Home | About | Donate

Trump Has Plenty of Accomplices in His Reckless Energy Policies


#1

Trump Has Plenty of Accomplices in His Reckless Energy Policies

Harvey Wasserman

Some 360,000 Americans now work in the solar industry, more than in nukes and coal combined. In fact, more Americans are now working in California’s solar industry than are digging coal nationwide. And the U.S.


#2

Bad habits are hard to break.

Especially when huge sums of money are involved.


#3

The Beaver nuclear plant may be bleeding red ink, but First Energy’s huge, incredibly polluting (far worse on any scale or time frame than nuclear power) Bruce Mansfield coal power plant next door, after a few shaky years, is now quite profitable and will continue to operate indefinitely into the future. We will hear nothing from Mr. Wasserman about that.

I always find it strange that leftists will bring out libertarian capitalist arguments out of their toolboxes when they oppose something. Since when are we on the left supposed to oppose government subsidies for things with a social and environmental benefit? Solar and wind currently rely of various tax breaks and other forms of government subsidy, and that is a perfectly good thing. I’m certainly paying a substantial premium to buy Pennsylvania renewable electricity through our state’s “electric choice” system.


#4

Obviously this is a very complex problem. It is very difficult to install wind and solar fast enough to replace coal and nuclear. For electricity, coal plants are largely being replaced by natural gas plants. That is why the lights are still on. Only a very small percentage of energy comes from solar so far but wind is beginning to play a significant role. However, what they call the “shale revolution” has resulted in natural gas prices that are so low that it is difficult for solar and wind to compete. Wind depends on subsidies but we seem to be reaching a point where solar is now economically competitive. The big question for leftists is fracking. The technology has resulted in a abundance of oil and gas production from the US. Many people have called for a complete ban on fracking yet US energy is dependent of fracking as are a number of state economies and many local economies. It also has resulted in numerous high paying jobs. However, it involves many pollution problems and the health effects of fracking are still very unclear.


#5

Typical…


#6

“Reckless” or premeditated gifts to the Fossil fuel industry conglomerate? The American people are paying for yet another gift from the trump regime to the business-as-usual scum who just want profits at the expense of all else.

Its not just pulling-out of the Iran deal - JCPOA, but many actions designed to raise gas prices so the few can profit by BILLIONS! Isn’t that a violation of his oath of office? Isn’t that a political move to benefit his greedy self and cronies? Isn’t that pattern a criminal violation of something for fucks sake!?

The malignant greed, lack of any shred of moral compass or wisdom, his limitless stupidity, and willful ignorance of trump is monumental - worthy of a Nobel or Oscar or hanging! - He is so easy to manipulate and we see evidence of that everywhere we look, including his potential profitting from his political decisions as president! The thing is we don’t know doe we, because the POS is 'smart" and corrupt enough (showing guilt and premeditation) to refuse yet again to release his tax returns…if there isn’t a whole raft of “smoking guns” there I’ll eat the paperwork!

Here his oil industry co-conspirator darlings and the swine saudi’s want higher prices and trump provides the sparks to make that happen…Jeeze, it’s like he doesn’t care at all about the “little people” in America, either coast or heartland, or the rest of the world…all will pay for his malignant evil character!

Didn’t anyone explain to the moron that “commie” Venezuela, Mexico, Russia and some other “enemies” will also reap the rewards from trump’s manipulating policy decisions to raise fuel p[rices??


#7

Ah the powers of the “Free market”. Out of one side of their mouths they speak to the inefficiencies of Government run enterprise and how all should be run like a business while out the other they begging for Government handouts to prop up their Industries.

Here is the reality. Some 80 percent of Industry and Corporations would collapse were it not for the Government propping them up. They rely on Governments orders of magnitude more then those they label as “welfare queens” .


#8

As in typically well thought out?


#9

there is only negative “benefit” from nuke power. it is a major CAUSE of global warming. all reactors need to shut asap.

thankfully the renewable energy industry has hit critical mass, with huge jobs and other benefits, both economic & ecological.


#10

Today the water temperature west of Svalbard, in the Arctic, is about the same as the ocean off San Diego. The powers that be have already decided that extinction is ok if there is money to be made in the dying breaths of humanity. The energy policy is death. Whole generations of wealthy policy makers are committed to it. It is stupid to blame this on one crass president.


#11

it’s time to slay King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas) forever.

renewables are now cheaper, safer, cleaner, more reliable, produce more jobs & are faster to install than anything having to do with fossil/nukes. time to head for solartopia!!!


#12

let’s go solar. we have the solution. the problem is the corporate fossil/nuke cancer.


#13

James Hansen disagrees. The IPCC disagrees. Current tech nuclear has about the same global warming impact as photovoltaic and wind, and is roughly in the middle of the pack for other renewables. Today’s tech nuclear has many problems, but being a major contributor to global warming is not one of them.

But even granting its problems in other areas, it looks like nuclear power could be greatly improved with very different designs (molten salt reactors, for example), and there are dozens of teams, projects and ventures working on that. This prompts some obvious questions. Is there any point at which nuclear power could ever be good enough that you would consider it acceptable, or would you oppose any form of nuclear power we could develop, no matter how good it is?

What if we develop forms of nuclear which are not only much better than the nukes we have now, but would actually make it easier to retire the existing nukes sooner. Would you still oppose the new designs?


#14

I couldn’t agree more about the need to get off fossil fuels. I think there some room for debate over nukes but it would be preferable to get off them as well. However, we need to be realistic. In most parts of the country the efficiency of solar is only 15%. That means a enormous solar capacity is needed. The number of solar panels needed is mind boggling. In optimal sites wind has an efficiency of slightly under 50% which is much better than solar but sill way below fossil fuels and nuclear. Another problem is energy storage technology is still rather limited and it is expensive. This all adds up at a great need for increased energy efficiency and energy conservation. This transition to renewable energy quickly enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change going to be very difficult even in places where the politics are favorable.


#15

Sorry PB, my previous comment was meant for generic CD feedback, not you…not paying attention seems like…apologies to you if any are needed.


#16

As usual, you offer no authority or source for your assertions. Do you just make this shit up? Most of your post is demonstrably untrue.

The US added over 7,000 MWs of wind turbine capacity in 2017 and has over 28,000 MW of capacity installed or in the pipeline for 2018. A typical coal or nuclear plant is in the 1,000 MW range, so we’re talking 7-28 plants per year. Seems pretty fast to me.

The US added over 5,000 MWs of solar in 2017. In total, renewables represented 49% all utility-scale new generation in 2017. If you add customer-sited solar, it’s over half.

Texas got 18% of its energy from wind and solar in 2017. Nationwide, the total was 17% for all renewable sources.

According to the EIA, wind now has a lower levelized cost of energy (the only way to understand the costs of different technologies with different lifespans) than natural gas, excluding subsidies.


#17

This is really either a disingenuous statement or an ignorant one. You seem to think that the 15% number means that if you install 1,000 MW of capacity you’ll only “get” 150 MW of output. That’s not what the 15% efficiency number means at all. A solar panel with a 15% efficiency is turning 15% of the energy potential in the insolation it receives (i.e. the amount of sunlight) into electricity. The only meaningful “rating” for a solar panel is it’s MWAC value – how many MWs of AC power does it deliver when the sunshines.

The same goes for your 50% efficiency statement about wind power. A wind turbine turns 50% of the potential energy in the wind it experiences into electricity.

This has nothing to do with the “enormous solar capacity” needed statement that you put forward.

As for storage, you grossly oversimplify and misstate the problem. It turns out that most wind energy is generated in the evening hours, while (obviously) solar is generated during daylight hours. At the same time, the demand for energy undergoes a series of peaks and troughs over the course of a typical day. Wind and solar combined for a significant portion of our energy needs essentially act as “batteries” for one another. It’s true we’ll need some real energy storage to keep the lights on in a 100% renewable world, but it’s nowhere near the amount you seem to imply. In addition, energy efficiency and load management can be used to create a virtual energy resource to help balance the system.

It’s unfortunate that you keep spouting off this nonsense when you really have no idea what you’re talking about. Your are simply enabling the status quo – including the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and their campaigns of mis/disinformation.

As for the cost of storage, it comes in many forms. You are, obviously, talking about batteries. Batteries have relatively high energy costs, but only if you limit your analysis to the cost of replacement energy. If you include the other ancillary values of batteries and pay battery owners for those values, the net cost of a battery comes down significantly. These ancillary values include things like power quality (keeping frequency and voltage, etc. within norms) and responding to outage events, can be quite high, as has been the experience in Australia with Tesla’s big battery installation.

But there are other forms of storage. For example, energy can be stored in water by heating it when energy is cheap and not heating it when it is more expensive. So if you use solar during the day to generate electric to heat residential hot water to temperatures higher than most would use, you can avoid heating in the middle of the night when no one needs it. Same for air conditioning, where you can create ice when energy is plentiful and then use that ice to chill air when it is less plentiful. There are all proven technologies that are being deployed to deal with the intermittent nature of solar and wind.

Finally, like most who focus on costs, you fail to capture the cost of externalities. While renewables have some minimal externalities, fossil and nuclear fuels have significant externalities. When you add these in, renewables are far and away cheaper than their alternatives. Too bad you don’t “message” that message, instead of the nonsense you keep putting forward around here.

The only thing you got right was the need for more energy efficiency, though I doubt you understand the nature of that need and what energy efficiency can deliver to the system.

The only part of this statement that is true is the bit about the politics, of which you seem to be part of the problem.


#18

No worries mate.

No offense taken.


#19

Most of the renewable energy in the US is hydro and that is been available for many years. I think solar and wind combined accounts for about 5% of energy for electricity (obviously much less for all energy, the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the US is transportation which relies mostly on oil). Texas is leading the country in wind power for energy for electricity. Most states aren’t close. I don’t think the south has much solar or wind but it does have a lot of coal plants. When you talk about percentages of energy of course you are referring only for electricity. Not only is transportation a big source of GHG emissions but so is heating which relies mainly on the oil and gas. You are playing down the difficulty in making the transition to fossil fuels. We can’t do that much about transportation and heating until electricity is almost all from renewables. I think the US needs to reduce GHG emissions by about 90% at least below 1990 levels. At the rate things are going it looks like the US will not get close to that goal. Right now I believe the US is still slightly above 1990 levels. I think we can at least agree that the transition away from fossil fuels needs to go much faster.


#20

Actual, of the 17.1% share of total energy represented by renewables, hydro at 7.5% is only roughly 44% of that number, so it doesn’t represent mosts of the renewable energy, although it is currently the large component. Wind is fast on its heels at 6.3% of the total energy or roughly 37% of the renewables. Hydro is not a particularly growing share of anything – it’s pretty much fixed. Wind and solar, on the other hand, are where all the growth is.

Wrong again, the correct number for wind and solar combined is 8.8% of total electric energy.

The U.S., as of 2017, has over 82 GW of installed wind power capacity.[3] Only China has more installed capacity.

The five states with the most wind capacity installed at the start of 2017 were:

Texas (20,321 MW)
Iowa (6,917 MW)
Oklahoma (6,645 MW)
California (5,662 MW)
Kansas (4,451 MW)
Fourteen states now have 10 percent or more of their generation coming from wind power. Most of these are in the central plains. These states include North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Maine, Vermont, Oregon, and Idaho.[5]

The top five states according to percentage of generation by wind in 2016 were:[5]

Iowa (36.6%)
South Dakota (30.3%)
Kansas (29.6%)
Oklahoma (25.1%)
North Dakota (21.5%)

This is true, but it only reinforces the need to aggressively move the electric system to 100% renewables because electric transportation is the only viable means to address this issue.

Not at all. I’m emphasizing the urgent need to get on top of this issue on the electric side. It’s like your hosting a party in your penthouse suite at the top of skyscaper. The building is actually on fire down on the first 30 floors or so, but you refuse to believe the fire alarms that have gone off because you don’t yet smell the smoke. Meanwhile, you’re debating the odds of dying from a skyscraper fire versus heart disease or cancer and you’re firm in your conviction that fire will not be your downfall.

Well, guess what? The planet is on fire and if we don’t get our act together to put it out, we’re all doomed. But, hey party on! You don’t smell the smoke yet. I for one am declaring an emergency, notwithstanding your delusional beliefs.

As for the difficulty. First of all, it doesn’t matter how difficult it is. In fact, the US used to be country where we actually took on the difficult problems and solved them. Apparently you don’t believe we can or should do that.

In addition, it’s not all that difficult. In fact, those who done the analyses have shown time and again that it’s more expensive to not solve this problem ASAP than it is to use your incremental approach to “difficult” problems.

In spite of your approach to this problem.