The Frightening Future For Electrical Power

Posted on Wed 04/21/2010 by


Read this very carefully. This is really important.

Sometimes, a bland short article makes something look so simple, and when the ordinary person reads it, the impression is that it actually can be achieved, because the belief is that the people making that statement must know what they are talking about.

However, when the ramifications sink in after it is explained, then what has been said becomes positively frightening, and that is not an overdramatisation.

Such is the case with a simple statement from the State Department that was released on the Monday just gone, regarding the compromise Bill before the Senate regarding Climate Change.

This is the link to that bland article regarding that statement. Don’t just skip this link. Go and read the article. It’s only short. It was released on Monday, probably to get it ‘out there’ in time for Earth Day, and it concerns the compromise Bill that will be placed before the U.S. Senate on 26 April.

What are those ramifications, and why is it so important? From that, why would I say that the future for electrical power is something that should frighten us?   …  

The main thrust of the report in question is in the following paragraph.

Without action to stop them, climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions will rise over 8,000 megatonnes by mid-century, the draft said. By adopting measures detailed in a bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives, these emissions will drop beneath 2,000 megatonnes. They’re now about 6,500 megatonnes. The United Nations measures greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes, or million metric tons.

(For conversion from the Metric Tonne to U.S. short tons, the multiplier is 1.1, and for all further calculations, I will be using the U.S. short ton figures.)

What this bland statement does not include is that these emissions are not an overall figure, but the figure for each and every year. The first thing you think of after finding that little thing out is that ‘Wow!’ that’s a huge amount. But, is it really?

Those U.S. emissions are made to look astronomically huge, but what needs to be considered are the overall figures for the whole of the Planet. Emissions from man made sources amount to a figure around 50 Billion tons each and every year, and some sources put that as high as 100 Billion tons, and more. This seemingly huge amount however, only adds one part in one million to the overall total of CO2 already in the Atmosphere, added to a an existing total amount of CO2 of 389 parts per million or 0.0389% of that overall Atmosphere.

Let’s look at it in some detail, and then work out what it actually means for the future of electrical power.

The current emissions of CO2 from the generation of all electrical power consumed in the U.S. can easily be calculated.

With respect to coal fired power, the US currently consumes (burns) 940 Million tons of coal to produce just on 48% of all electrical power consumed in the U.S. Each ton of coal that is burned produces 2.86 tons of CO2, so the CO2 produced from coal fired power amounts to 2.7 Billion tons.

With respect to Natural Gas fired power, the U.S. currently consumes (burns) 7.1 Billion MCF of Natural Gas. Each MCF produces 122 pounds of CO2, so the total emissions of CO2 from the Natural Gas Power sector amounts to 440 million Tons of CO2 to produce almost 21% of all electrical power consumed in the U.S.

(The measurement MCF here means 1000 cubic feet of Natural Gas.)

When the amounts from other CO2 emitting sources for electrical power are added in the overall total emissions of CO2 from the electrical power sector amount to 3.2 Billion tons.

Read that again. 3.2 Billion tons of CO2.

So, let’s go back to the bland statement from the State Department and look at what they are proposing.

The current amount of emissions is 7.15 Billion tons of CO2. If electrical power contributes 3.2 Billion tons, that is a factor of 44%.

What they are proposing is to bring that new total down to (under) 2.1 Billion tons from every source. So at the existing 44% from the power sector, then that means the new total for the power sector stands at around 900 million tons.

This is a reduction of 2.3 Billion tons.

Presuming that the Natural Gas sector will keep expanding at the rate it currently is, then that sector will be increasing, asked as they will be to take up some of that reduction from the coal fired sector, so their portion of the pie will increase, and in fact probably double, taking the emissions from that sector up close to that target of 900 million tons.

Getting the picture now are you?

What this effectively means is that the reduction in emissions of CO2 will be completely from that coal fired sector, currently emitting 2.7 Billion tons.

This means that every coal fired power plant across the whole of the U.S. will have to be closed down.


Keep reading that line for as long as it takes to sink in.

Half the electrical power currently being consumed in the U.S. will just disappear.

Needless to say, the idiots who made this stupid statement will tell you that this amount of power will be replaced, and that will be couched in terms that give the impression that it will be a relatively easy task.


They will tell you that it will be taken up with power produced from renewable sources.

As I have explained in (literally) hundreds of posts, that is an impossibility. Those plants can only supply their power for on average 8 hours a day at the absolute best. They are notoriously unreliable, enormously expensive, have only one third of the lifespan of those coal fired plants, cost much more to maintain, and the power they actually do supply is of such minimal amounts that it is not even considered by grid controllers when planning for power usage.

They will tell you that the Natural Gas sector will take up some of the slack. These types of plant are specifically designed to operate for short periods of time when extra power is required to top up the grids when Peaking power periods arrive. They operate most effectively in this application of running around 4 to 8 hours at a time. For them to be scaled up to provide their power for the full 24/7/365 basis, that will shorten their lifespan, and shorten it considerably.

Nuclear power plants could be proposed to take up the slack, but for that, they would need to construct around 200 of them at an absolute minimum and then place them strategically so they can actually take the place of existing large coal fired plants and provide the power for where it is actually needed. To actually do that, then they would have needed to start construction of the first of them ten years ago, and then construct around 10 to 15 of them each year from now. Not just start construction, but bring on line delivering power to existing grids. It’s problematic that one or two may gain approval for construction in the foreseeable future, let alone 200 or more of them.

Now do you think something like all the above can be accomplished?

So, when you read this wonderful statement from people who place their hand on their heart and tell you that they are doing this for your own good, for the good of all Americans, be fully aware that this is propaganda at its worst.

They are either lying, and lying flat out, or they haven’t even bothered to find out what it actually means.

If these people actually believe what they have said with respect to this matter, then we, all of us, should be seriously considering getting them as far away from decision making as possible, and doing that as soon as possible.

One last little paragraph from that above report says:

The State Department report will ultimately go to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

So, this is being done to please those at the UN. Well, I am surprised. Fancy the U.S. being beholden to the UN.

If this is the future, then it looks absolutely frightening.