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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Subsidies - The Invisible Ones are Worse Than the Obvious Ones!  (Read 2351 times)

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AGelbert

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Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the U.S.

What is a fossil fuel subsidy?

A fossil fuel subsidy is any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers. There are a lot of activities under this simple definition—tax breaks and giveaways, but also loans at favorable rates, price controls, purchase requirements and a whole lot of other things.

Are you looking for information about International Fossil Fuel Subsidies?  Then go here.

Want to take action to end fossil fuel subsidies? Sign this petition.

How much money does the U.S. government give oil, gas and coal companies?

In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $14 billion to $52 billion annually, while even efforts to remove small portions of those subsidies have been defeated in Congress, as shown in the graphic below


http://priceofoil.org/content/uploads/2012/05/FIN.USCapitolSubsidyGraphicFlyer.pdf

http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 05:54:18 pm by AGelbert »
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The Cost of Carbon
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2013, 05:56:31 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kY-ZnpWbJdw

The fossil fuel industry is NOT PAYING IT; WE ARE! 

   
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 04:41:02 pm by AGelbert »
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Fighting the good fight
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 03:06:22 pm »
From a thread I participated in  ;D to keep the fossil fuelers from spreading 'inaccuracies'.  ;)

Stan Curlee   

No A.G., I deplore inflated dividends also. And did I post yet on being dead set against nuclear? I am. Here’s the bottom line with me and I have stated it here more than once. My concern is a dependable grid that will not harm the percent delivery on demand and quality of power we get or cause financial pain beyond what we can afford—vastly higher rates, vastly higher taxes or government default.

If renewables can do it, fine. But they cannot, I submit, past about 15% penetration. And everyone is going to have to find that out the hard way. I’m not sure I’m “mobilizing” against anything, but this is a hoppy and passion, just because I’m a techy type on this stuff and love it. . . . Unless you consider me an army of “one.” A.G., I ask you to dig deep and really consider how many technical points/challenges I am actually misrepresenting. (?) Really? And RE phase 3, I don’t think I’m disguising anything. I think Scheer left out the “honest engineering challenge” phase. He assumes there are ZERO honest challenges to this?? Not one? There’s nothing special about me, but this is my discipline. I run numbers similar to these and risk assess complex systems all the time for viability when I have to solve engineering problems. Thomas made a very telling remark in his great article. Remember? There are simply so many non-technically trained people in places of power and influence who simply will not listen to or take advice from those of us who are technically trained. Their minds are made up.


A. G. Gelbert 


Stan,
Here's the main problem I have with your defense of the fossil fuel energy status quo as if it was something reasonably priced, economical, viable and sane as opposed to your continuous insistence on claiming that renewable energy is too costly and/or unreliable:

Fossil fuel energy was never, and I mean never, cost effective.
In a sane society that doesn't pretend you can add and subtract whatever factors you wish in order to come up with a profit that will attract investment capital, you figure in all the costs to human society.

From the moment John D. Rockefeller started flushing gasoline down the rivers in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century (it was a waste product then) after refining crude oil for lubricants and lamp oil, huge costs were being foisted on society.

Coal is even worse. You pretend all that is water under the bridge. You pretend all the benefits of modern society are an acceptable tradeoff.

Well, they aren't. The only premise that is logical and sane now, with the continued damage that adds insult to injury to the biosphere we all depend on, is to admit that fossil fuels were never a viable, cost effective, sustainable source of energy for mankind and press on to renewable energy simply because there is no other alternative.

Argue this isn't real and those who defend fossil fuel energy are not in la la land in regard to the actual cost of these poisons if you dare.

The subsidies the fossil-fuel (and nuclear) industry receive — and have received for many years — make their product “affordable.” Those subsidies take many forms, but the most significant are their “externalities.” Externalities are real costs, but they are foisted off on the community instead of being paid by the companies that caused them.[18]

Paul Epstein, director of Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, has examined the health and environmental impacts of coal, including: mining, transportation, combustion in power plants and the impact of coal’s waste stream. He found that the "life cycle effects of coal and its waste cost the American public $333 billion to over $500 billion dollars annually". These are costs the coal industry is not paying and which fall to the community in general. Eliminating that subsidy would dramatically increase the price of coal-fired electricity.[18]

IEA position on subsidies

According to IEA (2011) energy subsidies artificially lower the price of energy paid by consumers, raise the price received by producers or lower the cost of production. ,"Fossil fuels subsidies costs generally outweigh the benefits.

 Subsidies to renewables and low-carbon energy technologies can bring long-term economic and environmental benefits".[19] In November 2011, an IEA report entitled Deploying Renewables 2011 said "subsidies in green energy technologies that were not yet competitive are justified in order to give an incentive to investing into technologies with clear environmental and energy security benefits".

The IEA's report disagreed with claims that renewable energy technologies are only viable through costly subsidies and not able to produce energy reliably to meet demand. "A portfolio of renewable energy technologies is becoming cost-competitive in an increasingly broad range of circumstances, in some cases providing investment opportunities without the need for specific economic support," the IEA said, and added that "cost reductions in critical technologies, such as wind and solar, are set to continue."[20]

Fossil-fuel consumption subsidies were $409 billion in 2010, oil products claim half of it. Renewable-energy subsidies were $66 billion in 2010 and will reach according to IEA $250 billion by 2035. Renewable energy is subsidized in order to compete in the market, increase their volume and develop the technology so that the subsidies become unnecessary with the development.

Eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies could bring economic and environmental benefits. Phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies by 2020 would cut primary energy demand 5%. Since the start of 2010, at least 15 countries have taken steps to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies

I say they should take the subsidy money presently assigned to fossil fuels and transfer all of it to renewable energy subsidies.

Fossil fuel was never a viable energy option for mankind. We cannot afford to burn fossil fuels, period.

Somehow, I don't think, you, Stan, would agree to the shutting off of all fossil fuel subsides and giving that money to renewable energy for at least as long as fossil fuels had it (about 100 years!) .




The rest of that thread and the article it was based on here
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AGelbert

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The REAL "real world"
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 03:04:34 pm »
Feast your eyes on this EXCELLENT comment that summarizes what pro-fossil fuelers REFUSE to see  ;) about TRUE energy costs versus pricing.

 Gerry Wootton   
 October 29, 2013 

The point about energy independence may not apply (yet) to countries with lots of coal and gas, or at least not in an obvious way. For countries that rely to any extent on imported energy this is more expensive than face value as it continuously drains the domestic money supply: while energy to some extent is converted into value, a large part of it is simply lost even in relatively efficient systems so the balance of trade is always negative.

However, Germany does have a fair bit of coal; the thing they have realized is that coal because of its extreme externalities places a heavy distributed burden on the economy even if its point load seems small. From this perspective, dependence on non-renewable energy, even if domestic, is not energy independence as this energy use places a burden on the economy while scarcity alone determines pricing.
 


One important aspect mentioned in the article is that distributed generation attracts private capital in a way that the centralized model does not and also frees up competition in the market.

A market does not even need a great deal of free competition to make it become competitive. This is certainly one reason that for profit utilities must resist: what is good for the consumer is not good for the shareholder  :emthup:; further, enterprises that have a history of monopolistic control are often poorly equipped  ;) to work in a truly competitive way.  >:(

In my experience, another value of distributed generation, not mentioned in the article, is that it makes consumers more aware of consumption and motivates restraint on consumption and desire for efficiency.

In off-grid applications there is always a highly visible tension between the cost of generation and storage versus the cost of high efficiency appliances. American utilities unwittingly are playing chicken with that issue by limiting roof-top capacity to an approximation of average customer demand.


The Official Explanation for the German Energy Transition

Short List of willfully blind (but not batty  ;) ) bats:

Nicole Foss
Gail Tverberg
Tyler Durden
Charles Hall
CNN
CNBC, etc.   >:(
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 07:04:53 pm by AGelbert »
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Re: Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the U.S.
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 09:48:10 pm »
The way it USED TO BE was THIS:



YES, THERE ARE STILL DIE HARD WAR AND OIL LOVING IDIOTS out there BUT THE TREND IS NOT THEIR FRIEND!



Americans have become reacquainted with arithmetic:  ;D


IRAQ War = SUBTRACT $,$$$,$$$,$$$ from the US Economy!   ???  >:(


Iraq War Could Have Paid For 100% Renewable Power Grid
 
by Washingtons Blog - April 14th, 2013, 3:30am

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/04/iraq-war-could-have-paid-for-100-renewable-power-grid/

Iraq War Poll: 10 Years Later, Majority View Invasion As Mistake

Quote
Ten years after the United States invaded Iraq, 53 percent of Americans now view the war as a mistake -- but with a majority of Republicans still standing behind the effort, according to a new Gallup survey.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/iraq-war-poll_n_2899987.html




RENEWABLE ENERGY = ADD $,$$$,$$$,$$$ TO the US Economy!







THAT'S RIGHT! >:(  WAR IS a Fossil Fuel subsidy! It's OVER for WARS FOR OIL! 


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Pacific Northwest States Link with B.C. on Carbon Pricing Pact

10/31/2013 

 Clean Edge News
 


The leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington have signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, committing their governments, and a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy, to a comprehensive and far- reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee were joined at Cisco SF by British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark, who participated via TelePresence from Victoria. BC Environment Minister Honourable Mary Polak attended in person.

 
Through the Action Plan, the leaders agreed that all four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that, where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to adopting and maintaining low carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction. In a joint action plan, the leaders committed to “meaningful coordination and linkage between states and provinces across North America.”

 
“This Action Plan represents the best of what Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls on each of us to do more—together—to create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy, and to meet our moral obligation to future generations,” said Governor Inslee. “Each of the governments here is already taking bold steps on climate change; by joining forces, we will accomplish even more," Inslee said.

 
Flanked by supportive business and labor leaders, the governors and Premier redoubled their commitment to growing the region’s clean energy economy. The region covered by the Action Plan has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion—effectively the world’s fifth largest economy.


“Oregon supports the Action Plan because we are already seeing how our commitment to clean energy is changing the face and fortune of our state, accounting for $5 billion in economic activity and 58,000 jobs,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “The debate is over. The scientific community no longer disputes that climate change is happening and human-caused. But regardless of where you stand on this question, there’s another good reason to act: transitioning to a clean economy creates jobs,” Kitzhaber said.

Under the Action Plan, California and British Columbia will maintain their existing carbon pricing programs along with their respective clean fuel standards, while Oregon and Washington have committed to moving forward on a suite of similar policies. The leaders further agreed to harmonize their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets and develop mid- term targets where needed to set a path toward long-term reductions.

 

“California isn't waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce greenhouse gases,” Brown said.

 

The leaders pledged to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015.

“Taking action to address climate change in our own capitals is an important first step,” said Premier Clark. “By supplying cleaner energy and associated technologies to help others reduce their emissions while growing the economy and creating jobs at home, our generation has an opportunity to lead on the world stage. This agreement signals we are ready to innovate and work together to achieve a healthy, strong, and secure future,“ Clark said.

 

Business leaders hailed the Action Plan as an important milestone and a boost to efforts for national and international policy change.

 

“Our company is seeing significant growth on the Pacific Coast, and it is encouraging that the trend is concurrent with this landmark accord,” said Steve Clem, Vice President of Skanska USA in Portland, Oregon, one of the ten largest construction companies in the U.S.

 

“In this time of political grandstanding and gridlock, private enterprises like ours that are trying to do the right thing are pleased by the recognition here that it really is possible to grow the economy, create jobs and still do our part as a region to fight climate change,” Clem said.


http://www.cleanedge.com/Resources/news/Pacific-Northwest-States-Link-with-B.C.-on-Carbon-Pricing-Pact
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AGelbert

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Alberta, Canada is subsidizing tar sands fossil fuel biosphere trashing!

How? The massive flooding that has recently hit Albert is caused by Global Warming. YET, it's the citizens of Alberta that have to foot the bill for flood damages. This is a SUBSIDY that is actually LARGER than the obvious tax breaks and depletion allowance subsidies given to fossil fuel pigs.

Just another TOTALLY IGNORED, IN-YOUR-FACE cost of burning fossil fuels that fossil fuelers refuse to own up to.

Quote

Funding and Insurance

Updated: October 1, 2013 8:15 am

Assistance is available to Albertans to help rebuild homes, businesses and communities.
The Alberta Government has allocated $1 billion  :o  >:( in immediate support for the first phase  ::) of recovery and reconstruction.


Disaster recovery programs (DRP)

Funds to cover uninsurable damage and loss to essential property. Additionally, if you live in a flood fringe, information on funding for mitigation


Estimated residential construction cost

The level of funding homeowners can receive through disaster assistance is based on the cost of construction per square foot to return the space to a functional, basic level of finish.



Hand-up Plan - Small Business Recovery Programs

Low-interest loans partially guaranteed by the province and interest rebates for eligible small businesses, agricultural producers and not-for-profit organizations



Insurance

Contact numbers, insurance information, claims information...



Historical road closures

Record of flood-affected provincial roads and bridges.


http://alberta.ca/recoveryinformation.cfm

The Alberta Fossil Fuel  Tar Sands pigs should be the ones billed that BILLION DOLLARS! 


And THAT MASSIVE INVISIBLE SUBSIDY that fossil fuelers enjoy on the backs of we-the-people is the MAIN REASON the fossil fuel agents of mendacity and duplicity are going all out to convince people to DOUBT the ESTABLISHED SCIENTIFIC cause and effect link between burning fossil fuels and damages from Global Warming AMPLIFICATION of extreme weather events.

The Fossil Fuelers   DID THE Climate Trashing CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars    and conscience free crooks     ,    they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it!
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 07:03:12 pm by AGelbert »
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Fossil Fuels Receive $500 Billion A Year In Government Subsidies Worldwide

Originally published on ClimateProgress

Producers of oil, gas and coal received more than $500 billion in government subsidies around the world in 2011, with the richest nations collectively spending more than $70 billion every year to support fossil fuels.

Those are the findings of a recent report by the Overseas Development Institute, a think tank based in the United Kingdom.

“If their aim is to avoid dangerous climate change, governments are shooting themselves in both feet,” the report, headed by ODI research fellow Shelagh Whitley, said. “They are subsidizing the very activities that are pushing the world towards dangerous climate change, and creating barriers to investment in low-carbon development and subsidy incentives that encourage investment in carbon-intensive energy.”

While the report acknowledges there is currently no globally agreed definition of what constitutes a subsidy, it cites the World Trade Organization’s approach: “a subsidy is any financial contribution by a government, or agent of a government, that confers a benefit on its recipient.”

Germany, for example, provided €1.9 billion in financial assistance to its hard coal sector in 2011, according to the report. That same year, the U.S. created a $1 billion fuel tax exemption for farmers and invested $500 million for fossil energy research and development. The top 11 “rich-country emitters” — the biggest being Russia, the United States, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom — are estimated to have spent $74 billion on subsidies in 2011.

That total amount outweighs the support provided to developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by seven to one, the report found.
Fossil fuel subsidies were actually created to benefit the poor. According to ODI, governments often justify giving tax breaks and freebies to energy companies in order for those companies to provide energy access to those who can’t afford it.

Generally, however, that winds up not being the case. Citing a report by the International Monetary Fund, ODI said only seven percent of the benefits from fossil fuel subsidies in developing countries reached the poorest 20 percent of people between 2005 and 2009. In contrast, more than 40 percent of those subsidies benefited the people in richest 20 percent of people during that time.


Image Credit: Overseas Development Institute

Subsidies for gasoline were the most unequal, with the report citing less than five percent of those subsidies reaching the poorest people and more than 60 percent benefiting the richest. Fossil fuel subsidies for liquefied petroleum gas, more commonly known as propane, had similar numbers. Kerosene subsidies were found to have been pretty much evenly distributed.


Image Credit: Overseas Development Institute

Subsidies to fossil fuels are also making it difficult to compete with artificially low energy prices, therefore discouraging private investors from putting money into clean energy technologies. What’s more, the growing number of countries that provide subsidies to both fossil fuels and clean energy may actually be negating the impact of climate finance and other clean-energy incentives, according to the report.

ODI is calling on the G20 countries to phase out all subsidies to coal and to oil and gas exploration by 2015, and end fossil fuel subsidies entirely by 2020. The process won’t be easy, the report noted, finding that citizens across the globe are generally misinformed about what they or others receive in terms of subsidies. Additionally, special interests are dominating the playing field, making it difficult to come to a consensus.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, individual and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $239 million to candidates and parties since 1990. But the U.S. isn’t the only moneyed country where special interests assure that fossil fuel subsidies reign on, according to the report.

In India, for example, federal and state governments incur great expense in order to provide the country’s powerful farm industry with “cheap or free” electricity, the report said. That, along with the fact that agricultural incomes are tax-exempt in India, provides farmers in that country with the funds to create a powerful lobby that “ensures that no government can hold on to power without holding on to [fossil fuel] subsidies.”

“The barriers to reporting on subsidies and to their removal are based on the multiple and often diverging interests of a wide range of stakeholders in both developed and developing countries,” the report said. “These include government officials, industry associations, companies, trade unions, consumers, social and labor political activists, and civil society organizations — all of whom need to be on board if subsidies are to be eliminated.”
 

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/11/fossil-fuels-receive-500-billion-year-government-subsidies-worldwide/#2DhkFruGQfP5Tj4o.99

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EROI PART 1 OF 2 PARTS

The purpose of this post is to discuss a term near and dear to the heart of any investor in energy products. That is the term EROI. It is important because we all need to know how cost effective any energy product technology is.

In a sane society, if an energy product is found to have a higher EROI than what is presently popular, subsidized by government or simply enjoys monopoly price control, then it would be a no-brainer that the new energy product should, of course, replace the one with a lower EROI. The natural tendency for energy corporations to try to extract maximum profit by externalizing costs aside for a moment, let's compare EROI on a few energy products and also explain the concept of EROI:

Snippet 1:
 [The most recent summary of work and data on the EROI of fuels was conducted in the summer of 2007 at SUNY ESF and appeared on The Oil Drum website and in a readable summary by Richard Heinberg. This paper summarizes the findings of that study, and also those preceding and subsequent to it where available. It also summarizes issues raised by some concerning the findings of these studies and with the calculations within.]

Snippet 2:
[Oil and conventional natural gas are usually studied together because they often occur in the same fields, have overlapping production operations and data archiving.]

Snippet 3:
[.. authors also estimated through linear extrapolation that the EROI for global oil and conventional natural gas could reach 1:1 as soon as about 2022 given alternative input measurement methods (Figure 2).]

Snippet 4:
[The authors of this EROI study note that they exclude the interest paid on debts to purchase foreign oil. Including that cost presumably would decrease EROI. As can be expected, the EROI of imported oil to the U.S. is mostly a reflection of the price of oil relative to the price of general goods and services at that time   ::)  :)  :evil4:(Figure 3).]

The authors note that the differences in EROI can sometimes be attributed to differences in system boundaries and technologies. However, overall there is a lack of empirical information on the subject. ]

Snippet 4
[Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energies in the world today, although it still represents far less than one percent of global or U.S. energy use. Since it is renewable energy, EROI is not calculated the same as for finite resources. The energy cost for such renewable systems is mostly the very large capital cost per unit output and the backup systems needed, for two thirds of the time the wind is not blowing.

As a result, the input for the EROI equation is mostly upfront, and the return over the lifetime of the system—which largely is not known well.

For renewable resources a slightly different type of EROI is often used, the “energy pay back time” (EPBT). EPBT is the time it takes for the system to generate the same amount of energy that went into creating, maintaining, and disposing of it, and so the boundaries used to define the EPBT are those incorporated into the EROI. ::)

Although the SUNY ESF study did not calculate EROI for wind they were able to use a recent “meta-analysis” study by Cleveland and Kubiszewski [27].

In this study the authors examined 112 turbines from 41 analyses of both conceptual and operational nature. The system boundaries included the manufacture of components, transportation of components to the construction site, the construction of the facility itself, operation and maintenance over the lifetime of the facility, overhead, possible grid connection costs, and decommissioning where possible, however not all studies include the same scope of analysis.

The authors concluded that the average EROI for all systems studied is 24.6:1 and that for all operational studies is 18.1:1. The operational studies provide lower EROIs because the simulations run in conceptual models appear to assume conditions to be more favorable than actually experienced on the ground.

The authors found that the EROI tends to increase with the size of the turbine. They conclude that there are three reasons for this. First, that smaller turbines are of older design and can be less efficient, so despite a larger initial capital investment larger systems compensate with larger energy outputs; second that larger models have larger rotor diameters so they can operate at lower wind speeds and capture more wind energy at higher efficiencies year round; and finally because of their size, larger models are taller and can take advantage of the higher wind speeds farther above ground. ]

Snippet 5:
[The use of Solar photovoltaics (PV) are increasing almost as rapidly as wind systems, although they too represent far less than 1 percent of the energy used by the U.S. or the world. Similarly, they are a renewable source of energy and thus the EROIs are also calculated using the same idea. Although there are very few studies which perform “bottom up” analysis of the PV systems we are familiar with today, we can calculate the EROI by dividing the lifetime of a module by its energy payback time (EPBT). Like wind turbines, PV EPBT can vary depending on the location of production and installation. It can also be affected by the materials used to make the modules, and the efficiency with which it operates - especially under extreme temperatures.

The SUNY ESF study looked at a number of life cycle analyses from 2000 to 2008 on a range of PV systems to determine system lifetimes and EPBT, and subsequently calculated EROI [28]. The system lifetimes and EPBT are typically modeled as opposed to empirically measured. As a result, EROI is usually presented as a range. Typically the author found most operational systems to have an EROI of approximately 3–10:1. ]=or> THAN 20:1! 

Snippet 6:
[The SUNY ESF study estimated that one wave energy project could have an EROI of approximately 15:1 [34].  ]

Snippet 7:
[ 13. Discussion
There has been a surprisingly small amount of work done in the field of EROI calculation despite its obvious uses and age. From this review it can be inferred that there are only a handful of people seriously working on the issues related to energy return on investment. As such it does not come as a surprise that the information is scarce and unrefined at best–although perhaps not in the case of ethanol.  :evil4: Additionally there is a great deal of rather misleading material presented in the media and very few with the training to cut through the fog or deliberate lies. We have presented what we believe to be virtually all of the data available until this special issue.

Since the 1980’s the energy information required to make such calculations have become even scarcer, with the possible exception of some European life cycle analyses. This is a terrible state of affairs given the massive changes in our energy situation unfolding daily.

We need to make enormously important decisions but do not have the studies, the data or the trained personnel to do so. Thus we are left principally with poorly informed politicians, industry advocacy and a blind but misguided faith in market solutions to make critical decisions about how to invest our quite limited remaining high quality energy resources. Our major scientific funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and even the Department of Energy have been criminally negligent by avoiding any serious programs to undertake proper EROI, environmental effects, or other studies, while our federal energy data collections degrade year by year under misguided cost cutting and free market policies.

As stated by Murphy and Hall [15], there needs to be a concerted effort to make energy information more transparent to the people so we can better understand what we are doing and where we are going. Given what we do know, it seems that the EROI of the fuels we depend on most are in decline; whereas the EROI for those fuels we hope to replace them with are lower than we have enjoyed in the past.  This leads one to believe that the current rates of energy consumption per capita we are experiencing are in no way sustainable in the long run. At best, the renewable energies we look toward may only cushion this decline.]

Sustainability 2011, 3, 1796-1809; doi:10.3390/su3101796
 www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability 
-------------

What does all the above mean to you and me? It means EROI math has great difficulty measuring renewables and, due to the boundary framework established for upstream and downstream costs including the EXCLUSION of environmental costs, has the potential to produce some fairly happy numbers for fossil fuels and nuclear. Yet even by the present computation convention, EROI is headed downwards for fossil fuels and nuclear.
Let's explore EROI some more:

-------------
Snippet 1:
[Measuring the EROEI of a single physical process is unambiguous, but there is no agreed standard on which activities should be included in measuring the EROEI of an economic process. In addition, the form of energy of the input can be completely different from the output.]

Snippet 2:
[How deep should the probing in the supply chain of the tools being used to generate energy go? For example, if steel is being used to drill for oil or construct a nuclear power plant, should the energy input of the steel be taken into account, should the energy input into building the factory being used to construct the steel be taken into account and amortized? Should the energy input of the roads which are used to ferry the goods be taken into account? What about the energy used to cook the steelworker's breakfasts? These are complex questions evading simple answers. A full accounting would require considerations of opportunity costs and comparing total energy expenditures in the presence and absence of this economic activity.]

Snippet 3:
[Conventional economic analysis has no formal accounting rules for the consideration of waste products that are created in the production of the ultimate output. For example, differing economic and energy values placed on the waste products generated in the production of ethanol makes the calculation of this fuel's true EROEI extremely difficult.]

source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested
-------------


And what about environmental degradation costs? Don't they matter in the "real world"? Can we so narrowly define a process like EROI that we deliberately exclude costs that aren't immediately quantifiable? Why are fossil fuel or nuclear energy corporations the first to bray and warn that all new technologies need to have the precautionary principle of science applied to them but get quite huffy when you question EROI numbers for their products? If that's the "real world', then we have a rather serious objectivity deficit in play with EROI math.

Here is an interesting article about a study of algal biocrude EROI. I bring this to your attention because it shows a very serious and responsible approach to determining EROI which I believe is sorely lacking in fossil and nuclear fuels:

-------------

ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR ALGAL BIOCRUDE

Snippet 1:
[Over the last year a student (Colin Beal) at the University of Texas, Austin, has been characterizing the experimental set-up at the Center for Electromechanics for testing an algae to bio-oil process. The process stops short of converting the bio-oil into biodiesel, and he presented the results at a recent conference: Beal, Colin M., Hebner, Robert E., Webber, Michael E., Ruoff, Rodney S., and Seibert, A. Frank. THE ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR ALGAL BIOCRUDE: RESULTS FOR A RESEARCH PRODUCTION FACILITY, Proceedings of the ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition IMECE2010 November 12–18, 2010, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, IMECE2010-38244.]

Snippet 2:
[the stage of development of the entire technology and process of inventing new energy sources and pathways. It is important that we understand how to interpret findings “from the lab” into real-world or industrial-scale processes. To anticipate the future EROI of an algae to biofuel process, Colin performed two extra analyses to anticipate what might be possible if anticipated advances in technology and processing occur: a Reduced Case and Literature Model calculation.]

CONTINUED IN PART 2
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AGelbert

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EROI PART 2 OF 2 PARTS


Snippet 3:
[What Colin discovered was that the EROI of the Reduced Case and Literature Model were 0.13 and 0.57, respectively. This shows that we have much to learn for the potential of making viable liquid fuels. Additionally, Colin’s calculations for the experimental set-up (and Reduced Case analysis) show that 97% of the energy output resides in the biomass, not the bio-oil. For his idealized Literature Model, 82% of the energy output was in the biomass.

While these results seem discouraging, we do not have much ability to put these results into context of the rate of development of other alternative technologies and biofuels. How long did it take to get photovoltaic panels with EROI > 1 from the first working prototype in a lab? We have somewhat of an idea that it took one or two decades for the Brazilians to get reasonable EROI > 1 from using sugar cane for biomass and biofuel production (Brazilian sugar cane grown and processed in Sao Paulo is estimated near EROI = 8 ).  ]

Snippet 4:
[Let’s hope others join in in trying to assess the EROI of their experimental and anticipated commercial processes for alternative energy technologies.]
Source:
http://environmentalresearchweb.org/blog/2011/01/the-eroi-of-algae-biofuels.html

ALL ABOUT DUCKWEED:

Snippet 1:
[Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a tiny aquatic plant can be used to clean up animal waste at industrial hog farms and potentially be part of the answer for the global energy crisis. Their research shows that growing duckweed on hog wastewater can produce five to six times more starch per acre than corn, according to researcher Dr. Jay Cheng. This means that ethanol production using duckweed could be "faster and cheaper than from corn," [/i]says fellow researcher Dr. Anne-Marie Stomp.
"We can kill two birds – biofuel production and wastewater treatment – with one stone – duckweed," Cheng says. Starch from duckweed can be readily converted into ethanol using the same facilities currently used for corn, Cheng adds.]

Snippet 2:
[The duckweed system consists of shallow ponds that can be built on land unsuitable for conventional crops, and is so efficient it generates water clean enough for re-use. The technology can utilize any nutrient-rich wastewater, from livestock production to municipal wastewater.]

Snippet 3:
[Cheng says, "Duckweed could be an environmentally friendly, economically viable feedstock for ethanol."
"There's a bias in agriculture that all the crops that could be discovered have been discovered," Stomp says, "but duckweed could be the first of the new, 21st century crops. In the spirit of George Washington Carver, who turned peanuts into a major crop, Jay and I are on a mission to turn duckweed into a new industrial crop, providing an innovative approach to alternative fuel production."]
Source:
http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/38605

Duckweed for electricity at 3 CENTS per kwh:

Snippet 1:
[It's a little, water-born plant that doubles in mass every 24 hours. The ducks really like it," Behrens said. Two pounds of duckweed seed in a 32-foot tank in Philadelphia grew to a depth of 2 inches in 10 days, he said.

"It's very easy to harvest," Behrens said. "That was the undoing of a lot of algae concepts. You can't spend too much energy removing fuel from water, otherwise on your balance sheet you haven't made any energy."

Duckweed is smaller than a grain of rice, but a million times bigger than an algae cell, he said. The duckweed is harvested with a nylon mesh, similar to screen doors, then dried.
In many ways, it's similar to wood-products waste, another type of biomass, which is used to generate electricity in White City and other places around the country.

"Trees don't grow fast enough, so we found something that grows faster," Behrens said. "The key is growing fuel on site, because shipping it in is too costly. We just had to find a fast-growing plant -- and there are plenty of those -- and then create an artificial environment that optimizes plant growth."

The artificial environment -- BioEnergy Domes -- is where Pacific Domes comes in. There are four sizes of BioEnergy Domes, ranging from a backyard-sized, 5,000-kilowatt version that can supply energy for one home to a commercial-size, 60-foot-diameter unit, such as the initial unit in a Philadelphia industrial park. The generating unit sits outside the dome and runs silently.

Behrens said it costs about $750,000 to $800,000 to install the largest BioEnergy Domes, and the payback time is only two years.

"You are able to generate electricity at the cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour, the same as coal or nuclear plants," Behrens said. "It's completely controllable, unlike wind or solar power, and generates on demand like a fossil-fuel plant."]
http://www.kgw.com/news/Ore-company-uses-duckweed-to-generate-electricity-117942849.html
-------------
While I laugh at the idea that the actual cost of coal or nuclear power is just 3 cents per kwh because the EROI numbers on those two poisonous energy products exclude massive subsidies and environmental costs, I see no reason to doubt that the 3 cents per kwh is bona fide with duckweed. Since nuclear has an official EROI of 10.0 and coal has an official EROI of 80.0 then duckweed is somewhere in between. Even if it is only in the wind EROI range of 18 it is still a far better alternative than, for example, natural gas as of 2005 which was 10.0 because there are zero pollution costs associated with it and less transportation costs as well because duckweed infrastructure would be decentralized and local.
EROI figures for nuclear, coal, and natural gas 2005 and wind source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

Now I bring this low corn ethanol EROI to your attention. I am certain the EROI would be much higher for ethanol if duckweed was the biomass source rather than corn. Of course that would cut chemical fertilizer and pesticide corporations out of the loop. It would also reduce fossil fuel costs in harvesting because duckweed is not a crop requiring tilling and grows several times faster than corn simply with animal feces in stagnant water. A mechanized netting operation for monthly harvests (shorter intervals are possible depending on climate) would vastly exceed corn biomass in addition to ultimately cutting out fossil fuels from the farm machinery because they would run on ethanol.

CORN ETHANOL EROI

Snippet:
[They found that the EROI range for corn ethanol remained low, from 1.29–1.70 ]

source:
http://www.countercurrents.org/murphy100810.htm

Furthermore duckweed can be pelletized and used as food for tilapia fish farming or fuel in furnaces.
sources:
http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/22406406/1260766168/name/duckweed++final.pdf
http://www.permies.com/t/13500/stoves/you-burn-duckweed-rocket-heater

What about those that claim that renewables like duckweed, wind, photovoltaic, etc. are just niche energy markets and will never actually replace fossil fuels as number one?


Snippet 1:
[4. Clean energy investment has surpassed investments in fossil fuels
2011 was the first time global investments in renewable energy surpassed investments in fossil fuels.
The global market for clean energy was worth a whopping $250 billion.
The United States (as of 2012 before China passed us) is currently leading in corporate R&D and venture capital investments in clean energy globally, and last year retook the top spot in overall investment with a 33 percent increase to $55.9 billion.]

As to the current EROI figures on fossil fuels, please consider that YOU paid for a lot of the R&D for them as well as current and past subsidies BEFORE the EROI figures are calculated.

Snippet 2:
[6. Fossil fuels have gotten 75 times more subsidies than clean energy
To date, the oil-and-gas industry received $446.96 billion (adjusted for inflation) in cumulative energy subsidies from 1994 to 2009, whereas renewable energy sources received just $5.93 billion (adjusted for inflation).

Renewable energy investments should be put in proper historical perspective. According to the Energy Information Agency, “focusing on a single year’s data does not capture the imbedded effects of subsidies that may have occurred over many years across all energy fuels and technologies.”

The U.S. government is showing a smaller commitment to renewables than it showed in the early years of the oil-and-gas industries. A study showed that “during the early years of what would become the U.S. oil and gas industries, federal subsidies for producers averaged half a percent of the federal budget. By contrast, the current support for renewables is barely a fifth that size, just one-tenth of 1 percent of federal spending.”]

Snippet 3:
[Here are the top six things you really need to know:

Clean energy is competitive with other types of energy
Clean energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels
Clean energy improves grid reliability
Clean energy investment has surpassed investments in fossil fuels
Investments in clean energy are cost effective
Fossil fuels have gotten 75 times more subsidies than clean energy]

Source:
http://idigmygarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53750

Given all these real world facts about the main energy investment trends and the promise of EROI increases from renewables such as wind, photovoltaic and duckweed free of the environmental hazards of fossil and nuclear fuels and the prospect of much reduced government energy subsidies that we-the-people will benefit from,  isn't it folly to cling to the concept that centralized power systems will remain dominant in the energy markets?

Quote
" One can judge from experiment or one can blindly accept authority.

To the scientific mind experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description to be junked when it no longer fits.

To the academic mind authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority."  Robert Heinlein

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AGelbert

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The End Polluter Welfare Act of 2013
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2013, 09:37:28 pm »
Legislation to End Fossil Fuel Tax Breaks Introduced by Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ellison
Friday, November 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – As House and Senate budget negotiators look for ways to lower deficits,

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) today introduced legislation to eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies that support the oil, gas and coal industries.

The End Polluter Welfare Act of 2013 would remove tax breaks, close loopholes, end taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and prevent companies from escaping liability for spills or deducting cleanup costs. Under current law, these subsidies are expected to cost taxpayers more than $100 billion in the coming decade.

The White House budget proposal for next year calls for eliminating several of the same provisions that the legislation by Sanders and Ellison would end.

“At a time when fossil fuel companies are racking up record profits, it is time to end the absurdity of American taxpayers providing massive subsidies to these hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations,” Sanders said.

“The five biggest oil companies made $23 billion in the third quarter of 2013 alone. They don’t need any more tax giveaways,” Ellison said. “We should invest in the American people by creating good jobs and ending cuts to food assistance instead of throwing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world.”

The five most profitable oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhilips) together made more than $1 trillion in profits over the past decade.

The Sanders and Ellison legislation is supported by environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and 350.org.

The fiscal watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, which has worked for nearly two decades to eliminate wasteful energy subsidies, also supports the bills.

http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/legislation-to-end-fossil-fuel-tax-breaks-introduced-by-sen-sanders-rep-ellison
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AGelbert

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PP said,
Quote
All part of the great upward wealth funnel ponzi.

Yep. People like you and I that see behind the charade are slowly but surely increasing in number. I hope it is not too late. These hallmarks of mendacity a minute that rule over us have planted so many false assumptions about who pays for what, and actual costs of resources and energy, including corrupting the very language to the point that "conservation" means resource **** and impoverishment of native peoples living sustainably (followed by large masses of poor with a degraded biosphere) followed by blame the victim BS that we must assume Mens Rea is the daily bread of the 1%.  Orwell knew what was coming because it was MOSTLY ALREADY THERE. So it goes.  >:(
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monsta666

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The quagmire that faces industrialised civilisation is much of it was built using cheap fossil fuels which were not only subsidised directly but in nearly all cases the externalities were never factored in so the damage and costs associated with fossil fuel were lugged to the general population/wildlife/environment.

The other important thing is energy especially cheap energy acts as an enabler of other resources. This means if it is cheap to procure energy then the costs of getting other resources lessens and when you reduce the price of any commodity you encourage its consumption. As consumption increases you not only encourage more wasteful consumption but you also make it viable to mine big fields that could only be economic under the current regime of fossil fuels. Think of all those gold mines or other rare metal mines that need to be treated with harsh chemicals. None of those projects would be viable if there was no cheap energy so this is another hidden associated cost of fossil fuels.

 

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