NewEnergyNews: GREAT LAKES WIND IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: THE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF NEW ENERGY – THE NORTH CAROLINA CASE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 22: ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK; OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued); OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY
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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 STUDY: THE U.S. NEW ENERGY MARKET NOW AND AHEAD
  • QUICK NEWS, April 21: OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY; BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR; 15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Happy Birthday Solar Cell
  • Weekend Video: Offshore Wind As A Hurricane A Wall
  • Weekend Video: Get On The Climate Policy Train
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 6
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 7
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 8
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 17:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 1
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 2
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 3
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 4
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY POSSIBILITIES – THE MICHIGAN EXAMPLE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 16: THE RACE AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE; THE FAST RISING POTENTIAL OF U.S. NEW ENERGY; BIG TEXAS WIND SHRINKS ELECTRICITY MRKT PRICE
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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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  • Monday, May 04, 2009

    GREAT LAKES WIND IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

    Wind turbines on Lake Erie could cost up to $93 million
    Tom Breckenridge, May 1, 2009 (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

    SUMMARY
    A Cleveland region energy task force has released the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study, a rigorous and thorough evaluation of the as-yet untapped potential for offshore wind energy on Lake Erie. It is a serious and comprehensive investigation and does not turn away from the challenges that must be confronted in order to develop that potential.

    Previous studies recorded wind speeds over Lake Erie of 16+ mph, the strongest winds in Ohio.

    The new study concluded that the potential to generate substantial power is there, and with it is the potential for new industry and thousands of new jobs for the region.

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    The study, a tour de force of the technical, environmental, regulatory and financial issues pertaining to offshore wind development, was done by juwi GmbH, a German company, for $1 million. Much of the cost was covered by donations from the Cleveland Foundation and Case Western Reserve University.

    Putting the first 3-to-8 turbines on Lake Erie will not be cheap. The study puts the price tag at $78-to-$93 million, depending on the size of the turbines and the part of Lake Erie in which they are installed.

    The study concluded a turbine array would have little effect on birds, fish or other underwater life. Blade icing and winter ice floes would not cause problems with modern turbines.

    The task force (a coalition of city, county, civic and business leaders) sees the cost of the installation as an investment, not an expense, and wants to get the project done in the next 3 years. Along with the release of the study, the task force announced it will soon file for state and federal permits.

    Actual onshore turbine in foreground with artist's rendering of an offshore turbine beyond. From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    Because the turbines will be clearly visible 3 miles off Cleveland's shoreline, a final commitment for the project will not come until metropolitan region residents approve. There will be meetings with community groups over the next 3-to-4 months. There has been little opposition so far but the task force kept a low profile during the study period. Release of the feasibility study will change that.

    The most controversial aspect of the project is expected to be its cost. Without subsidies, offshore wind-generated electricity may cost 23 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 7-to-9 cents for electricity from Ohio's land-based turbines and 4-to-6 cents per kilowatt-hour for coal.

    The actual cost, however, may be half the 23 cents figure after grants come in from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), federal stimulus money and state of Ohio subsidies.

    Federal production tax credits and state investment tax credits are likely to drive private investment in the project. Foreign and domestic investors have expressed interest. But other Great Lakes groups, including those in New York, Michigan and Ontario, are also developing plans and attempting to attract entrepreneurs.

    Artist's rendering of the project from the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    COMMENTARY
    From the report:

    juwi GmbH was the Project Manager with team members Germanischer Lloyd, BrownFlynn, Black and Veatch, Econnect, Curry and Kerlinger, and DLZ Ohio.

    Following a 1-year study, juwi identified nine potential turbine configurations at different locations in the Project area.

    Siting criteria included water depth, geology, shipping lanes, underwater features, air navigation, radar, ecological concerns, and wind resource.

    Artist's rendering of the project from the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    The recommended best location for the turbine array: An area east of the Cleveland water intake Crib, approximately three miles from shore.

    Final turbine locations depends on regulatory details.

    Preliminary geological evaluation suggests monopole towers would be the best choice.

    Wind and wave conditions are considered moderate relative to other Lake Erie and world offshore wind sites.

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    A wind turbine fulfilling Germanischer Lloyd Class II requirements should be suitable for the Pilot Project.

    The principal turbine design consideration for offshore wind turbines in Lake Erie is ice – but it is not a prohibiting factor. An ice cone integrated into the turbine’s foundation will break up ice floes at the waterline.

    The study identified no serious harm to marine ecology and avian species. The biggest impacts to marine ecology will be short term and impermanent, during construction. Long term, the turbine foundation structures will attract fish and provide marine habitat, like other artificial reefs near the Project area.

    The Avian Risk Assessment indicates only minimal impacts to habitat and little displacement or collision mortality. Radar and other studies show nocturnal migration occurs mostly at altitudes above the height of wind turbines.

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    Post-construction studies are recommended.

    Offshore wind energy development is more capital intensive than comparable onshore projects but the offshore wind resource is greater. Lake Erie possesses the best wind resource in Ohio.

    A Pilot Project will undoubtedly provide solutions to technical challenges and further reinforce the viability of large-scale offshore wind energy development on Lake Erie.

    The challenge of a Pilot Project presents research and development opportunities to investigate new access techniques and equipment.

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    Eight potential Pilot Project scenarios were evaluated, ranging in capital investment from $77.2 to $92.7 million ($2008) and with average annual operations and maintenance costs of form $2.7 to $4.6 million ($2010).

    Designed to test and prove concepts, and promote technological and commercial development, the Pilot Project will not be economical and should not be considered to reflect the real future costs of large-scale offshore wind in Lake Erie.

    It is recommended that Cuyahoga County partner with established research organizations, certification bodies, and/or academic institutions such as National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Case Western Reserve University (research) and testing, and Germanischer Lloyd (certification).

    Public and community support for the Project, and for offshore wind energy on Lake Erie, are important to the future of the industry.

    If the County decides to proceed, several steps are suggested: (1) Selection of a preferred site; (2) Continued consultation with regulatory agencies; (3) Additional technical and geotechnical studies prior to design and interconnection; (4) Pursuit of funding opportunities and turbine manufacturer(s); (5) Optimization of the number and size of turbines; (6) Partnership with established research and/or certification bodies; (6) Community and stakeholder engagement; (7) Policy incentives in Ohio.

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Bill Mason, Prosecutor/energy task force member: "We are in a race with the rest of the Midwest…Whoever gets in the water first wins the race."
    - Ralf Krueger, CEO, juwi GmbH: "The study confirms it's technically feasible, even if the lake freezes over…"
    - Ronn Richard, President, Cleveland Foundation: "We need the public and the business community to get behind this…Being second, third or fourth will bring us nothing. . . . This is a well-thought-out risk."
    - Norman Tien, dean of the engineering school, Case Western Reserve University: "[The project] has the potential to dramatically change the economic landscape of the region…"

    From the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Final Feasibility Study (click to enlarge)

    - From the study’s conclusion: “The development of the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center—and the future build-out of the offshore wind industry in Ohio—will require new policies to better incentivize offshore wind in Ohio…To remain a committed leader in the Great Lakes offshore wind industry, Ohio should adopt policies to make the initial build-out of the offshore wind industry economically attractive to private sector interests. Strong policies are critical to help ensure that significant development of the offshore wind industry in North America occurs in Ohio. While no wind energy projects exist in the Great Lakes, several are in the feasibility or planning stages. If elected office holders and administrations pursue offshore wind in Lake Erie in general and in Northeast Ohio in particular, the region will prevail in the contest with other regions.”

    2 Comments:

    At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The first photo is an existing turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center (on land).

     
    At 8:10 AM, Anonymous dmeaney@cuyahogaCounty.us said...

    The first photo with the Great Lakes Science Center shows an EXISTING turbine - not an artist's rendering.

     

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