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Comment Re:Storage? (Score 2) 445

For coal, this doesn't really matter - it still loses. To pick up where renewables leave off, you want natural gas (or even petroleum) turbines that can quickly be brought on and off line. Coal and nuclear are not really suited to this.

The power industry makes the distinction between "base load" and "peak load" generation sources. Coal and nuclear are best for base load, running 100% capacity as much as possible. Combined-cycle turbines are best for peak load since they can be economically throttled.

The issue is both peak and base load demands are increasing. Turbines make great peak load sources but are poor for base load. TVA -- my former employer -- took coal plants offline due to Obama-era regulations making them impossible or unprofitable to operate (or both). They made up for the lost generating capacity by running their turbines as if they were base load generators. The result? Huge increases in turbine maintenance costs, more frequent maintenance outages, and more unplanned outages.

If the goal is to kill coal you have to replace it with something. Nuclear is a non-starter for most people because of their hysterical, irrational fear of it. Natural gas is cheap but, as stated above, it's not the best candidate for peak load generation. Nothing in the solar or wind column can come close to substituting for any current base load generation technology.

Comment Re:Total regulatory impact 2-3 percent (Score 2) 445

Coal has been made disproportionately more expensive over the last several years by government fiat, not market forces. Burdensome regulation and carbon taxes have made it so. Until recently I worked for TVA (mostly nuclear plants but some coal, hydro, and combined-cycle turbines). Several coal plants were shut down well ahead of schedule simply because Obama-era regulations made them unprofitable to run. Remember, candidate-Obama promised to destroy coal. He certainly worked hard enough at it.

If coal is allowed to float without government interference it will be quite a bit cheaper than renewables and much more abundant. Windmills only spin when the wind is blowing. Solar only works when the sun is out and your panels aren't covered in snow. Coal runs 24x7, rain or shine, windy or calm, hot or cold.

Comment Re:Total regulatory impact 2-3 percent (Score 1) 445

Adapt. Fossil fuels are over. They're too expensive.

Says the guy whose lights and computer are very likely lit by electricity generated from fossil fuels. Who, if he has a car, is likely powered by fossil fuels or has a battery charged by fossil fuels. Or, if he uses mass transit, it's either fueled by fossil fuels or powered by electricity derived from fossil fuels. Whose synthetic plastic materials around him are made from fossil fuels. Who, if he's ever flown anywhere, was in a plane powered by fossil fuels. Who, if he stopped to consider it, would be utterly unable to function today in any useful capacity without power, products, or motive force made possible in whole or in part by fossil fuels.

But hey doesn't it sound all trendy and shit to say "fossil fuels are over"?

Comment Coal won't cut it? (Score 2, Informative) 445

From the DoE:

Major energy sources and percent shares of U.S. electricity generation at utility-scale facilities in 2016:

Natural gas = 33.8%
Coal = 30.4%
Nuclear = 19.7%
Renewables (total) = 14.9%
Hydropower = 6.5%
Wind = 5.6%
Biomass = 1.5%
Solar = 0.9%
Geothermal = 0.4%
Petroleum = 0.6%
Other gases = 0.3%
Other nonrenewable sources = 0.3%
Pumped storage hydroelectricity = -0.2%

So, wind + solar = 6.5%
Coal + natural gas + nuclear = 83.9%

Winner = not renewables

If coal's been on the decline it's only because the Obama administration demonized it and because we had a happy accident of finding an abundance of natural gas. Wind and solar would be nowhere without massive government subsidies.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on those fusion reactors.

Comment Re: I find this thoroughly unsurprising (Score 1) 344

A small boro near me shut down it's police department due to this. They found it only existed to give tickets on a 100 meter stretch of highway to fund themselves.

They now use the neighboring township for real police work when necessary.

I still go slow on that stretch of road, though.

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