NewEnergyNews: ENERGY TAX CREDITS – RIDERS ON THE STORM

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

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- EU UPS THE WORLD’S BAR ON EMISSIONS CUT TARGETS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-FIRST BIG MOROCCO SOLAR NEAR POWERING UP
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NORTH SEA WIND-HYDRO INTERLINK TO GROW
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-TURKISH GEOTHERMAL GETS INTELLIGENT
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    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
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    THE DAY BEFORE 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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
  • AND 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
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
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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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  • ---------------
  • Friday, October 03, 2008

    ENERGY TAX CREDITS – RIDERS ON THE STORM

    For months, NewEnergyNews and New Energy industry spokespeople have been aggressively making a case about the urgency of the New Energy tax credits and the importance of New Energy to the U.S. economy.

    Now, suddenly, the fate of the world’s economy is hanging in the balance and the New Energy tax credit extensions, so vital to the industry, have become mere riders on the storm of great economic matters.

    The Senate on Wednesday handed off
    H.R. 1424, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA)to the House of Representatives and, along with it, an almost unbearable responsibility the House must today confront.

    The ghost of President Herbert Hoover, a good man and a great public servant who failed to take action from 1929 to 1931 as he stubbornly watched the nation slip into dire straits, will be looking down and smiling enigmatically.

    Barney Frank (D-Mass), Chairman, House Financial Services Committee: "The reality has hit some members…The main change is reality. It's not possible now to scoff at the predictions of doom if we don't do anything."




    click to enlarge

    Yet there is unanimous disagreement about EESA, its $700 billion bailout and its $112 billion tax package among the members of the country’s most rambunctious legislative body.

    What to watch for: If the measure comes to the floor, it will have the 218 votes it needs to pass. Speaker Pelosi and her staff will not tolerate a repeat of Monday’s embarrassment, when they brought an earlier rescue plan into the House thinking they had the votes to pass it, only to be spurned by Blue Dogs and other fiscal conservatives.

    Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Speaker of the House: We're not going to take a bill to the floor that doesn't have the votes…I'm optimistic that we will take a bill to the floor.”

    Some members are equally confident of passage.

    Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee: "The extenders and energy package, and the mental health and the AMT (alternative minimum tax) kind of guarantees it's going to go through…"

    Others are utterly dubious.

    Representative Lloyd Doggett ( D-Tex): "When markets are poisoned, you demand the best antidote, not yield to President Bush's take-it-or-leave-it demand…"

    Adding to the ambiguity of the situation, the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 3% drop Thursday was a clear statement of low expectations yet nothing like Monday’s record-breaking losses that proclaimed the need for action.

    Representative Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Representative Spencer Bachus (R-Ala), Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee led a daylong cry for changes and cuts in the EESA package.

    LaTourette (R-Ohio): "One thing we didn't appreciate in the Senate's action was that they decided that this bill should become Christmas in October…Votes should not be purchased with pork…"

    But their protests rang hollow. Like those who sat respectfully, listened attentively and replied reasonably, the protestors knew only too well that changes would wreck havoc with the legislative process.

    It is time to choose to act or refuse to act.

    Which is the preferable course?

    Both presidential candidates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Alan Greenspan, David Brooks and Tom Friedman are for action.

    Here is how, in 1956, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., described President Herbert Hoover’s response in the first months of the Great Depression: “The crucial period when a small amount of spending might have checked the cumulative forces of breakdown had already slipped by. But Hoover found in pledges an acceptable substitute for actions; assurances given took the place of dollars spent.”

    Action and dollars. That’s what did not come in the early days of the Great Depression and what the White House is urgently seeking now.

    President Bush spent time working the phones Thursday, won the cooperation of some Republican members and was reportedly “optimistic.”

    The House Rules Committee finalized its preparatory work and announced the rescue plan was ready to come to the House floor Friday morning in the exact form in which the Senate passed it off. Jared Allen of
    The Hill told C-SPAN the final vote, if there is one, could come as early as 10AM. Congressmen from both sides of the aisle seemed to see the handwriting on the wall and began announcing support for the bill.

    Representative Zach Wump (R-Tenn), a “no” vote on Monday: “This is the toughest vote, on some fronts, that I've ever made, because there's no good choice, there's no good alternative…I was home all week and talked to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people from every vantage point, and the anxiety levels are really, really high about what happens if we don't take action…”

    Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo): “I’m in favor of it because I have additional information that will allow me to make a different decision…I think we needed the additional time of being able to go home, to sit down and talk with bankers, to talk with community leaders, to talk with people in educational institutions. And I think that's what happened.”

    Their votes will be heralded as profiles in courage if the measure averts economic disaster and as career-ending mistakes if the economy does not respond.

    Insiders expect the bill to pass. But they expected it to pass on Monday. The grumblings and rumblings won’t go away.

    There are members who resent the way the Senate came down on the House like a guy with a deal they didn’t dare refuse. Others insist it is wrong to approve a package of tax benefits and reductions for which budget revenues are not allocated. And there are those who do not like the bill’s inclusion of tax credits and subsidies to dirty energies like coal-to-liquids, tar sands and oil shale.

    In the eye of the storm: 49 Blue Dog Dems are fighting party leaders. 10 liberal environmentalists sent a letter threatening to withdraw. Republican mavericks continue to protest earmarks and clamor for postponing action until after the election.

    When the storm is over: Passage of the rescue package means extension of the New Energy tax credits. With those incentives in place, the nation’s most dynamic industries and innovators will take action with a force rarely seen in American history. The light of the sun and the power of the wind could well be the entire economy’s best hope.


    click to enlarge


    TELL THE HOUSE TO VOTE FOR THE RESCUE PACKAGE (H.R. 1424 at the American Wind Energy Association’s POWER OF WIND or the Solar Energy Industries Association’s TAKE ACTION. SEND EMAILS NOW.


    Senate bailout vote puts pressure on House Republicans, aides say
    October 2, 2008 (CNN)
    and
    Lawmakers Switching Sides to Support Financial-Rescue Package
    Ryan Donmoyer and Lorraine Woellert, October 2, 2008 (Bloomberg news)
    and
    Vote-switchers emerge in the House
    Klaus Marre, October 2, 2008 (The Hill)
    and
    House bailout larded with – yup, you guessed it – earmarks
    Zachary Coile, October 2, 2008 (SF Chronicle)

    WHO
    The U.S. House of Representatives

    WHAT
    The House must decide on H.R. 1424, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA).

    This GE study proved the wind tax credits, like other New Energy incentives, create revenues in the long run. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - The Senate passed EESA October 1.
    - The House vote is expected October 3.
    - Congress is likely to adjourn for the election season as soon as this matter is settled.
    - The tax credits expire December 31.

    WHERE
    The action is all in the House.

    WHY
    - H.R. 1424, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA). 451 pages. Covers 5 major areas:
    I. Stabilizing the Economy – EESA provides up to $700 billion to the
    Secretary of the Treasury to buy mortgages and other assets, relieve financial institutions and make it possible for citizens and businesses to get credit. It also allows companies to insure assets.
    II. Homeownership Preservation – EESA requires modification of bad loans (many due to predatory lending) to help owners keep their homes and improves the HOPE for
    Homeowners program.
    III. Taxpayer Protection – EESA sets up requirements that assure taxpayers they will benefit from any growth companies get from the act and requires the President to submit legislation to cover taxpayer losses from the program.
    IV. No Windfalls for Executives – EESA prevents executives who made bad decisions from dumping bad assets and walking away with millions in bonuses. To gain EESA advantages, companies lose certain tax benefits and must limit executive pay and golden parachutes.
    V. Strong Oversight – EESA allocates $250 billion immediately, then requires Presidential certification before the next $100 billion and the last $350 billion are allocated. It also requires ongoing reports from the Treasury Department and creates an Oversight Board and special inspector general to protect against waste, fraud and abuse.

    This Navigant study shows the solar tax credit extension will pay off in huge revenues. (click to enlarge)

    - The provisions regarding New Energy tax credits are based on those in H.R. 6049, which included:
    (1) a 1-year extension of the wind energy industry’s production tax credit (PTC),
    (2) a 2-year extension of a production tax credit for biomass, geothermal, hydrokinetic and some forms of solar,
    (3) an 8-year extension of the solar energy investment tax credit (ITC),
    (4) tax credits for pilot “clean” coal (carbon capture and sequestration, CCS) projects, coal-to-liquids projects, battery manufacturing, high-speed rail construction and green building,
    (5) authorization for the National Academy of Sciences to assess IRS incentives’ impacts on greenhouse gas (GhG) emission abatement,
    (6) tax credits for cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel production and a tax credit for the purchase of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle,
    (7) approves $3 billion in bonds and tax credits for efficiency and GhG abatement projects and construction,
    (8) includes a package of extensions on tax breaks for teachers, hurricane victims and others.
    - The bill also contains a compromise provision for the controversial Alternative Minimun Tax (AMT).
    - The legislation is reported to save taxpayers $60 billion.

    Money invested in New Energy pays itself back in jobs and revenues. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Unnamed Republican leadership aide: " We believe the House has a better chance to pass this bill than the one it considered on Monday…Having said that, we're going to need more Democrat and Republican votes to pass this bill in the House."
    - Steny Hoyer (D-Md), House Majority Leader: "There's no doubt the tax package is very controversial. The Senate, in my opinion, is adding that on because they think that's the only way they can get it passed…"
    - Steve Ellis, vice president, Taxpayers for Common Sense, on the 2 reasons the Senate put the tax credits in the rescue plan: "One is they're hoping this will turn a few votes, that people who support some of these provisions will forget about the $700 billion and concerns they may have on that, and if you give me a few million in tax breaks for their constituents, I'll go along…The second reason is that this is your standard, run-of-the-mill end of year politics. You take a piece of must-pass legislation, you cram whatever you want in there and you dare the House to oppose it. It's really a pretty cynical maneuver."
    - James Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip: “I feel very comfortable about where we stand…Of course, I felt very comfortable on Monday.”

    2 Comments:

    At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Greg Surman said...

    The House passed the tax credit extensions today. This is great news for the renewable energy cause, the country and the planet! It is remarkable that it took this long for Congress to do this, but better late than never, I suppose.

     
    At 5:27 AM, Anonymous Kenneth said...

    I'm always pleased to see blogs like yours because they share my point of view. If you'd like, you can check out
    http://www.alternative-energy-secrets.com. I often go there for I have the same sentiments when it comes to cO2 emissions and how to save up money using alternative, energy-saving methods.

    Kudos to renewable energy!!

     

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