NewEnergyNews: RECOMMENDATIONS AND REPORTS

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, Sept. 18:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE WORLD HAS 15 YEARS TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS
  • TTTA Thursday-WIND MAKES THE GRID MORE RELIABLE
  • TTTA Thursday-SOLAR OIL DRILLING
  • TTTA Thursday-A SPORTS CAR THAT RUNS ON SALT-WATER
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE GREEN TRANSITION – MONEY KEEPS COMING TO NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, Sept. 17: THE NEWEST NUMBERS ON BIRDS AND WIND; BIG SOLAR COMES TO THE SOUTHEAST; WHERE THE EV CUTS EMISSIONS MOST
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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 BENEFITS OF PUMPED HYDRO STORAGE CALCULATED
  • QUICK NEWS, Sept. 16: THE ENERGY TRANSITION TAKES SHAPE; A LABOR-ENVIRO CALL FOR NEW ENERGY, NEW WIRES; ADVANCES IN WATER POWER
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: RENEWABLES IN THE COMING ARAB WORLD
  • QUICK NEWS, Sept. 15: SOLAR SUCCEEDING ON PRICE; EVEN MORE WIND THAT HONDA EXPECTED; THE HUGE UNRECOGNIZED BENEFITS OF EFFICIENCY
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Climate Change For The Birds
  • Weekend Video: The Evidence Mounts
  • Weekend Video: Colbert On Birds And Climate Change
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NOW CO2 TOO HIGH FOR PLANTS AND OCEANS TO ABSORB
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NEW ENERGY IS THE WORLD’S BEST OPTION
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-SWEDEN WINNING SCANDINAVIAN WIND RACE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-INDIA DISPLAYS SOLAR'S VERSATILITY
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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, November 27, 2008

    RECOMMENDATIONS AND REPORTS

    The reports and recommendations are flying fast and furious.

    Everybody knows what the incoming administration should do.

    Example: The
    SaveOurEnvironment.Org coalition released Transition to Green; Leading the way to a healthy environment, a green economy and a sustainable future, a 390+ page report. (WITH NO PICTURES!)

    It’s a nonstop series of “Environmental Transition Recommendations for the Obama Administration.” It’s really a tour de force of actions to undo what the last 8 years has done, guidelines on energy and the environment for every bureaucratic nook and cranny of official Washington.

    In the realm of energy, the coalition’s goals break no new ground: Build New Energy, develop Energy Efficiency and move away from Old Energy. It also calls for a cap-and-trade system with a strict cap on emissions and the auctioning of 100% of excess allowances so as to fund New Energy and Energy Efficiency.

    There is one unique aspect of the report. It’s insight into the dense D.C. bureaucracy and its assignment of separate administrative, legislative and budgetary goals for each bureaucratic cubbyhole offers a prescription for action more comprehensive than any other of the documents so far offered up for the new administration’s holiday reading pleasure that NewEnergyNews has yet seen.

    Another example: The
    Alliance For Appalachia and many other anti-coal groups are urging the Obama adminstration to “…think first of the communities impacted by coal when selecting appointees for key positions.”

    The anti-coal groups are especially concerned that people who understand the urgency of their stand against coal be appointed to crucial jobs like Secretary of the Interior, Director of the Office of Surface Mining, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health and Environmental Protection Agency head.

    Considering that coal is the most climate change-inducing energy form and one of the most environmentally degrading pollutants in modern life, the groups’ concern is understandable. As Ted Turner told Charley Rose, nuclear MIGHT kill you but coal WILL.

    Teri Blanton, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth: "For far too long, the regulatory agencies have been led by people with close ties to the coal industry, people who seem to have forgotten that their responsibility is to protect human health and the environment, not the profits of the coal operators. The new administration needs to break this cycle and appoint regulators who will put our land, water, and people first…"

    The aims of both coalitions and the many others releasing reports and position papers and white papers and studies and findings are noble. And there will be more to come.


    The Global Green Solar Report Card, scheduled for public release at the December UN conclave in Posnan, Poland, is a highly anticipated product of months of dedicated research, rumored to be a richly informative and unwaveringly frank look at the world’s incipient if as yet inadequate efforts to develop its solar energy resources.

    Here is the only recommendation NewEnergyNews can think to add to the ongoing dedicated efforts: Recycle all the paper.





    The Mountain. By Steve Earle. With Thanks Giving to the folks fighting for wind at Coal River Mountain. From pennyreddog via YouTube.

    Leading Environmental Groups Work With Obama’s Team To Tackle Top Issues; Groups provide recommendations to transition team focusing on energy, climate and economy
    November 25, 2008 (SaveOurEnvironment.Org Coalition)
    and
    Dozens of Groups Nationwide Call for an Obama Administration That’s Fair on Coal
    November 25, 2008 (Alliance for Appalachia)

    WHO
    - The SaveOurEnvironment.Org coalition: Clean Water Action; Defenders of Wildlife; Earthjustice; Environment America; Environmental Defense Fund; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace; Izaak Walton League; League of Conservation Voters; National Audubon Society; National Parks Conservation Association; National Tribal Environmental Council; National Wildlife Federation; Native American Rights Fund; Natural Resources Defense Council; Oceana; Ocean Conservancy; Pew Environmental Group; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Population Connection; Population Action International; Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; Sierra Club; The Wilderness Society; The Trust for Public Land; Union of Concerned Scientists
    - The anti-coal coalition: Alaska Coal Working Group, Alliance for Appalachia, Alternative Transportation Club & Electric Auto Association of Northern Nevada, Appalachian Community Economics, Appalachian Citizen's Law Center, Appalachian Voices, Bardwell Consulting, Ltd, Caney Fork Headwaters Association, Center for Coalfield Justice, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Citizen's Action Coalition of Indiana, Citizens Against Longwall Mining, Citizens Coal Council, Citizens Organizing Project, CLEAN -- Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now, Clean Power Now, Coal River Mountain Watch, CoalSwarm, Concerned Citizens of Carroll County, Cook Inletkeeper, Citizens Organizing for Resources & Environment (CORE), Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, Dakota Resource Council, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Organization, Earth Action Network, Energy Action Coalition, Environmental Justice Advocates (EJA), Friends of Hurricane Creek, Greenpeace US, Groundwater Awareness League, Inc., Headwater Productions, HealthLink, Heartwood, Jefferson Action Group, Karst Environmental Education & Protection, Inc., Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Heartwood, Law Office of Gina Hardin, LLC, Lexington Environmental Action Project (LEAP), Los Alamos Study Group, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Mountain Justice, Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, New York Loves Mountains, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Peace and Social Justice Committee of the Charleston Friends Meeting, Powder River Basin Resource Council, Rainforest Action Network, Save Our Cumberland Mountains, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Tallahassee Area Community, Inc, Ten Mile Protection Network, U.S. Climate Emergency Council, Valley Watch Inc., Western Organization of Resource Councils

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    - The environmental coalition has published Transition to Green; Leading the way to a healthy environment, a green economy and a sustainable future, as a roadmap to guide the incoming administration in developing its energy and environment program.
    - The anti-coal coalition is calling for Obama administration appointees sensitive to the impacts of coal.

    WHEN
    The report and the call were published November 25.

    WHERE
    The report breaks actions down into the areas of the Washington bureaucracy where they must be taken:
    (1) The Executive Office’s (a) Council on Environmental Quality, (b) Office of Management and Budget and (c) Office of Science and Technology Policy
    (2) Department of Defense’s (a) Army Corps of Engineers and (b) Department of the Army
    (3) Department of Agriculture’s (a) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (b) Farm Service Agency (c) Forest Service (d) Natural Resources Conservation Service (e) Research, Education and Economics
    (4) Department of Education
    (5) Department of Energy
    (6) Department of Health and Human Services’ (a) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and (b) Food and Drug Administration
    (7) Department of Homeland Security
    (8) Department of the Interior’s (a) Bureau of Land Management (b) Bureau of Reclamation (c) Fish and Wildlife Service (d) Minerals Management Service (e) National Park Service (f) U.S. Geological Survey
    (9) Department of Justice
    (10) Department of State and its U.S. Agency for Int’l Development
    (11) Department of Transportation
    (12) Depatment of the Treasury
    (13) Environmental Protection Agency and its American Indian Environmental Office
    (14) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    The fight against coal is everywhere it is mined, from China to Appalachia.

    click to enlarge

    WHY
    - The report describes itself as “Environmental Transition Recommendations for the Obama Administration.”
    - The report calls for the implementation of a cap-and-trade system with strict auctioning of emissions allowances so as to establish firm limits on emissions and force emitters to pay for New Energy and Energy Efficiency implementation.
    - The report puts a high emphasis on returning science to the basis for decision-making.
    - The report links justice, health and heritage matters with environmentalism.
    - Guiding Principles of the report:
    (1) Economic Vitality, Clean Energy, and Climate Solutions Go Hand-in-Hand
    (2) Social Justice Requires Environmental Justice
    (3) Science Should Have a Primary Role in Safeguarding Our Environment
    (4) Integrity Must Be Returned to Environmental Governance
    - Top Areas for Priority Action in the report
    (1) Clean Energy and Climate Change
    (2) The Federal Budget and Stimulus Legislation
    (3) The White House as a Leader on Clean Energy and the Environment
    (4) Putting the Right People in the Right Jobs
    - Actions suggested for the Department of Energy in the report:
    (1) Develop cost-effective Energy Efficiency
    (2) Build New Energy in an environmentally responsible way
    (3) Cut funding for Old Energy (fossil fuels and nuclear)
    - The worst of the Old Energies is coal. It is responsible for more climate change and other environmental degradation than any of the others.
    - Things the anti-coal groups want the world to know about coal:
    (1) Coal is neither cheap nor abundant.
    (2) Coal consumes and pollutes our water.
    (3) Coal kills people and the planet.
    (4) Coal poses unacceptable risks to rate payers.
    (5) Coal dependence delays the transition to efficiency and renewables.
    (6) Coal hurts our health and economy.
    (7) Coal impairs visibility at national parks.
    (8) Coal keeps poor people impoverished.
    (9) Coal causes cultural genocide.
    (10) Coal threatens our grandchildren.
    (11) Coal threatens local governance.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Coalition joint statement: "In November, Americans made their preference clear that the federal government has a critical role to play in unleashing homegrown, innovative energy solutions that would create new jobs, reduce global warming pollution and cut our nation's dependence on oil…We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with the transition team, and to work with President-elect Obama to move America forward and re-engage with the international community to reverse eight years of environmental neglect."
    - Shannon Anderson, Powder River Basin Resource Council: "Unfortunately for our members who live in the Powder River Basin, increased coal mining has come with significant costs to our air quality and our way of life…The mines are woefully behind on reclamation compliant with federal law and some impacts to livestock and wildlife habitat will never be reversed. We urge the Obama Administration to not just generate permits but to balance interests in a manner that will be protective of places and people in Wyoming and elsewhere."

    1 Comments:

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