I presented my views on the importance of coal to the ASME Annual Meeting in Dallas at the Plenary Session in the summer of 2011. Back then, over 50% of America’s electricity was generated by coal power and hundreds of new coal plants were in the planning stages to modernize the coal fleet. Electricity costs in the U.S. were amongst the lowest in the world. The map with electricity costs is from 2010 data and from Dick Storm presentation to the ASME Annual Meeting.
During last Thanksgiving week I was thinking of the many Blessings I have had over my life-time and it occurred to me that not only me but all other Americans are Blessed with an enormous treasure of energy (and many minerals we need too) right within our borders. It has been said before, “America is the Saudi Arabia of Coal”. What follows are some slide excerpts from my 2011 talk to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) where my main point was, “Coal is Important”. It was then and remains important in 2022.
Back in 2008-2011 there were hundreds of new coal plants in the planning or construction stages. Many of these were cancelled. At the end of this post, in the Conclusions, I have added a dozen or so references of some of the organizations and individuals that contributed to the stopping new construction or the shutting down of over 200 coal plants. Because the ASME meeting in 2011 was at the beginning of “Wokeness” by the ASME, not all organizers were pleased with what I had to say. However, thanks to a friend who was an ASME official at the time, I was given my full allotted time in the Plenary Session for my presentation. My compliments and appreciation to my career-long friend Sam Korellis, now retired from EPRI. Time flies, that was 11 years ago and since then over 102,000 MW’s of coal generation capacity has been shut down without being replaced in kind. This is a mistake that much of America will realize in a couple months when the 2023 winter begins. Here are my views, as presented 11 years ago on the importance of coal and I believe, still are applicable today.
Economic prosperity and coal consumption grew as America prospered 1970-2010. This in spite of the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo.
I have used the U.S. Department of Energy Sankey Diagram of “Total Primary Energy” for many years and have discussed the fact that America typically requires 100 Quadrillion Btus of energy each year to power our high quality of life. Here below is the Sankey Diagram showing the Total Primary Energy used in 2008. Note it is 102.75 Quadrillion Btus. What has changed as the years (and War on Coal) have gone by, is the source of the fuels. In 2008 coal was 19.76 Quadrillion Btus. In 2021 coal was about half that at 10.5 Quadrillion Btus as natural gas fuel was more widely used for power generation 2008 to 2021. However, the total primary energy for normal economic activity remains right at 100 Quadrillion Btus. In 2019 before Covid, it was 101 Quads.
Four Facts that I opened my talk with: In 2011 about 82% of the world’s energy was fossil fuels. Today, fossil fuels continue to provide about the same percentage but actually, a greater quantity than in 2011 because more energy is used today than in 2011. My last of the four points is the most important. That is, Much damage to the American people and all of the people of the world has been inflicted by Green policies that are based on political wealth distribution purposes plus the myth that solar and wind can replace fossil fuels.
Summary of Where the U.S. Has Progressed in Energy Policy Since 2011
The presentation to the ASME was in the summer of 2011, 11 years ago. Since then over 102,000 MW of reliable, Dispatchable Coal plants have been shut down and only three new coal plants that I know of were started up in the U.S. (AEP-John Turk Station in Arkansas, Duke-Cliffside #6 and Longview in WVA). For a reliable grid there should be a Rational Energy Policy that would have provided incentives for continuing a Balanced electric generation portfolio. Including All Fuels and All Forms of Clean Energy, including Clean Coal, Nuclear, Gas Turbine Combined Cycle, wind and solar.
As if to highlight the irrational Energy Policy today, my friend Thomas sent me a news clip on the Pirky Plant in Texas being forced to shut down(1) just this week. His appropriate description of the news item is: “Losing the War against Stupidity”. So it seems.
These coal and nuclear plant shut downs have been driven by environmental zealots funded by non energy savvy Billionaires. To be fair, they may have good intentions on contributing to a cleaner and better world. However, Net-Zero Carbon by 2035 or even 2050 will not be possible without sacrificing our quality of life. The folks that contribute to the environmental extremists and the organizations have indoctrinated many of the people of the world by demonizing the very fuels that have lifted billions from poverty. Amongst them are the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Council and many more. Many of the executives from the environmental extremist groups have served both the EPA and government agencies. This is well documented by a 2015 report by Congress . Numerous references below document the revolving door of extremists being placed in high government positions. Background and expertise in electric power production or any proficiency in energy production or engineering is not a requiremment for these individuals that are now in powerful government positions. The lack of an energy policy is partially explained by the lack of proficiency or understanding by people in high office. The organizations that set U.S. Energy (Non) Policy are depicted in the illustration below which I have used in recent presentations.
So, What Went Wrong?
The root cause of our foolish and anti-American energy policy in my opinion, is due to many years of mis-education and indoctrination of the public on the Myth that Solar and Wind can replace coal, natural gas and nuclear generation. Also, replace Fossil Fuels for transportation, plastics, Fertilizer, concrete and steel production. The indoctrination of the public on the myth that wind and solar can provide all of America’s energy has been well orchestrated, but it is wrong for America and wrong for the Free World.
The organizations shown in the above illustration have done much to misguide the public. In addition to the organizations above, there are many “Woke” corporations and organizations that may have “good intentions” to promote “Electrifying Everything” but…. it is simply not possible to do so. So here we are at the end of a Decade of misinformation and Indoctrination and the result is a worldwide Energy Crisis. According to the head of the IEA, Dr. Faith Birol, yes it is a world energy crisis, worse than the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Similar dire warnings from energy experts, such as Daniel Yergin of Cambridge Energy Experts.
- I still believe the 2011 ASME presentation on the Importance of Coal, to be valid and a valid component of a Rational Energy Policy. America should use our enormous treasure of nuclear, coal, oil and gas minerals that lie within our borders.
- Net Zero Carbon by 2050, Using All Renewables is Not Practical or Attainable
- Energy Policy in the U.S. is determined by Environmental Extremists and Politicians that do not have training or proficiency in engineering and energy production.
- There is No U.S. Policy for an Orderly Transition to Carbon-Free Energy
- Energy Independence should be a central component of any U.S. Energy Policy.
- .An Energy Crisis including Blackouts is Likely in Winter 2023. Energy Policy is Set by Politicians, Un-Elected Bureaucrats and Lobbyists, Driven by Green $ Incentives to Utilities and Independent Power Generation Developers
- Hydrogen as Stored Energy, Has Technical Merit, But does not yet make Economic good sense. It still takes about 3-4 units of electricity kWh to make one useable kWh
- .Producing Hydrogen from Nuclear Energy is Practical and Proven and may lead to affordable hydrogen….But it will take years
- A “Rational Energy Policy” to Transition to Future Energy supply, should include All Fuels, including Dispatchable Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear. Renewables where practical.
- We should not Shut Down and Demolish Existing Generation until new HELE Coal Plants for Bulk Power Generation is assured in order to maintain a Balanced Generation Portfolio.
- A partial list of key players that are setting U.S. Energy Policy. (Hint, These are not people trained in engineering & planning Electricity Generation Capacity):
- Sierra Club: https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/194-sierra-club/
- Heartland Institute Summary of Obama Carbon Mandate: https://www.heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/obamas–carbon-mandate-an-account-of-collusion-cutting-corners-and-costing-americans-billions
- Pee Dee Coal Plant Cancellation, Post & Courier 2009: https://www.postandcourier.com/news/pulling-the-plug-on-pee-dee-plant/article_3372de17-64a1-5d91-aaea-84c83fcc792f.html
- NRDC.org : https://www.nrdc.org/demand-climate-action
- Sierra Club Reports on 24 Coal Plants Cancelled in U.S. 2008: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/01012009/year-coal-2008-24-new-plants-killed-us/
- Natural Resources Defense Council: https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/19-natural-resources-defense-council/
- Washington Examiner 2013 EPA and Sue and Settle Lawsuits: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/epas-back-room-sue-and-settle-deals-require-reform
- Washington Examiner: Gina McCarthy CEO of NRDC: https://eelegal.org/washington-examiner-gina-mccarthy-and-nrdc-together-again/
- Bezos awards $100 million to NRDC : https://www.nrdc.org/media/2020/201116
- NRDC Zealot, Gina McCarthy pay shown on IRS 990 Form: https://www.nrdcactionfund.org/about/
- Mother Jones 2012, Sierra Club “War on Coal” update to kill 167 coal plants: https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/04/map-american-coal-plants/
- AEP Newsletter to employees and Retirees on Turk Plant Settlement. The Turk plant went into operation in 2013 and is one of the last new, clean coal Supercritical plants to start up, The “Settlement shows some of the reasons why no new coal plants followed Unit #1 at Turk: https://aepretirees.com/2011/12/22/aep-resolves-all-legal-challenges-against-turk-plant-plant-on-track-to-begin-commercial-operation-in-2012/
- PowerEngineering Articles on Turk and Duke Coal plant closures, 2/01/2012: https://www.power-eng.com/renewables/aep-resolves-all-legal-challenges-against-turk-plant/#gref
- Source Watch Brags on NRDC being responsible for forcing shutting down of Seven major coal plants in Texas in 2007: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Natural_Resources_Defense_Council#Support_for_coal_gasification
- Inside the “War on Coal” Politico, Bloomberg and Some other major influencers in 2015: https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/inside-war-on-coal-000002/
- EPA 2020 Cleaner Air Graph of air quality and pollutants. This shows the great progress in removing true pollutants from U.S. Air since 1970 Founding of the EPA, while miles driven, GDP & population increased. The point, it is not about clean air it is about Zealots in charge at the EPA: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2021/#growth_w_cleaner_air
- University Student Dissertation on the “Sierra Club Success of Beyond Coal” Campaign 2020: https://www.proquest.com/openview/b734be1b4fa402463fbb2ee03a7993e5/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
- Tom Steyer Starts Fund of 100 million to fight Climate Change, Philanthropy News Digest: https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/hedge-fund-billionaire-to-step-up-climate-change-advocacy-efforts
- Cooler Heads, July 15, 2022: Excellent References of Gina McCarthy and other EPA “War on Coal” personalities: https://go.cei.org/webmail/287682/912292506/68e507be334cf34c7d54b4b2a348b50f1d373ec69c94d0d629001f91129c1e7d
- EPA New Source Review Settlements Summaries: https://www.gem.wiki/EPA_Coal_Plant_Settlements
- EPA Retains Tools to Harm Coal Power Production, Utility Dive, July 1, 2022: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/supreme-court-epa-GHG-carbon-power-plant/626456/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202022-07-01%20Utility%20Dive%20Newsletter%20%5Bissue:42837%5D&utm_term=Utility%20Dive
- Michael Bloomberg Awards 174 million to Sierra Club Beyond Coal Program: https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2020/09/bloomberg-philanthropies-and-sierra-clubs-beyond-coal-campaign-reaches
- Environmental Regulations Shut Down a local Power Plant in Texas causing Economic Harm to Citizens, due to excessively restrictive EPA Rules: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/eco-regulations-force-massive-coal-plant-shut-down-sparking-community-uproar
- Shelly Moore Capito Opinion in WVA “Intelligencer” Newspaper, July 2022: https://www.theintelligencer.net/opinion/local-columns/2022/07/joe-goffman-the-wrong-choice-to-help-lead-epa/
- Environmental Zealot, Joe Gothman Atty in EPA Revolving Door of well funded non-Profits and EPA: http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/USSEWP080415.pdf
- The preceding list of organizations and individuals are some of the anti conventional fuels Zealots that have molded the United States Energy Policies, which are in fact, Not Energy Policies at all, just a continuing “War on Coal and Conventional Fuels” This my friends is how America the greatest country in the world, is self inflicting harm on our economy, national security and against the best interests of the American people. One would think that the Bureaucrats in Washington do not read the news of the energy problems and causes in Europe? We should know by now, the importance of true Energy Independence.
Respectfully and yours truly,
Dick Storm, November 25, 2022
References and for further reading:
- Eco regulations force massive coal plant to shut down, sparking community uproar | Fox Business. Typical news of the harm done to citizens by out of control Bureaucrats: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/eco-regulations-force-massive-coal-plant-shut-down-sparking-community-uproar
- Gina McCarthy, Climate Czar, IRS 990 form when she worked at NRDC between Obama and Biden Administrations: Click to access nrdc-actionfund-990-2020.pdf
- Big Green Radicals, 2014 : https://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/epa-report.pdf
- Business Insider, Links of Russian Funds to NRDC Funding to fight Fracking: https://www.businessinsider.com/a-russian-linked-company-in-bermuda-is-funneling-millions-to-us-anti-fracking-groups-2015-1
- 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Plenary Meeting presentation, Why Coal is Important: https://www.stormeng.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2011-Why-Coal-is-Important-for-America-ASME-Annual-Meeting-2011.pdf
- Joe Gothman Atty in EPA Revolving Door of well funded non-Profits and EPA: http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/USSEWP080415.pdf
- Donn Dears article on U.S. Energy Resources, July 2022: https://bit.ly/3J5OnTc
- What is Endangered, Freedom or Climate: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2022/02/27/what-is-endangered-climate-or-freedom-this-is-the-sub-title-of-the-book-blue-planet-in-green-shackles/
- Is Manmade Global Warming causing more hurricanes? : https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/10/16/is-global-warming-responsible-for-hurricane-ian-the-evidence-says-no/
- On Arctic Ice: : https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/no-melting-greenland-ice-is-not-about-to-swamp-coastal-areas
- On Tidal Rise: : https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/no-melting-greenland-ice-is-not-about-to-swamp-coastal-areas
- Benefits of CO2 to the planet: http://sepp.org/twtwfiles/2022/TWTW%2011-05-22.pdf
- Urban Heat Island science: http://sepp.org/twtwfiles/2022/TWTW%2011-05-22.pdf
- On Scientific Consensus of Anthropogenic Global Warming: https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/97-consensus-on-climate-change-survey-shows-only-59-of-scientists-expect-significant-harm
- Monuments to Poor Planning, What Do you Think they will be in 2024: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/
- Donn Dears, Blackouts Threaten New England Again?: https://ddears.com/2022/10/25/blackouts-threaten-new-england-again/
- If the Climate Zealots Really Cared about CO2 Then, they would embrace Nuclear Power: WSJ, Opinion, May 27, 2022, Jason Hayes, “Why Blackouts are Coming to Michigan” Regarding shutdown of Palisades Nuclear Generating Plant: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-electricity-blackouts-are-coming-to-michigan-nuclear-power-plant-green-energy-renewable-climate-11653685521?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=5&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
- World Nuclear Organization: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-power-in-the-world-today.aspx
- U.S. Grid Monitor, Real Time Bulk Power across U.S. : https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/US48/US48
- Liberty Energy, “Bettering Human Lives Report”: https://www.libertyenergy.com/betteringhumanlivesv2/
- Capital Research Center, Nov. Dec. 2021 Issue: https://capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/Capital-Research-2021-8.pdf
- WUWT Blog on Global Fuels Use, July 11, 2021: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/07/11/2020-global-energy-data-shows-fossil-fuels-completely-dominate-world-energy-use/
- IEA Energy and Food Production: https://www.iea.org/commentaries/how-the-energy-crisis-is-exacerbating-the-food-crisis
- Activist Facts, Environmental Report (Follow the Money): https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/19-natural-resources-defense-council/
- China and World Carbon Dioxide emitters Columbia Univ.: https://www.energypolicy.columbia.edu/research/report/getting-30-60-how-china-s-biggest-coal-power-cement-and-steel-corporations-are-responding-national
- Capital Research Center, The Left’s War on Coal: https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-lefts-war-on-coal-part-3/
- There is No Climate Emergency, Dr. Judith Curry: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YBdmppcfixM&feature=emb_logo
- Dr. Steve Koonin, Is There Really a Climate Emergency?: https://www.prageru.com/video/is-there-really-a-climate-emergency?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_5331670