NewEnergyNews: On The Road Reading - With Nuke Plants Offline, California Faces a Summer Without SONGS; SCE may not get the San Onfre Nuclear Generating Station back in service before summer’s peak loads.

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: U.S. WIND RIGHT NOW
  • QUICK NEWS, August 26: CLIMATE MODELS PROVE RIGHT AGAIN; ABOUT INVESTING IN SOLAR; GM VS TESLA IN THE 200 MILE RACE

    THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: NEW CALMER WINDS AHEAD FOR EUROPE
  • QUICK NEWS, August 25: JULY’S U.S. ENERGY BUILD WAS ALL NEW ENERGY; CLIMATE CHANGE FOR ENERGY INVESTORS; WIND CAN GROW FASTER THAN NUCLEAR
  • -------------------

    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: New Thoughts About New Energy For A New Climate
  • Weekend Video: Carbon
  • Weekend Video: Why Utilities Struggle With New Energy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-WHY DENIERS’ BRAINS REJECT CLIMATE CHANGE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CHINESE TO HELP SAUDIS GO NEW ENERGY BY 2032
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-BUILDING EFFICIENCY TO BOOM IN EUROPE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-GEOTHERMAL SEEKS CARIBBEAN BREAKTHROUGH
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 21:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE RISKIEST ENERGY PLAYS IN THE WORLD
  • TTTA Thursday-FACTS ON BIRDS AND SOLAR POWER
  • TTTA Thursday-WIND PRICES AT ALL TIME LOWS
  • TTTA Thursday-PRICES DROPPING ON GREEN BUILDING
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: IMPORTS, EXPORTS AND NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, August 20: COURTS DISMISS 98% OF WIND HEALTH COMPLAINTS; TURNING OLD CAR BATTERIES INTO NEW SOLAR PANELS; OCEAN ENERGY PIONEERS
  • -

    --------------------------

    --------------------------

    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.

    -------------------

    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

    -------------------

    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

    -------------------

    Your intrepid reporter

    -------------------

      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

    -------------------

    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • Thursday, September 13, 2012

    On The Road Reading - With Nuke Plants Offline, California Faces a Summer Without SONGS; SCE may not get the San Onfre Nuclear Generating Station back in service before summer’s peak loads.

    On The Road Reading - With Nuke Plants Offline, California Faces a Summer Without SONGS; SCE may not get the San Onfre Nuclear Generating Station back in service before summer’s peak loads.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 18, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    If, as currently predicted, Southern California Edison is unable to get its 2,200-megawatt San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) back in service in time for the heat of the summer, California’s power generation and delivery system will be profoundly tested.

    “An extended outage of both SONGS units may create local reliability issues during heat waves for San Diego and parts of south Orange County,” the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) said. “Parts of the grid serving the Los Angeles Basin may also be stressed during high demand periods.”

    To meet Southern California’s demand for electricity without hamstringing its economy, the ISO is making plans that will put into action idled power plants, new transmission, the state’s best practices, renewables and cutting edge grid tools.

    “Southern California Edison’s four replacement steam generators at their San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station failed in less than two years of operation, while the original equipment operated for 28 years,” noted a just-released Fairewinds/Friends of the Earth report.

    SCE has, according to the Fairewinds report, acknowledged replacing the steam generators as “a strategic decision to avoid a more thorough license amendment and review process” by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

    The right solution to the vibration problem that led to the shutdown, according to Fairewinds, requires “major modifications with repair and outage time that could last more than eighteen months if Edison and Mitsubishi are even able to repair these faulty designed steam generators,” adding, “the safest long-term action is the replacement of the San Onofre steam generators.”

    While SCE continues to work with the NRC to bring SONGS back, the ISO is working to minimize impacts.

    “We are not the safety experts. That’s the NRC,” said ISO Director of Communications and Public Relations Stephanie McCorkle. “Our job is to plan.”

    The ISO is, McCorkle noted, doing “contingency planning in coordination with the Governor’s office, state energy agencies, federal officials and the utilities [because the loss of SONGS] reduces local electricity supply and the ability of the high voltage grid to import power into the region that already has limited transmission lines.”

    McCorkle was blunt. Without contingency planning and mitigation of that 2,200-megawatt loss, she said, “We would be in the hole.”

    The focus of the ISO’s planning has been two gas-fired power plant units previously closed as a result of the state’s efforts to clean up its power supply and two under-construction transmission lines.

    The ISO considered it “absolutely critical to get units three and four at the Huntington Beach Power Plant available for dispatch, and that was done as of Friday,” McCorkle said.

    “The Huntington Beach units not only add 452 megawatts of capacity in the LA Basin,” the ISO reported, “but also enable 350 megawatts of additional imported power to transfer into San Diego.”

    Bringing these units back will cost SCE and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) $2.5 million per month. Air quality regulators have permitted their service through November 1.

    Completing the Sunrise Powerlink and Barre-Ellis transmission lines on schedule in June, before the summer’s peak demand hits, McCorkle said, will “strengthen the transmission system in general and allow us to import more power from the Southwest.”

    Without these mitigations, McCorkle said, the LA Basin would be short 240 megawatts on a high-demand, hot day and the San Diego area would be short 337 megawatts. With them, she said, we only have reserve margins of thirteen megawatts in San Diego and of 212 megawatts in the LA Basin.

    The ISO has also secured $9 million in funding from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), McCorkle said, to reactivate its Flex Alert conservation campaign. Radio and TV ads will begin appearing in late June that will teach consumers conservation measures for Southern California’s 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. “air conditioner rush hour,” when load is most likely to exceed ISO capacity.

    Finally, McCorkle said, the ISO and the utilities are “encouraging more participation in local voluntary demand response (DR) programs.” As a result, recent SCE and SDG&E smart meter programs may pay off sooner and bigger than expected in heading off rolling power outages.

    “Because SDG&E has 100 percent smart meter penetration,” McCorkle said, “it can track how much customers are cutting back.” Customers who conserve will, for the first time in California, be compensated without having to enroll in a program. It is “a way for people to respond and be compensated,” she explained. And conserved energy, she added, “iscounted like any other resource. This is where people power is going to pay off.”

    The ISO is also, McCorkle said, “analyzing the potential long-term implications of being without the San Onofre units.” Its conclusion, she said, is “there aren’t adequate resources to replace San Onofre permanently. We’re just trying to fill the holes as best we can."

    This video was part of the ISO's last Flex Your Power campaign.

    Note, September 13: The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) remains under repair and offline.

    0 Comments:

    Post a Comment

    << Home

    *