In an attempt, again, to separate the science from hyperbola my answer to the new technology versus “dirty coal” debate is — availability. Are you generating power or are you off for some reason? Fossil plants are available nearly all the time — plus-95 percent of the time to be exact. Solar is available during the day and wind, when it blows. Contrary to hyperbolic analysis the best wind is available less than 40 percent of the time so both solar and wind need backup — fossil or nuclear. Your choice.
To replace a 200-megawatt coal-fired plant with wind you give up the availability and then need to site 200, 1-MW wind turbines. In North Dakota you have to replace over 4,000 MW of coal generation. In whose backyard would you like to put those? Coal power turns your TV on and lights at 3 a.m. because you can’t sleep worrying about greenhouse gas that plants breathe. And it keeps your ice cream bar frozen to settle your stomach.
We’ve had a drier, warmer winter this El Nino year, pretty much as meteorologists predicted, and the prediction for next El Nina year is colder and wetter. It also seems many of the high temperature records being broken happened in the 1880s and ’90s. Do you suppose that was due to less CO2 or more methane in the atmosphere, because we were all still on horseback?
I don’t tell a doctor how to pull a gallbladder and don’t tell a trucker how to drive his truck, but some people seem to think that because they can turn on a light switch, they know everything about generating electricity. I suggest instead that the people who provide it, in a dependable and reliable way, be thanked for it.