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18 October 2013

King Coal Will Continue to Rule the World

The renewable energy, non-fossil fuel phantom is not about to replace Coal as the King of World Electric Power Generation.  The Western European attempt to replace coal with wind energy and solar power has only proven what was perfectly obvious:  They are unreliable and very expensive.  They are threatening Germany and other nations with severe winter power inadequacies and these are continuing to mount.  Industry is fleeing Germany for less expensive and more reliable electricity power.

The problem is not just that wind and solar power generation plants themselves are unreliable and expensive.  Because these power sources are unreliable, they have to be backed up by natural gas power plants, which can be tuned to higher or lower power outputs relatively rapidly, unlike coal-fired power plants.  The late start and the resistance to the development of shale oil and gas fields by using the well-proven frakking technique has left Europe with only high cost natural gas, much of which is imported from Russia.  The use of coal provides much less expensive and very reliable electric power, but also produces more of the falsely accused CO2 villain.

The European Union has regulations that were designed to reduce CO2 emissions which discouraged coal use altogether and limited natural gas power plants to standby duty, only to be turned on when the wind did not blow or blew too hard.  But, natural gas power plants are too expensive to keep running at less than about 57% of their capacity.  The result is that 60% of European natural gas electric power plants will be closed by 2016.  Power outages will become a frequent occurrence.  It will be miserable for residences and businesses will go out of business or move to other parts of the world.  Many of the big European businesses will continue, at an accelerated pace, to move more manufacturing operations to the US, where power is still more reliable and less expensive in many states despite Obama's best efforts to drive prices sky high.

Idiot European Union regulations or not, Europe will have to build more coal-fired power plants at some point.  According to the World Bank, in 2011 world-wide electric generation plant capacity was just over 22 trillion KWH or 22 billion MWH.  The presently known proposed building plans for coal-fired electric power plants are summarized in the schematic map below.  The 1.4 billion MWH of plants proposed will be a about a 6.4% increase in electric power generation capacity.  The biggest two contributors by far to this increase are China and India.  But, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam are a distant 3, 4, and 5 by rank.  In Europe, Ukraine, Poland, and Germany are ranked 1, 2, and 3 with their proposed coal power plant increases.  Ukraine and Poland rightly have no qualms about this, but Germany is being driven to it out of necessity.

Given the coal-fired power plant plans of China, India, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, South Africa, and the US, the contribution of Germany would have no significant impact on global warming, even if the failed hypothesis of CO2 emission catastrophe were true.  Obama's madmen and madwomen at the EPA are trying to nix the US building of such power plants and may succeed for awhile.  Eventually, we will learn what Germany is in the process of learning.


China is talking about trying to reduce its coal-fired power plant contribution to its increasing power needs.  However, the projected 2030 electric power plant generation capacity in 2030 is expected to compare with that of 2006 as shown below:


So in 2006, China had a 2.77 trillion KWH capacity and by 2030 it is expected to have an 8.55 trillion KWH capacity.  This is a 3.1 times increase.  Try as China may, the only way that can happen is if the use of coal powered plants greatly increases.  The 2006 coal-fired power plant capacity was 2.19 trillion KWH and it will expand in 2030 to 6.41 trillion KWH.  This is a 2.9 times increase!  The 2030 coal-fired power plant capacity of China will be the equivalent of nearly 30% of the present total world electric power generating capacity.

It is a very good thing that the hypothesis of catastrophic man-made global warming has failed.  The world is not going to be able to avoid the continued and even the increased use of coal.  If it tried, that would be a catastrophe.  The global warming alarmists time is drawing to a close.  King Coal will remain well ensconced on his throne.

2 comments:

Merlin Jetton said...

Does this advise buying stock in China Shenhua Energy Company (CSUAY)? :-)

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Merlin,

The great availability, the low cost, the reliable power, and the fact that CO2 is not a cause of significant global warming are all facts to consider when deciding to whether to invest in a coal company. China does have a pollution problem, but scrubber technology is pretty well developed and a rational solution to that problem and China does not seem to have actually bought into the nonsense of catastrophic man-made global warming due to man's CO2 emissions, so these are all factors favorable to buying shares of a Chinese coal company, coal-fired power plant construction, scrubber construction, etc.

However, I am not making any recommendations on the purchase of shares of any particular Chinese company. Who knows, their management might have a falling out with the One Party Controlled Government or be extorted by it.