NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, July 30: A TRILLION $$$ FOR NEW ENERGY; GE SUFFERS FROM GOP BLOCK ON WIND INCENTIVE; HOW A COAL BURNER CAN CLEAN UP

NewEnergyNews

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

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • 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
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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

    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 DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE MONEY IN NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, April 15: WORLD WIND TO BOOM THRU 2014; NAT GAS AND SOLAR WERE 75% OF U.S. 2013 NEW POWER; MAINE OFFICIALLY AFFIRMS SMART METERS’ SAFETY
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THIS COULD BE THE REAL VALUE OF SOLAR
  • QUICK NEWS, April 14: DE-RISKED RENEWABLES HAVE MORE INVESTORS THAN DEALS; THE MYTH OF CONSOLIDATION IN SOLAR; TEXAS BREAKS MORE WIND RECORDS
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher On What’s Happening In The Oceans
  • Weekend Video: The Human Disharmony In The Climate System Symphony
  • Weekend Video: A Few Thoughts About Solar 2.0
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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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  • Monday, July 30, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, July 30: A TRILLION $$$ FOR NEW ENERGY; GE SUFFERS FROM GOP BLOCK ON WIND INCENTIVE; HOW A COAL BURNER CAN CLEAN UP

    A TRILLION $$$ FOR NEW ENERGY How To Tap A Trillion Dollars For Renewable Energy Investment

    Jigar Shah, July 23, 2012 (Forbes)

    “Since the late 1970s the U.S. has avoided creating a comprehensive energy policy. Instead, we have…[p]ermanent tax credits for the fossil fuel industry and temporary credits and subsidies for the renewable energy industry…[T]the Production Tax Credit for wind energy…is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless it is renewed for another two-year run…[Solar’s] 30% investment tax credit sunsets at the end of 2016…It has helped jumpstart a $300 billion solar market…President Obama has proposed eliminating eight permanent oil subsidies that the Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor estimates will save $43 billion over 10 years.

    “…[P]ublic support drives the vagaries…[S]ince the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, support for building more nuclear power plants declined to 42% from 61% in 2008… 76% of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide…[and] two-thirds believe the U.S. should pursue policies to reduce its carbon footprint…[But] without a comprehensive energy plan, plus uncertainty about energy tax credits and subsidies, what signals are we sending to investors? [Yet] in 2010-2011…more renewable energy was installed than new natural gas generators…”

    “Renewable energy is taking off because it is delivering low risk, stable returns…This year renewable energy investment exceeded $40 billion in the United States and $260 billion globally. But we can’t reach our goals of oil independence, renewable electricity, local job creation, and reduced health care expenses caused by fossil fuels unless we can mobilize investors at $1 trillion scale.”

    “The money exists on the sidelines today and politicians should be looking to deliver a stable comprehensive energy plan to tap into these investment dollars. We cannot have an “all of the above” approach to energy without a clear plan…[A plan can lead to] deployment of the hundreds of dormant technologies that we have invented since the 1970s that can be scaled up quickly…[by] unlocking capital flows for good, solid, measured and controlled-risk investments into infrastructure…A comprehensive plan would provide comfort to investors looking to make long-term investments…[Without it], $1 trillion of investment dollars sit[s] on the sidelines, making no impact.”

    GE SUFFERS FROM GOP BLOCK ON WIND INCENTIVE GE blames drop in wind turbine sales on tax uncertainty

    Zack Colman, July 20, 2012 (The Hill)

    “General Electric, the nation's largest producer of wind turbines, is blaming a drop in orders on the uncertainty surrounding a wind-production tax credit.

    “GE’s wind sales fell 37 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the same quarter in 2012…[GE] attributed most of the decrease in sales to the tax credit's uncertain future.”

    “A slew of smaller wind firms have announced layoffs in recent months, with most listing the wind tax credit as a driving factor...The Obama administration has blamed Congress for layoffs in the wind industry and urged the renewal of the tax credit, which pays wind power generators 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour

    “Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney favors phasing out the wind credit, a stance that has drawn the ire of wind advocates in Iowa, the state with the second-most wind generating capacity.”

    HOW A COAL BURNER CAN CLEAN UP Greenpeace Report Shows a Cheaper, Cleaner Pathway for Duke Energy

    July 25, 2012 (EcoWatch)

    “…[Greenpeace’s] Charting the Correction Course: A Clean Energy Pathway for Duke Energy…details how Duke Energy can save their customers $108 billion over 20 years by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

    “…Under Duke’s current plan, the majority of energy generated in North and South Carolina over the next 20 years will be sourced from 70-year-old coal plants and risky nuclear plants…Duke will [also] be expanding its natural gas fleet, thereby doubling the company’s exposure to volatile natural gas prices. At the same time Duke Energy will quadruple electricity rates in the Carolinas within ten years, and increase them by nearly 20-fold by 2032…to pay for the company’s proposed construction.”

    “The Greenpeace plan highlights specific changes Duke Energy can make to benefit ratepayers, the environment and investors…Duke could source 33 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and efficiency resources while saving ratepayers 57 percent on their bills over the next 20 years…[That] would also reduce long-term debt for the company by 75 percent when compared to Duke’s current plans…

    “If Duke took the suggested steps it would reduce its global warming pollution by 29 percent, acid rain pollution by 61 percent and smog-causing pollution by 47 percent. This includes 141 million tons of carbon dioxide, nearly 143,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and more than 114,000 tons of nitrogen oxides.”

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