Tag Archives: pipeline

Solar faster, cheaper, no cooling water, no leaks, no explosions

Way back in 2014 I calculated that half the right of way acreage of the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline could produce just as much electricity, cheaper, faster, taking no land, using no cooling water, risking no leaks or explosions. Solar is even cheaper now, doubling deployed capacity every two years, and even Duke, FPL, and Georgia Power are building solar farms everywhere. So why do utilities persist in building more pipelines?

Net generation, United State, all sectors, monthly, Chart
Net generation, United States, all sectors, monthly, U.S. EIA.

Every electric utility can read that chart from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, which shows wind (the middle orange line) and solar (the green line coming up from the bottom) adding up to almost all of “other renewables” (the top blue line), with nothing else growing like that. All the pipelines rammed through regulatorially captured agencies don’t come close Continue reading

LNG export through Georgia and Florida presented to PHMSA 2018-05-16

PHMSA doesn’t have a public map of the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline, but it does have a map of U.S. LNG Facilities, including many in Georgia and Florida. The source slides include many assertions about safety of LNG trucks and trains, but why should we take any risk for fossil fuel export profit to a few company executives and investors we solar power has no risk of leaks or explosions?

[Detail: U.S. Southeast LNG Facilities]
Detail: U.S. Southeast LNG Facilities

I’ve pulled out this detail of the U.S. Southeast, in which you can clearly see Pivotal LNG’s Alabama, Tennessee, and three Georgia plants marked with green circles as “Peakshavers with Liquefaction”, as well as Elba Island LNG at Savannah marked with a big red box. In Florida, Eagle (Maxville?) LNG at Jacksonville and Hialeah LNG at Miami are marked with stars as “Emerging LNG facilities”.

Here’s the bigger map: Continue reading

Ex-military infiltrators of pipeline opposition

Be sure that if you are at all successful in opposing a pipeline you will get infiltrators, whether FBI or private security. Be prepared to deal with it, whether by checking backgrounds, or comparing lists, or by some other methods.

One of the most effective methods appears to be exposing what the pipeline company and their hired hands are up to, as The Intercept_ did about infiltrators at Standing Rock, using leaks from private security firm TigerSwan, which was hired by pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to “protect” its Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). THE INFILTRATOR: How an Undercover Oil Industry Mercenary Tricked Pipeline Opponents Into Believing He Was One of Them, Alleen Brown, The Intercept_, 30 December 2018,

An infiltrator
Joel McCollough, far right, at a climate march launch event in Chicago hosted by Food and Water Watch in April 2017. Photo: Courtesy of Gloria Araya, in The Intercept_.

What he’s certain of is that the glimmer of opportunity he saw at the beginning of the pipeline fight was extinguished when The Intercept published more than 100 TigerSwan situation reports leaked by a former operative, revealing the security firm’s extensive surveillance efforts, coordination with law enforcement, and comparisons of water protectors to jihadi fighters. …

He remembers thinking at one time, “If they watch their p’s and q’s, they will be the standard. They’ll be the company that everybody’s gonna use.” The former contractor laughed. “That didn’t happen.”

DAPL is a petroleum products pipeline, but we heard some of the same Continue reading

Homerville, GA pipeline explosion 2018-08-17

A pipeline much smaller than Sabal Trail destroyed a business in Homerville, Georgia yesterday.

Coffee Corner demolished, Homerville, GA, Picture
Photo: GA Insurance and Fire Commissioner, of Coffee Corner demolished, Homerville, GA.

So small the U.S. agency supposedly responsible for safety doesn’t even show it in its maps. A pipeline is owned by Southern Company, and apparently originates on my property, starting from another pipeline half-owned by Southern Company.

That SONAT pipeline in 2014 was snagged by a dirt road ditch puller, sending a plume of dust 300 feet into the air. If there had been a spark, people I’ve known all my life might not have had homes to go back to.

So why does Sabal Trail claim its 500-mile-long IED is safe? And why is Southern Company wasting our resources and risking our safety by buying into pipelines while ramping down its new investments in solar power?

Brunswick Daily News, 17 August 2018, The Latest: Leaking gas blamed for coffee shop explosion, Continue reading

Southern Company Stockholder Meeting 2018-05-23

This year the Southern Company annual report says increased energy revenues were “primarily due to increases in renewable energy sales”, yet Southern Power is selling off a third interest in its solar facilities. Why? To pay off debt from its failed Big Bet on Plant Vogtle nukes, and its new Big Bet on stranded assets in natural gas pipelines. I don’t think the future lies that way, Tom Fanning, abandoning solar power and getting in bed with Sabal Trail.

When: 10AM Wednesday, May 23, 2018
9AM breakfast

Where: The Lodge Conference Center at Callaway Gardens,
4500 Southern Pine Drive, Pine Mountain, Georgia 31822

What: Southern Company Annual Stockholder Meeting

Facilities in Operation or Development as of March 20, 2018, Annual Report
Facilities in Operation or Development as of March 20, 2018, Annual Report

Why would Southern Company sell off the assets that generated the most increase in revenue? On page 46: Continue reading

Et tu, FERC? No tax writeoffs for MLPs; pipeline stocks plummet 2018-03-15

On the Ides of March, FERC, apparently forgetting its the companies it supposedly regulates that pay its salaries, knocked pipeline company stocks down by disallowing a tax writeoff. This was one month after FERC inadvertently cleared a path for renewable sun and wind power through batteries. Look who got whacked the most, and not even FERC’s Sabal Trail rubberstamp permit reinstatement could save it:

Pipeline MLP vs. Electric Utility, Stock Charts
Stock price comparison, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 14, 15, 16 March 2018. The colorful candle canyon is for Spectra Energy Partners LP (SEP), which was by far the worst affected of those shown.

You may wonder as I do: what is FERC doing Continue reading

Rep. Lamar Smith thinks Russians are behind opposition to pipelines and fracking

Years ago I met Rep. Lamar Smith at the Texas State Capitol. He studiously avoided my attempts to talk to him about solar power. And is House Committee report on energy markets does not mention solar power even once, and wind only to sneer at it. The report does spend quite a bit of space promoting fracking.

Oh, it’s supposed to be about those horrid Russians. It builds its case otherwise around 4% of 9,097 social media posts over two years, which is about one every other day. I personally post more than that. Not a very impressive report.

Sabine Pass LNG Export
Justin Mikulka, Desmog, February 18, 2018, Safety Officials Order Partial Shutdown of Sabine Pass LNG Export Facility After Discovering 10-Year History of Leaks.

Here’s a sample from the Majority Staff Report, Continue reading

FPL parent NextEra Energy admits solar and wind far better investments than pipelines 2018-01-26

Even Sabal Trail partner NextEra Energy’s earnings call has far more about record solar and wind deployment and earnings (“added $0.67 per share”) than about pipeline declining earnings (“added $0.10 per share”) and misinformation, claiming Sabal Trail is operational and on schedule when it isn’t.

Which is better, NextEra, $0.67 or $0.10 per share? Oh, wait, effectively you answered that: “As the world’s current leader in wind, solar, and storage development….”.

Solar, NextEra Energy
Solar, NextEra Energy

One sentence is NextEra’s only mention of Sabal Trail; nothing about the Sierra Club lawsuit against FERC that less than a week later saw the DC Circuit Court reject all requests for rehearing, meaning as early as next week the court may mandate shutting down Sabal Trail. NextEra company FPL is the sole remaining customer listed in Sabal Trail’s custoner index. Maybe it’s time to bail out and get on with solar power in the Sunshine State.

NextEra Energy, via Motley Fool, 26 January 2018, NEE earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2017,

CEO and Chairman James L. Robo:

Fourth, we’re advancing our renewable product offerings as we prepare for the next phase of renewable development. As a result, our prospects for new renewables growth has never been stronger. As Continue reading

Horses to automobiles in NYC: 13 years

This is how fast energy sources can change: from all horses but one automobile in the 1900 New York Easter Parade to all automobiles but one horse in the 1913 Easter Parade.

horses in 1900
Source: U.S. National Archives

The automobile above is easier to spot than the horse below, 13 years later. Continue reading

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading