 45 MW effective capacityÂ for the Lost Creek Wind Project.Â (45 MW)*(24 hours)*(365 days) = 394,200 MWh/year.Â This isÂ aÂ realistic estimate forÂ real output in megawatt hours at the Lost Creek Wind Project.Â Â Â Â
(394,200 MWh/year) / (13.176 MWh/year) = 29,918 homes that can be powered per year by the Lost Creek Wind Project.Â Â Â Â
50,000Â / 29,918Â =Â 1.67Â –Â This means that the estimate on the Wind Capital Group website of 50,000 homes powered per year is exaggerated by 67%.Â Pretty optimistic.Â How many business can get away with those kinds of estimates?Â Are they just maniuplating some numbers in their favor?Â Outright lying?Â Perhaps Carnahan and the Wind Capital Group are simply incompetent and don’t understand their own industry very well.Â These numbers aren’t particularly difficult to arrive at.Â Â Â Â
To power 50,000 homes, what would the effective operating capacityÂ of Lost Creek Wind Project have to be per year?Â To beÂ generous I will also assume a lower average Missouri home energy consumption than was in the data I found (so let’s say 12 MWh per year per home).Â Â Â Â
(150MW)*(X%)*(24)*(365) / (12MWh/yr/home) = 50,000 homesÂ Â Â Â
XÂ = 45.66% — This means to power the estimated 50,000 homes, the Lost Creek Wind Project would have to be operating at about 46% effective capacity, which is 6%Â more efficientÂ than any of the highest estimates for a wind farm that I found in any of my research, even on the websites of renewable energy fanatics.Â Â Â Â
What is the cost of the Lost Creek Wind Project’s energy production compared to a new coal plant?Â (I used the example of the Iatan II coal plant which is actually being built pretty close to the Lost Creek Wind Project)Â Â Â Â
($300,000,000 cost of Lost Creek) / (45 MW effective capacity) = $6,666,666 per megawatt of energy produced in the first year (the evil number is entirely coincidental)Â Â Â Â
($2,200,000,000 cost of Iatan II coal plant) / (850 MW maximum capacity) = $2,588,235 per megawatt of energy produced in the first yearÂ Â Â Â
This is a very simplisticÂ calculation but in my opinion still a relevant metric.Â In fairness toÂ Wind Capital Group I must note that I usedÂ only the cost of construction and the first yearÂ MW outputs as comparison.Â Obviously the coal power plant is going to have a higher operating cost than a wind farm (the cost of coal is going to necessarily skyrocket if Obama has anything to do with it).Â However there are some very obvious benefits there as well, for example — the coal power plant will buy buying coal, and truckers will be transporting it.Â Coal mining is a great American industry, providing tens of thousands of well-paying blue collar jobs for Working Families (you know, the group that Democrats adore for as about as long as the speech or photo op lasts).Â It should also be noted that a coal power plantÂ can operate at 100% capacity, allowing them to adjust energy output to rising or falling consumer demand.Â In fact, every renewable energy power resource must be backed up by a traditional power source due to the unpredictable nature of wind and solar power.Â This article makes an interesting comparison.Â Â Â Â
How many “cars off the road” is the Lost Creek Wind Project equivalent to?Â Wind Capital Group’s claim of the Lost Creek Project being equivalent to 33,500 cars/yr off the road is something of a mystery to me.Â I used the barrel of oil equivalent output of 1.7 MWh, the average distance driven per car per year in America, the average mpg, and I very generously used the estimate of Lost Creek Wind Project operating at 45% effective capacity.Â Â Â Â
I came up with 25,428 equivalent “cars off the road”, about 2/3 of the Carnahan claim.Â Again…I have no idea what numbers they were using, but I’m unimpressed.Â Â Â Â
How much space is this wind farm going to take up?Â It’s true that windmills can be built on existing farmland with little other than an aesthetic impact.Â Personally I don’t like them.Â When I lived in Germany I noticed that the otherwise beautiful, pastoralÂ countryside was absolutelyÂ covered with windmills.Â In any case, love them or hate them, the Lost Creek Wind Project will be occupying 23,000 acres in northwest Missouri.Â From a bit of research I determined acreage of a large coal plant to be about 1,000-3,000 acres.Â Â Â Â
(45 MW effective capacity) / (23,000 acres)Â =Â .0019565 — Thus for the Lost Creek Wind Project there are .0019565 MW of energy produced per acre per year.Â Â Â Â
(850 MW effective capacity) / (2,000 acres) = 0.425 — for the Iatan II coal plant there are 0.425 MW of energy produced per acre per year (operating at maximum capacity, which a coal plant can do).Â Â Â Â
Another Carnahan/Wind Capital Group/Department of EnergyÂ claim:Â 1 MW of energy creates 17 new jobs.Â Since I’m not the Department of Energy, I really didn’t feel like investigating this –Â it would be exhausting.Â The Wind Capital Group website did use this number to state that the Lost Creek Wind Project would create 2500 new jobs.Â Maybe it saved 10,000 other jobs, too…who knows?Â Â Â Â
Lost Creek has created approximately 2,500 American jobs through the supply chain, including the workers who constructed the wind turbines at General Electric and those who built the electric transformers at the ABB facility in Jefferson City. Construction of the wind farm put hundreds to work in the area. Â On an average day there were nearly 300 people at the construction site. Construction on Lost Creek started in July 2009 and was completed in mid-2010.Â Â Â Â
That’s nice, but don’t we have toÂ assume that the construction jobs are temporary, and the workers building wind turbines already had and will continue to have a job?Â A more realistic estimate of how many the Lost Creek Wind Project employs on a permanent basis would be, again taken from their own website, 40.Â Â Â Â
Wind Capital Group directly employs almost 40 people in Missouri between its St. Louis headquarters and in Northwest Missouri.Â Â Â Â
And just one more little slap in the face:Â Â Â Â
The 1603 program funds were not paid to Wind Capital Group or any of its executives, as some have claimed, but were used to pay for the costs and expenses of Lost Creek, which was the largest private investment in Missouri in 2009, put 2,500 Americans to work, and has become a point of local pride in Northwest Missouri.Â Â Â Â
Is anyone claiming that the $107 million of taxpayer money went directly into Tom Carnahan’s bank account?Â I think we are sophisticated enough to understand that while Tom Carnahan is not personally rolling in a bed of 107,000 $100 bills, he will quite clearly be enriched by our generous and involuntary donation to the Carnahan family’s pet renewable energy project.Â We know that Russ Carnahan did not bring a a Big Bag O’ Money over to his brother’s house, drop it off, and dance a little jig while cackling maniacally at the gullibility of Missourians.Â But neither does this pass the common sense smell test.Â Political royalÂ dynasties like the CarnahansÂ ought to beÂ anathema in America.Â We the people of America must take our country back from this political ruling class and its morass of special deals and favors.Â Â Â Â
Renewable energy is a great thing.Â We need to continue developing it, for the continuedÂ prosperity of America and arguably even the survival of the human race.Â However, state sponsored renewable energy projects that are built with little regard to efficiency or cost, and the dirty crony capitalism so pervasive in the industry are not the way to go about it.Â Â Â Â