Drill Here, Y’all

I didn’t know that the South, region that houses 36 percent of our population, consumes 44 percent of our energy. And, because of low utility rates, Southerners spend less per-capita on energy efficiency than any other region.

I guess this explains a hell of a lot of the “drill here, drill now” rhetoric coming from Republicans, as well as opposition to cap-and-trade. They have a huge short-term incentive to keep energy prices low for their base.

Consider this my obligatory Earth Day post, and an open thread.






56 replies
  1. 1
    amorphous says:

    Happy 6,010th birthday Earth. Don’t need a birth certificate to know that one.

  2. 2
    Nick says:

    Well most of the new drilling is in the South anyway, so their beaches get ruined.

    Actually I’m not totally opposed to offshore drilling. When I was in Europe last year, they sorta laughed at me at the thought of opposing it in the US and i was just in Florida this weekend and I didn’t find anyone opposed to it there…it was probably the only thing these nuts down in Jacksonville think he’s doing right.

  3. 3
    Jamie says:

    personally, I blame the sorry state of the Public Schools in the south

  4. 4
    massappeal says:

    Low utility rates in the South? Would that have anything to do with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority)—a massive federal government project that subsidized the production of cheap energy for decades?

  5. 5
    PeakVT says:

    And, because of low utility rates, Southerners

    I suspect the Soshulist TVA has a lot to do with this.

    I guess this explains a hell of a lot of the “drill here, drill now” rhetoric

    Some, but at this point the phrase is just another tribal chant used to separate them from libruls.

  6. 6
    superdestroyer says:

    You should have read the report. The south also produce 48% of the supply of energy and uses 51% of the industrial energy because there are places in the south that still manufacture things. Something that the northern states have basically abandoned. Maybe the north uses less energy because the Northern states just do not make things anymore and due to decreasing population, no longer have to build newer facilities.

    Also, do you really believe that any part of the U.S. will be able to do the retrofits that the report supports? As was pointed out in the Frontline, small business cannot invest in something that takes a decade or more to be worth the investment.

  7. 7
    jrg says:

    Air Conditioning.

  8. 8
    MikeTheZ says:

    Glancing at the diary over on the GOS about the South Park Mohammad flap, and I kinda wanna just ask them “When is it not censorship and simply respecting the wishes of several hundred million people?” Seriously, people being asked to say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry X-mas” is a war on Christianity, but Comedy Central being asked not to show something that a major tenant of Islam says is massively disrespectful is censorship? I don’t think so. Also.

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    AIN’T NO DAMN YANKEE TAKIN’ AWAY MY EDISON BULB!

  10. 10
    jrg says:

    Comedy Central being asked not to show something that a major tenant of Islam says is massively disrespectful is censorship?

    So true. South Park should show far more deference to people who threaten to blow shit up. OK, sarcasm off – if this was about South Park’s lack of “respect”, we would have had this conversation back in 1998… But now concern troll is concerned because they are being physically threatened.

  11. 11
    Marc says:

    You burn a lot of fuel when your main form of exercise involves an ATV or a jet ski. Or an ATV riding a jet ski.

  12. 12
    bkny says:

    teh stoopid is winning:

    April 21, 2010, 10:53 am
    Obama and the ‘Birthers’ in the Latest Poll
    By DALIA SUSSMAN AND MARINA STEFAN
    President Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. A scanned image of his birth certificate released during the 2008 presidential campaign says he was, and Hawaii’s health director and its registrar of vital statistics have confirmed it.

    Despite all that, a substantial number of Americans are not convinced. In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 58 percent said Mr. Obama was born in the United States. That leaves a significant minority who said they thought he was born in another country (20 percent) or said they did not know (23 percent). (Question No. 50 in the poll.)

  13. 13
    MikeTheZ says:

    @jrg: That’s what annoys me about the whole thing. It looks like Comedy Central dropped the ep because of threats to blow stuff up, but who says its not because Muslim groups threatened a boycott? Because you know they did.

  14. 14

    @jrg: You have a point about air conditioning in the South. Southern summers are not only uncomfortable, they can be lethal.

  15. 15

    @Nick: I’m opposed to offshore drilling, but I’m largely opposed to any new drilling, as I think it’s imperative we get off fossil fuels. But I also know that we won’t stop drilling until it becomes cost-prohibitive for us to do so, so I fully expect to see platforms off Fort Lauderdale beach at some point in my time here.

    In open threadiness, I offer National Poetry Month, Brian-style. I promise to not be tedious. I don’t promise to be good–just not tedious.

  16. 16

    @Incertus (Brian): I liked your creation.

    It is a bitch to be aware enough to watch your Self slowly erode away [and not be smart enough to know how to get it back].

    Here’s to slow and careful aging.

    And here’s to doing [whatever] now. TODAY.

  17. 17
    Attaturk says:

    Because of actual “Winter” Northern Homes are generally better insulated than homes in the South.

    Yes, the South needs “air condition” for more months than someone in say, Iowa. But their Decembers are a hell of a lot less requiring of heat. And it’s not like midwestern Summers don’t require air. All in all, the electricity needed probably balances out, but the better insulation undoubtedly works to a northern home’s benefit.

    Or it could be due to the fact a higher proportion of Southerners are moronic mouth breathers who vote overwhelmingly Republican.

    Maybe a little of both.

  18. 18
    Attaturk says:

    @PeakVT:

    Socialist TVA and Southern States are really good a winning the race to the bottom.

  19. 19
    Brian J says:

    I doubt any of that really has much to do with the “Drill, baby, drill!” sentiment, at least among the general population. I’d guess that such a feeling comes from the fact that more oil production is based in the lower half of the U.S., especially around the Gulf, and that once one leader in the Republican party decides on something, the rest of them follow it like monkeys.

    Either way, it’s frustrating, because if there’s any sort of gain to be had from strapping solar panels to various buildings, it’s probably found in the south, where there’s a lot of sun. Texas as opposed to, say, Minnesota, you know?

  20. 20
    someguy says:

    But now concern troll is concerned because they are being physically threatened.

    The glibertarian fucks who write Southpark deserve to be threatened. I’m about as supportive as, say, Rabelais, when it comes to insulting religion, but the insults directed at Islam aren’t about debunking religion. Rather, they carry with them a nasty racist and colonialist motive. So when we make fun of, say, Catholic priests, it’s entirely different than when the neo-cons and their glibertardian friends mock Mohammed. Plus, we don’t have troops stationed abroad torturing and killing any Catholic they can lay their hands on, and we aren’t targeting pederast priests hanging out at the Vatican using Predator drones. I get why the Muslims feel insulted and feel the need to take action. Fuck with the bear, get the claws.

  21. 21

    @someguy: Most of the cracks at western religions aren’t about debunking the religion either, so I think that excuse fails. Honestly, I think the people who get upset over someone else taking a shot at their holy cows need to get a grip. If you really do have the magic ticket to foreverland, then what people say about it in this life doesn’t matter. To get upset at someone making fun of your faith is to evidence a lack of faith, in my opinion.

  22. 22
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @superdestroyer: Actually, I did read the report. Thus I know that the south uses more energy per capita in EACH of the subsectors, not just energy.

    With 36% of the population, its residential use is 39% of the national total.

    With 36% of the population, commercial building use 38% of total commercial building use.

    With 36% of the population, the south is 41% of the national transportation use.

    Yes, you’re right, the south has more industry. It does not, however, have 51% of the nation’s industry. I grant, however, that the report doesn’t do a good job of differentiating low- and high- energy use industries, but instead combines farming and energy production and chemical production and mining and, well, all industries. Still, I’ll say again that the 51% number seems a bit high given only 36% of the US population — ESPECIALLY as the south is also the poorest region of the nation.

  23. 23
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @jrg: And the north uses no heat in the winter?

  24. 24
    jrg says:

    @someguy: So, you’re saying that South Park has no right to free speech because you find it somehow racist against arabs?

    I’m sorry, I did not realize that our rights are contingent on not hurting your widdle feewlings.

  25. 25
    Michael says:

    Still, I’ll say again that the 51% number seems a bit high given only 36% of the US population—ESPECIALLY as the south is also the poorest region of the nation.

    The earnings from that manufacture wing their way into the pockets of very few. For the South, that is normal and something they support, as they are sure that someday, somehow, they’ll be part of the wealthy elite, because their filthy, pathological deity will make it so.

  26. 26
    Citizen_X says:

    @superdestroyer:

    there are places in the south that still manufacture things. Something that the northern states have basically abandoned.

    Wow. So, you missed that whole thing about moving-to-places-with-cheaper-labor-like-the-anti-union-South-then-Mexico-then-China? ‘Cause that was a major feature of the past, oh, forty years or so.

  27. 27
    someguy says:

    I’m sorry, I did not realize that our rights are contingent on not hurting your widdle feewlings.

    Not at all. I’m saying that Southpark and a lot of their NeoCon buddies are cheerleading the slaughter of Muslims and A-rabs. What they are doing would be akin to making movies that mocked black people at a time when they were being lynched by the hundreds in the South. It goes beyond making fun of them; Parker and Stone are cheering on slaughter, propagandizing on behalf of the oil companies and the zionists. That’s not philosophical debate or discussion, it’s fighting words, and I get why Muslims want to punch back.

    I mean, nothing is more American than making fun of teh Brown Peepul to help out the oil companies in the wars our poor people fight, but still.

  28. 28
    PurpleGirl says:

    Superdestroyer: re manufacturing in the South: Many of those factories or industries used to be in the North. I remember when apparel manufacturing was a prominent industry in NYC. Then the OWNERS moved those factories down South for the cheaper costs and salaries. Of course, when it became cheaper yet to move manufacturing off shore they did that too. It’s not like the former clothing makers asked the OWNERS to move the factory South.

  29. 29
    Halteclere says:

    The last time I checked (about a year ago) I pay approximately $0.16/KWh of electricity in Dallas. My parents, who live in southern Missouri (the same place this lovely sign was posted) pay approximately $0.09/KWH electricity. But then I live in a deregulated power industry state, while my parents get their electricity from a communist cooperative electrical company.

  30. 30
    jrg says:

    @someguy: There’s pretty much no religion or ethnic group those guys have not mocked.

    Typically when they mock Arabs, they use the stereotype of the violent Muslim fundie. The response from radical Islamic groups has been worse for the Muslim image than anything Trey or Matt could have come up with.

    At any rate, I doubt this conversation is going to go anywhere. Zionism and American over-reach in the Middle East existed before South Park, and they will exist after it’s gone. One thing’s for sure – terrorism (yes, that includes killing people you don’t like) will only make it worse.

  31. 31
    DougJ says:

    Very interesting point.

  32. 32
    Bill H says:

    That article looked a little sloppy to me because it used the terms “energy” and “electricity” in a way that made them seem synonymous. It talked about electrical rates being low and energy use, and then about raising electrical rates and lowering energy use. The numbers might be okay in the South, but in colder areas where gas and oil are used for heating to a larger degree, the two terms would have vastly different meanings. The article uses terms such that I am left questioning whether the South using 44% of the energy, or 44% of the electricity?

    Doesn’t mean that the basic thrust of the article, more energy efficiency being needed, is invalid; but I’m not sure that the South needs it to any really higher degree than the North. At least not from reading that article, I don’t.

    The Southwest is absurd, in that due to the mild climate houses have been historically been built with essentially no insulation at all.

  33. 33
    Alan says:

    I’m from the south and I don’t support cap & trade. It’s seems a huge waste of political capital that won’t accomplish much. But at the same time will make a select few rich. The political capital should be used to build solutions to the problem–nuclear , solar, wind, etc. Heck, I want to drive a hydrogen powered car–where’s our hydrogen highway?

  34. 34
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Test. No posts from anyone since about 8:45 am. Very odd. I wonder if this will make it into the thread.

    FYWP also too.

  35. 35
    Shalimar says:

    You mean my $520 electric bill for January for a 1000 square foot house that barely turned on the heat was low compared to other parts of the country? Or do we just have the one rural electric co-op in the South that is screwing it’s customers and embezzling money?`

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Test (another)

  37. 37
    Bill Arnold says:

    You mean my $520 electric bill for January for a 1000 square foot house…

    What are you paying per KWH? (For the number that matters, divide the bill by the number of kilowatt-hours).

    I recently moved from a NYSEG (semi-public) served county to another NY State county served by a private company, and am paying two bills while trying to sell a house. One is about 17 cents per KWH, the other about 10 cents per KWH (last time I checked).
    (i.e. it’s not all NYS taxes.)

  38. 38
    S. cerevisiae says:

    @Alan: Alan: hydrogen, like corn ethanol, is a dead end. There needs to be a cap on carbon emissions because while we can’t stop the two degree rise that is already in the pipeline we may be able to keep it under four degrees if we act quickly to cut emissions.

    That’s a big IF.

  39. 39
    Alan says:

    @S. cerevisiae: I’m no scientist, but it seems the best way to cap carbon emissions is to replace that which is producing the emissions with something that doesn’t. Nuclear power comes to mind. I just threw hydrogen out there as a way to store power. A better battery technology would suffice.

    To me, nothing would satisfy the rough individuality of a conservative more than being off the grid producing his or her own electricity. Every home should have a wind turbine and an array of solar cells or something comparable to augment what they get from the grid. We’ve been talking about doing this crap since the 70s and nothing has come of it. And the only solution we hear from our government is cap & trade. Fuck that. If global warming is a serious concern then serious solutions should be forwarded. Cap & Trade ain’t it.

  40. 40
    Arclite says:

    I didn’t know that the South, region that houses 36 percent of our population, consumes 44 percent of our energy.

    That statistic is even more amazing when your realize that it takes more energy to heat a house up from 20 degrees up to 60 (the case in the north in the winter) than it does to cool it from 90 down to 70 (the case in the south in the summer). Looking at the study, one statistic that jumps out is that industry in the south uses more than half (51%) of all the energy used by industry nation wide. It doesn’t discuss what % of industry the south holds, but I’m willing to bet it’s not 50%.

  41. 41
    curious says:

    the discrepancy is entirely due to al gore’s house. true fact!

  42. 42
    Arclite says:

    @Alan:

    Every home should have a wind turbine and an array of solar cells or something comparable to augment what they get from the grid.

    Personal solar is a good idea (especially the cheaper water heating kind) where it’s sunny enough. Solar water heaters, for example, should be mandatory in the sunbelt. However, in the northern climes it makes less sense as the angle of the sun and the cloud cover greatly reduce the efficiency of the solar cells. It would make a lot more sense to put that solar cell in the south and transport the electricity north. Electricity losses via high voltage DC are only 5% per 1000 miles. The same goes for wind. Larger industrial turbines are twice as efficient as smaller personal ones. Add to that the cost of maintaining 1000 one kilowatt turbines vs. maintaining a single one megawatt turbine and you’ve got further cost inefficiencies.

    So personal solar and wind really only make sense if you’re way out in the middle of nowhere and have no other option (or for solar you live in AZ). For the vast majority of the population personal power production makes no sense.

  43. 43
    Froley says:

    You have a point about air conditioning in the South

    Here in Dallas you can find restaurants with outdoor seating that have poles between the tables for air conditioning. In the words of Chef from Apocalypse Now, I couldn’t fucking believe that one.

  44. 44
    Arclite says:

    @Shalimar: $520 per month is crazy. Something is not right there. I’m assuming you’re already keeping your thermostat down to 60, live in a well insulated home, turn your lights and TV off when you’re not using them, etc. So do this:

    1. Go get a killawatt:
    http://www.amazon.com/P3-Inter.....038;sr=8-1

    Plug it in to everything to see how much standby power things are draining. There are probably things that are plugged in that you think are off, but actually drain power (even when they are off)

    2. Go get some Bye-bye Standby remote controls for your power strips:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bye-Stan.....038;sr=8-9

    Plug these in and turn off the TV, DVD player, stereo, and the computer at the outlets. Devices like these (and wall warts) can drain a constant 3-5 watts EACH 24/7. That really adds up.

  45. 45
    Arclite says:

    @Bill H:

    That article looked a little sloppy to me because it used the terms “energy” and “electricity” in a way that made them seem synonymous. It talked about electrical rates being low and energy use, and then about raising electrical rates and lowering energy use. The numbers might be okay in the South, but in colder areas where gas and oil are used for heating to a larger degree, the two terms would have vastly different meanings. The article uses terms such that I am left questioning whether the South using 44% of the energy, or 44% of the electricity?

    Go read the actual study the article was based on. It is quite comprehensive and discusses all energy use, including not only electricity, but also oil, gas, and other energy uses for all sectors: residential, commercial, etc.

    http://www.seealliance.org/pro.....-study.php

  46. 46
    Jon says:

    @jrg: THIS. Oh my sweet tap dancing baby Jesus, there is no functionality without a/c down there. I remember getting to the office in Birmingham, 7:45 AM, and it’s already 78 degrees with 80% humidity and AQI of 120.

  47. 47
    Arclite says:

    @Linda Featheringill, @JRG:

    You have a point about air conditioning in the South.

    Actually, heating a house or business up 40 degrees takes more energy than cooling it down 20. So from that perspective, the south should be using less energy for maintaining residence temperatures.

  48. 48
    Paul in KY says:

    Alot of homes down in the deep South (I lived in Miami for 3 hot years) have NO insullation. They also have no heat, so on the few times the temp got to the 40s, they were freezin their junk off (I was too, as I had no insullation/heat).

    In Miami, for about 10 months of year, you have to run the AC non-stop.

  49. 49
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Arclite,
    $520 a month is almost certainly electric heating (resistive or a heat pump?), an electric water heater, and AC, with possibly some significant black-body-radiation (incandescent) lighting. Probably no insulation. Possibly an old refrigerator/freezer.

    I’ve put a bunch of charging warts on power strip (and 3-way adapters hanging off of it) on a mechanical timer set to run 2 hours per day. Seems to keep things charged. Not sure whether it’s ok for the batteries though.

    Second the recommendation to buy or borrow a Kill-a-watt meter. They can be really helpful. And interesting. My new big TV (wife’s fault!) uses about twice as much electricity when showing a bright scene as when showing a dark scene. The cable box, which takes 5+ minutes to boot, uses about 10-15 watts (IIRC).

  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    Looking at the study, one statistic that jumps out is that industry in the south uses more than half (51%) of all the energy used by industry nation wide.

    @Arclite: One word answer for why that is: aluminum.

    The manufacture of aluminum from bauxite is one of the most energy consumptive processes on the face of the planet, and most of it happens in Arkansas, if I remember correctly.

    Also, most of the nation’s car manufacturing plants are down there – Honda, Nissan, Toyota and GM all have extensive manufacturing plants in the South.

  51. 51
    Colin Laney says:

    [T]he South, region that houses 36 percent of our population, consumes 44 percent of our energy.

    I’m sure air conditioning is a factor. I’ve been in New York City when people were complaining about a heat wave. It was a joke. And I’ve lived in Atlanta and San Francisco. Atlanta has colder winters.

  52. 52
    momus says:

    You forgot to mention their other subsidy, that they also get more than a dollar back for every dollar they send to Washington.

  53. 53
    Mr Furious says:

    Air conditioning in the South is definitely a factor in these numbers. You simply need to run the air more months of the year than elsewhere. I wouldn’t doubt you run the air more months than much of the North runs the heat.

    And I don’t know anyone with a gas or oil-fired A/C unit—it’s all electric.

    In the North, most homes are heated with oil or gas, and electric is a distant third. In the South, electric heat is much more common.

    So basically, climate control in the South is almost all electric, all year long, while up north, electricity is primarily a seasonal A/C thing.

  54. 54
    Mr Furious says:

    In case that sounded like I was sticking up for the South…

    Fuck the South.

  55. 55
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Mr Furious:

    Gas fired AC is a product that failed massively back in the 70’s. It works, more or less, but it is technically difficult to maintain, very finicky, and the cost of natural gas has gone up to the point where it doesn’t really make sense economically. It just didn’t work well in the desert, and AC techs didn’t like to service the machines.

    Instead, money was invested in more efficient conventional refrigeration (compressor-evaporator) using safer refrigerants and quieter, more reliable hardware. These new units can cut power costs in half compared to older units, run quieter, last longer.

    Improvements have been made to the gas AC technology, and it is still a feasable option in commercial applications, although I don’t know of any large gas fired AC installations in Arizona. It may be technically doable but the technology has not kept up with improvements to other technology alternatives in efficiency and reliability.

    Where I live, which is the land of 100-100 summers (one hundred days of 100 degree weather, more or less) we pay attention to air conditioning. Close attention. Obsessive attention.

  56. 56
    Shalimar says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    What are you paying per KWH?

    Not high, 12 cents. They claim we used 4500 KWH in January. Normal use in mid-summer with air conditioning at 75 is more like 1500 so it shouldn’t be higher in the winter. And I like the cold and was home alone so our heat was barely on in January. I think they made a mistake, but they will never admit that.

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