The following remarks were made regarding the article “Decarbonization and electrification — are we there yet?” written by Julius Ballanco, P.E., CPD, F-ASPE, president of J.B. Engineering and Code Consulting, published in the May 2022 issue of PM Engineer:

Hi Julius, Very good points in your article. Many educated and well-meaning people who advocate electrification do not understand:

  1. Where today’s electricity comes from; and
  2. That the electric grid is only 40% efficient. I have heard 33%. Still, the point stands. 

This grossly misleads policy makers, educators and the public. 

I will add a third misunderstood point, which is ‘clean and renewable’ wind and solar will have a decarbonizing impact. This claim does not consider wind and solar’s (including batteries) full fuel cycle activities — mining, production, transportation, construction/installation, maintenance, decommissioning and waste disposal or recycling. This includes lots of steel and concrete. These are activities that consume huge amounts of energy that create emissions. Performed in nations such as China without care for the environment or labor practices.  

Is there a reliable full fuel cycle emissions number on wind and solar?

Eliminate fossil fuels? How will we replace its derivatives and by-products foundational to our way of life? Asphalt for roads, fertilizer, tires, plastics, paints/coatings and thousands of other products used by millions. Why isn’t this question a part of the energy transition discussion?

Did the jurisdiction you did work for mandate electricity and ban gas?

The biased and incomplete electrification and elimination of fossil fuels story is baffling.  

Randall R. Doyle
Holtzman Propane Mt.
Jackson, Virginia

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