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natural gas

picture with patton

Channeling Patton for Energy Policy

By Energy Rant No Comments
Of 34 personality characteristics, my top strength, according to Gallup CliftonStrengths®, is “context.” What does context mean, according to Gallup? History. Gallup describes the history strength: “You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point, the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time when the plans were being drawn up that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints.” Hmm. This...
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Profiles in Decarb – I Call Ham

By Energy Rant No Comments
When I started at Michaels millennia ago, we had a brilliant walking encyclopedia of knowledge and engineering know-how. His name was Dave Hamilton, or Ham for short. He was probably 30 years older than me. My boss at the time said Ham knew the answer to any problem. Younger engineers would spend a few weeks to prove he was right. Scaling Electrification A couple of weeks ago, in the final of a series on electrification prompted by the EPRI conference in Charlotte, I wrote in Electrification at Scale that decarb fans need to 1) brace for consequences such as 9,000...
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Rant Revelations Unleashed

By Energy Rant No Comments
This week in concert with critical thought prompted by the EPRI electrification conference, I introduce Rant Revelations. Some are not new, but it is time to start a list. Profit Rules Decarbonization can only happen if it is profitable. That is how we decarbonized to current levels. Whether it’s production tax credits for wind energy that make coal not competitive or high natural gas prices that make coal competitive, profit wins. In time the piper will be paid as intermittent and subsidized renewable energy will run out its string of lowering energy prices requiring new thermal generation to avoid grid...
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Managing Utility Bills with Automation and Information

By Energy Rant No Comments
Another week and we have two more dire warning shots of forecast blackouts this summer. These come from The Wall Street Journal and describe challenges from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) region to California. Michigan’s Palisades Nuclear Generating Station shut down permanently on May 20th taking out 6.5% (800 MW) of the state’s electricity supply (gulp). The Journal notes it is part of Michigan’s transition to all renewable energy. They also write that it was slated for closure for five years, but Governor Whitmer waited to throw a last-minute Hail Mary just one month before closure to the federal...
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Map of Ukraine

100 Years and 50,000 Feet Over Ukraine

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m breaking my word from last week’s natural gas shakedown in which I noted I would write about customer intolerance for high energy prices this week. Since then, a kerfuffle has broken out in the Eurasian landmass. I was asked if I might be interested in writing about that, especially regarding energy. No! I don’t know much about it; it won’t impact our energy supply, and we should not get involved. After listening to some podcasts and news clips, my Gallup “strengths” got the best of me. My top four strengths are posted on the left, with a layperson’s definition...
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Wild Energy Ride

Next Up: A Wild Energy Ride

By Energy Rant One Comment
It has been a frothy year for the energy industry, and it will continue well into next year and beyond. How far? Heh heh. Let’s start with coal. After plummeting 30% in 2020, consumption bounced back, gaining 35% in 2021. Doing the math, that doesn’t quite get coal back to 2019 consumption. Coal plants are still closing at a breakneck pace, so consumption in the United States is bound to decline in the long haul, but will load balancers and utilities be able to keep the lights on in 2030? This is a concern to me because no source of...
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Years of Dominos Fall in Texas

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week when the Rant “went to press,” which is to say, when I wrote it Saturday, the arctic blast was merely a cold shot of weather like I have experienced dozens of times. I didn’t start seeing the chaos in the south until Monday. It was an avoidable tragedy caused by many things over many years. Some places lost water supply and wastewater treatment. A colleague sent me the first picture below from a friend in the Dallas area. Here in the Midwest, we might think that’s an innovative way to keep beer cold at a house party. In...
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Lithium is Not Nirvana

By Energy Rant No Comments
I am typically afforded the freedom to chase rabbits as I write these posts, but last week my mission was to reflect on 2020 and forecast 2021. In the process of starting that, I chased a rabbit that is the subject of this post. It is as easy to shoot down ideas as it is to be negative because humans have a negativity bias, which means negative events have a greater impact on brains than positive ones. For example, I recently read that the joy of finding $20 in a coat pocket, say from a year ago, is overwhelmed by...
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electricity storage - climate change

Innovative Electricity Storage Crushes Batteries; Death Sentence for Duck

By Energy Rant One Comment
I’m not in the electricity storage business, but I can recognize lousy ideas when I see them. Grid-scale battery storage is a bad idea. It will never be anything more than a frequency and voltage regulation technology, although I have to say these are critical functions that batteries can provide. Innovation comes out of left field while everyone else is trying to make a pig fly. And when I see it, I think, “Wow, why did I not think of that?” The Roots of Sound Storage Thermal power generation, particularly from coal, and to a lesser extent, nuclear, have enormous...
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