Within the context of South African energy development, and less so within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), I often find myself being misunderstood as to the role coal plays within the energy economy.
I recognize, on the surface, many observers and colleagues alike, may gather an impression I am advocating for the unequivocal closure of all coal assets and the direct economies they support. Nothing could be further from the truth, and although my knowledge and experiences tell me, coal’s impacts on the global climate are negative, with dire human and economic consequences, I have long since passed the days of being an ‘environmental crusader’, motivated by heart, not facts and reality.
Ending all coal fired electric generation tomorrow, if this was my position, would be pushing for the closure of currently operational power stations and ceasing the capital flow of hemorrhaging new builds under construction, struggling to meet project deadlines and cost projections. My pragmatism steers me clear of any designs that risk a near certain economic collapse regardless some “ideal energy world” I may dream up.
Continue reading “Southern Africa Energy – Advancing Forward or Stumbling Back?”
I’m Hans. Born, raised & educated in upstate NY, USA. After university (Bachelor’s degree in engineering & sciences), I moved to California and worked with several of the largest electric utilities;(PG&E, SDG&E and SPPC/Nevada Power) in the country. Not as an electrician or engineer, but rather within their USD $100m/yr, or more, vegetation management programs; learning and patrolling 1000s of miles of overhead power lines, experiencing generation schemes and customer needs first hand.
Outside training my fellow foresters, I broke new ground and developed protocols for system-wide implementation based on the simple concept of bringing all interested parties together and forging mutually beneficial agreements for all. They worked, very well. After I left, I was asked back on several occasions to assist during critical program milestones.
After chasing personal interests throughout the American West, living in Colorado, I settled in Oregon, building a residential tree pruning/removal start-up as a financial backstop to pursuing a nursing degree. I loved biology and chemistry, thrive under the demands of making life & death decisions quickly, and wanted to travel the world as a nurse in an ER/ICU capacity.
Continue reading “About Me – A Global Energy Experience”
I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn in the “Energy Innovation by Statoil” group about wind turbines being “unappealing” visually within the discussion brought about by a completely wide-open question “How do you feel about wind farms?”
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Obviously, that is a subjective question, setting the stage for far ranging arguments lacking substantiated reasoning. This being akin to the common misunderstanding of billowing exhaust plumes at power plants thought to be laden with green house gases, pollution and toxic chemicals. The reality being, most of the visible “offenses” are waste heat removal through water evaporation cooling, not the invisible fossil fuel combustion effluent as commonly believed.
It was also stated, wind farms can be the cause of drought, which initially caught me off guard as I have lived and breathed water issues the past 20 years and it is a major determinant in my self assessed classification as “A Westerner”. Water is in our blood, both figuratively and literally. A transplant, to the western US, can be easily identified based on their lack of understanding and comprehension of where their water comes from and exactly how precious it is to maintaining our lifestyles. “Water Wars” are not just some future post apocalyptic scenario, they have been fought for over a century here in the United States.
Continue reading “Wind pulling a fast one on us?”