NewEnergyNews: ENERGY BILL: SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE HOUSE

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR GEOTHERMAL
  • -------------------

    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
  • TTTA Thursday-FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
  • TTTA Thursday-IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FROM THE CLOUD
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY BECOMES PRICE COMPETITIVE
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 15: NEW NUMBERS SHOW BIG OCEAN WIND POWER; SOLAR TURNS IN A NEW DIRECTION; FUEL CELL MARKETS TO VARY, GROW
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND COMES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 14: THE UTILITY-SOLAR DEBATE OVER WHO PAYS; TECHNICIANS WANTED – APPLY TO WIND; MAKING MULTIFAMILY BLDGS MORE EFFICIENT
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: A LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER PLANTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 13: NUCLEAR FADING, NEW ENERGY COMING ON; THE ONE BIG ADVANTAGE OF SOLAR; HALF OF GLOBAL HEAT MAY BE HIDING IN THE OCEANS
  • -

    --------------------------

    --------------------------

    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

    - -------------------

    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

    -------------------

    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    Your intrepid reporter

    -------------------

      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

    -------------------

    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • Friday, December 07, 2007

    ENERGY BILL: SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE HOUSE

    The bill passed Thursday by the House was hailed by environmental groups and damned by the American Petroleum Institute.

    In closing House debate on the bill, Speaker Pelosi displayed a memento baseball and recalled a historic 1951 home run dubbed by sportswriters “the shot heard ‘round the world.” She then referenced the first “shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord and finally called her energy bill yet another such “shot.” She glowingly described the “new economy” it will bring on, the national security it will provide and the responsible stewardship it represents.

    IF it gets out of the Senate intact. And IF the President signs it.


    (The 1951 "shot": The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! (click to enlarge)

    As it stands, it is indeed Speaker Pelosi’s bill. After the House and Senate passed different versions in the summer, she powered past the bipartisan conference process so as not to be entangled and sidetracked by minority tactics. Instead of allowing it to become ensnarled in a compromise process, she and a close-knit group fashioned legislation that included the most progressive aspects of both houses’ bills.

    She won in her House -- but now must sit back and watch the Senate dismantle her handiwork.

    Because of the filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Reid would need 60 votes in favor of the bill to do what Pelosi did with her majority. He probably has between 50 and 55. He must, therefore, subject the bill to amendment by the Republican minority. If he does not end up with a compromise bill that both sides agree to, the minority can prevent a final vote by threatening to block debate.

    Reid: "I think there's a mindset of everyone here to do an energy bill. The question is what is in it."

    During Thursday’s floor debate, House Republicans made frequent resentful mention of Pelosi’s strong arm tactics. Senate Republicans will be able to do more. They will disassemble and reassemble her bill.

    Referring to the National Renewable Energy Standard (RES) requiring utilities to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and to $21 billion in incentives and subsidies for New Energy and efficiency that include a shift of $13 billion in benefits away from fossil fuels, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said, "There are two highly contentious, well-publicized provisions…As the majority leader has indicated, hopefully we can get those problems removed from the energy bill next week and move toward a presidential signature."

    Pelosi’s "shot" may still turn out to be just a "pop" and a "fizzle".


    Citizens can address their responses to their Senators: VOTE SOLAR, POWER OF WIND and U.S. PIRG


    Highlights of the House energy bill

    December 6, 2007 (AP via Yahoo News)
    and
    House passes energy bill but Bush set to veto
    Chris Baltimore (with Tom Doggett and Marguerita Choy), December 6, 2007 (Reuters via Yahoo News)
    and
    Reid Wants Cloture Vote Friday On Divisive Energy Bill
    Siobhan Hughes, December 6, 2007 (Dow Jones via CNN Money)

    WHO
    The bill passed the House, 235-181. YES: 221 Democrats, 14 Republicans; NO: 7 Democrats, 174 Republicans. USA Today published a detailed breakdown.
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), Minority Leader, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)

    The 1775 "shot": The Battle of Lexington. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Major provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act:
    1. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards: US automaker fleets of cars/light trucks/SUVs must average 35 mpg by 2020, a 40% increase.
    2. US must produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels/year by 2022, 7 times the present requirement. 2/3 must be from cellulosic sources (prairie grass, wood chips, etc.). Gives tax incentives for biofuels plants.
    3. $21 billion of tax incentives for renewables and efficiency, shifting $13.5 billion from incentives and subsidies to 5 major oil companies.
    4. A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requires privately owned utilities to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, efficiency measures counting as much as 4%.
    5. Requirements for energy efficient appliances and energy efficiency federal/commercial buildings w/streamlined approvals for federal standards.
    6. Tax incentives for plug-in hybrid electric cars and tax credits for purchasers.

    WHEN
    The bill now moves to the Senate. Reid will hold a cloture vote December 7. Then there will be debate.

    WHERE
    Whatever is passed by the Senate will need the President’s signature to become law.

    WHY
    - The bill is 1,055 pages.
    - All indications are that the RES must go and the funding for incentives and subsidies must go back to the fossil fuels industries for the bill to get out of the Senate.
    - The Democratic leaders who pushed the bill through the House say the new CAFÉ standards will in the long term cut oil consumption 1.1 million barrels/day and save $700-$1000/year in family fuel costs.
    - The Republicans call it a “no energy” bill because it does not incentivize the fossil fuel or nuclear energy industries.
    - The requirement of 2/3 of the biofuels to come from cellulosic (non food crop) sources is an effort to prevent the mandate from driving up corn and other food crop prices.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - White House statement: "Their proposal would raise taxes and increase energy prices for Americans…That is a misguided approach and if it made it to the President's desk, he would veto it."
    - Reid: "If we can't get it all, we'll get part of it…"
    - Barton: "The Democratic majority's remarkably undemocratic process has produced a bill that harms more than it helps and has no chance of being signed into law…"
    - Sierra Club statement: “[The bill] will provide billions for clean energy instead of Big Oil's bottom line."
    - Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM): "The Senate should not be forced to accept a bill written by Speaker Pelosi behind closed doors with no input from the Senate…For that reason alone, senators should oppose this legislation and insist to be heard. I will do everything in my power to defeat this measure so we can get to work on a bipartisan bill that will tackle our problems, not add to them."

    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home

    *