PART ONE OF TWO PARTS
In this current hysterical climate of anthropogenic global warming, that has now had its title changed to Climate Change, where the emissions of Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse gas are being blamed for every ill known to mankind, I’m going to shine a light directly on what is perceived as the culprit, those coal fired power plants. I’m going to canvass replacing just one of those large plants with what we are being told is the only way we can proceed, that is replacing them with plants that use renewable sources to generate that electricity, those two being Wind power, and the two versions of solar power.
The electrical power currently provided from coal fired power plants makes up just a tick under 50% of all the electricity used in the U.S. You may think that is a large amount, but by World standards that percentage is in fact considerably lower than for the rest of the electricity supplied on Earth. For the rest of the World, that percentage is up around 85%, and even though the U.S. consumes one quarter of all the electricity produced on Earth, that remaining three fourths is virtually all produced from coal fired sources.
The reasons for this are numerous, but it is mainly due to the fact that coal fired plants are able to be brought on line quicker than for most other plants, and by that I mean from the first thought bubble, through all the planning, the construction, and up to the time they actually start delivering power to the grid. They are also cheaper to construct, in fact the cheapest of all the forms of power plant construction. True there are the ongoing costs of the steaming coal they use, but that coal itself is readily available in such vast quantities, and the cost of the coal is relatively cheap, and despite some price spikes in recent years, the price remains competitive enough for those coal fired plants to remain viable. Current coal reserves in the U.S. alone are enough to cover every contingency (including coal fired power plants) for 200 more years.
However, the main reason that those coal fired plants are so attractive is that they can supply Baseload power. This one word, ‘Baseload’, is perhaps the most misunderstood word by those who are not actually trained in the electrical field. Power is used in different areas, the three main areas being Residential, Commerce and Industry. Each consumes around one third of the total power. The Residential area power consumption is mainly in the area called ‘Peak power’ and this is centred mainly around two time periods, those being the two hours in the morning when everyone gets out of bed, and ready for school, work, etc, and the second time period is from around 4PM through to 8PM in the evening when everyone gets home, and has their evening meal etc. These periods provide two spikes in power consumption and these are called the ‘Peaking Power’ times.
The remainder of the time is the Baseload requirement. This is the power required for those other two sectors, Industry and Commerce, and also that part of the residential power that keeps all your stuff at home humming along, the fridges etc.
This baseload requirement is required absolutely, 100% of the time. Without it Industry would grind to a halt, as would Commerce, as would the general and orderly running of day to day life. This baseload power makes up around 75% of the total consumed power, give or take a little, but it is an absolute and critical need, and has to be available all the time.
Coal fired power plants can provide that baseload power, as the turbine/generator unit that generates the electricity can just hum along 24/7/365 barring minor maintenance.
Coal is pulverised and fed into a critical furnace. The coal is consumed, and the immense heat generated boils water to high temperature and high pressure steam. This steam drives a three stage turbine which then drives the generator which produces the electricity. The multi stage turbine and the generator are on the one shaft, and the steam drives the turbine through a constant speed drive gearbox. This unit can weigh between 250 and up to 600 tons depending upon the size of the plant. All this rotates at a speed of 3600 RPM, and a large unit can produce up to 850/900 MegaWatts of power. Some smaller plants have just the one generator, and the large plants that produce the large amounts of electricity have up to 3 generators on site and these are the plants that produce 2000 MW of power and more.
To produce that power, then vast amounts of coal must be burned to keep the steam driving this immense weight. On average, those large plants burn from 10,000 to 15,000 tons of coal each day, and most of those large plants burn 6.5 million tons of coal a year. As I have explained earlier, as each ton of coal is burned, the carbon combines with oxygen to form CO2, and each ton of coal produces 2.86 tons of CO2, so you can see that those large plants also produce a lot of this CO2.
There are around 1400 of these coal fired power plants spread across the US. They burn in total 1.065 Billion tons of coal, and just from the coal fired sector alone, the total CO2 emissions amount to 3.05 Billion tons of CO2 and even though that sounds to be an immense amount, it is in reality only 25% of all U.S. CO2 emissions.
LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS
Statistics are used to make a point, but the problem is that statistics are carefully selected to give the impression that those running the agenda would want you to believe. When viewed in isolation those quoted statistics make a compelling argument, but when those statistics are placed into context with the overall picture, an entirely different picture comes sharply into focus.
These figures for coal burned and CO2 emitted are statistics used to bludgeon you with, in the belief that this huge number will generate a false belief that this is somehow a really bad thing. What you need to realise is that over the Whole Planet, an amount of 50 Billion tons of CO2 is emitted each year. That makes the U.S. coal fired sector a contributor of only 6% of the overall total. That 50 Billion tons is from two websites from the U.N. so it’s not just something I have made up. I’m using the exact same figures of those who are pushing this agenda. That 50 Billion tons adds to the existing overall CO2 content in the Atmosphere. We are told that this CO2 is immensely increasing and it is that which is driving runaway global warming.
So placing those statistics into their correct context, the existing content of CO2 in the Atmosphere amounts to 0.0385% of the total atmosphere. Read that again. 0.0385% Now, those 50 billion tons added each year from the surface of the Planet add to that already tiny figure an amount of 0.0002%.
Can you see now how you are being quoted an enormously large amount of 50,000,000,000 tons of CO2, and yet all it adds is 0.0002% to the overall total, which is also an incredibly minute number of itself.
Lies, damned lies and statistics.
Still. those who would seek to close down those coal fired power plants on the strength of that also quote other statisitcs at you. The purpose of that is that when guys like me come in and quote real facts, sometimes not easily understood, those others will seek to deflect from what I say by introducing erroneous figures into the argument, the sole purpose of which is to introduce doubt into the minds of people who have very little concept of what the argument is about, let alone an understanding of the generation of electrical power.
The figures they selectively quote are that of energy efficiency conversion. When I mention that solar plants and wind plants only operate at an efficiency of 20 to 30% at their absolute best, while coal fired plants can operate at an efficiency of around 90%, these charlatans come in and say that regarding energy conversion, then coal fired plants only operate at around 35%, and 40% at best. This is a true statement, but it’s like saying a Chevy only produces 25% conversion to power with relation to the fuel burned by the engine.
They are talking about an entirely different thing altogether. The convention in the electrical power industry is that efficiency percentage is calculated from the Nameplate Capacity of the plant extrapolated out over the whole year to usable power actually consumed, and then expressed in a percentage.
The false comparison used by those who just want to introduce doubt is like comparing an orange with a block of flats. It’s not even a fruit, let alone the same orange.
So, statistics will be used for one purpose. To introduce fear into the argument, because their culture is the culture of fear. The fear that the Earth will catastrophically heat up and make life less sustainable for us all. They understand their politics of fear, and will use any method at hand to make their point. They have absolutely no knowledge of the generation of electrical power, and seek to impose their values on the rest of us by making us worry.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
In Part 2 tomorrow, I’ll canvass replacing one of those large coal fired plants and show you more of how statistics are being used to incorrectly portray the argument these people are pushing.