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)
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)…
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
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
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