Duke Energy’s ‘Clean Coal’ Power Plant Off to Bad Start

Duke EdwardsportDuke Energy’s “green” initiative to gasify coal for allegedly “cleaner” burning at its Edwardsport, Ind. power plant has already been vilified for cronyism, corruption, conflicts of interest, cost overruns, delays, waste, and mismanagement, but at least it became operational in June.

For six days.

The so-called “clean coal” project that was intended to have a carbon dioxide capture-and-storage component suffered breakdowns that left it inoperative on June 13, almost a week after Duke’s formal announcement that Edwardsport was on line, and only a day after the nation’s largest utility showed media members around the plant. The Indianapolis Star broke the news on Friday.

Eyebrows furrowed and heads shook not simply over the unexpected early stoppage, but given the questionable behavior surrounding the plant by previous CEO James Rogers and other Duke executives, the timing of the announcement followed by the quick shutdown only raised more …

2012: The Year of Taxpayer ‘Green’ Waste

Obama InvescoThe past year was a dismal one for the passé idea that government would use taxpayer dollars responsibly, and that was nowhere more evident than with President Obama’s initiatives to promote “clean” energy technology companies and projects with so-called “stimulus” funds and other public money. NLPC reported extensively on some of the most egregious examples.

Solar Favors Don’t Stop Fizzle

Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011, and the reverberations over $535 million in lost taxpayer money were felt throughout 2012. Money still flowed out from the Department of Energy and its stimulus stash, but Congressional Republicans’ scrutiny of big projects – especially in the Loan Program Office –paralyzed some new projects.

The year began with BP, which not long ago downplayed fossil fuels in favor of a “Beyond Petroleum” motto, exiting the solar business despite having received a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. government …

Taxpayers Help Fund Chevy Volt Village

Akerson & VoltWell, I really have to hand it to the Obama Administration and General Motors when it comes to promoting green energy initiatives and the Chevy Volt; if nothing else, they are persistent. Unfortunately, that persistence continues to come at the expense of US taxpayers. The latest folly, as reported by Edmunds Inside Line, involves a $10.4 million grant from the Energy Department to create what Edmunds calls “Chevrolet Volt-ville.”

GM and OnStar have joined a partnership (which includes GE Energy, of course) that had been formed to create a community in Texas called Pecan Street Inc. GM says the community will be home to “the greatest concentration of Chevrolet Volts in the world.” In addition to the tax credits already available to Volt buyers, residents receive another $7,500 rebate for purchasing a Volt or $3,000 for leasing one.

Goals of Pecan Street include delivering “reliable and affordable energy to …

GE Solar Delay Shows Timing Will Never Be Good

solar panelsWe’ve heard this story before.

Much like taxpayer-backed Abound Solar – which just revealed it would declare bankruptcyGeneral Electric announced last week it would suspend construction of a solar panel manufacturing plant in Colorado. The excuse given was that GE plans to focus on research and development to improve the technology and efficiency of the panels it wants to produce.

“With the re-focus on technology, we’re sizing our team accordingly and really focusing our people on the technology side as we take this pause in the manufacturing build-out,” said Lindsay Theile, communications leader for GE’s renewable energy business, to the Web site Recharge.

That’s what officials at Abound said in February when the company – also based in the Centennial State – lopped off 70 percent of its employees while it allegedly performed upgrades to its plant to manufacture more efficient solar panels. That move followed an

Duke Power Plant Boondoggle to Cost Customers Plenty

white Coke can

A $3.3 billion coal gasification and carbon dioxide capture power plant owned by Duke Energy, built in order to pacify concerns over the fake global warming scare, will increase rates for its Indiana customers by 14.5 percent the next two years.

The Indianapolis Star reported last week that ratepayers will cover nearly $2.6 billion of the plant’s costs, as the result of a deal between the utility, its industrial customers, and Indiana’s government advocate for electricity consumers. Duke’s shareholders will pay for the remainder of the facility, built in Edwardsport, Ind. Between the Charlotte-based utility and its main contractors on the plant – General Electric and Bechtel – construction costs soared from an estimated $1.985 billion in 2006 to $3.3 billion. Carbon dioxide capture and storage, like much renewable energy, is a technology that has not proven viable on a scale that would meet the electricity demands of …

White House First to Say Chevy Volt Not Ready For Prime Time

Steve Rattner photoMitt Romney has been criticized for stating that the Chevy Volt is an idea whose time has not come. We have gotten to a stage in the election cycle where even the slightest of criticisms against the Volt leads to outcries of a right wing, “wrong-headed” conspiracy to hurt sales of the vehicle. What has not been reported is the fact that the Obama White House was the first to say that the car was not ready for prime time.

A White House viability report from 2009 states that the Chevy Volt “holds promise” but is “projected to be much more expensive than its gasoline-fueled peers and will likely need substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become commercially viable.” Now isn’t it interesting that the Obama Administration knew the limitations of the Chevy Volt (which has not changed since 2009) during the first year of the President’s term …

Is Misplaced Focus on Chevy Volt Costing GM Market Share?

Another important story goes unreported by TV networks receiving millions of dollars in ad revenue from General Motors. Viewers getting their news from Obama-friendly sources continue to hear about how great GM is doing. For those getting their news from internet sites not beholden to Government Motors, the reports aren’t as good. March US market share for GM fell to 17.5% in March, the lowest level for “Old” or “New” GM since 1922.

One has to wonder if the political motivations at GM are hurting the company. A good deal of GM’s multi-billion dollar marketing budget went towards promoting the Chevy Volt, a car that loses money for the company and its shareholders as it only sells a couple of thousand units a month. In addition to the company’s perplexing political focus on a mostly unwanted and entirely unprofitable car, GM has been offending Republican and conservative prospective auto …

NY Times Chevy Volt Criticism Confounds Proponents

Volt photoThe report by the NY Times that it would take up to 27 years for Chevy Volt buyers to save enough money in gas costs to make up for the high price of the car must be very confusing for apologists of the vehicle. The normal defense for any criticism is to accuse sources of having a right wing hate of the car. But the NY Times? The very vocal Volt defenders, who are quick to attack anyone who doesn’t agree that the car is a technological marvel worthy of billions of dollars of taxpayer largess, will have to attribute the left-leaning Times‘ criticism to something other than a political agenda.

Many stories are circulated falsely proclaiming that a “crapload” of money can be saved by buying a Volt. The Times explains the misconception stating, “So why do some buyers pay more for advanced technology that might not …

Chevy Volt – The Prize-Winning Pig

pig imageFresh off the heels of its European Car of the Year award, the Chevy Volt has been named “Vincentric Best Value in America.” You just can’t make this stuff up. I didn’t know that there were so many awards in the auto industry, but the less that the Volt sells, the more awards it seems to win. After this latest award, it dawned on me that the Chevy Volt is eerily like Wilbur, the prize-winning pig from the classic children’s tale, Charlotte’s Web.

Wilbur was a runt of a pig, destined to go to the slaughter house. He is befriended by Charlotte A. Cavitica, a spider who realizes Wilbur’s days are numbered if she can not promote enough hype to save the pig. Charlotte spins her web in eloquent fashion above Wilbur’s pen. She spells out accolades describing Wilbur, starting with “some pig.” The hype builds as the desperation to …

Crotchety Bob Lutz Leads GM’s Defense of the Chevy Volt

Bob Lutz photoAnyone following the Chevy Volt story has seen the internet headlines trumpeting the blog by General Motors’ Bob Lutz in which he blasts Bill O’Reilly, Fox News and what he calls, “the rabid, sadly misinformed right.” It remains a mystery as to why GM would take a political stance, and seek to identify with one ideological faction over another. It’s ridiculous to blame poor Volt sales on a Republican conspiracy. It is also pretty stupid. After all, some of the people who buy cars are Republicans.

Before moving on to the Lutz offensive defense, let’s review the facts. Sales for the much-hyped Chevy Volt have never materialized. Prior to the ridiculous misdirection play by GM and Lutz (yes, he is a paid consultant for GM) that sees Fox News and Rush Limbaugh being vilified for criticizing the Volt, the excuse for the low sales was that supply could …