NewEnergyNews: SOUTH DAKOTA GETS IN THE WIND GAME IN A HUMONGOUS WAY!

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

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    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
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    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.

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    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

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    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

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    Your intrepid reporter

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  • ---------------
  • Thursday, July 31, 2008

    SOUTH DAKOTA GETS IN THE WIND GAME IN A HUMONGOUS WAY!

    South Dakota is about to become host to the biggest wind farm ANYWHERE. This is the kind of humongous news the wind energy industry has been awaiting expectantly for some time.

    As T. Boone Pickens has been so vigorously pointing out this summer
    (see Saturday Video: The Problem and the Pickens Plan), the Midwestern plains – from the Texas panhandle to the Canadian border – have the richest land wind assets in the world. It was inevitable they would be developed. The only question was: When? Now we know the answer: Now.

    Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy are going to add 3,500 megawatts to the previously announced 1,550-megawatt Titan (formerly Rolling Thunder) wind project. Although news reports indicate Titan will be ONE of the biggest wind installations in the world, NewEnergyNews believes it to be THE biggest now planned.

    This is not the end of the story, however. This is the beginning. The next chapter: Transmission.

    When John D. Rockefeller went into the oil business, he discovered he had to have a deal with the railroads in order to get his oil to markets. Likewise, the producing monsters now coming onto the wind energy playing field are going to need a way to get their product to market. That means a big new development of wires.

    A big new development of wires means a big face-off with a lot of individuals who may like New Energy but aren’t necessarily going to like the idea of wires in their backyards. It’s called NIMBY: Not In My BackYard.

    Just like New Energy needs new transmission, new transmission needs new ideas. Here are a pair.

    Solution 1:
    Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs). Texas wrote the book on CREZs. Localities can work out routes where New Energy and new transmission are welcome. Where there is no NIMBYism, just turn the entrepreneurs loose.

    Solution 2: People are much more likely to welcome wires for wind if they are getting some direct reward for them, a share of the profits or reduced electricity rates forever.

    When Big Oil went into the Middle East big time in the 1940s and 1950s, it ran roughshod over the local populations on the assumption it was doing them a favor by developing their natural resource. Result: Big Oil is still hated in the Middle East. So are the countries Big Oil came from.

    Point: New transmission can either treat locals like partners or roll roughshod over them. Either way gets long lasting results.


    Look at all that pink (good), purple (excellent) and red (outstanding) wind! (click to enlarge)

    Clipper Windpower, BP to develop 5050 MW wind farm in US
    Edward.Mcallister,
    July 30, 2008 (Thomson Financial via Forbes)
    and
    Clipper says strikes US windfarm pact with BP
    Hsu Chuang Khoo (w/Greg Mahlich) July 30, 2008 (Reuters)
    and
    Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy Form Joint Venture
    Mary Gates, July 30, 2008 (Clipper Windpower)

    WHO
    Clipper Windpower (James Dehlsen, Chief Executive; Doug Pertz, Chief Operating Officer); BP Alternative Energy

    WHAT
    Clipper and BP have formed a 50-50 joint venture to develop the Titan wind energy project, one of the biggest wind installations in the world.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - Project development is underway.
    - September 30, 2008: Official closing and final pricing of joint venture.
    - 2007: Clipper produced 137 turbines, lost $192 million
    - 2008: Losses of an equal amount expected.
    - 2009: Expected to produce 350 turbines, profit anticipated.
    - 2010: Dramatic increase in profits anticipated.

    WHERE
    - The Titan project was formerly called Rolling Thunder.
    - The Rolling Thunder wind project is in Miller, South Dakota.

    WHY
    - BP will acquire 1,750 MW of wind assets from Clipper for ~$26.25 million.
    - Clipper will sell 2,020 of its 2.5-megawatt Liberty turbines to the joint venture.
    - Clipper’s current financial difficulties are due to rising costs for steel. As the prices evens over the next 2 years and various startup costs flatten, Clipper’s financials are expected to improve.
    - Clipper owns ~6000 other megawatts of capacity and is developing more major deals.

    Texas will be at 6,000 megawatts by the end of this year. South Dakota will get over 5,000 megawatts from this new installation. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - James Dehlsen, Chief Executive, Clipper: 'Clipper has continued to grow its development portfolio; prior to this transfer of 1,750 MW, Clipper had 10,500 MW of development assets…Clipper remains aggressive and motivated to further build and optimize the full potential of its portfolio.'
    - Doug Pertz, Chief Operating Officer, Clipper: "The tough times are behind us…We've turned the corner and anticipate breaking even in the second half. We still anticipate being profitable next year."

    1 Comments:

    At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Clipper is more about air than wind. We'll believe it when we see it.
    SD

     

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