Living in an Orwellian Era

Living in an Orwellian Era

In what could now be identified as the Orwellian Era, where the meaning of words is twisted to mean the opposite of their historical meaning, environmental advocates use Orwellian techniques to promote their objectives.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just promulgated a new meaning for baseload power.

Historically, baseload power has had a precise meaning. It identified power plants that generated electricity 24/7, essentially around the clock, without interruption.

Baseload power has included coal-fired, nuclear, and natural gas power plants. Under some situations, hydro has also been considered baseload power since it generated electricity for extended periods of time without interruption.

The NRDC claims baseload power is no longer needed or appropriate because declining costs of wind and solar, and lower demand make baseload irrelevant.

According to the NRDC baseload “no longer serves any practical purpose”, because baseload can’t meet the flexible needs of wind and solar.

Why is it, that baseload power provided the most reliable and least expensive electricity in the world for decades?

And, why is it, now that wind and solar are being forced onto the grid, has the grid become more costly and less reliable, requiring batteries and other paraphernalia to keep it in balance?

The answer is obvious: Baseload power provides continuous, low-cost reliable electricity.

Because baseload power does provide low-cost reliable electricity, extreme environmentalists, including groups such as the NRDC, now find it necessary to belittle it and claim that baseload power is not only unneccassry, but a problem.

What better way to discredit baseload power than to use the Orwellian approach of changing the historical meaning of words?

For example, rather than baseload providing reliable electricity, baseload power now obstructs the development of renewable energy, and serves no purpose or need.

The NRDC said, “Baseload is not equivalent to reliability or any other system need.”

According to the NRDC, the grid should be able to ramp up and down to reflect the needs of wind and solar. With wind and solar, baseload power becomes an albatross, an anchor around the neck of grid operators.

For extreme environmentalists, like the NRDC, baseload power becomes an enemy.

Adding wind and solar is what has actually been causing the problem.

Without wind and solar the grid works extremely well and provides low-cost, reliable electricity.

It’s only necessary to look at the record and compare areas that have forced the adoption of wind and solar on to the grid, with areas that rely on baseload power.

CAISO Duck curve with effect of increased solar and wind, beyond 2030, superimposed on the curve.
CAISO Duck curve with effect of increased solar and wind, beyond 2030,superimposed on the curve.

 

The CAISO Duck curve shows how wind and solar displaces baseload power, creating enormous problems of ramping up when wind and solar are no longer available, such as when the sun sets or when the wind stops blowing. See, Why Renewables Cost More

Some comparisons:

  • The cost of electricity to consumers in California, a leader in the use of wind and solar in the United States, is 40 to 50% higher than in Arkansas or Louisiana, where Arkansas and Louisiana rely primarily on coal, nuclear, and natural gas for generating electricity, i.e., baseload power.
  • The cost of electricity to consumers in Germany, a leader in the adoption of wind and solar, is 3 to 4 times higher, depending on the exchange rate, than the average cost of electricity in the United States.
  • The cost of electricity to consumers in South Australia is among the highest among OECD nations, because of its adoption of wind and solar to the exclusion of coal and natural gas. South Australia has also suffered blackouts as the result of its policies promoting wind and solar.

And the cause of this Orwellian attack on baseload power?

According to the NRDC, it’s the need for “public policies that abate, i.e., cut, greenhouse gasses.”

With their attack on baseload power, even nuclear power that can generate electricity without CO2 emissions is considered a villain.

The fact remains, baseload power can and does provide the lowest cost electricity with unequaled reliability.

 

 

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