NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: WHAT OFFSHORE WIND CAN DO

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND’S GROWTH GOES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, April 23: MONEY COMING BACK TO NEW ENERGY; CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS FROM CORN STOVER STUMBLE; SUIT AGAINST WIND FOR BAT IMPACTS THROWN OUT
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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 STUDY: THE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF NEW ENERGY – THE NORTH CAROLINA CASE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 22: ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK; OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued); OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE U.S. NEW ENERGY MARKET NOW AND AHEAD
  • QUICK NEWS, April 21: OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY; BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR; 15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Happy Birthday Solar Cell
  • Weekend Video: Offshore Wind As A Hurricane A Wall
  • Weekend Video: Get On The Climate Policy Train
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 6
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 7
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 8
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 17:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 1
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 2
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 3
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 4
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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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  • Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    TODAY’S STUDY: WHAT OFFSHORE WIND CAN DO

    South Carolina Wind Energy Supply Chain Survey and Offshore Wind Economic Impact Study

    Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, Robert T. Carey, Ellen Weeks Saltzman, July 2012 (Clemson University Restoration Institute and Strom Thurmond Institute)

    Key Findings

    The purpose of this project is to assess the economic impact of the wind energy industry on the state of South Carolina. To do so, we needed to complete two main tasks. The South Carolina Wind Energy Census identified South Carolina firms in the wind energy supply chain.

    The second task estimated the current and potential economic impact of the wind energy industry on South Carolina. The economic impact analysis has two components: the estimated economic impact of installation and operation of a 1000 MW wind farm off the coast of South Carolina, and the estimated economic impact of the state’s existing wind energy supply chain, as identified in the South Carolina Wind Industry Census. Key findings are presented below.

    South Carolina Wind Energy Census

    The 2012 South Carolina Wind Industry Census is a survey of manufacturers and service providers in the wind energy supply chain in South Carolina. This survey was designed to obtain information about the composition and characteristics of the wind energy supply chain in South Carolina, and to measure the number of jobs involved.

    Employees and Jobs

    • Thirty-three firms1 responding to the South Carolina Wind Industry Census reported 1,134 of their employees spend part or all of their time on wind energy related production or service activities. These wind energy employees represent close to 14% of total employment in these 33 firms.

    • Employment in wind energy related production or service activities ranged from a single employee at seven firms to 400 employees at one firm. Most firms reported 10 or fewer wind energy employees. The median firm had five employees in wind energy activities.

    • South Carolina wind energy employees in management, professional, scientific, and technical jobs made slightly above the state’s average annual salaries for these types of jobs. Average earnings reported by survey respondents were $78,308 a year for employees in these jobs. Statewide, salaries range from $62,406 a year for management, scientific, and technical consulting services to $73,005 for architectural and engineering services.

    Firm Characteristics

    • Engineering Procurement & Construction (19 firms) and Component or Material Supplier (13 firms) were the top two primary firm functions selected by 26 firms. Six respondents identified consulting (including environmental, energy, permitting, and site selection) as their firm’s primary function.

    • Less than 10% of respondents selected Wind Turbine Original Equipment Manufacturer (one firm), Developer (four firms), or Operations & Management (2 firms) as their firm’s primary function.

    • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (13 firms) and Manufacturing (11 firms, including durable goods wholesalers) and are the two industry sectors most frequently represented by firms in the South Carolina wind energy supply chain.

    • Engineering services (6 firms) and other consulting services (6 firms) were the most frequently occurring wind energy specific activity in South Carolina. Eight firms manufactured products used in the wind energy supply chain, such as power cables, seals, bearings, and lubricants, among others.

    • All 38 firms reported a market for their products and services in the United States.

    • Canada (22 firms), Western Europe (20 firms) and Mexico (19 firms) were the dominant international markets identified by respondent firms.

    Business Climate

    • About 84% of respondents expected their firms to either increase capital investment above current levels (16 firms) over the next one to five years, or keep it about the same (16 firms).

    • Twenty-five of 38 respondents expected their firms to increase employment over current levels in South Carolina, and an additional 11 respondents expected employment levels to remain the same. No respondents expected their firm to decrease employment in the next one to five years.

    • Nearly all respondents expected their firms to either add new products or services over the next one to five years (28 firms) or to stay at about the same level (8 firms).

    • South Carolina’s quality of life (18 firms) and existing firm location(s) in the state (17 firms) were the most frequently selected factors affecting firm location decisions.

    • Over one-third of respondents (14 firms) selected a competitive and skilled workforce as an important factor in their firm’s decision to locate in South Carolina, followed by supportive state regulations (11 firms).

    • Economic development incentives (5 firms) and access to finance (3 firms) were the least frequently identified factors affecting firm location decisions.

    • Industry volatility was selected by 27 respondents as a risk facing their company at this time.

    • Domestic tax policies and domestic industry competition were the next four most common risks facing respondents, headed up by the risk posed to firms by inconsistent renewable energy targets among states (16 firms).

    The Economic Impact of Wind Energy on the State of South Carolina

    South Carolina’s Wind Energy Supply Chain

    • The South Carolina Wind Industry Census identified 1,134 direct jobs involved in wind energy related production or service activities in 2012. These direct jobs in the wind energy supply chain are estimated to generate an additional 1,797 jobs statewide through indirect and induced effects for a total employment impact of 2,931 jobs in 2012. South Carolina’s existing wind energy supply chain has an estimated jobs multiplier of 2.6.

    • South Carolina’s existing wind energy supply chain generated an estimated $530 million in total output in the state in 2012, including indirect and induced effects.

    • South Carolina’s wind energy supply chain generated an estimated annual net fiscal impact of $29 million for state government and $21 million for local governments around the state in 2012.

    Proposed 2,000 MW Offshore Wind Farm

    Turbine Component Manufacturing. During the wind farm development period between 2016 and 2025, wind turbine components for 1,000 MW of electric power generating capacity will be manufactured for installation in the proposed offshore wind farm. This level of manufacturing activity would generate an average annual estimated economic impact on the state of South Carolina as follows:

     293 total jobs per year (direct, indirect, and induced),

     $18.3 million in wages per year,

     $54.9 million in output per year, and

     $5.7 million in combined state and local government revenue per year.

    Turbine Installation. The economic impact on the state resulting from the installation of 1,000 MW of wind turbine electric generating capacity off the South Carolina coast takes place beginning in 2016, the year that the first 40 MW of turbines are installed. Over the 10 year wind farm development period, installation activities alone would generate an estimated:

     3,329 average annual total jobs per year (direct, indirect, and induced),

     $163.1 million in wages per year,

     $270.7 million in output per year, and

     $51.2 million in combined state and local government revenue per year.

    Wind Farm Operations & Maintenance (O&M). The post-construction (2026-2030) average annual economic impact to the state of O&M activities for a 1,000 MW offshore wind is estimated to be:

     678 total jobs per year in South Carolina (direct, indirect, and induced),

     $41.8 million in wages per year,

     $115.2 million in output per year, and

     $13.4 million in combined state and local government revenue per year.

    Aggregate Economic Impacts. The construction and operation of a 1,000 MW wind farm off the South Carolina coast will have a large economic impact on the state, particularly during the 10 year construction phase.

     3,879 total jobs in the average year in South Carolina (direct, indirect, and induced),

     $1.96 billion in wages over the 10 year period 2016 to 2025,

     $1.93 billion in disposable income 2016 to 2025,

     $3.66 billion in output 2016 to 2025, and

     $616.2 million in combined state and local government revenue 2016 to 2025.

    Employment Impacts by Industry Sector. The construction sector is predicted to see the largest impacts during the installation of the wind farm. During the ongoing O&M phase, the largest predicted impact is on professional services. Some sectors with significant employment effects are those associated with induced effects, such as food services and health care.

    Conclusion

    While Europe has garnered much experience in offshore wind energy generation, it is a new endeavor in the United States. The opportunity clearly exists for South Carolina to take a leading role in offshore wind energy development, both in terms of wind farm location, supply chain, or both. In this study, we investigated the extent to which the state’s existing wind energy supply chain and a 1,000 MW offshore wind farm would impact the state’s economy and fiscal situation. These impacts are indeed significant. In 2012, South Carolina’s existing wind energy supply chain provided 1,134 jobs in wind energy manufacturing or service provision activities. These direct jobs generated 1,797 additional jobs in the state economy through indirect and induced effects. The wind energy supply chain contributed $530.2 million in the value of output to the state’s economy, and generated $50.4 million in net revenue for state and local governments.

    If constructed, a 1,000 MW offshore wind farm would have a much larger economic impact on the state of South Carolina, adding an estimated 3,900 total jobs in the average year (direct, indirect and induced) during the 10 year construction period and 680 jobs in the average year after that for ongoing O&M activities. Between 2016 and 2030, construction and operation of the proposed wind farm would contribute close to $2.2 billion in wages and $4.2 billion in the value of output to the state’s economy. State and local governments would receive an estimated $683 million in total.

    In order to illustrate the upper bounds of what might be possible, we constructed one final economic impact model assuming that South Carolina had the production and service capabilities to capture 100% of the manufacture, installation, and O&M activities associated with a proposed 1,000 MW offshore wind farm in all related industry sectors.

    Under this scenario, the total impact per MW installed per year would be approximately 75 jobs, $3.6 million in disposable income, and $6.6 million in output statewide. The net fiscal impact per MW installed per year would be approximately $665,000 for state government and $486,000 for local governments. For an installation schedule of 100 MW per year, say, the economic impacts associated with component manufacture, turbine installation, and O&M would add 7,500 jobs and hundreds of millions to the state’s economy in income and output. Such a state of affairs may be extremely unlikely, but demonstrates the economic potential for South Carolina that exists in offshore wind energy.

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