NewEnergyNews: EFFICIENCY – THE CHEAPEST ENERGY

NewEnergyNews

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

The new challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A NEW WAY TO SEE CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU OCEAN WIND TO CUT COSTS, KEEP GROWING
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-COST-COMPETIVE NEW ENERGY, GERMANY’S ‘GIFT TO THE WORLD’
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NEW ENERGY MATCHES COAL ON COST, CAPACITY IN TURKEY
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 20:

  • TTTA Thursday-TOP REPUBLICAN DROPS CLIMATE DENIAL
  • TTTA Thursday-FORD ELECTRIC CARS FOR ‘THE MASSES’
  • TTTA Thursday-MIDWEST SOLAR MAKES SENSE AND CENTS
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW ENERGY JOBS BY THE BAY
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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: THE MIDWEST GRID IS READY FOR 40% NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, November 19: OHIO NEW ENERGY JOBS REPORT SUPPRESSED; SOLAR GIANT BUYS WIND DEVELOPER; BUSINESS TO MAKE IT BIG IN SMART CITIES
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE NEW ENERGY LIFE-CYCLE CUTS EMISSIONS
  • QUICK NEWS, November 18: U.S. TAKES WORLD LEAD IN WIND; SOLAR TO SHOW MISSOURI JOBS; WAVE ENERGY ROLLING SLOWLY IN
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: A NEW TAKE ON THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF SOLAR
  • QUICK NEWS, November 17: BIG TEST FOR SOLAR ROADS KICKS OFF; FORD TURNS TO NEW ENERGY; ADVANCED BATTERY SUPPLY CHAIN TO TRIPLE
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Hearing From Idiotic Idiots And Others
  • Weekend Video: The Aussies Say It Plainly
  • Weekend Video: Living In The Wasteland Of The Free
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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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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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

  • ---------------
  • Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    EFFICIENCY – THE CHEAPEST ENERGY

    A forthcoming issue of Forbes Magazine will feature Energy + Genius, a series of short essays from innovative thinkers with solutions for the emerging energy challenge.

    From Forbes’ intro to
    Energy + Genius: “Energy consumption is expected to rise by 50% through 2030. Getting there sustainably will require a handful of simultaneous breakthroughs in physics, efficiency and behavior…”

    Two of the essays come from Saul Griffith and Amory Lovins, scientists who stress the urgency of improving conservation practices and the efficiency of developing massive New Energy capacity.

    Griffith lays out the situation in cold hard numbers. Current consumption will essentially double in the next quarter century from the current 14-to-16 terawatts currently used: “…we need conservation, and 10 or 11 terawatts from other sources.”

    In the face of such numbers, Griffith finds biofuels a pointless exercise: “…you'd have to use 20% of agricultural production on biofuels to make a significant dent…”

    He isn’t especially encouraging about the potential of other (though preferable) New Energy choices: “You could get maybe three terawatts from all the addressable tidal power in the world…Building 100 square meters of solar panels every second for the next 25 years will get you two of the 10 terawatts…You'll need 50 square feet of solar thermal and a full wind turbine every five minutes..."

    The numbers effectively cancel nuclear as the solution since they would demand "...[a] nuclear plant every week...”





    Here's Saul Griffith. From OreillyMedia via YouTube.

    Lovins coined the term “negawatts” to describe the power of conservation. He uses the term “micropower” to describe electricity generated from distributed sources and recaptured by cogeneration. He puts a lot of faith in the development of these vastly underappreciated options because the price is right: “Unlike nuclear power--so costly that it saves 2 to 11 times less carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times more slowly--[distributed sources and cogeneration] prevent climate change profitably.”

    He describes a comprehensive, workable solution that reaches across a set of potentially conflicting points of view to justify a unified, effective effort.

    Lovins: “Whether we care about profits, security, or climate, we should bust barriers to deploying super-efficient end-use technologies that can save half our oil and gas and three-fourths of our electricity at an eighth their price; shift supplies toward right-sized networked renewables, profitably building resilience; shift federal policy from hogs at the trough to fair competition at honest prices, between all ways to save or produce energy, regardless of type, technology, size, location or ownership; and reward utilities for cutting bills, not selling more energy.”

    Lovins coined the term "institutional acupuncture" to describe the use of conservation and efficiency to identify and clear the points of congestion in businesses and create revolutionary breakthroughs to stimulate and drive the economy.

    He brings his most optimistic outlook to his essay: “Stimulated by 'institutional acupuncture,' implementation is underway--we're starting to drill for the Saudi Arabia-sized savings under Detroit.”





    Here's Amory Lovins. From ed4wb via YouTube.

    Solving Demand Trumps Solving Supply
    Saul Griffith
    Build a new nuclear plant every week? I don't think so.
    and
    The Saudi Arabia Beneath Detroit
    Amory Lovins
    Radical efficiency can decouple us from oil for far less than making more.

    WHO
    Saul Griffith, MacArthur fellow and co-founder, Squid Labs and Makani Power; Amory Lovins, chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute; Other Forbes contributors (Andy Grove, CEO/founder, Intel; Fred Krupp, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Rick Perry, Governor, Texas; Brian Schweitzer, Governor, Montana; Rick Wagoner, CEO, GM)

    WHAT
    The forthcoming Energy + Genius from Forbes Magazine will present innovative answers to the world’s energy challenge from prominent players in the field. Saul Griffith and Amory Lovins, 2 of the most distinguished contributors because they are scientists, talk about the value of increased efficiency and conservation and the urgent need for the development of New Energy.

    WHEN
    - The magazine’s special feature will be published November 5 in anticipation of the November 11-12 Forbes Energy Conference.

    WHERE
    - The Forbes Energy Conference will be in New York.
    - The special issue will be available on newsstands and can be read on line.

    click for the Forbes feature

    WHY
    Other advocates in the Forbes’ feature and their articles:
    (1) We Need Electric Cars Now
    Andy Grove
    The new yardstick: 1 trillion electric-vehicle miles per year within a decade.
    (2) We Need A Carbon Cap
    Fred Krupp
    It won't cost much and could save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.
    (3) Solving The Energy Gap By Using What You Have
    Rick Perry
    Texas' governor opts for an ''all of the above'' energy policy.
    (4) It's The Batteries, Stupid
    Brian Schweitzer
    Montana's governor says storage is what's keeping us back.
    (5) The U.S. Has To Take Control Of Its Energy Future
    Rick Wagoner
    General Motors' chief executive says breakthroughs could come surprisingly soon.

    QUOTES
    - Griffith: “…You need mostly solar, a lot of wind…We can't afford stupid things like biofuels. We have to look harder at the demand side…”
    - Lovins: My book Winning the Oil Endgame has a road map for eliminating U.S. oil use, led by for-profit businesses, at an average cost of $15 per barrel (in year-2000 dollars): half by redoubling efficiency, half by substituting saved natural gas and advanced biofuels.

    2 Comments:

    At 3:01 PM, Blogger miggs said...

    Great piece. I'm associated with Recycled Energy Development, a company that cuts manufacturers energy costs and greenhouse pollution at the same time. We do exactly the stuff that Amory Lovins is talking about: turning waste energy into clean power and heat. Estimates say we could cut U.S. greenhouse emissions 20% with energy recycling. That's more than if we took every passenger vehicle off the road. So let's have more articles like this one!

     
    At 7:31 PM, Blogger Larry said...

    As I have pointed out in as many places I can in regards to solar and wind energy production. Its not the large scale "green" energy plants that will make us energy independent. Why, because the large scale production plants depend on "Transmission lines" to get the power to the customer and these transmission lines cost money to put in place and maintain. Look on your next energy bill, see how much the "Transmission fee is" almost half of the cost in some states; it is the home energy production that will make you independent of the Utility Companies that I will guarantee will raise their "Transmission fees".
    There are no "Transmission fees" if you own the power maker, ie solar panels or wind turbine.
    Re-Joice in the fact alternative energy is being developed, but pay attention as to who and why its being done and who is doing it. Get off the "Grid" and have more money to spend where you want to spend it.

     

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