NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: EUROPE’S HOTTEST WIND MARKETS

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 Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR 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, Oct. 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
  • TTTA Thursday-FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
  • TTTA Thursday-IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
  • TTTA Thursday-GETTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY FROM THE CLOUD
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW ENERGY BECOMES PRICE COMPETITIVE
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 15: NEW NUMBERS SHOW BIG OCEAN WIND POWER; SOLAR TURNS IN A NEW DIRECTION; FUEL CELL MARKETS TO VARY, GROW
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND COMES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 14: THE UTILITY-SOLAR DEBATE OVER WHO PAYS; TECHNICIANS WANTED – APPLY TO WIND; MAKING MULTIFAMILY BLDGS MORE EFFICIENT
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • THE STUDY: A LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER PLANTS
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 13: NUCLEAR FADING, NEW ENERGY COMING ON; THE ONE BIG ADVANTAGE OF SOLAR; HALF OF GLOBAL HEAT MAY BE HIDING IN THE OCEANS
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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.

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: EUROPE’S HOTTEST WIND MARKETS

    Eastern Winds; Emerging European wind power markets

    February 2013 (European Wind Energy Association)

    Executive Summary

    Central, eastern and south-eastern Europe is Europe’s new wind energy frontier. Significant growth, opportunity and benefits can be expected from and for the region in the years ahead. This applies equally to cen- tral, eastern and south-eastern European countries already in the European Union, and those which are applying to join, or could potentially join in the future.

    These newly emerged and emerging markets are not only important in their own right, but they have increased perceived importance given the state of wind energy markets elsewhere in Europe. These new markets look set to offset, to a greater or lesser ex- tent, declines in the near future in some of the more mature southern European markets. It therefore be- comes all the more important for the European wind energy industry that the newly emerged and emerging eastern European markets are able to achieve their full potential.

    The European Union’s newer Member States

    • Installed wind energy capacity in the EU’s newer Member States1 increased from 208 MW in 2005 to 4,200 MW by the end of 2011, growing annually by 665 MW on average. This growth is in large part driven by the EU’s energy policy: indicative 2010 tar- gets for renewable energy in all Member States2 and binding 2020 targets set by the 2009 renewable en- ergy directive3.

    • Wind energy development, like the policies and in- centives it requires, is diverse across the region. There are as many wind energy markets as there are Member States. Interestingly, five of the 12 newer Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania) have 88% of the total installed wind energy capacity in the newer Member States.

    • The share of the EU’s annual wind energy installa- tions in the newer Member States has grown from just over 2% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2011.

    • According to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) of the newer Member States, some 16 GW of wind energy capacity should be grid con- nected by 2020 — an increase of 10 GW or 165% compared to 2012.

    • The newer Member States are, with a few key and important exceptions, currently failing to meet their NREAP targets.

    Non-EU European markets

    • Beyond the EU’s borders a number of European countries are also showing encouraging growth in wind energy. EU accession requirements in Croatia, and Ukraine’s alignment with EU energy policy, are driving factors behind this.

    • Alignment with EU accession requirements in Serbia are expected to launch the wind energy sector, once the authorities have sorted out legislative issues.

    • Turkey has one of the fastest growing electricity gen- erating sectors in the world, which is driving large investments in wind energy. A government target of 20 GW of installed wind energy capacity by 2023 has been set. Meeting this target will require adding 18 GW of new wind capacity.

    • While Russia would benefit economically and envi- ronmentally from harnessing its abundant wind re- sources, the government currently shows little inter- est in developing this potential.

    Financing wind energy in Europe’s emerging markets

    • A number of commercial banks are willing to invest in wind energy projects in central and eastern Eu- rope. However, these countries’ regulatory instabil- ity is a key issue in obtaining finance.

    • Banks offer many financing schemes, but the most common are non-recourse and limited recourse sen- ior loans. Deals are preferred in euros rather than local currency.

    • Three international financing institutions are active in wind energy project financing in the region: Euro- pean Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Re- construction and Development (EBRD) and Interna- tional Finance Corporation (IFC). The latter provide mid to long term financing or syndicated loans with local commercial banks.

    • EU cohesion funds are available for financing wind energy in the EU. Between 2007 and 2010 €786m was allocated to wind energy across the EU of which €420m was in the newer Member States. However, due to complicated EU and national procedures only 3% of this amount was actually spent.

    • EU funds for wind energy could increase from 2014- 2020 if the funds’ priorities are aligned with EU cli- mate and energy policy.

    Support mechanisms

    • All the countries analysed have set up support mechanisms for wind energy. They are diverse in de- sign and effectiveness.

    • The stability of support mechanisms is key to sus- tained wind energy growth. Where rules are unclear, unpredictable, or frequently changing (sometimes retroactively) wind energy deployment follows boom and bust cycles or does not pick up at all.

    Recommendations

    • In an economic climate where credit is tight in many countries, the legal framework is critical to obtaining finance. Long-term stability, predictability and work- ability are thus essential.

    • National governments should ensure that support mechanisms are in line with EU internal market rules. Failure by the European Commission and na- tional governments to pro-actively engage on sup- port mechanism compatibility may lead to long approval processes that significantly slow down market development.

    • The approach to no-go areas (Natura 2000, nature protected areas, heritage protected areas, vicinity to radar) should be objective and the criteria made clear to developers. National governments should develop appropriate planning instruments to ensure that wind energy is deployed in harmony with the natural environment.

    • Rules on environmental impact assessment should be clear and robust. Failing to meet the standards of international financial institutions can seriously hamper the financing of projects.

    • Grid connection costs should be transparent and procedures to access the grid should be designed to favour legitimate project developers.

    • Administrative procedures should be streamlined. Deadlines should be clear and governments should work towards automatic approval of requests in case these deadlines are not met.

    • A one stop shop approach for administrative and grid connection procedures, and an appropriate number of trained civil servants would significantly cut lead time on projects.

    Introduction

    Wind energy in Europe began in a handful of “pioneering” countries over 20 years ago. Since the late 1990s and early 2000s it spread across the EU. The Union’s energy and climate policies have been a motor for the deployment of renewable energy sources, and especially wind energy, in an ever increasing number of countries.

    The ¬nancial crisis in 2008 and the sovereign debt crisis that followed have created numerous new challenges for the wind energy sector in countries that were previously its strongest markets. The energy sector in the emerging markets has turned its attention to the opportunities offered by the move away from conventional generation technologies towards a renewable energy future.

    In this report, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) analyses the situation for wind energy in the countries of central, eastern and south eastern Europe. The report gives an overview of the energy sector, the wind energy supply chain, the legal framework, support mechanisms and the ¬nancing situation for each country. It also highlights some of the main obstacles, as well as the signi¬cant opportunities.

    The countries analysed have been split into fi¬ve fi¬rst wave markets, three second wave markets and four future markets. In the latter, existing legislation and political impetus are currently insuffi¬cient to attract investment in wind energy.

    This should not, however, distract attention from developments in the other markets in this report. Some of the leading markets are changing legislation to the detriment of wind energy deployment and setting their own renewable energy targets. Others may have only momentarily struck a fragile balance in their energy policy.

    Consultants PwC were brought in to supplement EWEA’s research on the countries in this report. PwC conducted both primary research (phone and face-toface interviews, online questionnaires, statistical data, legislation and so on) and secondary research (synthesis and analysis of market reports, publications, surveys conducted by third parties). PwC interviewed more than 20 experts including investors, banking representatives, NGOs, associations, regulatory representatives and other public and private stakeholders.

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