Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Coal Company

If I owned a coal company, my biggest fear would be that people would learn how much damage I was causing and make me pay for it. My second biggest fear would be that people would demand that power utilities switch from coal to nuclear energy.

What to do, what to do.

I would give money to my allies. All the groups that support renewable energy also support me. It's a simple fact of nature that renewable energy sources generate little or no power for hours or even days at a time and what they do generate is unpredictable. Furthermore, there's no way to save enough energy to hold people over from one power episode to the next. Anyone who does arithmetic can see that for himself. Some examples of the arithmetic can be seen here. That means backup energy supplies always have to be standing by when renewable energy sources are in operation.

In the short run, renewables will displace a few percent of my coal sales. But the economics of renewables make them unacceptable. That's because the backup energy sources required cost almost as much to hold in readiness as they do to operate. The result is that energy consumers pay for the same energy twice: once for the renewable energy and again for the backup. When people catch on to that their support for renewable energy will vanish.

There's also a second benefit. The political groups that pose as defenders of the environment ought to be pursuing me as Public Enemy Number 1. Even in the US, thousands of people die every month from coal pollution, as shown here. Worldwide, the deaths run into the hundreds of thousands every year, to say nothing of debilitating diseases, heavy-metal poisoning, and ocean pollution. But if I fund the political groups then they'll never make more than token objections. What they will do is attack my only competition with hammer and tongs. All the groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth will fall over themselves making up lurid and fantastic warnings against nuclear energy. All because of their infatuation with renewable energy.

That's enough, but for a few dollars more I can hire "consultants" who pretend to be scientists. They'll write articles and publish them in popular magazines that don't believe in peer review. They'll probably get away with it because most editors can't tell science from cotton candy. And in the remote chance some of these fake scientists are unmasked, most people won't hear about it anyway because journalists hate to admit they were wrong.

Yeah, that's the ticket!


Snave said...

Good weblog, and thanks again for your informative comment over at the Major Conflict blog!

As I try to learn more about nuclear energy and coal power, I will come to your site and use it as a resource.

I not only live downwind from the Hanford Nuclear Site, I also live downwind from the PGE Coal Plant near Boardman, Oregon. From Wikimapia at :

"This is Oregon's only coal-fired power plant, approved in 1975 just before pollution control requirements of the Clean Air Act came into effect. It's one of the few coal plants in the Western USA without modern pollution controls, and contributes significantly to haze and acid rain in the Columbia Gorge area.

"In Nov 2007 PGE announced they will spend $300 Million to install pollution control equipment, including scrubbers, that will reduce haze-causing pollution by 75% and remove 90% of the mercury emissions. The project will be finished in 2013."

Mercury! Scheise...

I was out at the tower once, back around 1979 or 1980. Knowing nothing about the ramifications of it then, I supposed it was a good thing for NE Oregon. The tower is amazing, standing a full 700 feet tall above the flat surrounding countryside. That it is a major polluter has only really been in the news in Oregon in the last few years, and even then, not that much. Maybe PGE has some pull when it comes to what gets into the news and what doesn't.

As for fake science, I have seen enough of that to last me a lifetime, particularly during the last eight years.

Red Craig said...

Snave, thanks for your informative comment.


Jason said...

Craig, thanks for your thoughtful reply to my question about the LTH article you posted. I borrowed your reference to the arithmetic link in this article for a recent post on my blog.

While that title might get a chuckle from some, I know there is a large percentage of democrats that believe in nuclear energy. As far as I know, I'm one of the first blogs of this type. I firmly believe energy should not be a bipartisan issue and nuclear deserves more respect than it receives.

I find your articles to be very thoughtful and backed up with excellent resources. If only "professional" articles were as informative.

Marcel F. Williams said...

Coal kills about 30,000 Americans annually and puts at least 100 times more radioactive waste into the environment, yet we still hear Obama and McCain talking about 'Clean Coal'.

The rest of the world is heading towards nuclear mostly using American technology while we sit here talking about only a few dozen more reactors in the near future.

Great blog!

Don Blankenship said...

“When I sold my coal company, I expected to do little more than watch the sunset on the porch that overlooks my farm, sipping iced tea, As the men start to gather, I know it is time, and I head down to my coal company to bring forth the box.
Don Blankenship