Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DUKE ENERGY'S FAILURE SHEDS LIGHT ON A WAY FORWARD: This event is similar to the one that happened in my native Texas in 2021, which cost the lives of 246. We are incredibly fortunate that North Carolina didn’t suffer a similar loss of life. However, unfortunately, the same mindset prevails in power generation. North Carolina and Texas overwhelmingly rely on coal and natural gas as the primary resources to produce electricity. The lessons we should learn from the storm are clear in Duke’s responses to Gov. Cooper and the Utilities Commission: Climate change is causing more extreme weather, which is unpredictable. We are facing more historic storms, not fewer; Gas and coal aren’t always dependable in extreme weather, while renewable energy with battery storage is more reliable. By signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law, President Joe Biden ensured these costs will continue to drop. In fact, a new study by the clean energy think tank RMI shows the Inflation Reduction Act makes clean energy cheaper than more than 90% of proposed gas plants.
Similarly, a study Duke commissioned from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory revealed that Duke could most economically meet the carbon reduction targets mandated by the law by tripling the proposed solar on its grid by 2030. Fortunately, the Utilities Commission highlighted both the Duke outages and the Inflation Reduction Act in its order to Duke. When Duke presents its revised plan to the Utilities Commission in September, they will no longer be able to credibly say natural gas is the cheapest and most reliable path. And we must not forget, the natural gas sector is still plagued by fugitive emissions of the (super) carbon Methane, throughout its entire production cycle. Even sites that are "played out" and supposedly capped are leaking a substance 50 times worse that Co2. The way forward is clear, but the fossil fuel industry and their puppets will fight to their last breath to derail that progress.

Duke Energy's contempt for Solar is irresponsible


The deep freeze on Christmas weekend exposed major flaws in their approach:

The first domino fell in Duke Energy Carolinas territory, which serves 2.5 million residential, commercial and industrial customers. Starting at midnight on Christmas Eve, utility officials cut back power at the Dan River combined cycle plant, which runs largely on natural gas, to 360 MW, roughly half of its capacity, said Sam Holeman, vice president of transmission. (This is also known as derating.) Some of the plant’s instrumentation had frozen, and to prevent the facility from failing altogether, operators had to reduce the strain. The Buck plant in Salisbury encountered low pressure issues and had to be derated after peak energy usage had passed.

Solar energy “performed as expected,” Duke officials said, although it was not available overnight during the peak hours of 2 to 6 a.m.

It could have been available to ease that burden if Duke had dedicated more resources to battery storage in NC:

Please. STOP.

Last week I received a dozen or so fundraising emails and texts, several from newly elected officials. I'd hoped these emails would reflect a change in communications strategy from the tired old drumbeat, but that was not the case. What I got was worse than the same-old same-old: consultant-driven emails without the slightest evidence of donor awareness. Here are two examples:

Are you still with us? We need your gift before midnight in order to make our fourth quarter goal!

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


THE JAN 6 REPORT'S KEY FINDING: TRUMP ENABLED MILITIA GROUPS: First and foremost, the report busts a myth promoted by right-wing apologists that because some insurrectionists began the assault on the Capitol before Trump concluded his “Stop the Steal” speech, he was not the inspiration for the attack. Wrong. Chapter 6 details the degree to which members of extremist groups (e.g., Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters) seized upon Trump’s “big lie” of a stolen election. They heard his call to come to D.C. and believed he wanted them to do what was needed to keep him in power. The Proud Boys planned to move ahead of the crowd, which later — at Trump’s instruction — followed them down Pennsylvania Avenue. In Chapter 8, the report details the early removal of barricades at the Peace Circle by the Proud Boys and their associates. That cleared the way for thousands of protesters to move down Pennsylvania Avenue directly to the Capitol. That provides evidence of the meticulous preparation that went into the assault. Moreover, several people in Trump’s inner circle were intimately involved with the insurrectionists. This includes former White House advisers Stephen K. Bannon and Michael Flynn and Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone. These individuals met with members of extremist groups, encouraged them to act and amplified their message. Bannon, of course, had a direct line to the president. (The committee reports that the two communicated on Jan. 5.) Trump was also in regular contact with Stone. The report does not connect Trump to the armed insurrectionists directly, but it gets alarmingly close. This was a genuine conspiracy (unlike wacky QANON bullshit), an effort to engineer a coup to allow Trump to remain in power. In virtually any other country, the leader of such an effort would be in jail. But here we are two years later, watching this idiot plan for another campaign.


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