NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: THE INEVITABILITY OF OFFSHORE 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

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 28:

  • TTTA Thursday-PRESIDENT TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE
  • TTTA Thursday-BIRDS AND ENERGY, THE BIGGER STORY
  • TTTA Thursday-NEW CA LAW STREAMLINES SOLAR PERMITTING
  • TTTA Thursday-DATA CENTER EFFICIENCIES CAN SAVE U.S. $3.8BIL/YR
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE RISKIEST ENERGY IN THE WORLD
  • QUICK NEWS, August 27: VERIZON’S $40MIL SOLAR BUY; WIND PRICES HIT RECORD LOWS; NUKE INSPECTOR SAYS DIABLO CYN IS UNSAFE
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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: 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 THAT

  • 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
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: New Thoughts About New Energy For A New Climate
  • Weekend Video: Carbon
  • Weekend Video: Why Utilities Struggle With New Energy
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • 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
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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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  • Monday, October 01, 2012

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE INEVITABILITY OF OFFSHORE WIND

    The Turning Point For Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Reduce Pollution, Protect Wildlife, and Secure America’s Energy Future

    September 2012 (World Wildlife Federation)

    Executive Summary

    As America struggles to revitalize our economy, create jobs, secure an energy independent future, and protect our communities and wildlife from the dangers of climate change, one energy source offers a golden opportunity to power our homes and businesses without creating more pollution —– Atlantic offshore wind.

    America has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, particularly along the Atlantic coast where over 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of energy generation potential has been identified. Harnessing just a fraction of our offshore wind resource —- 52 GW —- could power about 14 million U.S. homes with local, pollution-free energy while creating over $200 billion in new economic activity along the coast.

    Offshore wind energy is a real, viable option for America and it’s ready right now. Europe has been building offshore wind energy for over a decade, and is currently producing enough electricity from offshore wind to power 4 million homes. Around the globe, countries are increasingly looking to their offshore winds as a safe, reliable energy source that has tremendous economic development benefits.

    Here in America, offshore wind energy is at a turning point. While we do not have a single offshore wind turbine spinning off our shores, recent actions by the federal government, along with bipartisan leadership from coastal state officials, have put critical building blocks in place —– bringing us closer than ever before to finally tapping this massive domestic energy source. Looking forward, action is urgently needed to ensure that appropriately-sited offshore wind energy becomes a reality for America.

    Key Findings Of This Report Include:

    America Has Made Significant Progress In Advancing Appropriately-Sited Offshore Wind Energy

    • The Federal government is leading an ambitious initiative to deliver offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean, with leases expected this year…

    • Task Forces are underway in 10 Atlantic Coast states —– Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina —– to ensure coordination among state, federal, tribal, and local officials throughout the offshore wind energy leasing process.

    • Over 2,000 sq. nautical miles of federal waters with high wind speeds and low potential conflicts have been designated for wind energy development off of 6 states. Environmental reviews that have been completed for these areas have found that no significant impacts will result from granting leases to developers to collect data needed for their project designs. Industry competition is intense, with as many as 11 companies lined up to bid for leases in some states this year.

    • The federal government is also currently reviewing lease applications for a utility-scale project in New York, a floating turbine demonstration project in Maine, and an undersea transmission line from Virginia to New York. Many coastal states are leading the way in building a clean energy future with offshore wind…

    • After over a decade, the Cape Wind project proposed for Massachusetts is within sight of the finish line and expected to begin construction in 2013. Project proposals for state waters in Rhode Island and New Jersey are also advancing through the permitting process.

    • Three states —– Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey —– have set specific goals for offshore wind energy generation off their shores.

    • Governor Patrick of Massachusetts and Governor Christie of New Jersey have signed legislation into law that will facilitate financing solutions and provide incentives for offshore wind energy projects. This is precisely the type of leadership needed along the coast and at the federal level to jumpstart a robust offshore wind industry in America. Governor O’Malley has been pushing for a similar measure in Maryland, which is expected to be considered by the state legislature in 2013.

    • Nine states along the coast —– from Maine to Delaware —– have prioritized clean energy by requiring a certain percentage of the state’s power be generated from renewable sources. The New England Governors recently signed an agreement to pursue a coordinated strategy to purchase renewable sources.

    • Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey have pursued critical research and planning efforts to facilitate sound siting decisions, and similar efforts are underway in New York and Maryland.

    Offshore Wind Energy Can Be Developed In A Manner That Protects Wildlife.

    • Europe has been producing energy from its offshore wind resources for over two decades, and has been able to avoid and minimize many of the impacts to wildlife. For example, Danish research shows that birds have a strong tendency to avoid offshore wind energy turbines.

    • While conditions are different here in the U.S, initial research on birds, bats, sea turtles, and marine mammals off our coast suggests that we can achieve the same result if leasing decisions are based on sound science and informed by key experts and stakeholders. Specifically, data shows that bird density is significantly lower in offshore environments farther from shore.

    • All energy sources have some impact on wildlife, but research shows that appropriately-sited and mitigated offshore wind energy is a much safer bet than fossil fuels.

    A Thriving Offshore Wind Industry Will Be An Economic Powerhouse For America.

    • America’s wind industry currently employs over 75,000 people, and research shows that approximately 300,000 jobs and over $200 billion in new economic activity could result from a robust American offshore wind industry.

    • In addition to supporting thousands of jobs to design, construct, and operate offshore wind energy projects, substantial industrial manufacturing jobs will be needed to produce turbines, foundations, blades, sub-stations, and cables along the coast.

    • Over 40,000 people are currently employed in the offshore wind industry in Europe, with over 300,000 jobs expected by 2020.

    Offshore Wind Energy Can Provide Affordable, Reliable Power When And Where We Need It Most

    • America’s immense offshore wind resource lies in close proximity to some of our biggest cities, presenting an opportunity to utilize clean energy to meet the growing demand for power along the East Coast. For example, the New York Independent System Operator has found that for every 1,000 MW of wind on the system, consumers save $300 million in wholesale energy costs.

    • While natural gas prices are currently at historical lows, the region needs to make energy investment decisions for the next several decades. By diversifying the region’s energy portfolio, offshore wind energy presents an opportunity for utilities to lock in at a known price for the long term, creating a hedge to protect against future fossil fuel price spikes.

    • Industry trends driving down the cost of offshore wind energy include moving toward larger projects farther offshore in order to access economies of scale, a higher wind resource, and areas with fewer conflicts.

    • Offshore winds blow strongest during the day and at other times of peak demand such as heat waves, as documented by real-time wind monitors off Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

    • Plugging offshore wind into the grid will lead to lower, more predictable energy prices over time.For example, the New York Independent System Operator has found that for every 1,000 MW of wind on the system, consumers save $300 million in wholesale energy costs.

    • While natural gas prices are currently at historical lows, the region needs to make energy investment decisions for the next several decades. By diversifying the region’s energy portfolio, offshore wind energy presents an opportunity for utilities to lock in at a known price for the long term, creating a hedge to protect against future fossil fuel price spikes.

    • Industry trends driving down the cost of offshore wind energy include moving toward larger projects farther offshore in order to access economies of scale, a higher wind resource, and areas with fewer conflicts.

    Urgent Action Is Needed To Build On This Momentum And Ensure That Offshore Wind Energy Becomes A Reality For America.

    State and federal leaders should take the following actions to bring this new clean energy source ashore:

    1. Set a bold goal for offshore wind energy development in the Atlantic Ocean, in order to provide clear leadership and vision regarding the important role offshore wind must play in America’s energy future and demonstrate that this is a high priority for the federal government and each Atlantic Coast state.

    2. Take decisive action to advance offshore wind energy development and jumpstart markets for this emerging industry. Specific actions critically needed to level the playing field for clean energy and create an opportunity for offshore wind power to become a major source of electricity for America include:

    • Prioritize renewable energy generation —– and offshore wind power specifically —– through policies such as a renewable electricity standard, in order to send a clear market signal to encourage investment in offshore wind energy.

    • Extend critically-needed tax incentives including the federal Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, as well as the Production Tax Credit and Advanced Energy Project Credit needed to support domestic supply chain manufacturing opportunities for wind energy.

    • Take direct action to secure buyers for offshore wind power, including pursuing coordinated procurement strategies among key state and federal entities. State leadership is particularly critical for facilitating and approving power purchase contracts with local utilities.

    • Increase funding to the Departments of Energy and Interior and relevant state agencies to support needed research and facilitate the efficient deployment of offshore wind energy, in order to avoid subsequent impairment of needed financing and power purchase agreements.

    • Enact policies requiring stringent pollution reductions from all power sources, including limits on carbon pollution and other strong air, water, and waste management safeguards for the mining and burning of all fuel sources.

    3. Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited constructed, and operated responsibly in order to protect wildlife and avoid conflicts with other ocean uses. All offshore wind energy leases must contain clear and enforceable requirements to protect wildlife, and key state and federal agencies must have sufficient resources to collect needed data and manage the leasing process for multiple areas along the coast.

    4. Increase stakeholder coordination and public engagement throughout the process to achieve all of the above. Offshore wind energy development decisions should be coordinated with federal, state, tribal, and regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts in a manner that is consistent with the goals of America’s National Ocean Policy and includes significant stakeholder and public input.

    America has made significant progress over the last two years in pursuing offshore wind energy, but we still have a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world and finally harness our largest untapped energy source. Leadership by the states and federal government is critically needed to build on this momentum if we are to make the most of the golden energy opportunity sitting right off our shores.

    1 Comments:

    At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Market Study said...

    very informative and comprehensive post.It focused on America's wind industry and its growth prospect..America has done significant progress in advancing appropriately sited offshore wind energy..I appreciate for this great work..keep continue sharing such useful blog..

     

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