Make This The Year to Get in the Classroom: Especially Energy Education

A Ryan Zorn post inspired me to write on the need for us to become involved in public education. Ryan Zorn suggested “Make this the year to get in the classroom”.

I have been retired for a number of years but became interested through my Rotary Club on Hilton Head Island. Yes, Ryan is correct, all of us Energy Savvy engineers should become involved with helping to educate the public and especially K-12 students that may otherwise be indoctrinated. Check the link below in references for Ryan’s PPT.

A separate message I got in reviewing LinkedIn posts and especially focused on education was the need to pass on the soft skills that many successful people used to reach comfortable retirement. The big question, “Can we teach the Virtues that helped us get here, to K-12 students?” It occurred to me that about twenty years ago I compiled a list of 55 Virtues for my sons and later shared with the employees of Storm Technologies. I will list these below. Perhaps many would think they are corny and old fashioned? In my view looking back, they worked very well for me. I hope that the sharing of these with some young people will inspire them to use these to contribute to their success in their careers.

Back to energy education, I will post  a presentation of my version of educating the public on energy and electricity generation for the future on a future post. For now, here are my 55 Virtues, which I tried to practice and live by:

  1. Always do your best. Be the best in what you do!
  2. Continuously study, stretch, and learn new skills.
  3. Tithe to the church and other worthy charities. Be active in the charities you choose in order to know your gifts are well spent.
  4. Pray daily.
  5. Be active in church. Seek and do leadership activities. Teach Sunday School, chair a committee. You would be surprised how this develops confidence and public speaking skills.
  6. Practice balance in your life.
  7. Control your nutrition.
  8. Stay physically fit. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes at least 4 times/week.  Use the YMCA!
  9. Do not judge others. Use the standard of being the best, fairest, and the example of Christ. 
  10. Remove all thoughts of “Envy” of others from your mind. Do not compare what you have to what others have. Remember only those that are less fortunate than we are and do what is possible to help them to have an improved situation.
  11. Treat family with reverence, respect, and love. Think before saying hurtful words, especially be aware of respect for each other!
  12. Take at least 2 days (16 hours) of continuing education each year.
  13. Present at least one technical paper each 3 years.
  14. Be active in professional associations.
  15. Be active in the community, serve in important positions on the school board, a civic club, or a worthy charity.
  16. Enjoy your work and make it enjoyable for all of your co-workers, peers, subordinates, and family. (If you do not enjoy your work, find work that you do enjoy). Anyone who works 8-12 hours per day should be enthusiastic and feel that he/she is making a positive contribution. Work should be exciting and fun, not dreaded. Think about the “golden rule” for people you supervise.
  17. Practice and show good manners by example. Including; when in meetings only speak one person at a time, same for conference calls, do not initiate side bar conversations when in a meeting or teleconference, develop extraordinary good manners so that you are remembered for them as well as your other good and professional qualities.
  18. Lead by example in neatness of your dress, your cleanliness of your car/truck, the order of your office and home.
  19. Be organized – office, home, vehicle, calendar/schedule.
  20. Be disciplined in balancing life’s priorities.
  21. Help others.  Be a good neighbor, friend, confidant, good Samaritan.
  22. Pass these virtues on to your sons and daughters because we have “so much” and because we love our children – we do not want to ruin their chances to be all that they are capable of being.
  23. Form alliances and friendships with schools, shops, businesses.  Nurture and build these for mutual benefit.
  24. Control your temper.
  25. Manage your finances to minimize debt to others.
  26. Make time to enjoy your wife/husband periodically. Do special trips and weekends on occasion.
  27. Plan and execute family vacations at least once per year to spend at least 7 days at a fun location with your family.
  28. Be honest and reliable, always. Keep your word! Let your words and promises be your bond.
  29. A reputation is earned over many years. Practicing Integrity beyond reproach is one major factor in building a good reputation.
  30. Do the “little extra” in all that you do. (Do what is expected, “And Then Some”)
  31. When doing something special, consider doing a “little extra” to completely surprise the person toward whom the kindness is directed.
  32. Be careful with controllable expenditures.
  33. Be generous with others. Yet, practice “Tough Love” and provide a growth opportunity to up and coming people to earn their way to an improved situation.
  34. Develop pride and high esteem in yourself and all that you do. Know that you have done the best! While having Pride is important, keep your Humility.
  35. Always PREPARE! Whether for a Sunday School lesson, a speech, or presentation, know your subject well. Be prepared.
  36. Be humble. Balance PRIDE and knowing you are the best; have prepared the best, with humility. Others will recognize quality, achievement of any type.
  37. Read for recreation, read books in your free time, and when traveling on airplanes. Improve your vocabulary, continuing education, and understanding of history, the world, cultures, politics, philosophies, and current events.  Be informed. Remember, a large part of fiction books are based on facts.
  38. Develop outside interests and hobbies. Prepare for “retirement” by finding some enjoyable, outside interests. Remember, this is part of keeping the “balance!”
  39. Become active in politics. Good, right-living people must be involved or else the “wrong” people will continue to rise to positions of influence and power.  Know the issues, be an informed voter. Influence others through factual education.
  40. Always have a clear list of tasks “to do” for subordinates. Use their time wisely by preparation, planning and careful delegation.
  41. Keep a pocket calendar or electronic “to-do” list of goals for yourself.  You will be surprised at the progress that can be achieved by a written “punch list” of tasks to be done. Review your list daily.
  42. Respect your wife/husband’s wishes of to-do items.  Place them at equal priority with yours.
  43. Teach a course or seminar. The teacher always learns the most from the necessary preparation.
  44. Welcome the opportunity to volunteer and provide service to others. Control this to be joyful when the opportunity arises. In other words, do it, but do not get yourself over-committed (Balance)!
  45. Develop a habit of annual physical exams. “Work” toward a healthy height/weight as clearly defined by your family doctor and insurance company recommendations. We owe it to our loved ones to practice healthy lifestyles. Some of our family genes are good, some not so good. We know how to take advantage of the good genetics.
  46. Know your body, know your body’s sensitivities.  For example, if sugar makes you tired, be careful about too much sugar when driving long distances at night. Control alcoholic consumption. Be disciplined. Do not let momentary pleasures of any sort ruin your’s or someone else’s life.
  47. Think safety at all times. Remember, most accidents happen at home. Last year (2001, this was originally written in 2002), “Engineering News Record” reported 852 on-the-job industrial fatalities and said this was a “terrible record.” Compare this with 42,000 people killed in automobile accidents. Be wary and aware of the safety of your family, your co-workers, and yourself – at all times.
  48. Nurture and develop the continued support of your wife. The continued and unwavering support of your wife is absolutely essential for professional and business success. Earn their support by your respect and interest in you wife and family – again, BALANCE!
  49. Stick to your principles.
  50. Be professionally, politely, but positively aggressive. Develop business potential with more customers than can be handled and then do business with those that are the most compliant with your terms, desires, profitability and your core strengths.
  51. Lead others. Especially those who work for you. Be an enthusiastic Mentor and teach young up and coming employees on how to improve their capabilities on the job and how to improve themselves in general. The best way to do this is by setting a good example.
  52. Be an “Encourager”. Always encouraging others to do a little better, do a little more.
  53. Always be Enthusiastic in the good works that you do. Enthusiasm is contagious and can inspire those around you.
  54. Have a Long-Term Vision and Plan for the Future, both Professionally and personally.
  55. In all that you do, work to make this a better world than you found it.

Let’s all get out and do our best to support education. Think of it this way, in about 5 years the average Middle School Student will become a voter.

Dick Storm, October 26, 2021


  1. Ryan Zorn LinkedIn  page
  2. Ryan Zorn Energy PowerPoint for 5th Graders:!111957&ithint=file%2cpptx&authkey=!ABKjrBh6NHC3AzM
  3. Energy Strong LinkedIn Page
  4. Energy Strong Web Page:

The War on Carbon, How it Came to be:

Climate Change has been going on since well before the Romans. Certainly well before coal was burned for power generation. Yet, the main stream news is fixated on Climate Change being the result of the Developed World’s use of Fossil Fuels over the last 100 years. The MSM has completely blown off the possibility that Climate Change is mostly Natural. I am a proponent for reasonable cost, abundant energy and the resultant improved quality of life. I am also interested in protecting the environment, and I love nature just as much as any environmentalist does. Reasonable cost Energy improves quality of life and is referred to by some as improving the “Human Developmet Index”. It concerns me that the most reasonable cost and proven sources of energy have become somewhat socially unacceptable. Such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Ironically, these four forms of energy are the one’s that provide about 90-96% of the Developed World’s energy. Many Financial Institutions are reluctant to loan money to Developers of mines, fossil fueled power stations or refineries. Even though there are still almost a Billion people on the planet that have limited or no access at all to electricity. Energy and Economic prosperity go together.

A slide from a recent course I presented. The data are from the UN, Our World in Data and ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy

So, this begs the question: Why would so many in the MSM, Entertainment, Politics, Education and the General Public be against the very things that make our high quality of lives possible? As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that perhaps it would be helpful to remind folks of how we have arrived at this absurd place in history. Here are my thoughts and research of how the “War on Carbon” came to be. This is purely Politically Driven, not based on science or protection of the planet.

The UN Agenda 21

It was 1993 and Bill Clinton was President of the U.S.A. with Al Gore as Vice President. Executive Order #12858 was signed.(1) This is my understanding of the beginning of the “War on Coal”. The U.N. Agenda 21 began in a conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It brought together concerns for our environment, Socialism, Secular Humanism, and the world banking cartels. U.S.A involvement began in 1992, with then good intentions, by President George H.W. Bush. Bush #41 referred to Agenda 21 as encompassing “Sacred Principles”. Then the good intentions deteriorated into viscious, effective and well funded attacks on coal. The cost to Americans was blunted due to the near simulateous successes of the Shale Gas Revolution which greatly increased production of Domestic natural gas and drove natural gas prices downward. In the short term, the low natural gas prices actually hurt coal power more than the extremists and Democrat’s smear campaigns. However, the damage was permanent with no new coal plants being built in the U.S.A. since about 2012. Many older coal plants have been irreversibly decommissioned and hundreds demolished. Many of these plants could have been operating now had they been maintained. I hate to say the Environmental Extremists have won, but it looks like they have. But, who benefits from the Environmental Extremists apparent success? In my view, the only beneficiaries are China, Russia and other adversaries of the U.S.A.

Now, natural gas prices are escalating and even the Left Leaning MSM talk of expected high energy bills in winter and possible energy shortages. Therefore, given this scenario, I thought it was timely to review, from my vantage point, just how this madness came to be.

War on Coal 1993-2012

The Democrat’s have hated coal for many years. The only reason I can rationalize their hate, is because the well funded Environmental Groups usually support Democrat’s. Here below is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the “War on Coal”(6)

“A goal of the Sierra Club is to replace coal with other energy sources.[31] Through its “Beyond Coal” campaign, the Sierra Club has set a goal to close half of all coal plants in the U.S. by 2017. American business magnate and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $50 million to the Sierra Club’s anti-coal work in 2011, and announced another $30 million gift to Sierra’s Beyond Coal campaign in 2015.[32]The Beyond Coal campaign says 187 coal plants have been closed since 2010.[33] Other funders of the Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.[34] The CEO of Chesapeake Energy, a natural gas company, donated $26 million to the Beyond Coal campaign between 2007 and 2010.[35]

The Sierra Club is also opposed to nuclear energy.[36][37] “

Then, piling on with the MSM and the environmental organizations comes the allying of the public schools and teaching (indoctrinating) extreme green policies to our teenagers many of which have now grown up to be adults.

In addition to demonizing of carbon in Public Schools the general public is bombarded with “Save the Planet” propaganda by entertainment personalities, and the  MSM.  Here is a short history of the War on Coal by Politico(7) 

The Democrat’s hated coal and then that hate has morphed into hate of all Fossil Fuels. The (D’s) are supported by Environmental organizations (4,5) that mostly, also hate nuclear. So, the Democrat’s and Environmentally (Like Bush 41, they have good intentions) conscious citizens tend to oppose the one carbon-free form of power that is efficient, reliable, proven and capable of Dispatchable operation at high-capacity factor. The generation (it has been 28 years since Clinton signed EO) of youth that were indoctrinated to hate coal and nuclear are now voters.

This is my summary of “How the War on Carbon” has brought us to Congress working on a Stupid and anti-American Path to Net Zero Carbon. A path that only benefits adversaries of the U.S.A. The best word I can think of to describe these policies is “Stupid”.

A better path would be to continue energy independence using Hydraulic Fracturing and production of all of America’s oil and gas, including pipelines for safe transport of oil and gas. Build many more new nuclear plants to produce more nuclear power generation for both electricity generation and for hydrogen production. Also, build new highly efficient coal plants with the future capability for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage) Called HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions)

In closing, my view is that all forms of energy are important including; nuclear, coal, oil and gas. By the way, another reason that supports this is the fact that about 96% of America’s energy is provided by conventional energy as shown below. Disrupting the supply chain of Domestic energy will weaken America.

These views are my own and not those of any organization that I have been part of. I take full responsibility for these opinions and they are based on my personal experiences in the electric power industry over many decades.

Richard F. (Dick) Storm, PE

PS I just came across this post by the GWPF (Global Warming Policy Foundation) A reminder that all the meetings and hype are strictly Political, not about getting Results:


  1. Living with Agenda 21, Surrendering Our Freedoms by Dr. H. Lawrence Zillmer, Copyright 2012
  2. U.N. Agenda 21 Info:
  3. U.N. Sustainable Development Report, 2021:
  4. Capital Research Center, Report on Climate Dollars
  5. The NEW Leviathan, Crown Forum, NY 2012 Check Appendix X and summary of $9 Billion in Assets
  6. Wikipedia, “War on Coal”
  7. Politico, “War on Coal”
  8. War on Coal, Issues in Science and Technology:
  9. An Excellent video of some very smart Patriots, The Right Stuff Climate Team (Retired NASA Engineers):
  10. Donn Dears well written and practical articles
  11. Michael Shellenberger on John Shanahan Website. Solar Panels make more waste than nuclear:
  12. Armstrong Economics, Great article on CO2 and the politics of the “War on Carbon” aka, “Manmade Climate Change”
  13. EPA New Source Review  Settlements Summaries:
  14. EPA Settlements on NSR violations by WEPCO 2003: 
  15. Dissertation on the Sierra Club Success of Beyond Coal Campaign 2020:
  16. Inside the War on Coal Politico, The Agenda 2015:
  17.  NRDC China Office:  
  18.  Government Accountability Office Report on Environmental Protection Agency–Application of Publicity or Propaganda and Anti-Lobbying Provisions EPA Lobbying, 2015:
  19. NRDC About us and link to IRS 990 Form:
  20. Influence Watch, NRDC page:
  21. Washington Examiner: Gina McCarthy CEO of NRDC:
  22. Wrong Kind of Green, NRDC and Source Watch:
  23. Bezos awards $100 million to NRDC :
  24. Bezos plans to give Billions to Environmental Org’s:
  25. Activist Facts,  Environmental Report (Follow the Money):
  26. Washington Examiner 2013 EPA and Sue and Settle Lawsuits:
  27. Activist Facts, Sierra Club, Beyond Coal, Beyond Gas, Nuclear :
  28. Mother Jones 2012, Sierra Club “War on Coal” update to kill 167 coal plants:
  29. AEP Newsletter to employees and Retirees on Turk Plant Settlement:
  30. PowerEngineering Articles on Turk and Duke Coal plant closures, 2/01/2012:
  31. Source Watch Brags on NRDC being responsible for forcing shutting down of Seven major coal plants in Texas in 2007:
  32. Environmental Defense Fund:
  33. Influence Watch profile of EDF:
  34. WUWT, Article, July 8, 2022, Green Communism, Eradicate the Energy Privilege of Rich Countries:

The Stupidity of “Net Zero Carbon”

I presented a short course to the local University, OLLI, Life-Long Learning Program. I thought it may be helpful to provide a summary of the course on this Blog so that it is available to others. Mindful that many policy makers and voters are not aware of the costs of renewable energy and the difficulties in living without carbon based fuels. This course was intended to provide insight to non-energy engineers on this important topic. Also included at the end are numerous references that are not widely discussed by the Main Stream Media, Entertainment and even in “Woke” Social Media.

America uses about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year. This translates to about 830,000 to 1 Million Btu’s used each day by each American. This includes electricity, transportation, shipping, heating, industrial and commercial. Each individual citizen consumes roughly about a million British Thermal Units (BTU’s) per day, the chart below show the sources of those BTU’s and how they are used.

From U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory data

About 37% of America’s energy is used for electricity generation. The other 63% is also important and if everyone drove EV’s, then much more electricity demand will be required.

Each citizen uses almost a million Btu’s per day. Depending on employment type, home location in warmer or northern climate and life-styles, the amount of energy used will vary. But for me and my friends and our life-styles, I am sure we use over a million Btu’s per day. For the class, I prepared an illustration of just how an average person could use 866,000 to a million Btu’s each day.

Another illustration shows just how we depend on energy to carry on our daily living.

I have watched the use of total energy for the last twenty years or so and have seen it hover at about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s each year. This is the energy required to fuel our economy and the Freedom to travel and live our lives as Americans have enjoyed for many years. Disrupting this energy supply to fuel our economy and our life styles will create unnecessary hardship, pain and National security risks for all Americans.

The Democrats and the Biden Administration have America on a path to “Net Zero Carbon”. This is insane, foolish and simply not possible to attain. Not unless our standard of living and productive capacity as a nation are severely compromised. I refer you back to the first figure above, the Sankey Diagram that shows total Primary Energy Used in 2019. Of the 100 Quadrillion Btu’s used, only 3.8% came from wind and solar. This is after decades of tax subsidies to renewables. Only 3.8%. Now, for the “Net Zero America” path promoted by Princeton University and the Democrats, they want to change ALL of our ENERGY to Carbon Free. See the figure below:

After many years of subsidies, renewables can’t do better than 3.8% of our energy and the “Net Zero Carbon” proponents think that by throwing Billions and Billions of your tax dollars to connected, (D) Crony Capitalists, we will be able to replace Fossil Fuels and Nuclear with solar panels and wind turbines. This is simply not practical and it will harm America if it is tried. Why? Because we utilize and depend on 96.2% of our energy to come from conventional sources. Petroleum, Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear. It is absolutely Nuts to have a “War on Carbon” when in fact, we depend on carbon based fuels for every day living. OK, I am a retired coal power engineer and some will say, I am biased toward Fossil Fuels. Imagine that. So to get past the bias, let’s take some real world examples of where large groups of citizens have been subjected to “Extreme Green” policies and take a look at the results. Certainly the politicians are smart enough to understand we should learn from the mistakes of others. You think? Four examples I will offer are:

  • Wind Power in the UK and resulting extreme costs
  • Emphasis of Solar and Wind in Germany and the escalating costs
  • Hawaii Electric’s highest price electricity of the 50 States due to the commitment to shut down a coal plant and depend on renewables
  • Texas Blackout Feb 2021 due to excessive solar and wind being included in their reserve generation

Are these examples of what “we the people” desire for all of America? How can we reshore American Manufacturing with electricity costs such as Hawaii now has? How can we remain the #1 Economy in the world if we depend on imported energy. Does anyone remember the 1974 Arab Oil Embargo and what it did to slow our way of life? Reminder, 96% of our energy is provided from conventional (including old nuclear plants) sources. Yes, old nuclear is good. My state of SC generates 55.8% of our electricity from nuclear plants, some of which are over 50 years old.

American Energy Policy Gets Dumber Each Month, Elected Officials should take notice of how these policies have worked out where tried:

From Wall Street Journal Oct. 6, 2021

Hawaii has chosen their own version of the “Green New Deal” and it has earned them two first places. (1) They burn the highest cost fuel for generating electricity and not surprisingly, (2) they have the highest electric costs of the 50 U.S. States. Fortunately, Hawaii is not a major manufacturing state. These high costs of power do not bode well for manufacturing, especially primary metals like steel, copper and aluminum. However, it is important for my state of SC to continue with reasonable cost electricity. We do have NUCOR Steel and Century Aluminum and they depend on abundant and reasonable cost electricity. Hawaii can pass the costs on to Tourists and Government, SC cannot. and EIA Electricity cost data

The High Cost of Renewables is well established in the U.S.A. and in Europe

Dick Storm, October 13, 2021

References and Additional Study Materials to research the basis for my opinions as stated above:

  1. Santee-Cooper Flip Facts Sept 2021:
  2. Santee-Cooper IRP, Dec 2020:
  3. SC Dept of Energy :
  4. Dominion Energy SC IRP update, Feb 2021:
  5. Donn Dears Report on Hydrogen
  6. WSJ  Japan and Hydrogen Commitment:
  7. America’s :
  8. References for further reading and research on Climate Change from Natural Forces:
  9. On Natu ral Climate Change (Not Carbon Dioxide) The Right Climate Stuff Team (Retired NASA Engineers):
  10. D. Roy Spencer website, “Is there a Climate Crisis?” :
  11. Watts Up With That Blog, “Follow the Money” By Dr. Paul Rossiter:
  12. Judith Curry website, Climate.etc :
  13. Science and Environment Policy Project  Website:
  14. Princeton Physicist, Dr. William Happer, A key segment begins at minute 24 where the effects of CO2 are discussed.
  15. Donn Dears Articles:
  16. Science and Environment Policy Project  Website:
  17. Judith Curry, 15 slides to summarize Climate Change website:
  18. Global Warming Policy Foundation:
  19. WSJ article on “Climate Change Agenda Goes Out With a Bang” July 15, 2021:
  20. Armstrong Economics Climate Change Chart:
  21. Armstrong Economics on coming Ice Age:
  22.  Energy Facts from respected sources:
  23. Donn Dears Articles
  24. Nuclear Energy Institute, Land Area Required for Wind and Solar to replace a 1000 MW Nuclear Plant
  25. EPRI video:
  26. Real Time US Power Grid link to EIA (Energy Information Administration):
  27. CA Grid Real Time Demand:
  28. PJM Operations:
  29. MISO Operations–market-data/real-time-displays/
  30. SPP (SW Power Pool) Market Generation by Fuel:
  31. ERCOT Grid (Electric Reliability Council of Texas):
  32. John Shanahan (Excellent) Website:
  34. WUWT Blog on Global Fuels Use, July 11, 2021:
  35. EIA Battery Storage as of August 2021
  36. Dick Storm Blog:
  37. Mark Mills, The Myth of Renewable Energy:
  38. WSJ, Wind Stops in Europe:
  39. General Energy and Environmental References:

The War on Carbon Madness has Come to South Carolina, Check the IRP’s and Weep

The Great State of South Carolina is Following the Path of the Insane Net Zero Carbon Path Proposed by the D.C. Swamp

I am writing this post because as I see it, the usually conservative, level headed elected officials in SC have become “Woke” with regard to energy policy and planning. Worse yet, they have bought into Central Control from Washington, much like the CCP in Beijing.

During the last year I became active as an instructor for the local College Continuing Education Program. As part of my preparations for classes, I did some digging into my adopted state’s policies regarding electricity generation. What I found was enlightening, but not in a good way. 

The energy policy of South Carolina has gone, “Woke” and this great state is headed for higher electricity prices and reduced reliability. I copied the goals from the executive summary of Santee-Cooper’s IRP. They are……

From Santee-Cooper IRP December 2020

There is much written about increasing solar and other renewables and much emphasis on the importance of downsizing the coal fleet.  Yet, the projections to 2050 show a great reliance on coal fuel. I copied the chart below.

Once upon a time, (up till about the mid 1990’s) each state had a Public Utility Commission that would review such plans and approve new capacity additions. Not anymore. America has “Progressed” to being run by Central Control, much like the Chinese Communist Party rules electric power supply in China from the ruling class in Beijing. Yes, central control. The Democrats have downplayed the “Green New Deal” and rebranded it the “Clean Energy Plan”(6). Basically, it is a perfect world, fairy tale authored by Ivory Tower Professors who have never been involved with electric generation.  This is Princeton University’s “Net Zero America Plan” This is available at this link.

Getting back to “Woke South Carolina”, Here are the links to the Integrated Resource Plans for Santee-Cooper and Dominion Energy SC.

If you take some time to read these through you will see an emphasis on shutting down coal plants and ramping up renewables. I have written on my Blog about the experiences of California, Texas and Hawaii. All of which have taken the bait of low cost power from free fuel of sun and wind. The TX Blackouts of Feb 2021 are probably recent enough that you do not need a reminder. 

Perhaps I should digress to explain why I feel qualified to write on this topic. For those who do not know me, I will relate a summary of my experience and credentials. I also have strong feelings on why I think it is foolish to apply the ISO/RTO approach to electricity generation in South Carolina as most of the U.S.A. electric power is now controlled. I hate that word, “Controlled”, it reminds me again of the Swamp and the CCP. Kindly bear with me.

My Personal Experiences in the Power Industry

My career in the power industry began in the 1960’s. I worked at Babcock and Wilcox in Barberton Ohio first in nuclear and special products which included involvement with work on the design and construction of the Duke Power Company Oconee nuclear plant. Then I transferred to the Fossil Power Generation Division as a Results Engineer. As a Results Engineer, I did boiler acceptance testing and special tests on large steam generators for design engineering technologies all over the U.S.A. By 1970, I was a senior engineer involved with the startup of new coal plants for Riley Stoker Corp. My first foray into SC was as a startup engineer at the then new supercritical coal plant at Wateree Station, being built for South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. At this time, I was aware of the startup of the Westinghouse PWR at Robinson Station for Carolina Power and Light Co and of course the progress of the building of Oconee.  While employed by Riley I was also on the team that ran the acceptance test of the Santee-Cooper Jefferies coal plant. So, I do have some roots in SC. Later I worked for CP&L on the startup of Sutton and Roxboro plants and as a system “Boiler Engineer” working all across the NC plants.  I left CP&L in 1977 as Operations Superintendent of the four unit, 2,500 MW Roxboro Generating Plant. The lowest cost producer of CP&L’s power at the time.

Later I worked for a large Utility Contractor and started a Technical Services Department with about 20 engineers and technicians. This team worked as Field Engineers and Consultants solving coal, oil and gas steam power generation plant problems. We traveled the world. Much of my travel was working for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) These worldwide experiences provided helpful insight into the interrelationships of reasonable cost, reliable energy to economic prosperity. Especially evident in South America, Guinee W. Africa, Jamaica and others. Wonderful and enlightening experiences as a contracting engineer for ALCOA and for other International facilities. In 1992, I founded  Storm Technologies, Inc. During the 20+ years I worked at Storm Technologies, I traveled to most states and hundreds of power plants in the U.S.A., also traveled the world to Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, South America and numerous island nations. 

My perspective of Electric Utilities could be said to be like the proverbial “Fly on the Wall”. I had an insider’s view of what was going on, some good, some not so good. Let me show some advantages of how small vertically integrated electric Utilities were better than the RTO/ISO approach to separating generation from transmission and Distribution.

The Advantages of Vertically Integrated Utilities that Include Both Generation and Transmission & Distribution

When I was at Wateree in 1970 and later Carolina Power and Light Company, 1973-1977, there was a healthy rivalry between Duke Power, SCE&G and CP&L as to who could produce the lowest cost power. These could really be called “The Good Old Days!” Imagine that, engineers and managers working hard to produce the lowest cost electricity.  Duke’s approach was to use supercritical steam plants and they built the Marshall and Bellew’s Creek plants which to this day are amongst the most efficient in the world with design heat rates below 9,000 Btu/kWh. CP&L took the approach of building 2400 PSI/1000/1000 degree F. sub critical units with the largest possible condenser and design heat rates of about 9,500 Btu/kWh. Bordering NC was SCE&G which had the McMeekin Plant near Columbia. This plant used cool condenser water from the Lake Murray Dam and a heat rate competitive with Duke’s. In 1968 SCE&G began the construction of the two-unit supercritical Wateree Station. In addition, each Utility kept sufficient power generation capacity to provide about 15% spinning (or fast start gas turbines) for power generation reserves. Two Key Points: “Dispatchable” and “Reserve Generation”

Wheeling of Power Is Perfected During Arab Oil Embargo’s

I remember during the Arab Oil Embargo of 1974 how CP&L “Wheeled Power” to VEPCO and the Northeastern States. Philadelphia Electric, VEPCO and other Northeastern Utilities  that had changed fuels from coal to oil as a result of the then new EPA requirements to reduce sulfur emissions. Back in 1972 coal and #6 oil were about the same cost/million Btu’s. Then, about $0.50/million Btu’s. The Arab Oil Embargo permanently changed that! A utility could meet the newly (The EPA began in 1970) regulated particulate and sulfur emissions by either firing heavy oil or by installing electrostatic precipitators and firing low sulfur coal. CP&L and Duke took the path of installing flue gas cleanup equipment. VEPCO and Philadelphia Electric switched much of their generation fuels to oil. Thus, when the Arab Oil Embargo’s resulted, there was fuel shortages for those dependent on oil fuel and an opportunity to “Wheel” high voltage, Bulk Power generated from U.S.A. mined coal, from NC northward.

Several hundred Megawatts of power was sent north during the crucial time that oil became scarce due to the Embargo. Coal looked very attractive back then. In fact, following the Arab Oil Embargo’s, (1974 and again 1980) there was a rush of orders for new coal plants across the U.S.A. Texas made a huge investment in switching from oil and gas fueled generation to coal plants. Coal was King for many years thereafter.

The Advent of ISO’s and RTO’s

Then in the 1990’s the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and State Regulators became interested in separating generation from Transmission and Distribution to create competition for lower electric rates. Perhaps a good intention, but now it looks like a poor decision, from my viewpoint. The Independent System Operator and Regional Transmission Operator Model was initiated. The FERC Map of these RTO/ISO Regions are shown below.

From: FERC website:


Notice the Southeast does not have an RTO/ISO, yet. So far, so good. But after the 9 Billion Dollar debacle of the failed Summer Units 2 & 3 addition, some elected officials are likely to favor the RTO/ISO approach. I hope not! SC has amongst the lowest electricity costs in America and our power has been very reliable. About a third of SC’s electricity is used by industry which includes NUCOR Steel and Century Aluminum. Two industries that I think are vital for America to remain strong. That is besides the importance of providing jobs and economic advantages to the state.

Where can a person check to see what the planning is? I suggest that everyone check your Utility Integrated Resource Plan or IRP. I did this for Santee-Cooper and for Dominion Energy in SC.  Here below is a screen print of the generation plans for Dominion 2023-2049:

I know it is hard to read. If interested, check the actual website yourself to read the plans for more solar, shutdowns of coal plants and dependence on intermittent, non-Dispatchable generation.

Santee-Cooper’s dependence on solar additions and shutdown of coal plants is similar. 

Perhaps this is a good point to interject the current generation mix of SC according to the EIA. Over 55% of SC electricity is generated by nuclear plants. Mostly. Old nuclear plants. The great intention of building Summer Units #2 and 3 was a noble idea for carbon free Bulk Power into the future. But, SCR&G botched that. Check the figure below to understand the importance of nuclear power in SC.

Conclusions and Recommendations:

  1. The State owned Santee-Cooper Power Generation, in my view, is a treasure that should remain a public power generation entity.
  2. The Coal plants planned for retirement should be replaced with new plants capable of providing “Dispatchable Power”. Dispatchable means Natural Gas, Nuclear and Coal Plants. I know this is not popular but, coal is the fuel that is depended on during extreme winter weather. Also, check the 2035 generation projection in Santee-Cooper”s own IRP, Figure 1.1 above..
  3. Build more nuclear generation to replace the aging fleet of nuclear units in the state. 
  4. In whatever planning goes forward, make sure that at least 85% of peak Demand is capable of being generated by “Dispatchable Power”
  5. Electricity and Energy are in Vaclav Smil’s words, “The Universal Currency” Low cost, reliable electricity is vital to a thriving economy and living truly sustainable lives. Sustainable is moving forward not backward to living as the Pilgrims did in the 17th Century.

Dick Storm, October 1, 2021

References for Further Reasearch:

  1. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Primer:
  2. Federal Regulatory Commission Map of RTO’s:
  3. Santee-Cooper IRP:
  4. Dominion Energy revised, Feb 2021, IRP: :
  5. EIA State Energy Profile for SC:
  6. Utility Dive, Clean Energy Plan, Sept 17, 2021: