NewEnergyNews: NEW ENERGY GENERATING JOBS IN MA

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: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR GEOTHERMAL
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
  • TTTA Thursday-FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
  • TTTA Thursday-IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FROM THE CLOUD
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY BECOMES PRICE COMPETITIVE
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 15: NEW NUMBERS SHOW BIG OCEAN WIND POWER; SOLAR TURNS IN A NEW DIRECTION; FUEL CELL MARKETS TO VARY, GROW
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND COMES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 14: THE UTILITY-SOLAR DEBATE OVER WHO PAYS; TECHNICIANS WANTED – APPLY TO WIND; MAKING MULTIFAMILY BLDGS MORE EFFICIENT
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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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  • Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    NEW ENERGY GENERATING JOBS IN MA

    Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report 2012

    August 2012 (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center)

    Introduction

    Massachusetts is a hotbed of innova¬tion and invention. From computers to life sciences to defense, the Com¬monwealth has been at the forefront of new, ex¬citing technologies for decades. With a robust ecosystem including world-class universities, abundant venture capital, a large professional services industry, and a deep and talented labor pool, Massachusetts has emerged as a leader in clean energy development and integration.

    The Commonwealth ranks second in the nation for private clean energy investment (and first on a per-capita basis), and Massachusetts-based companies have received 17%—or $62.8 mil¬lion—of the federal dollars awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, which is devoted to advanced energy research projects that are transformational, sustain¬able, and bridge the gap between basic energy research and developmental and industrial in¬novation. At the same time, the Bay State has significantly increased its pro¬duction of renewable energy, with a thirty-fold increase in installed solar megawatts and a 108% growth in electric energy savings from energy efficiency between 2007 and 2011. The clean energy industry creates jobs through¬out the state and keeps the Massachusetts in¬novation engine running.

    Market demand for clean energy products continues to increase. In 2011, the Massachu-setts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) released a groundbreaking report as part of its require¬ment to conduct an annual accounting of the clean energy industry in Massachusetts. The report demonstrated that due to a mix of lead¬ing academic institutions; an active network of technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors; a highly skilled workforce; market-building public policy; and engaged government leaders, Massa¬chusetts was well positioned to take advantage of growing demand. The report also found that the Commonwealth is home to a large and diverse clean energy economy.

    Specifically, the 2011 report found 4,908 clean energy firms in Massachusetts employing 64,310 clean energy workers, or 1.5% of all employees in the Commonwealth. These jobs are found in every county in Massa¬chusetts, across activities ranging from engineer¬ing and research to manufacturing, and across industry sectors ranging from renewable energy to energy efficiency. And employers reported strong growth; at 6.7% growth from 2010, the report showed that clean energy firms were adding employees at a rate more than six times higher than in the economy overall.

    This 2012 report provides updated information regarding many of the findings in the 2011 re¬port. As with the 2011 report, this 2012 report is based on survey data gathered directly from clean energy employers that have been identi¬fied across a wide variety of industries in the Commonwealth. This differentiates the report from other studies, which typically rely solely on databases of known employers—those orga¬nizations that are members of industry associa¬tions, have signed up for various clean energy incentives or programs, or have been otherwise identified as conducting clean energy work. Though these known-employer lists are impor¬tant in researching the clean energy economy, analyses based solely on such lists can under¬count clean energy workers because they miss the large number of companies engaged in clean energy work that have not yet been iden¬tified as part of the cluster. Furthermore, most clean energy employment studies tend to rely on assumptions and economic models, or are based on incomplete or unverified employment counts from secondary sources. These sources cannot capture in-depth employer information because employers are not active participants in the research.

    In order to obtain a more complete picture of clean energy employers, the team conducted a survey of randomly selected Commonwealth employers from industries identified as being potentially related to clean energy. To capture the breadth of the cluster, surveys were administered online and by telephone to a list of known clean energy employers as well as to a representative, clustered sample of companies across the entire Commonwealth. This sample included companies from all across the value chain, from manufacturing to service and from research and development to construction. This same method of employer identification was used for the 2011 report, allowing us to effectively compare data from both years.

    The findings in this report are highly reliable because they come straight from the source: the clean energy employers of Massachusetts. Further, the research refines and validates the findings of 2011. Over the past two years, the research team attempted approximately 45,000 telephone calls and sent over 10,000 emails to employers. This massive survey effort, with a combined margin of error of approximately +/-3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, yielded 930 survey responses.

    As a result of this intensive research effort, the 2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report provides comprehensive and reliable data on the number of clean energy firms and employees while validating the findings from 2011. This report finds that Massachusetts has a large clean energy cluster with 4,955 clean energy firms that employ 71,523 clean energy workers. For the purpose of this report, a clean energy firm is defined as an employer engaged in whole or in part in providing goods and services related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and carbon management. Clean energy workers are defined as spending at least a portion of their time supporting the clean energy aspects of their businesses.

    In addition to the overall numbers, there are several important findings from this research. First, the 71,523 clean energy workers in Massachusetts represent 1.7% of total employment in the Commonwealth, an increase from last year and a number large enough to warrant considering the clean energy cluster a key sector in Massachusetts. Though there are many reasons for the cluster’s strength, one factor is that the cluster has breadth and depth across multiple industries and technology areas. Despite uneven performance within value chain activities, the breadth allows for the cluster’s continued growth and strength in the Commonwealth.

    The research also finds that Massachusetts clean energy employers are growing significantly faster than their peers in other sectors. Since 2011, clean energy employment has grown by 11.2%, nearly 10 times faster than the overall 1.2% growth rate1 among all industries in the Commonwealth over the same period. The 11.2% employment growth rate shows that the pace is in fact quickening, outpacing the same period from 2010-2011 by more than 3,000 jobs. Employers are also optimistic about their future prospects, anticipating 12.4% growth over the coming 12 months.

    The following pages include detailed findings of the research, including a review of the size, growth, distribution, and workforce needs of clean energy employers in Massachusetts.

    Conclusion

    Clean energy continues to be a shining example of Massachusetts’s innovation economy, and this report underscores its importance to the Bay State. The Massachu¬setts clean energy cluster is growing at a rapid clip of 11.2%, outpacing the overall economy nearly tenfold. The 4,995 clean energy firms and 71,523 clean energy jobs in the Commonwealth are responsible for 1.7% of all employment in the state. The cluster shows no signs of slowing, either, with employers anticipating 12.4% growth over the next 12 months. Such impressive growth certainly cements the cluster’s place as a marquee industry in the Commonwealth.

    With only a few exceptions, this growth is spread evenly throughout the Bay State, creating jobs in manufacturing, engineering, sales, and professional services. The Commonwealth’s successes in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies highlight a strong and vibrant ecosystem of firms.

    There are a few areas of concern. Despite dramat¬ic growth among most of the value chain activi¬ties, Massachusetts installation and maintenance firms report declining employment. Though the research suggests that this is mostly due to overall weakness in the construction industry, the Commonwealth should do more to spur residen¬tial and commercial installations of clean energy goods and services. Given the research findings, targeted help for small businesses will also pay dividends in this important cluster. Continued commitment to education is clearly critical to maintaining a thriving clean energy cluster in the Commonwealth. Employers in Massachusetts require more education than their counterparts in other states, and the importance of a college degree is in evidence. Though Mas¬sachusetts ranks first in the nation for college degree attainment, more should be done to teach students about STEM fields and clean energy ca¬reers at the K-12 level, increase access to college, expand clean energy baccalaureate programs at public universities, and develop targeted policies to maintain the Commonwealth’s high standard of living in order to ensure that the state is able to continue developing skilled workers and retain¬ing them after graduation.

    Massachusetts has long been a hub of technologi¬cal innovation. By continuing to support this growing cluster, the Commonwealth can build upon this success well into the 21st century.

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