Donn’s Articles

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…Fascinating Energy Efficiency Assertions… (The following article was published in November 2015 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Extreme environmental organizations preach that the United States lags in energy efficiency and that the
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…What’s Being Taught on Campus… What’s being taught in colleges and universities about energy and energy issues? When a student asked me a pointed question about an energy issue I asked where he had obtained such slanted information, and he referred me to his university professor. That got me looking
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…Sea Level Rise… Determining the amount of sea level rise in the past, and predicting it for the future is a tricky proposition at best, and may possibly be something that’s not currently possible to do. The media touts recent studies as proof of global warming and of a disastrous
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…False Promise of Biofuels… (The following article was published in January 2016 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Millions, probably billions of dollars have been wasted by investing in biofuel companies in an effort to
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…Modern Coal-Fired Power Plants… (The following article was published in September 2017 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants deserve clarity.  Recently, an editor dismissed ultra-supercritical coal-fired as jargon, and
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…Boring, But Important LCOEs… (The following article was published in September 2016 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is what excites engineers and economists, and bores most other
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…More on Radiation… (The following article was published in November 2013 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Before Fukushima, Chernobyl had been the worst accident at a nuclear power plant, and the accident
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…Common Sense or Ideology… Recently, Renewable Energy World announced:  “Efficiency Startup Gets Funding to Cut Energy Use by Buildings” The startup reportedly attracted investors including, “Tom Steyer’s, Radicle Impact Partners; former General Motors Co. Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky; and Tesla Inc. Chief Technology Officer, Jeffrey B Straubel”. Every new business
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…Europe’s Dependence on Russia for Energy… President Trump chastised Germany for its reliance on Russian natural gas, and the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Germany is highly dependent on imports for its energy, especially as it gets rid of nuclear and coal (lignite). Russia supplied nearly 40% of
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…Battery Powered Vehicle Update… Battery powered vehicle (BEV) sales increased 44% over the first half of last year. PHEV sales increased 30% year over year, while Hybrids (HEV) sales declined slightly year over year. BEV sales remain at only 0.7%% of total vehicle sales in the United States. Second quarter
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…“Big Hydro Power Win”… Greenwire reported “Greens score big win over Alabama hydropower project” as environmental groups obtain a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court said that FERC failed to properly consider the environmental impacts of relicensing Alabama Power Co.’s
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…How Low Sulphur Fuels will Affect the Oil Industry… Fracking has been the most important energy event of this century, freeing billions of barrels of oil for use by mankind. Recently, while not of the same magnitude of importance as fracking, Saudi Arabia has worked to limit the output of
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...Let’s Pay $2,500 More for Our Electricity… We could be paying at least $2,500 more per year for our electricity if we add wind and solar to the grid. This would be the result if we followed Germany’s example with its increased use of wind and solar. Today, the average
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…Feeding Off American Families… The June 19, article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Green-Power King Thrives On Government Subsidies” explained how NextEra Energy profited from wind and solar energy subsidies. It reported that NextEra Energy generated more electricity from wind and solar installations than did any other company in
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…Infrastructure for Battery-Powered Vehicles… There has not been, to my knowledge, a comprehensive study detailing the required investments in infrastructure to support battery-powered vehicles (BEVs). Any such study must address three infrastructure components: Power generation requirements Distribution system requirements Charging station requirements, quantity, location and type Additional power generation The
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…Natural Gas Is Next Target… For those in the oil and gas industry, including the American Petroleum Institute, who are objecting to efforts to keep nuclear power plants in operation, you have a problem. Natural gas is the next target for those who want to cut CO2 emissions.  The war
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…DC Transmission for Cutting CO2 Emissions… The previous article ended with the comment, “There have been at least two proposals to rebuild the US grid using DC transmission so as to cut CO2 emissions. The most recent proposal was by the Climate Institute in a Wall Street Journal article.” Is
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…AC and DC Transmission Lines… After every hurricane, there is a hue and cry to put transmission lines underground. Some people merely want less cluttered views, especially in scenic areas. Interestingly, an AGW group, the Climate Institute, wants to convert AC transmission to DC transmission and put it underground to
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…From the Horse’s Mouth… When analyzing comments made by people, it’s very important to go to the source document to be certain the person is being quoted accurately. In my view, and that of others, several RTO/ISOs have created an auction system for wholesale markets that, by their design, excludes
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…Americans Are Being Badly Served… Activists who support radical action to combat climate change will not listen to opposing views, and will, in fact, attack anyone who tries to bring forth facts that undermine their beliefs. For example, Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island wants to use the RICO laws to
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…Why HELE Matters… There is a constant drumbeat of anti-coal news in the media. Some of the anti-coal news is fostered by AGW environmentalists who claim the world needs to cut CO2 emissions, while the most recent science points to the sun as being the primary cause of global warming.
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…Another Utility Voices Reliability Concerns… In comments addressed to the California Energy Commission on May 22, Senior Vice President Gas Transmission, Storage, and Engineering of SoCalGas, said: “Without sufficient [gas] storage inventory … energy reliability is hinging on the vagaries of the weather.” So, we now have another voice raising
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...The Validity of Grid Access Fees… After every major storm, there is a hue and cry in the media about how the utility company didn’t do enough to protect its customers from outages and get them back online more quickly. The vast majority of power interruptions are caused by the
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…Effects of Mandating PV Rooftop Solar… California, with great fanfare and huge media accolades, announced it will mandate the use of PV rooftop solar on all new homes, including any building of three stories or less, beginning in 2020. But, does anyone see a problem with this fanfare when viewing this
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…Picking and Choosing… It’s been interesting to read all the glowing stories about how renewables are competitive with coal and natural gas power plants.  Here is a headline from Forbes: “Production Cost Of Renewable Energy Now ‘Lower’ Than Fossil Fuels” The stories piqued my curiosity so I finally obtained a
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…Endangering American Lives… ISO-NE has analyzed the potential for blackouts in New England and has requested a waiver from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to keep a natural gas plant online due to fuel security risks. This quote is the preamble to the ISO-NE petition: “PETITION OF ISO NEW
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…Renewables Increase Costs… There has been a running debate about whether the special advantages given to renewables, such as renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and net metering, add to the price consumers pay for electricity. Net metering was introduced to encourage the use of solar generation, initially for PV rooftop installations,
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…Fusion Power… Generating electricity from fusion rather than fission of atoms has been a dream ever since the first hydrogen bomb was exploded. What was originally seen as an easily solvable scientific problem, i.e., how to control the plasma, has turned out to be far more difficult than originally envisioned.
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…Can Nuclear Power be Saved?… The immediate threat to nuclear power is the use of auctions by various RTO/ISOs. The longer-term threat to nuclear power in the United States is the high cost of construction and the public’s irrational fear of radiation. Even before RTO/ISO auctions began forcing nuclear power
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…Amazing Sunspots… Why would a blemish on the sun, that could barely be seen with the naked eye, be of interest to us on Earth? The first person who identified a linkage between sunspots and the earth was an astronomer, William Herschel (1738-1822). Herschel had previously shown that invisible rays from
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…Installed Wind Capacity Braggadocio… The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is constantly bragging about increases in installed wind capacity. AWEA has made statements such as the following from its 2016 annual report: “Wind power delivered 30% of all new capacity installed over the past five years.” Accompanied by this chart:
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…Pending Disaster… The PJM independent system operator (ISO) said there is no imminent danger to the grid when it was asked about the First Energy bankruptcy filing and First Energy’s request of FERC for cost recovery for its nuclear and coal-fired power plants. While there is no immediate threat caused
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…Electric Vehicle Report Card 1Q 2018… The status of electric vehicles remains substantially unchanged from last year. For the first quarter, the sale of plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) increased by 29% YOY, while battery-powered vehicles (BEV) increased by 35% YOY. PHEV and BEV sales remain at only 1.3% of total
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…DOE Confirms Threat to Grid Reliability… Several previous articles explored whether grid reliability was being endangered when RTO/ISOs used auctions to select which generation source to use. The initial article described how oil saved New England from blackouts this past winter. See, How oil saved New England Successive articles delved
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…Who’s Responsible for Keeping the Lights On?… Who is responsible for keeping the lights on? Is it the state, e.g., Massachusetts, or is it an RTO/ISO? Or is it the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)? And what about the utility company? In previous articles, problems with the auction system have
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…More on the Auction Fiasco… There appears to be general agreement that the auctions used by RTO/ISOs are rigged in favor of wind and solar. This past Saturday’s bankruptcy filing by a First Energy unit is largely the result of these auctions. RTO/ISOs use both real-time and forward capacity market
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…It’s Time to End the Auction Fiasco… It’s time to end the fiasco of wholesale electricity markets, that rely on auctions to determine which source of electricity to use on the grid. These wholesale markets are rigged in favor of wind and solar and they are forcing baseload power generation,
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…Obfuscation… Obfuscation can be defined as: “When someone presents an argument containing unnecessarily complex language that confuses or deceives.” We are now confronting obfuscation when it comes to understanding or evaluating the generation and use of electricity. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a prime example of an organization guilty
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…Dumping Is Bad… Considerable media attention has been given to tariffs, and the dumping of steel at below cost. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published the accompanying chart showing steel production and steel imports by country. In its article, the WSJ focused on the righthand chart, pointing out that only
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…Announcing, Crisis in the Mideast, a novel… Crisis in the Mideast is a novel. It’s fiction that uses facts for the basis of actions and settings to create a sense of realism. Short Description An Iranian sponsored terrorist attack kills thousands of innocent people and results in UN sanctions against
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…The Truth About Coal, China, and Smog… Environmental extremists, especially those wedded to the CO2 hypothesis for global warming, have repeatedly reported on China’s smog and how coal-fired power plants were to blame. An expert on China, Xizhou Zhou, at the IHS Market CERAWeek, painted a completely different picture, which
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…EIA Distorts Energy Forecasts, Part 2… The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is providing misinformation to Americans in support of cutting CO2 emissions and promoting renewables. The following is another example of how the EIA is making unsubstantiated, misleading claims. In this chart, EIA forecasts that PV solar, rooftop installations, will
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…EIA Distorts Energy Forecasts, Part 1… What’s happening at the Energy Information Administration (EIA)? Are holdovers from the last administration producing reports that undermine this administration’s energy policies? The EIA has just issued its latest Annual Energy Outlook, AEO 2018, and it contains a plethora of misinformation. This and the
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…Living on the Edge… With all the media attention given to the benefits of wind and solar and the negative aspects of fossil fuels, it’s worth examining what’s happening in countries that have invested heavily in wind and solar. There are, for example, (1) the extra costs in Germany, see
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…Blackouts Are Coming to New England… According to a study done by the New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE), there is a virtual certainty New England will experience blackouts over the next few years. The ISO-NE, Fuel Security Analysis ran 23 scenarios for the winter 2024/2025 and in all but
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..China Moves Ahead, While US Falls Behind… China has consolidated its nuclear power industry by combining two major Chinese nuclear companies, CNEC and CNNC, into a single powerhouse. The new company will have 150,000 employees. For comparison, Google has 72,000. Costco has 143,000. GE has 305,000. The company is marketing
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…Clean is Cool, But is it Good?… How can clean not be good? No one wants dirty. Yet, that is how an important argument, affecting everyone, everywhere has been framed. A scientific issue has been wrapped in a mantle of clean, cloaking, or at least obscuring, two underlying issues. One
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…New England Solar Madness… A previous article praised the ISO-NE for pre-planning the use of oil to save the grid from blackouts during this January’s freeze. Data from ISO-NE can also demonstrate the madness of trying to rely on solar energy at any time of the year in the northern
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…Oil Saves New England… During the coldest days this past January, the New England grid was on the brink of disaster, and only pre-planning by ISO-NE, with emergency actions by the Coast Guard and luck kept the lights on. The pre-planning by the New England Independent System Operator consisted of
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…Carbon Capture Nirvana… McKinsey & Company has been supporting the AGW position that CO2 is the cause of climate change, and has recently touted carbon capture and usage as a means for cutting CO2 emissions in a “carbon constrained world.” It should be noted that carbon is a black solid,