Politics and Economics

It’s a Mess … and silver linings

Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dillon, from the album “Bringing It All Back Home”, 1965

Whenever I start to get depressed about the state of our local economy and the morality of our Socialist Progressive governments (see last post here) I tend to take a step back and consider all the good things globally, that’s right, I see many good things globally — good for Canada and Alberta at least.

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

On the right is a wonderful chart from one of the many newsletters I read …  as a proud resident of the only province in Canada with a future (in spite of looking grim right now) I see reason for hope on the horizon. Alberta’s future is intimately tied to energy and the production and export of energy resources.

To say that the Middle East is a powder keg just waiting for a spark is actually an understatement of the reality on the ground, at least as far as I can determine reading all the international news feeds, newsletters and blogs.

Now God forbid that we should pray for a major melt down in the Arabian peninsula but any way you paint a situation where our mortal enemies and OUR major competitor in global oil markets destroy themselves without our intervention is just plain good news for western Christian oil producing nations (there’s just got to be a sin in there somewhere). And Canada is at the head of the pack when it comes to production and proven reserves amongst nominally Christian oil producing nations.

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

One can safely assume that literally anyone trying to pretend that things there will be OK and we don’t need energy independence is taking the same drugs as the Main Stream Media and the “Trump Hate” crowd.

A determined terrorist campaign in Saudi Arabia would (hopefully) completely revise the global economy. Do you think that world oil production just might be impacted by a full scale war in a more chaotic Arabian peninsula?

Do you suppose that such an event wouldn’t be great news for North American oil and coal producers? Do you think passing laws against coal and oil consumption makes the resource mysteriously disappear? Seriously folks, “Stupid is as stupid does”, and a firm belief in a fantasy  no more alters reality than writing “Darkness!” on the wall of your padded cell extinguishes the Sun.

“Alberta”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Self Portrait”, (June 1970)

While the Progressives crow about our coreligionist’s lack of proof of God and the foundations for our religious beliefs, they never think to question the complete absence of any evidence for their own beliefs or, for that matter, for any intelligent consideration of the impacts of their own religious beliefs on the populations over which they claim to rule. C.S. Lewis’s mandarins of N.I.C.E. in his book “That Hideous Strength”  haven’t got a patch on the modern crop of mandarins in the halls of power in our fair land.

Current reality places Canada (Alberta) as the 7th largest oil producer in the world, but three of the highest producers ahead of us on the list are Muslim nations who are prominently center stage in the chaos of the Arabian peninsula. In fact it is not unreasonable to attribute all the chaos in the geopolitical environment found today in the Arabian peninsula to the internecine rivalry between these three Muslim nations.

Countries by Oil Production

Countries by Oil Production – CIA factbook 2013

Any significant change in the geopolitics of the Middle East could catapult Canada (Alberta) to 4th place in the production charts at 3.6 million barrels a day after Russia, U.S.A. and China.

This in spite of the willful stupidity of her government(s). Even the NDP are essentially powerless to screw up the global economy, and I am optimistic that they will not be able to permanently damage the most productive Province in Canada.

An even more important part of the picture is the proven reserves picture. Another slice of reality is that Canada (Alberta) is currently in 3rd place  after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in proven reserves. In a world economy suddenly deprived of access to half of global energy resources “Who Ya gonna Call?”. If you are looking for stable sources for your energy supplies do you pick a nation where violence and corruption are the rule of the day, or do you pick the nation where peaceful rule of law prevails?

Now a little corruption goes a long way to grease the wheels of governance and Canada has fallen a long way from the 50’s when we had the international reputation as the most honest bureaucracy on the planet. I suspect only the slightest nudges would be necessary to move our political masters in the appropriate direction. After all, our current governments are full fledged players in the “Pay to Play” schemes historically developed in other world capitals.

Oil Producing Countries

By Ekrub-ntyh at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1914119

It may come as a shock to some but we have enough energy reserves right here in Alberta alone, including all sources, to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 hundred years. You read that right, enough energy to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 centuries.

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I worked as a contract administrator for a company called JOY Manufacturing. Among other things we produced electrostatic precipitators and bag filter systems for heavy industries like steel mills, foundries, paper mills and especially for coal fired electrical generation plants.

For at least 40 years now we have had the technology to clean emissions from coal to at least approximately the levels produced by natural gas. These systems are currently in use all over the world. The only thing preventing their adoption here is religion and politics.  Canada also developed and produces the safest nuclear reactors on the planet and a large chunk of the fuel for those reactors

But using that clean energy technology flies in the face of the religious position of the Socialist Progressive ninnies in our governments. It’s just A-OK with them to impose their version of the “final solution” to eliminate inconvenient babies and seniors but Gaia forbid we should use clean coal technology to give every one cheap electricity.

The only thing standing in the way of Canadian global dominance in oil production is weak prices and government policy. The Venezuelan government did a pretty good job of destroying the rosy future for it’s people and Alberta’s government is looking to try the same path right now.

Given the current state of “Rule of Law” in Canada I think we are a long way from following the Venezuela model. Notwithstanding the rule of law there are still legions of zombie voters in Redmonton who could conceivably keep the NDP in power for more than 1 election. We will no doubt see that play out since we are not considering moving away just yet.

So the point of this polemic is that there are actually lots of reasons for optimism despite current conditions in the neighbourhood.



cooling stacks steam plantSo we can pay $100.00 per month for electricity using steam , or $1200.00 per month for electricity using wind and solar.  Seems like a no-brainer to me. So come on voters, we’ve had our Friday night stupidity binge, let’s change the landscape of Canadian politics and turf the Progressive parasites out.



Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics

Nuclear is looking better and better, eh?

Addendum to my last post: This is a bit of something by Steven DenBeste which I saved back in 2007(?). It concerns another aspect of  electrical generation which the Gubmint and the renewable energy co-coreligionists never (ever) talk about when touting Solar power. I guess they don’t cover much electrical engineering in poly-sci classes, eh?


Steven DenBeste a USS Clueless:

… The fact is that electric power has unique properties, and one of the most important is that at any given instant the amount of electric power being generated will always exactly match the amount of power being consumed. If you don’t deliberately balance the system, the laws of physics will do the balancing for you in ways you won’t like.

Electric power has to be generated at the time it is needed, and the electric power grid overall has to have the ability to add generation capacity as demand rises, and to reduce generation when demand falls again. Demand actually rises and falls by as much as 30% every day.

The biggest drawback of wind/solar is that they generate power when conditions permit them to do so, not when demand requires them to do so. And there’s no practical way to store electric energy in adequate quantities to deal with this without unacceptable losses or unreasonable capital and/or operating expense. (This is a major flaw of most of the fad alternate electrical energy sources we hear so much about.)

It is by no means the only serious objection I have to solar/wind, but it is a major one. …


DCF 1.0

Toronto Ontario Blackout in 2003

So what Steven was talking about when he said “the laws of physics will do the balancing for you in ways you won’t like.” was the sort of thing that caused the Toronto, Ontario blackout of 2003.

This is the reason why you cannot shut down your existing power generation systems when switching to “Renewable”, because you cannot rely on renewable and you cannot store electricity in the amounts required.

This is what Germany discovered in the 90’s when the gubmint refused to listen to the power engineers and bulled ahead switching from coal to solar. In the end they had to keep the old plants going in order to keep the grid up when demand didn’t match the available sunlight.

Like it is right now, here in the Shire where it is currently -20 degrees Celsius and as usual in winter it is dark (eg. no sunlight to run our solar energy systems). Depending on the thermal mass of your building it doesn’t take very long before folks are getting uncomfortable as the “shelter heads towards ambient temperature.

When the electricity generation suppliers are unable to match the power demand to the power being generated the grid goes down – including automatic shutdowns of power generation stations and the result is commonly referred to as a power failure or blackout.

cdn-ddh-heavy-weather-87471.jpgWhen the Generator Stations go down the providers have to get things going again with what is known as a “Black Start”. This takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.

Back in the 70’s when I served in steam turbine destroyers it was typically about 24 hours to get up steam and warm everything up and turn everything up to speed before you could “turn main engines”, and steam away to whatever mission the gubmint sent you on.

Those were very small turbines and boilers compared to those found in a thermal generation station using steam turbines. Electrical generation boilers and turbines are a LOT bigger and consequently take longer to cool down and longer to warm up like one to two days.

What this means is that you cannot just shut down your coal plants and replace them with solar farms because your grid will go down the first night you are relying on solar. So, anyway, a black start is the process of restoring an electric power station or a part of an electric grid to operation without relying on the external transmission network.[1]


Dark Places are NOT nice places to live …

Normally, the electric power used within the plant is provided from the station’s own generators. If all of the plant’s main generators are shut down, station service power is provided by drawing power from the grid through the plant’s transmission line.

If the grid goes down then you have a little problem and things are cooling down and the longer they cool the longer it takes to bring them up, and so on as predicted accurately by the laws of physics and mathematics which really don’t care much about religion and politics.

However, during a wide-area outage, off-site power supply from the grid will not be available. In the absence of grid power, a so-called black start needs to be performed to bootstrap the power grid into operation.

To provide a black start, some power stations have small diesel generators, normally called the black start diesel generator (BSDG), which can be used to start larger generators (of several megawatts capacity), which in turn can be used to start the main power station generators.

Generating plants using steam turbines require station service power of up to 10% of their capacity for boiler feedwater pumps, boiler forced-draft combustion air blowers, and for fuel preparation. It is uneconomical to provide such a large standby capacity at each station, so black-start power must be provided over designated tie lines from another station.

1111-steam-plantThis power station uses the Rankine cycle  This is the cycle of the steam produced in the boiler, then taken to the Steam turbine (prime mover). From the turbine the steam is cooled back to water in the Condenser, the resulting water is fed back into the boiler to repeat the cycle.

A steam/thermal power station uses heat energy generated from burning coal to produce electrical energy. This type of power station is widely used around the world to generate base load because it is cheap and efficient and reliable.

The cold start up times and procedures for a steam turbine depends on its casing and rotor temperature. As the turbine is subjected to high temperature and pressure for long time, it is mandatory requirement that there is a uniform heating and expansion of turbine.

Otherwise due to uneven heating, uneven expansion will occur which can finally lead to either permanent deformation of turbine rotor or any other catastrophic failure (explosion). The terms which have been asked vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but the basic difference remains the same


The Dark Lord’s Domain …

Because of the abundance of fuel (coal), this kind of power station can be used to produce large amounts of electrical energy. In most countries these power stations are used as base load power stations. This is because steam power stations are slow to start and can not be used to cater for peak loads that generally occur for a short duration.

These power stations (together with nuclear power stations) are kept running very close to full efficiency for 24 hours a day (unless they are being maintained). They have typical life of 30 to 40 years (although most governments have reduced this number to 35 years).

What Rachel is talking about doing is dropping 40% of our generation capacity by the end of 2018 and replacing it with Solar. AS mentioned above this contravenes a number of physical laws and flies in the face of the European experience since 1997.

Better buy up some woollies and parkas cause there are some very cold houses and factories in our future. Memo to Dark Lord Rachel: Mother nature and the laws of physics and engineering are against you on this one. No amount of religious zeal will make this work.

Please, please just save us all a lot of pain and honestly tell us right up front that your agenda IS TO DESTROY Alberta.




What?  Me Worry?