NATURAL GAS IS GOOD FOR US AND NEW ENGLAND ECONOMY

US natural gas production has been steadily increasing from about 20,256 billion cubic feet in 2008 (consumption 23,277 bcf, less imports 3,021 bcf) to about 23,986 bcf in 2012 (consumption 25,502 bcf, less imports 1,516 bcf). In 2012, production was about 40% from shale, and the rest from tight gas, and other sources. The shale share is projected to grow to 43% and 60% by 2015 and 2035, respectively.

 

Natural gas is good for the US economy because it:

 

- Is domestic (energy security) 

- Is abundant (many decades of supply) 

- Emits no health-damaging particulates, unlike coal 

- Emits CO2 about 50 to 60% less/kWh than coal (reduces global warming) 

- Is low-cost, about $3.5/million Btu, which promotes economic growth and job creation

 

http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/monthly/archive/2013/2013_04/pdf/ngm_...

http://cbdakota.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/fracked-natural-gas-changi...

http://euanmearns.com/what-is-the-real-cost-of-shale-gas/

 

US Net Electricity Generation: Natural gas was 33.84% of all US net generation in 2016. Coal has steadily decreased and NG has steadily increased and now surpasses coal.

 

Wind and solar are very small percentages of net generation. At current rates of wind and solar system build-outs, and federal subsidies decreasing, it would take many decades to get to wind + solar becoming equal to 50%. See Table and URL.

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epm...

 

Net Electricity generation 2016

%

TWh

Natural gas

33.84

1380.295

Coal

30.40

1240.108

Nuclear

19.74

805.327

Renewables (total)

14.93

609.087

- Hydropower

6.52

265.829

- Wind

5.55

226.872

- Biomass

1.55

63.288

- PV solar, utility-scale

0.81

33.367

- Thermal solar

0.09

3.388

- Geothermal

0.41

16.716

Petroleum

0.63

25.874

Other gases

0.31

12.537

Other nonrenewable sources

0.31

12.537

Pumped storage hydroelectricity

-0.16

-6.686

Total utility-scale

100.00

4079.079

PV solar, small-scale

 

19.467

Total PV solar

 

52.833

Total PV and Thermal solar

 

56.221

 

New England Electricity Generation: The NE grid produces about 85% of the total system load. The rest is imported from Canada and New York. NG was 49.3% (52,059 GWh of all NE generation.

 

Wind and solar are very small percentages of total generation. At current rates of wind and solar system build-outs, and federal subsidies decreasing, it would take many decades to get to wind + solar becoming equal to 50%. See table and URL.

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix

 

GWh

Production, %

System load, %

Total Generation

105572

100.00

84.90

Gas

52059

49.30

41.80

Nuclear

32745

31.00

26.30

Renewables

10231

9.70

8.20

Refuse

3316

3.10

2.70

Wood

3200

3.00

2.60

Wind

2519

2.40

2.00

Solar

658

0.60

0.50

Landfill Gas

496

0.50

0.40

Methane

42

0.04

0.03

Steam

0

0.00

0.00

Hydro

7465

7.10

6.00

Coal

2555

2.40

2.10

Oil

517

0.50

0.40

Other 

0

0.00

0.00

Net Flow over External Ties

20803

16.70

Québec

12285

New Brunswick

4842

New York

3675

Pumping Load 

1959

-1.60

Net Energy for Load 

124416

100.00

 

NG Displacing Coal is the Major Reducer of CO2: Natural gas replacing coal has been the primary reason US CO2 emissions have declined since 2008, which will continue as marginal coal plants are closed, more 60%-efficient CCGTs are built to meet EPA CO2 emission requirements. Whereas, renewables, economic contraction and efficiency contributed to CO2 reduction, they were NOT the primary reason. 

 

EPA Proposal to Limit CO2 Emissions: For new coal plants, the EPA, under Obama, proposed a cap on emissions at 1,100 lb. CO2/MWh. However, a typical new, high-efficiency coal plant emits about 1,800 lb CO2/MWh. This measure was designed to end the building of new coal plants no matter how efficient.

 

For new NG plants, the EPA proposed caps on emissions at 1,100 lb. CO2/MWh for plants 850 MW or less, and 1,000 lb. CO2/MWh for plants greater than 850 MW. Most NG plants with 60%-efficient CCGTs would meet these caps.

 

The above EPA proposals were a dress rehearsal for a much larger proposal that would limit CO2 emissions from all EXISTING fossil power plants. However, as a result of Trump’s election, these economic growth-destroying EPA proposals have been cancelled.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/19/epa-limits-emi...

 

NOTE: Carbon Capture Sequestration, CCS, technology has been a dismal failure no matter where it was tried in the world.

 

NOTE: Global warming started in the late 1600s as the world started to come out of the Little Ice Age. By about 1850 the negative temperature anomaly (deviation from the 10,000-year average temperature) became zero and since that time it has become positive. Since 1900, manmade actions, such as fossil CO2 + deforestation + industrial agriculture + urbanization + population explosion (1 billion in 1800, 7.4 in 2016) + increased world gross product and its attendant air pollution, are all influencing the natural temperature rise. 

 

In 1800, the Gross World Product, GWP, was $175.24 billion; population 1.0 billion.

In 2012, the GWP was $71,830 billion, 407 times greater; population 7.2 billion.

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/03/12/world-energy-consumption-since...

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/83704/reduce-co2-and-slo...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-...

NOTE: Fracking is the process of injecting fluids under high pressure to crack underground shale rocks and release oil or gas within the rocks for extraction. There are potential risks of contaminating ground water, increasing air pollution, and mishandling of waste. Federal and state regulations, such as California Senate Bill 4, have been and are being implemented to set stricter fracking standards and to better regulate the practices and minimize adverse environmental impacts.

 

NOTE: The EPA has issued stricter rules regarding fracking practices to reduce air pollution. As there are tens of thousands of wells, the new rules will be in effect in January 2015 to give equipment suppliers time to ramp up production, and to give NG and oil rig owners time to purchase and install the required equipment and systems.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/18/usa-fracking-emissions-id...

http://theenergycollective.com/geoffrey-styles/290701/study-sheds-l...

NG a Major Driver of Economic Growth: The abundance and low cost of NG will give the US a many-decade, major, competitive advantage versus Europe and Japan which have NG prices about 2 to 3 times US wholesale prices. It would be shortsighted foolishness for the US government to allow excessive exports of NG to these competitors for short-term financial gain by a few US energy companies, or for geo-political purposes to drive Russia out of the east European market, so the US can sell more liquefied NG there.

 

NG Exports Would be Unwise Economic Policy: Because of higher NG prices in Europe and Japan, US energy companies have pressured the US government to approve increased exports. A third proposal to export NG was approved, despite concerns greater exports would increase prices in the US. 

 

The three projects approved by the US-DOE would have the capacity to ship 5.6 bcf/d, about two trillion cf./y, about 8% of US production in 2012.

 

Energy companies are seeking windfall profits by buying low in the US and selling high abroad. More than a dozen export proposals are still pending before the US-DOE!!

 

The export of NG likely would cause US prices and household energy bills to increase and would hamstring the nascent resurgence of US manufacturing.

 

NG Could Reduce the US Trade Deficit: It would be much more effective for US economic growth and US job creation to keep the NG in the US and use it to make lower-cost products for domestic use and export, instead of exporting the NG to our competitors and have them produce lower-cost products which they would import to the US and elsewhere and push US manufacturers out of markets.

 

A WSJ article of October 2, 2013, stated, foreign and domestic chemical companies, using NG as feedstock, will be investing at least $50 billion in plant and equipment in the US, during the 2013 - 2020 period, because of the abundance and low prices of the NG supply, compared with other locations in the world where they would normally build such plants

http://www.investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=5028&mn=22835&pt...

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who heads the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, suggested the government should be more skeptical as it weighs future NG export proposals. “With each new export permit, the DOE has a higher bar to prove these exports are in the best interests of American consumers and employers,” Wyden said.

 

US industrial companies using low-cost NG would be able to more-effectively compete with European and Japanese companies, which would increase exports, decrease imports, reduce trade deficits, and revitalize many other US industries, and create millions of well-paying jobs; inflation adjusted, median US household incomes have declined, while average household incomes have increased, a measure of increasing inequality of income distribution during the past 30 years.

 

Future NG Prices: The Energy Information Administration, EIA, part of the US Department of Energy, collects data regarding NG market trends. Based on those data, it projects NG production to continue to increase and projects prices, $/million Btu, to increase at slightly more than the rate of inflation under the most likely scenario of a low-growth US economy, over the next few decades.

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_naturalgas.cfm - natgas_prices?...http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_naturalgas.cfm

NG Less Harmful Than Coal to Human Health: It is wellknown, the particulates emitted and widely dispersed by coal plants are harmful to public health and the health of forests (acid rain).

 

- US deaths from coal energy are about 15/yr/TWh, NG energy 4, wind energy 0.15, nuclear energy 0.04/yr/TWh 

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

NG For Balancing Wind and Solar Energy: An additional benefit of NG is the output of NG-fired CCGTs can be more-rapidly ramped up and down than of coal and nuclear plants, which is of major benefit for integrating into the grid the increasingly greater quantities of variable wind and solar energy.

 

Cost of Balancing Wind Energy: This integrating is not cost-free. The below OECD study quantified the levelized costs of the grid level effects of variable energy, such as wind and solar, on the grid. It includes the costs of:

 

- Wind energy balancing

- Grid connection, reinforcement and extension

- Back-up (adequacy), i.e., keeping almost all EXISTING generators fueled, staffed, and in good working order to provide energy when wind energy is minimal, about 30% of the hours of the year in New England, about 10 to 15% of the hours of the year west of Chicago.

 

In the US, the 3 cost factors for onshore IWTs are minimal, as the annual wind energy on the grid is only a few percent, because most grids have some spare capacity to absorb variable wind energy. As the wind energy percentage nears 3% to 5%, that spare capacity is used up and the costs are as shown in the table. This is significantly greater than the about $5/MWh usually mentioned by IWT promoters. See page 8 of below URL. Corresponding costs for offshore wind turbine plants would be significantly greater.

 

Integration cost

Wind energy on grid

$/MWh

%

7.50

 5

16.30

10

19.84

30

 

These costs are a significant part of the US annual average grid price of about $50/MWh. Mostly, they are "socialized", i.e., charged to ratepayers, not to wind turbine owners. As a result, wind turbine owners, with help of other subsidies, such as the 2.3 c/kWh production tax credit, can underbid other low-cost producers, causing them to sell less energy and become less viable over time, i.e., future investors will be less willing to invest in such producers, unless compensated with "capacity payments", that will be charged to ratepayers, not wind turbine owners.

 

http://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/reports/2012/system-effects-exec-sum.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

 

NG Less Costly Than Renewables: If NG is used in 60%-efficient CCGT plants, capital cost about $1,500/kW, it will produce energy at about 5 - 6 c/kWh. CCGTs can also be combined with district heating, as is widely practiced in Europe, Russia, Japan, etc., to yield system thermal efficiencies of up to about 85%, i.e., only 15% of the thermal energy is rejected to the atmosphere.

 

That is significantly better than, for example, Vermont's waste and expensive SPEED RE program and the Lowell Mountain environmentally destructive, ridgeline wind turbines which produce energy at about 14 c/kWh, unsubsidized, 9 c/kWh, subsidized.

 

This compares with New England wholesale prices of about 5 c/kWh, at which Green Mountain Power, a Canada-owned utility in Vermont, buys some of its energy.

 

Vermont’s SPEED Program: Here are the latest, average prices paid under the Vermont SPEED program. Those prices have increased to over 20 c/kWh due to highly subsidized solar system build-outs since 2013.

 

Year

 

c/kWh

2010

 Last six months

 13.87

2011

 

 16.44

2012

 

  17.16

2013

 First eight months

 19.30

 

SPEED RE costs are steadily increasing, while NE annual average wholesale prices have been about 5 c/kWh since 2008!!! RE promoters claimed RE costs would be decreasing!! Are they just making it up to befuddle lay people, thinking no one would notice?

 

For the 2010 - 2017 period, a total of $131,220,058 excess above wholesale prices will have been rolled into electric rates of already-struggling households and businesses.

http://vermontspeed.squarespace.com/project-status/

 

Lowell Mountain Wind Turbines: Here are the latest Lowell Mountain numbers:

 

In its zeal for RE, GMP, purposely disregarding the advice of its own power system engineers, and disregarding the 5-yr nearby Maine ridge line CFs of about 0.25, and disregarding the New York State multi-year average CFs of about 0.235, claimed in documents filed with the PSB:

 

GMP CF claim

 Standard rotor (90 m dia.)

 63 x 8760 x 0.284 = 156,844 MWh/yr

GMP and DPS SPEED websites claim

 

63 x 8760 x 0.331 = 182,909 MWh/yr

GMP CF claim

 Large rotor (117 m dia.)

 63 x 8760 x 0.359 = 197,959 MWh/yr

 

NOTE: In the REAL world, these GMP claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on, but the Vermont Public Service Board, in global warming-fighting mode, found no fault with them. Protecting the interests of the public? Sure.

 

Lowell’s CF for the first 6 months of 2013 was 0.189, with similar numbers to follow. This means the COST of variable wind energy is not a tolerable 9.5 c/kWh, per GMP Lowell spreadsheets, but closer to a hardship 13 c/kWh, due to underproduction. The CF increased after a $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system, mandated by ISO-NE, was installed to reduce disturbing the grid.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wi...

ENERGY EFFICIENCY MORE COST EFFECTIVE THAN RENEWABLES

 

Vermont's already-struggling households and business cannot prosper with electricity at 2 to 4 times wholesale prices. Increased energy efficiency is a far better approach than dysfunctional RE, because it is the low-hanging fruit, has not scratched the surface, provides the quickest and biggest “bang for the buck”, and:

 

- It is invisible

- It does not make noise

- It does not destroy pristine ridge lines/upset mountain water runoffs

- It would reduce CO2, NOx, SOx and particulates more effectively than renewables

- It would not require expensive, highly-visible build-outs of transmission systems

- It would slow electric rate increases

- It would slow fuel cost increases

- It would not lower property values

- it would not harm people's health

- It would slow depletion of fuel resources

- It would create 3 times the jobs and reduce 3-5 times the Btus and CO2 per invested dollar than renewables

- All the technologies are fully developed

- It would end the subsidizing of renewables tax-shelters benefitting mostly for the top 1% at the expense of the other 99%

- It would be more democratic/equitable/humane

- It would do all this without public resistance and controversy.

 

To solve the "renewable" dilemma, why not declare energy efficiency as renewable energy. EE should be considered, and in fact is, the highest form of RE.  It would be very good for Vermont's economy and already-struggling households and businesses.

 

Vermont is fortunate to have Hydro-Quebec nearby. Not to use more of its low-cost, CO2-free, clean, hydro energy is pig-headed, shortsightedness, by Vermont leaders aiming to "protect" Vermont’s RE companies (that make big campaign contributions) from low-cost, CO2-free, hydro energy.

 

If NEW residences and other buildings are required to be "zero-net-energy" or "surplus-energy", they would save energy EVERY year for a long time, say 100 years.

 

If a light duty vehicle were designed for 50 mph EPA combined, as is the Toyota Prius, it would save energy for at least 10 years or longer.

 

That is the direction Vermont should take, instead of RE promoters lamenting about scaring away out-of-state, multi-millionaire, RE developers using lucrative tax-shelters to rip off Vermonters, and who tear up and defile Vermont's pristine ridge lines to place mostly-foreign, noise-making, 459-ft high, wind turbines on them.

 

These wind turbines disturb the peace of mind, and sleep, and quality of life, and property values of people who live within about 2 miles of them, especially when stronger winds make them operate at higher outputs, as recently happened when Lowell was measured to emit irregular noises AVERAGING 50 dBA.

 

This is well in excess of the PSB allowed 45 dBA, AVERAGED OVER ONE-HOUR AT THE RESIDENCE, is far too lax a requirement for a rural area, especially at night when people (and other fauna) need restful, health-restoring sleep.

 

It should be less than 40 dBA at an abutter's PROPERTY LINE, not at his residence, so the abutter is not deprived of the rights to his entire property, without due compensation.

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-us...

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/71771/energy-efficiency-...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-turbine-noise-adve...

 

Vermont already has the 4th highest electricity costs, right after Alaska, Hawaii, and Connecticut, per EIA, largely due to inanely-conceived RE programs benefitting well-connected, multi-millionaires (crony-capitalism) and hurting all others.

 

Whereas the above illustrates what has happened in Vermont, other states have similar, ineffective RE programs, that can only exist because of fiscally unsustainable subsidies.

 

A WAY FORWARD

 

The US needs to pursue LOW-COST and clean ways of generating energy:

 

- Natural gas to replace coal

- Use gas-fired, high-efficiency CCGTs

- Offshore wind on the East and West Coasts

- Concentrated solar thermal plants in the US Southwest

- Roof and land-mounted thermal solar domestic water heaters all over the US

- Roof and land-mounted PV solar all over the US

 

NOTE: The Anholt offshore wind power plant in the North Sea has 111 Siemens wind turbines, 3.6 MW each, for a total of about 400 MW, on 88 km2.

Inaugurated on September 3, 2013.

Energy density = (400 MW x CF 0.40)/88 km2 = about 1.82 W/m2, less transmission losses to the UK grid; the assumed CF is 0.40

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/09/denmarks-larg...

 

NOTE: Onshore wind plants in good locations west of Chicago have average CFs of about 0.38, for an energy density of about 1.73 W/m2, less transmission losses.

 

If 200,000 new IWTs were added west of Chicago, 3 MW each, 450-ft tall, they would produce 600,000 MW x 8,760 hr/yr x CF 0.38 x (1 - 0.27, transmission losses to the East Coast) = 1,458 TWh/yr, as measured at the East Coast user's meter, and would require an area of about 600,000/1.73 = 346,820 km2, or 89,827 sq. mi, to allow for proper spacing of the IWTs.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-ener... 

 

 

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Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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