Misconstrued wind and solar energy:

The Energy Transition Act, SB 489, has been signed, sealed and delivered to the unsuspecting folks of New Mexico. This bill provides a financial bond transition path for Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), a public utility, to replace the high density San Juan Coal Power Station with low density wind and solar and electric rate increases from now until 2050. Someone always has to pay for that free sun and wind.

Industrial wind and solar farms are both at the bottom of the energy density meter chart with stored fossil fuels having ten thousand times more energy density and nuclear fuels another million times more energy density than fossil fuels.

When we talk about energy density we are referring to the stored energy in a fuel source. While the sun has stored energy, it is 92.15 million miles away. Also, wind has stored energy but it is constantly moving around and not concentrated. In order to leverage wind or solar, you need collectors.

The energy from the sun and wind passes through the collectors as converted electricity to be immediately used, stored in batteries or discarded. There is no stored energy in collectors themselves for use when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

When you look out over the horizon and see all those massive wind towers with blades spinning in the breeze (or not) and you see endless rolling hills blanketed with blacken sheets of solar panels, you have to be impressed on the surface.

But when you look behind the physics of wind or solar collectors you will understand why these two sources are just not going to power a decarbonized New Mexico alone. We absolutely must have high density fossil and fission energy as our energy sources for generating base load electricity for the regional electric grid.

There’s also an incredible correlation between the rise of fossil fuel usage and an increase in life expectancy, gross domestic product, and population. Nuclear energy is how we will continue our human flourishing.

Innovation is a critical driver of clean energy transitions. So, why is the New Mexico Government being so foolish to ignore the warning signs (Germany and California) and continue with their clean energy transition without high density energies?

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From Natural Gas to Nuclear – Part 2 of 50/50 Clean Energy Program

When will more policymakers start facing up to the yawning gap between renewable hype and energy reality? They may be forced to. The blistering summer of 2018 throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere pushed electricity usage to dangerous levels.

Germany’s vaunted green-energy infrastructure couldn’t keep up, and the country had to rely on its few remaining nuclear reactors to fill the gap. South Korea moved to restart 5 shuttered nuclear power plants back to operation. Japan accelerated a plan to reopen some of the nuclear power plants closed after Fukushima, nearly doubling its nuclear capacity. Taiwan reopened a formerly closed nuclear power plant.

Anti-nuclear sentiment has been running high in all these and other countries, but their political leaders apparently decided that they would face a stiffer voter backlash if they allowed power blackouts.

Just this month, the European Commission has confirmed that nuclear will form the backbone of a 2050 carbon-free European power system, together with wind and solar renewables. My only question is why even bother with renewable wind and solar which require natural gas backup? It would be more practical to just switch to plentiful natural gas for the next 30 years while developing it’s new nuclear power fleet.

The goal for the entire world should to be to transition to lower-carbon power energy first and then to zero carbon by 2100. That could be a realistic time frame if we don’t waste our time and resources on alternative sources that can’t solve the climate change issues.

Natural gas has 60 percent less CO2 and particulate pollution than the coal plants we’ve been using the last 150 years. Since 1880, surface temperature has risen at an average pace of 0.13°F (0.07°C) every 10 years for a net warming of 1.69°F (0.94°C) through 2016 according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In other words, there is more than enough time to decarbonize the electrical grid while the world may warm less than 0.94°C through the last part of this century. Instead of a ‘Green New Deal’, we should be having a ‘Clean Energy Program’ for global electrification with nuclear energy. By nuclear, I mean the molten chloride salt fast reactors or equivalent that will consume all the unused nuclear fuel rods in storage before mining for new nuclear fuel.

From Renewable to Natural Gas – Part 1 of 50/50 Clean Energy Program

New Mexico is a state with abundant sun, wind and natural gas. We also have very large coal, oil and uranium reserves. We are also a state with a thousand years of saline water underground. We are in fact a state with more natural sources of abundant energy that it has left our state government confused as to what it should do with it. So, to get along, our state government has decide to go along, with wind and solar that is.

Even though two of the five coal furnaces at the Four Corners Power Plant have gone through multi-million dollar retrofitting with carbon scrubbers to filter particulates from air pollution, political decisions have been made to shut down those last two furnaces.

This is a foolish mistake and what’s worst is the notion that the electricity can be replaced with wind and solar energy. It is well document that this will most likely not happen. The Governor’s goal is to decarbonize power generation with renewable energies by 2045 in New Mexico.

What is renewable energy? Energy sources that can be sustained through use and reuse for defined periods of time. New Mexico’s ‘clean energy plan’ is based on one hundred percent renewable energy consisting of wind and solar. Sun and wind have existed for billions of years. Uranium and thorium have existed for billions of years. Oil and natural gases have existed for billions of years. Water and air have existed for billions of years. All of those energy sources will be here for another billion years or more. What is not sustainable or renewable about that?

Here is a fact that most people fail to relate to. Wind and solar require collector devices made of finite raw materials mined from the earth. After 20-30 years, all the collector devices require replacement with same, ad infinitum, persevering a continuous low tech job demand machine.

Renewable wind and solar farms are intermittent electricity generators and require natural gas power as a backup power source. New Mexico is a state with a lot of natural gas so you have to question why it is not our primary base load source for electrical power and just skip this industrial wind and solar quest based on political and psychological reasons?

From Blue Wave to a Tsunami:

The 2018 blue wave election results that hit New Mexico Legislature has turned out to be an actual tsunami of 1370 introduced bills, and counting. Here, take a look: http://www.nmlegis.gov. The O&G Industry of New Mexico is being attacked from within by our new state legislature. This is all being done under the guise of the Governor’s clear energy initiative to decarbonize New Mexico by 2045.

Energy and Natural Resources is the subject category that is of most interest to South East New Mexico (SENM) because that is where Santa Fe gets 40% of it’s revenue base. Any interruption to that revenue stream has to be made up through increases in taxes from other sources or cut programs. There are several proposed clean energy bills that will have a negative and positive effect on state revenue streams coming from the energy and natural resource sectors.

The mix of clean energy bills effecting the tax structure and revenue stream include coal, oil and gas, wind and solar, nuclear unused fuel and waste and biofuel. What are missing is legislation on geothermal and hydroelectric energy which are part of the Clean Energy Policy (CEP NM), but not practical energy sources for New Mexico. Nuclear and natural gas are not considered clean energy by the current New Mexico Legislature. Wind and solar are the preferred solution for electricity generation by this state administration. Why?

For many energy people the answer is obvious: ignorance. What the Green New Deal (GND) and CEP NM are missing is the latest ‘clean energy technology’ for fossil fueled electricity and nuclear power reactors. It is like the GND and the CEP NM only see and understand 70 year old technical and psychological ideology about power generation.

In fact, GND use to be called ‘New Apollo Project’ back in 2003. There was $300 billion for a green agenda of advocating taxpayer money for efficiency and renewables that the Bush Adm ignored. Then another attempt was presented to the Obama Adm in 2009. Billions were spent to stimulate a new energy direction. Today, ‘they’ are talking about trillions for a Green New Deal without nuclear and fossil energy within 10-12 years. That is just not going to happen.

Green New Deal needs Nuclear:

Green New Dealers, which includes our new Governor Lujan-Grisham and all her blue legislators, are now proposing to spend taxpayer dollars weatherizing every building in New Mexico and supplying them with electricity from wind and solar farms. In other words, they propose to decarbonize New Mexico.

In the last ten years that I have been studying nuclear science and technology, I discovered two things about surviving recent trends to mitigate every iteration of the term climate change. Decarbonize is one of those iterations. First, no nation has decarbonized its electricity supply with only solar and wind. Second, the only successful decarbonization efforts were achieved with nuclear.

Just look at France and Sweden. In the 1970s and 1980s, they built nuclear plants at the rate required to achieve the alleged climate goals of the Green New Deal. Sweden in 2017 generated a whopping 95% of its total electricity from zero-carbon sources, with 42 and 41 coming from nuclear and hydroelectric power. France generated 88% of its total electricity from zero-carbon sources, with 72% and 10%, respectively, coming from nuclear and hydroelectric power with the remainder from wind.

Meanwhile, the two poster children for wind and solar — California and Germany — have become models of how not to deal with climate change. Germany spent $580 billion on renewables and its emissions have been flat for a decade. And all of that unreliable solar and wind has made Germany’s electricity the second most expensive in Europe. Emissions in California rose after it closed one nuclear plant and will rise again if it closes another.

Bottom line? Had California and Germany spent on nuclear what they instead spent on renewables, both places would already have 100% clean power. That leaves us with nuclear power as the only truly scalable, reliable, low-carbon energy source proven capable of eliminating carbon emissions from the power sector. However, this will take 100 years, not 10 years.

So, Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham, you need O&G with their fracking process if you plan to address climate change. More importantly, the state needs to invest in nuclear energy for it’s future electricity and we can start by approving the HI-STORE CISF to store and later manufacture nuclear fuel for the advanced nuclear molten salt reactor (MSR) technology being developed in Canada.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a media phenomenon:

This last week, without a doubt, was the week of the Green New Deal (GND), a non-binding resolution introduced by several members of Congress 2019. I read a lot of science and technology articles, listen to a lot of podcast about technology and view videos of current presentations about technology both here in the US and also certain sources in Europe. The Green New Deal has taken the media by storm and no one knows what it really is, even Alexandria. The best consequence of her media phenomenon is that everyone is talking about nuclear energy as a missing piece of her Green Dream.

An influencer is a person who has the power to influence many people and would be supportive for or against something and in the case of the GND, nuclear and O&G are both on the ‘against’ platform. It is Alexandria’s media charm that has gotten everyone talking, and joking, about how ridicules the GND is but it has actually taken the technophobia out of nuclear energy. Yes, Alexandria has created more positive press and exposure for nuclear energy than world renown Jim Hanson (environmentalist) or Bill Gates (philanthropist). However, there is very little Alexandria will be able to do for nuclear energy in only 2 years.

Last September, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA). The law calls for construction of a versatile test reactor at Idaho National Labs (INL) by 2026. NEICA also directed the Department of Energy to establish a National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC), a place where private-sector companies can come and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts. Passage of this key piece of legislation shows that this President and last years Congress understood nuclear energy’s importance to the nation’s economy, national security and environment.

Back in 2012, a Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s nuclear future submitted its final report to the Secretary of Energy recommending immediate efforts to commence development of at least one geologic disposal facility and at least one consolidated interim storage facility (HI-STORE CISF in Carlsbad New Mexico), as well as efforts to prepare for the eventual large‐scale transport of unused nuclear fuel from current storage sites to those consolidated facilities via railroad (BNSF current upgrades). Let the nuclear renaissance begin.

NOTE: Check out the fingers! Ms. Spock?

The year of the extreme:

Here we are, and it is only February,  hearing a lot of chattered about some of the most extreme of the extreme policy recommendations from both the Congress and our State Legislature. There is a radical political shift in the United States that neither the Democrats or Republicans of the old guard are comfortable with. Not only has there been a political shift, there has also been an environmental shift over the last 70 years now. There is a new normal and I am not sure it is the right path to be taking.

Remember when the weather was just the weather and we referenced the almanac (pre milleninual) to predict what would ‘probably’ occur based on the astronomical or meteorological information, usually including future positions of celestial objects, star magnitudes, and culmination dates of constellations (farmers understood this). Well, we seem to have gone from simple unpredictable weather assessment to computerized data modeling using algorithms someone developed based on historical data from the recent past to determine trends.

A couple of those trends were the temperature cooling of the 1970’s, followed by an uptick starting shortly after called ‘global warming’. When warming slowed to almost non-existence, a consensus of climate watchers decided to change the term to ‘climate change’. The climate changes constantly and even that term wasn’t working out politically. Therefore, a new term more precise has been introduced as ‘extreme weather’. This allows any weather front that seems out of the ordinary to be referred to as ‘extreme weather’.

The most recent Arctic blast, dubbed a Polar Vortex, is an example of extreme weather except that it was actually more normal than extreme. The last one was just in 2014, so does two extremes make one normal? The California drought has been bombarded with fire and rain the last several years now. Are these extremes or is this just what happens in the weather cycles around the globe. What are the influences? Sun? Man? Or Physics itself?

The same confusion is occurring in the energy sectors too. The positions of the Green New Deal and the New Mexico Governor’s policy to decarbonize the state is definitely an extreme.