Energy Questions

1. Why not “supercharge” gas generators? Yeah, I know, their compressor sections are superchargers: that’s is, like big turbines like jet aircraft engines. But couldn’t they add a fan on the front, like another stage of compression?

Dominion Power (biggest electric generator for most of Virginia) just brought their newest electric generating plant on line near Front Royal (west of D. C.). It’s gas fired, producing 1329 megawatts. It cost $1.1 billion, but came on line on time and under budget. An identical plant under construction in Burnswick County (on the North Carolina border) will produce 1360 megawatts simply because it’s at a lower altitude. Thirty-one megawatts is a lot of power just because the air is denser.

A small boost to the input—like a fan—might generate enough more power to justify them. That’s why we supercharge cars. Why not power generators?

2. Why don’t we build more oil refineries in North Dakota, rather than have to ship the crude (by rail, truck or pipe) halfway across the country to the Gulf coast to refine (then ship the products back north)?

About 64 percent of oil produced in the state is transported via diesel-guzzling trucks from more than 8,000 oil-producing wells, according to the state. Over 50,000 barrels of diesel fuel is imported daily just to support the oil extraction industry.

Yes, a refinery is under construction at Dickinson, but North Dakota is the second highest oil producer in the USA. That Dickinson plant will produce only 8,000 barrels of diesel fuel a day.

Would it be too much to hope that locals get some of the jobs?

3. Why do the people who want to kill this or that kind of power live in big houses and drive big cars? I can appreciate a Gandhi who weaves the cloth for his clothes, but not a bunch of New York and Washington lawyers and egg heads. (I’m an egg head, too, but I leave beyond either fallout zone.)

Remember when wind generators were the darlings of the tree huggers?

As you can see, I’m no expert in any of this. If anyone knows why these are bad ideas, please tell me. So I can worry about something else, like why Americans torture people.

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