Balanced Portfolio of Generation, Here is an Example

Santee-Cooper is a state owned Utility in the Great State of South Carolina. The Total Generation Capacity is about 6,000 MW, though a small Utility it is, I think, a great example of one which currently has a well balanced generation portfolio and it should stay that way.

Introduction

Myself and others have commented on the importance of a Balanced Energy Portfolio on LinkedIn, other Social Media, in technical presentations, papers and short courses that we have presented. The Wall Street Journal, NERC, MISO, Utility Dive, Power Magazine, Forbes and other respected Technical Journals and magazines have reported that America may in fact, experience Blackouts during the summer of 2022(1,2,3,4,5) This is serious and it shows the poor planning or absence of any planning at all for the future sustainable energy needs of America.

So, If I am so Critical, Shouldn’t I provide My Suggestions? Here they are.

I thought it would be appropriate to take a 6,000 MW Electric Utility as an example and show in detail what I recommend for a Balanced Generation Portfolio should look like for the next 10-20 years. I selected Santee-Cooper as the example because I am very familiar with their coal plants having worked as a field service engineer, a contractor, course instructor and consultant since 1970. I have personally worked at all of the coal plants that they have owned and operated, including two that have been since shut down. Also, Santee-Cooper asked for public involvement in updating their IRP (Integrated Resources Plan), which I volunteered to participate in and was accepted as a member of their SC citizen/customer Stakeholder participants. So, what follows are my suggestions of what a Balanced Generation Portfolio could look like to keep the fine record of reasonable cost & reliable electricity for the territory served by Santee-Cooper and the Co-operatives that are major customers.

Santee-Cooper also known as South Carolina Public Service Authority

The Figure below lists the generating assets that Santee-Cooper currently owns and are operable. The generation assets total are 5,801 MW. Coal plants are 3,530 or 61% of the total generation capacity. Natural gas fueled units at Rainey are the next largest at 1,150 MW and Nuclear capacity of Summer is 322 MW.  Solar as of winter 2021-2022 is planned to be 82 MW. Therefore, of the 5,801 total generation capacity over 86% is Dispatchable and of proven reasonable cost and reliable generation.

From Presentation to IRP Stakeholders by Santee-Cooper Management
From Santee-Cooper Engineering Report

Load Growth Projections by Santee-Cooper, Supply/Demand Balance 2022-2040

Supply/Demand Projections, 2022-2040 by Santee-Cooper in IRP Presentation to Stakeholders

Electricity demand expectations are by 2040 to grow above 6,000 MW. Currently there are plans to shut down the 1,150 MW Winyah coal fueled power station. This, I believe, if carried out will be a mistake. The world situation with energy and power should show us the importance of Domestic energy supply and Santee-Cooper has, up to this point, had a balanced energy portfolio to meet the Demand of the customers with affordable, reliable electricity supply. I have included references below of reasons why coal power is important.

The table below (labeled 2-2) is another listing of Santee-Cooper generating assets. This one is from a publicly available Black and Veatch report dated 2019.

From Black & Veatch Engineering Report on Santee-Cooper, 2019

South Carolina is #3 in Nuclear Generation in the U.S.A.

Nuclear Power is Most Dominant in South Carolina but, Many Nuclear Plants are Old and Some Could Shut Down by 2040? Licenses Need to Be Renewed by the NRC to Depend on these for backup.

From EIA website

In my view, Santee-Cooper is a state treasure and that the low cost, reliable generation capacity should be planned to maintain that excellent record using the proven fuels that have served our state so well (My adopted state since moving here full time). Much of the benefits of low cost electricity have come from being interconnected on the Grid with Duke and Dominion Power. They are great neighbors and also have excellent records. However, in my view and based on my experience, I think Santee-Cooper should plan future generation with a balanced portfolio with at least a 15% margin of reserve capacity for winter and summer peak loads. The current stated license expirations for the neighboring utilities and including the Summer Unit #1 which Santee-Cooper owns a portion are:

From Nuclear Energy Institute web site(15)

Duke and Dominion are likely to and in fact, I think they have already proceeded to extend the operating licenses of these nuclear plants. However, the reality is that several sister nuclear units of Duke’s nuclear fleet have already been shut down. The Crystal River nuclear unit and one of the Three Mile Island nuclear units designed and built by Babcock & Wilcox and very similar. ( I know that to be a fact, because I worked at B&W in the 1960’s) These two units performed well for many years, but are now shut down. The age of these wonderful assets must be taken into consideration when depending on the stability and reasonable cost of being dependent on the Grid connection. I feel strongly that the state power generation capacity should be capable of complete independence from neighboring Utility reserve capacity.

The Myth of Green Power

I became interested in participating as a stakeholder in the IRP process as a result of receiving the flier copied below which came with my electric bill from Palmetto Electric. It inferred that the electricity supplied to Hilton Head Island during the Heritage Golf Tournament in April was being provided by “Green Power”. Most of the power that Palmetto Electric distributes to members is provided by Santee-Cooper or from the Grid. It is my understanding that Hilton Head Island uses over 180 MW on a hot summer day. The renewable power generation assets are listed above. The renewables assets are far from adequate to meet the demand of Hilton Head Island during a normal summer day. I have shown above the facts on generating assets and electric power generation statistics for previous years. The load growth projections to 2040 were provided in the Santee-Cooper IRP Presentation. Santee-Cooper and Palmetto Electric have done a wonderful job in providing reliable, affordable electricity to Hilton Head Island. Green power if expanded at the extreme risk and expense of decommissioning Winyah and even one or more of the Cross Units will cause economic harm to our citizens and to this up to now, great state with reliable and reasonable cost power, in my opinion.

Conclusions

Coal and nuclear power have served the great state of South Carolina very well for many years. Coal, Gas and Nuclear power generation are all Dispatchable and with a balanced portfolio economic dispatch can continue to sustain reasonable cost Bulk Power delivery.

Fuel prices fluctuate widely due to world supply and Demand events. Before I retired in 2012, I participated in delivering courses on power generation and power generation economics. My specialty was coal firing and heat rate improvements. The graph below was prepared to present to the O & M Team of a Florida Utility to show the importance of efficient coal plant operation to compete with the then low cost natural gas fuel. In 2012 the Shale Gas Revolution was going strong and over-supply of natural gas drove natural gas prices down to levels below coal fuel cost for equivalent energy. Of course now (June 2022) natural gas prices at the Henry Hub exceed $9.00/million Btu. Thus, coal fuel, if it can be delivered, is much lower in cost. This is my basis for stating that a Balanced Portfolio of generation assets is important.

2012 Short Course Presentation by Dick Storm and Shawn Cochran to a Florida Utility

The majority of generation must be Dispatchable for voltage and frequency stability. Here below is a chart of real time power generation for a typical week in 2021. This is from the EIA website. Note that the majority (80%) of the power generation is from coal, nuclear and gas fuels. All dispatchable forms of electricity generation.

From EIA website

The above is real time generation. Below is the installed capacity by fuel type. Conventional generation is the majority and if this reliable generation is compromised then the entire US and the state of SC capability to deliver reasonable cost, reliable power will be harmed.

EIA data on the Canary Media website

Solar power is useful for shaving day time peak load and I support the use of solar for purposes of taking advantage of daytime solar power. In fact, I was part of a team at a College in Pennsylvania where I agreed with the use of roof solar panels on the sports center for purposes of reducing August peak load demand from the local Utility. So, I agree that sometimes solar is practical, but not to replace reliable Base load Bulk Power Capacity such as the Winyah Coal plant generating capacity.

Solar and Wind power is more expensive than coal, nuclear and gas power generation. The chart below is one reference to show that. Below I will offer the example of Hawaii. Texas also should be considered from recent experiences of over building non-Dispatchable renewables.(2,11)

The chart below is Retail Electricity Costs as published on the EIA website(16) . Note the cost of Hawaii Electric which is about three times the cost of South Carolina. Hawaii of course, is an island and therefore they have no interconnections with neighboring Utilities such as Santee-Cooper does with Dominion and Duke. Therefore, the Bulk Power production costs are higher because when wind and solar is not available, Diesel Fuel is used for power generation. In large steam plants the fuel cost component of electricity generation is between 75 and 95% of the production cost at the Bus Bars. Check the Island Pulse website to see real time power generation by fuel.(14)

Recommendations

The continued good economic prosperity of South Carolina depends on a future of reasonable cost electric power. That future, in my strong opinion, should be provided by keeping the existing coal plants and including the coal transportation and supply chain infrastructure. Further, the existing coal plants should be operated, periodically tested and maintained. They should be protected from deterioration from corrosion and other forms of deterioration by operating them at a significant load factor and keeping them in top condition.

Respectfully submitted,

Dick Storm, June 8, 2022

References for further research and reading:

  1. NERC (North American Reliability Council) Warns of Blackouts this summer: https://en.as.com/latest_news/energy-crisis-blackouts-expected-this-summer-across-the-us-due-to-extreme-temperatures-and-drought-n/
  2. Wall Street Journal, “Summer of Rolling Blackouts” May 27, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-summer-of-rolling-blackouts-green-energy-grid-north-american-electric-reliability-corporation-11653683348
  3. American Public Power, MISO warns of Summer Blackouts (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) May 10, 2022: https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/miso-warns-it-could-face-supply-shortfalls-summerb
  4. Power Magazine warns of summer 2022 power shortfalls, May 2022: https://www.powermag.com/nerc-warns-energy-shortfalls-almost-inevitable-this-summer/
  5. FEE Story, May 10, 2022, Limits of Green Energy: https://fee.org/articles/us-faces-electricity-shortages-heading-into-summer-as-grid-operators-warn-of-limits-of-green-energy/
  6. Real Time US Power Grid link to EIA: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/US48/US48
  7. CA Grid Real Time Demand: https://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/default.aspx
  8. PJM Operations: https://www.pjm.com
  9. MISO Operations: https://www.misoenergy.org/markets-and-operations/real-time–market-data/real-time-displays/
  10. SPP (SW Power Pool) Market Generation by Fuel: https://marketplace.spp.org/pages/generation-mix
  11. ERCOT Grid: https://mis.ercot.com/public/dashboards
  12. Science and Environment Policy Project  Website: http://www.sepp.org
  13. Judith Curry, 15 slides to summarize Climate Change website: https://judithcurry.com/2021/09/03/15-minutes/#more-27827
  14.  Hawaii Power, Island Pulse, Real Time Dashboard of Power Generation, Hawaii Electric has embraced renewable power generation. Check real time fuel sources: https://www.islandpulse.org
  15. Nuclear Energy Institute Nuclear Plant Operating License Renewals & Expirations: https://www.nei.org/resources/statistics/us-nuclear-license-renewal-filings
  16. EIA (U.S. Department of Energy) Listing of Electricity Costs in 50 States: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/
  17. Why your Electric Costs are Surging and likely to go higher, WSJ, March 15, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-your-electric-bill-is-soaringand-likely-to-go-higher-11647250380?mod=hp_featst_pos4
  18. Germany is trying to be less Dependent on Russian Energy, WSJ May 18, 2022: https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wsj.com%2Farticles%2Fhow-germany-is-curing-its-dependence-on-russian-energy-11652801958
  19. WSJ VIDEO of summer Blackouts likely June 5, 2022:https://m.wsj.net/video/20220528/adc6b4aa-84cd-4086-ad24-4cfee6df1a9c/1/hls/manifest-hd-wifi.m3u8#t=0
  20. What is Behind the Energy Crisis, WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/energy-crisis-fossil-fuel-investment-renewables-gas-oil-prices-coal-wind-solar-hydro-power-grid-11634497531?mod=series_climatefinancemarkets
  21. Santee-Cooper Flip Facts Sept 2021: https://www.flipsnack.com/santeecooper/2020-santee-cooper-fingertip-facts/full-view.html
  22. Santee-Cooper IRP, Dec 2020: https://www.santeecooper.com/About/Increasing-Value/ORS-Reports/_pdfs/Dec-23-Signed-Filed-IRP.pdf
  23. SC Dept of Energy :  http://www.energy.sc.gov/irp
  24. Dominion Energy SC IRP update, Feb 2021: https://dms.psc.sc.gov/Attachments/Matter/531e91d9-05ff-48e2-938f-adccf3548768
  25. Central Co-Op of SC IRP: https://www.cepci.org/sites/cepci/files/Documents/Central%202020%20IRP.pdf
  26. FERC Website References: https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/search
  27. WSJ article on CA Blackouts, Aug 2020: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-california-keeps-having-blackouts-11598198401?mod=article_inline
  28. Texas Power Failure, Feb 17, 2021, wsj: https://www.wsj.com/articles/dont-blame-wind-for-texas-electricity-woes-11613500788?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=3#cxrecs_s
  29. POWER Magazine article on Feb. 15, 2021 Texas Winter Storm Blackouts: https://www.powermag.com/ercot-sheds-load-as-extreme-cold-forces-generators-offline-miso-spp-brace-for-worsening-system-conditions/
  30.  Oklaunion Coal Plant Closure: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/408369-texas-based-coal-fired-plant-announces-retirement
  31.  Luminent Coal Plant Closures: https://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/2017/10/13/texas-largest-power-generator-speeds-up-coal-s-decline-with-closure-of-two-more-plants/
  32. Dick Storm, Texas Power Plant Experiences and thoughts on loss of reliable coal plant generation: https://dickstormprobizblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/19/texas-and-coal-power-6000-mws-of-coal-plant-capacity-is-missed/
  33. POWER Mag. Commentary March 17, 2021: https://www.powermag.com/blog/all-fuels-are-important-but-thermal-power-generation-is-still-number-1/
  34. Donn Dears Book, “Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America” An excellent reference for planners and policy makers.
  35. Donn Dears website with much information on Power for the U.S.A. https://ddears.com/donns-articles/
  36. German failure of Renewables, der Spiegel, May 2019: https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-failure-on-the-road-to-a-renewable-future-a-1266586.html
  37. Dr. George Holliday and Bill Holliday Environmental Newsletters: Some selected links from recent publications follow: :  https://thestarnewsnetwork.com/2022/05/23/over-half-the-country-at-risk-of-energy-emergencies-this-summer-electric-grid-analysis-shows/
  38. Science and Environmental Policy Project, edited by Ken Haapala and passed on to me by the Holliday Environmental Newsletters: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_TS.pdf

http://www.sepp.org/science_papers/Climate%20Physics%202.pdf

Energy=Sustainable, High Quality of Life What do the Politicians Think We are Willing to Do Without? Energy=High Quality of Life, Strong Economy and Freedom

Each American that lives an above average life-style in our country uses about a million Btu’s per day. So, if the government wishes to outlaw fossil fuels through ever increasing regulations, then what are we prepared to give up? Politicians are continuing the war on carbon which began under the Clinton Administration in 1993. What freedoms are you and I willing to give up? As for me, and my family, I say none! As this is written, it is Memorial Day weekend and many fine Americans gave all so that we can enjoy our lives. The 2020 election created serious consequences for Americans to continue to live the American Dream.

Freedom & Sustainability

Joe Biden and the Democrats are doing their best to outlaw fossil fuels. This is un-American and in fact, anti-American sustainability. Sustainability to me, means to sustain our high quality of life and for our children and grandchildren to have an ever increasing quality of life. That is the way my God gifted life has gone, each year in general, became better with more manual work performed by energy. Some examples, modern electric appliances, power tools and yard tools. We depend on energy to replace muscle more than any time in history. Our quality of life is a result of using more energy and less muscle power. About a million Btus per day, per person. So, if Fossil Fuels are providing the majority of the energy we depend on (see 2021 LLNL chart below), then the Democrats must want us to scale back our quality of life? Because abundant, reasonable cost and reliable Energy is required to power our good lives. This includes the supply chain, fertilizer and food production, manufacturing, jobs, transportation and just about everything that makes living the American Dream possible. Fossil Fuels currently provide about 79% of our energy.

From Dick Storm ASME Presentation, “The Importance of Coal” 2011 Summer Annual Meeting

The illustrations above and below are copied from a presentation I gave to the Annual Meeting of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) in 2011. This was following the Financial crisis of 2008. Remember that? The energy consumption of the U.S. in 2009 actually dropped from about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year to about 94.6 Quadrillion Btu’s/year. The point is, that energy does in fact provide for economic prosperity and our high quality of life.  Freedom too!

Dick Storm, 2011 ASME presentation, Chart & data from EIA

In 2009 about 50% of America’s electricity was being generated by coal. That was before the Shale Gas Revolution. After the recovery from the 2008 Financial crisis, life became very good again. Actually, we Americans have been Blessed with very good lives for many decades. I have had the gift of living for seven decades of a wonderful life reaching all the goals I could have wished for as a child. Energy has played a big part of America’s rise during the last 100 years. Now each of us uses about a million Btu’s of energy each day.

A Million Btu’s per Day per Person

I would like to show the progression of America’s energy mix from 2008 to the present. A steady 94-102 Quadrillion Btu’s of “Total Primary Energy” have been used. This is important. Our lives (and the American Economy) have been powered by about the same quantity of energy at a fairly flat level since 2001. I will confine this discussion to energy use since 2008.

From Dick Storm Presentation 2011 to ASME Annual Meeting, The Importance of Coal

Coal fuel produced about 50% of America’s electric power up to about 2012 when the Shale Gas Revolution took over and natural gas became so abundant that fuel prices for gas dropped below coal. The graph below shows the trend of natural gas prices from 2006-2012. When natural gas dropped to about $2.00/million Btu it became very competitive with coal and in fact in certain areas of the U.S., a less expensive fuel than coal for power generation.

From Storm Technologies, Inc. Seminar Presentation, 2016

Economic Dispatch of Generating Units

The lower cost gas became the preferred fuel of choice for most electric utilities. The fuel mix change from 2004 to 2019 is illustrated below. Keep in mind, the Total Primary Energy use of the US remained fairly steady at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s (+/- 6 quads). By the way, Electricity production currently uses about 37% of the primary energy consumed in the U.S. Switching transportation to EV’s or Hydrogen is not practical in the near term, however, if it was, then I suggest that America will continue to annually require at least 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy.

One more point. The sub heading above uses the word “Dispatch” Yes, about 90% of America’s Power was from Dispatchable Fuels. Solar and Wind are not Dispatchable. Renewable power comes onto the Grid as nature provides. Government subsidies and regulations allow it to be forced onto the Grid making it tough for Thermal power plants to back down or pick up load as fickle nature varies the output of wind and solar.

From Dick Storm OLLI Course , Energy Production Part 1, January 2021

Total Primary Energy Flows

Shown above is the Sankey Energy Flow Diagram for the year 2009. Below is the latest version of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Energy Flow Diagram for the year 2021. If you compare 2009 with 2021 Total Energy Flows, they are very close at 94.58 and 97.3 Quadrillion Btu’s. In 2019 America used right at 100.2 Quadrillion Btus. The economy was improving and 2019 was the year before the Covid Pandemic. So, as the economy improves, more energy is used. When the economy shrinks, less energy is used. This is TOTAL ENERGY which includes energy from all sources, including renewables. It also included electricity generation (about 37%) and Transportation (about 27%). Keep in mind that if we maintain or sustain our current freedoms of travel and lifestyles, likely the total energy use will remain rght at 100 Quadrillion Btus. Population increase and reshoring manufacturing will increase energy use above 100 Quad’s.

From Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory web-site

Can EV’s for Transportation Substitute Electricity for Petroleum?

There are about 280 million light trucks and cars on our highways today. All but about 11 million of these vehicles are fueled with gasoline and Diesel fuel. Heavy trucks for commerce are mostly Diesel powered and of course, airlines are fueled with Jet Fuel. These comprise fuel for transportation, which is about 28% of the Total Primary Energy used in the U.S. If these were all electrified then the electric power generation would need to vastly increase to use about 65% of the total primary energy. Of course, the about 8-10% of petroleum that is used for Jet Fuel will still be needed even if all other vehicles were replaced with EV’s. This is not practical any time soon. Check the excellent research that Donn Dears has done on this.(3)

Hydrogen as Fuel

Replacing petroleum with hydrogen fuel has been talked about for decades. Yes, it is feasible to use Electrolyzers to separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules from water and thus produce “GreenHydrogen”. However, it takes about 2.5 to 3 times more electricity to produce a unit of hydrogen than what that unit of energy will produce in electric power.

Conclusions

  1. America uses about 100 Quadrillion btus each year. Over 79% of these energy units are provided by Fossil Fuels. Replacing them with renewables in the near term is at the very least, impractical. In my view it is impossible during my lifetime or the lifetime of my children.
  2. Net Zero Carbon Policies are not driven by science or protection of the planet. They are politically driven for the benefit of politicians to wield power over the people.
  3. Climate Policies are being formulated by politicians and non-science trained individuals.
  4. Energy and Economic Prosperity are linked together. As shown in the Energy Flow diagrams above, when there was a recession in 2008-2009 America’s energy use declined. Likelwise during the 2020 Pandemic. As the Economy thrives, we use more energy. Energy is vital for a thriving economy.
  5. America will continue to use 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year and more when our economy is performing at it’s best. As population grows and hopefully, more manufacturing is reshored, energy use will rise. Solar and wind power cannot meet this increase.
  6. America should keep the Dispatchable and Balanced Generation Portfolio of Coal, Nuclear and Natural Gas plants. Older coal units in my view, should be replaced with new modern, clean and efficient coal plants.(6)
  7. New Nuclear plants are needed to keep a Balanced Electric Generation Portfolio(7,8,9)
  8. By not keeping a Balanced Electric Generation Portfolio, America risks energy shortages and Blackouts(10)
  9. All Developed Countries depend on reliable, affordable energy. In my opinion, a significant portion of the 100 Quadrillion Btu’s America has been using for decades, should continue to be supplied by coal fuel.(6, 22)
  10. The Transportation fuels of gasoline and Diesel cannot be replaced in the short term with EV’s or Hydrogen.
  11. If America continues on the Net-Zero Carbon Path, then it will lead to a reduction in our freedoms to live sustainable lives as we have been accustomed to. (11)
  12. Energy is important not only to power our high quality of lives, but reasonable cost, abundant energy is also important to the supply chain and food production(17)

Respectfully submitted,

Dick Storm, May 30, 2022

References for Further Reading and Research

  1. Donn Dears Five Part Series, “Net Zero Reality Check” https://ddears.com/donns-articles/
  2. Dr. Judith Curry Slides and Presentation to IPCC and New Jersey Group, 2021: https://judithcurry.com/2021/10/22/challenges-of-the-clean-energy-transition/
  3. Donn Dears Blog article on EV’s: https://ddears.com/2022/01/06/achilles-heal-of-battery-powered-vehicles-part-1/
  4. Dr. Richard Lindzen articles: https://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/richard-lindzen
  5. Wijngaarden & William Happer, WUWT Latest on GHE Effect, Sept. 2021, Science, Wijngaarden & Happer: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/09/21/the-greenhouse-effect-a-summary-of-wijngaarden-and happer/ 
  6. Dick Storm Presentation to the 2011 ASME Annual Meeting “The Importance of Coal Plants” https://www.linkedin.com/posts/richard-storm-00557810_why-coal-is-important-circa-2011-activity-6934545548276363264-W_S_/?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web
  7. World Nuclear Organization. June 2021: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/world-energy-needs-and-nuclear-power.aspx
  8. Nuclear Power Future for Sustainable Living and improved “Human Development Index” for the world: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/nuclear-energy-and-sustainable-development.aspx
  9. Energy Dept. Nuclear Research into SMR’s: https://www.energy.gov/ne/advanced-small-modular-reactors-smrs
  10. WSJ article, May 27, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-summer-of-rolling-blackouts-green-energy-grid-north-american-electric-reliability-corporation-11653683348
  11. Donn Dears book, “Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America” Available on Amazon or Donn Dears website.
  12. 100 Ways Biden is Making Energy Crisis worse: https://www.americanenergyalliance.org/2022/05/100-ways-biden-and-the-democrats-have-made-it-harder-to-produce-oil-gas/
  13. CEI Cooler Heads publication May 24, 2022: https://go.cei.org/webmail/287682/872576332/68e507be334cf34c7d54b4b2a348b50f1d373ec69c94d0d629001f91129c1e7d
  14. FT Presentation on Moral Investing by Kirk Stuart of HSBC May 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNamRmje-s
  15. More Green Energy Planned than Grid can handle, Canary Media April 2022: https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/transmission/the-us-has-more-clean-energy-projects-planned-than-the-grid-can-handle?utm_medium=email
  16. Summer Blackouts by Failed US Energy policy Manhatten Institute: https://www.city-journal.org/energy-policy-failures-may-lead-to-summer-blackouts
  17. H. Sterling Burnett, Climate Change Policies put Policy before Food and lifting people from poverty: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/25/climate-misanthropes-say-fighting-climate-change-is-more-important-than-food-reliable-energy-and-peace/
  18. IEA Coal Forecast to 2024 April 2022: https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/f1d724d4-a753-4336-9f6e-64679fa23bbf/Coal2021.pdf
  19. Dick Storm Blog, History of Energy Pt 4, China goes All In for All Fuels are Important: https://wordpress.com/post/dickstormprobizblog.org/1430
  20. Dick Storm Newsletter of 2012, “Yes, There is a War on Coal, But Somebody needs to keep the Lights on”: https://www.stormeng.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2012.06-Yes-There-is-a-War-on-Coal.pdf
  21. Four Fears by Ken Haapala, SEPP (Science and Environmental Policy Project):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

22. 93.5% of our energy is used in heat engines and 80% is from Fossil Fuels by Dick Storm:

https://bit.ly/3zsXcS6

Providing a Sustainable Million Btu’s per Day, per Person by Fuel Source

Each person that lives in a Developed Country and enjoys our high quality of life uses well over a million Btu’s per day. This post is a reminder of the importance of energy to power our lives and the sources of the energy we depend upon.

Introduction

The war on carbon has been going on for a long time. I have written my thoughts on the start of the war on carbon which has been escalating since the Clinton Presidency and was ramped up during Obama’s. The Biden Administration has further ramped up Climate Policies (aka war on carbon) which encompass the entire government, making the Clinton and Obama attacks on carbon compare as small nuisances. Then the United Nations Secretary General has piled on with his urging to ban investment in any fossil fuel production and to use the world’s financial institutions to cut off investment through ESG policies. The Main Stream Media and Entertainment and many “Woke Banks and large Businesses” have joined in to create a serious indoctrination program for the people of the world and tightened up the available financial investment to expand or modernize energy production facilities of any type. Not only the U.S., but the Climate Policies of the world to attain Net Zero Carbon by 2050 now has much momentum. The purpose of this post is to simply lay out the facts of the energy needs of today for anyone living in the Developed World.

The Importance of Energy

Energy use, economic prosperity and Quality of life go hand in hand. The title of one of Mr. Donn Dears recent books is: “NET-ZERO Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America”. 

At first glance, the sub title, “Climate Policy Destroying America” may seem to be an exaggeration. The intention of this short essay is to show that Mr. Dears is correct, if we move toward Net-Zero Carbon too quickly, it will destroy the American way of life and will cripple our economy. The word “Sustainability” means to me, that we sustain our quality of life as Americans have enjoyed for many years. Energy, quality of life and economic prosperity are all related. Kindly stick with me and read to the end to review the importance of conventional energy. 

100 Quadrillion Btu’s Per Year Energy Use

America has used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s (+/- 10)  annually of energy for the last twenty years. The EIA and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have calculated and published this data for decades. Here is an excerpt of the LLNL description from their website.

The national economy is reenergizing, quite literally”

“In 2021, Americans used 5% more energy than in 2020, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Each year, LLNL releases flow charts that illustrate the nation’s consumption and use of energy. In 2021, Americans used 97.3 quads (quadrillion BTU) of energy, which is 4.4 quads more than last year’s 92.9 quads, equivalent to a 5% increase. Both 2020 and 2021 annual energy consumption totals are less than 2018 and 2019, where Americans used more than 100 quads per year. A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for energy; a BTU is the amount of heat it takes to raise 1 pound (~1 pint) of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. 3,412 BTUs is equivalent to 1 kilowatt-hour, which is the amount of energy it takes to light an efficient LED lightbulb for a week. “ The chart below includes all forms of energy, including wind and solar which are included as the thermal equivalents of the electric power they produced. The chart shows “Total Primary Energy” which includes electricity generation, residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. This is my favorite chart for illustrating energy sources and uses. Suffice it to say, it is a lot of information in one chart.

The best single chart I know of to show Total Energy Flows by Fuel to end use
LLNL Energy Flow Chart for year 2021

Please note the quantities of solar and wind which are 1.5 Quads for solar and 3.33 Quads for wind. Yes, this is an increase from previous years. However, the total wind and solar is 3.85 Quads or right at 4%. 

My point is that Electrifying Everything if it were possible to take a magic wand and change all energy use to electric power, including heating, cooking, transportation and industrial production, then it will take a growth of 25 times what is installed now by nameplate power. When considering capacity factors of wind and solar it will actually be more like 75-100 times current installed capacity plus, technological advancements in energy storage would need to be accomplished. In essence, it is impossible to get there within 8 to 28 years (2030 or 2050) and still sustain our high quality of life and yes, our high standard of living. Not to mention Dispatchability, energy storage limitations and land use requirements. Also, the practical limitations of changing energy use for transportation, the second largest use of total primary energy after electricity generation, to electric or hydrogen power. How many of us would be willing to fly on a hastily developed hydrogen fueled jet aircraft? Change our lives to use EV’s for long distance drives? Give up the plastics, textiles and numerous other products that are created from oil, gas and coal? Let’s get back to what we do and enjoy through the use of today’s forms of energy.

So, How Much Energy, in Btu’s Does Each American Use per day?

The illustration below was prepared to show a Middle School class the equivalent forms of energy they would use in a day. For our high quality of living, it is not hard to see how we depend on an average of about a million Btu’s of energy each day.

From Dick Storm presentation to Middle School Students, March 2022

Not shown in the illustration is the energy that is used on our behalf to provide industrial production, military defense and transportation of food and products to our local stores or even deliveries to our door via Amazon, Walmart, UPS, FedEx or other delivery services. Also, about 1% of America’s energy is used to produce fertilizer for farming, not including the fuel for tractors and processing food. All of these energy uses averaged out come to (in a good year) about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s. Remember, up to now, 4% are from wind and solar.

Does it seem reasonabe to expect that we can electrify everything? Including aircraft propulsion, all light vehicles, trucks, ships, trains, fertilizer and more? I don’t think so.

From Dick Storm Presentation to Middle School Students

Think about your day and both the necessities and the conveniences made available through the use of energy. My heading stated we use an average of about a million Btu’s per person each day. For those that will read this post, I suspect each of you are using far more than a million Btu’s per day. For example if a person takes a two hour flight on a airline, even at 80 miles per gallon per seat mile, the per person fuel for a 1,000 mile flight is about 12.5 gallons of Jet A. The plane trip alone uses about a million five hundred thousand Btu’s. The LLNL and EIA data that show our “average use per citizen” include children and folks that live very modestly and do not travel much. Also, the importance of energy used for Industrial production (including producing products from oil feedstock) which provides jobs and a productive economy cannot be underestimated. Industrial production to compete with China cannot be powered by solar and wind any time soon.

Summary and Conclusions

Where extreme priorities have been imposed to switch to renewables such as in Germany, the UK, Hawaii and Texas, there have been issues of high costs, unreliability and economic impact. Some references for further reading are provided below.

I agree with the Title of Donn Dears book, “NET-ZERO CARBON, THE CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING AMERICA

Respectfully,

Dick Storm, May 17, 2022

  1. Summer Blackouts by Failed US Energy policy Manhatten Institute: https://www.city-journal.org/energy-policy-failures-may-lead-to-summer-blackouts
  2. H. Sterling Burnett, Climate Change Policies put Policy before Food and lifting people from poverty: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/25/climate-misanthropes-say-fighting-climate-change-is-more-important-than-food-reliable-energy-and-peace/
  3. Hawaii, Solar Superstar WUWT April 27, 2022: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/26/honolulu-hawaii-top-solar-superstar-in-the-usa/
  4. Texas has Enough Wind and Solar Planned to Phase out Coal: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2022/03/22/solar-and-wind-projects-could-eliminate-coal-in-texas/
  5. EIA Graph of Electricity Generation May 2022 by Fuel: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6930994374252138496/?commentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A(activity%3A6930994374252138496%2C6931263125946077184)#
  6. Texas Grid Dashboard by ERCOT: https://www.ercot.com/gridmktinfo/dashboards
  7. Brace Yourself for High Electricity Costs this Summer, Forbes May 2022: https://fortune.com/2022/05/11/higher-electric-bills-this-summer/
  8. Lawrence Livermore Lab Energy Flow Chart, 2021 Sankey Diagram of primary energy flows: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov
  9. LLL Discussion of Solar and Wind increases, May 2022: https://www.llnl.gov/news/americans-move-more-solar-and-wind-power-2021
  10. Forced Electrification, The Next Stage of Environmentalists War on Consumers, Capital Research Center, Nov. 2021: https://capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/Capital-Research-2021-8.pdf
  11. National News on Nuclear Power needed for the future carbon free generation January 23, 2022: https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2022/01/18/race-to-cut-carbon-emissions-splits-u-s-states-on-nuclear-b/#.Ye2BWS-B2J9  
  12. Donn Dears Blog, access to all articles: https://ddears.com/donns-articles/
  13. The Right Stuff Climate Team (Retired NASA Engineers): https://www.therightclimatestuff.com
  14.  93.5% of our Energy is Used in Heat Engines: https://wordpress.com/post/dickstormprobizblog.wordpress.com/736
  15. Dick Storm USCB-OLLI Courses, Energy and Electricity, History of Energy and Electricity and the Future of Energy and Electricity. The four parts of the “History of Energy and Electricity” are on my website: https://dickstormprobizblog.org
  16. EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42UqxqCCYs
  17.  Real Time US Power Grid link to EIA: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/US48/US48
  18. What is Behind the Energy Crisis: https://www.wsj.com/articles/energy-crisis-fossil-fuel-investment-renewables-gas-oil-prices-coal-wind-solar-hydro-power-grid-11634497531?mod=series_climatefinancemarkets 
  19.   Energy Exec Responds to Elizabeth Warren, Dec 8, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/stupid-inflation-tricks-round-2-elizabeth-warren-toby-rice-eqt-energy-prices-natural-gas-11638990465?mod=MorningEditorialReport&mod=djemMER_h  
  20. . High Natural Gas Prices Cause Rise in Fertilizer and Food Prices, Dec. 16, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/surging-fertilizer-costs-push-farmers-to-shift-planting-plans-raise-prices-11639580768?mod=itp_wsj&mod=djemITP_h
  21. Dick Storm’s views on Electrify Everything, Capital Research Center, Nov. 2021:https://capitalresearch.org/article/forced-electrification-part-4/
  22. Germany’s Nuclear Surrender Opinion, Dec. 24, 2021, WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/germanys-energy-surrender-nuclear-power-angela-merkel-russia-vladimir-putin-11640207188?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=0&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  23. Peace Through Strength & Free Markets are what built America, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon, March 2, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/peace-through-strength-economic-freedom-open-trade-china-ccp-economy-america-competes-act-antitrust-biden-11646154226?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_130&cx_artPos=7&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  24. Net Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America” by Donn Dears. Available on Amazon

Energy & World Peace

The United Nation’s Highest Priority In November 2021 to Save The Planet Was COP-26. Which Is More Important , Peace in the World, The Paris Climate Agreement or Avoiding World Famine and Improving the Quality of Life For All of the People of the World, Including Ukraine?

By Dick Storm

Introduction

Horrible crimes against humanity are being committed in the Russia-Ukraine war. Innocent people are being murdered, homes demolished by military bombardment and artillery, world food production slowed(3,4,5) and what are the leaders of the world concerned about? Manmade Climate Change, the most successful scientific hoax in the history of the world. Three world leaders could improve world peace and start the correction of the mess the world is in today if they would change the priorities of the UN. Who am I referring to: Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres.

Remember the UN priorities in November 2021? If not, here is a review of what these three leaders considered the most sinister problem the people of the world would face in the future. Flashback to Scotland, November 2021:

Biden arriving in Scotland for COP-26
Guterres Addressing COP-26, Stating the need for “Climate Action”
Justin Trudeau at COP-26 in Scotland

What is The Purpose of the United Nations and The Paris Agreement? World Peace? Protection of the Environment?….or One World Government to Control The People of The World?

As the world is on the threshold of nuclear war with a world food crisis likely next winter from reduced fertilizer availability and massive unproductive farmland in a war zone, these three leaders and many other sycophants have the Paris Agreement for Climate Change Policies as their top agenda, instead of the best interests of their constituents, world peace and improving the human development index of the people of the world.

I feel strongly that the top priority of these leaders and the U.N. is not concern for the planet that drives them. It is politics and control of the world’s citizens. In short, power over people. For example, the UN Secretary General’s background is copied below. This is from his Bio on the UN web page, From Mr. Guterres Curriculum vitae: “For many years Mr. Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties.”

Let me digress and quote the past president of the Czech Republic on the “Climate Zealots” such as Guterres, Biden, Kerry, Gore, Trudeau and many more.

Vaclav Klaus is Past President of The Czech Republic and grew up under Communism then had to wrestle with policies by the “Greens” of Europe. An Economist by training. His words, from about 2007…..“Global Warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. The IPCC is not a scientific institution: it’s a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It’s neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are polititicized scientists who have arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided argument”(49)

Justin Trudeau also could help guide the United Nations to a truly serious priority, but according to Peter Schweizer’s recent book, “Red Handed”, Trudeau also ranks political power above world peace. See page 187 describing the Trudeau family and links to China: Justin Trudeau is quoted in 2013: When asked which country he admired the most replied “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China….because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime and say, ‘we need to go greenest, fastest—we need to invest in solar’ I mean, there is flexibility that I know Stephen Harper (the Canadian PM at the time) must dream dream about having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted, and I find that quite interesting”      

Avoiding Famine

It should be blatently obvious that ranking peace and the world food supply should be more important than the Paris Climate Agreement which is based on a scientific hoax anyway. Ukraine alone supplied about 12% of the global wheat before the war, and was the biggest producer of sunflower oil. About two-thirds of the country’s wheat exports had already been delivered before the invasion, but the rest is now blocked, and farmers may be unable to continue with spring planting, or take in grain harvests in the summer. A headline in the “Times of Israel” reads, “Israel scrambles for solutions as Ukraine war chokes off egg, wheat imports”Industry figures predict egg shortage and sky-high wheat prices just in time for Passover holiday. The prospect for the world later this year is shortages of food across the globe. (3,4,5, 30) 

Ukraine Grain Field from Times of Israel

Energy impacts Fertilizer too! Ukraine and Russia are also major producers of fertilizer, prices for which had already leapt under high energy prices – and the war is sending energy prices higher still, with further impacts on agricultural production costs.

Fertilizer costs in the U.S. have also tripled this year. Partly because of Biden’s energy policies and exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The impact of energy on food availability goes beyond higher cost Diesel fuel for shipping transportation fuel in the supply chain. Fertilizer and farmland in areas of conflict are a huge problem. (2,3,4,9,10)

Perhaps better kept as a separate subject to write on, but most people are not aware that between 30 to 40% of the U.S. corn crop is used to produce Ethanol for a gasoline additive that lowers the energy equivalent of gasoline and reduces auto mileage. Suffice it to say, energy and environmental policies that promote burning food for fuel also affects the world food supply.(16,17)

How is Energy Linked to World Peace?

I began this essay on the priorities of the leaders of the world and the priorities they saw as top priority in November 2021. Well, if you think the Mainstream Media has been duped and indoctrinated then you are not alone. While the world’s media attention was on the War on Carbon, very serious problems were brewing and under-reported. Kindly take a look at the six charts below: 1. Total primary energy of the world, 2. Coal Consumption by Region, 3. COEmissions of the World, 4. Total Energy by Source for China and 5. Total End Use of Coal Fuel for Products and 6. China, The World’s Superpower of Manufacturing. 

Over 50% of the world’s Fossil Fuel energy is being used by China to manufacture over 50% of the world’s steel, aluminum and just about every other product needed by the free world. These are easily verifiable facts reported by Our World in Data, IEA.org, the United Nations, EIA  and Statista. Energy and Economic Prosperity are inextricably related.

Energy Use by China, U.S.A., Japan, EU and India By IEA
IEA Graph of Total CO2 Emissions from Combustion Processes 1900 2021

So what is driving the recent rapid increase in world CO2 emissions? According to the IEA, it’s mainly China:

The rebound of global CO2 emissions above pre-pandemic levels has largely been driven by China. . . . China’s CO2 emissions increased by 750 Mt over the two-year period between 2019 and 2021. China was the only major economy to experience economic growth in both 2020 and 2021. The emissions increase in China more than offset the aggregate decline in the rest of the world of 570 Mt between 2019 and 2021. . . . With rapid GDP growth and additional electrification of energy services, electricity demand in China grew by 10% in 2021, faster than economic growth at 8.4%. The increase in demand of almost 700 TWh was the largest ever experienced in China. With demand growth outstripping the increase of low emissions supply, coal was called on to fill 56% of the rise in electricity demand.(47)

Total Energy Supply (TES) By Source, People’s Republic of China, 1990-2019

The South China Morning Post” reported April 1, 2022, quoting “China’s Zhang Jianhua, chief of the National Energy Administration: “It signed an agreement to be supplied with 100 million metric tonnes of Russian crude oil over the next 10 years and a 30-year gas supply contract.

The world’s second largest economy suffered a nationwide energy crunch in September of last year amid local decarbonisation and energy saving campaigns, which has forced policymakers to adjust energy policies.

In the 14th five-year energy plan for 2021-25 released last week, Beijing said it would set annual crude output at around 200 million metric tonnes and lift natural gas output to more than 230 billion cubic metres from 205.3 billion cubic metres.

Coal and thermal power will remain the bedrock of China’s energy security strategy, Zhang wrote in the article.” (31)

The above is a direct quote from the SCMP, except the bold and underlining of the last line which was by me.

A recent post in WUWT stated, “China Continues To Laugh At Western “Green Energy” Foolishness”(47)

Why? The graphs above show China’s energy  sources and growth in consumption. Economic prosperity is powered by Energy and China has used a lot of energy to become the world’s largest manufacturer.

Russia is the World’s Gas Station, China is the World’s Largest Manufacturer, Still think the UN Has it Right with the War on Carbon as their Top Priority?

China continues to power their mammoth manufacturing might with coal plants. We should remember our history, do you remember the term “The Arsenal of Democracy” when America provided the remarkable production of airplanes, tanks, guns, ships, arms and materiel to help the Allies win WWll? Some say “History Repeats”…..and if we switch to current events, Russia and China are very cozy with each other at this horrible time for Ukraine.

My point is that energy is a pre-requisite for economic prosperity. China gets it. China, Environmental Extremists, Socialists and Russia have duped the UN and the world leaders into believing the planet is imperiled by 0.041% carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, China burns over half of the world’s coal to power their industries. Russia remains the world’s gas station and holds Europe hostage to Russia’s gas (and more) while the Green’s of Germany shut down safe, proven, reliable and reasonable production cost coal and nuclear power plants, making them beholden to Russian energy. This is nuts.

China has risen from a “Developing Country” in 2000 to the second largest economy in the world. They not only manufacture much of the steel, aluminum, rare earth minerals for batteries, solar panels and wind turbine components, they also manufacture much of the Pharmaceuticals used in the world and in the U.S. Have you tried to purchase a made in U.S.A. Drug lately? This brings me to banking. As a small businessman about thirty years ago, I remember how important banks were to sustain our business. To provide business loans for expansion, cover payroll until the invoice for products or services was paid and for conducting commerce in other countries. Banks and the size of banks is one metric to use to judge a country’s economic prosperity.  China seems to me, to be pretty slick in their approach to dominating the world. They quietly support Russia and other rogue nations while they focus on producing products, acquiring world natural resources and taking over the world by using the weaknesses of Democracy & Capitalism to exploit their Financial muscle. Let’s take a look at China’s financial muscle. To be perfectly honest, the ranking of the world banks surprised me and I thought I kept up with world business news.

China and Banking

China now has five of the world’s ten largest Banks. Yes, being the world’s largest manufacturer has it’s advantages. It creates wealth which can then be converted into International Influence. The China “One Belt, One Road” or “Belt and Roads Initiative” is an example that is playing out around the world. Also, I am told by a financial expert, China holds about 4% of the U.S. Treasury debt.

A lot of people who have not run a business do not understand the need for working Capital. When a company cannot get loans to cover everyday costs or to finance future improvements they go out of business. We might ask some questions regarding the ESG Movement and Regulations that are pending with regard to discouraging or demonizing investments in fossil fuels (and suppliers to fossil fuel producers) by US investors. Is there a sinister, foreign influence side to the ESG movement and Federal Regulations? Here is the list of the top ten banks of the world. Yes, five of the top ten are Chinese.

My point is, manufacturing requires lots of energy. Especially primary metals and heavy manufacturing. As seen from the graphs above, China has grown enormously in manufacturing capacity since they entered the WTO in 2001. To put it in perspective, China built more electric generation capacity in twenty years than the U.S. did since the days of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse 100+ years ago.

Getting back to finance, did you catch the small news item last week? As it is related to energy, Saudi Arabia is considering acceptance  of the Chinese Yuan for oil and China will be pushing to use other currency than the USD as they continue to grow their economy. (50)

Let’s Review the Sources of the Dependable, Dispatchable and in 2020, Reasonable Cost Energy that We Depend On

If you take what you see in the newspapers and on TV seriously, you would think that we only have a little way to go to convert our economy to zero carbon. This is not true!

I cite the example of a usually conservative Newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. This is a screen shot of a video they had last year which was based on facts, but at the same time misleading the public on the success of “Green Energy”.

WSJ Video, Screen Shot with my Text Added to Be Wary of Headlines such as this

Yes, the 90% of “NEW GENERATION” in 2020 was Renewable, but the true useful energy production was less than 4% of the total energy provided to the U.S.A.

This is a reminder, over 90% of America’s energy is provided by conventional fuels such as oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, waste to energy, biomass and old hydroelectric power stations.  The Lawrence Livermore Labs Sankey Diagram, in my opinion, is the best single illustration to show true energy flows from the sources to end use. It is copied below for the year 2019. This is simply the true facts of where we obtain our energy:

America has been using right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy for decades. The next chart below, shows the historical energy use from 1950-2019.  This is a useful chart to consider the transfer of energy from fossil fuels to electric vehicles. Notice that only 3.78% of our Total Energy was provided by solar and wind in 2019. Now imagine the futility of replacing the 37% of our Total Energy now provided by petroleum, with EV’s. The Government Net Zero Carbon plans to replace not only the petroleum but also Natural Gas and Nuclear. The Total Energy supplied by Petroleum is about 37%, Gas 32%, Coal 11.4% and Nuclear 8.5%. These “Conventional sources of energy total 88.9%. Replacing this energy with renewables by 2030 or even 2050 will require an enormous technological breakthrough. The government should not promote policies based on miracles.

To keep our same freedom and high quality of life, it requires each of us 331 million Americans to utilize an average of about a million Btu’s in energy each day.  Averages are often misleading, consider the millions of Btu’s used by the world elitists that traveled to Scotland for COP-26. My understanding is that there were over 400 private jets and that the fuel used for these delegates exceeded the total petrol used by Scotland for an entire year. That should provide a clue regarding the sincere interest of the participants in the UN Climate talks to save the planet.   It is reasonable for each of us living in the Developed World to continue using our allotment of about a million Btu’s of energy each day.

America’s Total Energy Use has been steady at about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s each year for the last 20 years, EIA

My Suggestion, On How to Fix this Energy, World Peace and Food Supply Mess

The War of Carbon in my viewpoint is contributing to International conflicts and harming world peace. If Joe Biden would  rescind most of his Executive orders  including drilling on Federal Lands, Building the Keystone Pipeline and scrapping the Paris Climate Agreement, it would, in my opinion, contribute to world peace and much more. (1,2,3,5,13)  

The Biden administration is testing new depths of mind-blowing political dysfunction, by begging OPEC for more oil, while at the same time maintaining their attack on the US domestic oil industry. (28) Speaking of attacks on the energy producers that we depend on…..

ESG, One of America’s Self Inflicted Roadblocks for a Sane Energy Policy

The (ESG) movement is harming U.S. productive capacity of conventional fuels that are needed. (See above Sankey Diagram to show what we need) These actions are pushed by environmental groups, by government and by big business. (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40)  These ESG punitive actions have been ramped up, such as Biden’s “Whole Government Approach to Climate Control Policies” with involvement of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the EPA, IRS Tax policies and more. 

Meanwhile, NGO’s also are attacking US Energy producers. Does this look to you like it could be coordinated with America’s world competitors or enemies? It does to me. Check reference #44 entitled, “What Divestment From Russia Means for Activism Against Fossil Fuels” then the sub title: “It’s time to scale up fossil fuels divestment”(44). When 80% of the energy we depend on is from oil, gas & coal, does this seem like a Patriotic and good action? Not in my book. Another excellent reference on the good that Fossil Fuels do to keep America strong and to improve the quality of life for all of the people of the world.  The publication by Liberty Oilfield Services is entitled “Bettering Human Lives, 2020 ESG Report”(45)  

It could be argued, that keeping America energy independent and the Free World less dependent on rogue nations is important for national security. Look at the mess Europe is in now with their dependence on Putin’s Russian natural gas. The Greens helped push Europe toward Green Energy and they are working hard here in the US too. The environmental extremists were successful in stopping all major new coal plants from being constructed in the US since about 2012. The last major Utility scale clean coal plants I am aware of are Turk in Arkansas and Longview in West Virginia. Even then to obtain operating permits, the environmental extremists were paid off in settlements. These settlements were millions of dollars.(46)  Quite honestly, it is extortion which was enabled by the US government. How does this make America stronger and more energy independent?

How About Clean Air?

Before Biden’s Executive orders to push America toward intermittent green energy, our air was and remains amongst the cleanest in the world. The EPA Graphic copied below shows the trends of cleaner air from 1970-2020. This is regarding the six major pollutants that are a real threat to health. I just like everyone else enjoy and appreciate clean air and clean water. I also like my freedom and the American life style that I have enjoyed all of my life.

From EPA website

From my personal experiences of traveling around the world, I can honestly say America’s air is as clean or cleaner than most other countries that I have visited either on business or pleasure. Note the EPA chart above does show the increases in population and GDP from 1970 to 2019, as the six aggregate named pollutants were steadily reduced. There does come to be a point of diminishing returns on air pollution controls just like most other problems. That is, unless you are a Bureaucrat and wish to keep making more and more and stricter yet Regulations. That is the case, in my opinion of the restrictions on COand the Net Zero Carbon and Extreme Green policies.  These Regulations and Executive Orders are harmful for American competitiveness and harmful for Peace and Prosperity of the world.

Conclusions

  1. The Net-Zero Carbon Climate Policies are contributing to turmoil in the world by weakening America and NATO Allies. The Paris Agreement for working toward Net Zero Carbon is politically driven, not by concern to save the planet.
  2. The Green Energy Movement in Europe should be an example for the U.S. to learn from. They have had extreme cost escalations and, in some cases, rolling blackouts.
  3. Conventional Fuels of Natural Gas, Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Hydroelectric and Biomass provide over 90% of our energy. Ramping up Renewable solar and wind from about 4% to 100% is unrealistic and impossible to achieve without technological breakthroughs.
  4. The ESG Movement (Environmental Social and Governance) is Discouraging needed investments in oil and gas production as well as harming most all Energy Producers. Check references 33 through 39 for more details.
  5. If Net Zero Carbon was really needed or important, then the Government would encourage the building of more nuclear power plants. Hundreds of them as most of the about 20% of our electricity and over 50% of our carbon free electricity is produced by nuclear now. Most of these nuclear plants were started up in the 1970’s and 1980’s. (41, 42, 43)
  6.  World Peace and Prosperity could be better achieved if the world leaders were to focus on the true problems of the world, rather than a war on carbon.

The foregoing are selected facts and data to support my claim that if President Biden were to rescind his 2021 Executive orders and roll back EPA, Dept of the Interior and other Government Regulations to those in effect when he took office, America could begin a recovery of correcting inflation, supply chain issues, increased food production for the world, improved economic growth & Prosperity and even leading the world to peace.

Respectfully submitted,

Dick Storm, April 5, 2022

References and Resources for Further Reading to Support My Conclusions:

  1. Joe Biden Executive Orders List From January 20, 2021: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/all-of-president-bidens-key-executive-orders-in-one-chart-2021-01-21
  2. Peace Through Strength & Free Markets are what built America, Phil Gramm and Mike Solon, March 2, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/peace-through-strength-economic-freedom-open-trade-china-ccp-economy-america-competes-act-antitrust-biden-11646154226?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_130&cx_artPos=7&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  3. World Food Supply Insecurity, WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-war-stokes-insecurity-in-the-worlds-food-supply-11647343035?mod=Searchresults_pos20&page=1
  4. Fertilizer Prices Worldwide are increasing, WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-war-hits-worlds-farmers-as-russia-cuts-fertilizer-supplies-hurting-brazil-11646487815?mod=article_inline
  5. Surging Fertilizer Prices Push Farmers to shift Planting Plans, Raise Prices : https://www.wsj.com/articles/surging-fertilizer-costs-push-farmers-to-shift-planting-plans-raise-prices-11639580768?mod=itp_wsj&mod=djemITP_h
  6. IEA Energy Profile of China: https://www.iea.org/countries/china
  7. Germany’s Energiewiende description by World Nuclear Association. : https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/energiewende.aspx
  8. German Magazine Der Spiegel article on the importance of coal in Nov. 2021: https://www.spiegel.de/international/business/troubling-addiction-the-world-is-failing-to-phase-out-coal-a-6d2007de-8196-4466-aaca-8b6a2714ec78
  9. World Food Crisis Likely due to Russia-Ukraine War, The Guardian, March 14, 2022: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/14/ukraine-invasion-worldwide-food-crisis-warns-un
  10. Eleven-year-old article on the importance of Ukraine Grain, the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/20/ukraine-grain-farming-exports
  11. Top Banks in the world, lexis Nexis: https://risk.lexisnexis.com/insights-resources/article/bank-rankings-top-banks-in-the-world
  12. Saudi Arabia considers payment for oil with Yuan, Bloomberg, March 15, 2022: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-15/yuan-surges-after-report-on-saudis-accepting-currency-for-oil
  13. Biden’s Plan to starve Americans of Fossil Fuels, Paul Driessen, CFACT: https://www.cfact.org/2022/03/27/bidens-plan-to-starve-america-of-fossil-fuels/
  14. “Greenpeace Environmentalism in Europe, Allowed Putin to Invade Ukraine”, CFACT: https://www.cfact.org/2022/03/09/greenpeace-environmentalism-allowed-putin-to-invade-ukraine/
  15. Competitive Enterprise Institute, Background on the Clean Power Plan: https://cei.org/clean-power-plan/
  16. Scientific American, Rethinking our Corn to Ethanol Policy: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/time-to-rethink-corn/
  17. Corn for Ethanol, Univ. of Nebraska: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/bioenergy/corn
  18. Why your Electric Costs are Surging and likely to go higher, March 15, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-your-electric-bill-is-soaringand-likely-to-go-higher-11647250380?mod=hp_featst_pos4
  19. Germany’s Nuclear Surrender Opinion, Dec. 24, 2021: (See last reference #51 below)
  20. Factories close in UK due to High Energy Costs, WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/surging-energy-prices-close-u-k-factories-another-bottleneck-in-a-world-full-of-them-11631792586?mod=Searchresults_pos5&page=1
  21. Behind the rise of U.S. Solar,  Built with a Mountain of Chinese Coal WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-rise-of-u-s-solar-power-a-mountain-of-chinese-coal-11627734770?mod=Searchresults_pos18&page=9
  22. If Renewables are so Cheap, then Why is Germany’s Electricity so Expensive? American Experiment : https://www.americanexperiment.org/if-renewables-are-so-cheap-why-is-germanys-electricity-so-expensive/
  23. United Nations News, November 2021, COP-26: https://news.un.org/en/news/topic/climate-change
  24. United Nations, News regarding “World Peace and Sustainability” March 22, 2022: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1115272
  25. Scottish News, “Private Jets of Climate Elites Blast More CO2 to Travel to COP-26  than 1600 Scots Pump Out in a Year”: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/private-jets-flying-cop26-blast-25338840
  26. Donn Dears articles on the true facts and Common Sense of the Importance of Energy, including “How Europe Dithers” while the Russians prepared for war: https://ddears.com/donns-articles/
  27. WUWT Blog, “Arab Nations Respond to Global Energy Demand for Energy Security”, April 3, 2022: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/02/whos-talking-climate-change-now-arab-states-respond-to-global-demand-for-energy-security/
  28. Biden Suspends Oil and Gas Leases to Protect the World from Climate Change, WUWT January 2021: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/01/21/biden-suspends-federal-oil-and-gas-permits-because-climate-change/
  29. Toronto Sun, “Oh the Hypocrisy of Climate Change”: https://torontosun.com/news/world/oh-the-hypocrisy-private-jets-pack-scotlands-climate-conference
  30. Times of Israel, “Israeli’s Scramble For Food” : https://www.google.com/url?q=https://toi.by/nwkDto&source=gmail&ust=1649072066572000&usg=AOvVaw1zxNxuPXllU7WBiaJoMgyM
  31. South China Morning Post, Energy News regarding Russia-Ukraine War, April1, 2022: https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3172764/china-vows-bolster-energy-security-ukraine-war-stokes-period
  32. IEA, Total Primary Energy Use for World 1971-2017: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/total-primary-energy-supply-for-the-eu-and-selected-countries-1971-2017 ESG and Climate Related Financial News to Cripple U.S. Conventional Fuels Production:
  33. BANK OF AMERICA CEO, Nov. 9, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-financing-the-multi-trillion-dollar-transition-to-net-zero-isnt-that-hard-11636018200
  34. Who is Driving “Climate Funds”: https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-funds-whos-driving-growing-demand-11637165424?mod=latest_headlines
  35. WSJ Citi Bank to eliminate some Clients that are not “Green” enough, Dec. 7, 2021: 
  36. https://www.wsj.com/articles/citigroups-jane-fraser-expects-to-shed-some-clients-for-climate-purposes-11638912251?mod=business_minor_pos15
  37. WSJ Finance ESG Conflict of Interests, Jan 29, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/wall-streets-green-push-exposes-new-conflicts-of-interest-11643452202?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_5&cx_artPos=0&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  38. ESG Investing Nov. 18, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-and-environment-focused-funds-dominate-esg-11637092844
  39. SEC Requirements for Climate Change Disclosure March 21, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-to-float-mandatory-disclosure-of-climate-change-risks-emissions-11647874814?mod=djemalertNEWS
  40. Blackrock Climate Policies to Make Money Jan. 7, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/larry-fink-wants-to-save-the-world-and-make-money-doing-it-11641484864?mod=itp_wsj&mod=djemITP_h
  41.  Small Modular Reactors, WSJ, Aug. 2021 : https://www.wsj.com/articles/utilities-eye-mini-nuclear-reactors-as-climate-concerns-grow-11627905600?mod=article_inline
  42. WSJ Saturday Essay on the Future of Nuclear Power in a Carbon-Free World: https://www.wsj.com/articles/is-nuclear-power-part-of-the-climate-solution-11641571176
  43. World Nuclear Association, Nuclear Power Facts: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power-policy.aspx
  44. An interesting post by the Sierra Club, entitled, “What Divestment from Russia Means for Activism Against Fossil Fuels From Russia” March 22, 2022: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/what-divestment-russia-means-for-activism-against-fossil-fuels
  45. Liberty Oilfield Services, 2020 ESG Report, “Bettering Human Lives”: https://www.libertyfrac.com/bettering-human-lives-2020-esg-report/
  46. Settlement of John Turk Power Plant with Environmental groups, Arkansas Times, 2011: https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2011/12/22/sierra-club-audubon-settle-with-swepco-on-turk-power-plant  and https://www.aep.com/news/releases/read/1235/AEP-
  47.  China Continues To Laugh At Western “Green Energy” Foolishness, April 2, Manhatten Contrarian: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/03/china-continues-to-laugh-at-western-green-energy-foolishness/
  48. China’s Energy Dream, Patricia Adams, GWPF: https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2021/12/Adams-Chinas-Energy-Dream.pdf
  49.  Vaclav Klaus Book, “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”, published in English in 2007 by Competitive Enterprise Institute
  50. Saudi Arabia considers acceptance of Yuan for Oil payments, WSJ March 15, 2022: https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-considers-accepting-yuan-instead-of-dollars-for-chinese-oil-sales-11647351541

51. Germany’s Nuclear Surrender:

Mentoring the Middle School Students

Helping our youth to understand the importance of energy and electricity to energize our good lives

Why Should We Invest Time with the Public School Students?

From a personal viewpoint, I have always considered it a high priority to do my best to support energy education of the public and especially our public school students. A great group to start with if we wish to improve the general public’s understanding of the importance of energy. Perhaps if we start with the youth, they will educate their parents on the facts; That conventional sources comprise about 90% of the total energy that makes our high quality of life possible. By conventional, I mean, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Coal and Hydroelectric.

All of us who have been employed in the supply chain of producing energy understand the rarity of energy savvy people we meet who are not or have not been closely involved with our industry. So, when an opportunity to present a short class on energy and electricity generation came up at our local Middle School, I accepted the invitation. Here are some of the slides I will use for this group of 8th Graders.

The general public’s knowledge of energy and it’s importance seems to be limited to gasoline prices. When in a social setting and I discuss the U.S. need for 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy and where it comes from, most people’s eyes glaze over and are not very interested. However, with the Russia-Ukraine war, it seems folks are more interested now than they were a few months ago. Perhaps timely to give a course on energy fundamentals.

Each American uses about 800,000 to 1 million Btu’s every day

Our Lifestyles Depend on Energy

How did I come up with 800,000 – 1,000,000 Btu’s per person, per day? Here is how: America uses right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually. If 100 Quadrillion (15 zeros) is divided by the population of the U.S.A. of about 330 million people, the result is about 303 million Btu’s per person. This is the average energy use for each of us. Then, divide 303 million by 365 days per year and it is 830,000 Btu’s per day. The above illustration shows how we may use our portion of fuels to consume our share of the Nation’s energy. If we are traveling by car for an interstate trip, we can easily use more than a million Btu’s in a day. Likewise, ordering a large shipment of furniture or heavy goods from Amazon or other on-line Retailer will require energy to be used on our behalf to deliver our products to the door. You get the picture.

Another way to illustrate 300-330 million Btu’s is to show the equivalence in barrels of gasoline, Diesel Fuel, propane or coal. Also, nuclear. This is shown below.

Annual Equivalent Per Capita Energy Use of 300-330 Million Btu’s/person

So Where Did You Come up with 100 Quadrillion Btu’s?

The U.S. Department of Energy has been measuring, calculating and reporting total primary energy use for decades. I have been watching this and America’s energy use has held right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s +/- 10%, for the last twenty years or so. Below is the Sankey diagram which shows 2019 total primary energy flows. The sources are on the left and uses are on the right. This is how the breakdown of uses was established: 37% electricity generation, 28.1% transportation, 26.4% Industrial, 11.4% Residential and 9.41% Commercial.

I stated above that the U.S. has used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s for decades. The chart below published by the EIA (Energy Information Administration) shows the total energy used 1950 to 2019. The differences in “Production and Consumption” are imports. As of December 2020, America produced as much energy as we consumed. Again, right at 100 quadrillion Btu’s.

Let’s Drill Down to See Where the Energy Is Used in SC to Generate Electricity

Currently and at least through 2030, over 50% of South Carolina’s electricity will come from nuclear power generation.

S.C. has four large nuclear power plants with a total of seven generating units. Here is a map of where they are located.

The second largest source of our electricity is natural gas fuel. This is burned very efficiently in power plants such as this. The newest natural gas generating plants can obtain thermal efficiencies over 60%.

Coal fuel was over 50% of Santee-Cooper’s electric generation about ten years ago. Since then, natural gas fuel became lower in cost and abundant and has replaced much of the coal power generation. However, today natural gas prices are increasing and it is likely that coal fuel will be more economical to generate our electricity not generated by nuclear and renewables.

The Santee-Cooper coal plants that provide electricity to our local electricity distributor, Palmetto Electric Co-Op are shown below.

Santee-Cooper Coal Plants

Isn’t Most of Our Power Provided by Solar, Wind and Hydro-Electric?

No! That is a popular misconception. Even the Wall Street Journal has misled people into thinking that most of our electricity is generated by renewables (wind, solar and hydro). The data above show the true facts of the sources of our electricity and total energy.

Note that of our total energy in 2019, wind and solar together only provided about 3.8% of America’s total energy. The 96.2% was provided by conventional forms of energy such as nuclear, natural gas, coal and hydro-electric. The WSJ Headline is accurate in stating that 90% of the New Electricity Generation in 2020 came from Renewables. That is because they used “Nameplate Capacity” for the Renewables and the simple fact that the “Old coal, Nuclear, Coal and Hydroelectric” plants are very robust, reliable and have long lives when properly maintained.

The Santee-Cooper Pinnopolis Dam, Hydro-Electric plant is shown above. When I use the term “Old Hydroelectric plants”, this is where I was coming from. If you look at “Total Renewables Energy” on the Sankey diagram above, you will see that most of the renewable generation is from old hydroelectric plants. In 2019 that was about 2.5% of our total primary energy as compared to 1.04% solar.

These are the hydro plants operated by Santee-Cooper. Located about 100 miles north of Hilton Head near Moncks Corner, SC.

Solar

Much is written in the news about solar and many people are of the impression that solar is a major source of Bulk Electric generation. The fact is that yes, much money is being invested in solar but the total generation is very small when compared to nuclear, gas and coal. Here below is a much hyped solar farm on the east side of I-95 about 50 miles north of Hilton Head. It is about 15 acres and during a bright sunny day will produce about 3.5 MW.

By the way, if 3.5 MW seems like a lot of electric power consider that on a hot summer day Hilton Head Island uses about 180 MW during peak Demand.

Palmetto Electric Co-Op distributes electricity on Hilton Head Island. They obtain most of their Bulk Power wholesale from Santee-Cooper which is owned by the state of SC. Generation capacity of Santee-Cooper power plants is listed below. Note, most generation capacity is coal, nuclear and natural gas.

Electricity is Secondary Energy and uses about 37% of America’s total Primary Energy. The other 63% of Energy is Important to Fuel Our High Quality Lives!

The Federal government, at this point in time, is stating and making policies that would “Electrify Everything”. Especially transportation. Most large automobile manufacturers have stated that they plan to phase out the Internal Combustion Engine by 2035. That is only 13 years into the future.

Think about the chart above. Yes, 96% of our Primary Energy comes from conventional sources. (I consider nuclear, coal, gas, biomass and hydroelectric all conventional sources) The highest percentage of primary energy is from petroleum. America uses about 20 million barrels per day of oil. To illustrate what 20 million barrels per day looks like, take a look at the photo below. This is a picture of me standing in front of a portion of the above ground Aleyeska pipeline in Alaska. It is above ground because of passing through frozen tundra and the heated oil must be above ground for environmental and pipeline integrity concerns. This pipeline is capable of moving about 2 million barrels of oil per day. So, to imagine the quantity of oil that America uses, picture 10 of these pipelines side by side. Yes, 10 pipelines like this. At 42 gallons per barrel, that is a lot of oil.(2)

Most rimary energy is used in “Heat Engines” that convert heat energy to motive force. Another point to imagine, is if the about 275 million light trucks and cars registered in the U.S. were converted to EV’s…..This could create Demand for an enormous amount of electricity. However, in some cases the electricity needs to be “Dispatchable” when it is needed, such as in charging EV’s on a road trip. In other cases such as long range aircraft and ship propulsion, electricity is not an option with current technology. Fossil Fuels are important to fuel our lives.

Heat Energy from fuels is enormous. Just a reminder of the definition of a “Horsepower” and a BTU (British Thermal Unit).

A horsepower is equivalent to the work accomplished by lifting a weight of 550 pounds in one second or 33,000 Foot pounds per minute. One BTU converted at 100% thermal efficiency to work is equivalent to 778 Foot pounds. A gallon of gasoline contains between 115,000 and 125,000 Btu’s. So one gallon of gasoline is worth over 90 million foot pounds of work.

Perhaps a reminder of agricultural productivity is timely. At the turn of the 20th Century, about 40% of our population was required to work on the farms to feed our nation. Then, we changed from muscle power of animals to mechanized farming, using tractors. The work of a team of horses could be accomplished with a single gasoline powered tractor.

A reminder from U.S. history…..Our Economy became the largest in the world as America switched from muscle power of draft animals and humans to mechanization powered by fossil fuels.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Energy and Economic Prosperity are inter-related
  • America has used about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for decades and to preserve our high quality of life, will continue to require 100 Quadrillion+ Btu’s each year into the future
  • Fossil fuels provide about 80% of our total primary energy
  • Conventional forms of energy, including Gas, Nuclear, Coal and old Hydroelectric plants, provide over 90% of our primary energy
  • The Mainstream News, Entertainment and Misguided Politicians are wrong to attack fossil fuels. Donn Dears book(4) Net Zero Carbon, Climate Policies Destroying America” lays out facts and policies to support the title

When I am in the classroom, I will not discuss the politics of “Climate Change”, only the facts on energy and electricity. I hope all of my friends employed in energy industries do likewise to attempt to set the record straight on the importance of energy and electricity.

Yours very truly,

Dick Storm, March 9, 2022

References for further reading and research:

  1. Dick Storm USCB-OLLI Courses, Energy and Electricity, History of Energy and Electricity and the Future of Energy and Electricity. The four parts of the “History of Energy and Electricity” are on my website: https://dickstormprobizblog.org
  2. Global Energy Monitor, Alaska Pipeline facts: https://www.gem.wiki/Trans-Alaska_Oil_Pipeline_System
  3. Dick Storm’s views on Electrify Everything, Capital Research Center, Nov. 2021:https://capitalresearch.org/article/forced-electrification-part-4/
  4. Net Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America” by Donn Dears. Available on Amazon
  5. Alabama Power, Miller Steam Plant, An intersting video of how a large coal plant works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftl-WM6wms
  6. A more factual asessment of Sea Level Rise to counter the exaggerations by movies on Climate Catastrophe’s, about 1.36 ft/100 years:  https://www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8534720 and WUWT Sea Level Rise: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/14/sea-level-rise-fastest-in-2000-years-or-not/
  7. National News on Nuclear Power needed for the future carbon free generation January 23, 2022: https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2022/01/18/race-to-cut-carbon-emissions-splits-u-s-states-on-nuclear-b/#.Ye2BWS-B2J9  

What Is Endangered, Climate or Freedom? This is the sub-title of the book “BLUE PLANET IN GREEN SHACKLES”

Vaclav Klaus is a past President of the Czech Republic. Klaus wrote the book, “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” in 2007, published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The sub-title reminds me of the current crisis in the Ukraine. With Russia’s economy being fortified by PetroDollars and the CCP working in earnest to Dominate the World with their influence. I re-ask the question What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?”

Vaclav Klaus, A Smart and Courageous Man, Also A Great Thinker and Writer!

Václav Klaus, (born June 19, 1941, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), Czech economist and politician who served as Prime Minister (1993–97) and President (2003–13) of the Czech Republic. 

Klaus graduated from the University of Economics in Prague in 1963. He was a research worker at the Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1968 when he completed his Ph.D. in economics. After working for several years at the Czechoslovak State Bank, he joined the Forecasting Institute of the Czech Academy in 1987. At the beginning of the 1989 Velvet Revolution which brought about the peaceful end of Communism in Czechoslovakia, Klaus entered politics. This Bio from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Another quote attributed to Klaus: “The climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about nature or scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, about one – recently born – dirigistic and collectivistic ideology, which goes against freedom and free markets”

Prescient Words from Klaus in 2007

“As someone who lived under Communism for most of my life, I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy,the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st Century is not Communism or its various softer versions. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism. This ideology preaches Earth and nature, and under the slogans of their protection-similarly to the old Marxists-wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning of the whole world.”

“The environmentalists consider their ideas and arguments to be an indisputable truth and use sophisticated methods of media manipulation and (Public relations) campaigns to exert pressure on policymakers to achieve their goals. Their argumentation is based on the spreading of fear and panic by declaring teh future of the world to be under serious threat. In such an atmosphere, they continue pushing policymakers to adopt illiberal measures; imposearbitrary limits, regulations, prohibitions, and restrictions on everyday human activities; and make people subject to omnipotent bureaucratic decision making. To use the words of Friedrich Hayek, they try to stop free, spontaneous human action and replace it by their own, very doubtful human design….”

The above is an excerpt from page 76 of the book’s appendix. This book is only about 100 pages long including the four appendices, the last one being Klaus’ speech to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2007. The U.N. should have paid more attention and acted as Dr. Klaus recommended.

Where is the Czech Republic?

The Czech Republic began its exit from Communism in 1989. The map below shows its position to the south of Germany and Poland.

Czech Republic Map from Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2010

So What Does The United Nations do for World Peace?

Since about 2007 or so, the Main Stream Media would have us believe the top priority with the U.N. is to save the planet from global warming and climate change. I have written on another post my thoughts on the U.N. Agenda 21 and the IPCC.

The News from the last week or so in Europe is troubling as Russia launches attacks on the Ukraine. The pain, suffering and deaths of the people of the Ukraine is horrible to watch on TV.

So, where is the U.N.? Now a sovereign country has a genuine and true crisis for humanity in Europe. Russia has invaded, waged war and is attempting to take over the sovereign country of the Ukraine, a country of 44 million freedom loving people and a land area about the size of our state of Texas. The U.N. apparently agrees with John Kerry, policies that are related to Climate Change are more important than world peace.

To me this confirms the belief that the U.N. is more interested in a new world government than in promoting peace between nations, promoting freedom, Democracy and improving living conditions for the people of the world. (11)

Fossil Fuels Have Served Russia and China Well

China’s has used coal power to build the largest manufacturing economy in the world. Yes, they lifted millions out of poverty as they did so, but could they have a hidden agenda for world domination? Read about their “Belt and Roads Initiative” and you may find the answer.(9,10,12)

From IEA Total Energy Supply for China 1990-2019

Another country that is fueling their economy on petro-dollars is Russia.

My point: The Peaceful Nations of the World have been duped into signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement while China and Russia appear to be working together on dominating the world with their influence and in the case of the Ukraine, war and atrocities on the citizens only because Putin wants the Ukraine to be within the control of Moscow. As regards Peace in the World, the United Nations has been AWOL, ( like John Kerry), more interested in the war on carbon(11) than a real unprovoked war that has created death and destruction.

Vaclav Klaus writes much in his book of 15 years ago, on the manipulation of science and use of public relations to spread false information. What a genius Klaus is! He saw this a long time ago and tried to warn the people of the world.

Fossil Fuels & Nuclear, The Energy The Developed and Developing World Depends On….or Should Be Depending on!

The Developed Countries of the world depend on abundant, reliable energy to fuel their economies. I have written on China and how they have lifted millions of people from poverty in just twenty years. Amazing progress from a human development standpoint. China did this using fossil fuels, as America did over the last 150 years. As you can see on the chart above, mostly coal.

Fossil Fuels still provide over 80% of the world’s energy. Let’s take a look at the U.S.A. energy supply. We have used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for decades. The breakdown by fuel sources is shown below. The Fossil Fuels portion is 80.2%, comprised of 36.7% Oil, 32.1% Natural Gas and 11.4% Coal. Add in nuclear and then the total “Conventional Energy” sources are 88.56%. Solar and Wind even after decades of government subsidies total only 3.78%. A shift to Net Zero Carbon Fuels without a massive expansion of nuclear plants will be incredibly disruptive. In fact, impossible. (13)

U.S. Department of Energy, EIA Total U.S. Energy Consumption 2019

Klaus Recommendations in his 2007 Book

Klaus understood the foolishness of net zero carbon and the fact that Climate Policy by world governments is NOT about saving the Planet, it is about government power over the citizens. His recommendations in 2007 were:

  1. The UN should organize two parallel IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change) and publish two competing reports. To get rid of the one-sided monopoly is a sine qua non for an efficient and rational debate. Providing the same or comparable financial backing to both groups of scientists is a necessary starting point.
  2. The countries should listen to one another (and) learn from (the) mistakes and successes of others, but any country should be left alone to prepare its own plan to tackle this problem and decide what priority to assign to its other competing goals.

These two recommendations, offered by Klaus to the U.N. were not considered and certainly not followed.

Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America, by Donn Dears

Donn Dears book covers much of what is wrong with current Climate Change Policies. His book is available on Amazon.com or you can write him by email or LinkedIn message. I have purchased copies to provide to friends and educators. Unfortunately, Dears subtitle, “The Climate Policy Destroying America” also seems prescient.

Conclusions

I have written dozens of posts on my Blog which you can easily access. Including a four part series on the history of energy and electricity generation. Part 4 covers China’s Rise over the last twenty years. My conclusions are:

  1. If the current “Green New Deal” policies continue, we will weaken America’s productive capacity.
  2. China is the world’s largest manufacturer and will continue to grow in International influence.(9)
  3. Russia and China seem aligned now and their cooperation together is not likely to favor U.S. interests in the world.
  4. Rejecting the Keystone Pipeline and President Trump’s policies on oil and gas drilling on public lands was a serious mistake by the Biden Administration…
  5. Germany is a couple years ahead of the U.S. on stopping the use of coal and nuclear plants. We should learn from their experiences. (7,8)
  6. The United Kingdom also is struggling with shortages and high costs of energy. Like mentioned for Germany, the U.S. should learn from the experiences in the UK.(14)
  7. America’s current Energy and Environmental Policies are wrong for the best interests of America and the Free World.

I started this post with reference to Vaclave Klaus. Today I have great respect for the man who stood up to the bullying and railroading of poor science to thrust ridiculous energy policies on the free world. Sadly, we of the free world are in a position of weakness compared to where we were when President Trump left office. I am familiar with the famous quote from Ronald Reagan, which goes something like….”Freedom can be lost in one Generation” Many people of the world are losing their freedom only one year after the 2020 U.S. Election.

Dick Storm, February 27, 2022

References for Further Reading:

  1. “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” by Vaclav Klaus and published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2007
  2. Purchase of “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” from Google search. Note, I tried Amazon and another book showed up in place of Klaus original: https://www.conservativebookclub.com/book/blue-planet-green-shackles-what-endangered-climate-freedom
  3. Net-Zero Carbon, The Policy Destroying America” By Donn Dears, available: https://www.amazon.com/Net-zero-Carbon-Climate-Destroying-America/dp/0981511953
  4. Vaclav Klaus Quotes in quotetab.com: https://www.quotetab.com/quotes/by-vaclav-klaus
  5. Dick Storm Blog, “Are You Worried About the Future of America”: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/01/21/are-you-worried-about-the-future-of-america/
  6. Dick Storm Blog, Facts Matter: Even Trade Journals Publish a Woke Spin on Energy Information”: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/12/
  7. WSJ, World’s Dumbest Energy Policy Jan. 29. 2019: https://www.wsj.com/articles/worlds-dumbest-energy-policy-11548807424
  8. WSJ, Germany’s Energy Surrender, Dec. 22, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/germanys-energy-surrender-nuclear-power-angela-merkel-russia-vladimir-putin-11640207188
  9. The History of Energy and Electricity Generation, Four Part Series on Dick Storm’s Blog. Part 4 covers the rise of China’s Energy and Economic Prosperity 2000-2022: https://dickstormprobizblog.org
  10. China’s Belt and Road Initiative explained by Mercator Institute of China Studies: https://merics.org/en/tracker/powering-belt-and-road
  11. A short summary of How the “War on Carbon Began”, Dick Storm’s Blog: https://wordpress.com/post/dickstormprobizblog.org/888
  12. The Hundred Year Marathon, by Michael Pillsbury. China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global SuperPower.
  13. The Stupidity of Net-Zero Carbon, Oct 2021, Dick Storm’s Blog: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/10/13/the-stupidity-of-net-zero-carbon/
  14. Net Zero Watch, UK Organization reporting on Climate and Energy Policies: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm&ogbl#search/Net+Zero+Watch/FMfcgzGllVqqTLhmMFlKlNHfQNWFhGzm

HISTORY of ENERGY & ELECTRICITY Part 4, China Goes All In for All Fuels are Important, 2000-2022

China entered the WTO in 2001. Since then it has increased in Manufacturing Might to become the World’s Largest Manufacturer and the World’s Largest Economy. To do so, it has built more electric power capacity in 20 years than the U.S. did in the preceding 150 years. China is a perfect example of how Energy and Economic Prosperity are inextricably related. First the U.S. showed the world how to use energy to replace muscle power by building our Industrialized economy using energy. This post, Part 4 shows how China has powered their manufacturing-based economy.

The relationship of energy and economic prosperity has always fascinated me. Parts 1-3 of this series focus on the America’s progress in energy development, electricity generation advances and rise in economic prosperity from 1850-2000. America during that 150 year period became the world’s largest Industrialized economy. Lifting millions of people from living in poverty to becoming the richest nation on earth. 

That to me is impressive, but if we want a more recent example of the inter-relationship of energy and economic prosperity, China provides such an example. China’s climb to lift millions out of living in poverty over a couple decades is an amazing accomplishment. China used an aggressive “All Fuels are Important” policy become the world’s wealthiest country on a PPP basis (Purchasing Power Parity). From last to first in about 20 years.

Like America’s rise a hundred years ago, the best interests of the people and the nation were put first, before restrictive regulations as we Americans (thanks to an out of control Bureaucracy) get hung up on. The following two charts show electricity growth and economic growth of China.

From Our World in Data, China’s Electricity Generation by Fuel Source

China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 and immediately began ramping up manufacturing facilities for aluminum and steel production. In just fifteen years China went from insignificant steel and aluminum production to becoming the world’s leader and by 2016 was producing more than 50% of the world’s aluminum and steel.(3)

Dick Storm presentation to Delaware County Bar Association, July 2016
World Steel Production, S&P Global, 2022

Leadership in Energy & Manufacturing, Creates Wealth of a Nation

China has become the world’s largest manufacturer. This, unfortunately has been accomplished by many American businesses simply partnering or willingly yielding market share (along with 100 years of technological experience) to the Chinese. According to Statista:

From Statista 2022

China’s Electricity, Energy Sources and Plans for the Future

China has embarked on an aggressive path of “All Fuels are Important”. I have advocated this for many years for the U.S.A. As I covered in History of Energy and Electricity in Part 3, America invented, perfected and produced the first commercial nuclear power plants. We designed and built the best and cleanest coal plants. These U.S. plants were amongst the cleanest and most efficient coal plants in the history of power generation of all the world. Then, we quit. I would like to think “Paused” but with the Bureaucrats in Washington, Pausing means quitting. So, is it any wonder that China has passed us in manufacturing capacity? Worse yet, influence in the world. Getting back to China’s appproach to “All Sources of Energy are Important”.

I personally believe (along with many others(16) that most of Climate Change is from natural forces and that America’s energy security and reliability should be priority #1. Apparently on matters of Climate and Energy, China thinks like I do. Can’t think of much I agree with on China, but on “All Fuels are Important”, China and I do agree. For now, China is using enormous quantities of Fossil Fuels to power their Economy (and wealth, they own about 4% of American Treasury Bonds). Later, more nuclear and renewables will also be applied to their Grid. They already have the largest hydroelectric generation in the world. The Chinese have a good balance of Dispatchable generation and renewables.

Economist Magazine

China’s Coal Plants

Time Magazine’s August 2021 issue(5) states that China plans to build 43 new coal plants. These are planned to be clean and efficient, but in fact, coal fueled.

Not only are 43 coal plants planned to be built in China, but through their Belt and Roads Initiative, China is financing and building coal plants all over the world.(15) Reminescant of the way the U.S.AID did when I started my career in the 1960’s. Now, China is Financing, Manufacturing and Constructing power generation equipment and installing facilities all over the world.(7)

China is Building Coal Plants all over the World, not only in China

Nuclear Power

China does in fact have a forward path of matching electricity Demand with carbon-free nuclear power. Admiral Rickover and the U.S. Navy may have invented and perfected safe nuclear power generation but, China is the largest Benefactor from nuclear power generation. The new Westinghouse AP-1000 Units under construction by South Carolina Electric and Gas were stopped due to mismanagement and nine Billion USD in budget overruns. Southern Company’s Vogtle AP-1000 Units under Construction in Georgia are far over budget and behind schedule. Now planned for startup in 4th Quarter 2022(9)

China, on the other hand, plans 150 new nuclear plants and has already started up their Westinghouse AP-1000 Unit(10) Shandong Nuclear Power Co.’s Haiyang nuclear power plant is pioneering two significant aspects of nuclear diversification in China: district heating and desalination. Some of the other 150 nuclear plants are listed in the World Nuclear Association update of November 2021(11) China is on the way to leading the world in nuclear power generation.

Hydroelectric

China generates more electricity than any other country from hydroelectric power. The “Three Gorges Dam” at 22.5 GW capacity , is the largest power station in the world.(13) Suffice it to say, China, like America has taken advantage of available river flows to install dams and hydroelectric generation. Still, most of the Dispatchable electric power must come from coal, nuclear and gas plants. The chart below was done by the EIA about 2017 to show what the U.S. Dept. of Energy Forecasted for China electric power generation through 2040.

Solar and Wind Generation

Renewables in China are also huge. (6) China is also the world’s largest manufacturer of solar and wind turbine components. The chart below shows the world renewables generation. Keep in mind, renewables are not “Dispatchable”. The variations in Demand must be handled by Dispatchable power generation capacity such as those conventional systems mentioned above. Namely, coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and to a small extent, oil fueled generators. The two blue lines at the lower right of the chart are wind and solar and worldwide total about 10% of generation. The majority of the Bulk Power generated from renewables is from Hydroelectric power.(13) Hydroelectric power, by the way, is Dispatchable.

IEA Global Energy Review
IEA Global Ene rgy Review 2021

Conclusions

China has taken full advantage of All Sources of Energy and especially all forms of energy used to generate electricity. They have used their enormous wealth from exporting manufactured products to provide funding to build more manufacturing capabilities and to expand their influence to other countries of the world. China is a current example of how abundant and reliable energy can be used to accummulate wealth and influence in the world. Another metric of how the rapid build out of manufacturing capacity has increased wealth is to consider that four of the 10 largest banks in the world are Chinese owned.(14)

China understands the importance of “ALL Fuels are Important”. Meanwhile, the U.S. leadership is attempting to crush our major energy producing companies through excessive regulations and restrictions as well as foolish “Woke” social policies.(1) Then there is the foolish ESG Movement favored by the Democrat Party, the World Bank, Blackrock, major U.S. Banks and many U.S. manufacturing and Media corporations. The “Woke” ESG movement is weakening America and strengthening China, Russia, Iran and other countries not aligned with Freedom loving western nations.

It would be wise for our elected officials to wake up. We can only hope and pray that they do so before it is too late.

Dick Storm, Feb. 21, 2022

References:

  1. Daily Signal, Feb. 18, 2022: https://www.dailysignal.com/2022/02/18/biden-administration-adds-climate-roadblocks-to-future-pipelines-energy-projects/
  2. Global Steel Production, S&P Global: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/topics/energy-price-crisis
  3. Dick Storm presentation on Energy in the U.S.A. to the Delaware County Bar Association, July 2016: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2016/07/25/energy-and-economic-prosperity-my-thoughts-dick-storm/
  4. China to Build 150 new Nuclear Reactors in next 15 years, Nov. 2021, CNET.com: https://www.cnet.com/news/why-the-us-should-learn-from-chinas-nuclear-power-expansion/
  5. China is Building 43 new coal plants, Time, August 2021: https://time.com/6090732/china-coal-power-plants-emissions/
  6. China, World Leader in Renewables Manufacturing, Center for Strategic & International Studies : https://www.csis.org/east-green-chinas-global-leadership-renewable-energy
  7. China’s Belt and Roads Initiative
  8. China’s Carbon Emissions, The Economist Magazine:
  9. Power Magazine update on Vogtle Nuclear Plant, Dec. 2022: https://www.powermag.com/oft-delayed-vogtle-expansion-on-track-for-2022-start/
  10. Power Magazine, December 2021, China starts up Westinghouse AP-1000 Nuclear Unit: https://www.powermag.com/how-an-ap1000-plant-is-changing-the-nuclear-power-paradigm-through-district-heating-desalination/
  11. World Nuclear Reactors Under Construction, Nov. 2021: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide.aspx
  12. World’s largest Hydroelectric Generating Plants, Power Technology: https://www.power-technology.com/features/feature-the-10-biggest-hydroelectric-power-plants-in-the-world/
  13. Global Energy Review, IEA December 2021: https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/d0031107-401d-4a2f-a48b-9eed19457335/GlobalEnergyReview2021.pdf
  14. World’s Largest Banks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_banks
  15. China to build 150 GW of new coal plants by 2025: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/chinas-zhejiang-approves-new-11-bln-coal-fired-power-plant-2022-02-09/
  16. Donn Dears Book, “Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy that is Destroying America” Order at Amazon.com

History of Energy and Electricity

Part 3, 2010-2022, by Dick Storm

AMERICA BUILDS THE CLEANEST, MOST EFFICIENT COAL PLANTS IN THE WORLD, ACHIEVES ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, BEGINS RESHORING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, CLEANS OUR AIR AND THEN….

COMMITS SELF INFLICTED ENERGY EUTHANASIA

My intention for the first two parts of the “History of Energy and Electricity Generation” was to outline the importance that energy and electricity played in improving our quality of living & growing our economy to become the largest in the world. America is still the world’s largest economy, but if we continue on the Net Zero Carbon Path of the “Green New Deal” then America will become weaker and China’s influence in the world will exceed America’s. Perhaps not a problem if China was run by Boy Scouts with high morals. But, the CCP does not share our values.

At current trends of economic growth, China’s GDP is likely to surpass the U.S.A.’s before 2030. The Sub-Title of this post is a reminder that during the Obama Presidency America’s Energy Policy was essentially committed to a Self-Inflicted path of energy euthanasia for our great country.  Meanwhile, China ramped up energy production from All Fuel sources. I have written before on the relationship of energy and economic prosperity. That was the theme of parts 1 & 2 of this series. Abundant, reasonable cost energy fueled America’s economy for all of the 20th Century as America became the most productive country in the world with the world’s largest economy.

TWO MAGNIFICENT POWER PLANTS MADE IN THE U.S.A

On a positive note, let’s start with a description of two magnificent Ultra-supercritical clean coal plants. Made in the U.S.A. and amongst the best coal plants ever built. We should have more like these being built now!

AEP Company’s John Turk Ultra-Supercritical Power Plant
Turk Plant Boiler Island and Some of the Air Emissions Control Equipment

The Best Clean Coal Plants Ever Built, Sadly amongst the last ones Built in the U.S.A.

In December 2012 one of the finest examples of American Clean Coal Plants started up. The 600 MW John W. Turk Plant in Arkansas. Power Magazine(3) awarded the plant the highest honor in 2013 for clean, reliable and efficient power generation. Here below is an excerpt of the article in POWER Magazine.

AEP’s SWEPCO requested proposals in December 2005 for new generation to meet long-term capacity needs, and by August 2006 the company settled on coal-fired technology for a new plant site in Arkansas. Construction began in early 2008, and the new plant entered commercial service in December 2012. For overcoming numerous legal and regulatory obstacles and for building the first ultrasupercritical plant in the U.S., the John W. Turk, Jr. plant is awarded POWER’s 2013 Plant of the Year Award. 

The new 600-MW John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant owned by American Electric Power’s (AEP) Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is located on a 2,800-acre tract near Fulton, in Hempstead Country, Arkansas, about 20 miles northeast of Texarkana. The Turk Plant, the first modern plant in the U.S. to commercialize ultrasupercritical (USC) boiler technology, was officially declared commercial on Dec. 20, 2012.”

The specifications are impressive. The steam generator is rated at 650 MW power generation capacity. The steam generator evaporates 4,420,000 pounds per hour of water to superheat to 1,100 degrees F. Think about what that means. Four million pounds per hour, if it is expressed as gallons per minute, the evaporation rate is the equivalent flow in GPM of about 8,800 gallons per minute.  This quantity of water is pumped at a pressure of over 4,400 pounds per square inch and then super-heated to over 1,100 degrees F. every minute. That still impresses me to think about it. Thanks to the American metallurgical and welding technology, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and over 150 years of experience, that is one of the American Power Industry’s most magnificent accomplishments, in my opinion.

Plants such as Turk can do this 24/7 constantly and at a high-capacity factor. Unlike Wind or Solar Power, the Turk Plant is fully Dispatchable too.  That is why I describe plants such as Turk and Longview as magnificent! They are truly engineering marvels.

Another example of a modern, efficient supercritical coal plant is the Longview Power Plant near Morgantown, West Virginia. Longview has also attained the accomplishment of becoming the most efficient coal plant in America (different years for Turk and Longview)

Longview Power Plant Located in WVA, Award for Most Efficient Power Plant in U.S. in 2016 by POWER Magazine

Both Turk and Longview are clean coal plants equipped with Flue Gas Desulfurization equipment, Baghouses for particulate collection and Selective Catalytic Reactors for Oxides of Nitrogen correction. Called “Clean Coal because the truly harmful pollutants have been removed.

These two highly efficient HELE Plants, (HELE=High Efficiency Low Emissions) are amongst the last several major coal generating plants built in America. That’s right, about 2012 marked the end of new coal plant design and construction of coal plants in America. Few people outside the power industry understand the implications of what this means for our future. 

Let me state here that I worked my entire career in the pursuit of excellence in coal power generation. Including efficiency and emissions improvements. I believe in clean air and clean water. The EPA was needed in 1970 because acid rain, fine particulates and ground level ozone were problems which large coal fired power plants contributed to. The success of the efforts of the EPA to clean the air is best described on the chart below which is prepared by the EPA(11)

EPA Comparison of Economic Growth and Air Quality 1970-2018

From my viewpoint, cleaning the air of harmful emissions was accomplished by the time that Obama became President. From that point on, the EPA was weaponized against the best interests of America. Weaponzizing the EPA to create what I call, Energy Euthanasia. It continues today with the Climate Policies that are Destroying America. Check reference # 15 below, Donn Dears Book entitled, “NET-ZERO CARBON, THE CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING AMERICA”

Weaponizing the EPA:

Commiting to the Present Path of Climate Policy has Seriously Wounded America’s Supply Chain for Power Generation Equipment

The Obama years 2008-2016 set a course for American Energy that were very difficult. Especially for coal power. During Obama’s Presidency, he led the EPA to declare that Carbon Dioxide should be regulated. This was later, upheld by the Supreme Court, the COregulations, right or wrong, became the law of the land. Here is a short summary of how the “War on Coal” during the Clinton administration ratchetted up to becoming “The War on Carbon” and becoming lethal for American Energy Independence, the Fossil Power Plant Equipment Supply Chain & the Economic growth and prosperity that Energy Independence provides.

According the WSJ April 18, 2009, “In 1998, the Clinton administration EPA studied the question and determined that the Clean Air Act was “potentially applicable” to CO2 and other greenhouse gases. But despite continued pressure from environmental groups, the Clinton administration never moved to regulate the gases.

The EPA lumped carbon dioxide with five other gases — methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride — into a single class for regulatory purposes. That’s because they share similar properties: All are long-lived and well-mixed in the atmosphere; all trap heat that otherwise would leave the earth and go into outer space; and all are “directly emitted as greenhouse gases” rather than forming later in the atmosphere.”

According to the bulk of somewhat biased scientific research, such as that assembled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, the more heat is trapped. That leads to rising temperatures. The EPA endorsed the (Politically Biased) IPCC research and specifically said that “natural variations” in climate, such as solar activity, couldn’t explain rising temperatures. For the record, I believe that global rising temperatures have mostly been from natural forces for thousands of years, even before the Ice Age. I am not a Climate Scientist, but there are many highly qualified well credentialed Climate Scientists that I agree with. Such as Professor Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Steven Koonin and many more. Here below is an excerpt from Koonin’s book, “Unsettled, What Climate Science Tells Us and What it Doesn’t and Why it Matters”(18) His closing thoughts are in green font below:

Dr. Steven E. Koonin is a leader in science policy in the U.S. He served as Undersecretary for Science in the Dept. of Energy under President Obama.

“What we think we should do, in short, is begin by restoring integrity to the way science informs society’s decisions on climate and energy-we need to move from The Science back to science. And then take the steps most likely to result in positive outcomes for society, whatever the future might hold for our planet. As President Biden exhorted in his inaugural address, “We must reject the culture which facts themselves are manipulated, or even manufactured”

In my opinion, Dr. Koonin is correct, we should let science get back to science and that much of the huge volumes of research on manmade climate change has been politically inspired, not science inspired.

The current policy of “Net Zero Carbon” has been based on politically biased science and is driven by special interests, but not in the best interests of America.

Further, the Chinese for one country outside the U.S. have worked to  influence alarm with American University students to go green. See reference below (10) where Professor Lindzen of MIT writes on China’s recent actions.

China is Fortifying Their Supply Chain, While We are Self-Inflicting Harm on Ours

The Weaponization of carbon became very effective during the Obama Administration. Interrupted by President Trump and then intensified under the Biden Administration. The path to harm the Fossil Power Systems and Fossil Power Production was ratcheting up to becoming more and more lethal. (Lethal to the Made in U.S.A. supply chain) Electricity prices were kept reasonable and the Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced during this time, thanks to the Shale Gas Revolution.

The Shale Gas Revolution Aids the War on Coal

As the War on Coal progressed, the public was insulated from electricity price rises due to enormous natural gas productivity and falling natural gas prices. The graph below shows the path of natural gas prices/million BTU’s from 2006-2012. Ultimately, gas prices dropped to levels below coal prices on a $/million Btu basis. This illustration was used for a training class I was involved with in 2012 to a coal plant staff to emphasize why excellence in O & M and best Heat-Rate operations were important for competitive power generation from coal. At the time, natural gas fueled power generation had suddenly became less expensive than coal. This is because in a Thermal-Power Plant, most of the electricity generation cost is for fuel. In GTCC (Gas Turbine Combined Cycle) plants the fuel cost component is about 90% of the production cost of electricity. Thus, doubling fuel cost/million Btu’s by itself nearly doubles the production cost of electricity. Conversely, halving the fuel cost nearly halves the production cost for electricity generation.

Also during this time Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Plant technology had improved to approach 65% Thermal Efficiency. The most efficient Heat-Engines in History. Thus, it appeared between 2010 and 2020 that America could wage war on carbon and enjoy economic prosperity including the lowest electricity costs in the world.  We also had the largest drop in Carbon Dioxide emissions in the world. A 52% drop.

The following charts will illustrate the path from 2005 forward of reducing carbon emissions and keeping electricity prices reasonable.

First, fuel changes from coal to natural gas created drastic COemissions, because natural gas generated electricity produces about 50% of the COthat coal fueled plants do. 

Because electricity produced by natural gas creates about half the carbon dioxide as coal generated electricity, the first 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gases was painless. Low natural gas cost (Thanks to the Shale Gas Revolution) plus high efficiency GTCC plants provided this huge first step.

The increase in natural gas power production replaced coal power production. Together, coal, gas and nuclear still provide over 80% of our electricity. The chart above is 2004-2019. The one below is the actual (Dispatchable too!) generation across the U.S.A. in September-October of 2021:

The two pie charts of generation by Fuel (below) are from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISOEnergy.com) and the PJM Interconnection (PJM.com) for January 26, 2022. Note the importance of coal power generation. Again, coal, nuclear and natural gas are providing over 80% of our nation’s electricity generation when it is most needed. Many of the coal plants providing this power are planed to be shut down in the next few years. They will be missed. Note reference(17) below, list of coal plants to be retired in the next few years.

AMERICA ACHIEVES ENERGY INDEPENDENCE IN 2019

US Department of Energy, EIA

The U.S. Supply Chain for Manufacturing Fossil Power Systems Equipment

Besides the importance of reliable, reasonable cost electricity, there is the Supply-Chain which we should all be concerned about.

The Supply Chain of Coal Plant Components includes thousands of tons of components. Once manufactured solely in the U.S.A., these components provided hundreds of thousands of jobs. For example, when I worked for B&W in 1969, B&W employed over 35,000 employees. Combustion-Engineering also employed over 35,000 employees. General Electric and Westinghouse Electric back then employed hundreds of thousands of employees. America was the world’s #1 manufacturer and this served our country very well. Take a look at the illustrations below of major coal plant components during construction.

A large clean coal plant involves tens of thousands of tons of steel manufacturing, seamless high alloy tubing, high pressure piping, hundreds of miles of copper wire, transformers, steam turbines, large pressure vessel manufacturing, pumps, heat exchangers, motors, generators and many other components. Manufacturing of these components involves hundreds of thousands of jobs for skilled engineers, technicians and craftsmen. The Supply-Chain is very large and spreads all across the U.S.A. Here below is a list of the suppliers to the Turk Plant. This is from the POWER Magazine article.

We stopped building large coal plants about 2014. With that comes a withering and loss of our productive manufacturing capacity. Recently, our Supply-Chain woes have been in the news. My friends ask me, How could we invent computer chips and then lose the capability to produce them here in the U.S.? How about steel tubing, steel shapes, aluminum, Rare Earth minerals and EV components? Pharmaceuticals? Where do most of these come from now? Most, come from China. China is the World’s largest manufacturer, so it seems reasonable to accept the published data that shows China using more energy than any other country.

China Energy Consumption, compared to the Rest of the World

From BP Statistical Review

Meanwhile, China is Getting a Lot of Practice in Building Large Coal Power Plants, All of the Equipment Involved and Many Other Products…..

Pakistan Power Plant, Financed and Built by China
From LinkedIn Post by Mike Caravaggio

Boston University has a web site that tracks China Coal Plants:

Closing Summary

In my life-time I saw America as the top Industrialized Country of the world. We shared our wealth and technologies with other countries in good faith. Then for whatever reasons, the people of great influence, mostly from the American Democrat Party, sought to weaken our productive capacity and to cede that capacity to the Chinese Communist Party. The Mainstream News, Entertainment and most Democrats have all been part of this transfer of productive capacity and with that productive capacity comes influence in the world.

It is my hope that sometime soon, our President and Congress will wake up and see the importance of energy to power our economy. The U.S. Senate Report, “Europe’s Energy Crisis, A Warning to America” should be read by all elected officials.(15) The other references below are also informative.

Dick Storm, January 30, 2022

References:

  1. How Carbon Dioxide Became a Pollutant, April 18, 2009, WSJ : https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124001537515830975
  2. COP-26 Climate Conference article, Oct. 30, 2021, WSJ : https://www.wsj.com/articles/cop26-climate-summit-consensus-is-sought-after-decades-of-false-starts-11635598801?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=5&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  3. John W. Turk Power Plant wins POWER Magazines highest honor for clean coal: https://www.powermag.com/aeps-john-w-turk-jr-power-plant-earns-powers-highest-honor/
  4. Longview, Rehabilitated Coal Power Plant Most Efficient in U.S. POWER Magazine, August 2016: https://www.powermag.com/longview-power-plant-rehabilitation-results-efficient-u-s-coal-plant/ https://www.powermag.com/longview-power-plant-rehabilitation-results-efficient-u-s-coal-plant/   
  5. China to Build 43 new coal plants, “Time” August 2021: https://time.com/6090732/china-coal-power-plants-emissions/
  6. China could build more coal plants even after Xi promises not to, Bloomberg Oct 2021: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-27/climate-cop26-china-could-build-new-coal-plants-overseas-even-after-xi-pledge  
  7. China’s Coal Plant Capacity More than 3 X the Rest of the World’s, Reuters, Feb 2021China’s new coal power plant capacity in 2020 more than three times rest of world’s: study:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-coal/chinas-new-coal-power-plant-capacity-in-2020-more-than-three-times-rest-of-worlds-study-idUSKBN2A308U
  8. Hassyan Power Plant in Dubai: https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/projects/hassyan-coal-fired-power-plant-dubai/
  9. Hassyan Power Plant ACWA Power web page: https://acwapower.com/en/projects/hassyan-ipp/
  10. China Warming, Tablet Magazine by Richard Lindzen, October 19, 2021: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/science/articles/china-warming-richard-lindzen
  11. EPA Progress in Cleaning our Air: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2019/#growth_w_cleaner_air
  12. Mid America Independent System Operations, MISO Energy: https://www.misoenergy.org
  13. PJM Interconnection, Independent System Dispatch of Electric Power for much of the Northeast and west to Chicago: https://www.pjm.com
  14. Boston University Global Development Policy Center: https://www.bu.edu/cgp/
  15. U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Report; “Europe’s Energy Crisis, A Warning to America”: https://www.energy.senate.gov/services/files/2D862C16-4157-4A39-9CCE-098B5C818C01?mc_cid=d94787db9d&mc_eid=9e46528ac6
  16. Donn Dears Book, “NET-ZERO CARBON, The CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING” AMERICA:  https://amzn.to/31j7vMh  
  17. Reuters, List of Coal Plants Scheduled to be shut down: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-coal-fired-power-plants-scheduled-shut-2021-10-28/
  18. Steven E. Koonin, “Unsettled, WHAT CLIMATE SCIENCE TELLS US,WHAT IT DOESN’T, ANDWHY IT MATTERS” 2021, BenBella Books, Inc.

History of Energy and Electricity Generation Part 2: The Golden Age of Nuclear, Once Proclaimed to be “Too Cheap to Meter” 1955-2010

The purpose of this post is to show the progress of creating America’s huge Grid, made up of Dispatchable Power from coal, nuclear, gas and oil fuels from 1955 through 2010. Also during this time, the EPA came to be and began regulating true pollutants from power generation facilities. America’s designers, engineers and manufacturers of electric generating equipment rose to meet the challenge and provided energy to expand the American economy while at the same time cleaned our air. Nuclear Power grew to be about 20% of our total electricity generation during this 55 years. These years were special for me, because they include my becoming interested in power generation in 1959 as a Freshman at Williamson and then joining the B&W Nuclear and Special Projects Group in the 1960’s when nuclear was believed to be the future of electricity generation.

The First Pressurized Water Reactor, Nuclear Steam System

It was 1954 and the Nautilus, the first Nuclear submarine ever built was launched. The pressurized water nuclear steam system was a prototype for future Navy as well as commercial applications.

USS Nautilus, First Nuclear Powered Submarine, Launched January 1954
From Babcock & Wilcox, “Steam, It’s Generation and Use” 41st Edition

“President Dwight D. Eisenhower was determined to solve “the fearful atomic dilemma” by finding some way by which “the miraculous inventiveness of man” would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life. In his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower sought to solve this terrible problem by suggesting a means to transform the atom from a scourge into a benefit for mankind. Although not as well-known as his warning about the “military industrial complex,” voiced later in his farewell radio and television address to the American people, President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace speech embodied his most important nuclear initiative as President”. (2)

The Research and Development into peaceful use of atomic energy continued on “Atoms for Peace”. The partnership of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the brilliant minds of employees from the American companies; Westinghouse Electric, General-Electric, Babcock & Wilcox, Combustion Engineering, Allis-Chalmers and other fine U.S. companies brought enormous advancements. In just a few years there was great progress in atomic physics, nuclear safety, ASME Codes for Pressure Vessel Design, Welding, Non-Destructive testing of welded joints and material science. The future of nuclear power looked extremely bright. 

So did efficient coal power generation. I love this advertisement (below) for B&W, then a Fortune 500 company (#134 in 1960) and builder of many of the U.S. Navy’s Boilers that helped win two world wars. B&W also built the pressure vessels for the reactors and steam generators used in the Nautilus and many of the commercial nuclear steam systems to follow. Including Duke Energy’s highly successful three Unit Oconee Station which the first unit began commercial operation in 1973.

Nuclear Steam Systems were a logical extension for B&W and Combustion Engineering Company to move into after many decades of building Fossil Steam Systems. I have referred to the importance of Heat-Engines often during my career. Perhaps that is from recollections of working for B&W in the 1960’s. Below is a copy of a B&W ad from 1954:

Part 2 of the History of Energy and Electricity Generation from my viewpoint. Taken from my course at USCB-OLLI
Copy of advertisement in Fortune Magazine about 1954

In 1954 and the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Lewis Strauss in his extreme enthusiasm for commercial nuclear power generation, coined the phrase….”Too Cheap to Meter”…..That was in 1954 and of course there was a building boom of nuclear power plants from 1960 to 1990. Over 100 nuclear steam systems were put into operation between 1970 and 1990. Here are the 93 that are still operating:

From Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website January 2022

Yes, Nuclear Power has been a very good invention for America. Although thousands of employees made nuclear steam systems possible, the primary credit for this gift to Humankind should go to one man, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, Father of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Fleet and Father of Commercial Nuclear Steam Systems.(8)

From Dick Storm Presentation of Energy and Electricity, USCB-OLLI 2021
Turkey Point Unit 3 Nuclear Unit at Florida Power and Light Company went Commercial 1972 https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Turkey-Point-licensed-for-80-years-of-operation

The combination of new nuclear units plus ever more efficient and clean coal plants created electric growth with electricity costs amongst the lowest in the world.

This was good for world manufacturing competitiveness (especially good for energy intensive industries such as aluminum and steel manufacture) also good for reasonable household electric costs to power ever increasing labor saving household appliances.

Speaking of reasonable household electric costs and high quality of living. These ads for “Living Better Electrically” were common in the 1950’s to 70’s.

From Dick Storm, ASME Annual Meeting Presentation 2011, “Why Coal is Important

My state of South Carolina continues to enjoy reassonable cost, abundant and reliable power from Admiral Rickover’s invention. According to the EIA and NEI, over 55% of SC electricity is generated from nuclear power. I might add, these are “old nuclear plants” that have been well maintained, well run, proven and reliable. Several of these were started up in the 1970’s like Turkey Point and may have their licenses extended for 80 years. Amazingly robust and well built.

Top States for nuclear power generation in 2020 by NEI and EIA, Slide used in Dick Storm USCB-OLLI Course, 2021

The chart below is from the NRC website. As mentioned above, many of the very reliable and I might add, Dispatchable power generating nuclear power plants are aging and before they are shut down, it would be wise to plan, design and begin construction on the next generation of nuclear plants. Renewables such as wind and solar are not Dispatchable and electric battery storage is not yet feasible. These issues will be discussed in a future post. Suffice it to say for the time period 1950-1990 America had four very good decades of power generation advancements which resulted in an extremely reliable Grid providing some of the lowest cost electricity in the world.

From NRC Website

Energy, Economic Prosperity and Living with a High Human Development Index

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw clean coal and nuclear power together, provided about 70% of our electricity. America’s GDP pretty much followed the production and consumption of coal fuel. Coal and nuclear at the time were the most reasonable cost fuels to generate electricity.

From Dick Storm Presentation to ASME Annual Meeting 2011,, “Why Coal is Important”, Dallas, TX

The U.S.A. has used about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for many years. Below is a copy of the EIA Total Energy Use by Fuels from 2008. This is getting ahead of 1990 but for reference, the Total Energy Use of America has held very close to 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year for many years. The chart below shows consumption of 94.58 Quadrillion Btu’s in 2008. This reduction in energy demand was the result of the Financial crisis of 2008.

As we move forward keep this in mind. From 1950-1990 the fuel mix was changing. Thsese changes had to do with cost of fuel, pollution and availability. But for the last two decades America has used a total of about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s +/- 10 per year. This includes electricity, transportation, Industrial production, heating, and cooling. The chart reads from left to right with the fuel sources on the left and energy flows to the right.

From Dick Storm ASME Presentation, 2011, Why Coal is Important

The 1970’s Were Good Years of Progress…. But Not Perfect

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began in 1970 under the Nixon Administration. Amongst the first pollutants to be regulated, was sulphur and particulate emissions. The trend of the six major pollutants has been downward every since 1970.

The six major pollutants that were significantly reduced during this time period are: Particulates, Sulfur, Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Ground level Ozone & Oxides of Nitrogen.

The first steps the EPA took to regulate a path for cleaner air was to regulate particulates and sulfur. Some electric Utilities immediately (1970-71) switched from coal fuel firing in their boilers to oil fuel. This was when the fuel cost/million Btu’s of oil and coal were about the same, in 1972 that was about $0.50/million Btu. By switching to oil the switchover downtime was reduced and huge Capital cost of Electrostatic Precipitators avoided. I was working at Carolina Power and Light at that time and remember these times well.

The Neighboring Utility in Virginia, then (1973) VEPCO had switched much of it’s generation to oil fuel, so did Potomac Electric (PEPCO) and Philadelphia Electric and others to the north. They were dependent on the (at that time) reasonable cost, easier to control emissions oil fuel. Well, that was fine until the first Arab Oil Embargo in October 1973.

Arab Oil Embargo, 1973

I was a senior engineer working at Carolina Power and Light Compay’s Roxboro Generating Station. My job was a startup and test engineer for the coal fueled 720 MW, Unit #3 which began commercial operation during the summer. Many mechanical problems were needing to be sorted out and I had job security for the next several years.

The Arab Oil Embargo lasted about a year, 1973-74 and during this time, many Utilities purchased new coal generation capacity. Especially in the southern states where air-conditioning load in the summer and heat-pump load of the winter was growing rapidly. I remember year over year growth in the range of 10% increase in electric demand. Of course, manufacturing was strong back then too.

As time went on in the 1970’s more coal plants and more nuclear plants were started up. The future of clean, reliable Nuclear power looked great until……

Three Mile Island, 1979

The future of nuclear power had a serious setback in March 1979. Although no one was injured, this was pretty much the end of new nuclear steam system orders for U.S. Utilities. It took more than another decade to complete the 100 + nuclear steam systems that were on order. More strict Regulations by the NRC and more built in safety requirements ensured that nuclear power would not be “Too Cheap to Meter” in the U.S.A.

New Clean Coal Plants are Built

To meet the increasing Electricity Demand, and do so with Domestically sourced fuel, more large coal plants were built in the 1980’s. These however were nearly all equipped with Flue Gas Desulfurization and Particulate controls. Later in 1991 the EPA Clean Air Amendment was made into law and Oxides of Nitrogen were significantly reduced and more FGD equipment began being retrofitted on existing large coal plants that did not have FGD. Thus, the ever cleaner air as shown in the foregoing chart. Yes, the EPA was needed in 1970 and the Clean Air Ammendment of 1991 also has turned out to be beneficial.

EIA DATA, 2009 The Projection did not expect the Shale Gas Revolution

How The Public Perception of Coal Becomes Tarnished

During the Arab Oil Embargo not only did we have gasoline shortages and gas lines. But the electric Utilities also suffered financially due to the rapid increase in oil costs and with the ramp up in oil costs, so did the price of competitive fuels such as gas and coal. During this time of financial stress, the Utilities drastically reduced Operation and Maintenance Budgets. What was cut first? Tree trimming around high voltage transmission line, painting and maintenance costs such as these. These are expected during volatile times in business and can be recovered from.

The Worst Budget Cut

The worst budget cut, in my view, was the cutting of public education of “Living Better Electrically” and “Better Things for Better Living”. Back in the 1970’s there were Utility representatives that invested time in Public Schools to teach the girls about electric appliances and how to use them. The boy students learned how electricity was generated from coal, oil, gas and hydro-electric sources. There was advertizing on the radio and TV. Remember “Reddy Kilowatt”? Reddy Kilowatt was the lightening bolt stick figure mascot for the investor owned Electric Utilities. Between Reddy Kilowatt and a small army of Home Economics teachers from the Electric Utilities, American Citizens learned the importance of electricity and how it was generated. I personally remember learning that as a teenager in the 1950’s, and I was just an average student.

Reddy Kilowatt, The Mascot of The Investor Owned Electric Utilities Circa 1970

I gave a presentation to the American Coal Council membership in 2008 on how, in my view, the public perception of coal changed. Here below is the illustration that I used to show the change from pro-active Utility education of the Public to the taking over of this effort by the Environmental Movement. Believe me, I support clean air and clean water as much as anyone. In fact, I worked much of my career exerting my best efforts to reduce particulates, reduce NOx and improve efficiency of power plants. However, the Environmental Extremists took over shaping the Public’s Perception of coal following the Arab Oil Embargo and filling the void of public education left by the exit (regarding public education) of the Electric Utilities. Not all, but most Utilities management were enthusiastic about exiting the Public Schools and Public Education just as many that ran bus services were quick to exit that business as soon as the Regulators would allow them to quit. The chart below illustrates the enormous funding of the leftist Green organizations after 1970. The green groups funding helped to indoctrinate or shape public views against coal and carbon. Now the Green Extremist organizations literally have far more money to spend on public indoctrination than the private sector manufacturers. But, that is a topic for another day.

All Fuels are Important

The Total Energy Flows of the year 2007 are shown on the Sankey Diagram below. This is TOTAL Energy which includes Electricity, Industrial, Transportation, Commercial and Residential uses of energy. The changes of the percentages of each fuel change with the economics of producing the fuels. Such as discussed above when the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-74 caused oil prices to rise sharply in 1974 and many power generation plants were switched back to coal from oil. We should keep this in mind as the government pushes us toward Electric Vehicles in the future. In my view, we will need over 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually to support our high quality of life. So, as electricity is substituted for gasoline or Diesel fuel, more electricity generation will be required which more than likely will come from conventional sources of gas, nuclear, coal & hydro-electric. The chart below is 2007. In part 3 I will include more recent Sankey Diagrams of Total Energy Flows.

This will conclude Part 2 of this series on the History of Energy and Electricity Generation in the U.S.A. The next section will cover 2005-2022.

Conclusions:

  1. Projections into the future are simply, projections. We can learn from our recent energy history of nuclear being thought to be, “Too Cheap to Meter” and the end of coal just a few years away. In the 1960’s the future of coal was proclaimed Dead….. However during this current cold weather in the U.S. Coal Power is depended on for a large percentage of electricity generation. Just check pjm.com
  2. Likewise, the EIA projection published in 2009 showing an increase in coal going forward did not take into account the Shale Gas Revolution made possible by Directional Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing. The coal consumption dropped off primarily due to the reduction in cost of the newly abundant Domestic natural gas that became available about 2012. Low natural gas prices were helpful for those opponents of coal fuel.
  3. Reasonable cost energy is required to fuel a thriving Economy. Note the drop in energy use after the 2008 Financial Crisis.
  4. Industrial output is particularly linked to reasonable cost, abundant and reliable energy. Especially primary metals like steel and aluminum.
  5. Net Zero Carbon is a disasterous Policy for the U.S. to follow unless a large number of new generation nuclear plants are deployed in the U.S. generation fleet.
  6. Nuclear, Coal, Gas, Oil, Thermal Biomass and Hydro-Electric are the only Dispatchable sources of electricity generation by today’s technology
  7. Reliable, Abundant, Reasonable cost and Dispatchable electric generation is required for a country to remain or to become competitive in the world with a manufacturing based economy. China has proved this over the last 20 years since joining the WTO
  8. America has burned coal and natural gas more responsibly and cleaner than any other country that uses Fossil Fuels for Bulk Power production in Gigawatt quantities
  9. The Net Zero Carbon Policy is a Disasterous path for our country to follow. We should learn from historical events of the past.
  10. My friend a Tinkerer reminded me of the old phrase, “When Tinkering, it is important to save all of the pieces” This old saying should be remembered by the politicians that are “Tinkering with America’s Energy Policy” and allowing reliable and needed coal plants to be shut down and demolished. This has even occurred with reliable nuclear plants. We should be preserving the power generation infra-structure that powers America’s economy and our life styles.

Dick Storm, January 19, 2022

Author’s note on the background and why I write on this Blog:

I said at the beginning this was a special time for me. Well, it was because my life-time career in power generation began in 1962 after graduation from Williamson. I joined Babcock & Wilcox’s Nuclear and Special Products Division in 1965 and worked as an assistant to the Project Manager for Navy PWR’s and on the Oconee Nuclear Steam System. I did not like the rigorous administrative paperwork required by the AEC at the time and many engineers were transferring into the Nuclear Division from the Fossil Power Generation Division, leaving many vacancies in PGD. So, I arranged a transfer to Results Engineering to work for one of the best Mentors ever, Silas Morse. The “Too Cheap to Meter” phrase regarding nuclear power was well known within the walls of B&W and as a 22 year old newby, I was strongly advised that coal plants will be shut down in a decade because nuclear is so clean, has such an extreme energy density and it is highly productive. I went anyway, vowing to study and learn all I could about coal power so that I could remain employed for my future career. It worked.

My stint at B&W provided travel to large Paper Mills from New England to Missoula, Montana, to run acceptance tests on the largest (then the largest steam plants were about 500 MW) coal and gas plants at Baltimore Gas & Electric, Houston Light & Power, Illinois Power, Ohio Edison and more.

Always wanting to be a startup engineer, in 1969 I left B&W to join Riley Stoker as a senior startup engineer at Tampa Electric’s Unit #6 at Gannon Station. Then off to participate in the startup of Riley’s first and only coal-fueled supercritical units at Wateree Station for SCE&G near Columbia, SC. In between, helped with acceptance testing at Santee-Cooper’s Jeferies coal plant in Monck’s Corner. Then back to Florida to startup new oil fueled units at the City of Lakeland and Jacksonville.

My big opportunity to get involved with a major Utility came in 1972 and I was assigned to be the lead Startup Engineer for the 420 MW dual fueled Sutton Unit #3. Then in January 1973 I joined Carolina Power and Light Company as a Senior Engineer in charge of the startup of the 720 MW Roxboro Unit #3. Great learning experiences including the Arab Oil Embargo and the “Wheeling” of Coal Generated Power from CP&L to Utilities in the north that had switched fuels from coal to oil and then were short on fuel with the oil embargo.

In 1977 I left my position, then as Operations Superintendent at CP&L’s Roxboro Plant, to join a newly formed small contractor, Flame Refractories, in Oakboro, NC. Flame was small, only a dozen or so total employees when I joined. The company grew and I started Flame Technical Servives. Flame grew to be a major Utility Specialty contractor with hundreds of employees. My Technical Services Department eventually grew to an average size of about 20 engineers and technicians and became well known all across the U.S.A. and Internationally. Some of the most interesting International trips began in 1978 when ALCOA hired us to correct some boiler problems at the Suriname Aluminum Company in Suriname, South America. Then later to Guinee in Africa, Jamaica, Spain and Australia.

In 1992 after 15 very interesting and growing years at Flame, I started Storm Engineering later to be folded into Storm Technologies, Inc. We continued solving large electric Utility Boiler problems for the next twenty years that I was President of Storm Technologies. Storm Technologies earned a good reputation for solving difficult coal plant problems and we traveled all around the world to work at plants in South America, Asia, Oceana, Africa, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and of course, all across the U.S.A. and Canada. During these travels is when the relationship of Energy and Economic Prosperity became apparent to me. Where we traveled to help sort out problems in coal plants around the world, there was and remains, a higher quality of life. The UN calls it “Human Development Index”. I saw the affects of reasonable cost, reliable energy on the improving quality of life in Developing countries.

I retired from active involvement at Storm Technologies in 2012 when my son Danny became President.

Since then, I have done my best to give back by teaching the importance of power generation and wise use of resources for power generation. I was on the Williamson College of the Trades Board until 2019 where I championed the modernization and upgrades to the Energy Island used for power generation and instructional purposes at the College. Also, have volunteered to teach courses on Energy and Electricity Generation at schools and Colleges. The genisis of this post and others on my Blog are from slides used at the USCB-OLLI courses I have presented here on Hilton Head Island.

One of the biggest problems our country has is a misunderstanding of energy and electricity generation. The current path to Net Zero Carbon is a very hamful path for America because Renewables are not capable of replacing the large, reliable and proven coal, gas and nuclear plants that power our country. Therefore, I continue to do my best to Educate the public on the true facts regarding energy and electricity generation.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Your comments are welcomed.

Yours truly,

Dick Storm, January 20, 2022

References:

  1. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “Too Cheap to Meter” Phrase history: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/students/history-101/too-cheap-to-meter.html
  2. Eisenhower Atoms for Peace Speech to UN, Dec. 8th, 1953: https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/research/online-documents/atoms-peace
  3. The History of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. by the Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/The%20History%20of%20Nuclear%20Energy_0.pdf
  4.  World Nuclear.org  Article on Nuclear Power Plants in U.S.A: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx
  5. List of U.S. Operating Nuclear Plants: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/appendices/nuclear-power-in-the-usa-appendix-1-us-operating-n.aspx
  6. Nuclear Energy Institute: https://nei.org/home
  7. NEI Nuclear Plants by the numbers: https://nei.org/resources/fact-sheets/nuclear-by-the-numbers
  8. “The Rickover Effect, How One Man Made a Difference” by Theodore Rockwell, 1992, 2002, Originally published by the Naval Institute Press
  9. Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Licensed for 80 years: https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Turkey-Point-licensed-for-80-years-of-operation
  10. World Nuclear Report on Three Mile Island Accident in 1979 : https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/three-mile-island-accident.aspx

A Short History of Energy & Electricity and How Our High Quality of Living Came to Be (High Human Development Index) Part 1, 1850-1955

Energy and electricity have fascinated me ever since I was a teenager. The purpose of this post is to share the progress of energy and electricity from the Industrial Revolution to today. I had the honor of presenting a course at USCB-OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) and much of the information presented in that course is presented here.

After presenting the course on energy and electricity generation in February (2021), it occurred to me that it may be interesting for some OLLI members to review of how energy and electricity came to be so important in the lives of all of us. Especially the aspects of Industrial growth, manufacturing and economic prosperity. As I was preparing for the course, the relationship of energy and economic growth became very clear to me. I always thought the relationship of Energy and economic growth was important. Nearly all of the College Professors of Engineering and History simply cover the History of Electricity production or the History of Energy. Few that I have known connect the inter-relationship of Energy and the growth of the “Human Development Index”. If we couple progress in energy production with economic progress, I think it is worth sharing because the application of energy to food production, transportation and industrial output grew geometrically from 1900 to today. Many factors contributed to the sharp rise of America’s HDI (Human Development Index) and manufacturing capacity after the year 1900, but in my view, the importance of abundant and reasonable cost energy has not been taught in Public Education or appreciated by the News Media. So, here is my shot at connecting the dots of the advances in energy and economic prosperity. 

I have always loved thermal power plants and spent five decades working in the electric power generation business. Mostly as a “Boiler Engineer”. Over my career I have accumulated a library of old books and technical literature on power generation and most of the illustrations used are from my library. 

Let’s start with the importance of “Steam”. We do not hear many references to steam today, but Steam remains important in power generation today and is likely to remain important in the future as well. 

So, let’s start with the first steam engines and take a quick trip through the ages of energy and power generation to see how humans have harnessed energy to do our hard tasks and improve our lives.

James Watt is usually given credit for the first commercially applied steam engine of the Industrial Revolution. But, to be fair, there were at least three before him. Hero’s turbine in the first Century and Thomas Savory in 1698 applied steam as a motive force. Then, Newcomen in 1712.

The Industrial Revolution began with the invention of the steam engine. The first version was invented by Newcomen about 1712. This engine uses water to condense the steam vapor beneath the piston which then provides differential pressure between atmospheric pressure and the partial vacuum created upon the collapse of the vapor. A pound of water will expand about 1500-1700 times when changed to vapor. In Newcomen’s engine, it was the collapse of the steam space that created atmospheric pressure to force the piston down and thus operate the pump.

About 64 years later, James Watt invented his version of the steam engine that could generate more force than atmospheric pressure by using high pressure steam.

James Watt’s engine created the potential for greater engine output and became the basis for the Industrial Revolution.

The first electric generation in the U.S.A. was about 1880 by Thomas Edison using a reciprocating steam engine drive. Before getting into electricity generation, it is timely to remember that illumination before the light bulb was provided by whale oil and then kerosene. Thus, it can truly be stated that the oil industry saved the whales.

As we cover the history of energy, I think it is notable to consider the environmental aspects of energy produced in 1850 for illumination. Before Edwin Drake struck oil and started the American oil industry, whale oil  or candles were used for night-time illumination. It could be said that Drake, Rockefeller and others involved in the production of oil & kerosene helped to save the whales. Next, the advancements of energy were used to provide transportation. Steam boats and Railroads first used wood and then coal fuel to produce steam power for motive force.

Transportation propulsion systems have been the leader for commercial electric power generation since Edison’s day. First, reciprocating steam engines used as prime movers for steamboats and then locomotives were adapted to stationary generators. Then, steam turbine drives for ships were adapted to stationary power generation. Later, aircraft jet engines were adapted for use as stationary generators and finally, nuclear propulsion systems developed by the US Navy were applied to commercial power generation.

Wood was the primary fuel of the 19th Century and it was used for heating, cooking and transportation via railroad locomotives and steam boat propulsion. The steam engines used for railroads, boat and ship propulsion were later adapted for stationary use in power plants to generate electricity. Interestingly, marine propulsion systems were the basis of technology later adapted to use for power generation. Steam engines, steam turbines, the latest advances in coal boiler developments and even nuclear power generation designs all had their roots in marine propulsion.

Memories and photos of Coal Fueled Steam locomotives of the 19th Century do not help the case for use of coal in today’s power generation plants. The enormous potential power of steam was harnessed for transportation as well as to power the Industrial Revolution. Environmental controls of exhaust gases and particulates came much later. 

This is a short course, so there is clearly a compression of a lot of history. It is my hope to take a quick review of the significant inventions of the last 150 years and to show the relationship of energy to the growth of America and our very high quality of living. Until there is a disruption of our energy supply, such as a pipeline shutdown or a hurricane, we tend to take for granted, our place at the top of the “Human Development Index Pyramid”.  Energy is at the heart of our high quality of living.

It is true that through the use of our God given energy resources, our lives have progressed to a higher Human Development Index. More on that later when the HDI of other countries is compared to ours.

American civilization grew from an agriculturally based society to an Industrial production-based country in just a few decades. About 1915 and continuing to today, much of the work that our ancestors were subjected to is now accomplished with energy. Heat-Engines lay at the heart of the rapid progress of the last 100 years for food production, transportation, industrial production and Economic progress. 

Until the Internal Combustion Engine was Applied to Improving Agriculture and Transportation, Horsepower was the Norm

Benz gets credit for the first automobile produced with an Internal Combustion Engine

Looking back to the days of my grandfather (born 1895), about 40% of the American population lived in rural areas on farms and it took 40% of the population to produce food for the other 60%.

1900 was a year to keep in mind for both the astounding progress of energy and electricity generation. Also, in that year, the Father of Nuclear Power Generation was born. Hyman Rickover was born in Makow, Poland. It was during his lifetime that he personally developed nuclear power for ship propulsion systems. First for submarines and later for aircraft carriers and then commercial nuclear power generation plants. Rickover’s life was productive and amazing. Truly, this one individual changed the world of power generation over his life-time.

A classic speech given by Rickover in 1957 starts with how man has used energy to improve quality of life. Rickover gave historical milestones in energy going back to the Egyptians. This was part of President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative. The genesis of peaceful uses for nuclear power.

Muscle power was being replaced by steam, gasoline and Diesel engines. James Watt created a definition of “Horsepower” by performing various tests. The numbers he settled on to describe a “Horsepower” (still used today) are 550-foot pounds of work in a second or 33,000-foot pounds per minute. This is the definition of one horsepower.

The illustration shows a cartoon of a horse pulling a large bucket of coal vertically upward, representing 1 HP.

The Railroads traversed America in the later part of the 19th Century and provided a platform to further advance the development of boilers and steam engines. It was not long to reach the point that coal fueled locomotives could greatly outrun a team of horses and do so for long duration.

Economic Prosperity parallels the advancements in use of machines powered by steam or internal combustion engines are used to replace muscle power.

Karl Benz is credited with building the first gasoline powered automobile about 1886. Later, Henry Ford invents and develops the assembly line to mass produce automobiles and the demand for petroleum soars. Rockefeller had been producing kerosene for illumination up to about 1900.  Rockefeller was concerned that Edison’s electric light bulb invention would reduce the demand for kerosene and it did. However, with the steady increase of mass-produced gasoline powered automobiles, the demand from Rockefeller’s Refinery’s was steadily increasing.

The right panel (below) shows the sharp increase in GDP at about 1900. America’s GDP and individual family earnings led the world. In my opinion, much of this sharp increase in economic prosperity is due to the reasonable cost, abundant and domestically available energy which was replacing muscle power.

As seen above, the American Economy soared after 1900. By 1903, America’s GDP per person was the greatest of all of the Industrialized Countries of the world. The U.S.A. GDP/person $8,941 with the United Kingdom second at $7,482. Nearly double that of France and Austria. This coincides with the introduction of electricity distribution, the start of gasoline powered tractors, trucks, the beginning of U.S. Steel, Aluminum and automobiles. Energy use was multiplying the production of primary metals and manufactured products. Much previously produced with muscle and some hydropower.

Mechanization of Farming Made Food Producton Much More Productive with Far Less Labor The Fordson Tractor was introduced about 1915

At the same time that Westinghouse, Edison, Tesla and Allis-Chalmers were building power plants in the U.S.A., Parsons, Brush, Thompson, Siemens and others were taking similar steps in Europe.

Edison invented the Incandescent Light Bulb in 1880. However, carbon arc, electric lights were used for street lighting about 1870. (Carbon Arc Lighting was invented by Humphry Davy in early 1800’s using hundreds of batteries to produce the voltage needed for an arc)

Werner Von Siemens invented the Dynamo in 1866. Another European, Nikola Tesla became interested in Alternating Current and invented the Poly Phase Motor. Tesla then found work at an Edison Power Plant in Paris. Tesla was able to work out a transfer to Menlo Park to work directly with Edison. 

Siemens Factory in Germany for producing electric motors, Carbon-Arc Lamps on the streets of Berlin. Inset photo of Charles Parsons Steam Turbine

Edison was convinced that A/C power was not as good as D/C power. Tesla correctly favored A/C because of the ability to transform to higher voltages for long distance transmission and also because the Poly Phase A/C system worked well with his Poly Phase Motor.

Tesla leaves Edison’s employment and struggles in business by himself for a while. Then, Tesla and George Westinghouse team up together. By 1890, Westinghouse had invented the Transformer and this plus Tesla’s inventions of Poly Phase Motors and A/C current create a harmonious and productive team effort of Tesla and Westinghouse. One milestone project that Westinghouse topped Edison on was providing the generators for the first hydro-electric plant at Niagara Falls. The advantages of Alternating Current made longer distance power transmission possible. With Direct Current that Edison favored, the wires could only transmit power about a mile. 

There is much written on the “Current Wars” between Edison and Westinghouse. The American Juris Prudence System does not look so great in retrospect and especially the harsh handling of the engineering excellence that was applied by Tesla and Westinghouse. J.P. Morgan gets involved as a major investor in Edison General Electric which then becomes, “General Electric” and Tesla’s Patents on the Poly Phase Motor and Alternating Current become the basis for the American Electric Grid. From what I have read, it was the deep pockets of J.P. Morgan that held Westinghouse back. 

The disputes between Westinghouse and Edison were not very harmonious to put it mildly.

Edison, Tesla and Westinghouse. Three important people regarding theapplication of electricity for practical purposes

Steam Power requires a steam generator or boiler. As is the case today, Thermal Power Generation provides most of teh world’s electricity. Steam boilers are important and Babcock & Wilcox invents the inherently safe, water-tube boiler in 1867.  I will give a few examples of boiler safety later.

Fire-Tube Boiler (Left) B&W Water-Tube Boiler (Right)

The difference between a “Water-Tube” and a “Fire-Tube” Boiler is the manner in which the heat is transferred from the products of combustion to the water to create high pressure steam. A Fire-Tube Boiler has a large diameter shell (like a Locomotive Boiler) with the hot gases passing through tubes that pass through the large diameter shell. Steam engines are the prime movers for generators of either A/C or D/C and to have steam, so a reliable high-pressure boiler. Is needed to provide the steam supply. There are two types of boilers, Fire-Tube and Water-Tube. The fire tube boiler is a typical design which is similar to steam locomotives of the 19thand 20th Centuries. The  products of combustion leave the fire box and the hot gases of about 2,000-2,500 degrees F. enter tubes which pass through a large pressure vessel. Heat flows from the hot gases through the fire tubes and into the water contained in the large cylindrical pressure vessel. The larger the steaming capacity the larger the boiler cylinder needs to be.

This evolution of boilers is taking place in 1850 to 1900 and steam engines for ships, locomotives and stationary power generation systems are getting larger and larger. Thus, the boiler pressure vessels had to grow in diameter as well. 

The science of Welding and Metallurgy was in its infancy and steel plates were rolled into cylinders to form boiler shells but instead of welding the seams as is done today, they were caulked and riveted. The many riveted joints were an inherent weakness of large pressure vessels.

Fire-Tube Boiler Construction, before welding was developed and applied to pressure vessel fabrication

The inherent safety risk of Fire-Tube Boilers was that the shell diameter for a large capacity boiler must be very large. In the 19th Century and in fact, until about 1930, boilers were constructed using rivets to attach the shell plates together. Welding was not applied to boiler pressure parts till about 1930. Thus, the rivets combined with relatively primitive advances in steel manufacturing and metallurgy, created a high risk for failure of the pressure parts. Between 1895 and about 1910 there was about one major boiler explosion per day. Often each individual boiler explosion would kill dozens of people. Here are a few examples of terrible boiler explosions.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is Founded in about 1880 and one of the main reasons is to work as an organization to improve the safety of the public. The first edition of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is published about 1915. 

Niagara Falls became the first major Hydro-Electric Plant in the USA and I believe, the largest in the world at the turn of the Century. A beautiful and environmentally friendly way to harness the energy of falling water. 

Niagara Falls was an important milestone for power generation. But the enormous demand that began with the 20th Century was satisfied by heat-engines. Reciprocating Steam engines and steam turbines.

Reciprocating Steam Engine Drive for a D/C Generator about 1890 at the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades

Meanwhile, in England, Charles Parsons is experimenting with steam turbine designs. As with steam engines, the first major applications of steam turbines are for ships. One of the notable steam turbine applications was to the Royal Navy Ship the Turbinia.

The British turbine powered “Turbinia” was built about 1894. This ship was demonstrated by Parsons to the Royal Navy as being twice as fast as reciprocating steam engine powered ships of the time. Marine applications tend to lead stationary power plants into the nuclear age with the first of a kind used for ships and the Navy, both in Europe and the U.S.A.

In America, about 1900 the transition from steam engines to steam turbines began. In this figure below there is one huge steam engine with a large flywheel in the foreground. In the back can be seen three smaller, but larger capacity steam turbines. From 1900-1915 numerous manufacturers of steam turbine drives came to be. Among them: Westinghouse, General-Electric, Allis-Chalmers, Charles Parsons, Brown-Boveri and Siemens.

In London and other large cities, Central Stations were built to generate electricity for the surrounding area. With DC current, it was only practical to extend wires for about a mile square. Later, AC was used which can be transformed to higher voltage and transmitted over longer distances. The slide of the London Power Station shows the typical arrangement of equipment in this time. Note the belt drives to the Dynamos located on a level above the steam engines and the water-tube boilers.

Energy use is not just for electricity. Even today, about 63% of our primary energy is used for transportation, industrial production and heating. About 37% of America’s energy is used to generate electricity. Automobiles become common and at the turn of the Century, the Internal Combustion Engine was welcomed as a great improvement for the environment. Cars and trucks powered by gasoline engines were a lot cleaner than horses. Petroleum became the largest portion of our energy use following WWII and continues to this day to be the major source of primary energy. Increased Industrial production, improved comforts and conveniences, improved quality of life and the resulting economic activity after 1900.  All of these increased demand for most forms of primary energy and electricity.

Both marine uses and stationary power generation prime movers make progress from reciprocating steam engines to turbines and to advanced boiler designs for safety, improved efficiency and reliability.

The illustration below shows a diagram of how using coal as a source of heat energy is converted to steam which is then converted by a steam turbine to shaft “Horsepower”. Keeping in mind the definition of a horsepower is 33,000-foot pounds of work in one minute. In this example, using coal that has 11,500 Btu’s per pound, the potential work equivalent is 11,500 multiplied times 778-foot pounds per Btu. At 100% efficiency, this one pound of coal would produce about 9-million-foot pounds of potential work. The enormity of this heat energy provides insight into the tremendous energy provided by steam and also, the stored energy within the pressure containment of a steam boiler. This brings us to the advancements in safe design and construction of steam boilers over the next few decades.

From Storm Technologies, Inc. Library of Educational Slides on Power Generation

The demand for electricity grew sharply after the inventions of motors, air conditioning and home appliances. Refrigerators became commonly used in homes beginning about 1927. 

Coal fuel was the predominate fuel during this period for electricity generation. Steam turbine drives as prime movers had grown in size and reliability. The steam boilers larger and larger. Welding of boiler pressure parts was advanced after about 1930 and steam boilers became larger and more safe. Overall, the coal plants became quite large. Here is an article that appeared in “Combustion Magazine” during the 1930’s.

At about this same time, pre WWII, Frank Whittle invented the Jet Engine. This basic design was later used after WWII as the besis for stationary Gas Turbine Drives for generators.

Frank Whittle of the UK is generally given credit for design of the jet engine. It is thought that Von Ohain in Germany had access to Whittle’s Patent before his work. 

Only twenty-two years old when he first conceived the idea of a continuous cycle combustion engine in 1933, von Ohain patented a jet propulsion engine design in 1934 that was similar in concept to that of Sir Whittle but different in internal arrangement.

Von Ohain joined Ernst Heinkel in 1936 and continued with the development of his jet propulsion concepts.

He successfully bench tested of one of his engines in September 1937 and a small aircraft was designed and constructed by Ernst Heinkel to serve as a test bed for a new type of propulsion system known as the Heinkel He178. The Heinkel He178 flew for the first time on August 27, 1939. 

G-E progressed using Whittle’s design to develop both aircraft and stationary gas turbines for power generation.

American Bombers being assembled at Ford Motor Company Plant during WWII, Packard Automobile Plant becomes a Manufacturing Plant for Aircraft Engines

Following WWII, America’s Industrial might continued with the rebuilding of Europe and Japan with the Marshall Plan. Energy use increaded as did manufacturing capacity. Along with the energy and manufacturing capacity increases came increased Economic growth.

U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration Chart of Total Energy Use of U.S. 1775-2009

The growth of energy consumption is shown above. This growth in energy can be compared to the GDP of Economic growth in the chart below which is copied from “Our World in Data” website.

The chart below was prepared by ExxonMobil for their Energy Outlook publication. The data is from the World Bank and the United Nations. The point is, the Human Development Index is related to energy avalaibility and use. More energy use can be parlayed into a better quality of life. The foregoing text and illustrations show how the U.S.A. progressed from an Agrairian Economy in the 19th Century to become the most productive Industrial Economy of the world by the mid 20th Century. Of course, Economic Freedom had much to do with America’s rise, but so did the availability of abundant and reasonable cost energy. This will conclude Part 1 of this post. Part 2 will show the relationship of energy and economic prosperity from 1950 to the present day.

Conclusions and Summary:

  1. America progressed from wood and whale oil fuels to the more abundant and increased energy density of coal and oil in about 50 years, 1850-1900.
  2. Our economy progressed and quality of life improved as more muscle labor (human and animal muscle) saving machines were invented, produced and utilized.
  3. Steam engines and steam turbines were the prime mover of choice for ships, railroads and agriculture until the various versions of internal combustion engines were invented and manufactured. The gasoline Otto Cycle and the Diesel Cycle engines were invented and began production in the late 19th Century.
  4. The first major oil discovery in Texas is Spindletop, 1901. This begins the long and productive history of oil production in the state of Texas.
  5. Willis Carrier invents modern air conditioning and humidity control 1902.
  6. Henry Ford revolutionized automoble transportation starting about 1903.
  7. Agricultural production is vastly more productive by the replacement of horse muscle power with mechanized tractors powered by gasoline or Diesel internal combustion
  8. Carnegie and United States Steel become the largest steel manufacturers in the world after 1901
  9. Charles Martin Hall invents and perfects the Aluminum Smelting process in 1888. The Pittsburgh Reduction Company produces aluminum used in the Wright Brothers “Flyer” 1903. Later the name is changed to the Aluminum Company of America and the acronym, ALCOA
  10. Production of both Steel and Aluminum are both very energy intensive. Thus, abundant, reasonable cost energy is required for the steel and aluminum industries to grow as they did.
  11. About 1928 General-Electric produces home refrigerators for preservation of food.
  12. Texas begins development of the Permian Basin oil fields, 1928
  13. During WWII America becomes the “Arsenal of Democracy” and along with our Allies save Western Civilization. The Allies “Arsenal” was fueled mostly by American produced energy, mostly coal and oil.
  14. Captain Hyman G. Rickover has a vision for nuclear propulsion system for submarines and nearly singlehandedly, designs and then leads a team to build the first nuclear powered submarine, the Nautilus which puts to sea 1955.
  15. President Eisenhower launches “Atoms for Peace” Initiative for Peaceful uses of atomic energy. Begins at Atoms for Peace Conference in Geneva, 1955

This is Part 1. Part 2 to follow in the near future. The purpose of this post is to show the importance of reliable, reasonable cost and abundant energy. Energy to power our high quality of living. Our energy has been reliable, low cost and abundant for decades. My observation is that people have become accustomed to reasonable cost and reliable energy for so long that we take it for granted. The environmental extremists on the other hand, have attacked all conventional forms of energy including Fossil Fuels and nuclear which together comprise about 90% of the energy that we depend on.

The foregoing list of 15 accomplishments is intended to show the relationship of energy to high quality of life and economic prosperity. If energy availability is reduced, then our quality of life and economic prosperity are harmed. Up to this point in history, we have always increased energy production to meet the demand of our growing population.

Dick Storm, January 13, 2022

Believer in Freedom to use of Energy for sustainable high quality lives