Donn’s Articles

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…Coal and the future of Energy… While coal-fired power plants have been hit hard by regulations in the United States, coal has emerged as a very important source of energy elsewhere. High-efficiency low emission (HELE) coal-fired power plants are being built around the world, especially in Asia. About 250 GW
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…Status of Battery-Powered Vehicles… The fourth quarter saw a surge in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales, primarily as the result of Tesla’s efforts to produce its Model 3. As a result, 4Q BEV sales increased, month over month, by 204%, and year over year by 131%. Even so, total BEV
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…Four Minutes for $150 million… South Australia installed battery storage supplied by Musk for an estimated cost of $150 million. With a rating of 100MW/129MW, the storage can, on the face of it, provide 100 MW for approximately 1hour 18 minutes. However, the battery is partitioned into a 70 MW
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…Congress Introduces Carbon Tax… Rep. Theodore Deutch, (D-FL) introduced H.R.7173: Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018. “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that
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…Prosperity is Linked to Energy… The accompanying graph shows how gross domestic product (GDP), an accepted measurement of economic prosperity, is tied to the use of energy. The greater the use of energy, the greater the GDP. As shown in Fossil Fuels: Villain or Hero? 81% of the world’s energy comes
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…Climate Change and Socialism… The year 2019 is likely to see an effort to promote socialism and its related tenets.  With that in mind it’s worth: Recounting the history of socialism How global warming, i.e., climate change, is being used to foster socialism Brief History of Socialism Socialism has been
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…A Modern Story of Hope… In 1948, after enduring years of war, people prayed for peace ever after, as expressed by this popular wartime song: There’ll be bluebirds over The white cliffs of Dover Tomorrow Just you wait and see There’ll be love and laughter And peace ever after Tomorrow
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…The 1.5 degree Objective… There’s a great deal of media attention being given to the IPCC’s latest report and the idea that we should keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. Let’s step back to the year 1870, and assume that the IPCC, or whatever it might have been called then,
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…Building Unnecessary Power Plants… Why are we building power plants that aren’t needed? The growth in demand for electricity has been less than 1% for nearly fifteen years. Chart from Statista showing Electricity consumption 1975 -2017.Bars are 5 years apart between 1975 and 2010 It’s clear from the chart that
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…Fossil Fuels: Villain or Hero?… The media and supporters of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and climate change have gone on record saying we must eliminate the use of fossil fuels.  They yell: “Keep it in the Ground.” Promoters of AGW have said CO2 emissions must be eliminated 100% by 2050
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…France’s Carbon Tax Riots… The media has reported on the riots in France as a protest against higher gasoline taxes … which they were. But generally, the media failed to mention that the higher gasoline taxes were an effort to cut CO2 emissions to prevent climate change. The riots were
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…Hurricane History Phony Myth… Radical environmentalists continue to claim that CO2 emissions cause climate change and bring more severe storms. Every year, the facts prove them wrong. Storms are not getting more severe or more frequent. It’s unfortunate but true: People who believe CO2 is causing more severe storms are
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…Autonomous Automobiles Someday… Someday we will have autonomous automobiles. The operating word is someday. There are a huge number of variables that must be addressed before autonomous automobiles can become the norm. An autonomous taxi service is about to be launched in a small area of The Villages, in Florida,
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…Forest Fires and Atmospheric CO2… The Campfire fire in California is tragic and its effects on people can’t be minimized. It’s wrong, however, to use it as a poster child for global warming and climate change.  Referring to climate change caused by CO2, Governor Brown said: “This is an example
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…Will BEVs Need New Power Plants?… No matter what the benefits of battery-powered vehicles (BEVs), proponents of BEVs are taking no chances that their pet project won’t be derailed. While BEVs may have a compelling value proposition long term, they currently have some serious drawbacks. See, Battery-Powered Vehicles Value Proposition
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…Battery-Powered Vehicles Value Proposition… Battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) should only replace internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles if their value proposition is demonstrably better. See, Future of Battery-Powered Vehicles And what is the value proposition that warrants a transition to BEVs? Here are its core components: BEVs will be less expensive to
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…Battery-Electric Locomotives… GE is building a battery-electric locomotive for BSNF Railway Company to explore how to improve energy efficiency and lower fuel costs. Fuel costs are typically the largest cost for railroad companies. The battery-electric locomotive will be paired with a traditional diesel-electric locomotive, not shown in the illustration. Electric
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…US Navy Mine Warfare Lacks Critical Capabilities… The US Naval Institute (USNI) has recently featured several articles in its Proceedings magazine and on its USNI News website, demonstrating the Navy’s lack of capabilities for clearing minefields. One headline in the September issue said, “Aging MCM platforms Fall Short”. A USNI News
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…Lessons from Regensburg… My visit to the BMW factory in Regensburg Germany confirmed that the factory of the future had arrived. See, Manufacturing a Car is Easy There is no need for a government-mandated “50 state solution” for a National Zero Emissions Vehicle program as proposed by GM.  Robots and
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…Government Motors Lives Up to its Name… Saved by the government during the last economic crash, GM again turns to the government for help. This time they want to saddle the public with a National Zero Emissions Vehicle (NZEV) program to support expensive battery-powered vehicles (BEVs). Until now, Mary Barra,
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…Carbon Folly… My first book on the CO2 issue, Carbon Folly, was published in 2008. It was remarkably prescient. It did not, however, predict the decline in the use of coal as the result of EPA regulations under the Obama administration. As a result of the EPA regulations, CO2 emissions
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…Extensive Ramifications of Battery Electric Vehicles… The purpose of this article is to highlight the important consequences that battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) will have on the grid as they replace internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs). The greater energy efficiency of BEVs compared with ICE vehicles, described in the previous article, should
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…Future of Battery-Powered Vehicles… Battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) are likely to replace internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the U.S. during this century. A few calculations concerning energy use leads to this conclusion. Energy efficiencies Light vehicles, i.e., cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, consumed 131.6 billion gallons of gasoline in 2017,
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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