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November 06, 2007


Kit P

"complete moratorium on new coal-fed power plants unless all of the carbon dioxide from them can be buried underground." . . .

Anyone who takes this position is an idiot. If you went to a Mexican restaurant to order egg rolls, I would again call you an idiot.

A moratorium on new coal-fed power plants is not on the menu. It would be nice if we had a choice but Al Gore is one of the reasons that using less coal is not on the menu.

Thanks to Bush/Chaney energy policy we have more choices for our energy supply than we did 10 years ago. And one of the choices is not rolling blackouts, least you forget where we were 10 years ago.


I don't see how we are going to address global climate change if we are going to continue business as usual regarding burning coal.

Recall that the rolling blackouts that we had 10 years ago were due to blatant manipulation of the market by Enron.


Even more explicitly, the blackouts were due to "partial deregulation", where power generation was able to charge a "market" rate. Deliberately shut a few power plants down to reduce supply to the point that there's not enough, and the "market" rate skyrockets.

And you can thank lazziez-faire Republicans and the good-ol capitalists at Enron for that debacle. Kind of a one-two punch, actually. I argue that there's a place for letting the market do it's thing, but it's not with infrastructure.


Anyone who wants to build more coal powered plants without managing carbon dioxide is an idiot. The Bush/Chaney energy policy is cheap in the short term but much much more expensive in the long term. We had the same type of short sighted policy with regard to tobacco/cigarettes and now we are spending trillions in medical bills and deaths for the cancer victims of that failed policy.

Carl Hage

As stated in the summary above, coal will be used (without CO2 capture) over other alternatives due to market forces, as long as there is no cost for pollution/emission.

We keep trying to solve this problem using the soviet-style system of quotas and regulations rather than economics.

The only solution is to add a cost for releasing sequestered CO2. Instead of the wildly unpredictable cap-and-trade price with credits given to polluters, it needs to be a predictable price with credits given to people (who can choose to conserve). The price needs to be enough for alternatives to be oost effective, or enough to capure the CO2 and sequester it. It's not too bad-- maybe $30-$300/ton.

Until then, burning coal is very profitable.

A large coal plant in SD gets coal for only $10/ton delivered!

Thomas Marihart

Why is this a nightmare for Gore?

His carbon credit trading business should really take off now!

...oops, I forgot...he'll probably have to pay more for the ERCs he's likely selling himself already to cover his less than green lifestyle...poor guy.

Harvey D

Kit P

Are you real?

Kit P

For those who do not understand the issues, from the article:

“More than 1,000 coal-fed power plants will be built in the next five years, mostly in China and India,...” and “plans to expand its capacity to handle more coal as China, the world's largest producer, becomes a net importer and Australian exports are delayed.”

I am most interested in an adequate electricity supply for the US. The best way for the US to reduce ghg emissions and ensure an adequate supply of energy is to build nukes and more efficient coal plants. However, carbon sequestering is not yet commercialized.

The same gang of morons that caused the rolling blackouts in California are still waving around pixie dust solutions while promoting natural gas a solution to AGW. ENRON did not own or operate any California power plants or transmission systems. There is a group of people that did have responsibility:

Bill Clinton, US president- democrat
Al Gore, US vice president- democrat
Bill Richardson, US secretary of energy- democrat
Gray Davis, California Governor - democrat
Gary Lock, Washington Governor - democrat
Mayor of LA, and head of LADWP - democrat
S. David Freeman – LADWP General manager - democrat
S. David Freeman – previous SMUD General manager – democrat
S. David Freeman – California energy czar appointed by Gray Davis during 2000/2001 California cris – democrat
Ed Smeloff previous SMUD General manager – democrat
Loretta Lynch – CEC Chairman – democrat

Who was the biggest gouger of California IOU ratepayers - LADWP followed by other public power agencies that were exempt form deregulation rules.

Where was that evil Republican George Bush? He was governor of Texas who had enacted one of the first renewable energy portfolio standards in the US which lead Texas to over take California in wind generation.

One of the first things we got from President Bush was Bush/Chaney energy policy which Richard should read. It is US policy to address AGW. Which brings us back to 1,000 coal-fed power plants in India and China, sometimes the best policy is not destroying the US economy but improving it by helping with clean development elsewhere.

Don B.

Thanks to Bush/Cheney, the price of oil is $100/bbl and gasoline is $3.25, diesel is $3.50, and LPG wentt up 25% this fall. I wish I held onto my BP stock a few years ago....
Where were the R.E. and the Negawatt guys on the V.P.'s Energy Roundtable invite list???
I'll stop the Global Warming debate right here! Remember the Law of Conservation of Energy? We dig-up and burn "stored sunshine"...AKA fossil fuels. This adds to the daily insolation we already receive (and not all of it re-radiates back into space) and you might see a pattern forming over time.... simple enough?
I will give one to the Neo-Cons, Kyoto was screwed-up from the get-go! Why give to large-population, "developing" economies a free pass on pollution and CO emissions?! Why not "encourage" them to develope cleaner energy with less unfunded downstream societal costs (pollution that isn't factored into the power generation costs). I wouldn't of signed that either...I would of got everyone back to the table...China's economy has been growing for more than 8 yrs!
As a Nation, let's undertake a STRONG Conservation program before we build more powerplants. It will create more good-paying jobs over a longer period of time. With our existing generating capacity, Conservation will buy us plenty of time to fully explore and implement PROVEN, clean Alternative Energy sources.

Don B.


I realize this won't solve the whole problem, but what about using a local source of hydrocarbons, municipal waste, as a feedstock for generating electricity. Companies like StarTech and Geoplasma are using a plasma torch process to turn garbage into syngas and then into electricity. The end products are syngas (h2 and CO) and a small amount of vitrified material. The syngas can be burned as is or converted into methane for distribution. A 120 megawatt (net) power plant of this type will be built in St. Lucie county, Florida. The plant will also supply steam to a nearby industrial complex. There are only about 242,000 people living in that county, yet they produce enough garbage to generate 120 megawatts. Seems like a win-win situation: reducing (somewhat) the increase in coal and imported natural gas use while saving space in landfills. Yeah, I know, nuclear plants typically produce 1000 megawatts, but why not also use a "twofer" technology like this?

Kit P

Don B. have your read the NATIONAL ENERGY, May 2001? I have a copy of it just a binder, just in front of a document for RPS standards. Judging by what you wrote, I think you would be very happy with renewable energy and conservation. I find it amusing that democrats are so fixated on meeting minutes and the not substance of report.

I have also read the California energy plan that took five years to publish but archived consensus. Whatever that means. The substance of the California energy plan is imported LNG. For those who only look at press releases, conservation and renewable energy are highlighted. There is a difference between smoke and mirrors and substance.

The reason LNG increased '25% this fall' is because it does this every fall. Same for heating oil. There was also an earthquake in Japan that has six nuke plants off line for inspection. The primary replacement fuel is LNG.

Don B. argument about conservation and renewable energy is old and tired. Since Bush is doing it much better than Clinton/Gore who brought rolling blackout; I am wondering why a different outcome would be expected. With conservation and renewable energy, we still need to build coal plants.


KitP the fundamental problem regarding AGW and the Bush/Chaney doctrine is that unless clean energy (carbon neutral) is cheaper than dirty energy, there will never be a change over to clean energy. Throwing money at a problem rarely leads to solutions that are cheaper than existing technology and if it does it takes a long time for this technology to come to the market. So unless carbon emissions COST they will keep rising. Bush and Chaney have always been opposed to carbon pricing schemes whether its cap and trade or taxes because short term, it may slow the economy (or put their donors out of business), never mind the longer term.

Kit P

Marcus, it would appear that you neither understand Bush policy or how to reduce AGW. Therefore, you come to the wrong conclusion. Making ghg emissions more expensive will not work because there is no alternatives. Taxing something that you depend on will not help unless there is a cleaner choice.

First, you should understand that Bush has stopped debating AGW because his administration is focusing on what we should do about AGW. Gore is still stuck in the past. Second, Bush policy has resulted in clean energy sources being developed as fast as they can be constructed. There is a waiting line at the windmill and solar panel factory. RPS and PTC provide the incentives that are resulting in renewable energy projects and new sources of clean energy now.

Third, we are doing everything we can in the US and we must recognize the reality of places like India and China. Our industry is very efficient. It is Bush policy to help other countries become as clean as the US is.

I read some criticism of recently of Bush policy that was taking funds away from promoting utilities to consider new nukes. The waiting list at the NRC is about 32 new reactors. Mission accomplished.

I think Bush policy is working for both reducing AGW and promoting energy security. We still need to build more coal plants or figure out how to ration electricity. I think Al Gore should be rationed to the same amount that I use.

Instead of new taxes, just ration energy for elected officials.


KitP, I'm afraid it is you that has it backwards. There are no alternatives, at least part, only because dirty fuel is too cheap. Coal is a prime example. Who is going to spend $$ sequestering CO2 from coal plants if it doesn't cost them anything to let it out directly into the atmosphere? No alternatives? How would anyone know? The amount spent on energy research has been a pittence up till recently and why? Because we've had cheap, dirty energy.
Why do you think everyone now is scrambling for liquid fuel alternatives? Climate change? Surely you are not that naive!
And I am not just talking about technologies here but also the way people behave. If it costs more, you will do less of it. If this wasn't true markets wouldn't work. For AGW, less carbon is the name of the game.


ps KitP, we figured how to ration things long ago. Its called market pricing.

Don B.

I tend to be politically MODERATE. I won't go into those "qualifications" in the Energy Blog....since I'm here mainly to discuss energy...but I will tell you that it was a president with a Navy nuclear energy education that brought America's attention towards Conservation and Renewables. YES! Non other than Georgia's best known peanut farmer himself....Not the 3rd generation Oil man from Texas or Darth Cheney from Halliburton! The "Lewis and Clark" team that "acquired" us the 51st state of Iraq and in the process,...is bankrupting our country of it's long cherished Freedoms and Finances!
In the 1980's, a major Utility in Oregon was concerned about forcasted electrical usage. Their first thoughts were to build a new nuclear plant. Upon doing the math and looking at other options; they decided to invest that same money into Conservation programs for ALL their customers. The energy saved through Energy audits/retrofits and encouraging Energy Management programs for larger users, offset the additional MWhrs they needed to bring online. I'm sorry I don't have names and numbers for this statement...I'm doing this off the "top of my head" and 20+ yrs have past.
I helped to construct many different structures in the Detroit area (between 1000FT2 and over 5 million FT2). I see the Michigan Builders Association fight against adopting stronger energy codes in the Residential market. Most of these codes in question would have "Market Rate" or better ROI and would have neutral or positive cash flow in the homebuyer's mortgage....Ignorance breeds Stupidity!
In college, my Solar Energy professor always exhorted to her students to Conserve before going Solar. America has a long way to go before we can say we're an energy efficient nation.
More solar energy falls on the U.S. in one day than we use in energy for a whole year. The costs will rapidly fall in the next 2-3 yrs as new lower cost PV materials are brought to market. Solar-thermal is still hot in many areas of the country. ThermoElectric technology is starting take off as well as Combined Heat and Power (CHP). GM will probably build the Volt within 2-3 yrs...potential exists to power this car (short commutes) from Homemade power!
Last, but not least...when you look into who is going to build these new coal and nuke plants, their political histories, and revolving doors between Gov't and the Heavy Construction Industry...you'll begin to understand the "build-it-at-any-cost" mentality out there. How about folding the externalities and societal costs into pricing Nuclear and Coal-fired kilawatts?? We'll start with enviornmental pollution, then move on to decommissioning costs of nukes, how about cleaning up the toxic "tailings" of surface/strip coal mining? Some states now allow Utilities to pass along the costs of builing a new plant to it's customers before it's even finished and commissioned (don't worry about cost over-runs). Are they still cheaper than Alternatives?
Don't let the politicians tell you the "truth", because we all know they can't/won't. Let your inner voice (conscious and a little bit of grey matter) be your guide.

Don B.


We are going to need all that coal to turn into transportation fuels via CTL. After we achieve what should be America's number one goal(Independence from foreign oil), we can export our excess production and current import contracted oil and we will be the number one supplier of oil in the world! This will drastically change the world for the better and should be America's number one priority!

Kit P

Marcus, I do not want to ration energy for everyone, just the people people like Al Gore and Marcus. If you like conservation, I will be glad to help you achieve it as your personal goal. Living on the same amount of energy I use (adjusted for climate), should not be a hardship. Is it interesting that all those rich people are telling us to conserve?

Don. B needs to get his facts straight. I have read PacificCorp's resources plan. The timing of building a new coal does consider conservation. Portland gets fed electricity from coal plants at Boardman Oregon and Centralia Washington not to mention all the gas fired plants. It funny that the folks in California are not calling for a moratorium gas fired power plants.


9 Trillion in national debt. $29,941 for every man, woman, child. I don't know how any policy could be seen as a success under this administration. I guess they hope as long as the feds inflate the dollar out of existence the debt will gradually shrink.


KitP, more insulting comments as usual. Do you own a punching bag? It may help.

Don B.

Kit, What are you smoking?!?
"I have read PacificCorp's resources plan. The timing of building a new coal does consider conservation."
I was referring to a 20+ year old business decision (that worked and is Sustainable) and you're trying to refute my statement based on their present-day decisions. I also said it was nuclear...not coal that they were considering at the time(much higher costs to construct).
2nd....your posts seem to give the impression that your knowledge is limited to White House press releases.
3rd..."It funny that the folks in California are not calling for a moratorium gas fired power plants." Even though California has been called the World's 8th largest economy, I would hardly call them "role models" for the rest of the country! As natural gas exploration and production has leveled-out; usage has increased significantly, especially in Utility-grade micro-power generation. Drop it off, connect it up, and flip a switch....you've got Megawatts! I've seen them, I've done a little work on them. You might make a decent business case for them....if you combine them with Process heat reclaimation for CHP (hospitals, Academic, Industrial, etc)...but that is often not the case. In the mean time, you pit a large volume user (Utility) VS Residential & Commercial customers for a declining resource...Who wins? Who loses?
4th...."Marcus, I do not want to ration energy for everyone, just the people people like Al Gore and Marcus. If you like conservation, I will be glad to help you achieve it as your personal goal. Living on the same amount of energy I use (adjusted for climate), should not be a hardship. Is it interesting that all those rich people are telling us to conserve?" Kit, if you think that Conservation is akin to a "minimalist" lifestyle (Buddhist monks and the Amish), then you've taken this Blog way out of context! When I consult my Residential clients on energy conservation, my primary intentions are to: A) decrease their Utility usage B) increase their comfort levels inside their home. Turning-down the thermostat or driving a Yugo are not always viable options.
Kit, hopefully this Blog has been educational and enlightening for you.

Don B.

Kit P

I sure Marcus thinks this is an insult, “Don. B needs to get his facts straight.” while this is not, “Kit, What are you smoking?!?”

I do get that Don. B does not agree with me. This time he has done a better job of presenting facts. However, he still has it wrong so I will attempt to teach Don. B a few thing about conservation and making electricity. Not that there is anything wrong with putting a Capstone turbine (micro turbine) in a hotel to provide hot water. What Don needs to learn is the magnitude of the problem.

How about getting a 1000 MWe more for the same amount of natural gas by making installing new equipment. Wow, that is about a billion times bigger than all the residential improvements I have made to keep my bill down. When the rolling blackouts started in California, this plant was off line for construction because environmental activist fought the permit for so long.

Twice I have been in the control room at plants when because they were schedule to shut down but we did not because the power would go out on a really bad day. Only to hear latter on that that the plants were not needed.

Then there is installing a new turbine at DET's Monroe plant that would have produced 50 MWe more with the same amount of coal. Or how about TVA's Browns Ferry plants running on Uranium from nuke weapons.

So Don, I know a lot about making electricity and conservation. So what is your plan for making electricity we need? I said we need to build coal plants. You said no we do not because Oregon had a conservation program twenty years ago. I pointed out the present situation.

Don, you have insulted both my integrity and intelligence. Please add up all the alternatives and conservation and tell me how we will meet demand. And Don get your facts right. If you are going to advocate not building power coal plants, you better be right because the ramifications are serious.

When I say that a advocating a moratorium on coal plants is irresponsible and ignorant, you folks can either take it as an insult or for what it is, a statement of fact. And yes, I have heard of AGW.


" Please add up all the alternatives and conservation and tell me how we will meet demand."

Your central dogmatic assumption KitP is that demand must be allowed to continue to rise with as little constraint as possible (ie no carbon price). At the same time you seem to be advocating increasing efficiency. For the consumer - who drives demand, what's the incentive to increase efficiency?


Also, without curbing demand how do you propose to actually reduce total CO2 emissions? Please explain.


Without reducing immigration quotas to a sustainable level, conservation efforts will go nowhere. What good does it do to reduce per capita energy usage by 10%if immigration drives up the population of europe by 25% ? Western europe and the United States would have stable population levels if not for the huge influx of immigrants in the last 40 years. Even with conservation measures, a higher population level creates a need for more power plants, more living space, more clean drinking water, more health care dollars, etc. Talking about conservation without talking about immigration control is an exercise in futility. Europe has a limited supply of fossil fuels and arable land. Letting half of the middle east and north africa move there is insanity. Of course, now that most european countries have abdicated their sovereignty to the EU, there's not much they can do about the situation. Oh well, bye bye Europe...

Kit P

Marcus, you are correct but it is not my assumption. Assumptions about load growth that include conservation improvements are based on reading resource planning the IOU are required to develop. The last thing a CEO of a utility wants to hear is that new generation is required.

These assumptions are not always correct and we can only hope they are very conservative. Projection about electricity growth were over stated in the 60s & 70s, which is what lead to many nuclear plants being canceled even before TMI. Also since the energy crisis n the 70s, there have been tremendous improvement in US efficiency. This is why the Kyoto treaty was such a scam with the arbitrary date of 1990. US industry was very close to optimum while old Europe was catching up after 1990.

Having adequate generating capacity does not mean we use more energy it means we have higher reserve margins so little old ladies can keep the heat on in the winter.

Markus asks, “how do you propose to actually reduce total CO2 emissions? “

The simple answer is you start with what works by continuing Bush's policies which are to a certain extent a continuation of what Clinton started doing. Figuring out Clinton's plan requires detective work because he was the master of say one thing and do another. The three legs of Clinton's plan to reduce ghg were: nuke power, methane capture, and efficiency (aka, sending jobs to China).

While Clinton talked a lot about Kyoto and wind and a million solar panel on roofs; Clinton did not send Kyoto to the Senate nor remove the barriers to renewable energy. Clinton used the power of government to ensure no nukes were built while 6 plants were shut down during his administration.

Fast forward 10 years and how is Bush doing? The largest ghg reduction are nuke power, methane capture, and efficiency. Renewable energy is booming as a direct result of Bush polices.

Additionally, 32 new nukes are being planned in the US. We are also building 4 in China because we were able to out bid Russia and France. Helping India and China use less coal is the low handing fruit of ghg reduction.

So what about carbon taxes?

Electricity is an inelastic commodity with respect to price. A carbon tax will not change demand other than drive more energy intensive industry to India and China that are pathetic with respect to carbon content. I am more than a little skeptical of consumer conservation measures. Claims made by both Gray Davis and the present idiot governor about voluntary reductions are baseless.


KitP, I am not interested in petty party politics.

According to this report there is some price elasticity for electricity for consumers, although it seems to be variable and of course depends on the time frame.


The oil market is also quoted as relatively inelastic however to repeat myself, witness the move towards alternatives due to high prices. Even if demand cannot change much, high prices mean that alternatives become economically viable and investment in these and new alternatives increases. You never answered my question regarding the cost of CO2 sequestration and why it would make economic sense for a utility if it is cheaper to do otherwise.

If your argument is that making energy expensive here will just drive industry to China then this is the position of a defeatist. Four new nukes in China are not going to solve the problem - by a long stretch. With the next election, the US is very likely to be headed toward a cap and trade system whether you like it or not. When this comes about I don't see the US government letting industry move off shore to carbon tax heavens so easily. There will be carbon based tariffs or the like for imported goods and China will have to adapt also.

The problem with RPS is that it doesn't change the basic dynamic of growing CO2 emissions. The 90% of energy not mandated to be renewable stays put and grows with demand. PTC is subject to uncertainty and time delays for implementation. The basic problem of growing demand/supply with cheap CO2 emitting coal being the main supplier is not solved.

Kit P

“KitP, I am not interested in petty party politics.”

Followed by “With the next election, the US is very likely to be headed toward a cap and trade system whether you like it or not.”

Well you should be if your goal is to reduce ghg emissions without raising taxes that will not reduce the amount of coal burned. The reason cap and trade worked for NOx and SOx is technology existed. Air pollution was a real problem for some locations. For LADWP the solution was not to add scrubbers at coal plants to remove NOx and SOx but to burn coal in another state. CO2 sequestration is still in the development stage.

PTC and RPS are working to create alternatives to coal and natural gas. If you are unhappy that the the huge progress made in Texas was delayed so long in the rest of the county, I will give a list of the dems running for president who delayed the energy bill until 2005 for the rest of the country.

Marcus does not seem to understand the underlying physical imitations. We are building alternatives as fast as we can.


" CO2 sequestration is still in the development stage."
I ask you again KitP, why is anyone going to implement CO2 sequestration or any other alternative as long as it is cheaper to do otherwise? Did half the technologies now being implemented for liquid fuels exist 10 years ago? No.

Kit P

Yes, those technologies existed 10 years ago!!

Technologies for making liquid fuels have existed since the beginning of civilization. It is even discussed in the Bible.

Ethanol, vegetable oil, and coal oil were in use long before petroleum. Let us not forget gasification and anaerobic digestion. Long before electric lights there was gas lights. The gas did not come rigs in the Gulf of Mexican and an extensive network of pipelines. Every major city had a gas plant that produced what is commonly called producer gas. From wood and coal.

Ten years ago, California energy web site was promoting synthetic diesel from natural gas. That is before they found out they could use it up faster making electricity. I even talked to the nice folk at Syntroleum about using biogas.

The reason liquid biofuels are being produced now is because the RPS and PTC in the 2005 Energy Bill created a market where these fuels can compete with cheaper oil. The technologies have been a round for a long time and now we find out what a sustainable level of production is and how much we can lower the cost.


Yes, some were around but some weren't and many of the one's that were around have now been made cheaper due to research and investment. Often its not a matter of whether the fundamental chemistry is known, its a matter of developing production technologies that increase yields and lower costs until their economically viable. The higher the gasoline price, the sooner these alternatives are economically viable. This is fundamental economics. You deny this simple relationship? You think all this GLOBAL activity is due to RPS and PTC? What is the biggest threat to the ongoing development of these alternatives? A crash in the worlds oil prices of course.

Kit P.

“A crash in the worlds oil prices of course.”

Marcus, I am trying to explain why a carbon tax or moratorium on coal plants is not good policy for the US based on what we are currently doing. The RPS and PTC in the 2005 Energy Bill is not responsible for global activity, just the US overtaking the EU. The RPS and PTC is insurance against a crash in the worlds oil prices as they did after JC was booted.

There are many reasons for doing thing in different in different places. There are fundamental reasons why France and Japan do not use much coal and why China is now using more. While you may be focused on AGW, there are many more important reasons.

Don B.

Conservation still has a lot of of work to do out there! I like the grid-tied PV and BIPV systems with a battery back-up...you help your local utility by backfeeding during peak times. These costs are going to fall with-in 2 years (approx 1$/WattPk due to a less costly method using Cadmium Telluride. Their is always the Weitzman Institute (1990's) in Isreal. They found out how to "store sunshine in a can". They combined propane with high-temp steam (from a Concentrating Solar Tower in the American desert). When the propane and steam traveled thru the "propriatary" catallyst...they re-emerged as an azeotrope with all the original energy of all the gasses. Upon re-entering This Hybrid gas kept all of it's potential energy and is storable...It is also recyclable.
I'ts somewhat self-sustaining.
We could of tied-in to a Utility's turbine and processed this gass going into the turbine....piping the condensate and paramount of l we import in a year.opane back to the desert. A 50 mile squared area would eliminate the use of all imported foreigh oil! He got a visit fro a high-ranking American official. Some talk about problems with the Arabs, "we've always been there for you....Hand motions for it to cosme down. What was the catalyst?!?
Needless to say,the Isreali director shut down the Pilot operation.
We are not at the point where we must start construction of new Coal generation plants TOnight! As energy-users; Americans are woefully inadaquate at Conservation techniques and technologies.
What about all the frozen Methane bubbling up from the frozen lakes and bogs in the artic circle area? Couldn't we just suck-em-up and reuse them? Biogas at CAFE feedlot operations....lots of manure and other wastes....you can make a few MegaWattHrs off of 2500 cattle. AND promote a symbiotic relationship with the Ethanol Distiller next door...no waste stream!
Kit, explain to the audience where coal's acid rain and murcury go to...How about Low Level nuclear wastes and parts from decommissioning old Nukes? Where are the societial costs in the amount of money that buys you a megawatt/hr?


It is no use Don. KitP doesn't believe that price can reduce energy demand, promote efficiency or promote alternative supply technologies. I wonder how many economists would agree.

Kit P

We should have been building coal plants when BC was president. We do not need them tomorrow, we needed them yesterday. Reserve margins are dangerously thin. When the price of natural gas went up to $15/MMBTU, demand for electricity did not go down.

I live in the real world. Please feel free to hold whatever economic theories you want. Both Don and Marcus refuse to state where the energy is going to come from. I was at a renewable energy conference, where state leaders explained we needed 3000 MWe. The conservation experts estimated that 700 MWe could come from conservation, 300 MWe renewable energy, and 2000 MWe could come from new CCTG. My boss and I looked at each other. Reality time, there was only enough natural gas pipeline capacity for 1000 MWe. The problems was temporarily solved by sending send the energy intense industry to other countries that are less efficient.

At a national GREENPOWER conference in Portland, Oregon; I remember two things. The great work that was being done in Texas because of their new RPS that Bush had signed into law. Second, was presentation on natural gas that was not presented as a theory. Since the US had the ability to import LNG, the ceiling would be $4/MMBTU, up from the highest peak of $2.50/MMBTU. Without a RPS, renewable energy was too expensive to compete with natural gas.

Since Don likes to play what about this and what about that, I will show him how silly his game is. What a the ramifications of conservation? Indoor air pollution is now worse than on the streets of LA. Because we have sealed our houses up tight, we know have to worry about Radon.

And what about the little old ladies freezing in their polluted and radioactive houses Don? Let your inner voice (conscious and a little bit of grey matter) be your guide.

Really, I am for conservation, renewable energy and coal and nuclear power.


For the moment KitP I'm going to have to take a break for a couple of days. But I have commented on the other thread (http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2007/11/biofuels-can-ma.html?cid=89635398#comment-89635398) that your arguments against E-Ps suggestion on solar roofing as an alternative are almost laughable. Surely you can do better than that.


I'll just add this. Adding capacity regardless of CO2 emissions is just not a viable long term solution. This is why a cap and trade system must be implemented regardless of short term demand projections. At some point price hurts and demand destruction occurs (otherwise known as conservation). At the same time other alternatives become profitable. I don't have the ability to forsee the future and tell you what technology will take coal's place but you also cannot see the future and tell me nothing will. Perhaps it will be coal with sequestration, who knows.

Don B.

Kit and Marcus,
From reading and contributing to this blog for nearly 10 days, I can tell that you are both intelligent individuals. Marcus and I tend to see the problem and solutions from a different perspective than Kit....but we are all looking at the same problem! It's true, coal will p r o b a b l y continue to provide the lions share of our electrical production for the reasonable future (due to it's entrenched infrastructure). These schemes to "sequester" CO2 into the Earth need to be studied further and show some operational history in a pilot stage before the Coal/Utility lobbyists start looking for handouts on Capitol Hill.
"Since Don likes to play what about this and what about that, I will show him how silly his game is. What a the ramifications of conservation? Indoor air pollution is now worse than on the streets of LA. Because we have sealed our houses up tight, we know have to worry about Radon.

And what about the little old ladies freezing in their polluted and radioactive houses Don? Let your inner voice (conscious and a little bit of grey matter) be your guide."
Kit, I've been studying to take my CEM exam. Energy Management is an EXACT science....no "touchy-feely" emotions, no "waffling" Hillarys on sound bites, no Peace-niks,.....Real nerd stuff! Power Factor, Demand Charges, U-Value Calculations, Operations & Process Re-organization, HVAC Upgrades, etc. This is the other face of Conservation that I present to my paying customers. My (our) job is to show businesses/residents a decent ROI without adversely affecting their product or workforce.
If the domicile was built "too tight", then that's good! No, I'm not being a SmartAss! Controlling infiltration is key to a Low-Energy home. Problem here is: the builder didn't finish the job! Where are the heat recovery ventilation units on these "polluted" homes?! If they built in an area KNOWN to have Radon problems, then Rodon mitigation measures should of been specified in the foundation/HVAC prints. If Radon is discovered after the fact, there are some remedial techniques to help alleviate or eliminate it from the indoor airspace.
I am presently testing an "insulating" paint. The manufacturer has presented me with ASTM #s, but I still need to do my own testing to confer...before I put my name behind it. Imagine, an non-invasive insulation retro-fit that works on a variety of materials....the "little old ladies" may not have to chose between "HEAT or EAT" in the near future!
There is a virtual Cornicopia of products out there (either in development or production) that is rapidly changing the Conservation/Alternatives game....the key is having qualified/trained people to assess and present these products to the consumer in an ethical and responsible manner.
Changing-out a furnace, new insulated windows and doors, and 6 more inches of attic insulation are old-school; yet many people still haven't done the basics yet! And for those who have, there are some real interesting products that can reduce consumption another 50% or better. As Americans go, in all our habits, we are a very wasteful bunch!
I'm taking a break....
Take care,

DOn B.

Kit P

Don, thanks about informative response about conservation. I did know the answer about radon and indoor air pollution before I asked. If you need me to explain about mercury and low level radioactive waste, please do not take the CEM exam. There are enough unethical people in the energy business.

Conservation has merit independent of how energy is produced. There is no reason to tell lies to support your position. If you want to be an energy professional, get informed about something before slamming it.

Environmental protection is an exact science too. If you want me to explain (again) mercury and low level radioactive waste, I will be happy to accommodate. The thing is Don, now that you told me you want to become an energy professional I will hold you to a different standard.

I have maps on my wall at work showing rail lines that specialize in coal and natural gas pipelines. The best place to build a renewable energy economically and environmental is where propane or fuel is the primary fuel. I know about the environmental impact of coal and natural gas because i have studied the competition. However, when you go to get a permit for a biomass plant you better be able to explain about H2S and dioxin. Bringing up mercury at coal plant is a good way to get booted out of the regulator's office.

“having qualified/trained people”

Don, you keep refusing to answer my question. You want to talk about some pixie dust futuristic world Cornucopia world. If you do not want to build coal plants, show me your plan to keep the electricity flowing. Find the resource plan of the utility that wants build a coal plan and show how their conservation numbers are wrong.


KitP: "In most parts of the US, coal is still the cheapest new source of base load electricity. This is why generators have been selecting coal project ten to one over nuclear. Those places that were counting on a new coal plants on line by 2013 are screwed. New nukes will not start coming on line until 2014 at the earliest."

KitP: "Marcus, it would appear that you neither understand Bush policy or how to reduce AGW. Therefore, you come to the wrong conclusion. Making ghg emissions more expensive will not work because there is no alternatives. Taxing something that you depend on will not help unless there is a cleaner choice."

Don, do you notice something funny going on here?

radon bergen

Radon gas has radioactive properties and can contribute to acute respiratory health risks, such as lung cancer (one in 20 will develop lung cancer due to elevated exposure1). This is especially true if you are a smoker or are exposed to second hand smoke on a consistent basis.


The use of renewables for generating power is to be congratulated. The latest coal market news and coal prices is that emerging countries are predicting to use large amounts of thermal coal for power generation and coal mining for steel production.
Cherry of www.coalportal.com



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