Kerry Lieberman American Power Act – Renewable Power – Strike Three

Posted on Wed 05/19/2010 by


Tell me, would you enter a ‘Billy Cart’ in the Indy 500?

From this new proposed legislation, artfully called ‘The American Power Act’.

An Emissions Trading Scheme. An enormously huge new tax that even has an affect on the Renewable power sector. – Strike 1.

Carbon Capture and Storage. Strike 2.

Now comes their proposals for a dramatic increase in the construction of, and use of, power from Renewable Sources. Strike 3.

Senators Kerry and Lieberman who proudly sponsor this area of their proposed Bill needed only to look as far back as three months to see just how totally useless the main areas of renewable power that they propose really are, Wind Power and all forms of Solar Power generation.

December, January, and February, are those three Winter months, 90 days in all, and it was probably one of the harshest Winters in recent times.

Overall power consumption rose during those three months. That’s really nothing significant of itself, but what is significant is that for those 90 days, power consumption was higher than for most recent Winter periods in the U.S.

Power authorities in fact gear up for Winter periods, so that as much electrical power as there is, it is always available at the grids which supply all the users across the U.S. To that end, any regular maintenance periods are scheduled for those benign months during Spring and Autumn, when consumption dips considerably. So, as much electrical power as can be made available, is in fact always there, ready to be used by consumers, because, in the harsh and freezing Winter periods, electrical power for heating especially is almost mandatory in those cold States, and in effect, across the whole of the U.S.

The most recent data for the last month of Winter, February is now available from that huge resource, the Energy Information Administration. The chart at left is for February, and details consumption from all sectors that produce electrical power. As you can see, consumption in the coal fired sector has spiked considerably to 48.2% when it has been decreasing gradually for the last two years, and in fact was down as low as 44% in just November of 2009, before spiking considerably at the start of Winter. That renewable sector sits at 3.7%, and despite the ramped up construction of all forms of renewable power plants across the US, that percentage level has been relatively static around that 3.7% level.

Click on the chart to open it in a new and larger window.

What that huge database of statistics does show quite graphically is that over recent years, consumption for the three Summer Months has traditionally been higher than for those three Winter months. In the last Summer during 2009 however, overall power consumption across the whole U.S. actually decreased, when compared to previous Summer months, and perhaps those statistics might have been translated as meaning people were being more responsible with their use of electrical power. However, what seems most likely in retrospect is that this particular Summer of 2009 was a little more benign than previous Summers.

This Winter however, overall consumption spiked to a level well beyond even what it did for the two previous Winter periods, and in fact was a full 3.1% higher than for the previous Winter. That may sound small in percentage terms, but the actual figures of extra power being consumed are huge.

With such a large spike in power consumption, most sectors were required to increase their contribution of power made available to the grids for consumption, and in fact they did provide that greater level of power.

Well one sector, (and one sector only) in fact, did not increase their power to the grids. It actually decreased its amount of power, both in percentage figure, and, more importantly, in actual KWH made available to the grids. That sector was the Renewable Power sector, and of most note, those two current areas that are currently being pushed as a replacement for coal fired power, Wind Power, and both forms of Solar Power.

This Winter just gone, the greatest increase in power made available came from the coal fired sector. In earlier years, the Winter consumption from that coal fired sector has always been lower than what that sector provides for the three Summer months. This Winter however, consumption from the coal fired sector was in fact 5.5% higher than for the preceding Summer. In fact, in these times of using decreasing levels of power from that coal fired sector, that same sector actually increased the amount of power it provided compared with the previous Winter. The percentage increase was 3.4%, which may not sound much, but in actual power, it amounted to an increase of 12.5 Billion KWH, enough to provide power for 1.1 million average residences, and that was just the increase alone for power provided from that coal fired sector for the 90 days of Winter.

So then, just what did the renewable power sector provide when all that extra power was required?

It’s amount of electrical power it supplied to all the grids across America decreased.

With the onset of the first month of Winter, December, when overall power spiked considerably, (most of that from the coal fired sector) electrical power delivered from that Renewable sector actually decreased from the monthly levels of the previous months, and it was the only sector to do so. Then in January, the most severe Winter month in recent years, when overall power spiked even higher again, that Renewable power sector fell even lower than for what it provided in December. Now, for February, when power overall consumption dropped by 11% overall to a total delivered power number that was still high for Winter, the Renewable Power sector dropped its delivered power by a whopping 23%, Wind Power alone falling by 21%.


The U.S. has only in 2009 taken over as the largest producer on Earth for power generated from Wind Towers. In fact the total Nameplate Capacity for Wind Power in the U.S. is 38,000MW, and if an average large scale coal fired power plant has a Nameplate Capacity of 2000MW, then this Wind total is the same as for 19 of these large coal fired plants, so then, let’s do a comparison for both wind and the equivalent Coal fired plants, both on the basis for that last month of February, and then for the whole of Winter.

Even considering the exponential rise in the construction of Wind plants, the amount of power delivered from all of them for the Month of February was lower than for all bar one of the last 16 months, proving once and for all that it doesn’t matter how many of them you build, or even where you build them, that if the wind doesn’t blow, then you have very little power.

The total power delivered from that Nameplate Capacity of 38,000MW of wind towers was only 5.1 Billion KWH, meaning that for the month of February, they delivered their power at a delivery efficiency factor of only 18.3%, considerably lower than the hoped for 30 to 35%, and also even lower than the current Worldwide average of 20%.

Those equivalent 19 large coal fired power plants would have delivered 27.8 Billion KWH to their respective grids, an amount of power 5.45 times higher than for all those Wind Towers. Those equivalent 19 coal fired plants delivered the same power as all the wind towers in the U.S. in the first 5 days 7 hours and 40 minutes of February.

For the whole 90 days, those wind towers delivered to the grids 17.735 Billion KWH. This gives them a delivery efficiency rate of 21.6%, which is around the World average, but still below what is hoped for.

Those equivalent 19 large coal fired plants delivered 82.2 Billion KWH, an amount 4.64 times higher than for Wind.

This means that for those 90 days of what was one of the harshest Winters in recent years, those equivalent 19 coal fired plants delivered the same amount of power from all the wind towers in the U.S. by 25 past 10AM on the 19th of December, not even 20 days worth of power out of the 90 days of Winter.

This statistical analysis might sound pretty meaningless when put like this, because they don’t just stop producing power. It’s spread out over those 90 days. However, what it does mean is that those coal fired plants can supply all the power needs for all that time to all consumers. Those wind plants can only supply power to just one in five of those consumers, or if all consumers, then on average, for four and a half hours a day.

Is that good enough? Should these white elephants even be considered for regular power supply in the first place? No, on both counts.


Let’s then look at Solar Power, and this gets even more scary.

There’s no need to compare Solar power on an equal comparison, because it produces so little.

Let’s just compare it to the power delivered from just one large coal fired power plant.

In February, every Solar plant in the U.S. delivered 28 Million KWH of power to the U.S. grids.

That one coal fired power plant can deliver 1.35 Billion KWH for that same month, a factor of 48 times greater than for every Solar power plant in America.

In February, that ONE coal fired plant delivered the equivalent amount of power from all Solar plants in the first three and a half hours of the first day of February. Not even four hours worth of power over those 28 days.

The amount of power actually delivered for those 90 days from every Solar power plant in the U.S. was 53 Million KWH.

That one coal fired power plant can deliver 4.33 Billion KWH for those 90 days of Winter.

So, ONE coal fired power plant delivered an amount of power 82 times greater than for every Solar Plant in the U.S. for those 90 days of Winter.

For the whole 90 day Winter period that ONE coal fired power plant delivered the same power as all Solar plants over the whole 90 days of that Winter by 2.30 AM on the 2nd December, just one day. ONE DAY.


This is what this Administration is sinking untold Billions of dollars into. Two forms of electrical power generation that not only don’t provide regular power over the whole year, but when that power is needed most, they actually decrease the amounts of power they supply to the grids.

Some may say that it is entirely understandable that Solar Power does not perform at its best during Winter, which is basically a cop out, because other forms of power are supposed to work all year round. The total power delivered for the whole of 2009 from every Solar Plant in America was 808 Million KWH. That same amount of power was delivered from the ONE hypothetical Coal Fired Power Plant in 16 days.

The total power supplied from every Wind tower in America for 2009 was 70.761 Billion KWH. This same amount of power was delivered to grids across the U.S. by FIVE of these hypothetical coal fired power plants, and those coal fired plants delivered it 24/7/365, and not at the 21% power delivery efficiency rate for the whole year for all of these Wind towers, on average less than five hours a day.

In this proposed legislation, great store is made of the fact that this will be a source of many future jobs.

Great, but here’s what they are in effect doing.

They are creating jobs that will be building a ‘Billy Cart’ that they will then enter in the Indy 500. However, in that same American Power Act, provision is made for just this contingency. What they are doing is seeing to it that every other entrant in their version of the Indy 500 is disqualified.

The President himself has said that he wants to double the use of Renewable power during his first term. To that end they can construct as many new Wind Towers and Solar Plants as they can throw money at. However, it they are only supplying electrical power for on average five hours a day at the absolute best, just what use are those plants. Nearly 70% of all electrical power being generated is required for 24 hours of every day, not just those five hours a day from the renewable sector.

If you were to build something that is only going to work for 20% of the time, people will have every right to laugh at you, and vote with their money not to buy something that does not work correctly. However, this renewable power is being forced on you, and they are using your money to do it. This is just plain madness.

As I have said many times before, these fools who propose legislation like this show themselves out to be either grossly incompetent for not even doing any research, or grossly incompetent for not getting the correct people to inform them. It’s one or the other. Either way, are people like this qualified to lead us?

If this wasn’t so deadly serious, you’d burst out laughing.

The trouble is…..everybody loses.

The following are the reference links to the pages of statistics for electrical power consumption. What you are looking for here are the lines towards the bottom for December 2009, and January, February of 2010.

Overall Power Consumption from all sectors. Overall Total on the right, Coal Fired Power on the left.

Overall power consumption from the Renewable sector with Wind on the left and Solar next to that.