Category Archives: Coal Power

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

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

World Affairs Council, Their Take on the Importance of Coal for Electricity Generation

I joined the Hilton Head Chapter of the “World Affairs Council” and as a member, I get daily Newsletters. Today I received the message below on the world’s addition to coal (36% of Electricity Generation). The article included the SME Link to their web page on the Importance of Coal to the World. Energy, Food Production and Economic Prosperity are all inter-related. America has steadily used about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s each year for about twenty years. Fossil Fuels provide about 80% of the energy we depend on. Our quality of life and Freedom (especially freedom of travel) depends on reliable, reasonable cost energy. You probably already know this, but I suspect most of the Democrat elected officials (except Joe Manchin) and (D) voters do not.  Just saw yesterday in WSJ the impact of high fertilizer costs on farming. (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 )

Dick Storm,

December 17, 2021

The article below is copied from the “World Affairs Council” Newsletter which was published today

Dec. 17, 2021 World Affairs Council

A Global Addiction

At the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last month, more than 40 countries pledged to phase out their use of coal. Richer countries expect to end coal burning in the 2030s, the BBC reported. Developing nations have set a 2040s deadline.

China, India and the US didn’t opt into the agreement, however. India agreed to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal, for example, wrote National Public Radio. Diplomats viewed the shift as a compromise. Environmentalists were deeply disappointed. Coal is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The black, combustible sedimentary rock that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the US in the late 18th and early 19th century is proving to be a thorny subject for world leaders, businesses and activists. Nearly everyone agrees that the world must wean itself off coal. But doing so is easier said than done. As the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration explained on their website, “Coal is the most abundant source of electricity worldwide, currently providing more than 36 percent of global electricity.” Link to Coal is Important to the World: https://www.smenet.org/What-We-Do/Technical-Briefings/Coal-s-Importance-in-the-US-and-Global-Energy-Supp#:~:text=Coal%20is%20the%20most%20abundant,“home%20grown”%20energy%20source

In the long term, the future of coal is bleak. China has stopped funding the construction of coal plants overseas. The US has done the same. But today, after significant reductions in emissions during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, coal-burning has surged back along with world economic growth, Deutsche Welle reported. Even as the US and Europe decrease their coal burning, Asian countries will likely pick up the slack as they race to develop their economies, added the World Economic Forum.

Low coal supplies helped cause electricity shortages as the pandemic waned in China, which accounts for more than half the world’s coal consumption, CNN wrote. Factories were forced to cut production. Reports of folks stuck in elevators embarrassed leaders in Beijing. It’s not surprising that Chinese officials promptly ordered up more mining.

Such problems are not limited to Asia. North Macedonia is planning to import coal from Kosovo to deal with energy shortages in its antiquated energy grid, according to Reuters. Household electricity prices in North Macedonia, meanwhile, are slated to rise by 10 percent in the new year.

Change is coming, however. In Australia, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison has long defended the country’s powerful coal industry, homeowners are forecast to install rooftop solar panels on nearly half the country’s houses in the next decade, Bloomberg reported. Australia is therefore expected to cut coal consumption faster than earlier estimates suggested. Morrison is now in the odd position of pledging not to shutter coal-fired plants too quickly, the Guardian explained.

He and other leaders are hanging on tightly when many believe it’s time to let go.”

In my opinion the “War on Carbon” is the most successful Hoax ever thrust on World. Perhaps during the coldest months of winter 2022, people will wake up? Memories are short regarding last years Blackouts in Texas and the fact that had over 6,000 MW of coal power generation NOT been retired, the Blackout and resulting deaths did not need to happen. This is my personal opinion, Dick Storm, Dec. 17, 2021

References for additional support

  1. World is depending on coal power during this time of energy shortages: https://oilprice-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Coal-On-Track-To-Break-Records-Despite-Efforts-To-Curb-Production.amp.html

The Importance of Fossil Fuels and Why It Will Be Impossible to Eliminate them in My Grandchildren’s Lifetimes Without Harming Their Quality of Living and America’s Leadership in The World

Introduction

America, the rest of the Developed World and the Developing Countries of the World all depend on Fossil Fuels to power Industry, Quality of Life, Transportation and strong Economy’s. In fact more than 85% of the energy used today is used in “Heat-Engines”. Think about your life today and what you depend on. A car for transportation, air conditioning for summer comfort, Industrial production to provide jobs, economic strength and to continue to fuel our strong Economy, fuel for jet aircraft to shrink the world, Diesel fuel for trucks to deliver our food, Diesel fuel for shipping to transport products around the world. The largest slice of the energy production pie is provided by petroleum. Love them or hate them, the energy density of fossil fuels make them important to power our lives.

In America we use about 20 million barrels of oil each day. America has about 275 million cars and light trucks on the roads. This is peak vacation time in America, summer travel is brisk of people getting away to our favorite beach, mountain retreat or foreign destination. When we travel, we use energy. A lot of it. 

Some prominent Americans, the Main Stream Media, the President and elected officials in high office are promoting “Net Zero Carbon by 2050”.

In my opinion, this is wrong for America and impossible to achieve. I will attempt to simplify my reasoning of why fossil fuels are important and the fact that we cannot eliminate them in the next 30 years unless there are major new break-throughs in technology.

Where We Get Our Energy

Each year, America uses about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has kept track of our actual energy sources and consumption for decades. Each year a report is produced to show the previous years energy production and use. Since about the year 2006 America has used between 95 and 103 Quadrillion Btu’s each year. Here below are two charts which show the sources and uses for energy in the U.S.A. during 2020. Note that due to the Pandemic, energy use declined from 2019 to only about 98 Quadrillion Btu’s. This was due to reduced travel and economic production during 2020, because of Covid-19. Chart 1 below shows the sources of our energy and the consumption. Note that the optimistic Renewables in 2050 is about 17 Quadrillion Btu’s equivalent. The EIA converts energy from hydroelectric, solar and wind to equivalent energy in Btu’s. Each Btu is equivalent at 100% efficiency of conversion to 778 Foot Pounds of work. Thus, the BTU’s produced and used represent all forms of energy on the charts below.

Sources in 2050 of our energy. Forecast based on the EIA analyses.

  • 38 Quadrillion Btu’s Petroleum
  • 37 Quadrillion Btu’s Natural Gas
  • 17 Quadrillionn Btu’s Renewable Energy
  • 7   Quadrillion Btu’s Nuclear energy
  • 3   Quadrillion Btu’s Hydro-electric
  • 3   Quadrillion Btu’s Biofuels

Total 105 Quadrillion Btu’s projected to be utilized in 2050 (5)

In my opinion, that number is low because our population is growing and I suspect that in order to provide the same quality of life in 2050 as we enjoy now, with a population expected to grow to 390(6) million in 2050, will require more than 105 Quadrillion Btu’s if we continue our high quality of lives.

Let’s discuss Electric Vehicles. Today there are about 276 million cars and light trucks on the road (7). Most are fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel which is provided by over 100,000 conveniently located service stations for refueling. If these are switched to being powered by electric, then the electric power demand will be much larger than 37% of our total energy production. 

The electricity production chart below shows current and future trends for electricity production. If the auto manufacturers stop producing cars powered by internal combustion engines, then to preserve our current freedom to travel, the same total energy will be required for a given prosperous population. Thus, driving similar miles per year will require that electricity be produced in proportion to the fleet of EV’s. Study the chart below. In 2050 the projections are for 42% of our electricity to be generated from Renewables. The other 58% then is projected to be generated from traditional sources, natural gas, nuclear and coal. We should keep in mind that the population is expected to increase by about 18% by 2050.

Conclusion:

If we continue our high quality of living, then Fossil Fuels will be required through 2050. Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 will be difficult or impossible to achieve, in my opinion.

Richard F. Storm

July 31, 2021

References:

  1. Dick Storm’s ProBizBlog: https://dickstormprobizblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/28/the-importance-of-energy-part-2-our-energy-sources/
  2. https://dickstormprobizblog.wordpress.com/category/energy-electricity-economic-prosperity-and-environmental-protection/
  3. Donn Dears “Power for the USA” Blog:  https://ddears.com/2021/04/20/america-we-have-a-problem-the-green-nightmare-part-1-the-nuclear-problem/
  4. Mark Mills, Manhatten Institute, “The Green New Deal Can’t Break the Laws of Physics” : https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-new-deal-laws-of-physics
  5. U.S. Department of Energy, EIA (Energy Information Administration) Annual Energy Outlook, 2021: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/
  6. U.S. Census Data of population projections into the future: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popproj/2017-summary-tables.html
  7. Number of cars and light trucks registered in the U.S.A. by Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/183505/number-of-vehicles-in-the-united-states-since-1990/
  8. The German Experience with Renewables by Michael Schellenberger July 2021: https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/german-emissions-from-electricity-674?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjozNTA0MDMyMSwicG9zdF9pZCI6MzkzMjEwODMsIl8iOiJleWpPVSIsImlhdCI6MTYyNzcyNjM5NywiZXhwIjoxNjI3NzI5OTk3LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMjc5NDAwIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.e-R9JLkkOf0AoO-vTujt5twuRqVqIdPKOz-X9f0Fvko

Texas and Coal Power 6,000+ MW’s of Coal plant Capacity is missed!

Introduction:

My first assignment to Texas was as a young B&W Results Engineer. I was participating as one of the Results engineers to perform acceptance tests of a large (500 MW class) natural gas fueled boiler at the P.H. Robinson Plant near Houston. That was about 1968. After that involvement I watched with great interest as Texas built dozens of 500-750 MW natural gas and oil fueled plants all across Texas. Built by Foster-Wheeler, Combustion-Engineering and Babcock & Wilcox. Then came the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973 and Texas responded to this true energy crisis with an incredibly successful fuel change to power production changing from oil and gas to Texas and Wyoming coal. The huge build out of coal plants went from the late 1970’s till the mid 1980’s and I was impressed. I had the pleasure of working at many of the coal plants operated by various Texas Utility Companies and what impressed me most was the “Can Do” attitude of Texans. Then about 1978 I became very involved as a Field Engineer to help solve combustion and power generation challenges with ALCOA’s massive Rockdale, Texas Lignite Fueled Power Plant. Also in the mid 1980’s involvement with acceptance testing of the 450 MW Gibbons Creek Coal Plant near College Station.

Why am I writing this? It is because I am perplexed after watching for decades how Texans were so practical and innovative, they became enamored with Renewable Wind and Solar Power to a fault. I was not surprised that California had such foolish policies but found it odd that practical Texas would fall into the trap of too much dependence on unreliable, non dispatchable renewables.

In the 1970’s Texas rallied to successfully change from oil and gas fuel to coal. In 2021-2022 I see Texas rallying again to overcome the problem of over-dependence on renewables.

The Good Old Days of Coal Power and Aluminum Production in Rockdale

Here is how coal power in Texas helped to build some of the most productive aluminum manufacturing in North America. A major contributor to the local economy and manufacturer of critical metals for America at the same time providing over 1600 jobs. A story to document the relationship of reasonable cost energy and economic prosperity.

The following is from the Milam County Archives, 1974:

On November 24, 1952, something strange happened in the small, agriculturally-oriented Central Texas town of Rockdale. A visitor, seemingly from a different world, changed the living habits of its people along with the general tempo and appearance of its community. 

The courting days of the 1950’s has now, nearly 22 years later, turned into a love affair unmatched in many communities between industry and townspeople. 

It began innocently enough. The Korean War was raging on and government needed aluminum to make airplanes. Aluminum Company of America needed a new facility to meet the demand. Rockdale, with its large lignite reserves, was the apple in Alcoa’s eye. 

Thousands of acres of the “Cinderella fuel” nestled beneath the earth’s crust gave rise late in 1951 to the establishment of the aluminum industry in Milam County. Aluminum production demands electric power to break down ore, shipped in from South America, to form the lightweight, corrosion-free metal. 

Demand for the metal by government and this abundance of the electrical energy- producing fuel triggered boom-like industrialization when Alcoa’s multi-million dollar Rockdale Works raced into production only 13 months after groundbreaking. 

Tipping the giant vat to cast the first aluminum ingot were the plant’s first boss (now Alcoa board chairman and chief executive officer) John D. Harper and smelting division manager R. T. Whitzel of Pittsburgh corporate headquarters.

Today, Rockdale Works is Aluminum Company of America’s largest worldwide metal producer with eight potlines and the capacity for turning out 280,000 tons annually or 1.5 million pounds per 24-hour, continuous operation day. 

The original four-potline plant was expanded by two more lines in 1956 and the Central Texas smelter became Alcoa’s largest in 1969 with the addition of the seventh and eighth lines. For the first time, Alcoa began producing more aluminum in Texas than in any other state. Rockdale Works and Point Comfort Operations down on the Gulf Coast have a joint capacity for making 455,000 tons annually. 

Rockdale Works has one of the world’s biggest carbon electrode-making facilities and a diversified ingot plant which converts molten aluminum into extrusion, sheet and remelt ingot. The latter produces everything from a 50-pound to a 22,000-pound product. 

A couple of fabricating facilities further enhanced the company’s local investment in the 1960’s. An atomized aluminum powder unit was built in 1966 and has been expanded twice. It’s now the biggest aluminum powder producer in the U. S. Then came a redraw rod facility in 1968 which spews out “raw material” for Alcoa’s electrical conductor-or wire-fabricating plants, primarily its nearby Marshall (Texas) Works. 

The Rockdale story is like many across the Developed World. Reasonable cost and abundant energy is used to fuel a manufacturing facility with the end result of not only manufacturing vital materials but also contributing to employment, funding the local tax base and infra-structure and more. Energy and Economic prosperity go hand in hand. Now, the four power generating units at Sandow Station are shut down. The Rockdale Plant is for sale and aluminum is no longer manufactured here. It was a great run from 1952 till about 2008 when the Chinese took over the aluminum smelting market.

https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2017/12/22/alcoa-to-close-texas-site-divest-italian-smelter.html

Recent Shutdown of 6,453+ MW of Coal Capacity

Including the Sandow Plant which was adjacent to the ALCOA Rockdale Plant, there were five other robust, reliable coal plants shutdown. These are:

Sandow 1252 MW, Oklaunion 650 MW, Monticello 1,980 MW, J.T. Deely 932 MW, Big Brown 1,186 MW, TMPA Gibbons Creek 453 MW.

Perhaps the renewable wind and solar power capacity made some folks feel good when it was purchased and installed. I am sure it made the environmental extremists happy to see these coal plants gone. However, the people in the great state of Texas sure could have used the reliable electricity that could have been produced from these plants, had they not been prematurely shut down.

Hayden Ludwig published this short video on the Capital Research web site on more sinister reasons of America’s foolish Green Energy policies: https://capitalresearch.org/article/how-china-designed-american-environmental-policy/

It personally saddens me to see the loss of the aluminum manufacturing in Rockdale which essentially was given up to Chinese aluminum smelting capacity. It saddens me also to see the unneccessary suffering of the people of Texas. The environmental extremists may be happy to have successfully hoodwinked the politicians on the evils of carbon. Perhaps now is the time to account for the costs in the loss of American jobs, economic prosperity, the powering of heat pumps, Refineries and Businesses and often overlooked, contributions to the local schools and government infrastructure & tax base.

Dick Storm

February 19, 2021