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Why Renewables Cost More

April 25, 2017

Aside from the fact that the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is higher for wind and solar, there are many other operating costs that result in wind and solar being far more expensive than coal or natural gas for generating electricity.

Back-up

This is a well-documented cost, where power plants, usually natural gas, must be kept in spinning reserve, ready to come online when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining. Wind and solar are unreliable, and must have back-up power ready to go on-line at a moment’s notice. First, there is the cost of natural gas to keep these units operating off-line, but secondly, there are the additional maintenance costs from the added wear and tear on these units.

Storage

Storage is required to minimize the effect of rapid ramping up of fossil fuel power plants when the sun sets, or as an alternative to keeping natural gas power plants in spinning reserve. The CAISO Duck curve illustrates what happens when the sun sets, and fossil fuel power plants must be rapidly brought on-line to meet demand. Storage could theoretically provide some of the power needed when the sun sets.

The cost of storage varies, but at a minimum is around $2,000 per KW, about the same as the cost of a new natural gas combined cycle power plant. A recent trial by Pacific Gas & Electric resulted in storage costs that were more than twice as large.

The CAISO Duck Curve illustrates the sudden ramping as renewables increase.

The CAISO Duck Curve illustrates the sudden ramping as renewables increase.

Transmission lines

The strongest winds, which are the best for generating electricity, are found hundreds, if not a thousand or more miles away from where the electricity is used. This requires building expensive transmission lines. While it’s true, new coal-fired or natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants may also need new transmission lines, these power plants are located closer to where the electricity is used.

The Joint Coordinated System Plan determined it would cost an additional $80 billion to build the transmission lines needed if only half the nation used wind energy, where wind supplied only 20% of the power.

More recent is the Pathfinder wind energy project that requires a $3 billion investment in transmission lines. See, Absurd Cost of California Wind.

Cycling

Coal-fired and NGCC power plants were built to operate as baseload plants operating continuously.

Because wind and solar operate intermittently, it’s necessary for these baseload plants to cycle up and down, following the constantly changing output from wind and solar plants. Cycling also results in an increase in the number of cold-starts and shutdowns.

Cycling puts an added strain on boilers, turbines and many other components of the transmission and distribution system. Thermal expansion and contraction is the main culprit. Different materials have different coefficients of expansion, so boiler tubing may expand more rapidly than the firewalls and other materials surrounding the tubing.

Ramping up when the sun sets, as described above, also causes this type of damage.

This damage increases maintenance costs. Utilities, such as Duke Power, are installing new monitoring equipment and attempting to develop new operating methods in an effort to minimize the damaging effects of transient temperatures.

Industry trade publications, such as Power Magazine and Turbomachinery International, are recognizing the damaging and costly effects of cycling.

Summary

All of these are operating costs: Operating costs that are borne by the utility and eventually paid for by customers.

They don’t include the social costs when there is a blackout, such as occurred in South Australia due to the unreliability of wind and solar.

Wind and solar are unreliable, and far more expensive than electricity produced by coal-fired and NGCC power plants.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

Repetitive Failure

April 21, 2017

It’s astounding how the same tired message gets repeated decade after decade, yet is always wrong.

It raises a serious question.

How can large groups of people succumb to a message that is demonstrably wrong?

While that question can’t be answered quickly, the examples of these failed messages can be cataloged.

The original message was probably from Malthus, who claimed the world was headed toward disaster. His simplistic message was that population grew exponentially, while food production grew arithmetically. In his view, the starvation of millions was inevitable.

Marx was the next best known proponent of a society headed toward disaster, but his solution was socialism. By putting the output of society in the hands of workers, the workers would prevent negative outcomes because they shared in the outcome.

Unfortunately, millions of people died at the hands of their leaders before the extreme variant of socialism, known as communism, began to collapse.

Jump ahead to the mid to late 1900s, after the two great wars, and two proponents of Malthusian thinking emerged again.

The first, chronologically, was the publication of The Population Bomb, by Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, in 1968.

Quoting from the first chapter:

“The battle to feed all humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash program embarked upon now.”

This forecast of mass death was wrong.

In 1972, the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth. The Limits to Growth proposed that the world could not sustain growth because the world was running out of resources, especially oil.

The common denominator of all these forecasts was that the world lacked the resources to sustain growth.

This has now morphed into the issue of sustainability.

The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a report in 1987, known as the Brundtland Report, which was to unite people in sustainable development.

The precepts of Malthus, Erhlich and the Club of Rome were enshrined by the Brundtland Report, putting the world on notice that the world could not continue to grow unless it accepted the need to adopt sustainable development.

Splinter groups have sprung up to proselytize the need for sustainable development.

One such group is The Post Carbon Institute that publicizes the course:

“Think Resilience: Preparing Communities for the Rest of the 21st Century—a short online course to help get you started building a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable nation.”

Sustainability assumes the world is running out of resources.

But sustainability has a fundamental flaw: It ignores the human mind, the greatest resource of all.

A thorough vetting of sustainability

A thorough vetting of sustainability

Erhlich’s forecast of starvation was upended by the Green Revolution, led by Norman Borlaug, with the development of high-yielding grains.

Peak Oil, as espoused in the Limits to Growth, has been upended by the fracking revolution.

At every turn, whenever mankind confronts an obstacle, it develops alternatives that overcomes the obstacle.

Supposedly, we are running out of Lithium for batteries. But there has been a proposal to extract Lithium from wastewater produced by drilling operations. Only time will tell whether the process works, but the human mind is already working on how to solve the problem of Lithium shortages.

There is another common denominator to the ideas promoted by Malthus, Ehrlich, the Club of Rome and the United Nations Brundtland Report.

Sustainably requires leadership by the educated elites who will tell the ordinary person how to live.

For example, there was the UK proposal, as reported by the Daily Mail, where each person would be issued a plastic card with a fixed carbon allowance. Each time the person ate at a restaurant, bought gasoline or flew by plane, the carbon used would be deducted from the card. When the person’s allowance was used up, that person wouldn’t be able to do any activity that produced CO2.

There was the Waxman-Markey bill that would have required homeowners to insulate their homes to a prescribed level, with attainment recorded on their deed, and with a home efficiency rating label displayed on the building.

Sustainability is another false god that will leave billions in poverty while dismantling modern society.

Economic growth is necessary to maintain our standard of living, and to allow billions to evolve from poverty around the world.

We only need to look at history, i.e., Malthus, Ehrlich, and the Club of Rome’s, Limits to Growth, to see that the human mind is the ultimate resource, and that there are few, if any, real limits to growth.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

Japan and China: Remarkably Clean Coal

April 18, 2017

The new buzzword for coal-fired power plants is HELE, an acronym for High Efficiency Low Emission.

According to a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, Japan’s 600 MW Isogo plant in Yokohama is probably the best in the world. It is an ultra-supercritical HELE plant, with emission levels comparable to a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant.

The IEA report compared coal-fired power plants around the world, and found, not surprisingly, that the United States lags far behind.

The average efficiency of U.S. coal-fired power plants is 33% HHV.

Japan leads the way with an average efficiency of 41.6% LHV. (Lower heating value (LHV) results in a slightly higher efficiency calculation than using higher heating value (HHV) that uses heat for vaporization, i.e., latent heat of vaporization, of the moisture in the coal.)

But, China is quickly commandeering the leadership position. While the average efficiency of its coal-fired plants is currently 38.6% LLV, the only type of coal-fired power plant currently being built are HELE ultra-supercritical plants. The 1,000-MW ultra-supercritical Guodian Taizhou II Unit 3, HELE plant, in operation since September 2015, has an efficiency of 47.8% LLV.

Reportedly, all coal-fired plants in China must be HELE plants by 2020, though that target may be hard to meet.

This will help mitigate air quality problems in China, but not resolve them because other sources of pollution, such as automobiles and industries, are major contributors of pollutants.

The United States has one HELE ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in operation.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

J. W. Turk HELE power plant.
Coal handling equipment in foreground. Cooling towers emitting steam on the right.

The 665-MW John Turk Jr. ultra-supercritical plant in Arkansas achieves an efficiency of 42% HHV, and was built before the EPA established regulations limiting CO2 emissions that prevent building HELE ultra-supercritical plants.

The EPA rule established on August 3, 2015, prohibits any new or reconstructed plant that emits more than 1,400 pounds per MWh of CO2. While HELE plants can come close, they may not be able to consistently meet this regulatory requirement.

Japan and China are demonstrating that HELE coal-fired power plants are nearly the equal of NGCC power plants, in so far as pollutants are concerned, and that they can nearly meet the EPA CO2 regulation.

The United States has huge reserves of coal that can be used for generating low-cost electricity: Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) that is roughly the same as NGCC power plants.

As long as natural gas prices remain below $3.00 per million BTU, NGCC power plants will produce the least costly electricity. But when natural gas prices are higher than $3.00 per million BTU, coal can be competitive.

Both produce electricity at far lower costs than either wind and solar.

With HELE ultra-supercritical plants now being built-in Japan and China, it would seem the United States should follow suit, so that the average American can benefit from low-cost electricity.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

Electric Vehicle Industry Issues

April 14, 2017
tags: , , ,

First quarter sales of PHEVs and BEVs were robust. Given that PHEV and BEV sales continue to be tiny in comparison with all light vehicle sales, the questions remains: Will PHEVs and BEVs become mainstream over the next few years?

Data from Electric Drive Transportation association

Data from Electric Drive Transportation association

First quarter sales of PHEVs increased 57% year over year, while BEVs increased 35%.

These are significant increases.

However, several important issues need to be resolved, and there is a strong likelihood they will be resolved over the next two years, between now and this time in 2019.

  • How well will moderately priced BEVs fair in the market place? Both Tesla and GM are on the verge of introducing moderately priced BEVs, the Model 3 by Tesla and the Bolt by GM. These vehicles, with an MSRP of $35,000, are assumed to be competitive with comparably sized traditional vehicles.
  • Will Tesla, with the introduction of its Model 3, be on the road to profitability? Or will it become apparent that Tesla’s business model will fail? Tesla has yet to achieve profitability, has received over $400,000,000 from its sale of California Zero Emission credits, and has been bolstered by debt that is coming due over the next few years.
  • Will federal tax credits be eliminated? The $7,500 federal tax credit will reduce the cost of moderately priced BEVs to below $28,000, which could make them attractive for consumers.
  • Will foreign BEV sales, primarily in China, increase to the point that Tesla, GM and Ford can economically justify BEV and PHEV models?
  • Will fleet mileage requirements be increased from today’s 26 mpg, to 54 mpg in 2025? The Obama EPA rushed through efforts to lock-in the 54 mpg requirement, but it appears as though the EPA will readdress the issue. A reduction in gasoline mileage requirements would reduce the need for manufacturers to sell BEVs and PHEVs to meet average fleet mileage requirements.
  • Will California continue to receive waivers for environmental rules it wishes to implement that are more stringent than federal regulations?

Overview of different types of electrified vehicles:

  • BEVs are vehicles powered entirely by battery power.
  • PHEVs use the battery to travel the first 35 miles, then switch to an internal combustion engine to extend its range.
  • HEVs are essentially battery-assisted vehicles that use the internal combustion engine to power the car. Batteries don’t provide the motive power for the vehicle.

The media often includes HEVs in its analysis of electric vehicles. Larger HEV sales distorts the actual impact of battery-powered vehicles.

Range anxiety has been an important factor in consumer acceptance of BEVs. The Nissan Leaf has suffered from consumer concerns over being able to recharge the vehicle on longer trips.

It’s entirely possible we will see a bifurcation of the EV market, with PHEVs becoming predominant.

Rhetoric will no longer determine the fate of PHEVs and BEVs. Actual results should finally prevail.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

Extolling Failure

April 11, 2017

Germany established its energiewende policy so as to cut CO2 emissions 40% by 2020, and 80%, or more, by 2050.

Fortune magazine praised Germany for taking “huge strides toward renewable power.”
They said: “From a technology perspective energiewende has already been a stunning success.”

According to the German AG Energiebilanzen, renewables accounted for 29.5% of Germany’s electricity production in 2016. This is higher than most countries, except for those that get most of their electricity from hydro.

Fortune magazine did note, however, that the costs have been huge.

While Germany has spent billions of dollars to subsidize wind and solar energy, the results have not been very good.

Courtesy of Strom-Report

Courtesy of Strom-Report

To achieve this penetration by renewables, Germany spent $26 billion in 2016 alone.

While the concept of energiewende goes back decades, it became institutionalized in 2000 with the establishment of feed-in tariffs for renewables with the Renewable Energy Act.

The cost of energiewende must include all the costs since 2000, so $26 billion is the tip of the iceberg. The cost since 2000 has been at least $100 billion, and is projected to reach over $500 billion by 2025, according to a report commissioned by the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

It’s noteworthy that the average German is paying 3 to 4 times more than the average American for electricity.

German GHG emissions from 1990 to 2016 courtesy of Green Energy Wire

German GHG emissions from 1990 to 2016 courtesy of Green Energy Wire

The chart of GHG emissions prepared by Green Energy Wire shows that reductions have stalled over the past several years.

The level of GHG, as CO2 equivalents, in 2009 were 907 million tons, while they were 906 in 2016.

It’s also possible that things will get worse as Germany shuts down its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022.

The German Economic Ministry (BMWi) has warned the country is in danger of missing its 40% target, three years from now in 2020.

The real criteria for judging the success of energewende should be:

To what extent has Germany cut CO2 emissions?

The target is 40% by 2020, and 80% by 2050, below 1990 levels.
Answer:

CO2 emissions have been cut by only 27% since 1990, with possibly half of these reductions being the result of East Germany’s collapse with its inefficient industries.

Measured this way, Germany’s 16 year-long energiewende efforts have been an expensive failure.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

Amazing Progress

April 7, 2017

The media constantly touts dirty coal, but ignores the amazing progress that the United States has made in achieving clean air.

Compared to many parts of the world, including Europe, the United States has excellent air quality.

There was a time when air quality in the United States was terrible. Anyone who visited Pittsburg in the 1940s and ‘50s could attest to impossible living conditions due to bad air quality. The Denora, Pennsylvania, disaster brought these conditions to the forefront.

From Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development, by Goreham

From Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development, by Goreham

This graph shows the amazing progress that has been made in air quality in the United States.

And this map, from Berkeley Earth, compares the United States with many other countries in the world. It’s a view for the month of March, 2017.

From Berkeley Earth

From Berkeley Earth

Note that air quality in Europe, during March, was not as good as in the United States.

Note also the very bad air quality in China, which has been widely reported by the media.

Achieving air quality improvements in the United State has been very expensive, but the results have been, for the most part, worth the cost.

The question now is whether additional improvements can be made at a reasonable cost.

Improvement curves are asymptotic.

Simply stated, each incremental quantity of improvement costs more than the preceding incremental improvement. Or, the cost of improving air quality is exponential to the amount of improvement. Or, from a dictionary, “A curve and a line that get closer but do not intersect are examples of a curve and a line that are asymptotic to each other.”

The result? While improvements are possible, the air quality component being measured will never reach zero, no matter how much money is spent on making the improvements.

That’s why the science used for evaluating benefits is so important. And that’s why the science should be made public, so everyone can see it.

An excellent example of why it’s important for everyone to have access to scientific data is the issue of PM 2.5 particulates, and the extent to which they cause health problems.

Independent scientists were denied access to the reports the EPA used when calculating the effects of particular matter. At issue is whether particulate size has a bearing on risk. See, Ozone and 2.5 Particulates May Not Be Not Killing People.

Other issues also remain. For example:

Why are the number of asthma cases increasing, while air quality has been dramatically improved?

It’s clear from the Berkeley Earth map that the United States has achieved an outstanding level of air quality when compared with the rest of the world.

Germany, while spending billions of dollars on wind and solar, i.e, so-called clean energy, has air quality, based on the AQI, that tends to be poorer than in the United States.

Each element of air quality should be honestly evaluated using science that’s available to everyone. That is the only way we, as citizens, can be sure that the money being spent on air quality improvements is being spent wisely.

 

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

New in Urban Transportation

April 4, 2017

Urban centers, where concentrations of pollutants can be a problem, need to consider pollution from vehicles, buses and trains when deciding which transportation system to use.

For busses, the choice is between diesel, natural gas and electric, i.e., battery, propulsion.

The low-cost of natural gas in the United States favors natural gas-powered buses over diesels. However, the cost of natural gas in Europe and other countries is considerably higher which favors continued use of diesel buses.

This has resulted in proposals to use electric, i.e., battery-powered buses, as replacements for diesel buses.

Advances in technology will likely allow the use of battery-powered buses, but costs will remain the largest obstacle to their adoption.

In Geneva, Switzerland, one bus route with 12 buses is being converted to battery-powered buses with an interesting battery charging system. The ABB battery system uses 13 flash charging stations where bus batteries are given a flash charge within 20 seconds at each bus stop equipped with a flash charging station. Batteries are given a five-minute charge at the bus terminal.

ABB designed flash charging station at 13 bus stops.

ABB designed flash charging station at 13 bus stops.

The cost of this experimental electrification of 12 buses on a single bus route is $16 million.

Batteries are being designed to last for ten years.

While these battery-powered buses can maneuver around obstacles, such as road maintenance, they are still forced to follow an established route where flash charging stations are installed.

Natural gas-powered buses are able to follow different routes, which makes them more flexible.

The motivation for adopting battery-powered buses in Geneva, Switzerland, is to reduce CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions will be reduced by an estimated 1,000 tons per year, compared with existing diesel buses on this route.

The $16 million cost, which could be as much as $1 million per bus when compared with comparable diesel buses, seems like a high price to pay. However, it’s not possible with available information to determine the exact incremental cost. Even so, the cost is well over $1,000 per ton of CO2.

It would appear as though Geneva is paying far too much for its battery-powered bus system if CO2 is the main reason for installing the system.

A more objective evaluation would use the reduction in actual pollutants made by battery-powered and natural gas-powered buses when compared with their respective costs.

Various cities in the US are investigating the use of battery-powered buses that use a different charging system than Geneva’s fast charge system. New York City tested a BYD bus where charging took 4 hours at night when the buses weren’t in service. BYD is a Chinese corporation with facilities in California.

New York and other cities are focusing on cutting CO2 emissions.

There is no question that the initial cost of battery-powered buses is greater than buses powered by natural gas, so justification for using battery-powered buses is based primarily on cutting CO2 emissions.

Using CO2 emission reductions as the criteria for buying battery-powered buses can be misleading, since most of the electricity used to charge batteries comes from power plants that use natural gas and coal, both of which emit CO2.

Testing battery- and natural gas-powered buses should be done under actual operating conditions, over a sufficiently long period of time to establish true operating costs, including battery life. The cost of installing battery charging and NG fueling stations should also be included in the evaluation. It may be necessary, for example, to increase the size of the substation and distribution system feeding power to the battery-charging systems, which could be very costly.

A fixation on cutting CO2 emissions is costing tax payers a great deal of money, when it’s increasingly clear that CO2 is not the primary cause of climate change.

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Coming soon: A new website and format.

In Support of Nuclear Power

March 31, 2017

These articles are not intended for book reviews; however, it’s important to highlight specific books that have an important message about energy.

For example, Wade Allison’s book, Radiation and Reason, was highlighted in the article, More on Radiation.

The slow death of America’s nuclear power industry is largely the result of anti-nuclear activists convincing legislatures and Americans that nuclear power isn’t safe.

The anti-nuclear crowd is wrong in this respect, and a new book by Meredith Angwin explains how average people can fight back against the antinuclear extremists.

Her book, Campaigning for Clean Air, is a “how to” book for people who want to support nuclear power and counteract extremists.

Campaigning for Clean Air also provides information about why nuclear power is safe and why the three nuclear accidents, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, have not had the terrible consequences bandied about by extremists who oppose nuclear power.

Book cover

Book cover

One note that struck a chord was her description of how manipulating sample size can create the impression that, “Redheads are taking over the world.” Extremists use this technique to mislead people. It’s similar to the misleading “97% of scientists agree” consensus statement that is repeated ad nauseam by the media about climate change.

The “97% statement” is also based on a manipulation of sample size, while also distorting the truth, because nearly everyone agrees that climate is changing and that people have had some effect on climate. It’s also misleading because it doesn’t address the question: What’s causing global warming and climate change?

The earlier article mentioned above, also provided details of the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island accidents. Specifically:

“Chernobyl was the worst accident at a nuclear power plant and it killed 31 of the early responders in a short time. Subsequently, there have been reports of 4,000 thyroid cancers, but very few additional deaths. And Chernobyl was a poorly designed nuclear reactor without a containment structure, where the so-called accident was caused by inappropriate testing of the reactor.” (The reactor was known to be unstable at low load, but unauthorized testing proceeded anyway.)

“Three Mile Island, the only reactor accident in the United States, had virtually zero radiation released beyond the reactor.”

Two additional references on the Chernobyl accident mentioned in my article are:

  • Annex J; Exposures and Effects of the Chernobyl Accident, by UNSCEAR
  • Observations on Chernobyl after 25 Years of Radiofobia, by Zbigniew Jaworoski

Meredith Angwin has been an active supporter of nuclear power, and her book, Campaigning for Clean Air, describes many of her experiences. She uses these experiences to explain how anyone who is interested in this important energy source can support nuclear power and win over people and lawmakers, so they also support nuclear power.

Keeping our existing nuclear power plants is even more important after the debacle with Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, which threatens the completion of the four reactors currently under construction.

Without popular support, nuclear power will continue its slow death in the United States, where there may be no nuclear power plants in operation by the end of this century.

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Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

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Fools Rush In

March 28, 2017

One could say two former Republican secretaries of state, Messrs. Baker and Shultz, are naive and badly informed, but their proposal for a carbon tax smacks of fools rushing in.

Their proposed carbon tax is part of a proposal by the Climate Leadership Council.

This “carbon tax” is a tax on CO2 emissions, based on the supposed need to cut CO2 emissions to prevent a climate catastrophe.

But, a “carbon tax” is fundamentally a bad proposal for several reasons.

First, Baker and Shultz propose to return a dividend to the poor, because it’s the poor who are hurt the most by any attempt to cut CO2 emissions. I.e., the poor pay a higher proportion of their income for electricity and energy than do wealthier people.

This is pie-in-the-sky reasoning, because legislators will eventually see the tax as an opportunity to increase government revenues and spending. That’s the real-world outcome of any such dividend proposal.

Second, it tries to entice the Trump administration into establishing an import tariff if other countries don’t establish a tax on carbon. This is unnecessarily confrontational, while getting 195 countries to establish the same price on carbon would be an impossibility as each country would attempt to establish a price that would benefit them in international trade.

Thirdly, Baker and Shultz want to begin with a tax of $40 per ton, which is higher than the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) of $36, while proposing that a panel should review the tax in five years to see whether it should be increased.

Extreme environmentalists who clamor for cuts in CO2 emissions won’t agree to the Baker and Shultz proposal because they want money to be spent on such things as wind and solar and energy efficiency. This was demonstrated in Washington State when a carbon tax was voted down, largely because extreme environmentalists opposed the proposal because it was revenue neutral and money wasn’t being spent on their pet projects.

In addition, it’s important to understand that models from which the social cost of carbon are calculated provide widely different answers depending on the assumptions used.

Three charts were selected from Dr. Kevin Dayaratna’s presentation at the 12th International Conference on Climate Change to demonstrate that:

  1. CO2 could provide benefits, rather than costs.
  2. The choice of the discount rate has a huge effect on the outcomes generated by the three computer models (DICE, PAGE and FUND) used for determining the cost of carbon.
  3. The Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) also affects the outcomes.
Results from the DICE, PAGE and FUND models are shown in the graph.

Results from the DICE, PAGE and FUND models are shown in the graph.

  • FUND model results (green) indicate there are benefits from carbon dioxide and that there could be no SCC, or even a negative cost.

The assumed discount rate has an important effect on the model’s results. The differences between a 3% and a 7% discount rate are shown in the tables below. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommended a 7% discount rate, while the Obama Administration used 3% when determining its SCC of $36 per ton.

The first table below uses an outdated ECS, while the second uses a more recent ECS. Both charts show the difference between a 3% and 7% discount rate.

Model shows effect of discount rates when using old ECS

Model shows effect of discount rates when using old ECS

Model shows effect of discount rates when using new ECS

Model shows effect of discount rates when using new ECS

  • In both examples, the cost of carbon is much lower when a more realistic 7% discount rate is used.

In Summary:

As established in the book Clexit, it’s impossible to cut CO2 emissions enough to stop any climate catastrophe, even if CO2 has some effect on climate change.

Cutting worldwide CO2 emissions 50% by 2050 is impossible. Cutting US emissions 80% by 2050 is also impossible …. unless we accept returning to a lifestyle of the 1800s where horses were the main form of transportation, and air-conditioning, air planes and MRIs were unavailable.

(These targets i.e., 50% and 80% by 2050, are the targets established by the United Nations and the EPA for preventing a climate catastrophe.)

These targets are impossible to meet, therefore, Messrs. Baker and Shultz are asking Americans to sacrifice their living standards for an impossible goal.

Furthermore, the evidence shows that the social cost of carbon (SCC) is small and possibly negative, i.e., beneficial, indicating there is no need for putting a price on carbon.

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

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NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

Go to the photo on the right side of the article where it says email subscription. Click and enter your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you know people who would be interested in these articles please send them a link to the article and suggest they also subscribe.

© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fortune Magazine’s Priorities

March 25, 2017

This month, Fortune magazine published its listing of the 100 best American companies to work for.

Unless you count a supplier of medical equipment, Gore-Tex products and two pharmaceutical companies, there were no manufacturing companies on the list.

The likes of GM, GE, Boeing and United Technologies were absent from the list of best American companies to work for.

The list seemed to infer that Americans wanted the softest, least demanding jobs where the personal perks were best.

Is this really what Americans want in their work place? Soft, cushy jobs with nice personal perks?

What about attributes such as challenging jobs with challenging goals? And difficult work environments that are rewarded when goals are met?

Cover of Fortune Magazine

Cover of Fortune Magazine

Is Fortune’s list merely what elites think?

Fortune used Great Place to Work to compile the survey.

But who is Great Place to Work? And what do they believe?

Their web site says a company’s culture is critical to its success. But that’s merely a view from HR.

From the Great Place to Work web site:

“Companies’ results on the Trust Index© survey are compared to peer organizations of like size and complexity. The Culture Audit© includes detailed questions about benefits, programs, and practices.”

And in addition, companies weren’t considered if they weren’t certified by Great Place to Work:

“To be considered for our Best Workplaces lists, companies must be Great Place to Work-Certified™.”

A soft culture, with cushy jobs is critical to success?

That’s not how to define success in manufacturing, where there are few cushy jobs, the work place may be somewhat dirty and demanding, and the demands for meeting cost and other objectives are hard to achieve.

Fortune’s “100 best American companies to work for” listing seems to be self serving, especially for their partner, Great Place to Work.

Fortune’s priorities don’t match what American manufacturing companies need to do, to compete in the world market.

Perhaps, a little old-fashioned roll-up-our-sleeves and meet the challenge is in order.

Manufacturing jobs may not be cushy, but they afford a real challenge for real Americans.

With a little less soft, HR elite thinking, maybe we can meet the challenge.

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

The article Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal should be considered a part of this book.

Clexit is really an appendage to Nothing To Fear.

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Australia Demands More Gas

March 21, 2017
Graphic showing South Australian blackout, courtesy of GWPF

Two years ago, The New South Wales government shutdown drilling for natural gas because people protested against drilling for natural gas.

Similarly, local governments elsewhere in Australia have acquiesced to demands made by people protesting against natural gas and coal because of climate change.

Graphic showing South Australian blackout, courtesy of GWPF

Graphic showing South Australian blackout, courtesy of GWPF

Meanwhile, Australia has abundant natural gas resources in northern and western Australia, and has begun exporting natural gas to Asian countries.

Infrastructure is lacking to bring natural gas from western and northern Australia to where it’s needed in the South, primarily South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, though portions of Queensland also lack adequate supplies of natural gas.

The blackouts in South Australia have brought the lack of natural gas for power generation to the forefront, with the untenable situation of Australia exporting natural gas while not having enough to meet its needs for power generation.

There is now the absurd situation where the Liberal government is threatening natural gas companies that their exports will be curtailed if they don’t supply Australia with natural gas for power generation.

Liberal Prime Minister, Turnbull, said:

“We [Federal Government] have the ability to control exports … we have that power.”

This is a situation brought about by protests against drilling for natural gas, labor governments who have invested in wind and solar to the detriment of baseload power from coal and natural gas, and a Liberal, i.e., conservative government that has waffled in the past, but now demands that industry solve the problem.

At this late date, the Liberal party in New South Wales is now considering whether to permit drilling.

The Labor party’s infatuation with cutting CO2 emissions is at the crux of the problem, even though, as mentioned in Blackout Race Underway 45% of Australians won’t pay one extra cent for electricity from wind and solar.

Industry has not said how it will solve the problem, but the most likely measure will be to transport LNG from the North to ports in the South. It’s likely that drilling for natural gas will again be given the go-ahead, though it will require time to produce natural gas from wells in New South Wales and South Australia.

As elsewhere, attempts to cut CO2 emissions are proving to be very expensive and ultimately, unworkable.

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea Party Interview

March 17, 2017

Periodically, I do radio and other interviews.

While radio interviews are not easy to reproduce on the internet, my recent interview with the president of The Villages Tea Party is a video with an easy to access link.

The purpose of the interview was to discuss my new book, Clexit For a Brighter Future, and why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty.

Most Americans don’t realize that the Senate ratified this treaty in 1992, and that it obligates the United States to participate in reducing CO2 emissions.

On Saturday, March 11, the Wall Street Journal said the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty. Clexit explains why it’s the right thing to do.

The video of the interview can be seen using this link http://bit.ly/2nq79dh

Click on the start > button to start the video.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

The article Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal  should be considered a part of this book.

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

 

* * * * * *

NOTE:

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blackout Race Underway

March 14, 2017

Prior to my trip to Australia, I believed Germany would be the first country to succumb to severe blackouts as the result of its drive to use renewables in preference to fossil fuels so as to cut CO2 emissions.

It now looks as though Australia could win this dubious honor, as Australia has actually removed coal-fired power plants from service while Germany has added them.

The three contestants for this dubious blackout honor are:

  1. Australia
  2. Germany
  3. California

California is a distant third possibility, primarily because it can draw power from surrounding states when its renewables fail to deliver. California’s actual reductions in CO2 emissions are very small when compared with its stated objectives of a 40% cut by 2030 and an 80% cut by 2050.

Australia is rich in both coal and natural gas resources, but has imposed impediments on developing new natural gas resources, while also having inadequate infrastructure for delivering natural gas across the country from where abundant supplies exist in northern and western Australia.

The Australian government has adopted a renewable energy target (RET) of 23% by 2020, with the Labor party indicating it desires an RET of 50%.

A backlash is developing against Australia’s RET goals, with the One Nation party and leading conservatives, such as former prime minister Tony Abbott, joining forces in efforts to repeal the RET.

Disputing the need for the RET is a recent poll among Australians which showed that 45% of Australians “balk at paying one cent more for electricity from renewables.” (The Australian, February 28, 2017)

Meanwhile, businesses are complaining about rising energy costs that are endangering manufacturing jobs. (The Australian, February 24, 2017)

So far this year, the entire state of South Australia has suffered through a day-long blackout, while, subsequently, 40,000 homes in the city of Adelaide endured a second blackout. These blackouts have been attributed to the inability of wind to provide adequate power during peak periods.

Graphic showing South Australian blackout, courtesy of GWPF

Graphic showing South Australian blackout, courtesy of GWPF

What’s most disturbing about the current situation is that none of the three blackout contestants have cut CO2 emissions by any meaningful amount, while still endangering their citizens to dangerous blackouts.

Cuts in CO2 emissions as of 2016:

  • Australia, less than 20%
  • Germany, 27%
  • California, less than 12%

If blackouts are already occurring when cuts in CO2 emissions are far below ultimate targets, how soon will larger cuts in CO2 emissions result in more damaging blackouts?

It’s impossible to cut CO2 emissions enough to have any effect on climate, even if atmospheric CO2 has an effect, without destroying living standards and endangering the lives of billions of people in developing countries.

Cutting CO2 emissions is a fool’s errand.

 

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

The article Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal should be considered a part of this book.
A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

* * * * * *

NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Modular Nuclear Reactors

March 10, 2017

Proposed small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) could revitalize the nuclear industry in the United States, assuming their costs can be substantially below the $6,000 per KW cost of traditional nuclear power plants, such as those being built in Georgia and South Carolina.

NuScale is the first SMR to file a design certification application for any SMR with the NRC. This puts NuScale ahead of other SMR proposals. The B&W mPower SMR proposal seems to be languishing.

From NuScale, Depicting Relative Reactor Size

From NuScale, Depicting Relative Reactor Size

As announced by NuScale, “[its] SMR is economic, factory built and shippable. It’s flexible enough to desalinate seawater, refine oil, load-follow wind, produce hydrogen, flexible to grow to any size, and that provides a reactor that cannot meltdown.”

The potential for lowering cost by constructing modules in a factory setting, and the ability to size completed installations to any requirement by constructing additional modules, makes the SMR concept very attractive.

Each NuScale module would be rated 50 MW, with the ability to group several modules together to form units as large as 600 MW.

Whether the public will accept SMRs and whether their cost can be kept well below the cost of constructing traditional reactors are critical to the SMRs’ future.

Another type of SMR was recently promoted by ThorCon. Its reactor is a molten salt reactor based on the molten salt reactor experiment (MSRE). These modules would also be located underground.

The ThorCon proposal is also flexible, with the potential to construct a 1,000 MW unit using multiple modules.

ThorCon made no mention of NRC approvals, so, while intriguing, more must be known about the status of the design before commenting further.

In summary:

  • The NuScale design appears to be farthest along in obtaining NRC approvals, though several years work remains before units can be built.
  • The SMR concept holds promise for a revitalized nuclear power industry, but only if construction costs can be kept well below $6,000 per KW.

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

The article Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal should be considered a part of this book.

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

* * * * * *

NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Another CO2 Sequestration Proposal

March 7, 2017

Over the past few months there has been a steady stream of announcements intended to show that CO2 could be sequestered, thereby eliminating the threat of climate change from using fossil fuels.

Clexit For a Brighter Future addressed announcements that had been made prior to its publication, but a new method for using CO2 in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) was announced after the publication of Clexit, and this article addresses this latest effort to claim that CO2 can be sequestered.

Net Power LLC announced an “energy revolution” and its Allam cycle, that, “creates low-cost, clean energy.”

However, as explained below, the announcement overstates the potential for sequestering CO2.

Briefly, the Allam cycle burns natural gas and pure oxygen in a gas turbine, and then uses the CO2 that’s produced in the combustion reaction as the working fluid, under high temperatures and pressure, to drive the turbine, with spent, excess liquid CO2 diverted from the system and used for EOR to sequester CO2.

Diagram from Net Power LLC Website

Diagram from Net Power LLC Website

If successful, the Allam cycle would produce low cost CO2 for use in EOR, and eliminate NOx emissions due to not using air, which is mostly nitrogen, in the combustion cycle.

It would not, however, result in resolving the problem of sequestering CO2 in underground geologic formations, primarily because the amount that can be sequestered using EOR is a tiny portion of the total CO2 produced by coal-fired and traditional natural gas power plants.

Currently, as explained in Clexit, the cost of adding equipment to existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants to capture CO2 is prohibitively expensive.

While the Allam cycle produces CO2, in effect capturing it, nearly all existing power plants would have to be replaced with Allam cycle units to eliminate CO2 emissions form power generation.

As established in Clexit:

  • It would require around 440,000 MW of new Allam units to replace the current installed capacity of coal-fired and NG power plants that must be closed to cut CO2 emissions 80% in the US.
  • If each Allam unit is rated 300 MW, it will require building around 1,500 units to replace the existing power plants that must be shutdown. Total cost is at least $480 billion, not counting the cost of pipelines.
  • It doesn’t eliminate CO2 from gasoline usage, which would require building additional power plants if electric vehicles are used to replace gasoline-powered cars.

While the problem of capturing CO2 can be accomplished at very high cost with Allam units, perhaps better than with established CO2 capture methods, the CO2 not used for EOR must still be sequestered in underground geologic formations which, as explained in Clexit, cannot be done with any assurance the CO2 won’t leak into the atmosphere, thereby negating the purpose of sequestration.

A 2012 study by L. Stephen Melzer, Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2 EOR), established that approximately 3% of total CO2 emissions from power plants is being used for EOR. According to a NETL.DOE, 2012 report, usage of CO2 in EOR amounted to 1.45% of total CO2 emissions from power plants, with the potential for an additional 0.5% CO2 usage.

Given that the Allam method results in a potentially lower cost for CO2, and that most EOR is currently restricted to the Permian basin, there is a possibility that the amount of CO2 used for EOR could increase.

Even if CO2 usage doubled, EOR would only use 6% of all CO2 emissions from power plants, so that 94% would still have to be sequestered in underground geologic formations with no assurance it would remain sequestered for thousands of years.

As in all other cases described in Clexit, the hype surrounding the announcement by Net Power LLC about the Allam cycle, grossly overstates the potential for achieving CO2 sequestration.

In summary:

The Allam cycle, assuming it works as proposed, has the benefit of producing low cost CO2 for EOR, and for generating electricity at low cost without NOx emissions.

The Allam cycle does not resolve:

  1. The high cost of carbon capture, or
  2. Permanently sequestering millions of tons of CO2 in underground formations every year, with any assurance the CO2 will not leak into the atmosphere.

* * * * * *

Clexit For a Brighter Future establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty, a treaty most Americans don’t know was ratified by the Senate.

Link to Amazon http://amzn.to/2m8S14B

This article should be considered a part of this book.

A coupon in Clexit allows the purchaser to also buy Nothing to Fear for $8.00. Clip the coupon and follow the mailing instructions to take advantage of this offer.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

* * * * * *

NOTE:

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The CHP Shibboleth

March 3, 2017

(This is the last article to be published during the trip to Australia.)

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is dragged out periodically by supporters of the AGW CO2 global warming hypothesis, to promote distributed power and the use of wind and solar for generating electricity.

Power Magazine recently devoted a substantial part of its monthly magazine to CHP, with a section, “Global Developments Giving CHP a Much Needed Boost” and two articles devoted to CHP installations.

The magazine proclaimed the UNFCCC COP 21 Paris agreement to cut CO2 emissions could provide the needed boost to CHP growth.

Typically, promoters of CHP start by saying that CHP improves efficiency. They even promote the idea that CHP can achieve efficiencies of 90%. Greenpeace made this claim in its plan, the “Energy [R]evolution” which is riddled with hype and misinformation.

CHP uses exhaust gasses or steam from power plants that generate electricity, to provide heat to buildings or industrial processes. This results in more energy being used for work, but it doesn’t dramatically improve efficiency.

The mistake arises when people assign the same value to the heat extracted from exhaust gasses with the electricity produced by the power plant. The exhaust gasses have low heat (i.e., energy) content and therefore less value than the electricity (i.e., energy) produced by the power plant.

A good analogy is one suggested by the former editor of Power Magazine:

An automobile’s engine using gasoline has considerable horsepower and also heats water in the engine’s cooling system. The hot water is then used to heat passengers during the winter. While this takes advantage of the heat in the water, the water doesn’t have the power to drive the automobile. Gasoline has high energy density, while hot water has a low energy density.

Figure Depicting Heat Value and Uses

Figure Depicting Heat Value and Uses

The Obama administration promoted CHP with an executive order. The EPA, under the Obama administration, issued a 22 page report touting the benefits of CHP as a “clean energy solution”. It has also maintained a database (http://bit.ly/2jACeNT) to provide information supporting CHP. For example, CHP qualified for a 10% investment tax credit in 2016.

Historically, there has been a role for CHP in industrial complexes and refineries since the steam, or exhaust heat, could be used to heat buildings or be used in industrial processes.

Europe has used exhaust steam to heat residential buildings. Consolidated Edison used CHP to heat buildings in New York City.

In cities, where buildings are closely packed, piping exhaust stem to these buildings can make sense.

But trying to impose CHP in areas where there are no industrial uses, or where buildings are widely spaced, such as in typical American suburbs, is irrational.

(Suburbs with free-standing residential buildings are an anathema to city planners and to those promoting CO2 induced climate change, so CHP fits a strategy that promotes mixed use development.)

Europe’s energy efficiency directive (http://bit.ly/2jZQ0FL) requires member states to promote CHP and remove barriers to its deployment. In addition, European countries have used policy tools such as feed-in tariffs to support CHP.

CHP has become a political football, where it’s being used to promote cutting CO2 emissions. CHP can be used effectively in specific applications where it can be justified economically, but it shouldn’t be forced on Americans by an executive order or the EPA, or radical environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, to cut CO2 emissions.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why the United States Should Withdraw from the UNFCCC Treaty

February 21, 2017
tags: ,

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty was ratified by the US Senate in 1992, yet most Americans are unaware of America’s commitments under this treaty … or that we had entered into the treaty.

The new book, Clexit, For a Brighter Future, establishes why the United States should withdraw from the UNFCCC treaty.

Clexit, short for climate exit, establishes the futility of attempting to cut CO2 emissions.

It provides the technical reasons for why it’s impossible to meet the objectives set out by the United Nations, and others, to cut worldwide CO2 emissions 50%, and cut US CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.

From Clexit’s rear cover:

Hysteria over climate change is now threatening to deny billions of people around the world access to the energy they need to maintain and improve their standard of living.

Governments are engaging in efforts, promoted by the United Nations, to impose regulations on energy usage so as to cut CO2 emissions.

Clexit For a Brighter Future explains why efforts to cut CO2 emissions are not only harmful, but fruitless.

The United States can reassert its leadership by withdrawing from the UNFCCC treaty. It can then lead the world in economic development by encouraging the use of fossil fuels that provide cheap and reliable energy.

Clexit cover

Clexit cover

The companion book, Nothing to Fear, published last year, provides the scientific background for why the dire predictions based on the CO2 hypothesis are wrong.

Clexit establishes the case for the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Climate treaty.

Clexit is available from Amazon using Link http://amzn.to/2kEnyc9

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, establishes why the CO2 AGW hypothesis is wrong, and why there are better scientific reasons for what is causing global warming and climate change. It explains why CO2 emissions are not the problem.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Australian Heatwave Excuses

February 14, 2017

The Australian heatwave of 2017 should be a wakeup call that renewables are unreliable, and not be the basis for excuses in efforts to explain away the recent South Australia blackouts.

The South Australia government had been warned about the inability of wind to provide electricity when the last coal-fired power plant in South Australia was closed, May, of last year.

Instead, the labor government extolled the virtues of renewable energy for cutting CO2 emissions, and forged ahead with wind power.

In the United States, grid operators have always maintained a reserve capacity of 5 to 10%, so that electricity would be available when unexpected events, such as heatwaves, occurred.

Capacity, i.e., the ability to generate electricity, is measured in terms of megawatts. In the United States total capacity is now over 1,000,000 MW. Anticipated demand would be around 5 to 10% below this capability to generate electricity. Since the United States is divided into three separate grids, with regional operators within each grid, it’s the capacity within each region that is critical.

The problem with wind turbines is that their nameplate rating is approximately three times larger than their ability to generate electricity. Most wind turbines installed in the United States over the past decade have a nameplate rating of 1.5 MW, but have a capacity factor of around 30%. In essence, they produce the amount of electricity that a 0.5 MW unit would produce if it had a capacity factor of 100%.

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 theoretically produce based on its nameplate rating.

Coal-fired and natural gas power plants have capacity factors of around 80%, while nuclear power plants have a capacity factor of slightly over 90%.

In other words, wind can’t provide electricity when the wind doesn’t blow, but its nameplate rating has been included, by the unwary, in the total capacity of the grid, and is, therefore, inadvertently included as part of the reserve capacity.

Only baselaod generating capabilities, i.e., coal, natural gas, nuclear, and, usually, hydro, can be included when determining the capacity of the grid to provide electricity under any circumstance, including heatwaves.

In South Australia, demand has exceeded supply twice this year when renewables failed to provide electricity.

In the first instance, the entire state of South Australia was blacked out. In the second, only Adelaide suffered a blackout.

Instead of recognizing the inherent unreliability of wind and solar, the Labor Party has tried to cast the blame for the blackouts elsewhere, and persist in pursuing the objective of having 50% renewables by 2025.

A few states in the United States have similar objectives for renewables: California and New York being the most prominent.

These states face the same outcome if they persist in their efforts to cater to renewables in efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

The Australian, Federal Minister for Energy, Josh Frydenberg, said:

“South Australia has been sacrificed on the alter of climate virtue.”

Certainly, the United States can avoid the same fate.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *

NOTE:

It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Australian Power

February 10, 2017

(This article is being published from Australia. I hope to be able to publish an article each week while I am traveling overseas.)

Australia endured another blackout this week. As The Australian paper reported, the Australian Energy Market Operator said the blackout was due to “a lack of available generating capacity.”

How can a nation not have ample generating capacity?

Actually, the answer is fairly simple. Too much wind and solar generating capacity was put in place, and too much fossil fuel generating capacity was closed.

This is the second blackout caused by the inability of wind to supply electricity when needed.

Last month, the entire province of South Australia was in darkness when wind turbines had to be shut down due to storms, and the link to Victoria province broke.

This time only 40,000 people were in darkness in Adelaide.

The Australian, reported that Senator Birmingham said:

“It’s a demonstration that ad-hoc state-based renewable energy targets have gone too far.”

The left leaning current government of South Australia has imposed a renewable target of 50% by 2025.

Sydney Opera House. Photo by D. Dears

Sydney Opera House. Photo by D. Dears

The current Premier for South Australia, Jay Weathererill, has blamed both outages on the weather and the National Energy Market for the blackouts, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that wind and solar are incapable of providing reliable power when it’s needed most.

There is an ongoing battle between the left leaning Labor Party, and the Liberals i.e., conservative party, over energy issues.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said, unequivocally, that the global warming, i.e., climate change, hysteria is no more than a fraud being imposed on unwary citizenry.

Generally speaking, people want to do what’s right about the environment, but don’t realize the nature of the beast being imposed on them

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains the futility of wind and solar generated electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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Grid Storage Reality

February 3, 2017

The only potential solution for the problems caused by wind and solar generated electricity is storage.

But are there limits to storage? Is it possible to provide sufficient storage to allow the closing of a large number of fossil fuel power plants?

The CAISO Duck Curve defines the potential problems if wind and solar are to provide 80% of the grid’s electricity. See, Wind and Solar Inflict Pain.

It’s not possible to know the exact amount of storage that would be required to allow enough fossil fuel power plants to be shut down to cut CO2 emissions from power generation by 80%.

Without the ability to shut down these fossil fuel power plants, it would require consumers to pay a capacity charge to reimburse the utilities for keeping these plants operational, or, alternatively, allow the utilities to go bankrupt and then be nationalized by the government.

While it’s not possible to know precisely how much storage is needed to replace the fossil fuel power generation capacity that must be shut down, a reasonable estimate is that approximately 400,000 MW of storage, with sufficient operational use in hours, is required to replace the electricity that’s lost with the closure of fossil fuel power plants.

This estimate is derived by calculating the amount of coal-fired and natural gas power plants that must be closed to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants requires shutting down 441,000 MW of coal-fired and natural gas power plants.

Unless there is adequate storage of electricity, the fossil fuel power plants must be kept operational, and be ready to go online when the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing.

Is it possible to have 400,000 MW of storage? Or anything close to that amount of storage?

Pumped storage and Compressed Air Storage (CAES) can store large amounts of electricity, but there are insufficient locations around the United States to accommodate the approximately 400,000 MW of storage needed.

CAES

Only two CAES facilities have been built thus far. One, at Huntorf Germany, in 1978, the second at McIntosh, Alabama, in 1991. Huntorf is rated 321 MW, McIntosh is rated 110 MW. A third CAES facility is proposed for the Intermountain Power Generation site in Utah, which is to be rated around 300 MW.

Note that these amounts of storage using CAES are minuscule when compared with the amount of storage needed.

Pumped Storage

There currently is 20,000 MW of pumped storage in the United States, with the potential for an additional 31,000 MW. While substantial, it still falls far short of the storage capacity needed to eliminate a large portion of fossil fuel generating capacity.

Diagram of pumped storage, courtesy Energy Storage Association

Diagram of pumped storage, courtesy Energy Storage Association

Other Storage Alternatives

Batteries and other possible storage mediums lack the necessary size, and have other additional limitations.

Batteries, for example, have relatively short lives and would have to be replaced periodically, which adds to their cost as a storage option.

Storage, using batteries, costs at least $2,000,000 per MW. A recent trial by Pacific Gas & Electric of battery storage cost more than twice this amount.

Conclusion

It’s virtually impossible to build sufficient storage capacity in the United States to allow for the closure of large amounts of fossil fuel power plants.

By using wind and solar, we are not only faced with the higher cost of electricity from these sources, but also having to pay for retaining nearly all of our existing fossil fuel power plants.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keystone Pipeline Benefits

January 31, 2017

Al Gore said,

“If approved and built, this pipeline, Keystone XL, would carry the most carbon-intensive source of oil on the planet.”

There it is, the real reason why the Obama administration stopped the Keystone pipeline: To avoid CO2 emissions.

All other explanations were a smokescreen to take everyone’s eyes off the real reason as told by Al Gore: Stop CO2 emissions.

While the real objection to importing Canadian crude produced from tar sands is that it results in increased CO2 emissions, the exact same problem exists with Venezuelan crude that largely comes from the Orinoco heavy crude oil sands deposits.

Canada is our friend, while Venezuela has acted against the interests of the United States.

Al Gore isn’t objecting to importing Venezuelan crude even though it is similar to heavy Canadian oil with respect to CO2 emissions.

Map of Venezuela showing oil sands location

Map of Venezuela showing oil sands location

One of the first benefits of the Keystone pipeline will be to help our friends in Canada.

Not only does it provide a way for Canadian oil to be exported, but it allows the Canadians to also get a higher price for their oil.

When Canadian oil is transported by rail, it gets a lower price. With the Keystone pipeline, it will command a higher price.

And pipelines are a safer method for transporting oil than is rail.

Canada’s National Post newspaper said in its January 25, 2013, headline”

“Oil Price Discount costing each Canadian $1,200.”

Now, with the resurrection of the Keystone pipeline, we will be treating our friends fairly.

Without the Keystone pipeline, existing pipeline capacity for transporting Canadian oil from Western Canada will reach capacity limits by the end of 2017, so Keystone will play an important role in getting Canadian oil safely to the United States from Canada.

Indirectly, the Keystone pipeline will help make North America energy independent.

Another important benefit of building the Keystone pipeline is that it will create high-paying construction jobs for Americans.

Building the Keystone pipeline:

  • Treats our friends, the Canadians, fairly
  • Transports oil more safely
  • Helps North America become energy independent
  • Creates high-paying jobs for Americans.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rearguard Obstructionism

January 27, 2017

Those who support the CO2 hypothesis for global warming or climate change are poised to obstruct the rollback of regulations requiring the cutting of CO2 and other GHG emissions.

Whether it will be Hollywood celebrities crying over issues, or organized efforts by environmental organizations, we can expect there will be public demonstrations and lawsuits to prevent dismantling the EPA regulations that require the cutting of CO2 emissions.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) could be the first to be dismantled.

Power Magazine highlighted one approach for preventing the dismantling of the CPP that has already emerged, citing a new paper published by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University of North Carolina’s Center for Climate, Energy, Environment & Economics.

The Power Magazine headline said:

“Experts: If Clean Power Plan Perishes, GHG Regulation Almost Certain Under NAAQS Program”

The paper from the universities suggests that organizations could sue the EPA to require it to use National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to control CO2 emissions.

Chart of improving air quality from Outside the Green Box by Goreham.

Chart of improving air quality from Outside the Green Box by Goreham.

It notes, “Stakeholder groups have [previously] petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the NAAQS program, and that petition still sits undecided within the EPA.”

Using NAAQS requires that pollutants “endanger public health and welfare” and come “from diverse sources.” CO2 emissions meet these conditions under current EPA rulings.

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision confirmed the EPA had the authority to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act, if there were an endangerment finding. The subsequent EPA endangerment finding provides legal precedent for environmental groups to litigate and attempt to force the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions under NAAQS.

In spite of the controversial headline, it’s doubtful such litigation will be successful, but the paper by the two universities demonstrates there will be tireless efforts by extreme environmental groups to prevent repeal or adjustments to regulations relating to CO2 emissions.

Extreme environmentalists will not sit idly by while the new administration removes the regulations that are harming this country.

All of the actions by extreme environmentalists will be played out in the media which generally supports the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) CO2 hypothesis.

Power Magazine appears to be one of the media publications supporting the hypothesis that CO2 is causing global warming or climate change. Why else did Power Magazine bring forth the obscure paper from the two universities mentioned above. And what else explains why, three years ago, the magazine replaced its former editor, an engineer who was skeptical of the CO2 hypothesis, with an editor who has a Ph.D in English.

The media’s reporting will affect public perceptions, so It will be important for those who disagree with the AGW CO2 hypothesis to continue with their efforts so that the public is not overwhelmed by misinformation.

Now is not the time to assume that the battle for real science has been won.

It may be “the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end,” but it’s nowhere near the end of the debate over whether CO2 and GHG cause climate change.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the problems of using wind and solar for generating electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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© Power For USA, 2010 – 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vastly Improved Modern Coal-Fired Power Plants

January 24, 2017

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants deserve clarity.

Recently, an editor dismissed ultra-supercritical coal-fired as jargon, and asked: Is there really something called an “ultra-supercritical” power plant?

Yes, there is: And everyone, engineers and average people, deserve an explanation about why they are such a great improvement over the coal-fired power plants built in the past.

They are called ultra-supercritical because they operate at very high temperatures and pressures that have been made possible by recent advances in metallurgy.

They operate at 4,350 psi, and 1,112°F, with efficiencies of 44% HHV (high heating value).

Ultra-supercritical (USC) steam generally refers to supercritical steam at more than 1,100 degrees F. Supercritical refers to when the steam undergoes a transition from a mixture of water and steam, to vapor with corresponding changes in physical properties.

While engineers are interested in the technical details, everyone should be interested in the increased efficiency.

Virtually all of the existing coal-fired power plants in the United States operate at an efficiency of 32% HHV.

USC plants with an efficiency of 44% are, therefore, nearly 40% more efficient than all but one of the existing coal-fired power plants in the United States.

This means they use roughly 40% less coal and emit approximately 40% fewer emissions, including CO2.

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants are an important improvement over existing coal-fired units. While they are more costly than traditional supercritical plants, they cost half as much as nuclear or integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

The only USC plant built in the United States is the John W. Turk, 600 MW plant in Fulton, Arkansas.

Currently, no new coal-fired power plants can be built in the United States because of EPA regulations limiting CO2 emissions. USC plant CO2 emissions are slightly above the 1,400 pounds per MWh limitation imposed by the EPA.

Coal is an important resource, with the United States having reserves that could last 400 years.

Coal, together with natural gas, can provide inexpensive baseload power for all Americans.

Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants are a significant improvement over existing coal-fired power plants.

Additional improvements are on the way with USC plants that can operate at even higher temperatures and pressures, and with corresponding additional ,improvements in efficiency.

USC plants that can operate at 1,300 and 1,400 degrees F, are referred to as advanced ultra-supercritical (AUSC) power plants.

The new administration should move quickly to clear the way for these new, and more efficient, coal-fired power plants.

******

Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the problems of using wind and solar for generating electricity.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

 

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

******

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Latest on Electric Vehicle Sales

January 19, 2017

Plug-In (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) had a good year in 2016, while sales of hybrids, like the original Prius, continued to fall until the last quarter.

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs&Extended Range Vehicles

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & BEV

January

20,967

3,137

3,576

27,680

6,713

February

24,371

3,909

4,424

32,704

8,333

March


28,756


5,290


7,815


41,861


13,105


Total 1Q 2016

74,094

12,336

15,815

102,245

28,151

Total 1Q 2015

86,005

7,722

14,127

107,854

21,849

% change


-16%


37%


11%


-5%


22%


April

28,988

5,842

6,266

41,096

12,108

May

30,573

5,619

6,526

42,718

12,145

June


27,679


6,094


7,678


41,451


13,772


Total 2Q 2016

87,240

17,555

20,470

125,265

38,025

Total 2Q 2015

104,965

10,787

20,069

135,821

30,856

% 2Q change


-17%


63%


2%


-8%


23%


July

32,633

6,525

7,762

46,920

14,287

August

32,206

6,372

8,601

47,179

14,973

September


31,286


6,037


10,032


47,355


16,069


Total 3Q 2016

96,125

18,934

26,395

141,454

45,329

Total 3Q 2015

105,405

10,660

17,071

133,136

27,731

% 3Q change


-8.8%


77.6%


54.6%


6.2%


63.5%


October

26,484

5,943

4,864

37,291

10,807

November

28,498

7,858

6,266

42,622

14,124

December


34,507


10,211


13,077


57,795


23,288


Total 4Q 2016

89,489

24,012

24,207

137,708

48,219

Total 4Q 2015

88,029

13,789

19,797

121,615

33,586

% 4Q change


1.7%


74.1%


22.3%


13.2%


43.6%


YTD Year 2016

346,948

72,837

86,887

506,672

159,724

YTD Year 2015

384,404

42,958

50,995

498,426

114,022

% change

-9.7%

69.6%

70.4%

1.7%

40.1%

 
Total sales all light vehicles 2016

17,396,291

% PHEV & BEV to total

0.92%

(Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association)

Sales of both PHEVs and BEVs grew at the same rate during 2016.

Sales of PHEVs and BEVs remained minuscule, at less than 1%, when compared with total light vehicle sales.

The media hype for BEVs continues, but sales remain so small that they must be considered cars for the rich and famous. While sales increased by 70% year over year, they amounted to fewer than 100,000 vehicles.

Total sales of BEVs from 2011, essentially when they entered the market, through 2016 were still only 292,992 vehicles. This is far short of Obama’s prediction of 1,000,000 BEVs by the end of 2015.

The business model for BEVs is highly questionable, with Tesla, for example, having received much of its income from the sale of California Zero Emission Credits amounting to over $390,000,000.

Tesla logo

Tesla logo

There is also the question of whether the federal government will continue to allow a $7,500 subsidy for BEVs.

The introduction of the Bolt by GM, and Tesla’s Model 3, priced at $35,000, and currently still eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, could determine whether battery-powered vehicles go mainstream.

BEVs have four important impediments.

  • Insufficient range, compared with ICE vehicles
  • The high cost of batteries, which results in the high cost of BEVs
  • The lack of charging stations
  • Time required to charge batteries

PHEVs eliminate range anxiety, and partially reduce the cost penalty for the battery.

The real issue is whether BEVs and PHEVs can become a replacement for internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles, without subsidies and EPA fuel mandates for gasoline powered vehicles.

* * * * * *

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Wind and Solar Inflict Pain

January 13, 2017

Actual costs show that wind and solar are more costly than natural gas or coal for generating electricity.

Equally important is that wind and solar create problems for utilities and grid operators.

This is best explained using the Duck curve created by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

CAISO curve showing load during a 24 hour period

CAISO curve showing load during a 24 hour period

The topmost curve shows the load in 2013, when there were few wind and solar installations, while the bottommost curve shows the load supplied by baseload power in 2020.

The shaded area, from morning to evening between the topmost and bottommost curves, represent the power supplied by renewables, which, coincidently represents the power not supplied by baseload power.

Typically, in most areas of the country, baseload power is supplied by natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

The second most important feature of the Duck curve is that it shows how baseload power must be rapidly ramped up when the sun sets, which can severely stress power plant and distribution equipment, causing costly maintenance problems.

Duck Curve showing effect of 80% renewables

Duck Curve showing effect of 80% renewables

The second graph depicts the potential effect on the load curve when wind and solar provide 80% of the electrical load. (Note that the Duck curve uses a suppressed zero on the load axis, so zero load on the left axis is below the elongated red curve.)

When 80% of the daytime load is supplied by wind and solar, only a very small portion of the daytime load is provided by natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

This has important implications.

  1. Since wind and solar are intermittent, and don’t supply electricity when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun stops shining, all the fossil fuel power plants must be available, at a moment’s notice, to supply power that’s no longer being provided by wind and solar.
  2. Fossil fuel power plants can’t be disposed of. They must be kept and maintained, no matter how much wind and solar is on the system.

During the day, essentially from 7 am to 7 pm, the utilities do not receive revenues when wind and solar installations are owned by other entities: Either companies, like YieldCos, or individuals in the case of PV Rooftop solar.

Without revenues, the utilities can’t stay in business. Either utilities must be taken over by the government, using taxpayer money to support them, or the public must pay a capital charge on their electric bills to cover the cost of maintaining the fossil fuel power plants.

The undeniable fact is that wind and solar increase the cost of electricity.

  1. The levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) for wind and solar are 2 to 5 times greater than for natural gas or coal-fired power plants.
  2. The penalty for having to maintain fossil fuel power plants, either by imposing a capital charge on utility bills, or by having the government nationalize the utility system, creates additional costs that tax payers, one way or the other, must pay.

Wind and solar, with their current state of technology, are bad ideas that create problems and force people to pay much more for their electricity.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the inherent problems with wind and solar.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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