Here is the actual Bulk Power Generation by fuel for Christmas week 2022. Note that at the peak on Christmas eve, 80% of the total electricity generation was from conventional generation using natural gas, coal and nuclear fueled generation. Sixty five percent was from natural gas and coal, this does not fit well for Net-Zero Carbon and abolishing fossil fuels. This is reality. The Clean Energy Crisis is a manufactured crisis that should not have gone this far. Donn Dears has much to offer in his new book
Donn Dears is a genuine energy expert having a long career working on design, manufacturing, maintenance and use of major equipment used in energy production. Donn has studied, worked and witnessed for himself energy production from all areas of the world including Asia and the Mideast. He understands the importance of energy to sustain a high quality of life and he understands the importance of protection of the environment. Like many of us, Donn cares about the planet and the well-being of his children and grandchildren. Clean Energy Crisis distills Donn’s career experiences plus considerable additional research to provide the reader with energy savvy. Facts that, if used can formulate a rational energy policy for the future. Every elected official must read this book and keep it for reference! Here is an outline of the contents.
Part 1 Energy Fundamentals
Fossil Fuels (Overview of oil, NG, & coal. US has largest reserves in the world.)
The grid ( Grid is mismanaged. Reliability is in danger. Baseload power essential.)
Importance of coal (HELE plants essential for poor countries.)
The promise of nuclear power ( SMRs hold promise for revival. Cost and fear stand in their way.)
Demand for Materials (Mining and shortages, environmental issues & China.)
Comparing BEVs and ICEs (Electricity demand, cost and safety issues.)
Environmental Blackhole (NEPA’s need for reform to prevent interminable legal challenges.)
Part 2 Impossible Dreams
Impossibility of Net-zero Carbon (Wind, PV solar, & nuclear: impossible to build enough capacity to meet demand.)
Creating Fear to Sell Climate Change (Show that fear of sea-level rise, hurricanes, etc., is unfounded.)
Appendix A How the grid works
Appendix B Dangerous ESG Mandates
Appendix C Battery-Powered Bucket Trucks
Appendix D Climate Science (Happer, Wijngaarden paper)
Currently over 87% of the U.S. Primary Energy is provided by natural gas, nuclear, coal and old hydroelectric plants. It is engineering fiction to believe that wind and solar can replace these forms of affordable, reliable, dispatchable and high energy density fuels. Clean Energy Crisis explains the roots of the myths of green energy and provides a realistic path forward for U.S. Energy Policy……
America and the World are in an Energy Crisis, and all of the energy savvy professionals who work now or have worked in energy production, know that we have an energy crisis and that wind and solar cannot replace fossil fuels. The “War on Coal and War on Carbon” continues by an out of control EPA which has about 18,742 Bureaucrats fighting the best interests of the American people. Myself, Capital Research and others have written numerous reports and posts on the “War on Carbon” and the incestuos nature of EPA employees with Leftist Extremist organizations which is the root cause of America’s lack of a Rational Energy Policy.
There are 435 Congressional Representatives and 100 Senators plus the President and VP this totals only 537 elected officials that can (and is controlling) control U.S. Energy Policy. As mentioned above, the protection of the environment is controlled by over 18,742 unelected Bureaucrats in the EPA and over 15,826 Bureaucrats in the Department of Energy. Check the Biden Administration Cabinet Members Bio’s here. Few if any ever worked in the energy production. All are political appointees and do not require expertise in energy to be the head of the Department of Energy such as, Jennifer Granholm.
So…..What can we do? About the only path we can take is to use the mechanisms included in our Constitutional Republic and write to all 435 Congressman and 100 Senators to try to educate them on what needs to be done to use America’s Treasure of Energy.
Dick Storm Suggestion of Emergency Actions:
Roll back all Federal Regulations by the EPA that have been implemented after December 2020. America had clean air and clean water in 2020 and any Regulations implemented since then have been Ideological, “War on Carbon or Politically inspired. The Executive Branch Regulations that have been forced on the American people since january 2021 have not been in the Best Interests of America, especially regarding electric power generation and the 80% energy from fossil fuels that America depends on.
Write Government Officials
Here below, is the letter I sent to both Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham of SC:
Dear Senator Scott,
I am writing you today because I would like to provide my insight into the importance of reliable, affordable energy and Dispatchable electricity to keep America strong.
The EPA is simply out of control and ruining America right before our eyes. Leftists that hate America are in charge of the EPA and the Biden Administration is chock full of Leftists that are working in earnest to weaken America. My suggestion is: Roll back all EPA Regulations to those in effect in December 2020. Our air and water was clean then, all Regulations added or modified since then are part of the War on Carbon and the War on the American people.
I have written my views and included extensive references on harmful Energy and Environmental policies on my Blog. The link is here: America’s Treasure of Coal: https://wp.me/p5DzAo-Bn
One of the most concise presentations I have presented was to the Sunset Rotary Club on HHI. The presentation is on my Blog if you have time to review it.
If you would like to discuss in more detail, I am interested in discussing with you or meeting in person. I truly understand the time pressures you have and would respect any of your time which you may provide.
Thank you for your service to save America. May God Bless you and your Family!
Richard F. Storm
Two Letters to Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC District #1)
July 15, 2022
Dear Congresswoman Mace,
I am writing you today because I do not feel that you and your Republican colleagues are pushing back on President Biden’s un-American policies. Specifically on energy and environmental issues. I saw on LinkedIn yesterday that 14 Texas Congressman met to sign a letter pushing back on unnecessary rules on the EPA attack on the Texas Permian Basin oil and gas production. You and all members of Congress, both (D) and (R) should be creating more resistance to the foolish energy and environmental policies that the Biden Administration are implementing.
I am interested in meeting with you to discuss, if you ever have time when you are near Hilton Head.
Richard F. Storm
Congresswoman Mace did visit my town for an open meeting. I was given an opportunity to ask her about pushing back on Biden’s Green Energy policies. Ms. Mace told me, “When we get into the majority I can do something” So, after the November election, I wrote her again:
November 19, 2022
Dear Congresswoman Mace,
Congratulations on your reelection! I am very pleased that you have kept this important District a Red one!
I met you when you visited Hilton Head last summer and asked you about the insanely anti-American Energy Policies that the EPA and the Biden Administration are forcing on our country. You answered, “I can do something when we get a majority”. Thankfully, you are now with the majority.
I am writing you today because I would like to meet with you to provide my insight into the importance of energy and electricity to keep America strong.
I have written my views and included some extensive references on harmful Energy and Environmental policies. One of the most concise presentations I have presented was to the Sunset Rotary Club on HHI. The presentation is on my Blog if you have time to review it.
If you would like to discuss in more detail, I am interested in meeting with you. I truly understand the time pressures you have and would respect your time you may provide.
Richard F. Storm
Letter to Governor Henry McMaster, regarding the Regional Utility, Santee-Cooper
I wrote to Governor McMaster in the summer and sent him a large package of my concerns for the shutting down of the Santee-Cooper Winyah Coal Power Plant before Dispatchable, replacement Bulk Power generation can be built. The Nov. 19 letter was after the election.
Nov. 19, 2022
Dear Governor McMaster,
Congratulations on your reelection!
I am a retired engineer living in HHI. I worked for over 50 years in the electric power industry and have a good working knowledge of electric power generation. I have followed and participated in the Santee-Cooper IRP Stakeholder presentations. I have submitted my recommendations to Santee-Cooper on their portal but feel the Legislature has them on a flawed and mythical “Green Path” I have worked with/for (as a contractor/consultant) Santee-Cooper and SCE&G since 1970. I know SC Power plants well and have worked at most of them over the last 50 years. My recommendation is to keep the Winyah and Cross Coal Plants in top condition and on coal fuel for at least the next ten years. These units will be needed for load growth and for Dispatchable, affordable electricity generation to supply the Demand of industries such as Century Aluminum and NUCOR Steel, as well as providing reliable power to their service territory. Non-Dispatchable solar and wind cannot satisfy the load growth of the coastal SC service territory of Santee-Cooper.
Also, speaking of service territory, Santee-Cooper should keep their independence from neighboring Utilities and plan to install needed new generation capacity to provide 15% reserves based on being an “Energy Island” to separate from neighboring utilities should there be an energy crisis of insufficient capacity to meet demand.
Thank you for taking time to read my letter and thank you for your service to the great state of South Carolina. I sincerely appreciate all that you have done to keep South Carolina strong and free.
Yours very truly,
For Reference, Here is the April 2022 letter I sent to the Governor
April 30, 2021
Governor Henry McMaster
PO Box 2459
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465
Dear Governor McMaster,
I am a proud American that is pleased to be a resident of the Great State of South Carolina. Thank you for your leadership and businesslike governing of this state.
Just a short note to let you know, I am an experienced power engineer (Registered PE in state of NC) and have over 50 years experience in power generation. Over the years, I have worked on coal plants at Wateree, Cope, Williams, Jefferies, Cross, Winyah and more. I have also been a supporter of nuclear power and am aware that over 50% of SC’s electricity is generated by the seven old nuclear units (four plants). (Oconee, Robinson, Summer, Catawba). I actually worked on Oconee when employed by Babcock & Wilcox in the 1960’s.
I am not sure what the status is with Santee-Cooper but thought I would write to tell you, I strongly believe that keeping the State Electricity Generation Authority of Santee-Cooper is the right thing to do for the residents of SC. In my view the large Utilities such as Duke, Dominion and Southern are simply politically correctness driven and prone to making decisions based on keeping their safe 4% dividend. Yes, I am retired and yes, I too have Duke and Dominion stocks in my investment/retirement portfolio. But, I think keeping SCPSA strong is important for our state.
Having said that, I also wish to state that the advertising, indoctrination and hype of Renewable Power is not good for our state. Solar and wind are only reliable during times of sunshine and favorable winds and should always (until storage technology catches up) be less than 25% of the total generation and NEVER included in generation reserve margins. Margins are the extra generation expected during electricity Demand Peaks. In my view, that is the problem Texas had in February with over 25% of their generation capacity provided by unreliable, intermittent wind and solar. Same for California last August 2020 when the sun went down and there was insufficient Fossil fuel backup available.
I did prepare and teach a course at USCB-OLLI and although retired, I have kept up with energy and electricity generation trends. The trends are troubling, thus the reason for this letter.
My motto is, “All Fuels are Important” and for SC, I believe the coal plants should be properly maintained and cared for, kept going well beyond 2030, especially Cross Plant.
The current nuclear plant licensing expire beginning in 2030 and 2033 for Oconee and Robinson. I believe a balanced portfolio of new nuclear and coal plants are needed to keep industry powered with reasonable cost electricity. NUCOR and Century Aluminum are two large SC Industries that depend on reasonable cost power. I think steps now to keep a balanced portfolio and not “New Green Deal” renewables, is important.
Thank you for taking time to read this and let me provide my best wishes for success in your re-election. A small check is enclosed to show my support.
My letters did not have any affect. The only politician that acknowledged he read the letters sent was Senator Tim Scott.
If we are to get Politicians attention, then it will take many of us writing letters, calling, visiting and discussing the true facts.
We who understand Energy and Electricity Generation are a minority. I think it is safe to assume that for every letter an elected official gets such as I have written, there are multiple letters from either Green Leaning citizens (that do not understand Dispatchable Generation) and Business interests that are interested in Green tax incentives.
If we the “Energy Savvy Members of Society” do not speak up and get the attention of government, then the Energy Crisis will get worse, likely resulting in economic decline and even more deaths, as happened during the Feb 2021 winter storm in Texas and of course, as is occurring in Europe now.
Professor Vaclav Smil quote: (Smil is a prolific author on energy issues and lives in Canada)I absolutely hate the word sustainability because there is no such thing. Sustainability cannot be defined. Sustainable for what? Over next year? Over 10 years? Over a millennium? On a local basis, on a planetary basis? I mean, there are so many time and space dimensions to it you cannot define what is sustainable. If somebody is boasting what they are doing is sustainable, it’s a total laugh. There is no sustainable thing.
I presented my views on the importance of coal to the ASME Annual Meeting in Dallas at the Plenary Session in the summer of 2011. Back then, over 50% of America’s electricity was generated by coal power and hundreds of new coal plants were in the planning stages to modernize the coal fleet. Electricity costs in the U.S. were amongst the lowest in the world. The map with electricity costs is from 2010 data and from Dick Storm presentation to the ASME Annual Meeting.
During last Thanksgiving week I was thinking of the many Blessings I have had over my life-time and it occurred to me that not only me but all other Americans are Blessed with an enormous treasure of energy (and many minerals we need too) right within our borders. It has been said before, “America is the Saudi Arabia of Coal”. What follows are some slide excerpts from my 2011 talk to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) where my main point was, “Coal is Important”. It was then and remains important in 2022.
Economic prosperity and coal consumption grew as America prospered 1970-2010. This in spite of the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo.
I have used the U.S. Department of Energy Sankey Diagram of “Total Primary Energy” for many years and have discussed the fact that America typically requires 100 Quadrillion Btus of energy each year to power our high quality of life. Here below is the Sankey Diagram showing the Total Primary Energy used in 2008. Note it is 102.75 Quadrillion Btus. What has changed as the years (and War on Coal) have gone by, is the source of the fuels. In 2008 coal was 19.76 Quadrillion Btus. In 2021 coal was about half that at 10.5 Quadrillion Btus as natural gas fuel was more widely used for power generation 2008 to 2021. However, the total primary energy for normal economic activity remains right at 100 Quadrillion Btus. In 2019 before Covid, it was 101 Quads.
Four Facts that I opened my talk with: In 2011 about 82% of the world’s energy was fossil fuels. Today, fossil fuels continue to provide about the same percentage but actually, a greater quantity than in 2011 because more energy is used today than in 2011. My last of the four points is the most important. That is, Much damage to the American people and all of the people of the world has been inflicted by Green policies that are based on political wealth distribution purposes plus the myth that solar and wind can replace fossil fuels.
Summary of Where the U.S. Has Progressed in Energy Policy Since 2011
As if to highlight the irrational Energy Policy today, my friend Thomas sent me a news clip on the Pirky Plant in Texas being forced to shut down(1) just this week. His appropriate description of the news item is: “Losing the War against Stupidity”. So it seems.
These coal and nuclear plant shut downs have been driven by environmental zealots funded by non energy savvy Billionaires. To be fair, they may have good intentions on contributing to a cleaner and better world. However, Net-Zero Carbon by 2035 or even 2050 will not be possible without sacrificing our quality of life. The folks that contribute to the environmental extremists and the organizations have indoctrinated many of the people of the world by demonizing the very fuels that have lifted billions from poverty. Amongst them are the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Council and many more. Many of the executives from the environmental extremist groups have served both the EPA and government agencies. This is well documented by a 2015 report by Congress . Numerous references below document the revolving door of extremists being placed in high government positions. Background and expertise in electric power production or any proficiency in energy production or engineering is not a requiremment for these individuals that are now in powerful government positions. The lack of an energy policy is partially explained by the lack of proficiency or understanding by people in high office. The organizations that set U.S. Energy (Non) Policy are depicted in the illustration below which I have used in recent presentations.
So, What Went Wrong?
The root cause of our foolish and anti-American energy policy in my opinion, is due to many years of mis-education and indoctrination of the public on the Myth that Solar and Wind can replace coal, natural gas and nuclear generation. Also, replace Fossil Fuels for transportation, plastics, Fertilizer, concrete and steel production. The indoctrination of the public on the myth that wind and solar can provide all of America’s energy has been well orchestrated, but it is wrong for America and wrong for the Free World.
Energy Policy in the U.S. is determined by Environmental Extremists and Politicians that do not have training or proficiency in engineering and energy production.
There is No U.S. Policy for an Orderly Transition to Carbon-Free Energy
Energy Independence should be a central component of any U.S. Energy Policy.
.An Energy Crisis including Blackouts is Likely in Winter 2023. Energy Policy is Set by Politicians, Un-Elected Bureaucrats and Lobbyists, Driven by Green $ Incentives to Utilities and Independent Power Generation Developers
Hydrogen as Stored Energy, Has Technical Merit, But does not yet make Economic good sense. It still takes about 3-4 units of electricity kWh to make one useable kWh
.Producing Hydrogen from Nuclear Energy is Practical and Proven and may lead to affordable hydrogen….But it will take years
A “Rational Energy Policy” to Transition to Future Energy supply, should include All Fuels, including Dispatchable Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear. Renewables where practical.
We should not Shut Down and Demolish Existing Generation until new HELE Coal Plants for Bulk Power Generation is assured in order to maintain a Balanced Generation Portfolio.
A partial list of key players that are setting U.S. Energy Policy. (Hint, These are not people trained in engineering & planning Electricity Generation Capacity):
EPA 2020 Cleaner Air Graph of air quality and pollutants. This shows the great progress in removing true pollutants from U.S. Air since 1970 Founding of the EPA, while miles driven, GDP & population increased. The point, it is not about clean air it is about Zealots in charge at the EPA: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2021/#growth_w_cleaner_air
The preceding list of organizations and individuals are some of the anti conventional fuels Zealots that have molded the United States Energy Policies, which are in fact, Not Energy Policies at all, just a continuing “War on Coal and Conventional Fuels” This my friends is how America the greatest country in the world, is self inflicting harm on our economy, national security and against the best interests of the American people. One would think that the Bureaucrats in Washington do not read the news of the energy problems and causes in Europe? We should know by now, the importance of true Energy Independence.
The U.S. has no Energy Policy in 2022. Only a Decarbonization Policy without a Rational plan to achieve a low carbon Energy supply. Keep in mind, Energy is needed for not only electricity generation, but also for Transportation, Industrial production, Commercial and Residential uses. Currently, about 87% of our total primary energy is provided by conventional sources of natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. Wind and Solar provided less than 5% of total Primary Energy in 2021. Yet, there are many influential groups calling for policies to “Electrify Everything”.
Let me digress and quote a highly respected Utility Engineering Manager from the 1970’s. That man is Mendall H. Long, a member of the Greatest Generation who after graduation from NCSU served as the youngest Chief Engineer of the Standard Oil Fleet during WWII. After the war he joined Carolina Power & Light and rapidly rose through the ranks from shift supervisor to Manager of Fossil Plant Engineering. Me and many others loved that man and both his engineering skills as well as his wisdom. In the 1970’s CP&L and Duke Power’s electricity growth was almost 10% per year with growing industrial load and use of heat pumps. At CP&L which then was a 4,000 MW regional utility, the Asheville Unit #2 was built about 1970, then the 700 MW H.B. Robinson nuclear plant about 1971, 420 MW Sutton #3 in 1972 and the 720 MW Roxboro #3 started up in June 1973. Except for Robinson, all coal plants and needed to satisfy load growth. That was when Utilities planned for load growth and added generation based on projections of future demand. The four new units built between 1970 and 1973 above totaled 2,040 MW and the total peak generation was in the range of 4,000 MW. The quote from Mr. Long that I remember as he motioned toward some Internal Combustion gas turbines that were built for peaking and backup of the large new coal plants, “Those are Monuments to Poor Planning”. So, I wonder what the “Monuments to Poor Planning will be in 2024? I worked with and for CP&L during those years and the information provided is from my personal experiences and memory.
Lets take a look at what a Rational plan would be to add generation in anticipation of future Demand. In fact, lets take my adopted state of South Carolina as an example.
South Carolina Electricity Generation Planning 2006-2016
Before I retired from full time employment, I participated in consulting, testing, trouble shooting and design of performance improvements for coal power plants at South Carolina Electric and Gas and Santee-Cooper power plants (as well as many other utilities). During this process I got to know and respect a number of senior managers at these Utilities. One such senior manager was Mr. Bill McCall of Santee-Cooper. I remember one technical conference where Mr. McCall gave a presentation on Santee-Cooper’s load growth from both electricity intensive Industrial plants within the Santee-Cooper service territory, such as Alcoa (now Century Aluminum) and Nucor Steel and the rapid growth of housing (like NC in the 1970’s) and commercial enterprises along the coast north and south of Myrtle Beach. Mr. McCall went on to describe how electric demand was growing at unprecedented levels, and it was. He went on to show the need for building the two additional coal units at the Cross Generating Station, increasing the generation capacity of that plant to 2,340 MW and the need for the proposed 600 MW Pee Dee Generation Plant. Then there was the joint effort/ownership of SCE&G and Santee-Cooper to build the two additional nuclear units at Summer Station in Jenkinsville, SC. The significant dates of new units built or planned to be built during this period is shown below:
1984 Santee-Cooper Electric Generation Peak exceeds 5,000 MW
1984 Cross Generating Station Is Commissioned
1995 Cross Unit #2 Becomes Commercial
1999 800MW Rainy Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Plant Approved for Construction
2004 Two 600 MW Cross Units #3&4 Construction in progress
2004 600 MW Pee Dee Energy Campus is approved by Santee-Cooper Board for construction
2007 New Peak Demand record set at 5,563 MW’s, Cross Unit #3 begins commercial operation
2008 SCE&G and Santee-Cooper File appliction for Summer Unit #3 Nuclear Unit (1,100 MW)
2011 NRC approves second Summer Nuclear Unit for a total expansion of 2,200 MW of new nuclear power generation capacity. This is shared capacity of SCE&G and Santee-Cooper with Santee-Cooper having a 45% ownership share. Now, the foregoing new plants to be added from 2007 on would seem to be a good plan for growth. It was until two major problems: 1. The 600 MW Pee Dee Energy Campus was cancelled in 2009 due largely to outside interference and agitation from environmental extremist groupsand 2. Mismanagement of construction of the two nuclear units at Summer by SCE&G. A Rational Plan for new generation capacity of Dispatchable coal and nuclear generation capacity was scrapped. Now, there are increasing public and government pressures to install only wind and solar and to shut down existing coal plants as soon as possible. The 1,045 MW Winyah coal plant is planned to be shut down in 2028. But, at this writing there is no definite plan (that I am aware) to replace the 1,045 MW of coal generation. The illustration below is from Santee-Cooper’s IRP presentation.
When I first became associated with Santee-Cooper in 1971 as one of the test engineers performing acceptance testing at the Jefferies Coal plant in Moncks Corner, the system peak load was about 3,000 MW. Since then as can be seen from the projections to the future, Santee-Cooper’s service territory will grow to over 6,000 MW by 2037.
Who is Accountable for Poor Planning?
In my opinion, there are multiple reasons and organizations that have brought our country to the absense of proper generation planning. Eight major contributors to “Poor Planning” are the U.N.-IPCC, the World Economic Forum, the Main Stream Media, Public Indoctrination by Politicians that follow the “Green Religion”, the U.S. Democrat Party, Environmental Extremist Organizations, Billionaire activists such as Bezos and Bloomberg and Public School Indoctrination of Green Policies. I presented my views to the ENERUM Energy Forum in Columbus in August of this year. One slide I used is copied below:
On a national level, the slide covers many of the major players that have scrapped generation planning, as it was once done by responsible regional utilities. Now, with the emphasis on interconnecting all Utilities with Regional Transmission Operators and a Federal War on Carbon, there is No Rational Energy Policy. Only a policy to attempt to kill coal and gas plants. It is un-American. My respected engineering manager friend Mr. Long would be screaming from his grave if he knew the madness that has taken over in the U.S. Oh, how I miss gutsy managers like Mendall Long!
Getting back to S.C. and the lack of planning here. Here are a couple newspaper reports regarding the cancellation of the Pee Dee Coal plant and the Summer units 2&3 nuclear plant.
America did better eneration planning in the 1970’s than we do now. In spite of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, America’s electricity remained reliable, was affordable and it fuled great economic growth 1970-2020.
There is no energy policy. The “Electrify Everything” policy promoted by many here and in Eurpope is based on the myth that wind and solar can provide sufficient power. It can’t.
The Regional Transmission Operators such as MISO, PJM and ERCOT combined with economic incentives for wind and solar have made the Grid fragile and less Resilient.
The Environmental Extremists have made policies to shut down vital coal plants that will contribute to unreliable electricity generation.
The EPA and government is run by environmental extremists that escape accountability for the actions and harm they are causing.
Europe is an example our elected officials could look too to observe the costs and harm that extreme green policies can cause.
Meanwhile, China is growing their economy and is on track to become the world’s largest economy passing the U.S.A. and doing so with massive amounts of coal power.
In closing let me ask you, what do you think the Monuments to Poor Planning will be in 2024?
America and all Developed countries require Energy to power our lives and our economy. It is time (for the government, energy savvy citizens already know this) to face the facts and reality that nearly 90% of the energy America depends on, including for our Defense of National Security, is sourced from conventional fuels or sources of natural gas, nuclear, oil, coal and old hydropower generation. Wind and Solar cannot replace these forms of energy and the path to Net-Zero Carbon will weaken our country. A Rational Energy Transition is needed over the next few decades. As a reminder, the Sankey Diagram below shows the total primary energy flows by sources and flow for all of 2021 forms of energy . Note that less than 5% of the primary energy provided to the U.S. was from wind and solar.
The two key words are PRIMARY ENERGY! As a couple people have asked me on EV’s…..”You mean the electricity has to be generated somewhere else to charge an electric vehicle?”
Yes, over 89% of the PRIMARY ENERGY we use is from conventional sources of Petroleum, Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear and Hydroelectric and yes, electricity to charge an EV likely came from conventional sources.
I have met with numerous groups to discuss our energy future and every time I outline the current government path to Net-Zero Carbon the people I talk with are shocked that there is not a planned transition to reduced carbon emissions and sustaining a reliable, affordable energy supply. Why? I believe it is because those that are knowledgeable in all forms of primary energy production are a small minority. Similar for secondary energy production, such as for producing electricity and hydrogen. I estimate that the people who thoroughly understand energy production is less than 5% of American (and the world) citizens. Smooth talking non-energy savvy politicians, the United Nations, the Main Stream Media, World Economic Forum and Public Education have Hoodwinked the Public into Demonizing carbon and preaching and legislating Green Power incentives. These powerful innfluencers have forced wind and solar Green Energy Religion on Americans. It is not possible to switch all of America or the rest of the Free World to Renewable wind and solar energy. It is possible to have a smooth transition to increase carbon free nuclear power and nuclear power produced hydrogen over the next three decades, but not by 2030 or 2035 as is proclaimed by the Biden Administration. America has no energy policy, only a policy of demonizing carbon and forcing the citizens to depend on unreliable, intermittent wind and solar.
Energy Misinformation is World-Wide
My friend Vincent who lives in France has sent me dozens of informative documents on energy. One document he sent yesterday caught my attention. It is the opening introduction of Professor Samuel Furfari’s article published on the Friends of Science Blog of Calgary University. I will quote Professor Furfari as he captures what I believe to be true as well. Furfari is referring to Europe, but much of what he states is applicable all over the Free World:
“Energy is life. Without energy, we could not live. That is why our distant ancestors adopted, then invented ways to create fire. The use of energy is essential for life: animals and human beings eat because their bodies need energy. Moreover, energy is also the blood that runs through the veins of the economic system. In recent years, instead of seeing energy as a vital commodity, environmental activists have succeeded in reversing the logic by blaming energy for all the planet’s ills, to the point where energy is no longer spoken of in negative terms. Energy has become the symbol of pollution and climate catastrophe. A few days ago, at the end of a lecture, a student confessed to me that he had been shaken because I had shown, with data, that the quality of life measured by the UN HDI index and life expectancy at birth depended on per capita energy consumption. This correlation is also valid with CO2 emissions since 82% of the energy used in the world is fossil fuel. He had never thought about it. No one had ever told him that.” Furfari continues….
“Will the current crisis be enough to bring us back to the common sense of the absolute priority of having abundant and cheap energy, as the founders of the EU said in the past? This is not certain, as the population has been so indoctrinated with negative and even catastrophic messages. But if the current crisis was to last and worsen, climate policies could face fierce opposition from the population, since it is true that the population cannot do without abundant and cheap energy, as the current panic demonstrates. Thanks to the development of technology and our energy resources (North Sea hydrocarbons and nuclear energy), the EU was able to escape the oil crises of the 1970s. The energy terrorism that may develop in the near future will have much more far-reaching consequences, as the EU is now much more dependent on energy consumption than it was fifty years ago.”
The foregoing is from a European viewpoint. My opinion/commentary now continues:
We Cannot Electrify Everything!
It is not even possible to install enough wind turbines and solar collectors across the U.S. to “Electrify Everything”. Further, we cannot electricfy everything and still sustain our high quality of living. For such products/materials as fertilizer, ammonia, food production energy, plastics, cement manufacture and steel manufacture. So what would a Rational Energy Policy look like? Here is my shot at offering one:
A RATIONAL ENERGY PLAN
Here is what a Rational Energy Plan would look like:
Maintain Existing Coal & Nuclear Plants as If they will Run for 20 more years….because… we will likely need them.
Reduce Federal Regulations on Oil, Gas, Coal production and all hard rock Mining within the U.S.A.
Reduce Regulations and build more Refinery Capacity
Approve Keystone and other Pipelines for Construction
Reduce Federal Regulations on Coal Plant Emissions to levels in effect in 2020 (except CO2 restrictions that were later vacated by SCOTUS)
Build New HELE Coal Plants, Equipped with Provisions for Future CCUS (HELE=High Efficiency Low Emissions)
Continue R & D for Energy Storage and Hydrogen Production
Increase Hydrogen Distribution Infrastructure
Keep Options of Continuing Internal Combustion Engines Beyond 2035 for those citizens that prefer Internal Combustion Engines
Expand Oil & Gas Infrastructure to meet next 30 year Demand
Increase the pace for designing, NRC Approvals, manufacturing and construction of new Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to be built all across the U.S.A. to replace the 102,000 MW’s of reliable, Dispatchable electric power production capacity that has been shut down since 2010.
Summary and Conclusions
When America’s economy and our productive capacity are restored, it will be with the result of reduced Federal Regulations and increased Domestic Energy production. To sustain life as we know it, each American on average needs about one million BTUs of energy equivalence each day. This includes energy for electricity generation, transportation, Industrial production, National Defense, commercial and residential uses. Over 90% of that energy is sourced from conventional sources of natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear. These numbers are substantiated by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Sankey Diagram I placed as the first illustration. Yes, it shows 95% of the primary energy America runs on is from conventional forms of energy. It is Energy Fiction to believe that the conventional forms we use and depend on now can be provided by wind and solar as the Biden Administration and Congress have advocated. (I suppose we could add to this list of indoctrinators: the United Nations, World Economic Forum, Environmental Extremist groups, the MSM, U.S. Public Education and Woke corporations)
If the Biden Administration and Congress do not create a Rational Energy Policy as I have outlined above, then America’s Infuence in the World and our Economy will go into an ever increasing decline. As outlined by Professor Samuel Furfari, the same is true for Europe. “Energy is Life, Without Energy we cannot live”.
The Developed World runs on energy and America has the natural resources to regain Energy Independence.
Dick Storm, October 12, 2022
Quote of the Week: “Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.” —James Madison (1788)
For those of us middle class folks that have lived the American Dream to enjoy a very comfortable life, it is not hard to imagine using a million Btus each day with the various forms of energy depicted above. Energy used on our behalf goes beyond what we personally use. The pro-rated energy use per Capita (as recorded by the DOE) includes Industrial manufacturing, Military Defense, government, commercial, fertilizer production, food production and shipping transportation uses. Energy does in fact provide for our high quality of life. Perhaps it would be helpful to compare our energy use to the people of other countries. Here below is such a comparison.
Flows of Total U.S. Primary Energy
For anyone who has seen my posts before you will know that I am very enamored with the simple yet clear illustration of U.S. Energy Sources and flows provided by the Department of Energy’s LLNL. This chart shows all major sources of energy which includes renewables and illustrates the quantities of each produced and used by the thickness of the flow lines.
Continental Resources Chairman and founder Harold Hamm detailed on Monday (Mayc2022) what he believes is behind the record prices Americans are facing at the pump, arguing that the Biden administration’s “failed policies on energy are not working. https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6306265270112#sp=show-clips
Heating the Oceans: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)An issue with addressing how the earth cools is the mental concept of time. According to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the earth is continuously emitting infrared energy depending on temperature. Some atmospheric gases, greenhouse gases, continuously interfere with the release of this energy to space in specific wavenumbers (number of wavelengths per centimeter, sometimes called frequency). In clear skies near the surface, most of the gases are well mixed except for water vapor, which varies significantly by region. : http://sepp.org/twtwfiles/2022/TWTW%208-6-2022.pdf
The Modern World Can’t Exist Without These Four Ingredients, They All Require Fossil Fuels, Vaclav Smil
Here is my personal opinion along with some facts to attempt to show how the policies of environmental extremists have placed America on a perilous path of energy insecurity. These are my personal opinions and they are not related with any other company or organization with which I am a part of. These are my personal thoughts regarding my concern for the future of the U.S.A.
I have had a number of discussions and presented courses on energy and electricity generation. These presentations and discussions of the Net-Zero Carbon path forward with folks (People not involved with the energy industry but concerned citizens) have raised the questions of “How can our energy policy be so stupid?” and “Are Zombies or Unicorns Planning our Energy Future”. “How can the greatest country in the world have such a foolish and impossible path forward on energy and electricity generation? “
Most of my engineer/manager/business owner friends who have worked and are familiar with electricity generation share my dismay that our great country has gone far astray from planning and building a better future for our chlidren and grandchildren. As one friend, a senior nuclear engineer stated (paraphrasing), “Our predecessors did great things, in many cases, rather than build on or advance these items, our generation has allowed them to be destroyed (think the World Trade Center towers, NASA, or in my personal case – the nuclear power industry). Our successors/followers seem to be more “lost” than ever, they accept the position that “feelings” and “beliefs” overcome scientific facts. This will be our legacy.”
The six major pollutants of sulfur, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, lead, particulates and volatile organic compounds were controlled. The EPA illustration below shows progress on cleaning the air from 1970 when the EPA was formed.
CLEANING THE AIR, A JOB WELL DONE!
78% Less Pollutants in 2020 than in 1970
According to the EPA, between 1970 and 2020, the combined emissions of the six common pollutants (PM2.5 and PM10, SO2, NOx, . VOC’s, CO and Lead) dropped by 78 percent. This progress occurred while U.S. economic indicators remain strong, as shown on the chart above. This is tremendous progress that all Americans can be proud of accomplishing. America has amongst the cleanest air when compared to other Developed nations.
OK, The Task of Cleaning the Nation’s Air Has Been Accomplished, So Now Let’s Keep American Business and Industry Productive, Energy Independent and Remain Competitive as the World’s Strongest Economy
If we look at the Total Primary Energy that we use, the quantitative measurement of fuels that power our total economy (Total Energy! Electricity, Industrial, Transportation, Residential and Commercial) and our high quality of living are represented on the Energy Information Administration chart below. Yes, 79% is fossil fuels. This is for the year 2021 and renewables are less than 5%. America depends on about 87% conventional fuels when nuclear power is included as a conventional fuel.
The extremists include many participants in the “World Economic Forum”. These wealthy people and organizations have funded extremist organizations with Billions of dollars in assets to fight against Natural Gas Hydraulic Fracturing, Exploration, Permitting, Drilling, Pipelines , New Refineries, Upgrading of older Power Plants and Refineries, Shutting down efficient, clean coal plants, Stopping construction of or shutting down of safe Nuclear power plants, stopping energy plant expansions and any part of improving the use of conventional fuels that power our country. Perhaps begun with good intentions, but in my view this is un-American. Where do these IRS 501(c) 3 and 4 tax exempt organizations obtain these generous funds? A good question. However, here are just a few of their sources of funding, based on Press Releases of public information. This is a sampling of how extremist, un-American organizations stay so well funded. Jeff Bezos awards NRDC $100 million dollars.Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies awards Sierra Club $174 million. The Sierra Club and Bloomberg Philanthropies brag on the Sierra Club and Bloomberg Philanthropies websites that, They have caused to shut down over 60% of America’s Coal Plants.
Tom Steyer another Billionaire starts a Climate Action Fund. I repeat, well funded to fight against us common folks achievement of the American Dream. Worse yet is the denying of needed energy for Developing countries of the world. Take a check of the Capital Research Center’s “Influence Watch” website. You won’t need to scroll through many major environmental organizations to tally up over a $Billion dollars in assets. This is mostly used to create political opposition to coal, natural gas, pipelines, Refineries, nuclear power plants and nearly all forms of conventional energy. Sure, they all were begun with good intentions of protecting the environment, that was in the Good Old days of 1892, when the Sierra Club Founder, John Muir began a movement and founded the Sierra Club to improve the environment. Like I said, it started with good intentions. However, now the extremists are endangering the future of our country. This may seem like hyperbole to those not closely involved with the energy industries. The screen shot below is from the Sierra Club, “Beyond Coal” website. Yes, they brag on shutting down 357 coal power plants. Some of these, such as Zimmer near Cincinatti should still be operating, so should some in Texas and many other states. If you have rolling Blackouts or job losses in your state, thank Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, the World Economic Forum, Tom Steyer, Movie star Celebrities, The MSM, the U.N. and the activist environmental extremists that have brought us to this crisis. Some community and state leaders proudly proclaim, “Coal is in a Death Spiral”. Maybe it is, but if so, who or which countries will benefit?
However, I am very concerned. We should look east toward Europe and Asia to learn some of the challenges that occur when energy becomes scarce. A world renowned energy expert and author Dr. Vaclav Smil has coined the phrase, “Energy is the Universal Currency”. Sadly, as this is written, the countries that understand and act on that best are Russia and China.
Environmental extremism has progressed to the point that America is likely to continue with an energy crisis that will be worse than the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Yes, I am old enough to remember 1973 and carrying precious five gallon cans of gasoline (knowingly unsafely) in the back of our station wagon we used to transport our family on vacation from N.C. to Florida. The gasoline shortages, the Utility stock value declines and strain on the American economy (and American Families) was difficult and memorable. Perhaps that is why I am so passionate about writing this message. This crisis does not need to happen. However, it appears to be too late to stop it and even the IEA Head, Dr. Faith Birol has admitted that it will likely get worse. In conclusion, these are the major points I wish to make:
The U.S. uses and requires about 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units each year. This is about one million Btu’s per day, per person. During 2021 wind and solar provided less than 5% of that total energy. It is impossible to replace the over 87% conventional energy with wind and solar power any time soon. America is the Saudi Arabia of Coal and we should use this resource as well as nuclear, natural gas and all other fuels within our borders.
Environmental Extremists have done a very effective job of stopping progress for America’s economy and productive capacity. They have caused us to lose our position of being energy independent in 2020. They are part of a five headed Monster. The five monster heads are; Public Education, The Media, Entertainment, Government and Extremist organizations that operate (protected from paying taxes) as non-profit organizations.
Nuclear Power is one form of carbon free energy that can significantly increase our energy independence with proven technology (if we are concerned about carbon) However, most of the Environmental extremist organizations are against nuclear as well as being against coal, gas and oil. There is only one nuclear power plant under construction in the U.S. at this time. Georgia Power/Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle. The cost overruns in my opinion are largely due to over-Regulation.
We need more new HELE Coal plants. ( High Efficiency, Low Emissions). The last two built, John Turk and Longview Plants were commissioned about 2012. Since then, much of the Supply-Chain of engineers, craftsmen and manufacturing capacity have retired or been out-sourced to China. Witness the once great pioneering power generation equipment manufacturing company, “Combustion-Engineering” now gone. Also, the American manufacturing company Foster-Wheeler. Still here in name only.
The future of solving our energy crisis looks bleak due to the momentum of poor decisions and poor priorities. It is not only the U.S. It is also Europe, Sri Lanka, Australia and India. If you have time, peruse through some of the links provided below to review the news of the International Energy Crisis.
My recommendation is that we should be using All Forms of energy and have a Balanced Energy Portfolio. One local example is my adopted state of S.C. Still a Regional Utility (state owned) they have shown in their IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) that they are likely to follow the rest of the U.S. in shutting down existing coal plants before adequate, proven, Dispatchable replacement generating capacity is built and commissioned. I favor building new Coal HELE plants, new nuclear whether SMR or conventional, and of course, the proven Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Units that have done so well at operational efficiencies above 50%.
Provide the infra-structure of pipelines and fuel supply chains to existing plants. Coal trains and pipelines.
Maintain the existing plants as if they are going to run another ten years. Plan new coal plants to replace the old ones that need to be retired.
Most importantly! Educate the General Public and K-12 Students on the true facts about the importance of energy similar to what was done by the Electric Utility Companies in teh 1950’s -1970’s up to the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973.
The preceding opinions are my own, not shared by any other company or organization that I have been associated with. These are my strong personal opinions and this was written solely by the author.
Yours very truly,
Dick Storm, July 13, 2022
References for further research and to refer to more factual information
The recent Supreme Court ruling which trimmed the power of the EPA is important to provide for less government restrictions and for the freedom of future Americans to enjoy the “American Dream”. This post is based on the importance of energy to power our way of life. Each American uses about a million Btus of energy each day. Energy fuels our way of life. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has kept track of the total primary energy use of America for many years. Total primary energy use has held steady at about 100 quads (+/-10) per year for the last 23 years. Total Primary Energy includes all forms of energy. The Energy Flow Chart for 2021 is copied below:
Total Primary Energy Supply 1999-2021 about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s
A fair question is, what does the Supreme Court ruling on the EPA’s right to regulate carbon have to do with living the American Dream? Here is my answer. If we accept that the U.S. requires 100 quadrillion Btus of energy to power our high quality of living, then how can we continue living our good lives if over 80% of the fuel we depend on is considered unavailable by the government? Yes, from the LLNL figure above, (in Quads) 35.1 Petroleum + 10.5 Coal +31.3 Natural Gas +8.13 nuclear power = 85.03 quadrillion Btus which is 87.4 % of the 97.3 Quads of Total Primary Energy.
Thermal energy is important for every American. The 87.4% includes nuclear. Therefore, the total primary energy provided from conventional forms of energy is 87.4%.
The government, “Woke” Business leaders, celebrities and many in the media have pushed the fantasy of achieving American energy needs from 100% solar and wind by 2030 or 2050. To attempt to be polite, thinking we can replace conventional forms of energy within a few years is being detached from reality and delusional. Let me explain why I believe this to be so by looking at the last 23 years of energy use to show where we came from in two decades and to then look into the future to see the next two decades:
The 1999 Sankey diagram (above) shows total energy use in the U.S. of 96.6 quadrillion Btus. I stated above that America’s total primary energy has held pretty steady for decades. So, here is the factual data of energy flows from 1999. Over the years, the fuel sources have changed but the total primary energy required to power our lives and economy has remained fairly constant, right at 100 quadrillion Btus. In 1999 coal was 23.3 quadrillion Btus and natural gas 19.29. The “Shale Gas Revolution” which began about 2010 created production of low cost natural gas which displaced much of the coal used for power generation. This fuel substitution of natural gas for coal was mostly for economic dispatch reasons of a more economical fuel for power generation. By the way, if you compare the natural gas prices/million Btus to coal today, coal looks far more reasonable in cost.
Total Primary Energy is Needed for Electricity Generation Plus… Industry, Transportation, Commercial and Residential
The graph below was prepared by the EIA to illustrate the production and use of total energy in the U.S.A. from 1950 to 2020. This also supports the statement that America has used right at 100 Quadrillion Btus for the last 23 years. This includes all forms of energy and including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, Biomass, geothermal. As can be seen from the graph, energy independence was achieved in 2020. This was largely as the result of increased oil and natural gas production within the U.S.A.
The Fantasy of Wind and Solar Replacing Conventional Energy and Achieving Net-Zero Carbon by 2050
Fossil fuels plus nuclear energy provided over 87% of America’s total primary energy for the year 2021. This is a fact. (as shown on the first chart above from LLNL) It is also a fact that wind and solar together provided about 5% of our total primary energy. The question needs to be asked, Is it reasonable to expect solar and wind to replace the energy currently provided by petroleum, natural gas, coal and nuclear? I say NO it is not reasonable to expect solar and wind to replace coal, oil, gas and nuclear any time soon. Yes, wind and solar are being forced on America by the energy policies and incentives of government, but it is implausible to expect the total of 100 Quadrillion Btu’s equivalent of energy to come from wind and solar. In my opinion, impossible until there are major technological advancements.
Here are eleven reasons why Net-Zero Carbon is Not Practical within the next 28 years:
The land area of 100% renewables required is enormous. The energy density of solar and wind is far too low(1)
Electricity storage is not yet technologically advanced for commercial applications at Utility scale for long time periods
If all Internal Combustion Engines for ground transportation are electrified, then it exacerbates the first two points. It still takes about the same primary energy content to move vehicles no matter what fuel or energy source is used. Example, EV’s need charging to provide motive force
Solar and Wind are not Dispatchable. They provide maximum output as nature provides when the wind blows and the sun shines, not as Citizen electricity demand requires
About 8-10% of petroleum is refined into Jet Fuel. Hydrogen fueled aircraft may be safe & practical some day, but that someday is decades away.
Fertilizer and food production uses between 2 and 5% of total primary energy. This cannot be replaced with wind and solar
The Transmission and Distribution network of the electric Grid is not setup for solar and wind systems. It takes time to permit, design and construct T&D systems
Oil, coal and natural gas provide raw materials for textiles, rubber, plastics and many other products that the world depends on
Coking coal is required to produce the best quality steel from iron ore
Cement production requires fuel for production
Nuclear power is the largest provider of carbon free energy, yet there is only one new nuclear plant under construction in the U.S. The Georgia Power Plant Vogtle Units 2 &3
All Fuels are Important and a Balanced Energy Portfolio is Preferred
America has been depending on coal power for many years. Although not appreciated by the media and even some Utility Exec’s, coal remains important. I will cite three examples below: First the U.S. Grid Electric Generation by fuel type for the weeks of September 25 -October 2, 2021 and from June 10- 16, 2022. Note the Dispatchable power of over 80% in both cases, with coal providing a significant portion of the generation. Also shown below are screen shots of actual generation by fuel for both the MISO and PJM RTO’s (Regional Transmission Operators)
The four illustrations above show examples of the importance of coal fuel to electric power generation for the lower 48 states, for the Midcontenent Independent System Operator and for the PJM Interconnection. All four examples show significant generation by Dispatchable power: coal, gas and nuclear. These four charts could be considered “A Balanced Generation Portfolio” By balanced, I mean fuel diversity of nuclear, gas, coal and renewables. This is good, however, the current U.S. Path is to shutdown many of the coal plants that were participating in the above “examples. Take a look at the EIA report that states 12.6 GW of coal plants to retire by 2022. (4)
Also, the recent closures of Palisades Nuclear Plant in Michigan and the William Zimmer 1300 MW coal plant near Cincinnati.
Coal, The American Treasure of Energy
When I was active in the American Coal Council we had an interesting speaker from the National Coal Council, on the coal, oil and gas reserves within the borders of the U.S. The speaker (Robert Beck) presented a study of using captured CO2 to force oil still trapped beneath Ohio’s old oil fields. As I recall, the presentation summary was that any place that coal is found, so is oil and gas. Thus, if you look at a map of U.S. coal deposits, sure enough, gas and oil has also been produced. Getting back to the National Coal Council presentation, the statement was made that about 3 million barrels a day of oil could be recovered from the “Old abandoned” Ohio Oil fields of decades ago, by using enhanced oil recovery of pressurizing the oil deposits with CO2 captured from the many coal plants in Ohio.(5) Here below is an illustration of world coal reserves. It could be said, the U.S. likely has the largest fossil fuel reserves in the world. The statement made by a coal expert that I heard ten years ago seems true, “Wherever there is coal, so is there oil and gas”. Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Dakota all have coal and all have had significant oil and gas production since Hydraulic Fracturing combined with directional drilling has been utilized.
Why should our politicians cripple our economy over the politically inspired (not Environmental protection driven) U.N. -IPCC, Paris agreement?(56,57,58,59)America can be Energy Independent. We were in 2020 and we can do it again!
Meanwhile in China
China is the world’s largest producer of aluminum and steel. They also are the largest manufacturing nation on the planet. This manufacturing might is powered mostly by coal power. China gets it and they are diligently working toward a “Balanced Generation Portfolio” of coal, nuclear, wind, solar and gas.(51, 52, 53) Russia is conveniently in an excellent geographic and economic position to supply coal, oil, nuclear and gas to China to power their industrial output.
China is a large country that is committed to increasing the size of their economy. Powering manufacturing requires large amounts of reliable, reasonable cost electricity generation. China has a truly “Balanced Portfolio of Generation Capacity”, including nuclear as shown above and also enormous amounts of renewable power from the Three Gorges Hydroelectric plant which is over 22 GW in capacity, as well as wind, solar and coal. I thought I should interject the energy facts regarding China’s Bulk Power Generation, because competing with them will require reasonable cost Bulk Power here. Especially for energy intensive manufacturing such as aluminum smelting and other primary metals production.
Conclusions from Excerpts of Vaclav Smil book, “Power Density” on the Use of Wind, Water and Solar to Generate most of Our Electricity
Vaclav Smil has written many books on Energy, Power and Electricity generation. His book “POWER DENSITY” for this discussion is particularly relevant. Copied below are excerpts from the final chapter of “POWER DENSITY”:
“What Would it Take”
“If you are willing to engage in unbounded science and engineering fiction, then acccording to Jacobson and Delucchi (2011), this is what it would take to supply the world with 100% renewable energy in 2030 by using electricity (generated by wind, water and solar PV installations) and electrolytic hydrogen for all purposes: 3.8 million 5-MW wind turbines, 49,000 300-MW central solar plants, 1.7 billion 3-kW rooftop PV installations, 5,350 100-MW geothermal plants, 270 new 1.3 GW hydro stations, 720,000 0.75-MW wave devices and 490,000 1-MW tidal turbines. All of that will require only about 0.4% of the world’s land for its footprint and 0.6% for spacing, and we are assured that the barriers to the plan are primarily social and political, not technological or economic as the energy cost in a new wind-water-solar world should be similar to that today” (The above is quoting from Jacobson and Delucchi)
Smil continues (from pg 244, Power Density)
“These assurances asides, the simplest reality check shows the fictional nature of these assumptions. In 2013 the worldwide capacity in wind turbines reached 330 GW, while 13 TW (40 times as much) would be needed by 2030. Total rooftop and large plant PV capacity reached about 100 GW, but 17.1 TW of these installations would be required (170 times as much); moreover, there was not a single 300-MW solar PV plant (five plants rated between 200-250 MW), whereas 40,000 would be needed by 2030. In 2013 there was only one central solar power facility rated at more than 300 MW, Ivanpah, at 392 MW, but nearly 5,000 such facilities would be needed by 2030 (an increase of four orders of magnitude). There were fewer than 50 geothermal stations rated at more than 100 MW, but 5,350 would be needed (a 100-fold increase). Pelamis (2014, the world’s most advanced wave energy company, produced six 0.75 MW devices by the beginning of 2014, but 720,000 would need to be operating by 2030 (an increase of five orders of magnitude). Finally, by 2013 there were fewer than ten small tidal stations with aggregate installed power of much less than 1 GW, while 490 GW would have to generate by 2030 (two orders of magnitude more).
Such ramping-up of all kinds of capacities-design, permitting, financing, engineering, construction, all going up between one and five orders of magnitude in less than two decades-is far, far beyond anything that has been witnessed in less than two decades-is far, far beyond anything that has been witnessed in more than a century of developing modern energy systems. And that still leaves out two other key facts, namely, that such a gargantuan renewable energy system would need an enormous expansion of high-voltage transmission and would require the creation of an entirely new, hydrogen-based society. I am still not sure how we would fly with hydrogen (or electricity) or smelt pig iron. In any case the chances of a 100% water-wind-solar world to be ready by 2030 are nil, but it is worth while exploring what it would (realistically) take to create an increasingly nonfossil global energy system.” The preceding “What Would it Take” is a direct quotation from Smil’s book, pages 243-245.
Summary & Conclusions:
In my opinion, Vaclav Smil in the preceding paragraphs captured the essence of the fictional engineering that can create a path to Net-Zero Carbon by 2050. In the references that follow, Donn Dears and others have come to similar conclusions on the futility of achieving Net-Zero Carbon.
With regard to Anthropogenic Climate Change, I have included some references from expert Climate and Atmospheric Scientists that know the topic well.(2,7,8,9,10,12,13,15,16,56,58,59)
Climate Policies and the UN-IPCC are driven by politics and not by science or a sincere interest in saving the planet. Some references which support this claim are also included for further reading.(56,58,59)
I will close with seven conclusions, which are:
The Economic Harm to the U.S. if the Path to Net-Zero Carbon with solar and wind and without nuclear power as a major component, will weaken the U.S.A. and harm our capability to compete in world markets. Especially competing with China and the rest of the world in manufacturing.(2, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9)
Dispatchable Coal Plants should not be shut down until they are replaced by proven and commissioned “Dispatchable” generating capacity. Shutting down 12.6MW of coal plants as planned, will lead to Blackouts and Brownouts(4,22,25, 26, 27)
Depending on wind and solar to replace the existing 2022 still operational coal and nuclear plants will lead to increased electricity costs as well as reduced reliability(14, 36)
China is the world’s largest manufacturer and will remain ahead of the U.S. and gain further if the U.S. continues down the Net-Zero Carbon Path(17, 18, 19, 28)
America invented nuclear power (Rickover) for peaceful purposes and was the world leader in developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes. We have lost that lead and China and Russia are building more nuclear power plants in the world than the U.S. Most of our problems are unessessary Federal Regulations(11, 51,53,57)
Energy Independence plus reasonable cost, abundant and Dispatchable Electricity are pre-requisites for a strong economy and a strong National Defense. America should expand and increase our treasures of nuclear, coal, oil and gas forms of energy to reachieve Energy Independence.(5)
The U.S. should use all of the energy resources within our borders to be 100% Energy Independent. This includes the Treasure of Coal Energy which we know how to burn cleanly.(30, 31, 32)
Dick Storm, July 4th, 2022
References for Further Reading:
Vaclav Smil Book, “POWER DENSITY” The MIT Press 2015
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.
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.
Load Growth Projections by Santee-Cooper, Supply/Demand Balance 2022-2040
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Each person that lives in a Developed Country and enjoys our high quality of life uses well over a million Btu’s per day. This post is a reminder of the importance of energy to power our lives and the sources of the energy we depend upon.
The war on carbon has been going on for a long time. I have written my thoughts on the start of the war on carbon which has been escalating since the Clinton Presidency and was ramped up during Obama’s. The Biden Administration has further ramped up Climate Policies (aka war on carbon) which encompass the entire government, making the Clinton and Obama attacks on carbon compare as small nuisances. Then the United Nations Secretary General has piled on with his urging to ban investment in any fossil fuel production and to use the world’s financial institutions to cut off investment through ESG policies. The Main Stream Media and Entertainment and many “Woke Banks and large Businesses” have joined in to create a serious indoctrination program for the people of the world and tightened up the available financial investment to expand or modernize energy production facilities of any type. Not only the U.S., but the Climate Policies of the world to attain Net Zero Carbon by 2050 now has much momentum. The purpose of this post is to simply lay out the facts of the energy needs of today for anyone living in the Developed World.
The Importance of Energy
Energy use, economic prosperity and Quality of life go hand in hand. The title of one of Mr. Donn Dears recent books is: “NET-ZERO Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America”.
At first glance, the sub title, “Climate Policy Destroying America” may seem to be an exaggeration. The intention of this short essay is to show that Mr. Dears is correct, if we move toward Net-Zero Carbon too quickly, it will destroy the American way of life and will cripple our economy. The word “Sustainability” means to me, that we sustain our quality of life as Americans have enjoyed for many years. Energy, quality of life and economic prosperity are all related. Kindly stick with me and read to the end to review the importance of conventional energy.
100 Quadrillion Btu’s Per Year Energy Use
America has used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s (+/- 10) annually of energy for the last twenty years. The EIA and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have calculated and published this data for decades. Here is an excerpt of the LLNL description from their website.
“The national economy is reenergizing, quite literally”
Each year, LLNL releases flow charts that illustrate the nation’s consumption and use of energy. In 2021, Americans used 97.3 quads (quadrillion BTU) of energy, which is 4.4 quads more than last year’s 92.9 quads, equivalent to a 5% increase. Both 2020 and 2021 annual energy consumption totals are less than 2018 and 2019, where Americans used more than 100 quads per year. A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for energy; a BTU is the amount of heat it takes to raise 1 pound (~1 pint) of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. 3,412 BTUs is equivalent to 1 kilowatt-hour, which is the amount of energy it takes to light an efficient LED lightbulb for a week. “ The chart below includes all forms of energy, including wind and solar which are included as the thermal equivalents of the electric power they produced. The chart shows “Total Primary Energy” which includes electricity generation, residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. This is my favorite chart for illustrating energy sources and uses. Suffice it to say, it is a lot of information in one chart.
Please note the quantities of solar and wind which are 1.5 Quads for solar and 3.33 Quads for wind. Yes, this is an increase from previous years. However, the total wind and solar is 3.85 Quads or right at 4%.
My point is that Electrifying Everything if it were possible to take a magic wand and change all energy use to electric power, including heating, cooking, transportation and industrial production, then it will take a growth of 25 times what is installed now by nameplate power. When considering capacity factors of wind and solar it will actually be more like 75-100 times current installed capacity plus, technological advancements in energy storage would need to be accomplished. In essence, it is impossible to get there within 8 to 28 years (2030 or 2050) and still sustain our high quality of life and yes, our high standard of living. Not to mention Dispatchability, energy storage limitations and land use requirements. Also, the practical limitations of changing energy use for transportation, the second largest use of total primary energy after electricity generation, to electric or hydrogen power. How many of us would be willing to fly on a hastily developed hydrogen fueled jet aircraft? Change our lives to use EV’s for long distance drives? Give up the plastics, textiles and numerous other products that are created from oil, gas and coal? Let’s get back to what we do and enjoy through the use of today’s forms of energy.
So, How Much Energy, in Btu’s Does Each American Use per day?
The illustration below was prepared to show a Middle School class the equivalent forms of energy they would use in a day. For our high quality of living, it is not hard to see how we depend on an average of about a million Btu’s of energy each day.
Not shown in the illustration is the energy that is used on our behalf to provide industrial production, military defense and transportation of food and products to our local stores or even deliveries to our door via Amazon, Walmart, UPS, FedEx or other delivery services. Also, about 1% of America’s energy is used to produce fertilizer for farming, not including the fuel for tractors and processing food. All of these energy uses averaged out come to (in a good year) about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s. Remember, up to now, 4% are from wind and solar.
Does it seem reasonabe to expect that we can electrify everything? Including aircraft propulsion, all light vehicles, trucks, ships, trains, fertilizer and more? I don’t think so.
Think about your day and both the necessities and the conveniences made available through the use of energy. My heading stated we use an average of about a million Btu’s per person each day. For those that will read this post, I suspect each of you are using far more than a million Btu’s per day. For example if a person takes a two hour flight on a airline, even at 80 miles per gallon per seat mile, the per person fuel for a 1,000 mile flight is about 12.5 gallons of Jet A. The plane trip alone uses about a million five hundred thousand Btu’s. The LLNL and EIA data that show our “average use per citizen” include children and folks that live very modestly and do not travel much. Also, the importance of energy used for Industrial production (including producing products from oil feedstock) which provides jobs and a productive economy cannot be underestimated. Industrial production to compete with China cannot be powered by solar and wind any time soon.
Summary and Conclusions
Where extreme priorities have been imposed to switch to renewables such as in Germany, the UK, Hawaii and Texas, there have been issues of high costs, unreliability and economic impact. Some references for further reading are provided below.
I agree with the Title of Donn Dears book, “NET-ZERO CARBON, THE CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING AMERICA“
Dick Storm USCB-OLLI Courses, Energy and Electricity, History of Energy and Electricity and the Future of Energy and Electricity. The four parts of the “History of Energy and Electricity” are on my website: https://dickstormprobizblog.org