NewEnergyNews: A GREENING CHINA WANTS NEW ENERGY DEAL WITH U.S.

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: 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE

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

  • 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Sept. 11:

  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING GREEN BY MIXING RED AND BLUE
  • TTTA Thursday-PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS’ CLIMATE CHANGE NUMBERS
  • TTTA Thursday-THE RACE FOR EV DOMINANCE
  • TTTA Thursday-THE BIG FUTURE FOR ZERO ENERGY BUILDINGS
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE 2013 U.S. DISTRIBUTED WIND MARKET
  • QUICK NEWS, Sept. 10: A WAY TO INVEST IN WIND ENERGY; SOLAR POWER TOWERS GET SAFER; TEST COMING FOR GIANT TURBINE BLADE
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: COMPARING SOLAR IN JAPAN AND THE U.S.
  • QUICK NEWS, Sept. 9: CLIMATE CHANGE TO GET MORE THAN HALF OF ALL BIRDS; U.S. OFFSHORE WIND STARTS BUILDING; THE EMERGENCE OF COMMUNITY SOLAR
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Sunday, December 21, 2008

    A GREENING CHINA WANTS NEW ENERGY DEAL WITH U.S.

    Times are tough. That’s not news. Credit is tight. Not news either. Investing in New Energy in China is a good bet. News?

    Not to GE Energy China or Caterpillar’s China division.

    Kate Wang, spokeswoman, Caterpillar: "This economic downturn is not going to stop the world's need for better infrastructure and more energy…China's economic growth will still outpace any other major market. The development of the complete Caterpillar business model in China is progressing rapidly…"

    GE Energy China’s president said his company is “bullish” on New Energy there and not deterred by the current financial crisis.

    Jack Wen, president, GE Energy China: "Meeting energy demand while reducing the carbon footprint is still a global need. It shouldn't be significantly impacted by shorter-term financial fluctuations…"

    Why is he so confident?

    This is NEWS: If China meets the New Energy standards its leaders have set, New Energy in China will be a $200 billion market in 2010 and a $555 billion market by 2020.

    This is BIG NEWS: Reportedly, it’s more than just business, it’s international politics.

    Liu Feitao, professor, University of International Relations in Beijing: "As strategic partners, Beijing and Washington want to find a new foothold to facilitate closer cooperation and new energy is undoubtedly providing an excellent platform…Both sides need to understand that their alliance in energy and environmental protection is vital not only to bilateral economic and trade relations but also to the world's long-term sustainability…"

    The Chinese astutely took note when, during his campaign, President-elect Obama said that climate change demands the U.S. and China, the world's biggest oil consumers and greenhouse gas emitters, quickly develop better cooperation.

    Bush administration Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson has long been working toward better U.S.-China cooperation, as have his counterparts in China. It is the new administration, however, that has identified New Energy as the sector in which both countries can readily see a partner.

    Li Wei, senior researcher, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economics Cooperation: "The past 30 years of China-US business relations saw both cooperation and friction. New energy will undoubtedly be one of the driving engines that will uplift relations…"

    The Chinese are hungry for U.S. New Energy technology and the U.S. can make real progress with China on many fronts by offering it.

    James Zimmerman, chairman, American Chamber of Commerce in China: "I think there is going to be some change…It is critical that the US and China cooperate…It's going to take commitment from the leadership of the Obama administration as well as President Hu Jintao to really push that forward…"


    The plan. (click to enlarge)

    Green industries promising in China
    Li Xiang and Sun Xiaohua, December 15, 2008 (China Daily)

    WHO
    Kate Wang, spokeswoman, Caterpillar; Jack Wen, president, GE Energy China; China National Development and Reform Commission; Liu Feitao, professor, University of International Relations in Beijing; Li Wei, senior researcher, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economics Cooperation; James Zimmerman, chairman, American Chamber of Commerce in China; Hu Jintao, President, China; Barack Obama, President-elect, U.S.;

    WHAT
    China observers China’s New Energy resources and industries are ideal investments.

    Not doing too well with sun yet. (click for the complete Global Green 2008 Global Solar Report Card report on China)

    WHEN
    - Caterpillar expects its 2008 energy-development revenue in China to be $2 billion and to double by 2010.
    - December 2008: Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasuray Secretary Henry Paulson signed agreements on energy cooperation at the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) Round 5.
    - Beijing 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10): Increase New Energy from 2.5% of consumption to 10% by 2010.

    WHERE
    Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasuray Secretary Paulson created a cooperation agreement between China's southwestern Chongqing municipality, Denver in the US and Ford for development of electric and hybrid vehicles.

    WHY
    - Solar, wind, hydro, biofuel and clean coal investments are all predicted to bring good returns.
    - Caterpillar is known as a construction equipment manufacturer, but is also one of the world's leading energy development companies.
    - GE Energy China has placed 1,000+ gas, steam, hydro and wind turbines in China and owns 37 licenses for gasification technology.
    - GE is investing in cleaner coal technology, wind and solar power and biofuel projects and projects its China New Energy investment to be $15 billion by 2010.
    - China spent 48 billion yuan in 2007 on conservation, New Energy projects and forestation.
    - Silicon Valley venture capital is also going to work in China New Energy, especially solar.

    Doing great with wind. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Yang Fuqiang, chief representative, US-based Energy Foundation in Beijing: "It is going to be a new area for closer China-US cooperation…China needs expertise and technologies from the US and the US views China as an extremely promising market."
    - Jack Wen, president, GE Energy China: "The opportunity is huge…Our energy strategy is diversity. Wind, solar, coal and nuclear all should be a part of the equation."

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