NewEnergyNews: OBAMA ADMIN EXPECTED TO GET EFFICIENT IN ECONOMIC STIM

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The new challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: A SUPPRESSED STUDY OF OHIO NEW ENERGY JOBS
  • QUICK NEWS, November 26: WHY PEOPLE DENY CLIMATE CHANGE; THE FORCE OF SOLAR; POWER ELECTRONICS MARKETS TO BOOM
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE DOE LOAN PROGRAM PAYS OFF
  • QUICK NEWS, November 25: THE PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE CHANGER; SOLAR AND WIND BEAT COAL, GAS ON PRICE; LED LIGHTING TO DISRUPT, TRANSFORM THE INDUSTRY
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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: RUNNING OUT OF GAS
  • QUICK NEWS, November 24: NEW ENERGY DOMINATES THE U.S. NEW BUILDS AGAIN; SIERRA CLUB, UNITED STEELWORKERS WANT WIND JOBS; THE ABUNDANCE OF SOLAR
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Much More Inhofe Now
  • Weekend Video: Jon Stewart Talks Keystone, Politics, And Jobs
  • Weekend Video: Jon Stewart On How Keystone Opponents May Be Caught In Their Own Trap
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A NEW WAY TO SEE CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU OCEAN WIND TO CUT COSTS, KEEP GROWING
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-COST-COMPETIVE NEW ENERGY, GERMANY’S ‘GIFT TO THE WORLD’
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NEW ENERGY MATCHES COAL ON COST, CAPACITY IN TURKEY
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 20:

  • TTTA Thursday-TOP REPUBLICAN DROPS CLIMATE DENIAL
  • TTTA Thursday-FORD ELECTRIC CARS FOR ‘THE MASSES’
  • TTTA Thursday-MIDWEST SOLAR MAKES SENSE AND CENTS
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW ENERGY JOBS BY THE BAY
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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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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, November 26: THANKSGIVING THURSDAY, November 27:

  • Fast Fun Facts About Thanksgiving
  • A Lesser Known Bit Of Thanksgiving History
  • A Funky History Of Thanksgiving

  • Monday, January 05, 2009

    OBAMA ADMIN EXPECTED TO GET EFFICIENT IN ECONOMIC STIM

    Building New Energy infrastructure without building in Energy Efficiency is like wearing heavy socks out into the cold without wearing shoes.

    That’s why the Obama-Biden New Energy for America plan, soon to be funded with at least $150 billion of the urgently needed economic stimulus package money Congress goes to work on this week, is actually a New-Energy-and-Energy-Efficiency for America plan.

    Otherwise, Congress could get cold feet about funding the plan. Funding New Energy (NE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) simultaneously attacks the energy crisis, creates blue collar jobs, puts the building industry back to work and infuses money where it will quickly be spent.

    According to CNNMoney, the Energy Efficiency (EE) part of the plan the Obama administration will ask Congress to fund will be similar to the one introduced December 19 by the
    Alliance to Save Energy.

    The Alliance to Save Energy plan calls for a $30 billion federal investment in EE:

    (1) $3 billion for home retrofits (including rebates for efficient appliances);
    (2) $3 billion for public building retrofits (including energy audit jobs programs and "smart-meter" installations);
    (3) $3 billion in tax breaks for EE improvements by commercial building developers and builders;
    (4) $3 billion for EE in schools;
    (5) $3.5 billion to expand state EE programs;
    (6) $5 billion more for states that pass stricter EE standards and implement utility conservation incentives (“decoupling”);
    (7) $6 billion for state and local power plant/ transportation networks;
    (8) $4 billion for “other” EE (grid improvement, military institution EE, home smart meter and weatherization programs).

    The Alliance to Save Energy says its plan will create 190,000 jobs and cut U.S. energy consumption 0.5% per year for 20 years. That would reduce the $1 trillion per year U.S. energy bill by $5 billion, adding up to $100 billion over 20 years.

    Another example of EE’s potential is demonstrated by noted architect Edward Mazria’s
    2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan. Mazria, whose Architecture 2030 Challenge called on building designers and builders to fight global climate change by using innovative planning and materials, says that an investment of $171.72 billion over 2 years will produce $142.33 to 200.88 billion in consumer mortgage and energy savings, cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and, by moving the U.S. away from natural gas and oil use, put the country on the path to energy independence.

    From the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan (click to enlarge)

    The plan will also create 3.75 million direct jobs and over 4.5 million indirect jobs and thereby pay for itself through tax base growth.

    Objectors to such ambitious plans for NE and EE – and doubters of the stimulus package in general – worry about how such programs can be ramped up, administered and controlled. That’s what troubled the people who backed the Hoover administration in 1930-’31-’32. As a result, Hoover refused to take action and the nation and the world slid into a depression.

    As soon as the Roosevelt administration took office and took action, the slide began to slow. Only an attempt to back away from federal deficit spending - by cutting re-investment in the nation in 1936-37 - slowed the recovery. Federal stimulus spending bigger than anybody imagined, in the form of war preparations, finally broke the Great Depression’s momentum and turned the economy around.

    Clearly, a federal stimulus package to match the audacity of the World War II ramp-up is what is now called for. How convenient that the energy crisis the nation faces, often called a moral equivalent of war, is demanding national attention. This presents urgent need and ample opportunity for an ambitious federal program. Mr. Obama will bring to Washington the only other necessary element: The courage to act.

    Flaws and waste may later be discovered in the ambitious Obama-Biden programs. After all, the nation must go to war against recession with the stimulus package it has. It will not necessarily be avarice-proof.

    After the stimulus has had a chance to rejuvenate the economy and put people back to work, there will still be time for a “surge” to make the plan work better.


    click to enlarge

    2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan Hits Capitol Hill
    December 2008 (2030 Architecture)
    and
    Save energy, save the economy; The country may spend $30 billion on conservation in the coming year, but will that put people back to work?
    Steve Hargreaves, December 24, 2008 (CNN Money)

    WHO
    Edward Mazria and Kristina Kershner, Architecture 2030 ; Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy; Brian Turmail, spokesman, Associated General Contractors of America

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    Some question the effectiveness of investing economic stimulus money in EE programs. Both the Alliance to Save Energy plan and the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan demonstrate how strategic investment in EE can produce a powerful range of energy-saving, economic benefits.

    WHEN
    - New Energy and Energy Efficiency are said to be first priorities of the incoming administration.
    - The Alliance to Save Energy announced its plan December 19.
    - The 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan was presented December 12 and calls for investment over 2 years and returns accumulating over 5 years.

    click to enlarge

    WHERE
    The Mazria proposal indicates EE can benefit the entire U.S. and all income levels.
    It also foresees investments in the the Building Sector affecting a wide range of products and services and all industries (e.g., steel, insulation and caulking, mechanical, electrical and solar equipment, glass, wood, metals, tile, fabrics and paint) and all sectors (design, engineering, banking and development, manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail and distribution).

    WHY
    - EE has a top priority in the Obama stimulus plan because (1) it can be started quickly through existing state and regional agencies and (2) it reduces the amount of New Energy the U.S. must produce to cut emissions.
    - The Associated General Contractors of America says every $1 billion spent on infrastructure (including EE) creates ~ 30,000 jobs.
    - The plans create no new agencies but would develop programs through existing state, federal or regional agencies and utilities.
    - The Mazria plan says spending on EE will create a $1.6 trillion market that will put the construction industry to work immediately.
    - Mazria plan specifics: (1) At least 8.445 million new jobs and a 1.6 trillion renovation market; (2) savings of $142.33 to 200.88 billion; (3) 481.13 Million Metric Ton cut in greenhouse gas emissions; (4) 6.17 Quadrillion Btu cut in energy use; (5) cuts of 1.83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas consumption and 83.35 million barrels of oil.

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    - From 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan: “The simplicity of the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan, and its ability to have such a wide-ranging positive and immediate impact, has garnered a lot of attention on the Hill. The Plan is now being reviewed by the Transition Team.”
    - Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy: "An economic recovery bill that includes significant investments in energy efficiency will not only create jobs immediately, but also and more importantly will bring American ingenuity and its 'can-do' spirit to a new, clean and sustainable energy future…"
    - Brian Turmail, spokesman, Associated General Contractors of America: "Clearly, it will put construction workers back to work and put money in the economy…This is a tremendous opportunity."
    - Rudolph Penner, senior fellow, Urban Institute: "How on earth can this thing be administered without generating a lot of waste…Some people would choose to insulate their homes anyway…For them, this would just be a windfall."

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