NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, August 27: 2012’S ELECTRICITY IS NEW ENERGY AND NAT GAS; U.S. IMPORTS OF CHINA DROP 60%; LEGAL VICTORY IN THE COAL ASH FIGHT

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    Monday, August 27, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, August 27: 2012’S ELECTRICITY IS NEW ENERGY AND NAT GAS; U.S. IMPORTS OF CHINA DROP 60%; LEGAL VICTORY IN THE COAL ASH FIGHT

    2012’S ELECTRICITY IS NEW ENERGY AND NAT GAS Natural gas, renewables dominate electric capacity additions in first half of 2012

    August 20, 2012 (Energy Information Administration)

    “During the first half of 2012, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts (MW) of new capacity. [A total of 3,092 MW was retired, from 58 generators in 17 states.] Of the ten states with the highest levels of capacity additions, most of the new capacity uses natural gas or renewable energy sources. Capacity additions in these ten states total 6,500 MW, or 80% of the new capacity added nationally in the first six months of 2012.

    “Most of the new generators built over the past 15 years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States. In particular, efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators are competitive with coal generators over a large swath of the country…Only one coal-fired generator was brought online in the first half of 2012…”

    “…[O]f the 165 generators added, 105 were under 25 MW. Many of these use renewable energy sources, most commonly solar and landfill gas…2012 has also seen a significant number of new peaking generators, the combustion turbines and internal combustion engines that operate when electric demand is at its highest, which also tend to be on the small side. These technologies are usually fueled by natural gas or petroleum, but can also burn landfill gas…

    “Solar has shown significant growth in the electric power sector over the past two years. From the beginning of 2010 to the end of June 2012, 1,308 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity has come online, more than tripling the 619 MW in place at the end of 2009…[and] these additions understate actual solar capacity gains…[because] significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications (e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics)…”

    U.S. IMPORTS OF CHINA DROP 60% Chinese solar imports drop for three consecutive months; June import value declines 60 percent from 2011 levels

    August 13, 2012 (Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing)

    “For the third straight month, imports of Chinese solar cells and panels into the United States decreased year-over-year…In June, Chinese solar imports totaled $99.6 million, down almost 60 percent from $241.5 million in June 2011, according to the Department of Commerce…The year-over-year decline is significant and reflects the market's rising recognition of the costs, risks and uncertainties associated with importing Chinese solar cells and panels…

    “While some of the year-on-year decrease is due to sharply falling module prices from 2011 to 2012, June 2012 imports of Chinese solar cells and panels were also down 20 percent from the previous month's total of $124.1 million. Between the same two months in 2011, the value of Chinese imports increased 7 percent.”

    “…Chinese import levels for all of 2012 are still ahead of last year's record pace: For the first six months of this year, the total value of Chinese cell and panel imports reached $1.32 billion, up from $1.23 billion for the same period of 2011, an increase of 7.3 percent…The increase is even more significant because dumped and subsidized Chinese pricing has lowered the per-watt average import values so dramatically in 2011 and 2012.

    “… June was the first month in which Chinese manufacturers were fully affected by both preliminary anti-subsidy duties of up to 4.73 percent on Chinese cells and panels that Commerce announced on March 26, 2012, and preliminary antidumping duties on Chinese solar cell and panel imports…announced on May 25, 2012…[of up to 31 percent on specifically named combinations of producers and exporters]…[The] duties were retroactive to Dec. 27, 2011, and the anti-dumping duties were retroactive to Feb. 25…”

    LEGAL VICTORY IN THE COAL ASH FIGHT TVA Liable for Massive Tenn, Coal Ash Spill

    Donna Lisenby, August 23, 2012 (Waterkeeper Alliance via EcoWatch)

    “…[F]ederal district court Judge Thomas Varlan…[found] the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was negligent in its conduct and will be held liable for damages caused by their massive coal ash spill into the Emory River and the surrounding community of Harriman, Tennessee on Dec. 22, 2008.

    “This ruling is an important victory for the people and the waterway that were devastated by this preventable tragedy when a 70 foot tall dam catastrophically and suddenly failed at 1 a.m., sending more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash from TVA’s Kingston coal fired power plant into the surrounding community and the Emory River.”

    “Varlan ruled today that the spill was caused by a combination of TVA’s dike design, continued wet coal ash storage at the plant and geological conditions…This case has national significance not only because it is the largest coal ash spill in the history of the U.S., but because there are 1,000 more coal ash ponds at coal fired power plants across the nation…[C]oal ash is toxic to waterways and aquatic life because it contains a vast array of heavy metals and other pollutants:

    “In order to protect communities from toxic coal ash, the U.S. EPA released new rules to regulate the waste but they have been stalled by legislative interference in Congress. A handful of Senators working for the benefit of the polluting coal industry is seeking to remove the U.S. EPA’s federal authority to regulate coal ash with the rotten new Senate Bill 3512…”

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