Skip to content

Betting on Long Shots

January 10, 2017

Another Department of Energy (DOE) long shot bet using tax payer money on a renewable energy source .

DOE recently awarded the Oregon State University’s (OSU’s), Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) a $40 million grant.

In making the grant, the DOE said, “Wave energy resources range between approximately 900 TWh and 1,230 TWh per year, distributed across the coast of Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year.”

While impressive, the probability of wave energy ever becoming economically viable is close to zero.

While research is useful, tax payer money could be put to better use than for, what is clearly, a very long shot investment.

Graphic from Oregon State University web site

Graphic from Oregon State University web site

Wave energy faces huge obstacles.

The ocean environment is destructive. Wave energy installations must be able to withstand huge storms, a corrosive salt water environment and destructive marine organisms.

There have been several test facilities and numerous experiments of wave energy around the world.

Testing has been done at Perth, Australia, in Scotland, Hawaii, Northern Ireland, off the Aguçadoura coast of Portugal, a tidal barge off the French coast and the Sihwa Lake tidal power station in South Korea.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) noted, “Levelized costs of ocean energy technologies are currently substantially higher than those of other renewable [wind and solar] energy technologies.”

And electricity from wind and solar is two to four times more costly than electricity from natural gas or coal-fired power plants.

There is no question that the ocean has tremendous power and virtually unlimited energy, but trying to capture that energy to generate electricity is unlikely to be accomplished economically with any existing technology.

There are few environments on earth that are as harsh as that found in the ocean.

The allure of wave energy is romantic, but the reality is that we aren’t likely to see the generation of electricity from the motion of waves or tides … except from demonstration sites.

Wave energy is a boondoggle, and not suitable for the use of tax payer money when the nation is already seriously in debt.

* * * * * *

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

* * * * * *

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.

The Final Nail?

January 6, 2017

When first introduced, electricity from nuclear power was to be too cheap to meter.

Then, while the first nuclear power plants were being built, extensive delays and modifications resulted in large cost overruns. The utilities incurred these cost overruns, as the contracts were mostly cost-plus, where the construction companies were reimbursed for their costs.

By the end of the last century, 100 nuclear power plants providing 20% of America’s electricity had been built, but the sentiment in the industry was that nuclear power was too costly.

The constant changes and delays while building the first 100 nuclear power plants were attributed to construction being done on site where it was difficult to control events and costs.

It was thought that costs could be controlled by building major components in a factory and then shipping them to the site for installation.

It was believed that a factory environment would allow for the use of manufacturing disciplines and quality control that would keep costs under control.

At the start of this century, there was support for a nuclear renaissance, where new nuclear power plants of a new and safer design could be built at a reasonable cost, with major components being built in a factory.

Vogtle nuclear power plant. Photo courtesy of Southern Company Inc.

Vogtle nuclear power plant. Photo courtesy of Southern Company Inc.

The Fukushima disaster raised the specter of radiation danger once again, but the new generation of nuclear power plants would shut down safely and automatically if there was a problem.

As construction was started at the four new nuclear power plants, two in Georgia and two in South Carolina, there was great confidence that this time it would be different: Costs would be controlled and the plants would be built on schedule.

With last week’s announcement that Toshiba would take a multi-billion dollar charge against operations due to cost overruns, quality control problems and delays at the four nuclear power plants being built in the United States, it is now clear that nuclear power may be dead … at least for the foreseeable future.

Westinghouse, the Toshiba subsidiary building these new nuclear power plants, has experienced many of the same problems that occurred in the last century.

Toshiba’s stock fell 30% with the announcement confirming the problems at Westinghouse, and of problems with the construction of other nuclear power plants being built in other countries.

Whereas the utilities incurred the overrun costs in the last century, this time the contracts were written so that the construction companies and supplier of reactors incurred most of these extra costs.

Nuclear power was already dying a slow death in the United States as there was considerable doubt whether existing nuclear power plants would receive a second extension to their operating licenses. See Nothing to Fear for a description of why nuclear power is dying in the United States.

The problems at Westinghouse probably preclude any construction company or supplier of reactors from entering into contracts where they would be liable for cost overruns, and it’s doubtful that any utility regulator would allow any utility to assume such liabilities in the future.

This may have been the final nail in the coffin for nuclear power in the United States.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Appendix, explains why nuclear power is dying in the United States.

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.

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.

Kemper Travesty is No Way to Save Coal Mining Jobs

January 3, 2017

Recently, members of Congress from both parties have put forth proposals to continue or increase subsidies for power plants that capture CO2.

The most notorious of these plants is the disastrous Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi.

These proposals are being made under the banner of saving coal mining jobs, which is a ruse.

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, met this month with president-elect Trump to discuss “a realistic path forward for coal,” saying Kemper was a “first-of-a-kind project that are often problematic.”

But, Kemper is not a first-of-a-kind project. Two other IGCC power plants have been built, both with terrible economic results.

Photo of Kemper Power Plant, courtesy of Mississippi Power Company

Photo of Kemper Power Plant, courtesy of Mississippi Power Company

The first IGCC power plant was in Tampa, Florida, where two such plants were to be built, but the second was cancelled after costly problems with building the first plant.

Another IGCC power plant was built in Edwardsport, Indiana by Duke Energy in 2013, with terrible economic consequences. Originally it was to be built for $1.9 billion, but actually cost over $3.5 billion.

IGCC power plants cost around $6,000 per KW to build, which is about the same as a nuclear power plant.

Quoting from the Wall Street Journal, “One of the bills, filed by Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, seeks to raise subsidies and continue them indefinitely rather than have them expire once 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide have been captured, a milestone under the current law that is expected to be reached by 2019.”

Continuing or increasing subsidies for IGCC power plants is a travesty against tax paying Americans.

An additional travesty is that no more ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants can be built in the United States because of the new EPA regulations, while a truly clean ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant was built by Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) in Texarkana, Ark. in 2012, shortly before the EPA issued its regulations on CO2 emissions from power plants.

SWEPCO’s, John W. Turk Jr. power plant, rated 600-MW, is a modern, ultra-supercritical plant, built for less than half what an IGCC power plant will cost.
Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants meet all EPA requirements except for the amount of CO2 they emit. They are 40% more efficient than traditional coal-fired power plants.

The John W. Turk plant was completed shortly before EPA issued its rules limiting CO2 emissions from power plants, where coal-fired power plants are limited to 1,400 lbs CO2/MWh.

Ultra-supercritical plant CO2 emissions are around 1,700 lbs CO2/MWh.

Modifying the EPA rule, even as a temporary method before eliminating the rules entirely, to accommodate ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants would be a far better method for saving coal mining jobs than wasting billions of tax payer dollars on subsidies for monstrous IGCC power pants.

* * * * * *

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.

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.

Devastating Fuel Economy Standards

December 27, 2016

A $2.2 billion curse on the American economy.

This is the estimated cost to refiners for having to comply with the government’s program forcing renewable fuels on Americans.

This cost to refiners for buying RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) is actually a tax on Americans.

The Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ) provided details on how this government program is costing Americans billions of dollars. Money that could be better spent on infrastructure that benefits everyone, not a few.

The Renewable Fuel (Volume) Obligation (RVO) is determined by the EPA annually, and establishes the obligation of refiners.

Quoting from OGJ, “The RVO is expressed in RINs, which attach to every gallon of renewable fuel produced at rates that vary with fuel type. One gallon of corn ethanol, has 1 RIN attached to it. If the producer sells the ethanol, the RIN goes with it.”

When a refiner blends ethanol with gasoline the RINs are separated and go toward the refiner meeting its RVO obligations.

If the refiner has too few RINs to meet this obligation, the refiner must buy the RINs from the open market.

Diagram from EPA website

Diagram from EPA website

The entire process is extremely complicated. Problems associated with the corrosive nature of ethanol limits where gasoline and ethanol can be mixed, i.e., blended, which creates additional costs.

There is also the problem of cellulosic ethanol not being available. Not only, is it not available, but it’s expensive.

Cellulosic ethanol is another rathole down which the government is throwing tax payer dollars.

The EPA explains, from its website,

“Congress created the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil.”

Here we have a program that is costing tax payers an exorbitant amount of money, while accomplishing very little, if anything.

There is no need, for example, to reduce reliance on imported foreign oil. Oil imports are decreasing due to increased production of shale oil.

It’s been demonstrated that ethanol doesn’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s becoming ever more clear that GHG are not the cause of climate change.

It expands the renewable fuel sector when it’s uneconomic and unnecessary.

And, it uses corn, a food, to produce a product that will be burned. Using corn to make ethanol is a travesty against humanity.

The government created this monster of a program and encouraged farmers to participate in it.

Since the program is unnecessary, it needs to be disbanded in a way that minimizes harmful impacts on farmers.

The RFS program is an excellent example of government interference with free markets. The RFS program harms everyone by wasting tax payer money and encouraging farmers to invest in a useless, and some could say prejudicial activity, i.e., corn for ethanol.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

EIA is in the Crosshairs

December 21, 2016

There has been a hue and cry over the Trump transition team asking DOE for explicit information, with a list of 74 questions.

The media has criticized the questions as a witch hunt targeting scientists. Michael Halpern of The Union of Concerned Scientists said,

“If the Trump administration is already singling out scientists for doing their jobs, the scientific community is right to be worried about what his administration will do in office. What’s next? Trump administration officials holding up lists of ‘known climatologists’ and urging the public to go after them?”

Of course, this is what the Attorney General from New York, and Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island have already been doing by targeting so-called deniers.

Willis Eschenbach commented on all 74 questions in an article on WattsUpWithThat, http://bit.ly/2hp3dax His comments concern the relevancy of each question.

From EIA Web site

From EIA Website

I’ll limit my comments to the 15 questions relating to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), as many of my articles highlighted how the EIA published misleading information in support of the administration’s CO2 climate change agenda.

For example, the EIA included a charge for carbon in its LCOE calculation for coal-fired power plants without referencing the charge in the LCOE table. This charge for carbon inflated the LCOE for coal-fired power plants from 6 cents per kWh to 10 cents per kWh, a 67% increase.

The existence of the carbon charge was buried in the text accompanying the LCOE table, so most readers would miss it.

It used to be the practice of the EIA to publish realtime, current data, but beginning a few years ago, the EIA started publishing estimated, future LCOE costs. This hid the true nature of the high cost of wind and solar. For example, The EIA is currently publishing LCOE for power plants entering service in 2022 … these are estimates, not facts.

The cost of transmission lines to accommodate wind and solar are either omitted or trivialized in the EIA LCOE data. Their cost, however, can be very high. For example, the cost of transmission lines to achieve a mere 20% penetration by wind was developed by the Midwest ISO, and came to $80 billion … And this only covered the Eastern half of the United States.

Numerous articles have pointed out that wind and solar are unreliable and require backup by fossil fuel power plants, yet the cost of this backup power is omitted from the EIA’s LCOE calculations.

From my perspective, the 15 questions are appropriate and relevant, given the examples of EIA misinformation cited above.

List of transition team questions of the EIA.

  1. EIA is an independent agency in DOE. How has EIA ensured its independence in your data and analysis over the past 8 years? In what instances do you think EIA’s independence was most challenged?
  2. Part of EIA’s charter is to do analyses based on Congressional and Departmental requests. Has EIA denied or not responded to any of these requests over the last ten years?
  3. EIA customarily has or had set dates for completions of studies and reports. In general, have those dates been adhered to?
  4. In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, EIA assumed that the Clean Power Plan should be in the reference case despite the fact that the reference case is based on existing laws and regulations. Why did EIA make that assumption, which seems to be atypical of past forecasts?
  5. EIA’s assessments of levelized costs for renewable technologies do not contain back-up costs for the fossil fuel technologies that are brought on-line to replace the generation when those technologies are down. Is this is a correct representation of the true levelized costs?
  6. Has EIA done analysis that shows that additional back-up generation is not needed? How does EIA’s analysis compare with other analyses on this issue?
  7. Renewable and solar technologies are expected to need additional transmission costs above what fossil technologies need. How has EIA represented this in the AEO forecasts? What is the magnitude of those transmission costs?
  8. There are studies that show that your high resource and technology case for oil and gas represents the shale gas and oil renaissance far better than your reference case. Why has EIA not put those assumptions in your reference case?
  9. Can you describe the number of personnel hired into management positions at EIA from outside EIA and compare it to the number of personnel hired into management positions at EIA who were currently serving at EIA?
  10. How does EIA ensure quality in its data and analyses?
  11. Where does EIA think most improvement is needed in its data and analyses?
  12. We note that EIA added distributed solar estimations to your electricity data reports. Those numbers are not part of your supply/demand balance on a Btu basis. Why has that not been EIA updated accordingly?
  13. How many vacancies does EIA have in management and staff positions? What plans, if any, does EIA have to fill those positions before January 20?
  14. Is the EIA budget sufficient to ensure quality in data and analyses? If not, where does it fall short?
  15. Does EIA have cost comparisons of sources of electricity generation at the national level?

Actually, the 74 questions asked of DOE will only provide important clues about the organization.

Summary

The media may be focussed on the 74 questions, but they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Finally, there is the ultimate alternative, eliminate the DOE as proposed by William O’Keefe at http://bit.ly/2hlJfju

The appointment of Governor Rick Perry will certainly put the abolition of the Department of Energy in the crosshairs, as, in the past, he has said it should be abolished.

* * * * * *

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Dakota and the Pipeline Abyss

December 16, 2016

The political left is fighting hard to prevent the building of pipelines.

Currently, the most noisy protest has been to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. This pipeline is being built to transport oil from the Bakken shale oil fields to an Illinois refinery.

The Climate Disobedience Action Fund temporarily shut down five other pipelines in support of the group protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.

The name of this group, i.e., Climate Disobedience, actually defines the real purpose for all the attempts to shut down oil and natural gas pipelines.

These groups are attempting to impose their views on climate change on the rest of Americans.

They are opposing natural gas pipelines, because natural gas is actually methane, a greenhouse gas.

They are, for example, opposing the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline in Addison County, Vermont.

Some more examples:

  • Headline from WWLP. com, “Massachusetts residents oppose natural gas compression station.”
  • From Herald-Dispatch. com, “Cincinnati opposing proposed natural gas pipeline.”
  • From PennEnergy headline, “Protesters rallying against Boston-area natural gas pipeline project.”
  • From NPR, “[University of Vermont] Students Call On Leahy To Oppose Pipelines.”
Map of Natural Gas Pipelines feeding New England, from Climate Shift

Map of Natural Gas Pipelines feeding New England, from Climate Shift

Typically, other reasons are cited as to why pipelines shouldn’t be built. In North Dakota, it’s the possibility there may be Indian artifacts in the area, and that the pipeline, which is going under the Missouri River, might cause water contamination.

From an article in the Wall Street Journal:

  • The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux.
  • The project’s developer and the Army Corps made dozens of overtures to the Standing Rock Sioux over more than two years. Other tribes and parties did participate in the process. More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route.
  • This isn’t about water protection. Years before the pipeline was announced, the tribe was working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps to relocate its drinking water intake. The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.

In Vermont, the protesters say the gas would come from Canada where fracking was used to extract the natural gas.

But, at the core of the protests is the idea that oil and natural gas affect the climate.
These protesters ignore some important facts.

  • Transporting oil by pipeline is the safest means of transport, far safer than transporting oil by rail or truck.
  • Natural gas is used for heating millions of homes in America, and without pipelines Americans might not be able to heat their homes during the winter except by burning wood. Oil is the other alternative for heating, and is widely used in New England.
  • Homeowners were hit with high prices for natural gas and electricity during the winter of 2013 due to insufficient supplies of natural gas because of pipeline inadequacy.
  • Natural gas is used for power generation, which, with the closing of coal-fired power plants, is becoming more important for providing people with low-cost electricity.

Blocking pipelines from bringing natural gas to New England power plants is endangering those living in New England with the potential for blackouts.

The law requires that homes have first priority on natural gas, so power plants might not be allowed to burn natural gas in the winter for a protracted period of time when temperatures are freezing.

The idea that CO2 and methane are the primary cause of global warming and climate change is being discredited by scientists in many parts of the world. The book, Nothing to Fear, explains why the sun may be the more likely cause.

Blocking the construction of pipelines is endangering all Americans, because pipelines are the safest method for transporting oil, natural gas and other petroleum products, such as gasoline, and because both oil and natural gas are vital to the safety and economic health of all Americans.

* * * * * *

From Chapter 16 of Nothing to Fear, The Tragic War on Fossil Fuels, “Mankind needs fossil fuels to eliminate poverty and sustain a healthy lifestyle.”

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Pushing the Green Car Agenda

December 13, 2016

While expensive battery-powered vehicles (BEVs), such as Tesla, are uneconomic and impractical, most people could relax and ignore the hubbub about BEVs because they could always rely on using their family car powered by gasoline.

This sanguine view could be upended by the proposed fleet mileage target regulations for the 2022 – 2025 model years. These rules were supposed to be reviewed before becoming final.

The combined passenger car and light truck fleet wide compliance targets were set at 54.5 mpg, and 163 grams of CO2 per mile for 2025. With customary adjustments the actual requirement would be 46.2 mpg as shown in the accompanying chart.

Many anticipated that the required review of the proposed regulations would result in more realistic rules. But that’s not happening.

Chart depicting large increase in mpg required by 2025.

Chart depicting large increase in mpg required by 2025.

The absurdity of these proposed regulations is self-evident.

Actual fleet mileage in April 2016 was 25.2 mpg. The trend line projecting from current mileage history is also shown on the chart. Any reasonable person would accept that it might be possible to achieve the technology breakthroughs required to follow this trend line.

Obviously, the proposed mileage requirements far exceed what one might consider to be reasonable.

The EPA has shattered any expectation of relaxing the proposed rules by announcing it will make a “final determination” almost immediately, rushing the requirement for public comment to be completed by December 31. This will result in the EPA making a final determination before there is a change in administrations.

In their announcement the EPA said,

“The standards will prevent emission of some 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases over the vehicles’ life span.”

Behind the rule is the expectation that people will be forced to buy battery-powered electric vehicles, because BEVs will more likely result in meeting the 54.5 mpg average fleet mileage requirement. See, Collision of Mileage Regulations and Technology

The absurdity of this, however, is that the electricity used to charge batteries comes primarily from fossil fuels that emit CO2.

What the new EPA rules will actually do is force Americans to buy smaller, less serviceable cars, without the space most families need.

Once again, the Obama administration is imposing its view on the cause of climate change, i.e., CO2 and Greenhouse Gasses, and forcing Americans to abide by the dictates of extreme environmentalists.

The EPA doesn’t give a hoot about Americans.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Latest on The Myth of More Severe Storms

December 9, 2016

Radical environmentalists continue to claim that CO2 emissions cause climate change and that global warming, aka, climate change, will bring more severe storms.

Every year, the facts prove them wrong.

2016 is the third year in a row that no category 3 or stronger storm has actually hit the United States mainland, however Hurricane Matthew came close to the coast and paralleled Florida while a category 3 & 4.

In addition, not a single hurricane of any category hit the mainland United States in 2015 … Zero.

The following table show the decades of greatest Atlantic hurricane activity affecting the United States.

The decades before 1960 consistently had more large storms hitting the United States than in the past 55 years. There were fewer storms over the past 55 years, while there was greater atmospheric CO2.

Decade

All Category 1-5

Major Category 3,4,5

1900-1909

15

6

1910-1919

20

8

1920-1929

15

5

1930-1939

17

8

1940-1949

23

8

1950-1959

18

9

1960-1969

15

6

1970-1971

12

4

1980-1989

16

6

1990-1999

14

5

21st Century

2000- 2009

19

9

2010 – 2016

3

1*

* Includes Matthew, whose track paralleled the U.S. coast without actually coming ashore while a category 3 or 4.

Hurricanes that hit mainland U.S.

Source for 20th century storms: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/deadly/Table5.htm

Source for 21st century storms

http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/index.php

And the years 2010 through 2016 were supposed to be the warmest in history, where atmospheric CO2 levels are higher than at any time in at least the past 4,000 years.

Dr. Chris Landsea, National Hurricane Center, has also noted that many hurricanes went undetected before the advent of satellites. He has also shown the effect of hurricanes of short duration, less than two days, or those lasting less than 4 days, on the trend of hurricanes over the past century. These shorter hurricanes only became known with the advance in satellite technology. His paper is available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/gw_hurricanes/

This is important, since we can now see embryonic hurricanes as they emerge from North Africa — and then track them as they cross the Atlantic, with many swerving to the North and missing the United States by a wide margin. We might never have known about these storms prior to the use of satellites, unless some hapless ship got in their way.

Hurricane Lisa in 2010, that rambled around the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, is an example of a storm that might not have been seen without satellites.

The area west of Mexico, the Gulf of Tehuantepec, has been known as the birthplace of Pacific hurricanes for at least the past two centuries.

Mostly, these hurricanes travel west, and sometimes threaten the Hawaiian Islands.

Occasionally, they turn eastward, and hit Mexico, with winds and rain sometimes extending into New Mexico and Texas. The path of Eastern Pacific hurricanes can be seen here: http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/index.php

It was one of these Tehuantepec hurricanes that we went through on our way to Japan while I was a cadet/midshipman.

S.S. Reuben Tipton in edge of Typhoon. Photo by D. Dears

S.S. Reuben Tipton in edge of Typhoon. Photo by D. Dears

The insurance industry is clamoring for action to stop global warming because they have suffered large losses in recent years.

However, it was the increase in coastal populations that caused the higher insurance losses. In his testimony to Congress, Professor Lomborg pointed out that, “The two coastal South Florida counties, Dade and Broward, are home to more people than the number of people who lived in 1930 in all 109 counties stretching from Texas through Virginia, along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.”

And the story about tornadoes is similar.

Fewer tornadoes than in prior years, while atmospheric CO2 levels are at the highest levels in at least the past 4,000 years. Only 976 so far in 2016, less than half as many as in 2011 and 2008.

tornado-count-2016

For more information about tornadoes, and for years prior to 2000, go to http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data

As with hurricanes, satellites have resulted in more small tornadoes being seen than would have been seen otherwise.

The idea that global warming is causing larger and more frequent storms is a phony myth.

It’s another myth being perpetuated by alarmists in their efforts to scare people over CO2 emissions.

And the facts debunk it.

Storms are not getting more severe or more frequent.

* * * * * *

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Russia: Leader in Nuclear Power

December 6, 2016

Russia is emerging as the worldwide leader in nuclear power.

According to the international Atomic Energy Agency, 60 new nuclear power plants are being built around the world.

Worldwide, there are around 440 nuclear power plants in operation, of which approximately 99 are in the united States.

In spite of the United States having more nuclear power plants in operation than any other country, the United States lags badly in its ability to build new nuclear plants.

Most notable is the lack of heavy forging presses to handle the large forgings required for reactor vessels. In fact, the largest presses in the U.S. can only handle forgings up to 270 tons at one location, and 170 and 175 tons at the remaining two locations.

In comparison, Japan, China and Russia have presses that can handle 600 ton forgings. South Korea and France can handle 500-ton forgings.

The latest reactors require forging presses with 500- and 600-ton capabilities.

But, Russia is evolving as the leading builder of nuclear power plants.

It currently has orders for, or is in the process of constructing, 33 new nuclear power plants around the world, plus 4 within Russia. This doesn’t include floating power plants.

Russia is also developing and building fast breeder reactors.

China is rapidly becoming the second most important user and builder of nuclear power plants, partly in cooperation with Russia. But with a copycat version of the Westinghouse AP1000 (Japan) designated the CAP 1400, China has ambitious plans to build these units in China and to export the CAP 1400 design.

China currently has 35 nuclear power plants in operation, and another 20 under construction. It has plans to have around 150 nuclear reactors in operation by 2050.

Nuclear power in the United States, Europe and Japan is largely at a standstill. Only four nuclear power plants are under construction in the United States, 1 in France and possibly 1 in the UK.

Meanwhile, the United States is shutting down reactors, 5 in the past 4 years, while Germany has promised to shut down all its remaining 8 reactors by 2022. Japan is struggling with whether to restart the reactors it shut down after the Fukushima disaster.

It was only 35 years ago that the United States was a leader in nuclear energy.

The 1979 movie China Syndrome, with misleading and inaccurate information, was the turning point when radical environmentalists began convincing Americans that nuclear energy was dangerous.

china-syndrome-ad

Jane Fonda, and others, had to know that their diatribe was false. They have done a terrible disservice to all Americans. See, Destruction of America’s Nuclear Industry.

Russia and China are the emerging nuclear power leaders, and there is not much the United States can do to alter the immediate future. It’s entirely possible that all of the nuclear power plants in the United States will be shut down by the end of this century.

If small nuclear reactors become plausible, the United State could possibly regain a leadership role.

If not, Russia and China will likely dominate the nuclear power industry for the next several decades.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Appendix 3, describes the decline in U.S. nuclear power generation and why all nuclear power plants in the U.S. could be shut down by 2100.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

What next for shale?

December 2, 2016

“In August 2015, Saudi Arabia declared war on shale oil development in the United States.”

“In October 2016, Saudi Arabia capitulated.” Quote from, Saudi Arabia Capitulates.

This has now been confirmed by an agreement among OPEC producers to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day. Whether the cut ever actually materializes is immaterial: U.S. shale oil producers will be off and running in 2017.

The number of U.S. oil shale drilling rigs, at the end of November, had increased by 154 since the low point in May 2016.

The number of DUCs (Drilled but Not Completed) is currently around 3,800, not counting 900 natural gas DUCs.

The stage is set for rapid growth of shale oil production in the United States.

Initially, it could be unexpectedly rapid, and capped only by the surge in oil production forcing the price of oil lower.

We are likely to enter a period where U.S. shale oil production dictates the price of oil.

When the price of oil drops, due to an increase in supply caused by U.S. producers, U.S. producers will back off completions, and increase the number of DUCs. When the price of oil increases, U.S. producers will once again aggressively complete the DUCs and resume drilling.

This cycle could dictate the price of oil on world markets for many years in the future.

Much will depend, however, on growth in demand. If environmental activists succeed in getting governments to restrict the use of fossil fuels, demand growth could slow.

COP 21 established a program for cutting CO2 emissions that could result in the use of less energy.

The United States can reject this scenario of energy deprivation that harms people around the world, and lead the world to increased use of low-cost energy.

Low-cost energy over the past century has resulted in worldwide benefits, and the United States could provide the leadership for another century of improving economic growth and improved living standards around the world.

Natural gas from shale could also change the world markets for natural gas, and improve the availability of low-cost electricity for millions of people.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

The shale revolution originated in the United States, and will spread to other countries over the next decades.

OPEC’s grip on the oil market has been broken, and the world will benefit from low-cost energy as a result of this revolution, assuming a belligerent Iran or terrorist action doesn’t upset this equation.

OPEC is still relevant, but it seeks oil price stability within a range of prices it can live with.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

COP 21 Carbon Cutting Absurdity, Part 2 of 3

November 29, 2016

As shown in Part 1, it’s impossible for the world to cut CO2 emissions enough to prevent a climate disaster, but could the United States cut its CO2 emissions 80% by 2050?

US ratified UNFCCC treaty in 1992. UNFCCC held Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 and is leading the efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

US ratified UNFCCC treaty in 1992.
UNFCCC held Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 and is leading the efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

As seen in Part 1, electricity generation and gasoline usage produced 59%, or nearly two-thirds of CO2 emissions in the United States in 2004.

These CO2 emissions must be cut 80% from 1990 levels if there is to be any possibility of cutting total U.S. CO2 emissions 80% by 2050, as required by Obama and the EPA.

The percentage of U.S. electricity generation, and related CO2 emissions in Million Metric Tons (MMT) for each source in 2014, are:

Coal = 33%, CO2 = 1,364 MMT
Natural gas = 33%, CO2 = 530 MMT
Nuclear = 20%
Hydropower = 6%
Other renewables = 7%
Oil 1%, CO2 = 24 MMT

Cutting CO2 emissions 80% from 1990 levels requires that total CO2 emissions from electricity generation in 2050 not exceed 364 MMT.

CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is not a viable option for continuing the use of fossil fuels. See, The Why and How of Carbon Capture and Sequestration.

Without CCS, all coal-fired power plants and one-third of all existing natural gas power plants must be shut down if CO2 emissions are to be kept below 364 MMT.

Wind and solar as replacements

There are two fundamental scientific reasons why wind and solar can’t replace the coal-fired and natural gas power plants that must be closed.

  • Wind and solar don’t generate electricity when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Solar doesn’t generate electricity during nighttime hours.

Currently, there are 1,068,422 MW of installed capacity of all types.

This amount of capacity must be available at all times to provide electricity during periods of peak load.

But 441,704 MW of this capacity, or 41%, is eliminated when all coal-fired and 1/3 of Natural Gas power plants are shut down, so there won’t be sufficient capacity to respond to peak loads.

Therefore, if wind and solar are used to replace the lost capacity, the remaining installed capacity would be insufficient to meet peak demand when the wind stopped blowing or the sun didn’t shine.

This alone means that wind and solar can’t replace the lost baseload power that’s needed to be available at all times, 24/7, for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

The only theoretical possibility for using wind and solar to replace coal-fired and natural gas power plants that have been closed, would be to install storage essentially equal to the lost capacity.

Unfortunately, there is no type of storage currently available that can store this amount of electricity across all of the United States. See, Storage is Essential for Wind and Solar.

In addition, there are economic reasons why wind and solar can’t be economically used to replace coal-fired and natural gas power plants.

  • The cost of building, at $2,000 per KW, the approximately 338,332 new wind turbines, rated 2 MW, needed to replace the lost coal-fired and natural gas units would be $1.4 trillion. (Using offshore wind would cost twice this amount.)
  • The cost for using PV solar at $3,000 per KW would be around $2.1 trillion while concentrating solar, at around $5,000 per KW, would cost over $3 trillion.
  • The cost of constructing new transmission lines to transport the power from remote areas to where it can be used must be added to the investment in new wind and solar capacity. This investment in new transmission lines could easily exceed $200 billion, based on the Joint Coordinated System Plan (JCSP’08).

Replacing coal-fired and natural gas power plants with nuclear would allow a transition where CO2 emissions could be cut 80%. But, the public has been conditioned to believe nuclear power is dangerous, so there is little likelihood that very many new nuclear power plants will be built. In fact, it’s very probable there will be less nuclear power available in 2050 than there is today.

Even if nuclear were acceptable, it would require building 400 new nuclear plants rated 1,000 MW each by 2050, which would be virtually impossible. Currently, there are about 100 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

Conclusion:

It is impossible to eliminate all coal-fired power plants and 1/3 of natural gas power plants by 2050, without destroying America’s standard of living by forcing Americans to accept huge reductions in the use of electricity, such as for air-conditioning, appliances, communications, WiFi, TV, etc., and without crippling American industry.

Part 3, in the next week or two*, will explore whether gasoline can be cut 80% by 2050.

  • Change.

* * * * * *

Additional information:

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

* * * * * *

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 – 2016. 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

COP 21 Carbon Cutting Absurdity, Part 1 of 3

November 18, 2016

The COP 21 agreement is absurd, and is likely to become a tragedy for mankind if actually implemented.

The COP 21 agreement is based on the premiss that CO2 emissions must be cut 50% worldwide by 2050 or there will be a climate catastrophe. This, in turn, is based on the assumption that atmospheric CO2 must be kept below 450 ppm. Atmospheric CO2 is currently 400 ppm.

Computer models predict that temperatures could rise as much as 8 degrees F if these last 50 ppm are allowed to happen.

The assumption has also been that developed countries, including the United States, must cut their CO2 emissions by 80%, so that undeveloped countries, including China and India, can continue to increase their CO2 emissions, although at a slower rate.

But, are these basic assumptions valid?

Table 1

Country CO 2 emissions (MMT) Per capita emissions (Tons) % of Total World
World 35,270
China 10,300 7.4 29.2%
United States 5,300 16.6 15.0%
EU28 3,400 6.8 9.6%
India 2,500 1.9 7.1%
Russia 1,800 12.6 5.1%
Japan 1,400 10.7 4.0%
70.0%
  • Estimates for 2014

Table 1 from Nothing to Fear

These 6 countries account for 70% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

Realistically, only two sources of CO2 emissions are relevant to any attempt to cut CO2 emissions.

They are:

  • Gasoline
  • Generation of electricity

Industrial causes are too diverse for effective action. They include cement production, natural gas for heat treating and heating, etc.

Table 2

U.S. CO2 Emissions 2004

Source MMT % Total
Electric Generation 2298.6 39%
Gasoline 1162.6 20%
Industrial 1069.3 18%
Transportation (Excluding Gasoline) 771.1 13%
Residential 374.7 6%
Commercial 228.8 4%
United States Total 5905.1 100%
  • Total excludes approximately 70 MMT of CO2 emissions from miscellaneous sources.
  • Source: Emission of Greenhouse Gasses in the United States 2005 by DOE Energy Information Administration.
  • MMT = Million Metric Tons

Table 2 from Nothing to Fear

While Table 2 is for the United States, both Europe and Russia have similar distributions of CO2 emissions, while China and India, the two largest developing countries, have more emissions from the generation of electricity than from gasoline usage.

Is the COP 21 agreement realistic, or a farce?

How will it be possible to cut CO2 emissions 80% from the generation of electricity and the usage of gasoline?

But before examining how the United States can cut its CO2 emissions 80% by 2050, one has to wonder whether such a herculean effort would have any effect on the world’s ability to prevent the climate catastrophe predicted by the UNFCCC and IPCC, which is the basis for the COP 21 agreement?

What are the facts?

  1. China and India already emit more CO2 than does the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan combined.
  2. China and India are developing countries that will be allowed to increase their CO2 emissions.
  3. The UN has said the world must cut total CO2 emissions 50% by 2050, which means, referring to Table 1, cutting CO2 emissions by 17,635 MMT.
  4. Assuming the United States, Europe, Russia and Japan cut their CO2 emissions 80%, it would amount to only 9,520 MMT, nowhere near the 17,635 MMT needed for the world to prevent a climate catastrophe.
  5. The remaining developing countries that produce 30% of the world’s CO2 emissions are mostly struggling to survive, with countries in Africa and many in Asia barely at subsistence levels, and mostly, with the exception of oil producing countries and S. Korea, unable to cut CO2 emissions by any amount.

No amount of speech making by 10,000 attendees in Marrakesh, at the UN COP 22 climate change conference the week of November 6, will change these facts.

From UNFCCC web site

From UNFCCC web site

The only conclusion that can be reached is that it is impossible for the world to cut CO2 emissions enough to prevent a climate catastrophe.

On this basis, COP 21 is worse than a farce, it is a tragedy.

(The next articles will examine whether the United States can cut its CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 as demanded by Obama and the EPA.)

* * * * * *

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Coal and the Unreachable Climate Goal

November 15, 2016

While the Obama administration continues to promote its war on coal, and fossil fuels in general, coal usage worldwide continues at a brisk pace.

While silly movies, like Before the Flood, promote COP 21 goals, the world continues to favor the use of coal for generating electricity.

Wind and solar grab the headlines, but coal does the job.

It can be said, with little contradiction, that it is impossible to cut CO2 emissions enough to prevent the forthcoming climate disaster, assuming CO2 is the cause of global warming.

One must wonder why the United States should destroy its economy and the standard of living of Americans, when its impossible to prevent the onrushing climate disaster, if CO2 is the cause of global warming.

Bloomberg promotes the COP 21 agenda, yet it also recognizes that coal usage will continue to grow.

Growth of coal in Asia, (right graph) Courtesy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

Growth of coal in Asia, (right graph) Courtesy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

In recent years, China has been building two coal-fired power plants per week, but now forecasts a reduction.

The reduction? Build one, rather than two, coal-fired power plants each week.

Japan is pushing to build more coal-fired power plants to replace the nuclear power that has been sidelined after the Fukushima disaster caused by a tidal wave.

This chart from the EIA shows that CO2 emissions from developing countries will overwhelm the puny reductions in CO2 emissions from Europe, the US and other developed countries.

The growth in coal usage in developing countries is the major contributor to the growth in CO2 emissions.

CO2 projections from EIA

CO2 projections from EIA

Europe, with its massive, costly push to cut CO2 emissions, has achieved very little in the way of reducing CO2 emissions.

Coal will remain a significant share of energy usage by 2040, regardless of all the COP 21 efforts to kill coal.

The Obama administration and the EPA demand that the United States cut its CO2 emissions 80% by 2050, but this is obviously not enough to stop the growth in worldwide CO2 emissions.

To achieve an 80% reduction, Americans would have to cut their per capita CO2 emissions from 16.6 tons per person today, to 2.3 tons by 2050.

Cutting CO2 emissions 80% is virtually impossible to do, but even if it were technically possible, it would destroy America’s standard of living.

Quoting, Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder Michael Liebreich:

“The [Japanese] utilities are seeing how difficult it is to restart the nuclear power stations after Fukushima, so they’ve decided to build coal.”
And,

“If Asia keeps building coal-fired power stations, then there is no way of sticking within a carbon budget consistent with 2 degrees,”

Efforts by the EPA to cut the use of coal and natural gas are harming Americans, with no possible benefit.

Atmospheric CO2 will continue to rise well past the magical 400 ppm, where there will be, according to DiCaprio, Gore and Obama, a climate catastrophe.

Attempting to cut CO2 emissions is a dangerous delusion, and the next few articles will explain why.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 14, explains why it’s impossible to cut CO2 emissions 80%.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

CO2 Wizardry or Hype?

November 11, 2016

The headlines read:

“Scientists accidentally discover a method to turn carbon dioxide Into ethanol.”

And,

“CO2 may help renewables industry.”

While stories in the media read:

“The [CO2 to Ethanol] process could be used to store excess electricity generated [by] wind and solar. … It could help balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources.”

And, more dramatically:

“This low-cost electrochemical reaction may come to the rescue of the earth’s climate.”

Photo from ORNL, catalyst of copper nanoparticles embedded in carbon nanospikes.

Photo from ORNL, catalyst of copper nanoparticles embedded in carbon nanospikes.

While most people would applaud being able to dispose of unwanted CO2, this wizardry, from DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, may just be hype.

First, there is the scientific fact that the process requires more energy to produce ethanol from CO2, than is in the ethanol that’s produced. The energy input is greater than the energy output. (This is the same basic problem with fusion.)

We have not yet discovered perpetual motion. Electricity is required to produce ethanol from CO2, and the process only has a yield of 63%.

Unless the source of electricity doesn’t use fossil fuels or the electricity would otherwise be wasted, the process would ultimately add CO2 to the atmosphere. (I.e., generating electricity for the process produces more CO2 than would be absorbed by the ethanol.)

For example, if wind turbines generate electricity that cannot be used on the grid, this electricity could be used to produce ethanol and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

But this is a very limited case, since selling the electricity to the grid has a greater economic value than using the electricity to produce ethanol. Excess electricity from wind energy usually only happens at night when the grid is lightly loaded and represents a small fraction of the electricity produced by wind turbines.

Rephrasing the issue:

Why build wind turbines and solar farms to generate electricity to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, when they could, theoretically, be used to displace the electricity generated by fossil fuel power plants and prevent the CO2 emissions in the first place?

Amazingly, if the foregoing isn’t sufficient to demonstrate that the media headlines are hype, the scientific paper describing the process contained the following conclusion:

“The process probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst.” And,

“The entire reaction mechanism has not yet been elucidated.”

This discovery does nothing to change the fact that wind and solar are unreliable, or intermittent. Neither wind nor solar generate the electricity required for the reaction when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine: I.e., no electricity, no ethanol.

Summary

The media created the impression that a process was accidentally discovered that could remove CO2 from the atmosphere and “come to the rescue of the earth’s climate” while also mitigating the intermittent problems associated with wind and solar.

Both propositions are false.

It’s merely media hype.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 6, Wind Energy, explains why wind energy is expensive and unreliable.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Blackouts? Who Would Have Thought?

November 4, 2016

Suddenly, alarm bells are ringing that the grid may be in trouble, with the possibility of blackouts.

While many energy observers, including me, have been warning about the impact of wind and solar for years, it’s only now that some pundits are beginning to realize there is a problem.

It’s been obvious for years, and even the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) prepared a curve showing how renewables were eating into baseload power generation.

CAISO Duck Curve

CAISO Duck Curve

Solar and wind force baseload plants offline during the day, and then require baseload plants to rapidly come back on line and ramp up their output when the sun goes down. This deprives baseload plants of revenue, and then damages the equipment with thermal and other stresses when the equipment is forced to rapidly increase output when the sun sets.

Germany has become the poster child for what happens when wind and solar are added to the grid.

  • Electricity rates zoom higher, i.e., 3 – 4 times higher than the average US rate. See Europe’s High Cost of Renewables.
  • The need for added transmission lines is either ignored, or their costs are ignored when evaluating the cost of wind and solar.
  • Storage becomes urgently needed, which is either not technically feasible or its costs are ignored when evaluating the cost of wind and solar.

Power Magazine called the emerging grid reliability problems, “An alarming trend” and said:

This baseload exodus could have a worrying impact on reliability, as shown by summer planning reserve margin projections (%) from the North American Reliability Corp.’s 2015 Long-Term Reliability Assessment.” (Emphasis added)

Power Magazine blames the emerging threat on low natural gas prices, and:

“State and federal rules, and market design issues.”

But, they fail to explain the “state and federal rules and market design issues” which are at the core of why wind and solar are displacing baseload power.

Low-cost natural gas does affect nuclear power plants, but it does not affect coal-fired or natural gas power plants that are being forced from the grid.

Coal-fired power plants are, of course, the plants most affected by “state and federal rules, and market design issues.”

Interestingly, natural gas power plants can’t compete in Germany because the price of natural gas is too high. It’s the market rules that are forcing the main German utilities E.ON and RWI to shed their fossil fuel assets or go bankrupt. See, Germany’s Failing Energiewend, Part 1.

Wind and solar operators bid their electricity after taking the wind and solar credits, i.e, subsidies, which allows them to sell electricity at artificially low prices. The result? No baseload power plant can compete against subsidized electricity. Subsidized wind farms have even paid the grid operator to get the grid to use wind generated electricity so the wind farm operator could get paid the 2.3 cent per kWh tax credit.

When the market rules say that wind and solar must be dispatched first, it precludes baseload power generation from competing.

And now, the administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will make a bad situation worse.

As made clear by Power magazine, with its unwillingness to explain “state and federal regulations and market design” issues, the fix is in to blame the problem on the low-cost of natural gas. Yet, it’s not low-cost natural gas that’s causing the problems in Germany, because natural gas in Europe costs two to three times as much as in the United States.

For the first time, an industry publication has raised alarm bells about the possibility of blackouts because of the way the market is being rigged against the use of fossil fuels.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 9, The Utility Death Spiral, explains why displacing fossil fuels with wind and solar will result in the bankruptcy of Utilities.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Subsidies for Making Ice

November 1, 2016

Unsatisfied with the billions of dollars spent on wind and solar subsidies, the environmental movement now wants subsidies for products that store energy.

Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association, said:

“It would be a good economic investment for us as a government and as a nation to invest in advancing these [storage] technologies.”

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) that would allow “thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells” to qualify for the 30% investment tax credit that solar installations already receive.

Thermal storage includes making ice.

Ice is used to provide cooling to augment air-conditioning equipment. Simply make ice at night when electricity is cheap, then use the ice to cool the air in offices or homes during hot afternoons.

Proponents of subsidies for making ice say this would avoid using electricity during periods of high demand, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Diagram Courtesy of Ice Energy Corporation

Diagram Courtesy of Ice Energy Corporation

Many corporations would benefit from these subsidies: Trane, Ice Energy, Evapco, CALMAC, to name some. And ice storage is being promoted by the media, such as NPR, Treehugger. com, Greentech Media and New York Times.

The storage subsidy would also apply to batteries used to store electricity. Batteries that are installed in conjunction with a solar system, such as a PV rooftop solar system, already qualify for the 30% subsidy, but new laws would allow all batteries used for storing electricity, as part of an energy storage system on the grid, to qualify for the 30% subsidy.

The hubris of environmentalists is staggering.

Wind and solar generate expensive and unreliable electricity.

Wind and solar cannot generate electricity when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, so grid operators can’t rely on electricity being available when it’s needed.

For wind and solar to be usable 24/7, they must be augmented with storage.

For example, the new Crescent Dunes, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant uses storage so that it might be able to provide expensive electricity 24/7. See, New Concentrating Solar Plant.

One supplier of battery storage claims battery storage should be credited twice: First for storing electricity, then again when the electricity is released.

AES Energy Storage President Chris Shelton said that a storage facility performs two functions:

“First it absorbs energy, and then it discharges energy.”

See, Storage Double Speak.

Hopefully, battery storage won’t qualify for a 60% subsidy: 30% for absorbing energy, and another 30% for discharging it.

It’s a simple matter to ridicule these ideas, but subsidies being paid for with taxpayer dollars are tragic. Subsidies absorb funds that should be used for building needed infrastructure, or worse, they increase the national debt.

But, don’t fossil fuels get larger subsidies?

All subsidies are probably bad, but this widely circulated myth distorts the truth. See, The Big Untruth.

In addition to the cost of subsidies, electricity generated by wind and solar is already expensive, two to four times more expensive than electricity generated by natural gas, and it will be even more expensive when the cost of storage is added.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 11, Role of Taxpayer Funded Subsidies, busts the myth that fossil fuels receive greater subsidies than renewables.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Carbon Credits Funded by US Taxpayers

October 28, 2016

The World Bank, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), will guarantee the price of carbon credits for projects that cut methane and other greenhouse gasses in developing countries. The WSJ article said:

“Under the [carbon trading] system, projects that reduce emissions in the developing world produce carbon credits, which companies in industrialized nations can then buy to offset their own emissions.”

The money to back these guarantees comes, at least in part, from US tax payers.

This is being done to bolster the price of carbon credits that has fallen, in recent years, according to the WSJ, from around $23.00 to 35 cents.

The World Bank conducted its first two auctions for projects that would cut methane and CO2 emissions, where it guaranteed a price of $2.40 per carbon credit at the first auction, and $3.50 at the second.

Part of the reason for these guarantees is to revive the building of projects that cut methane and CO2 emissions, which could help countries achieve emission goals set at COP 21 in Paris.

The WSJ article said there are around 1,200 projects in Brazil, India and Indonesia that, if implemented, could cut emissions 850 metric tons by 2020.

While this sounds impressive, it’s a mere drop in the bucket when compared with US 2004 emissions of 5,905,000,000 metric tons. And China’s CO2 emissions are even greater.

It would appear as though US tax payer dollars are being spent on a publicity stunt to bolster support for this administration’s various actions for cutting CO2 emissions.

The World Bank said, that with its guaranteed price for carbon credits, its clients would be more interested in starting emission cutting projects.

However, why should US tax payer dollars be used for this effort?

Especially when the program doesn’t actually cut emissions, it merely provides a mechanism whereby companies can continue with their current emissions without increasing total emissions by buying credits.

This program was started under the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty the United States did not ratify, so why should tax payer dollars be used to support a program the United States did not ratify.

octopus

 

This demonstrates once again, the octopus-like tentacles that have been wrapped around the American economy by the environmental movement.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 14, Impossible Objective, provides data on the quantity of CO2 emissions from each sector of the U.S. economy, and why it’s impossible to cut CO2 emissions enough by 2050 to stop climate change, if it really is caused by CO2.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Paying Money for Nothing

October 25, 2016

Not many people want to pay good money for nothing, but a relatively new business has the organizations operating your grid doing just that.

Grid operators are paying for negawatts.

Negawatts are watts that don’t exist, but an overzealous approach to demand response has turned them into gold for negawatt accumulators.

Demand response (DR) has been around for nearly as long as the grid has existed.

In the past, utilities would have large customers, usually industrial and commercial users of electricity, cut back their usage during peak periods when the grid was becoming overloaded. These customers had portions of their operations that could be shut down for short periods of time, maybe for as long as a few hours. Utilities would often give these customers a special rate so that they would incur the expense and inconvenience associated with reducing their usage of electricity.

Supermarkets could, for example, turn off half the store lighting. A factory could shut off half the lighting in the factory and offices.

Now, this has been taken to the extreme, where aggregators get small users to agree to cut back their usage of electricity during peak periods, or when there are unforeseen supply interruptions.

For this service, the aggregator can sell negawatts to grid operators.

If a customer turns off a 100 watt light bulb, it creates a 100 negawatts.

If the aggregator can get 1,000 customers to each turn off a 100 watt light bulb, it creates 100,000 Negawatts or 100 negative KW.

Negawatt symbol from Green Alliance

Negawatt symbol from Green Alliance

Obviously the grid operator is only interested if the aggregator can deliver Megawatts of negawatts.

All of this has been endorsed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and encouraged by proponents of wind and solar generated electricity, and by some politicians.

The reason FERC has endorsed negawatts is because wind and solar are unreliable, and can result in the sudden interruption of supply.

When the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, wind turbines and solar installations stop generating electricity … and this can happen very suddenly.

The grid operator must replace this lost supply very quickly, within minutes, or the grid can become overloaded and collapse.

Traditionally, grid operators have relied on spinning reserves, usually natural gas turbines, that can be brought online very quickly.

Negawatts are supposed to achieve the same effect by having a multitude of small customers cut back on their usage.

The aggregator establishes an automatic process, where hundreds, or thousands, of small users with whom he has an agreement, will quickly cut off the portion of their usage that is not essential.

These negawatts have the effect of lowering demand, which reduces the need for bringing spinning reserves online.

There would, of course, be little need for negawatts if it weren’t for unreliable wind and solar power plants being added to the grid.

The concept of Demand Response isn’t new, and it can be used by utilities wherever there is a need.

Larger communities, such as the city of Richland, which was cited in a Wall Street Journal article promoting negawatts, can be enlisted in any such program sponsored by the utility. There is no need to pay negawatt aggregators to do the job.

Demand Response works without fancy new terms and complicated procedures which can only make the grid less reliable. Complexity increases risk.

The supposed allure of negawatts, is the idea that homeowners and small businesses can join the Demand Response team. Factually, however, homeowners and small business have very few opportunities for cutting back their usage of electricity, over and above what utilities can already accomplish.

Utilities, for example, can organize, homeowners who have electric water heaters to allow the utility to shut off the water heaters for short periods of time. They can do this by themselves, or by forming a non-profit to do the job for them. There’s no need to pay an aggregator to do this.

Negawatts are being used as a propaganda tool to promote the use of wind and solar.

Negawatts have become “politically correct”.

Demand Response has been used for decades, and utilities can implement DR programs wherever they may be needed. Adding the complexity of paying aggregators, and embellishing the concept of DR with a new politically correct term, negawatts, makes little sense.

Politicians should leave utilities alone and permit them to do the job of providing low cost, reliable electricity to all Americans.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

New Concentrating Solar Power Plant

October 21, 2016

The newly installed Crescent Dunes CSP plant near Tonopah, Nevada, is an important improvement over the ill-fated Ivanpah CSP plant.

The Crescent Dunes and Ivanpah Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants use mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto a heat exchanger at the top of a 600-foot-tall tower during the day to heat a fluid that is used, either directly or indirectly, to produce steam to drive a turbine generator that produces electricity.

  • The 392 MW, Ivanpah CSP plant heats water directly to produce steam.
  • The new, 110 MW, Crescent Dunes CSP plant heats molten salt to a very high temperature. The heated salt is then passed through a heat exchanger to produce steam. Importantly, the salt stores heat for use any time during the day or night.

It’s the ability to store heat that is the most important distinction between the Crescent Dunes and Ivanpah CSP power plants.

Ivanpah produces unreliable, intermittent electricity, while Crescent Dunes is supposed to produce electricity 24/7. In this sense, it provides baseload power, though it will require a period of continuous operation to demonstrate it can actually operate 24/7.

Crescent Dunes has entered into a 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) to sell electricity to NV Energy at 13.5 cents per kWh.

One negative regarding Crescent Dunes that has not yet been clarified is whether the plant continues to kill birds that fly through the concentrated sun rays.

Aerial view of Crescent Dunes CSP, courtesy of Solar Reserve LLC

Aerial view of Crescent Dunes CSP, courtesy of Solar Reserve LLC

While Crescent Dunes CSP power plant is a significant improvement in reliability over the Ivanpah plant, it still cannot compete with natural gas or coal-fired power plants.

Presumably, the 13.5 cent per kWh price incorporates the benefits of the 30% tax credit afforded solar investments, and the $737 million government loan guarantee received by Crescent Dunes’ owners.

A levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) calculation for Crescent Dunes will therefore be greater than 13.5 cents, but any LCOE calculation at this time is not meaningful, because there is insufficient information about operation and maintenance costs. No one knows with any certainty, for example, whether the mirrors will be damaged by blowing sand, or how much it will cost to clean the 10,00 house-sized, 1,200-square-foot mirrors.

Building a CSP power plant is far more expensive than building a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant.

The Crescent Dunes CSP plant cost just under $1 billion, or $10,000 per KW, which is approximately 10 times the cost of an NGCC plant at $1,100 per KW.

CSP power plants must be built in desert, or otherwise uninhabitable areas, having high levels of insolation, with large amounts of available land area. The 110 MW, Crescent Dunes plant uses 1,600 acres, (2.6 sq. miles) while the 392 MW, Ivanpah plant uses 3,500 acres, (5.8 sq. miles). A 200 MW, NGCC power plant would use around 4 acres.

NGCC power plants are far more economic than CSP plants, and generate electricity at low-cost with a high level of reliability.

NGCC plants generate electricity at around 6 cents per kWh, compared with the Crescent Dunes plants reported long-term contract price of 13.5 cents per kWh.

In summary:

  • NGCC levelized cost of electricity is 6 cents per kWh, while building costs are $1,100 per KW.
  • Crescent Dunes contract price for electricity is 13.5 cents per kWh, while its building cost was $10,000 per KW.

Electricity from a CSP plant costs more than twice as much as does electricity from an NGCC power plant, and a CSP plant costs nearly ten times more to construct than an NGCC power plant.

Under normal conditions, without political hysteria, a CSP plant probably wouldn’t be built in the United States.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 7, Concentrating Solar Power, provides an overview of the different types of CSP, though it does not contain information on the newly constructed Crescent Dines CSP plant. This article augments the information in Chapter 7.

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.

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 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited.

Who Pays the Carbon Tax?

October 18, 2016

At first blush, it’s the corporation, i.e, the utility generating electricity, the refinery producing gasoline, the natural gas driller, the car manufacturer, or whichever corporation is legally responsible for paying the carbon tax.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) for example, in its determination of levelized cost of electricity (LCOEs), adds a $15 charge for a carbon tax on electricity from coal-fire power plants. A $15 carbon tax increases the levelized cost of electricity, from coal-fired power plants, from 6 cents to 9.5 cents per kWh.

But who actually pays the tax?

carbon-tax

Corporations are currently taxed at a high rate. To pay the tax, corporations add the cost of the tax to their products or services.

States add sales taxes for many products and services. For example, every state has a sales tax on gasoline.

In effect, all taxes paid for by corporations are hidden taxes. They are hidden from the consumer because they are included in the price of the product.

Sales taxes, at least, are itemized at the point of sale.

The correct answer to the initial question?

Ordinary people pay for all taxes, including those hidden in the price of products people purchase, where corporations are the involuntary collector of taxes for the government.

This would include any carbon tax that the government might impose.

Corporations are involuntary tax collectors, and would be collecting more taxes if a carbon tax is added to the list of taxes.

When corporate taxes are increased, which would be the case with a carbon tax, the prices of their products are increased.

Higher prices affect the middle class and lower-income groups who use a higher percentage of their income to purchase goods and services than do wealthy individuals.

Lower and middle-income earners are hurt the most when corporate taxes, including any carbon tax, are increased.

The people proposing a carbon tax admit this, because they also propose to redistribute some of the carbon tax, once the government collects it, to low-income people.

In that sense, a carbon tax is merely another method for wealth redistribution.

A carbon tax merely adds to the slush fund that politicians can dole out to their favored communities.

All taxes, corporate, sales and personal, are paid for by consumers, and this includes the carbon tax.

* * * * * *

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 – 2016. 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.

EPA Targets Freedom

October 14, 2016

The technical implications of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) are not easily understood, but the threat to America’s freedom is clear.

Here is how a Wall Street Journal editorial described the CPP:

“In the name of reducing carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan, or CPP, requires states to reorganize their energy economies across electric plants, energy-intensive industries and even households.”

The EPA’s CPP goes beyond merely imposing the COP 21 agreement on Americans, it threatens Americans in multiple ways.

First, the CPP will result in large increases in the cost of electricity, that will harm families and undermine the ability of industry to compete.

Second, it threatens America’s freedom.

Every honest expert will tell you that electricity generated by wind and solar is more expensive than electricity generated by coal and natural gas power plants. Even the Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes data showing this to be true.

Wind and solar also create huge problems for the grid, which impose additional costs not captured by the EIA’s levelized cost of electricity calculations (LCOE).

Wind and solar also threaten the grid’s reliability, potentially affecting the safety of every American. Without reliable electricity there is the threat of blackouts and even higher costs as users adopt measures to protect their businesses and information.

These are the obvious problems created by wind and solar being forced on Americans by the CPP.

But the threat to Americans of the CPP goes beyond economics and safety.

It threatens every American’s freedom.

constitution-convention

An article by David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman described the effects of the CPP on freedom, far better than can I, so here is what they said.

“The Clean Power Plan implicates every evil associated with unconstitutional commandeering. It dragoons states into administering federal law, irrespective of their citizens’ views. It destroys accountability, by directing the brunt of public disapproval for increased electricity costs and lost jobs onto state officials, when the federal government deserves the blame. And it subverts the horizontal separation of powers, by allowing the executive branch to act where Congress has refused to legislate.”

“One can only wonder what will be left of our constitutional order if the plan passes judicial muster.”

“The federal government would no longer be a government of limited powers, but instead be able to compel the states to do its bidding in any area. The states, in turn, would be reduced to puppets of a federal ventriloquist, carrying out the dirty work for which federal actors wish to avoid accountability. And the federal executive, in many instances, could effectively create new law by working through the states, free of the need to win over Congress.”

The constitutionality of the CPP will be decided in the courts.

The Supreme Court, immediately prior to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, rejected the CPP, sending it back to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for review. But this lower court has been packed with liberal justices, so there is a strong possibility they will declare the CPP constitutional. The issue will undoubtedly go before the Supreme Court again, which by then, will have received a new justice to replace Justice Scalia.

The root cause of this debacle is this administration’s determination to cut CO2 emissions 80%, in accordance with the Paris COP 21 agreement.

The issue of whether CO2 is causing global warming remains undecided. The CO2 hypothesis is being promoted primarily by politicians and the media. Opposing that view are over 31,000 scientists and engineers who have said CO2 is not the problem.

Science is not decided by consensus or the government, or by some government body or group of bureaucrats. It’s decided by facts. And the facts point elsewhere, not to CO2.

The facts are very clear. The EPA’s CPP will harm all Americans, not only by imposing higher energy costs, but by also undoing the constitution and unleashing the full force of the power of government on Americans.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 4, explains why the CO2 hypothesis is wrong, while chapter 14 describes why it’s impossible to cut C02 emissions 80% without destroying our standard of living.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Tesla, GM, & Toyota Battle for Customers

October 11, 2016

The electric vehicle battleground at the end of September saw a major increase in the number of PHEVs and BEVs being sold during the 3rd quarter, and a continuing shift away from Hybrids, such as the original Prius.

 

US Sales of Electric Vehicles, Including HEVs 2016

Month

Hybrid (HEVs)

PHEVs & Extended Range Vehicles

Battery (BEVs)

Totals

Total PHEV & EV

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

74,094

12,336

15,815

102,245

28,151

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

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







YTD Year 2016

257,459

48,825

62,680

368,964

111,505

YTD Year 2015

296,375

29,169

51,267

376,811

80,436

% change


-13.1%


67.4%


22.3%


-2.1%


38.6%


Total sales of light vehicles YTD

13,044,080

BEV % of total sales

0.48%

Data from Electric Drive Transportation Association







 

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.

Observations:

  • Tesla also sold cars in Europe and elsewhere. Total Tesla BEV sales for the 3rd quarter were 24,500 vs the 15,425 sold in the US.
  • There appears to be a shift away from HEVs to PHEVs. Toyota has indicated it may ditch the HEV Prius for the PHEV version.
  • Year to date, PHEVs have had the largest percentage increase in sales, three times that of BEVs, but BEV sales were 22% greater than PHEVs.
  • BEV sales are still less than 1/2 of one percent of total light vehicle sales, which is the same as last year.
  • Since 2010, a total of 268,785 BEVs and 242,203 PHEVs have been sold.
  • Since 2010, federal and state governments have used tax payer money to subsidize plug-in vehicles to the tune of $3,500,000,000.
  • Tesla has received $390,000,000 from its sale of California Zero Emission credits.
Tesla

Tesla

Until now, PHEVs and BEVs have been a niche market, comprised of the rich and famous, environmentalists and technology early adopters.

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

Government policies are supporting battery-powered vehicles. These policies include the subsidies mentioned above, Zero Emission Vehicle requirements, as well as mandates for increasing fleet mileage requirements from today’s 26 mpg to 54 mpg in 2025. See, EPA Mileage Gap & Paris Climate Accord.

EVs have three important impediments.

  • Insufficient range, compared with ICE vehicles
  • The high cost of batteries, which results in the high cots of EVs
  • Time required to charge batteries

PHEVs eliminate range anxiety, and partially reduce the cost penalty for the battery.This could be why they are growing in popularity.

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

If not, they are a detriment to the economy, and have imperceptible environmental benefits.

* * * * * *

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 – 2016. 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.

Saudi Arabia Capitulates

October 7, 2016

In August 2015, Saudi Arabia declared war on shale oil development in the United States.

In October 2016, Saudi Arabia capitulated.

As in any conflict, there have been casualties. Perhaps 60 U.S. drilling companies have declared bankruptcy. Stock prices of oil companies collapsed. Thousands have been put out of work.

But the aggressor also suffered damage, with Saudi Arabia’s financial reserves falling by around 15%.

Meanwhile, those fighting for survival in the U.S. oil patch, found ways to improve drilling techniques, improve output from wells and lower costs.

The aggressor found its enemies getting stronger, while beginning to suffer economic strains at home.

Saudi Arabia has been producing oil at close to its maximum sustainable output of around 10.5 million barrels per day. It could increase output by about another 1.5 mmb/d, but only for relatively short periods without risking damage to its wells.

Saudi Arabia has inherent problems that will devour the country unless it can effectively change from a society based on handouts to its citizens, to a society that can produce economic value, for and by its citizens.

This is the goal, as stated by Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

His goal is to create jobs for Saudi citizens, and transform the country from merely being a producer of oil.

To accomplish his goal, he needs money. While he initially thought the U.S. frackers could be put out of business, which would have allowed Saudi Arabia to effectively control the price of oil, he has found the frackers to be resilient … and in fact, becoming stronger.

There is no question shale oil producers can, not only survive, but also increase production, with the amount of increase dependent on the price of oil.

At $50 per barrel, the frackers can focus on the Permian and Stack to maintain output while making money.

At $65 per barrel, frackers can begin to increase output from less profitable plays, such as the Bakken. At $80 per barrel, shale oil production can be widespread.

Saudi Arabia’s new challenge is to allow the price of oil to rise enough to provide the money for implementing Muhammad bin Salman’s strategy for economic development, but not so much as to allow excessive production by the frackers.

Meanwhile, the collapse in CAPEX for ocean exploration and development around the world, will contribute to the demand for oil, overtaking supply.

In an odd twist, the frackers have become the swing producers.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

Diagram of fracking operation. Diagram source not known.

The primary danger for frackers today comes not from Saudi Arabia, but from the U.S. government and the EPA, which are bent on eliminating fracking so as to cut the use of fossil fuels.

The frackers have won their war against Saudi Arabia, but can they survive attacks from the U.S. government?

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Coal Has a Future

October 4, 2016

In spite of the media’s constant harangue over the dangers of using coal and this administration’s war on coal, the future of coal isn’t as black as one might think.

While most coal is used for power generation, a significant amount, approximately one-third of worldwide coal production, is used for making steel.

Toward this end, Ramaco Development Corp. is investing $90 million in a new metallurgical coal mine in West Virginia, which will create around 400 jobs. While this is a small number compared with the number of jobs that have been lost due to the war on coal, it is important to the communities located near the mine.

While steel demand in China has recently fallen, the production of steel will grow as China’s economy resumes growth, albeit at a slower pace. Additionally, underdeveloped and developing countries, such as India, will also grow and use more steel. Metallurgical coal, i.e., coking coal, usage will grow.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that worldwide coal usage, metallurgical and steam coal combined, will increase between now and 2040.

World coal consumption from EIA

World coal consumption from EIA

While this won’t match the explosive growth during the past dozen years, which was fueled by China, it is still significant.

This growth will come from developing countries.

Graph of Non-OECD coal usage in quadrillion BTUs from EIA

Graph of Non-OECD coal usage in quadrillion BTUs from EIA

A large amount of this usage will come from India, which plans to double its coal production by 2020.

India's domestic coal consumption from EIA

India’s domestic coal consumption from EIA

But, India isn’t alone in its use of coal for power generation.

Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines also intend to increase coal consumption for power generation. And it’s not just in Asia that the use of coal is growing: Turkey plans to build 80 new coal-fired power plants.

While China’s use of coal will not grow as rapidly, it will still grow around 15% between today and 2025, according to the EIA.

The idea that developing nations will commit economic suicide by not increasing their generation of electricity using the least costly method available, i.e., coal, is delusional.

If Germany, the embodiment of renewables, is failing to reduce its use of coal for power generation, why should anyone expect developing nations to not use coal to increase living standards in their countries?

The United States can reduce its use of coal for power generation, because it has large quantities of cheap natural gas. India, and other developing countries, don’t have inexpensive natural gas, so they must turn to coal, or nuclear, for base load power generation.

The growth in the use of coal in developing (non-OECD) nations will more than offset any reductions the United States may make. As a result, CO2 emissions will increase.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes why the sun is the far more likely cause of global warming..

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.

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 – 2016. 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.

Wind Power, Eating the Seed Corn

September 30, 2016

In the past, farmers had to save enough corn from the current year’s crop to provide the seed for next year’s crop. Today, large companies, such as Monsanto, produce the seed corn that’s sold to farmers for each new crop.

In like manner, any business that requires an investment in a fixed asset must provide for replacing the asset when it wears out.

This is the purpose of depreciation. Every year the business sets some money aside from earnings to provide the money needed to replace the physical asset when it wears out. If an asset is to last for 20 years, the business would set aside enough money each year for 20 years, so that it will have enough money to replace the old asset at the end of 20 years.

If the business can’t replace the old asset, the business will die … or get money from somewhere else to build the new asset and restart the process.

The farmer, for example, who now buys the seed corn from a supplier, must use some of the money earned from the sale of this year’s crop to buy the seed corn for next year’s crop. He could borrow the money, but this requires his putting other assets up as collateral and paying interest on the money he borrows.

This “farmer” analogy describes the current situation with respect to wind power.

Wind-generated electricity costs about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) when all the investment and operating costs, i.e., investment, asset age, interest and fuel, etc. are included when calculating the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

But now, some proponents of wind power are claiming they can sell electricity for around 5 cents per kWh, which is about the LCOE for electricity from a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant.

How can this be?

It’s because they are eating their seed corn.

As reported by the media, some wind farm owners have entered into long-term agreements to sell electricity for 4 or 5 cents per kWh.

They claim electricity from wind turbines is as cheap as electricity generated by NGCC or coal-fired power plants.

But this is misleading, and basically dishonest.

Wind farm in New York State.

Wind farm in New York State.

Without going into lengthy calculations, here is the bottom line.

A 1 MW wind turbine costs around $2 million to build. If it has a capacity factor of 30%, which is higher than the average for all wind turbines installed in the United States today, it can generate 2.6 million kWh per year. (1,000 KW x 0.3 CF x 8,760 Hours/Year = 2,628,000 kWh/year)

Over a 20 year period, the life of a wind turbine, it will generate, without tax credits, $2.6 million in revenue if the electricity is sold for 5 cents per kWh, which is enough to give the owner a return on his investment of $628,000, minus any operating expenses such as maintenance. To this would be added $600,000 for the 2.3 cents per kWh income tax credit. (See note 1) This is a potential overall return of over $1 million, that investors have put in the bank.

The problem? There won’t be any money available to replace the wind turbine when it wears out after 20 years. And, where will the money come from to remove the old wind turbine when it no longer works?

They have eaten their seed corn.

Comparing long-term contract prices for electricity from wind farms with the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from natural gas (NGCC) power plants is deceitful, because it compares apples with oranges.

This is another way by which the media, and proponents of wind energy are deceiving the public.

 

Note 1:
Admittedly the calculations are more complicated than shown here. Any business will issue an annual report that includes accelerated or straight line depreciation, interest and operating expenses to calculate its tax liability. There is also the question of who claims the production (PTC) or investment (ITC) tax credit, the initial builder or the operator. This would arise, for example, with a YieldCo, where the wind farm has been “dropped down” from a parent company to a YieldCo subsidiary.

The Capacity Factor is determined by dividing the total amount of electricity actually generated by a wind turbine during a year, by the amount that could theoretically be generated based on its nameplate rating.

 

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear, Chapter 6, Wind Energy, provides information on wind farms.

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.

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 – 2016. 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.