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Close our coal plants – what next?

I’m looking at Greta, AOC, Joe and the rest of Dems’ plan to thrust the Green New Deal on America, and I wonder how much the average consumer can bear.

Linn County alone will face the inevitable tax increase of up to 66 percent if Evergy closes the La Cygne Power Plant. Each reader needs to look at their county taxes and add an additional 66 percent on to see the impact it would have on their tax bill. (It’s more complicated than that – but you get the idea.)

Joe Biden’s idea to add electric power stations to fuel our electric vehicles as we drive the interstates in our Priuses is part of his new infrastructure plan. Apparently Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has no idea that in Kansas alone there is an approximate 430-mile stretch of highway from one end of the state to the other. As I’m seeing electric vehicles now, they can go around 200 miles on a charge? Not a great plan to keep American industry, workers and life going.

I received an email on coal plants that was interesting, a good comparison to see where the United States stands in relation to the rest of the world in coal plants.

“How many coal fired power plants are there in the world today?

“The EU has 468 – building 27 more ... Total 495

“Turkey has 56 – building 93 more ... Total 149

“South Africa has 79 – building 24 more ... Total 103

“India has 589 – building 446 more ... Total 1,035

“Philippines has 19 – building 60 more ... Total 79

“South Korea has 58 – building 26 more... Total 84

“Japan has 90 – building 45 more ... Total 135

“China has 2,363 – building 1,171 more ... Total = 3,534

“America has 15 – with 0 planned.”

“That’s 5,615 projected coal powered plants in just eight countries.”

After further research, I found that the United States actually has 241 coal powered stations.

According to Wikipedia, “In 2019 there were 241 coal powered units across the United States which generated 23 percent of the United States electricity in 2019, an amount of electricity similar to that from renewable energy or nuclear power but about half of the amount generated by natural gas plants. Installed capacity was about 236 GW. 

“Coal plants have been closing at a fast rate since 2010 (290 plants have closed from 2010 to May 2019; this was 40 percent of the U.S.’s coal generating capacity) due to competition from other generating sources, primarily cheaper and cleaner natural gas, (a result of the fracking boom) which has replaced so many coal plants that natural gas now accounts for 40 percent of the U.S.’s total electricity generation, as well as the decrease in the cost of renewables.”

So, what are we, those of us who are used to turning up our thermostats, or down depending on the season, supposed to do to replace the coal plants that supply our needed electricity? Good question and one not aided by our Kansas Legislature.

State Sen. Caryn Tyson wrote a comment concerning the recent passage of a bill that will have consumers paying to shut down our Evergy plant. “Senate Substitute for House Bill (S Sub HB) 2072. On the surface the bill looks like it helps utility customers; however, it will eventually result in much higher utility bills and puts us on a path for a similar disaster that occurred in Texas. There were two parts to the bill. First, it allows some natural gas companies to bond the expenses for the extremely high rates during the record freeze earlier this year. Second, it allows utility companies to pass on the expenses of closing plants to retail customers, including closing nuclear or coal plants. Think about it; the current debt and expenses to close the plant will be paid by customers ‘to the benefit of the bondholders, any assignee and any other financing parties’ until they are paid in full. It literally says that in the bill.  

 “A majority of legislators supported the short-term benefits, knowing the long-term cost will be devastating. Do you remember what happened in Texas during the record freeze? People died. Texas embraced wind and solar energy sources and wasn’t able to produce electricity during the freeze. Kansas is headed in the same direction. I did what I could to block it. What is even more disappointing, the chairman of the committee put the language in a House bill, and the House concurred on the changes. The bill passed the Senate 33 to 7. I voted no. The governor signed the bill into law.”

On the bright side, in an opinion piece written by James Taylor on Forbes.com, he stated, “Moving forward, would closing more coal power plants and replacing them with natural gas power plants jeopardize affordable energy? The experience of the past decade tells us the answer is no. A closer look at energy economics demonstrates why.

“In a paper I recently published for the Spark of Freedom Foundation, I document how natural gas power plants are relatively inexpensive to build. Spread out over a designated life span of 30 years, the construction costs of a new natural gas power plant add approximately a dollar per month to the average household electric bill. In reality, natural gas power plants will likely operate for at least 50 years, reducing the already minimal construction-cost impacts even further. With natural gas power 15 percent less expensive than coal power, and with huge and easily accessible domestic natural gas reserves assuring natural gas prices will remain quite low, the minimal costs of building new natural gas power plants are easily dwarfed by the per-month price savings of utilizing natural gas power. In short, the decade-long economic benefits of replacing coal power with natural gas power will continue in future decades as well.”

Sounds great, but Evergy is a coal plant that is slated for closure within the next 20 years or so – that is the blink of an eye in thoughts of trying to save taxpayers a huge increase in taxes.

Where do we go as individuals? I’m thinking individuals that went off-grid had the right idea. 

After answering a questionnaire online concerning solar energy, I’m thinking I might start researching that method of energy production. The American public is, and will be, held hostage to energy until technology comes up with a cheap, reliable and available source of energy to replace our cheap, reliable and available coal powered energy.

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