Category Archives: Regulations

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

King Coal is Dead. Long Live the King!

Coal has been important to lift people from poverty to good lives for about 150 years. The Developed world made great progress from 1900 to present day thanks to reasonable cost coal power. The Electric Utilities once educated the public on power generation and “Living Better Electrically” Any of us born before 1950 can remember the Edison Electric Institute Mascot, “REDDY KILOWATT”. What a wonderful benefit that was for Humankind. As a high school student I actually knew where electric power came from and the basics of Thermal Power Plants.

Then ironically, about the time of the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo, I was working for Carolina Power and Light Company. A responsible and efficient Electric Utility headquartered in Raleigh, NC. I remember as a fact, CP&L cut the Public Relations Budget which included killing programs in schools to teach Home Economic Students the benefits of “Living Better Electrically”. Also, TV and Newspaper articles to explain the importance of electricity. So, what filled the void? The Environemntal Extremists filled the void. Then in the 1990’s Bill Clinton’s Presidency began the “War on Coal”. Later the war on coal morphed into the war on carbon.

Thank you Ron Clutz for writing your article. I will post a couple pictures of life without Fossil Fuels. As John Kerry flies around the world professing to save the Planet, I suppose this is what he and the Biden Administration wish for us to do, return to muscle power. This is preposterous considering we are well into the Digital and Space Age!

An Amish Teenage Girl with Team of Horses Plowing circa 1960

Without new thinking on nuclear power, (anti Carbon) climate policy can’t succeed

This is copied from the Tennessee Star Tribue Newspaper Opinion page, Nov. 11 2021. Full credit is given to the author, Mr. John Windschill. Thanks also is given to my friend Don Spellman for forwarding to me. I thought this is well researched and well written. As for myself, I believe Climate Change is mostly from natural forces, but if a reduced carbon society is desired and our quality of life and freedom is to be continued, then nuclear power must be included along with all other fuels.

The perceived dangers are overestimated. 

By John Windschill

From Dick Storm course at USCB-OLLI on the Future of Energy and Electricity Generation

A summer of destructive flooding, fires and drought across the planet, coupled with a sobering update from the United Nations climate panel, indicates that we are likely not making adequate progress addressing climate change. And our climate change ambivalence is especially obvious when it comes to nuclear power.

Despite nuclear power having potential to greatly reduce the fossil-fuel emissions that are responsible for about 70% of U.S. transportation- and electricity-related carbon emissions, and despite nuclear power being among the safest means of electricity production we have (as reported in Forbes, the Lancet and the Journal of Cleaner Production), many well-run nuclear plants are being retired.

In the last eight years, 11 nuclear reactors were retired in the U.S. This year four more are scheduled for permanent closure. These plants collectively represent 14,700 megawatts of electrical supply — enough electricity for 10 million people.

Consider the experiences of Germany, France and Sweden. Germany’s decision to forgo nuclear power has resulted in its falling far short of its carbon emission goal. France, which receives 72% of its electricity from nuclear, has less than half the carbon emissions of Germany, and electricity prices that are 40% lower. Sweden’s electricity is 40% nuclear, with prices 35% below Germany’s and per capita carbon emissions that are 57% lower.

Critics of nuclear power identify fear of accidents and a belief that a solution for waste disposal does not exist as reasons to oppose nuclear power. Neither of these is valid. People are afraid of nuclear power because it pushes all the wrong emotional buttons. As a result, the very low risk that nuclear power entails is not appreciated.

At the core of the fear of nuclear power is a fear of ionizing radiation (hereafter simply referred to as radiation). Radiation is extremely common in our environment. It is a straightforward substance to monitor and control, and its impact on public health is well understood. Each second natural background radiation interacts with our bodies more than 10,000 times. These natural sources account for about half of the radiation dose the average American receives, with the remaining half coming from medical procedures. The 60 operating nuclear power plants in the U.S. contribute less than 0.01% from routine operations.

The two basic ways a nuclear power plant can increase public radiation doses are accidents and waste disposal. Three accidents have occurred that affected the public. These, in increasing order of severity, were Three Mile Island in 1979 in Pennsylvania, Fukushima in 2011 in Japan, and Chernobyl in 1986 in Ukraine. This history of nuclear power over 42 years proves how safe nuclear power is.

At the Three Mile Island accident there were no health effects. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports indicate the average radiation dose received by members of the public living near the plant was far below natural background radiation levels.

Fukushima released more radioactive materials than Three Mile Island, but because of effective emergency response efforts, public radiation doses were low. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that there would be no observable health effects in the public from the accident.

The Chernobyl accident was basically the most severe nuclear power plant accident that is possible. International Atomic Energy Agency and WHO reports indicate that the only cancer that has been detected from the accident is thyroid cancer, which has led to 15 related fatalities. Among initial responders, 28 tragically died of acute radiation poisoning at the time of the accident.

Based on conservative estimates, it is possible that a few thousand might die within 50 years of cancers not epidemiologically detectable among the background cancer rate. This puts a cap on the worst-case result. A few thousand people die each day in the world due to air pollution from fossil fuels and also from auto accidents. With more than 37,000 fatalities worldwide since the Three Mile Island accident, commercial air travel has about a 10 times larger impact on public health and safety.

For comparison among electrical generating sources, the fatality rate per billion kilowatt-hours generated is: coal, 25; natural gas, 2.8; global nuclear, 0.074 (includes an assumed 4,000 future deaths from Chernobyl); wind, 0.035; hydro, 0.024; solar, 0.019; and U.S. nuclear, 0.0001.

And the lessons learned from the three accidents described above have been effectively applied to make safe nuclear power even safer.

Regarding high-level nuclear waste, James Conca (who has Ph.D. in geochemistry from California Institute of Technology) says, “We know where to put nuclear waste, how to put it there, how much it will cost, and how well it will work.” An oft-repeated phrase is that high-level waste is dangerous for tens of thousands of years, but the fact is that high-level waste loses 99% of its toxicity within 600 years. And while high-level waste is very toxic material, it is less hazardous than gasoline.

The U.S. produces 50 times more lethal doses of gasoline each year than lethal doses of high-level waste; we carry our gasoline with us pretty much everywhere we travel, and it is stored much less carefully than nuclear waste.

The very small volume of high-level waste allows meticulous control to be achieved. Each U.S. resident’s lifetime share of high-level waste would fit in a single can of Coke. Kilowatt for kilowatt, solar power waste has 10,000 times greater volume than nuclear waste, and wind’s total is 500 times larger, each involving large amounts of toxic metals in panels and batteries. Also, nuclear waste is an inert solid within a metal casing (i.e., spent nuclear fuel), not green, oozing goo.

And yet, wind and solar get an environmental hall pass, but nuclear power is labeled as exceedingly dangerous.

The current concept is to secure the solid waste in highly robust steel containers, and to store the containers in an accessible manner that allows routine monitoring and inspection in a deep underground repository free of groundwater that has been geologically stable for millions of years. Yucca Mountain north of Las Vegas was selected for study.

Prof. Bernard Cohen of the University of Pittsburgh calculated that if all the electricity in the U.S. were provided by nuclear power, it would result in 0.3 deaths per year in the U.S. due to waste storage. Should we be concerned with tiny quantities of nuclear waste migrating from a very remote, highly engineered and easily monitored facility sometime in the far distant future, or with the millions of tons of carbon dioxide and harmful particulates we currently pump into the air to breathe and cause our planet to heat up?

Yet in 2011 President Barack Obama defunded the Yucca Mountain project. Again, faulty risk assessment and politics won out over science and sound public policy.

We should be insisting that our government more vigorously pursue this valuable technology that could be a difference maker for addressing climate change. Bill Gates has helped form a new company, TerraPower, whose mission is to bring nuclear power plant design forward to the next level of safety and economic performance. In a recent quote from Forbes, he said “there are only three ways to solve the electric grid problem: one is a miracle in [energy-battery] storage, the second is nuclear fission, and the third is nuclear fusion.”

Wind and solar have a vital role to play, but we should not be putting total reliance on a miracle.

IPCC Data: Rising CO2 is 75% Natural

I have always believed Climate Change was mostly natural, here is a more scientific presentation showing 75% Natural forces are the cause of Climate Change. Thank you Ron Clutz for your analysis..

Science Matters

A previous post reprinted later below raised the question Who to Blame for Rising CO?  It provided synopses of three studies challenging the IPCC orthodox explanation that humans are the cause by burning fossil fuels.  This post brings the research up to date with a 2021  publication by Edwin Berry.

The graph above summarizes Dr. Berry’s findings.  The lines represent CO2 added into the atmosphere since the 1750 level of 280 ppm.  Based on IPCC data regarding CO2 natural sources and sinks, the black dots show the CO2 data. The small blue dots show the sum of all human CO2 emissions since they became measurable, irrespective of transfers of that CO2 from the atmosphere to land or to ocean.

Notice the CO2 data is greater than the sum of all human CO2 until 1960. That means nature caused the CO2 level to increase prior to 1960, with no reason to…

View original post 2,989 more words

Glasgow, COP-26 Elitists and Special Interests Promote China First, America Last, Why? Because Energy Savvy Engineers Were Not Successful In Educating The Public and Politicians on the True Facts

Well, that is at least one reason we have such a mess of energy policy now.

Once a “War on Carbon”, Has now Morphed into a “War on Freedom”, “War on our Rights”, “War on Capitalism” and an assault on much of What “We the People” Have Worked Hard For. The clowns in Scotland are spending our tax dollars and restricting our freedoms as best they can. Essentially putting China and the rest of the world first, America last. All on our dime.

Meanwhile, U.S.A. High Gas Prices, Super Market Shortages, Inflation , Oil and Gas Jobs are Killed and Winter Energy Supplies may be limited. The American people did not vote for this

America has been a leader by example in reducing carbon. The U.S.A. has reduced our carbon emissions by over 50% since 2005. How? By releasing the power of free markets and American innovation. At the end of President Trump’s term, America was energy independent. He did that in four years only to have Joe Biden reverse his policies.

The War on Fossil Fuels is not new and the intentions have always been to raise energy costs so that “Green Power” will become competitive. Yes, the intentions of President Biden, John Kerry, Al Gore and the rest of the Green Extremists (Reminder, the War on Coal started in the Clinton-Gore Administration. Obama just continued and accellerated anti American energy policies Clinton-Gore began) The war on carbon is intended to make Exploration, Development, Production and use of oil, gas, coal and even nuclear, more expensive and harder to use. All of this as the world’s people still depend on Fossil Fuels and nuclear together for almost 90% of our total energy. How can our leaders be so ignorant and insensitive? Well, back in the 1990’s when bill Clinton started the “War on Coal”, I did my best to educate the public and the students of public schools and several Colleges on energy and electricity generation. I am proud of my efforts, small as they seem in the grand scheme of things. There is still a need for Energy Engineers to become active in PR for Energy!

I copied the Oct. 2011 Commentary(Below) from POWER Magazine’s web page. Kindly note my last line: I sure wish the readers of POWER and many other engineers took the suggestion to educate the public on energy and electricity generation more seriously. If we had, perhaps we would not have the mess we have in Washington today.

(From Oct. 2011)

Shaping America’s Energy Policy

America’s energy and environmental policies have been dysfunctional for decades. Obsessively moving toward “green” has made America weaker and has damaged our economy. During POWER’ s first 100 years (1882–1982), the magazine chronicled the U.S. growing into the strongest industrialized economy in the world. America designed and built products for the world using raw materials and energy from within our own borders. Now we are in a recession and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “War on Coal” continues. Does anyone get the connection? Ever-worsening regulations are killing jobs by the thousands.

Past Turning Points in U.S. Energy Production

Remember when America took risks and led the world in energy innovation? Let’s review some of the past milestones.

The pace-setting power stations Eddystone and Philo are ultrasupercritical power plants that were designed in the 1950s. Hailed as the most efficient coal power plants in the world when they were launched, these plants were designed for over-40% thermal efficiency.

Then Admiral Hyman G. Rickover and President Dwight D. Eisenhower followed through on the “Atoms for Peace Initiative” to commercialize the success of the Navy nuclear propulsion systems, which were to be applied to electricity generation for peaceful purposes. The Shippingport nuclear power plant began operations in the early 1960s, and larger commercial nuclear plants were on the drawing boards. By the mid-1960s, it was said that nuclear power was such a technological breakthrough that “electricity will be too cheap to meter.” America went on to build more than 100 commercial nuclear plants, most of which are still operational. U.S. nuclear plants remain economical and have earned an enviable safety record.

Then came oil embargos, followed by volatile natural gas prices. The high oil and gas prices resulted in a surge in building new coal plants from 1975 to 1985. The nuclear fleet grew until 1978, when the Three Mile Island accident created a major setback. In recent years, nuclear power morphed into the politically correct, carbon-free fuel. However, the tsunami in Japan in March and the resurgence of anti-nuclear groups around the world seem to have once more stalled future nuclear plant development.

The Need for Energy Policies That Promote Our Economy

U.S. energy policy should promote the use of all fuels. America is the Saudi Arabia of coal. If mining permits, EPA regulations, and common sense energy policies were practiced, then power engineers could replace our aging coal plants with new clean coal plants exceeding 40% thermal efficiency. This would be an efficiency improvement of about 7 percentage points above the existing coal fleet.

It is absurd that environmental activists can shape the U.S. energy policy based on ideology alone, with little concern for keeping electricity prices reasonable and our economy growing. Why don’t environmental activists embrace new, more efficient clean coal plants? America should be replacing our aging fleet with new, more efficient, clean coal plants. Will we ever learn?

My concern is that the same type of political correctness that nearly killed nuclear power after Three Mile Island may harm the future of clean coal plants. If the U.S. rebuilt the aging 300+ GW coal fleet with all new, clean ultrasupercritical coal plants, it would employ well over three million Americans. Jobs and a strong America are related to the utilization of homegrown energy, including the mining of coal and raw materials; construction; and the production of steel, cement, copper wire, generators, boilers, balance-of-plant equipment, and environmental controls. Compare the number of jobs created to build, operate, and maintain new coal plants with the “green jobs” of erecting foreign-built windmills or solar power facilities.

If we want to restore economic prosperity and renew manufacturing in America, then we need reasonably priced electricity to supply power to manufacturing plants. Keeping electricity costs reasonable for residential consumption is nice, but to restore manufacturing jobs in America, reasonably priced wholesale electricity, which is available on a 24/7 basis, is needed. This point seems to be forgotten in the national dialog on America’s energy future.

Educating the American Public About Electric Power Production

I think each of us who understands power production has a responsibility to educate our friends, neighbors, and elected officials. There are millions of citizens who believe reasonably priced, reliable electricity is an entitlement. The right thing for human advancement is to use the God-given natural resources that have made “living better electrically” a way of life in the developed world.

In my opinion, we should build green power where it is practical and economic to do so, such as on the roofs of buildings and parking garages. I support the building of nuclear plants and combined cycle gas plants, where economically justified. Energy engineers understand that when the sun sets and the wind is calm, the U.S. needs reasonably priced, dispatchable power to energize what is left of America’s manufacturing might.

I urge the readers of POWER to do your part in educating the public and our elected officials on the true facts of how we can continue to “live better electrically” and keep America strong. I promise to do my part. Will you?”

— Richard F. “Dick” Storm  (was in 2011 ) CEO/senior consultant of Storm Technologies Inc. in Albemarle, N.C.

Reference:

  1. POWER Magazine, Oct. 2011 Commentary: https://www.powermag.com/shaping-americas-energy-policy/#.YYIdCBf0vsM.linkedin
  2. Ron Clutz, Science Matters, Climate Change is 75% Naturally Caused by IPCC Data: https://rclutz.com/2021/11/06/ipcc-data-rising-co2-is-75-natural/#like-22392

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. https://cmi.princeton.edu/annual-meetings/annual-reports/year-2019/the-net-zero-america-project-finding-pathways-to-a-carbon-neutral-future/

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

https://dms.psc.sc.gov/Attachments/Matter/531e91d9-05ff-48e2-938f-adccf3548768

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: https://www.ferc.gov/electric-power-markets

 

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: https://www.ferc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/energy-primer-2020_0.pdf
  2. Federal Regulatory Commission Map of RTO’s: https://www.ferc.gov/electric-power-markets
  3. Santee-Cooper IRP: https://www.santeecooper.com/About/Increasing-Value/ORS-Reports/_pdfs/Dec-23-Signed-Filed-IRP.pdf
  4. Dominion Energy revised, Feb 2021, IRP: : https://dms.psc.sc.gov/Attachments/Matter/531e91d9-05ff-48e2-938f-adccf3548768
  5. EIA State Energy Profile for SC: https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=SC
  6. Utility Dive, Clean Energy Plan, Sept 17, 2021: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/house-committee-to-mark-up-150b-clean-electricity-performance-program-toda/606422/
  7. Donn Dears Book, “THE LOOMING ENERGY CRISIS, ARE BLACKOUTS INEVITABLE” Check Mr. Dears Blog: https://ddears.com/2020/09/01/about-the-looming-energy-crisis/