It has finally gotten hot, warm to D13 but damned hot to the rest of us. We take for granted what this kind of heat means and how it impacts so many things. People will die from the heat. Equipment from automobiles to ice machines will fail at a higher rate. When America was settled, most chose to live in the North. They could warm themselves in the winter, but until modern air conditioning came along, cooling oneself was near impossible. Sadly, we may be returning to those times as environmentalists continue to wage war against every new power plant anyone attempts to build. And now the EPA may force the closure of many existing coal power plants that cannot meet their new requirements.
Mood music anyone?
Martha and the Vandellas:Heatwave
Whenever I’m with you
Something inside starts burning
and my heart’s filled with fire
Stop this – it’s got a hold on me
I said this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be
It’s like a heatwave burning in my heart
I can’t keep from crying
Tearing me apart
Is it global warming to blame? No, it’s called summer, just as last winters records snows did NOT disprove global warming. But lets hear from some “experts”.
BILL MAHER: No, I know why you’re happy. It’s because you’re indoors. It’s hot outside. Not as hot here as it a lot of places in the country. Do you know that 29 states are under what they call a heat advisory? When I was a kid this used to be called, “Get the f–k inside.”
But, I mean, they’re triple-digit temperatures. It was 123 in Minnesota. How far is Al Gore going to take this global warming hoax? A hundred? [Applause]
Before we get to the stupidity and/or dishonesty on display, Maher followed this up by making another tasteless joke about Marcus Bachmann:
MAHER: 123 in Minnesota? Minnesota? Michelle Bachmann’s husband went in the closet just for the shade. [Cheers and applause]
Oh, I kid Michelle Bachmann.
Hysterical, isn’t it?
Not so funny was how Maher was doing exactly what Limbaugh spoke about Wednesday:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: They’re playing games with us on this heat wave again. Even Drudge is getting sucked in here, gonna be 116 in Washington. No, it’s not. It’s gonna be like a hundred. Maybe 99. The heat index, manufactured by the government, to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there, 116. When’s the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn’t been, but it looks like they’re trying to get away with doing that now. Drudge is just linking to other people reporting it, he’s not saying it, I don’t want you to misunderstand, but he’s linking to stories which say 116 degrees in Washington. No. It’s what, a hundred, 97, 99. It’s gonna top out at 102, 103. It does this every year. There’s a heat dome over half the country, the Midwest, it’s moving east. And it happens every summer.
Indeed. Maher likely got this 123 figure from a CNN.com piece reporting such a heat index in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Tuesday.
If folks like him were honest, they would first make clear that heat index is not temperature. It’s temperature including the impact humidity has on it.
And that’s the real news this week that global warming obsessed media members have downplayed – record humidity.
As Conservation Minnesota reported Wednesday:
Tuesday evening, around the dinner hour, the dew point at Moorhead reached 87.8 F, making this the most humid reporting station on the planet. The heat index peaked at an almost incomprehensible 134 F. at Moorhead.
Yet, as Minnesota Public Radio reported Wednesday, it was only 93 F when that record-breaking heat index was recorded in Moorhead.
What was responsible then? As the Bemidji Pioneer reported Saturday, it was the unprecedented humidity:
Meteorologists have determined that large fields of corn raise the dew points in surrounding areas because corn “sweats” on hot days. When the humid air mass that originated over the Gulf of Mexico passed over the sea of green that is Iowa, sweating corn likely added to the humidity levels.
Of course, it’s also been a very rainy season throughout much of the upper Midwest adding to the high humidity levels.(1)
I hope that doesn’t get us off track. I’m more interested in what we as a nation do about our power grid. Everything I have read says our population is increasing. That means our energy demands will increase at least at the same pace as population. If our economy improves, it’s possible our production will also increase. And it doesn’t matter what you make, cars or cookies all require energy to make. So how will the heat affect the power grid?
Hartman predicts 90- to 100-degree weather from Chicago to Boston from Wednesday through the weekend. The Midwest is expected to see peak heat on Thursday while thermometers in eastern states will top out on Friday and Saturday. Philadelphia may break a 1957 record of 100 degrees on Friday, while Washington, D.C., is expected to reach 103, tying a record from 1926.
Texas and the southern Plains states will extend a long streak of hot weather. On Wednesday Oklahoma was expected to suffer its 30th day of triple-digit temperatures this year.
Nationwide, Thursday and Friday will be hotter than any time since 1950, says Hartman. “It’s going to mean elevated power demand for an extended period of time for a lot of people,” he says.
To meet demand, utilities are firing up special power plants used only a few days a year, delaying scheduled maintenance in order to keep all equipment on line and testing heat-sensitive switches and other equipment with high-tech devices like thermographers that can gauge temperatures to one-tenth of a degree.
“These are the days everyone wants to have their ACs on, their computers going while they watch TV,” says Jon Jipping, Chief Operating Officer of ITC Holdings Corp., a transmission grid operator that owns grids in Iowa, Michigan and four other Midwest states. “These are the days we get ready for.”
Peak demand for most utilities usually happens on a late weekday afternoon in mid-summer. That’s when businesses are still open but people return home, turn on their air conditioners, lights and televisions and they start cooking dinner.
Problems can arise when the grid comes under maximum strain. Equipment can’t cool off, and it can’t handle as much power as usual. Lines, transformers and switches are working at full capacity and can be overwhelmed by power surges that can result from a blown piece of equipment or downed power line.
Even drops in power demand can be perilous. When a thunderstorm drenches a big, hot city, there is a quick drop in power demand because suddenly millions of air conditioners don’t have to work so hard. When power flow changes rapidly, either because of a surge or a sudden dropoff, devices meant to prevent equipment failures could trip, cutting power to customers.
Peak summer demand can be nearly double the demand of a typical day in a mild month like April or October. The PJM Interconnection, which operates the transmission grid in parts of 13 mid-Atlantic states, hit a record peak demand of 146,082 megawatts Tuesday. That compares to a typical April peak load of 78,000 megawatts.
Utilities and grid operators have to plan for the summer peak year-round. For them, a summer heat wave is like Black Friday for a big box retailer. Customers are clamoring for service, and it is time to sell the most power at the highest rates of the year.
Power generators have fleets of small power plants that can be turned on and off relatively easily to meet demand. They are inefficient and expensive, and therefore push the wholesale price of power sharply higher. Peak summer wholesale prices can be triple the price of power during a mild-weather month.
By the end of May each year, utility emergency procedures must be finalized, equipment must be repaired and power plants prepared. Jim Meister, vice president of operations support for Exelon Nuclear, which owns 10 nuclear plants, says each plant undergoes an average of 100 maintenance activities a year to get ready for summer.
When a heat wave is predicted, alert levels are raised that slow and then stop all non-essential maintenance on the grid. Fuel is delivered to plants that may need to fire up and workers are put at the ready.(2)
Remember those Rolling Blackouts in California and NY, to name a few? I thought they told everyone that would not happen again? (damn George Bush’s fault)
And in the big apple.
The heat wave that claimed lives as it staggered across the nation has settled into the tri-state, pushing temperatures to 97 degrees Thursday in Central Park and a record-breaking 103 degrees in Newark, N.J.
Today is expected to be even worse, reaching a heat index of 110 to 113 degrees and threatening to break records. It’s the seventh day of the scorching summer heat wave, and the heat is not expected to retreat until Sunday.
Con Edison is warning customers to expect scattered outages for the next few days as the power grid is stressed at capacity.
“We’re going to be in new territory, and for us that translates into a very high demand for electricity,” said John Miksad, senior vice president of Electric Operations for Con Ed.
“This is Day 1 of a three-day battle for us,” he added.(4)
So Con Ed is in a battle to meet NY’s energy demands. Well, they have a very smart billionair mayor who I’m sure can help find a solution(snark).
Mayor Bloomberg gives $50 million to fight coal-fired power plants
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its nationwide campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants.Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune described the gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will be spread out over four years, as “a game-changer, from our perspective.” The group will devote the money to its “Beyond Coal” campaign, which has helped block the construction of 153 new coal-fired power plants across the country since 2002.
Brune said in a phone interview that the group will use the money “to identify the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants, retire them and replace them with clean energy.” Some of the utilities the expanded campaign will focus on are in the Washington area, including the GenOn plant in Alexandria.
As mayor of New York, Bloomberg has pushed for environmentally friendly policies such as investing in renewable energy and making the city’s taxi fleet more efficient. But this is his largest financial contribution to an environmental effort, and the donation will significantly swell the Sierra Club’s $80 million annual budget.
The announcement, which Bloomberg and Brune will make together Thursday morning at the GenOn site, also underscores the extent to which environmentalists are focused on efforts beyond the Beltway, given the opposition in Congress to climate legislation. After the federal government failed to pass legislation imposing nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions, several environmental groups have shifted more resources to the state and local levels.
I wonder how or Jersey and New Yorkers feel? More mood music, Billy Idol
Then you know that it’s
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
For all the dreams and schemes,
people are as they seem
On a hot summer night
But it’s not just New York that is under attack, it’s all of us:
In some cases, the Sierra Club has joined with unusual allies in working to prevent new power plants, like in southwestern Arkansas, where the advocacy group and the Hempstead County Hunting Club are suing to block the construction of Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s $1.7 billion John W. Turk plant.
With Bloomberg’s donation, the Sierra Club plans to expand its “Beyond Coal” staff from about 100 people to nearly 200 full-time employees, which it will deploy in 46 states. Most of the staff will engage in grass-roots organizing, but some will work on lawsuits or social networking.(5)
We at SUFA are aware of the consequences of big business and big government. The environmental movement is big business. Where is the government that Bloomberg feels is absent?
EPA announced yesterday that it had reached a settlement with Duke Energy to address allegations of New Source Review violations at Duke’s Gallagher coal-fired generating plant in New Albany, Indiana. A jury had already found Duke liable for certain NSR violations at the plant. The settlement obviates the need for a remedy trial, which had been scheduled for early 2010.
The settlement requires Duke Energy to repower Units 1 and 3 at Gallagher with natural gas or shut them down and to install emission controls at Units 2 and 4. Duke will also pay a $1.75 million penalty and spend $6.25 million on various mitigation projects.
The settlement is not that surprising, particularly given the prior liability findings. It nonetheless serves as a useful reminder that EPA continues to focus on coal plants and that it is going to use all the tools at its disposal to reduce coal plant emissions. Although the press release does not mention global warming, these settlements are another way for EPA to attack the climate change problem under existing authority, even in advance of rules regulating GHGs under the PSD program.(6)
The Clean Air Transport Rule addresses the problem of coal-fired power plants in some states creating pollution that drifts into other states, which EPA is required to address under the Clean Air Act. Under the regulation, plants in affected states will begin reducing emissions in 2012.
By 2014 the new regulations are expected to reduce sulfur dioxide by 73% and reduce nitrogen oxides by 54% from 2005 levels. These emissions can form fine-particle pollution and smog, both of which are particularly dangerous to people with lung and heart disease.
The new regulations will likely inflame already heated opposition in some quarters to EPA regulations.
A policy rider announced Wednesday by House Republicans would prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants for one year. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies panel, said the provision was necessary to rein in out-of-control and job-killing regulation.
But EPA says reduced emissions will lead to $280 billion in lower health and environmental costs a year, which the agency says far outweighs the annual cost of compliance of $800 million.
How much is cheap energy worth, asks the American Lung Association’s Nolen. “Is it worth 36,000 American lives a year? That’s a pretty significant price to pay.”
Are EPA’s estimates of $280 billion in health and environmental savings realistic?(7)
Does the EPA have any projections on the number of death increases to come due to their policy? Now it’s hundreds that die from heat every year. When it becomes thousands, will we hear about all those lives “saved”? I have written before about environmentalist opposing all new power plants. You see hear another example, if Bloomberg and the Sierra Club are for clean energy, why don’t they throw their weigh behind say, 153 “clean energy” power plants? Remember that line from Die Hard, “are you part of the problem or part of the solution?” And the Republicans are painted as the party of “NO”.
There are one hundred and fifty-three examples of business offering a solution even in the hostile environment created by today’s government. Any business would be crazy not to consider how they move the goal post by raising standards, parts per million could become per billion or even trillion, and yet they have spent those millions just making a proposal and submitting their plans.
And why are businesses eager to build so many coal plants, but so few clean energy plants? Most businesses have people who can read a balance sheet….
The programs creating each green job also resulted in the destruction of 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the country for every “green job” created. In the end the price of electricity paid by the consumer in Spain will have to be increased 31% to be able to repay the historic debt generated by the deficit produced by the subsidies to renewable.(7)
And what I find the most amusing, after the nuclear plants in Japan were damaged by earthquakes and tsunami, Germany decided to start shutting down it’s nuclear plants. (Go Green!) But they realize they will have to build other plants to make up for the power loss, which takes money. So they are taking money set aside to fight climate change and using it to build coal power plants.(9)
I thought long and hard about an intelligent thought to end this with, but who would I be kidding?