NewEnergyNews: SENATORS FOR 36% OF PEOPLE MAY BLOCK NEW ENERGY FOR ALL

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

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 23:

  • TTTA Thursday-EVANGELICALS IN ‘CREATION CARE’ CLIMATE FIGHT
  • TTTA Thursday-ADVANCED WIND-MAKERS MAKANI, SHEERWIND READY DEMOS
  • TTTA Thursday-TEA PARTY BACKS SOLAR, ATTACKS UTILITY MONOPOLIES
  • TTTA Thursday-WHAT DRIVERS DON’T KNOW HOLDS BACK THE FUTURE
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE IMPACT ON REAL PEOPLE OF RISING POWER PRICES
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
  • -------------------

    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

  • THE STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

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

  • 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
  • --------------------------

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

    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.

  • ---------------
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008

    SENATORS FOR 36% OF PEOPLE MAY BLOCK NEW ENERGY FOR ALL

    Senators representing only 36.5% of the U.S. population, as calculated by NewEnergyNews, are expected to block vital energy legislation approved February 27 in the House of Representatives by a 236 to 182 majority.

    Using record oil prices and oil company profits and soaring gas pump prices to justify revisiting this energy package, House leaders passed legislation funding $8+ billion in New Energy incentives by shifting subsidies and tax breaks the NY Times called “…wholly unnecessary…” away from the oil and gas industry.

    The Senate is expected to reject this vital energy legislation. Similar legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in 2007 but stopped in the Senate. The Senate again rejected the New Energy incentives package when Senate leaders attempted to include it in the recently passed economic stimulus package. Both times the New Energy incentives were blocked by the Senate only because the arcane filibuster rule allows 41 Senators to prevent legislation.

    Using
    a map produced by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and July 2007 population statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, NewEnergyNews calculates that Senators representing a mere 36.5% of the U.S. population will stand in the way of legislation that would incentivize the ongoing construction of a New Energy infrastructure for the entire U.S.

    With vital tax credit extensions blocked by this small minority in the Senate, the wind, solar and ocean energies industries as well as energy efficiency and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle industries may be left to flounder.

    NewEnergyNews’ calculations used the AWEA map to determine that both Senators from the following states voted against the New Energy incentives in the economic stimulus package and may be expected to do so again: Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, New Hampshire. The total population of these states is 75,200,604 people.

    One of the two Senators from the following states voted against that package: Nevada (shifted from the 2-Senators to the 1-Senator category because Senator Reid’s “no” vote was for parliamentary reasons), Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia. Half of the populations of these states represents 36,502,940 people.

    The “no” voters represented 111,703,544 of a total U.S. population of 305,986,357. Thus, the Senators who voted “no” on the New Energy incentives (and may be expected to do so again) represent only 36.5% of the total U.S. population.


    Calculations began with this map. Red=2 Senators voted against New Energy incentives; Gray=1 Senator voted against; Green=2 Senators voted for. The "no" vote represented only 36.5% of the U.S. population. (click to enlarge)

    One facet of oil and gas industry strategy to oppose the bill is to raise the question of energy security. American Petroleum Institute: "New taxes ... will even further reduce our energy security by discouraging new domestic oil and natural gas production and refinery capacity expansions…"

    How incentivizing domestic energy production makes the U.S. less secure is a mystery. At the rate the oil companies are selling petroleum, they would be foolish not to expand their production and refinery capacity - unless there is something wrong with their business model that requires them to depend on government subsidies long after they have becme immensely profitable.

    Letter from 100+ businesses, utilities, environmental groups and efficiency advocates: "These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the development of clean energy industries in the United States…"


    House OKs New Taxes on Big Oil Companies
    H. Josef Hebert, February 27, 2008 (AP)

    WHO
    The U.S. House of Representatives, 236 voting in the affirmative and 182 voting in the negative.

    WHAT
    The House passed H.R. 5351, approving a package of incentives and tax credit extensions for New Energies, for energy efficiency measures, for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and for expansion of biofuels in fueling stations.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    The bill was passed February 27.

    WHERE
    - The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be rejected although Congressional leaders and New Energy advocates hold out some hope that public outrage over record high oil prices and profits and soaring gas pump prices might motivate recalcitrant Senators in the sway of the oil and gas industry to shift away from the dark side.
    - White House spokespersons have indicated the President will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

    WHY
    - The bill would impose $17.65 billion in new taxes over 10 years on oil companies that reportedly earned $123 billion in profits in 2007.
    - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said that gas pump prices are up 75 cents/gallon and ExxonMobil Corp. reported a record $40.6 billion in profits for 2007 since the Senate rejected the 2007 House energy package.
    - The bill withdraws 2005 tax breaks on domestic oil and gas production and limits tax breaks allowed for foreign oil and gas production.

    Population distribution is uneven but every state gets 2 Senators. It was designed to make change difficult. It is. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Rep Jim McDermott (D-Wash.): "…stop the madness of subsidizing oil companies…" when the industry earned $123 billion last year.
    - Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.): "Gas prices have been soaring…[people are] struggling to pay energy costs that have skyrocketed in a harsh winter."
    - Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas): "This bill singles out one industry…"
    - The White House: "[The bill’s provisions] would reduce the nation's energy security rather than improve it [and] lead to higher energy costs to U.S. consumers and business."

    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home

    *