NewEnergyNews: WIND CAN (BEAT THE ECONOMY)

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

  • THE STUDY: THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 29: WIND MAY TIP KANSAS ELECTION; YOUNG VOTERS BRING NEW ENERGY; GREEN BUILDINGS BOOMING
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE AFFORDABILITY OF THE NEW ENERGY TRANSITION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 28: WIND BOOMS AS ‘MOST AFFORDABLE ENERGY OPTION’; OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIG SOLAR; GEOTHERMAL COMING BACK
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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE HEALTH IN EMISSIONS CUTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 27: NEW ENERGY OVER 40% OF U.S. NEW BUILD IN 2014; EMPLOYEE BENEFITS NOW INCLUDE SOLAR; WIND BRINGS JOBS TO MICHIGAN
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Talking With The Redwoods
  • Weekend Video: Evangelicals Confront Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: Living The Platinum Rule: Making The Best Invention Of All Time Better
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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 LAST DAY UP HERE

    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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    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.

  • ---------------
  • Friday, October 24, 2008

    WIND CAN (BEAT THE ECONOMY)

    The wind power industry continues to affirm the fact about New Energy the Old Energy world is just beginning to come to terms with: Wind Power is not small and green, it is big and clean and it is cost effective and mainstream.

    Randall Swisher, Executive Director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): "We're past the point of wind being a marginal player..."

    3rd quarter 2008 numbers show the industry on track to set growth records for the 4th year in a row.

    The big question: What will 2009 bring?

    There are 2 reasons the industry expects growth to slow next year: (1) The credit crisis compromises capital, making it more expensive and harder to get, and (2) The industry’s production tax credit (PTC), allowing a 2.1 cent benefit for every kilowatt-hour produced, was extended very late in 2008 and only for 1 year.

    But the political climate will be completely different in 2009, too.

    Swisher, AWEA: "In 2009, energy will be front and center with the new Congress and the new administration…Both McCain and Obama have made that clear."

    What U.S. wind needs:

    (1) Long-term, stable policies: A 5-year PTC and a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring all utilities to obtain a portion of their power from New Energy sources by a date certain.

    (2) A national transmission superhighway to deliver New Energy electricity from the remote areas where it is captured and generated to the population centers where it is consumed. This will require the cooperation of government, utilities and financiers. It will cost $60 billion and it will make those who invest in it big money in the long run.

    How badly will the financial crisis cut into wind’s development?

    Nobody knows. There are compensations in the downturn. Transportation costs are coming down and steel prices have dropped. (A wind turbine is, by weight, 89% steel).

    The industry is still building capacity: 8 U.S. component manufacturing facilities opened in 2008, 9 expanded and 19 were announced.

    Swisher, AWEA: "Wind will be one of the leading sources of new manufacturing jobs in the 21st century…And there are a bunch of governors that are starting to figure that out and are driving their own state economic development strategies to take advantage of that."

    Nowhere is wind’s growth more apparent than in South Dakota, where a still reluctant conservative population is about to benefit from the biggest wind installation in the world.

    Story of a company being born: Clipper Windpower makes a high quality 2.5-megawatt turbine. The company has not yet reaped the financial rewards of its excellent product. It is still just barely making its way toward solvency. But that is all about to change. Clipper has closed a deal to supply 2,020 turbines to BP Wind Energy for the Titan Wind Project, a 5,050-megawatt installation being built in Miller, South Dakota.
    (See SOUTH DAKOTA GETS IN THE WIND GAME…)

    No wonder NewEnergyNews’ has given the wind power industry the motto YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!

    Point of interest: Clipper Windpower Plc is traded on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. Shares are not available to U.S. residents or their representatives.

    click to enlarge

    Wind Energy Industry Installs 1,400 MW In 3rd Quarter Of What Will Be Another Record Year; Evolution of Financial Crisis, Policies of New Administration Will Shape Wind Power Outlook for 2009
    Christine Real de Azua and Julie Clendenin, October 22, 2008 (American Wind Energy Association)
    and
    US wind energy adds 1,400 MW of capacity
    October 22, 2008 (AP via CNN Money)
    and
    Clipper Windpower And BP Wind Energy Complete Joint Venture Agreement For Titan Wind Project
    October 22, 2008 (Clipper via PRWEB)

    WHO
    The U.S. wind energy industry; American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) (Randall Swisher, Executive Director); Acciona Energy; Vestas; TPI Composites; Clipper Windpower Plc (Clipper); BP Wind Energy (BP); U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

    WHAT
    - The AWEA 3rd Quarter 2008 Market Report shows the wind industry installed 1,389 megawatts (MW) in the most recent quarter of what is expected to be another record year.
    - Example: Clipper will provide 2,020 Liberty 2.5 turbines as part of a joint venture (JV) with BP to establish the Titan Wind Project, the biggest wind power installation in the world.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - 2007, installed: 5,249 MW
    - 2008, installed to date: 4,204 MW
    - 2008, projected to be intstalled: ~7,500 MW
    - 2010: Vestas will open factories now under construction for blades and nacelles in Colorado.
    - The next few years: The Titan Project will be constructed in several phases.
    - 2007: Clipper’s turbine won DOE’s Outstanding Research and Development Partnership Award for its "unparalleled levels of efficiency and reliability and reduced cost…"
    - 20 years: Expected lifetime of the Liberty 2.5.

    WHERE
    - Texas added 693 megawatts, the biggest capacity addition by any state in 3Q 2008.
    - West Virginia had the fastest growth, tripling existing capacity.
    - Utah built its first multi-turbine project. (Spanish Fork, 9 turbines)
    - Turbine manufacturer Acciona Energy brought its first U.S. turbines online at a project along the North Dakota/South Dakota border.
    - The Titan Wind Project is near Miller, South Dakota.
    - Clipper has offices in the UK, Denmark, and Mexico as well as California, Colorado, Iowa, and Maryland. It has a manufacturing and assembly facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    - NREL is in Golden, Colorado.

    WHY
    - 7,500 megawatts is estimated to power ~2.2 million homes.
    - With 8 new turbine component manufacturing facilities, 9 expansions and 19 planned facilities, domestically made parts will go to 50% of those installed, up from 30% in 2005.
    - The new facilities will create an estimated 9,000 jobs.
    - Vestas’ Colorado blade and nacelle plants will employ 1,350. (nacelle: atop the turbine tower, as big as a school bus, houses the generator)
    - TPI Composites’ new blade facility in Newton, Iowa, will employ 500.
    - Texas’ transmission expansion, through its Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs), areas predisgnated for development and new transmission, has facilitated its rapid wind power growth.
    - West Virginia’s growth was from a single 164-megawatt project. Another 100-megawatt project is scheduled to begin operation before the end of the year.
    - When complete, Titan Wind Project in South Dakota will be the biggest wind power facility in the world.
    - The turbine sale was arranged through a Master Turbine Supply Agreement.
    - Under the terms of the JV, Clipper will provide operations and maintenance to BP Wind Energy for 5 years.
    - The Clipper Liberty 2.5 was tested by DOE’s NREL. Its distinctions: (1) variable speed operation designed to minimize unscheduled maintenance events, (2) highly efficient, patented Quantum Drive® distributed generation power train, (3) proprietary permanent magnet generator technology

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    Randall Swisher, Executive Director, AWEA: “The convenient truth here is that wind power provides a stimulus for our economy, as well as a climate change and energy security solution…The market, in spite of all its turmoil, clearly points to wind power as one of the most attractive energy options available today. But if we are to keep this momentum going, the new President and Congress will need to put in place what the majority of the American people support but the country still lacks: a long-term renewable energy policy.”

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