A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

During our late July heat wave, I was talking with a man who was sweltering, because Portland General Electric had turned off his air conditioner as part of a program to shed load during periods of peak demand for electricity. He was being paid $50 for his trouble. That may sound like a good deal for everyone, except other ratepayers. They end up footing the bill for PGE’s lack of ability to provide electricity when it is most needed. And customers who sign up for the program may suffer from heat stroke. 1100 people died in Toronto, Ontario Canada during the very hot July of 1936, before air conditioning was widely available. “It was like we were living in a furnace,” one man said.

On very hot days, Portland General Electric is faced with two problems simultaneously. Demand for electricity soars and their ability to generate it falls away dramatically. Something has to be dreadfully wrong for that to occur. But the explanation is simple.

PGE has fallen for the renewable energy scam. They have constructed vast wind farms with enormous nameplate capabilities. The chart included here shows that the Pacific Northwest region managed by the Bonneville Power Administration has more than 2,000 megawatts of wind power available when the wind is blowing. That is twice what our one nuclear power plant in Washington State provides. But the nuclear plant is close to 100% reliable, while the wind is close to 100% unreliable when most needed.

Look at what happens when the weather gets hot. Wind disappears as a high pressure weather system settles over the region, producing our hottest weather during the summer and coldest weather during the winter. These are the weather conditions when we most need electricity and when wind cannot deliver it. Our hydro is expected to take up the slack, but can barely do so. Consequently, PGE is building natural gas-fired thermal power plants to backup wind. They start quickly but are so inefficient that they use more natural gas than would a stand alone high efficiency gas turbine plant run continuously.

Bonneville Power Authority Load Balancing chart for late July 2020 showing how wind power largely disappears when most needed on hot summer afternoons in Portland. (“Load” is local demand only.)

Why would Portland General Electric build such a poor power system? Aside from the accolades they get from our clueless politicians, PGE makes twice as much money with two power plants doing the work of one. That is why PGE customers pay considerably higher rates than others in our region. It is outrageous!

The simplest solution is to replace PGE’s CEO Maria Pope. PGE needs to find someone who knows how to run a utility efficiently and who understands climate fraud. That might entail converting PGE into a publicly-owned utility that answers to ratepayers, not stockholders. The unholy alliance between private utilities and local politicians that allows an Enron mentality to continue at Portland General Electric must end.

What about rioting?

Our most visible problem of late has been continuous rioting in downtown Portland, claiming to be about the death of George Floyd. Those making excuses for the rioting want people to believe that rioters are upset over a black man dying as he was being arrested by white policemen. Some say he was “murdered” by police. That ignores the essential fact that Floyd died of cardiac arrest from a severe heart condition. Of course, facts don’t matter to young males in our inner cities who are always eager to vent frustrations about everything, including lock downs over the coronavirus. Any excuse to run wild with another round of rioting is fine with them. And rather than clamp down immediately to minimize the damage and loss of life, inner city politicians see a great opportunity to manage the riots as political theater against President Trump. Of course, they are less than happy when rioters target their personal residences. Those rioters are dealt with swiftly.

Rioting is not a right, even when the rioters are grimly miss-characterized as “peaceful protesters!” The solution is to rapidly restore order, using whatever force is necessary to halt the criminal behavior. A curfew followed by vigorous police action and jailing of those who refuse to comply should be sufficient. Our revolving-door justice system has to stop releasing rioters to immediately re-offend.

The ultimate solution is for Mayor Ted Wheeler and the entire Portland City Council to resign and turn the city over to people who are problem solvers not ideologues.

What about racial issues?

The death of six times felon George Floyd was characterized as a racial incident. Even if it were, the appropriate resolution is never rioting by young criminals of any color. These hoodlums care nothing about the progress we have made as a nation to put the Civil War, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and Segregation behind us. But Democrats on the Hard Left still view blacks as their property to be manipulated to keep them in power with endless pandering and identity politics. Consequently, every time an unfortunate incident happens, they support the rioting. They have no remorse when the mayhem kills black police officers and young black children, as well as destroying large swaths of the cities Democrats rule. That is the price they are willing to pay to stay in power.

The simple solution is to stop tolerating any rioting for any reason. Politicians of all stripes have a sworn duty to uphold the law, even when the rioting typically involves their supporters. A few thugs should not be able to hold a city of 655,000 citizens hostage. And if Democrats are unwilling to protect the public because they approve of the rioting, they need to be removed from office.

Our civil rights laws do not allow discrimination based on race, creed, color, or national origin. That gives everyone an equal chance at the American Dream. But it does not guarantee equal outcomes. We have a merit-based system, where those who work the hardest achieve the most, whether black, white or some other race. This is the best system anyone has ever devised. Handouts are counter productive. Hand ups can occasionally be helpful.

What about the burgeoning homeless problem that big city Democrats cannot solve?

Democrats also refuse to deal with the homeless problem in our major cities. Long term camping on our sidewalks and in our parks is a public health and personal safety issue. It should be prohibited. Those who refuse to take advantage of programs to assist them to get off of drugs, find housing and employment, need to be moved to a supervised industrial site where they will have basic sanitation while living in tents. The few should never be able to live beyond the law and destroy the livability of our inner cities for everyone.

What about our climate?

Our climate is just fine, sometimes a bit hot in summer and cold in winter. That is called “normal.”

The simple solution to all the hysteria is to cease funding those who promote it. They fancy themselves as “climate scientists” and try to hold America hostage for more money. “Climate scientists” are pseudo-scientists who have no respect for the scientific method or for basic honesty and delight in terrorizing ordinary folks. Too many Americans mistakenly throw money at them to keep “Global Warming” at bay.

The ultimate solution is to stop reelecting dishonest politicians who claim that their “Green New Deal” will solve everything, let alone anything.

It is time to say “Goodbye.”

All who have dragged us down this far need to go, from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to many others. Fair warning: they will be the ones running the show, if Geriatric Joe Biden wins the Presidency in November. His mental capacity is quickly deteriorating due to age, and he will never serve out a four year term, let alone make wise decisions before forced to resign. The ‘Cancel Culture’ will ultimately get him too. Democrats want Bolshevik Bernie Sanders and squad leader Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in charge.

Heaven help us then!

Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at gordonfulks@hotmail.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.



One Response to Opinion: So Many Problems – So Many Simple and Effective Solutions

  • Excellent article by someone who has the background and knowledge of what most of the failures of ‘green energy’ are, and why it would be a disaster to eliminate reliable sources of energy. Wind turbines and solar panels are NOT reliable, and cause disruptions in an otherwise stable power grid.

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