NewEnergyNews: 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013

NewEnergyNews

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

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Is peak oil demand coming soon?
  • QUICK NEWS, November 21: Online Deniers Falsely Used NASA Study About Antarctic Melt; The EV As A Mini Power Plant; New Energy Price Knocks Coal, Nuclear Out Of The Market
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Green Is The Tech World?
  • QUICK NEWS, November 20: The U.S. Is Starting To Get It; New Energy Buying Goes Mainstream; House, Senate To Face Off Over Wind Support
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Global New Energy To Boom Through 2040
  • Weekend Video: The Power Of The Sun
  • Weekend Video: World’s First Floating Wind Project
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Three Top Takeaways From The Bonn Climate Summit
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Seven Global New Energy Trends
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World’s First Floating Wind Project Goes Online
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-VW Commits $11.8BIL EV Spend In China
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-Big Thumbs Up For Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’
  • TTTA Thursday- Trends In Global New Energy Through 2040
  • TTTA Thursday-How Wind Energy Learned To Be Better
  • TTTA Thursday-The Secret To See-Through Solar
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    click image for more info about the Sunstock Solar Festival

    Research Associate and Contributing Editor Jessica R. Wunder

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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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      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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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, November 22:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Will California's 100% renewables goal get through the political process?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What makes a successful utility-led community solar program?

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: HOW WATER WILL CHANGE ENERGY

    Water Constraints on Energy Production: Altering our Current Collision Course

    Melissa Whited, Frank Ackerman, & Sarah Jackson, September 12, 2013 (Synapse Energy Economics for the Civil Society Institute)

    Executive Summary

    Today’s electric power system was built on traditional, water-intensive thermoelectric and hydroelectric generators. The water requirements of this energy system are enormous. Large fossil fuel and nuclear power plants with once-through cooling systems withdraw staggeringly large quantities of water from rivers, lakes, and estuaries; plants with recirculating cooling systems withdraw less water, but actually consume more via evaporation.

    Water supply issues are already forcing thermoelectric power plants in some regions to shut down under dry and hot conditions—a problem that will only worsen as populations grow and climate change increases the frequency and duration of droughts and heat waves. The repercussions of forced shut-downs include reliability impacts and higher electric rates linked to costly replacement power purchases and investments in water-supply infrastructure.

    At the same time, power plant operations and production of fuels for electricity generation carry serious risks for water quality. Energy impacts on water include pollution risks from fracking in gas-producing states, fish kills, thermal pollution, polluted effluent, and coal ash spills at power plants. The need to address water quality impacts will become even more urgent if domestic fracking for shale gas grows at the rate anticipated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    This study undertakes a comprehensive review of the many water-related problems and constraints related to the electricity sector. The issues we address include:

    • Water supply shortages, especially in the West, where major river systems are overstressed, groundwater aquifers are being depleted, and agriculture is dependent on water for irrigation

    • Water demand crises, even in naturally wet regions such as the Southeast, where rapid population growth and traditional, inefficient patterns of water use, such as once-through power plant cooling, have strained the available supplies

    • Upstream impacts of fossil-fuel production, such as the water pollution hazards created by coal mining and by fracking in the oil and gas industry

    • Hydropower production losses caused by reduced or more volatile flows in major rivers

    • Impacts of power plant operation on water quality, including impacts on fish and other aquatic life by cooling water intakes, thermal impacts of heated water discharge, and pollution from power plant effluent

    • Waste disposal risks, such as water pollution and ash spill risks from coal ash disposal

    The key findings and recommendations of this study are presented below.

    A. Water Quantity Constraints

    The amount of water available to serve diverse needs is a growing concern across the country, from the arid western states to the seemingly water-rich Southeast. Currently, 97 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from thermoelectric or hydroelectric generators, which rely on vast quantities of water to produce electricity.

    Thermoelectric plants are major water users; they withdraw 41 percent of the nation’s fresh water—more than any other sector. On an average day, water withdrawals across the nation amount to an estimated 85 billion gallons for coal plants, 45 billion gallons for nuclear plants, and 7 billion gallons for natural gas plants. Significant amounts of water are also required for fossil fuel extraction, refining and processing, and transportation. Coal mining consumes between 70 million and 260 million gallons of water per day, and natural gas fracking requires between 2 and 6 million gallons of water per well for injection purposes. In contrast, many renewable resources such as wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) require little to no water.

    The EIA projects that use of thermoelectric power plants will continue to increase to meet the electricity needs of a U.S. population expected to grow by another 100 million by 2060.

    If current trends continue, water supplies will simply be unable to keep up with our growing demands.

    Factors that are likely to exacerbate this problem include the following:

    • Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS): The wholesale conversion of coal and natural gas plants to CCS would result in dramatic increases in the amounts of water withdrawn and consumed by thermoelectric plants in the United States. Though not yet common, CCS may become widely adopted to comply with new environmental regulations. CCS increases the water usage of coal and natural gas-fired power plants substantially, increasing consumption rates by 83 percent for existing coal plants, or by 58 percent for new integrated gasification units. CCS is projected to nearly double natural gas water consumption rates, causing a 91 percent increase. As water resources become scarcer in many parts of the country, this may limit the ability of plants with CCS to operate, particularly during heat waves or droughts.

    • Climate change: Climate models show unequivocal evidence that average temperatures worldwide are rising, and that water resources will be significantly impacted. Likely impacts on water resources for power production include:

    o Substantial shifts in where and how precipitation will occur, with certain regions, especially the Mountain West and Southwest, expected to become more arid and experience less runoff.

    o Precipitation will likely become less frequent but more intense, with heavy downpours increasing and greater precipitation falling in the form of rain as opposed to snow, thus decreasing mountain snowpack and runoff while making stream flows more intense and more variable.

    o Seasonal flows in rivers will become more erratic and experience shifts in timing of high and low flows, with likely reductions in flows during the summer months.

    o Hotter temperatures will increase electricity use due to higher air conditioning loads, while causing power plants to operate less efficiently and require more water for cooling.

    Such impacts imply that when loads are highest—on hot summer days—less energy will be available from water-intensive hydroelectric and thermoelectric power plants.

    • Water shortages: Declining availability of water resources (due to climate change or other causes) may threaten power generation reliability. Already, lack of sufficient water has constrained power production in numerous cases, particularly during times of drought.

    These situations have resulted in increased costs to consumers, both for high-cost replacement power, and for infrastructure projects intended to increase water supplies, such as a 17-mile pipeline for a coal plant in Wyoming.

    Water shortages can also pit users in one sector against another, even when users hold formal water rights. Legal battles arise when water rights are ill-defined or over-allocated; these battles may extend for years, jeopardizing the timely construction of new generation capacity. In times of drought, thermoelectric generators may face even greater uncertainty regarding their water rights. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation estimates that electric generators totaling 9,000 MW capacity are “at risk of curtailment if their water rights are recalled to allow the available water to be used for other purposes.”

    Failure to address these constraints now is bound to lead to further intersectoral conflicts and forced plant shutdowns that jeopardize electricity production and constrain economic growth.

    B. Energy’s Impacts on Water Quality

    Electric-sector impacts on water quality are significant, and are likely to increase if the United States continues to rely heavily on thermoelectric power plants to meet energy needs. Many of the costs associated with these impacts are currently borne by the communities located near the resources, not by energy producers or consumers; this makes thermoelectric power appear to be much cheaper than it truly is.

    Water quality impacts associated with fossil fuel and uranium production include the following:

    Coal mining: Mining, transporting, processing, and burning of coal, along with coal ash disposal, are important causes of human and ecological harms. Elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals have been found in drinking water in coal mining areas, often exceeding safe drinking water standards. Coal mining has been associated with numerous human health problems. Studies discussed in this report have found strong correlations between coal mining and: total, cancer, and respiratory mortality rates; chronic cardiovascular disease mortality rates; higher levels of birth defects; and poor physical and mental health. In heavily mined areas, streams display less diverse populations of aquatic life, with the effects extending far downstream from the mining areas. These problems can persist for years; some mines reclaimed nearly 20 years earlier continue to degrade water quality. In Appalachia, more than 2,000 km of streams have been buried under mining overburden, devastating freshwater habitats in the region.

    Uranium mining and milling: Since 1980, domestic production of uranium has sharply declined. However, recent increases in uranium prices have led to renewed interest in uranium mining in the United States, a scenario that calls for renewed concern about water quality impacts. Uranium mining and milling create vast quantities of tailings; runoff from these tailings can contaminate both surface and groundwater. Contaminants include not only uranium and other radioactive materials, but also toxic heavy metals. The radioactive and other toxic impacts of uranium mine and mill tailings are extremely long lasting; improper disposal and handling in the past continue to cause harm in the present.

    Natural gas production: Technological advancements in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have enabled massive expansion in the production of unconventional gas. The process involves many known risks to ground- and surface-water quality.

    • During fracking, fractures in the rock may create pathways for the migration of methane or fracking fluid into overlying aquifers, contaminating groundwater with explosive levels of natural gas. Faulty well construction can also lead to migration of gas from wells into groundwater. An estimated 3 to 7 percent of wells have compromised structural integrity, a problem that could enable methane to seep into groundwater.

    • Seepage of fracking fluids into groundwater has contaminated drinking water with toxic chemicals such as benzene. Only a portion of fracking fluids are recovered in the “flowback water” from a well; the remainder is left deep within the earth, potentially leading to groundwater contamination.

    • Concern over water supply contamination is intensified by the fact that many fracking chemicals are not currently regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the precise mix of chemicals used in fracking is often kept secret.

    • As wells begin to produce gas, additional water originally present in the surrounding rock formation mixes with the fracking fluid and surfaces as “produced water.” This water may contain salts, metals, oil, grease, benzene, toluene, radioactive materials naturally occurring in the rocks, and chemicals used in fracking.

    • In the Marcellus Shale region, fracking wastewater is either reused, or sent to municipal wastewater treatment facilities where it is treated and discharged into local surface waters. These municipal facilities are not designed to deal with the contaminants that are found in fracking wastewater. High concentrations of salts and naturally occurring radioactive material cannot be removed by these facilities, and are passed through to local water bodies. Similarly, cuttings from the well may be sent to landfills, where the radioactive material can migrate into water that is then treated and released by wastewater facilities incapable of adequately handling the waste.

    Power plant waste disposal is another major source of water quality impacts. Wastewater discharges from power plants currently account for 50 to 60 percent of all toxic pollutants discharged to surface waters by all industrial sources regulated by the EPA. Water quality impacts from the operation of thermoelectric power plants include the following:

    Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater: Coal fired power plants produce wastewater through a number of processes, including from FGD systems (scrubbers), which reduce sulfur emissions. The slurry produced by a scrubber contains high levels of arsenic, mercury, aluminum, selenium, cadmium, and iron. Most plants using scrubber discharge their wastewater to settling ponds. After a certain amount of residence time in the pond, the wastewater is generally discharged to local surface waters. Although this process may effectively reduce total suspended solids and other particulate pollutants, it does not reduce the potentially significant amounts of dissolved metals in the wastewater. Thus several pollutants—such as boron, manganese, and selenium—can be discharged untreated into the environment.

    Coal combustion residuals (CCR): Coal-fired plants produce vast amounts of fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag, known as coal combustion residuals. Typically, CCR contains heavy metals and radioactive material. An estimated 131 million tons of CCR were produced in 2007, of which about 43 percent was recycled; the rest remains in surface impoundments near the plants, or was dried and landfilled. EPA lists over 670 coal processing waste and CCR sites, of which 45 have been identified as “high hazard” sites. The potential impacts to water from CCRs include leaching of pollution from impoundments and landfills into groundwater, and structural failures of impoundments leading to spills. During the past several decades, there have been several documented cases of ground or surface water contamination. A 2007 draft risk assessment for EPA found significant human health risks for people living near clay-lined and unlined sites from contaminants including arsenic, boron, cadmium, lead, and thallium. To date, CCR has been exempt from federal regulation and has been regulated at the state level. Following a devastating spill in Tennessee in 2010, the EPA proposed to regulate CCR impoundments for the first time ever under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, but the rule has yet to be finalized.

    Thermal pollution: In once-through cooling systems, large quantities of water are withdrawn from rivers, lakes, or other water bodies, used for cooling, and then discharged at a much higher temperature. Thermal discharges from power plants can alter the populations of phytoplankton; increase the likelihood of algal blooms; accelerate the growth of bacteria; increase mortality of copepods,2 snails, and crabs; and alter fish habitats, with uncertain results. Thermal pollution regulations can limit the ability of power plants with once-through cooling systems to operate during heat waves, which may become more common under climate change. If the incoming river, lake, or ocean water is too warm, it will cool the power plant less efficiently, and the outflow from the plant may exceed the allowable temperature limits for thermal discharge. This can lead to the need to purchase high-cost replacement power, which affects electricity rates paid by consumers.

    C. The Information Gap: Data Needs for Sustainable Energy Planning

    This study has identified several information gaps that need to be filled in order to support energy planning, regulations, and policymaking that fully account for water constraints and impacts.

    Critical data deficiencies are summarized below.

    Power plant data collection and reporting: Although average water usage by thermoelectric technologies has been studied and documented, plant-level water usage data is of insufficient quality and detail. Many power plants do not report their water use to the EIA; outdated forms used by the EIA have resulted in reporting inaccuracies; and U.S. Geological Survey data—an essential source for water planning—have several critical shortcomings. These data deficiencies limit the ability of government agencies and industry analysts to identify trends in water use and looming intersectoral conflicts. On a national level, water availability and use has not been comprehensively assessed in more than 30 years. Directed by the SECURE Water Act of 2009, the USGS has begun an assessment (or census) of water availability, but the final product will likely not be available for many years.

    Climate change impacts and uncertainty: The inadequacy of information about the impacts of climate change stems primarily from the complexity of the climate problem. Despite the massive and ever-expanding body of research, crucial questions about the pace of climate change remain uncertain, perhaps inescapably so. The long-term pace at which the global average temperature is rising remains uncertain, and downscaling of global forecasts to regional levels introduces additional uncertainty. Dissemination of information on climate impacts and sensible discussion of climate policy are further constrained by vociferous opposition from groups and individuals who are committed to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus about the reality of the climate threat.

    Groundwater unknowns: Groundwater provides about 40 percent of the nation’s public water supply, and a significant portion of its irrigation water. As additional water supplies are sought to provide water for power plants, coal mines, and natural gas wells, groundwater aquifers will suffer faster rates of depletion and may quickly be exhausted. The overdraft of aquifers is enabled in part by inadequate monitoring of aquifer levels and a virtual dearth of pumping regulations. The absence of a national groundwater-level network with a unified objective and reporting protocols makes interstate groundwater resources exceedingly difficult to manage, precluding accurate assessments of groundwater availability, rates of use, and sustainability.

    Water rights uncertainty: Several factors—including poorly understood surface water variability, groundwater movement, and climate change impacts—are combining to erode the security of users’ water rights. Moreover, no agreements (or insufficiently clear and detailed agreements) are in place to deal with water shortages in countless river basins and aquifers. As water shortages loom on the horizon, policymakers need access to the most accurate information available regarding water flows. Lack of comprehensive agreements has already led to protracted legal battles, and will likely lead to more in the future unless policymakers make the resolution of this issue a priority.

    Reporting of chemicals used in fracking: Gas producers often designate the identities of the fracking chemicals they use as “proprietary information” or “trade secrets.” Many known toxins and carcinogens are used in fracking, but determining which chemicals are used in any particular well is a challenge. A few states require some disclosure regarding fracking chemicals; however, more than half of the states with fracking activity currently have no disclosure requirements at all. The Natural Resources Defense Council found that only six states allow disclosure of trade secret information to health care providers who are treating patients exposed to fracking fluid. FGD wastewater treatment effectiveness: The quality of data measuring the effectiveness of FGD wastewater treatment is inadequate across the power plant sector, due to inconsistent definitions of what is considered “wastewater” across the industry, and the varying levels of treatment systems used.

    D. Recommendations

    The energy sector’s dependence on and unsustainable use of water threatens the reliability of our nation’s energy system and the health of our water supplies. To address these risks, we must fill the information gaps present in our understanding of the issues, and account for water-related risks in energy planning, regulations, and policies.

    At a minimum, we recommend that regulators and policymakers:

    • Conduct long-term water resource planning on a regional basis and across sectors, including projections of future water needs and the possible impacts of droughts and climate change on water availability.

    • Require entities proposing to construct new power plants or retrofit existing plants to conduct water resource adequacy assessments, as well as incorporate the future opportunity cost of water in a power plant’s cost estimates.

    • Perform electric generation risk assessments related to the ability of power plants to continue operation during heat waves and extended droughts.

    • Encourage existing power plants to explore alternative cooling technologies and water sources, such as using reclaimed or brackish water, using thermal discharges to desalinate water, or using air cooling systems.

    • Incorporate the costs of alternative cooling technologies, the water sources required to operate them, and anticipated carbon prices in analyses of the economic viability of thermoelectric plants in an increasingly water- and climate-constrained world.

    • Encourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable technologies that require little water.

    • Review all federal and state water subsidies and continue to provide subsidies only if they are supported by a thorough assessment of the social and economic impacts of water supply on all sectors, including agricultural, municipal, industrial, and indigenous tribal users of water, as well as the energy sector.

    In addition, information about and regulation of the water quality impacts of fuel extraction and wastewater disposal must be strengthened. In particular:

    • More information is needed regarding the chemicals present in treated wastewater and fracking fluids.

    • Regulations regarding the use and storage of such chemicals must be tightened.

    • Mine reclamation needs to be held to high standards, restoring or replacing the previously existing ecosystems.

    • Any renewal of uranium mining needs to be carefully regulated to control the dangers of radioactive contamination.

    QUICK NEWS, September 30: NEW ENERGY AND THE GRID; A BIG IPO IN WIND; EU GRID EFFICIENCY MRKT TO QUADRUPLE BY 2020

    NEW ENERGY AND THE GRID What happens if you add lots of wind and solar power to the grid?

    Brad Plumer, September 26, 2013 (Washington Post)

    “…[As wind and solar power keep] expanding, it could pose some hassles and headaches for those in charge of the nation's electricity grid…[According to studies by] the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)… It likely wouldn't be cheap up front. But the existing electric grid could probably handle a big infusion of renewable energy without huge infrastructure changes. And, contrary to some recent arguments, putting that much wind and solar on the grid really would cut pollution…and curtail the greenhouse gases…Grid operators would need to find ways to juggle supply and demand to accommodate intermittent sources…with existing technology — from improved forecasts for the sun and wind to "demand response" programs for large consumers of electricity…” click here for more

    A BIG IPO IN WIND Wind energy company Pattern blows past IPO price in debut; At a high of $24.30, company valued at $1.24 bln

    September 27, 2013 (Reuters)

    “Shares of Pattern Energy Group Inc rose 10 percent in their debut, as the recent rally in renewable energy stocks rubbed off on the first-ever public offering of a U.S. wind farm operator…Pattern has solid cash flow and has been largely profitable…The company raised $352 million after pricing its offering at $22 per share, just above its expected price range of $19-$21. Pattern sold 16 million shares…California-based Pattern owns and operates eight wind power projects in the United States, Canada and Chile, with a total power-generation capacity of 1,041 MW…Pattern's net profit rose to $29.14 million for the first six months of 2013, from $6.44 million a year earlier…Revenue rose 62 percent to $102.54 million…” click here for more

    EU GRID EFFICIENCY MRKT TO QUADRUPLE BY 2020 Demand Response in Europe; Market Size, Growth Forecast, Customer Segment Opportunities, and Program Deployments in Europe: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    Q3 2013 (Navigant Research)

    “Europe is an emerging demand response (DR) market with significant opportunities for technology and services vendors…[B]arriers are gradually being removed…[and] several geographic areas in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland, are planning to introduce a capacity market…The growing number of new entrants, especially aggregators, is another indicator…[and] the major incumbents – based in either the United States or Europe – are taking steps to expand into the burgeoning European DR market…Navigant Research forecasts that annual spending on DR in Europe will grow from $139 million in 2013 to $777 million in 2020…” click here for more

    Saturday, September 28, 2013

    What World Scientists Just Said About Climate Change

    This is an excellent short summary of the latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report: “The case is ironclad…The earth is warming…” From PBS Newshour via YouTube

    From newenergytech via YouTube

    24 Hours Of Climate Reality

    This annual 24-hour event to boost climate change awareness is coming up October 22-23. It is going to have a financial focus this year. From ClimateReality

    Looking Through Solar Windows

    The opportunity to change can come in unexpected places. From newenergytech via YouTube

    Friday, September 27, 2013

    IPCC CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT – NOT MUCH DOUBT ABOUT IT

    U.N. climate change report points blame at humans

    Dave Hennen, Brandon Miller and Eliott C. McLaughlin,September 27, 2013 (CNNWorld)

    “The world's getting hotter, the sea's rising and there's increasing evidence neither are naturally occurring phenomena…Climate scientists are 95% confident [according to the newest IPCC report] -- that is to say, surer than ever -- that humans are responsible for at least ‘half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the 1950s.’ …An increase in carbon dioxide concentrations that is ‘unprecedented’ in the last 20,000 years, along with increases in other emissions, have driven up average temperatures by about 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) since 1950…Worst-case predictions are that by 2100, temperatures could increase by as much as 3.7 degrees Celsius (6.6 Fahrenheit)…Climate change is already affecting extreme weather…Scientists are 90% sure that 1981-2010 was the warmest such span in the last eight centuries…Scientists are 99% sure that sea level rise has accelerated over the last 2 centuries at a rate higher than at any time in the last 2,000 years…Even if we end emission tomorrow, climate change could continue for centuries…” click here for more

    THE ECONOMIC RISKS OF FOSSIL DEPENDENCY

    Capitalism's Greatest Crash Now Likely within a Few Years; Energy industry set to follow in footsteps of financial industry

    September 26, 2013 (Routledge, Taylor, and Francis Group)

    "There is a risk blindness being run by Big Energy that, unless action is taken, will lead to an inevitable global crash according to [Jeremy Leggett’s The Energy of Nations]…Leggett describes four systemic risks being run by Big Energy…[1] We have way more conventional fossil fuel than we need to wreck the climate. Yet the energy incumbency wants us to pile so-called unconventional deposits…[2] we risk creating a carbon bubble in the capital markets: puffing up assumed value in fossil fuels…Some financial institutions have already begun withdrawing investment in fossil fuels…[3] the so-called ‘shale boom’ in gas and oil production…may prove to be a bubble…[and 4] the incumbency narrative [is] that there will be adequate supplies of affordable oil for decades to come…a minority [doesn’t]…” click here for more

    WHERE SOLAR IS COMING ON

    Emerging Solar Markets Set for Rapid Installation Expansion Through 2017

    September 26, 2013, (IHS Inc.)

    “The next big opportunity for growth in the global solar business lies in small, emerging markets where photovoltaic (PV) installations are forecast to rise at about triple the global average during the period from 2012 through 2017…to 10.9 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent from 2.2 GW in 2012…[while] the overall global market will expand at a CAGR of only 13 percent during the same period. The emerging markets will account for 19 percent of global installations in 2017, up from just 7 percent in 2012…Thailand and Turkey are expected to become the largest markets…Poland, Turkey and Russia are all rolling out support schemes…Ukraine and Romania already install PV systems at a rapid pace…[and] the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark are set to continue…IHS expects South Africa, Israel and Saudi Arabia to drive PV additions in the Africa-Middle East region…Chile, Brazil and Mexico will fuel demand in Latin America. In Asia-Pacific, PV demand is dominated by Thailand and South Korea…” click here for more

    DUTCH CROWDSOURCING FOR WIND HITS NEW HEIGHTS

    Crowdfunding for Wind Energy Sets New World Record

    Clare Taylor, September 26, 2013

    "This week 1700 Dutch households raised EUR 1.3 million in just thirteen hours to buy shares in a wind turbine – setting a new world record for crowdfunding. For the next 12 years, these households will receive their own sustainable energy from the cooperatively owned turbine. With electricity costs set to rise, the ‘wind-sharers’ will benefit from big annual savings – by anticipating and managing energy needs…Facilitated by Dutch company WindCentrale, the wind shares were sold for EUR 200 each and households bought single shares or blocks of shares. Each share corresponds to approximately 500kWh of electricity per year (the annual average household consumption in the Netherlands is 3500kWh)…” click here for more

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    NewEnergyNews EXCLUSIVE – THE AIDS QUILT FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES: A mom-started movement to ‘Sew the SEEDS’ of preventing extinctions.

    NewEnergyNews EXCLUSIVE – THE AIDS QUILT FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES: A mom-started movement to ‘Sew the SEEDS’ of preventing extinctions.

    By Herman K. Trabish, September 26, 2013 (NewEnergyNews)

    When Lonesome George, a tortoise often called the rarest creature in the world, died last year, it ended his species’ existence but started an effort to prevent others from following George down.

    “I've always been aware of environmental challenges and consider them the most important issue of our time,” explained Sherrell Cuneo, “so when I saw that Lonesome George had died I was pretty depressed.”

    Instead of staying depressed about predictions that as many as 40 percent of today’s species will be extinct in the next 50 to 100 years, Cuneo started a movement to create an AIDS quilt for endangered species, which she calls Sew the SEEDS (Saving Earth's Endangered and Diverse Species).

    Cuneo’s first ”visceral reaction to extinction” was when her father told her about Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, and the flocks of passenger pigeons that had disappeared. She fell in love with birds and giant tortoises and made plans with her childhood BFF to become an ornithologist and sail to the Galapogos Islands.

    “All that had been buried but George brought it back,” explained Cuneo, whose life path had led away from science to a career as a Hollywood costumer and the fulfillment of being a mom.

    "Somebody ought to do the AIDS quilt for endangered species," Cuneo, who lost close friends to AIDS, blurted out while talking about George the day he died. “The words just came out of my mouth, like they weren't even mine. I was surprised when I discovered it hadn't been done yet. So I came to believe the idea had chosen me.”

    The obstacle, Cuneo came to believe, was that many people had personal relationships with AIDS victims while fewer know the harsh truth about endangered species. But, she decided after talking with teachers at Thomas Starr King Middle School where her daughter Apollonia was a student, the project could become part of a teaching curriculum. ”Teachers these days are always looking for interdisciplinary topics.”

    Research into curriculum standards led her to focus on kindergarten, fourth grade, sixth grade, and high school biology programs. She worked up the quilt’s name SEEDS (Saving Earth's Endangered and Diverse Species) and a friend suggested “Sew The SEEDS” for the movement.

    Apollonia taught Cuneo how to create a Keynote presentation and when she showed it to Linda Harada and Aileen Rabina, teachers at the middle school, they encouraged her.

    While waiting for the teachers to work the material into their schedule, Cuneo said, “I did what I'm good at; making things. I figured I needed to make a panel or two to show people what I was talking about. The first panels were George and Martha.”

    She also began exploring other outlets and seeking support for Sew the SEEDS. She got encouragement from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Mike Chrisman, Madeline Rose and Chris Pincetich with the Turtle Island Restoration Network and Center for Biological Diversity Endangered Species Act Organizer Angela Crane. Joel Greenburg publicized the project at the Project Passenger Pigeon website. And Candice Cain, the Center Theatre Group costume shop supervisor, promised fabric.

    When she introduced the project to the middle school classes, Cuneo began with a presentation about extinction and the AIDS quilt. “Anyone close to my age gets ‘the AIDS Quilt for endangered species’ pitch. But most people from Gen X on have no real idea what AIDS meant in the 1980's and how something as simple as a quilt actually made a difference. From there, I had to draw the comparison to losing an entire species forever and why it should matter to kids who are increasingly distanced from nature.”

    The teachers divided the children into groups. Each did a panel. The measurements involved in making the panels fit well with the school’s math and geometry curriculum. The teachers also had them write about extinction and think about it in ethical terms.

    Each group had to find online images of their species, do a scale mock-up on graph paper and transfer it, at actual panel size, onto pattern paper. “Some used an overhead projector to trace the image onto the full size panel, some drew freehand, some painted their panels, or appliqued, or embroidered, Cuneo explained. Some used rubber stamps for lettering, some hand printed, and some combined several techniques. “I was basically there to help them do what they wanted to do. There wasn't a lot of machine sewing until it was time to put all the panels together.”

    As much as possible, Cuneo obtained materials for the project that were environmentally friendly, she said, “and all sewing was done on a 1906 Singer Treadle machine or a 1922 hand crank, so no electricity was used in the sewing of the quilts."

    The endangered species quilt project has begun to take on its own life. A small grant to Ms. Rabina will allow her students to make new panels this year in conjunction with the Long Beach Aquarium.

    As with the AIDS quilt, which now has over 6,000 blocks of eight panels each, it is time for others, individuals and schools, to follow the model, Cuneo said. She sees her undertaking as part of something larger. "Climate change is the big problem. Species extinction is a different way of getting to it.”

    Information on how to become a part of the movement to create a quilt for endangered species is available at Sew the SEEDS (Saving Earth's Endangered and Diverse Species) [http://www.sewtheseeds.org/] Cuneo can be contacted at: sherrell@sewtheseeds.org

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, September 26: WIND OPPONENTS ‘IN THE STONE AGE’; NEW ENERGY BEATS THE COSTS OF COAL; SOLAR POWER TOWER PASSES TEST

    WIND OPPONENTS ‘LIVING IN THE STONE AGE’ – UK LEADER Opponents of wind farms are living in the “Stone Age”, Ed Davey has said, as he declared war on Tory Cabinet colleagues over turbines.

    Peter Dominiczak, 15 September 2013 (UK Telegraph)

    “…[Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey] accused Conservatives of attempting to ‘destroy’ the UK’s renewables industry…He singled out Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, warning that he is trying to ‘cull’ wind turbines…Mr Davey warned that [a report commissioned by Mr Paterson on the impact of wind farms on the countryside] would be ‘partial’ and potentially inaccurate…His aides said Mr Davey is fighting "trench warfare" with Tory colleagues over green energy…He said that Tories opposing wind farms and other green energy policies are ‘irresponsible’…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY CHEAPER THAN THE COSTS OF COAL New Study: Clean Energy Least Costly to Power America's Electricity Needs

    Laurie Johnson, September 17, 2013 (Natural Resources Defense Council)

    “…[O]nce estimates of climate change costs and other health impacts are taken into account, it would be cheaper to build new power plants from wind turbines or solar panels than from coal. It would also be cheaper to replace some of our dirtiest coal plants with these cleaner sources…In other words, transitioning to cleaner energy won’t just help protect us and our children and grand-children from climate change, it’s also good economics…The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system…[shows] that our electricity system, which generates fully 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, is costly…[E]xtreme weather caused more than $140 billion in damages in 2012. American taxpayers picked up nearly $100 billion of those costs…” click here for more

    SOLAR POWER TOWER PASSES BIG TEST Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Reaches ‘First Sync’ Milestone; Testing confirms operational readiness of world’s largest solar thermal project

    September 24, 2013 (BusinessWire)

    “…NRG Solar, today announced that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System produced its first output of energy when the Unit 1 station was synced to the power grid for the first time. Achieving this critical ‘first sync’ is a major milestone…[It] demonstrates the effectiveness of the station’s power tower technology, which includes large heliostats that track the sun throughout the day, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator…Power generated from Ivanpah’s initial sync testing will go to [PG&E], which has a power purchase agreement (PPA) for energy produced out of the plant’s Unit 1 station. Power generated from Ivanpah’s Unit 3 station is also sold under a PPA with PG&E, while Unit 2 is under a PPA with [SCE]…Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Unit 2 and 3 in the coming months…” click here for more

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: BUSINESSES DISCLOSING AND HIDING THEIR EMISSIONS

    Global Climate Change Report 2013

    12 September 2013 (Climate Disclosure Project)

    Executive Summary

    Businesses increasingly face the dual risks of climate and policy shocks. How companies build and demonstrate their resilience to these climate risks has important implications for their reputation with their stakeholders and for the value of their businesses. It is for these reasons that 722 investors representing US$87 trillion of assets this year requested that the 500 largest listed companies measure and report what climate change means for their business through CDP’s climate change program.

    This year, 81% (403) of companies in the Global 5001 took part. Demonstrating Corporate understanding of the need for climate transparency, the quality of the information provided by companies has continually improved. To secure a position on CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), companies must achieve a disclosure score in the top 10% of the Global 500 sample. The minimum score for entering the CDLI has risen to 97% (up from 94% in 2012 and 90% in 2011). The number of performance leaders demonstrating a strong approach to climate strategy and emissions reduction in their CDP responses has increased since last year. This highlights how seriously corporations treat their carbon reporting and that this reporting increasingly translates into action.

    This report is written for companies, investors and policy makers that want to understand the climate change related risks and opportunities facing business. It assesses how ten key sectors are addressing these challenges and eliciting competitive advantage from this. It looks at how growing markets for products and services are impacting companies’ responses to climate change. It also outlines trends seen in companies which are reporting barriers to actions.

    1) Big emitters are not doing enough to reduce emissions

    Total scope 1 and 2 emissions2 from the Global 500 have fallen steadily from 4.2 billion metric tons CO2e in 2009 to 3.6 billion metric tons CO2e in 2013. However, scope 1 and 2 emissions from the 50 largest emitters3, which emitted 73% of total emissions in 2013, have increased by 1.65% since 2009 (see Table 1). The five largest emitters of each sector have also seen their scope 1 and 2 emissions increase by an average of 2.3% since 20094 (see sector snapshots for details). This suggests that the biggest emitters, who have the largest impact on global emissions and so present the greatest opportunity for large-scale change, need to do more to reduce their emissions. Policy makers could help to accelerate the necessary change by increasing incentives.

    The difference in the direction of change between the Global 500 sample and the largest emitters can to some extent be explained by a change in the number and composition of companies within the Global 500 since 2009. However, emissions of the largest emitters remain globally significant.

    Energy, utilities and materials companies, for example, represent less than a quarter of the Global 500 population but are responsible for well over three quarters (87%) of scope 1 and 2 emissions. The proportion of companies from these high emitting sectors has fallen from 26% in 2009 to 23% today.

    Had the proportion stayed the same, emissions in 2013 would have been significantly higher. Indeed, the scope 1 and 2 emissions of each of these sectors are individually more than double the combined scope 1 and 2 emissions of all other sectors. The drop in scope 1 and 2 emissions from utility companies alone since last year is equivalent to more than the combined scope 1 and 2 emissions from healthcare, consumer staples, consumer discretionary, telecommunication services, IT and financials.

    This year the majority of Global 500 companies report emissions reduction targets (84%) and resulting emissions reductions5 (75%) in some areas of their business. However, with an increase since 2009 in scope 1 and 2 emissions for the highest emitters across the Global 500 and in each sector, there is a disparity between companies’ strategies, targets and the emissions reductions which are required to limit global warming to 2C.

    2) Companies are yet to report emissions from the most relevant parts of their value chains

    Most companies (97%) disclose scope 1 and 2 emissions from their operations. However, while companies are able to identify the most carbon intensive activities from their value chains, the emissions of nearly half (47%) of these activities are yet to be quantified.

    Instead of measuring carbon-intensive activities in their value chain, companies often focus on relatively insignificant opportunities for carbon reductions. Figure 3 shows the disparity in the proportion of companies reporting the different types of scope 3 activities and the actual scope 3 emissions reported for each of these activities. While ‘use of sold products’ is reported by 25% of companies, it accounts for 76% of reported scope 3 emissions. Meanwhile, 72% of companies report emissions from business travel, which accounts for only 0.2% of total reported scope 3 emissions.

    The importance of different scope 3 categories varies between sectors. However, companies do not always report their primary sources of scope 3 emissions.

    For example, while 83% of financial companies report emissions associated with business travel, only 6% of them report emissions from their investment activity, where the significant majority of their scope 3 emissions originate. Similarly, only 22% of industrials report emissions from the use of sold products, which is where the majority of their scope 3 emissions come from.

    Overall, this suggests that current scope 3 reporting does not reflect the full impact of companies’ activities, and may mislead as to the full carbon impact of a company.

    3) Money talks: financial incentives are driving emissions reductions

    Monetary rewards for employees are powerful tools to drive climate action. Figure 4 shows that companies with monetary rewards are more likely to achieve absolute emissions reductions. With the exception of the energy sector, companies reporting monetary rewards linked to energy or emissions reductions are more likely to report decreases in emissions. 85% of companies that provide monetary incentives to the board, executive team or all employees, report emissions reductions in the past year. By comparison, only 67% of other companies report reductions in emissions.

    4) Other findings from the Global 500

    Companies find it easier to quantify risks rather than opportunities.

    Global 500 companies identify a range of risks and opportunities (see Figures 5 & 6). However, they are more likely to quantify and monetize the impact of risks than opportunities: 54% of companies quantified at least one risk while only 41% quantified at least one opportunity. Companies tend to focus on tangible risks in areas such as carbon taxes or energy prices, whereas the benefits from climaterelated opportunities are often less tangible, such as changing consumer behavior. Companies are consequently less likely to quantify the impact of these opportunities. This suggests that businesses may be missing some significant risks and opportunities because valuation methods are unavailable.

    The broad categories of climate risk reported are: regulation (84%), physical impacts (83%), and other related risks such as reputation (77%). Within these, reputation, changes in seasonal rainfall, cap-andtrade schemes and carbon taxes are mentioned by 51%, 43%, 42% and 39% of companies respectively.

    The most common climate-related opportunities mentioned by Global 500 companies are the less tangible changing consumer behavior (53%) and reputation (51%).

    Longer payback times linked to strategic advantage

    When considering capital investments in emissions reduction activities, companies can face challenges in justifying investments with longer payback periods (three years or more). However, companies that are making longer term investments to reduce their emissions are more likely to report that their climate change strategy affords them a strategic advantage over their competitors. 77% of companies with at least one investment with a payback time of three years or more state that their climate strategy gives them a competitive advantage (65% in 2012). Of the companies which do not have long-term investments in emissions reductions, only 54% report a strategic advantage from their response to climate change (2012: 58%).

    Rise in independently verified emissions ensures data quality

    71% of responding companies verified their emissions in 2013: a 29% increase from 2012 and almost double the percentage in 2011. Investors and shareholders have always demanded accuracy in a company’s financial information. Increasingly, they are demanding accuracy in non-financial information as well. This positive trend should increase the trust in the data and therefore its use.

    Table 2 compares sectors’ climate performance scores with the average score across the Global 500. Across the four categories which were analyzed, utilities significantly outperformed average Global 500 companies while energy under-performed.

    Sector overviews:

    Consumer Discretionary

    Total scope 1 and 2 emissions in consumer discretionary are not as significant as emissions in other sectors. However, the scope 3 emissions are 19 times higher than the sector’s total scope 1 and 2 emissions. Emissions of the five biggest emitters have not changed significantly since 2009, although a majority of companies in the sector has reported absolute emission reduction targets as well as a decrease in emissions due to emissions reduction activities. Sector leaders have obtained outstanding results in the CPLI and CDLI, with three companies (BMW, Daimler and Royal Philips) achieving the maximum disclosure score of 100 as well as the highest performance band A. Nevertheless, the sector remains average in its overall performance relative to the Global 500 sample. 6 The sector assessment is based on the following areas of the questionnaire: emissions performance - reporting of scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions data and % operational spend on energy costs, energy use, absolute and/or intensity targets, emission reduction activities, change in emissions from prior year. Governance - level of oversight, incentives/rewards, risk management approach. Verification/stakeholder engagement - verification/assurance, engagement with policy makers, communication of sustainability information to public. Strategy - integrated strategy, identified risks and opportunities, emissions trading.

    Consumer Staples

    Consisting of some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, companies in consumer staples are heavily influenced by changing consumer preferences. Although 58% of companies report a decrease in absolute emissions, the sector’s overall scope 1 and 2 emissions have increased by 2.9% since 2012. However, the sector accounts for only 3% of total scope 1 and 2 emissions reported by the Global 500.

    Energy

    With one of the highest overall emissions of all sectors – the sector is responsible for 28.3% of total reported Global 500 scope 1 and 2 emissions – efforts to reduce emissions in the energy sector are essential to the global mitigation of climate change. However, 50% of energy companies have a performance band of C or lower. Since 2009, the overall emissions of the ten biggest emitters in the sector have increased by 53%. The sector also has the highest number of companies without emission reduction targets (24%), which companies justify by concerns that targets would constrain growth in their companies and in the wider economy.

    Financials

    The financial sector makes up 24% of the respondents but is the lowest emitting sector in the Global 500: it represents only 0.6% of total reported scope 1 and 2 emissions. While 67% of companies report reductions in their emissions since 2012, there is a general lack of understanding of the full impact of companies’ value chains. Indeed, only 6% of financials report the carbon impact of their investments, which would be their main area of scope 3 emissions.

    Healthcare

    Representing only 0.8% of total reported Global 500 scope 1 and 2 emissions, the healthcare sector has a limited impact on global emissions. Nevertheless, 57% of companies report a decrease in absolute emissions since 2012 (total decrease of 4.9%). Consistent drivers for emissions reductions are energy efficiency activities such as green information technology and building efficiency.

    Industrials

    Industrial companies will play an important role in the transition to a low carbon economy and 97% of industrial companies report that their products and services help reduce emissions. However, only 22% of companies in the sector report the emissions from the use of sold products, which suggests an incomplete understanding of their full value chains’ impacts.

    As companies respond to the demand for more efficient products, many companies have made substantial investments into research and development. Companies are also engaging proactively with policymakers, where regulation plays a central role in the sector’s response to climate change. Changing regulation can present significant opportunities for companies, but equally uncertainty surrounding new regulation can pose threats to business.

    Information Technology

    Overall emissions in the information technology sector have decreased by 21.9% since 2012. However, half of this reduction is due to divestments by Samsung. 89% of information technology companies state that their products help reduce emissions, which is important as the sector’s scope 3 emissions are more than four times that of their scope 1 and 2 emissions.

    Materials

    The materials sector is the third biggest emitting sector, representing 26.2% of total reported scope 1 and 2 emissions. Companies are heavily exposed to regulatory risks such as carbon taxes and cap-andtrade schemes, with 74% of companies reporting regulatory issues as key risks. Mining companies, in particular, are also concerned about losing their licenses to operate and reputation is therefore seen as a significant risk (63% of companies).

    Telecommunication Services

    Representing 1.1% of total reported scope 1 and 2 emissions, the telecommunication services sector is focusing on avoided emissions for others rather than emissions from own operations. In fact, all companies in the sector state that their products and services help avoid emissions. 91% of companies have emissions reduction targets and the sector’s overall scope 1 and 2 emissions decreased by 0.6% compared to 2012.

    Utilities

    With the highest emissions of all the sectors, representing a third of total reported scope 1 and 2 emissions, utility companies will play a critical role in helping customers and businesses avoid emissions. While overall emissions in the sector have decreased by 10.2% since 2012, this is to some extent due to a change in population of respondents. The sector demonstrates a comparatively mature response to climate change, with all companies having emissions reduction targets.

    Utilities are acutely aware of the risks and opportunities from climate change. They therefore engage with policymakers to help inform the setting of climate targets more than any other sector and have set up working groups for special programs. Utilities are also looking at their whole value chain and are helping customers avoid emissions through a wide range of products and services that promote energy efficiency and savings.

    QUICK NEWS, September 25: UTILITY REVERSES, FINDS NEW ENERGY CHEAPER THAN GAS; UK’S BIGGEST BIRD PROTECTION GROUP TO BUILD HQ WIND; WHAT 60 MILLION SMART METERS SAY

    UTILITY REVERSES, FINDS NEW ENERGY CHEAPER THAN GAS Utility Agrees: (Their) Solar Should Supplant Natural Gas

    September 16, 2013 (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

    “Five months ago, one of the country’s ten largest electric utilities told regulators in Minnesota that it needed three new natural gas power plants to handle peak energy demand. This week, the same company’s Colorado division announced plans to use more solar power because it is cost competitive with gas…Maybe they need a memo to share the news: solar is cheaper than gas. A lot cheaper… Even small scale solar is competitive with natural gas power for supplying energy when the grid needs it most…” click here for more

    UK’S BIGGEST BIRD PROTECTION GROUP TO BUILD HQ WIND Major bird charity plans wind turbine at HQ; Wind power critics argue that turbines kill birds. So why is the U.K.'s largest bird charity planning a turbine?

    Sami Grover, September 18, 2013 (Mother Nature Network)

    “Whenever a new wind turbine project is announced, it's common for critics to pipe up and complain about the risk of bird kills…That strategy may fall a little flat with a planning application being submitted in Bedfordshire…by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Britain's largest bird conservation group…[and] wind energy developer Ecotricity…Both Ecotricity and the RSPB say they have undertaken thorough environmental assessments of the site, and they are confident that there will not be a significant impact on either local wildlife or the surrounding community…” click here for more

    WHAT 60 MILLION SMART METERS SAY Utilities Try to Learn From Smart Meters; Vast customer data is starting to transform the ways companies operate

    Rebecca Smith, September 23, 2013 (Wall Street Journal)

    “Utilities have installed more than 60 million smart meters in North America in the past decade… Now they have to figure out what to do with all the information the devices are generating…It's a mind-boggling amount of data…[Traditional meters] were read 12 times a year…[S]mart meters bombard utilities with…readings every 15 minutes, or 35,000 times a year. They also alert utilities to electricity theft and dozens of other useful things…[And] information is streaming in from the grid itself, where millions of sensors and smart controllers are giving utilities deeper, more timely information on equipment performance and power flows…As utilities get their arms around the data, the implications for consumers could be significant…” click here for more

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE DIRTIEST POWER PLANTS AND HOW TO GET RID OF THEM

    America’s Dirtiest Power Plants; Their Oversized Contribution to Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

    Jordan Schneider, Travis Madsen, and Julian Boggs, September 2013 (Environment America)

    Executive Summary

    Global warming is one of the most profound threats of our time, and we’re already starting to feel the impacts – especially when it comes to extreme weather. From Hurricane Sandy to devastating droughts and deadly heat waves, extreme weather events threaten our safety, our health and our environment, and scientists predict things will only get worse for future generations unless we cut the dangerous global warming pollution that is fueling the problem. Power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in the United States, responsible for 41 percent of the nation’s production of carbon dioxide pollution, the leading greenhouse gas driving global warming.

    America’s power plants are among the most significant sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the world. The 50 most-polluting U.S. power plants emit more than 2 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide pollution – or more pollution than every nation except six worldwide. Despite their enormous contribution to global warming, U.S. power plants do not face any federal limits on carbon dioxide pollution. To protect our health, our safety and our environment from the worst impacts of global warming, the United States should clean up the dirtiest power plants.

    A small handful of the dirtiest power plants produce a massive and disproportionate share of the nation’s global warming pollution.

    • In 2011, the U.S. power sector contributed 41 percent of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading pollutant driving global warming.

    • There are nearly 6,000 electricity generating facilities in the United States, but most of the global warming pollution emitted by the U.S. power sector comes from a handful of exceptionally dirty power plants. For example, about 30 percent of all power-sector carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 came from the 50 dirtiest power plants; about half came from the 100 dirtiest plants; and about 90 percent came from the 500 dirtiest plants. (See Figure ES-1.)

    • The dirtiest power plant in the United States, Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer, produced more than 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011 – more than the total energy-related emissions of Maine. (See Table ES-1.)

    • Dirty power plants produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s global warming pollution – especially given the relatively small share of total electricity they produce. For example, despite producing 30 percent of all power-sector carbon dioxide emissions, the 50 dirtiest power plants only produced 16 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2011.

    The dirtiest U.S. power plants are major sources of global warming pollution on a global scale.

    • If the 50 most-polluting U.S. power plants were an independent nation, they would be the seventh-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, behind Germany and ahead of South Korea. (See Figure ES-2.) These power plants emitted carbon dioxide pollution equivalent to more than half the emissions of all passenger vehicles in the United States in 2010.

    • The 100 most-polluting U.S. power plants produced more than 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in 2011, while the 500 most-polluting power plants were responsible for about 6 percent. To protect our health, our safety, and our environment from the dangers of global warming, America must clean up polluting power plants.

    • The Obama Administration should set strong limits on carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants to prevent the construction of a new generation of dirty power plants, and force existing power plants to clean up by setting strong limits on carbon dioxide emissions from all existing power plants.

    º New plants – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should work to meet its September 2013 deadline for re-proposing a stringent emissions standard for new power plants. It should also set a deadline for finalizing these standards no later than June 2015.

    º Existing plants – The EPA should work to meet the timeline put forth by President Obama for proposing and finalizing emission standards for existing power plants. This time line calls for limits on existing plants to be proposed by June 2014 and finalized by June 2015. The standards should be based on the most recent climate science and designed to achieve the emissions reduction targets that are necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

    In addition to cutting pollution from power plants, the United States should adopt a suite of clean energy policies at the local, state, and federal levels to curb emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use in other sectors.

    In particular, the United States should prioritize establishing a comprehensive, national plan to reduce carbon pollution from all sources – including transportation, industrial activities, and the commercial and residential sectors.

    Other policies to curb emissions include:

    • Retrofitting three-quarters of America’s homes and businesses for improved energy efficiency, and implementing strong building energy codes to dramatically reduce fossil fuel consumption in new homes and businesses.

    • Adopting a federal renewable electricity standard that calls for 25 percent of America’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources by 2025.

    • Strengthening and implementing state energy efficiency resource standards that require utilities to deliver energy efficiency improvements in homes, businesses and industries.

    • Installing more than 200 gigawatts of solar panels and other forms of distributed renewable energy at residential, commercial and industrial buildings over the next two decades.

    • Encouraging the use of energy-saving combined heat-and-power systems in industry.

    • Facilitating the deployment of millions of plug-in vehicles that operate partly or solely on electricity, and adopting clean fuel standards that require a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

    • Ensuring that the majority of new residential and commercial development in metropolitan areas takes place in compact, walkable communities with access to a range of transportation options.

    • Expanding public transportation service to double ridership by 2030, encouraging further ridership increases through better transit service, and reducing per-mile global warming pollution from transit vehicles. The U.S. should also build highspeed rail lines in 11 high-priority corridors by 2030.

    • Strengthening and expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which limits carbon dioxide pollution from power plants in nine northeastern state, and implementing California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), which places an economy-wide cap on the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    QUICK NEWS, September 24: INDIA PLANS WORLD’S BIGGEST SOLAR POWER PLANT; WIND SOUND IS HEARTBEAT QUIET; COAL FADING TO BLACK

    INDIA PLANS WORLD’S BIGGEST SOLAR POWER PLANT India To Build World’s Largest Solar Power Plant In Rajasthan

    Sreeja VN, September 21, 2013 (International Business Times)

    “The Indian government will set up the world’s largest solar power plant in its northwestern state of Rajasthan…and the venture is expected to significantly reduce solar power taxes in the country…The project, known as the ‘Ultra-Mega Green Solar Power Project,’ will have a total power generation capacity of 4,000 megawatts, which is more than double the total solar power generation capacity in India…The first phase of the project, which will be for 1,000 megawatt capacity, is expected to be completed in three years and will be run by a joint venture of five state-run utilities, including BHEL, Power Grid Corporation of India and Solar Energy Corporation of India…” click here for more

    WIND SOUND IS HEARTBEAT QUIET Acoustics group says wind turbine infrasound less than a heart-beat

    Emma Fitzpatrick, 16 September 2013 (Renew Economy)

    [T]he Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC) stated that the current levels of infrasound emitted by wind turbines…are already in abundance in our natural environment from sources such as wind, waves and earthquakes. People also generate infrasound through breathing and heartbeats…Mechanical sources of infrasound originate from sources like aircrafts, traffic, and fossil fuel generation …. and wind turbines. Infrasound emissions from wind turbines have previously been thought to cause adverse health effects such as breathing problems, digestive issues, headaches and nausea…[T]he AAAC concluded that infrasound levels around wind farms are no higher than the levels around where people live, work and sleep…” click here for more

    COAL FADING TO BLACK Guest column: Yes, actually, King Coal is dying

    Leslie Glustrom, August 25, 2013 (Boulder Daily Camera)

    “…‘King Coal’ isn't dead yet, but there is abundant reason to believe the U.S. coal industry is dying…[C]oal deposits that are being mined now are buried deeper and are more expensive to mine. Coal company profit margins are narrowing or even turning negative and the major U.S. coal companies are reporting billions of dollars of losses. The major U.S. coal companies have lost over 80 percent of their stock value since 2008 and are borrowing money at interest rates of 8-10 percent in order to pay off their staggering debts. Patriot Coal filed for bankruptcy in mid-2012 and other large U.S. coal companies have been put on bankruptcy watch…” click here for more