Germany To Abandon $1.1 Trillion Wind Power Program By 2019

TN Note: Wind power is four times more costly than nuclear power, and has proven to be a total disaster for Germany, which subsidizes its wind power industry. So, how is it working out for them? Well, they threw $1.1 trillion down the sink-hole. 

Germany plans to stop building new wind farms by 2019, gradually turning away from its $1.1 trillion wind power program, according to a Thursday report in Berliner Zeitung.

The government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to the report. By 2019, this policy would cause a massive reduction of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity compared to the end of 2015’s capacity.

“The domestic market for many [wind turbine] manufacturers collapses completely,” Julia Verlinden, a spokesperson for the German Green Party, told Berliner Zeitung. “With their plan, the federal government is killing the wind companies.” Verlinden goes on to blame the political influence of “old, fossil fuel power plants.”

Germany’s government, however, has been very supportive of wind power.

The government estimates that it will spend over $1.1 trillion financially supporting wind power, even though building wind turbines hasn’t achieved the government’s goal of actually reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Germany created lucrative subsidies and tax benefits for wind power in 2011 after it decided to abandon nuclear power entirely by 2022 following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. German utilities are already suing the government for $21 billion over the nuclear shutdown plan.

Electricity from new wind power is nearly four times as expensive as electricity from existing nuclear power plants, according to analysis from the Institute for Energy Research. The rising cost of subsidies is passed onto ordinary rate-payers, which has triggered complaints that poor households are subsidizing the affluent.

Nuclear power made up 29.5 percent of Germany’s energy in 2000 — in 2015, the share dropped down to 17 percent.

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Man Builds ‘Scarlett Johansson’ Robot And It’s Scarily Lifelike

TN Note: Designer Ricky Ma is not a robotics scientist or an engineer, but as a graphic designer, he had a passion to create a life-like robot. About 70 percent of this robot was created using 3D printing technology.

Ricky Ma has dreamed of designing a humanoid since he was little after becoming obsessed with robots and animation.

A humanoid obsessive has built an incredibly realistic female robot from scratch – and it’s got more than a passing resemblance to Avengers star Scarlett Johansson.

Ricky Ma, a 42-year-old product and graphic designer, has spent more than $50,000 (£34,000) and a year and a half creating the female robot prototype, Mark 1.

The designer confirmed the scarily lifelike humanoid had been modelled on a Hollywood star, but wanted to keep her name under wraps.

It responds to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone and has moving facial expressions, but Ricky says creating it wasn’t easy.

Read more: Makers of sex robot with virtual vagina swamped with orders

He said he was not aware of anyone else in Hong Kong building humanoid robots as a hobby and that few in the city understood his ambition.

Ricky said: “When I was a child, I liked robots. Why? Because I liked watching animation. All children loved it. There were Transformers, cartoons about robots fighting each other and games about robots.

“After I grew up, I wanted to make one. But during this process, a lot of people would say things like, ‘Are you stupid? This takes a lot of money. Do you even know how to do it? It’s really hard’.”

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First, The EPA Came For The Navajo; Next, They’re Coming For Everyone

TN Note: The unelected and unaccountable Technocrats embedded within the EPA must be stopped. The Clean Power Plan authorized by Obama threatens to cripple the American economy. The fact is, the power generation plants on the Navajo Nation are virtually 100% clean already, but that doesn’t impress the EPA. This only demonstrates that the real EPA/Technocrat goal reaches far beyond the excuse of creating “clean energy”. Rather, it demonstrates a grab for power and control over people. 

Before the U.S. Supreme Court delayed it, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) sought to impose a costly cap-and-trade carbon emissions scheme on the nation’s power grid—the same rule Congress has considered and rejected several times since 2007.

A 1,500-page regulatory behemoth, the CPP specifies carbon dioxide reduction targets for 47 states as well as three Native American tribal jurisdictions, with the overall goal of reducing carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In theory, the CPP will reduce the global average temperature by 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100.

For most Americans, reducing carbon emissions is a sort of gauzy, feel-good aspiration. Reducing carbon is all fine and dandy until you realize your electric bill may go up 30 percent or more, food and water may become costlier, and jobs may be lost, all for a projected amount of planetary cooling that is well within the wide margins of error of climate models. Not to mention that these climate models have not even remotely tracked with real-world observations.

Further, there’s that nagging issue that carbon dioxide isn’t even a toxic pollutant and therefore ought not to concern the EPA. Rather, carbon dioxide is a plant fertilizer that we all aim to exhale for as long as we can on this blue-green orb we call home.

Need Jobs, Navajo? Tough

In 2008, ten Democratic senators opposed cap-and-trade, with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) noting it would impose “undue hardship on our states, key industrial sectors, and consumers.” What was true for a proposed law is still true for a regulation that does the same thing.

Case in point, the EPA’s CPP, if enacted, will wreak havoc in Arizona and the Navajo Nation, at 27,413 square miles an area larger than West Virginia sprawling across three states with a population of 174,000 people (another 158,000 claim Navajo ancestry, but live elsewhere), many suffering from lack of jobs and poverty as well as no running water or electricity.

The Navajo Nation is home to two large, coal-fired power plants. The Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona near the town of Page, Glen Canyon Dam, and Lake Powell, saw its first of three units open in 1974. Ironically, this generating station owes its construction to environmental opposition to additional hydroelectric dams on the Colorado River downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and upriver from the Grand Canyon.

Environmentalists suggested that a nuclear power plant be built in place of the dams! The Navajo Generating Station was built instead, fueled by nearby sources of clean coal. The plant employs about 500 people, 80 percent of whom are Navajo.

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Snowden Warns World Against Trusting Privacy To Tech Giants Like Microsoft

TN Note: Citizens of the world still applaud Snowden for exposing the government’s massive spy operations. Governments of the world, especially the United States, would like to see him locked up for life. We are well-warned to not place blind trust in tech giants for privacy and security. 

On Saturday, NSA whistleblower spoke to the Free Software Foundation’s LibrePlanet2016 conference regarding free software, cybersecurity, and privacy. He joined the event through video conference from Russia. During the event, Snowden explained that he was able to release the secrets of America’s mass surveillance projects more securely by using free software.

The whistleblower praised Debian, Tails, and Tor observing that what he did in 2013 never could have happened without the help of free software. He also advocates that activists and journalists switch to free and open source software to secure their privacy against the omnipresent US surveillance state.

“I didn’t use Microsoft machines when I was in my operational phase, because I couldn’t trust them,” explained Snowden. He went on to say that he couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t a backdoor coded into the Microsoft products that would enable government surveillance.

He cited Microsoft founder Bill Gates calling on Apple to install a backdoor into the iPhone at the request of a federal court which opens millions of end users up to the danger of a growing mass surveillance program.

Snowden praised Apple’s fight with the FBI calling it an example of a corporation standing up for its users. Still, the whistleblower cautioned citizens against relying on multinational companies for transmissions that are intended to be secure.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Praises China’s Environmental Record, Says It Will Be A Climate-Change Hero

TN Note: DeCaprio might be a famous actor, but that is where his talent ends. 

Leonardo DiCaprio praised China’s work to combat climate change, and said he believes the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases could be ‘the hero of the environmental movement.’

The 41-year-old actor and environmentalist, who called for action to combat climate change during his Oscar acceptance speech last month, praised China’s shift toward renewable forms of energy to lower carbon emissions.

‘As we all know, the United States and China are the two biggest contributors, and I think that China has made radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable,’ he said during a trip to Beijing.

‘I really think that China can be the hero of the environmental movement, they can be the hero of the climate change movement,’ he said.

‘They have an opportunity to change the world and I have all the confidence in the world that that is their intention.’

DiCaprio was in Beijing to promote ‘The Revenant,’ which won him his first Oscar at this year’s ceremony.

The 41-year-old actor used his lengthy acceptance speech at the awards show in California to deliver a lecture on climate change and was able to speak for a longer period than other winners when the producers failed to play ‘wrap-it-up’ music as he went well past his allotted time of 45 seconds.

Read full story here…Alexandra

Largest Solar Generation Plant In World Could Shut Down For Not Producing Enough Energy

TN Note: This is Obama’s crown jewel of alternative energy, located in the Mohave desert. It is the largest of its kind in the world. Aside from massive numbers of incinerated birds and blinded pilots, Ivanpah is not producing enough energy to even pay its own way, and California may soon decommission it. When will American taxpayers say “Enough!” to crack-pot Technocrat schemes?

California regulators may force a massive solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert to shut down after years of under-producing electricity — not to mention the plant was blinding pilots flying over the area and incinerating birds.

The Ivanpah solar plant could be shut down if state regulators don’t give it more time to meet electricity production promises it made as part of its power purchase agreements with utilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ivanpah, which got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration, only produced a fraction of the power state regulators expected it would. The plant only generated 45 percent of expected power in 2014 and only 68 percent in 2015, according to government data.

And it does all this at a cost of $200 per megawatt hour — nearly six times the cost of electricity from natural gas-fired power plants. Interestingly enough, Ivanpah uses natural gas to supplement its solar production.

These disappointing results at high prices could be the solar plant’s undoing. California Energy Commission regulators hoped the plant would help the state get 33 percent of its electricity from green sources, but now the plant could be shut down for not meeting its production promises.

Ivanpah — which is owned by BrightSource Energy, NRG Energy and Google — uses more than 170,000 large mirrors, or heliostats, to reflect sunlight towards water boilers set atop 450-foot towers that create steam to turn giant turbines and generate electricity.

The plant was financed by $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy in 2011. When the solar plant opened in 2014, it was hailed as a great achievement by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

“This project speaks for itself,” Moniz said when the project went online in early 2014. “Just look at the 170,000 shining heliostat mirrors and the three towers that would dwarf the Statue of Liberty.”

“Ivanpah is the largest solar thermal energy facility in the world with 392 MW of capacity — meaning it can produce enough renewable electricity to power nearly 100,000 homes,” Moniz said.

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EPA Seeks To Track Energy and Water Use To Force Employees ‘To Change Their Habits’

TN Note: Technocrats in the EPA have an endless desire to control your behavior, and there is no detail too small or behavior too insignificant. Technocracy is the clear and present danger to America and it is getting a free pass while citizens argue over a dysfunctional political system. It should be noted that Technocrats believe politicians bumbling idiots, incompetent and irrelevant to the future of mankind.

The Environmental Protection Agency is spending nearly $300,000 to develop technology that will track the energy and water use of office buildings, with a colored light bulb system that will send “visual messages” to employees when they are using too much.

Lucid Design Group, a California-based software company, received the funding from the agency with the goal to “change the habits” of Americans at work.

“Through this project, Lucid is focused on reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings by influencing people’s behavior,” the EPA said in a press release announcing the project. “With this award, it will further develop, test and commercialize low-cost high-tech approaches that can reduce electricity use in commercial buildings by providing real-time feedback to office workers.”

“The technology seeks to reduce peak electricity demand and associated utility bill costs through ambient color-based visual messaging; balancing energy usage and occupant comfort,” the agency said.

Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA regional administrator, said telling employees that they are using too much energy could “change their habits.”

“Lucid’s project is a great example of how technology can be used to help protect the environment,” he said. “Giving office workers immediate feedback on their energy use can help them to change their habits for the better.”

The project is part of the EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet competition, which initially awards grants worth $15,000 for environmental technology projects. Past projects include a device to monitorhow long hotel guests spend in the shower, and “trash walls” for the poor.

Lucid Design Group was selected for the second phase of the program, which awards up to $300,000 to continue developing their technology and bring it to the market.

Lucid Design Group first developed a “Building Dashboard,” used to monitor an office building’s energy use.

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European Union Technocracy Taking Major Heat From Member Nations Who Say It Is ‘Doomed’

TN Note: The EU is thoroughly embedded with Technocracy in that it is completely run by unelected and unaccountable technocrats. Member states are getting fed up with the arrangement and view the EU as on its last legs. The outcome will be interesting to watch, because if the EU falls apart, it will be a major blow to Technocrats everywhere that their crackpot schemes are not acceptable.

Optimism about the EU’s future has plummeted in all but three of the 28 member states, most strikingly in the Netherlands and Germany, where people are now overwhelmingly negative about the outlook for the union.

According to the latest figures from the EU’s own Eurobarometer survey, the scale of optimism is lowest in Greece, where just 34 per cent are upbeat about the future of the EU, compared with 63 per cent who are pessimistic.

In Cyprus fewer than four in 10 – 37 per cent – are positive about the EU’s prospects, compared with 58 per cent who are negative.

In Austria 37 per cent are optimistic, compared with 56 per cent who are pessimistic.

In the UK, the figures are 46 per cent optimistic and 44 per cent pessimistic.

Germany has seen the biggest fall in the number of people who are optimistic about the future, with a 14 per cent drop since spring last year.

Conversely, optimism is highest in Ireland and among the eastern European countries, with 73 per cent in Romania and 70 per cent in Poland saying they are positive about the future of the EU.

The bi-annual survey conducted by the European Commission gauges public opinion across all member states.

It was carried out between November 7 and 17 last year when the refugee crisis was getting worse.

Migration is considered to be the most fundamental issue the EU must deal with.

It is mentioned by 58 per cent of those questioned – a 20 per cent increase since spring 2015.

The majority of the population in 25 of the 28 member states have a negative feeling about immigration of people from outside the EU.

Around nine in 10 Europeans said additional measures should be taken to fight illegal immigration.

Last night Arron Banks, founder of Leave.EU, said: “It is no surprise that the rest of Europe has finally woken up to the fact that the EU is a failed project. It is now clear there is a rising tide of Eurosceptic discontent across the entire Continent.

“As usual Britain is leading the way and taking decisive action by holding a referendum which will liberate us from this overbearing, archaic, expensive, bureaucratic institution.”

The Netherlands is looking to follow in Britain’s footsteps by holding its own referendum.

A Dutch opinion poll last week revealed 53 per cent want an in-out vote with 44 per cent opposed and the rest unsure.

Pollster Maurice de Hond also asked people how they would vote in a referendum.

His results showed the remain and leave groups are very close with 44 per cent saying they would vote to stay compared with 43 per cent voting to leave.

Member states also feel the image of the EU is suffering as the union struggles to survive.

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The Next President Has An Opportunity To Implement A Carbon Tax on Energy

TN Note: Carbon tax is a precursor to energy currency, and it is a program loved by conservatives as much as liberals. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have made public statements against carbon tax and cap and trade. 

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all achieved significant tax reform in their first years. While a president may ultimately have more than one bite at the tax apple, it is clear that a new chief executive gets a pretty big bite in the first year.

Perhaps the greatest two determinants of what and how much a president can accomplish are the party composition of each house of Congress and whether the president chooses to make tax reform a priority, particularly during the campaign. But regardless of party – and even of the makeup of Congress – the next president has an opportunity to do something truly dramatic: implement a carbon tax.

While this seems counterintuitive, given that most Republican candidates have not shown interest in the greenhouse gas policies often associated with a carbon tax, doing so makes good economic and political sense and has the support of a great number of economists, both liberal and conservative. A carbon tax would charge for carbon pollution, thus raising revenue and allowing for a combination of long-term debt reduction and cuts to taxes on personal income and corporate profits.

The discovery and exploitation of natural resources by humans gave rise to the advanced civilization in which we live today. Coal, petroleum and natural gas fueled industrialization, raising living standards and life expectancy for most. Energy use continues to fuel economic growth and development today. But along with the benefits of energy consumption come substantial societal costs – including those associated with air and water pollution, road congestion and climate change. Many of these costs are not directly borne by the businesses and individuals that use fossil fuels, and are thus ignored when energy production and consumption choices are made. As a result, there is too much consumption and production of fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gas emissions create a series of problems for the economy and the environment.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that emissions, if left unchecked, would increase “the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Economists have long recommended specific taxes on fossil-fuel energy sources as a way to address these problems. The basic rationale for a carbon tax is that it makes good economic sense: Unlike most taxes, carbon taxation can correct a market failure and make the economy more efficient. “Among economists, the issue is largely a no-brainer ,” wrote former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw in 2013.

To be clear, a “carbon tax” should address all greenhouse emissions to the extent that they are attributable to an identifiable party. Carbon dioxide accounts for the vast share of emissions in the United States, but other emissions of other gases – for example, methane and nitrous oxide – are more potent and would need to be taxed under separate schedules.

Carbon taxes would contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment and better environmental and energy policy by providing price signals to those who pollute. A Tufts University study estimates that a $15 per ton tax on CO2 emissions that rises over time would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent, while a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the European countries’ carbon taxes have already had a significant effect on emissions reductions, up to 15 percent. The University of Ottawa found that the carbon tax implemented in Canada’s British Columbia led to a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the province, compared to less than 5 percent for the rest of the country, where comprehensive carbon taxes were not applied.

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What The Supreme Court ‘Stay’ Means For The Clean Energy Sector

TN Note: Obama’s outright war on carbon-based energy took an unexpected turn when the Supreme Court abruptly stopped his Clean Energy Plan from moving forward. This plan called for the removal of 33% of productive electrical capacity off the grid by 2020, just 4 years from now. In the process, it would shutter 48% of all coal-fired plants.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 this week to stay the implementation of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, until the carbon rule has been fully reviewed on its merits.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. is currently reviewing the regulation, with oral arguments scheduled to begin on June 2. A final ruling is expected by the end of the year.

Regardless of the outcome, the case will likely go to the Supreme Court, with either proponents or opponents challenging the appellate court’s decision. The stay issued this week is designed to halt implementation until the Supreme Court makes a final ruling. The stay itself could be a signal that the justices are leaning in favor of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) opponents.

So what does this mean for states and businesses impacted by the CPP?

For wind and solar companies, the decision doesn’t mean much — right now. The renewable energy sector saw record capacity additions in 2015 as prices continued to fall, and the recent extensions of the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar and the federal Production Tax Credit for wind will continue to drive growth over the next five to seven years.

However, the ITC and PTC extensions are intended to be a policy bridge until the CPP comes into effect. The stay creates uncertainty around what that bridge will lead to.

The CPP compliance period officially begins in 2022. But states can receive early action credits for investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2020, if they file compliance plans by September 2016. At the very least, the stay delays that timeline.

“Approving this delay, I’m afraid, will create a chill in investment in the [clean energy] sector,” said Malcolm Woolf, vice president of policy and government affairs at Advanced Energy Economy.

The CPP stands to mobilize millions and eventually billions of dollars into efficient power plants and technologies to replace power plants. Because these projects need to prove their worth for decades to come, energy companies are more likely to hold off on making long-term commitments until the Supreme Court decides the case two or three years from now, said Woolf.

This could have an impact on some large-scale utility solar projects. The 2019 and 2020 forecasts for utility solar stood to gain from early-action-eligible projects, especially for utilities that could also benefit from the 30 percent ITC eligible projects, according to Cory Honeyman, senior solar analyst at GTM Research.

“So the biggest question now is how many large utilities voluntarily proceed with implementation plans,” he said. “If these utilities pause their planning and don’t submit draft plans by September, this potentially limits the impact of the early-action component of the CPP.”

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