Monthly Archives: October 2015

Saving The World From New Mexico’s Coal Use

Saving The World From New Mexico’s Coal by Peter Burrows 10/10/15

For the past few years, Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) has been under an EPA mandate to reduce the haze around their San Juan Generating Plant.  To meet EPA standards, PNM proposed shutting down two of four coal-generating plants at San Juan and replacing the lost power with natural gas nuclear and solar generated power.

You would think this would be a simple process, and you would be wrong. PNM has been battling over the details with a number of intervenors. (Intervenors are somewhat analogous to individuals or groups filing amicus curiae briefs in court cases, advocating a particular court decision.) Last month, PNM reached an agreement with a majority of these groups and submitted a proposal to the Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) which accepted the agreement and scheduled hearings to start October 13, with a final PRC vote hopefully by year end.

At those final hearings, objections to the PNM agreement will very probably be voiced by Santa Fe-based New Energy Economy (NEE), an environmental group that did not sign on to the agreement with most of the other intervenors.  That’s because NEE wants to replace the power from the two to-be-shuttered coal-generating plants entirely by wind and solar power.

From an 8/14/15 article in the Silver City Daily Press:  NEE Executive Director Mariel Nanasi claimed that PNM’s plan was both environmentally and economically unfeasible. “Coal is a loser compared to solar and wind. Check out who’s going bankrupt. Check out who’s losing market influence and spiraling job loss. Check out the very serious risks and liabilities from coal and the viable and cheaper solar and wind alternatives,” Nanasi said in a press release. (1)

Ms. Nanasi’s assertion that wind and solar are cheaper alternatives is an opinion not held by America’s richest liberal and ardent Global Warmer, Bill Gates, who said the cost to use solar and wind to replace conventional fuels would be “beyond astronomical.”  Plus, Gates’ occasional bridge partner and America’s second richest lib, Warren Buffet, said this about wind farms: “They don’t make (economic) sense without the tax credit.” (He should know. His firm Berkshire Hathaway is one of the largest, if not the largest, wind farm operator in the country.)

Such realities aside, Ms. Nanasi may be correct that “coal is a loser” in the U.S., where it is being regulated to death, but what about the rest of the world?

A March 2015 research report, “Boom and Bust – Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline” co-authored by the Sierra Club, shows that around the world coal is a big winner. Net new coal capacity totaled 733 gigawatts for the nine years 2005 through 2013, and as of 2014, there were 276 gigawatts of new coal generation capacity under construction and 1,083 gigawatts in the planning stage.  (2)

If only half of the planned capacity is built, that half plus the total under-construction means new coal capacity would be 884 times as much as will be retired at PNM’s San Juan Generating Plant — 884 times as much! (3)

Hmmmm.  Seems the rest of the world does not want to be saved from the global warming and deleterious health effects blamed on burning coal. There are even a few people right here in New Mexico who may not want to be saved.  You may become one of them after you check  the “Renewable Energy Rider” surcharge on your PNM bill.

Surcharge? What about the claim that renewables are cheaper? Only if you add in humongous health costs society allegedly pays due to breathing air polluted by burning coal, and equally humongous costs the world will eventually pay due to predicted global warming costs, although none — none — of those alleged global warming costs are yet apparent.

By the same reasoning, you could say that the automobile industry imposes huge costs on society because of all the foul air we breathe from auto exhausts, plus the huge toll from auto accident deaths and injuries, plus all the green stuff we could grow where highways are now.   I’m surprised there isn’t a movement to shut down the auto factories and force people to ride bicycles and take rickshaws until electric autos take over, speed limit 20 mph.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of paying for other peoples’ causes.  I would like PNM to assign all renewable surcharges to people who advocate renewables.  In a perfect world, if not enough people paid for renewables, there wouldn’t be more renewables shoved down our throats. Ain’t gonna happen.

The best that PNM can do is something called the Sky Blue program, where PNM’s customers can voluntarily choose to pay extra for a renewable mix of 85% wind, 15% solar.  I’m told there are a couple thousand customers actually doing this but, alas, the list of such customers is confidential.

I wonder if NEE’s Mariel Nanasi is on the list.  I wonder if PNM could publish a list of Sky Blue customers who had no objections to being identified. I would think such environmental champions would be quite happy to be recognized for their green bona fides. Of course, the idea is to identify those environmentalists NOT on the list.  I can’t think of any nice, libertarian way to do that, can you?

(2) Boom and Bust – Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline

Click to access BoomBustMarch16embargoV8.pdf

(3)Wild Earth Guardians: Powering Past Coal at the San Juan Generating Station.  This report notes the four coal-fired generators produce 1,848 megawatts of electricity.  One half is 924 megawatts or 924,000,000 watts. From (2), under construction = 276 gigawatts + one half of the 1,083 gigawatts planned = 276 + 541 = 817 gigawatts or 817,000,000,000 watts.  817,000,000,000/924,000,000 = 884

Note: A report I received from a PNM employee puts the San Juan Generating Station current capacity at 1,683 MW, of which 836 MW will be retired. Using that number: 817,000,000,000/836,000,000 = 977 times as much capacity coming on stream around the world, at least, than the amount to be retired by PNM. This report uses the lower figure of 884 to be conservative. If one assumes 100% of the proposed coal capacity is actually built, the equation is 1,359,000,000,000/836,000,000 = 1,626 times as much coming on stream. Regardless, anything New Mexico does to reduce worldwide coal burning is trivial and meaningless in the real world.

Ben Carson Takes on the PC Crowd

Ben Carson Takes on the PC Crowd By Peter Burrows – 10/8/15

I was watching Morning Joe this morning (10/8/15) and the topic was Dr. Ben Carson’s “outrageous” statements about having a Muslim president and what Dr. Carson recommended people do if they find themselves caught in a mass-murder situation.

I like Morning Joe. I think it’s by far the best thing on MSNBC, and I find it much more entertaining than Fox and Friends, which likes to have lots of “human interest” stuff, e.g. some kid who grew a big pumpkin. No thanks.

Joe Scarborough, the ‘Joe” in Morning Joe and former Republican congressman, more than holds his own with the lib crowd.  He’s good, and he’s entertaining. I‘m even getting to like his number one co-host, Mika Brzezinski, in spite of her look of oh-so tolerant superiority every time someone says something she disagrees with.

Importantly, Morning Joe gives me an insight into how the typical liberal thinks, at least the East Coast crowd of libs.  They, like a lot of people, have had a difficult time figuring out the Donald Trump phenomena, and they have come to the conclusion that both Trump and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side are appealing to a whole bunch of folks who are really, really PO’d with the DC crowd.

I think this attitude out there on the part of the public was news to Joe and his co-hosts, although not to anybody I know.  Similarly, Dr. Carson has them puzzled.  His remark that a Muslim would not be acceptable as president had one of the little pinheads on Morning Joe equating such an attitude with wanting to deport illegal Mexicans, as though it was some racial thing. (From Ben Carson!)

They just don’t get it.  The public does, though.  Mark Halperin, frequently on the show, showed a clip of an Iowa political focus group that he had moderated in which 11 of 11 agreed with Dr. Ben’s Muslim president comment.  Halperin said 7 of 11 in his New Hampshire group also agreed.  This decidedly not “politically correct” response can be easily explained, and it’s not some racial thing.

It’s a matter of common sense. People see the constant stream of barbarities perpetuated in the name of Islam and most of them come to the correct conclusion: Islam is an abomination

I have long held that opinion.  When I first heard President George Bush say “Islam is peace,” I went through the roof.  That was the last straw with Bush.  Every time I saw him on TV after that, I would go into an obscene rampage, a thing that lasted until my dear wife informed me that if I kept that up she was going to morph into somebody very much like her late mother. That cooled me off. (Think of the TV show, “The Hulk.”)

Every now and then, Joe Scarborough shows his RINO side and he used this occasion say that he had known a lot of “nice people” who were elected to various positions who were a disaster because they had no political experience, ergo Dr. Carson is not acceptable to Joe. Gee, Joe, ever known somebody with a lot of experience as an elected official who was also a disaster, hmmmm? How about Bush, Bush and Obama, for starters? Throw in LBJ, too.

What Joe and the political class don’t understand is that Dr. Carson, at least when it comes to Islam, knows how the world works.  The PC blinded do not.  If Jeb Bush, somebody Joe  really likes, becomes president and has the same view of Islam that his brother had, i.e “Islam is peace,” then he is, in my opinion, totally unqualified to be president.  If he can’t see Islam as the existential threat it is, than what good is all his political experience?

The other Carson comment that had the talking heads tut-tutting was that Dr. Carson thinks the best course of action when under the gun of a mass-murdering lunatic is to attack the lunatic.  This is something most people agree with, the only caveat being that most of us don’t know if we have the courage to do so.

Doesn’t anybody remember United Airlines Flight 93, the one hijacked by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001 as part of that infamous terrorist plot?  There were four commercial aircraft hijacked that day, and only Flight 93 did not reach its intended target, which was probably either the White House or the Capital Building.  It crashed in a field. Nobody knows its intended target. Why doesn’t anybody know?

Ask Dr. Ben Carson.

FYI: Ten articles on Islam at
Monsters From The Id, 2/25/14
Groucho, Chico and Islams’s Useful Idiots 12/4/14
Islam 101, Part One 12/18/14
Islam 101, Part Two 12/27/14
Islam 101 Part Three 1/6/15
Islam For Smart Dummies 1/11/15
Islam 101 Part Four 1/18/15
Move Over, Neville Chamberlain 4/6/15
Slandering The Prophet 4/26/15
The Deadly and Suicidal Side Effects of the First Amendment