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View Diary: With Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn at the helm, subcommittee hearing praises coal, blasts regulations (34 comments)

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  •  PV and Wind are getting ready to destroy coal (7+ / 0-)

    fired electricity.

    •  We need more distributed generation of power (6+ / 0-)

      that will break the backs of the centralized ownership and distribution of power.  More efforts to put power generation onto the roofs of homes.  Less dependence on massive polluting electricity factories burning coal.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:50:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well utilities do bind us together (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psnyder, cocinero, Barton Funk

        but, they will have to sell grid and stop selling much baseload power.  or sell baseload wind and grid.

        •  Tea Party supports solar in Georgia. (Yes, USA.) (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, patbahn, YucatanMan, A Siegel

          Not making that up. One faction of the Georgia Tea Party is pushing the public service commission to require more solar power.

          Apparently they are pissed at Georgia Power's ownership of much of the Georgia political establishment, and want to spread the utility revenue around to some smaller players.

          Even a busted clock is right twice a day, strange bedfellows, etc.

          Another faction of the Georgia Tea Party is still anti-solar.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 01:55:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And also less dependence on an industry that.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, A Siegel

        kills so many workers with black lung and cave-ins an such.

        I was listeniing to a conversation about workers who were proud of their fathers, grandfathers and great grand fathers who were all coals miners. A tradition from father to son, but can you inagine if a diversified menu of renewable industries could be invested in that offered a new safe high paying job to those workers.

        Maybe it starts with the wives and daughters who don't work the mines and are sick & tired of losing their loved ones to lung disesae or job accidents.

        Coal miner workers might make the difference if there was an alternative. Break the tradition at the family level and the "coal magnates" who may have all the money but they could lose the votes for the republicans who support the 1%ers over workers.
         Get a unions involved too with promoting this change in tradition.

    •  Probably not.... (0+ / 0-)

      While solar and wind energy installations help electric utilities reduce air emissions from their coal combustion units by sometimes allowing the coal combustors to reduce their operating fuel combustion rates, there are significant complicating factors that rule out a wholesale push to shutdown coal plants by substituting them with wind generation or solar units.

      In other words, it is not technically feasible as an act of electric utility system implementation, operational feasibility and electric utility energy stewardship to simply shut down all of its coal combustion units and substitute construction of the same numerical magnitude in megawatt generating capacity equal to the total physical generation capacity of the shut down units.

      Soiar and wind generation units are not baseload dispatchable and they physically cannot do what a baseload electric generation unit can do.   Solar and wind generation units are generation event-dispatched to the utility system operator, who cannot order dispatch of this generation as needed.

      Wind generation units operate at below 50% capacity factor.   Base load generation units typically and nominally will get capacity factors when well maintained exceeding 80-85%.

      Because of the effects of adverse meteorology conditions occurring during very large high pressure centers, all wind generation is subject to bad weather conditions with multiple state areas having winds below 4-5 miles per hour and extended calm areas.   This means that large electric utility systems over very large regional areas will have all or most of their wind units at near zero energy generation for long periods of time (days).   Solar is at or near zero at night.   As a result, an electric utility cannot meet its peak demands if it shuts down all of its base load units.

    •  The other problem is misperception (0+ / 0-)

      You're hearing about all of the coal plants being shut down now because the electric utilities are in a position where they must improve their plants or otherwise shut them down.   All of the coal plants being shut down now are the ones the electric utility has determined that it can operate without and still meet their peak demands and demand predication forecasts.

      What this means is that the baseload coal plants remaining are still mission critical for electric utility operations in the absence of making or adding any other non-coal generation capacity.

      While gas can substitute for coal in an existing coal plant, burning natural gas in old coal plants isn't considered a particularly efficient way of generating electricity from the combustion of natural gas.....which is far better combusted in a new combined cycle combustion gas turbine for electricity generation than burning in an existing coal plant.

      Coal plants are under the gun for controls for hazardous air pollutants, mercury, cooling water inlet fish damages, ash disposal, etc. etc. with deadlines approaching so all utilities are making final decisions on what coal burning equipment stays and what is shutdown.   Another factor that influences this is whether the utility has any long term coal contracts it cannot leave.

      My fundamental point is that if you're interpreting recent news of coal plant shutdowns that it is the beginning of a rapid death march to shut down of all coal plants in time frames like the next decade....that isn't going to happen.

      Electric utilities will find it very difficult to shut down later  the largest base load coal fired units that they are deciding to continue to operate now until they have constructed a sufficient 1 for 1 electric generating capacity replacements with non-coal baseload electric generating units from gas, nuclear or coal IGCC plus sequestration.

      Environmental groups who say that coal is dead are raising expectations of a march to zero coal units without promoting a proper understanding of what is actually going on and without realistic electric utility engineering management judgement.

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