- NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, October 2: CHINA’S OREGON WIND BUY BLOCKED; SUN’S SILICON OVERSUPPLY GOES ON; THE SLOW STEADY GROWTH OF CAR CHARGERS

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

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 30:

  • TTTA Thursday-HOW TO TALK TO CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS
  • TTTA Thursday-WIND AT STAKE IN THE ELECTION
  • TTTA Thursday-THE AESTHETICS OF SOLAR
  • TTTA Thursday-EV MRKT TO MORE THAN DOUBLE BY 2023
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO NEW ENERGY
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 29: WIND MAY TIP KANSAS ELECTION; YOUNG VOTERS BRING NEW ENERGY; GREEN BUILDINGS BOOMING
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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

  • THE STUDY: THE AFFORDABILITY OF THE NEW ENERGY TRANSITION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 28: WIND BOOMS AS ‘MOST AFFORDABLE ENERGY OPTION’; OBSTACLES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR BIG SOLAR; GEOTHERMAL COMING BACK
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: THE HEALTH IN EMISSIONS CUTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 27: NEW ENERGY OVER 40% OF U.S. NEW BUILD IN 2014; EMPLOYEE BENEFITS NOW INCLUDE SOLAR; WIND BRINGS JOBS TO MICHIGAN
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Talking With The Redwoods
  • Weekend Video: Evangelicals Confront Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: Living The Platinum Rule: Making The Best Invention Of All Time Better
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- EU UPS THE WORLD’S BAR ON EMISSIONS CUT TARGETS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-FIRST BIG MOROCCO SOLAR NEAR POWERING UP
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NORTH SEA WIND-HYDRO INTERLINK TO GROW
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-TURKISH GEOTHERMAL GETS INTELLIGENT
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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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  • Tuesday, October 02, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, October 2: CHINA’S OREGON WIND BUY BLOCKED; SUN’S SILICON OVERSUPPLY GOES ON; THE SLOW STEADY GROWTH OF CAR CHARGERS

    CHINA’S OREGON WIND BUY BLOCKED White House Orders Chinese Firm to Divest From Wind Farm

    Damian Paletta, Eric Morath and Carol E. Lee, October 1, 2012 (NASDAQ)

    “President Barack Obama… took the unusual step of blocking foreign investment in a U.S. company, invoking national security concerns to prevent a firm owned by two Chinese nationals from acquiring four wind-farm- project companies…Ralls Corp., had sued the U.S. government in an effort to allow the acquisition to proceed, but the White House said the ‘wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.’

    “In blocking the investment, Mr. Obama followed the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States[CFIUS], which is chaired by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and includes top officials at the Pentagon and State Department, among others…The only other time the White House has used CFIUS to block an acquisition was on Feb. 1, 1990…when President George H.W. Bush prevented the acquisition of MAMCO Manufacturing by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp., citing national security concerns…”

    “…[Both] Mr. Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are locked in a political fight over which candidate would be tougher on China…[and] trying to win over voters in the industrial Midwest…[and] decisive battleground states such as Ohio…The Obama administration has filed a series of trade complaints against China ahead of the November election, including one earlier this month, and the president has promoted the decisions on the campaign trail…Mr. Romney, in turn, has accused Mr. Obama of being soft on China and says he would label China as a currency manipulator…[The President] indicated he wouldn't take that step…

    “Ralls Corp. is owned by executives from China-based Sany Group, a construction machinery firm…In March, Ralls Corp. acquired ownership of the four wind-farm projects, but the U.S. Navy objected to where the wind turbines were going to be…In June, CFIUS... asked [Ralls] to file a voluntary petition to have the acquisition retroactively reviewed…[In] July and August, CFIUS notified Ralls officials they couldn't proceed with their plans to build the wind farms…[and] prohibited the firm from selling its assets…On Sept. 12, the Ralls Corp. sued the government trying to reverse the decision.”

    SUN’S SILICON OVERSUPPLY GOES ON No End in Sight for Polysilicon Over-Supply; NPD Solarbuzz Forecasts Tier 1 Polysilicon Production Will be Greater than PV Industry Requires in 2012

    October 1, 2012 (SolarBuzz)

    “Despite the fact that most leading polysilicon producers have been operating at a loss, polysilicon capacity is expected to grow 22% in 2012 and a further 18% in 2013…Average industry-wide polysilicon prices for photovoltaic (PV) applications are forecast to drop 52% in 2012, while plant utilization is expected to decline from 77% in 2011 to 63%...

    “Total polysilicon capacity will exceed 385,000 tons in 2012, of which 70% is held by a small number of tier 1 producers. In fact, these tier 1 providers alone are forecast to satisfy all polysilicon demand… for the next few years.”

    “Unless end-market demand provides a strong upside surprise to expected polysilicon requirements, many of the 57 tier 2 and 3 producers are likely to exit the industry within the next 18 months. Indeed, even a few of the less-experienced tier 1 makers may not survive…Average polysilicon prices are forecast to start to stabilize in 2013 at around $21/Kg, as the remaining players rationalize utilization rates in line with end-market requirements…

    In addition to import duties, any increase in polysilicon prices will likely be limited by first tier supply sufficiency and end market demand for the next couple of years. However, tier 1 polysilicon producers continue to plan for longer term PV involvement, where low cost structures, economies of scale, and continuously improving productivity are expected to yield benefits as shipment volumes grow…”

    THE SLOW STEADY GROWTH OF CAR CHARGERS Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment; Level 1 and Level 2, DC Fast Charging, and Wireless EVSE: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    3Q 2012 (Pike research/Navigant)

    “The past 18 months have marked the transition of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) into full commercialization…[and] a major uptick in [electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ]deployments. In 2012, there will be almost 45,000 public charging stations installed globally. Much of this will be the result of publicly funded infrastructure initiatives…

    “…In comparison to government targets for PEVs, however, sales have been disappointing, and the relatively slow pace of PEV rollouts will act as a dampener on this market. With some exceptions, much of the private sector is waiting until PEVs are commonly seen on the roads in their areas before investing in charging infrastructure.”

    “The EVSE industry is still trying to determine the best way to create a viable return on investment (ROI) on EVSE station deployments for site hosts. This issue is going to become front and center as the publicly funded EVSE deployments wind down…

    “…[I]t has been relatively easy to encourage businesses to become site hosts when the EVSE equipment is free or heavily subsidized. Nevertheless, global sales of charging equipment are expected to grow at a steady pace as the plug-in vehicle (PEV) market grows. Pike Research projects that the global EVSE market will increase from fewer than 200,000 units sold in 2012 to almost 2.4 million in 2020…”

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