I knew they wouldn’t fix the electric grid up in Austin by summer. Those good ol' boys are following the herd, soaking up oil and gas gravy. The more deals that they make the worse it is for the average Joe.

It isn't fair when politicians chase contributions before solving constituents’ problems.

Here in Galveston, we lose electric power every time there’s a strong gust of wind or a frog-choking rain. For the last four years, I've been generating my own electricity. Instead of paying the electric company, I'm paying off the solar system.

I’m adding a battery power-wall, so the next time the power goes out the system will automatically switch to the battery without me getting off the couch.

I don’t have anything to show for paying my electric bills for decades, but I will own my solar panels and eventually be free of the electric company tyranny.

Many of my neighbors have seen the light, and now we have five or six houses with solar in my neighborhood. We call it the solar corner. You could do the same thing. Don’t expect politicians in Austin or Washington to help us out — because they won’t.

John Machol



Recommended for you

(40) comments

Carlos Ponce

I suggest you see the ecological waste in production of solar panels and waste products when their lifespan is over. You may not be bothered by the production waste since a great many are made in China.

"Solar Panels Produce Tons of Toxic Waste—Literally"


"Solar Panel Waste: The Dark Side of Clean Energy

Tons of solar panels installed in the early 2000s are reaching the end of their lifecycles, posing a serious problem for the industry to contend with. Current solar panel disposal practices are far from being environmentally friendly."


"An Inconvenient Truth: Solar Panels Wear Out and They’re a Potent Source of Hazardous Waste"


"Solar Energy Produces 300 Times More Toxic Waste Than Does Nuclear Power"


Jim Forsythe

U.S. solar panel manufacturers (updated for 2020)

Here is a list of companies with solar panels made in the U.S.A. in 2020:

Heliene – Mountain Iron, MN (U.S. manufacturing facility)

Mission Solar – San Antonio, TX

Seraphim – Jackson, MS (U.S. headquarters)

Silfab Solar – Bellingham, WA (U.S. manufacturing facility)

Solaria – Fremont, CA (U.S. headquarters)

SolarTech Universal – Riviera Beach, FL

SolarWorld Americas – Hillsboro, OR

SunSpark – Riverside, CA

Tesla/Panasonic – Buffalo, NY (U.S. manufacturing facility)

Other notable American solar companies:

Auxin Solar – San Jose, CA

CertainTeed Solar – San Jose, CA

CSUN – McClellan Park, CA

First Solar – Perrysburg, OH

Global Solar – Tucson, AZ

GreenBrilliance – Baltimore, MD

Hanwha Q CELLS – Dalton, GA

JinkoSolar – Jacksonville, FL

LG Solar USA – Huntsville, AL

Lumos Solar – San Jose, CA

MiaSolé – Sunnyvale, CA

Prism Solar – Highland, NY

Solar Electric America – Richmond, VA

SolSuntech – Virginia

SunPower – San Jose, CA

George Croix

Jim, where’s Solyndra on that list….


Jim Forsythe

George, it was part of R and D that failed.

Solyndra was a manufacturer of cylindrical panels of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells based in Fremont, California. Heavily promoted as a leader in the Clean Energy sector for its unusual technology, Solyndra was not able to compete with conventional solar panel manufacturers of crystalline silicon. They proved that the technology was not one that made profits against other technology .

In 2011, solar panel company Solyndra defaulted on a $535 million loan guaranteed by the Department of Energy.

Overall, the agency has loaned $34.2 billion to a variety of businesses, under a program designed to speed up development of clean-energy technology. Companies have defaulted on $780 million of that — a loss rate of 2.28 percent. The agency also has collected $810 million in interest payments, putting the program $30 million in the black.

When Congress created the loan program under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was never designed to be a moneymaker. In fact, Congress imagined there would be losses and set aside $10 billion to cover them...

When dealing with new technology, you deal with failure after failure until you come up with a successful process.

You may have know about the coffee cup trials we had at Amoco.

The new type of burners we tried at the Coker's, that did not work, and so on.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Jim, Solyndra was a tiny percentage of the stimulus, but it's one that failed, so it's the one that you would know about if you only get your news from Fox.

Amiright, George?

No one makes the direct line connection between Obama's clean energy stimulus and Tesla's reinventing the electric automobile, for instance, because why celebrate success when failure is so much more satisfying?


Note the chart (old 2017 numbers) -

Gallons Of Gasoline Saved Annually - 5,870,000

CO2 Emissions Prevented Annually - 52,000 metric tons

We should expect many many green energy companies to fail. That's what the history of technology tells us. In the early 1900s there was an automobile boom, followed by an automobile bust. In the 1920s there was a radio boom, followed by a radio bust. In the 1950s there was a TV boom, followed by a TV bust. Then in the 1960s a semiconductor boom / bust. Then a PC boom / bust. Then an Internet & e-commerce boom / bust. How's that Palm Pilot working out for you? In every new technological cycle, many try, a few succeed. But even in those failures new ideas are tried and adopted by others who are more successful (he said, typing on his Windows graphical user interface developed along with the "mouse" by Xerox in the 1970s).

Whether we celebrate someone's successes or belittle someone else's failures is a personal choice - we have many of both. But what should be obvious to anyone is that the future is coming. No one can stop it. And it's not fossil fuels.

George Croix

Bailey, I’ve been fortunate enough to know my old friend Jim for many years, and for that entire time whenever not working together on something or other we’ve run circles around various issues and opinions, mostly always amicably.

But, this is an open forum, so feel free to butt in and make a really silly FDS statement and work up a good case of pique.

I don’t care…..

George Croix

Jim, as you well know, we had a lot of stuff at the Cokers that didn’t work….mechanical, and human…………grin

Same on the Pipestills, Ammonia Plants, old Styrene Unit….and everywhere else. Always had to break eggs to make an omelet….

Probably would have broken fewer if the people working near the front gate had listened a little better to the ones further inside…..but, it’s the same in all industries…

George Croix

Hit the post button too fast…

It’s a dam_ shame that we ended up killing 15 people for no better reason than cocksure people trying to operate a refinery by spreadsheet….

Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Springer

Would you care to comment about the enormous amount of plastic bags , plastic water bottles, all the plastic bottles filled with liquid found at all the grocers here and all over the USA that 98% of all households use that have formed a plastic island off the coast of California, killing the fish , the same plastic bottles that theCity of Galveston are unable to find companies who will purchase from us. How do you propose we start on the bottom to fix these issues? I would think that solar panels are a drop in the bucket in comparison.

John Machol


Donald Glywasky

But John- during the wonter poewer crisis the governor said green energy was the cause of the problem. https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/17/abbott-republicans-green-energy/

John Machol

Don, I hope you are kidding!

Bailey Jones

Good for you, Mr. Machol. [thumbup] You and your neighbors are showing the way.

George Croix

I am reminded of the Sam Houston college student in a coffin size Kia berating an old farmer in a 1 ton diesel dually with a 5x6 bale in the bed for ruining the planet….”You don’t need a big diesel for transportation”, or close to that….been about 8 years ago so may be a word off..

Old guy looks at kid and says “ Cows hungry. You carry this hay in your car and I’ll park the truck”….

Instant classic….object lesson in one size never fits all….

I’m all for alternative energy sources, as long as we’re not dumb enough to try to drop petroleum before it’s magic replacement shows up….

Probably, oh, early next century…maybe…

George Laiacona

You have to realize that the Sun doesn’t fill the pockets of our legislators, oil does! As long as the oil companies continue to own our politicians the idea of sun, water, wind and Nuclear will be in their back seat of any vehicle that tries to step in to the future . The only chance we have is to elect legislators that don’t need oil’s money. That idea is only a dream.

Carlos Ponce

If you are claiming no Federal subsidies for solar energy you are wrong.

George Croix

Actually, the major oil companies have green energy research programs, as they understand that the two can coexist, in fact, must, but that the sun cannot be turned into the many forms, including clothes, of plastics that come from fractionation of petroleum into chemical feedstocks, and which make modern life possible.

Unless nudity becomes the fashion, and we return to leather and wood vs plastics, then anyone...anyone... advocating the end of petroleum in this generation, or the next, is unaware of the most simple of facts regarding the product(s) that make daily life livable, or is patently dishonest, and demonstrably not practicing what they preach......

Gary Scoggin

George…. You are right, the two can coexist, and will coexist. Even the most aggressive feasible decarbonization scenarios call for around 40% of US energy to be oil and gas based in 2040. Even higher globally. The bottom line is that the O&G (but not coal) will be around for a long time. The issue for today’s companies is whether or not they will be one of the survivors. That’s why the big guys are diversifying their portfolios now.

George Croix

Yep. Actually, YOU were first to note Big Oil green energy research in another exchange we had a couple years ago or so, Gary.

Credit where due….

Me, I’m sticking with my 2100, + , guesstimate….because, well, just because…

I remain amazed, though, at the successful brainwashing of such a huge portion of the population who are poisoned against Evil Fossil without the slightest clue that everything they do or have today is because of it in some way

Jim Forsythe

Mycotecture is exciting and the future of some of the products we use. Below are a few examples. If we can slow our use of oil, it is all the better for all of us. How many years of oil do we have left?

Mushrooms aren’t just a flavor-packed addition to ravioli or ragu; soon fungi and forest-floor toadstools may replace materials like polystyrene, protective packaging, insulation, acoustic insulation, furniture, aquatic materials and even leather goods.

Researchers and engineers are working to develop less energy-intensive alternatives, including bricks made with leftover brewery grains.

“Biostone”: a mixture of sand , nutrients, and urea – a chemical found in human urine. Pumping bacterial solution into a sand-filled mold. The microbes eventually metabolizes the mixture of sand, urea, and calcium chloride, creating a glue that strongly bound the sand molecules together.

NU Green, created a material made from 100% pre-consumer recycled or recovered wood fiber called “Uniboard”. Uniboard has pioneered the use of renewable fibers like corn stalks and hops, as well as no added formaldehyde (NAF) resin instead of glue.

George Croix

There ya go...problems solved......actually, some of that sounds very interesting. I AM glad I already built my brick veneer home, as I try to stand upwind when p-ing at the lease, and do not care to live inside components source in urinals.......chuckle

Plastics!? "We doan nid no stinkin' plastics........"

How many years of petroleum are left?

Fewer, if my President and his, well, most enthusiastic and challenged supporters, keeps hobbling us getting our own.

I DO know we most definitely have a LOT more than when we, and the world, ran out 20 years ago, as so many of the braintrusts declared...not with an if or may, but a sure thing....

Go figure.....

Jim Forsythe

If the amount produced in the USA is reduced, the USA oil will last longer. If all we want is to reduce the amount imported, one of the ways is trying new ways of doing things. In that case, if we use less oil by replacing it with the Mycotecture and other new technologies that I posted above, we all win.

George, 20 years is not the amount of time I had in mind. More in line with over a hundred. By that time they will be using methods for power and such that you and I can not even dream of.

George Croix

True. But then we don’t have to kiss OPECs but_ and pay 30 + % more at the pump when using our own, and could do even better PIPELINING it rather than rail shipping….

Missed my point on that 20 years, old buddy.

We were told 20 years AGO that oil would run out…..now…I think it was the same group of scientists and prognosticators who predicted a mini ice age for around Y2K, and now say we’re all on an irreversible road to climate catastrophe….

Makes one wonder why an ex President who spent 8 years calling people ‘deniers’ bought a mansion on an island, a few feet above sea level….Maybe went to the Al Gore school of how to punk your supporters and get rich doing it…..grin….scowl….whatever…

Oil IS in shorter supply in the USA for a few months now, and at least another 41 months, thanks again to TDS … wonder how many of the Keystone hysterical we’re B-ing when Colonial got hacked and for a couple days they ran out of that horrible fossil fuel stuff they cannot live long without.

I fully agree with that century FROM NOW to see wonderful changes in energy sources and uses, and here’s hoping for my great great grandkids….who will hopefully still be speaking English and not Chinese….

Just think, all our futures may depend on how much a parasitic crack head’s spit blown ‘art’ fetches and what the buyer gets in return…

Jim Forsythe

My point is that I'm concerned about what may happen and not what has already has happened.

I'm different in that I hope my great great grandkid will be speaking many languages, and not limited to just one. The reality of that, one will not need to be able to speak other languages as computers will translate for you. They can already do that, as my phone has that capability.

If you are talking about the USA being taken over, I do not see it happening. The the USA has had rougher patches than now. All that is happening now is political parties are changing, and the new look parties will emerge shortly. I believe we are headed for three main parties in the USA..

As OPEC is increasing production each month after it cut 5.8 million barrels per day barrels a day. I'm not sure if we have a shortage or just a reduction in demand. Reductions increase prices and OPEC demonstrated that with the 5.8 million barrels per day of oil production cut.

If one looks at the price of WTI, the price seems to be falling from a reduction in demand. What I have read is that with the new delta variant of Covid19, demand is down.

My Nephew, who works for the State of Kansas, tonight at 10p.m. was told to work from home because of Covid19. Less commutes, less gas used.

Many people are now straying in a job, only if they can work from home. Some are quitting because their companies did not let them.

JUL 18 2021:

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its non-OPEC allies reached a deal Sunday to phase out 5.8 million barrels per day of oil production cuts by September 2022 as prices of the commodity hit their highest levels in more than two years.

Did the reduction in oil production cause a artificial price for oil and gas?

AUG 19 2021

Oil staged a blistering comeback during the first half of the year as demand returned and producers kept supply in check. But the momentum began to stall in July as the delta variant spread. WTI is now down 18% from its recent

high of $76.98 from July 6.

Price of WTI,$67.73 on 6/26/2021.

After all that I may have to put on my turtle shirt, and just relax. L.O.L.

George Croix

I'm concerned about who's telling us what may happen now and future, because the past errors, up to 180 off, makes me wonder how much is based on factual data and how much is political and/or ideological, or, as we've seen a time or two, just to sell books....

No, not different.

My granddaughter is already speaking Spanish in addition to 'Texan'.

My Chinese comment was about FORCED to speak the language of a new leadership, God forbid, if these 'woke' zealots manage to 'fundamentally change us' into, oh, Portland, OR....I should have been clearer.....ability to communicate being key to understanding and success, the more versatility, the better..

My interest in price is that we do not HAVE to be paying dramatically higher prices right now because we HAD achieved essential energy independence/net exporter status until about 12 seconds after the last Presidential Inauguration....and we do not have to be begging OPEC to crank up production....

I'll leave the blinkety blank turtles alone..I still remember, and a deal is a deal.....

Jim Forsythe

Today ,while I was out and about I paid attention to gas prices. Mobile/Exxon was at $2.56, HEB was $2.59. Yesterday I filled up with Shell, and it was $2.85. At the level of the price of oil is, the price of gas is just about right. If the price of oil goes down the price of gas will follow.

George, why has gas increase in cost. My thought is all parts of the supply chain had seen a increase in cost, so a price increase followed.

I believe that a Presidents have little to with the high or low prices of gas. if not true then Bush and Obama did a exhalent job of keeping gas prices low.

Keep in mind the prices below are the USA averages, our price is usually lower. "President Bush's energy policies weren't responsible for gasoline prices being below $2/gallon in 2009. Nor did President Obama's energy policies cause gasoline prices to fall in 2015 and 2016." The same goes for this, as Trump was not responsible for the increase below.

"In June 2018, you could find the national average at 2.96 a gallon, which is merely 11 cents lower than where we find ourselves today," One could say Trump messing around with OPEC and Iran may have increased the cost. My take on that , even if it did, the amount was small. Right now we are going thru a time, when the amount of gas required changes, as countries come and go out of Covid19 protocols.

I also believe the following statement is true.

Supply chains are complex and if any one thing could be singled out for the increase in gas prices it's the pandemic, which caused the global production of oil -- and many other goods -- to decrease last year as demand cratered. Following the removal of pandemic-related restrictions, supply has not caught up with the new demand as the economy begins to recover and people get back on the road, experts said.

George Croix

Bigger fish to fry right now, Jim.....

George Laiacona

As of 1980 the Regan administration accepted the oil companies money and halted future construction of Nuclear power facilities. This is the only type of electrical production that is not affected by any kind of weather. Fossil fuels are only friendly to those who profit from their use.

Gary Scoggin

The halt in nuclear was due to the reaction to Three Mile Island, the waste disposal issue and the fact that they got outrageously expensive to build. If you look at bad energy choices go back an administration to Carter when they went all in for coal, even building a coal-fired plant on top of what was then the most prolific gas field in the country.

Jim Forsythe

George Laiacona , even South Texas Nuclear Power Station had problems with the freeze.

The shutdown of a nuclear reactor in Texas has contributed to the state's power shortage crisis caused by extreme cold weather. One of two reactors shut down at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station an hour southwest of Houston, knocking out about half of its 2,700 megawatts of generating capacity.

Why did it happen. Because the South Texas Nuclear Power Station was not built to protect against very cold weather.

I hope they have winterized all our power plants, if not we could have a repeat or worse, with the next big freeze.

Carlos Ponce

"According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the shutdown of the nuclear reactor was caused by a disruption in a feedwater pump to the reactor, and that caused the plant to trip automatically and shut down early Monday.

There was no underlying danger to the reactor itself, Rampal and other experts said, and the trip was part of normal safety operations protocol.

"It was the connection between the power plant and outside systems," Alex Gilbert, project manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, told the Washington Examiner.

The shutdown of the reactor, one of the state's four, has played a relatively small role in Texas' power crisis, representing about 1,280 megawatts of the 30,000 megawatts of outages at the peak of the crisis Monday. Nuclear power normally provides about 11% of Texas's electricity."


Jim Forsythe

Carlos, the issue is not how much power was lost by the nuclear power plant going down, but it did shut down because of the freezing weather. That small amount of power would have supplied how many homes with power?

If it and the other source of power for the citizens of Texas have not been winterized, the next time we may not be as lucky and loose all sources of power, for a lot longer time.

What's happening about this issue.

State utility regulators approved a draft version of new standards they hope will be on the books by November.

The proposed new rules represent the first of two phases for developing weather emergency preparedness reliability standards. Under the first phase, any power generation company whose power plants failed during the February winter storm must fix what was broken and provide a “notarized attestation” essentially swearing under oath that repairs and upgrades were made.

For all electric power plants across the state, the new standards would require adequate heat tracing on pipes, insulation of critical components, and thermal enclosures and windbreaks around sensitive equipment. Transmission service providers, who own and maintain electric wires, poles and substations, must adhere to a similar set of winterization upgrades.

The proposed new rules require inspections of power plants this upcoming winter. Those that fail to comply face potential fines. After a public comment period in September, the PUC hopes to have the new rules on the books November 3. Companies would then have about a month to make winterization upgrades

It's great that they are going to fix what has been broken for a long time. But remember, the winter storm in Texas 2011, and the promised winterization of the power plants. Maybe this time they will get it right!

Carlos Ponce

Jim Forsythe, there are TWO reactors in the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant.

ONLY ONE was affected by the weather.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos Ponce, what's your point? It lost power, just as I said. That made 50% of the reactors off line, nothing to brag about.

Carlos, do you know how dangerous it is to bring down a unit, in a power plant or a refinery? This was more dangerous then a normal shutdown, because it was a unplanned outage. So yes, it was a big deal.

How close was the other reactor from going down?

I hope they fix all the problems with all the power sources, and not have a outcome like 2011, after which we were promised they would fix it, and they never did.

All power sources showed us that they were unreliable, because the Texas Public Utility commission failed us. Because of their lack of follow thru, we were without power.

Winterizing power source is not that hard, it just takes money, that they refused to spend.

Now if the PUC allow another Winter to go by, without fixing the problem, they will not be protecting the public and business, again.

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos Ponce, what's your point? It lost power,..."

ONLY ONE REACTOR. You acting as if STNP was producing NO power, ZERO, ZIP, NADA.

Jim Forsythe

It lost power, just as I said. That made 50% of the reactors off line, nothing to brag about.

Just because only one reactor went off line, changes nothing. The PUC did not do their job. Also the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant, was also at fault for not winterizing the unit to the level it needed.

It was a comfort to all of us without power for days, that only one reactor went down.

A wide spread failure of the Texas power system, is big deal. One reactor off line, just added to the problem.

This could have been a small area that lacked proper protection or a larger problem. I hope they did some sort of look at how large of problem they have, and not wait for the states report ,before fixing the problem.

Carlos, why do you keep defending the South Texas Nuclear Power Plants, lack of winterizing?

Just this last spring the PUC told all of use to conserve electric power, because they could not produce enough. Was that acceptable to you?

Until the PCU becomes reliable, we will continue to have unreliable electrical power.

Carlos Ponce


George Croix

That would include you, George.

Everyone benefits from petroleum because everything we buy, have, or do is, at some point touched by it, whether production, manufacture, transport, merchandising, sales, use…..everything….

There it is….

Ted Gillis

I seem to remember it being T Boone Pickens that predicted we would run out of oil in 20 years. I’m not sure you could call him a scientist or a protagonist.

Carlos Ponce

I call him wrong.

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.