Economic Failure of Climate Change Movement

What have been the economic impacts of the drive to cut CO2 emissions?

Without attempting to add up all the money spent by the government on grants, and all the money it spent on subsidies, what has been the effect of individual efforts … specifically, in the energy arena?

FutureGen was supposed to establish that Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants could generate electricity economically while providing for the capture of CO2.

The original project was cancelled, then re-instituted as FutureGen 2, to establish that it was economically viable to capture CO2 in existing coal-fired power plants using an oxygen-rich combustion technology.

Without waiting for FutureGen, a few companies attempted to build IGCC power plants. And while they can generate electricity, they have been economic dinosaurs.

Each project has resulted in cost overruns. While this may not be unusual for new technologies, each IGCC power plant has cost nearly as much to build as a nuclear power plant, or around $5,500 per KW.

Tampa Electric decided not to build a second IGCC power plant because it was uneconomic.

In short, IGCC power plants have been an economic failure.

In contrast, any new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant could have generated the same amount of electricity at a much lower cost … while also providing CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) if desired.

John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.
John W. Turk, only U.S. ultra-supercritical power plant. Photo courtesy of SWEPCO.

FutureGen 2, designed to capture CO2 from existing coal-fired power plants, is also failing, as each partner waffles in its support.

Any attempt to capture CO2 from existing coal-fired power plants is economically unjustifiable, as it not only increases costs, but also reduces the output of any plant in which the process is installed, by around 30%.

The derating is even greater if any carbon capture technology is applied to NGCC power plants.

Previous articles have shown how PV roof-top solar is destroying the grid and why wind energy is bad for the United States. See, Save The Grid and Why Wind Energy is a Bad Idea.

Both are uneconomic while providing no real energy benefit.

Storage, for use with wind and solar, which is not required for natural gas, nuclear or coal-fired power plants, is very expensive; costing, on a per KW basis, two to five-plus times as much as building a natural gas power plant.

Electric vehicles, EVs and PHEVs, are uneconomic, costing much more than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. In addition, expensive charging stations must be installed to support the uneconomic investment in EVs and PHEVs, a double whammy. Or in economic terms, throwing good money after bad.

EVs are being promoted as zero emission vehicles, even though the electricity used to charge their batteries comes from sources that emit CO2.

Inevitably, there will be the claim that these alternatives create jobs, but the jobs created merely offset the jobs lost in comparable products. For example, jobs building wind turbines offsets the jobs lost from building NGCC or coal-fired power plants.

And if more jobs are created building wind turbines, it’s creating hidden unemployment, because the wind turbines are less efficient than NGCC or coal-fired power plants.

Actually, at least two studies have shown that for every green job created, 2.2 in one study, or 3.7 jobs in the other study, were destroyed.

These attempts to cut CO2 emissions have had a negative effect on the economy.

Adding the money spent by the government on grants and subsidies to promote these inefficient alternatives, compounds the damage done by fighting climate change.

Attempts by the EPA and the Obama administration to promote these alternatives have been economic disasters, wasting tax payer dollars and harming American industries and families with higher costs for electricity.

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0 Replies to “Economic Failure of Climate Change Movement”

  1. If you’re going to pay as much per kW as for a nuclear plant, you might as well buy a nuclear plant.

    IGCC does have its good points.  For instance, I can’t think of anything else that can dispose of petroleum coke, capture the heavy metals as un-leachable slag, and generate a product which can be tapped for chemical feedstocks such as hydrogen and possibly ammonia (a byproduct of gasification).  But if it costs too much to use for carbon mitigation, it must be considered an also-ran.

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