2008 WRAP UP – MOST IMPORTANT POSTS OF THE YEAR, PART 2 ( #1: WIND WILL BE 20% & #2: NEW ENERGY CAN BE 100%)
The 2008 post that best described what is possible across the New Energy spectrum is this year's "Most Important Post" Runner-Up, OBAMA, GORE, GREENPEACE – HOW LONG WILL THIS BE GOIN’ ON? It summarized ideas from Al Gore’s Repower America, Greenpeace’s Energy [R]Evolution and the Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan. Taken together, these reports conclusively demonstrate New Energy’s immense potential.
New Energy’s potential, however, is not really news. Among the reports on which NewEnergyNews posted this year, the one from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) affirming the wind industry’s certain readiness to provide 20% of U.S. power by 2030 was surely the most concrete and, thereby, award-winning subject matter.
2008’s "Most Important Post" recognition, therefore, goes to WIND: YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET! The DOE report stands as a landmark in the history of the wind energy industry and in the history of U.S. New Energy.
These reports are vivid proof a New Energy future is more than possible, it is undeniable.
Conclusion: There’s a lot to look forward to in 2009.
2008 "Most Important Post" #1: WIND: YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!
Originally posted May 13: Riding the momentum of unprecedented, record-setting growth, the wind energy industry is said to be ready - in 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply, a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - to provide 20% of U.S. electricity by 2030. DOE expects the wind industry to triple in capacity yearly for the next quarter century.
Andy Karsner, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE: “The United States is currently on a pace to surpass Germany within the next 24 months and restore it to what I think is the rightful place as the world’s renewable energy leader in new energy installations…”
The report is a landmark for the New Energy industries because it represents recognition of wind energy as a viable mainstream energy source and a recognition of the unique value wind and the other New Energies bring to the U.S. energy mix. No less an energy establishment representative than a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) member said as much.
Suedeen Kelly, FERC Commissioner: “We must look at meeting future electric demands in a cost-effective way…The 20% wind scenario would only cost 2 percent more than the cost of the baseline scenario without wind. At 50 cents per month for the average ratepayer, that is a small price to pay for the climate, water, natural gas, and energy security benefits it would buy--and it does not even count the stability provided to consumers by eliminating fuel price risk.”
Both in the DOE report and at the press conference announcing the study, the subject of new transmission necessary to deliver the new wind energy was pivotal. (See NewEnergyNews' essay on transmission: GRIDLOCK?) Commissioner Kelly described what is necessary as “…an interstate transmission superhighway system.”
The power industry sees things the same way and is ready to move. Tony Kavanaugh, VP, American Electric Power: “…we cannot expect business as usual to be sufficient. We are looking to craft, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, a different vision of how we move transmission infrastructure construction and development forward in this country and I think the nation is ready for that, I think the electric industry is ready for that, we’re hearing from the policy community that they’re ready for that.”
DOE has made a comprehensive evaluation and says 20% can be done. (from the report - click to enlarge)
Kevin Kolevar, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, DOE: "The report correctly highlights that greater penetration of renewable sources of energy - such as wind - into our electric grid will have to be paired with not only advanced integration technologies but also new transmission…In many cases, the most robust sources of renewable resources are located in remote areas, and if we want to be able to deliver these new clean and abundant sources of energy to population centers, we will need additional transmission."
The power generation sector has affirmed wind energy’s maturity with its money, buying or partnering on wind installations all across the country. All it asks for in return is new transmission.
Mike Heyeck, Senior VP, AEP Transmission: “…we believe the 20 percent wind scenario is feasible, but only with a major national transmission highway system. Delivering power from the best windy regions to the growing urban supply requires a bigger, stronger transmission system. Strong regional and interregional planning as well as broad allocation of costs will allow the United States to rely on a broader diversity of generation resources…"
This is what the wind industry is going to do. (from the report - click to enlarge)
Turns out even the oil industry is interested in wind.
Bob Lukefahr, President, Power Americas/BP Alternative Energy North America: “Wind is an important part of BP Alternative Energy’s business and of BP’s diverse energy portfolio…”
Typical of the wind industry’s open-eyed, honest, forward-thinking approach to growth, it is not turning away from the challenges highlighted in the DOE report – or the value it brings to the effort to overcome them.
Randall Swisher, Executive Director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): “The report identifies the central constraints to achieving 20% - transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology - and demonstrates how each can be overcome. As an inexhaustible domestic resource, wind strengthens our energy security, improves the quality of the air we breathe, slows climate change, and revitalizes rural communities.”
Or, as Andy Karsner of DOE put it, “…wind energy is helping us secure a better future for my kids and yours…”
This is how it is going to do it. (from the report - click to enlarge)
Major New Technical Report Finds Wind Can Provide 20% Of U.S. Electricity Needs By 2030; U.S. Department of Energy Analysis Finds That Wind Can Be Major Contributor to Energy Mix
May 12, 2008 (American Wind Energy Association)
Andy Karsner, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE;
Randall Swisher, Executive Director, AWEA; Tony Kavanaugh, VP/Governmental Affairs, American Electric Power; Suedeen Kelly, FERC Commissioner; Kevin Kolevar, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, DOE; Mike Heyeck, Senior VP, AEP Transmission; Bob Lukefahr, President, Power Americas/BP Alternative Energy North America
20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply
- To get to 20% by 2030, according to the study, new wind installations would need to reach 16,000 megawatts/year by 2018 and sustain that rate of growth through 2030.
- 2006: President Bush, for the first time, said “wind energy” in his state-of-the-union address, pointing the way to the 20% goal.
- 2007: Wind was 2nd only to the natural gas industry in building new power generation for the 3rd year in a row.
- 2008 (1st quarter): 1,400 megawatts ($3 billion) of new generating capacity.
New Energy will need new transmission. (from the report - click to enlarge)
- The key to wind’s implementation is the building of adequate transmission. Press conference participants suggested that regional groups in New England, the west and Texas are driving the development of new transmission in service to their goals of New Energy and greenhouse gas reduction.
- The 2nd most important challenge left to be conquered is wind’s variability, something that can be managed by adequate transmission, an adequately smart grid and/or breakthroughs in wind storage technology.
- Appropriately siting wind installations is a crucial consideration in the industry’s expansion.
(from the report - click to enlarge)
- The DOE report includes an evaluation of (1) U.S. manufacturing capabilities, (2) current U.S. technology, (2) anticipated energy costs, (3) U.S. wind energy resources, (4) wind energy environmental impact limits and factors, and (5) the economics of wind energy.
- According to the report, getting 20% of U.S. electricity from wind would (1) cut power generation CO2 25% in 2030, (2) cut U.S. natural gas consumption 11% (driving the price down), (3) cut 4 trillion gallons from power production water use by 2030, (4) bring $1.5 billion to local communites where wind would be built by 2030, and (5) add a half million jobs to the economy, including 150,000+ in the wind industry and many more in the manufacturing supply chain.
(from the report - click to enlarge)
- Andy Karsner, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE: "DOE's wind report is a thorough look at America's wind resource, its industrial capabilities, and future energy prices, and confirms the viability and commercial maturity of wind as a major contributor to America's energy needs, now and in the future…To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security, clean power generation at the gigawatt-scale will be necessary, and will require us to take a comprehensive approach to scaling renewable wind power, streamlining siting and permitting processes, and expanding the domestic wind manufacturing base."
- Randall Swisher, Executive Director, AWEA: “The report shows that wind power can provide 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030, and be a critical part of the solution to global warming…”
2008 "Most Important Post" Runner-Up: OBAMA, GORE, GREENPEACE – HOW LONG WILL THIS BE GOIN’ ON?
Originally posted November 26: Actions speak louder than words – except in politics. Nothing is louder than the onslaught of the chattering classes. The sheer volume of words is enough to turn any head.
The present administration’s New Energy policy has, despite its rhetoric, emerged in a series of ineffectual programs (the Solar America Initiative without extending the investment tax credit), bright but unsupported policy forecasts (20% Wind By 2030 without extending the production tax credit), misguided targets with weak standards (boosting the boondoggle of corn ethanol while fighting strong vehicle mileage requirements) and foot-dragging on permitting processes (for offshore wind, ocean energies and solar power plants).
All this went on while the Old Energies rolled in profits and critics complained that the U.S. had no national energy policy.
In recent months, Al Gore and Boone Pickens and a wide variety of think tanks and environmental organizations have spoken out with forward-looking energy plans. Unfortunately, the net effect is somewhat confusing.
Science and energy writer Michael Schirber pointed out that while Gore says the shift to 100% New Energy can come in 10 years, Greenpeace International sees it taking until 2090.
Former Vice President Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for work on global climate change, on his 10-year plan: "This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative…"
Sven Teske, renewable energy campaign, Greenpeace International: "Al Gore can say 10 years because he is Al Gore…We can actually back up our  targets."
President-elect Obama has not made such promises or predictions. Instead, he has proposed action: "...I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels, and those are the investments I will make as President…”
The incoming President also plans to fight for a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring U.S. utilities to obtain 10% of their power from New Energy sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
And the President-elect recently reiterated his commitment to work for a greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) reductions program that will target getting the U.S. to 1990 GHG levels by 2020 and to 80% of present levels by 2050.
In comparison to what came before, these goals are truly noble. They are neither as bold and optimistic as the Gore plan nor as universal and comprehensive as the Greenpeace plan.
Whether the nonstop action of Obama’s coming fight for a New Energy economy will quiet the vociferous naysayers of Old Energy and the screaming idealists dreaming tomorrow remains to be seen. Or heard.
President-elect Obama: “Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”
From the Gore plan, demonstrating how doable such a grand undertaking really is. (click to enlarge)
Power of the Future: A Timeline to Energy Independence
Michael Schirber, November 19, 2008 (LiveScience via Yahoo News)
President-elect Barack Obama; Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore; The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace International; Science and energy writer Michael Schirber
From the Obama New Energy plan, the Al Gore Repower America plan, the EREC/Greenpeace Energy [R]Evolution 2008 and other public plans and policy proposals, Schirber constructed a time line for what changes might reasonably be expected to come when.
An Energy [R]Evolution. From Greenpeace via YouTube.
- 2009: (1) World leaders meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to design a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. (2) All new homes built in Germany have renewable energy heating systems.
- 2010: (1) 5.2% reduction in GhGs from 1990 levels is achieved by those countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol. (2) 20% of California's electricity comes from renewables. (3) Toyota releases a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
- 2012: The London Olympics is a low-carbon, zero-waste games.
- 2014: No more incandescent bulbs sold in the United States, as proscribed by 2007 Energy Bill.
- 2018: (1) 100% of U.S. electricity comes from solar, wind and other renewables (Gore's prediction). (2) $255 billion spent per year (more than four times what is currently spent) on biofuels, wind power, solar photovoltaics, and hydrogen fuel cells, according to market research firm Clean Edge. (3) $150 billion invested by this date by the U.S. government on climate-friendly energy development (Obama's plan).
- 2020: (1) All new cars are hybrids, according to an anonymous survey of car industry executives by IBM's Institute for Business Value. (2) 35 miles per gallon is average for the U.S. fleet. (3) 20% of the European Union's energy comes from renewables. (3) 15% of China's energy comes from renewables. (4) Sweden is oil-free.
- 2022: 36 billion gallons of biofuels sold in the United States, up from 4.7 billion gallons in 2007.
- 2025: 25% of U.S. electricity comes from renewables (Obama's plan).
- 2030: (1) 50% increase in world energy demand from 2005 levels, according to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). (2) All new federal buildings are carbon-neutral, as stated in 2007 Energy Act. (3) 70% of Hawaii's energy comes from renewables, thanks in part to a ban on new coal plants. (4) One-fifth of U.S. power comes from wind, the DOE predicts. (5) One-fourth of U.S. workers wear a green collar, according to the American Solar Energy Society. (6) 20 million new jobs created by renewable industry, says United Nations report.
- 2050: 50% of the world's energy comes from renewables, claims the Energy [R]Evolution Report.
2090: 100% of the world's energy comes from renewables, claims the Energy [R]evolution Report
The Gore and Obama plans apply to the U.S. while Energy [R]Evolution applies to the world.
- The Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan:
- 5 million new jobs by $150 billion “strategically” invested over 10 years in building New Energy and Energy Efficiency.
- Cut oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years.
- Put 1 million Plug-In hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on the road by 2015.
- 10% RES by 2012, 25% by 2025.
- Cap-and-trade to cut GhGs 80% by 2050.
- Crack down onf excessive energy speculation anmd use oil from the SPR.
- Up Fuel Economy Standards.
- $7,000 Tax Credit for advanced fuel vehicle purchases.
- A national Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
- “Use it or Lose It” on oil and gas leases and promote responsible domestic production.
- Weatherize 1 million homes/year.
- Develop and deploy “clean” coal.
- Prioritize the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
- Repower America is a 10-year program.
- Nuclear and conventional hydropower generation remain constant, providing 23% of the 2020 projected demand.
- National policies and programs take 28% off the 2020 projected demand.
- Baseload geothermal power grows to 20-to-25 gigawatts, about 3%-4% of the projected demand.
- Solar power plants with 8-hour storage capabilities meet 10%-to-13% of the projected demand (110-to-180 gigawatts).
- Wind grows to 315-to-400 gigawatts, providing 23%-to-27% of the projected demand. This would be 125,000-to-200,000 2-to-2.5 megawatt turbines on-shore and off-shore. 300,000 airplanes were built in the US during WWII.
- Solar PV projects will provide 3%-to-6% of the projected demand.
- A few pilot CCS projects (85% emissions-free) could provide 20 gigawatts, 4% of the necessary generation.
- Biomass and hydrokinetic (wave, current, and tide) energies may play a part.
- Extensive new transmission and “smart” transmission will be necessary.
From the Greenpeace/EREC plan. (click to enlarge)
- Energy [R]Evolution 2008 sees the world entirely fueled by New Energy (solar, wind, hydrokinetic, biogas, etc.) by 2090.
- The 210-page report’s publishing groups see climate change as the crucial factor driving the transition.
- The report looks in detail at how energy use would have to be changed to meet the IPCC’s call for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
- The EREC/Greenpeace plan would cut emissions enough to prevent a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from the pre-Industrial Revolution norm.
Measures called for:
(1) A phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy;
(2) International "cap and trade" systems for greenhouse gas emissions;
(3) Legally binding international targets for New Energy capacities;
(4) Rigorous international efficiency standards for buildings and vehicles.
- The International Energy Agency (IEA) foresees New Energy investments of just $11.3 trillion to 2030 and expects the world to remain dependent on fossil fuels and nuclear power through mid-century.
He promised it in the campaign, he promised the same thing last week and he continues to talk about it as an integral part of his economic recovery program. It’s pretty clear he’s going to do it. From BarackObamaDotCom via YouTube.
- Sven Teske, renewable energy campaign, Greenpeace International: "We hope we have some positive influence in making it easier for politicians to agree on tough emission reductions…"
- From Energy [R]Evolution 2008: "Renewable energy could provide all global energy needs by 2090…"
- Rajendra Pachauri, head, IPCC: "[The study is] comprehensive and rigorous…Even those who may not agree with the analysis presented would, perhaps, benefit from a deep study of the underlying assumptions…"
- Dr. James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, on the Gore plan: "This is just what the doctor ordered -- to cure our carbon addiction and stimulate the economy. It would be the turning point that is needed to lead the world to a stable climate."
- Senator John McCain (R-Ariz), on the Gore plan: "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable…I agree with his goal. I may disagree with all the ways of getting there…I do believe that his goals and his priorities and the visibility that he's given the issue has been good for America and the world."