Each citizen needs about 315 million Btus of energy to sustain our freedom of travel and way of life
Yesterday I was a guest speaker at the “Money Talks Club” gathering in Sun City. I presented my views of Net Zero Carbon and was impressed with the interest and understanding of energy and electricity generation by the group. A fine gathering of American Patriots and I was honored to be their guest. At the same time of my talk, Santee-Cooper published their final 2023 IRP which shows the planned shut down of the 1,150 MW Winyah coal plant and plans to replace the generation largely with solar panels. Based on my experience yesterday, I thought it would be timely to attempt to explain in as short a post as possible, the importance of energy to our lives and where this primary energy can be sourced. Hint, it is not from wind and solar.
I have lived the American Dream and wish the same for my grandchildren to do so. I also pray that the U.S. politicians will wakeup and understand the energy sources to keep America strong, productive and free.
As shown above, the majority of the energy we depend on each day is sourced from traditional forms of primary energy. To me, sustainable living means that we Americans can continue to live our good lives as we have been. Doing so requires that reasonable cost, abundant forms of energy are an absolute pre-requisite. Replacing the traditional forms of energy with wind and solar is simply not possible. Attempting to do so by, shutting down, “Killing the supply chain”, demolishing and abolishing reliable forms of primary energy as shown above, is self sabotaging our quality of life. It is engineering fiction to believe that wind, solar and batteries can replace the Primary Energy sources that have served us so well for my entire life-time and I have been Blessed with many good years.
The most descriptive and simplified chart to show the forms of energy we depend on and how that energy is used, is the LLNL energy flow chart. The 2021 version is shown below.
Americans have used right at 100 Quadrillion Btus of Primary energy for over 20 years. The chart from 2021 shows a total of 97.3 Quads because 2021 was after the Covid lockdowns and reduced freedom of travel and reduced industrial production as well as other factors. The fact remains that Americans still used within +/- 3% of the decades long energy consumption, about the same amount of total Primary Energy, 100 Quads.
Electricity is Secondary Energy
The understanding of Primary and Secondary Energy should be clarified. When the government or MSM promotes “Electrify Everything” they are suggesting that electricity always will be available from some unlimited and magical source to power their EV’s, trucks, cooking, HVAC, industrial production, etc. The inference is that pollution free electricity can be provided by wind and solar to replace fossil fuels by simply spending billions of taxpayer dollars in incentives and installing millions of acres of wind farms and solar panels. My point here is to remind readers that Electricity is Secondary Energy. It must be generated using Primary energy! Batteries and hydrogen are also forms of Secondary Energy.
Let’s go back to the LLNL energy flow chart above. Note that wind and solar provided less than 5% of the total Primary energy in 2021. This is after over 30 years of incentives to force renewable wind and solar onto the Grid. Most of the other 95% Primary Energy was provided by conventional forms of energy.
How Can We Electrify Everything Without Increasing Generation From Traditional Forms of Energy?
The short answer is, we can’t. I have written other posts to explain. Donn Dears and Vaclav Smil together have written over 50 books to try to explain the importance of energy and the most likely sources for the future. I highly recommend their books to help understand the Importance of Energy and the differences between Primary and Secondary Energy..
Here is a list of the most common sources of carbon-free energy. Please refer to the LLNL Energy Flow chart above and then you decide how to replace or reduce fossil fuels by substituting those that are socially acceptable today:
I wanted to keep this post short and concise. For more details on the importance of energy in our lives, I suggest referring to other posts on my Blog and Donn Dears and Vaclav Smil’s books listed below.
The most important point of this post is to attempt to explain how keeping your quality of life depends on abundant, reasonable cost and reliable Primary Energy. Electrifying transportation and nearly everything else you use and doing so with wind and solar alone will be impossible in the near term.
This is an update on my comments to the IRP development for my local Regional Utility, Santee-Cooper. The last draft IRP has been published for comment and the figure below shows the expected load growth up to 2042. This Figure is from page 28 of the IRP presentation updated in April 2023. Shockingly, there is serious planning to shut down all coal plants by 2034 without having a Balanced Portfolio of replacement Bulk Power Supply that is Dispatchable, affordable and of reliable supply. Some energy news/issues authors, when discussing energy policy, speak metaphorically of “Falling off the Cliff” The illustration of projected load growth for Santee-Cooper is an example of planning to “Fall off the Cliff” by (NOT) Balancing Bulk Power Supply & load Demand. (The graph reminds me of the old saying, “Failing to Plan is a Plan for Failure”. How? By not providing adequate new generation capacity as older, reliable, dependable and Dispatchable coal units are retired. This is typical all across the U.S. and the western free world(6,10,14,15,15,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,27)
I had hoped that the more conservative, level headed General Assembly of S.C. would have better sense than to follow the “Woke policy” of the U.S. government and other states. There is still time to wake up to reality. (5,8)
The slide below is from my ENERUM presentation, August 2022. Data and chart are from the July 2022 NERC Report.(10) This shows 102 GW of Dispatchable & Reliable coal and nuclear plants shut down since 2011. This is shown to illustrate the fact that Santee-Cooper seems to be following the same destructive path as other utilities in the U.S.
Can a Great 80+ Year Record of Reliability and Affordability be Sustained While Retiring Coal Plants? Is S.C. Self Sabotaging our Great Record of Reasonable Cost, Reliable Bulk Power Supply? Why? Can the Legislature Stop the Madness?
It is my understanding, that the management of Santee-Cooper has been directed to formulate a plan to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050. Anyone that knows me, knows that I do not agree with this plan and my posts on this blog and my public presentations have clearly shown my analysis of the madness of Net Zero Carbon & the War on Coal. I have written letters to Santee-Cooper, the Governor, Congressional representatives and my S.C. Senator. Most of these have been made public. Myself and others that have knowledge of energy and electricity generation know that the path to Net Zero carbon is not possible by 2050.(4,5,6,7,8)Not without severe disruption of our way of life, our economy, industrial output, controlling inflation and national security. It is important for our state to generate electricity reliably, with high quality frequency and voltage control, from Dispatchable generators to meet customer Demand and do this 24/7 affordably under all weather conditions…..This has been done by Santee-Cooper for almost 90 years. Thanks to the reliability of coal, nuclear, natural gas generation and hydro-electric. Why would the Legislature force this fine Utility to sabotage its great record? The chart below is from the 2020 IRP. This lists the Dispatchable, Reliable, Affordable generating assets that have created and continue to provide a great record. In essence, the apparent path of the IRP update is to replace 61% of the reliable coal generation with “Intermittent” solar and wind generation.
Path to Jeopardizing S.C. Bulk Power Affordability, Reliability and Dispatchability
The S.C. Legislature has directed Santee-Cooper through “Act 90” to meet a net zero carbon goal by 2050.
The slide above is copied from the Santee-Cooper IRP presentation. My understanding is, that this is the direction ordered by the legislature. A plan to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050.
There is active planning to not only shut down the 1,150 MW Winyah coal plant in 2028 but also to shut down the 2,350 MW Cross Coal plant about five years later so that in 2034 all coal plants will be shut down. This is shown on the slides below. Shutting down all coal plants by 2034, in my opinion, will jeopardize the very favorable record of reasonable cost, reliable and Dispatchable electricity Bulk Power Supply that has become associated with Santee-Cooper’s great reputation. Even more importantly, South Carolina’s excellent record of attracting and keeping a thriving industrial base within this region. Electricity intensive industries such as aluminum and steel manufacturers/Recyclers have thrived here as manufacturers in other states have ended operations and ceded U.S. manufactured steel and aluminum capacity to China.
Let me digress and quote Vaclav Smil’s statement on decarbonization. From Professor Smil’s book, “How the World Really Works” This applies to S.C. Too!
“The real wrench in the works: we are a fossil-fueled civilization whose technical and scientific advances, quality of life, and prosperity rest on the combustion of huge quantities of fossil carbon, and we cannot simply walk away from this critical determinant of our fortunes in a few decades, never mind years. Complete decarbonization of the global economy by 2050 is now conceivable only at the cost of unthinkable global economic retreat, or as a result of extraordinarily rapid transformations relying on near-miraculous technical advances.” Smil continues….
But who is going, willingly, to engineer decarbonization while we are still lacking any convincing, practical, affordable global strategy and technical means to pursue the latter? What will actually happen? The gap between wishful thinking and reality is vast, but in a democratic society no contest of ideas and proposals can proceed in rational ways without all sides sharing at least a modicum of relevant information about the real world, rather than trotting out their biases and advancing claims disconnected from physical possibilities.”
I have written other posts on this Blog to express my thoughts on competition with China and the importance for America to reshore U.S. manufacturing. This my friends, is in our backyard, our neighborhood, our state. This is a fact as stated above10). Premature retirements of reliable coal plants has been occurring at an alarming rate all across the U.S. Do we have to follow the same foolish self sabotaging policies of NY, Hawaii, Germany, the UK and Texas? I hope not. (12,13,14,15,)
Future Bulk Power Generation Capacity, The Apparent Plan to Self Sabotage Reliable Bulk Power Supply
Expected Outcome of Adding Over 4,250 MW of Non Dispatchable, Intermittent Bulk Power Supply
If all of the coal plants are retired and the portfolio shown above is used. Her are my predictions, based on the experiences of Hawaii, California, Texas, Germany, Denmark and the UK.
California is thought by some in government to be a model for the U.S. with regard to renewable energy policy. I do not agree. Here is a recent post by the CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute on how the California electric load (as reported by CAISO) has morphed from a “Duck Curve to a Canyon Curve”. Here is a screenshot of Dr. Mansoor’s post:
The “Canyon” curve represents high renewable generation during the peak sunshine of the day where California has bragging rights to sourcing almost all of their electricity from solar collectors. This is great until folks come home from work, mom starts dinner in her totally electric home and Dad plugs in his EV for charging. By early evening, electricity demand skyrockets out of the Canyon and must, for the sake of reliability, be generated to meet demand from Dispatchable sources.
Battery storage is not Bulk Power Supply. Batteries store electricity they do not generate electricity. Batteries are capable, depending on the size of the installation, of providing minutes or hours of backup. The largest battery storage in the U.S. is the Vistra Energy, Moss Landing facility in CA. The CAISO load for April 27 is expected to be about 30,000 MW. Note the largest battery storage facility in the world, Moss Landing, is 1600 MW which is about 5% of the Demand and only capable of providing minutes or hours of stored electricity.
Here is another post from another energy expert on LinkedIn. This graphic shows the electric generation through the day which includes battery storage.
The Moss Landing Storage facility is rated at 400/1600 MW and is capable of storing excess renewable generation for hours so that it can be used as the sun sets and kick in as the “Canyon Curve” and CA power supply and Demand Curves above become reality of demand. Emphasis should be on “Hours” it is not capable of backup during a days long cold severe winter storm, such as NC and SC experienced over Christmas week, 2022. Another example is the 150 MW Battery storage designed for Queensland, Australia and an artists depiction below. This is from an essay reviewing the NY electricity future written on the Blog, Watts Up With That.
Battery storage such as shown above is very costly. For example, the 150 MW facility above is projected to cost $250/kWh. Therefore for 12 hours of storage for 450 MW, the cost would be about $1.35 Billion dollars. Keep in mind, this is for 12 hours storage of only 450 MW of power. Winter storms such as the Christmas 2022 storm lasted longer than 12 hours and even very conservative, steeped in energy expertise Duke Energy, also with a great reputation for reliable electric service, had rolling Blackouts. Ditto for TVA(18,19,20,21,22,23).
When the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing, then the generation must be purchased from neighboring Utilities or generated with Dispatchable natural gas generation. The plan shown above includes 4,316 MW of natural gas generation. This combined with the 322 MW of Summer Unit #1 nuclear power totals 4,638 MW. The wind generators, though intermittent, could generate another 400 MW to total 5,038 MW. The projections of up to 9,000 MW Demand in 2050 (according to Santee-Cooper projections) then will require additional Dispatchable generation which is likely to be natural gas CT’s or Combined Cycle facilities. Think for example of the uncertain growth of Electric Vehicles. If much of transportation is “Electrified”, then the high range projections of about 9,000 MW peaks can be expected in 2050 or before. So, why would we kill the coal plants that have served South Carolinians so well?
This reminds me of my experiences working for CP&L in the 1970’s when the manager of Fossil Plant Engineering pointed to an oil fueled CT and proclaimed to me, then a young engineer, “That young man is a monument to poor planning”. Yes, as CP&L (That was before CP&L merged with Florida Progress and was later absorbed by Duke Energy). I see history repeating here as so much faith in renewables today is somewhat like the high expectations of nuclear being “Too Cheap to Meter” beliefs of the 1970’s. However, nuclear power eventually delivered. Wind and solar are not capable of replacing coal, nuclear and gas fueled Bulk Power Generation. In the 1970’s the Bulk Power Supply gaps were made up with quickly installed, oil fueled CT’s. Today, thanks to reliable, affordable natural gas, the backup generation, when solar and wind cannot deliver, is gas fueled CT’s or Combined Cycle plants. This is doable and satisfactory… providing that pipelines are of adequate capacity and natural gas remains affordable and Federal Regulations on drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, pipelines and fuel supply infra-structure is expanded as needed, when it is needed. The Federal Government is wrong on their war on carbon and the natural gas resources just may not be as abundant in 2040 or 2050 as they are now. Because, the Federal Government currently highly regulates exploration, drilling, production and transport of any fossil fuels. The uncertainty of future primary energy supply is why a Balanced Generation Portfolio is important. A Balanced Energy Portfolio will include nuclear, coal, gas and renewables.
Have the Importance of Reserves Been Forgotten?
Santee-Cooper is a Regional Utility. In other states, such as PA, OH, WVA, NJ & DE many utilities the size of Santee-Cooper have joined RTO’s (Regional Transmission Operators) such as the PJM Interconnection. In the Midwest it is MISO (Midwestern Independent System Operator) With RTO’s, the electricity generation is shared across state lines and with different utilities with separation of the ownership of the generating plants and the transmission and distribution of the Bulk Power. This has eliminated accountability for individual utilities such as Philadelphia Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company, Public Service of NJ, PP&L and others to plan for Reserve Generation capacity. Therefore, there is no accountability for lack of reserves. I presented examples in my ENERUM talk slides(6) . There is some talk of Santee-Cooper joining a similar RTO with the Southeast Electric Exchange. In my strong opinion and based on the references listed below and my experiences, Santee-Cooper should plan for their own (Our own) reserves. Reserve generation from others states was depended on Christmas week 2022 by TVA and Duke Energy. Two fine utilities, also with great records from the past. But, the reserves from neighboring states were not available due to Demand exceeding supply. Reserves of 15-20% have always been important for reliability and to keep generation costs reasonable by not requiring the startup of backup power generation using high cost fuels such as Diesel or spot market gas. Donn Dears has written several books on this. Here is a graph from the book, “Clean Energy Crisis”, on the Reserve generation that was planned in 2018. However, Texas Blackouts in 2021 killed over 200 people. The ERCOT planners in 2018 had performed due diligence as Santee-Cooper is doing now with well respected consulting services to perform computer analyses of planned reserve margins. Do we need to learn the hard way as Texans did in 2021?
Facts to be Consider regarding Electricity and South Carolina’s High Quality of Life
The experiences of other states and other countries should be considered. I cited the examples of California, Texas and Hawaii above. Much analysis has been put into the planning by some very smart engineers and planners. However, computer modeling of the “Future” weather, fuel prices, EV use, population growth, industrial growth and other uncertainties, will likely create a need for other sources than wind and solar renewables. Just as Texas learned in 2021 after performing similar planning.
Primary Energy and Secondary Energy
Each S.C. resident on average uses about 300 million Btus per year in Primary Energy. If the trend to “Electrify Everything” continues, then more of the energy use currently provided at reasonble prices for transportation and our high quality of life, will be substituted for by (Secondary Energy) electricity or hydrogen. Such as more EV’s as the government is forcing us to use. Therefore, the growth of electricity demand may be much greater than expected. Thus, my title which relates to potential 9,000 MW Demand in 2050.
Over 50% of South Carolina’s electricity has been provided by nuclear power for decades. SC is rated as #3 in the nation in nuclear power generation. Nuclear power has served SC citizens and industry well. Safe, affordable, Base load capable at 90+% capacity factor and proven. However, the great record and importance of nuclear is not discussed by politicians or even utilities. For example, Palmetto Electric promotes the use of “Green Power” when in fact, it is a small contributor to the total portfolio of power generation. Here is an example of “Green indoctrination” by a bill insert that misleadingly leads citizens to believe that most of their power is from renewables:
The reality of our future electricity generation is that nuclear is the most important and least carbon intensive fuel for electricity generation. The plan to expand the Summer nuclear plant with two additional units was a very good idea. However, it was not to be because of poor management, limited trained talent and failure by Bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the primary contractor. The planned new Pee Dee coal plant near Florence was also a good idea and provided for natural growth of generating capacity to meet Demand. Pee Dee, (600 MW coal plant) in my understanding, was killed because of outside influence of Environmental Extremists. Had the Summer Units 2 & 3 and the 600 MW Pee Dee Clean Coal Plant been built as planned, then together these three units would have provided 2,800 MW of Base Load plus reliable, affordable and clean, Dispatchable Bulk Power. Including some reserve generation capacity.
Is the Great State of South Carolina going to sabotage our future just because other countries and states are doing so? I hope not.
The“War on Carbon” is based on politics and corrupted science. It is about Socialism and not about protecting the environment. The South Carolina Legislature seems to be just as gullible of the green myth as the current Federal government leaders.
The UN-IPCC is also Politically Driven and Not based on protection of the environment or to provide for the best interests of the people of the world. The Paris Climate Agreement is not in the best interests of America, the free western world or even for protection of the environment. It is politically motivated.
The path to Net Zero Carbon is steadily weakening our country. It will eventually destroy America’s productive capacity, lower our standard of living and place national security at risk. It will hasten the decline of America and the Rise of China.
America requires 100 Quadrillion BTUs of energy each year to sustain our quality of life. This is about 300 million BTUs per person, per year. Currently, after decades of subsidies, wind and solar provide about 5% of the total PRIMARY energy we use. Wind and solar cannot replace the other 95% of energy we need.
A Balanced Portfolio of Generating Capacity as is currently installed at Santee-Cooper generating plants, is the best path forward to sustain our high quality of life and economic prosperity. Reserve generation from dynamic generators is needed. Battery backup does not provide the same system voltage and frequency control as spinning reserve generator rotors do.
Electric generation planning in the 1970’s and 1980’s was better than today. There is no Energy Policy in America, there is only a decarbonization plan(4,5,6,7), there is no well thought out plan to replace the reliable and dispatchable generating capacity that is being shut down across the country. As during the 1970’s when nuclear units were late coming into service, the quickest available generating capacity was to install gas turbines. This is likely here in SC if the coal plants are retired before Dispatchable or Base Load replacement generation is installed.
Initiate a comprehensive Energy and Electricity Education program to provide 1. public education on energy, 2. Public School education on energy and electricity generation and 3. Public Technical/Trade School education to prepare youth for the construction workforce. Energy Education is recommendation #1 of the path forward. Public education is needed to reverse the myth that wind and solar can replace coal, gas and nuclear power generation. This is priority #1 because so many people are “Green Energy” indoctrinated.
Plan and continue to provide adequate Operations and maintenance funds for repairs and component replacements of the boilers, pumps, turbines and all of the equipment installed at the Cross Coal Plant. Keep the full 2,350 MW capacity so that it can be used until replacement generation is built and proven.
Construct the 600 MW Pee Dee Coal plant that the components were purchased for in 2009.
Plan and begin construction on at least 2,000 MW of nuclear capacity. (as was planned for the Summer Units 2 & 3). Please re-read recommendation #1 above.
Plan and construct at least 1,750 MW of combined cycle gas plants
The coal, nuclear and gas plants 2,3 & 4 could replace the existing Cross coal plant capacity, thus continuing a “Balanced Generation Portfolio”
South Carolina can be an example of applied Common Sense Energy policies that can be a model for the U.S.A. and for the world. The current reasonable cost electricity in SC is amongst the lowest cost in the nation. Over 50% is generated from 4 nuclear plants with seven units. Four of these 7 nuclear units started up in the 1970’s. These four units operating licenses will expire in the 2030’s. They may be extended for another 20 or 30 years by the NRC but, plans should be made to construct new nuclear units for replacement of carbon free, Dispatchable, reasonable cost electricity.
Every time I present a course on energy and electricity generation the comments come back, “You did not discuss Climate Change and Decarbonization”. My response is, I am not an atmospheric scientist. I am an experienced power engineer. My beef with the current path toward Net Zero Carbon is, there is not an organized plan to replace the vitally important electric generation that has kept our country strong. If the politicians were really serious about reducing carbon dioxide emissions and “Sustaining” our high quality of living, then nuclear plants would be on a fast track to construction. After the Summer 2 & 3 failure, SC politicians are rightfully concerned about the financial risks. Plant Vogtle in GA is an example of a major budget overrun. Last cost estimate that I saw shows that Vogtle will cost $34 Billion and the original planned cost was less than half the ultimate cost. Also, it took ten years to just get one of the units running.
In my opinion and research, I feel the war on carbon is a plan initiated by the U.N. (including competitors/enemies of the U.S.A.) and Socialists that have an agenda other than clean power generation. If we wish to “Sustain our high quality of life“, then we need a reasonable cost, abundant and reliable electricity supply. Nuclear is the most accepted approach to achieving that goal. Three examples of applying a Balanced Energy Portfolio with a high percentage of nuclear are S.C. (1970-2030), Sweden and Finland. For research into why I believe the “War on Carbon” is political, not environmentally driven, I have included dozens of references below. My concern for Santee-Cooper and for America is to keep our Bulk Power Supply safe, secure, reliable and affordable. Also, sourced from a U.S. Supply-Chain.
The Supply-Chain of all of the future generation equipment, in an ideal scenario, would be from U.S. sources. Including manufacturing and construction talent. The workforce education is a weakness that I believe had part in the $9 Billion dollar Summer 2 & 3 construction debacle. We should learn from the past 50 years of electric generating history. The successes and the failures.
In My opinion and research, the Path to Net Zero Carbon is Based on Corrupted Science and Political Ploys to Promote Socialism and One World Government, Not to Save the Planet or to Improve the Environment. Therefore, to substantiate this claim the following references are provided:
I live in Hilton Head, SC and our local electricity provider is Palmetto Electric Cooperative. Palmetto Electric obtains most, if not all of their Bulk Power from the SC Public Service Authority, known as Santee-Cooper. Santee-Cooper has a long history of providing reliable, reasonable cost power to the low country of SC. However, due to political pressure, they like most other utilities are working toward Net Zero Carbon by 2050. I disagree with this path and have written a couple letters to share my opinion and experiences. Here below is my latest letter concerning the creation of the next Integrated Resource Plan. The figure below shows Santee-Cooper load growth projections and the loss of the coal capacity from the Winyah Generating Station in 2028. It is this loss of Dispatchable capacity in 2028 that prompted my letter:
Dear Friends at Santee-Cooper,
Thank you for the opportunity to follow your development of the IRP. I would like to submit my additional comments below:
Santee-Cooper has a long history of providing reliable power to your service territory. During most of the preceding 89 years, the affordability, Dispatchability and reliability of coal fuel has been largely responsible for the reasonable cost rates and the attraction of industry. Especially energy intensive industries such as Nucor Steel and Century Aluminum. The 322 MW of nuclear power provided by Santee-Cooper’s ownership portion of the Summer #1 nuclear plant has also helped maintain favorable rates and reliability.
I have many years of experience in power generation using most common fuels. Most as a senior engineer. Based on my experience and including travels world-wide, I strongly favor a Balanced Generation Portfolio of coal, nuclear, gas, hydro and up to about 15% renewables.
Santee-Cooper once had a good plan, about 15 years ago when you purchased the components for the 600 MW Pee Dee Clean Coal plant and the 45% ownership portion of units 2 & 3 Summer nuclear plant. The Summer nuclear plant units 2 & 3 seem to be history now. Pee Dee as I understand it is also history. However, the major equipment for the 600 MW Pee Dee coal plant, as I understand it, are still owned by Santee-Cooper.
I strongly believe that the 600MW Pee Dee Coal plant should be built along with plans for additional units.
America is headed for an Energy Crisis and we already have had Blackouts in TN, CA, TX and NC during severe weather during peak Demand periods. As recently in NC and TN as Christmas week, 2022.
With the shutdown of the Winyah coal plant, continued electricity Demand increases and emphasis on intermittent renewable power to replace the coal generating capacity, South Carolina is at risk of Blackouts in our future at worse and escalating electricity generation costs at best if we do not keep and maintain the coal generation capacity.
I understand that the goal of Net Zero Carbon is the goal, due to pressure from the S.C. Legislature. In my strong opinion, Net Zero Carbon is wrong and in fact, it will be impossible to achieve by 2040 or even 2050 by depending on wind and solar. I have written to Senator Tom Davis to ask that he initiate legislative action to keep fossil fuels viable beyond 2050. At least until electricity storage technologies catch up.
It is my hope that the Santee-Cooper staff will evaluate all options and including in the evaluation, consider the experiences of Hawaii, California, Texas, the UK, Germany and the entire European Union. I cite the example of Hawaii. Hawaii of course, is a true “Energy Island” and has no Grid connection as SC does. Hawaii has implemented Net Zero Carbon policies and included the premature shut down of the Barber’s Point coal plant, 180 MW unit. As a result of the renewable policies Hawaii now has the highest cost electricity ($0.45/kWh) of any U.S. state. Why? Because the intermittent wind and solar needs to be backed up with conventional fuels. With no coal or gas option, that leaves Diesel fuel as the Dispatchable alternate fuel. The highest cost primary energy available.
Three more examples are the UK.( $0.48/kWh), Denmark ($0.54/kWh) And Germany ($0.53/kWh) . Here are links to the electricity costs in Germany, Denmark and the UK. https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/electricity_prices/ A print out of the Global Electricity prices is attached at the end of this letter.
The more renewables that are installed, the higher the cost of electricity. The low cost that is often quoted is for installation cost by “Nameplate” rating. $/kWh capacity. However, when the backup power fuel is considered, as has been experienced in Hawaii, the cost to the consumer is much higher.
I have written on my Blog many reasons why a Balanced Generation Portfolio is needed. My Blog is here:
Global electricity prices are attached below as an appendix:
Note the highest Global cost electricity cost (please see last page) is in the UK, Germany and Denmark. All of which have made huge commitments to Renewable wind and solar power to replace coal and nuclear. So far, SC is lower than the average cost of the 50 U.S. states. Let’s keep the costs affordable and service reliable. Thank you.
Public Misinformation Example
The bill insert below suggests that Hilton Head Island electricity is provided by “Green Power” when in fact most of the power supply results from coal, gas and nuclear generation. In fact, the great state of SC has over 55% of our electricity provided by nuclear power but it is rarely discussed by the MSM or even the electricity providers.
Here are some additional References and Reading materials for Backup to the reasoning behind my letter above:
Since the Oil Embargoes of the 1970 and 1980’s the public has been indoctrinated by extremists. Part of the indoctrination was well meaning to force government action on cleaning the air and water of our great country. This goal, has been largely accomplished. However, the extremists have grown in influence to seek more than clean air and clean water, they have morphed into promoters of Socialism and one world government. My previous posts on my Blog have described my thoughts on the demonization of carbon and the war on coal, and how they came to be. This post was primarily written to show my attempt through a two part course on energy and electricity generation to provide an energy information course for the general public. The course was provided as part of the USCB-OLLI program and entitled, “Understanding Net Zero Carbon”. It is posted on LinkedIn. Part 1 and Part 2. Then, as I thought about the misguided indoctrination of the public, I thought it would be helpful to provide some insight as to how such absurd energy policies came to be. Therefore, at the end of this post is a summary of some of how this public indoctrination into “Electrifying Everything with Wind and Solar” evolved. It began as misguided public indoctrination. Now it is the “Green New Deal” passed into law and codified into government policy as part of the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act”. The green policy is based on the premis that, “Everything can be Electrified”. Really? The illustration below shows the traditional sources of 95% of our primary energy. A large part of the public’s misunderstanding about energy is NOT knowing the difference between Primary and Secondary Energy. Many Energy providers do not help with clearing up the public’s confusion. I will provide an example later.
Net Zero Carbon by 2050 and Sustaining Our High Quality of Living is Impossible
The short course I presented at OLLI is my attempt to explain the facts of: “Primary & “Secondary” Energy, Energy Density, Dispatchable Generation, Electricity Storage, Electricity Demand Cycles and production cost increases with increased percentages of wind and solar. The main point: If reduced carbon intensity is really sought after, then the only known and proven source of reliable 24/7 carbon-free Bulk electricity generation is to build many new nuclear plants. The current path of reaching Net-Zero carbon by 2050 using only wind and solar is impossible.
Donn Dears published the book(19), “Clean Energy Crisis” just a couple months ago. In about 100 pages Mr. Dears explains the futility and impossibility of achieving Net Zero carbon by 2050. One excerpt from chapter 8, “Impossibility of Net-Zero Carbon”, expresses the number of new nuclear power plants needed to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050: “The total number of new nuclear plants needed to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 is 881. This requires building thirty-one new nuclear plants, comparable in size to existing units, every year between 2022 and 2050. This in spite of the fact that the United States hasn’t been able to build one new nuclear plant over the last ten years.” Check the latest news update for Georgia Power’s Vogtle Units 3 & 4, the only major 1,100 MW+ new nuclear units under construction in the U.S. at this writing. The loss of nuclear component manufacturing facilities and obtaining a trained workforce of engineers, welders, machine tool operators, electricians and instrument technicians is a topic for another day. Suffice it to say here, The U.S. does not have the facilities and talent to build the components needed to build 31 new nuclear plants each year. Plant Vogtle is struggling to build two.
The current policies of decarbonization favor (and incentivised with tax dollars) wind and solar generation. Getting back to Mr. Dears “Clean Energy Crisis”, he has calculated that by 2050 almost a million wind turbines would need to be installed. To be exact, he calculated 995,141 wind turbines of 2.5 MW each. To achieve this number 35,540 must be installed each year. If they were 5 MW each, it would take 17,770 installations per year. The maximum actually installed in one year to date is 5,680. At this rate it will take 175 years to install the needed wind turbines. An important point I made in my course is that wind and solar are forms of “Intermittent Power Generation” and must be backed up by other forms of Dispatchable generation, such as gas turbines, coal plants or Diesel generators.
Replacement of conventional generation with solar is just as impossible. According to Mr. Dears, “It would take 3,918,996 MW of capacity. The most ever installed in one year is 21,500 MW. Therefore, it would take 182 years to complete”. Like wind power, solar power is intermittent power good for about 6 hours each sunny day. Therefore, energy storage by not yet invented batteries or other storage devices will need to be installed for backup.
Mr. Dears (and mine) Conclusions of the Net-Zero Carbon Transition:
It is impossible for the United States to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.
CO2 is not a threat to mankind.
The EIA chart of nuclear generated electricity for the state of S.C. is shown below. Over 54% of S.C. electricity was generated from four nuclear stations within the state in 2022. These plants are very reliable, robust and safe. Most are also very old. Two, Oconee and Robinson began operations in the 1970’s. I know that for a fact, because I was working for Babcock & Wilcox in Barberton, Ohio in 1966 when the Reactors and Steam Generators for Oconee were being manufactured. These outstandingly successful units may receive new operating licenses for another 30 years, but the fact remains, some day new generation will be required to replace the aging units.
I personally had believed that NuScale Nuclear’s “Small Modular Reactors” (SMR’s) would be a large part of future replacements for aging coal and nuclear plants. However, the recent cost escalations do not look very encouraging, based on Donn Dears cost analysis of NuScale’s SMR. (275)
Over 200 slides are included in my course to show the reality of all forms of Primary and Secondary Energy. Energy used by America is used for more than generating electricity. In fact, about 37% of total primary energy is used for generating electricity. The other 63% is for Industrial production, Transportation, residential and commercial, cooking, heating, lighting, entertainment and cooling.
The course includes information on all forms of energy and how it is used to power our lives. I invite you to take a look at it, if you are interested, part 1 and part 2.(2,3)
Confusing the Public
I live in Hilton Head, South Carolina and soon the Heritage Golf Tournament will take place. This is a huge event that draws tens of thousands of Golf fans to this island. The normal peak electric power demand on Hilton Head is between 150 and 250 MW’s and it is provided by Palmetto Electric Co-Op which distributes electricity generated by Santee-Cooper, a state run electric utility. Santee-Cooper has about 5,300 MW of installed capacity and most of this is coal, natural gas and nuclear generation. Santee-Cooper is interconnected with the Duke and Dominion nuclear plants as well as other generation from the Grid. Overall, over 50% of S.C. electricity has been from nuclear power. (Santee-Cooper owns 322 MW of Summer nuclear plant operated by Dominion Energy) Santee-Cooper advertizes that they have about 400 MW (Nameplate) of solar power capacity either owned or under contract. So at first glance the claim of 100% green power to power the island may seem plausible, especially if Palmetto Electric defined nuclear power (they don’t) as being “Green”. Nuclear is the largest form of carbon-free electricity generation in the world. The point not explained regarding solar and wind is that “Nameplate Capacity” is not the same as delivered Dispatchable power. The actual electricity produced in the state through the year 2022 to SC is shown above. 54% nuclear & about 5% solar.
The bill insert from Palmetto Electric Coop, the HHI electricity supplier is copied below. This infers that the island of Hilton Head is powered by wind, solar and landfill gas. If you check the website scgreenpower.com it shows that most of the green power is from the 29 MW landfill gas units that Santee-Cooper operates. Not solar and ironically, they mention nothing about the importance of carbon free nuclear generation?
The misinformation and resulting misconceptions are nationwide as shown below. The headline refers to installed “CAPACITY” not actual generation. My Part 2, OLLI course(2,3) , slides # 16-20 show the recent actual generation for the U.S. electric Grid by fuels. (about 80% conventional generation)(157)
The actual delivered wind and solar generated electricity cost when metered and billed to the consumer is typically a higher cost/kWh than electricity generated from conventional generation. This is partly because the intermittent solar or wind power needs to be backed up with natural gas, Diesel or other Dispatchable generating capacity. So, the installed cost of solar is only the cost to install solar collectors or wind turbines. In the real world, the cost to the consumer includes the cost of the installation and fuel for backup generation. Another factor regarding intermittent wind and solar is that maintenance costs tend to be very high. Especially for offshore wind turbines. The chart below is from European experiences. The case study of Hawaii Electric which has shut down their one highly successful, clean and reliable coal plant is shown on slide # 48 of part 2 of the OLLI course. Now, dependent on wind, solar and other renewables Hawaii has the highest cost electricity in the U.S.A.. (53, 223 & 224) Mostly because the backup power when the wind isn’t blowing or sun not shining must be made up by Diesel Fuel burned in Internal Combustion engines, gas turbines or oil fueled steam boilers. Diesel fuel in the middle of the Pacific ocean is the most expensive form of primary energy. Diesel fuel is also one of the highest cost forms of primary energy anywhere, second to hydrogen in $/BTU.
Weaponization of the EPA
The Biden Administration is hell-bent on killing coal power generation(29) in America. The latest EPA Rules may in fact kill over a third of the remaining U.S. Coal generation capacity. Many of the power generation facilities that have been depended on as recently as last December 2022, (even now) will likely be shut down in the next year or two. This despite the fact that electricity shortages are expected. We already have had Rolling Blackouts in 2022 due, in part to too many reliable coal and nuclear power plants being shut down without replacing them in kind. Check slide #81 of OLLI course, part 2. This shows the over 102,000 MW of coal generation shut down since 2011. This is from data in the NERC report.(4)
In addition to the concerns of solar and wind being intermittent generation, there is the concern of Grid voltage and frequency stability with increasing generation provided through inverters. (20) The “Spinning Reserve” of thousands of tons of generator rotors from conventional power plants add Grid Stability of voltage and frequency as new power demand is added. Solar and wind power provided through inverters does not provide this dynamic reserve stability.
“Roosters of the Apocalypse” How Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World(1)
The Heartland Institute published the short book, “Roosters of the Apocalypse” in 2012. Basically it is a story of how “in the spring of 1856, the Xhosa tribe in today’s South Africa destroyed it’s own economy. According to the book, the Xhosa killed an estimated half-million of their own cattle (which they ordinarily treated with great care and respect), ceased planting crops and destroyed their grain stores. By the end of 1857 between thirty and fifty thousand of them had had starved to death. A third of the population. The British herded survivors of the once powerful tribe into labor camps, and white settlers took much of their land.(1)
The Xhosa had acted on the prophecy of a 15 year old girl who promised that if they destroyed all they had and purified themselves of “witchcraft” (including evil inclinations and selfishness), the world before the white invaders came would be restored: The British oppressors would flee, and the Xhosa ancestors would return, bringing with them an even greater abundance of cattle and grain.”
I found a copy of this book which I had purchased in 2012 amongst some other old books. I paged through it and thought “gee whiz, this is very relevant to the absurd actions and Regulations our government is now forcing on us”. The EPA and most of the rest of the U.S. government (Nearly all government Bureaucracies) have been weaponzied.(5) An OpEd opinion writer to the “Wall Street Journal” has written at least one letter with the truthful title: “America is Self Sabotaging the Electric Grid”. Then considering the story of the young girl advising the Xhosa tribe we could say, this is much like the message of Greta Thunberg and non-energy savvy politicians. In current times we have an inexperienced and thoroughly green indoctrinated Greta Thunberg (and along with many energy ignorant politicians) addressing the World Economic Forum as if she (and they) is/are well credentialed Atmospheric Scientist(s) and Greta appears on the cover of Internationally circulated magazines and is Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2019. Greta’s message, “Stop using fossil fuels”.(270) The fossil fuels that power 80%+ of all that we depend on to achieve the high standard of living we have come to enjoy.
Are the free people of the western world as gullible as the people of the Xhosa tribe? It sure looks that way to me. The Net-Zero Carbon Path may be impossible and wrong-headed, but our government sure is hell-bent on following it no matter what the consequences.
How, Why or Who is Responsible for the Absurd Energy Policies and Demonization of Carbon?
The perpetrators of the war on carbon and all conventional fuels for that matter are numerous. In my opinion, it began with the United Nations Agenda 21 and that (later the formation of the UN-IPCC) I believe is the root cause of why and how the “Green” policies have been started in the U.S. and EU. Demonizing conventional forms of energy (carbon and nuclear) and strangling of the Free World’s Energy supplies. I started digging to try to discern how such ludicrous policies could become embraced by most of the leaders of the free western world, some who are otherwise reasonable people believed to be of above average intelligence.
The intent of the following is to show the progression of the U.N. Agenda 21 from the inception in 1992 and how it morphed into being a policy to promote “One World Government” and control over all of the citizens of the Free World and to do this through environmental regulations. Why did the UN choose the environmental route to promote socialism? Because, in my opinion, everyone wants clean water and clean air, so it was a means for the leaders of the U.N. and Socialists to appeal to the free world’s citizens, even if it meant using scare tactics(6). If it sounds like a conspiracy, well please read on. I have provided many references at the end for your further reading and research. I said the scare tactics are aimed at the citizens of the Free Western World. You would think that the Main Stream Media would notice and report that the war on carbon does not apply to China and Russia. These two countries have the most to gain as the OECD countries become weaker.
The largest influencers of U.S. energy policy has been environmental extremist organizations.(250, 251, 252, 253,254, 255)Not engineers or energy savvy organizations. Not even electric Utilities.
The Beginning of Agenda 21 1992-Rio De Janeiro -Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
This conference produced three documents: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (an international treaty), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (an international treaty), and U.N. Agenda 21, (not a treaty, but a “soft law” or suggestion)
President George H.W. Bush along with 178 other countries signed the agreement, along with 178 other countries. But he refused to sign the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity because it required transfer of technology without recognition of property rights.
The treaties and the Agenda 21 (soft law) were not ratified by the U.S. Congress. However, parts of it have been incorporated into other laws passed because all members of Congress do not read all of the words that are in Bills. (7)
Nancy Pelosi in 1992 introduced a bill to follow the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to conform to U.N. Agenda 21, its local sustainable community practices, and to follow international law.
The administration of the next President, Bill Clinton initiated the “War on Carbon”. (10) Many prominent members of the Democrat Party have hated coal for a long time, and I have yet to find a reason for their angst against the treasure of energy that America is Blessed with? Clinton’s administration started with appointing environmental activist zealot Carol Browner to the EPA. Between her and some clever and devious lawyers on staff at the EPA they ramped up the Rules on “New Source Review”. This is the point that extreme policies came to my attention. At that point in my life (early 1990’s) I was working as a boiler engineer/consultant and was directly involved in upgrading and improving older coal plants to improve efficiency, reliability, fuel flexibility, reduced NOx emissions and capacity. I learned the hard way that the word “Upgrade” was a trigger word to the EPA. It triggered NSR. Even if it improved efficiency and reduced emissions. The word upgrade in a technical report we wrote or a proposal triggered NSR “New Source Review”(8,9). The concept by the EPA was to eliminate coal plants gradually by forcing an environmental review of an older plant as if it was a new plant being constructed at that time. Because the older coal plants were built before the newer Regulations, NSR was a death sentence to any coal plant faced with NSR. Here are some links to NSR lawsuits. That was the beginning of the war on coal, based on my observations, then the U.S. had a pretty good run of enjoying some of the lowest cost electricity in the world for the next two decades.
Summary and Conclusions
It will not be possible to reach net-Zero Carbon by 2050. It may be possible to help the Chinese Economy and Influence in the world to surpass America’s by restricting, regulating and taxing America’s vast energy resources. Thus, weakening America as the WSJ OpEd title stated, “America is Self Sabotaging Our Electric Grid”. It is not only the electric grid. Remember there is a difference between “Primary and Secondary” energy. Electricity currently utilizes about 37% of America’s “Primary Energy. If everything is electrified (not possible) then the Grid will need much more than the 37 Quadrillion BTUs used currently to generate our electricity. Note the LLNL chart below of total PRIMARY Energy use in the U.S.
My hope is that the American people (and our elected officials) who are not involved in energy or electricity production, will wake up and study the fundamentals of energy and electricity generation. (that was the intent of my OLLI course) I have written to many elected officials. I have had little if any interest by these officials to do anything. Why? I think it is because the environmental extremist organizations have literally Billions of dollars of funding to use in election campaigns against any politician that stands up for Common sense Energy Policies. Check Capital Research Center’s “Influence Watch” website to see some of the enormous resources of funds that the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, NRDC and others have. Besides being enormously well funded, these are Tax sheltered. Also, the 2012 book, “The New Leviathan”(158) which outlines the funds of extremist non-profit organizations in Appendix X, page 245: $9,310,833,507. That was 2012 and at that time the average annual revenues were $6,454,568. Being 501(c)3 non-profits, they have even greater funding today,(15,16,162) thanks to American Billionaires and some Dark Money. Many of the non-profit leaders have participated in a Revolving Door of high government positions with the EPA and other agencies of the U.S. government. (254)
Also, I have written on my Blog on Influencers of Energy and Environmental Policy. America has not had an energy policy since the presidency of Jimmy Carter. His National Energy Act as older folks will recall, was following Oil Embargoes of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
A couple final thoughts on “Electrify Everything”…..
Itshould be obvious that Energy Independence is a prerequisite for National Security.
Everything cannot be electrified. For example, Plastics, Steel, Cement and Fertilizer. Yes, energy and food production are inextricably linked also.(182)
The bottom line is. America does not have an Energy Policy(159) for an orderly transition to Net-Zero Carbon. My message to my fellow citizens is this: Please wake up(59) and go study the true facts on energy and electricity. If you only check two references, the two I suggest are Vaclav Smil’s book, “How the World Really Works” and take a look at the Finnish GTK presentation, entitled, “Time to Wake up”. (59)
Yours very truly,
Dick Storm, March 18, 2023
When you have some free time, kindly read or at least peruse through the additional resources listed below. Learn about the details of our energy mess and then educate your friends and neighbors to the true facts. Especially your friends that are involved in education. Thank you.
References and Factual Information for Further Reading
Roosters of the Apocalypse by Rael Jean Isaac, published by the Heartland institute, 2012
TED Talk Nuclear Power Is Our Best Hope to Ditch Fossil Fuels | Isabelle Boemeke on the need for more nuclear power. I do not agree with her bashing fossil fuels, but her promotion of nuclearis correct and well done with class and a little humor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESAaz9v4mSU
It is well documented that China is the world’s largest manufacturer of just about everything. This manufacturing might requires a lot of energy and electricity generation to power it. I first became concerned about the loss of American manufacturing (and jobs) with NAFTA in the 1990’s when my state of North Carolina lost most of the furniture and textile manufacturing. Then, after China entered the WTO (about 2001), the loss of American aluminum (and other industries) became very personal with me. I had worked as a Field Service engineer/Consultant on coal and oil power generation all around the world for ALCOA for 35 years (1977-2012). ALCOA during the 1980’s was the world’s largest alumina and aluminum manufacturer. After China was admitted to the WTO (World Trade Organization) the CCP promptly ramped up their aluminum production from insignificant production in the year 2000 to over 50% of world capacity by 2012. They produced aluminum at very low cost and then sold aluminum ingot (some would say, Dumped) on the London Metal Exchange. The figure below is from a Dick Storm presentation in 2016. The production data is from the International Aluminum Association and the WSJ. My Blog post in Feb. 2021 outlined some of my personal experiences in working for the power plant which powered the massive ALCOA Rockdale Smelting Works in Rockdale, TX.
At about this time, Alcoa was reducing capacity & shutting down refining and smelting capacity. (including the Rockdale Works). I gave a presentation to the (PA) Delaware County Bar Association in 2016 wherin I used my experiences of working with ALCOA to make my point on the importance of reasonable cost, abundant and reliable energy to create jobs and economic prosperity. Local manufacturing and providing high paying jobs ultimately leads to improving Real-Estate markets. Perhaps this is abtract, but that is how I saw it from 1990- 2016.
Then in 2020 I wrote on my Blog regarding the Rise of China and my concerns for American competitiveness. The Blog in 2020 combined my personal experiences of working several decades for ALCOA plus two OLLI courses given at USCB. One course on the “Rise of China” was presented by retired U.S. Army General Craig Whelden and the other on the “Rise, Fall and Rise again of Nations” of the world, presented by Retired Navy Intelligence Officer, Captain Greg Blackburn. So, after thinking about my personal past experiences and then combining the information provided in the OLLI courses, I thought it would be timely to update the energy and electricity generation capacities of China as compared to the U.S.A. I chose to focus on the extreme increase of aluminum production in China (at the expense of U.S. production) because huge amounts of electricity are needed to produce aluminum. Aluminum, of the commonly used metals, requires the greatest amount of electricity to produce. Aluminum smelting requires about 5 kWh per pound of smelted aluminum ingot from alumina powder. Note on the chart below, the growth in electricity generation capacity of China since 2010. This growth was used to increase manufacturing capacity including aluminum production, as noted above.
Most of the electricity generation is from coal as shown on the EIA chart above.
Comparing China’s fuel use for electricity production (above) to the U.S.A. (below). This is an overview of energy and electricity generation capacity in the U.S.A. in 2021 with natural gas being the largest fuel source.
U.S. Has Shut Down Over 102,000 MW of Coal Plants Since 2010
The U.S. has aggressively shut down hundreds of coal power plants and replaced most of the lost generating capacity with natural gas fuel. This was possible as a result of the “Shale Gas Revolution” which produced enormous amounts of natural gas after the perfection of Directional Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing which became commercial about 2010. The two graphs of fuels used for U.S. electric power production are shown below.
China Uses More Than 50% of the World’s Coal Fuel
Comparing China’s coal consumption to the world, we have the graph below. In actuality, China consumes more than 50% of the world’s coal production. This chart is provided by the IEA.
You may say, “So What?” Well, China, Russia and the United Nations are all in agreement that the U.S. and the rest of the western world, the Free World, should stop using Fossil Fuels. Meanwhile, Russia and China are profiting and expanding their influence by using the very fuels that the U.N. and the MSM, WEF and others have decided are harmful for the planet. I will just leave it there for you to decide the U.N. and Environmental Extremists motives for Demonizing Carbon use by the Western World. The top sixteen “Influencers” are identified on my Blog of January 4th. A good friend commented that I forgot to list Al Gore as one of the primary influencers, so perhaps the number should be 17 for top ranked individuals and organizational influencers. No matter the number, they have harmed America’s competitiveness and productive manufacturing capacity.
World CO2 Emissions by Country
Carbon Footprint by Country
According to the European Union‘s Joint Research Centre, total global CO2 emissions increased from 34.1 GT in 2010 to 37.9 GT—an all-time high—in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions on travel and transportation triggered a decrease to 35.962 GT in 2020, but emissions are expected to resume increasing once 2021 totals become available. China is the largest emitter of CO2 in the world, with 11680 Mt (11.680 GT) of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. This is just over 32% of the world’s total 2020 emissions. The United States released the second-highest amount of carbon emissions at 4.535 GT, or roughly 12.6% of the total global emissions.
Top 10 CO2-emitting countries in the world (Total CO2 in Mt) – EU JRC 2020
Total emissions, however, fall short of telling the full story. For example, sharp-eyed observers may notice that the top three emitters are also three of the most populous countries on Earth that also have the largest manufacturing capacity. So it stands to reason that their emissions would be higher than that of countries with a fraction as many residents and less manufacturing.
China’s Planned Future Electricity Generation
To China’s credit, unlike the U.S. they have a rational path forward to transition toward a reduced carbon energy future. However, until the 150 new nuclear plants are completed and increased renewables are installed, China is forging ahead with plenty of conventional generation capacity. As you can see from the aforementioned information, China currently has 2,390 GW of electric generating capacity and the U.S. about 1,200 GW.
China’s Most Recent Announcement of A Major Power Plant Expansion, A 16 GW Wind-Solar and Coal Plant
This was reported in this month’s (Jan. 2023) edition of POWER Magazine: China talks a good game on being “Green” and promoting renewables. The facts are that China’s leaders clearly believe in “A Balanced Generation Portfolio”. Not a bad approach for any country. Let’s get back to China’s latest Press Release:
“A massive, multibillion-dollar renewable and fossil-fuel energy project is underway in China. The installation, being built by China Three Gorges (CTG), includes wind, solar, energy storage and coal-fired power generation.
Ground was broken for the first pilot of the Kubuqi Base project in Dalate Banner, Ordos, Inner Mongolia on Dec. 28, 2022, according to Chinese media. Kubuqi represents an investment of 80 billion yuan ($11.6 billion). Reports said the installation will eventually have 8 GW of solar power capacity, along with 4 GW of wind power, and 4 GW of coal-fired generation, in addition to energy storage.
“The Kubuqi Base project is the world’s largest wind [and] photovoltaic base project developed and constructed in … desert areas,” CTG said in a statement. The company said it wants to build “the Three Gorges on the Great Wall,” which is apparently a reference to CTG’s major 22.5-GW hydropower project on the Yangtze River, the world’s largest hydro installation and largest power plant of any kind by power generation capacity.”
The capacity of 16,000 MW’s is huge. However, to put it into Reality and perspective, China currently has about 2,390 GW’s of installed electricity generation capacity.
In February 2022, China had 2,390 GW of installed capacity. This is comprised of 17% Hydroelectric, 14 % Wind, 14% Solar and 5% Natural Gas and 2% nuclear, Coal Power generates over 2/3 of China’s electricity. Keeping in mind that Nameplate capacity is not the same as actual generation through the year. China plans to install over 3,000 GW of total generation capacity by 2025. The U.S. by comparison is about 1,200 GW.
The total electricity generation (for China) by fuel from 1990 to 2020 is shown below. This is from the IEA statistics:
Coal is widely used in China for generating electricity, despite the country’s rapid growth of renewable energy in recent years.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, coal accounted for 56% of the country’s total energy consumption in 2021. The ratio signifies a continuous decline from more than 70% in the mid-2000s. Nevertheless, the absolute level of China’s coal use has continued to rise.
Two important metals are steel and aluminum. The best data available shows that China produces more than 50% of both the steel and aluminum needed by the people of the world. This production requires large amounts of primary energy, which for China means, mostly coal fuel.
China’s carbon dioxide emissions are the largest in the world, about 33% of the world total in 2022.
China has a Rational Energy Policy to increase conventional generation as they move toward reduced carbon production of electricity, including 150 planned new nuclear power plants. China is not sacrificing manufacturing capacity or competitiveness like the U.S. and the rest of the Free World.
China is likely to remain the world’s largest manufacturer of aluminum and steel for the foreseeable future.
American leaders seem to be tone death on the importance of energy to keep America strong.
I thought the summary above would be useful for anyone interested is comparing the energy policies of the U.S. to those in China. In addition to the information provided above, some additional references are provided below for further reading and research.
Yours very truly,
Dick Storm, January 18, 2023
References and links for additional reading and research
The impossibility of achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2050
This is a follow up to my last post: “Influencers of American Energy Policy” The purpose of the January 4th post was to outline “who” influenced the current American Energy Policy and how the “War on Carbon” advanced to reckless, un-American government policies to reach the unobtainable goal of Net Zero Carbon by 2050. A decarbonization path removing 80%+ of the conventional energy we depend on without an engineered transition plan to replace either the conventional electric power generation capacity or the fuels for transportation, cooking, heating, industrial production, commercial enterprises and our high HDI (Human Development Index). If carbon free power is to be achieved and our economy and quality of life is to be sustatained, then a major investment in nuclear is needed. As it stands now, there is No government Energy Policy, only a Decarbonization and anti-nuclear policy, thanks to the heavy influence of Environmental Extremists. Since 2010 over 102,000 MW of reliable coal and nuclear generation capacity has been shut down. It has not been replaced with new HELE coal plants nor with no startups yet of any new nuclear plants. The shutdowns are equivalent to more than 40 power plants the size of the Robert Moses Hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls. And the MSM reports that the reason for Blackouts was unseasonable cold and too much electricity use for heat-pumps and electric heating. What caused Rolling Blackouts over Christmas week? My answer is because there was too much reliable coal generation shut down and retired, without replacing that capacity in new plants! It is not that I alone am concerned, see July NERC Reliability report which also warned of diminishing reserve capacity. Also, compounding the problem of minimum maintenance on the existing coal fleet. Why? Because Utility executives expect the coal plants to be required to be shut down anyway, such as the (another energy incompetent lawyer making public policy) NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Clean Power Plan.
Replacing 100% of reliable coal and nuclear capacity with wind and solar is not possible.
I personally gave a presentation to the August 4th ENERUM Conference in Columbus, Ohio where I cautioned the audience on the inability of wind and solar to replace the generation from prematurely retiring of coal plants based on my own obervations and experience in the industry.
The principal reference that I have used below is from Mr. Donn Dears latest book, “Clean Energy Crisis”. Donn Dears has written numerous books and on his Blog “Power for the U.S.A.” on the topics of Energy, Environmental Regulations, The Looming Electricity Generation Crisis, Net Zero Carbon, Electric Vehicles and the facts on carbon dioxide’s impact on the planet. At the end of this post I have included over 100 references for further reading that support both Mr. Dears and my belief (also many other climate scientists and power engineers agree) that America truly does have a Clean Energy Crisis and that America has a (to borrow a WSJ headline) self-sabotaged Electric Grid. This is being done by the people and organizations written about in my January 4th Blog post. The WSJ also has chronicled some of the failures of green energy.
In “Clean Energy Crisis” much of the reasearch and facts previously described by Mr. dears and documented in his books and his excellent Blog, “Power for the U.S.A. These facts and information are condensed and summarized in a little over 100 pages. Here are some of the facts and thoughts from from “Clean Energy Crisis”.
What it Will it Take To Achieve Net Zero Carbon Bulk Electric Power Generation by 2050
For an energy engineer or anyone trained and experienced in energy and electric power generation, it is absurd to believe that renewables can replace fossil fuels. For example, here is what Dears suggests as a generation portfolio in 2050 that has no natural gas or coal power generation. It will take……..
Wind– 995,141 Wind Turbines of 2.5 MW each
Solar 3,918,996 MW (this is 139,964 MW each year)
Nuclear 881 new nuclear power plants, which is 31 per year for every year from 2022-2050
For anyone involved in electricity generation the numbers shown above for Wind, Solar and Nuclear will instantly appear unachievable due to the intermittancy & the low energy density of wind and solar. The land area required for solar and wind will be immense. Doug Houseman, Principal Consultant at 1898 Consulting Division of Burns & McDonnell has provided his insight here on a LinkedIn post.
Nuclear, the most energy dense fuel, is the most proven provider of reliable, affordable Base load Bulk Power electricity generation. Nuclear power generation, in fact, has provided about 20% of America’s electricity for decades. For my state of SC over 50% of the total electricity is generated by four nuclear power plants. However, the building of 31 new plants nationwide, every year from 2022 till 2050 is simply not possible with the current workforce, manufacturing capacity, Federal regulations and numerous supply chain limitations. For those not familiar with primary energy and electricity production/generation a short overview is provided below. There is a lot of catching up to do to install reliable new power plants to replace the over 102,000 MW that has been shut down. Also, a lot of new power plants to produce the needed new power generation required for EV charging, hydrogen production and population growth. By 2050 the U.S. Population may exceed 438 million citizens. If everything is “Electrified” as some suggest, the electrification will not be from wind and solar. It is impossible for the Green New Deal to work.
What Fuels are used for the Currently Installed Bulk Electricity Generating Capacity Now? Here is What Powers America Now:
Electricity generation uses about 37% of the Primary Energy (see LLNL chart below) used by the U.S. Therefore, if much more expansion of EV use for transportation, home heating, cooking and other current uses of primary energy are transitioned from natural gas, gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel, etc, to being powered by electriciity, (are you ready to board electric or hydrogen powered airliners?) then the electric generation capacity will will need to be drastically increased. Also, by 2050 the U.S. population is projected to be up to about 438 million. The new citizens will want and should have high quality lives as we enjoy now. Like Donn Dears, I am interested in the future of America for our grandchildren and for future generations of Americans, which according the the Census Statistitions, will be more citizens in 2050.
1,143,757 MW of Installed Generation by Fuel in U.S.-2021: From EIA website. Note the numbers below express “Nameplate Capacity” This is not the same as actual generation, that will be discussed further down in the post.
Electricity Generation by Fuels, Now
The data above shows installed capacity in 2021 by “Nameplate” rating. The actual electricity generation for the Grid is accomplished by the most affordable fuels that are available at a given time. Those of us that have worked in the electric power industry know this as “Economic Dispatch” That means the lowest cost generation is selected to run at the highest possible capacity so that electric power production can be accomplished for the lowest overall cost to the consumers. Fuel alone constitutes about 90% of the production cost for a gas turbine combined cycle plant. So, if fuel costs double, so does the production cost of electricity.
Note: For the peak load which is highlighted, this is 80% Dispatchable Bulk Power provided by Natural Gas, Coal and Nuclear. Total electricity generation on Dec. 21st at the peak was 627,323 MW. Of that total, 221,648 MW was from gas, 132,423 MW was from coal and 92,397 MW was from nuclear power. Over 80% generation from conventional fuels.
Wind and Solar at peak shown above were 7% of the total generation mix. Not a forecast or guess. Just fact.
Wind and solar groups actively undermine grid reliability
This is excerpted from the “American Experiment.org” in Minnesota. This is regarding XCEL Energy’s plans to shut down the 2,238 MW Sherburne County Coal Plant in 2024. The below is quoted from the “American Experiment”.
“Adding new power plant capacity is fraught with challenges, especially if that power plant is supposed to be reliable.
For example, in Minnesota, Xcel Energy announced it would shut down all three units at the massive 2,238 MW Sherburne County (Sherco) generating station beginning next year for Sherco 2 (680 MW), Sherco 1 in 2026 (680 MW), and Sherco 3 (876 MW) by 2030.
Xcel’s original plan was to replace the retiring coal units with an 800 MW combined-cycle natural gas plant to maintain reliability, but the company caved to wind and solar special interest groups who, wrongly, argued the plant was not necessary for reliability.
Instead of building more reliable natural gas capacity, these groups, consisting of Fresh Energy, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Clean Grid Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Minnesota Citizens Utility Board, argued the company should instead pursue wind, solar, battery storage, and limiting people’s access to electricity through LMRs, which seek to solve the problem of renewable unreliability by reducing electricity demand instead of providing adequate reliable power.
It was a textbook example of how these groups are willing to sacrifice reliability for more renewables.”
As outlined in my January 4th Blog post, what is stated by the “American Experiment” is typical across the U.S.A. The results of the shutdowns of reliable coal plants should not be unexpected……
Rolling Blackouts, Christmas Week, 2022 Tennessee and North Carolina
Yes, Christmas brought Rolling Blackouts to two well respected and well run Utilities, Duke Energy and TVA. Why? In my view, it was forced by environmental extremists that have influenced the Clean Power Plan in NC and the National Net-Zero Carbon Policy of the government to incentivize more wind and solar and the shutting down of reliable coal plants by TVA. Here is the testimony of a representative of a large Industrial customer of Duke Energy and his OpEd in a local NC Newspaper:
N.C. Utilities Commission Testimony of Bradford Muller of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry:
The PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ENERGY that We Depend On:
Electricity and Hydrogen are forms of Secondary Energy. Primary energy must be used to create them. Forms of primary energy are natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, wood (Biomass), MSW Municipal Solid waste, wind and solar. I showed the U.S. Grid generation during Christmas week 2022 above. This was for electricity generation and on the chart are the forms of primary energy used to generate the electricty that was needed (called Demand). The chart below shows America’s use of just short of 100 Quadrillion BTUs of energy during the entire year 2021. This includes energy flows for all forms of energy from source to end use. I think it is the best graphic to show the energy needs of the U.S. in one illustration. Energy is expressed in British Thermal Units (Btus) and all forms are converted to Btus for comparison. For example, wind & solar power of 1 kWh is equivalent to 3,412.6 Btus. Thus, all forms of energy are depicted on the chart, including renewables in their BTU equivalence.
The title of this post is, “The Impossibility of Achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2050”. One way to visualize the impossibility of replacing conventional primary energy with wind and solar is to study the LLNL energy flow chart above. Note that after decades of subsidies (since Jimmy Carter’s National Energy Policy Act of 1978) for solar and wind, less than 5% of our total primary energy was produced by wind and solar for the entire year. Also note the U.S. Grid chart of actual generation by fuel for Christmas week, 7% of the total electricity generation was from wind or solar at the peak load point that I referenced.
It will be impossible to sustain the American economy and our life styles without about 0.8 million Btus per person per day. This aggregates to about 100 Quadrillion Btus of annual primary energy use total. It is important to specify Primary Energy. Those who promote electrifying everything or using hydrogen for transportation are performing a disservice by promising mythical power that must be produced by a form of Primary energy. Electricity and hydrogen do not occur naturally in nature, they must be produced using primary energy.
Replacing the approx 80% of our primary energy now provided by Fossil Fuels with wind and solar is not possible today and without immediate and extreme technological advances it will not be possible by 2050.
Nuclear energy as a primary fuel, could provide a huge portion of (secondary energy) electricity and hydrogen. However, building 31+ nuclear plants/year is simply not possible. Why? because of manufacturing supply chain limitations plus a lack of a trained workforce of engineers & craftsmen. The workforce and supply chain will need to be rebuilt, literally starting at Middle School training, as many of the workforce that built the existing nuclear fleet are retired or in other forms of work.
The Perpetrators of the misguided “Demonization of the Fuels we depend on, deserves most of the blame. However, the cause of the decline in energy independence and electric reliability is spread widely as outlined in my January 4th post. Regional Transmission Operators and cut throat pricing exaserbated by subsidized renewables contributes to the problem. Meredith Angwin, an energy expert has outlined other problems of Grid Reliability. Here is a LinkedIn post on her book, “Shorting the Grid”.
There is no transition plan for “Decarbonization”. Only ever increasing regulations to force the shut down of reliable coal plants with no viable replacements. Over 102,000 MW of reliable coal and nuclear plants have been shut down since 2010. These have been (at least some thought capacity was replaced) replaced in “Nameplate” capacity with natural gas, wind and solar. The Rolling Blackouts over Christmas week are the result of shutting too much reliable coal and nuclear generation down over the last few years. A true transition plan would include replacing existing older designs with new HELE ( High Efficiency Low Emission) coal plants. A major (600 MW or larger) new coal plant has not been build in the U.S. since 2013.
The people that truly understand energy and electricity know that replacing fossil fuels and nuclear with wind and solar is impossible by 2050, if ever. The problem as I see it, is that energy engineers and others trained and experienced in energy and electricity production are in a small minority of the U.S. and the world’s population. I estimate in the U.S. less than 3% of the total population understands energy and electricity generation. However, the majority of the U.S. and world citizens have been scared into believing carbon and nuclear energy is evil. How? By one very effective disinformation campaign by the MSM, WEF, the United Nations, wealthy Billionaires and government agencies. The policies of Environmental Extremism are about power over the people, not about saving the planet.
Some who read this post will disagree with me. That is expected because of the very effective work of the aforementioned organizations to demonize carbon and nuclear. This has been anticipated and below there are more than 100 reference links to support my conclusions, Most of these have not been reported fairly in the MSM so the original links are shown on this blog so that any one who disagrees is welcome to form your own opinion by reading and studying the references provided. Thank you for your attention to this important topic.
Dick Storm, January 10, 2023
Suggested for further reading and reference. Many of the references are related to Climate Science, sea level rise and Anthropogenic Global Warming. However, the focus is on keeping America Energized!
Dick Storm presentations at ENERUM, August 2022, Columbus, Ohio. These presentations are posted on the WESCOM website, Link to Dick Storm ENERUM Presentations and Podcast Oct. 2022: https://linktr.ee/wescominc
Professor Vaclav Smil quote: (Smil is a prolific author on energy issues and lives in Canada)I absolutely hate the word sustainability because there is no such thing. Sustainability cannot be defined. Sustainable for what? Over next year? Over 10 years? Over a millennium? On a local basis, on a planetary basis? I mean, there are so many time and space dimensions to it you cannot define what is sustainable. If somebody is boasting what they are doing is sustainable, it’s a total laugh. There is no sustainable thing.
America has foolish Decarbonization policies, now codified by our government. The U.S. Energy Policy amounts to No Energy Policy at all. It is absurd and unbelievable that such a great country as ours could enact such harmful policies. But, the U.S. Congress did. It is fair to ask, how could this come to be? The purpose of this post is to expose some of the organizations and people who have put America in Harm’s Way with Energy Insufficiency. The greatest country in the world may in fact be faced with energy & electricity rationing if Congress does not act.
The sixty year journey of American Energy Policy fits my career. I started in the Power Generation business in 1962 upon graduation from Williamson. I retired in 2012 and after retirement have kept up with the energy and electricity generation business as an instructor to the USCB-OLLI program and I have been a speaker to schools, colleges and civic clubs on the topic of energy and electricity generation. Kindly allow me to review some of the highlights of the past six decades, from my own experiences as a coal power engineer, supervisor and eventually, engineering services company president. This is my story on energy and electricity generation from my own experiences.
During the 1960’s coal power provided over 50% of the fuel for electricity generation. Nuclear power was just beginning (I started work for B&W in the nuclear Division in 1965). Admiral Rickover’s gift of Nuclear power generation was heralded as leading to “Electricity that will be too Cheap to Meter”. Coal will no longer be used in the future…… was the common beliefs in 1965. In 1966, I transferred to the B&W Power Generation Division which designed and built coal, oil, and gas fueled boilers. Why? Because I did not like the enormous burden of paperwork required by the AEC and DOD. I decided I would study, work hard and learn as much as I could to be the best at fossil power generation that I could be, where there were fewer regulations. I thought, at least some of the coal boilers built in the 1960’s and 70’s would still be running when it was time to retire. (I was right)
The EPA begins in 1970 and coal plant stack emissions begin a long successful program of cleanup. When in 1972 I led the startup of CP&L’s 420 MW, Sutton #3 in Wilmington, NC, both Oil and coal fuel were about $0.50/million Btu’s. Because of the similar fuel cost of oil and coal, many Utilities faced with restricted emission limits on particulates and sulfur by the new EPA, changed fuels from coal to oil to reduce pollution. That was OK until….
Then in 1973 the Arab Oil Embargo is experienced and those of us that lived through those years remember the gas lines, stock market drop and Utilities that could not raise Capital for new plants. They were tough financial times in the energy world and for all Americans.
Jimmy Carter becomes President after the Arab Oil Embargo and he makes Energy Security a centerpiece of his Administration. In 1978, Carter introduced the National Energy Act, which established energy goals, specifically reducing the nation’s dependency on oil and increasing the use of renewable resources, such as solar energy. The Cabinet level position heading the Department of Energy, eventually grows to a Bureaucracy of over 15,000 employees. The goal of the new Department of Energy that I recall was to “Create Energy Independence” for America. A worthy goal with merit!
During the years following Jimmy Carter’s Presidency and enactment of the National Energy Act, many coal power plants were built to use America’s treasure of coal energy. Power generating units got larger, and larger until they reached the level of the magnificent 1,300 MW B&W Supercritical Units at TVA Cumberland and AEP Mountaineer, Zimmer and others. Later, these highly efficient supercritical plants were equipped with the latest stack clean up gear. Combustion Engineering also built large magnificent supercritical coal plants up to about 900 MW. Also designing and building Utility scale boilers were Foster-Wheeler and Riley Stoker. I worked for Riley as a startup engineer from 1969-1973. Then I joined CP&L as a senior engineer and later was promoted to Operations Superintendent at the 2,500 MW Roxboro Steam Plant in 1977.
The years 1962 until my retirement were exciting and I had the pleasure of knowing and working with many brilliant engineers (such as Mendall Long of CP&L , Bill McCall of Santee-Cooper and Bill Lee of Duke) They each led their teams of engineers to implement their vision to produce electricity at ever more affordable prices and at the same time, reduce emissions. The U.S. economy grew, pollution was reduced, power costs dropped relative to the increased cost of living. They were good times to be involved in power generation and I was Blessed to have had a long and productive career during that fifty-year period 1962-2012.
Then things changed. Instead of priorities of producing reasonable cost power, many groups & politicians began to demonize the very fuels that built our great country. (Fossil fuels and nuclear still provide over 87% of our Primary Energy). This post is to highlight some of the major players that are, in my viewpoint, the Root Cause of foolish energy policies that are harming and hastening the decline of our great country. Someone before me said “Energy=Life” I think it was Vaclav Smil. Here is my story of how this energy crisis came to be, based on my personal 60 years of being interested and involved in energy and electricity production.
The references I have used are open sources, easily verified for accuracy. However, few of the details listed in my references (over 180 links at the end of this post) have been reported in the Main Stream Media. The purpose of this post, is to expose those who have had the most influence on weakening America’s Energy Supply.
Here are My Nominations of the Top Sixteen Organizations and Individuals that have Put the U.S. in “Harm’s Way” concerning Energy Security
The “War on Carbon” has been around since at least 1998. My first concern of EPA over-reach was on “New Source Review” issues. On performance improvement upgrades of existing coal plants to improve capacity and reduce emissions, the Utility companies that I worked with were threatened (and some prosecuted) by NSR (New Source Review) I thought it was ludicrous because the improvement we had either proposed or implemented imroved efficiency. Since then NSR has been ramped up in intensity and hundreds of coal plants shut down. Over 100,000 MW’s of generating capacity. For those who may read this that are not involved in the power industry, let me provide a comparison to the Robert Moses Hydroelectric Plant at Niagara Falls. That plant has a reliable water flow from most of the rainfall and rivers feeding all of the Great Lakes. The size of the Niagara Falls Power Station on the U.S. side is about 2,500 MW’s generation capacity. Therefore, to replace the 102,600 MW of coal and nuclear plants shut down since 2010 would require the equivalent of over 40 new plants each with the output of Niagara Falls. This is, as Michelle Bloodworth of America’s Power put it in her Commentary in the January issue of POWER Magazine, “Are we headed for a Reliability Train Wreck”?
The EPA has become even more extreme in their effectiveness to shut down reliable coal plants. In addition, incentives for wind and solar have forced exceptional competitive burdens on coal and nuclear units by the tax dollar incentivizing of renewable electricity onto the Grid when it is intermittently available, thus driving down capacity factors of coal generation. I hate to use the term “Death Spiral”, but in essence that is what has been forced on the coal power generation industry by lucrative incentives for intermittent wind and solar generation. Further incentives (through the Inflation Reduction Act) of “Green Energy” will make the Grid less reliable. It will be difficult to change or correct because accountability is spread so widely. The harm to reliability has been documented by NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corp.) Many others including myself have written numerous other posts (in Donn Dear’s case, several books) on the need for a Rational Energy Policy. The Myths of wind and solar to power America on a Net-Zero Carbon path without conventional fossil and nuclear fueled plants to carry Base Load and to provide Dispatchable backup electricity generation is well documented. Energy experts, such as Donn Dears & Vaclav Smil have written numerous books and Blog posts on the dangers of following the Net-Zero Carbon path. In spite of the excellent work by many to report the true benefits of using the Treasure of Energy the U.S. has within our borders, our country is on a dangerous path of restricting the use of fossil fuels. To say it is absurd is a gross understatement.
Let’s get to the top influencers. These are my opinions and mine alone. However, at the end of this Blog, I will provide at least one hundred eighty references for further reading and you can decide for yourself the importance of energy and who were or are the top influencers of harmful and un-American energy policies. My choices for the top honors in weakening America follow:
Barack Obama. Under his administration the EPA was Weaponized to effectively attack Coal plants. His policies were very effective (Harmful is a better word). The last clean coal plants to startup in the U.S. was about 2013. Turk,Longview and Cliffside #6 were the three last new (600 MW or larger) coal plants in the U.S. that I am aware.
Gina McCarthy An important person of the “War on Carbon”, she was Obama’s EPA Chief then with NRDC (NRDC-Action Fund) and Biden’s Climate Advisor until resigning in sept 2022. She was replaced by John Podesta, who may turn out to be worse than McCarthy.
Sierra Club Has led a very successful public smear campaign against coal plants and publicized their “War on Coal” as the “Beyond Coal” Publicity Campaign. They have bragged on their website and in publications on the number of coal plants they have stopped from being built or shut down. They are (or at least were) also against natural gas and nuclear plants. Sierra Club (as well as other extremist groups) has Millions of dollars in assets and is continually funded by U.S. Billionaires as well as other sources.
Natural Resources Defense Council like the Sierra Club has had a War on Coal for many years. It was the employer of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy between her service (I use the word service loosely) in government between the Obama and Biden Administrations. Well funded and the NRDC has enormous financial assets.
John Podesta Now Biden’s Green Investment Czar, he was previously employed as Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton when the “War on Coal” began during the Clinton Presidency years, then Podesta was associated with Hillary Clinton during her years as Secretary of State when the Uranium One Deal was made to sell American Uranium assets to the Russians. Podesta was also involved in a business relationship with a Russian influenced company, Joule Unlimited. Now Podesta has replaced Gina McCarthy as the Whitehouse coordinator in spending the $370 Billion dollars approved by Congress to be spent on Green energy.
John Kerry Appointed special presidential envoy for climate creating a new Bureacracy. He is at a cabinet-level position. Mr. Kerry has traveled on private jets around the world promoting the war on carbon. He does this as energy prices have soared, citizens of the world have experienced wars, blackouts, industrial plant shutdowns, food scarcity, fertilizer shortages and inflation. John Kerry sees his “War on Carbon” as more important than “World Peace” Kerry doesn’t need money, but he has been accused of being associated with Green Groups.
Michael Bloomberg Successful business man and a Billionaire. He has generously funded the Sierra Club to fight coal plants.
Jeff Bezos Like Bloomberg, Bezos has funded the Sierra Club and other Environmental Extremists to fight coal plants.
Klaus Schwab Not that well known by the general public, but he is the Founder of the World Economic Forum and yes, they too have waged a war on carbon.
Anthony Guterres The United Nations Secretary General. He is a Socialist and has done an effective effort of leading the signers of the Paris Climate Change Agreement to Decarbonize the Free World. Note, he has done little or nothing to stop the Russia-Ukraine War or apply pressure on the world’s largest CO2 emitter, China, but he continues to push Decarbonization to the Free Western (Capitalist) world.
Michael Regan- EPA Administrator. Regan has been the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017. Before then, he worked on clean energy initiatives for the Environmental Defense Fund, a national environmental advocacy group. Regan returned to the agency where he spent much of his early career.
Environmental Defense Fund The current EPA head of Air Quality Joe Goffman was employed here before becoming a high level official at the U.S.-EPA He has been a mastermind on crafting legislation to codify the war on coal.
Joe Goffman- Assistant EPA Administrator, An activist lawyer that has been involved in forming legislation and rules against coal plants for years, before employment with EPA he was employed by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Jennifer Granholm Secretary of Energy. Here is an excerpt of her speech to the Europeans March 2022 of where she stands on energy policy: “Let me be clear though: We are playing catch up with Germany! Although the U.S. may make different choices in how we approach our own energy transition, you and other EU parties have already made some incredible progress.Germany has slashed greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, and supercharged their clean energy output.Last year, Germany generated almost 50 percent of their electricity through renewables—more than all fossil fuels combined. These are the kinds of results we need to replicate here in the U.S.“ Note Secretary Granholm’s last line copied above, should be read and then also compare her statement with the reality of the recent energy struggles and de-Industrialization of Germany.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The list would not be complete without including the EPA. They have over 18,000 employees, many of which are employed to implement policies and rules that, now that the air is cleaned (see chart above) are simply an Ideological War on carbon and are against the best interests of American Business, Industry & Citizens.
Department of Energy Like the EPA, the DOE has thousands of employees (over 14,000 not incl. contract employees). Many DOE employees have expertise in engineering and energy. However, they are led by Jennifer Granholm and other non-energy trained “Green Energy” Ideologues. Remember the original goal of the DOE, “To Make America Energy Independent”
Why a War on Carbon
Since my first involvement (about 1998) with “New Source review” I have wondered, “Why do these people hate coal”? A decade later when Obama was President they came out against carbon and all fossil fuels? Energy is Life and how can these leaders be so misguided? Is it a lack of knowledge in physical science? Is it a Green Religion and hate of conventional fuels? Are they concerned about the “Carrying Capacity of the Earth” in population growth? Are they influenced by foreign governments? As a Patriotic American that understands the importance of energy and energy independence, I have wondered.
Well, the more I dug down into the origins of the hate for fossil fuels the more I found out that it is some or all of the above. I also discovered in reading about the Sierra Club and the NRDC that they also object to nuclear power and pipelines. Many of the people involved with environmental extremist groups rotate into high level jobs in government where they are able to ratchet anti conventional energy policies to ever higher levels of Regulation and consequent energy cost escalation. When energy costs rise, so does almost everything else, including food.
America Has No Energy Policy
I was not going to mention political parties. However, all of the top influencers are members of the Democrat Party, including WVA’s Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin is as influential and responsible for the wasteful and harmful legislation as much as all of the other Democrats. The Green policies that they voted for have created enormous sums of financial incentives (about $370+ Billion). This taxpayer provided financial resource then creates interest of many Utilities and other businesses to cash in. As the expression goes, “Follow the Money”....now there are many Utilities and other large companies that are in on the gravy train and they will likely then become more “Woke” as they become dependent on the public Dole. This is not good for the American citizens, not good for Businesses, definitely not good for Industrial competitiveness with China and reshoring of American Manufacturing. National Security, like in President Jimmy Carter’s days, depends on Energy Independence. The green policies are in my viewpoint at the very least, Un-American. They are in my opinion, a path to Socialism.
No, I Do Not Believe in Man-Made Climate Change!
I have been an instructor on energy and electricity production and given public talks on energy. I usually do not discuss Climate Change for two reasons: 1. I am not an Atmospheric Scientist that is an expert on Climate and 2. I am an expert on conventional energy and electricity generation after having worked for six decades in power generation and power plants all around the world. Therefore, my main concern is that conventional fuels provide about 80-90% of our total Primay Energy. A transition from this 80-90% conventional to renewable will take time and Technology gains. In my experience and opinion, the current government policy to change to 100% renewable by 2030 or even 2050 is not planned and the path our government is on now is based on scare tactics to Demonize Hydrocarbon fuels and nuclear. I have written other Blog posts on the 100 Quadrillion Btus of Primary Energy that America depends on. Conventional energy cannot be discontinued and replaced with renewable wind and solar. A systematic transition is needed, not a shock shutdown of conventional energy. The following are my reasons for opposing Net-Zero Carbon:
The disruption (weakening of America) of our high quality of life to meet Net-Zero Carbon is not nessessary . The high standard of living Americans enjoy requires about 850,000 to 1,000,000 Btu’s per day, per person of energy equivalent. Total U.S. Primary Energy use/year about 100 Quadrillion Btus
Carbon Dioxide from manmade sources, in the opinion of many Atmospheric Scientists is not the primary driver of Climate Change. CO2 is however, beneficial for plants and crops to grow increased amounts of food.
Many of the Climate Scientists that are claiming manmade carbon dioxide emissions are changing the Climate have been subsidized by government grants and other funding to bias the narrative. In essence, the Anthropogenic Global Warming Scare is about control of the population and distribution of wealth, Decarbonization is not about saving the planet. Dr. Tim Ball had the courage to call it corruption of science
There are many Scientists that disagree with the government narrative that fossil fuels are changing the Climate
The United Nations IPCC and other pressures on the U.S.A. are not so much about saving the Planet as they are distribution of wealth from the top most wealthy countries to poorer countries.
The appendix of additional reading materials includes numerous publications, slide presentations and books authored by truly well credentialled Climate Scientists. I recommend referring to these Scientists regarding the question of Anthropogenic Climate Change.
There have been 50 years of wrong predictions by the Environmental Extremists, they have tried scare tactics for a long time
Climate is changing. It always has. We all know that about 11,000 years ago the Ice Age had large glaciers covering North America. There is time to adapt to climate change. It is not a crisis. The government response to the scare tactics of the Greens has in fact, caused a real “Energy Crisis”. The Energy Crisis can be fixed with a Rational Energy Policy.
America and Europe are going to have a tough winter. Much of the pain, inflation, suffering, deaths and De-Industrialization (loss of jobs too) will be caused by foolish Decarbonization policies. The Sixteen organizations and individuals above have been successful in scaring the public and exaggerating the impact of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I thought it was past-time that someone who is in the energy business should push back and post this information, just so anyone with an open mind and interest in truth can view some of the players and their background in Energy and Electricity generation. These organizations and individuals have inflicted serious harm to America. Perhaps innocently and with good intentions. However, there are very few, if any experienced energy engineers represented by the leadership of the 16 organizations and policy leaders listed above.
These thoughts and all that is written here is my opinion based on my personal involvement over the last 60 years, of which I worked actively for 50 years in the electric power industry. The opinions and research are all mine and I take full responsibility for the words written above. They are mine alone and are not influenced by any other organization that I have been a part of.
Yours very truly,
Richard F. (Dick) Storm
Want to dig deeper? Here are over 180 References and Documents for further reading and to support the comments that I have offered in the remarks above:
Professor Vaclav Smil Book, “The Way the World Really Works” One of his quotes: (Smil is a prolific author on energy issues and lives in Canada) I absolutely hate the word sustainability because there is no such thing. Sustainability cannot be defined. Sustainable for what? Over next year? Over 10 years? Over a millennium? On a local basis, on a planetary basis? I mean, there are so many time and space dimensions to it you cannot define what is sustainable. If somebody is boasting what they are doing is sustainable, it’s a total laugh. There is no sustainable thing.
Coal Plant Shut Downs without replacement of new coal units is largely due to opposition by Environmental Extremist Groups, such as the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Program. Their Website: https://coal.sierraclub.org
Here is the actual Bulk Power Generation by fuel for Christmas week 2022. Note that at the peak on Christmas eve, 80% of the total electricity generation was from conventional generation using natural gas, coal and nuclear fueled generation. Sixty five percent was from natural gas and coal, this does not fit well for Net-Zero Carbon and abolishing fossil fuels. This is reality. The Clean Energy Crisis is a manufactured crisis that should not have gone this far. Donn Dears has much to offer in his new book
Donn Dears is a genuine energy expert having a long career working on design, manufacturing, maintenance and use of major equipment used in energy production. Donn has studied, worked and witnessed for himself energy production from all areas of the world including Asia and the Mideast. He understands the importance of energy to sustain a high quality of life and he understands the importance of protection of the environment. Like many of us, Donn cares about the planet and the well-being of his children and grandchildren. Clean Energy Crisis distills Donn’s career experiences plus considerable additional research to provide the reader with energy savvy. Facts that, if used can formulate a rational energy policy for the future. Every elected official must read this book and keep it for reference! Here is an outline of the contents.
Part 1 Energy Fundamentals
Fossil Fuels (Overview of oil, NG, & coal. US has largest reserves in the world.)
The grid ( Grid is mismanaged. Reliability is in danger. Baseload power essential.)
Importance of coal (HELE plants essential for poor countries.)
The promise of nuclear power ( SMRs hold promise for revival. Cost and fear stand in their way.)
Demand for Materials (Mining and shortages, environmental issues & China.)
Comparing BEVs and ICEs (Electricity demand, cost and safety issues.)
Environmental Blackhole (NEPA’s need for reform to prevent interminable legal challenges.)
Part 2 Impossible Dreams
Impossibility of Net-zero Carbon (Wind, PV solar, & nuclear: impossible to build enough capacity to meet demand.)
Creating Fear to Sell Climate Change (Show that fear of sea-level rise, hurricanes, etc., is unfounded.)
Appendix A How the grid works
Appendix B Dangerous ESG Mandates
Appendix C Battery-Powered Bucket Trucks
Appendix D Climate Science (Happer, Wijngaarden paper)
Currently over 87% of the U.S. Primary Energy is provided by natural gas, nuclear, coal and old hydroelectric plants. It is engineering fiction to believe that wind and solar can replace these forms of affordable, reliable, dispatchable and high energy density fuels. Clean Energy Crisis explains the roots of the myths of green energy and provides a realistic path forward for U.S. Energy Policy……
Recently I was interviewed by Peter Perri for his Podcast on “Energy Media”. We talked for about an hour and I expressed my opinion on America’s dismal… “Lack of a Rational Energy Transition Policy”. It is just a Decarbonization Policy without provisions for providing power generation until technology and build out of new nuclear catches up. However, Mr. Perri got me thinking and he offered some information regarding the IRA Act 45Q, Provisions for Tax Credits for coal plants that capture and store carbon dioxide (CCUS). That was new to me. I consider myself well read on energy news, but I sure missed 45Q. The CO2 credit is up to $85/ton of carbon dioxide captured and sequestered or utilized. Not that I agree with the legislation or the practicality of CCUS, but it shows some sanity of the policymakers, that they understand America may get around to using its vast, God given Treasure of coal.
Energy=Life as we know it and it takes about 100 Quadrillion BTUs of Primary Energy to fuel our economy and our way of life. As a review of previous posts I have made, here is a summary of approx. how the U.S. uses about 100 Quads/year of Primary Energy. Many folks (those who are not technically trained) do not appreciate or understand the concepts of Primary and Secondary energy. An example is a video on hydrogen that I recently watched discussed hydrogen as a form of primary energy. Hydrogen is secondary energy and does not exist naturally in nature, it must be produced from primary energy.
37% Electricity Generation
26% Industrial Production
10% Commercial and Residential
My point is it takes about 100 Quadrillion Btus to energize and make it possible for us to sustain our high quality of life, including keeping warm in the winter. Right here within our borders is the richest source of primary energy on earth. America’s Treasure of Coal. Why not use it to keep America Prosperous & Energy Independent? By the way, America and Canada have plenty of Uranium deposits in North America and few of the U.S. deposits are being used, but that is a topic for another day.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Sankey Diagram (below) shows the energy flows for 2021. Total energy use that year was only 97.3 Quadrillion Btus because of a slower economy. In 2019 energy use was over 100 Quads.
The “Leftists” and power hungry government Bureaucrats have done an effective job of Demonizing carbon dioxide. Their Rationale; By demonizing carbon, then we won’t use it. The demonization of carbon restricts use of a valuable natural resource. This combined with the fact that we now enjoy a high standard of living which coal continues to provide a significant part of our energy when it is needed makes one wonder; “What are the Policymakers thinking?” Coal is one of the most readily available, usable & affordable forms of energy that America is Blessed with. It is my prediction that coal will be more appreciated after a cold winter of 2013, including some Blackouts. With winter approaching and expected scarce reserves of electricity generation capacity, coal plants may achieve new acceptance by society. They did in Germany. My November 25th Blog post discussed coal as America’s Treasure. Let me start with a bullet list of the facts and statements, as I understand them. These points are the premise for my suggestion that coal fuel will (and should!) look good again. So will all conventional fuels, including coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Kindly take a glance at the LLNL chart above, note that less than 5% of America’s Primary Energy was provided by wind and solar in 2021. This after decades of tax incentives. It is unreasonable to expect that we can “Electrify Everything” and power “Everything” with electricity generated from wind and solar.
Energy Realism Facts
Everyone, including me desires clean air, clean water and a healthy environment
Sustainable Life, as we enjoy it, requires a lot of energy about 860,000-1,000,000 Btus of per capita energy each day
America uses and depends on about 100 Quadrillion Btus of primary energy each year.
Fossil Fuels provide about 79%-80% of the primary energy America depends on
Wind and Solar provided less than 5% of America’s total Primary Energy in 2021
New HELE Coal plants can provide reliable, Dispatchable and affordable electricity. HELE = High Efficiency Low Emissions. Replacing many of the retired coal plants with new HELE plants should be part of the transition to our reduced carbon future.
Reshoring of American Manufacturing to recover lost Market share will require more use of Energy for reshoring of Industrial production. Opposite of German recent experience of lost Industry due to energy shortfalls
Currently in the U.S. , the largest carbon-free electricity generation is from nuclear power plants. Most over 40 years old.
Electricity generation uses about 37% of the U.S. Primary Energy
Transportation uses about 27% of the U.S. Primary Energy
The major forms of Energy within the U.S. Borders that can provide the equivalent of 100-150 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy supply for U.S. Energy Independence are: Uranium, Coal, Oil and Natural Gas.
Coal Power Potential to Provide 20+ Quadrillion Btus of Primary Energy
The total Primary Energy Flow chart shown below is from 2009. Back then, coal was the primary fuel for about 50% of America’s electricity generation. The U.S. used right at a Billion tons of coal/year and America’s Total Primary Energy Use was 102.75 Quadrillion Btus. The technology and Infrastructure remains to return to this coal generation capacity and to do it cleanly. We should be building new HELE Coal plants with future provisions for CCUS. This would be a Rational Energy Plan to embark on, (a transition plan) until new nuclear, hydrogen, storage and renewables technologies can advance to meet energy needs.
Reasonable Cost, Abundant Power and Clean Air Too!
The EPA has prepared a graphic below, this illustration shows the Results of cleaning the air in the U.S. Between 1970 and 2019, the combined emissions of the six common pollutants (PM2.5 and PM10, SO2, NOx, VOCs, CO and Pb) dropped by 77 percent. This progress occurred while the U.S. economy continued to grow, Americans drove more miles and population and energy use increased. The point is, the six public health related & objectional pollutants have been corrected. Further restrictions, rules and Regulations on coal power plants since 2019 are not for cleaning the air, they are for politically biased reasons.
Since 2010 over 102,000 MW’s of reliable, reasonable production cost, Dispatchable coal and nuclear plants have been shut down. Worse yet, another 14.9 MW’s of the remaining 200 GW coal plants are planned to be shut down in the next few years. The “War on Carbon”although misguided and anti-American, has been very effective. It is not possible to replace the approximatley 117,000 MW’s of Dispatchable, reasonable production cost coal and nuclear plants with wind and solar. For folks that do not work in the electric generating field, let me digress and compare what 117 GW of reliable power generation looks like. Almost everyone has visited Niagara Falls and are aware that most of the water runoff from all of the Great Lakes drains through the Niagara River and through the Robert Moses Hydroelectric Generating Station. The American share of that water flow generates about 2,500 MW’s of electricity. Therefore replacing the 117,000 MW’s of coal and nuclear plants shut down since 2010 would require almost 50 generating plants the size of Niagara Falls.
Replacing existing or recently shut down coal plants with carbon-free nuclear is technically possible. However, the supply chain for new nuclear plant design, permitting, construction and talent development will take years, maybe decades. I submit that for the near term of the next ten-twenty years, a Rational Energy Policy would be to build technically proven HELE coal plants. Yes, planning for CCUS and using the IRA 45Q provision may help? I know what will not. That is… Continuing the Mythical Net-Zero Carbon path of depence on wind and solar. All this will do is weaken America. America’s Treasure of Coal may be tapped, thanks to the provisions in the so called, Inflation Reduction Act, 45Q provision for CCUS.
America and the World are in an Energy Crisis, and all of the energy savvy professionals who work now or have worked in energy production, know that we have an energy crisis and that wind and solar cannot replace fossil fuels. The “War on Coal and War on Carbon” continues by an out of control EPA which has about 18,742 Bureaucrats fighting the best interests of the American people. Myself, Capital Research and others have written numerous reports and posts on the “War on Carbon” and the incestuos nature of EPA employees with Leftist Extremist organizations which is the root cause of America’s lack of a Rational Energy Policy.
There are 435 Congressional Representatives and 100 Senators plus the President and VP this totals only 537 elected officials that can (and is controlling) control U.S. Energy Policy. As mentioned above, the protection of the environment is controlled by over 18,742 unelected Bureaucrats in the EPA and over 15,826 Bureaucrats in the Department of Energy. Check the Biden Administration Cabinet Members Bio’s here. Few if any ever worked in the energy production. All are political appointees and do not require expertise in energy to be the head of the Department of Energy such as, Jennifer Granholm.
So…..What can we do? About the only path we can take is to use the mechanisms included in our Constitutional Republic and write to all 435 Congressman and 100 Senators to try to educate them on what needs to be done to use America’s Treasure of Energy.
Dick Storm Suggestion of Emergency Actions:
Roll back all Federal Regulations by the EPA that have been implemented after December 2020. America had clean air and clean water in 2020 and any Regulations implemented since then have been Ideological, “War on Carbon or Politically inspired. The Executive Branch Regulations that have been forced on the American people since january 2021 have not been in the Best Interests of America, especially regarding electric power generation and the 80% energy from fossil fuels that America depends on.
Write Government Officials
Here below, is the letter I sent to both Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham of SC:
Dear Senator Scott,
I am writing you today because I would like to provide my insight into the importance of reliable, affordable energy and Dispatchable electricity to keep America strong.
The EPA is simply out of control and ruining America right before our eyes. Leftists that hate America are in charge of the EPA and the Biden Administration is chock full of Leftists that are working in earnest to weaken America. My suggestion is: Roll back all EPA Regulations to those in effect in December 2020. Our air and water was clean then, all Regulations added or modified since then are part of the War on Carbon and the War on the American people.
I have written my views and included extensive references on harmful Energy and Environmental policies on my Blog. The link is here: America’s Treasure of Coal: https://wp.me/p5DzAo-Bn
One of the most concise presentations I have presented was to the Sunset Rotary Club on HHI. The presentation is on my Blog if you have time to review it.
If you would like to discuss in more detail, I am interested in discussing with you or meeting in person. I truly understand the time pressures you have and would respect any of your time which you may provide.
Thank you for your service to save America. May God Bless you and your Family!
Richard F. Storm
Two Letters to Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC District #1)
July 15, 2022
Dear Congresswoman Mace,
I am writing you today because I do not feel that you and your Republican colleagues are pushing back on President Biden’s un-American policies. Specifically on energy and environmental issues. I saw on LinkedIn yesterday that 14 Texas Congressman met to sign a letter pushing back on unnecessary rules on the EPA attack on the Texas Permian Basin oil and gas production. You and all members of Congress, both (D) and (R) should be creating more resistance to the foolish energy and environmental policies that the Biden Administration are implementing.
I am interested in meeting with you to discuss, if you ever have time when you are near Hilton Head.
Richard F. Storm
Congresswoman Mace did visit my town for an open meeting. I was given an opportunity to ask her about pushing back on Biden’s Green Energy policies. Ms. Mace told me, “When we get into the majority I can do something” So, after the November election, I wrote her again:
November 19, 2022
Dear Congresswoman Mace,
Congratulations on your reelection! I am very pleased that you have kept this important District a Red one!
I met you when you visited Hilton Head last summer and asked you about the insanely anti-American Energy Policies that the EPA and the Biden Administration are forcing on our country. You answered, “I can do something when we get a majority”. Thankfully, you are now with the majority.
I am writing you today because I would like to meet with you to provide my insight into the importance of energy and electricity to keep America strong.
I have written my views and included some extensive references on harmful Energy and Environmental policies. One of the most concise presentations I have presented was to the Sunset Rotary Club on HHI. The presentation is on my Blog if you have time to review it.
If you would like to discuss in more detail, I am interested in meeting with you. I truly understand the time pressures you have and would respect your time you may provide.
Richard F. Storm
Letter to Governor Henry McMaster, regarding the Regional Utility, Santee-Cooper
I wrote to Governor McMaster in the summer and sent him a large package of my concerns for the shutting down of the Santee-Cooper Winyah Coal Power Plant before Dispatchable, replacement Bulk Power generation can be built. The Nov. 19 letter was after the election.
Nov. 19, 2022
Dear Governor McMaster,
Congratulations on your reelection!
I am a retired engineer living in HHI. I worked for over 50 years in the electric power industry and have a good working knowledge of electric power generation. I have followed and participated in the Santee-Cooper IRP Stakeholder presentations. I have submitted my recommendations to Santee-Cooper on their portal but feel the Legislature has them on a flawed and mythical “Green Path” I have worked with/for (as a contractor/consultant) Santee-Cooper and SCE&G since 1970. I know SC Power plants well and have worked at most of them over the last 50 years. My recommendation is to keep the Winyah and Cross Coal Plants in top condition and on coal fuel for at least the next ten years. These units will be needed for load growth and for Dispatchable, affordable electricity generation to supply the Demand of industries such as Century Aluminum and NUCOR Steel, as well as providing reliable power to their service territory. Non-Dispatchable solar and wind cannot satisfy the load growth of the coastal SC service territory of Santee-Cooper.
Also, speaking of service territory, Santee-Cooper should keep their independence from neighboring Utilities and plan to install needed new generation capacity to provide 15% reserves based on being an “Energy Island” to separate from neighboring utilities should there be an energy crisis of insufficient capacity to meet demand.
Thank you for taking time to read my letter and thank you for your service to the great state of South Carolina. I sincerely appreciate all that you have done to keep South Carolina strong and free.
Yours very truly,
For Reference, Here is the April 2022 letter I sent to the Governor
April 30, 2021
Governor Henry McMaster
PO Box 2459
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465
Dear Governor McMaster,
I am a proud American that is pleased to be a resident of the Great State of South Carolina. Thank you for your leadership and businesslike governing of this state.
Just a short note to let you know, I am an experienced power engineer (Registered PE in state of NC) and have over 50 years experience in power generation. Over the years, I have worked on coal plants at Wateree, Cope, Williams, Jefferies, Cross, Winyah and more. I have also been a supporter of nuclear power and am aware that over 50% of SC’s electricity is generated by the seven old nuclear units (four plants). (Oconee, Robinson, Summer, Catawba). I actually worked on Oconee when employed by Babcock & Wilcox in the 1960’s.
I am not sure what the status is with Santee-Cooper but thought I would write to tell you, I strongly believe that keeping the State Electricity Generation Authority of Santee-Cooper is the right thing to do for the residents of SC. In my view the large Utilities such as Duke, Dominion and Southern are simply politically correctness driven and prone to making decisions based on keeping their safe 4% dividend. Yes, I am retired and yes, I too have Duke and Dominion stocks in my investment/retirement portfolio. But, I think keeping SCPSA strong is important for our state.
Having said that, I also wish to state that the advertising, indoctrination and hype of Renewable Power is not good for our state. Solar and wind are only reliable during times of sunshine and favorable winds and should always (until storage technology catches up) be less than 25% of the total generation and NEVER included in generation reserve margins. Margins are the extra generation expected during electricity Demand Peaks. In my view, that is the problem Texas had in February with over 25% of their generation capacity provided by unreliable, intermittent wind and solar. Same for California last August 2020 when the sun went down and there was insufficient Fossil fuel backup available.
I did prepare and teach a course at USCB-OLLI and although retired, I have kept up with energy and electricity generation trends. The trends are troubling, thus the reason for this letter.
My motto is, “All Fuels are Important” and for SC, I believe the coal plants should be properly maintained and cared for, kept going well beyond 2030, especially Cross Plant.
The current nuclear plant licensing expire beginning in 2030 and 2033 for Oconee and Robinson. I believe a balanced portfolio of new nuclear and coal plants are needed to keep industry powered with reasonable cost electricity. NUCOR and Century Aluminum are two large SC Industries that depend on reasonable cost power. I think steps now to keep a balanced portfolio and not “New Green Deal” renewables, is important.
Thank you for taking time to read this and let me provide my best wishes for success in your re-election. A small check is enclosed to show my support.
My letters did not have any affect. The only politician that acknowledged he read the letters sent was Senator Tim Scott.
If we are to get Politicians attention, then it will take many of us writing letters, calling, visiting and discussing the true facts.
We who understand Energy and Electricity Generation are a minority. I think it is safe to assume that for every letter an elected official gets such as I have written, there are multiple letters from either Green Leaning citizens (that do not understand Dispatchable Generation) and Business interests that are interested in Green tax incentives.
If we the “Energy Savvy Members of Society” do not speak up and get the attention of government, then the Energy Crisis will get worse, likely resulting in economic decline and even more deaths, as happened during the Feb 2021 winter storm in Texas and of course, as is occurring in Europe now.
Professor Vaclav Smil quote: (Smil is a prolific author on energy issues and lives in Canada)I absolutely hate the word sustainability because there is no such thing. Sustainability cannot be defined. Sustainable for what? Over next year? Over 10 years? Over a millennium? On a local basis, on a planetary basis? I mean, there are so many time and space dimensions to it you cannot define what is sustainable. If somebody is boasting what they are doing is sustainable, it’s a total laugh. There is no sustainable thing.