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Fear: The Strategy of Activists

August 19, 2014

Here are quotations from several sources designed to scare people.

  • “Rapid development of fossil-fuel resources has the potential to transform landscapes and biological communities before the resulting impacts are fully understood.”
  • “The biological impacts of shale energy development are numerous, and include water scarcity, habitat loss, and various forms of pollution that can cross terrestrial and aquatic boundaries, extend beyond the immediate footprint of the operation, and may interact to affect ecosystems in unexpected ways, making cumulative impacts assessment imperative.”
  • “The most rapidly growing source of natural gas in the U.S. [the Marcellus Shale] underlies one of the country’s highest diversity areas for amphibians and freshwater fish.”
  • “The AP found that Pennsylvania received 398 complaints in 2013 alleging that oil or natural gas drilling polluted or otherwise affected private water wells, compared with 499 in 2012.”
  • “Just hearing the total number of complaints shocked Heather McMicken, an eastern Pennsylvania homeowner.”
  • “Natural gas producers have been running roughshod over communities across the country with their extraction and production activities for too long, resulting in contaminated water supplies, dangerous air pollution, destroyed streams, and devastated landscapes.”

This is what you read in the media.

The above quotations are from: a Blog, USA Today, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the same NGO that helped kill nuclear power.

Of course, few, if any, of these scare scenarios have any substance in fact. They are open ended and designed to scare the reader who is otherwise uninformed about fracking, or for that matter, about most energy issues, including global warming.

But, why don’t they have any substance in fact?

It’s essential to understand that in virtually all cases, fracking takes place several thousand feet beneath the water table, with layers of rock between the shale and the water table.

It’s virtually impossible for fracking to contaminate wells and water supplies, or harm biologic communities and fish. It just physically can’t happen when the fracking operation takes place thousands of feet below any lake, river, steam or water source.

There are a few instances where the shale formation is closer to the water table, such as in Arkansas, where it’s only a thousand feet below the water table, and in Wyoming, where the geology is unique.

The scare movies about fracking have shown people lighting water coming from their water faucets, supposedly proof that fracking contaminated wells.

The attached picture was published in the National Geographic Magazine in 1980, long before fracking was common.

Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine

Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine

It shows a man in Minnesota lighting the water coming from his well, because naturally occurring methane gas had seeped, naturally, into his well.

This was also the case in Pavilion Wyoming, a widely publicized case where wells had supposedly been contaminated by methane. The EPA couldn’t prove the drillers had contaminated the wells, after two attempts to do so. See, Good News About Fracking  and Fracking Indictment.

Even today, researchers from Stanford University, as reported on August 14, by McClatchy News, are studying Wyoming for evidence that fracking has contaminated water supplies, and they admit they haven’t been able to do so.

This doesn’t mean there can’t be problems associated with drilling.

Note that the complaints from Pennsylvania haven’t been categorized, but merely try to blame fracking.

About 40% of the water used in the fracking operation flows back from the well, and this water is contaminated and should be properly disposed of.

The industry is addressing this issue.

It’s estimated that within five years, 50% of the waste water from Eagle Ford shale operations will be recycled. Marathon, for example, is also developing methods for recycling water In the Bakken.

Have accidents occurred where contaminated water has spilled onto property, or been improperly disposed of? Probably, but the incidents have been rare. The industry is working hard to make certain accidents don’t happen, because the industry knows it can be castigated for any such occurrence.

The NRDC claims there is dangerous air pollution, but that’s because the NRDC believes that all fossil fuels cause global warming. Natural gas is methane, and methane is worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

While some natural gas has leaked into the atmosphere, with no real cause for concern, the real problem has been that drillers have flared excess natural gas that flows with oil from the well, because they had no way of transporting the natural gas from the well site.

Even this problem is being addressed with the advent of equipment to compress or liquify the natural gas at the well site, for use as a fuel for powering engines.

Then, there is the claim of water scarcity in the scare stories.

In many areas there are abundant supplies of water and there is no scarcity. In Texas, where there could be scarcities, only one percent of potable water usage is for fracking.

But even here, the industry is taking steps to limit the use of potable water, such as by reclaiming waste water.

With respect to water usage, more than 50% of the water Marathon uses in the Eagle Ford is considered unsuitable for drinking, agriculture, or livestock. Marathon said, “We’re using water that otherwise wouldn’t be used anywhere else.”

The media, of course, is complicit in the efforts to scare people. Again, as the saying goes, “If it Bleeds, it Leads.”

At best, the media industry is merely trying to sell newspapers, magazines and TV shows … at worst, it’s perpetuating ignorance that harms America.

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Have We Lost Our Way?

August 15, 2014

The United States has had the lowest cost, most reliable electricity in the world. Why would we undo what has worked to our benefit for nearly a century?

That is a question worth asking, as we forge ahead imposing policies that are rapidly tearing apart the grid and increasing the cost of electricity for people and industry.

Any increase in the cost of electricity ripples across the entire economy, raising the cost of food, clothing, housing and nearly everything else we use.

Table I compares the cost of producing, not transmitting or distributing, electricity.
Note that these are different from those shown on the EIA web site. For a discussion of LCOEs, see Meaningless LCEOs.

The bottom line, no matter which LCOE is used, wind and solar are more expensive than electricity from coal or natural gas. Also, note that LCOEs do not include the cost of running natural gas power plants 24/7, as backup for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

Increasing the percentage of electricity generated by wind and solar from the paltry 4% today, which is nearly all from wind, to just 20%, will require adding huge amounts of large scale storage that doesn’t exist. This doesn’t include PV roof-top solar installations for which comparable data is not available, but which are also creating problems. See Save The Grid.

The real goal is to have 80% from wind and solar, the same as Germany’s goal.

TABLE I

Cost of Electricity

kWh

Coal-fired $0.06
Natural gas combined cycle $0.05
Wind $0.11
Solar $0.15 – $0.27

Why would we promote less efficient methods for generating electricity when higher costs to consumers and industry would hurt families and kill jobs?

The reason put forth by the EPA is to improve air quality, but haven’t we reached the limits of how much air quality can be improved?

Would eliminating coal-fired power plants improve air quality or have health benefits?

Air Quality compared with GDP and Population Growth

Air Quality compared with GDP and Population Growth

The above chart shows how air quality has improved while GDP and population have increased between 1979 and 2002.

The following chart shows ozone levels. It should be noted that higher levels are not correlated with coal-fired power plants, but probably are more closely associated with automobile exhaust. Note the area around four-corners where two large coal-fired power plants continue to operate. (The four-corners are formed by New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.)

Ozone Levels in United States 2005 - 2009

Ozone Levels in United States 2005 – 2009

A complete view of air quality from 1980 through 2013 is available from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/airdata/ad_rep_aqi.html

Coal-fired power plants are supposedly the culprit when it comes to poor air quality, but they have reduced pollutant emissions to such a low level that closing large numbers of coal-fired power plants will have little if any effect on improving air quality or mitigating health concerns.

In fact, building new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants, that are 36% more efficient than existing coal-fired power plants, would have little, if any, negative effect on air quality … especially if they replace the older, less efficient plants.

Mercury emissions have also been reduced to minimal levels, where natural emissions far outweigh any impact from coal-fired power plants.

The report, Regulatory Analysis of EPA’s Proposed Rule to Reduce Mercury Emissions from Utility Boilers, shows that EPA rules will have virtually no effect on health(1).

If closing coal-fired power plants won’t have any significant effect on air quality or health, why is this administration forcing the country to adopt high cost alternatives for generating electricity?

There is only one answer, and that’s to cut CO2 emissions. See, There is No Denying Global Warming.

Cutting CO2 emissions is the reason why the United States is being subjected to regulations that harm Americans.

It’s impossible for the United States to cut CO2 emissions enough to have any effect on global warming, even if CO2 emissions are the cause of global warming … which they probably aren’t.

China and India will continue to emit many tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, even if we hobble our economy by trying to cut CO2 emissions.

CO2 atmospheric levels will increase worldwide, even if we cut CO2 emissions 80%, which is the goal of this administration and the EPA.

This administration is subjecting Americans to a fools errand, that hurts American consumers and American industry.
Notes:
Report at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/46454327_A_Regulatory_Analysis_of_EPA’s_Proposed_Rule_to_Reduce_Mercury_Emissions_from_Utility_Boilers

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Why Wind Energy is a Bad Idea

August 12, 2014

In a casual conversation, I was asked why wind energy is a bad idea. Once again, I realized that a one or two-word answer could not convey a readily understandable and accurate picture of wind energy.

This article will try to provide such an answer in a few hundred words, where one or two won’t suffice.

There are essentially four reasons why wind energy is a bad idea.

  • It is unreliable
  • It is very, very expensive
  • It produces electricity when it isn’t needed
  • It has environmental issues
Wind farm in New York State. 2013

Wind farm in New York State. 2013

Wind can only produce electricity when the wind is blowing at between 6 mph and 55 mph. Above 6 mph, it gradually increases its output until it reaches a maximum output at around 35 mph. Above 55 mph, the wind turbine is shut down to prevent damage to the turbine.

The wind can stop blowing abruptly, so backup power generation must be immediately available to replace the wind generated electricity, or the grid could collapse causing blackouts.

Typically, gas turbine generators are kept running 24/7 so they are available to be rapidly brought online.

A sufficient number of gas turbine generators must kept running at all times to be ready for when the wind stops blowing. This varies by region and on the reliability of day-ahead weather forecasts.

The electricity generated by wind has an intrinsic cost, based on leveled cost of electricity (LCOE) of around 11 cents per kWh. This compares with around 5 cents per kWh for natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants and around 6 cents for coal-fired power plants.

But there are other costs for wind energy that are seldom taken into consideration, and not included in LCOE calculations.

First, there is the cost of back-up power. It costs money to keep gas turbine generators running for no other purpose than to be ready to come on line when the wind stops blowing, or the sun stops shining in the case of solar generation.

It also costs money to build transmission lines which are used solely, or nearly so, to carry electricity from wind farms to where it can be used.

The best winds are in Montana and along the face of the Rocky Mountains, and these can be a thousand miles from where the wind generated electricity can be used. Transmission lines must be built if this electricity is to be brought to where it can be used. Though involving shorter distances, many other wind farms also need dedicated transmission lines to connect them to the grid.

Wind farms also produce electricity at night, when it isn’t needed.

This has resulted in the bizarre situation where the owners of wind farms have sold electricity at a loss, for example, actually paid the regional transmission organization (RTO) 1 cent per kWh, in order to collect the 2.2 cents per kWh subsidy.

More importantly, the nameplate ratings of wind turbines overstate the amount of electricity they can produce. Wind turbines in the United States have had a capacity factor of around 32%, or lower during the recent past.

Capacity factor is the amount of electricity a wind turbine, or any other power generation method, produces over a year, compared with how much it could produce using its nameplate rating.

Coal-powered and NGCC power plants typically have a capacity factor of around 85%, while nuclear power plants have a capacity factor of 90% or higher.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is constantly bragging about how many Megawatts (MW) are being installed, when wind turbine’s true ability to produce electricity is only one-third the amount claimed by the nameplate rating.

Essentially, wind turbines produce small amounts of electricity compared with the other methods. This becomes important when hot summer days result in peak periods of usage. Not only do wind farms produce very little electricity during hot summer afternoons, but people are lulled into thinking there are large amounts of capacity available because of the substantial amount of Megawatts (MW) of wind power being installed.

As the New York Times noted:
“Peak supply is also becoming a vexing problem because so much of the generating capacity added around the country [US] lately is wind power, which is almost useless on the hot, still days when air-conditioning drives up demand.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says that less than 10% of total wind capacity is “available” during peak summer days.

And finally, there are environmental issues associated with wind turbines.

Wind turbines kill thousands of birds every year, including Bald Eagles, a protected species. They also kill thousands of bats.

Wind turbines produce noise pollution that affects people living near them. Some people complain about the visual pollution of huge towers along the skyline in what are supposed to be pristine, scenic areas.

Wind turbines also use rare earths, where mining has caused serious environmental damage.

Whether these are better or worse than environmental issues caused by gas turbines or coal-fired power plants can be debated, but the point is, wind farms are not free of environmental problems.

Tax payers are paying huge amounts of money for subsidies for wind turbines, which would otherwise be uneconomic. Whether subsidies for wind turbines will be maintained is still being debated in Congress.

Unreliable, very expensive electricity that’s not available when its needed, is not worth the tax payer subsidies used to build wind turbines, when there are less expensive, more reliable sources of electricity available.

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Sequestration’s Nightmare

August 8, 2014

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) has been the darling of radical environmentalists for disposing of CO2 from power plants.

Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada

Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada

They have used CCS as the reason why their efforts to cut CO2 emissions won’t destroy the coal industry, or the use of coal for power generation, or why natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants, that also emit CO2, can still be used.

CCS was to be the ultimate method for disposing of CO2 without harming economies.

Some, including the coal industry, have promoted clean-coal, which is the use of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants, where coal is cooked to form gasses, from which the CO2 can be easily captured and disposed of by injecting it into geologic formations, for eternity … or, so they hope.

Now, the nightmare scenario for CCS has emerged … earthquakes.

Several years ago, radical environmentalists were touting hot-rocks (enhanced geothermal) for generating electricity.

Hot-rocks required two wells to be drilled deep into the earth, perhaps as deep as 14,000 feet. Water was to be injected down one well until it reached the rocks that were at very high temperatures, at which point the water would be turned into steam. The steam would then rise up the second well, to the surface, where it would be used to generate electricity.

Test wells in Australia were a failure.

What happened next was the coup de grâce for hot-rocks. An attempt was made near Basel, Switzerland, to drill wells for hot-rocks, but there was an earthquake and the process was abandoned.

It was clear that injecting water into the hot-rock wells might cause earthquakes.

Recently we have seen that injecting waste water into wells for disposal may also cause moderately sized earthquakes. Oklahoma has been the center of these recent earthquakes, potentially, from waste water disposal.

Some have claimed that fracking might cause tiny earthquakes, not noticeable by people.

However, CO2 has been used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) by injecting CO2 into oil wells to improve their flow, without any reported earthquakes.

In addition, sequestration has been used at three locations, Norway, Algeria and Canada, without any earthquakes being reported.

It’s entirely possible that earthquake causation, by injection of fluids into geologic formations, may depend on the quantities, pressures, time-frame and nature of the geologic formation involved.

None of these factors have received sufficient research to say with certainty whether earthquakes are induced by injection of fluids into various geologic formations, under varying conditions.

Now radical environmentalists are confronted with a quandary.

If injecting fluids into geologic formations can cause earthquakes, won’t injecting liquid CO2 at high pressures, approximately 2,000 psi, also cause earthquakes?

This is still a hypothetical question, but it clearly indicates that sequestration of huge quantities of liquid CO2, not small amounts such as with waste water disposal, but millions of tons per year, year after year, for as far into the future as one can see, might cause earthquakes.

This is CCS’s nightmare. It could put an end to any possibility of sequestering CO2 in geologic formations, which was supposed to be how CO2 could be disposed of forever.

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Destruction of America’s Nuclear Industry

August 5, 2014

There was a time, not too long ago, that America’s nuclear industry was probably the most important, and viable, in the world.

Today, it’s a dying industry, but why?

In the mid 1960s, GE bet the company by making huge investments in three strategic businesses: mainframe computers, jet engines and nuclear power. GE believed, rightfully so at the time, that nuclear power would be a large growth business.

By the late 1980s, GE was the second largest nuclear power company in the world.

In 1979 the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island was followed, in 1986, by the Chernobyl disaster.

These two accidents, though Chernobyl could hardly be called an accident because it resulted from unauthorized testing at low power levels, gave those opposed to nuclear power the upper hand in the PR war.

The China Syndrome epitomized the inaccurate picture of the dangers of nuclear power, and Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas brought star power to the anti-nuclear campaign.

The organizations opposing nuclear power now had a rallying cry: Radiation kills, and a meltdown would result in radiation exposure to millions.

The premiss of the movie, The China Syndrome, was that a reactor meltdown would result in tons of molten radioactive material burrowing through the bottom of the reactor building, and exploding into a radioactive cloud, which, as Fonda’s character says, “could render an area the size of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable.”

All of which was pure nonsense.

While totally inaccurate, these groups were able to instill fear of radiation into the minds of many Americans.

Though this fear was irrational, and completely unwarranted by the facts, it was a powerful force in the anti-nuclear campaign.

Several excellent books show that radiation is nothing to be feared, but the constant drum beat by anti-nuclear groups, that continues today, prevents a rational discussion on radiation.

Radiation and Reason, by Wade Allison, is one of several excellent books on the subject.

But who were these people that opposed nuclear power?

To name a few:

  • Greenpeace
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Sierra Club

But there were many, many others.

Radiation Symbol

Radiation Symbol

President Carter’s decision to not allow reprocessing was very detrimental to the industry, and meant that a repository had to be found for large quantities of spent nuclear fuel. France largely avoided this problem by reprocessing spent fuel so that only a small amount, one-fifth of spent fuel, remained as high level wastes having to be stored.

America’s nuclear power companies in the 1980s included:

  • General Electric
  • Westinghouse Electric
  • Babcock & Wilcox

Today, only one of these exists as a pure American company, Babcock-Wilcox, and it went through bankruptcy before being reorganized.

Today, GE is GE-Hitachi, and Westinghouse is Toshiba-Westinghouse LLC, a Toshiba subsidiary.

Today, in the United States, there are only 4 new nuclear power plants under construction, all by Toshiba -Westinghouse LLC. (One other plant, Watts Bar 2, whose construction was held up for several years, is being completed by TVA.)

In reality, the antinuclear groups have caused a great deal of harm to the United States.

All 100 existing United Sates nuclear power plants will probably be retired and dismantled, beginning in the mid-2030s. See U.S. Nuclear Demise.

No longer is the United Sates a leader in the nuclear industry.

Nuclear power is not dead elsewhere in the world. China and India, as well as several smaller countries are building new nuclear power plants.

But America is not involved, and American jobs and orders for equipment are lost to others by default.

For example:

  • South Korea is building four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • The Russian company, Rosatom, is building power plants in Turkey, Belarus, Vietnam and elsewhere.
  • The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is scheduled to build over twenty nuclear power plants.

If CO2 is the problem some believe it to be, nuclear power is the only large source of base load power that doesn’t emit CO2.

Because of anti-nuclear activists, the United States has ceded the opportunities, and ability to lead, to others, and will see its nuclear power plants dismantled.

Anti-nuclear groups have done a great disservice to the United States.

 

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Coming to Grips With the Sun

August 1, 2014

It’s not well understood how the Sun affects the Earth.

We count the number of sun spots, measure the sun’s irradiance and the size of solar storms.

We do know that the size of solar storms has been linked to auroras and damage to electrical systems.

The largest known geomagnetic storm occurred in1859. Known as the Carrington Event, the storm was nearly three times as intense as the most recent severe geomagnetic storm.

The Carrington storm took 17 hours, 40 minutes to reach the Earth, and it produced auroras seen around the world. It also damaged telegraph stations in the United States and England.

A geomagnetic storm in 1989 caused the grid in Quebec, Canada to fail.

There is also a high degree of certainty that the number of sun spots affects the climate, though the exact mechanism is still a matter of scientific study.

There was a period, known as the Maunder Minimum, when there were virtually no sun spots. For over a hundred years temperatures on Earth were very low, resulting in the Little Ice Age.

Sun Spot chart from NASA

Sun Spot chart from NASA

 

Sun spots occur in an eleven-year cycle, and the most recent cycle, #24, has been the weakest of the recent past.

There’s been considerable speculation about the next sun spot cycle. Will Cycle 25 have even fewer sunspots? And does this indicate a new minimum that may affect the Earth’s climate?

Chart of sun spot cycle 24 from NASA

Chart of sun spot cycle 24 from NASA

On July 18, the LA Times headline read, “Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?”

The Times was not alone.

The Daily Mail, “Why has the sun gone quiet? Scientists baffled as sun spots disappear during peak period of solar activity.”

And the Register, “The Sun took a day off last week and made NO SUNSPOTS.”

While these headlines have no real scientific meaning, they highlight that there is much we don’t know about the sun.

Headlines about our weather, such as the Polar Vortex, also have no scientific meaning, but highlight there is much we don’t know about the climate.

Herschel’s linking the price of wheat to the sun, the Carrington Event and other interesting events of modern history, are vividly described in the book: The Sun Kings,The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington & the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began, by Stuart Clark.

Book Cover, The Sun Kings by Stuart Clark

Book Cover, The Sun Kings by Stuart Clark

How the sun affects the Earth is an important question.

A Carrington Event could, for example, shut down the grid in North America for months, and possibly for over a year. People living in cities, such as New York and Chicago, as well as the other 200 million people living across the northern United States and southern Canada would be without electricity. Could our society survive?

And would another solar minimum cause another Little Ice Age? Is the sun the real source of climate change?

Svensmark, a Danish scientist, has developed an hypothesis that explains how solar storms could affect the Earth’s climate.

Most people see the sun without really seeing it, and take it for granted.

Isn’t it time to take the sun more seriously?

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Assessing the Risk of Disaster

July 29, 2014

People joke about sun spots as though they were irrelevant to the Earth and our daily lives.

But they aren’t the benign oddity that people assume.

Thought needs to be given to how sun spots may affect the Earth and our very existence.
For example: In 2012 The United States and Canada, and probably Europe, missed by a hair’s breadth, an event that probably would have destroyed their civilizations.

A bit of history is in order.

In 1859, there was a solar storm, the Carrington Event, that had a significant effect on the Earth. Auroras could be seen streaming as far south as Guatemala and, in the southern hemisphere, as far north as Ecuador. Telegraph operations were severely damaged in the United Sates and England, and at least one telegraph operator was injured.

The telegraph was the only major widespread use of electricity in the mid-19th century; a far different situation than exists today.

Today, the use of electricity is widespread, with transmission and distribution lines spread across North America and Europe.

Image os Sun from NASA

Image of Sun from NASA

Two recent solar storms, less than half the size of the Carrington Event, occurred in 1921 and in 1989. The 1989 event caused the grid in Quebec, Canada to fail.

A report by Homeland Security said, “GICs (Ground Induced Currents) can overload the grid, causing severe voltage regulation problems and, potentially, widespread power outages. Moreover, GICs can cause intense internal heating in extra-high-voltage (EHV) transformers, putting them at risk of failure.”

And, there are “300 EHV transformers in the United States” that are at risk.

Recently a physicist, Pete Riley, estimated that there was a 12% chance that a Carrington sized solar storm could hit the Earth in the next ten years.

He made this estimate after a Carrington sized storm in 2012 missed the Earth because the eruption was in the wrong position on the sun.

“If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire,” said Daniel Baker, professor of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado.

A 12% chance is a significantly high probability.

On the other hand, it also means there is almost a 90% chance that a Carrington sized storm won’t happen.

Human nature might be inclined to ignore the threat when there is a 90% chance it won’t happen.

But there is the question of how much risk is involved.

Placing a $10 bet at the casino, when there is a 90% chance of losing, isn’t particularly risky.

But if you were betting your life, the 90% chance of losing would loom large.

Are we taking the possibility of a Carrington sized storm seriously enough, when it could destroy our civilization?

That’s the issue.

There are only a small number of manufacturers, perhaps fewer than a half dozen, in the United States that have the capability of building EHV transformers.

It could require several months to build such a unit, which is the size of a small house. Some units are unique to their particular location, and transformers this large are very difficult to transport.

Over 200 million Americans, stretching from Seattle to New York City, could be without electricity for over a year if several EHV transformers were damaged.

Civil society would likely break down when there was no food or water, and when other services, such as elevators, TV, radio or cell phones, were unavailable.

The House of Representatives held hearings on this issue on June 18, 2013. Some work is being done to address the issue, but probably not enough if the 12% probability is right.

Recently a single phase transformer was built and successfully installed to determine whether such transformers could be used, in sets of three, to replace a 3-phase EHV transformer. Their smaller size would also make them easier to transport and install.

Such an approach, if successful, raises the possibility of building a few hundred such units to be stationed at strategic locations around the country, where they could be quickly installed to replace damaged EHV transformers.

Or, a number of 3-phase EHV transformers could be built and kept near units that might be damaged in a Carrington Event.

With more research, it might be possible to determine how EHV transformers could be protected from induced currents.

Actually, little is being done beyond that which has been mentioned here.

Billions of dollars would be required to build replacement transformers. And money would be needed to do the research required to develop alternate strategies, or to more accurately establish the probability of such an event occurring.

A 12% probability of a Carrington Event occurring sometime in the next ten years represents too great a risk to do nothing.

At this point, we are betting our lives that the sun will behave.

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