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11 Comments

  1. O’Malley’s position is obviously correct on this issue, but you bet your bippy he won’t come out and say it in the words you’re thinking and hoping he will. He knows the traditional Dem party apparatus and the media will crucify him if he does. Those organizations brook no deviation from the anti-nuke party line. Anyone who wanders off the plantation will be destroyed in a manner that sets an example to anyone else who has the temerity to challenge the orthodoxy.

  2. “… How would you differentiate yourself from Bernie Sanders? And what would you say to convince voters that you are a better alternative within the Democratic Party?”
    The first thing that came to mind is that O’Malley is within the Democratic Party. Sanders is still a nominal independent.

  3. I’m not sure that having side markers hawking your cause is beneficial.

    “Look how poorly O’Malley did, and he’s pro-nuclear too” says John, as he explains his support for Sanders the anti.

    People don’t like losers. And if a loser has a certain mindset, the mindset is seen as the mindset of a loser. And O’Malley, no matter his independent thinking, can only be a loser in this campaign, because as he himself points out, the whole thing is rigged against him and those like him.

  4. O’Malley: “I am the first candidate … to advance a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean electric grid by 2050”

    Adams: “Please notice that O’Malley did not say ‘100 percent renewable electric grid’ …”

    He also didn’t say “100 percent CO2-free electric grid” either. What does “clean” mean? Well, to many people out there, natural gas counts as “clean” as well (just google it). Nice words, but what is O’Malley’s record?

    Well, I’ve compared Maryland’s electricity generation statistics for 2006 (the year before O’Malley took the office of governor) and 2013 (the last year for which data is available, which is the year before O’Malley’s last year in office).

    His record on reducing coal generation is impressive. Electricity generation by coal was reduced by 47% (13.9 TWh total); however, this impressive figure is offset by the reduction in the total amount of electricity produced. Between 2006 and 2013, the total amount of electricity generated in Maryland decreased by 27% (13.1 TWh total). I assume that this was primarily due to the slowdown in the economy beginning in 2007, but I haven’t found statistics to check how much an increase in electricity imports had made up part of the difference in demand.

    Some additional generation was added to take up the slack, including solar and wind, but the big winner (surprise!) was natural gas, which increased its generation by 63%. Just this increase in natural gas generation over this period was almost three times the generation of wind and solar combined in 2013.

    Still, natural gas, wind, and solar are small players. The changes are dominated by the reduction in coal generation. Of the decrease in electricity generation by coal, 94% consisted of a decrease in electricity generation overall. Natural gas made up for 8% of the decrease. Nuclear generation by the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant increased to make up an additional 3% of the loss. Meanwhile, wind provided only 2% of this difference and solar provided a tiny 0.5%.

    So in an era of shrinking electricity generation during the O’Malley governorship, coal was the big loser and natural gas was the big winner. This pretty much puts Maryland on par with the rest of the country.

    1. … natural gas is not really a small player in Maryland, overall, although it is among the least on a per capita per state basis. At a steady ~200+ Trillion BTU per year, it was larger than Coal, ~180 and nuclear ~150 according to EIA 2013 energy consumption estimates.

      Yes, my focus was on electricity production, since that was what the article here focused on. You don’t have to tell me that natural gas is used for other things. It’s used as feedstock for various chemical applications and burned to generate process heat for various industrial applications. It also is used as heat source for many people at home.

      I live in a house that is over 100 years old. The cast-iron door for the coal chute is still there on the side of the house. It was originally heated by coal. Today, I have a natural-gas-fired boiler to provide central heating in the winter along with high-efficiency heat pumps for the rest of the year.

      Why would I expect the thermal consumption (in BTUs) of coal to be higher than natural gas?

      In 2014, the Calvert Cliffs facility, Maryland’s only nuclear power plant, supplied 37.7% of the state’s net electricity generation.

      Yes, it usually hovers just below 40% these days, up from 30% back in 2006, due to the overall decrease in electricity generated in Maryland and a slight increase in generation by CC.

      Apparently it makes sense to ship the coal elsewhere in the world, rather than burning it here, probably more cleanly?

      More cleanly? That depends on the age of the coal plants in Maryland. I assume that the smaller, less efficient, dirtier plants would be retired first.

      But if you have a state with a substantial port, that is located close to a prime coal-producing region, and with a local demand for coal for generating electricity that has been cut almost in half in little over half a decade, why wouldn’t shipping coal make sense?

      1. @JohnGalt

        Most of the coal exported from the US east coast goes to Europe, a place with pollution control and labor laws that are generally as stringent, or more stringent, than those in the US.

        Our coal is more valuable there because, until the last year or so, they did not have low-priced natural gas; most of their supply is sold via contracts that have prices linked to world crude oil prices. Though they have a carbon trading system, there were so many free credits given out that purchasing enough credits to make up the difference between burning gas and burning coal was cheaper than paying the higher gas prices.

        You are right, extracting and burning gas is less labor intensive. I’ll let you ask a coal miner, able bodied seaman or a railroad worker if that is a good or bad feature.

      2. I cant believe the underlying “all coal is the same” argument I think im hearing. Check the general properties of German and Asian coal as opposed to American deposits. Then include that in your argument.

  5. Is this line of speculation really practical? I mean approaching it from this angle? Obviously the better candidates, on both sides are being, and will be, ignored. ( http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_democratic_presidential_nomination-3824.html ).

    The Republicans probably already have the electoral college votes, if not the popular vote. They have the momentum at least. Rod I thought Id be the last Dem standing and yet I threw all that mess under the bus long ago. I am wondering what is keeping you hanging on.

    Obama’s final push on climate change seems rather light on nuclear, this where policy is being decided and is probably the baseline for argument in 2016. ( http://www.epa.gov/airquality/cpp/cpp-proposed-federal-plan.pdf )

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