Week in Review
The Democrats say manmade global warming is real. That the science is settled. And anyone who denies this is a fool. So the danger of manmade global warming is real and time is of the essence. To save the planet. Destroy the economy. And our way of life (see Examiner Editorial: Governments resolved to stop global warming even if it doesn’t exist posted 4/21/2014 on the Washington Examiner).
PJ Media’s Tom Harris recently noted that global warming advocates ought to heed that warning. Harris’ observation followed release of the latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC cried that fossil fuel energy use around the world must be reduced by as much as 70 percent by 2050 to avoid the apocalyptic “death, injury and disrupted livelihoods” caused by man-made atmospheric warming.
“This will require massive cuts in our use of coal, oil, and natural gas, the sources of 87 percent of world primary energy consumption,” Harris said. It will also require quadrupling the amount of energy generated from renewable and nuclear sources, plus widespread adoption of carbon capture and storage technology that doesn’t even exist yet.
So, to fight global warming will require the kind of spending it took to win World War II. The cost of energy would soar and leave people with little left to spend on their families. Crippling our economy. While leaving us with far less reliable electric power. Making brownouts and blackouts commonplace. Changing our lives greatly. And what will we get in return? Not a whole heck of a lot.
But the IPCC is crying wolf, according to the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, a voluntary international assembly of scientists and scholars brought together by the Heartland Institute, an American think tank. The NIPCC’s goal is to “present a comprehensive, authoritative, and realistic assessment of the science and economics of global warming” independent of the political and economic interests that inevitably drive the analyses of governmental entities like the UN’s IPCC.
The NIPCC’s bottom line is that atmospheric warming comes and goes over time, with average temperatures actually declining over the past 17 years. As a result and contrary to those crying wolf on global warming, the earth’s ice cover “is not melting at an enhanced rate; sea-level rise is not accelerating; and no systematic changes have been documented in evaporation or rainfall or in the magnitude or intensity of extreme meteorological events.” In fact, warmer temperatures and increased carbon content in the atmosphere can be beneficial to human beings, animals and plant life, “causing a great greening of the Earth,” according to the N-GIPCC.
Yes, warm is better. After all, no one bitched when global warming caused the glaciers to recede and end the ice ages. Because where the glaciers receded life took to that once frozen wasteland. And when the glaciers from the greatest ice age (ending about 635 million years ago) receded after nearly covering the planet in ice man wasn’t even using fire yet. In fact, the greater apes man evolved from didn’t arrive until about 15 million years ago. After the great glaciers receded back from the equator. So when the planet warmed and pushed back those glaciers it sure wasn’t man doing it. Which means if you believe in evolution you can’t believe in manmade global warming. Because the planet warms and cools. And has been doing so far longer than man has been around.
Tim Wirth, the former congressman and present vice chairman of the U.N. Foundation, said “even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” No matter that jobs, growth and comfort will be lost. Keep that in mind next time President Obama claims Americans must spend billions of tax dollars on “green” energy because global warming is “real.”
So these great costs are necessary even if they are wrong and manmade global warming is not settled science. Because crippling our economy and causing power brownouts and blackouts are a good thing. Why? One reason. It empowers government. To further intrude in how we live our lives. Which is the only thing battling manmade global warming does.
Tags: blackouts, brownouts, climate change, glaciers, Global Warming, ICE, ice age, IPCC, manmade global warming, theory of global warming, warming
Week in Review
I remember losing power for a couple of hot and humid days. The kind where you stick to everything because you’re just covered in sweat. Making it almost impossible to sleep. But I was able to borrow my father’s generator. So I would not have to suffer through that insufferable heat and humidity. While I was able to run my refrigerator, turn the lights on and even watch television I could not start my central air conditioner. Even when I shut everything else off. It was large enough to run the AC. But it was just not big enough to start it. I tried. But as I did that inrush of current (about 40 amps) just stalled the generator. Which could put out only 30 amps at 240 volts. So even though I had a 30 amp generator to start an air conditioner that was on a 20 amp circuit breaker it wasn’t big enough. Because of that momentary inrush of current. So I suffered through that insufferable heat and humidity until the electric utility restored power. And I never loved my electric utility more than when they did.
Now suppose I wanted to go to solar power. How large of a solar array would I need that would start my air conditioner? If one square inch of solar panel provided 70 milliwatts and you do a little math that comes to approximately a 950 square-foot solar array. Or an array approximately 20 FT X 50 FT. Which is a lot of solar panel. Costly to install. And if you want to use any electricity at night you’re going to need some kind of battery system. But you won’t be able to run your air conditioner. For one start would probably drain down that battery system. So it’s not feasible to disconnect from the electric grid. For you’re going to need something else when the sun doesn’t shine. And because there can be windless nights a windmill won’t be the answer. Because you’re going to need at least one source of electric power you can rely on to be there for you. Like your electric utility. Or, perhaps, your gas utility (see Relentless And Disruptive Innovation Will Shortly Affect US Electric Utilities by Peter Kelly-Detwiler posted 4/18/2013 on Forbes).
NRG’s CEO David Crane is one of the few utility CEO’s in the US who appears to fully appreciate – and publicly articulate – the potential for this coming dynamic. At recent Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference, he indicated that solar power and natural gas are coming on strong, and that some customers may soon decide they do not need the electric utility. “If you have gas into your house and say you want to be as green as possible, maybe you’re anti-fracking or something and you have solar panels on your roof, you don’t need to be connected to the grid at all.” He predicted that within a short timeframe, we may see technologies that allow for conversion of gas into electricity at the residential level.
If you want carefree and reliable electric power you connect to the electric grid. Have a natural gas backup generator sized to power the entire house (large enough to even start your central air conditioner). And a whole-house uninterruptible power supply (UPS). To provide all your power needs momentarily while you switch from your electric utility to your gas utility. Well, all but your central air conditioner (and other heavy electrical loads). Which would have to wait for the natural gas generator to start running. Because if you connected these to your UPS it might drain the battery down before that generator was up and running. No problem. For we can all go a minute or two without air conditioning.
So this combination would work. With solar panels and a natural gas generator you could disconnect from the electric grid. But is this something we should really do? Not everyone will be able to afford solar panels and natural gas generators. They will have to rely on the electric utility. Some may only be able to afford the solar panels. Staying connected to the grid for their nighttime power needs. But if our electric utilities cut their generation and take it offline permanently it could cause some serious problems. For what happens when a day of thunderstorms blocks the sun from our solar panels and everyone is still running their air conditioners? The solar panels can no longer provide the peak power demand that they took from the electric utility (causing the utilities to reduce their generation capacity). But if they reduced their generation capacity how are they going to be able to take back this peak power demand? They won’t be able to. And if they can’t that means rolling brownouts and blackouts. Not a problem for those with the resources to install a backup generator. But a big problem for everyone else.
We should study any plans to mothball any baseload electric generation. For renewable sources of energy may be green but they are not reliable. And electric power is not just about comfort in our homes. It’s also about national security. Imagine the Boston Marathon bombing happening during a time of rolling blackouts. Imagine all of the things we take for granted not being there. Like power in our homes to charge our smartphones. And to power the televisions we saw the two bombers identified on. We would have been both literally and figuratively in the dark. Making it a lot easier for the bombers to have made their escape. There’s a reason why we’re trying to harden our electric grid from cyber attacks. Because we are simply too dependent on electric power for both the comforts and necessities of life. Which is why we should be building more coal-fired power plants. Not fewer. Because coal is reliable and we have domestic sources of coal. Ditto for natural gas and nuclear. The mainstay of baseload power. Because there is nothing more reliable. Which comes in handy for national security.
Tags: air conditioner, baseload, blackouts, electric grid, electric power, electric utility, electricity, gas utility, generator, grid, national security, natural gas, natural gas generator, peak power demand, rolling blackouts, solar array, solar panel, solar power, UPS
Week in Review
In 2003 one power plant went off line for maintenance in Ohio. As their electrical load switched over to other power lines the extra current in them caused them to heat up and sag. Coming into contact with some tall trees. And the electric power flashed over to the trees. This surge in current opened some breakers and transferred this electric load to other cables. Overloading these lines. More breakers opened. More lines disconnected. And with the electric load switching around it caused some electric generators to spin a little wildly. So they disconnected from the grid as designed to protect themselves.
Eventually this cascade of failures would cause one of the greatest power outages in history. The Northeast blackout of 2003. Affecting some 55 million people. And taking 256 power plants offline. Apparently there was a software bug in the computer control system that didn’t warn them in time to rebalance the grid on other power sources before this cascade of failures began. Once the event was over it took a lot of time to bring the power back online. Three days before all power was restored. Because you have to reconnect generators slowly and carefully. As you are connecting generators together. If these generators are not running in phase with each other fault currents can flow between them. Damaging them and starting another cascade of failures.
So the electric grid is a very complex network of generators, cables, switches and computer control systems. The more generation plants added to the grid the more complicated the switching and the computer controls. Which makes having large-capacity power generation plants highly desirable. For it reduces the complexity of the system. And their large power capacity makes it easier for them to take on additional loads when another plant goes offline or a cable fails. It provides a safe margin of error when trying to balance electric loads between available generation. In Germany, though, the politics of green energy may take precedence over good engineering practices (see Linked Renewables Could Help Germany Avoid Blackouts by Paul Brown and The Daily Climate posted 4/5/2013 on Scientific American).
Critics of renewables have always claimed that sun and wind are only intermittent producers of electricity and need fossil fuel plants as back-up to make them viable. But German engineers have proved this is not so.
By skillfully combining the output of a number of solar, wind and biogas plants the grid can be provided with stable energy 24 hours a day without fear of blackouts, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) in Kassel.
For Germany, having turned its back on nuclear power and investing heavily in all forms of renewables to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, this is an important breakthrough…
Kurt Rohrig, deputy director of IWES, said: “Each source of energy – be it wind, sun or biogas – has its strengths and weaknesses. If we manage to skillfully combine the different characteristics of the regenerative energies, we can ensure the power supply for Germany.”
The idea is that many small power plant operators can feed their electricity into the grid but act as a single power plant using computers to control the level of power…
The current system of supplying the grid with electricity is geared to a few large producers. In the new system, with dozens of small producers, there will need to be extra facilities at intervals on the system to stabilize voltage. Part of the project is designed to find out how many of these the country will need.
The project has the backing of Germany’s large and increasingly important renewable companies and industrial giants like Siemans.
If you are a heavy electric power consumer in Germany you might want to build your own power plant on site. For if they go ahead with this they are going to create one complex and costly monster. Which is why IWES and Siemens no doubt are on board with this. For it would give them a lot of business in a recession-plagued Eurozone. But the amount of switching and computer controls to make this work just boggles the mind.
Just imagine a night of high winds that shuts down all wind farms. Which is something a wind turbine does to protect itself. You can’t switch over to solar at night. So you will have to switch that load over to the remaining power lines that are connected to active generation. Heating those wires up. Causing them to sag. Perhaps flashing over to a tall tree. If these lines disconnect from the grid will those small producers be able to pick up the demand? Or will they disconnect to protect themselves from an overload? Once the event is over how long would it take to bring all of these generation sources back in phase and back online?
If they move forward with this chances are that the Germans are going to learn a very painful and costly lesson about green energy. It may make you look like you care but it won’t keep the lights on like a coal-fired or a nuclear power plant can. Which they may learn. The hard way.
Tags: biogas, blackouts, cables, computer control system, electric generators, electric grid, electric load, electric power, Germany, grid, power outage, power plant, renewables, solar, switches, wind
Week in Review
Let’s take a ride. In a time machine. Let’s go into the future. And see where America will be in the green energy future (see Double whammy from green taxes: Families will have to pay more for fuel and flights by Sean Poulter and Kirsty Walker posted 1/3/2012 on Mail Online).
Britain’s existing nuclear power plants are due to close within a few years.
As a result, the country’s nuclear capacity will fall by 75 per cent.
A number of coal-fired plants are also set to shut, as the Government strives to meet EU targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Wind farms – funded by green taxes on homes and businesses – will not be able to cover the resulting energy shortfall, Mr Lodge warns.
They’re shutting down coal and nuclear power. And raising taxes to pay for green energy. Which is erratic at best. Sometimes the wind just doesn’t blow. Which is the reason steamships replaced sailing ships. Because man-made steam was more reliable than wind. Far more reliable. Which means Britain’s energy will be as reliable as the wind. And as they suffer brownouts and blackouts there will be a scramble back to those more reliable sources. Coal and nuclear.
Government plans to penalise power firms that use coal to generate electricity – by imposing minimum prices – will effectively make it uneconomic to continue mining in the UK.
This ‘will result in over one billion tonnes of economically recoverable UK coal reserves becoming stranded’, Mr Lodge says.
As if the brownouts and blackouts won’t be bad enough. They’re going to shut down the mining industry. And eliminate a lot of union jobs. During which I doubt the unions will be whistling a happy tune. Yeah, that’s right. Green energy is anti-union. I mean, you don’t have to mine wind or sun, do you?
It warns: ‘Britain risks becoming yet more dependent on foreign gas and unmanageable renewable energy to generate electricity.
‘Consequently, Britain’s 26million households, who spend around £20billion a year on energy, will face higher bills at a time of falling household income.’
Lost jobs and higher bills. Gee, it just keeps getting better and better.
The Civitas report, also released today, focuses on the EU Emissions Trading System, which is designed to curb carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines. The directive came into force on January 1.
The think-tank found that related charges will cost airlines £1billion a year – most of which will be passed on to businesses and consumers through higher prices.
Airlines are now required to buy a ‘permit to pollute’ to cover the cost of their carbon emissions – with extra fees for those who exceed their emissions limit.
But in a damning assessment, Civitas researcher David Merlin-Jones says the scheme will line the pockets of energy bosses and banks while doing little to help the environment.
So as British families become impoverished for this green energy nonsense others will be getting rich off of these permits to pollute. This from the nation that gave us the Industrial Revolution. Representative government. Agricultural advances. And a lot of other things that brought the world into the modern age. My God, what has happened to Britannia?
How is it that the nation that did more than most for the common people is taking such a large crap on the common people? Figuratively, of course. But the worse thing is that there are some in America that want to follow them. And if the whole Western world gives in to this green energy nonsense there will no longer be a Western world.
Sad. Because the UK is better than this. As is America. At least when they were conservative.
Tags: blackouts, brownouts, Coal, coal-fired plants, green energy, green taxes, jobs, mining, nuclear, nuclear power, taxes, union
What do Cows and Dinosaurs have in Common? They’re both a little Gassy.
Bovine flatulence contributes to global warming. That’s a theory at least. Cows fart. It’s a byproduct of the digestion process. Like with people. As things break down chemical things happen. It releases nutrients. And gas. Methane. Until nothing is left but solid waste. The nutrients help other things grow (people, animals, plants, etc.). And the gas just dissipates into the atmosphere. Or annoys your significant other when you do it under the covers. We poop the solid waste. As do cows.
But farts aren’t just fun and games. Because the chemical compound for methane is CH4. That’s one Carbon atom and four Hydrogen atoms. In other words, methane is a hydrocarbon. As in carbon footprint. Yes, that’s right, methane is a greenhouse gas. And cows are indiscriminately farting it out like there’s no tomorrow. And the larger the human population gets, the more cows we raise for food. Which means more cows are farting. Which creates more greenhouse gases. Which leads to more global warming.
So you can see it’s a problem. All this farting. I mean, it’s one of the theories why the dinosaurs went extinct. Dinosaur farts. Of course this raises an interesting point. Currently, man is causing global warming by raising more and more cows to feed our growing population. Among other things. Man wasn’t around for the dinosaurs, though. They killed themselves off without any help from man. Which can mean only one thing. That global warming predated man. Or the dinosaur theory is a silly theory.
It’s Man or the Environment
So while smug environmentalists may enjoy the smell of their own farts, they want to cut back on bovine flatulence. And the easiest way to do that is to just have fewer cows. Reduce the food supply. And gamble with our lives with that smaller food supply. That’s because they worry about the planet today. They don’t care what happened in the past. Whether dinosaurs raised the earth’s temperature more than man has ever done. Or that there were ice ages. And that those ice ages ended. Without man’s help.
Once upon a time the glaciers covered a lot more of the earth than they do today. And when they last melted there were no man-made greenhouse gases. Except maybe a camp fire or two. And the occasional fart. Man did less than at any other time in his existence to warm the planet. Yet the planet warmed. So much so that the glaciers moved farther than they have in the last 2,000 years of man’s existence. Something warmed the planet back then. And it sure wasn’t man.
But today it is only man who is responsible for global warming. With his man-made greenhouse gases. From our polluting industries. Or from the cows we raise to eat. Man has been the curse of this fair planet. And the more advanced he got the greater his environmental destruction has been. In fact, the environmentalist will say that the world was a better place before man came along to spoil it. And a lot of what they do today tries to right this great wrong.
Bigger, Heavier and Safer or Fuel Economy
Engineering is a balance between tradeoffs. Take cars, for example. There are two driving features of cars these days. Safety. And fuel economy. They’ve made a lot of safety innovations in the last few decades. Seatbelts. Crumble zones. Airbags. Telescoping steering wheels. And the list goes on. And we added a lot of these because of that other feature. Fuel economy. To get better gas mileage we made cars smaller. And lighter. And a smaller and lighter car does not fare well in an accident with a bigger and heavier car or truck. So the tradeoff between fuel economy and safety really became a tradeoff between fuel economy and people.
The environmentalist is okay with this. In fact, they added to this tradeoff. With the emissions equipment they want. Catalytic converter. Secondary air injection. Evaporative emissions control. Etc. Pop the hood on a car today and much of what you see is for emissions control. More equipment added to the car. Some of which is belt-driven. Increasing the car weight. And the engine load. Requiring weight reductions elsewhere to meet required CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations. Thus making cars less survivable in accidents.
Some will argue, though, that cars are safer today than when they were all big and heavy. Well, yes, cars are safer today compared to the bigger and heavier cars we used to drive. But if you put seatbelts and airbags into those bigger and heavier cars, they would be safer than the cars today. How do we know that? Because we have cars today that are a lot like those bigger and heavier cars of yesteryear. We call them SUVs. And they are very popular. Especially with parents who have kids to drive around. Because they are bigger and heavier and safer. And parents are more than willing to spend a little more in gas to drive those big honking things around to protect their kids.
From Global Cooling to Global Warming
But there are other tradeoffs besides fuel economy and people. There’s the tradeoff between energy and people. As populations grow they need more energy. The energy of choice is electricity. Produced by power plants that burn fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). Fossil fuels are, of course, hydrocarbons. Those poor, hated, misunderstood hydrocarbons. When we burn these to make electricity we create greenhouse gases. And you know what that does? That’s right. Global warming. At least, that’s what the environmentalists tell us.
There was another alternative. Nuclear power. It’s clean. But there was a big problem with that. A movie. The China Syndrome. And then Three Mile Island. Both in 1979. A growing nuclear power industry came to a screeching halt. And we haven’t built another nuclear plant since. The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island released a negligible about of radioactive steam into the atmosphere. But the safety features worked as designed. There was no China Syndrome. But there was a movie. And that was enough. Nuclear power became the redheaded stepchild of energy generation.
There wasn’t a lot of talk about global warming in 1979. Back then we were still talking about global cooling and the approaching ice age. Then things changed. The Nineties were all about global warming. So not only did we shut down the nuclear industry, they so attacked fossil fuels that opening a new power plant was a regulatory nightmare. So by the end of that decade our energy demands were taxing our energy supply. Blackouts were becoming more and more common. The elderly and infirmed suffered during these power outages. Some died from heat stroke because there was no air conditioning. With no escape from the heat there was other trouble. Hot temperatures created hot tempers. Often resulting in violence. Looting. And murder.
The Smug and Pretentious
The theory of global warming is a theory. And not a very good one at that. As those emails leaked from the University of East Anglia clearly showed (they were massaging the data to support the theory). And making policy based on this theory has consequences. It has altered the free market. Regulated our lives. Reduced our liberty. And killed people.
No surprise, really. Because environmentalists hate man and his impact on the planet. So a few deaths along the way is a small price to pay. And it thins out the herd of some of the less desirable. Those who drive. And energy hogs who use air conditioning. But the environmentalist will live in his air conditioned ocean-side mansion (Al Gore). But that’s okay. Because some people have to show the way for the rest of us. Not by example. But by telling us how to live our lives. Because caring is enough for them. Makes them special. Better than us. So these smug and pretentious can sit back and enjoy their big carbon footprints. And spend their days enjoying the smell of their own farts.
Tags: blackouts, bovine flatulence, CAFE, Carbon, carbon footprint, CH4, earth's temperature, electricity, emissions, emissions control, energy, energy demand, energy supply, environmental destruction, environmental policy, environmentalist, fossil fuels, fuel economy, gas mileage, global cooling, Global Warming, greenhouse gas, hydrocarbon, Hydrogen, ice ages, methane, power outages, power plant, safety, save the planet