Category Archives: Politics & Management

HISTORY of ENERGY & ELECTRICITY Part 4, China Goes All In for All Fuels are Important, 2000-2022

China entered the WTO in 2001. Since then it has increased in Manufacturing Might to become the World’s Largest Manufacturer and the World’s Largest Economy. To do so, it has built more electric power capacity in 20 years than the U.S. did in the preceding 150 years. China is a perfect example of how Energy and Economic Prosperity are inextricably related. First the U.S. showed the world how to use energy to replace muscle power by building our Industrialized economy using energy. This post, Part 4 shows how China has powered their manufacturing-based economy.

The relationship of energy and economic prosperity has always fascinated me. Parts 1-3 of this series focus on the America’s progress in energy development, electricity generation advances and rise in economic prosperity from 1850-2000. America during that 150 year period became the world’s largest Industrialized economy. Lifting millions of people from living in poverty to becoming the richest nation on earth. 

That to me is impressive, but if we want a more recent example of the inter-relationship of energy and economic prosperity, China provides such an example. China’s climb to lift millions out of living in poverty over a couple decades is an amazing accomplishment. China used an aggressive “All Fuels are Important” policy become the world’s wealthiest country on a PPP basis (Purchasing Power Parity). From last to first in about 20 years.

Like America’s rise a hundred years ago, the best interests of the people and the nation were put first, before restrictive regulations as we Americans (thanks to an out of control Bureaucracy) get hung up on. The following two charts show electricity growth and economic growth of China.

From Our World in Data, China’s Electricity Generation by Fuel Source

China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 and immediately began ramping up manufacturing facilities for aluminum and steel production. In just fifteen years China went from insignificant steel and aluminum production to becoming the world’s leader and by 2016 was producing more than 50% of the world’s aluminum and steel.(3)

Dick Storm presentation to Delaware County Bar Association, July 2016
World Steel Production, S&P Global, 2022

Leadership in Energy & Manufacturing, Creates Wealth of a Nation

China has become the world’s largest manufacturer. This, unfortunately has been accomplished by many American businesses simply partnering or willingly yielding market share (along with 100 years of technological experience) to the Chinese. According to Statista:

From Statista 2022

China’s Electricity, Energy Sources and Plans for the Future

China has embarked on an aggressive path of “All Fuels are Important”. I have advocated this for many years for the U.S.A. As I covered in History of Energy and Electricity in Part 3, America invented, perfected and produced the first commercial nuclear power plants. We designed and built the best and cleanest coal plants. These U.S. plants were amongst the cleanest and most efficient coal plants in the history of power generation of all the world. Then, we quit. I would like to think “Paused” but with the Bureaucrats in Washington, Pausing means quitting. So, is it any wonder that China has passed us in manufacturing capacity? Worse yet, influence in the world. Getting back to China’s appproach to “All Sources of Energy are Important”.

I personally believe (along with many others(16) that most of Climate Change is from natural forces and that America’s energy security and reliability should be priority #1. Apparently on matters of Climate and Energy, China thinks like I do. Can’t think of much I agree with on China, but on “All Fuels are Important”, China and I do agree. For now, China is using enormous quantities of Fossil Fuels to power their Economy (and wealth, they own about 4% of American Treasury Bonds). Later, more nuclear and renewables will also be applied to their Grid. They already have the largest hydroelectric generation in the world. The Chinese have a good balance of Dispatchable generation and renewables.

Economist Magazine

China’s Coal Plants

Time Magazine’s August 2021 issue(5) states that China plans to build 43 new coal plants. These are planned to be clean and efficient, but in fact, coal fueled.

Not only are 43 coal plants planned to be built in China, but through their Belt and Roads Initiative, China is financing and building coal plants all over the world.(15) Reminescant of the way the U.S.AID did when I started my career in the 1960’s. Now, China is Financing, Manufacturing and Constructing power generation equipment and installing facilities all over the world.(7)

China is Building Coal Plants all over the World, not only in China

Nuclear Power

China does in fact have a forward path of matching electricity Demand with carbon-free nuclear power. Admiral Rickover and the U.S. Navy may have invented and perfected safe nuclear power generation but, China is the largest Benefactor from nuclear power generation. The new Westinghouse AP-1000 Units under construction by South Carolina Electric and Gas were stopped due to mismanagement and nine Billion USD in budget overruns. Southern Company’s Vogtle AP-1000 Units under Construction in Georgia are far over budget and behind schedule. Now planned for startup in 4th Quarter 2022(9)

China, on the other hand, plans 150 new nuclear plants and has already started up their Westinghouse AP-1000 Unit(10) Shandong Nuclear Power Co.’s Haiyang nuclear power plant is pioneering two significant aspects of nuclear diversification in China: district heating and desalination. Some of the other 150 nuclear plants are listed in the World Nuclear Association update of November 2021(11) China is on the way to leading the world in nuclear power generation.

Hydroelectric

China generates more electricity than any other country from hydroelectric power. The “Three Gorges Dam” at 22.5 GW capacity , is the largest power station in the world.(13) Suffice it to say, China, like America has taken advantage of available river flows to install dams and hydroelectric generation. Still, most of the Dispatchable electric power must come from coal, nuclear and gas plants. The chart below was done by the EIA about 2017 to show what the U.S. Dept. of Energy Forecasted for China electric power generation through 2040.

Solar and Wind Generation

Renewables in China are also huge. (6) China is also the world’s largest manufacturer of solar and wind turbine components. The chart below shows the world renewables generation. Keep in mind, renewables are not “Dispatchable”. The variations in Demand must be handled by Dispatchable power generation capacity such as those conventional systems mentioned above. Namely, coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and to a small extent, oil fueled generators. The two blue lines at the lower right of the chart are wind and solar and worldwide total about 10% of generation. The majority of the Bulk Power generated from renewables is from Hydroelectric power.(13) Hydroelectric power, by the way, is Dispatchable.

IEA Global Energy Review
IEA Global Ene rgy Review 2021

Conclusions

China has taken full advantage of All Sources of Energy and especially all forms of energy used to generate electricity. They have used their enormous wealth from exporting manufactured products to provide funding to build more manufacturing capabilities and to expand their influence to other countries of the world. China is a current example of how abundant and reliable energy can be used to accummulate wealth and influence in the world. Another metric of how the rapid build out of manufacturing capacity has increased wealth is to consider that four of the 10 largest banks in the world are Chinese owned.(14)

China understands the importance of “ALL Fuels are Important”. Meanwhile, the U.S. leadership is attempting to crush our major energy producing companies through excessive regulations and restrictions as well as foolish “Woke” social policies.(1) Then there is the foolish ESG Movement favored by the Democrat Party, the World Bank, Blackrock, major U.S. Banks and many U.S. manufacturing and Media corporations. The “Woke” ESG movement is weakening America and strengthening China, Russia, Iran and other countries not aligned with Freedom loving western nations.

It would be wise for our elected officials to wake up. We can only hope and pray that they do so before it is too late.

Dick Storm, Feb. 21, 2022

References:

  1. Daily Signal, Feb. 18, 2022: https://www.dailysignal.com/2022/02/18/biden-administration-adds-climate-roadblocks-to-future-pipelines-energy-projects/
  2. Global Steel Production, S&P Global: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/topics/energy-price-crisis
  3. Dick Storm presentation on Energy in the U.S.A. to the Delaware County Bar Association, July 2016: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2016/07/25/energy-and-economic-prosperity-my-thoughts-dick-storm/
  4. China to Build 150 new Nuclear Reactors in next 15 years, Nov. 2021, CNET.com: https://www.cnet.com/news/why-the-us-should-learn-from-chinas-nuclear-power-expansion/
  5. China is Building 43 new coal plants, Time, August 2021: https://time.com/6090732/china-coal-power-plants-emissions/
  6. China, World Leader in Renewables Manufacturing, Center for Strategic & International Studies : https://www.csis.org/east-green-chinas-global-leadership-renewable-energy
  7. China’s Belt and Roads Initiative
  8. China’s Carbon Emissions, The Economist Magazine:
  9. Power Magazine update on Vogtle Nuclear Plant, Dec. 2022: https://www.powermag.com/oft-delayed-vogtle-expansion-on-track-for-2022-start/
  10. Power Magazine, December 2021, China starts up Westinghouse AP-1000 Nuclear Unit: https://www.powermag.com/how-an-ap1000-plant-is-changing-the-nuclear-power-paradigm-through-district-heating-desalination/
  11. World Nuclear Reactors Under Construction, Nov. 2021: https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide.aspx
  12. World’s largest Hydroelectric Generating Plants, Power Technology: https://www.power-technology.com/features/feature-the-10-biggest-hydroelectric-power-plants-in-the-world/
  13. Global Energy Review, IEA December 2021: https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/d0031107-401d-4a2f-a48b-9eed19457335/GlobalEnergyReview2021.pdf
  14. World’s Largest Banks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_banks
  15. China to build 150 GW of new coal plants by 2025: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/chinas-zhejiang-approves-new-11-bln-coal-fired-power-plant-2022-02-09/
  16. Donn Dears Book, “Net-Zero Carbon, The Climate Policy that is Destroying America” Order at Amazon.com

The War on Carbon, How it Came to be:

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

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

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

The UN Agenda 21

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

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

War on Coal 1993-2012

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

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

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

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

In addition to demonizing of carbon in Public Schools the general public is bombarded with “Save the Planet” propaganda by entertainment personalities, and the  MSM.  Here is a short history of the War on Coal by Politico(7)https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/inside-war-on-coal-000002/ 

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

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

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

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

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

Richard F. (Dick) Storm, PE

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

References:

  1. Living with Agenda 21, Surrendering Our Freedoms by Dr. H. Lawrence Zillmer, Copyright 2012
  2. U.N. Agenda 21 Info: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf
  3. U.N. Sustainable Development Report, 2021: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/UN-DESA_Back_Common_Future_En.pdf
  4. Capital Research Center, Report on Climate Dollars https://www.climatedollars.org/full-study/a-short-history-of-global-warming-fears/
  5. The NEW Leviathan, Crown Forum, NY 2012 Check Appendix X and summary of $9 Billion in Assets
  6. Wikipedia, “War on Coal” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_coal
  7. Politico, “War on Coal” https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/inside-war-on-coal-000002/
  8. War on Coal, Issues in Science and Technology: https://issues.org/real-numbers-president-obamas-war-on-coal/
  9. An Excellent video of some very smart Patriots, The Right Stuff Climate Team (Retired NASA Engineers): https://www.therightclimatestuff.com
  10. Donn Dears well written and practical articleshttps://ddears.com/donns-articles/
  11. Michael Shellenberger on John Shanahan Website. Solar Panels make more waste than nuclear: https://www.allaboutenergy.net/energy/238-energy/today/wind-and-solar/north-america/862-100-percent-renewable-energy-rested-on-a-lie-michael-shellenberger-environmental-progress-mark-jacobson-usa
  12. Armstrong Economics, Great article on CO2 and the politics of the “War on Carbon” aka, “Manmade Climate Change” https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/climate/3rd-attempt-to-publish-this-google-interferes/