Donn’s Articles

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…Smart News is an Oxymoron… The final nail in journalism’s coffin may have been driven with the advent of “smart news”. Any attempt to offer the public “smart news”, a product that supposedly allows people to hear both sides of a story, merely hastens journalism’s final collapse. Fox News’ recent
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…US Navy’s Survival – When US Nuclear Industry Dies… The nuclear power industry in the United States is dying. If not in the near term because of rigged bidding by RTO/ISOs, then because of expiring operating licenses. (All existing nuclear power plants must close when their operating licenses expire. The
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…Electric Vehicle Status Report, 9 Months 2018… The third quarter showed a significant increase in the sale of Battery-Powered Vehicles (BEVs), which was probably the result of Tesla’s push to build its Model 3. Another significant change was the drop in the sale of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). The table
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…Hothouse Earth: Are You Afraid Yet?… Those who say CO2 is causing global warming and climate change are relying on fear to convince you to change how you live, and adopt a more primitive lifestyle. Their messages promote fear, and repudiate any discussion of the science of global warming, claiming
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…Rush to Judgment About Oil… Are we facing the end of the oil era? Will battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) put an end to internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs)? Will government regulations curtail the use of fossil fuels to eliminate CO2 emissions? These are the questions that need to be addressed.
Pinocchio. Photo by D. Dears
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…Peak Oil Politically Motivated Conjecture… DNV GL has published Energy Transition Outlook 2018, consisting of two reports, A global and regional forecast to 2050, and, Oil and Gas Forecast to 2050. (DNV GL is an international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered in Høvik, Norway, mentioned in the Wall Street
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…Battery Powered Vehicles and Demand for Oil… In the previous article, we showed that Peak Oil Demand was a bogus depiction of the future and that mankind will continue to use large quantities of oil for many decades into the future. This article will address the second issue raised in
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…Peak Oil Demand is Bogus and Meaningless… For decades, Malthusian economists and others have predicted the world would run out of oil. They used Hubbert’s Curve to establish when the world would reach peak oil, from which point the world’s oil supply would begin to decline. Hubbert’s Peak represented when
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…Johnny One Note… Poor Johnny could only play one note in the musical Babes in Arms, 1937, Rogers and Hart. Today, the media can only recite one phrase, “It’s because of global warming and CO2.”  It makes little difference as to the subject: If it’s bad news, it’s because of
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…An Objective Look at Deep Water Drilling… After a long hiatus, deepwater drilling is beginning to grow once again. The Saudi induced oil shock of the recent past, i.e., 2015, that caused oil prices to crash, coupled with the disaster of the Macondo fire and explosion, brought deepwater drilling to
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…Four Letter Word: Subsidence… Subsidence must be a four-letter word because it’s rarely used in media stories about flooding. Miami is the poster child for flooding, supposedly caused by climate change. Bloomberg Businessweek published a lengthy story in its September 3 issue about flooding in Miami, where it mentioned climate
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…Memories… We were traveling on the Acela train from Washington, DC to New York City to visit for a few days.  A young man and his mother were seated across the aisle where they could look towards the city. At one point it was possible for the four of us
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…Truth About Germany’s EEG is Hard to Find… One can expect organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists to provide biased or inaccurate information, but there are traditional mainstream media organizations that also provide misleading or inaccurate information. Some of these publications may come as a surprise. One such
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…Robots and Battery Powered Vehicles… The visit to the BMW plant confirmed three factors concerning battery-powered vehicles (BEVs). See, Manufacturing a Car is Easy There is no fundamental reason why GM and other traditional automobile manufacturers can’t produce BEVs as inexpensively as Tesla or any other new entrant. The rationale
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…Manufacturing a Car is Easy… On my trip to Europe, I had an opportunity to tour the BMW plant in Regensburg. When I retired from General Electric, the factory of the future was floundering. The person responsible for developing the factory of the future had a vision, but was frustrated
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…Russia Influencing U.S. Energy Decisions… Russia gets a lot of media attention, especially as it relates to our elections, but only a few in the media have suggested that Russia is trying to influence US energy decisions. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported on Russia’s apparent use of social
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…Watch the Sun… (The following article was published in March 2014 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Watching the sun could provide clues about global warming. In 1800, William Herschel, a leading astronomer,
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…Fascinating Energy Efficiency Assertions… (The following article was published in November 2015 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Extreme environmental organizations preach that the United States lags in energy efficiency and that the
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…What’s Being Taught on Campus… What’s being taught in colleges and universities about energy and energy issues? When a student asked me a pointed question about an energy issue I asked where he had obtained such slanted information, and he referred me to his university professor. That got me looking
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…Sea Level Rise… Determining the amount of sea level rise in the past, and predicting it for the future is a tricky proposition at best, and may possibly be something that’s not currently possible to do. The media touts recent studies as proof of global warming and of a disastrous
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…False Promise of Biofuels… (The following article was published in January 2016 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Millions, probably billions of dollars have been wasted by investing in biofuel companies in an effort to
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…Modern Coal-Fired Power Plants… (The following article was published in September 2017 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants deserve clarity.  Recently, an editor dismissed ultra-supercritical coal-fired as jargon, and
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…Boring, But Important LCOEs… (The following article was published in September 2016 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates, by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is what excites engineers and economists, and bores most other
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…More on Radiation… (The following article was published in November 2013 and is still relevant today. It is repeated now, with updates by an associate, while I do not have access to the Internet.) Before Fukushima, Chernobyl had been the worst accident at a nuclear power plant, and the accident
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…Common Sense or Ideology… Recently, Renewable Energy World announced:  “Efficiency Startup Gets Funding to Cut Energy Use by Buildings” The startup reportedly attracted investors including, “Tom Steyer’s, Radicle Impact Partners; former General Motors Co. Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky; and Tesla Inc. Chief Technology Officer, Jeffrey B Straubel”. Every new business
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…Europe’s Dependence on Russia for Energy… President Trump chastised Germany for its reliance on Russian natural gas, and the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Germany is highly dependent on imports for its energy, especially as it gets rid of nuclear and coal (lignite). Russia supplied nearly 40% of
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…Battery Powered Vehicle Update… Battery powered vehicle (BEV) sales increased 44% over the first half of last year. PHEV sales increased 30% year over year, while Hybrids (HEV) sales declined slightly year over year. BEV sales remain at only 0.7%% of total vehicle sales in the United States. Second quarter
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…“Big Hydro Power Win”… Greenwire reported “Greens score big win over Alabama hydropower project” as environmental groups obtain a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court said that FERC failed to properly consider the environmental impacts of relicensing Alabama Power Co.’s
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…How Low Sulphur Fuels will Affect the Oil Industry… Fracking has been the most important energy event of this century, freeing billions of barrels of oil for use by mankind. Recently, while not of the same magnitude of importance as fracking, Saudi Arabia has worked to limit the output of
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...Let’s Pay $2,500 More for Our Electricity… We could be paying at least $2,500 more per year for our electricity if we add wind and solar to the grid. This would be the result if we followed Germany’s example with its increased use of wind and solar. Today, the average
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…Feeding Off American Families… The June 19, article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Green-Power King Thrives On Government Subsidies” explained how NextEra Energy profited from wind and solar energy subsidies. It reported that NextEra Energy generated more electricity from wind and solar installations than did any other company in
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…Infrastructure for Battery-Powered Vehicles… There has not been, to my knowledge, a comprehensive study detailing the required investments in infrastructure to support battery-powered vehicles (BEVs). Any such study must address three infrastructure components: Power generation requirements Distribution system requirements Charging station requirements, quantity, location and type Additional power generation The
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…Natural Gas Is Next Target… For those in the oil and gas industry, including the American Petroleum Institute, who are objecting to efforts to keep nuclear power plants in operation, you have a problem. Natural gas is the next target for those who want to cut CO2 emissions.  The war
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…DC Transmission for Cutting CO2 Emissions… The previous article ended with the comment, “There have been at least two proposals to rebuild the US grid using DC transmission so as to cut CO2 emissions. The most recent proposal was by the Climate Institute in a Wall Street Journal article.” Is
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…AC and DC Transmission Lines… After every hurricane, there is a hue and cry to put transmission lines underground. Some people merely want less cluttered views, especially in scenic areas. Interestingly, an AGW group, the Climate Institute, wants to convert AC transmission to DC transmission and put it underground to
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…From the Horse’s Mouth… When analyzing comments made by people, it’s very important to go to the source document to be certain the person is being quoted accurately. In my view, and that of others, several RTO/ISOs have created an auction system for wholesale markets that, by their design, excludes
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…Americans Are Being Badly Served… Activists who support radical action to combat climate change will not listen to opposing views, and will, in fact, attack anyone who tries to bring forth facts that undermine their beliefs. For example, Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island wants to use the RICO laws to
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…Why HELE Matters… There is a constant drumbeat of anti-coal news in the media. Some of the anti-coal news is fostered by AGW environmentalists who claim the world needs to cut CO2 emissions, while the most recent science points to the sun as being the primary cause of global warming.
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…Another Utility Voices Reliability Concerns… In comments addressed to the California Energy Commission on May 22, Senior Vice President Gas Transmission, Storage, and Engineering of SoCalGas, said: “Without sufficient [gas] storage inventory … energy reliability is hinging on the vagaries of the weather.” So, we now have another voice raising
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...The Validity of Grid Access Fees… After every major storm, there is a hue and cry in the media about how the utility company didn’t do enough to protect its customers from outages and get them back online more quickly. The vast majority of power interruptions are caused by the
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…Effects of Mandating PV Rooftop Solar… California, with great fanfare and huge media accolades, announced it will mandate the use of PV rooftop solar on all new homes, including any building of three stories or less, beginning in 2020. But, does anyone see a problem with this fanfare when viewing this
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…Picking and Choosing… It’s been interesting to read all the glowing stories about how renewables are competitive with coal and natural gas power plants.  Here is a headline from Forbes: “Production Cost Of Renewable Energy Now ‘Lower’ Than Fossil Fuels” The stories piqued my curiosity so I finally obtained a
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…Endangering American Lives… ISO-NE has analyzed the potential for blackouts in New England and has requested a waiver from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to keep a natural gas plant online due to fuel security risks. This quote is the preamble to the ISO-NE petition: “PETITION OF ISO NEW
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…Renewables Increase Costs… There has been a running debate about whether the special advantages given to renewables, such as renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and net metering, add to the price consumers pay for electricity. Net metering was introduced to encourage the use of solar generation, initially for PV rooftop installations,
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…Fusion Power… Generating electricity from fusion rather than fission of atoms has been a dream ever since the first hydrogen bomb was exploded. What was originally seen as an easily solvable scientific problem, i.e., how to control the plasma, has turned out to be far more difficult than originally envisioned.
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…Can Nuclear Power be Saved?… The immediate threat to nuclear power is the use of auctions by various RTO/ISOs. The longer-term threat to nuclear power in the United States is the high cost of construction and the public’s irrational fear of radiation. Even before RTO/ISO auctions began forcing nuclear power
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…Amazing Sunspots… Why would a blemish on the sun, that could barely be seen with the naked eye, be of interest to us on Earth? The first person who identified a linkage between sunspots and the earth was an astronomer, William Herschel (1738-1822). Herschel had previously shown that invisible rays from
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…Installed Wind Capacity Braggadocio… The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is constantly bragging about increases in installed wind capacity. AWEA has made statements such as the following from its 2016 annual report: “Wind power delivered 30% of all new capacity installed over the past five years.” Accompanied by this chart:
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…Pending Disaster… The PJM independent system operator (ISO) said there is no imminent danger to the grid when it was asked about the First Energy bankruptcy filing and First Energy’s request of FERC for cost recovery for its nuclear and coal-fired power plants. While there is no immediate threat caused
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…Electric Vehicle Report Card 1Q 2018… The status of electric vehicles remains substantially unchanged from last year. For the first quarter, the sale of plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) increased by 29% YOY, while battery-powered vehicles (BEV) increased by 35% YOY. PHEV and BEV sales remain at only 1.3% of total