The November 2020 Presidential Election to put it politely did not end with the best interests of America as a priority. President Biden disingenuously said at the inauguration, that he wants to unite the country. Then he went to the Whitehouse to sign Executive Orders to Cancel the foundation of our economic growth during President Trump’s four years. He is in the highest office of the world and he has plans to use the power of that office to do as much harm as possible to America. I don’t know why the Democrat Party, Liberals & the Mainstream Media can be so hateful of America. But they are.
Their Goals seem to be to Dismantle America’s #1 Position in the world as a Beacon of freedom and to harm or kill the largest Economy on the planet. Biden’s first step to weaken the U.S.A. is to reduce Domestic Energy Production. Reasonable cost energy is a huge component of world manufacturing competitiveness. Abundant production of reasonable cost energy also creates and sustains “Jobs” too! To put it into in a four letter word Mr. Biden may understand.
I will be perfectly honest, I am concerned for the future of America. Here are some of the reasons why I am concerned.
Even before Biden took office, a Federal Court in the Washington D.C. Swamp struck down the “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” This was on President Donald Trump’s last full day in office, the federal court struck down his final effort to undo Obama’s legacy of the Liberals misguided war on carbon. This hands President-elect Joe Biden a clean slate to craft regulations for anti-American carbon rules. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the 2019 Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. This was the Trump administration’s effort to lower power sector emissions and at the same time, keep our energy costs competitive with the world. This court action by itself is very harmful. Then, in Biden’s first day in office, he started the process of killing the Keystone Pipeline. A great start to dismantle our economy and is sure to bring a smile to the faces of V. Putin and Xi Jinping. Why? Washington, DC is a Swamp of misguided politicians, but many of these people have children and grandchildren just as I do. So, why are they so Hell Bent on ruining America? The anti-American Cancel Culture is now in power. God help us.
Here is my take on the relationship of energy and economic prosperity. Let’s start with a little history of the 100 years of progress following energy pioneers Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla. America entered and helped win two world Wars and in WWll America was declared by FDR to be the “Arsenal of Democracy” because of our talented citizen engineers to invent and manufacture. Following WWll, economic expansion of America was the Gold Standard for the world to take notice and copy. (China certainly took notice and copied our model of using energy and manufacturing to build an economy). We were very open and sharing with our technology for producing nearly every modern marvel from efficient aluminum and steel production to airplanes, vehicles and computer chips. The recorded economic and energy history show these American creative inventions, manufacturing and expansion have a paralleleconomic growth track that follows the use of abundant and reasonable cost energy. Energy and Economic Prosperity go together. America’s God given Treasure of coal plus Admiral Rickover and President Eisenhower’s gift to mankind of nuclear energy kept our economy powered and growing for decades. The graph below is from data by the EIA and the American Coal Council. Note the chart ends in 2010 when our GDP was about 13 Trillion dollars. Now the U.S. economy has grown 50% greater than it was in 2010.
Through this 40 year growth period of the American Economy, coal provided about 50% of America’s electricity production and nuclear from the 1980’s on, provided about 20% of America’s electricity. (Coal + Nuclear= about 70%)
Then about 2012 Hydraulic Fracturing and Directional Drilling revolutionized American natural gas and oil production. America progressed to becoming the #1 Producer of natural gas and oil. The downside of the abundant natural gas was, that it became more economical to use as a power generation fuel than inexpensive coal. Part of this was raw fuel cost differential and part of it was American inventiveness with highly efficient, advanced aeroderivative gas turbine power plants. The total plant efficiency of the best and most advanced gas turbine combines cycle plants is now over 60% under ideal test conditions. Dispatchable power generation with overall efficiencies of over 50% were attainable and getting better every year. The newest and best Ultra-Supercritical, clean coal plants can achieve about 42% thermal efficiency. Most of the existing coal fleet has a heat-rate of about 10,000 Btu./kWh or about 34% thermal efficiency. Fuel cost for a gas turbine combined cycle plant is about 90% of the production cost of electricity. A coal plant production cost is burdened with environmental flue gas cleanup equipment and reagents plus a much larger operations and maintenance staff. Thus, natural gas plants have the economic advantage over coal. The cheaper the fuel cost, the more reasonable the power production cost. Natural gas and coal are almost equal in cost/million Btu’s at about $2.00/million Btu. Thus, with less staff, higher efficiency and no flue gas cleanup costs, natural gas produced electricity is produced at significantly less cost than coal generated power for the same raw fuel heating value cost in $/million Btu. If natural gas prices escalate, so will electricity production cost. Perhaps an advantage for coal but not good for America’s competitiveness. The Biden policies of harming natural gas production through increased regulations and restricting pipelines is (or will be) if he continues, harmful to our country by causing natural gas prices to rise over time, which will increase electricity costs. The nuclear plants for the time being, continue to generate about 19% of America’s electric power.
We have come a long way and our air is the cleanest it has ever been. Check the EPA 50 year progress graph below:
All through this 50 year growth period of the American Economy, growing population and increased road miles of driving, coal provided about 50% of America’s electricity production and nuclear from the 1980’s on, provided about 20% of America’s electricity.
We have come a long way and our air is the cleanest it has ever been. Check the EPA 50 year progress graph above:
The abundance and reasonable cost of electricity does matter to the U.S.A.! Reasonable cost electricity is required to be competitive. I am sure the Liberals will take care of the power costs for lower income families by some form of welfare or subsidies. But, what about Industry? In my adopted state of SC about 1/3 of electricity is used for Industrial production. Especially steel and aluminum. If we are to keep some of these vital industries, we will need to keep electricity costs reasonable. I object to the politicians view (and some Electric Utility Exec’s too) that electricity costs can be increased with minimal harm to individual pocket books. Maybe so for individual home owners but, tell ALCOA or NUCOR that the electricity rates will double and see how that impacts their product competitiveness and new plant siting.
I see this as quite a legacy of success in clean power generation and economic prosperity. The power for our economy is fuels. The best simple illustration of where our fuels come from and how they are used is shown on the EIA/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sankey Diagram of energy flows. Here below are the energy flows for the year 2019:
I would point out (from the Sankey Diagram above) that America depended on about 37% Petroleum, 32% natural gas, 11.4% coal and 8.46 % nuclear. These fuels, I and most others involved in power generation, consider to be conventional and they total just about 89% of America’s energy. During the last couple years America achieved energy independence and I understand, November 2020 for the first time in decades, America did not need to import any oil or natural gas.
President Biden’s stated intentions are to escalate the war on carbon. It is a war on America’s energy and with that, an assault on our economic prosperity. (spell that JOBS) The Sankey Diagram above showed about 89% of our energy is from conventional fuels. With all of the tax credits and subsidies of renewables, solar and wind are on the chart at 1.04% and 2.74% (Note, I took the liberty of rounding the numbers in Quadrillion Btu’s to percent because the total U.S.A. energy use is 100.2 Quadrillion Btu’s/year, thus pretty close to 100 for the % stated)
The pie chart below from the EIA, shows 11% renewables. Of the 11% renewable energy, most of the power was produced by old hydroelectric dams, wood. Biomass and biofuels.
In America we have some of the cleanest air on the planet and we are at this point, the World’s largest Economy. Congratulations America! Well done. Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of American engineers, business, technicians and tradesmen.
Does World Manufacturing Competitiveness matter? It does from my viewpoint. China has built more coal power generation in the last 20 years than it took America to build over the preceding 100 years. China took a page out of American history to power their industries with reasonable cost fuels and by the way, China uses about 7.4 times as much coal as America and more than the rest of the world all put together.
Notice how America has plateaued at about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s total energy each year since about the year 2000. Check the rise of China’s energy use to more than twice America’s and still growing. China produces over 50% of the world’s aluminum and steel. China is the world’s largest manufacturer. Yes, China has learned the relationship of reasonable cost energy and manufacturing might. Unlike President Trump, American Liberals in Congress and President Biden seem to be interested in supporting Russia’s gas and China’s manufacturing. More interested in Russia and China’s success than supporting America’s taxpaying, citizen workers, businesses and Industry.
Thank you, President Trump for four very good years in promoting energy policies and reducing Federal Regulations. Your policies were conducive to economic prosperity, keeping our country strong and employing millions of our citizens in good paying jobs. It is with sadness that I view the news of Biden-Harris as they begin policies that are certain to weaken America. We will miss Mr. Trump’s policies.