NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, February 26: ASIA-PACIFIC SOLAR BOOM GOES ON; SO DAKOTA WANTS WIND; STILL BIG MONEY IN LITHIUM ION BATTERIES

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: The Economic Opportunity In The Climate Fight
  • Weekend Video: The Future Of Energy
  • Weekend Video: Advances In BioEnergy
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CLIMATE CHANGE – IT GETS WORSE
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-WHERE AND HOW WIND IS GROWING IN THE WORLD
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-CHINA TO LEAD SOLAR MARKET GROWTH DESPITE OBSTACLES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE ENORMOUS POTENTIAL OF WORLD GEOTHERMAL
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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, 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 THAT

  • 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
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • 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 LAST DAY UP HERE

  • 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
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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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  • Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, February 26: ASIA-PACIFIC SOLAR BOOM GOES ON; SO DAKOTA WANTS WIND; STILL BIG MONEY IN LITHIUM ION BATTERIES

    ASIA-PACIFIC SOLAR BOOM GOES ON PV Demand in the Asia Pacific Region to Reach 13.5 GW in 2013…Leading PV Countries in Asia Pacific Starting to Exhibit Diverse Market-Entry Conditions

    February 13, 2013 (SolarBuzz)

    “Solar photovoltaic (PV) demand from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is forecast to grow to 13.5 GW in 2013, growing 50% Y/Y…China, Japan, India, and Australia…will account for 90% of APAC demand in 2013. However, discrete end-market demand environments are now evolving in each of these countries. As a result, PV suppliers and technologies are being selected in each territory based upon factors such as domestic manufacturing, policies, import duties, and customer preferences…

    “…[A] single go-to-market strategy…is no longer viable…In Australia, the elimination of the Solar Credit Multiplier, along with incentive reductions in Victoria and Queensland, will slow PV growth during 2013. In Japan, demand will peak during Q1’13, ahead of scheduled tariff reductions in April…The Chinese government will likely re-adjust the goals of its 12th Five-Year Solar Development Plan, and the country will see over 75% of its 7 GW demand in 2013 occur in 2H’13…In India, the final version of Phase II of the National Solar Mission program is still pending…[It could drive] a capacity increase from 3.7 to 9 GW, with an increased focus on the off-grid and rooftop sectors.”

    “The threat of further trade wars involving APAC countries, along with other import restrictions, is segmenting the APAC region into country and application-specific markets. Domestic content restrictions on imported modules into India may strongly affect c-Si supply from China or any thin-film imports to India.

    “The APAC region is becoming more selective about technologies. In Japan, high-efficiency modules have become the preferred technology for locations with constrained space. In China, domestically manufactured multi c-Si modules are satisfying ground-mounted requirements. And in India, 1 GW of new demand will come from rooftop projects under Phase II of the National Solar Mission, which could further shrink this key market for thin-film suppliers…”

    SO DAKOTA WANTS WIND SD Senate panel endorses incentives for wind power

    Chet Brokaw, February 14, 2013 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “…[The] South Dakota Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted 6-1 to pass a measure…that would provide financial incentives to encourage the stalled construction of wind power projects in the state…[The] construction of wind farms has drawn to a standstill in South Dakota because the state imposes much higher taxes during construction than neighboring states do.

    “…South Dakota currently would charge $7 million to $11 million in sales taxes and contractor's excise taxes during the construction phase of a typical wind farm. North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa would charge only $1 million to $2 million…[T]he committee approved a…[measure that] would give a wind project an incentive payment roughly equal to 2 percent of its final cost. For example, a $5 million project would get a $100,000 incentive payment. One costing $100 million would get a $2 million incentive payment…”

    “Rob Rebenitsch, director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association, said South Dakota has 784 megawatts of installed wind power, while North Dakota has twice as much. Iowa has 4,536 megawatts of wind power installed…Rebenitsch said more than 13,000 megawatts of wind generation was installed across the nation last year in 192 projects costing $25 billion…[but] none of that generation was installed in South Dakota…

    “Wind energy officials said the bill is a good start, but they believe larger incentives are needed…Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, said he objected to the bill because it deals with only one industry…[S]tate officials and legislators are making progress in devising an overall incentive program that would cover agricultural processing and all other kinds of large construction projects.”

    STILL BIG MONEY IN LITHIUM ION BATTERIES … Global Lithium-ion Market to Double Despite Recent Issues; The market was valued at $11.7 billion at the end of 2012 - Fastest growth can be witnessed in the industrial and automotive segments

    21 February 2013 (Frost and Sullivan)

    “The global lithium-ion battery market was worth $11.7 billion in 2012 and is expected to double by 2016, according to Frost & Sullivan. This will happen despite the recent issues experienced by Boeing, and despite Airbus decision to abandon these batteries…

    “North America holds the highest share of revenues for consumer and industrial applications while Europe boasts the highest revenues for industrial lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). The highest growth in industrial battery demand is expected to come from APAC. China, Japan and South Korea account for close to 85-90% of the global LiB production.”

    “China…has the highest concentration of LiB manufacturers: over 200 players…[in] the consumer segment and around 30-40 companies for automotive…[and many] US companies…have been acquired by Chinese firms…[The] Obama administration’s ARRA funding…[started many LiB companies but many have gone] bankrupt with the funding drying up…[the] economic slowdown…[and the] high cost of EVs…[ Germany and Switzerland are strong contributors to R&D] among European countries and the demand for batteries comes from all the three segments: consumer, industrial and automotive...

    “The global LiB market holds immense opportunities for growth and expansion. Although the consumer segment is mature in developed economies, this still is a growing application in Latin America, China, [and] India…The highest potential for growth however is exhibited by the industrial applications. Manufacturers that were previously involved only on producing and selling batteries for the automotive segment…have started to sell LiBs for cordless power tools, forklifts, and garden equipment…”

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