NewEnergyNews: FORTUNE AND NEW ENERGY

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: MORE AND SMARTER MEDIA COVERAGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN 2014
  • QUICK NEWS, July 28: CLIMATE SKEPTICS REACHING ‘CATASTROPHIC’ NUMBERS; THE COST OF THE EPA EMISSIONS CUTS; GEOTHERMAL DRILL SKILL ADVANCES
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: John Oliver On Visiting Antarctica
  • Weekend Video: Warmest May And June Ever And Non-Stop Record Heat
  • Weekend Video: Meet The Microgrid
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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

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- STAR WARS PLANET TATOOINE’S CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-BIG NEW THREAT TO CLIMATE FROM COAL-TO-GAS IN CHINA
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-INDIA VILLAGE OF 2,400 GOES 100% SOLAR WITH BATTERIES, MICROGRID
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-GERMANY IS WORLD’S MOST EFFICIENT MAJOR ECONOMY
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, July 24:

  • TTTA Thursday-CLIMATE FACTS VERSUS CLIMATE CULTURE
  • TTTA Thursday-MONEY IN WIND UP FOR QUARTER, DOWN FROM 2013
  • TTTA Thursday-MIDWEST BIOFUELS CAN BE NEW ENERGY – UCS STUDY
  • TTTA Thursday-TESLA CHAMPIONS THE PLUG AND THE CAR
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: EUROPE’S OFFSHORE WIND PROGRESS THIS YEAR
  • QUICK NEWS, July 23: NEW ENERGY WAS 55% OF 1H 2014 U.S. NEW BUILD; EV SALES LEAP; OCEAN ENERGY’S FINANCES UNDER SCRUTINY
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: WHY THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY BACKS AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY POLICY
  • QUICK NEWS, July 22: U.S. DOE FORESEES NEW ENERGY; THE BEST CITIES FOR NEW ENERGY; ENERGY STORAGE TO BE $50BIL MRKT
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Thursday, July 30, 2009

    FORTUNE AND NEW ENERGY

    The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy; How the Economic Stimulus Program and New Legislation Can Boost U.S. Economic Growth and Employment
    Robert Pollin, James Heintz and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, June 18, 2009 (Center for American Progress)

    SUMMARY
    The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy describes the opportunities the U.S. can take advantage of and the rewards the country can reap as it makes the urgently necessary transition to a New Energy economy.

    3 interrelated goals define the transition to the New Energy economy mapped out in the legislation: (1) The maximum increase of efficient energy use, (2) reducing the costs of the New Energies as much as it is possible, and (3) establishing a limit on the use of, ultimately by putting a disincentivizing price on, fossil fuels to eliminate as much as possible the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas.

    Achieving these goals will cut greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs), fulfilling the U.S. responsibility in the fight against global climate change. It will also benefit the economy, through employment opportunities, growth and higher incomes.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    To describe the potential of the New Energy economy concretely, the paper - from the Center for American Progress and the Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massahusetts, Amherst - evaluates the likely impacts of provisions in 2 Obama administration New Energy initiatives, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), passed by Congress in February, and the proposed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), written by Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif), Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass), Chair of the House Energy Subcommittee, passed by the House of Representatives in June and now being considered by the Senate.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    Between provisions in the ARRA and the ACESA, the New Energy economy is likely to generate ~$150 billion yearly in New Energy investments over the coming decade. Most of it will come from the private sector. It will likely generate ~1.7 million new jobs, an expansion that is likely to be sustained by continuing investment in New Energy and expanded as investment increases.

    The NET job gains, after taking into consideration losses in jobs associated with the transition from Old Energy to New Energy, would in and of themselves reduce national unemployment roles by 1 full percent.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    Regarding potential economic harm in the ACESA’s capping of GhGs, the CAP economic models without exception forecast, at worst, a small negative impact on U.S. economic growth over the long-term. And the economic models do not factor in the growth stimulus likely to follow the implementation of the ACESA’s cap&trade system, such as more New Energy jobs, a reduced international trade deficit, technological advances that will make New Energy and utility rates cheaper and the improved health and reduced health care costs that follow cleaner air and water.

    There is one other benefit, perhaps the biggest benefit, that the spending from ARRA and ACESA will provide: The avoidance of the costs of adapting to global climate change.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    COMMENTARY
    Wisely acknowledging the problematic nature of economic forecasting, the CAP study details its cautious and rigorous economic-modeling methodology.

    The forecast’s key estimate is that a ~$150 billion per year investment in a New Energy economy would create ~2.5 million new jobs but cost (worst case scenario) ~800,000 Old Energy jobs. In other words, investment in New Energy is expected to create about 3 times the jobs that the same investment in Old Energy would create.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    Some of the significant investment provided by ARRA includes (1) $24.4 billion in federal spending on Energy Efficiency, (2) $23 billion in federal investment in fuel efficient transportation, and (3) $25.3 billion in federal investments in the New Energies. The money in ARRA is expected to be flowing to the New Energy and Energy Efficiency industries by 2010 but will also continue generating economic activity through the 2011-to-2014 period and beyond.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    3 categories of ACESA initiatives are expected to be enacted by any version of the bill that survives the legislative process: (1) Policies to boost the use of New Energy such as a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring regulated utilities to obtain a designated portion of their power from New Energy sources by a specific year, (2) a solid cap on all U.S. GhG generation through mid-century and a means, such as a trading system or a tax, that holds emissions spewers to their caps, and (3) federal spending and funding mechanisms, such as investment tac credits, production tax credits, loan guarantees and grants, that support businesses, communities and individuals in getting to a New Energy economy.

    ARRA, written as an economic stimulus program, directs government spending and financial incentives to promote private investment. It is relatively easy to forecast the impacts of such spending. ACESA will generate New Energy and Energy Efficiency expansion through policies and regulations, most importantly by requiring New Energy and by pricing the emissions from Old Energy. The greater difficulty in predicting the impact of such policies and regulations is incorporated into CAP’s methodologies and assumptions.

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    QUOTES
    - From the conclusion to the CAP analysis: “The United States needs to promote an aggressive policy agenda now to defeat global warming. This fact is now widely if not universally recognized. The overarching challenge before us is therefore to determine a policy path that is effective in building a clean-energy economy as rapidly as possible and in promoting widespread employment opportunities and broadly shared well-being. The current severe recession has only intensified the need to pursue such a unified program that can both promote job creation and build a clean energy economy.”

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    - From the conclusion to the CAP analysis: “The specific features of ARRA and ACESA complement each other. In this paper we have demonstrated how the two measures work in combination to advance clean-energy investments and the transition to a clean-energy economy. Specifically, we examined the effect these two measures are likely to have on job creation and economic growth. We conclude that these two measures operating effectively as a complementary set of policy initiatives, in conjunction with related initiatives both at the state and local government level and especially by private investors, could produce over the next decade about $150 billion a year in clean-energy investments that also expand job opportunities. The net expansion in employment through this combination of initiatives could be about 1.7 million jobs.”

    It will be necessary to CLICK TO ENLARGE the not easily readable but quite valuable CAP charts and tables.

    - From the conclusion to the CAP analysis: “This expansion of job opportunities would occur strictly as a result of the shift in spending of a given $150 billion in favor of clean energy and away from fossil fuels. It will not be necessary for U.S. GDP to grow more quickly in order for these positive job effects to emerge through a clean-energy investment agenda. Our overall conclusions are therefore that the clean-energy components of ARRA and ACESA will have significant economic benefits aside from the contributions they will make to reducing carbon emissions and combating global warming. The most important and most clearly established economic benefit is that clean-energy investments will be a substantial source of new employment opportunities throughout the United States.”

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