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Old 05-04-2014, 11:00 PM   #41
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^^^ Nice post and some gloom and doom points, for sure. However, the article was commented on by government and academia with no industry representation. They still dump on nuclear when it is very safe these days. Ask the French who's entire country is on nuke power.

Very little was said about the fact that the grid system across the U.S. is also a patchwork of all kinds of equipment and transformers. When Hurricane IKE roared through here a few years ago, most of Houston was without power for nearly three weeks. Not because we couldn't generate power, but the local grid was torn apart. We must have had 25 power companies working on putting it all back together. And the local power company sure made it clear that the cost of the work will be added to your bill once they figure it out (which I believe they still are trying to).

Windmills and solar are pipe dreams and even Boone Pickens gave up on it after he lost several billion of his personal dollars. We do have a large windfarm near Sweetwater, Texas, but the energy it generates is not free as those big windmills are very costly to operate and maintain.

But, like other utility costs, increases are inevitable.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:15 PM   #42
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Are the refiners afraid to risk the money when rule changes and government difficulties could make then stranded assets?

Under current law is it illegal to export crude, but not refined product? So if we had the capacity we could export value added distillates to Europe or Asia for example?

Ha
It is illegal to export crude without a permit. Permits are not forthcoming. Refined products can be freely exported and exports have been rising rapidly.

The challenge for refiners is that nobody wants a giant refinery in their back yard. Permitting and whatnot takes years and is uncertain. However, Kinder Morgan and the like have been building micro-refineries to produce "light oil." Light oil is the least refined thing you can export, and I am lead to understand the stuff being built is closer to a still than a refinery.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:21 PM   #43
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I use old school paper Ha, but I found it on the online version here in STL Post Dispatch

U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good
Los Angeles Times
May 3, 2014 11:00 PM
LOS ANGELES • As the temperature plunged to 16 below zero in Chicago in early January and record lows were set across the eastern U.S., electrical system managers implored the public to turn off stoves, dryers and even lights or risk blackouts.

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Thanks very much Muilligan. I think we need to have higher electricity and natural gas prices, to keep ups from going off on a building boom of eventual energy white elephants like 4000 sq ft houses. It would be painful, but the Europeans manage it so likely we can too. It also makes living in forgiving climates like coastal California a bit cheaper, since heating and cooling are both minimal in many places. When I lived at the beach I never even noticed my gas bill, I had only a wall mounted gas burner and of course no cooling. I guess farther inland one might want a small heat pump system.
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It is illegal to export crude without a permit. Permits are not forthcoming. Refined products can be freely exported and exports have been rising rapidly.

The challenge for refiners is that nobody wants a giant refinery in their back yard. Permitting and whatnot takes years and is uncertain. However, Kinder Morgan and the like have been building micro-refineries to produce "light oil." Light oil is the least refined thing you can export, and I am lead to understand the stuff being built is closer to a still than a refinery.
Thanks Brewer.

Don't blame the Nimby's. I used to live farther north, and on some days the north wind from the refineries at Cherry Point could just about make you gag. I think they are much cleaner now though.



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Old 05-05-2014, 09:25 AM   #44
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I must admit I haven't followed solar too much over the years, but all I have read is that the price has came down considerably the past few years. Based on the paper this morning it appears ( at least in our area) it needs to come down quite a bit more to make it economically feasible. The article featured a man taking advantage of utility tax credits to install solar panels on his home said break even point would be 8-10 years. But then he admitted if utility wasn't paying for half of it, ( courtesy of a limited mandated credit program that is subsidized by 1% increase in utility bills for everyone) it would not be worth it and too expensive. I am sure kilowatt rates per area range significantly throughout the country and ours is around 8 cents to 11 cents depending on the season for residential.


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Old 05-05-2014, 10:05 AM   #45
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I must admit I haven't followed solar too much over the years, but all I have read is that the price has came down considerably the past few years. Based on the paper this morning it appears ( at least in our area) it needs to come down quite a bit more to make it economically feasible. The article featured a man taking advantage of utility tax credits to install solar panels on his home said break even point would be 8-10 years. But then he admitted if utility wasn't paying for half of it, ( courtesy of a limited mandated credit program that is subsidized by 1% increase in utility bills for everyone) it would not be worth it and too expensive. I am sure kilowatt rates per area range significantly throughout the country and ours is around 8 cents to 11 cents depending on the season for residential.


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Unless you are bound and determined to use solar panels or other means to reduce power consumption, a homeowner will be better off financially (and time/investment wise) by just evaluating his power consumption use and making efficient changes accordingly.

As an example, we ran a fridge in our garage as an extra that we bought new in 1976 for several years. When I measured the power consumption of that fridge I was shocked to find out it drew many times more current than a new, energy efficient one. Out it went and was replaced by a smaller, more efficient one.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:05 AM   #46
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... We do have a large windfarm near Sweetwater, Texas, but the energy it generates is not free as those big windmills are very costly to operate and maintain. ...
I thought that wind was actually pretty inexpensive regarding on-going costs?

But the problem with wind (and solar, see below), is that it is intermittent, the cost of producing electricity is only part of the equation. Once it becomes a significant part of the grid, it puts more burden on the other peaker sources to fill in the dips. Those costs should really be allocated back to solar/wind, but they are mostly getting a free ride now, but that could change.



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I must admit I haven't followed solar too much over the years, but all I have read is that the price has came down considerably the past few years.

.... solar panels on his home said break even point would be 8-10 years. But then he admitted if utility wasn't paying for half of it, ( courtesy of a limited mandated credit program that is subsidized by 1% increase in utility bills for everyone) it would not be worth it and too expensive. ...
Right. The subsidies mean many pay for a few. That doesn't work when you go for large scale implementation. Or the way I like to say it, subsidies don't change the cost effectiveness or ROI, they only change who pays for it. It's a shell game, not a 'solution'.

So like I said above, large scale solar/wind has to include any additional costs for peaker and/or storage, and that raises the price (and environmental impact).

The good news is, the technologies keep improving, and even if it is more expensive, it at least provides a cap for energy prices.

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Old 05-05-2014, 10:12 AM   #47
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...

As an example, we ran a fridge in our garage as an extra that we bought new in 1976 for several years. When I measured the power consumption of that fridge I was shocked to find out it drew many times more current than a new, energy efficient one. Out it went and was replaced by a smaller, more efficient one.
Good that you actually measured it. I keep seeing articles and PSAs saying to replace any old fridge/freezer, no ifs/ands/buts. Well, we have a 1992 fridge and a 1980's freezer. True, they use more juice than a new one, but not so much in absolute terms. The old fridge uses maybe $3 more per month. I'm not throwing a working unit in a landfill, and spending $700 to 'save' $36/year. I also have a little more faith that those old units will continue to run for another decade than I do in a new one running for 10 years. They are proven units!

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Old 05-05-2014, 10:15 AM   #48
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Unless you are bound and determined to use solar panels or other means to reduce power consumption, a homeowner will be better off financially (and time/investment wise) by just evaluating his power consumption use and making efficient changes accordingly.



As an example, we ran a fridge in our garage as an extra that we bought new in 1976 for several years. When I measured the power consumption of that fridge I was shocked to find out it drew many times more current than a new, energy efficient one. Out it went and was replaced by a smaller, more efficient one.

I will get my first crack at this with my metal roof I installed a few months ago. Supposedly it will save 15% on summer utility bills due to the reflection of heat away from the attic area. I doubt I ever really will know for sure what savings I get because our summer temperature ranges vary considerably year to year, so comparing last year to this years bill probably will not be a meaningful comparison.


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Old 05-05-2014, 11:49 AM   #49
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Good that you actually measured it. I keep seeing articles and PSAs saying to replace any old fridge/freezer, no ifs/ands/buts. Well, we have a 1992 fridge and a 1980's freezer. True, they use more juice than a new one, but not so much in absolute terms. The old fridge uses maybe $3 more per month. I'm not throwing a working unit in a landfill, and spending $700 to 'save' $36/year. I also have a little more faith that those old units will continue to run for another decade than I do in a new one running for 10 years. They are proven units!

-ERD50
I measured its consumption using a Killowat meter and called Entergy (they won't post my rate on the bill) to get the cost per KW. We (Entergy and I) figured it was costing about $10/month to run that old unit. Even though it ran well, the door seals were dried out causing it to run more frequently and defrost water was running onto the garage floor.

Let's say it was at the end of its "efficient" life and although still working, it was time for the next user. We gave it away (it's still running two years later) and bought a unit for ~ $350 that is about 1/2 the size and much more efficient.

So, the payback is about three years, which is respectable. And it takes up 1/2 the space.

Since we now are on water use rationing here in south Texas, my next project is to fine tune my sprinkler system for the most efficient use of water.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:59 PM   #50
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I will get my first crack at this with my metal roof I installed a few months ago. Supposedly it will save 15% on summer utility bills due to the reflection of heat away from the attic area. I doubt I ever really will know for sure what savings I get because our summer temperature ranges vary considerably year to year, so comparing last year to this years bill probably will not be a meaningful comparison.


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Maybe this metal roof will save me some money. Today is the first real warm humid sunny day. It's currently 90 outside and inside house temperature has only raised from 69 to 72 since I got out of bed.


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Old 05-07-2014, 11:39 AM   #51
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I think what you are seeing with coal is the prohibitive cost to outfit a NEW generating facility with NOx and SO2 controls to meet current emission standards. Older plants are grandfathered into old rules. There are still a lot of coal-fired generating plants in operation. New coal plants probably won't be built. Nuke plants will be, however.
This is true. Though I don't necessarily think older plants are grandfathered, or utilities are not acting this way. There have been many SCR (NOx reduction) and FGD (SO2 reduction) projects on existing coal plants recently. For coal generating stations where these environmental controls don't make sense, either because of the aging plant, or because the power requirements for the systems are too large in proportion to the output of the old plant, plants are being retired. The currently-low cost of natural gas is also driving a shift from coal to NG and contributing to the retirements.

27 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity to retire over next five years - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Most of the new plants I see planned or being constructed are combined cycle natural gas plants. Nuclear plant permitting is a long process. Natural gas will probably supply the majority of new base load generation in the foreseeable future. At least until prices go up and utilities shift their focus again.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:21 AM   #52
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Gartman does it again! I thought he had called a correction inevitable just last week, and then we get this. "I was wrong to call for a correction"

Abundantly wrong to expect correction: Gartman

More whiplash. Most people with any sense would have shut up by now.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:46 AM   #53
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Market prognosticators are less accurate than the weatherman. I tune them out - they are not worth the effort of listening to.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:50 AM   #54
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I just woke up, brushed my teeth, made coffee, then turned on my laptop to check on the market which just opened. Darn, I love the smell of money in the morning, and it came even before that of the coffee.

Hope I did not jinx it.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:51 AM   #55
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Gartman does it again! I thought he had called a correction inevitable just last week, and then we get this. "I was wrong to call for a correction"

Abundantly wrong to expect correction: Gartman

More whiplash. Most people with any sense would have shut up by now.
His problem is sense vs cents. He'll get it right one of these days, then we'll hear about that call forever. Maybe he should change his name to Janus.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:16 AM   #56
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His problem is sense vs cents. He'll get it right one of these days, then we'll hear about that call forever. Maybe he should change his name to Janus.
A big part is CNBC who doesn't care about their guests' credibility. All they care about is what makes the most noise at the moment.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:30 AM   #57
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A big part is CNBC who doesn't care about their guests' credibility. All they care about is what makes the most noise at the moment.
+1 I agree. Sometimes I wonder though, wont they eventually reach the point where even their least sophisticated viewers will see them as a joke? Oh, I forgot, sorry, silly me, that is impossible.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:31 AM   #58
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A big part is CNBC who doesn't care about their guests' credibility. All they care about is what makes the most noise at the moment.
Incredible how large the audience is for noise. I never watch CNBC any more for financial info. I love it when I see the Dow move tenths of a percent any given day and talking heads explain why in great detail.

But for humility's sake, I listened to/watched CNBC morning and evenings almost every Mon thru Fri shortly after I started investing "seriously" over 25 years ago. Fortunately I quickly gravitated to Peter Lynch, then Bogle and then Bernstein, which allowed me to seek my own info and rely on myself. The journey did take a while, but I had to take it to develop the discipline to ignore the noise that is 99% of financial "news."
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:38 AM   #59
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+1 I agree. Sometimes I wonder though, wont they eventually reach the point where even their least sophisticated viewers will see them as a joke? Oh, I forgot, sorry, silly me, that is impossible.
I wonder.......
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:42 AM   #60
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I don't watch CNBC anymore, but I have their app which is nice for market stats, but unfortunately still does show "headlines" in the crawl feed.

The CNBC of today is a far cry from the CNBC of 15-20 years ago which had real analysis along side their DOW 10,000 caps, knowledgeable guests, and kept the political spin to a minimum. But Louis Rukeyser and his guests were still way better.
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