NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, October 3: VOTERS LOVE SUN AND WIND – POLL; SUN’S CONSOLIDATION; BUFFET BUYS MORE WIND

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: A CHRONICLE OF EXTREME CLIMATE IMPACTS
  • QUICK NEWS, July 29: OFFICIAL FORECASTS OVERLOOK NEW ENERGY; NEW ENERGY NEEDS NEW TRANSMISSION; BRITISH COLUMBIA EMISSIONS TAX SUCCEEDING
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • 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
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    THE DAY BEFORE 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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
  • AND 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
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • 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
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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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  • Wednesday, October 03, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, October 3: VOTERS LOVE SUN AND WIND – POLL; SUN’S CONSOLIDATION; BUFFET BUYS MORE WIND

    VOTERS LOVE SUN AND WIND – POLL Poll Reveals Strong Support for Solar Energy Across Political Spectrum on Eve of First Presidential Debate

    September 27, 2012 (Hart Research Associates)

    “…92 percent of [likely 2012] voters believe it’s important for the U.S. to develop and use more solar energy…85 percent of voters view solar energy favorably…78 percent of voters say government should support growth of solar energy with incentives…[according to] independent polling firm Hart Research Associates…

    “The poll found that more than nine out of 10 (92 percent) of likely voters feel that the U.S. should develop and use more solar energy. This support was strong across the political spectrum with 84 percent of Republicans, 95 percent of independents, and 98 percent of Democrats agreeing…”

    “Voters’ favorable view of solar translates directly into widespread bipartisan support for federal incentives fostering solar energy. Nearly four out of five (78 percent) of voters say the government should provide tax credits and financial incentives to encourage the development and use of solar energy. Fully two-thirds of swing voters (67 percent) chose solar above any other energy source to receive tax and financial incentives…

    “…[V]oters were unsure about the affordability of solar…The average system price of solar has dropped 50 percent since 2007. Innovations in system financing have made solar more affordable than ever before. Today, major U.S. brands rely on solar to keep costs low for consumers…The top 10 states for total solar electric capacity are…California, New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina…”

    SUN’S CONSOLIDATION PV Supply Stabilization Reduces Pressure on ASP Declines in 2013; Anti-Dumping Fears and Further Corporate Casualties to Eliminate Competition for Market Survivors

    September 24, 2012 (SolarBuzz)

    “Photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers that survive through 2013 are set for strong market-share gains, as global trade barriers and increased corporate casualties combine to decrease the competitive landscape significantly…During Q3’12, leading PV module manufacturers were confronted by increasing inventory levels (from 66 to 79 days outstanding) and declining shipments (down 7% Q/Q)…[because of expectations for] a traditional PV second-half boom in shipments…[but Q3 2012 demand] has yet to support the higher production levels.

    “1H’12 global demand was approximately 13 GW, while 2H’12 demand is projected to reach 16 GW, for only 25% growth…Q4’12 will provide a significant boost in end-market demand…[but not that of Q4 2011 when year-end demand resulted in over 10 GW of PV modules being consumed…Demand in Q4’12 is now expected to be in the range of 8.5-9.5 GW…[with demand] for 2012 to fall just short of 30 GW. An upside of 25% remains possible, but is strongly dependent on a late surge in shipments to China and India…[and] recovery across Europe…”

    “Signs are now emerging that 2013 will provide an opening for leading PV manufacturers to accomplish market-share gains…[L]eading module suppliers [will be] able to increase production at the expense of legacy competitors…This stabilization phase during 2013 will be characterized by increasing consolidation and liquidation of lower-tier PV manufacturers, many of whom have suspended production or are simply unburdening inventory…

    “As supply and demand continue to stabilize, this will result in a slower…decline and a lower risk of inventory build during 2013. This will allow upstream module manufacturers to maintain higher inventory levels as there will be less risk of any dramatic devaluation of stock-on-hand due to rapid end-market fluctuations…[Instead of] European and US-based PV manufacturers, the next set of exits from the PV industry will likely come from underperforming Chinese tier 2 and 3 manufacturers…”

    BUFFET BUYS MORE WIND MidAmerican Wind to Acquire Two California Wind Projects from Terra-Gen Power; Alta Wind VII and Alta Wind IX projects total approximately 300 megawatts

    September 30, 2012 (MidAmerican Energy Holding Company)

    “…MidAmerican Wind, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables whose parent company is MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, announced its…[acquisition of] the 168-megawatt Alta Wind VII and the 132-megawatt Alta Wind IX projects from California Highwind Power, a subsidiary of Terra-Gen Power, LLC…

    “…The projects are in Tehachapi, Calif., and will feature a total of 100 Vestas 3-megawatt V90 wind turbines…When complete, Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from each of the projects pursuant to the terms of power purchase agreements that extend to 2035. The projects will interconnect to and utilize Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.”

    “The Alta Wind VII and Alta Wind IX projects are part of the Alta Wind Energy Center. The completion of the two projects will bring the total capacity of the Alta Wind Energy Center to 1,320 megawatts. Approximately 1,020 megawatts are currently in operation…

    “…[With this addition,] MidAmerican Renewables’ portfolio includes more than 1,250 megawatts of owned renewable energy assets…MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company is the No. 1 rate-regulated utility owner of wind-powered generation capacity in the U.S…MidAmerican began building wind energy projects in 2004…[and] has built or acquired more than 3,300 megawatts of wind generation…”

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