NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, January 8: BUFFETT COMPANY BUYS WORLDS BIGGEST PV; UTILITY BUYS WIND AT $1.36MIL PER MW; MILITARY ARMS WITH MICROGRIDS

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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  • Tuesday, January 08, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, January 8: BUFFETT COMPANY BUYS WORLDS BIGGEST PV; UTILITY BUYS WIND AT $1.36MIL PER MW; MILITARY ARMS WITH MICROGRIDS

    BUFFETT COMPANY BUYS WORLDS BIGGEST PV MidAmerican Solar Acquires World's Largest Solar Development from SunPower; Antelope Valley Solar Projects Will Generate 579 Megawatts for Southern California Edison

    January 2, 2013 (PR Newswire via MidAmerican Renewables)

    “…SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) announced [Warrern Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary] MidAmerican Solar's acquisition from SunPower of the 579-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects (AVSP), two co-located projects in Kern and Los Angeles Counties in Calif. Together, the two combined projects will form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world and will create an estimated 650 jobs during construction…

    “…[AVSP] will provide renewable energy to Southern California Edison (SCE) under two long-term power purchase contracts approved by the California Public Utilities Commission…SunPower developed the co-located Antelope Valley Solar Projects over the last four years. At the 3,230-acre site, SunPower will install the SunPower®Oasis® Power Plant product [high-efficiency SunPower solar panels and SunPower® T0 Trackers], fully integrated, modular solar technology that is engineered to rapidly deploy utility-scale solar projects while minimizing land use…”

    “…SunPower will be the engineering, procurement and construction [EPC] contractor and will operate and maintain the facility via a multiyear services agreement…Construction of the solar project is scheduled to begin in first quarter 2013, with the plants expected to be complete by year-end 2015…AVSP has secured final conditional use permits and has completed full environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act…

    “MidAmerican Solar's projects also include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and a 49 percent ownership interest in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz…SunPower has more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power plants operating worldwide, including the first 130 megawatts of the 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch, which is under construction in San Luis Obispo County, Calif…”

    UTILITY BUYS WIND AT $1.36MIL PER MW Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. Announces Acquisition of 109.5 MW Shady Oaks Wind Power Facility

    January 2, 2013 (Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.)

    “Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. ("APUC") (TSX: AQN)…has acquired a 109.5 MW contracted wind powered generating station ("Shady Oaks") from Goldwind International SO Limited ("Goldwind") for total consideration to all stakeholders of approximately US$148.9 million.

    “The Shady Oaks wind power facility is located in Northern Illinois…and reached commercial operation in June 2012. Total annual energy production is expected to be 364 GW-hrs per year. The Shady Oaks wind facility has entered into a 20 year inflation indexed power purchase agreement with the largest electric utility in the state of Illinois, Commonwealth Edison (BBB flat stable: Moody's, S&P)…”

    “The facility is comprised of 68 Goldwind GW82 1.5MW and 3 Goldwind GW100 2.5MW permanent magnet direct-drive wind turbines; these turbines are well suited for the wind regime, and offer significant technological advantages providing proven reliability, enhanced energy production efficiency and lower long term maintenance costs.

    “Through its affiliate, Goldwind has assumed all operations, maintenance, and capital repair responsibilities for the Shady Oaks wind facility pursuant to a 20 year fixed price agreement…”

    MILITARY ARMS WITH MICROGRIDS Military Microgrids; Stationary Base, Forward Operating Base, and Mobile Smart Grid Networks for Renewables Integration, Demand Response, and Mission-Critical Security

    4Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “The United States Department of Defense’s (DOD) interest in improving energy security through microgrid technology stems from its heavy reliance upon all forms of fossil fuels, often imported from regions of the world hostile to U.S. interests. Microgrids can shrink the amount of fossil fuels consumed to create electricity by networking generators as a system to maximize efficiency…

    “They can also be used to help integrate renewable energy resources (such as wind and solar) at the local distribution grid level. Simultaneously, microgrids enable military bases – both stationary and forward operating bases – to sustain operations, no matter what is happening on the larger utility grid or in the theater of war.”

    “According to the Secretary of Defense, over 40 DOD military bases either have currently operating microgrids, planned microgrids, or have conducted studies or demonstrations of microgrid technologies…

    “DOD also has 600 forward operating bases (FOBs) and is investigating the deployment of even smaller mobile, tactical microgrids in Afghanistan and other engagement hot spots. Pike Research forecasts that, in an average scenario, the total capacity of U.S. military microgrids for stationary bases will reach 54.8 megawatts by 2018…”

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