Trump Looking At Big Cuts in Government Energy Renewables

12 Jun 2017

2017/06/08 – Trump’s renewable energy cuts alarm former officials – CNN Money

Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power. The administration’s 2018 budget would slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by a stunning 71.9%.

Budget documents published by the DOE argue that the spending cuts to the renewables office will focus resources on early-stage research & development. The DOE added that it also “reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development and commercialization of energy technologies.”

What Is It Like To Be Struck By Lightning

27 May 2017

2017/05/23 – This is what it’s like to be struck by lightning – Mosaic

If you’re hit by lightning, there’s a nine in ten chance you’ll survive. But what are the lasting effects of being exposed to hundreds of millions of volts?

Only by piecing together the bystander reports, the singed clothing and the burnt skin can survivors start to construct their own picture of the possible trajectory of the electrical current, one that can approach 200 million volts and travel at one-third of the speed of light.

Good information to know.

Coal Transport Increasing

6 Mar 2017

Coal on the rise: AARRailway Age

In reporting U.S. rail traffic volumes for the week ending Feb. 25, 2017 and the month of February 2017, the Association of American Railroads noted that coal rose 14% and 19.2%, respectively.

In February 2017, 11 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with February 2016. These included: coal, up 19.2% or 57,589 carloads; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 13.1% or 10,091 carloads; and primary metal products, up 6.8% or 2,357 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in February 2017 from February 2016 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 12.4% or 5,543 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 4.8% or 3,746; carloads and metallic ores, down 19.1% or 2,793 carloads.

It is good to look at the economy from all angles, not just the stock market. The coal industry took a sizable hit during the Obama years. Looks like they are starting to see some daylight.

U.S. Oil Exports Exceeding Expectations

2 Mar 2017

U.S. oil exports are blowing past expectationsAxios

U.S. crude oil exports have exceeded 1.2 million barrels a day, per the Financial Times. That follows the lifting of a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports in 2015, and far exceeds baseline projections.

The situation poses a threat to Saudi Arabia and other key OPEC members, which have historically had control over the oil industry and the power to gauge pricing. 

Interior Dept. Issues Stream Protection Rule

19 Dec 2016

Obama issues mining rule despite Trump’s threat to repeal it

The Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule aims to prevent or mitigate harm to streams and other waterways from mountaintop removal mining, among other mining practices.

“The responsible rule released today represents a modern and balanced approach to meeting the nation’s energy needs,” outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.

“Regulations need to keep pace with modern mining practices, so we worked closely with many stakeholders to craft a plan that protects water quality, supports economic opportunities, safeguards our environment and makes coalfield communities more resilient for a diversified economic future.”

Trump called the rule “excessive” in a September speech on his energy agenda and pledged that it would be repealed under his presidency. Last week he announced that Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke (R), a critic of the mining rule, would be his nominee for Interior secretary.

Trump would have to undertake an extensive rulemaking process to formally undo the regulation.

Many last minute regulations taking place. Environmentalists like this. Coal companies do not. Typical…

Rooftop Solar Panels An Added Risk If There Is A Fire

7 May 2016

Firefighters: Solar panels are risky during fires

The weight of residential solar panels is equivalent to an extra layer of shingles. That may not sound like much, but firefighters say the extra weight could make your roof collapse much faster in a fire.

Firefighters say solar panels limit access to do vertical ventilation, which could impact the time it would take to put out a fire.

“If we were to throw a ladder to the roof and the ladder would puncture the solar panels,” said McAllister, “that could cause an electrocution to the members who were putting the ladders on the roof.”

Seems to be an unintended consequence of the solar panels.

U.S. Rig Count Continues Sinking To Record Lows

7 May 2016

US rig count drops 5 this week to 415, another all-time low

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by five this week to 415, another all-time low amid depressed energy prices.

A year ago, 894 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 338 rigs sought oil and 86 explored for natural gas.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. The previous low of 488 set in 1999 was eclipsed March 11, and has continued to slide.

Wow – that’s more than a 90% decrease in 35 years.  In one year, it is less than half the number of rigs.