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In the Wake of the News

Social Cost of Mandates - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Broken Window Economics: an event that seems to be beneficial for those immediately involved can have negative economic consequences for many others.

The US and most countries have energy economies based on fossil fuels, plus contributions from nuclear, hydro, geothermal and biomass. The US and the other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries have announced goals to replace the fossil fuel uses in their economies with renewable generated electricity across the entire spectrum of energy uses. These goals have been accompanied by mandates to eliminate specific fossil fuel end uses for electric generation, to halt the production of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and to replace all fossil fuel end uses by dates certain.

These mandates require the retirement of existing electric generation, vehicle production and appliance production facilities, many before the end of their useful lives and the construction and outfitting of new, replacement facilities. The Biden Administration has argued that these efforts would result in the creation of millions of new, high paying union jobs, though they would also likely result in the elimination of a similar number of similar jobs.

The US currently has a fleet of 200 GW of coal generation capacity, 50 GW of which is scheduled to be retired by the 2030 mandated retirement goal for coal generation. The remaining 150 GW has been scheduled to be retired over the period from 2030 – 2048. Early retirement of these coal plants would strand approximately $35-40 billion of undepreciated private generation assets. It would also strand approximately $30 trillion of coal resources. It is uncertain how the owners of these assets would be compensated for their forced abandonment. Those costs would represent a societal cost of the mandate to close the generating facilities and the resulting abandonment of the coal resources.

The US currently has a fleet of 500 GW of natural gas generation capacity. Approximately 400 GW of that capacity is less than 30 years old, which is a common mid-life for natural gas generators. This suggests that more than 200 GW of natural gas generating capacity would be forced out of service by the 2035 mandated retirement goal for gas generation. Early retirement of these plants would strand another $35-40 billion of undepreciated private generation assets. Again, it is uncertain how the owners of these assets would be compensated for their forced abandonment. These costs would also represent a societal cost of the mandate to close the generating facilities and the resulting abandonment of billions of dollars of natural gas resources and underutilization of natural gas pipeline capacity.

The US also has tens of billions of dollars of automotive manufacturing facilities which the owners would be forced to retire and replace with facilities designed to manufacture EVs and EV batteries, at the same time stranding several billion of dollars of oil resources and oil refining capacity.

Investments in ICE vehicles and natural gas appliances and equipment would be unlikely to be affected by the mandates, since they would likely have outlived their usefulness by 2050.


Tags: Coal, Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

150 Ways the Biden Administration and Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas - Highlighted Article

From: Institute for Energy Research

By: Thomas J. Pyle

Date: May 23, 2023


150 Ways the Biden Administration and Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas

President Biden and the Democrats in Congress have a plan for American energy: make it harder to produce and more expensive to purchase. Since Mr. Biden took office, his administration and its allies have taken over 150 actions deliberately designed to make it harder to produce energy here in America. A list of those actions, which includes a few high-profile actions taken in states like New York and California, appears below. A list of those actions appears below. A PDF of the full list is available to download here.


On January 20, 2021,

  1. Besides canceling the Keystone XL pipeline,
  2. President Biden restricted domestic production by issuing a moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  3. He also restored and expanded the use of the government-created social cost of carbon metric to artificially increase the regulatory costs of energy production of fossil fuels when performing analyses, as well as artificially increase the so-called “benefits” of decreasing production.
  4. Biden continued to revoke Trump administration executive orders, including those related to the Waters of the United States rule and the Antiquities Act. The Trump-era actions decreased regulations on Federal land and expanded the ability to produce energy domestically.

On January 27, 2021, (continue reading)


150 Ways the Biden Administration and Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas


Tags: Highlighted Article

Social Cost of Subsidies - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Subsidy: a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public.

The US federal government, several state governments and numerous local governments offer subsidies to assist various aspects of the energy system transition being undertaken in response to climate change. These subsidies are offered for wind and solar generation, electricity storage, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations, and electric appliances and equipment. These subsidies reduce the individual transaction costs for the purchasers of the various devices. However, they also increase the societal cost of the transition.

Wind and solar generation facilities, whether for grid-scale applications or site-specific applications, displace some portion of the output of the existing electric power generation fleet during periods when the wind is blowing and/or the sun is shining. The existing power generation fleet provides the remainder of the grid demand when wind and solar generation are operating and all of the grid demand when wind and solar generation are not operating. Therefore, the subsidies provided for wind and solar generation facilities incentivize the installation of redundant generation facilities, increasing the total cost of the electric generation fleet and thus, the societal cost of electricity.

The cost of wind and solar facilities includes both equipment and installation costs, which are borne by the owners of the facilities. The subsidies available reduce the owners' transaction costs, but not the real cost of the facilities. The subsidies provided by government add to the societal costs of the facilities. These subsidies must be funded either by offsetting reductions in other government programs, increased taxation or incremental government borrowing.

The available subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs) function similarly. The vehicle manufacturer offers the EV to the market at a price which includes its costs and profit. The subsidies reduce the purchasers’ transaction costs, but not the cost and price of the vehicle. The subsidies add to the societal cost of the transaction. For example, an EV with a MSRP of $60,000 is sold to the purchaser at that price. The purchaser then receives a tax credit of $7,500. This reduces the purchaser’s net transaction price to $52,500,  but increases the societal cost of the transaction to $67,500. Again, these subsidies must be funded either by offsetting reductions in other government programs, increased taxation or incremental government borrowing. The same is the case for the subsidization of EV charging infrastructure.

The recent subsidies offered for the purchase of electric appliances and equipment under the “Inflation Reduction Act” are intended to incentivize the purchase of electric heat pumps, water heaters, ranges, laundry dryers and similar residential and commercial equipment. These subsidies are intended to “kick-start” the transition to “all-electric everything” intended by 2050.

Most of the government funding for subsidies to support the transition to renewable electricity generation and “all-electric everything” is coming from incremental borrowing, adding to the existing federal deficit. This borrowing injects additional money into the economy, likely increasing rather than reducing inflation.


Tags: Electric Vehicles, Electric Power Storage

Is AR6 the worst and most biased IPCC Report? - Highlighted Article


From: Watts Up With That

By: Andy May

Date: May 16, 2023

Is AR6 the worst and most biased IPCC Report?

This is the text of my presentation on Tom Nelson’s podcast which can be viewed here. The question and answers start at about 18:15 into the interview.

The first IPCC Physical Science Basis report is called “FAR” and was first published in 1990. An updated 1992 version of the report contains this statement:

“global-mean surface air temperature has increased by 0.3°C to 0.6°C over the last 100 years … The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. … The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.”

(IPCC, 1992, p. 6).

This was an accurate statement at the time, and it is mostly accurate to this day. In the past century (since 1920) temperatures have increased about one degree and I’m not sure we will be able to detect a human enhanced greenhouse effect in ten years, or ever, but otherwise the quote is still accurate. One degree of global warming in a century is well within natural climate variability according to historical records and records of glacier advances and retreats (Vinós, 2022, pp. 89-107).

Glaciers exist today, where no glaciers existed during the Medieval Warm Period from about 800 to 1200AD and during the Holocene Climatic Optimum from about 7500 to 4500BC. In addition, the Vikings farmed parts of Greenland where permafrost exists today. Ötzi, the Tyrolean iceman, who was frozen into a glacier about 5,000 years ago, and only recently discovered in his glacier tomb, can attest to the fact that modern glaciers are more advanced than they were before 3000BC.

The second report, called SAR was published in 1996 and 1997. Chapter 8 was a major issue when it came out because in the original draft, the scientists who wrote it all agreed to include this statement:

“no study to date has both detected a significant climate change and positively attributed all or part of that change to anthropogenic causes.”

(Final draft, approved by all 36 authors, SAR, July 1995)

Yet, in the final meeting of the IPCC supervising committee of government politicians, the editors and lead authors of the IPCC on November 29th, 1995, which went very late and into the early morning of November 30th, this statement was changed to read:

“The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”

(IPCC, 1996, p. 4). (continue reading)


Is AR6 the worst and most biased IPCC Report?


Tags: Highlighted Article


“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”, Antoine de St.Exupery

“I love it when a plan comes together.”, John (Hannibal) Smith

The Biden Administration has announced a series of goals, leading to an overall goal of a Net Zero US economy by 2050. The intermediate goals include eliminating coal-fired electric generation by 2030, eliminating gas-fired electric generation by 2035, ceasing production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 and moving to an “all-electric everything” energy economy by 2050. These goals are to be accomplished through a combination of executive fiat and regulatory restriction. One key planning element in support of these goals involves starving the oil and gas industries of supply through cessation of drilling and production permits and blocking of new pipeline construction, thus destroying legal industries and their participants and depriving their customers of future supply. Another key planning element in support of these goals involves incentivizing and subsidizing wind and solar generation, electricity storage and electric vehicles.

What is lacking in this picture is a comprehensive plan. For example, the goals of eliminating coal generation by 2030 and gas generation by 2035 are not accompanied by a plan element intended to assure that adequate wind and solar generation, electricity storage and transmission infrastructure are in place to maintain grid reliability and resilience as the conventional generators are removed from service.

There is also no plan element intended to assure that, as natural gas supplies deplete as the result of production constraints, sufficient natural gas remains available to supply the expected increased natural gas demand for power generation as coal generation capacity is removed from service. There is also no plan element intended to assure that sufficient natural gas remains available to meet residential, commercial and industrial customer demand during the transition to the “all-electric everything” energy economy.

There is no plan element intended to assure that electric generation, transmission and distribution capacity increase timely to accommodate the growth of electric demand and consumption resulting from economic and population growth and the transition to the “all-electric everything” energy economy by 2050.

There is also no plan element intended to assure that sufficient gasoline and diesel fuel remain available to supply the needs of the range of ICE vehicles remaining in service post 2035, when the goal is to terminate ICE vehicle production.

These missing plan elements appear crucial to the successful accomplishment of the Administration’s goals. It appears that the Administration plans to rely on the function of a regulated and constrained energy market to deal with these missing elements of the plan as the market rapidly transitions from a multi-fuel market with regulated competition to a renewable generation plus storage regulated monopoly.

The schedule for this transition appears to assume that the currently non-existent technology required for the Administration’s goals to be achieved will become available timely. This technology includes medium-duration and long-durations electricity storage and what are referred to a Distributed Emission-Free Resources (DEFRs) for electric generation, as well as fossil-free technologies for iron, steel and cement production.

If there is no Plan “A”, is there likely to be a Plan “B”?

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”, Helmuth von Moltke


Tags: Net Zero Emissions, Power Grid, Clean Power Plan, Renewable Energy

Fauci, Fear, Balance and the Grid - Highlighted Article


From: Climate Etc.

By: Russ Schussler

Date: May 8, 2023


Fauci, Fear, Balance and the Grid

Reflecting on the U.S. response to the covid pandemic, Dr. Fauci provides some important insights on managing complex risks – with relevance to climate change and the electric grid transition.

Dr. Fauci discussing past covid measures was recently quoted as saying,

“(W)e looked at it from a purely public-health standpoint. It was for other people to make broader assessments—people whose positions include but aren’t exclusively about public health. Those people have to make the decisions about the balance between the potential negative consequences of something versus the benefits of something.”

I was surprised to hear that Dr. Fauci did not think that public health should have been in total control of the pandemic response.  But he is right. We needed diverse experts providing input and impacting policy choices – some who worry about public health, others who worry about individual health, others who worry about children, and others well versed on the economic impacts of it all.  Doing everything possible to stop the spread of covid, all other costs and consideration be damned, should have been expected to reduce the overall well-being of society and provide grossly suboptimal outcomes.  Focusing solely on covid risks was likely counterproductive even for those most at risk from covid.

In the U.S., the balanced path Dr. Fauci is now advocating was not seriously pursued during the pandemic. With the Covid panic, it seemed public health took over with one over-riding goal.  Advocates for individual health and individual health care found few available forums and inroads to appeal to and  impact policy makers. Appearing to be against the central narrative of those in power may have had severe consequences for individuals and organizations. In hindsight, many see that balancing competing views and values would have better served us all. In focusing so exclusively on the threat of covid, we increased our risk from so many other threats.  Many now understand that our “best” scientific understandings should be subject to challenges.  It certainly seems we needed “other people” to speak up, but those voices did not find the platforms they would need to influence policy and direction. (continue reading)


Fauci, Fear, Balance and the Grid


Tags: Highlighted Article


The consensed climate science community has created a narrative that anthropogenic emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O are causing additional heat to be retained in the earth’s atmosphere, that this additional heat is increasing the global average temperature, that this increased temperature is changing earth’s climate, that this change in climate is undesirable, and that these anthropogenic emissions must be drastically reduced or eliminated to avoid pushing the planet through a ‘tipping point” from which it cannot recover. The narrative asserts that the climate changes are affecting the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts and even wildfires.

But what if the consensus narrative is in error in one or more of a variety of ways?


Climate Science

What if…

  • CO2 is not the climate “control knob”?
  • natural variation is contributing to recent warming?
  • land use changes are contributing to recent warming?
  • the Urban Heat Island effect has increased measured temperature anomalies?
  • “adjustments” to measured temperatures have increased reported anomalies?
  • climate models do not accurately model the climate?
  • climate models were hindcast against inaccurate temperature anomalies?
  • attribution models don’t model extreme weather events accurately?
  • the CO2 effect in the atmosphere is essentially saturated?
  • the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is causing beneficial global greening?
  • the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing food crop production?


Climate Policy

What if…

  • recent climate change does not constitute a “crisis” or “existential threat”?
  • the current Social Cost of Carbon is negative?
  • Net Zero GHG emissions are not necessary?
  • driving the fossil fuel industries out of business is unnecessary?
  • intermittent renewable generation increases electric energy costs?
  • electricity storage increases electric energy costs?
  • long-duration electric storage capacity is unavailable?
  • renewable capacity additions lag conventional capacity reductions?
  • “all-electric everything” is unnecessary or undesirable?
  • electric vehicle utility remains limited?
  • renewable capacity additions lag “all-electric everything” expansion?
  • renewable intermittency adversely affects grid stability?
  • renewable intermittency adversely affects grid reliability?
  • there are no replacements for some products made from fossil fuels?
  • there are no replacements for some fossil-fueled processes?


Net Zero by 2050 is clearly Goal “A” for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, though just as clearly not for the developing nations. However, there appears to be no clear and comprehensive Plan “A” for achieving Goal “A”. There also appears to be no Plan “B” in the event that Goal “A” is unachievable or unnecessary, or the unidentified elements of Plan “A” fail to come together timely.

The ”What if” questions above are not new, but there has been great reluctance on the part of the consensed climate science community, their political allies and the main stream media to attempt to seriously address and resolve these issues. However, electricity prices are increasing, largely as the result of duplication of generating facilities. Grid reliability and resiliency is also being questioned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) which are responsible for regulation and operation of the electric utility grid.


Tags: Climate Consensus, Climate Predictions, Climate Policy

Silence of the Grid Experts - Highlighted Article


From: Climate Etc.

By: Russ Schussler

Date: May 3, 2023

Silence of the Grid Experts

There are many reasons why grid experts within the electric utility industry have not spoken out when unrealistic “green” goals were being developed and promoted over the last 20 years or so. A more open debate during this period might have helped provide a  more realistic foundation for future development.  This posting describes some reasons as to why at the corporate level electric utilities did not speak out more in defense of grid reliability.  Collectively these factors tended to eliminate grid experts from playing any role in the development of policies impacting the grid.

Speaking Out Risked Negative Consequences

Utilities have many stakeholders with varying degrees of power.  Utilities depend on good relations with Public Service Commissions, other regulators, consumers and policy makers. The stereotype of electric utilities as uncaring, selfish, greedy destroyers of the environment tends to make utilities very cautious and careful in critiquing anything perceived as “green”.  The media and press attention from any such statements would likely not be favorable.

Utilities need support to acquire right-of-way, for financing, for cost-recovery and to avoid adverse legislation. Poor press and the associated public disapproval loomed as strong disincentives for speaking out.  Furthermore, as will be discussed later, expressing concerns over emerging reliability issues, could be interpreted by some as implying that perhaps you were not as capable as others appear to be. (continue reading)


Silence of the Grid Experts


Tags: Highlighted Article

Climate & Fairy Tales - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Discussions of climate and climate change frequently call to mind several children’s fairy tales and the story of a fairy tale kingdom. This suggests a lack of seriousness in these discussions, though the participants frequently view them as deadly serious.

The first fairy tale that comes to mind is Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which Goldilocks discovers things in the bears’ dwelling which are “just right”. In climate science, there is discussion of the Goldilocks Principle, which holds that “something must fall within certain margins, as opposed to reaching extremes.” Some discussions regarding climate revolve around the idea that the earth’s climate experienced a Goldilocks period during which “everything was just right”. This period is generally thought to have been after the end of the Little Ice Age and before human activities began to affect the climate. Of course, the earth has numerous regional climates, and it is not likely that all those regional climates were “just right” from the perception of those living in them.

This brings us to a discussion of the fairy tale kingdom of Camelot where, according to the Lerner and Lowe song, “The climate must be perfect all the year”. Some climate discussions advance the position that earth’s climate was “perfect” during some Goldilocks period and that climate should not change from those “perfect” conditions. Some hold that the climate was unchanging for some long period of time (the shaft of a hockey stick) and then began to change rapidly and undesirably (the blade of the hockey stick) as the result of human activities. They hold that the climate should be unchanging and should be returned to the conditions of the Goldilocks period. Those holding that position might be referred to as “climate change defialists’, of simply “climate defialists”.

Climate alarmists appear to have forgotten the lessons of two cautionary fairy tales, Chicken Little and The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Chicken Little was intended to show “the evils of mass hysteria”. Alarmists have resorted to expressions such as “earth on fire” and “the oceans are boiling” and predictions of mass migration of climate change refugees as the result of rising sea levels and near-surface temperatures in an attempt to incite public concern and pressure to stop climate change. While they have succeeded in creating hysterical reactions in some groups, they have been largely unsuccessful in inciting mass hysteria in the general population.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, on the other hand, warned of the loss of credibility after numerous false claims of danger when the real danger arose. Climate alarmists have made numerous claims of danger from worsening adverse weather events, such as tropical cyclones, heat waves, drought, floods, sea level rise and ocean “acidification”. These claims are frequently not taken seriously because the weather and climate data do not support them and these weather events are not new phenomena.

The final fairy tale which comes to mind is The Emperor’s New Clothes, the story of two swindlers who approach the emperor and “offer to supply him with magnificent clothes that are invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent”. This fairy tale evinces thoughts of magnificent new energy technologies which are reliable and cheap, but cannot be appreciated by those who are “stupid or incompetent”, such as “climate deniers”.


Tags: Climate Alarmists

Renewable Experts: Undeterred and Unmoved by Failed Ideas - Highlighted Article


From: Climate Etc.

By: Russ Schussler

Date: April 17, 2023

Renewable Experts: Undeterred and Unmoved by Failed Ideas

“Green” ideas and their proponents can create problems.  Like the antagonist in Terminator 2, green arguments and proponents don’t go down easily.  With serious challenges, they retreat, hibernate sometimes, morph, transform and come back.  It’s hard to argue with many “green” energy ideas.  They are often huge in scope but severely limited in details.  Focusing on a couple key factors and ignoring  or leaving so much to be worked out later.  Painfully naïve or unaware of so many factors associated with the provision of energy, feedback and often even human behavior.   They see the flaws in current efforts, but are blind to the drawbacks which will necessarily emerge from their proposals.  The offer conjectures with a lot of dots to still be connected. They speak of things that may be possible, without any handle on the probabilities.

Usually, “green” ideas are packaged with threats of doom, promises of superior technology or both.   The media are drawn to both those themes and many policy makers are attracted as well.   Attention is a great thing for new ideas.  The themes of urgency and the scope of change,  gives these ideas more weight and seeming gravitas.  Unfortunately, the needed incentives to dig down and look critically as these ideas are generally lacking. Woefully, those promulgating “green” ideas don’t have much incentive for engaging with their critics or broadening their understandings. They generate the feeling that we need to move forward with the big, new important thing – no time for distractions. (continue reading)


Renewable Experts: Undeterred and Unmoved by Failed Ideas


Tags: Highlighted Article

Paths to Net Zero - ORIGINAL CONTENT

Numerous potential paths to net zero annual CO2 emissions have been identified and discussed, including:

  • Renewables plus storage
  • Massively overbuilt renewables and transmission
  • Renewables plus Dispatchable Emission-Free Resources (DEFR)

Each of these paths faces massive technological hurdles.

The renewables plus storage path requires short, medium and long duration storage. Short duration storage (~4 hours) is available with lithium batteries, but at very high cost. Medium duration storage (~8-16 hours) is under development, but is not yet commercially available and its cost is unknown. Long duration storage (weeks) is currently available only with pumped hydro, but its availability is very limited and there has been strong resistance to expanding it.

The cost and availability issues with storage have led some to propose a path based on massive overbuilding of renewable generation combined with massive additional transmission capacity. This approach assumes that there would always be excess renewable electricity available somewhere which could be moved to areas with inadequate renewable generation output resulting from adverse weather conditions or equipment failure. Ultimately, this approach would require development of a massively interconnected national grid with the ability to move power multi-directionally over far longer distances than is common today.

The renewables plus DEFR path relies on the availability of generation technology which is as yet undefined, no less developed and commercialized. There is no indication of when this technology would become available, not is there any information regarding its cost.

The US Administration is currently focused on renewables and has only recently placed any focus on storage. The Administration’s approach combines incentives for renewable generation, storage and transmission infrastructure with mandates to terminate operation of fossil-fueled generation. The Administration has also taken steps to progressively deprive the market of access to oil and natural gas, causing their prices to increase. The Administration also provides incentives for electric vehicles, combined with a ban on new fossil-fueled vehicle sales after 2035. There are also incentives for purchase of electric appliances and equipment, which are made more attractive by the increasing prices of oil and natural gas resulting from the Administration’s actions.

The Administration approach involves substantial risks, created primarily by the hard deadlines for elimination of coal generation (2030) and natural gas generation (2035). There is no assurance that sufficient renewable generation, electricity storage and transmission infrastructure will be operational by these hard deadlines to replace this dispatchable capacity, as well as to provide the additional capacity required to meet normal market growth and the approximate tripling of current demand by 2050 resulting from electrification of current fossil fueled end uses.

The Administration, while it has not carefully planned this transition to all-renewable “all-electric everything”, has carefully positioned itself to blame any failure to achieve its goals, as well as electricity price increases and loss of grid reliability on others, since it has established timelines and provided generous incentives.

There has not yet been a comprehensive demonstration of an energy system such as the Administration demands, though there have been several notable failures of partially implemented systems in Germany, UK, California and Texas.

Don’t begin vast programs with half-vast ideas.


Tags: Electric Power Generation, Electric Power Dispatchable, Energy Storage / Batteries

The State of the Climate 2022 - Highlighted Article


From: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

By: Ole Humlum

Date: April 2023


The State of the Climate 2022

General summary

This report has its focus on observations, and not on output from numerical models, with a few exceptions (e.g. Figure 38). References and data sources are listed at the end of the report.

Air temperatures

Average air temperatures measured near the planet’s surface (surface air temperatures), or rather their deviation from the average calculated for a chosen reference period, are central to many climate deliberations. However, the significance of any short-term warming or cooling recorded in these datasets should not be overstated. Firstly, focusing on averages tends to hide the fact that we all deal with much larger temperature variations on a daily basis. Secondly, whenever Earth experiences warm El Niño or cold La Niña episodes, major heat exchanges take place between the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above, eventually showing up as a signal in the global air temperature. However, these do not reflect similar changes in the total heat content of the atmosphere-ocean system. In fact, the global net changes involved may be small; such heat exchanges may chiefly reflect redistribution of energy between ocean and atmosphere. Evaluating the dynamics of ocean temperatures is therefore equally as important as evaluating changes in surface air temperatures.

Relative to the whole period since 1850/1880, 2022 was warm, but cooler than most years since 2016. A moderate La Niña episode played out during the year, underlining the importance of ocean-atmosphere exchanges.

Many Arctic regions experienced record high air temperatures in 2016, but since then, including in 2022, conditions generally have turned somewhat cooler. The Arctic temperature peak in 2016 may have been affected by ocean heat, released from the Pacific Ocean during the strong 2015–16 El Niño and subsequently transported towards the Arctic. This underscores how Arctic air temperatures may be affected, not only by variations in local conditions, but also by variations playing out in geographically remote regions.

Many diagrams in this report focus on the time from 1979 onwards, reflecting the start of the satellite era, and the advent of a wide range of observations with nearly global coverage, including temperature. These data give a detailed view of temperature changes over time at different altitudes in the atmosphere. Among other phenomena, they reveal that a Stratospheric temperature plateau has prevailed since 1995.

Since 1979, temperatures in the lower Troposphere have increased over both land and oceans, but most clearly over land. The most straightforward explanation for this observation is that much of the warming is caused by solar insolation, but there may well be several supplementary reasons, such as differences in heat capacity and changes in cloud cover and land use.


The Argo program has now achieved 19 years of global coverage, growing from a relatively sparse array of 1000 profiling floats in 2004, to more than 3900 in December 2021. Since their inception, these have provided a unique ocean temperature dataset for depths down to 1900 m. The data is currently updated to August 2020. Although the oceans are much deeper than 1900 m, and the dataset is still relatively short, interesting features are now emerging from these observations. (continue reading)


The State of the Climate 2022


Tags: Highlighted Article

Capacity Factors - ORIGINAL CONTENT


The US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration chart below is arguably accurate but inarguably misleading.


Capacity Factor by Energy Source in 2020


The capacity factors shown for both wind and solar, while they are the actual percentage of rating plate capacity delivered to the grid in 2020, are also approximately equal to the limiting capacity factors of the generators as installed, since the output of both wind and solar generation have priority access to the grid.

The nuclear generation capacity factor shown above is the rating plate capacity of the nuclear generators less an allowance for downtime for maintenance and refueling. Otherwise, nuclear generators typically operate base loaded at rating plate capacity because of their low operating costs.

Geothermal generation provides a constant source of energy as required and is typically dispatched when available, with a downtime allowance of approximately 25% for maintenance and repair.

Hydroelectric generation capacity factor is largely dependent on water availability behind the dams as well as water demand downstream of the dams. A portion of the hydroelectric generation capacity is reliable, while the remainder is “source of opportunity” capacity based on water availability.

Coal and natural gas generators are typically operated in load-following mode, providing the difference between renewable and nuclear generation output and grid demand. They also typically represent the utilities’ capacity reserve margin on peak, available in the event of a failure of the utilities’ largest single generation resource. The capacity factors shown in the chart above are the actual percentage of rating plate capacity delivered to the grid in 2020. However, those generators have real capacity factors of approximately 85% for coal generation and 90% for natural gas combined cycle generation.

Of the generation sources shown in the graphic, only wind and solar are not dispatchable. Their availability is dependent upon wind and sun conditions. When they are available, they displace the output of dispatchable generators. However, the capacity of the dispatchable generators must still remain available to meet grid demand during periods of low/no wind and solar availability.

As the fraction of wind and solar generation increases, the percentage utilization of the generating capacity of coal and natural gas generators would decline, to the extent the decline is not offset by increasing grid demand or the permanent closure of these generators as a function of age, operating cost or government edict. Grid demand is expected to increase at a more rapid pace, driven by the Administration’s focus on “all-electric everything”, which would ultimately approximately triple grid demand by 2050.

The assumption is that increasing grid demand would be served by increased wind and solar generation. However, the intermittency of these generators means they would continue to require support during periods of low/no wind and solar availability. This support is now provided primarily by dispatchable fossil-fueled generators, but might also be provided by electricity storage capacity in the form of batteries or pumped storage. These storage resources would have to be in place and operating before the scheduled closure of the remaining coal generating capacity in 2030 and the remaining natural gas generating capacity by 2035.


Tags: Electric Power Generation

Energy Security is National Security - Highlighted Article


From: Institute for Energy Research

By: Thomas Whackman

Date: April 2023

Energy Security is National Security


Energy security is national security. One cannot exist without the other, and a lack of either can have serious ramifications. For evidence of this, look no further than Europe, where Germany is reeling from the twin blows of ill-conceived domestic energy policies and wholesale energy dependence on its chief geopolitical adversary: Russia.

The German case is but one example of the many pitfalls a nation faces when it fails to secure its energy supply. American policymakers would do well to take this cautionary tale to heart – and soon – as the Biden administration’s plans to force a complete energy transition away from fossil fuels may lead America down the long and painful road of energy dependency.

Due in large part to government intervention, the United States is becoming progressively more reliant on electric vehicles (EVs) and nonnuclear renewable energy sources for its transportation and energy needs. These technologies rely on a large input of rare earth metals and other mined elements, particularly lithium and cobalt, the supply of which is dominated almost entirely by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These same minerals are also key inputs in the production of many advanced weapons systems, like fighter jets and ballistic missile defenses, that are critical for a robust national defense.

This, along with the current administration’s ongoing war against domestic hydrocarbon production, puts America’s energy security, and its national security, in real jeopardy. It is therefore incumbent to unpack just what energy security means, its relationship to national security, what that means for the United States, and the consequences that can occur when leaders attempt to ignore the fundamental physical realities that create the context in which statecraft resides. (continue reading)


Energy Security is National Security


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