NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, December 5: PV DEMAND LEVELING OUT; FEDS BACK ENERGY STORAGE; BLDG-VEHICLE ENERGY SHARING OPPORTUNITY BEGINS

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

  • 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

  • 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
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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

    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 DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WHY THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY BACKS AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY POLICY
  • QUICK NEWS, July 22: U.S. DOE FORESEES NEW ENERGY; THE BEST CITIES FOR NEW ENERGY; ENERGY STORAGE TO BE $50BIL MRKT
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: THE COST OF ADDING SOLAR TO A UTILITY’S OPERATIONS
  • QUICK NEWS, 7-21: U.S. WIND, SOLAR TO GROW THROUGH 2020; NEW GEOTHERMAL RISING; CHINESE HAVE RIGHTS IN OREGON WIND BUY
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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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  • Wednesday, December 05, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, December 5: PV DEMAND LEVELING OUT; FEDS BACK ENERGY STORAGE; BLDG-VEHICLE ENERGY SHARING OPPORTUNITY BEGINS

    PV DEMAND LEVELING OUT PV demand in 2012 below 30GW? A sobering tonic as the industry goes to rehab

    Finlay Colville, 30 November 2012 (PVTech)

    “…2012 will definitely be remembered as…a year in which forecasts and guidance were rarely achieved…[and] being able to report ‘less amount of losses’ quarter on quarter was marketed as a success…[But] failure to hit the PV manufacturers’ demand ‘consensus’ from mid-year could…sober up the industry…2013-2014 would then be the rehabilitation phase (operating margin break-even) and 2015 the start of prolonged good health (profit-making)…

    “Typically, the PV industry started each calendar year with a general ‘consensus’ on annual PV demand. Historically, these levels erred heavily on the side of caution, with PV manufacturers not wishing to over commit…[W]hat transpired over the past few years in the PV industry was that final annual PV demand figures greatly exceeded the industry consensus reached during the first half of each calendar year. And more often than not, the catalyst for this was an eleventh-hour downstream installation frenzy ahead of a 31 December European policy level reset…”

    “By the middle of 2012, most manufacturers had settled on a figure of 30GW when pushed on annual PV demand. In private however, strong confidence did exist…[that] 2012 would follow trends of the previous years…[M]anufacturing largely proceeded…with inventory levels building up along the c-Si value-chain…But 2012 demand is somewhat different to previous years. First, most European countries have learned from previous year-end peaks and adjusted policies to curb these effects. And secondly, much of the mid-year optimism was based upon ambitious Q4 2012 demand targets in ‘new’ PV regions…[I]t is becoming more likely that the mid-year optimism is being replaced with the realisation that final year-end demand for 2012 will not follow the trends of previous years and will not provide a welcome upside boost…

    “The absence of a year-end surge in 2012…may finally provide the wake up call that puts an end to flooding the supply channels with product…[N]obody would advocate that the PV industry should revert to a ‘made-to-order’ production system…but the rehab process can only truly start when ASP stability has been achieved. And preventing oversupply is the single most important factor…”

    FEDS BACK ENERGY STORAGE DOE-Funded Energy-Storage Hub Will Develop Solutions For Intermittent Renewable Energy

    03 December 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded up to $120 million over five years to a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory to establish a new batteries and energy-storage hub that will help develop new technology to take greater advantage of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind energy and solar power…

    “…[The] Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the research and development of five DOE national laboratories, five universities and four private firms in an effort to achieve advances in battery performance…[It] will be located on the Argonne National Laboratory campus in suburban Chicago…”

    “Other national labs partnering with Argonne include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory…

    “University partners include Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and the University of Michigan. Four industrial partners have also joined: Dow Chemical Co., Applied Materials Inc., Johnson Controls Inc. and Clean Energy Trust.”

    BLDG-VEHICLE ENERGY SHARING OPPORTUNITY BEGINS Vehicle to Building Technologies; Energy Storage, Backup Power, Peak Shaving, and Building Operations Cost Reductions: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    4Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “In the coming decade, the energy stored in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) batteries will increasingly be made available to commercial buildings with intelligent building energy management systems (BEMS) to proactively manage energy consumption and costs.

    “…[V]ehicle-to-building (V2B) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) [technologies] have the potential to provide storage capacity to benefit both vehicle and building owners by offsetting some of the higher cost of PEVs, lowering buildings’ energy costs, and providing reliable emergency backup services.”

    “…[P]ilot projects are now underway around the world to develop and test V2B technologies. The majority of these programs are part of larger projects that are testing microgrid and smart grid technologies. V2B is one element that is being integrated with renewable energy generation, smart buildings, smart EV charging, and in some cases, stationary backup storage…

    “…[T]he number of PEVs participating in the projects [is increasing but projects] are still at the scale of integrating hundreds, and not yet thousands of vehicles. Pike Research forecasts that annual investments in upgrades to vehicles and to buildings, which include power electronics, inverters, and power management software, will grow to more than $76 million worldwide by 2020…”

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