Episode 29 – Methane Blows Up Winds Gains – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 9 Part 6

Methane Levels Increasing

In their excellent Wind and Solar’s Achilles Heel: The Methane Meltdown at Porter Ranch, Mike Conley and Tim Maloney reported:

“Even a tiny methane leak can make a gas-backed wind or solar farm just as bad – or worse – than a coal plant when it comes to global warming. And the leaks don’t just come from operating wells. They can happen anywhere in the infrastructure… In the U.S., these fugitive methane leaks can range up to 9%.

“If the fugitive methane rate of the infrastructure… exceeds 3.8 %, then you might as well burn coal for all the “good” it’ll do you. All in all, the numbers are pathetic – some of the most recent measurements of fugitive methane in the U.S. are up to 10%. But the gas industry predictably reports a low 1.6%.”

Emissions from the latest natural gas-fired turbine technologies. Tests include PM2.5, wet chemical tests for SO2/SO3 & NH3, and ultrafine PM. Strong presence of high concentrations of nanoparticles. Two orders of magnitude higher turbine particle emissions than background.

PM2.5 and ultrafine particulate matter emissions from natural gas-fired turbine for power generation

Eli Brewera Yang Lia Bob Finkenb Greg Quartucyc Lawrence Muzioc Al Baezd Mike Garibayd Heejung S. Junga

a University of California Riverside (UCR), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
b Delta Air Quality Services, Inc., 1845 North Case Street, Orange, CA 92865, USA
c Fossil Energy Research Corporation (FERCo), 23342-C South Pointe Dr., Laguna Hills, CA 92653, USA
d South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), 21865 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, USA

The sediments in many of the world’s shallow oceans and lakes also release vast amounts of methane from frozen organic matter as it thaws and decomposes. When a Russian scientist searched the Arctic shores for methane, he found hundreds of yard-wide craters, but when he returned a few years later, they were 100 yards in diameter.

Massive Craters From Methane Explosions Discovered in Arctic Ocean Where Ice Melted

In 2014, N. Nadir, of the Energy Collective wrote, “The   most   serious   environmental   problem  that renewable energy has is that even if it reached 50% capacity somewhere, this huge waste of money and resources would still be dependent on natural gas, which any serious environmentalist with a long-term view sees as disastrous.

“Natural gas is not safe – even if we ignore the frequent news when a gas line blows up, killing people. It is not clean, since there is no place to dump its CO2; it is not sustainable; and the practice of mining it – fracking – is a crime against all future generations who will need to live with shattered, metal-leaching rock beneath their feet, and huge amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Britain to impose immediate moratorium on fracking

“If politicos impose a carbon-tax, a methane-leakage tax, etc., utilities will build nuclear plants as fast as they can.”

Dr. Alex Cannara

Burning just 1 gallon of gasoline creates about 170 cubic feet of CO2.

Tim Maloney of the Thorium Energy Alliance argues that we should be conserving natural gas because methane is the primary feed stock for ammonia, and ammonia is used to produce nitrogen-based fertilizers, a shortage of which could cause starvation. In addition, closing nuclear plants and expanding “renewables” that require natural gas will substantially increase CO2 and methane emissions.

From THINKPROGRESS, Nov. 2017, “A shocking new study concludes that the methane emissions escaping from New Mexico’s gas and oil industry are equivalent to the climate impact of approximately 12 coal-fired power plants.”

Natural gas has no climate benefit and may make things worse. Methane leaks in New Mexico’s oil and gas industry equal 12 coal-fired power plants.

Joe Romm 13 November 2017

Who will clean up the ‘billion-dollar mess’ of abandoned US oil wells?

Heather Hansman 25 February 2021

As oil companies go bankrupt, who will clean up the ‘billion-dollar mess’ of abandoned, methane-leaking oil wells?

Coming up next week, Episode 30 – Longevity and Reliability

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 30 – Longevity and Reliability
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 28 – Cow Farts – Methane is a Natural Gas
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-conley-5529b3/
  8. https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothy-maloney-40833844/
  9. https://www.newsweek.com/hundreds-craters-methane-explosions-seafloor-arctic-norway-russia-619068
  10. https://thehill.com/policy/international/468662-britain-to-impose-immediate-moratorium-on-fracking/
  11. https://thinkprogress.org/natural-gas-no-climate-benefit-b9118a087875/
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/25/us-abandoned-oil-wells-leak-methane-climate-crisis
  13. https://twitter.com/LeoHickman/status/1512082172491943953

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #Methane #NaturalGas #Fracking

Episode 28 – Cow Farts – Methane is a Natural Gas – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 9 part 5

Methane is a Natural gas

Number 4 – Methane [aka “Natural Gas”]

Because windmills generate just 1/3 of their rated capacity, the rest is supplied by plants that primarily burn coal or natural gas – which is 90% methane, which makes more CO2. I repeat: methane, over its lifetime, is 20 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, but during its youth, it is 80 times worse – and the next ten to twenty years are years of deep concern. Gas companies love “renewables”.

“…methane, over its lifetime, is 20 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas…”

Dr. George Erickson

Methane, explained, By Alejandra Borunda, 24 January 2019

Cows and bogs release methane into the atmosphere, but it’s by far mostly human activity that’s driving up levels of this destructive greenhouse gas.

Alejandra Borunda

Fossil fuel firms accused of renewable lobby takeover to push gas, Arthur Neslen, Brussels, 22 January 2015

Gas Explosions Not Uncommon, Pia Malbran, 10 September 2010

Ground and satellite surveys reveal that huge volumes of “fugitive” methane are leaking from our wells and distribution system. According to WSJ and the pre-Trump EPA, “Natural gas explosions cause death and/or property damage every other day, and U S ”leakage” is equivalent to the emissions from 70 million cars.” (CNN 9-13-18: “1 dead, 24 injured in 30 natural gas explosions in three Boston area towns.”)

Deadly Gas Explosions in 3 Mass. Towns Leave 1 Dead: ‘It Looked Like Armageddon’, 13 September 2018, NBC Boston

In Boston, ground-based measurements reveal profuse methane leaks.

The Surprising Root of the Massachusetts Fight Against Natural Gas, by Jenessa Duncombe 21 May 2021

Tree lovers are hunting down the cause of arboreal deaths—and may remake the regional energy system in the process.

Jenessa Duncombe
Boston Common Autumn Trees Boston MA is a photograph by Toby McGuire which was uploaded on November 11th, 2016.

A survey of oil and gas facilities in Texas and New Mexico revealed 30 so-called “super-emitters,” which are leaking as much heat-trapping pollution as roughly half a million cars.

New Report Carbon Mapper and the Environmental Defense Fund

Large Permian Basin Methane Leaks Are Causing As Much Climate Pollution as 500,000 Cars, 24 January 2022

The US natural gas industry is leaking way more methane than previously thought. Here’s why that matters, by Anthony J. Marchese and Dan Zimmerle, 6 July 2018

While we pollute our aquifers by fracking for methane in Texas and elsewhere to assist inefficient wind and solar farms, we are simultaneously flaring (burning) huge volumes of natural gas across much of the Bakken “field” in North Dakota because it’s “too costly” to pipe it to market.

Sarah Feldman
Sarah Feldman

Study Finds EPA Underestimates Methane Emissions, by Sarah Feldman, 3 August 2018

Climate crisis: ‘Fracking is over’ in UK, energy minister says, by Harry Cockburn, 19 June 2020

“The Bakken field is flaring enough gas to power Chicago AND Washington, DC.”

London Daily Mail

What a waste! Picture from space reveals how new U.S. oil field is burning off enough gas to power Chicago AND Washington – because it’s cheaper than selling it, by Simon Tomlinson, 28 January 2018

“Women living within 0.6 miles [1,000 meters] of active oil and gas wells were 40% more likely to have babies with low birth weight than those not near active wells.”

California Air Resource Board April 2020

Windmills are, in effect, glorified, heavily subsidized carbon-burners that needlessly create more of the carbon dioxide that we seek to avoid. Were it not for our misguided passion for inefficient renewables, we’d have less need for fracking and less of the environmental damage they cause.

Satellite images of oil and gas basins reveal staggering 9-10% leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. Because of these leaks, fracking accelerates climate change even before the methane it extracts is turned into CO2.

The fatal consequences of high atmospheric methane levels in Climate Change, by Dr Andrew Glikson, 22 January 2021

“In the Permian Basin, operators are wasting enough gas to heat 2 million homes a year.”

EDF, 2021

In 2015, thanks to a “discovered” email message from Lenny Bernstein, a thirty-year oil industry veteran and ExxonMobil’s former in-house climate expert, we learned that Exxon accepted the reality of climate change in 1981, long before it became a public issue – but then, Exxon spent at least $30 million on decades of Climate Change denial.

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years, by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 8 July 2015

Climate Files Hard to Find Documents All in One Place. Top Ten Documents Every Reporter Covering ExxonMobil Should Know by Kert Davies 23 May 2016

In addition, despite studies from Johns Hopkins that reveal an associate fracking and premature births and asthma, Pennsylvania health workers were told by their Department of Health to ignore inquiries that used fracking “buzzwords.”

Johns Hopkins study links fracking to premature births, high-risk pregnancies

Study: Fracking Industry Wells Associated With Increased Risk of Asthma Attacks

Where Has the Waste Gone? Fracking Results in Illegal Dumping of Radioactive Toxins

Atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are spiking, scientists report

And according to a 2014 UN report, atmospheric methane levels have never exceeded 700 parts per billion in the last 400,000 years, but they reached 1850 ppb by 2013.

In 2015, a Duke University study reported: “Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination by radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk.”

Duke Study: Rivers Contaminated With Radium and Lead From Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills

Twenty-One Bad Things About Wind Energy — and Three Reasons Why, By John Droz, Jr. — March 22, 2018

John Droz, Jr, Founder of AWED

Coming up next week, Episode 29 – Methane Blows Up Winds Gains

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 29 – Methane Blows Up Winds Gains
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 27 – Fake and Vulgar – The Truth Paid Bare
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/methane
  8. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alejandra-borunda-2269b817/
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/22/fossil-fuel-firms-accused-renewable-lobby-takeover-push-gas
  10. https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthur-neslen-a4937712/
  11. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gas-explosions-not-uncommon/
  12. https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/multiple-fires-reported-in-lawrence-mass/135732/
  13. https://eos.org/features/the-surprising-root-of-the-massachusetts-fight-against-natural-gas
  14. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenessaduncombe/
  15. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/boston-common-autumn-trees-boston-ma-toby-mcguire.html
  16. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-57678-4
  17. https://www.edf.org/media/dozens-super-emitting-oil-and-gas-facilities-leaked-methane-pollution-permian-basin-years-end
  18. https://www.yahoo.com/news/large-permian-basin-methane-leaks-171600620.html
  19. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/06/the-us-natural-gas-industry-leaking-way-more-methane-than-ever-before.html
  20. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-j-marchese-897b024/
  21. https://geology.com/articles/oil-fields-from-space/
  22. https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/fracking-ban-uk-kwasi-kwarteng-climate-change-methane-shale-gas-a9575906.html
  23. https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-cockburn-46893182/
  24. https://www.inforum.com/business/bakken-midstream-seeks-fundamental-change-for-north-dakota-natural-gas-industry
  25. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2269517/The-picture-space-shows-U-S-oil-field-burning-gas-power-Chicago-AND-Washington-cheaper-selling-it.html#ixzz5GLKhkvNK
  26. https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-tomlinson-6a926144/
  27. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/people-risk
  28. https://countercurrents.org/2021/01/the-fatal-consequences-of-high-atmospheric-methane-levels/?
  29. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-glikson-736716111/
  30. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding
  31. https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzanne-goldenberg-68944b1/
  32. https://climateinvestigations.org/top-ten-documents-every-reporter-covering-exxon-should-know/
  33. https://www.climatefiles.com/page/2/
  34. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kert-davies-5523a32/
  35. https://hub.jhu.edu/2015/10/12/fracking-pregnancy-risks/
  36. https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2016/study-fracking-industry-wells-associated-with-increased-risk-of-asthma-attacks
  37. https://truthout.org/articles/where-has-the-waste-gone-fracking-results-in-illegal-dumping-of-radioactive-toxins/
  38. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/11/atmospheric-levels-of-methane-a-powerful-greenhouse-gas-are-spiking-scientists-report/
  39. https://www.unep.org/
  40. https://www.masterresource.org/droz-john-awed/21-bad-things-wind-power-3-reasons-why/
  41. https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndroz/
  42. http://wiseenergy.org/
  43. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1364032114005395

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #Methane #NaturalGas #Flaring #Fracking #Bakken

Episode 26 – Tilting at Windmills – Unintended Consequences – Chapter 9 Part 3

Buffett and Musk on Renewables, Centralised vs Decentralised

Number 2 – Tilted Economics

I understand why power companies cooperated with the rush to wind power. For one thing, renewables were demanded by a misinformed public led by many of the “green” organisations whose goals I support, but not their methods.

33% efficient windmills have received subsidies of USD 56 per Megawatt hour. In comparison, 90% efficient nuclear power, which critics say is “too expensive,” receives just USD 3 per Megawatt hour.

Big Wind’s Bogus Subsidies by Nancy Pfotenhauer, May 12, 2014

Even the wind companies and Warren Buffett admit that without the subsidies, they’d be losers: “…on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” (2014)

“…on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Warren Buffett, 2014

“Most cost estimates for wind power disregard the heavy burden of these subsidies on US taxpayers. But if Americans realised the full cost of generating energy from wind power, they would be less willing to foot the bill – because it’s more than most people think.

Renewable-Energy Subsidies and Electricity Generation by Veronique de Rugy, 21 May 2013

“Over the past 35 years, wind energy – which supplied just 4.4% of US electricity in 2014 – has received USD 30 billion in federal subsidies and various grants. These subsidies shield people from the truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies….”

Levelized Cost Of Energy, Levelized Cost Of Storage, and Levelized Cost Of Hydrogen, 28 October 2021

The solar/nuclear subsidy ratio has been 250 to 1!” – Dr. George Erickson


Frozen wind turbines, limited gas supplies and rolling blackouts: Behind Texas’ energy woes By Ralph Ellis, Alisha Ebrahimji, Kelsie Smith and Amanda Jackson, 16 February 2021

Testimony of Dr. James Hansen, formerly of NASA, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March, 2014:

“Nuclear’s production tax credit (PTC) of 1.8 cents/kWhr is not indexed for inflation. PTCs for other low carbon energies are indexed. The PTC for wind is 2.3 cents/kWhr.

“Plants must be placed in service before January 1, 2021. Thanks to Nuclear Regulatory Comm. slowness, that practically eliminates any PTC for new nuclear power.

“Do you know about “renewable portfolio standards”? If government cares about young people and nature, why are these not “carbon-free portfolio standards”?

“This is a huge hidden subsidy, reaped by only renewables. There is a complex array of financial incentives for renewables. Incentives include the possibility of a 30% investment tax credit in lieu of the PTC, which provides a large “time-value-of-money” advantage over a PTC spread over 8-10 years, accelerated 5-year depreciation, state and local tax incentives, loan guarantees with federal appropriation for the “credit subsidy cost.

“Nuclear power, in contrast, must pay the full cost of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license review, at a current rate of USD 272 per professional staff hour, with no limit on the number of review hours. The cost is at least USD 100-200 million. The NRC takes a minimum of 42 months for its review, and the uncertainty in the length of that review period is a major disincentive.”

Nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change, James Hansen, Kerry EmanuelKen Caldeira and Tom Wigley, Guardian 3 December 2015

Kerry Emanuel: A climate scientist and meteorologist in the eye of the storm, MIT News, 29 June 2022

“When supply is high and demand is low, spot prices generally fall — this is especially true in markets with high shares of renewable energy. What precipitates negative pricing are conditions which encourage energy producers to sell at an apparent loss, knowing that in the longer term [thanks largely to huge taxpayer subsidies] they will still profit.

“The Texas grid is managed by the energy agency of the same name… The market functions through auctions, where energy producers place a competitively priced bid to supply some amount of energy at a particular time and particular price…

“Various subsidies, including our U. S. federal production tax credits and state renewable energy certificates, compensate wind power producers… to such an extent that it allows wind farms to continue to make money even when selling at negative prices.”

From Clean Technica – October, 2015

We are all paying hidden costs to prop up these inefficient, deadly “alternatives” that depend on methane [Natural Gas] to produce 70% of their rated power, even though the methane [Natural Gas] leakage from fracking and the distribution system are erasing any benefits we hoped to get by avoiding coal. Furthermore, the price quoted for a nuclear plant includes the cost of decommissioning, but it isn’t for the thousands of windmills or solar farms that only last about 20 years.

Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere, by Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, 15 August 2019

Fracking wells in the US are leaking loads of planet-warming methane, by Adam Vaughan, New Scientist, 22 April 2020

Methane Leaks Erase Some of the Climate Benefits of Natural Gas, by Benjamin Storrow, Scientific America, 5 may 2020

In fact, the deck has been stacked against nuclear power by “green” profiteers and carbon lobbyists who know they cannot compete with 90% efficient, CO2-free nuclear power. Still, despite the bureaucratic handicaps on nuclear power and the support given to renewables, nuclear power is financially competitive, as the following chart reveals.

US Electricity Generating Costs

Coming up next week, Episode 27 – Fake and Vulgar

Links and References

  1. Next Episode – Episode 27 – Fake and Vulgar
  2. Previous Episode – Episode 25 – Hazards to Humans
  3. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  4. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  5. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  6. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  7. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/even-warren-buffet-admits-wind-energy-is-a-bad-investment
  8. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancy-pfotenhauer-45171925/
  9. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-10/it-s-warren-buffett-versus-big-tech-in-iowa-s-latest-wind-farm-debate
  10. https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/986642/warren-buffett-speeds-past-elon-musk-in-electric-vehicle-race-986642.html
  11. https://www.mercatus.org/publications/government-spending/renewable-energy-subsidies-and-electricity-generation
  12. https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronique-de-rugy-50204876/
  13. https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-levelized-cost-of-storage-and-levelized-cost-of-hydrogen/
  14. https://lifepowered.org/
  15. http://nuclearforclimate.com.au/2018/01/15/sydney-morning-heralds-chaotic-coal-solution/
  16. https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-parker-7b7b01b1/
  17. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/15/us/power-outages-texas-monday/index.html
  18. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralph-ellis-2b99646/
  19. https://www.linkedin.com/in/aebrahimji/
  20. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelsiesmith16/
  21. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandajackson9/
  22. https://gizmodo.com/viral-image-claiming-to-show-a-helicopter-de-icing-texa-1846279287
  23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen
  24. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/how-not-to-debate-nuclear-energy-and-climate-change
  25. Michael Specter
  26. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelspecter/
  27. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/nuclear-power-paves-the-only-viable-path-forward-on-climate-change
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Emanuel
  29. https://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/kokey
  30. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ken-caldeira-2a45648/
  31. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-wigley-642a11ba/
  32. https://news.mit.edu/2022/kerry-emanuel-climate-scientist-0629
  33. https://windexchange.energy.gov/projects/tax-credits
  34. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/fracking-boom-tied-to-methane-spike-in-earths-atmosphere
  35. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenleahy/
  36. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2241347-fracking-wells-in-the-us-are-leaking-loads-of-planet-warming-methane/
  37. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamvaughan/
  38. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/climate/methane-leak-satellite.html
  39. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/methane-leaks-erase-some-of-the-climate-benefits-of-natural-gas/
  40. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-storrow-b341a3a1/

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #NuclearEconomics #CostofElectricity #ElonMusk #WarrenBuffett