NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: BIG SUN IN SOUTH AFRICA

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

  • 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
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 23:

  • TTTA Thursday-EVANGELICALS IN ‘CREATION CARE’ CLIMATE FIGHT
  • TTTA Thursday-ADVANCED WIND-MAKERS MAKANI, SHEERWIND READY DEMOS
  • TTTA Thursday-TEA PARTY BACKS SOLAR, ATTACKS UTILITY MONOPOLIES
  • TTTA Thursday-WHAT DRIVERS DON’T KNOW HOLDS BACK THE FUTURE
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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 IMPACT ON REAL PEOPLE OF RISING POWER PRICES
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    TODAY’S STUDY: BIG SUN IN SOUTH AFRICA

    Concentrated Solar Power South Africa Market Guide 2012-2013

    September 2012 (CSP Today)

    Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme 2010-2013

    In March 2011 South Africa’s Department of Energy (DOE) finalised details of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 20-year blueprint that showed the government’s commitment to energy from renewable sources.

    The IRP indicated that renewable energy will make up a substantial 42% of all new electricity generation (totaling 17,800MW) from 2010-2030, and gave strong backing to Wind, Solar Photovoltaics (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) within this new energy mix.

    Under the IRP the DOE committed to produce 8400MW from PV, 8400MW from Wind and 1000MW from CSP through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).

    In August 2011 the first request for proposals for renewable projects was opened by the government allocating 200MW to CSP in this initial stage, leaving 800MW available for future rounds.

    REIPPP Round I

    By December 2011 the Department of Energy had received 53 bids across all the different technologies, awarding 28 projects to independent power producers made up of 632MW of PV, 150MW of CSP and 634MW of Wind.

    The two CSP tenders were awarded to Abengoa, a leading Spanish multinational renewable energy developer, that included the 50MW Khi Solar One plants and the 100MW KaXu Solar One plant (For further information on these projects see tables 1.2 and 1.3).

    REIPPP Round II

    The bidding for window II of the REIPPP closed on 5 March 2012 with a total of 79 bids received. The total capacity of bids amounted to 3,255MW, far exceeding the cap that was set at 1,275MW across all technologies.

    The CSP allocation for window II was a maximum of 50MW (the capacity remaining from the 200MW assigned to CSP in the initial request for proposals).

    REIPPP Round III Delays

    In September 2012 the DOE announced delays to Round III of the REIPPP. These delays are mainly due to the difficulty in advancing first round projects to financial close, with this deadline initially scheduled for 20 June 2012, now pushed back to October.

    The need to focus on financial closure for projects selected during the first two bidding rounds has had a knock on effect, currently CSP’s MW allocation in Round III remains unclear and the bid submission date is set for 7 May 2013, more than 9 months later than expected.

    On 21 May 2012 this 50MW was allocated to a consortium led by ACWA Power International, the Saudi Water and Power giant, and the South African energy company Solafrica to develop the Bokpoort CSP Power Plant. For further information on this project see table 2.2.

    The significance of the REIPPP delays for CSP in South Africa is the impact this has had on long-term market certainty. Pancho Ndebele, Founding Member of SASTELA, (a leading association created to support the emerging South African CSP sector) and CEO of Emvelo, recently told CSP Today that large investments have been made by developers, EPCs and others in the development of projects. However, the push back in financial close for Round I has resulted in a lack of clarity in how many MW will be available in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Rounds. This in turn makes it difficult for developers, EPC groups, manufacturers, investors, and lenders to commit more resources to the development of projects.

    Future of the REIPPP; CSP Today examines the potential of concentrated solar power to support social and economic development in South Africa, as well as explains current tariff rates and the expected market growth from 2010-2025.

    Local Content & Job Creation

    Within the initial request for proposals the DOE placed sustainable employment as a central pillar of their 20 year plan for renewable technologies, focusing on manufacturing development and balanced job creation to tackle the high unemployment rates in South Africa. Substantial progress has already been made on the local content levels reached in CSP projects selected in the first two rounds of the programme, with this rising from 21% in Round I to 36% in Round II.

    Furthermore, to date each project has taken important steps to unlocking the strong opportunities for Job creation in this region. (See table 4.1 below).

    Local content levels are expected to increase again in Round III. The ability to reach higher percentages will become more feasible as CSP is deployed on a larger scale, as this will provide manufacturers with the assurance and economies of scale needed to set up local plants and manufacture key components within South Africa.

    Tariff & Future

    Under the current REIPPP, tariffs had been capped for each technology. Bidders for CSP projects have to offer a tariff below the ZAR 2.85/kWh cap. The bid will be ‘non-compliant’ and automatically rejected during the qualification phase if the price cap is exceeded or the bid does not meet the gate-keeping qualification criteria as stipulated in the Request for Proposal document issued within the REIPPP.

    After the qualification phase, the bid is evaluated against strict evaluation criteria. The two main criteria are tariff price (70%) and economic development (30%). Bidders whose responses rank the highest will be appointed as Preferred Bidders and will be awarded a PPA for a period of 20 years under their proposed tariff. For the following procurement rounds, a further allocation of CSP-specific megawatts and a reduction of the tariff cap for some technologies are expected. However, so far, there has been no official announcement from the government in this regard. The IRP suggests that from 2014, 100MW of CSP should be built each year until an accumulated capacity of 1,200MW from CSP is reached in 2025. Of the 1,200MW CSP target, 200MW are already committed to be built by Eskom, the local and state-owned utility in South Africa. Therefore, the South African government is planning to let IPPs build the remaining 1,000MW of CSP in the country.

    CSP Potential in South Africa - interview with Pancho Ndebele of SASTELA

    CSP Today speaks to Pancho Ndebele, Founding Member of SASTELA and CEO of Emvelo about the long-term potential of CSP in South Africa, including the development of local manufacturing in the region.

    CSP Today: South Africa has received a lot of positive feedback with regards to the bidding process for CSP allocation. What factors do you think have contributed to this success?

    South Africa has come up with its own unique process to introduce renewables into the country’s energy mix and the government must be congratulated for its efforts. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has set the framework to introduce renewables and whilst the initial CSP allocation of 200MW was taken up in Round 1 and 2, I am confident that DOE will allocate at least another 200MW for Round 3, it would make sense for DOE to allocate similar MW for Rounds 4 and 5 as this would provide the market certainty that industry requires.

    CSP Today: One of the major barriers faced by CSP allocation in South Africa is its relatively high cost in comparison to other sources of renewable energy. Does CSP have a competitive edge in South Africa that will encourage investment despite higher costs involved?

    The CSP value proposition is not yet understood by policy makers and that is part of SASTELA’s role: to engage policy makers on the value proposition of CSP and that is going to be one of the roles of the new CEO (Jonathan Devries). Costs can be brought down if there was certainty on the MW allocation available for CSP as this would encourage both local and international players to set up manufacturing facilities for CSP components in South Africa and this in turn would drive down costs.

    CSP Today: In terms of the 200MW cap that has been placed on the government allocation to CSP in the REIPPPP process, do you see room for private investment in CSP over and above this allocation?

    As indicated earlier, Round 3 will see an additional allocation for CSP on top of the 200MW that has already been taken up, if government allocates the remaining 800MW available for CSP in the IRP for Rounds 3, 4 and 5 of REIPPP this will attract private CSP investments and will help South Africa lay the foundations to become a major industrial player in CSP component manufacturing for the domestic, regional and international markets.

    CSP Today: As a Founding Member of SASTELA and CEO of Emvelo you are in a relatively unique position in terms of having a dual perspective on the South African CSP Industry, both from a lobbying point of view and through your work as a developer. Therefore what do you see as the major challenges facing CSP in South Africa?

    The major challenge is market certainty, large investments have been made by developers, EPCs and others in the development of projects and without any clear picture of how many MW will be available in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Rounds makes it difficult for developers, manufacturers, investors, lenders and EPCs to commit more resources in the development of projects.

    CSP Today: Do you think further legislative and policy adjustments are needed to foster CSP growth?

    Definitely, the IRP needs to be revised and at least a minimum of 300MW must be procured annually.

    CSP Today: What is the potential for the development of local content? Does South Africa have the infrastructure to support an emerging CSP market?

    With a procurement process that has a set number of MW that will be procured on an annual basis for CSP, like Spain South Africa could easily achieve 80% local content.

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