NewEnergyNews: CITIES BY THE BATTERY

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: 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

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

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

  • 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
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
  • TTTA Thursday-FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
  • TTTA Thursday-IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FROM THE CLOUD
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY BECOMES PRICE COMPETITIVE
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 15: NEW NUMBERS SHOW BIG OCEAN WIND POWER; SOLAR TURNS IN A NEW DIRECTION; FUEL CELL MARKETS TO VARY, GROW
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    CITIES BY THE BATTERY

    The Cities by the Bay have developed ambitions to become the Cities by the Battery.

    The battery of an electric vehicle (EV).

    San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, California, have all signed on with
    Better Place to develop a regional EV transport system. The system will be based on the model now being planned for Israel. It will be tested in Denmark and Australia by the time it gets going in the cities by the San Francisco Bay.

    The Silicon Valley-infatuated Bay Area is fascinated by the Silicon Valley-spawned
    Better Place business model.

    Better Place founder/CEO Shai Agassi, who made his money in Silicon Valey IT ventures during the go-go 90s, proposes to make EVs available as inexpensively as possible and generate revenue through monthly mileage subscriptions. The idea comes from the way cell phones are marketed.

    Better Place believes the plan will make battery-powered vehicles available to a wider spectrum of drivers, expanding the customer base.

    EVs, it has been thought, do not appeal to U.S. drivers because of the limited range the cars can go on a battery charge and the lengthy recharge time required. Better Place believes it has overcome these objections. It begins with the fact that the average daily commute is 16 miles and about 80% of all car trips are 40 miles or less.

    Better Place plans to (1) use lithium-ion batteries with a 100-mile range, (2) have charging stations conveniently located so vehicles can be readily recharged whenever and wherever they arrive, and (3) operate automated, fast-switch, battery-changing stations no more than 100 miles apart for journeys beyond the battery’s limit.

    Nissan and Renault are expected to continue collaborating with Better Place to supply the EVs and batteries.

    By the time the Better Place plan is in place in the Bay Area, it will likely be competing with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) from several of the major automakers.

    One way or another, a shift to battery-driven vehicles is coming. Simultaneous with the Better Place announcement, Global Venture Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, released
    a series of technical briefs describing the economic feasilbility and benefits of battery-driven vehicles.

    From Global Venture Lab’s
    Economic Impact of Electric Vehicle Adoption in the United States: “…this change will cause some domestic industries (e.g. gasoline) to shrink, while causing others (e.g. electricity production) to grow. We estimate the petroleum industry will suffer a $174.9 billion decline, while the battery industry will experience $120.3 billion gain at 39% adoption (year 2030). There will also be significant changes in the balance of payments among nations as petroleum imports decline. We find the net imports of the US will decline by $20 Billion at 39% adoption. Additionally, we find EVs to be the more efficient technology, as the total cost of ownership is $7,203 (2008 dollars) less than that of an ICE vehicle. Together with the reduction in imports, consumers will benefit from savings due to the reduced energy and maintenance costs of EVs, which will reach $80 billion (in 2008 dollars) by 2030.”

    When something makes dollars and sense, it usually happens sooner or later.

    Footnote: The San Francisco Chronicle endorsed the Better Place concept but raised an interesting concern, the potential monopolistic power Better Place might eventually wield: “With one firm controlling the charging stations, there needs to [be a] fair way to determine how much drivers will pay for the service…”

    The Chronicle also pointed out that the current financial crisis might not be the best time to try to initiate such a transportation transformation. Better Place says it has its financing in place and development will make a big contribution to economic recovery.

    Finally: The adaptability of Bay Area residents and commuters to organized transportation was demonstrated by their quick adoption of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system.


    Better Place: The car and the concept. From Imaguration via YouTube.

    Bay Area seeks to become electric car capital
    Eoin O’Carroll, November 24, 2008 (Christian Science Monitor)

    WHO
    Better Place (Shai Agassi, founder/CEO); San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed; Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums; Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif); California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

    WHAT
    Official announcement was made of the long-rumored partnership between the cites of the San Francisco Bay Area and electric vehicle (EV) innovator Better Place. Technical briefs from a Bay Area think tank suggest the shift to EVs is entirely feasible.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN-
    - The announced plans call for the installation of ~ 250,000 charging ports and up to 200 battery-exchange stations in the region by 2012.
    - Better Place was founded in 2007. It will initiate a similar programs in other countries in 2010 and 2011.

    WHERE
    - San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose are clustered around San Francisco Bay in an extended megaloplis.
    - Better Place is based in Palo Alto, Calif., just south of the Bay Area and adjacent to Silicon Valley.
    - Better Place has already begun developing EV networks in Israel, Denmark, and Australia.

    WHY
    - The Bay Area network of charging and batttery-exchange stations is expected to cost $1 billion network.
    - Better Place battery capacity is a 100-mile range.
    - Typical U.S. work commute is 16 miles.
    - About 80% of all vehicle trips are less than 40 miles roundtrip.
    - Better Place proposes placing 1000s of recharging stations conveniently for use by commuters and 100-to-200 automated, rapid battery-swap stations at 100 mile distances for longer trips.
    - Previous Better Place projects in Israel and Denmark involved partnerships with Nissan and Renault for the vehicles and the batteries.
    - Founder/CEO Agassi has raised $200 million in venture capital for initial funding and expects to raise another $800 million over the next 3 years from backers Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and the Macquarie Capital Alliance Group.
    - San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose will not be involved in funding but will offer incentives and expedite permits for building charging stations in homes, businesses, and public parking spaces. They will also develop programs for state- and municipal-government EV fleets.
    - A federal incentive of up to $7,500 for EV purchasers is expected to help.

    Project Better Place’s campaign to stop pumping oil and plug in. From Odziz via YouTube.

    QUOTES
    - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom: “Our aim is to make the Bay Area – and eventually California – the electric vehicle capital of the US…”
    - California Governor Schwarzenegger: “This type of public-private partnership is exactly what I envisioned when we created the first ever low-carbon fuel standard and when the state enacted the zero-emissions vehicle program…This partnership is proof that by working together, we can achieve our goals of creating a healthier planet while boosting our economy at the same time.”
    - Alex Steffen, environmentalist and futurist: “[This is] precisely this kind of an investment in the infrastructure that’s needed to really get innovation and uptake rolling…[W]hen I read one billion for this project, I thought about the roughly one trillion or so we’re expected to dump into economic stabilization and recovery programs, all told, and wondered if even half of that went into new bright green infrastructure, what we might accomplish…”
    - ABC News Poll: “[Commuters] report an average one-way commute time of 26 minutes (over an average distance of 16 miles)…”

    2 Comments:

    At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I read about this concept in Jeff Wilson's recenly released book The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. I was surprised and thrilled to death to see this concept one of many outlined in his book already in the works. I thought it was a bit futurisitc and would happen one day but never thought it would happen this soon. check out his book www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

     
    At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Better Place Community said...

    Thanks for writing about us on your blog. Follow us at Twitter @bpcommunity and join our community at planet.betterplace.com! See you there!

     

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