NewEnergyNews: BIGGEST YEAR YET FOR WIND

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

  • 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

  • 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
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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

    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 DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND COMES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 14: THE UTILITY-SOLAR DEBATE OVER WHO PAYS; TECHNICIANS WANTED – APPLY TO WIND; MAKING MULTIFAMILY BLDGS MORE EFFICIENT
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: A LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER PLANTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 13: NUCLEAR FADING, NEW ENERGY COMING ON; THE ONE BIG ADVANTAGE OF SOLAR; HALF OF GLOBAL HEAT MAY BE HIDING IN THE OCEANS
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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.

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  • Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    BIGGEST YEAR YET FOR WIND

    Just as there was no dobut about the selection of Time Magazine’s Person-of-the-Year (Barack Obama), there is no doubt about the most important New Energy event and wind energy industry event of the year.

    For New Energy, passage of the tax credits as part of the economic stimulus package had to be 2008's biggest moment. Getting the credits through a reluctant Congress after an 18-month legislative fight must rank as the year's decisive event.

    For the wind power industry, the May publication of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) feasibility report validating wind's ambition to provide 20% of U.S. electricity by 2030 was not only the year’s major landmark but probably THE landmark event of the U.S. wind industry’s life. The report found that by building the capacity to supply 20% of U.S. power, the industry will make an enormous contribution in new jobs, revenues and averted greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs).

    Dr. James A. Walker, Vice Chairman, enXco Inc.: “As climate change, jobs and energy security rise to the top of the national agenda, we have authoritative confirmation that wind power can make a significant contribution to all these problems. It will take leadership to follow the roadmap, but the vision presented is good news not just for the wind industry but for the nation.”


    click to enlarge

    As if to prove DOE's assessment accurate, the U.S. passed the 21,000-megawatt level of installed capacity in 2008 to become the world leader.

    Randall Swisher, Executive Director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): “Wind energy installations are well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy.”

    Wind’s clean power saved 36 million tons of climate change-inducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2008, as well as 198,000 tons of acid-rain causing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and 93,000 tons of smog-causing nitrous oxide (NOx). And that’s in the generation of only 1-to-2% of U.S. power.

    Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club: “The reality of global warming requires fast and wise development of our national wind resources. Reaching at least 20% wind by 2030 is not an option, it's an imperative.”

    The wind industry and the incoming Obama administration have virtually synchronous plans for development of New Energy in 2009 and beyond. They are likely to begin with the refining of the tax credits to be effective in this recessionary economy and then move to instituting a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and other policy measures that will revive the U.S. economy by building the New Energy infrastructure of the 21st century.

    President-elect Barack Obama: “A green, renewable energy economy isn’t some pie-in-the-sky, far-off future. It is now.”


    click to enlarge

    American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Notes Top Wind Industry accomplishments of 2008
    December 22, 2008 (Business Wire)

    WHO
    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA); the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC); the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI)

    WHAT
    AWEA named the wind industry’s top accomplishments for the year.

    WHEN
    - Both AWEA and the incoming Obama administration called for a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring U.S. utilities to obtain 10% of their power from New Energy sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
    - 2008 was the wind industry’s 3rd consecutive year of record-breaking growth.
    - The DOE finding it feasible for wind to provide 20% of U.S. power by 2030 was published in May.
    - The American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) kicked off in November.

    click to enlarge

    WHERE
    - The U.S. passed Germany to become first in the world in installed wind capacity.
    - A landmark study on bats and wind began at the Casselman wind farm in rural Pennsylvania, owned and operated by Iberdrola Renewables.
    - AWEA moved to new Washington, D.C., headquarters at 1501 M Street NW.

    WHY
    - AWEA’s 8 major accomplishments of 2008: (1) 20% by 2030 Report; (2) Ground-breaking environmental research; (3) U.S. becomes “Number One” in wind; (4) New collaboration with environmental groups; (5) Climate change benefits; (6) 60,000 domestic employees and counting; (7) Greening of AWEA -- Aiming for Gold; (8) A growing national commitment to clean energy
    - Initiation of study on reduction of harm to bat populations by BWEC Alliance (including AWEA, Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
    - Its 21,000+ megawatts of installed wind power made the U.S. first in the world.
    - AWWI is composed of 20 top science-based conservation and environmental groups and wind energy companies.
    - Wind power now provides 60,000+ jobs. The industry also built or expanded 50+ manufacturing facilities and created $15 billion+ in revenues in 2008.
    - AWEA is applying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) -certification of its new headquarters and shifted to environmentally-protective practices in its business and conference operations in 2008.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - Andrew Linehan, director of permitting, Iberdrola Renewables: “We are proud to offer our Casselman site for this important experiment and fully support efforts of the BWEC. We believe this is the responsible thing to do and recognize there is an impact on bats that requires scientific study…”
    - Jan Blittersdorf, CEO, NRG Systems and vice chair, AWWI: “Addressing global climate change demands a higher level of collaboration between different sectors and interests. Development of clean, renewable wind energy and wildlife protection need not be mutually exclusive goals…”
    - Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): “A clean energy future is within our grasp - as long as we harness America’s wind energy potential.”
    - Randall Swisher, Executive Director, AWEA: “AWEA represents one of the leading industries in the new, green economy and we intend to lead by example. Our commitment to sustainable business is personal as well as corporate and we’re making great strides in our effort to minimize our environmental impacts while improving the efficiency of our every day operations.”

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