NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, October 15: IT’S FINAL – A TARIFF ON IMPORTED CHINESE SOLAR; ALABAMA BUYS MORE MIDWEST WIND; A RESPONSE TO PEAKING POWER DEMAND

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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  • Monday, October 15, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, October 15: IT’S FINAL – A TARIFF ON IMPORTED CHINESE SOLAR; ALABAMA BUYS MORE MIDWEST WIND; A RESPONSE TO PEAKING POWER DEMAND

    IT’S FINAL – A TARIFF ON IMPORTED CHINESE SOLAR Breaking News: Final Commerce Determination on Chinese Solar Cell Tariffs; The legal wrangling of the U.S. solar trade war is coming to an end. What is the aftermath?

    Eric Wesoff, October 10, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    “…[T]he Department of Commerce issued its final determinations on the extent of the countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties against imports of billions of dollars of solar cells from China…The effective rate on Suntech has gone up a few percentage points, down four percent for Yingli and Canadian Solar with Trina down 13 percentage points from the preliminary numbers…Commerce recommended anti-subsidy duty percentages of 14.78 percent for imports made by Suntech, 15.97 percent Trina Solar and 15.24 percent for all other Chinese manufacturers…

    “The petitioner for these investigations is SolarWorld Industries America, part of a German firm with operations in Oregon…[T]he bottom line according to an analysis by GTM Research, is that the tariffs will have minimal imact on the price of solar in the U.S. It is also unlikely that SolarWorld's tenuous competitive position will be improved by the tariffs imposed on Chinese companies. SolarWorld's most recent earnings call indicated high costs, low margins, and difficult losses and debt. Another outcome is a trade war in the other direction with China putting a tariff on polysilicon from the U.S. along with the EU imposing tariffs on Chinese solar panels.”

    “GTM Research used Trina Solar as a case study and asked -- what are the cost and price impacts going forward? …[Trina expected a module cost] around $0.78 per watt. For U.S. shipments, we expect that 100 percent of Trina’s U.S.-bound cells will be obtained via tolling from Taiwan…[imposing an additional] $0.08 per watt and a cost impact of 11 percent…[for] a U.S. ASP of $0.86 per watt, which is still 6 percent below the Q1 ASP.

    “Though tolling cells through Taiwan does impose a slight cost increase on manufacturers, it does not prohibit them from pricing modules well below their domestic competitors…[W]e expect pricing to continue falling over the course of the year, both globally and in the U.S…Next month the ITC will announce its final decision on whether to lock the tariffs into place…”

    ALABAMA BUYS MORE MIDWEST WIND Buffalo Dunes Wind Project in Rural Kansas is the Second TradeWind Energy Project that Provides for the Delivery of Low-cost Energy to Alabama

    October 10, 2012 (TradeWind Energy)

    “TradeWind Energy, LLC and Alabama Power Company have entered into a long-term…agreement that provides for the delivery of low-cost electricity from wind-rich Kansas across five states to communities in Alabama…The 20-year power purchase agreement…for 202 MW and all associated renewable energy credits (RECs) was approved by the Alabama Public Service Commission…

    “TradeWind Energy’s plan allows flexibility for construction of a wind project between 200 and 300 MW. The Project will be constructed across approximately 42,000 acres and hosted by over 120 [Kansas] landowners…Alabama Power has the flexibility to use the electricity from the wind project to serve its customers and retire the RECs, or it can sell the electricity and the RECs, together or separately, to third parties.”

    “The Buffalo Dunes Wind Project will represent an approximately $300 million investment resulting in significant economic benefit to the state of Kansas and it will help to stabilize and lower energy costs over the life of the contract for customers on the other end of the line in Alabama. An estimated 150 new jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project with the fully operational project requiring about15 new full-time workers. Commercial operation is anticipated in December 2013…

    “The Buffalo Dunes project… [is the third] developed by TradeWind Energy that will deliver energy from the Midwest into the Southeastern United States…[and] over the past 18 months TradeWind has entered long term power purchase agreements that will lead to the construction of four wind projects in Kansas and Oklahoma that combined will deliver about 800 MW of energy to utility customers in the 10 states served by Alabama Power, Tennessee Valley Authority and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.”

    A RESPONSE TO PEAKING POWER DEMAND Residential Demand Response; Direct Load Control, Time-of-Use, Critical Peak Pricing, and Peak-Time Rebate Programs for Residential Customers: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    4Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “Demand response (DR) is increasingly becoming an important part of the resource mix for utilities and grid operators, especially in managing peak electricity demand. While both the commercial and industrial (C&I) and residential sectors contribute to peak demand, households are responsible for a significant amount of such demand…

    “…DR programs that utilities offer are essential tools for managing demand and are a key component of governmental energy policy…[U]tilities in other countries are gradually realizing the potential benefits to themselves as well as their customers by introducing DR programs to their residential customers.”

    “Many have already developed such programs, especially in Europe, while others are initiating pilots to find out for themselves if they can achieve their load reduction objectives as well as a return on their investments from DR programs…In particular, they are anxious to determine the effectiveness of the two major types of programs: conventional direct load control (DLC) and price-based programs…

    “Despite their strong value proposition, however, residential price-based DR programs are still in their infancy. Pike Research estimates that there are nearly 11 million households globally that are currently enrolled in DR programs. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6%, that number of households is forecast to more than double, to over 23.5 million, by 2018…”

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