President Trump Moves to Rescue Coal, Nuclear Plants

Official White House Photo of President Trump

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t john – The White House has ordered Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prevent the loss of more coal and nuclear plants, to ensure US energy independence.

Statement from the Press Secretary on Fuel-Secure Power Facilities

INFRASTRUCTURE & TECHNOLOGY

Issued on: June 1, 2018

The United States of America has the most technologically advanced and developed infrastructure in the world, with access to a reliable, dependable, and diversified electric grid.

President Donald J. Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety, and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.

Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our Nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.

President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to receiving his recommendations.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-fuel-secure-power-facilities/

What has gone wrong? Why would the cheapest forms of energy be having such a hard time?

A statement by then energy secretary of Britain from a few years ago provides insight into what is going wrong.

… The second phase of modern energy policy began when Tony Blair signed the Renewable Energy Target in 2007.

[Political content redacted]

What has this left us with?

We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention.

And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.

Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, hasn’t been reduced.

Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999.

So we still haven’t found the right balance. …

Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy

Government cannot create wealth, but political idiocy can destroy wealth. It doesn’t matter to people considering building new coal and nuclear plants, or refurbishing old plants, that President Trump supports coal and nuclear power, because investments in coal and nuclear have multi-decade timescales.

Democrat hostility to coal and nuclear power make it extremely risky to invest in long term projects which could easily be sabotaged by punitive taxes or regulations.

I’m a strong believer in free markets – but in this case politicians have wrecked the market.

This ignorant green political interventionism has put the West in extreme peril. Business owners who believe they might be shut down next week don’t spend money maintaining their equipment. The only rational behaviour in such circumstances is to run the plant into the ground, spending the absolute minimum possible to extract whatever profits can be extracted before some politician pulls the plug.

But this strategy of running plants into the ground is an end game. Running equipment into the ground accumulates a huge technical debt of maintenance which has been deferred. Sooner or later minimal low cost maintenance is not enough, something serious breaks, and the owners of that plant have to decide whether to risk spending large sums fixing expensive problems, or shut the plant down.

Right now the balance of risk suggests the smart course from a business perspective is to shut down the plant. All of them.

US energy infrastructure is a ticking timebomb. All the political support in the world won’t make green energy viable. If President Trump doesn’t find a solution to this problem, the lights will go out.

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markl

“So we still haven’t found the right balance”. And if the Environmentalist cabal has their way we never will because their goal isn’t affordable energy for all.

Alba

Sorry this of topic but I thought it might be of interest. I just came across it.
https://www.thelocal.de/20180215/deutsche-bahn-exploited-climate-change-to-duck-blame-for-train-delays

Tom Halla

The issue is political risk, for which the Democrats are responsible. Undoing the Endangerment Finding would also be a good step, but anything Trump tries to do will be controversial.

joelobryan

Much of the 2009 Endangerment Finding (EF) was built on 2005-2006 climate science, which was even Pre-AR4. Most of the science foundations has now been falsified.

The GCM ensemble (CMIP3/CMMIP5) predicted tropospheric hotspot – not there.
– The Strong version of CO2-GHG theory falsified.
The 2004-2005 Major Hurricane CONUS landfall spike – then nothing for the next 12 years.
– Increased frequency of TCs – falsified
The Global temperature Hiatus from ~2000-2015
– more GHG theory falsification.
2006 predicted sea inundations with accelerating SLR – highly questionable.

See for example: “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States.” 2009:

comment image
Figure Legend: “Climate simulations of the vertical profile of temperature change due to various factors, and the effect due to all factors taken together. The panels above represent a cross-section of the atmosphere from the north pole to the south pole, and from the surface up into the stratosphere. The black lines show the location of the tropopause, the boundary between the lower atmosphere (troposphere) and the stratosphere. Image Source: modified from CCSP SAP 1.11”

The EF relied heavily on the 2006 Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1. available as a PDF here:

https://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap1-1/sap1-1-final-all.pdf
A paragraph by paragraph assessment of much of what is in that 2006 SAP1.1 has now at 12 years on, been outright falsified or is highly questionable.

So if science is to remain self-revising, self-correcting truth learning process, then the EF is living on borrowed time.

HDHoese

I came across this and wondered if it was like what the IPCC has been blamed for, summary different from text. Maybe some knew it in 2009 and got overruled. “Not well understood” is not what you should go to court on. That sounds like an interesting report if cited correctly.

Box 14.1 Ocean Acidification Effects on Marine Calcifiers p134–
“The overall reaction of marine biological carbon cycling and ecosystems to a warm and high-CO2 world is not yet well understood (Denman et al., 2007).” —However, the summary concludes—-p ES-6 “Ocean acidification is projected to continue, resulting in the reduced biological production of marine calcifiers, including corals.”

Denman, K.L., et al. (2007) Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemistry. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and
New York, NY, USA.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-08/documents/endangerment_tsd.pdf

Sun Spot

Western Civilisation and our lovely lifestyle is predicated on a strategy of inexpensive abundant everywhere all the time electricity and portable fuel.

Felix

Portable fuel:

comment image

Notanist

Yes, a key part of our increasingly rapid progress toward a Kardashev Type I civilization.

joelobryan

“Why would the cheapest forms of energy be having such a hard time?”

Easy. Coal and nuclear are no longer the cheapest forms of energy for electrical generation, either in cost per BTU or in capital costs for plant construction. Fracking-horizontal drilling for shale gas changed everything.

Nat Gas has outstripped everything. The one advantage that coal and nuclear have over Natural Gas is on-site storage of energy reserves to sustain generation in the event of a several months long disruption-failure of transport or pipeline delivery systems.

Natural gas delivery to generation plants is effectively a “just-in-time” delivery via pipelines, many of which are bringing gas stored in underground formations from hundreds of kilometers away.

Coal can and is stockpiled at coal generation plants, becasue railway disruptions due to derailments does happen from time to time.

Nuclear reactor can run on a fresh fuel load for year at full power (or several years at reduced output) before refueling becomes pressing.

So Natural gas, when it was believed to be dwindling, scarce and expensive, was the watermelons’ Golden Child. Now that it is abundant, secure, and cheap, it has become their methane GHG-boogeyman.

Alastair Brickell

Joel O’Bryan
June 2, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Yes, quite right. The other advantage of coal is that it can be transported and stockpiled in huge quantities in the rain and still works just fine. Unlike the precious wood pellets as Drax is finding out to its cost by having to manufacture dedicated waterproof train wagons and huge watertight storage bunkers.

“…So Natural gas, when it was believed to be dwindling, scarce and expensive, was the watermelons’ Golden Child. Now that it is abundant, secure, and cheap, it has become their methane GHG-boogeyman.” Sad but so true!

Michael Keal

At least they’re keeping Drax going so we can switch it back to coal once we no longer have morons running our country.

TonyL

OK, coal is more expensive. Riiiight!!!
New late Obama era regulations specifically designed to make coal so expensive that plants *must* be shut down.
1) New draconian rules for particulates, especially pm 10.
2) All new pm 2.5, rules. Apparently all data on pm 2.5 was a complete fabrication. That did not even slow them down.
3) New, again draconian, rules on Hg. (mercury)
4) A radical reinterpretation of MACT, Maximum Achievable Control Technology. Such that “Maximum Achievable” is now science fiction.

“But it could not have been anything *we* did!!”
Sure.

Fracking is a good thing. Fracking changed the contours of the energy economics landscape, true enough.
Also true that without the rapid ascendance of fracking (which the govt. did not foresee), the US power grid may already have collapsed.

But fracking did *not* change the world.
Coal was the subject of a murder attempt.

Alan Watt Climate Denialist, Level 7

For the US, which has abundant natural gas reserves at a more than competitive price (thanks to fracking), CCGT is the preferred technology, even discounting all the political/regulatory factors. Other countries may have different economic landscapes.

So, even in a pure free market, the rational economic choice for the US is to build new CCGT plants as needed. The issue with coal is how long to keep current functioning plants in service. I think rescinding some of the punitive regulations will allow older coal/nuclear plants to continue operation longer than otherwise, but that won’t make those technologies the choice for new generation.

I think the proper role for the federal government here is not to “save” coal, but to look at the changes in generation technology which economics dictate, and adapt the grid accordingly. Specifically, the loss of substantial on-site fuel storage is a risk: we need to find ways to mitigate that.

TonyL

Everything you say is true, fair enough.
Data I have seen puts coal at a small but significant price advantage over NG. Other data shows them in a dead even horse race. Still other data gives the win to NG in cases where coal must be transported long distances. (Be careful of cherry picked data!)

Nonetheless:
In the last 5 years we have seen over 400 coal plants shuttered while in the prime of their useful lives, with hundreds more slated for destruction. This would have *never* happened without the deliberately malicious regulations. The big giveaway: Closing the plants was not sufficient to satisfy regulators, the physical plant has to be *destroyed* as well. After all, must not allow the possibility that the plants can be restarted in case of need. Indeed one eastern Midwest grid saw wholesale prices go up to a nosebleed $385 per MWh, after the plant closures. Yikes.

Case in point, in New England.
Numerous coal plants all over the state of MA were closed and destroyed. Then activists successfully blocked the absolutely vital NG pipeline expansion. Last January, wholesale prices for NG spiked to a new World Record. Indeed, a NG tanker from Russia’s Yamal gas fields bound for England was briefly diverted towards Boston to alleviate the crisis.
According to the liberals who put all this together, apparently getting gas from the state of PA is not acceptable, but getting gas from Putin’s Russia is OK.

Fraking had nothing to do with this debacle.

Alan Watt Climate Denialist, Level 7

Data please. I believe the average US coal plant is 40+ years old — well above the EIA standard of 30 years for capital recovery. What is likely true is that faced with the cost of a major refit to extend plant life, operators have decided that the political climate made that a risky choice and opted to close them. I also believe the majority of coal plants shuttered are small — in 2015, 94 plants closed making up a total of 13,556 megawatts, or an average of 144 MW per plant. So they are also likely victims of economy of scale.

TonyL

@ Allen Watt:
The simultaneous closure of baseload plants all across MA did not just happen, especially without any plans for replacement capacity.
See my first comment on this thread, above, in a response to Joel O’Bryan. I detailed some of the regulations which forced the plant closure and destruction.

operators have decided that the political climate made that a risky choice

You can say that again.

…and opted to close them

There was nothing optional about it.

“I am not saying you will not be able to build a coal fired power plant. Just that it will bankrupt you if you do” — Barack Obama

And that is what they did.
The plants closed in MA were not obsolete, and were not at end of life.

beng135

TonyL, quite right, the regulations on nuclear and lately coal is what has made them so expensive. So these regulatory handcuffs could be reduced, but I’m not holding my breath.

Barbara

PRI / Public Radio International, Jan.28, 2016

‘Green’ financier Tom Steyer wants to accelerate the renewable revolution

Coal mentioned.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-01-28/green-financier-tom-steyer-wants-accelerate-renewable-revolution

Major PRI supporters at page bottom.

Bruce Cobb

Natural Gas delivery depends on having a delivery system in place, i.e. pipelines. But for pipelines to be cost-effective there has to be sufficient demand. And the enviro-fruitloops love attacking pipelines, delaying them, driving costs up further. It somehow makes them feel “important”, I guess. So don’t count coal out yet. We still need it.

Coal and nuclear are no longer the cheapest forms of energy for electrical generation
============
Restore a level playing field, where all forms of generation receive the same wholesale price, and are penalized for failure to deliver, and you will quickly see which is the cheapest form of electrical generation.

the problem is load-following to try and balance renewables. coal and nuclear were not designed to load follow. for this you need gas. so as you add renewables to the mix you drive coal and nuclear out of business.

This is really only an issue because renewables have a guaranteed price, while all other power generation is based upon supply and demand.
If coal and nuclear were given a guaranteed price like renewables, coal and nuclear would quickly drive all other forms of generation out of business.

Roger Knights

Very good—I was waiting for someone to say this; this refutes many of the comments above.

oeman50

The market has compensation for capacity and energy except for some markets like ERCOT in Texas, that don’t have a capacity component. It does not have any pricing mechanism for on-site fuel storage and that impact on reliability. And, BTW, coal plants can technically load-follow, but many now have relatively high minimum loads to make their emissions equipment work at higher efficiencies.

simple-touriste

All plants (nuclear, coal, gas) can load follow but they can’t do it as fast, as reliably, do it without advanced notice, do it without wear and tear.

And given the number of unplanned maintenance in French combustion thermal plants, I think the cost of “renewables” is also hidden in the wear and tear of thermal plants.

MarkW

Fracking did make nat. gas less expensive. Then many users switched from coal to nat. gas.
As a result demand for nat. gas, and the price charged for it went up. The demand for coal went down, and the price charged for it went down.
As a result, nat. gas and coal are not that far from parity at present, which is the natural state for a free market.

oeman50

They may be at parity on a $$/BTU basis, but a modern day combined cycle plant can generate power at over 50% efficiency, some are getting close to 60%. Even an ultra high pressure coal boiler can’t approach that.

markl

T Bone Pickens made the natural gas call 20 years ago.

GREY LENSMAN

So natural gas or LNG tanks dont exist?

Leo Smith

Nuclear costs are almost entirely modulated by the level of government regulation, which dominates how long it takes to build and how many people have to be involved ensuring its built right,.

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/

Vis-a-vis gas, there is a complex equation involving capacity factor. At high capacity factor (baseload) given sane regulation, nuclear is in fact cheaper. New plant ought to be able to crack 5C/kWh.

http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionC.htm

Gas, having lower build costs but higher fuel costs, is more stable with respect to capacity factor, So e.g.switching off plant in the summer is not such a waste of capital, and saves gas.

The engineering solution to electricity generation is therefore to go for an all nuclear baseload, and use gas (and hydro, if available) for load following. This achieves the lowest price for the consumer.

Coal probably doesn’t enter the equation at all, sadly. Its cheaper than gas, but needs a lot of capex around it to get emissions of (other than CO2) down to acceptable levels. It is however a useful fallback if gas supplies are disrupted.

It can be ramped quite fast so can be used flexibly.

The USA is the single biggest Western bloc that could, with luck, give the finger to ‘greencr@p’ and actually institute an ‘America first’ rational electricity generation policy.

I hope it does, as we over here we would be forced to follow suit…to remain competitive.

Yesterday in an idle moment I looked up OFGEM – the UK consumer watchhdog on energy prices – to discover that my electricity bill is upwards of 30% comprised of ‘environmental’ and ‘network’ costs which can be laid squarely at the door of ‘renewable’ energy, since all the new build out of the grid is required to handle peak flows of ‘renewables’ when the wind is actually blowing. The rest of the time its not used.

The staggering figure of £16bn p.a. resulted. About £800 per household per year. This is money that flows into the pockets of people who construct install and run wind and solar farms.

“We spend £305m on renewable energy every week. Shouldn’t we spend it on healthcare instead?”

(paraphrasing a famous political slogan…)

craig

Reading this post, I thought we were talking about the Australian electricity market! On the bright side Americans, at least you have a President who recognises the need for cheap ongoing power, the Australian government is hell bent on destroying our coal fired stations and tripling our power costs with useless renewables.

Truely, I’m begging for a Donald Trump style person to lead the way in Australian politics, sadly we have green ****heads at every turn.

Rod Everson

If every voter truly understood the dramatic difference between the current Australian view of energy generation and the Trumpian view, the Left would never win another election. Sadly, they don’t, and many will vote to dramatically raise their own energy costs without even realizing that they’re doing so.

As for which method of generation is most competitive, establish a level playing field on the regulatory front and let investors sort it out. We can argue all day in here and not come close to solving the problems that market pricing sorts out every day while most people remain gloriously indifferent to the process at work.

In as little as a decade from now, with Germany, Britain, and especially Australia, suffering serious consequences of their energy decisions of the past decade, perhaps President Trump’s directive cited in the article here will stand out as the sole voice of reason among present world leaders of free countries. (Note that China, which does not have the West’s best interests in mind, is building coal plants willy-nilly while saying little about the wisdom of our own decisions.)

too funny.
” I believe in the free market,but…”

knee slapper

joelobryan

Imagine… Wind and solar competing on a level field in the free market

That would be a knee slapper indeed.
Think about that Steven as you look at your Cal May electric bill, and imagine what else you could do with your money if it were cut by half to 2/3.

You are paying out the nose every month for meaningless Green virtue. And MoonBeam and his pals are helping themselves to your wallet every month, and everytime you gas up.

Enjoy.

ossqss

So Steven, tell us the solution to the energy need question? You seem to know about everything in your sarcastic posts, so tell us how do we power the planet and meet those CO2 reduction needs you so indiscreetly tell us must be done or we are Doomed.

What is your plan Mr. Mosher?

How about you Stokes? What is your recommended plan for salvation of the planet energy needs?

Back to the basics is it? Misanthropic Caveman times…… or once again avoid the simple questions asked….

MarkW

As usual, Mosher displays the reading comprehension of a gnat.
As Eric explained, we don’t have a free market in energy, thanks to idiots like Mosher.

LdB

Mosher doesn’t solve anything he studies wiggly lines that is his solution. Nick Stokes has made it that anything with a complex distribution can’t be measured and doesn’t mean anything, so for poor Mosh the wiggly line doesn’t mean anything.

Michael Keal

I’ve a better idea. Since most of the carbon ‘pollution’ comes from China these days as they manufacture things for the West that used to be manufactured IN the West cos they’ve got cheep electricity why don’t all those hell-bent on saving the planet head off to China and get them to mend their evil ways. I’m sure they’d be given a warm welcome.

in my opinion, the Trump intention is correct but the general implementation is wrong.
The basic problem with coal and nuclear is that the ‘to be shuttered plants’ are all already very old. The secondary problem (applicable in US given fracked gas) is that CCGT is not only less new capital expensive than either, but also less per KWh LCOE expensive. Economics is a real B*tch, and horse buggy whips never fared well in the auto age.

wouldn’t the capital cost of a new CCGT typically be more than an existing coal or nuclear plant? there should be little capital costs in existing plants. rather there is depreciation, maintenance and fuel.

isn’t the problem more a regulatory problem? coal and nuclear are forced offline by law when higher priced renewables are available, then when the renewables go offline you cannot ramp coal and nuclear up fast enough to load-follow, so gas turbines get the business.

As a result coal and nuclear cannot make any money and are forced out of business. Not by price but by regulation.

Alan Watt Climate Denialist, Level 7

That’s fine as long as there is an equivalent CCGT plant built for every coal/nuclear plant closed.

I like having some fuel diversity in the mix, but I understand economic factors do not favor coal plants for the US at this time. If CCGT is going to replace coal, we need to provide some adjustments for the loss of on-site fuel storage. I suspect CCGT plants will be located near the gas production, since it’s easier to transport electricity than fuel. But we need to look at hardening and providing more redundancy for the electric grid.

TonyL

I do not believe the issue is as simple as a one-to-one replacement of coal plants with CCGT plants.
The US has legal mandates that “renewables” must be purchased whenever available. This is economically crowding out coal and nuclear. But, you cannot use CCGT as a replacement. Because you now have large scale “renewables” on the grid, you must use Single Cycle Gas Turbines as the replacement because you now need the rapid load following.
So you can kiss the super efficient and low cost CCGT goodbye. They just do not load follow well enough to do it routinely without breaking stuff.
So the end result of the introduction of “renewables” is the replacement of baseload capacity with expensive Single Cycle GTs.

Malicious regulations forcing the closure of good coal plants on top is *unhelpful*.

Alan Watt Climate Denialist, Level 7

It is absolutely unfair that the intermittent nature of “renewable” sources becomes a problem for the grid operator to solve. I believe wind/solar plants should include local energy storage so they can bid to supply a guaranteed amount of electricity for a guaranteed amount of time. That puts everyone on a level footing and forces intermittent sources to bear the cost of however much energy storage is needed to meet those guarantees.

The grid operator should be free to select any reliable generation source offering the best price to fill the need. If that’s renewable, fine. If not, then the market has spoken.

Leo Smith

Modern CCGT load follows well enough, Thg reason to deploy OCGT is simple. If you are only called upon top deliver very high priced electricity at peak times, the economics opf CCGT make no sense. Built a cheap gas guzzling OCGT plant because when it gets fired up electricity spot prices will be through the roof. And the cost of gas will be covered.

You have to understand that there is baseload – plant that runs nearly 100% of the time, and coal and nuclear fit remarkably well here, and hydro given adequate rainfall, then there is seasonal and diurnal load following, and CCGT and hydro fits in very well here,

And then there is reserve plant, that hardly gets a look in unless something goes radically wrong.

Reserve or peaking plant needs to be cheap to build and maintain, but fuel costs are scarcely relevant since it rarely gets used. OCGT, Diesel and the like are typical technologies.

You will notice there is no mention of renewables of the intermittent kind.

That is because they have no place where they fit at all.

At the most you can make a slight case for sticking a solar farm near the hoover dam, where it would help eke out the limited water supply, and provide some form of air con additional power to LA…at midday..

Retaining old coal plants is a hedge. It does have costs. I hope we don’t have an energy stress situation lasting a long time. If we do, coal.

Chris

A hedge against what? The US is a massive producer of natural gas, as is Canada. So as long as the US does not cause a trade war w Canada thanks to Trump’s ill thought out statements, there is no issue.

michael hart

But what exactly can be done? As I have seen it explained, just because some people, however correct honest and trustworthy, now say the EPA science was fraudulent, that doesn’t mean that the US Supreme Court is thus in a position to revisit their earlier rulings. Even if they were individually all inclined to do so, legal process does not allow them to now say “OK, we’ll scrub that one.”

The greens/Obama/EPA knew and intended this all along because while they don’t respect truth and science, they do know some law. I would love to be told that this is not the case, and that a workable solution exists.

Red94ViperRT10

Our government is composed of 3 branches, all 3 (allegedly) equal. In the case of the Endangerment Finding (by the Supreme Court) it could be as simple as Congress passing and the President signing a law amending the original Environmental Protection Act.

ngard2016

Here’s the IEA USA pie graph for total energy showing that only 17% is generated from coal.

http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/USA4.pdf

By contrast here’s China showing a massive 66.7% generated from coal.

http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/CHINA4.pdf

And the world generates 28% from coal. Mr Trump has a lot of catching up to do. China must be laughing all the way to the bank(s). When will our pollies and clueless media wake up?

newsel

It goes way beyond the “mix” when talking about China laughing all the way to the bank. Under Obama the World Bank and the IMF refuse to provide funding for developing nations coal fired power plants. The Chinese stepped into the void and not only fund these projects but provide the labour, construction equipment and capital equipment to each and everyone of these projects. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot (feet?).

Alan Watt Climate Denialist, Level 7

Roughly 15% of coal mined worldwide each year goes into making steel. I’m not going out on a limb at all to predict that world steel production will continue to increase over the next 30 years. So no matter what happens with power generation, those “death trains” will continue to roll. Cue Bill McKibben weeping.

usurbrain

Looks like life and mans circadian clock will have to be adjusted to that of the “Duck Curve” for solar power! Will also have to find some way of storing Power for several weeks of energy usage for the 100 or so largest city. Additional advantage of this is that millions of jobs will be created doing this for the years needed to complete this herculean effort. Those in the boondocks will have to just get used to interment electricity. Purchases of refrigerators that store food ant the proper temperature for several days will also ad more jobs. Lots of money spent, but looks like standard of living will decrease to that of the 50’s

Alan Tomalty

Unless all energy subsidies stop and excessive regulation on nuclear plants repealed , the chains on the free market will tighten until there is no energy infrastructure left except solar, wind and hydro. The continent cannot exist on hydro alone and solar and wind are intermittent. Is this what the greenies want? Brownouts and blackouts forever?

Robert Austin

Is this what the greenies want?

What they really want is 99.9% of us dead and the rest leading a stone age lifestyle.

MarkW

Except for themselves, the masters will need modern technology to make sure that the rest of us stay in our place once they put us there.

MarkW

Most so called “environmentalists” are against hydro and are fighting to have it torn down in many of the places it currently exists.

Bruce Cobb

Government is responsible in many respects for coal’s demise – and don’t say NG did it, because that would mean the free market. But the market was rigged against coal, so that’s anything but free. So, it’s up to government to save coal from going down the tubes. Because without coal, we’ll be in a world of hurt.

Chris

NG plants have much fast cycle up/down times than coal. NG is cheaper than coal. NG is often a byproduct of sites that drill for oil, helping keep costs down. Extracting NG is less environmentally intrusive than strip mining for coal. What is the specific downside of NG compared to coal?

The just in time delivery requirement.

J Mac

The explosive nature of natural gas leaks, making NG infrastructure a prime target for terrorists.

Chris

Laughable assertion. Nuclear plants are a much greater terrorist target.

simple-touriste

Please explain what terrorists could do to nuclear units or nuclear plants?

And why nobody has tried anything beyond the sabotage of a vapor turbine? (allegedly, who knows if that wasn’t incompetence disguised as sabotage…)

Bruce Cobb

This isn’t an either/or thing. We need both, and that is the point which you seem so anxious to miss.

MarkW

NG is cheaper now, long term there is no guarantee that this situation will continue.
Remember these plants last for many decades.

commieBob

Once you get past all the noise, it becomes apparent that President Trump has been remarkably productive. link

There is the story that bees violate the laws of aerodynamics and shouldn’t be able to fly. The bees are too dumb to realise that and merrily fly along. For a long time folks have been pushing the idea that globalization will be good for everyone. Doing what The Donald is doing should wreck the American economy. He’s too dumb to realise that and the economy is doing great.

More Americans are back at work this year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2018’s average monthly job growth was the strongest since 1997 with 2.5 million jobs added to the U.S. economy. The most important issue for Americans is the creation of new jobs and stopping American jobs from going overseas. The U.S. economy is booming, yet one would have to go right to the White House website to read about this news, because the mainstream media is ignoring historic job growth enabled by President Trump’s business- and worker-friendly government policies.

MarkW

Globalization has been good for almost everyone.
Those who have lost out have been those who used political power to force consumers to over pay for the products that they make.

markl

Your opinion, not mine. Globalization is the death knell for countries with high standards of living because it eventually forces everyone down to the lowest common denominator for labor. It’s the Socialism of industry. It’s a short term solution with no future.

MarkW

If your way of thinking were correct, there would be no high standard of living countries in the first place.
ALL wages, I will repeat, ALL wages are based on productiviity. Low wage countries are low wage countries, because they are also low productivity countries. As low productivity countries become high productivity countries, they also become high wage countries.
I can prove this by just examining history. People like you said the same thing you are saying now about Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc. Yet every time, as those countries shifted from being low productivity to high productivity, their standard of living went up, as did ours.

Chris

That is patently false. Globalization has not been good for blue collar factory workers in the US. And it’s not just a matter of greedy unions. Just ask the 100,000 textile workers in South Carolina who lost their non union jobs as production moved to China and other countries.

MarkW

The textile jobs did not move, they were lost to automation.
The US makes more textiles today than we did prior to the age of globalization, it’s just that we do it with fewer workers.

Chris

Incorrect. Automation certainly contributed to some job losses, but the fact that total textil output declined significantly is proof that production, and jobs, went overseas. https://shenglufashion.com/2017/03/12/state-of-the-u-s-textile-and-apparel-industry-output-employment-and-trade-updated-march-2017/

reallyskeptical

I thought this was the site that advocated free market solutions?

Robert Austin

reallyskeptical,

Are you claiming that coal and nuclear can’t compete in a true free market?

reallyskeptical

yep

Roger Knights

Then you should be OK with the removal of mandates that prioritize wholesale purchase of renewable power over alternatives, when available.

MarkW

They did just fine before the government got rid of the free market in energy.
As always, what you are told to believe and reality do not coincide.

MarkW

If only there was a free market in energy.

Bruce Cobb

Hilarious how the Warmunist troll only crows about free markets AFTER coal was deliberately and viciously wounded by the anti-coal policies of Zero.

Bill Illis

Everyone who has gone up against Trump has flamed out in spectacular fashion.

He is the most unorthodox President since President Reagan but Reagan made huge progress as well by doing what he thought was right rather than listening to to the politically correct crowd.

The way forward is not listening to the politically correct left-wing. They are all about intimidating you into doing what they want. Not what is good for the people but merely what they want. If their positions were right and logical and well thought out, it would be different. But their positions are not. They are emotional based intimidation.

TA

Taxpayers should stop subsidising unreliable Wind and Solar thermal, and then we would have a free market.

I think most skeptics here would support doing so.

reallyskeptical

But we should subsidize coal? Really?

We should keep coal in the ground so that future generation can make tupperware out of it.

Roger Knights

“But we should subsidize coal? Really?”

Since the laws mandating purchase priority for renewables can’t be undone (either because the political support isn’t there or there isn’t time), subsidizing coal and nuclear is all that’s left to keep those plants alive.

Leo Smith

I think you might find that those laws can be undone

Britain is moving somewhat in that direction

MarkW

ReallyStupid is only against subsidies when he isn’t on the receiving end of them.

J Mac

TA,
I’m with you (!) and I’m confident most reallyskeptical people would agree that the huge subsidies supporting wind and solar energy should end forthwith! Of course, there are pretenders out there…..

J Mac

This is another (I hope!) step towards throwing the ‘Endangerment Finding’ for CO2 onto the rubbish heaps of faux-science supported political agendas designed to destroy capitalist economies.

Destroying viable coal fired and nuclear power plants and removing viable hydroelectric dams is economy crippling stupidity.

As I write this, the sun is setting and it is nearly dead calm here. No wind or solar electricity to be had, at any price!

noaaprogrammer

…and if all of those ev’s need to be recharged, then…

It’s foolish to squander natgas making electricity. We should preserve our reserves of it for future heating, cooking and industrial needs.

Wow. Lots of coal is forecast to come off-line. I can’t help but wonder precisely what is going to replace this generating capacity.

https://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/policy/power-plant-closures/

And a comment above pegged our energy generation from coal at 17%. It’s 30% for electrical generation from coal:

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=2

Here in Arizona, in 2019 the Page coal plant is slated for shut-down in 2019. The plant was designed to last until 2044. Does anyone know what facilities are planned to replace this plant once it’s closed?

https://numerical.co.in/numerons/collection/58b43884e974ea900907ebde

MarkW

“the lights will go out”

Which has been the goal, all along.

JimG1

Mao sent them all back to the farm villages in his purges of the bureaucracy by force of arms. The new communists will do it by turning off the power grid.

ossqss

Test comment per request. Please delete me Anthony.

Roger Knights

There’s a “Test” tab on the bar atop this thread for testing.

MarkW is ignorant of financial markets, and “bonds” issued by the United States of America.

MarkW

Nice of you to explain exactly why it is that I am wrong.
Perhaps it is because, as we both know, you can’t.

Hocus Locus

* Energy is the thread that binds everything. Development and delivery of new sources, achieving them first and best for ourselves and the world, may be the only remaining method of non-fiat wealth creation left to the United States in our time.

* Any nation not self-sufficient in energy is on borrowed time. We are experiencing the twilight of the petrodollar as reserve currency and an oil price war that is surely intended to result in the bankruptcy of domestic producers and service industries, or mass acquisition of their stock and control by foreign interests. End-game tactics, and those fronting them have pushed up the timetable.

* We are also seeing twilight of domestic manufacture and infrastructure as factories shut and the great works built in the time of Roosevelt and Eisenhower come of age. The country that showed the world how to construct a modern society is falling into disrepair and decay— even as it imagines itself prosperous.

[…] * The idea that Wind or Solar or any weather-intermittent energy source could meaningfully sustain an industrialized world power is a poisonous and dangerous idea, veritably an outright fraud. It should have been laughed out of the room years ago. Why it cannot fulfill its promise and why it was not laughed off is complicated, yet this would not have been as serious a problem if nuclear energy had made good stride up to now. We would have a real option on the table.

* Years ago I became convinced that our grid should grow to become 500% nuclear. The silly percentage is not hyperbole; it is an arbitrary guess as to what we may need to scale beyond present consumption in order to supplant petroleum in most things, and do new things. Call it my green dream. In my dream

we are using nuclear electricity for all ground transportation and a renaissance of electric rail. To support air and sea travel and feed hydrocarbon chemistry we are manufacturing the synthetic fuel, fertilizer and plastics that are now by-products of natural petroleum and methane — by processes which are known today, though they are laughably energy-intensive and inefficient. Even ludicrous ideas like purifying seawater and pumping it upstream or importing fresh water from the far North to restore depleted aquifers. But in my dream no one is laughing because there is such a grand surplus of available energy these things can be done ‘right’ with careful engineering and calm deliberation.

[…] * The problem with free money is that it affects all the other money in a bad way. I may be a dreamer, but I do not see the same problem with almost-free energy. I see a revitalized money economy where all things that are technically possible, even fantastic things, become more feasible because human ingenuity is ever-increasing. I see reduction in cost of living, cost of manufacture and cost of fossil fuel extraction that is so pervasive its positive effect may exceed any economic strategy ever devised. And on that day far in the future when the last hydrocarbon is extracted, it will be just cause for a quiet celebration. We’ll already be well into the next great thing.

* What would the future hold, and what wonders could we achieve— if energy was simply not an issue?

~~Excerpts from my 9 page April 22, 2016 letter to Candidate Trump

ngard2016

Here is Lomborg telling us why the Paris BS and fra-d won’t have any measurable impact on global temps by 2030 or by 2100.
But it will cost 100s of trillions $ for a guaranteed ZERO return on our investment. Unbelievable but true and yet they still believe their own BS and fra-d?

Richard S J Tol

Worrell uses a statement about power generation in Great Britain to explain power generation in the USA. These are very different markets subject to very different regulations.

The statement about Great Britain was made by a politician, who Worrell in the next paragraph claims cannot be trusted with energy markets.

Worrell then argues that some politicians can be trusted to fix energy markets, not by removing unnecessary regulations, but by adding to the regulatory burden.

Colour me unconvinced by Worrell’s argument, or indeed his soundness of mind.

Richard S J Tol

The power market is where the Chicagoist of Chicago economists would argue for government intervention.

The grid is a natural monopoly.

Peak capacity is a public good.

Reserve power is a public good.

Frequency is a coordination problem.

Economies of scale imply market power.

Price discrimination is easy.

There are plenty of externalities.

There are large numbers.

Questing Vole

For Amber Rudd read Elmer Thudd, with a team from FoE/Greenp–s writing the script. This year the still had enough coal-fired capacity to cope with the ‘beast from the east’, but unless someone in our govt has the guts to echo Trump’s call, in another couple of years it would be brown-outs at best, and grid collapse a serious possibility.

Coal has been squeezed out of the UK mix by ‘green’ legislation, some imposed by the EU, some home-grown. The fake CO2 scare has been used to tax our industries to destruction and poorer households towards destitution. It is the tulip fever/South Sea Bubble/Darien adventure of our days, and future generations (there will be some!) will wonder how so many apparently intelligent people could have been taken in by it.

I also have a deep-down sneaky feeling that if there is a ‘big oil’ conspiracy waiting to be discovered anywhere, this is where it will be: how better to max your gas assets than by getting your main competitor swept from the board?

Still, three cheers for The Donald for asking the questions that might save the USA.

bonbon

What has gone wrong? Obviously the wildly irrational belief that economic order springs spontaneously, but in an unknowable way, from the complexity of the market. Otherwise known as occult economics from the London School of Economics’ von Hayek parading as the Chicago Boys (remember Pinochet?).
This dogma paraded here is hilarious. Imagine – occult economics touted against the occultism of renewables!
von Hayek’s Austrian School originated in Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees reprinted as Private Vice, Public Virtue, identified as the key underlying thesis by von Hayek. Mandeville being the founder of the occult Hellfire Clubs of Ireland and England.
The USA has indeed got a British problem.
Just recently in the Berlin Bundestag the new opposition quite rightly loudly condemned the “great transformation” as Voodoo; a quick review of von Hayek is also urgent.

Nuclear is indeed hard, fusion especially, which is why to do it. Voodoo just does not cut it at 100 million degrees.

cedarhill

Still the same facts of energy life in every nation, everywhere and every when:

Energy is life…Cheap energy is prosperity.

Tom Anderson

Thanks for the nice analysis of welcome news. Just as an aside, this weekend’s (2-3 June 2018) Wall Street Journal ran a generally negative account of the Administration’s plan on page two of its news space, commenting that

“A boom in natural gas production and renewable power has lowered prices and forced coal and nuclear competitors out of business, a trend Mr. Trump has promised to slow.”

That almost sounds arguable except for the “competitiveness” of renewable energy. Reporting like that like always brings me up short with the reminder while the WSJ’s op/ed pages are penetratingly conservative, its news columns are about as standard a mix of faux reportage pabulum as any on CNN or CBS. That is why it is refreshing to find better researched coverage here on WUWT.

Richard of NZ

Leo, your reference to hydro reminded me of this statement:

Hydroelectric power accounts for 11% of the total primary energy usage in New Zealand with imported oil and oil products making up 70% of the primary energy.[8] Hydroelectric power accounts for 57% of the total electricity generation in New Zealand. (ref: Ministry for the Environment (December 2007). Environment New Zealand 2007 (PDF). ME847. Wellington, New Zealand. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-478-30191-5).

For a country that reputedly has a very high hydro-generation penetration these numbers shocked me. Could you imagine trying to make NZ a totally “carbon” energy free zone? It is absolutely impossible.

ngard2016

Richard of NZ, NZ emits just 0.1% of total human emissions of co2.
Here is the IEA pie chart of TOTAL energy that most NZers are puzzled by when they see it for the first time.
Of course China would replace your emissions in a few good working days, but I suspect most of your pollies wouldn’t know any of these facts.
Certainly your very dumb PM wouldn’t understand.

http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/NZ4.pdf

EW3

Nuclear is the only choice. Thorium reactors (and other reactor designs) offer the world unlimited power at low cost and very limited pollution. To borrow from JL – Imagine.

Sources like this would allow people around the world to desalinate salt water to fresh. Imagine what would happen if we had unlimited supplies of clean fresh water, that we could use to irrigate crops. Imagine an endless supply of crops.

But unlimited power will take away power from the ruling class. And really PO the environ-clowns.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia

My God, a leader who cares about his country’s wealth and well-being.

Australia’s recent leaders by contrast, one gives our wealth away to the Clinton Global Initiative and then get a cushy job with self-same organisation, another burns houses down with loony pink batts scheme and then wants to become UN President, the third supposedly conservative and yet supports carbon tax. (Mr Rabbit excluded from list of contrast).

JamesD

“Age” of a plant is BS. If you retube a 40 yr. old boiler, is it still a 40 yr. old boiler?

J S

If the climate warming alarmists were truly concerned about global warming – which they claim is an imminent threat to all humanity and must be reined in as a top priority to save not only the human race, but most other life on the planet – they should be embracing nuclear power whole heartedly, as nuclear power produces about nil in the way of carbon emissions.

However you will find the “green” crowd also hates nuclear power and will do anything in their power to stop nuclear plants as well. Instead they keep pushing for solar, which depends on battery systems that require as much mining of arcane metals and materials (by foreign workers who labor in salve-like conditions, often) and then call it “clean”.

Their end game becomes clearer when they keep pushing the mantra that we need to just use less, learn to have less, go back to a spartan pre-industrial lifestyle, have fewer children (Americans already have one of the lowest birth rates in the world), and give all our money to the Third world as punishment for our climate “sins”.

Whenever you try to talk to them about viable solutions they just keep repeating that there aren’t any, and the only option is to abandon modern technology and society and give away all of our money.