NewEnergyNews: 03/01/2018 - 04/01/2018

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: The Many Values Of Solar Power Plants
  • QUICK NEWS, November 13: This Is What It Looks Like; Astonishing Things About New Energy, Part 1
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Testing Grid Modernization State By State
  • QUICK NEWS, November 12: What Big Oil Is Doing About Climate Change; A Tale Of New Energy In Two States
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: New Energy In The Midterms
  • Weekend Video: On The Algae Case In Florida
  • Weekend Video: Cleaning Up The Pacific Garbage Patch
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A Collection On Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Energy Storage Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-EU Wind Builders Target Beneficial Electrification
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY,:

  • TTTA Thursday-Voters Rejected Climate Change, New Energy Efforts
  • TTTA Thursday-The Heat Stays On Grid Mod Efforts
  • TTTA Thursday-Ways To Make Retail Energy Choice Work
  • --------------------------

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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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.

  • ---------------
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING WEDNESDAY at NewEnergyNews, November 14:

  • Solar at the crossroads: Is utility-scale, distributed or both the way to go?
  • Solar has transformed into solar-plus-storage: What will net metering become?

    Saturday, March 31, 2018

    Bill Maher With Obama’s EPA Head

    Obama EPA Head: The only way Scott Pruitt could be worse is “if he actually knew what he was doing.” From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube

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    Talking Climate Change On Common Ground

    Some surprising highlights from a real conversation about climate change. From Yale Climate Connections via YouTube

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    10 Years Of New Energy In Hawaii

    People who work in New Energy call the things that happen in Hawaii "postcards from New Energy's future." From U.S. Dept. of Energy via YouTube

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    Friday, March 30, 2018

    The “Threat To Humankind”

    Biggest Threat to Humanity? Climate Change, U.N. Chief Says

    Somini Sengupta, March 29, 2018 (NY Times)

    “…[Climate change is “the most systemic threat to humankind,” United Nations secretary general António Guterres said as he] urged world leaders to curb their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions…Mr. Guterres suggested that [the White House’s] withdrawal from the Paris accord nearly a year ago didn’t matter much. The American people, he said, were doing plenty…Mr. Guterres is planning a summit meeting next year to goad world leaders to raise their emissions reductions targets…[F]ew countries are even close to meeting the targets they set under the Paris agreement…His warnings came a week after the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, reported that a barrage of extreme weather events had made 2017 the costliest year on record for such disasters, with an estimated $320 billion in losses…Mr. Guterres said floods in South Asia had affected 41 million people and that drought had driven 900,000 people from their homes in Africa…” click here for more

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    Wind Around The World

    Wind energy: A worldwide phenomenon; The wind energy industry is now operative in a genuinely worldwide marketplace.

    Donna Dawson, March 27, 2018 (Composites World)

    “…[The wind industry contributes €36 billion to the European Union (EU) gross domestic product (GDP) and supports 263,000 jobs in Europe. At the end of June 2017, the European Union had a total of 159.5 GW of wind power capacity installed (48% in Germany)…[The U.S. has] 89 GW of wind power installed across 41 states…attracting US$14 billion annually in private investment to US wind farms over the past decade and employing US 102,500 workers at the end of 2016…[W]ind farm developers in the Asia-Pacific region led wind turbine order capacity with 2.8 MW of turbine orders signed in the first half of 2017…[G]lobal wind turbine orders announced in the first half of 2017 reached 11.6 GW…Wind energy’s growth is now truly global in scope…[There is now significant growth in Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and] Vietnam…” click here for more

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    Global Grid-Scale Energy Storage Market Now

    Market Data: Energy Storage for the Grid and Ancillary Services; Global Market Drivers, Trends, and Forecasts for the Large-Scale Energy Storage Industry: 2018-2027

    1Q 2018 (Navigant Research)

    “The utility-scale market focuses on energy storage for the grid and ancillary services (ESGAS), which refers to five of the most common applications for energy storage situated on the utility side of the meter…[The industry has matured significantly over the past 2 years but remains concentrated in countries with available] financing, favorable regulations, and innovative business models…The growth of energy storage is expected to continue following the increasing development of renewable generation…[As energy storage system (ESS) prices continue to decline and investor confidence grows, new companies will enter] the market to provide capital, project development expertise, and access to new markets…” click here for more

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    China Turns EV Manufacturing Into EV Printing

    Two Chinese firms can 3D print an electric car in three days, sell it for $10K

    Bruce Brown, March 26, 2018 (Digital Trends)

    "Shanghai-based 3D printing materials company Polymaker and X Electrical Vehicle Limited (XEV) recently launched a small car that breaks traditional automotive manufacturing molds. XEV’s base is in Hong Kong with a design studio in Italy and manufacturing in China…[Their LSEV is] the first ‘real’ mass produced 3D-printed project…XEV and Polymaker claim the 992-pound LSEV will have a 43 mile-per-hour top speed and a 93-mile maximum operating range…[It] is intended for the global market with direct Customer-to-Manufacturer manufacturing…[Customers will contact the factory to order the car…[There will be no dealerships, no automobile stores, and no] brokers or buyers’ representatives…XEV designed the LSEV to consist of only 57 components. By comparison, conventionally manufactured vehicles have more than 2,000 components…[It takes just three days to print and assemble an LSEV]…The current plan calls for first LSEV deliveries to customers in Europe and Asia in April 2019 for a list price of $10,000…” click here for more

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    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    More EPA Sabotage Of Climate Fight

    EPA staffers get talking points playing down human role in climate change

    Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, March 28, 2018 (Washington Post)

    “Environmental Protection Agency staffers received a list of ‘talking points’ this week instructing them to underscore the uncertainties about how human activity contributes to climate change…A career employee in the department’s Office of Public Affairs distributed the eight talking points to regional staffers. The list offered suggestions on ways to talk with local communities and Native American tribes about how to adapt to extreme weather, rising seas and other environmental challenges…[The points were based on] controversial — and scientifically unsound — statements that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has made about the current state of climate research…[They raise doubts about the precision of climate scientists’ measurements and led Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, to observe that] EPA wants a political filter on all scientific information emerging from the government, especially if it has to do with climate change…” click here for more

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    Research Shows 80% New Energy Is Within Reach

    Solar and Wind Could Meet 80% of US Energy Needs, Study Finds; A new energy study determines that up to 80% of U.S. electricity needs could be met with solar and wind energy, if significant investment is made in new transmission lines and large scale battery storage.

    Kevin Clemens, March 27, 2018 (Design News)

    “…[Based on an analysis of U.S. weather data from 36 years, spanning 1980 to 2015, about] 80% of the U.S. electricity demand could be reliably met with solar and wind power…[if they are supported by either] a continental-scale transmission network or facilities that could store 12 hours’ worth of the nation’s electricity demand…[The] cost of new transmission lines required could be hundreds of billions of dollars, while storing electricity with the cost of today’s batteries would likely cost more than a trillion dollars [according to Geophysical constraints on the reliability of solar and wind power in the United States]…As expensive as this sounds, there are some indications that prices are continuing to drop for both solar and wind…” click here for more

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    New Energy Hitting “Spectacular” Low Costs

    Tumbling Costs for Wind, Solar, Batteries Are Squeezing Fossil Fuels; Latest BNEF study of comparative costs worldwide shows an 18% improvement in the competitiveness of onshore wind and solar in the last year, and new and rapidly developing roles for batteries.

    March 28, 2018 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    “Coal and gas are facing a mounting threat to their position in the world’s electricity generation mix, as a result of the spectacular reductions in cost…[The latest report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on the levelized costs of electricity (LCOE)] for all the leading technologies finds that fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it performs in the energy mix…In bulk generation, the threat comes from wind and solar photovoltaics, both of which have reduced their LCOEs further in the last year, thanks to falling capital costs, improving efficiency and the spread of competitive auctions around the world…In dispatchable power – the ability to respond to grid requests to ramp electricity generation up or down at any time of day – the challenge to new coal and gas is coming from the pairing of battery storage with wind and solar, enabling the latter two ‘variable’ sources to smooth output, and if necessary, shift the timing of supply…In flexibility – the ability to switch on and off in response to grid electricity shortfalls and surpluses over periods of hours – stand-alone batteries are increasingly cost-effective and are starting to compete on price with open-cycle gas plants, and with other options such as pumped hydro…” click here for more

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    A Real World Test Of GeoEngineering

    Can hacking the planet ward off climate change?

    Kathleen Ellison, March 25, 2018 (San Francisco Chronicle)

    “…[Silicon Valley engineer Leslie Field] hopes to gather global support [and $1 billion in annual funding] over the next few years to ultimately cover more than 19,000 square miles of sea ice — an area about the size of Costa Rica — with a thin coating of tiny floating silica spheres, which she says will help reduce the world’s rising temperatures…[The emerging field of geoengineering] envisions large-scale efforts to fight climate change by directly manipulating the natural environment…Field’s privately funded Ice911 project is a small player. Under the Trump administration, these eclectic, messianic and mostly untested projects have been gaining unprecedented momentum…While denying climate change is a human-caused problem and rejecting proposals to cut greenhouse gases, they’re promoting what some experts worry is the risky solution of geoengineering…The increasing interest in geoengineering, including from climate skeptics, owes partly to growing pessimism about humanity’s capacity — and will — to ward off the worst effects of climate change without some major technological breakthrough…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Colorado And Minnesota Impose Carbon Costs On Utility Planning

    Carbon calculus: More states are adding carbon costs to utility planning guidelines; Colorado and Minnesota were two states that added carbon costs to planning guidelines. Now others are following suit

    Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 31, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: This is one key way states can fill the gap left by the White House in the climate fight. No new state initiatives have emerged.

    The Trump administration is abdicating Obama-era climate regulations, but a small — and growing — number of states are taking matters into their own hands by requiring that the cost of carbon be included in resource planning. The federal social cost of carbon, developed by the former Obama administration’s interagency working group composed of federal scientists and economists monetizes the net damages of carbon dioxide emissions, necessitating the cost to be expressed as a range of dollar values. Minnesota, New York, Illinois, and California have all moved forward with work on the cost of carbon. The federal government used the social cost of carbon in more than 150 proposed and final regulatory measures, according to according to energy and environmental policy think tank Resources for the Future (RFF).

    Support gained momentum when Colorado became the first state to impose a regulatory requirement that utilities use it in resource planning. But that momentum was lost when a presidential executive order disbanded the working group in March. The order also specified that the social cost of carbon is no longer governmental policy. Its rollbacks and guidance was a clear indication that the White House is disengaging from scientific evaluation of the benefits of emissions reductions. Not all utilities are following that lead. In Minnesota, Xcel Energy called for “bold action” on carbon reduction and said it “does not question” the science of climate change, the legitimacy of externality pricing, or even the properly used social cost of carbon… click here for more

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    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Wires Vital To New Energy

    Transmission: The unsung hero of the DOE grid reliability study; New and better power lines can help integrate clean energy resources, but insiders say longstanding planning issues are blocking expansion

    Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 5, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Though overlooked in the new budget, transmission is key to expanding access to New Energy.

    Much of the media scrutiny on the Department of Energy grid reliability study focused on its treatment of generation resources, but just as important to ensuring clean and reliable electricity supply is the grid that connects them. Annual spending on U.S. transmission is expected to peak at $22.5 billion in 2017 before declining. But increasingly, sector insiders are concerned that may not be enough to meet the needs of a changing power system. “An integrated transmission system can meet the needs and manage the changes that are out there waiting but are hard to predict,” Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair James Hoecker recently told Utility Dive.

    The DOE study also acknowledged the need for “major transmission additions to connect the remote generation to the rest of the grid and to load centers.” It recommended a review of “regulatory burdens for siting and permitting” of generation and transmission infrastructure and “actions to accelerate the process and reduce costs.” For transmission developers, that review cannot come fast enough. Annual investment in U.S. transmission was $20.1 billion in 2015 and $21.5 billion last year, according to a recent study by the Edison Electric Institute. It projected $22.5 billion in spending in 2017 and cataloged over 150 projects totaling approximately $41 billion in transmission investments through 2019. But over 24,000 miles of new transmission was built from 2012 to 2017 at a cost of $102 billion, the DOE study reported. Well-planned transmission is “critical” to reducing costly system congestion and easing local over-generation issues, DOE added… click here for more

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    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: A Bet On Nuclear That Went Really Wrong

    Santee Cooper’s Uncertain Future; A Historical, Policy and Financial Analysis of the South Carolina Public Service Authority

    Katie Sobczyk Player, Michael T. Maloney, Oran P. Smith, March 20, 2018 (Palmetto Promise Institute)

    Executive Summary

    The instability of Santee Cooper and its looming $4.5 Billion in debt for nuclear assets that will generate no electricity is harmful to real people and to economic development.

    Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter: “[To complete VC Summer]…our models showed we would have to raise rates 41%.”

    Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina President and CEO Mike Couick Through Central Cooperative, Santee Cooper’s largest customer: “The current situation at Santee Cooper is not acceptable. We are paying more for less. Economic development will be difficult given rates that must be paid. There is a lack of confidence, a need for transformation.”

    As the sheer magnitude of the V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 nuclear abandonment, the largest financial disaster in South Carolina history, comes more into focus, we know Santee Cooper has borrowed $4.5 Billion to date, its customers have already paid $540 million in four rate increases for the two defunct reactors, and the interest owed grows daily. Additionally, Santee Cooper has another $4 Billion in nonnuclear debt that must be addressed. In total, Santee Cooper’s debt with interest is more than the entire state General Funds Budget for FY 2017-2018.

    Because it is a state agency, Santee Cooper only makes “pseudo” profits. The average pseudo profit margin is 6.6%, which means Santee Cooper has only 6.6 cents on the dollar to put towards debt associated with V.C. Summer 2 & 3. This is not sustainable.

    With Santee Cooper’s total outstanding debt looming at $7,494,568,000 as of publication time, action must be taken now.

    Key Historical and Current Realities:

    • From a historical perspective, Santee Cooper is unique. Facing the future, that uniqueness has both benefits and baggage. • Santee Cooper has a symbiotic relationship with the Electric Cooperatives, especially after “The Agreement,” their most recent power contract of 2013. • Santee Cooper has endangered economic development by antagonizing an industry it has been charged with serving. • Santee Cooper doesn’t have a unique economic development motivation or ability among utilities. • Santee Cooper’s rates are not an advantage for ratepayers after all. • Residential rates for Santee Cooper customers are going to rise, not only because of VC Summer but because of the utility’s ongoing struggles to match its load capacity with customer demand as well as its operating debt of $4 Billion. • The public is supportive of the sale of Santee Cooper. • An outright sale would have the benefit of getting the government out of the electric utility business.

    Not the Lowest Rates

    Historically, Santee Cooper has offered its customers competitive rates. That has changed in the past five years. According to the South Carolina State Energy Office, here are stated rates for utilities operating in South Carolina: • SCE&G – 14.56 cents per kWh • SCE&G (without nuclear surcharge) – 11.93 cents per kWh • Santee Cooper – 11.62 cents per kWh • Santee Cooper (without nuclear surcharge) – 11.10 cents per kWh • Duke Energy – 11.01 cents per kWh • Duke Energy’s former Progress Energy territory – 10.01 cents per kWh

    Santee Cooper Required Rate Increase Scenarios

    Our economic research shows that future annual Santee Cooper utility bills will increase, anywhere from $166.99 per customer to upwards of $751.03, depending on demand elasticity for Santee Cooper electricity, the total debt and interest associated with the abandoned project, and Santee Cooper’s relationship with its largest customer, Central Cooperative. Electricity rates would need to increase between 10-52%. Our analysis suggests a likely additional 13.62% rate increase, which would mean the average annual electricity bill increases by $194.49. This increase would be in place for the next 38 years, until the debt is paid in 2056.

    In total, each average Santee Cooper residential customer would pay an additional $7,390.62 to pay their portion of the nuclear debt. Industrial customers could likely have their bills increased by as much as $80,000 a month.

    Rates have already increased 15.2% since 2012.

    Recommendation

    In the opinion of the authors of this paper, having ratepayers pay the debt would be nearly criminal. The ratepayers of Santee Cooper, many of them already challenged economically, do not deserve to be saddled with additional costs due to the failure of Santee Cooper.

    Santee Cooper must be sold. The State of South Carolina, through its General Assembly who has final authority, can and should find a buyer willing to somehow assume the agency’s debt.

    Our recommendation is that the South Carolina General Assembly pass legislation this session to create a Commission on the Sale of the South Carolina Public Service Authority. It is important that the legislation establish the panel as a Commission and not another legislative study committee or feasibility committee. The goal of the Commission should not be to assess feasibility, but to seek independent valuation of Santee Cooper assets and vet potential offers.

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    QUICK NEWS, March 27: The Climate Changes Mapped; Tech Giant Buys Big Solar; Tech Giants Buy Big Wind

    The Climate Changes Mapped These Maps Show How Climate Change Will Mess Up The Weather Where You Live; The Climate Ex map will tell you what the weather will be like in 2070–and where to go to get the weather you like in 50 years.

    Ben Schiller, March 26, 2018 (Fast Company)

    “…[A not very user-friendly Climate Ex map shows projected climate changes] over time…The tool covers more than a million places on a 4-square-kilometer grid and brings together voluminous climate data…Historical data as well as projections going forward to 2070 [are searchable]. The latter reveals the places where climate change is set to have the greatest impact…For the U.S., the biggest changes are on the West Coast, parts of the East Coast, and in the Mississippi Delta region…[Much of the central U.S. is expected to see] less extreme changes in temperatures and precipitation patterns by 2070…The tool is unique in the way it flattens out apparent differences between places…[Though climate change is set to have dramatic impacts,] the differences between places are greater than the differences projected over time. Washington, D.C., and Moscow, for instance, are more different today and going forward than…Washington in 2000 and Washington in 2070…” click here for more

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    Tech Giant Buys Solar Microsoft makes largest corporate solar deal in U.S. history, buying 315 MW from 750,000 solar panels

    Todd Bishop, March 21, 2018 (GeekWire)

    “Microsoft just announced what it calls “the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States,” buying 315 megawatts from two new solar projects in Virginia as part of its ongoing effort to power its global data centers with renewable energy…With the purchase, the company says its total renewable energy portfolio will reach 1.2 gigawatts globally…Microsoft says it has reached its goal of powering at least 50 percent of its data centers with clean energy by this year. The company says the latest deal will help achieve its next goal, powering 60 percent of its data centers with clean energy by 2020…Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It’s part of a larger trend of major U.S. companies increasingly turning to renewable energy sources…The Virginia solar development is operated by renewable energy producer sPower…[Microsoft’s commitment will allow sPower] to sell power from the rest of the 500 megawatt project to other buyers at competitive prices…” click here for more

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    Tech Giants Buy Wind Facebook and Adobe to buy wind power from Nebraska facility

    Anmar Frangoul, 20 March 2018 (CNBC)

    “…[Facebook expanded its 200 MW for the Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska by contracting for the other 120 MW of the project’s output. The new generation will] power Facebook's data center in Papillon, Nebraska…Separately, Adobe will purchase the energy produced by 10 MW of the wind farm between 2019 and 2028. The Rattlesnake Creek facility is currently being built and is expected to be operational by the end of this year…The Rattlesnake Creek wind farm is owned by Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project, a subsidiary of EGPNA. Investment in the construction of the site is around $430 million. EGPNA is part of the Enel Group's Renewable Energies division…Both Facebook and Adobe are part of the RE100, a global initiative of some of the world's biggest businesses, all committed to renewable power.” click here for more

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    Monday, March 26, 2018

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Abundance Of Offshore Wind

    Wind Power to Spare; The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind

    Gideon Weissman, Rachel J. Cross, Rob Sargent, March 2018 (Environment America)

    Executive Summary

    The Atlantic coast states are dependent on fossil fuels, which pollute our air, put our health at risk, and contribute to global warming. In response, states in the region are moving toward an energy system powered by clean, renewable sources: Atlantic states now generate enough wind and solar energy to power nearly 2 million homes, 19 times more than just a decade ago.

    Yet to achieve a truly clean energy system, Atlantic states – which account for more than a quarter of the nation’s energy use – will need to tap into a massive clean energy resource that is right in our back yard: offshore wind energy.

    With enough wind energy resources to generate four times the amount of electricity the region currently consumes, offshore wind can help power the Atlantic coast with clean energy.2 In order to capture this tremendous pollution-free resource, state leaders must put in place strong policies to foster development of offshore wind, while ensuring the protection of our oceans and wildlife.

    Offshore wind is an abundant resource located close to where we need it most, and it can play a core role alongside other renewable energy sources in providing clean energy for the future.

    • Offshore wind off the Atlantic states could produce enough electricity each year to meet four times those states’ electricity consumption (4,574 terawatt hours), even after excluding areas not suitable for current technology and off-limits areas like shipping lanes.3 Almost every Atlantic state (12 out of 14) has wind potential off its shores that exceeds current state electricity consumption.

    • Tapping into offshore wind can help meet future electricity demand created by electrifying activities currently powered by gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels, like transportation and heating homes and businesses. If developed to its full potential, Atlantic offshore wind could supply double the estimated electricity it would take to power all current electricity needs plus estimated electricity for electrified heating and electric vehicles.

    Offshore wind technology is advanced, affordable and proven.

    • Offshore wind is proven. Europe is home to 4,100 offshore wind turbines that supply enough electricity to power more than 20 million homes each day.7 In Denmark, offshore wind supplied 15 percent of electricity use over the first half of 2017.

    • Offshore wind turbine is advanced, and can generate more power, more efficiently than ever before. For example, the turbines at the nation’s first offshore wind project in Rhode Island produce 30 times more electricity each year than the first offshore wind turbines installed in Europe in the early 1990s.

    • Offshore wind has become affordable. According to Lazard, the average global levelized cost of energy for new offshore wind fell by 27 percent from 2012 to 2017, to a cost that is comparable to a new coal-fired power plant and cheaper than a new nuclear plant over the plants’ entire life cycles.

    • Experts predict that offshore wind will continue to fall in price. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that the levelized cost of energy for offshore wind will fall by 71 percent by 2040 relative to today’s prices.

    • Experience at home and abroad has shown that responsible development of offshore wind can avoid harm to the environment and wildlife, including the North Atlantic right whale.

    Offshore wind projects are already planned all along the Atlantic coast.

    • More than 8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind development are supported by state policy in five Atlantic states. If state offshore wind targets and commitments are met, offshore wind in those states would be able to generate electricity equivalent to the power used by 3 million homes.

    • As of February 2018, 13 Atlantic offshore wind projects had leases and were moving forward.11 With a total estimated capacity of 14.2 GW, these proposed projects could power approximately 5.2 million homes.12

    • These in-development offshore wind projects could produce a fifth as much energy as we could get annually from Atlantic offshore oil and gas, based on optimistic production estimates from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group.13 Capacity of the proposed projects represents just 1 percent of Atlantic offshore wind technical potential.

    Offshore wind has the potential to help repower the Atlantic coast with clean energy – but taking advantage of the opportunity will require support from policymakers and regulatory bodies. Supportive policies include strong and enforceable state offshore wind targets, policies to ensure a strong market for offshore wind, investments in research, and efforts to work with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to ensure environmentally responsible and efficient development of offshore wind resources. Policymakers must also create minimum standards for the protection of ocean habitats and wildlife (particularly the North Atlantic right whale)…

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    QUICK NEWS, March 26: Exxon’s Pretend Response To Climate Change; Is It The New Energy Or The Emissions Cuts? The Cost Of Money And The Price Of Solar

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Abundance Of Offshore Wind Wind Power to Spare; The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind

    Gideon Weissman, Rachel J. Cross, Rob Sargent, March 2018 (Environment America)

    Executive Summary

    The Atlantic coast states are dependent on fossil fuels, which pollute our air, put our health at risk, and contribute to global warming. In response, states in the region are moving toward an energy system powered by clean, renewable sources: Atlantic states now generate enough wind and solar energy to power nearly 2 million homes, 19 times more than just a decade ago.

    Yet to achieve a truly clean energy system, Atlantic states – which account for more than a quarter of the nation’s energy use – will need to tap into a massive clean energy resource that is right in our back yard: offshore wind energy.

    With enough wind energy resources to generate four times the amount of electricity the region currently consumes, offshore wind can help power the Atlantic coast with clean energy.2 In order to capture this tremendous pollution-free resource, state leaders must put in place strong policies to foster development of offshore wind, while ensuring the protection of our oceans and wildlife.

    Offshore wind is an abundant resource located close to where we need it most, and it can play a core role alongside other renewable energy sources in providing clean energy for the future.

    • Offshore wind off the Atlantic states could produce enough electricity each year to meet four times those states’ electricity consumption (4,574 terawatt hours), even after excluding areas not suitable for current technology and off-limits areas like shipping lanes.3 Almost every Atlantic state (12 out of 14) has wind potential off its shores that exceeds current state electricity consumption.

    • Tapping into offshore wind can help meet future electricity demand created by electrifying activities currently powered by gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels, like transportation and heating homes and businesses. If developed to its full potential, Atlantic offshore wind could supply double the estimated electricity it would take to power all current electricity needs plus estimated electricity for electrified heating and electric vehicles.

    Offshore wind technology is advanced, affordable and proven.

    • Offshore wind is proven. Europe is home to 4,100 offshore wind turbines that supply enough electricity to power more than 20 million homes each day.7 In Denmark, offshore wind supplied 15 percent of electricity use over the first half of 2017.

    • Offshore wind turbine is advanced, and can generate more power, more efficiently than ever before. For example, the turbines at the nation’s first offshore wind project in Rhode Island produce 30 times more electricity each year than the first offshore wind turbines installed in Europe in the early 1990s.

    • Offshore wind has become affordable. According to Lazard, the average global levelized cost of energy for new offshore wind fell by 27 percent from 2012 to 2017, to a cost that is comparable to a new coal-fired power plant and cheaper than a new nuclear plant over the plants’ entire life cycles.

    • Experts predict that offshore wind will continue to fall in price. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that the levelized cost of energy for offshore wind will fall by 71 percent by 2040 relative to today’s prices.

    • Experience at home and abroad has shown that responsible development of offshore wind can avoid harm to the environment and wildlife, including the North Atlantic right whale.

    Offshore wind projects are already planned all along the Atlantic coast.

    • More than 8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind development are supported by state policy in five Atlantic states. If state offshore wind targets and commitments are met, offshore wind in those states would be able to generate electricity equivalent to the power used by 3 million homes.

    • As of February 2018, 13 Atlantic offshore wind projects had leases and were moving forward.11 With a total estimated capacity of 14.2 GW, these proposed projects could power approximately 5.2 million homes.12

    • These in-development offshore wind projects could produce a fifth as much energy as we could get annually from Atlantic offshore oil and gas, based on optimistic production estimates from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group.13 Capacity of the proposed projects represents just 1 percent of Atlantic offshore wind technical potential.

    Offshore wind has the potential to help repower the Atlantic coast with clean energy – but taking advantage of the opportunity will require support from policymakers and regulatory bodies. Supportive policies include strong and enforceable state offshore wind targets, policies to ensure a strong market for offshore wind, investments in research, and efforts to work with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to ensure environmentally responsible and efficient development of offshore wind resources. Policymakers must also create minimum standards for the protection of ocean habitats and wildlife (particularly the North Atlantic right whale)…

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    Exxon’s Pretend Response To Climate Change Inside Exxon’s climate-change strategy

    Amy Harder, March 26, 2018 (Axios)

    “…[ExxonMobil, the] world’s largest publicly traded oil company] is at the center of lawsuits alleging big oil companies knew about and concealed the dangers of climate change for decades, and a record share of its investors have urged it to be more transparent about the risks climate poses to its business…A new Exxon report on navigating a carbon-constrained world, combined with recent comments by top executives, make Exxon’s approach clear. The company is doubling down on a decade-old strategy by making relatively small, long-term investments in two costly technologies: carbon capture and algae biofuels as a way to stay focused on its core hydrocarbon business…

    If technology can capture carbon from natural gas, the fuel will thrive longer under policies demanding sharp emission cuts…The use of algae biofuels will further the use of internal combustion engines in cars over electric batteries…Exxon held a first-ever dedicated session on climate change with analysts earlier this month during an annual meeting…[It argued a] carbon tax of $100 a ton is needed to make carbon-capture technologies viable…[For biofuels to work, the tax] would have to be even higher. Existing carbon prices around the world are much lower…Exxon's climate report to shareholders released in February assumes a massive expansion of the carbon-capture market in the coming decades along with increased demand for natural gas…[Exxon's strategy allows it to] address climate change without fundamentally changing its business model…” click here for more

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    Is It The New Energy Or The Emissions Cuts? Here's proof that not all renewables have the same reduction impact

    Gavin McCormick and Chiel Borenstein, March 26, 2018 (GreenBiz)

    “In recent years, institutional climate action targets, renewable energy subsidies and the rapidly falling costs of wind and solar have led [large institutions’ purchases of New Energy to grow from 70 megawatts in 2012] to over 2,780 megawatts as of February…[A new study found] not all renewable energy projects are equally effective at reducing emissions…[There are] three ways to count emissions…[One is counting] megawatt-hours of New Energy instead of] emissions…[Another is counting] avoided emissions…[The third is counting the emissions offset by a new New Energy] project…[New technologies would allow counting the local benefits and the additional emissions reductions of the project]…There is a need for a clear and consistent way for institutions to accurately measure the impacts of renewable purchases…” click here for more

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    The Cost Of Money And The Price Of Solar This 1 Factor Is a Bigger Deal to Solar Energy Than Rising Tariffs; Tariffs are a big deal in solar energy, but interest rates are what investors should really be watching.

    Travis Hoium, March 21, 2018 (Motley Fool)

    “Tariffs are the hottest topic in renewable energy right now…But a bigger threat to renewable energy companies and investors is what's happening at the Federal Reserve. Interest rates are on the rise, which will raise the cost of energy for every solar project across the U.S., making it harder for the industry to compete against fossil fuels. If the solar industry has a bad 2018, it may not be tariffs that are to blame…[The biggest impact [of rising interest rates] is on large solar systems, where a small increase in costs can drive overall costs up 10%...[Ultimately, it's the] price of electricity that matters for solar projects long term, and solar developers will bid based on their cost of construction and the rate at which they have to discount cash flow to get an implied price of electricity. The higher the interest rate they're discounting, the higher price at which electricity has to be sold on a per-kWh basis for projects to make money…A 200-basis-point increase in interest rates would have a far bigger impact on all solar projects than the tariffs put on solar cell and panel imports by the Trump administration…” click here for more

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    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    The Trash Isles

    Just-published research found the Trash Isles to be growing faster than expected. They are now three times bigger than France. From LADbible via YouTube

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