Environmental groups overplay the role of wind and solar

Fuel Fix:
Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean has a message for government officials and electrical grid operators: Don’t let environmental groups and the media overplay the capabilities of wind farms and solar energy in powering the country.

Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, Kean urged policymakers to better communicate the role natural gas will need to play if the United States is to continue reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.
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Wind turbines and solar panels rely on the weather to generate electricity, coming on and off the power grid depending on cloud cover, time of day and an approaching storm. That is already causing problems for grid operators in areas like California and Hawaii with high renewable penetration.

Echoing comments made by many energy executives and analysts, Kean said natural gas was needed to not only back up renewable sources but to provide a steady flow of power as more and more coal plants close — supplanted by cheaper and cleaner burning natural gas.

“When it comes to fighting global warming, we need more natural gas, not less,” Kean said. “In the power sector we are back to 1993 levels on [greenhouse gas emissions]. We’ve increased our generation by 25 percent while keeping that emissions level flat.”

As the largest pipeline company in North America, Houston-based Kinder has plenty to gain by seeing the continued expansion of natural gas within the power industry.
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Environmental groups seem incapable of comprehending the limitations of their favored power sources.  Wind and solar power sources are difficult to modulate,  It si hard to add more when demand is high and it is hard to reduce output when it is low.  They still have not solved the problem of energy storage.

Natural gas is also a necessary component of the petrochemical business and the environmentalists have no alternative for that industry.  It is vital for producing things made from plastic as well as fertilizer for crops.

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