From Watts Up With That?
Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
The L A Times long campaign of politically driven and flawed climate alarmism propaganda editorials which includes the Times incompetent and misrepresented claims for the year 2022 climate outcomes as exposed in a recent WUWT article (shown below) has now moved on to another contrived editorial falsely attributing the recent high natural gas prices in California to “instability of fossil fuels” an assertion so outlandishly distorted and politically labored it would make both Russian Premier Putin and Pravda proud because of the Times unabashed disinformation behind this claim.
This latest Times editorial completely conceals the global wide failure of unreliable renewable energy that cannot be dispatched to meet electric system load demand with that flawed performance outcome resulting in huge generation capacity demand shortfalls that required large increased use of fossil fuels that were unplanned for and consequently capability limited.
This global wide renewable energy failure drove global nations to rely upon emergency fossil fuel purchases from unreliable and unsavory high priced energy market players including Russia that then further used this situation to try and blackmail these nations into ignoring Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine or face curtailment of desperately needed fossil fuels that were required to make up for the catastrophically failed performance of unreliable renewable energy in these nations.
The Times editorial shown below completely conceals the global wide failure of unreliable renewable energy which is at the heart of the present fossil fuel price and availability natural gas energy market debacle outcomes.
Fortunately, other less renewable energy advocacy biased, and politically contrived climate change propaganda driven media publications have addressed California’s present natural gas price hike issues more completely and competently than the distorted Times editorial including a series of comprehensive articles recently done by the Orange County Register.
The Register editorial shown below gets to the heart of the policy failure by California politicians that delivered this natural gas availability and high price energy debacle.
Key items from the Register editorial are presented below:
“Natural gas prices have surged in California. The cost of the commodity is up 314% from a year ago, according to SoCalGas.
In the rest of the country, however, the price of natural gas is not surging. In some places, natural gas futures are the lowest they’ve been in 17 months, while in California, natural gas currently costs five times the benchmark U.S. price.”
“But something can be done about it. California could produce more natural gas in-state, as it did in the past. Ten years ago, production in California was double what it is today.”
“Overall, California uses more natural gas than any state except Texas, and almost one-third of it is used to run power plants that generate electricity.
Yet state leaders rarely if ever acknowledge reality when it comes to energy policy, preferring to pretend that the use of “fossil fuels” will be completely phased out, on an ever-accelerating timetable.”
The ridiculous L A Times editorial addressed above insanely emphasized the need to accelerate the use of unreliable high-cost renewable energy which of course would only exacerbate the states, country and global wide present natural gas availability and price energy debacle.
The Register article concluded with this real-world assessment of California’s natural gas energy debacle:
“Californians are suffering this winter because politicians prefer lofty speeches on climate change to rational discussions about critical industries and infrastructure.”
The Register also published an article that examined in more detail the issues that have caused the state to experience natural gas price hikes as shown below.
The article highlights many different natural gas energy market conditions and complexities that have accounted for the natural gas price hikes in California. Compare this assessment of the state’s natural gas debacle to the incompetent and politically contrived failures to present and discuss such issues that comprised the Times propaganda editorial.
“Southern California residents, get ready for a severe case of sticker shock as your natural gas bills across the region soar more than double this winter, according to the region’s two chief utility companies.”
“Though gas bills tend to increase slightly during the winter as more gas is used to combat cold weather, both companies attributed the rate increases to corresponding hikes in the market cost of natural gas — which, for a slew of interconnected reasons including the California drought, unexpected severe cold snaps across the country, and Russia’s war in Ukraine has jumped about 128% since November.”
“To make matters worse, natural gas supply has not kept pace with the increased demand and U.S. natural gas exports to Europe are up significantly, putting an even greater strain on availability.”
“Europe relies heavily on Russian gas for its energy needs — especially during the wintertime with heating,” said Brian Peck, the University of Southern California’s Transnational Law and Business Center director in a Thursday, Jan. 5 interview. “And so as part of the U.S.-led effort to provide Western support for Ukraine, they have asked Europe to wean itself off of reliance on Russian gas.”
“But for the EU, which gets more than 40% of its liquified natural gas from Russia — an outright ban on the fuel wasn’t possible without major economic consequences for its residents. Biden’s deal to expand gas shipments to the EU, Peck said, aimed to help wean the collection of countries off of Russian natural gas over the next five years.”
“The U.S. has pledged to support exports of liquefied natural gas to help Europe wean itself off and become less reliant on Russian oil, which would then decrease gas revenues to Russia’s regime,” Peck said. “(It also) help(s) insulate Europe from Russia’s restrictions on gas until Europe can wean itself off the supply.”
“International relations aren’t the only factor stressing the supply of natural gas in Southern California. Along with the new year, the state celebrated a much more grim milestone: Its fourth year of severe drought.”
“Though a majority of California’s electricity is still generated using natural gas, according to the state’s Energy Commission, about 10.2% of all California electricity is created with hydropower. The state’s shrinking water supply, though, has forced an even heavier reliance on natural gas for electricity production in recent years.”
“And because 90% of California’s natural gas supply is imported — largely from West Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and the Four Corners area — the state relies heavily on the health of a vast interstate of transport pipelines to receive its share of the supply.”
“Capacity along that crucial interstate pipeline has suffered in recent months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as wholesale suppliers in West Texas, one of California’s main importers, have dealt with a series of maintenance issues.”
“Natural gas storage capacity in California’s underground reservoirs — three of which are in the Los Angeles area — has also been greatly reduced in recent years.”
“Natural gas levels in storage facilities across the Pacific Region — which includes California, Washington state, and Oregon — were 25% lower in December than a year earlier, according to the EIA, and 30% below the five-year average. “In Northern California, Pacific Gas and Electric’s injections, to rebuild natural gas inventories, have not kept pace with previous summers,” the EIA added.”
The Register published yet another article addressing the many reasons behind the states natural gas price hikes in the article shown below.
“None of us lives in Hearst Castle. Yet my natural gas bill shot from $44 to nearly $300 in the span of two months. Kay Kearney’s is projected to hit $368 in January — more than three times what she paid this time last year. And Burl Estes is staring down a $397 tab for having the audacity to keep warm.
“It’s not sustainable,” said Kearney, whose home in Garden Grove is a modest 1,500 square feet. “We keep the thermostat at 68, when raining and cold. Turn off the heater when it’s nicer. With the current economic issues and inflation what are we to do? There is nowhere left to cut back.”
The article gets down to the heart of California’s obsession with unreliable renewable energy and ill-considered rejection of fossil fuels that was totally concealed and ignored by the L A Times editorial as follows:
“We’ll talk about the powerful supply-and-demand forces at work here in a moment, but first, the nitty gritty, at least according to some experts: Politics, with perhaps a dash of greed.
With good intentions and pure heart, more or less, California hurtles headlong toward 100% renewable energy. We snub fossil fuel power plants and natural gas storage facilities in our quest to quell global warming. But we don’t yet have enough reliable — and affordable — energy to replace them.”
Concerning the challenges of supply and demand the article notes:
“You’ve heard a lot about “perfect storms” and dark tales of market manipulation. But the official explanation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is a simple tale of supply and demand.
Demand: From the Canadian border to the Mexican border, the West Coast has been shivering thanks to widespread, below-normal temperatures that force us all to sleep with socks on. This increases demand for natural gas — which is, by far, the greatest source of our energy supply for all but eight hours of the day, when the sun is shining and solar power is plentiful, according to the California Independent System Operator (which runs our electric grid).
Supply: Unfortunately, supply has dropped precisely as demand has shot up. Folks up north aren’t shipping natural gas down our way because they’re cold, too. An interstate pipeline in Texas that feeds the West Coast has been down for maintenance. And we’re just not banking as much natural gas as we might; storage levels on the West Coast are low, as one can see in the tale of the troubled Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, which is allowed to operate at 60% of capacity and is on the chopping block.”
The article concludes:
“Even if prices drop dramatically, the underlying issues of switching from fossil fuel to green energy remain. California’s insistence on doing that quickly means no investment in new pipelines and new storage, which means we’re forced to rely on the expensive spot market.”
“The goals are just too far-fetched and unrealistic — unless you want to inflict major economic pain,” said Hiatt of USC. “The problem is, so much political capital has been built into this that no one wants to admit they did something wrong. Just push forward until something breaks.”
A more sober, and less painfully expensive approach: Plan for a longer transition period, he said.”
The L A Times editorial was politically contrived and employed concealment, ignorance and grossly inadequate misrepresentation of global wide unreliable renewable energy failures that drove the huge world need for increased use of natural gas and other fossil fuels. The Times editorial presented nothing but flawed propaganda hyping ridiculously inept support for more unreliable renewable energy mandates that were at the heart of the present global wide natural gas availability and price increase energy debacle.