Home Heating Options for Rural Midwest Residents?

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Didnt need to when the post before that was clearly discussing what effect the price of oil would have on the price of electricity.
That is what context is about. I dont propose to write every single sentence so that it covers all the bases in that one sentence, that makes it much too hard to read.

Your problem, try reading for comprehension instead of nit picking particular sentences.

Corse there is, tho that can often just be historical reasons, ones that made sense when the cost of oil was low, and dont anymore when it makes a lot more sense to site coal fired power stations next to the coal mine and transport the electricity instead of the coal.
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Rod Speed wrote:

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Rod Speed wrote:

Well "efficiency" has a pretty definite meaning to engineer when discussing a power plant, and that restriction isn't one normally used--in fact, I think this is the only time I've ever seen it used in that context in over 40 years...
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And anyone with a clue considers the context in which words are used and doesnt assume that it was the efficiency in that sense that was being discussed.

Your problem.
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Here in the states, three major factors are considered:
1) You have to have a market. Despite Rod Speed's assertions about the ease of moving electricity, putting in new transmission lines is *not* a short-term project. And many sections of the grid are not really prepared for just dumping in another 1000 MW. Especially out west where the population centers are spread out and the network of transmission lines is not as finely meshed. While Rod may be thinking of his experiences in the UK (or some other country), building a number of transmission lines needed to carry literally several GW of power from several coal fields for 1000 miles or more would be *very* expensive (and have reliability issues). Just establishing the right-of-ways over already developed areas is a long and expensive process.
2) You have to have a method of cooling. Depending on the plant design, for every MW of electricity your plant generates, you have to dissipate between 1.5 to 4 MW of heat. Large bodies of water is one choice, but there are options. But even those large atmospheric cooling towers you see require a fair amount of water. A large plant using a natural draft evaporating cooling tower might need on the order of 12,000 gallons *per minute*. It's kind of hard to find that amount of water in the hi-western deserts of the US.
3) You have to have a fuel source. While it is expensive to transport 'unit trains' of coal, it is often done. VPCo (Virginia Power Company) used to haul 100 car coal trains from the West Va and Pa coal fields down to the eastern seaboard all the time. The right-of-way for many rail lines is already established in the 1800's.
In the case of strip mining, the coal face is constantly moving so a plant that is 'near' the mine when you build it, will be quite a long ways away in 15 years. Yet you build a plant for 40+ operating life, so you end up having to transport the coal anyway. Roads, equipment, and rail is cheaper to update every few years than multi-mile conveyors.
daestrom
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Rod Speed wrote:

No, what was being discussed was the price of coal. You checked out of the conversation a while back.
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Not in this subthread.

Nope, I was clearly commenting on the claim that the cost of electricity would track the cost of oil. That is just plain wrong.
You didnt notice that the subthread had diverged.
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No it isn't - the price of coal, like the price of nearly everything else, is determined by the balance of supply and demand. If that price is less than mining and transportation costs (plus a profit) no one will be willing to mine and transport it to sell.
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Rod Speed wrote:

....
The price of <ENERGY> tends to follow across the various forms. That isn't the same as saying they're equivalent, but it does relate to a basic truth that price pressure on one tends to drive flexible demand to other forms. U, of course, being the most inflexible by far, is much less affected, particularly in the near/mid term.
Here's one quote found quickly...
An Analysis of Steaming Coal Price Trends--Factors behind Price Fluctuations and Outlook, Yoshimitsu MIMUROTO, Group Manager, Coal Research Group, International Cooperation Department
"While many factors are considered interwoven in these price fluctuations, more responsible ones than others are verified in this report. They include (1) exchange rates of the Australian dollar, (2) fluctuations in coal stocks (degree of supply and demand tightness), (3) coal productivity (production cost), (4) the U.S. coal ex-port trends, and (5) the price of oil as a rivaling fuel."

As will the effect on US coal prices.
I did find one report in London that so far, the effect hasn't shown up owing to current inventories but it did note that diesel prices are going to affect production costs in the near future. There certainly is going to be an impact on margins which are minimal at best and the trend in the past has been to shut down production when not making money at the mine mouth. If so, stockpiles will eventually become depleted and price will eventually rise. Question is (which I don't presently know having quit working actively about five years ago now) whether there's sufficient stockpiles to weather the short term blip(?) owing to Katrina w/ winter coming on. W/ the tendency of major utilities like TVA to shorten their stockpiles to help in cash flow, I would doubt their ability to do that to any great extent.
Consequently, I still expect to see an impact on coal prices.
I suppose the one possible mitigating factor in all this will end up being China. If the higher oil prices hold and impact US (in particular, rest of developed world to a lesser extent) consumer spending it could lead to a reduction in demand there as well. In that instance much of the current pressure on oil markets could be temporarily relieved.
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Wrong. When natural gas was very abundant, the cost of that <ENERGY> was close to free and plenty did stupid stuff like have external gas lights for their decorative effect.
And that was seen in the 80s when oil prices were going thru the roof, and were at significantly higher real prices than currently.

Waffle. In the real world you can get dramatic hikes in the price of some forms of energy like with oil and gasoline in the early 80s with no effect what so ever on the price of other energy commoditys like natural gas or steaming coal.

More waffle.

That is completely silly. Steaming coal export contracts are never in Australian dollars, they are always in US dollars.

More silly stuff. While in theory that is correct, in practice there is fuck all in the way of fluctuations in that.

That last is completely silly and nothing like reality.

It wont with Australian coal prices, you watch.

Very marginally, essentially because the cost of diesel is a very small part of coal production costs, even when the coal mining is entirely diesel fuelled. The transport costs in spades.

Bullshit they are. We make vast amounts of money out of our coal exports.

It doesnt happen like that with coal used to generate electricity.

More mindless pig ignorant silly stuff. It aint about stockpiles with coal used to generate electricity.

There will be no blip at all with electricity generation.
Essentially because the US is moving from the peak demands of summer thru the lower demands of fall.
If anything there is a significant dip in demand thru fall before the demand builds up again for winter.

More fool you, you clearly dont understand the seasonal demand for electricity.

It aint gunna happen, you watch.
There will only be some minor effect on some dinosaur operations that use diesel for coal mining and transport, but that is only a quite small part of the cost of coal production.
You've only got to look at the diesel involved in a coal train, comparing the amount of diesel used as fuel for the train with the vastly higher amount of coal carried by that train to see that.

I doubt they will myself. It shows all the signs of just another significant spike that wont last that long.
I personally doubt it will last as long as the main spike in the early 80s did. Mainly because even the stupidest rag head noticed the damage that spike did to their earnings.
Thats even more true today with the chinese particularly being very sensitive to the price since their economy is has nothing like the strength the first world had in the early 80s.
Particularly as much of the chinese demand isnt fueling their economy, its mostly fueling their better lifestyle currently and so is very vulnerable on price.

I doubt it, tho it will have some effect on SUV and truck sales.

Corse it will, you watch.
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Rod Speed wrote:

....
Not a waffle at all--in fact, it is what I said in the first place except you can't seem to read "related" or "correlated" as anything other than "move in complete unison together". Nuance doesn't seem to be a strong point. :(

No, fact that explains the issue of <why> U doesn't track as much as other forms.

Unless, of course, one is Australian, which just so happens to have been the analyst. I used it simply because it was one of the first (but certainly not the only) references that was convenient...
....

Only if one wishes to ignore events. Certainly those buying coal in large volumes don't.
....

And what powers those unit trains???? ....

Ask the guys in the mines--I suspect they'll beg to differ. ....

Could have fooled me--when the lights went out in MI and some other upper midwest places a few years ago during the severe cold/wet spell and they couldn't get enough coal unfrozen out of the cars w/ their reduced on-hand stockpiles, it was a major issue. (Detroit Monroe plant for one).
....

That remains to be seen...

And winter is right behind...

Which is a relatively short period--not yet clear that there will be much revamping of coastal facilities in time to have any (positive) impact for this winter.

I understand it <very> well, thank you...

See what? That higher fuel production and distribution costs aren't going to effect the cost of generation? Doesn't compute out that way in my checkbook.
....

Well, the same could be said about a very high fraction here as well and it hasn't seemed to change consumer demand very much, at least as yet. I don't expect the Chinese who are just now learning the pleasures to be any more willing to give those up...
....
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Old Rod is a binary sort of guy. You either agree with him 100% or you're a liar. Google his posts by using the words "Rod Speed liar" some time when you are bored.
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Never said a word about complete unison.
There was NO correlated effect on the price of natural gas or steaming coal in the early 80s when the price of crude oil and gasoline spiked dramatically.

Bullshit aint one of yours.

Nope, natural gas and coal didnt 'track' in the early 80s, didnt even spike at all then.

Its still completely irrelevant, its never priced in $A.

He clearly doesnt have a clue about any of the basics.

Wrong again.

The steaming coal contracts have NOTHING to do with the price of oil at all.

Its a tiny part of the energy being transported in those trains.

Dont need to, I have considerable money invested in those.

Your suspicious are completely irrelevant.

Different situation entirely to your claim that the stockpiles would run down due to the coal mines closing due to their costs increasing.

Nope.
And by then Katrina wont be having any effect, you watch.

Nope.
There doesnt need to be.

You clearly dont.

That the cost of the diesel is a tiny part of the value of the energy on that train.

The effect will clearly only be marginal. No one said that there will be no effect, just that it wont have much if any measurable effect on the PRICE OF THE ELECTRICITY.
It certainly wont track the price of oil.

Corse it does.

Even you should have noticed the difference between US and China living standards.
The reality is that americans can afford the higher cost of gasoline, it mostly just produces lots of bitching and moaning and has very little impact at all on gasoline consumption.

They dont have the same immense wealth that allows more choices.
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Rod Speed wrote:

....
Well, actually in the quick search I did I found a paper/presentation by EIA of precisely that period that did, in fact, show a correlation. I didn't post it as it was long enough ago as to consider it non apropos to current discussion...
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Dont believe it. And it certainly didnt happen like that here.

Corse its relevant to the claim that the current hike in the price of oil would produce a hike in the price of electricity.
It wont, you watch.
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Rod Speed wrote:

http://quotes.ino.com/chart/?s=NYMEX_NGV5&v 2
http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/JM/C5
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Not the price of the coal that is what is most used to generate electricity.

Usually for the natural gas component of the electricity generation.
Natural gas has indeed gone up in price, but not because the price of crude oil has hiked recently.
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Rod Speed wrote:

Price of coal has doubled in the past year.

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Lie with what the electricity generators use.
And what changes have occurred have had nothing to do with the price of crude oil anyway.

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wrote:

form of

So which is it - usually or always?

typical
Great prediction - price will either go up, go down, or stay the same. Can't miss.

the
I lived with a heat pump for 10 years. Utterly false.

Resistance heating is there for times when it gets too cold outside for the pump to work. It does use electricity. The colder it is, the more electricity it uses. Of course, no matter what your heat source, the colder it is, the more fuel it'll use.
There's nothing particularly sacred about electricity. At times you'll use a lot, at other times you won't use much. What counts is how is the total bill over the year compared to other heat sources. During the 10 years I had a heat pump, my combined utility bill in the winter was lower than that of people I worked with. My electric bill was higher than theirs, but my electric bill generally was lower than their combined electric/gas/oil bill.
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