The Importance, And Necessity Of Coal Fired Power (Part 2)

Posted on Tue 01/12/2010 by



This Carbon Dioxide (CO2) ‘beat up’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the environment. If it was as dire as we are being told, Governments across the Planet would be immediately closing down the sources of those emissions, and the coal fired power sector is the largest of these emitters. The same applies for the United Nations. They would be applying as much pressure as they could to force those Governments to close them down immediately. Instead, the U.N. itself, through The World Bank, is actively in the business of constructing those coal fired power plants in those Third World Countries, and this link shows how they are doing just that.

Instead of closing them down, those Governments are actively legislating to impose a cost on that CO2, in effect, a huge new tax. That tax is in reality a sure thing, because electrical power is at the stage now where it is absolutely necessary for every day life in everything you do. You just cannot get by without electricity, be it at home, at work, at leisure, shopping, moving around, the whole sphere of your life.

Answer me this.


Why those Governments know they are onto a sure thing is that IF, (and that’s a pretty big stretch of an if) they do find a way to produce electricity on a large scale that can replace coal fired power, it will take up to ten years to build those replacement power plants, most probably a whole lot longer, so in the interim, the very first thing that they do is to impose that cost. The money rolls in, and because people still need that electricity, those coal fired plants just keep humming along, emitting what they always have, and all the Governments need do is count the money.

Consider this. Coal fired power produces almost half of all the electrical power being consumed in the U.S. This link shows you exactly how much coal is being burned on an annual basis in the U.S. The number you’re looking for is at the bottom left, and is expressed in Thousands of tons, so the total for the last 12 months was 952 Million tons.

This link shows exactly how each ton of coal burned produces 2.86 tons of CO2, making that total 2.72 BILLION tons of CO2. Add the further CO2 emissions from other power generating sources, Natural Gas etc, and the figure approaches 3.5 Billion tons of CO2.

That figure ‘seems’ astronomically huge, but it needs to be placed into context. Worldwide, each year more than 50 Billion tons of CO2 is being emitted, and as huge as that figure is, the total CO2 content of the whole Atmosphere is still only 0.0388% The smallest trace element in the overall Atmosphere, and that figure rises barely 0.002% each year. That’s the same ratio as 2 cents in $10,000. See the context now? CO2 is virtually nothing.

Yet, because that figure is so huge in actual tons, then any charge on that figure now becomes a monumentally huge amount of income for a Government seeking to impose a new tax on CO2.

So then, why is coal fired power so important and in fact a necessity?

Look at that deceptively simple diagram shown here. If you click on the image it will open in a new and larger window. Open it up and go and look at it. Keep it open and then come back here, because a diagram this simple means nothing without the correct explanation. What it shows is actual power consumption for anywhere in the U.S. and for that fact anywhere in the Western World that is fully developed.

The horizontal axis is the time, from midnight to midnight. The vertical axis needs no label as it just shows the power consumption. Summer power is the orange line and winter power is the blue line.

Now, see the low point of both lines there, at around 4AM when you are all snug in bed. See the horizontal line closest to that dip. That line indicates that even in your deepest sleep, when the whole Country is in fact sleeping, everything below that line is the electrical power still being consumed.


So, 70% of all the power everywhere is needed absolutely for 24 hours of every day.December Power Consumption Chart By Source

There are only 2 major methods of electrical power generation that can provide power on that required 24 hour basis, Coal fired power, and nuclear power, with some hydro electric plants also able to run for 24 hours of ever day adding to that total. So, with coal fired power producing just under 50% of all power, and Nuclear Power close to 20%, then straight away, there is your 70% of all power being generated and being consumed. In fact, as that diagram at right indicates, then the total from those 2 sources is running at only 64.6%, this pie chart from the latest Monthly report from the Energy Information Administration.

Governments know this and they know it very well. They know with absolute certainty that there is no way known that they can close down those coal fired power plants. However, the only thing they are telling you is that they need to place a charge on it and that way those emissions will miraculously start to decrease.

Yeah! Right!

See the point?

They know they can’t afford to close them down, because there would be absolute anarchy. Instead, they have latched onto this convenient argument that CO2 causes catastrophic Global Warming and that something has to be done. This gives them the convenient excuse to impose that new tax, and that’s all it is, a monetary imposition on an essential of life, and to somehow make it acceptable, not only acceptable, but, gee, how could anyone in their right mind argue against it.

In Part 1 yesterday, I carefully explained how the large scale generation of electrical power is not a simple thing, and I then explained how a coal fired plant does produce its electrical power. The schematic diagram you see above shows that in simplified detail. Again, by necessity this is a large image. If you click on that image, it will open in a new and larger window. It has a legend indicating the parts that go to make up this plant. All the action occurs at 5, 6, 9, and 11, the turbine/generator complex. The coal gets fed in at 14 and 15, pulverised at 16, and fed into the furnace with air. You can trace the pipes back through the furnace to the boiler at 17, and see how this part of the process works.

Although looking simple, this schematic is remarkably accurate as to the complexity of the plant.

What I wanted to impress on you yesterday was the weight of the Generator, and also the Turbine that drives it. That huge weight rotating at 3600 RPM means that this type of plant is best operated at full speed all the time, and in fact that is where the plant operated at its highest efficiency. They just hum along all day every day except for carefully scheduled down time for maintenance. They cannot be run and and down in speed on a short term basis, precisely because of that large weight. They provide that level of power that is called Base Load Power, that term that has been so erroneously misapplied to a completely different meaning. What it actually refers to is that level of power on that Load Curve diagram above where it shows the amount of power that is required absolutely, all of the time.

Here again is where people have no concept of the consumption of electrical power. These plants produce their power and make it available to the grids. As power is consumed it is drawn down from that level of power available on the grids.

For periods of time above that 70% level, other plants come on line to add to that existing total, so that when the power is required, it is actually there on the grid available for use. Those plants provide what is called ‘Peaking Power’. They are in the main natural gas fired power plants. With these, a turbine even more closely resembling a jet engine turbine directly drives the generator. The nature of these plants is that they can only run for short periods of time, just mere hours, while those lumbering coal fired plants hum along all the time. As consumption falls away, then those ‘Peaking Power’ plants again run down. Because they are considerably smaller in weight, they actually can run up to speed quickly and then back down again when not required.

Coal fired power plants take a considerable amount of time to change speed, and that is very carefully calculated so it happens rarely. They are also run at this continuous speed all the time, because this is how they are operating at their best rate of efficiency. If they could be run up and down in speed at a whim, then coal consumption would be considerably higher.

Governments know all this and they know it absolutely. That’s why these plants they label as huge CO2 emitters are an absolute captive target. They know that they just MUST keep humming along as they always have, because that electrical power is required to actually keep the Country going, and that is not said with tongue in cheek.

So, to find a way to rake in all that money from a target that must keep going the way it always has, they needed an excuse to be able to justify that straight out grab for money.

So, those Scientists and Scientific Establishments gave them that excuse, when they started this whole CO2/Global Warming thing. The Governments and the Science all just fed off one another. The Governments gave them huge amounts in Government grants, and as bland as that sounds, the amounts so far have amounted to hundreds of Billions of dollars. The Science part of it saw an endless bucket of money ….. as long as they came out with the results the Government wanted to hear. So they did just that. More money followed. More Science for the Governments to latch onto, hence more grants. More Science came aboard, all of them wanting their by now ensured bottomless bucket of money. Imagine one Scientific establishment coming out and saying the opposite. The money would dry up to a full stop, and they would then be crucified, so it’s no wonder they all come out with affirming viewpoints.

That’s how we came to Climategate. Highlight the parts that affirm, and anything that disagrees, then either hush it up, don’t mention it at all, or vilify those who do dissent. Then cover up the fact that you did in fact find a disagreeing point of view.

That part is actually logical. It had to happen, because there was just so much money involved.

Now, those politicians have told us that the debate is over.

Tax time has come. We have our relevant excuse now, and we have a captive target that ensures a steady, and a huge yearly income, and now it has become acceptable for human consumption, because the people believe it, and in fact are actually screaming out for those politicians to do it. Those coal fired plants will be taxed on the CO2 they emit. That charge will then be passed directly down to the consumer of electrical power. So, if you use electrical power, then you are paying a further, and now much larger cost just for doing that. Think of how much electrical power you use and use every minute of your life. See how this is now just a tax on something you have an absolute requirement for.

Governments know all this.

What they are relying on is that you have absolutely no idea how these coal fired plants work, what they provide, and how they just have to keep providing it.

They have spun up this debate for the money that will flow to them.

As I said right at the top here. This is nothing whatsoever to do with the environment. It’s just about the money. Otherwise, they’d just close those coal fired power plants down, and if it was as dire as they tell us, they would be doing this right now.

They can’t, and they won’t. It’s their bottomless bucket of money.

Link To Part One