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Author Topic: But, but, but, the United States  (Read 2875 times)

rboyd

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But, but, but, the United States
« on: April 07, 2017, 08:01:54 PM »
Given the move of the United States into a position of climate hooliganism and outright pandering to the fossil fuel industry, I feel that its appropriate to have a topic specifically for that country. There are a number of areas that the U.S. is relatively unique in:

1. The large-scale of the privately owned fossil fuel organizations, with their related oligarch owners (e.g. Koch Industries) that are very directly involved in all aspects of societal and political opinion forming and decision making. Together with the huge corporations, such as Exxon Mobil. No other advanced industrialized country has such as scale of fossil fuel interests. The value of their assets is directly threatened by substantive action to reduce fossil-fuel usage.

2. The complete lack of any control over the ability of the rich and corporations to use money as a political tool.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/books/review/dark-money-by-jane-mayer.html

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trump-american-oligarch

3. Major increases in indigenous fossil fuel production due to the fracking revolution. Falls in U.S. electricity-related CO2 emissions have mainly come from a switch from coal to fracked gas, when not accounting for fugitive CH4 emissions.

http://fortune.com/2017/03/17/world-co2-emissions-stalled-last-year-thanks-to-the-u-s/

4. A world leader in industrial innovation, and a growing economic sector dependent upon the success of the energy transition.

5. The diplomatic, economic and military ability to make or break any global climate initiative.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 08:34:19 PM »
A large increase in U.S. methane emissions over the past decade inferred from satellite data and surface observations - 2016 scientific paper.

Abstract

The global burden of atmospheric methane has been increasing over the past decade, but
the causes are not well understood. National inventory estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate no significant trend in U.S. anthropogenic methane emissions from 2002 to present. Here we use satellite retrievals and surface observations of atmospheric methane to suggest that U.S. methane emissions have increased by more than 30% over the 2002–2014 period. The trend is largest in the central part of the country, but we cannot readily attribute it to any specific source type. This large increase in U.S. methane emissions could account for 30–60% of the global growth of atmospheric methane seen in the past decade.

The U.S. may have reduced emissions of CO2 over this period, but perhaps not CO2 equivalents? The Trump administration has removed the Obama-administrations attempts to reduce CH4 emissions at fracking sites.

http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/publications/2016/Turner_GRL_2016_Methane.pdf

This work was supported by NASA, will such work survive the Trump cuts? The fate of organizations that provide inconvenient facts perhaps.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 08:40:14 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 08:48:53 PM »
Switching from coal to natural gas does not curb global warming effectively, due to CH4 fugitive emissions. Review of academic literature by Skeptical Science.

"it can be concluded from these papers that EPA is very likely underestimating fossil fuel related methane emissions in its greenhouse gas inventory, anywhere between 30% and 100%, possibly even more. Meaning, in order for the US to effectively lower its greenhouse gas emissions, it also needs to get fugitive methane emissions under control."

"best case scenario assumes that relative leak rates, globally, are about 50% higher than what EPA currently estimates (based on Brandt et al., 2014). Since we know by now that even that could be too optimistic, it becomes more and more obvious that a switch from coal to natural gas for electricity production is not likely to curb global warming effectively, but rather delay effective measures further"

https://www.skepticalscience.com/frackingupdate2016.html

Sigmetnow

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 10:27:02 PM »
Solar breaks 50% of California electricity for first time – driving negative wholesale rates
According to the EIA, California solar power has been driving wholesale electricity rates towards – and sometimes below – $0/MWh – and on March 11th total solar power production broke 50% of demand. The increase in utility-scale solar power , which grew 50% in the state in 2016, is quickly changing the landscape. Recently we saw California solar + wind hit a record high at 49.2%, with all renewable energy above 56%.

In March, during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., system average hourly prices were frequently at or below $0 per megawatthour (MWh). In contrast, average hourly prices in March 2013–15 during this time of day ranged from $14/MWh to $45/MWh.
...
Per the EIA, there are multiple reasons why March is the season most probable for negative wholesale rates, including one unique to this year – heavy amounts of hydroelectric power due to flooding this winter. The other major reason is that spring and fall are low demand seasons due to the temperate climate not needing as much heating or cooling. Solar will produce more electricity in the summer – but the high demand of summer means the solar is a lower overall percentage.
...
Battery investors will build to have access to $0/MWh solar power – so they can later sell it from 4-8 PM as the duck curve grows and dies.
https://electrek.co/2017/04/07/solar-power-breaks-50-of-california-demand-for-first-time-driving-negative-wholesale-electricity-rates/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2017, 03:32:08 AM »
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 04:25:34 AM »
U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell 1.7% in 2016 - but on a CO2 equivalent basis, counting the methane emissions, US GHG emissions may not have fallen at all over the past decade.

A large increase in U.S. methane emissions over the past decade inferred from satellite data and surface observations:

http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/publications/2016/Turner_GRL_2016_Methane.pdf

The U.S. has been emitting a lot more methane than we thought, says EPA:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/15/epa-issues-large-upward-revision-to-u-s-methane-emissions/?utm_term=.00e412add0a7

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2017, 07:43:41 PM »
Interesting report on Minnesota's 2025 Energy Plan, and the way that "energy independence" can be reframed to support renewables and keeping the states energy dollars within the state. Also very independent of federal actions, and therefore intervention from the Denier In Chief.

http://www.lec.leg.mn/projects/2025/MN_E2025_final.pdf

Now if the U.S. northern states and Canada could get together on a renewable energy superpower plan ...

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 10:30:01 PM »
EPA halts inquiry into oil and gas industry emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas

The Ostrich approach to climate change issues, remove the ability to see the problem. If you can't see it, then it doesn't exist. See no methane, hear no methane, speak no methane ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/02/epa-halts-inquiry-into-oil-and-gas-industry-emissions-of-methane-a-powerful-greenhouse-gas/?utm_term=.363448c75519

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 10:51:02 PM »
Switching from coal to natural gas does not curb global warming effectively, due to CH4 fugitive emissions.

That would hold if 1) we were doing a 1:1 exchange of coal for NG and 2) if we do nothing to curtail emissions.

1) Wind and solar are now cheaper than buying fuel for gas plants.  That means when the wind blows or Sun shines CCNG plants will shut down.  Assume no new storage, we'd be likely to end up with about 30% solar, 40% wind and 30% NG. 

That's a move from 100% coal to 30% NG.  A 70% CO2 savings.  Storage will take NG's contribution lower. 

2) There's at least one study that demonstrates that methane leaks at the well site and in distribution can be held at very low levels.  The cost would apparently be low due to the gas saved and sold on to offset the cost. 

It's a matter of adequate regulation (and enforcement) which was beginning to happen under PBO.  We may suffer a four year interruption with the current White House part time occupant.

Furthermore, there is a very large amount of methane released in coal extraction and processing.  Those coal mines that blow up?  Gas seepages were not being vented out rapidly enough.  I've been trying to nail down some numbers but it looks like we produce about the same amount of NG emissions per MWh with coal as with NG.  And the NG emissions are largely controllable.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 07:09:35 AM »
With a lot of spare natural gas generation capacity, the marginal cost of the fuel is the driving factor. For NG, that cost could easily fall. There could also be a limit on renewables share, as reduced demand for NG could drive its price down - making it more competitive at the margin (and reducing the build out of new renewable capacity). A meaningful carbon tax would stop such a scenario from happening - much higher than Obama or the current Canadian government are considering. The IEA deals with this through multiple price options.

https://www.eia.gov/pressroom/presentations/sieminski_01052017.pdf

Up to now gas has been increasing pretty much in lockstep with coal being reduced. Renewables increases have been matched by demand growth. Renewables have to grow a lot faster than currently estimated by the wind and solar industry associations.

As the methane leakage is at the well-head and throughout the distribution network, would seem to be relatively hard to limit it. A carbon tax that included methane leakages would help do the job. Havn't seen any studies comparing coal methane leakages and NG leakages, would very interesting to see some.

Let's hope that it only four years of Trump!

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 09:33:05 AM »
I'm not so sure about falling NG prices.  Much of our supply now comes from oil wells, does it not?  If oil prices stay low we won't be drilling any new oil wells in the US.  Our production prices are too high.

The NG fracking wells have turned out to not be a source of cheap gas.  In most fields they have a year or so of high production and then output falls to a small fraction of the initial year's output.  That means the need to constantly drill, and spend money to drill.

We're likely to keep increasing our NG usage for a few more years until we get a lot more wind and solar online.  That demand may use up what oil well NG we have.  Return on fracked NG wells may be low enough to make it hard to get financing for many replacement wells.

I think most of the methane distribution leaking comes from our old urban distribution system.  Not the main pipes that carry from well to generation plant.  Fixing leaks in those limited, large diameter pipes should be easy to detect and repair.  Some of our cities leak methane like a sieve.


rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 05:37:07 PM »
There have been some real breakthroughs in the costs of fracking (pressurizing suppliers as well as some real technical improvements), so break-even costs have been falling. At $50 per barrel the rig count in the US is going up, and current break-evens may be as low as $37/barrel and $2.50/MMbtu. In addition, there is a global glut of natural gas so hopes of shipping US NG around the world probably wont pan out - keeping the supply within the U.S.

"Mexico has become such a critical release valve for U.S. production that, without exports to Mexico, our gas prices would be 30-35% lower."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2017/01/08/u-s-natural-gas-production-in-2017/#67a1b0c0683b

"Now, with shipping and regasification amounting to $1/MMBtu, U.S. exporters will be under serious pressure"

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellynch/2017/03/16/the-glutted-world-gas-market/3/#eea9b1359eaf

"The number of working [oil] rigs has more than doubled from a 2016 low of 316 in May."

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-17/crude-slips-near-53-a-barrel-as-u-s-adds-rigs-for-13th-week

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 10:28:22 PM »
Revisit that post in five years.  After EVs, battery power buses and battery powered trucks have started biting into oil demand.

It won't take much demand erosion to drop prices closer to $30.  The lower cost producers (Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) are likely to be pumping out as much as they can while there is a market and selling for as much as  they can while still undercutting the countries with $30+ production costs.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 10:37:38 PM »
Natural Gas fracking is relatively independent of oil fracking, not that much overlap. So its the MMbtu price that matters more than the oil price.

As per my comments on the car thread, a drop in oil demand will drop the oil price which will make ICE's more competitive. I see a "stair-step" process where at each point a lower oil price slows down electric-car adoption growth until costs of the latter can come down far enough to overcome the low price. Could get harder and harder though as we travel toward the sub-$10 prices that the Middle East producers can live with.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2017, 02:36:09 AM »
In 2015 we sourced our domestic natural gas -

Oil wells = 6,452,680 million cu ft
Shale gas wells = 15,475,887 million cu ft
Coal bed wells  = 1,181,320 million cu ft

28% of our NG from oil wells.  If the price of oil goes up we drill fewer oil wells and produce less NG as a secondary product.  If the price of oil goes down then we drill more oil wells.

As per my comments on the car thread, a drop in oil demand will drop the oil price which will make ICE's more competitive.

True.  But in short years a new car buyer should be looking at two identical cars, other than the propulsion system.  One will cost less, be less onerous to power, require less maintenance, and offer a better ride.

Will most buyers purchase the more expensive, larger hassle vehicle or the less/less?

$5/gallon fuel certainly would drive EV sales faster.  But I can't see a route for ICEVs to undercut the purchase and operating cost of EVs.

Then, not too far out, car companies will simply start cutting their ICEV offerings.  We saw that happen with film cameras as digital took over.   The lower featured models disappeared first, and rapidly.    The top of the line fSLRs hung on longer but it wasn't long until companies quit spending money on development of new models.  All the research/development money went into digital.

(Disposable cameras held on for a while.  Cell phones with cameras quickly killed them.)

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2017, 05:20:53 AM »
Looks like it will take significantly lower oil prices to drive down the fracking brigade, Wall Street is pouring money into the sector again at $50/barrel.
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Wall-Street-Is-Pouring-Money-Back-Into-Shale.html

Elon Musk even says that cheap oil will hurt electric car sales
http://fortune.com/2016/01/25/elon-musk-oil-prices-electric-cars/

As electric car sakes move beyond the expensive models and the early-adopter types, the effect of very low gas prices will have an impact. Right now EV sales are still a tiny niche within the overall market: 159,000 out of 17.5 million in 2016. California was over 50%, with the biggest incentives.

http://www.fleetcarma.com/ev-sales-usa-2016-final/



Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2017, 05:26:43 AM »
At about $100/kWh for cells EVs hit production cost parity with ICEVs.  We're probably going to see $100 cells by 2020.

Obviously more expensive oil will push people to EVs.  But if EVs are cheaper to purchase and at least a little cheaper to operate they will take over the market.

Think about all the people who are concerned about climate change and are willing to do something if it doesn't cost them a lot.  Now think about the choice they'll make if they can do something about climate change if it saves them some money.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2017, 06:56:41 PM »
The Growth Rate Of The Installed Base of Wind And Solar Is Decelerating

Data from the American Wind Energy Association (in MW)           
Year  Total    Growth   Percentage   
2001   4147     n/a             n/a   
2002   4557     410             9.89%   
2003   6222     1665           36.54%   
2004   6619     397             6.38%   
2005   8993     2374           35.87%   
2006   11450   2457           27.32%   
2007   16702   5252           45.87%   
2008   25065   8363           50.07%   
2009   35068   10003         39.91%   
2010   40283   5215           14.87%   
2011   46930   6647           16.50%   
2012   60012   13082         27.88%   
2013   61110   1098           1.83%   
2014   65877   4767           7.80%   
2015   73992   8115           12.32%   
2016   82183   8191           11.07%   
2017-2020 forecast addition of 35GW (35,000MW), approx. 10% yearly growth rate.

At 10% annual rate, doubling is approx. every 7 years

Data From GTM Research US Solar Market Insight (MW)         
Year   Total   Growth   Percentage
2000   0            4       n/a
2001   4           11       n/a
2002   15         23       575.00%
2003   38         45       300.00%
2004   83         58       152.63%
2005   141       79        95.18%
2006   220       105      74.47%
2007   325       160      72.73%
2008   485       298      91.69%
2009   783       385      79.38%
2010   1168     852      108.81%
2011   2020     1926    164.90%
2012   3946     3373    166.98%
2013   7319     4783    121.21%
2014   12102   6239     85.24%
2015   18341   7501     61.98%
2016   25842   14762   80.49%
2017-2022 Installed base triples, with growth rate falling to 24% in 2022 (18GW incremental capacity)

At 24% growth rate, doubling is approximately every 3 years       
         
As the installed base increases, greater and greater annual additions are required to keep up the growth rate. Therefore natural for the growth rate to fall, unless a radical change in pricing and/or government support.

http://www.awea.org/wind-energy-facts-at-a-glance

http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=10025

Summary of GTM Research report can be downloaded from https://www.greentechmedia.com/research/subscription/u.s.-solar-market-insight





Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2017, 07:13:47 PM »
Solar growth rates should stay high for a while as prices continue to fall.

Tesla's solar tiles should be on the market in a few weeks.  That may cause some increase as well.

Wind prices are already low (under 3 cents/kWh, unsubsidized) so there's less room to fall.  But with offshore wind (including floating) becoming inexpensive in Europe we may see a big spurt in US installation in a couple of years.

The other thing that could kick rates up is affordable storage.  The second largest solar farm builder in the US is now talking about installing storage in solar farms so that they can sell their generation as dispatchable electricity and getting a much better per MWh rate. 

www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/cypress-creek-ceo-well-be-sub-75-cents-per-watt-by-2020

That's likely to work even better for wind farms as they have a lot of production during off peak when wholesale prices tend to be low.  I can see wind and solar farms installing a lot of storage once they reach the end of their 20 year power purchase agreements (PPA) that lock them into a fixed selling price and market.  For one or several decades wind and solar farms that produce electricity for almost nothing (capex and finex paid off) could take the market away from gas plants.


rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2017, 07:29:55 PM »
In 2016, wind provided 5.6% of U.S. electricity generation. At a 10% yearly capacity growth rate, output doubles every 7 years (may be less if capacity utilization improves). To keep up the growth rate new installs would have to double by 2023 and quadruple by 2030.

Wind. Assuming no growth in electricity demand : 2023 = 11.2%; 2030 = 22.4%

In 2016, solar provided 0.9% of U.S. electricity generation. Forecast is that it will treble by 2022, with a growth rate of 24% in 2022. To keep up this growth rate, new installs would have to double every three years from 2022 onwards, so the growth rate will most probably continue to decrease.

Solar. Assuming no growth in electricity demand : 2022 = 2.7%; 2025 = 5.4%; 2030 = 10.8% (assume a bit of further deceleration)

If we assume a 1% growth rate in electricity demand, then wind+solar will start to displace fossil fuel generation in about 2024. Any reductions in nuclear generation would delay this further. The scale of infrastructure upgrades would also escalate as the scale of wind+solar continued to grow exponentially.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2017, 07:50:47 PM »
If we assume a 1% growth rate in electricity demand, then wind+solar will start to displace fossil fuel generation in about 2024.



Wind and solar are already displacing fossil fuel generation in the US.


rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2017, 09:31:19 PM »
Bob, during that time period you use U.S. electricity generation pretty much remained flat. So any increases in renewable generation cut directly into fossil fuel generation (nuclear staying pretty flat). If overall generation remains flat, then renewables will keep reducing fossil fuel usage.

If electricity consumption grows by 1% per year, as forecast, it will use up the renewables growth until that growth gets big enough to offset it. The problem with having to overcome a growing economy while reducing fossil fuel usage ... U.S. GDP growth has been historically low since 2009, so who knows what the future holds.



https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25352




Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2017, 10:38:56 PM »
The only electricity use that should increase going forward would be electrification of transportation.

US population growth isn't likely to grow much.  We only grow due to first generation immigrants having more than two children, our birthrate is below replacement rate, and we're slowing immigration.  Then we're cutting electricity usage via efficiency.  A lot.

As cars and trucks move off petroleum they will need electricity but some portion of that needed electricity will be freed up by pumping, refining and distributing less petroleum fuel.*

In 2015 the US got 13.7% of its electricity from renewables.  In 2016 that percentage jumped to 15.4%, an increase of 1.7%.  That's more than a 1% annual 'takeover'.  Wind has started off at crackerjack rates this year.  Excellent first quarter. Solar is going great.  A 2+% increase in 2017?

The US may install some more NG capacity but wind and solar are in their ascendancy.  NG, being a more expensive producer of electricity, will only be installed if necessary to keep the grid on.
--

*Quite a bit of petroleum is burned in refineries for heat/steam generation.  That energy doesn't show up in our electricity numbers but does show up in primary energy use and CO2 emissions.  As cars and trucks move to electricity we might see some of the annual percentage growth in renewable electricity impacted but the larger primary/CO2 will be getting a lot brighter.

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2017, 05:49:37 AM »
Progress made.  The Republican climate change denial wall seems to be crumbling a bit...


The US Congress has a number of caucus groups — loose affiliations of representatives and senators who have similar views on important issues. One of the newest is called the Climate Solutions Caucus, a place where those concerned about climate change can meet to exchange ideas about how the federal government should respond to environmental challenges.

...half of the Climate Solutions Caucus members are Republicans. How can that be? “If you want to join as a Democrat, you have to bring along a Republican,” says co-chair Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida, as reported by The Guardian. “It’s a Noah’s Ark sort of approach, which is appropriate given the subject matter. We don’t argue about the science. It’s all very respectful.”

The other co-chair is Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo, whose district includes the Florida Keys, an area that will be heavily affected by rising sea levels. “There are a lot of Republicans who understand this is a real challenge, and the caucus is giving them a place where they can explore ideas,” Curbelo says. “It was assumed that Republicans would take a position of denial, but that’s not the case. One of our main goals is to depoliticize environmental policy in the US.”

Curbelo acknowledges that getting other Republicans to join the caucus takes a lot of effort, but he says the idea is “spreading like wildfire,” with many colleagues “now contacting us and wanting to learn more.”

The Climate Solutions Caucus is gathering support from business groups, religious organizations, and younger Republicans demanding the GOP drop its long-held climate science denial.



https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/07/climate-solutions-caucus-brings-republicans-democrats-together-climate-change/

We've know for a while that there are several Republicans in Congress who present themselves as climate change deniers publicly because they feared losing their seats in the primary if they openly admitted that they understand and accept the science behind global warming.  Looks like a few are now feeling that it's safe to come out of the closet.

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2017, 06:23:05 AM »
Bob
Is this good news for everyone, or wiggle room for Republicans who see the writing on the wall?


Up here we've had same sex marriage for a while. When Harper got in, with the help of the Born Again vote, he simply never allowed the subject to come up in Parliament. I think it will be the same here when recreational marijuana is legalized next year. The Conservatives will run away from it in their traditional rural regions, ignore it in the urban centers, and never allow another vote on the subject when they're in power.


The Republican's will always have the denier vote. If they don't run on the subject they may pick up some of the climate change vote - then ignore it when they're in the cat bird seat.


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2017, 06:45:46 AM »
It's a sign that the fossil fuel industries have lost much of their political power and the majority of Americans have become concerned about climate change and want something done.

A lot of the initial attack on the wall came from onshore wind which was mostly installed in Republican dominated Midwestern states.  The money to be made opened eyes and very soon Republican legislators from those states found that they needed to support the wind industry.  Many of their small towns and counties were surviving, even thriving, thanks to wind farms.

Eastern coal is finished.  The coal that is still being burned is largely coming from western open pit mines.  Low oil prices have pulled the rug out from under pumpers.

Solar is now employing over a quarter of a million workers.

Overall political power is swinging to renewables and away from the folks who put up the big denial fight.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2017, 06:45:24 PM »
U.S. 1st Quarter GDP growth was a very slow 0.7% (at an annualized rate) and estimates for the second quarter are already being revised downwards. For example, the NY Fed has cut their estimate to 1.8% and the economic data keeps coming in lower than expected. Loan demand is also decelerating very fast.

So probably another year of little or no change in electricity demand, and therefore additional renewables will reduce fossil fuel generation.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-nyfed-idUSKBN1811R5

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2017, 07:01:10 PM »
Wind and solar power provided more than half of the new electrical generating capacity added to the U.S. grid during the first quarter of the year, says a new report from the SUN DAY Campaign, citing statistics from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

According to the nonprofit’s analysis of FERC’s latest Energy Infrastructure Update, which offers data through March 31, wind and solar provided a total of 50.84% of the new electrical generating capacity during the quarter.

The organization says 13 units of wind, totaling 1,479 MW, combined with 62 units of solar, totaling 939 MW, exceeded the 2,235 MW provided by 21 units of natural gas and 102 MW provided by one unit of nuclear power. There was also 1 MW of capacity from other sources, such as fuel cells.

Notably,  SUN DAY says that in the first three months of the year, no new generating capacity was provided by coal, oil, hydropower, biomass or geothermal.

Moreover, the pace of growth of new solar and wind capacity is accelerating, according to the report. For the first quarter of 2017, new capacity from those sources was 18.07% greater than that added during the same three-month period in 2016 (2,418 MW vs. 2048 MW).

Renewable sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind) now account for almost one-fifth (19.51%) of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity: hydropower at 8.48%, wind at 7.12%, solar at 2.17%, biomass at 1.41% and geothermal at 0.33%, the report says.

By comparison, at the end of 2016, renewables provided 19.17% of the total generating capacity. If current growth rates continue, renewables should top 20% before the end of this year, according to SUN DAY.

Further, generating capacity by renewable sources is now more than double that of nuclear power (9.10%) and is rapidly approaching that of coal (24.25%), the analysis adds.

“The Trump administration’s efforts to reboot coal and expand oil drilling continue to be proven wrong-headed in light of the latest FERC data,” comments Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Once more, renewables – led by wind and solar – have proven themselves to be the energy sources making America great again.”

In another recent report citing FERC data, the nonprofit said newly installed capacity from renewable sources totaled 61.5% of all new U.S. capacity added in 2016.



http://solarindustrymag.com/solar-wind-provided-majority-new-u-s-capacity-first-quarter

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2017, 07:46:53 PM »
Agree with the general direction of the Sun Day report, but it does irk me that such groups still use misleading comparisons of capacity between wind, solar, nuclear and coal/gas. Leads people to have too rosy a picture of what is going on. Yes progress is being made, but not near what would be assumed from reading the article.

Saying "generating capacity by renewable sources is now more than double that of nuclear power (9.10%) and is rapidly approaching that of coal (24.25%)" is incredibly misleading. Generating capacity is not actual generation.

US Nuclear provides about 20% of electricity generation, from that 9% of installed capacity, as it has a very high capacity utilization at 92.5%. US Wind (35%) and Solar PV (27.2%) and Solar Thermal (22%) have much lower capacity utilizations. US Coal and natural gas is at about 55%.

Its actual electricity production that counts, not capacity.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2017/03/14/u-s-nuclear-energy-transform-or-become-irrelevant/#5459d41d6c3b

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25652

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_6_07_b

be cause

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2017, 08:26:30 PM »
good reality check rb .. here in sunny norn Ireland the windmills are all still again as solar fills the demand . Absurd subsidies pay the windmills not to turn when the sun shines .. money not sourced in the green economy .. bc
be the cause of only good
and love all beings as you should
and the 'God' of all Creation
will .. through you .. transform all nations :)

Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2017, 09:23:41 PM »
Agree with the general direction of the Sun Day report, but it does irk me that such groups still use misleading comparisons of capacity between wind, solar, nuclear and coal/gas. Leads people to have too rosy a picture of what is going on. Yes progress is being made, but not near what would be assumed from reading the article.

Saying "generating capacity by renewable sources is now more than double that of nuclear power (9.10%) and is rapidly approaching that of coal (24.25%)" is incredibly misleading. Generating capacity is not actual generation.

US Nuclear provides about 20% of electricity generation, from that 9% of installed capacity, as it has a very high capacity utilization at 92.5%. US Wind (35%) and Solar PV (27.2%) and Solar Thermal (22%) have much lower capacity utilizations. US Coal and natural gas is at about 55%.

Its actual electricity production that counts, not capacity.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2017/03/14/u-s-nuclear-energy-transform-or-become-irrelevant/#5459d41d6c3b

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25652

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_6_07_b

The article goes on to point out the difference between nameplate capacity and production. 

What was interesting, to me, is where investment money is going - largely to renewables.

Your Forbes article is a pile of typical pro-nuclear caca. 

A strong case for nuclear was recently presented at a symposium hosted by UH Energy, especially if we are looking for a rapidly scalable solution

Nuclear is unaffordable and takes far too long to bring online.  That "strong case" was made by a gathering of nuclear fans, including the Breakthrough Institute.  The BI, IMO, is a site that publishes "alternative facts" when it comes to nuclear and renewables.

We've been installing nuclear for over a half century and it only made it to 20% of total electricity generation.  Both groups attempting to build new reactors in the US are seriously over timeline and in deep financial trouble.  Discussions are being held as to whether it makes more sense to abandon the builds now and not throw more money into the pits.

When the companies set out to build Vogtle and Summer the cost of wind and solar was much higher.  While some of us saw the likelihood of price decreases I don't think anyone was predicting how far and how fast prices would drop.  It will be years before those reactors could be completed.  By then wind and solar should both be under $0.03/kWh.  Unsubsidized.

Wind has only been seriously installed for a handful of years and should produce well over 6% this year.  Wind reached the 1% milestone in 2008.  Less than ten years ago.  And since then the cost has fallen significantly.

Solar passed the 1% milestone in 2015.  And this year the US should get over 2% of its electricity from solar.  I expect wind and solar will produce more US electricity in ten years or less than does nuclear now.  And nuclear is highly likely to be a lower percentage producer as more aged out reactors leave the game.


rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2017, 11:51:46 PM »
Was not using the Forbes article to argue for nuclear, in the US the only way is down by the looks of it. Little or no new installs and an ageing fleet.

The interesting tests will be France (which did successfully got predominantly nuclear for electricity generation and now has a replacement issue) and China (which is building out nuclear as part of its "all of the above" low carbon strategy). To be followed on the nuclear topic!


Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2017, 05:04:21 AM »
The newly elected French president has stated that he intends to close a third of France's reactors, take nuclear from 75% of generation to 50%, and replace them with renewables.

My personal guess is that we'll see China tapering off on nuclear builds starting in less than five years.  The price of wind and solar have become so much lower that I don't think the central government will justify spending more for reactor power.

Germany is looking at offshore wind dropping to around $0.04/kWh by 2025.  If they can hit that mark, so can the US.  We've got tremendous amounts of wind resources off both coasts and some decent wind in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sigmetnow

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2017, 07:25:47 PM »
Electrek says:
"A million people in LA County might ditch their utility and investors are scared – They’re not going off grid, but instead are joining a CCA. California Assembly Bill 117 of 2002 established CCAs, allowing “customers to aggregate their electrical loads as members of their local community.” California CCAs have eight operational members/1.25 million customers/projected 2017 load of 13,750 GWh. This is a complex thing – multiple power utilities within the same area, neighbors even. Electricity pumped over shared power lines using various sources for generation. ..."
https://electrek.co/2017/05/10/egeb-la-county-cca-edison-institute-tesla/


Choice in La La Land: LA County community aggregation has California utilities on full alert
...
“The CCA rate tends to be lower because none of the money goes to shareholders. CCAs focus on buying power at prices that make them competitive,” she said. “That conservative mentality has resulted in lower costs for customers.”

EES also found LACCE can deliver more renewables sooner. California’s mandate requires SCE to be at 33% renewables by 2020. LACEE intends to open its 50% renewables offering this year. It also plans a package of incentives to grow distributed energy resources (DER).
...
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/choice-in-la-la-land-la-county-community-aggregation-has-california-utilit/442131/
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Bob Wallace

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2017, 08:48:44 PM »
Some portions of California have already implemented Community Choice Aggregation programs...


Beginning May 1, Redwood Coast Energy Authority will be the default electricity provider for Humboldt County with the launch of its Community Choice Energy program. The program will provide lower electric rates, increased local control, and the same reliable utility service.

Community Choice Energy (also known as Community Choice Aggregation) is an alternative means of procuring electricity through local governments. Its goal is to offer electricity consumers a choice in their service, with the option to purchase cleaner electricity at competitive prices. The program is under local control, and revenues remain within the county.

Several such programs are operating successfully in Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and in the city of Lancaster in southern California. Mendocino County recently elected to join Sonoma County’s existing program.

Each Community Choice Energy program is designed by its local governing body, comprised of representatives from participating jurisdictions—in this case, the county of Humboldt and cities of Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, Blue Lake, Trinidad, and Rio Dell. Ferndale has not elected to participate in the program at this time. Humboldt’s CCE program will support local renewable energy generation and the economic development associated with that, while customers will have greater control over their electricity options.

Because PG&E will be collaborating with RCEA to deliver electricity, maintain lines, manage billing and administer customer programs, energy supply will be as reliable as it’s always been. In fact, the transition to RCEA’s CCE program will be seamless; the only thing customers will notice might be a slight reduction in price.

Energy users will automatically receive service with higher renewable energy content and lower emissions than the electricity they’re currently buying. Those who wish to will be able to upgrade to 100% renewable energy for a small price premium.

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2017/mar/1/community-choice-energy-just-two-months-away-humbo/


gerontocrat

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2017, 08:52:52 PM »
Good article in bloomberg view about california leads us economy away from Trump. Shows how dumb Trump and his acolytes really are. (On my cell-phone and do not know how to copy url from another window into this post. But well worthwhile giving it a read)

Sigmetnow

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2017, 09:17:31 PM »
Good article in bloomberg view about california leads us economy away from Trump. Shows how dumb Trump and his acolytes really are. (On my cell-phone and do not know how to copy url from another window into this post. But well worthwhile giving it a read)

Here it is:
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-10/california-leads-u-s-economy-away-from-trump
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2017, 09:41:08 PM »
Riverside ca. has been providing power, water & waste as a municipal utility for a very long time, Not having to pay stockholders is good, as is the single meter reader.


Terry

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2017, 05:46:38 PM »
US Has Forgotten How To Do Infrastructure

Very interesting piece from Bloomberg about how building infrastructure always seems to be more expensive in the U.S., even when compared to Europe. A huge issue if the US gets real on rebuilding its transport, building and energy infrastructures to reduce emissions. Bloomberg states that its not the unions (Europe has them too, in spades!), its not salaries as they are equal/higher in other countries. Its not land acquisition costs (they are way higher in Japan for example). They see a deeper problem of a general lack of productivity and efficiency that has crept in over the years.

"For some mysterious reason, the same mile of road or train track costs a lot more to build in the U.S. than in other rich countries like France or Japan. When it comes to trains, the disparity is particularly egregious. During the past few years, people who pay attention to this problem have catalogued a list of potential culprits. But none of these is really satisfying."

"There is reason to suspect that high U.S. costs are part of a deeper problem. For example, construction seems to take a lot longer in the U.S. than in other countries. In China, a 30-story building can be completed in only 15 days. In Japan, giant sinkholes get fully repaired in one week. Even in the U.S. of a century ago, construction was pretty fast -- the Empire State Building went up in 410 days."

"general inefficiency - inefficient project management, an inefficient government contracting process, and inefficient regulation."

A lot like US healthcare, education, defence spending, asset management etc. Other countries do much more for much less. Add these up and you get a big share of the US economy, and a great area for reducing economic rents and inefficiency to pay for the transition to a sustainable economy.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-31/the-u-s-has-forgotten-how-to-do-infrastructure

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2017, 06:52:11 PM »
Good article in bloomberg view about california leads us economy away from Trump. Shows how dumb Trump and his acolytes really are. (On my cell-phone and do not know how to copy url from another window into this post. But well worthwhile giving it a read)

Here it is:
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-10/california-leads-u-s-economy-away-from-trump


I wonder if the sudden downturn in both German and UK GDP at the end of 2014 is related to their sanctioning of Russia. Sanctions "encouraged" by, the non-participating US of A?


Terry

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2017, 07:00:15 PM »
Trump seems to be falling over himself to help EurAsia come together independent of US influence, the very thing that the US has been working against for many decades. Four more years of this and the average European will view China in a much better light than the US.

At some point countries will start to erect trade barriers against those countries that do not comply with the need to reduce emissions. It seems like the US may be on the wrong end of such barriers if it keeps Trump for too long.

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2017, 07:05:20 PM »
Trump seems to be falling over himself to help EurAsia come together independent of US influence, the very thing that the US has been working against for many decades. Four more years of this and the average European will view China in a much better light than the US.

At some point countries will start to erect trade barriers against those countries that do not comply with the need to reduce emissions. It seems like the US may be on the wrong end of such barriers if it keeps Trump for too long.


Ramen!

Sigmetnow

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2017, 09:02:06 PM »
California Senate Passes Major Clean Energy Bills
Wow! In a single day, the California State Senate passed three major clean energy bills, including one that would establish a 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS), one that would mandate solar on most new buildings in the state, and one that would create an energy storage rebate program. All three measures now go to the California Assembly for consideration.

In a 25-13 vote on Wednesday, the Senate passed S.B.100, which aims to both accelerate and expand the state’s current 50% by 2030 RPS. The bill, sponsored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would speed up the renewables mandate to 50% by 2026 and establish an ultimate goal of 100% by 2045.

If it becomes a law, the legislation would put California on par with Hawaii, the only other state with a 100% RPS.

In a press release, de León calls the California measure “the most ambitious target in the world to expand clean energy and put Californians to work” and says it is “critical that we double down” amid climate policy shifts by the Trump administration.

“Regardless of what Washington does, California will show the way forward,” he says. “We are sending a clear message to the rest of the world that no president, no matter how desperately the try to ignore reality, can halt our progress.”
...
http://solarindustrymag.com/california-senate-passes-major-clean-energy-bills
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

numerobis

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #43 on: June 04, 2017, 06:47:53 PM »
Data From GTM Research US Solar Market Insight (MW)         
Year   Total   Growth   Percentage
2000   0            4       n/a
2001   4           11       n/a
2002   15         23       575.00%
2003   38         45       300.00%
2004   83         58       152.63%
2005   141       79        95.18%
2006   220       105      74.47%
2007   325       160      72.73%
2008   485       298      91.69%
2009   783       385      79.38%
2010   1168     852      108.81%
2011   2020     1926    164.90%
2012   3946     3373    166.98%
2013   7319     4783    121.21%
2014   12102   6239     85.24%
2015   18341   7501     61.98%
2016   25842   14762   80.49%
2017-2022 Installed base triples, with growth rate falling to 24% in 2022 (18GW incremental capacity)

At 24% growth rate, doubling is approximately every 3 years

This forecast is ridiculously pessimistic.

If we assume that Trump really pinches the solar industry's growth rate and the installers only achieve 10% growth YoY -- half the minimum annual growth seen in the data so far -- we fill in the following data:
2017 42080 16238 62.84%
2018 59942 17862 42.45%
2019 79590 19648 32.78%
2020 101203 21613 27.16%
2021 124978 23774 23.49%
2022 151130 26152 20.93%

That's nearly a 6-fold increase, not just 3-fold, over the forecast period. Take the EIA data of actual generation for 2016, multiply by 6, and we have solar (utility + distributed) producing more than hydro in 2021. If solar can maintain its growth rate at 20%, we hit that milestone a year earlier. At 25% annual growth, which the industry has exceeded all but one year in your survey, solar is producing almost twice as much as hydro in 2022.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 06:54:49 PM by numerobis »

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2017, 09:26:45 PM »
Numerobis - there was a mad rush to install solar capacity in the U.S. prior to the expected expiry of the solar investment tax credit. The tax credit was extended, but a significant amount of build had been pulled forward to 2016 (the amount of newly installed capacity doubled in a single year). The bankruptcy of SunEdison, the world's largest renewable power developer, will also restrict demand in the short term and drive up the required rate of return for projects. Anything that Trump does will just add to the bad news.

The GTM numbers for 2017 should be pretty accurate, as they have knowledge of what is in the construction pipeline. It will also take time to get new projects started now that the tax credit has been extended. So, it makes sense for a delay before the rapid growth if 2016 is equalled again.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2016/12/07/what-to-expect-from-the-solar-industry-in-2017/#599d01f43745

numerobis

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2017, 11:13:08 PM »
The mad rush last year mirrors the rush in 2012 to get in before the expiry of tax credits. They were only extended *after* they expired, unlike now where the industry got a whole year of warning.

2013 still ended up with 40% growth YoY in capacity additions.

GTM is predicting installation numbers going down 7% next year. Implicitly that's predicting something like a 20%-35% reduction in dollar sales year over year, since the price went down (by "over 30%" for panels, I don't know for the other components). That's a huge shrinkage.

Then it predicts 9% growth from then on, half as fast as solar has ever grown.

This is why I don't believe the forecast at all.

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2017, 11:56:06 PM »
Only time will tell. GTM are also predicting a possible 40% drop in Chinese new installs.

TerryM

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2017, 12:04:17 AM »
Are the large punitive tariffs on panels having an effect?
Terry

rboyd

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2017, 12:06:18 AM »
Seems to be more with reductions in incentives, and possibly also the simple need to catch breath after an incredibly rapid period of acceleration.

numerobis

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Re: But, but, but, the United States
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2017, 01:27:04 AM »
Only time will tell.

Agreed.

Meanwhile, I'll do what I can to make the prediction fail ;)