Commenter: A.G. Randol III, Ph.D.
Virginia must reclaim its energy future from the radicals
I am the co-founder of Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment.
I have over 60 years of experience in energy production, technology and policy.
As a resident for over 25 years, I have watched Virginia slowly lose its competitive edge and viability of energy supply and security. The energy plan needs to reverse the slide.
Virtue Signaling is not an Energy Plan…We can’t afford an economic suicide pact with radical California.
What Virginia does makes NO measurable difference:
First, CO2 is a globally mixed gas so any emissions around the world show up here.
Virginia emissions are only 2% of US emissions.
US emissions are about ¼ of Asia’s emissions.
US emissions are about 1/3 of China and India combined emissions. Both China and India have announced major expansions of coal fired electric generation that will more than offset any reductions in the US.
US emissions are about 1/8 of global emissions…
So Virginia emissions are about 0.25% of World emissions…not detectable.
Contrary to what’s parroted by the alarmists and the disinformation media, the effect of the addition of CO2 declines because of the saturation described in Dr Will Happer’s and Dr Richard Lindzen’s recent filing with the SEC: https://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Happer-Lindzen-SEC-6-17-22.pdf
The Logarithmic Forcing from CO2 Means that Its Contributions to Global
Warming is Heavily Saturated…Thus Confirming There is No Reliable Scientific
Evidence Supporting the Proposed [SEC] Rule
Both of us have special expertise in radiation transfer, the prime mover of the greenhouse effect in Earth’s atmosphere. It is important to understand the radiation physics of what the effect is of adding CO2 at current atmospheric concentrations.
CO2 becomes a less effective greenhouse gas at higher concentrations because of what is often called “saturation.” Each additional 100 ppm increase of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a smaller and smaller change in “radiative forcing,” or in temperature, since there are very good reasons to assume that temperature changes are proportional to changes in radiative forcing. The saturation is shown in the chart below.
This means that from now on our emissions from burning fossil fuels could have little impact on global warming. There is no climate emergency. No threat at all. We could emit as much CO2 as we like, with little warming effect.
Doubling CO2 concentrations, from 400 ppm to 800 ppm, a 100% increase, would cause tiny changes of the heat radiation to space, and therefore tiny changes of Earth’s surface temperature, on the order of 1°C (about 2°F) of surface warming for every doubling of CO2 concentrations.
Saturation also explains why temperatures were not catastrophically high over the hundreds of millions of years when CO2 levels were 10-20 times higher than they are today, shown in the chart above.
Further, saturation also provides another reason why reducing the use of fossil fuels to “net zero” by 2050 would have a trivial impact on climate, contradicting the theory there is a climate related risk from fossil fuel and CO2 emissions.
Energy security is a necessary condition for national security
Virginia’s unique military facilities need to be the dominant priority for energy planning from the Pentagon to the other 26 bases in the state, including:
Fort Belvoir Army
Fort Eustis Army
Air Facility Norfolk, Norfolk Naval Air Station Coast Guard
MCB Quantico Marines
NAS Oceana Navy
Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center Dam Neck, Virginia Navy
Norfolk Naval Shipyard Navy
Security of electricity supply requires location convenient to the critical facilities without the dependence on exposed transmission. Hardened microgrids must be part of the consideration. Coal electricity is a crucial part of the fuel diversity to avoid over-reliance on pipelines.
Offshore threats are real. Wind turbines that blind outward looking radar are unacceptable. Transmission lines that are insecure are unacceptable.
Refining: expanding capacity is now a national imperative. We need to restore and expand the Yorktown facility.
Natural gas: a critical fuel for reliable dispatchable electricity. It is also important for fertilizer. Storage and pipelines need to be built to improve the deliverability.
Coal: is a necessary foundation of a reliable, affordable and secure electricity grid. The retirements need to be reversed. Local coops need to be given the opportunity to own and operate these facilities.
Nuclear: an essential building block of current and future base load. Expanding at the current sites should be a priority.
A necessary pre-condition for a rational and responsible Virginia energy policy
A necessary pre-condition for a return to a rational and responsible Virginia energy policy is reversing the radical and misguided policies adopted during the Northam Administration:
Dominion’s offshore wind boondoggle, the abdication of our sovereignty to radical California, and the imposition of the RGGI must be addressed sooner rather than later. Mandating an all-electric vehicle fleet is unaffordable for most Virginians, will undermine the electric grid and enrich China.
My comments below focus on the issues related to the topics as requested:
An “All-of-the-Above” Approach to Energy Policy, including
Energy Affordability for citizens, businesses, industry
Must be defined by the SCC, not the General Assembly or Dominion
SCC role as protector of the consumer must be restored, including affordability for lower income and fixed income citizens.
Reliability and security must be added tests
Reliability of electricity production and supply of fuels
Lack of reliability has a real cost as we learned from Texas in 2021:
Up to 700 died, $200B hit to the economy, over $10B still remains to be paid by consumers
ERCOT was swamped by unreliable, weather-dependent intermittents…only 2% of promised capacity..
The only reliable thermal dispatchable electricity: natural gas and coal
Nuclear reliable base load: must introduce high temperature Small Modular Reactors
Capacity to supply from sources within the Commonwealth, not PJM:
Dominion used to build as much firm thermal backup as it added in unreliable capacity, now it wants to avoid accountability by refusing “performance guarantee”, this is the same problem faced by the Texas ERCOT grid
Competition for the vested monopolies
Dominion can no longer be free to abuse ratepayers by investing major capital in unreliable technology while being guaranteed an exhorbitant rate of return for investors. When they argue that they can’t be held accountable for the performance of these investments, it’s clear that they no longer serve the interest of Virginia consumers. It’s time to end the monopoly.
Solar: takes 300 times the surface area, destroys productive farm land, problem with disposal of panels (CA has just figured out that they have a problem), roof-top solar has to have the same battery storage as utility scale solar (24 hours).
Wind: destroys habitat, harms animals, noise pollution significant, threat to North Atlantic Right Whales (endangered species), threat to fishing industry, threat to navigation, compromises navigational and defense intrusion radar, disposal needs to be part of the requirement
Lower Cost of Living and Reduce Inflation
Energy is a key component of the cost of living from direct purchases to the costs to produce and distribute food and services
Cannot afford to deploy unreliable intermittent resources that have limited capacity, require substantial firming backup, rely on Chinese supply chains,
require substantial mining outside the U.S.
We must maintain our advantage over other states in terms of the electricity rates, especially for lower income residential consumers
Job Creation and Support
The most important issue is how much NET energy is available to support the Virginia economy, the supply chain must U.S. sourced.
Bringing People and Businesses to Virginia
There needs to be a reality check on the cost of electricity:
California (27.02 cents/kwh)
New York (21.85 c/kwh)
Virginia (13.02 c/kwh): we must compete with West Virginia (13.98 c/kwh), North Carolina (12.14 c/kwh) and South Carolina (13.97 c/kwh), NOT the RGGI states as Dominion suggests.
Fact Checks of Disinformation Claims
Below are fact checks of the some of 13 most common climate claims such as those made in the recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report. These claims are the source of the disinformation campaign used to justify the assault on our energy economy.
The contributors of these reviews are all recognized experts in the relevant fields.
A paper just issued https://link.springer.com/article/10.1140/epjp/s13360-021-02243-9
“A Critical Assessment of Extreme Events in Trends in Times of Global Warming”, Gianluca Alimonti et al., European Physical Journal Plus, 2022 reviews recent bibliography on time series of some extreme weather events and related response indicators in order to understand whether an increase in intensity and/or frequency is detectable. “None of these response indicators show a clear positive trend of extreme events. In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet.”
Claim: The globe has experienced among the warmest ever month or year in the entire record back to the 1800s. This claim is recurrent - often monthly.
Fact Check: These claims are totally unsupported by any credible analysis of raw global surface temperature data and its availability. Moreover, this Global Average Surface Temperature Data invalidation alone, invalidates the EPA 2009 GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding as well as the subsequent EPA Findings’ claimed link between rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the other Climate Alarmist claims - which are also independently invalidated below by relevant empirical data.
Thus, all such climate alarmist claims are in reality just politically driven disinformation.
See details https://alarmistclaimresearch.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/cc-acresearch-n1-master-050221.pdf
See a Timeline of Surface Temperature Data versions: https://alarmistclaimresearch.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/surface-temperature-data-timeline-0905.pdf
Claim: Melting of the glaciers and ice caps are causing sea levels to rise at an alarming rate threatening coastal cities
Fact Check: The rate of global sea level rise on average has fallen by 40% the last century. Where today, it is increasing - local factors such as land subsidence are to blame. See details: https://alarmistclaimresearch.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/ac-rebuttal-sea-level-032122.pdf.
See how sea level trends are being “adjusted”: https://alarmistclaimresearch.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/scientists_caught_adjusting_sea_level_da.pdf
See how between 1985 and 2015, satellite observations indicate the world’s coasts gained 13,565 km2 more land area than they had lost to the seas: (https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3111).
The Virginia story: relative sea level rise is driven by land subsidence and aquifer compaction because of extensive groundwater pumping.
Land Subsidence and Relative Sea-Level Rise in the Southern Chesapeake Bay Region
By Jack Eggleston and Jason Pope, Circular 1392 (2013)
U.S. Department of the Interior (OBAMA)
SALLY JEWELL, Secretary
U.S. Geological Survey
Suzette M. Kimball, Acting Director
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
The southern Chesapeake Bay region is experiencing land subsidence and rising water levels due to global sea-level rise; land subsidence and rising water levels combine to cause relative sea-level rise. Land subsidence has been observed since the 1940s in the southern Chesapeake Bay region at rates of 1.1 to 4.8 millimeters per year (mm/yr), and subsidence continues today.
Land subsidence in the Hampton Roads area of the southern Chesapeake Bay region has averaged about 3 mm/yr since 1940. Measured rates range from 1.1 to 4.8 mm/yr.
This land subsidence helps explain why the region has the highest rates of sea-level rise on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Data indicate that land subsidence has been responsible for more than half the relative sea-level rise measured in the region.
The difference between the average sea-level rise computed from the four NOAA tidal stations in the study area (3.9 mm/yr) and the benchmark global rate is 2.1 mm/yr, which is an estimate of the average rate of land subsidence at the four NOAA stations. These numbers indicate that land subsidence has been responsible for more than half the relative sea-level rise measured in the southern Chesapeake Bay region
Land subsidence increases the risk of flooding in low-lying areas, which in turn has important economic, environmental, and human health consequences for the heavily populated and ecologically important southern Chesapeake Bay region.
The aquifer system in the region has been compacted by extensive groundwater pumping in the region at rates of 1.5- to 3.7-mm/yr; this compaction accounts for more than half of observed land subsidence in the region. Glacial isostatic adjustment, or the flexing of the Earth’s crust in response to glacier formation and melting, also likely contributes to land subsidence in the region.
Aquifer-System Compaction From Groundwater Withdrawals
When groundwater is pumped from an aquifer system, pressure decreases. The pressure change is reflected by water levels in wells, with water levels decreasing as aquifer-system pressure decreases. This is happening over most of the southern Chesapeake Bay region, with the greatest water-level decreases seen near the pumping centers of Franklin and West Point, Virginia. As water levels decrease, the aquifer system compacts, causing the land surface above to subside. Water levels have decreased over the entire Virginia Coastal Plain in the Potomac aquifer, which is the deepest and thickest aquifer in the southern Chesapeake Bay region and supplies about 75 percent of groundwater withdrawn from the Virginia Coastal Plain aquifer system (Heywood and Pope, 2009).
Claim: Heat Waves are more frequent and extreme. Heat waves kill people and greenhouse gases are to blame.
Fact Check: Heat waves like cold waves are a normal part of our global climate. Heat Waves have been decreasing since the 1930s in the U.S. and globally. See details here. See Dr. Cliff Mass’s excellent 2021 post “Flawed Heatwave Report Leads to False Headlines in Major Media Blogpost. “Last week we witnessed a major failure in science communication regarding the Northwest heatwave. A failure that misinformed you and millions of others, and a failure that highlighted glaring weaknesses in the