Category Archives: Keeping America Great

Mentoring the Middle School Students

Helping our youth to understand the importance of energy and electricity to energize our good lives

Why Should We Invest Time with the Public School Students?

From a personal viewpoint, I have always considered it a high priority to do my best to support energy education of the public and especially our public school students. A great group to start with if we wish to improve the general public’s understanding of the importance of energy. Perhaps if we start with the youth, they will educate their parents on the facts; That conventional sources comprise about 90% of the total energy that makes our high quality of life possible. By conventional, I mean, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Coal and Hydroelectric.

All of us who have been employed in the supply chain of producing energy understand the rarity of energy savvy people we meet who are not or have not been closely involved with our industry. So, when an opportunity to present a short class on energy and electricity generation came up at our local Middle School, I accepted the invitation. Here are some of the slides I will use for this group of 8th Graders.

The general public’s knowledge of energy and it’s importance seems to be limited to gasoline prices. When in a social setting and I discuss the U.S. need for 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy and where it comes from, most people’s eyes glaze over and are not very interested. However, with the Russia-Ukraine war, it seems folks are more interested now than they were a few months ago. Perhaps timely to give a course on energy fundamentals.

Each American uses about 800,000 to 1 million Btu’s every day

Our Lifestyles Depend on Energy

How did I come up with 800,000 – 1,000,000 Btu’s per person, per day? Here is how: America uses right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually. If 100 Quadrillion (15 zeros) is divided by the population of the U.S.A. of about 330 million people, the result is about 303 million Btu’s per person. This is the average energy use for each of us. Then, divide 303 million by 365 days per year and it is 830,000 Btu’s per day. The above illustration shows how we may use our portion of fuels to consume our share of the Nation’s energy. If we are traveling by car for an interstate trip, we can easily use more than a million Btu’s in a day. Likewise, ordering a large shipment of furniture or heavy goods from Amazon or other on-line Retailer will require energy to be used on our behalf to deliver our products to the door. You get the picture.

Another way to illustrate 300-330 million Btu’s is to show the equivalence in barrels of gasoline, Diesel Fuel, propane or coal. Also, nuclear. This is shown below.

Annual Equivalent Per Capita Energy Use of 300-330 Million Btu’s/person

So Where Did You Come up with 100 Quadrillion Btu’s?

The U.S. Department of Energy has been measuring, calculating and reporting total primary energy use for decades. I have been watching this and America’s energy use has held right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s +/- 10%, for the last twenty years or so. Below is the Sankey diagram which shows 2019 total primary energy flows. The sources are on the left and uses are on the right. This is how the breakdown of uses was established: 37% electricity generation, 28.1% transportation, 26.4% Industrial, 11.4% Residential and 9.41% Commercial.

I stated above that the U.S. has used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s for decades. The chart below published by the EIA (Energy Information Administration) shows the total energy used 1950 to 2019. The differences in “Production and Consumption” are imports. As of December 2020, America produced as much energy as we consumed. Again, right at 100 quadrillion Btu’s.

Let’s Drill Down to See Where the Energy Is Used in SC to Generate Electricity

Currently and at least through 2030, over 50% of South Carolina’s electricity will come from nuclear power generation.

S.C. has four large nuclear power plants with a total of seven generating units. Here is a map of where they are located.

The second largest source of our electricity is natural gas fuel. This is burned very efficiently in power plants such as this. The newest natural gas generating plants can obtain thermal efficiencies over 60%.

Coal fuel was over 50% of Santee-Cooper’s electric generation about ten years ago. Since then, natural gas fuel became lower in cost and abundant and has replaced much of the coal power generation. However, today natural gas prices are increasing and it is likely that coal fuel will be more economical to generate our electricity not generated by nuclear and renewables.

The Santee-Cooper coal plants that provide electricity to our local electricity distributor, Palmetto Electric Co-Op are shown below.

Santee-Cooper Coal Plants

Isn’t Most of Our Power Provided by Solar, Wind and Hydro-Electric?

No! That is a popular misconception. Even the Wall Street Journal has misled people into thinking that most of our electricity is generated by renewables (wind, solar and hydro). The data above show the true facts of the sources of our electricity and total energy.

Note that of our total energy in 2019, wind and solar together only provided about 3.8% of America’s total energy. The 96.2% was provided by conventional forms of energy such as nuclear, natural gas, coal and hydro-electric. The WSJ Headline is accurate in stating that 90% of the New Electricity Generation in 2020 came from Renewables. That is because they used “Nameplate Capacity” for the Renewables and the simple fact that the “Old coal, Nuclear, Coal and Hydroelectric” plants are very robust, reliable and have long lives when properly maintained.

The Santee-Cooper Pinnopolis Dam, Hydro-Electric plant is shown above. When I use the term “Old Hydroelectric plants”, this is where I was coming from. If you look at “Total Renewables Energy” on the Sankey diagram above, you will see that most of the renewable generation is from old hydroelectric plants. In 2019 that was about 2.5% of our total primary energy as compared to 1.04% solar.

These are the hydro plants operated by Santee-Cooper. Located about 100 miles north of Hilton Head near Moncks Corner, SC.

Solar

Much is written in the news about solar and many people are of the impression that solar is a major source of Bulk Electric generation. The fact is that yes, much money is being invested in solar but the total generation is very small when compared to nuclear, gas and coal. Here below is a much hyped solar farm on the east side of I-95 about 50 miles north of Hilton Head. It is about 15 acres and during a bright sunny day will produce about 3.5 MW.

By the way, if 3.5 MW seems like a lot of electric power consider that on a hot summer day Hilton Head Island uses about 180 MW during peak Demand.

Palmetto Electric Co-Op distributes electricity on Hilton Head Island. They obtain most of their Bulk Power wholesale from Santee-Cooper which is owned by the state of SC. Generation capacity of Santee-Cooper power plants is listed below. Note, most generation capacity is coal, nuclear and natural gas.

Electricity is Secondary Energy and uses about 37% of America’s total Primary Energy. The other 63% of Energy is Important to Fuel Our High Quality Lives!

The Federal government, at this point in time, is stating and making policies that would “Electrify Everything”. Especially transportation. Most large automobile manufacturers have stated that they plan to phase out the Internal Combustion Engine by 2035. That is only 13 years into the future.

Think about the chart above. Yes, 96% of our Primary Energy comes from conventional sources. (I consider nuclear, coal, gas, biomass and hydroelectric all conventional sources) The highest percentage of primary energy is from petroleum. America uses about 20 million barrels per day of oil. To illustrate what 20 million barrels per day looks like, take a look at the photo below. This is a picture of me standing in front of a portion of the above ground Aleyeska pipeline in Alaska. It is above ground because of passing through frozen tundra and the heated oil must be above ground for environmental and pipeline integrity concerns. This pipeline is capable of moving about 2 million barrels of oil per day. So, to imagine the quantity of oil that America uses, picture 10 of these pipelines side by side. Yes, 10 pipelines like this. At 42 gallons per barrel, that is a lot of oil.(2)

Most rimary energy is used in “Heat Engines” that convert heat energy to motive force. Another point to imagine, is if the about 275 million light trucks and cars registered in the U.S. were converted to EV’s…..This could create Demand for an enormous amount of electricity. However, in some cases the electricity needs to be “Dispatchable” when it is needed, such as in charging EV’s on a road trip. In other cases such as long range aircraft and ship propulsion, electricity is not an option with current technology. Fossil Fuels are important to fuel our lives.

Heat Energy from fuels is enormous. Just a reminder of the definition of a “Horsepower” and a BTU (British Thermal Unit).

A horsepower is equivalent to the work accomplished by lifting a weight of 550 pounds in one second or 33,000 Foot pounds per minute. One BTU converted at 100% thermal efficiency to work is equivalent to 778 Foot pounds. A gallon of gasoline contains between 115,000 and 125,000 Btu’s. So one gallon of gasoline is worth over 90 million foot pounds of work.

Perhaps a reminder of agricultural productivity is timely. At the turn of the 20th Century, about 40% of our population was required to work on the farms to feed our nation. Then, we changed from muscle power of animals to mechanized farming, using tractors. The work of a team of horses could be accomplished with a single gasoline powered tractor.

A reminder from U.S. history…..Our Economy became the largest in the world as America switched from muscle power of draft animals and humans to mechanization powered by fossil fuels.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Energy and Economic Prosperity are inter-related
  • America has used about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for decades and to preserve our high quality of life, will continue to require 100 Quadrillion+ Btu’s each year into the future
  • Fossil fuels provide about 80% of our total primary energy
  • Conventional forms of energy, including Gas, Nuclear, Coal and old Hydroelectric plants, provide over 90% of our primary energy
  • The Mainstream News, Entertainment and Misguided Politicians are wrong to attack fossil fuels. Donn Dears book(4) Net Zero Carbon, Climate Policies Destroying America” lays out facts and policies to support the title

When I am in the classroom, I will not discuss the politics of “Climate Change”, only the facts on energy and electricity. I hope all of my friends employed in energy industries do likewise to attempt to set the record straight on the importance of energy and electricity.

Yours very truly,

Dick Storm, March 9, 2022

References for further reading and research:

  1. 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
  2. Global Energy Monitor, Alaska Pipeline facts: https://www.gem.wiki/Trans-Alaska_Oil_Pipeline_System
  3. Dick Storm’s views on Electrify Everything, Capital Research Center, Nov. 2021:https://capitalresearch.org/article/forced-electrification-part-4/
  4. Net Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America” by Donn Dears. Available on Amazon
  5. Alabama Power, Miller Steam Plant, An intersting video of how a large coal plant works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ftl-WM6wms
  6. A more factual asessment of Sea Level Rise to counter the exaggerations by movies on Climate Catastrophe’s, about 1.36 ft/100 years:  https://www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8534720 and WUWT Sea Level Rise: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/14/sea-level-rise-fastest-in-2000-years-or-not/
  7. National News on Nuclear Power needed for the future carbon free generation January 23, 2022: https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2022/01/18/race-to-cut-carbon-emissions-splits-u-s-states-on-nuclear-b/#.Ye2BWS-B2J9  

What Is Endangered, Climate or Freedom? This is the sub-title of the book “BLUE PLANET IN GREEN SHACKLES”

Vaclav Klaus is a past President of the Czech Republic. Klaus wrote the book, “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” in 2007, published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The sub-title reminds me of the current crisis in the Ukraine. With Russia’s economy being fortified by PetroDollars and the CCP working in earnest to Dominate the World with their influence. I re-ask the question What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?”

Vaclav Klaus, A Smart and Courageous Man, Also A Great Thinker and Writer!

Václav Klaus, (born June 19, 1941, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), Czech economist and politician who served as Prime Minister (1993–97) and President (2003–13) of the Czech Republic. 

Klaus graduated from the University of Economics in Prague in 1963. He was a research worker at the Institute of Economics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1968 when he completed his Ph.D. in economics. After working for several years at the Czechoslovak State Bank, he joined the Forecasting Institute of the Czech Academy in 1987. At the beginning of the 1989 Velvet Revolution which brought about the peaceful end of Communism in Czechoslovakia, Klaus entered politics. This Bio from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Another quote attributed to Klaus: “The climate change debate is basically not about science; it is about ideology. It is not about global temperature; it is about the concept of human society. It is not about nature or scientific ecology; it is about environmentalism, about one – recently born – dirigistic and collectivistic ideology, which goes against freedom and free markets”

Prescient Words from Klaus in 2007

“As someone who lived under Communism for most of my life, I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy,the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st Century is not Communism or its various softer versions. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism. This ideology preaches Earth and nature, and under the slogans of their protection-similarly to the old Marxists-wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning of the whole world.”

“The environmentalists consider their ideas and arguments to be an indisputable truth and use sophisticated methods of media manipulation and (Public relations) campaigns to exert pressure on policymakers to achieve their goals. Their argumentation is based on the spreading of fear and panic by declaring teh future of the world to be under serious threat. In such an atmosphere, they continue pushing policymakers to adopt illiberal measures; imposearbitrary limits, regulations, prohibitions, and restrictions on everyday human activities; and make people subject to omnipotent bureaucratic decision making. To use the words of Friedrich Hayek, they try to stop free, spontaneous human action and replace it by their own, very doubtful human design….”

The above is an excerpt from page 76 of the book’s appendix. This book is only about 100 pages long including the four appendices, the last one being Klaus’ speech to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2007. The U.N. should have paid more attention and acted as Dr. Klaus recommended.

Where is the Czech Republic?

The Czech Republic began its exit from Communism in 1989. The map below shows its position to the south of Germany and Poland.

Czech Republic Map from Encyclopedia Brittanica, 2010

So What Does The United Nations do for World Peace?

Since about 2007 or so, the Main Stream Media would have us believe the top priority with the U.N. is to save the planet from global warming and climate change. I have written on another post my thoughts on the U.N. Agenda 21 and the IPCC.

The News from the last week or so in Europe is troubling as Russia launches attacks on the Ukraine. The pain, suffering and deaths of the people of the Ukraine is horrible to watch on TV.

So, where is the U.N.? Now a sovereign country has a genuine and true crisis for humanity in Europe. Russia has invaded, waged war and is attempting to take over the sovereign country of the Ukraine, a country of 44 million freedom loving people and a land area about the size of our state of Texas. The U.N. apparently agrees with John Kerry, policies that are related to Climate Change are more important than world peace.

To me this confirms the belief that the U.N. is more interested in a new world government than in promoting peace between nations, promoting freedom, Democracy and improving living conditions for the people of the world. (11)

Fossil Fuels Have Served Russia and China Well

China’s has used coal power to build the largest manufacturing economy in the world. Yes, they lifted millions out of poverty as they did so, but could they have a hidden agenda for world domination? Read about their “Belt and Roads Initiative” and you may find the answer.(9,10,12)

From IEA Total Energy Supply for China 1990-2019

Another country that is fueling their economy on petro-dollars is Russia.

My point: The Peaceful Nations of the World have been duped into signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement while China and Russia appear to be working together on dominating the world with their influence and in the case of the Ukraine, war and atrocities on the citizens only because Putin wants the Ukraine to be within the control of Moscow. As regards Peace in the World, the United Nations has been AWOL, ( like John Kerry), more interested in the war on carbon(11) than a real unprovoked war that has created death and destruction.

Vaclav Klaus writes much in his book of 15 years ago, on the manipulation of science and use of public relations to spread false information. What a genius Klaus is! He saw this a long time ago and tried to warn the people of the world.

Fossil Fuels & Nuclear, The Energy The Developed and Developing World Depends On….or Should Be Depending on!

The Developed Countries of the world depend on abundant, reliable energy to fuel their economies. I have written on China and how they have lifted millions of people from poverty in just twenty years. Amazing progress from a human development standpoint. China did this using fossil fuels, as America did over the last 150 years. As you can see on the chart above, mostly coal.

Fossil Fuels still provide over 80% of the world’s energy. Let’s take a look at the U.S.A. energy supply. We have used right at 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for decades. The breakdown by fuel sources is shown below. The Fossil Fuels portion is 80.2%, comprised of 36.7% Oil, 32.1% Natural Gas and 11.4% Coal. Add in nuclear and then the total “Conventional Energy” sources are 88.56%. Solar and Wind even after decades of government subsidies total only 3.78%. A shift to Net Zero Carbon Fuels without a massive expansion of nuclear plants will be incredibly disruptive. In fact, impossible. (13)

U.S. Department of Energy, EIA Total U.S. Energy Consumption 2019

Klaus Recommendations in his 2007 Book

Klaus understood the foolishness of net zero carbon and the fact that Climate Policy by world governments is NOT about saving the Planet, it is about government power over the citizens. His recommendations in 2007 were:

  1. The UN should organize two parallel IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change) and publish two competing reports. To get rid of the one-sided monopoly is a sine qua non for an efficient and rational debate. Providing the same or comparable financial backing to both groups of scientists is a necessary starting point.
  2. The countries should listen to one another (and) learn from (the) mistakes and successes of others, but any country should be left alone to prepare its own plan to tackle this problem and decide what priority to assign to its other competing goals.

These two recommendations, offered by Klaus to the U.N. were not considered and certainly not followed.

Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy Destroying America, by Donn Dears

Donn Dears book covers much of what is wrong with current Climate Change Policies. His book is available on Amazon.com or you can write him by email or LinkedIn message. I have purchased copies to provide to friends and educators. Unfortunately, Dears subtitle, “The Climate Policy Destroying America” also seems prescient.

Conclusions

I have written dozens of posts on my Blog which you can easily access. Including a four part series on the history of energy and electricity generation. Part 4 covers China’s Rise over the last twenty years. My conclusions are:

  1. If the current “Green New Deal” policies continue, we will weaken America’s productive capacity.
  2. China is the world’s largest manufacturer and will continue to grow in International influence.(9)
  3. Russia and China seem aligned now and their cooperation together is not likely to favor U.S. interests in the world.
  4. Rejecting the Keystone Pipeline and President Trump’s policies on oil and gas drilling on public lands was a serious mistake by the Biden Administration…
  5. Germany is a couple years ahead of the U.S. on stopping the use of coal and nuclear plants. We should learn from their experiences. (7,8)
  6. The United Kingdom also is struggling with shortages and high costs of energy. Like mentioned for Germany, the U.S. should learn from the experiences in the UK.(14)
  7. America’s current Energy and Environmental Policies are wrong for the best interests of America and the Free World.

I started this post with reference to Vaclave Klaus. Today I have great respect for the man who stood up to the bullying and railroading of poor science to thrust ridiculous energy policies on the free world. Sadly, we of the free world are in a position of weakness compared to where we were when President Trump left office. I am familiar with the famous quote from Ronald Reagan, which goes something like….”Freedom can be lost in one Generation” Many people of the world are losing their freedom only one year after the 2020 U.S. Election.

Dick Storm, February 27, 2022

References for Further Reading:

  1. “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” by Vaclav Klaus and published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2007
  2. Purchase of “Blue Planet in Green Shackles” from Google search. Note, I tried Amazon and another book showed up in place of Klaus original: https://www.conservativebookclub.com/book/blue-planet-green-shackles-what-endangered-climate-freedom
  3. Net-Zero Carbon, The Policy Destroying America” By Donn Dears, available: https://www.amazon.com/Net-zero-Carbon-Climate-Destroying-America/dp/0981511953
  4. Vaclav Klaus Quotes in quotetab.com: https://www.quotetab.com/quotes/by-vaclav-klaus
  5. Dick Storm Blog, “Are You Worried About the Future of America”: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/01/21/are-you-worried-about-the-future-of-america/
  6. Dick Storm Blog, Facts Matter: Even Trade Journals Publish a Woke Spin on Energy Information”: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/12/
  7. WSJ, World’s Dumbest Energy Policy Jan. 29. 2019: https://www.wsj.com/articles/worlds-dumbest-energy-policy-11548807424
  8. WSJ, Germany’s Energy Surrender, Dec. 22, 2021: https://www.wsj.com/articles/germanys-energy-surrender-nuclear-power-angela-merkel-russia-vladimir-putin-11640207188
  9. The History of Energy and Electricity Generation, Four Part Series on Dick Storm’s Blog. Part 4 covers the rise of China’s Energy and Economic Prosperity 2000-2022: https://dickstormprobizblog.org
  10. China’s Belt and Road Initiative explained by Mercator Institute of China Studies: https://merics.org/en/tracker/powering-belt-and-road
  11. A short summary of How the “War on Carbon Began”, Dick Storm’s Blog: https://wordpress.com/post/dickstormprobizblog.org/888
  12. The Hundred Year Marathon, by Michael Pillsbury. China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global SuperPower.
  13. The Stupidity of Net-Zero Carbon, Oct 2021, Dick Storm’s Blog: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2021/10/13/the-stupidity-of-net-zero-carbon/
  14. Net Zero Watch, UK Organization reporting on Climate and Energy Policies: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm&ogbl#search/Net+Zero+Watch/FMfcgzGllVqqTLhmMFlKlNHfQNWFhGzm

History of Energy and Electricity

Part 3, 2010-2022, by Dick Storm

AMERICA BUILDS THE CLEANEST, MOST EFFICIENT COAL PLANTS IN THE WORLD, ACHIEVES ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, BEGINS RESHORING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, CLEANS OUR AIR AND THEN….

COMMITS SELF INFLICTED ENERGY EUTHANASIA

My intention for the first two parts of the “History of Energy and Electricity Generation” was to outline the importance that energy and electricity played in improving our quality of living & growing our economy to become the largest in the world. America is still the world’s largest economy, but if we continue on the Net Zero Carbon Path of the “Green New Deal” then America will become weaker and China’s influence in the world will exceed America’s. Perhaps not a problem if China was run by Boy Scouts with high morals. But, the CCP does not share our values.

At current trends of economic growth, China’s GDP is likely to surpass the U.S.A.’s before 2030. The Sub-Title of this post is a reminder that during the Obama Presidency America’s Energy Policy was essentially committed to a Self-Inflicted path of energy euthanasia for our great country.  Meanwhile, China ramped up energy production from All Fuel sources. I have written before on the relationship of energy and economic prosperity. That was the theme of parts 1 & 2 of this series. Abundant, reasonable cost energy fueled America’s economy for all of the 20th Century as America became the most productive country in the world with the world’s largest economy.

TWO MAGNIFICENT POWER PLANTS MADE IN THE U.S.A

On a positive note, let’s start with a description of two magnificent Ultra-supercritical clean coal plants. Made in the U.S.A. and amongst the best coal plants ever built. We should have more like these being built now!

AEP Company’s John Turk Ultra-Supercritical Power Plant
Turk Plant Boiler Island and Some of the Air Emissions Control Equipment

The Best Clean Coal Plants Ever Built, Sadly amongst the last ones Built in the U.S.A.

In December 2012 one of the finest examples of American Clean Coal Plants started up. The 600 MW John W. Turk Plant in Arkansas. Power Magazine(3) awarded the plant the highest honor in 2013 for clean, reliable and efficient power generation. Here below is an excerpt of the article in POWER Magazine.

AEP’s SWEPCO requested proposals in December 2005 for new generation to meet long-term capacity needs, and by August 2006 the company settled on coal-fired technology for a new plant site in Arkansas. Construction began in early 2008, and the new plant entered commercial service in December 2012. For overcoming numerous legal and regulatory obstacles and for building the first ultrasupercritical plant in the U.S., the John W. Turk, Jr. plant is awarded POWER’s 2013 Plant of the Year Award. 

The new 600-MW John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant owned by American Electric Power’s (AEP) Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is located on a 2,800-acre tract near Fulton, in Hempstead Country, Arkansas, about 20 miles northeast of Texarkana. The Turk Plant, the first modern plant in the U.S. to commercialize ultrasupercritical (USC) boiler technology, was officially declared commercial on Dec. 20, 2012.”

The specifications are impressive. The steam generator is rated at 650 MW power generation capacity. The steam generator evaporates 4,420,000 pounds per hour of water to superheat to 1,100 degrees F. Think about what that means. Four million pounds per hour, if it is expressed as gallons per minute, the evaporation rate is the equivalent flow in GPM of about 8,800 gallons per minute.  This quantity of water is pumped at a pressure of over 4,400 pounds per square inch and then super-heated to over 1,100 degrees F. every minute. That still impresses me to think about it. Thanks to the American metallurgical and welding technology, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and over 150 years of experience, that is one of the American Power Industry’s most magnificent accomplishments, in my opinion.

Plants such as Turk can do this 24/7 constantly and at a high-capacity factor. Unlike Wind or Solar Power, the Turk Plant is fully Dispatchable too.  That is why I describe plants such as Turk and Longview as magnificent! They are truly engineering marvels.

Another example of a modern, efficient supercritical coal plant is the Longview Power Plant near Morgantown, West Virginia. Longview has also attained the accomplishment of becoming the most efficient coal plant in America (different years for Turk and Longview)

Longview Power Plant Located in WVA, Award for Most Efficient Power Plant in U.S. in 2016 by POWER Magazine

Both Turk and Longview are clean coal plants equipped with Flue Gas Desulfurization equipment, Baghouses for particulate collection and Selective Catalytic Reactors for Oxides of Nitrogen correction. Called “Clean Coal because the truly harmful pollutants have been removed.

These two highly efficient HELE Plants, (HELE=High Efficiency Low Emissions) are amongst the last several major coal generating plants built in America. That’s right, about 2012 marked the end of new coal plant design and construction of coal plants in America. Few people outside the power industry understand the implications of what this means for our future. 

Let me state here that I worked my entire career in the pursuit of excellence in coal power generation. Including efficiency and emissions improvements. I believe in clean air and clean water. The EPA was needed in 1970 because acid rain, fine particulates and ground level ozone were problems which large coal fired power plants contributed to. The success of the efforts of the EPA to clean the air is best described on the chart below which is prepared by the EPA(11)

EPA Comparison of Economic Growth and Air Quality 1970-2018

From my viewpoint, cleaning the air of harmful emissions was accomplished by the time that Obama became President. From that point on, the EPA was weaponized against the best interests of America. Weaponzizing the EPA to create what I call, Energy Euthanasia. It continues today with the Climate Policies that are Destroying America. Check reference # 15 below, Donn Dears Book entitled, “NET-ZERO CARBON, THE CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING AMERICA”

Weaponizing the EPA:

Commiting to the Present Path of Climate Policy has Seriously Wounded America’s Supply Chain for Power Generation Equipment

The Obama years 2008-2016 set a course for American Energy that were very difficult. Especially for coal power. During Obama’s Presidency, he led the EPA to declare that Carbon Dioxide should be regulated. This was later, upheld by the Supreme Court, the COregulations, right or wrong, became the law of the land. Here is a short summary of how the “War on Coal” during the Clinton administration ratchetted up to becoming “The War on Carbon” and becoming lethal for American Energy Independence, the Fossil Power Plant Equipment Supply Chain & the Economic growth and prosperity that Energy Independence provides.

According the WSJ April 18, 2009, “In 1998, the Clinton administration EPA studied the question and determined that the Clean Air Act was “potentially applicable” to CO2 and other greenhouse gases. But despite continued pressure from environmental groups, the Clinton administration never moved to regulate the gases.

The EPA lumped carbon dioxide with five other gases — methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride — into a single class for regulatory purposes. That’s because they share similar properties: All are long-lived and well-mixed in the atmosphere; all trap heat that otherwise would leave the earth and go into outer space; and all are “directly emitted as greenhouse gases” rather than forming later in the atmosphere.”

According to the bulk of somewhat biased scientific research, such as that assembled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, the more heat is trapped. That leads to rising temperatures. The EPA endorsed the (Politically Biased) IPCC research and specifically said that “natural variations” in climate, such as solar activity, couldn’t explain rising temperatures. For the record, I believe that global rising temperatures have mostly been from natural forces for thousands of years, even before the Ice Age. I am not a Climate Scientist, but there are many highly qualified well credentialed Climate Scientists that I agree with. Such as Professor Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Steven Koonin and many more. Here below is an excerpt from Koonin’s book, “Unsettled, What Climate Science Tells Us and What it Doesn’t and Why it Matters”(18) His closing thoughts are in green font below:

Dr. Steven E. Koonin is a leader in science policy in the U.S. He served as Undersecretary for Science in the Dept. of Energy under President Obama.

“What we think we should do, in short, is begin by restoring integrity to the way science informs society’s decisions on climate and energy-we need to move from The Science back to science. And then take the steps most likely to result in positive outcomes for society, whatever the future might hold for our planet. As President Biden exhorted in his inaugural address, “We must reject the culture which facts themselves are manipulated, or even manufactured”

In my opinion, Dr. Koonin is correct, we should let science get back to science and that much of the huge volumes of research on manmade climate change has been politically inspired, not science inspired.

The current policy of “Net Zero Carbon” has been based on politically biased science and is driven by special interests, but not in the best interests of America.

Further, the Chinese for one country outside the U.S. have worked to  influence alarm with American University students to go green. See reference below (10) where Professor Lindzen of MIT writes on China’s recent actions.

China is Fortifying Their Supply Chain, While We are Self-Inflicting Harm on Ours

The Weaponization of carbon became very effective during the Obama Administration. Interrupted by President Trump and then intensified under the Biden Administration. The path to harm the Fossil Power Systems and Fossil Power Production was ratcheting up to becoming more and more lethal. (Lethal to the Made in U.S.A. supply chain) Electricity prices were kept reasonable and the Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced during this time, thanks to the Shale Gas Revolution.

The Shale Gas Revolution Aids the War on Coal

As the War on Coal progressed, the public was insulated from electricity price rises due to enormous natural gas productivity and falling natural gas prices. The graph below shows the path of natural gas prices/million BTU’s from 2006-2012. Ultimately, gas prices dropped to levels below coal prices on a $/million Btu basis. This illustration was used for a training class I was involved with in 2012 to a coal plant staff to emphasize why excellence in O & M and best Heat-Rate operations were important for competitive power generation from coal. At the time, natural gas fueled power generation had suddenly became less expensive than coal. This is because in a Thermal-Power Plant, most of the electricity generation cost is for fuel. In GTCC (Gas Turbine Combined Cycle) plants the fuel cost component is about 90% of the production cost of electricity. Thus, doubling fuel cost/million Btu’s by itself nearly doubles the production cost of electricity. Conversely, halving the fuel cost nearly halves the production cost for electricity generation.

Also during this time Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Plant technology had improved to approach 65% Thermal Efficiency. The most efficient Heat-Engines in History. Thus, it appeared between 2010 and 2020 that America could wage war on carbon and enjoy economic prosperity including the lowest electricity costs in the world.  We also had the largest drop in Carbon Dioxide emissions in the world. A 52% drop.

The following charts will illustrate the path from 2005 forward of reducing carbon emissions and keeping electricity prices reasonable.

First, fuel changes from coal to natural gas created drastic COemissions, because natural gas generated electricity produces about 50% of the COthat coal fueled plants do. 

Because electricity produced by natural gas creates about half the carbon dioxide as coal generated electricity, the first 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gases was painless. Low natural gas cost (Thanks to the Shale Gas Revolution) plus high efficiency GTCC plants provided this huge first step.

The increase in natural gas power production replaced coal power production. Together, coal, gas and nuclear still provide over 80% of our electricity. The chart above is 2004-2019. The one below is the actual (Dispatchable too!) generation across the U.S.A. in September-October of 2021:

The two pie charts of generation by Fuel (below) are from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISOEnergy.com) and the PJM Interconnection (PJM.com) for January 26, 2022. Note the importance of coal power generation. Again, coal, nuclear and natural gas are providing over 80% of our nation’s electricity generation when it is most needed. Many of the coal plants providing this power are planed to be shut down in the next few years. They will be missed. Note reference(17) below, list of coal plants to be retired in the next few years.

AMERICA ACHIEVES ENERGY INDEPENDENCE IN 2019

US Department of Energy, EIA

The U.S. Supply Chain for Manufacturing Fossil Power Systems Equipment

Besides the importance of reliable, reasonable cost electricity, there is the Supply-Chain which we should all be concerned about.

The Supply Chain of Coal Plant Components includes thousands of tons of components. Once manufactured solely in the U.S.A., these components provided hundreds of thousands of jobs. For example, when I worked for B&W in 1969, B&W employed over 35,000 employees. Combustion-Engineering also employed over 35,000 employees. General Electric and Westinghouse Electric back then employed hundreds of thousands of employees. America was the world’s #1 manufacturer and this served our country very well. Take a look at the illustrations below of major coal plant components during construction.

A large clean coal plant involves tens of thousands of tons of steel manufacturing, seamless high alloy tubing, high pressure piping, hundreds of miles of copper wire, transformers, steam turbines, large pressure vessel manufacturing, pumps, heat exchangers, motors, generators and many other components. Manufacturing of these components involves hundreds of thousands of jobs for skilled engineers, technicians and craftsmen. The Supply-Chain is very large and spreads all across the U.S.A. Here below is a list of the suppliers to the Turk Plant. This is from the POWER Magazine article.

We stopped building large coal plants about 2014. With that comes a withering and loss of our productive manufacturing capacity. Recently, our Supply-Chain woes have been in the news. My friends ask me, How could we invent computer chips and then lose the capability to produce them here in the U.S.? How about steel tubing, steel shapes, aluminum, Rare Earth minerals and EV components? Pharmaceuticals? Where do most of these come from now? Most, come from China. China is the World’s largest manufacturer, so it seems reasonable to accept the published data that shows China using more energy than any other country.

China Energy Consumption, compared to the Rest of the World

From BP Statistical Review

Meanwhile, China is Getting a Lot of Practice in Building Large Coal Power Plants, All of the Equipment Involved and Many Other Products…..

Pakistan Power Plant, Financed and Built by China
From LinkedIn Post by Mike Caravaggio

Boston University has a web site that tracks China Coal Plants:

Closing Summary

In my life-time I saw America as the top Industrialized Country of the world. We shared our wealth and technologies with other countries in good faith. Then for whatever reasons, the people of great influence, mostly from the American Democrat Party, sought to weaken our productive capacity and to cede that capacity to the Chinese Communist Party. The Mainstream News, Entertainment and most Democrats have all been part of this transfer of productive capacity and with that productive capacity comes influence in the world.

It is my hope that sometime soon, our President and Congress will wake up and see the importance of energy to power our economy. The U.S. Senate Report, “Europe’s Energy Crisis, A Warning to America” should be read by all elected officials.(15) The other references below are also informative.

Dick Storm, January 30, 2022

References:

  1. How Carbon Dioxide Became a Pollutant, April 18, 2009, WSJ : https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124001537515830975
  2. COP-26 Climate Conference article, Oct. 30, 2021, WSJ : https://www.wsj.com/articles/cop26-climate-summit-consensus-is-sought-after-decades-of-false-starts-11635598801?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_2&cx_artPos=5&mod=WTRN#cxrecs_s
  3. John W. Turk Power Plant wins POWER Magazines highest honor for clean coal: https://www.powermag.com/aeps-john-w-turk-jr-power-plant-earns-powers-highest-honor/
  4. Longview, Rehabilitated Coal Power Plant Most Efficient in U.S. POWER Magazine, August 2016: https://www.powermag.com/longview-power-plant-rehabilitation-results-efficient-u-s-coal-plant/ https://www.powermag.com/longview-power-plant-rehabilitation-results-efficient-u-s-coal-plant/   
  5. China to Build 43 new coal plants, “Time” August 2021: https://time.com/6090732/china-coal-power-plants-emissions/
  6. China could build more coal plants even after Xi promises not to, Bloomberg Oct 2021: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-27/climate-cop26-china-could-build-new-coal-plants-overseas-even-after-xi-pledge  
  7. China’s Coal Plant Capacity More than 3 X the Rest of the World’s, Reuters, Feb 2021China’s new coal power plant capacity in 2020 more than three times rest of world’s: study:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-coal/chinas-new-coal-power-plant-capacity-in-2020-more-than-three-times-rest-of-worlds-study-idUSKBN2A308U
  8. Hassyan Power Plant in Dubai: https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/projects/hassyan-coal-fired-power-plant-dubai/
  9. Hassyan Power Plant ACWA Power web page: https://acwapower.com/en/projects/hassyan-ipp/
  10. China Warming, Tablet Magazine by Richard Lindzen, October 19, 2021: https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/science/articles/china-warming-richard-lindzen
  11. EPA Progress in Cleaning our Air: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2019/#growth_w_cleaner_air
  12. Mid America Independent System Operations, MISO Energy: https://www.misoenergy.org
  13. PJM Interconnection, Independent System Dispatch of Electric Power for much of the Northeast and west to Chicago: https://www.pjm.com
  14. Boston University Global Development Policy Center: https://www.bu.edu/cgp/
  15. U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Report; “Europe’s Energy Crisis, A Warning to America”: https://www.energy.senate.gov/services/files/2D862C16-4157-4A39-9CCE-098B5C818C01?mc_cid=d94787db9d&mc_eid=9e46528ac6
  16. Donn Dears Book, “NET-ZERO CARBON, The CLIMATE POLICY DESTROYING” AMERICA:  https://amzn.to/31j7vMh  
  17. Reuters, List of Coal Plants Scheduled to be shut down: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-coal-fired-power-plants-scheduled-shut-2021-10-28/
  18. Steven E. Koonin, “Unsettled, WHAT CLIMATE SCIENCE TELLS US,WHAT IT DOESN’T, ANDWHY IT MATTERS” 2021, BenBella Books, Inc.

History of Energy and Electricity Generation Part 2: The Golden Age of Nuclear, Once Proclaimed to be “Too Cheap to Meter” 1955-2010

The purpose of this post is to show the progress of creating America’s huge Grid, made up of Dispatchable Power from coal, nuclear, gas and oil fuels from 1955 through 2010. Also during this time, the EPA came to be and began regulating true pollutants from power generation facilities. America’s designers, engineers and manufacturers of electric generating equipment rose to meet the challenge and provided energy to expand the American economy while at the same time cleaned our air. Nuclear Power grew to be about 20% of our total electricity generation during this 55 years. These years were special for me, because they include my becoming interested in power generation in 1959 as a Freshman at Williamson and then joining the B&W Nuclear and Special Projects Group in the 1960’s when nuclear was believed to be the future of electricity generation.

The First Pressurized Water Reactor, Nuclear Steam System

It was 1954 and the Nautilus, the first Nuclear submarine ever built was launched. The pressurized water nuclear steam system was a prototype for future Navy as well as commercial applications.

USS Nautilus, First Nuclear Powered Submarine, Launched January 1954
From Babcock & Wilcox, “Steam, It’s Generation and Use” 41st Edition

“President Dwight D. Eisenhower was determined to solve “the fearful atomic dilemma” by finding some way by which “the miraculous inventiveness of man” would not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life. In his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower sought to solve this terrible problem by suggesting a means to transform the atom from a scourge into a benefit for mankind. Although not as well-known as his warning about the “military industrial complex,” voiced later in his farewell radio and television address to the American people, President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace speech embodied his most important nuclear initiative as President”. (2)

The Research and Development into peaceful use of atomic energy continued on “Atoms for Peace”. The partnership of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the brilliant minds of employees from the American companies; Westinghouse Electric, General-Electric, Babcock & Wilcox, Combustion Engineering, Allis-Chalmers and other fine U.S. companies brought enormous advancements. In just a few years there was great progress in atomic physics, nuclear safety, ASME Codes for Pressure Vessel Design, Welding, Non-Destructive testing of welded joints and material science. The future of nuclear power looked extremely bright. 

So did efficient coal power generation. I love this advertisement (below) for B&W, then a Fortune 500 company (#134 in 1960) and builder of many of the U.S. Navy’s Boilers that helped win two world wars. B&W also built the pressure vessels for the reactors and steam generators used in the Nautilus and many of the commercial nuclear steam systems to follow. Including Duke Energy’s highly successful three Unit Oconee Station which the first unit began commercial operation in 1973.

Nuclear Steam Systems were a logical extension for B&W and Combustion Engineering Company to move into after many decades of building Fossil Steam Systems. I have referred to the importance of Heat-Engines often during my career. Perhaps that is from recollections of working for B&W in the 1960’s. Below is a copy of a B&W ad from 1954:

Part 2 of the History of Energy and Electricity Generation from my viewpoint. Taken from my course at USCB-OLLI
Copy of advertisement in Fortune Magazine about 1954

In 1954 and the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Lewis Strauss in his extreme enthusiasm for commercial nuclear power generation, coined the phrase….”Too Cheap to Meter”…..That was in 1954 and of course there was a building boom of nuclear power plants from 1960 to 1990. Over 100 nuclear steam systems were put into operation between 1970 and 1990. Here are the 93 that are still operating:

From Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website January 2022

Yes, Nuclear Power has been a very good invention for America. Although thousands of employees made nuclear steam systems possible, the primary credit for this gift to Humankind should go to one man, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, Father of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Fleet and Father of Commercial Nuclear Steam Systems.(8)

From Dick Storm Presentation of Energy and Electricity, USCB-OLLI 2021
Turkey Point Unit 3 Nuclear Unit at Florida Power and Light Company went Commercial 1972 https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Turkey-Point-licensed-for-80-years-of-operation

The combination of new nuclear units plus ever more efficient and clean coal plants created electric growth with electricity costs amongst the lowest in the world.

This was good for world manufacturing competitiveness (especially good for energy intensive industries such as aluminum and steel manufacture) also good for reasonable household electric costs to power ever increasing labor saving household appliances.

Speaking of reasonable household electric costs and high quality of living. These ads for “Living Better Electrically” were common in the 1950’s to 70’s.

From Dick Storm, ASME Annual Meeting Presentation 2011, “Why Coal is Important

My state of South Carolina continues to enjoy reassonable cost, abundant and reliable power from Admiral Rickover’s invention. According to the EIA and NEI, over 55% of SC electricity is generated from nuclear power. I might add, these are “old nuclear plants” that have been well maintained, well run, proven and reliable. Several of these were started up in the 1970’s like Turkey Point and may have their licenses extended for 80 years. Amazingly robust and well built.

Top States for nuclear power generation in 2020 by NEI and EIA, Slide used in Dick Storm USCB-OLLI Course, 2021

The chart below is from the NRC website. As mentioned above, many of the very reliable and I might add, Dispatchable power generating nuclear power plants are aging and before they are shut down, it would be wise to plan, design and begin construction on the next generation of nuclear plants. Renewables such as wind and solar are not Dispatchable and electric battery storage is not yet feasible. These issues will be discussed in a future post. Suffice it to say for the time period 1950-1990 America had four very good decades of power generation advancements which resulted in an extremely reliable Grid providing some of the lowest cost electricity in the world.

From NRC Website

Energy, Economic Prosperity and Living with a High Human Development Index

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw clean coal and nuclear power together, provided about 70% of our electricity. America’s GDP pretty much followed the production and consumption of coal fuel. Coal and nuclear at the time were the most reasonable cost fuels to generate electricity.

From Dick Storm Presentation to ASME Annual Meeting 2011,, “Why Coal is Important”, Dallas, TX

The U.S.A. has used about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually for many years. Below is a copy of the EIA Total Energy Use by Fuels from 2008. This is getting ahead of 1990 but for reference, the Total Energy Use of America has held very close to 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year for many years. The chart below shows consumption of 94.58 Quadrillion Btu’s in 2008. This reduction in energy demand was the result of the Financial crisis of 2008.

As we move forward keep this in mind. From 1950-1990 the fuel mix was changing. Thsese changes had to do with cost of fuel, pollution and availability. But for the last two decades America has used a total of about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s +/- 10 per year. This includes electricity, transportation, Industrial production, heating, and cooling. The chart reads from left to right with the fuel sources on the left and energy flows to the right.

From Dick Storm ASME Presentation, 2011, Why Coal is Important

The 1970’s Were Good Years of Progress…. But Not Perfect

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began in 1970 under the Nixon Administration. Amongst the first pollutants to be regulated, was sulphur and particulate emissions. The trend of the six major pollutants has been downward every since 1970.

The six major pollutants that were significantly reduced during this time period are: Particulates, Sulfur, Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Ground level Ozone & Oxides of Nitrogen.

The first steps the EPA took to regulate a path for cleaner air was to regulate particulates and sulfur. Some electric Utilities immediately (1970-71) switched from coal fuel firing in their boilers to oil fuel. This was when the fuel cost/million Btu’s of oil and coal were about the same, in 1972 that was about $0.50/million Btu. By switching to oil the switchover downtime was reduced and huge Capital cost of Electrostatic Precipitators avoided. I was working at Carolina Power and Light at that time and remember these times well.

The Neighboring Utility in Virginia, then (1973) VEPCO had switched much of it’s generation to oil fuel, so did Potomac Electric (PEPCO) and Philadelphia Electric and others to the north. They were dependent on the (at that time) reasonable cost, easier to control emissions oil fuel. Well, that was fine until the first Arab Oil Embargo in October 1973.

Arab Oil Embargo, 1973

I was a senior engineer working at Carolina Power and Light Compay’s Roxboro Generating Station. My job was a startup and test engineer for the coal fueled 720 MW, Unit #3 which began commercial operation during the summer. Many mechanical problems were needing to be sorted out and I had job security for the next several years.

The Arab Oil Embargo lasted about a year, 1973-74 and during this time, many Utilities purchased new coal generation capacity. Especially in the southern states where air-conditioning load in the summer and heat-pump load of the winter was growing rapidly. I remember year over year growth in the range of 10% increase in electric demand. Of course, manufacturing was strong back then too.

As time went on in the 1970’s more coal plants and more nuclear plants were started up. The future of clean, reliable Nuclear power looked great until……

Three Mile Island, 1979

The future of nuclear power had a serious setback in March 1979. Although no one was injured, this was pretty much the end of new nuclear steam system orders for U.S. Utilities. It took more than another decade to complete the 100 + nuclear steam systems that were on order. More strict Regulations by the NRC and more built in safety requirements ensured that nuclear power would not be “Too Cheap to Meter” in the U.S.A.

New Clean Coal Plants are Built

To meet the increasing Electricity Demand, and do so with Domestically sourced fuel, more large coal plants were built in the 1980’s. These however were nearly all equipped with Flue Gas Desulfurization and Particulate controls. Later in 1991 the EPA Clean Air Amendment was made into law and Oxides of Nitrogen were significantly reduced and more FGD equipment began being retrofitted on existing large coal plants that did not have FGD. Thus, the ever cleaner air as shown in the foregoing chart. Yes, the EPA was needed in 1970 and the Clean Air Ammendment of 1991 also has turned out to be beneficial.

EIA DATA, 2009 The Projection did not expect the Shale Gas Revolution

How The Public Perception of Coal Becomes Tarnished

During the Arab Oil Embargo not only did we have gasoline shortages and gas lines. But the electric Utilities also suffered financially due to the rapid increase in oil costs and with the ramp up in oil costs, so did the price of competitive fuels such as gas and coal. During this time of financial stress, the Utilities drastically reduced Operation and Maintenance Budgets. What was cut first? Tree trimming around high voltage transmission line, painting and maintenance costs such as these. These are expected during volatile times in business and can be recovered from.

The Worst Budget Cut

The worst budget cut, in my view, was the cutting of public education of “Living Better Electrically” and “Better Things for Better Living”. Back in the 1970’s there were Utility representatives that invested time in Public Schools to teach the girls about electric appliances and how to use them. The boy students learned how electricity was generated from coal, oil, gas and hydro-electric sources. There was advertizing on the radio and TV. Remember “Reddy Kilowatt”? Reddy Kilowatt was the lightening bolt stick figure mascot for the investor owned Electric Utilities. Between Reddy Kilowatt and a small army of Home Economics teachers from the Electric Utilities, American Citizens learned the importance of electricity and how it was generated. I personally remember learning that as a teenager in the 1950’s, and I was just an average student.

Reddy Kilowatt, The Mascot of The Investor Owned Electric Utilities Circa 1970

I gave a presentation to the American Coal Council membership in 2008 on how, in my view, the public perception of coal changed. Here below is the illustration that I used to show the change from pro-active Utility education of the Public to the taking over of this effort by the Environmental Movement. Believe me, I support clean air and clean water as much as anyone. In fact, I worked much of my career exerting my best efforts to reduce particulates, reduce NOx and improve efficiency of power plants. However, the Environmental Extremists took over shaping the Public’s Perception of coal following the Arab Oil Embargo and filling the void of public education left by the exit (regarding public education) of the Electric Utilities. Not all, but most Utilities management were enthusiastic about exiting the Public Schools and Public Education just as many that ran bus services were quick to exit that business as soon as the Regulators would allow them to quit. The chart below illustrates the enormous funding of the leftist Green organizations after 1970. The green groups funding helped to indoctrinate or shape public views against coal and carbon. Now the Green Extremist organizations literally have far more money to spend on public indoctrination than the private sector manufacturers. But, that is a topic for another day.

All Fuels are Important

The Total Energy Flows of the year 2007 are shown on the Sankey Diagram below. This is TOTAL Energy which includes Electricity, Industrial, Transportation, Commercial and Residential uses of energy. The changes of the percentages of each fuel change with the economics of producing the fuels. Such as discussed above when the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-74 caused oil prices to rise sharply in 1974 and many power generation plants were switched back to coal from oil. We should keep this in mind as the government pushes us toward Electric Vehicles in the future. In my view, we will need over 100 Quadrillion Btu’s annually to support our high quality of life. So, as electricity is substituted for gasoline or Diesel fuel, more electricity generation will be required which more than likely will come from conventional sources of gas, nuclear, coal & hydro-electric. The chart below is 2007. In part 3 I will include more recent Sankey Diagrams of Total Energy Flows.

This will conclude Part 2 of this series on the History of Energy and Electricity Generation in the U.S.A. The next section will cover 2005-2022.

Conclusions:

  1. Projections into the future are simply, projections. We can learn from our recent energy history of nuclear being thought to be, “Too Cheap to Meter” and the end of coal just a few years away. In the 1960’s the future of coal was proclaimed Dead….. However during this current cold weather in the U.S. Coal Power is depended on for a large percentage of electricity generation. Just check pjm.com
  2. Likewise, the EIA projection published in 2009 showing an increase in coal going forward did not take into account the Shale Gas Revolution made possible by Directional Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing. The coal consumption dropped off primarily due to the reduction in cost of the newly abundant Domestic natural gas that became available about 2012. Low natural gas prices were helpful for those opponents of coal fuel.
  3. Reasonable cost energy is required to fuel a thriving Economy. Note the drop in energy use after the 2008 Financial Crisis.
  4. Industrial output is particularly linked to reasonable cost, abundant and reliable energy. Especially primary metals like steel and aluminum.
  5. Net Zero Carbon is a disasterous Policy for the U.S. to follow unless a large number of new generation nuclear plants are deployed in the U.S. generation fleet.
  6. Nuclear, Coal, Gas, Oil, Thermal Biomass and Hydro-Electric are the only Dispatchable sources of electricity generation by today’s technology
  7. Reliable, Abundant, Reasonable cost and Dispatchable electric generation is required for a country to remain or to become competitive in the world with a manufacturing based economy. China has proved this over the last 20 years since joining the WTO
  8. America has burned coal and natural gas more responsibly and cleaner than any other country that uses Fossil Fuels for Bulk Power production in Gigawatt quantities
  9. The Net Zero Carbon Policy is a Disasterous path for our country to follow. We should learn from historical events of the past.
  10. My friend a Tinkerer reminded me of the old phrase, “When Tinkering, it is important to save all of the pieces” This old saying should be remembered by the politicians that are “Tinkering with America’s Energy Policy” and allowing reliable and needed coal plants to be shut down and demolished. This has even occurred with reliable nuclear plants. We should be preserving the power generation infra-structure that powers America’s economy and our life styles.

Dick Storm, January 19, 2022

Author’s note on the background and why I write on this Blog:

I said at the beginning this was a special time for me. Well, it was because my life-time career in power generation began in 1962 after graduation from Williamson. I joined Babcock & Wilcox’s Nuclear and Special Products Division in 1965 and worked as an assistant to the Project Manager for Navy PWR’s and on the Oconee Nuclear Steam System. I did not like the rigorous administrative paperwork required by the AEC at the time and many engineers were transferring into the Nuclear Division from the Fossil Power Generation Division, leaving many vacancies in PGD. So, I arranged a transfer to Results Engineering to work for one of the best Mentors ever, Silas Morse. The “Too Cheap to Meter” phrase regarding nuclear power was well known within the walls of B&W and as a 22 year old newby, I was strongly advised that coal plants will be shut down in a decade because nuclear is so clean, has such an extreme energy density and it is highly productive. I went anyway, vowing to study and learn all I could about coal power so that I could remain employed for my future career. It worked.

My stint at B&W provided travel to large Paper Mills from New England to Missoula, Montana, to run acceptance tests on the largest (then the largest steam plants were about 500 MW) coal and gas plants at Baltimore Gas & Electric, Houston Light & Power, Illinois Power, Ohio Edison and more.

Always wanting to be a startup engineer, in 1969 I left B&W to join Riley Stoker as a senior startup engineer at Tampa Electric’s Unit #6 at Gannon Station. Then off to participate in the startup of Riley’s first and only coal-fueled supercritical units at Wateree Station for SCE&G near Columbia, SC. In between, helped with acceptance testing at Santee-Cooper’s Jeferies coal plant in Monck’s Corner. Then back to Florida to startup new oil fueled units at the City of Lakeland and Jacksonville.

My big opportunity to get involved with a major Utility came in 1972 and I was assigned to be the lead Startup Engineer for the 420 MW dual fueled Sutton Unit #3. Then in January 1973 I joined Carolina Power and Light Company as a Senior Engineer in charge of the startup of the 720 MW Roxboro Unit #3. Great learning experiences including the Arab Oil Embargo and the “Wheeling” of Coal Generated Power from CP&L to Utilities in the north that had switched fuels from coal to oil and then were short on fuel with the oil embargo.

In 1977 I left my position, then as Operations Superintendent at CP&L’s Roxboro Plant, to join a newly formed small contractor, Flame Refractories, in Oakboro, NC. Flame was small, only a dozen or so total employees when I joined. The company grew and I started Flame Technical Servives. Flame grew to be a major Utility Specialty contractor with hundreds of employees. My Technical Services Department eventually grew to an average size of about 20 engineers and technicians and became well known all across the U.S.A. and Internationally. Some of the most interesting International trips began in 1978 when ALCOA hired us to correct some boiler problems at the Suriname Aluminum Company in Suriname, South America. Then later to Guinee in Africa, Jamaica, Spain and Australia.

In 1992 after 15 very interesting and growing years at Flame, I started Storm Engineering later to be folded into Storm Technologies, Inc. We continued solving large electric Utility Boiler problems for the next twenty years that I was President of Storm Technologies. Storm Technologies earned a good reputation for solving difficult coal plant problems and we traveled all around the world to work at plants in South America, Asia, Oceana, Africa, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and of course, all across the U.S.A. and Canada. During these travels is when the relationship of Energy and Economic Prosperity became apparent to me. Where we traveled to help sort out problems in coal plants around the world, there was and remains, a higher quality of life. The UN calls it “Human Development Index”. I saw the affects of reasonable cost, reliable energy on the improving quality of life in Developing countries.

I retired from active involvement at Storm Technologies in 2012 when my son Danny became President.

Since then, I have done my best to give back by teaching the importance of power generation and wise use of resources for power generation. I was on the Williamson College of the Trades Board until 2019 where I championed the modernization and upgrades to the Energy Island used for power generation and instructional purposes at the College. Also, have volunteered to teach courses on Energy and Electricity Generation at schools and Colleges. The genisis of this post and others on my Blog are from slides used at the USCB-OLLI courses I have presented here on Hilton Head Island.

One of the biggest problems our country has is a misunderstanding of energy and electricity generation. The current path to Net Zero Carbon is a very hamful path for America because Renewables are not capable of replacing the large, reliable and proven coal, gas and nuclear plants that power our country. Therefore, I continue to do my best to Educate the public on the true facts regarding energy and electricity generation.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Your comments are welcomed.

Yours truly,

Dick Storm, January 20, 2022

References:

  1. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “Too Cheap to Meter” Phrase history: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/students/history-101/too-cheap-to-meter.html
  2. Eisenhower Atoms for Peace Speech to UN, Dec. 8th, 1953: https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov/research/online-documents/atoms-peace
  3. The History of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. by the Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/The%20History%20of%20Nuclear%20Energy_0.pdf
  4.  World Nuclear.org  Article on Nuclear Power Plants in U.S.A: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx
  5. List of U.S. Operating Nuclear Plants: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/appendices/nuclear-power-in-the-usa-appendix-1-us-operating-n.aspx
  6. Nuclear Energy Institute: https://nei.org/home
  7. NEI Nuclear Plants by the numbers: https://nei.org/resources/fact-sheets/nuclear-by-the-numbers
  8. “The Rickover Effect, How One Man Made a Difference” by Theodore Rockwell, 1992, 2002, Originally published by the Naval Institute Press
  9. Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Licensed for 80 years: https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Turkey-Point-licensed-for-80-years-of-operation
  10. World Nuclear Report on Three Mile Island Accident in 1979 : https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/three-mile-island-accident.aspx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dick Storm, October 26, 2021

References:

  1. Ryan Zorn LinkedIn  page https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6857865078927097856/
  2. Ryan Zorn Energy PowerPoint for 5th Graders: https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=A9BFEC5505E02879!111957&ithint=file%2cpptx&authkey=!ABKjrBh6NHC3AzM
  3. Energy Strong LinkedIn Page https://www.linkedin.com/company/energy-strong-usa/
  4. Energy Strong Web Page: http://www.energystrong.com

93.5% of America’s energy is used in Heat-engines to drive our economy and power our comfortable lives: 80% is from fossil fuels

This huge amount of energy is not easily replaced by alternative fuels! My response to an ASME webinar on forcing a “Green Grid” on America.

From EIA Annual Energy Outlook Jan. 2021

All Fuels Are Important, but Thermal Power Generation Is Still Number 1

Last month I participated in a continuing education webinar presented by the ASME Mechanical Engineering Magazine. I was upset by the lack of practicality and missing common sense of the presentation. Thus, I wrote a letter to the ASME Magazine’s Editor. The text is copied below.

Throughout my career—and also through the ASME’s long history (ASME’s, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, B&PV Code saved millions of lives and advanced our country!)—thermal power generation has been the greatest source of dispatchable electricity generation. In my view, policymakers have run a very good and smooth evolution of power generation diversity off the rails. The Biden Administration (probably with advisors like Dr. Jenkins) and Democrat Congress policies constitute an anti-American war on carbon. These policies, if continued, will in fact be extremely harmful to the country’s economy, national security, and eventually, when considering bans on oil and gas production and pipelines in the U.S., our freedoms. Further, if continued as Jenkins, Biden, Kerry, Et Al wish, will contribute to the decline of western civilization. (by strengthening China, Russia, Iran and their allies)

There is not space here to debate climate change, whether manmade or natural. Suffice it to say, I believe climate and weather changes are, for the most part, driven by natural forces of solar activity, ocean currents, volcanoes, tilt of the earth, and other uncontrollable dynamics. The pressure to rejoin the Paris Agreement is driven by other countries that wish to see America decline in power and influence in the world. China will gain the most by America’s decline. Princeton’s Dr. William Happer provides an excellent summary with a segment beginning at minute 24 where the effects of CO2 are discussed. https://bit.ly/3zsXcS6

Reasonable cost, and abundant, energy and electricity are crucial for our economy and the functioning of our society. Over the years, it has been well-documented that all advanced economies grow in proportion to energy use. America’s economy grew in direct proportion to its energy use over the 130-plus years since Edison’s Pearl Street Station commenced operation. 

China’s economy grew from being a poor and developing country in the year 2000 to now being the world’s largest manufacturer and world’s second-largest economy. China produces more than 50% of the world’s steel and aluminum, as well as being the largest producer of manufactured products. China plans to become larger than the U.S. and is likely to pass America as the world’s #1 economy in a few years. Biden’s policies will accelerate the growth of China’s economy and the decline of America’s. To reach the status of the world’s largest manufacturer and largest producer of steel and aluminum, China built more electric power generation in the past 20 years than America did since Westinghouse and GE were founded. Remember George Westinghouse? One of America’s finest engineers.

Energy and economic prosperity go hand in hand. So, let’s look at where our energy comes from. America has used right at 100 quadrillion Btus per year for about the last 10 years or more.  (last year was about 93 Quads due to the pandemic) According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. used 100.2 quadrillion Btus in 2019. 

More than 90% of the U.S.’s primary energy consumption in 2019 was provided for use by thermal heat engines. This is comprised of about 36.8% petroleum, 32.1% natural gas, 11.3% coal, 8.4% nuclear, and 4.9% biomass. The total renewable energy consumption (excluding biomass) was 6.4%, and a significant portion of that bulk power (40%) was from hydroelectric. This primary energy use includes transportation, commercial, residential, and industrial use. Electricity consumption of our total primary energy was 37.1%.

When politicians and the mainstream media talk about energy- and planet-saving electric vehicles and renewable power generation, I think it would be wise to consider that, if we like our status in the world, and our current comforts and conveniences, then we will need at least 100 quadrillion Btus of energy per year for the foreseeable future. At present, about 93.5% of our total energy is used in heat engines and only about 6.4% is supplied by non-biomass renewables. That’s right. Check the EIA website to see for yourself.

To say changing from 93.5% heat engines to renewable power generation and electric vehicles will be disruptive is a gross understatement. In time, renewable power advances and green hydrogen from renewables will eventually come. But for the next 10 years or more, America should stay the course with modernizing our current fleet of natural gas, nuclear, and coal plants. These are what we depend on and the mid-February rolling blackout experiences in Texas should be a wake-up call to policymakers.

Another example is Hawaii, which plans to shut down its lowest cost power plant—Barbers Point coal plant. As the state moves toward its version of the new “Green Deal,” Hawaii has the highest cost electricity in the nation. Not a problem for an economy based on tourism and government facilities, but $0.25 kilowatts will not permit competitive primary metals production or competitive manufacturing in the contiguous 48 states.

In my adopted state of South Carolina, about one-third of the total electricity is used by industry. South Carolina has a thriving industrial sector, and it depends on reasonable-cost and reliable electricity. Sacrificing reasonable-cost conventional power generating plants to replace with renewables will drive much manufacturing overseas (again). 

As I read the plans for South Carolina’s coal plants, all of which I have worked at and know very well, I see that several more coal units are planned to be shut down in the next 10 years. These are to be replaced with solar or other renewables. Currently, more than 55% of South Carolina’s electricity is generated from nuclear power. Therefore, replacing coal with renewables may not be a problem, if the South Carolina nuclear units keep running indefinitely. However, several of these nuclear units are into their second licenses and will begin shutting down in the 2030s. As I see it, this sets ourselves up to follow California, Hawaii, and Texas into higher-cost power production and less-reliable power supplies. All fuels are important!

Let’s review the last 15 years of fuel changes in the U.S. In 2004, electric power generation was about 92.4% thermal generation. In 2019, the percentage of thermal generation was still the highest at 83.6%. Natural gas made the largest gain at the expense of coal. Wind grew from 0.4% to 7.1% over the 15-year period. Now, if policymakers are concerned about electric reliability and competing in the world with manufactured products, they should rethink the trends toward more intermittent non-dispatchable renewables.

Americans have lived through disruptions before. I lived in a small town in North Carolina, which the county seal showed textiles and aluminum production as being the most important for its economy. Then, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, the textile mills closed down, killing about 7,000 jobs in a county with 60,000 people. A few years later, Alcoa Corp. shut down the aluminum smelting plant that had been in operation for more than 100 years, causing another 750 or so jobs to be lost. Aluminum smelting is very energy intensive, it takes about 5 kWh to produce one pound of aluminum. It doesn’t take a world class Economist to understand how China has become the world’s largest producer of steel and aluminum. China uses about 57% of the world’s coal to power their industry. True, China uses more coal than all of the rest of the world put together.

In Texas, I did much work from 1978 onward at an Alcoa plant in Rockdale, as well as at numerous coal plants. Rockdale was the largest aluminum smelter in North America, and it was shut down in 2008 due to oversupply of aluminum from China. Over 6,000 MW of reliable, reasonable-cost coal power generation has been shut down in Texas since 2008. Had these coal plants not been retired, perhaps the events in mid-February may have played out differently.

Energy and economic prosperity are inter-related. The Green New Deal and more renewable power will harm America’s competitive advantage. If we think February was a bad month for electric reliability, imagine what the Green New Deal and further accelerated disruptive changes to renewables will do to the rest of the U.S. Preserving our good lives requires about 100 quadrillion Btus per year. In my view, obtaining this energy from all available fuels within our borders is important.

I suggest that the ASME publications and energy programs consider the facts of All Fuels and why they are important for our country.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard F. Storm, PE

Energy, Human development index and economic prosperity

Two Examples: America in the 20th Century and China in the 21st

I prepared for a presentation to USCB-OLLI on the history of Energy and Electricity. Along the way of preparing it hit me. Few professors of either history or engineering discuss the relationship of energy and Economic prosperity or for Developing Countries, the relationship of energy and an improving Human Development Index. My friends that are employed in the energy business know this. But, it also occurs to me that we are a small minority, perhaps only a few million out of 330 million American citizens. Most citizens do not really understand until a hurricane kills electric power or a pipeline shutdown causes gas lines. Only then does the average American appreciate the importance of energy to our way of life.

Here is my shot at helping to connect the dots of the importance of energy:

At the turn of the 20th century, coal fuel was important and remained our largest primary energy source until about the end of WWII. Then petroleum took off as the largest source of primary energy. Why? Of course, because of the popularity and convenience of automobile travel and of course, air travel too. Key point: Our economy grew exponentially as a result of abundant and reasonable cost energy. The chart of GDP per person was prepared by “Our World in Data”. Americans in 2017 had the highest standard of living of any country listed on the chart. A short answer would be Freedom, Capitalism and American policies. In my opinion, the one factor not given proper credit for, is abundant and reasonable cost energy. We reached energy independence by 2020 and America’s electricity costs are amongst the lowest in the world.

Together, reasonable cost energy and electricity fuels a thriving economy, jobs and manufacturing productivity. America’s leadership in the Industrial world is at risk, given the foolish and un-scientifically based policies coming from Washington regarding anti-Carbon and Green Energy.

America was once the most productive manufacturer in the world. From 1900 to about the year 2000, the U.S.A. was the world’s largest manufacturer. Especially for steel and aluminum. Then China was admitted to the World Trade Organization and through foreign investments, including U.S.A. based companies, built their manufacturing base. Now, according to Statista and other references, China is the world’s largest manufacturer.

Energy factored into the importance of America’s economic growth in the 20th Century. Likewise, energy is the pre-requisite for China’s growth in the 21st Century. China built more electric power production power plants in 20 years than America did in the preceding 150 years. Most of these are coal fueled and China now burns about 57% of teh world’s coal. Yes, more coal is consumed by China than all of the rest of the world’s countries combined.

The point is, energy powered not only an improving Human Development Index, but energy is required to power a growing industrial economy. It did so in America in the Century America led the world and energy is powering China’s economy at the beginning of the 21st Century. This is described on the chart below by mcKinsey & Company.

I have written my thoughts, (based on facts) some of the reasons why the Green New Deal is against the best interests of America. Let me stop here for now. The key point I wish to make is, Energy and Economic Prosperity are linked. Reasonable cost, abundant electricity and energy is a pre-requisite for our comfortable life styles as well as National Security. America has a treasure of energy within our borders. It is beyond foolish to not use it.

Ron Clutz has written in Science Matters, an excellent post on the relationship of energy and poverty and how the War on Carbon, better known as “Climate Policies” will harm the poor of the world. It is here: https://rclutz.com/2021/08/07/world-of-hurt-from-climate-policies-part-4/

Some will ask, “What about Climate Change”. Well the best 30 minute presentation I have seen to dispel manmade Climate Change is Professor William Happer’s talk at Hillsdale College.

To Watch the Video Proving there is No Climate Crisis, go to: 

How to think about Climate Change 

A talk at the National Leadership Symposium of Hillsdale College 

Phoenix, AZ, February 19, 2021 

By William Happer 

A key segment begins at minute 24 where the effects of CO2 are discussed. https://bit.ly/3zsXcS6

So, I ask, why are the Democrat Party politicians in Washington working hard to weaken America?

Dick Storm, June 22, 2021

Presidential Executive Order signed by Biden That will harm the U.S. Economy

March 2, 2021

Executive Order 13990 of January 20, 2021

Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis

Here is why I see this and other policy reversals by President Biden to be harmful to the best interests of America. The chart below is from the EIA website and it shows the total primary energy used during 2019. The total energy from traditional fuels is 89% which includes the 8% nuclear contribution. Economic prosperity and Energy parallel each other. That is, as improved economic activity progresses, so does energy consumption. Two cases in point are the USA energy and economy growth from 1900-2000 and also China’s astounding economic growth from 2000 to 2020. In both cases, energy and yes, mostly Fossil Fuels powered that economic growth.

So, when one looks at the EO below by President Biden to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline and other Fossil Fuel projects, what can he be thinking? Certainly not what is best for America? There are other EO’s which provide committees of Democrat political Hack’s to advise Biden on further attacks on American Industry and American Prosperity.

I will copy excerpts of the one Executive Order referring to the Keystone Pipeline below. This is a portion of the EO is copied from the Federal Register to make certain that I stated the exact language. Copied (a partial excerpt) below in Green Font:

“Sec. 5. Accounting for the Benefits of Reducing Climate Pollution.

(a) It is essential that all agencies capture the full costs of greenhouse gas emissionsas accurately as possible, including by taking global damages into account.

Doing so facilitates sound decision-making, recognizes the breadth of climatemte impacts, and supports the international leadership of the United States on climate issues. The ‘‘social cost of carbon’’ (SCC), ‘‘social cost of nitrous oxide’’ (SCN), and ‘‘social cost of methane’’ (SCM) are estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions. They are intended to include changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damage from increased flood risk,and the value of ecosystem services. An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses of regulatory and other actions.

(b) There is hereby established an Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (the ‘‘Working Group’’). The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Director of OMB, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Working Group.

(i) Membership. The Working Group shall also include the following otherm officers, or their designees: the Secretary of the Treasury; the Secretarym of the Interior; the Secretary of Agriculture; the Secretary of Commerce; the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the Secretary of Transportation;mthe Secretary of Energy; the Chair of the Council on Environmentalm Quality; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; the Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor; and the Assistantmto the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council.

(ii) Mission and Work. The Working Group shall, as appropriate andconsistent with applicable law:

(A) publish an interim SCC, SCN, and SCM within 30 days of thedate of this order, which agencies shall use when monetizing the value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations andother relevant agency actions until final values are published;

(B) publish a final SCC, SCN, and SCM by no later than January 2022;

(C) provide recommendations to the President, by no later than September

1, 2021, regarding areas of decision-making, budgeting, and procurement by the Federal Government where the SCC, SCN, and SCM should be applied;

(D) provide recommendations, by no later than June 1, 2022, regardinga process for reviewing, and, as appropriate, updating, the SCC, SCN,and SCM to ensure that these costs are based on the best available economics and science; and

(E) provide recommendations, to be published with the final SCC, SCN,and SCM under subparagraph (A) if feasible, and in any event by no later than June 1, 2022, to revise methodologies for calculating the SCC, SCN, and SCM, to the extent that current methodologies do not adequately take account of climate risk, environmental justice, and intergenerational equity.

(iii) Methodology. In carrying out its activities, the Working Group shall and Medicine as reported in Valuing Climate Damages: Updating Estimation of the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide (2017) and other pertinentscientific literature; solicit public comment; engage with the public andstakeholders; seek the advice of ethics experts; and ensure that the SCC, SCN, and SCM reflect the interests of future generations in avoiding threatsposed by climate change.

Pipeline, L.P. a Presidential permit (the ‘‘Permit’’) to construct, connect,

Sec. 6. Revoking the March 2019 Permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

(a) On March 29, 2019, the President granted to TransCanada Keystone operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of theUnited States and Canada (the ‘‘Keystone XL pipeline’’), subject to expressconditions and potential revocation in the President’s sole discretion.ThePermit is hereby revoked in accordance with Article 1(1) of the Permit.

(b) In 2015, following an exhaustive review, the Department of Stateand the President determined that approving the proposed Keystone XLpipeline would not serve the U.S. national interest. That analysis, in addition to concluding that the significance of the proposed pipeline for ourenergy security and economy is limited, stressed that the United States must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy, which will in turn create good jobs. The analysis further concluded that approval of the proposedpipeline would undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercuttingthe credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countriesto take ambitious climate action.

(c) Climate change has had a growing effect on the U.S. economy, withclimate-related costs increasing over the last 4 years. Extreme weather eventsand other climate-related effects have harmed the health, safety, and securityof the American people and have increased the urgency for combattingclimate change and accelerating the transition toward a clean energy economy.The world must be put on a sustainable climate pathway to protectAmericans and the domestic economy from harmful climate impacts, and to create well-paying union jobs as part of the climate solution.

(d) The Keystone XL pipeline disserves the U.S. national interest. TheUnited States and the world face a climate crisis. That crisis must bemet with action on a scale and at a speed commensurate with the needto avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climatetrajectory. At home, we will combat the crisis with an ambitious planto build back better, designed to both reduce harmful emissions and creategood clean-energy jobs. Our domestic efforts must go hand in hand withU.S. diplomatic engagement. Because most greenhouse gas emissions originatebeyond our borders, such engagement is more necessary and urgentthan ever. The United States must be in a position to exercise vigorousclimate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climateaction and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway. Leaving the

Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with myAdministration’s economic and climate imperatives.”

I have three main concerns:

  1. This will do nothing to change the climate and in fact, many well respected scientists believe the Climate Change that is occurring is mostly from natural causes, not Anthropogenic Greenhouse gases.
  2. America’s Economy is fueled by energy and of the approximately 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy we use each year, more than 85% is provided by traditional forms of energy including natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear.
  3. This EO plus others are anti-American in my viewpoint because they harm the best interests of America for fueling our economy as well as for National Security and Global Competitiveness.

Here are a few references of why I do not believe that manmade carbon emissions are the primary driver of Climate Change. The Greenhouse Gas Theory is correct but the 400-500 ppm of CO2 is less than 0.05% of the atmosphere. Nitrogen is 78%, Oxygen 20.9% and other gases about 1.1%. Scientific references of Climate Scientists do not agree with those political allies of the current President. Here are nine excellent references and web sites:

  1. Dr. Roy Spencer (NASA)  Blog on “Manmade vs. Natural Climate Change”: https://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-natural-or-manmade/
  2. Spencer also: http://bit.ly/2N4fmpf
  3. Dr. Judith Curry Blog (Retired GA Tech Professor)“Climate, etc”: https://judithcurry.com/?s=Curry
  4. Dr. John Christy (on Roy Spencer website)  http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/
  5. Dr. S. Fred Singer Book, “HOT TALK COLD SCIENCE”, “Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate”
  6. Donn Dears Blog on Temperature Records, Facts March 2, 2021: https://ddears.com/2021/03/02/temperature-records/
  7. Tony Heller Presentation on Real Climate Science:  Interesting facts of unreported todasy, 1930’s winters https://bit.ly/2LrkLXf
  8. Real Climate Science: https://realclimatescience.com/2019/01/2018-one-of-the-least-extreme-weather-years-on-record/
  9. From Dr. George Holliday’s Environmental Engineering Newsletter, Feb. 21, 2021 edition:

 1…ROAD TO CLIMATE NEUTRALITY 

Posted on February 8, 2021 by curryja

by Judith Curry 

Spatial Requirements of Wind/Solar and Nuclear Energy and Their Respective Costs 

“In addition to the energy sector, the climate debate also needs a transition. From ideology and wishful thinking, to facts, figures and rationality.” 

An important document was published last week, a collaborative instigated by two members of the European Parliament – one from the Netherlands and the other from Czechoslovakia. One of the editors on the resulting report is Lucas Bergkamp, who has written several guest posts at Climate Etc. 

The study is now available for download on the website http://www.roadtoclimateneutrality.eu. 

This document provides a critical reality check on the rush to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. 

Press Release 

Climate study advises EU to embark on a “Nuclear Renaissance” program 

A new study on EU climate policy finds that it is practically impossible to generate sufficient energy with wind and solar energy as there is not enough available land to cover all electricity demand. The study, titled ’Road to EU Climate Neutrality by 2050’ advises the EU to embark on a “Nuclear Renaissance” programme in trying to achieve its climate objectives. 

The EU has endorsed the ambitious objective of achieving climate neutrality (i.e. net zero greenhouse gas carbon emissions) by 2050. An energy transition away from fossil fuels is necessary to achieve this objective. The ECR and the Renew group of the European Parliament have commissioned an independent study into the spatial requirements of wind/solar versus nuclear energy and their respective costs. A team of experts came to the conclusion that it is practically impossible to provide enough energy with renewables. 

The study includes a case study done for two EU member states: The Netherlands, a country along the North Sea with abundant wind, and the Czech Republic, a landlocked country with no access to sea and a geographical more challenging landscape. In realistic scenarios, there is not enough land to meet all power demand if the Czech Republic and The Netherlands were to rely solely or predominantly on wind and solar power. 

The study, initiated by Dutch MEP Rob Roos and Czech MEP Ondřej Knotek and peer-reviewed in part by, among other respected scientists, Nobel Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus, finds that nuclear energy is also more cost-effective than renewables. Even if taken into account major efficiency improvements in solar and wind farms, nuclear energy will remain the cheaper option in 2050. In this comparison, the enormous costs for adapting the electricity grid, such as connecting wind turbines at sea or solar parks on land, are not even included. That price tag is also invariably lower for nuclear energy. 

“We found it remarkable that – in transitioning away from fossil fuels – the EU made a policy decision in favour of renewable energy without considering the relative pros and cons of all carbon-neutral technologies”, both MEPs stated. 

Mr Roos: “Nuclear energy is always available, cheaper and saves the landscape. Moreover, further research into, for example, the thorium molten salt reactor offers enormous opportunities for our export position. Let’s invest our tax money in that. ” 

At the moment, sun and wind energy are being pushed and nuclear energy is being held back. The study contains several policy recommendations for the European Commission to change its approach. 

Mr Knotek: “The EU is well invited to create a technology-neutral level playing field for decarbonized power generation technologies. To this end, the EU should adopt a ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ program that places nuclear energy on equal footing with renewable energy. The EU policies today are discriminative when it comes to nuclear energy. It’s time for all policy makers to live up to the EU principle of technological neutrality” 

The study also concluded that EU 2050 climate neutrality, if achieved, will likely cause only a very small decrease in the average global atmospheric temperature increase, estimated at between 0.05°C and 0.15°C in 2100, and no more than between 0.02°C and 0.06°C in 2050, assuming no carbon leakage occurs. Electricity-generating technologies therefore should be evaluated for the degree to which they constitute ‘no regrets’ solutions. 

Excerpts from Executive Summary 

This report presents a summary of the results of a study1 that examines three issues that are key to the EU climate neutrality’s ambition: 

i. The effect of EU climate neutrality on the average global atmospheric temperature by 2050 and 2100; 

ii. The spatial (land and sea) requirements for wind and solar energy versus nuclear energy in the Czech Republic and The Netherlands; and 

iii. The cost of wind/solar energy and of nuclear energy for these two countries. 

Of course, it would have been preferable had the European Commission itself done a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of 

alternative policy options available to pursue the EU’s climate neutrality objective. The fact that no such analysis has been conducted, despite the European Commission’s ‘Better Regulation,’ highlights the 

strong political forces and sense of urgency behind EU climate policy-making.5 

In light of the spatial and economic consequences of renewable energy relative to nuclear energy, the EU is well advised to consider a “Nuclear Renaissance” program. Under this program, the EU would create a level playing field for all electricity generation technologies. 

Key Takeaways: 

The EU’s 2050 climate neutrality strategy involves a high risk of ineffectiveness. The anticipated energy transition, however, can hedge against this risk by deploying ‘no regrets’ solutions that are resistant to climate-related ineffectiveness. Nuclear power is such a solution. 

In addition, with respect to both spatial requirements (area of land required) and costs of electricity, nuclear power offers substantial advantages over renewable power (any combination of wind and solar). The cost advantage of nuclear power increases once system costs are added to the equation, and increases further with higher penetration rates of wind and solar. 

These advantages have been recognized in the Czech Republic, but not (yet) by policy makers at the EU level and in The Netherlands. 

I close with the strong opinion that the Politically Correct, “War on Carbon” is a product of the Washington DC Swamp and it will continue to create harm to America.

There has been an email circulating for the last eight years or so entitled something like, “535 vs. 330 million”. The point is, the House of Representatives (435) plus the Senate (100) is a small club like group that create policies that impact all 330 million Americans. Of course, rulings or policies of President Biden and the Supreme Court can also impact all of us. Then, in my opinion, these 545 individuals, including Biden and SCOTUS, must be living in a Bubble completely devoid of interest in doing what is best for the 330 million.

Dick Storm

March 2, 2021

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

Introduction:

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

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

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

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

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

The following is from the Milam County Archives, 1974:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Shutdown of 6,453+ MW of Coal Capacity

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

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

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

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

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

Dick Storm

February 19, 2021

Are You Worried About the Future of America?

The November 2020 Presidential Election to put it politely did not end with the best interests of America as a priority. President Biden disingenuously said at the inauguration, that he wants to unite the country. Then he went to the Whitehouse to sign Executive Orders to Cancel the foundation of our economic growth during President Trump’s four years. He is in the highest office of the world and he has plans to use the power of that office to do as much harm as possible to America. I don’t know why the Democrat Party, Liberals & the Mainstream Media can be so hateful of America. But they are.

Their Goals seem to be to Dismantle America’s #1 Position in the world as a Beacon of freedom and to harm or kill the largest Economy on the planet. Biden’s first step to weaken the U.S.A. is to reduce Domestic Energy Production. Reasonable cost energy is a huge component of world manufacturing competitiveness. Abundant production of reasonable cost energy also creates and sustains “Jobs” too! To put it into in a four letter word Mr. Biden may understand.

I will be perfectly honest, I am concerned for the future of America. Here are some of the reasons why I am concerned.

Even before Biden took office, a Federal Court in the Washington D.C. Swamp struck down the Affordable Clean Energy Rule” This was on President Donald Trump’s last full day in office, the federal court struck down his final effort to undo Obama’s legacy of the Liberals misguided war on carbon. This hands President-elect Joe Biden a clean slate to craft regulations for anti-American carbon rules. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the 2019 Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. This was the Trump administration’s effort to lower power sector emissions and at the same time, keep our energy costs competitive with the world. This court action by itself is very harmful. Then, in Biden’s first day in office, he started the process of killing the Keystone Pipeline. A great start to dismantle our economy and is sure to bring a smile to the faces of V. Putin and Xi Jinping. Why? Washington, DC is a Swamp of misguided politicians, but many of these people have children and grandchildren just as I do. So, why are they so Hell Bent on ruining America? The anti-American Cancel Culture is now in power.  God help us.

Here is my take on the relationship of energy and economic prosperity. Let’s start with a little history of the 100 years of progress following energy pioneers Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla. America entered and helped win two world Wars and in WWll America was declared by FDR to be the “Arsenal of Democracy” because of our talented citizen engineers to invent and manufacture. Following WWll, economic expansion of America was the Gold Standard for the world to take notice and copy. (China certainly took notice and copied our model of using energy and manufacturing to build an economy). We were very open and sharing with our technology for producing nearly every modern marvel from efficient aluminum and steel production to airplanes, vehicles and computer chips. The recorded economic and energy history show these American creative inventions, manufacturing and expansion have a paralleleconomic growth track that follows the use of abundant and reasonable cost energy. Energy and Economic Prosperity go together. America’s God given Treasure of coal plus Admiral Rickover and President Eisenhower’s gift to mankind of nuclear energy kept our economy powered and growing for decades. The graph below is from data by the EIA and the American Coal Council. Note the chart ends in 2010 when our GDP was about 13 Trillion dollars. Now the U.S. economy has grown 50% greater than it was in 2010.

Through this 40 year growth period of the American Economy, coal provided about 50% of America’s electricity production and nuclear from the 1980’s on, provided about 20% of America’s electricity.  (Coal + Nuclear= about 70%)

Then about 2012 Hydraulic Fracturing and Directional Drilling revolutionized American natural gas and oil production. America progressed to becoming the #1 Producer of natural gas and oil. The downside of the abundant natural gas was, that it became more economical to use as a power generation fuel than inexpensive coal. Part of this was raw fuel cost differential and part of it was American inventiveness with highly efficient, advanced aeroderivative gas turbine power plants. The total plant efficiency of the best and most advanced gas turbine combines cycle plants is now over 60% under ideal test conditions. Dispatchable power generation with overall efficiencies of over 50% were attainable and getting better every year. The newest and best Ultra-Supercritical, clean coal plants can achieve about 42% thermal efficiency. Most of the existing coal fleet has a heat-rate of about 10,000 Btu./kWh or about 34% thermal efficiency. Fuel cost for a gas turbine combined cycle plant is about 90% of the production cost of electricity. A coal plant production cost is burdened with environmental flue gas cleanup equipment and reagents plus a much larger operations and maintenance staff. Thus, natural gas plants have the economic advantage over coal. The cheaper the fuel cost, the more reasonable the power production cost. Natural gas and coal are almost equal in cost/million Btu’s at about $2.00/million Btu. Thus, with less staff, higher efficiency and no flue gas cleanup costs, natural gas produced electricity is produced at significantly less cost than coal generated power for the same raw fuel heating value cost in $/million Btu. If natural gas prices escalate, so will electricity production cost. Perhaps an advantage for coal but not good for America’s competitiveness. The Biden policies of harming natural gas production through increased regulations and restricting pipelines is (or will be) if he continues, harmful to our country by causing natural gas prices to rise over time, which will increase electricity costs. The nuclear plants for the time being, continue to generate about 19% of America’s electric power.

We have come a long way and our air is the cleanest it has ever been. Check the EPA 50 year progress graph below:

All through this 50 year growth period of the American Economy, growing population and increased road miles of driving, coal provided about 50% of America’s electricity production and nuclear from the 1980’s on, provided about 20% of America’s electricity. 

We have come a long way and our air is the cleanest it has ever been. Check the EPA 50 year progress graph above:

The abundance and reasonable cost of electricity does matter to the U.S.A.! Reasonable cost electricity is required to be competitive. I am sure the Liberals will take care of the power costs for lower income families by some form of welfare or subsidies. But, what about Industry? In my adopted state of SC about 1/3 of electricity is used for Industrial production. Especially steel and aluminum. If we are to keep some of these vital industries, we will need to keep electricity costs reasonable. I object to the politicians view (and some Electric Utility Exec’s too) that electricity costs can be increased with minimal harm to individual pocket books. Maybe so for individual home owners but, tell ALCOA or NUCOR that the electricity rates will double and see how that impacts their product competitiveness and new plant siting.

I see this as quite a legacy of success in clean power generation and economic prosperity. The power for our economy is fuels. The best simple illustration of where our fuels come from and how they are used is shown on the EIA/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sankey Diagram of energy flows. Here below are the energy flows for the year 2019:

I would point out (from the Sankey Diagram above) that America depended on about 37% Petroleum, 32% natural gas, 11.4% coal and 8.46 % nuclear. These fuels, I and most others involved in power generation, consider to be conventional and they total just about 89% of America’s energy. During the last couple years America achieved energy independence and I understand, November 2020 for the first time in decades, America did not need to import any oil or natural gas.
President Biden’s stated intentions are to escalate the war on carbon. It is a war on America’s energy and with that, an assault on our economic prosperity. (spell that JOBS) The Sankey Diagram above showed about 89% of our energy is from conventional fuels. With all of the tax credits and subsidies of renewables, solar and wind are on the chart at 1.04% and 2.74% (Note, I took the liberty of rounding the numbers in Quadrillion Btu’s to percent because the total U.S.A. energy use is 100.2 Quadrillion Btu’s/year, thus pretty close to 100 for the % stated)
The pie chart below from the EIA, shows 11% renewables. Of the 11% renewable energy, most of the power was produced by old hydroelectric dams, wood. Biomass and biofuels.

In America we have some of the cleanest air on the planet and we are at this point, the World’s largest Economy. Congratulations America! Well done. Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of American engineers, business, technicians and tradesmen.


 

Does World Manufacturing Competitiveness matter? It does from my viewpoint. China has built more coal power generation in the last 20 years than it took America to build over the preceding 100 years. China took a page out of American history to power their industries with reasonable cost fuels and by the way, China uses about 7.4 times as much coal as America and more than the rest of the world all put together.

Notice how America has plateaued at about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s total energy each year since about the year 2000. Check the rise of China’s energy use to more than twice America’s and still growing. China produces over 50% of the world’s aluminum and steel. China is the world’s largest manufacturer. Yes, China has learned the relationship of reasonable cost energy and manufacturing might. Unlike President Trump, American Liberals in Congress and President Biden seem to be interested in supporting Russia’s gas and China’s manufacturing. More interested in Russia and China’s success than supporting America’s taxpaying, citizen workers, businesses and Industry.

Thank you, President Trump for four very good years in promoting energy policies and reducing Federal Regulations. Your policies were conducive to economic prosperity, keeping our country strong and employing millions of our citizens in good paying jobs. It is with sadness that I view the news of Biden-Harris as they begin policies that are certain to weaken America. We will miss Mr. Trump’s policies.

Dick Storm