Obama’s Sneaky Attack on Coal Power

I find it somewhat surprising how little press the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Report card on the nation’s infrastructure received when it came out in 2013. Considering how poorly our nation’s infrastructure faired on this report, I would have thought that the press would have been all over it.

Bridges, which have received a lot of press for needing upgrading or replacement nationwide, actually received one of the highest grades at a C+. Overall, the nation’s infrastructure received a D+, nothing to brag about.

If I had ever dared to bring home a report card like that to show my mommy, I would have died an early death and wouldn’t be writing this right now. While everything on this report card is important, one of the biggest concerns is the Energy infrastructure, which received a D+.

The energy grade includes the electrical grid, natural gas and oil. Of the three, the electrical grid is obviously of the greatest import and the one that we should be the most concerned about. A large percentage of our electrical grid is aged; having outlived its 50 year intended life expectancy.

The electrical grid consists of two basic parts. The first part is the electrical power plants which produce the electricity.

We use a wide variety of electrical power generating systems here in the United States, ranging from coal-fired power plants, through nuclear power plants and on to newer wind and solar powered plants.

The second part of the system is the wiring and transformers that crisscross the country, carrying that electrical power to every home and business.

When Bureaucracy Kills the Investment

The electrical power industry is investing billions of dollars in upgrading the system, but they are hampered on every side by bureaucratic red tape. For them to build anything, they need permits from the government. That’s where the problem lies. The government isn’t issuing those permits.

About the only permits that are being issued are for the construction of “green” energy power plants, to go along with Obama’s stated goal of replacing our existing power generating capability with “green” energy. We all know how well that’s worked out, with the millions he’s given to green energy companies which have gone bankrupt.

Obama seems to have a particular hatred for coal-fired electrical power plants. Coal is one of the oldest technologies used to provide electrical power. It is cheap and reliable; but it isn’t as clean as other means of electrical generation. The only means of electrical generation which are cheaper are nuclear and hydroelectric, both of which require enormous investments to build.

Of course, there’s really no reason to even consider additional nuclear or hydroelectric power plants, as the government isn’t going to allow new ones to be built; especially nuclear. The last nuclear power plant to be built in the United States was in 1996 and there are no plans to build any more at the moment.

Coal accounts for about 40 percent of our country’s electrical power generation. Of the 600 coal-fired power plants in the country, about half of them have already outlived their designed life-expectancy. Another 20 percent of them are within ten years of the end of their programmed life. That means that at least in theory, our country’s electrical power industry needs to replace about 400 of these within the next ten years, just to maintain our current electrical power production.

Here’s where the problem comes in. Obama’s EPA has created regulations making it virtually impossible to replace those coal-fired plants with newer coal-fired plants. While the EPA isn’t saying that they can’t be built, their new regulations are so stringent, that it is driving the cost up to the point where it is no longer financially feasible.

While Obama wants solar and wind power to replace coal, that’s not all that financially feasible either. The technology hasn’t reached the point where it need to, in order to be able to take over our country’s energy needs. Coal costs 4.1 cents per kilowatt hour to produce, where wind costs 4.3 cents and solar a whopping 7.7 cents. Natural gas, which seems to be the most likely alternative to coal, is running at 5.2 cents per kilowatt hour to produce.

What Does This Mean to You and I?

First of all, I think it’s clear that we’re going to see our energy costs climb and climb steeply over the next ten years. It is likely that the actual cost (after adjusting for inflation) will be roughly one-third more than what we are paying now.

That makes the idea of getting off the grid and producing our own electrical power even more palatable than it was before. If we’ve got to pay for solar power anyway, we may as well pay for our own solar power, generated by our own equipment, rather than paying for power that someone else captures from the sun.

The second thing it means is that we can expect to see more and more power outages as the old coal power generation capability is taken off line. As things stand right now, with all the government delays on providing the necessary permits to build new power plants, old plants are likely to end up going off line before new ones come on. Once again, that’s a good reason for us to build our own power generating capability.

Interestingly enough, the CEO of NRG Energy, a wholesale power company, recently stated that he believes that the existing energy grid is going to soon become obsolete. He is projecting that the move towards going off grid will continue, eventually reaching the point where everyone is producing their own electricity in house, rather than buying it from the power company.

If you are interested in seeing the ASCE report card on the infrastructure, it is available at: www.Infrastructurereportcard.org


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • No offense but you sound like a very old person who doesn’t like change. The existing power grid IS obsolete, designed to make JP Morgan a VERY rich man with copper wire back in the day. There is new technology on the near horizon which could provide a localized energy source on every structure. Why in the world would you invest millions of dollars on the old way, which by the way destroys our environment (coal mining), and pollutes the air (Kids growing up around coal fired plants have documented higher rates of asthma and learning problems). When did it become “socialist” to want a better way of life for future generations and a survivable planet?

    • You are obviously young.
      When I grew up inthe ’40s in a large city, the stink of coal smoke from all the houses heated by coal then, on a cold damp winter morning. was almost unbearable.
      We didn’t get asthma or have learning problems

      But then again we were all Caucasians, of north european stock, and not fat.

      • No offense, but you, too, are obviously old, as well as a bigot (OK…offense intended, there).

        • Bigots are what made this country great.

          Are you making an age biased statement about me?
          Then you’re a bigot too.

        • Just one thing if I was calling someone old, I would not post that vid of you, gray brearded,gray headed old man.

    • OK, I am 60 so not young, but please don’t call me old. Search the web for a video of the “solar road”. The video itself is most annoying, but the thought behind this technology is interesting. I wish we could spend some of the money Washington is wasting and pave about 50 miles as a test. I would like to know the cost per mile and the amount of electricity generated and the maintenance issues. It would be an expensive test, but all technology is at first. The cost would come down over time. People would be employed manufacturing these roads, and wouldn’t it be interesting if the USA could be energy self sufficient.

      • I’m 57 and I’m excited about the prospect of the end of fossil fuels. I’m willing to pay more in order to contribute to the good of the planet. I’ve changed all my fossil fuel based stock holdings for renewable energy companies too. I think a lot of people are fearful of these changes which explains some of their vehement arguments.

  • I’m from Maine where all of our fish have been poisoned by mercury to the point where our state government has issued a warning that our fish should not be eaten by pregnant women or anyone under 8. 39% of the mercury pollution in the USA comes from coal fired power plants who pollute our air and water for free. There is no cost to them for doing this so they get to endanger our babies and children for free. (Note: I wonder how we would respond if an outside power or group poisoned our food) Because the massive costs of clean up are not included on their financial statements, coal looks cheap. If those costs were included we’d be building alternative energy plants by the ton to lower our energy costs. On this issue, I say good for this administration for finally standing up to protect the health of our people. We finally have someone who is standing up to the high pollution industries that have time and again, poisoned for profit.

    • Mercury deficiency can be a serious health issue.

  • As I remember it, Martin Weiss was the guy who produced a newsletter predicting the dire results to be expected from Y2K.
    Cheers! Stu.

  • would you really want to expand coal fired power plants? who in their right mind would want to further one of the filthiest, dangerous and horrifically polluting means of power? except for those who own the coal mines and those who would make the big money by generating more coal and building more plants….
    will it cost more to go green? yeah it will at first, as with anything that is “new and improved”. an easy comparison is to look at what computers and laptops cost when they started to come out to the general public.
    installing your own green energy/solar is expensive. and it may get worse considering that the big oil, coal and other power providers are putting blocks in the way and convincing local governments to stop the perks available to people who have already changed over.

    • Amen! It comes down to the almighty fossil fuel corporations with their greed and power versus the future of the planet (our grandchildren and on, mind you.)!

    • would you be happy if toilet paper came only in 80 grit tomorrow? or would you prefer a softer , more tender transition for the ever so sensitive anal opening? energy conversion technology does not happen overnite

      • would you really want to expand oil fired power plants? who in their right mind would want to further one of the Most arab controlled means of power? except for those who own the oil wells and those who would make the big money by generating more oil and building more plants

      • What ever happened to the toilet paper with no cardboard core, that was supposed to save the planet?
        Has it been segwayed?

    • “who in their right mind would want to further one of the filthiest, dangerous and horrifically polluting means of power”

      China and india, and by buying their products you become a co-conspirator.

    • The corporations controlling Solar and Wind aren’t any different than the big oil and coal. The inventors of innovate energy production have their patents purchased by mega-corporations and the new ideas are shelved. It happens over and over again and not just with energy but with drugs, treatments, chemicals and foods too. We are being played like pawns on a chessboard. All of these subsidies for alternative energy are just making a few corporate heads, legislators lobbyists and staffers a lot of money. It’s about consumables and monopolies, corner the market by legislation, regulation and mandates. Push the small, innovative business out with onerous regulation. Pick the winners by taking taxpayer money and giving “GRANTS” to the one who funds your next election.
      Solution: get involved in local politics and start making local changes then go on to the state level. One step at a time and take our country back.

      • “The corporations controlling Solar and Wind aren’t any different than the big oil and coal”
        Yes they are. They’re more technically inept, and more idealist (wet dream) driven.

        • Well, I imagine the airplane, car, indoor plumbing, cell phone, on and on were idealistic “wet dreams” once. I’m guessing you’ve used one or more of those at some point.

  • “Obama seems to have a particular hatred for coal-fired electrical power plants.”
    Of course. None of the arab countries, his goombas, have coal deposits. Only oil.

    Oil money finances these radical yahoos, not coal money, which only helps US miners.

    • Oh, it’s you, again….still playing the race card, eh? Like I said….bigot.

  • There are so many ways to generate power on site or locally. Why be dependent on national sources? No one is even bringing up using magnets, tidal, water, solar hot air collectors and the list goes on. Better designed homes with efficient use of wire and pipe.
    Now there are two main problems with mass conversion to on-site or local power. The first is killing the revenue stream of taxes. There are tremendous amount of taxes collected from power companies, employees and power consumers. A major funding source for our bloated government. The second big issue is where are all those people going to work. Generation plant workers, Accounts managers, CEOs, linemen…so many employees.
    So it isn’t simply a matter of flipping a switch (pun intended), this must be done with great care and prudence. So you have all the big corporations and unions with all the federal, state and local economies fighting mass conversion.
    Those damn extenuating consequences.

    • And of course perpetual motion machines.

  • “Coal costs 4.1 cents per kilowatt hour to produce, where wind costs 4.3 cents and solar a whopping 7.7 cents”
    Is that before or after factoring in the wind and solar subsidies, and high depreciation costs?

    Enough wind generators, and the weather changes, and eventually the earth’s rotation slows down.
    Enough solar installations and the earth cools down.
    Coal is already there, ready for the taking.
    There ain’t no free lunch.

    • Actually, your statements about wind and solar power are correct although I will agree they don’t make economic OR environmental sense.

  • Hang the fish up in the icehouse or cold storage locker,with their heads up.
    When the mercury drops, cut off the tails.
    Problem solved.

  • Coal, solar, wind, it doesn’t matter, the Gov is still going to find a way to stick-it to the citizen….Washington still doesn’t get the fact that its the tax payer keeping this nation running….Until we cut off the source of there corruption, its business as usual, all along we barely make ends meet….And big oil, give me a brake ! tell me how a Tv show (Myth Busters) can take a 2014 Ford mustang & with out making any changes to the car it runs on “moonshine”….car ran better, faster, & more importantly CLEANER & CHEAPER….the solutions are there if “they would simply open there minds”….Big Business & the Gov still run the machine, they simply choose not to oil the wheels….And in closing, maybe Mr. Obama needs all that coal to have his face added to Mt Rushmore….

  • There is so much wrong with this article that it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, your cheap energy isn’t cheap, it’s all subsidized by the Federal Government, and if you got a bill for what you electric really cost you would be running out to put as many solar panels on your roof as possible. Your electric bill will continue to climb because unless you are making your own, the costs of coal oil and gas are all climbing because we have already taken all of the easy to reach stuff and now it is harder and more expensive to get out of the ground. Coal and other fossil fuels are monsters that need to be feed ($$$) constantly, solar on the other hand is pay once, and in 8-12 years (usually less), you’ve paid for your costs, then enjoy 12-13 years of free energy, then replace the panels (much cheaper the second time around because all other parts are already in place). Oh and by the way, your not choking the skies with coal exhaust.
    Also 2 years ago the Feds OK ed 2 new Nuclear Plants, http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/09/news/economy/nuclear_reactors/.
    And here are your subsidy links: http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies.
    We just can’t keep pouring emissions into the atmosphere, we have to give our kids and their kids a better place to live.

  • Takes one to call one.Elderly hippie pinko? Married to a minority?

  • Wow, what misleading costs and no source for them.

  • What a joke some of you are being older in age just gives a lot of wisdom of how to solve some very serious problems. Some of you folks make me want to puke I am so glad their are more of the older generation in our country then some of you. We will come together are we will die sooner then you younger people want to.

  • ok. I think we all agree we have some problems now and in the future. I believe it is important to be as self sufficient as possible. not only important, but neccessary moving forward. not that I’m any kind of green guy, cause I’m not. I just got sick and tired of my electric bill going up. with three kids out of the house, my wife and I are paying almost 40 percent more for electricity than when we were a family of five. My solution was to install a small solar off grid system to our house, and gradually, phase in items in the house to the solar system. I did this myself, very easy to do, with everything bought on ebay, thus keeping my costs low. I started small, and grew my system, and we learned to grow into solar slowly over the years. i recently added two wind turbines to the system, so now we capture the wind, making power when the sun goes down. knocked an easy 30-40 percent off my electric bill, and during power outages, we have power. Its really not as expensive as you think. just learn to do it yourself. start small, and gradually grow the system to your needs..