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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1250 on: February 13, 2019, 08:45:48 PM »
Australian courts are blocking new coal mines:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-08/coal-developers-take-note-climate-change-killed-this-coal-mine?srnd=climate-changed

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An Australian court blocked the development of a coal mine because of its potential to contribute to climate change, in a ruling an environment lawyer said could be a turning point for future coal projects, while industry cautioned the decision wasn’t likely to impact new development.

“The construction and operation of the mine, and the transportation and combustion of the coal from the mine, will result in the emission of greenhouse gases, which will contribute to climate change,” Judge Brian Preston said in his appeal judgment.

New coal developments in Australia have been struggling to find willing investors, with a growing number of institutional funds around the world ruling out the fuel as part of tougher social and environmental mandates. India’s Adani Group said last November it would self finance its Carmichael mine in Queensland after failing to secure external backing.

“This has real implications for anyone investing in any projects in Australia that have a significant adverse social impact on the community of which climate change impacts are considered a key impact,” said Martijn Wilder, an environment lawyer at Baker McKenzie who was not involved in the case. It was one of the first times a mine has been rejected on climate grounds, he said.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1251 on: February 13, 2019, 09:30:05 PM »
India is considering cancelling up to 96 GW of coal projects:

https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/govt-may-cancel-50-gw-coal-based-power-projects-additional-46-gw-facing-risk-sp-global/67960857

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New Delhi: The Indian government might cancel about 50 gigawatt (GW) of coal-based power projects in the near future, according to S&P Global Platts. An additional 46 GW coal-based capacity, currently under construction, is also at risk.

"Over the past couple of years, coal projects of over 37 GW have been deferred with another 13 GW delayed in India and most likely will be cancelled. About 46 GW of coal projects are currently under construction but their future is uncertain," said Bruno Brunetti, power analyst, S&P Global Platts, that provides energy price benchmark assesments.

He also said solar power in auctions conducted in 2018 were as low as Rs 2.4 per kilowatt hour (kWh), equivalent to around $33.6 per megawatt hour (MWh). "This has placed coal newbuilds in a considerably more difficult position, especially given that the bottlenecks in the rail and infrastructure have led to fuel availability issues," Brunetti said in an interview with ETEnergyworld.

The elevated levels of imported coal prices witnessed over the past two years have also contributed in making coal less competitive as a fuel.

vox_mundi

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1252 on: February 15, 2019, 06:33:57 PM »
Toxic Black Snow Covers Streets in Siberia - video
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/15/toxic-black-snow-covers-siberian-coalmining-region

Residents of a coal mining region in Siberia have been posting online videos showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe in which British industry is compliant.

In one video, filmed in Kiselyovsk, a town in the Kuzbass region, a woman drives past mounds of coal-coloured snow stretching to the horizon, covering a children’s playground and the courtyards of residential buildings. The scenes in the footage were described as “post-apocalyptic” by Russian media.

... “It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter,” Vladimir Slivyak, a member of the Ecodefense environmental group, said. “There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time. When snow falls, it just becomes visible. You can’t see it the rest of the year, but it is still there.”

Officials in Mysky, a town in the region, were mocked recently for painting black snow white in an apparent attempt to improve the appearance of a children’s snow-slide.

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

sidd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1253 on: February 18, 2019, 11:51:04 PM »

kassy

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1254 on: February 24, 2019, 10:42:03 AM »
An interesting way to look at industries?

These Two Industries Literally Kill More People Than They Employ

Michigan Tech computer engineer Joshua Pearce argues the economic benefits of an industry should never outweigh the risks they pose to our lives. And when they do, we need to seriously consider sentencing the industry to economic 'death'.

Pearce recently conducted a study comparing the employment rates in the coal mining and tobacco industries with the risk of mortality each imposed on society.

These case studies form the basis of his argument that the political support for job numbers simply won't wash in the face of an industry's cost to human health.

...

According to the US Energy Information Administration, coal mining provides employment for just under 51,800 people across the nation, a figure that's dropping as profitability steadily sinks in the face of competition and environmental regulations.

In itself, coal mining is far safer today than in the past, where fatalities could be listed in their thousands. Only 15 people lost their lives on the job in 2017, and just 8 the year before that. 

As a fossil fuel, coal's dark side is revealed. Estimates using U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data put the number of premature deaths due to poor air quality from coal combustion in the vicinity of just over 52,000 a year.

That means for every job coal mining provides, it claims a life. More or less.


https://www.sciencealert.com/these-two-industries-literally-kill-more-people-than-they-employ-claim-researchers

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1255 on: February 25, 2019, 02:44:54 PM »
Glencore, the world's biggest thermal coal producer and exporter, is capping output
Quote
• Glencore says it will not grow its capacity to produce coal beyond current levels around 150 million tons per yer.
• The company will instead focus on increasing production of commodities used in electric vehicles and other low-carbon technologies.
• Analysts say the move will tighten supplies and boost prices, allowing Glencore to keep money flowing from its coal segment even as it caps output.

Commodities giant Glencore on Wednesday said it will cap the amount of coal it produces each year, part of a broader plan to align its business with the global effort to prevent climate change.

Glencore is the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal, the kind burned in power plants and a major contributor to planet-warming carbon emissions. The multinational miner on Wednesday said it will broadly limit its capacity to produce coal to current levels, or about 150 million tons per year.

The company instead plans to put capital to work churning out more copper, cobalt, nickel, vanadium and zinc, commodities that are used in electric vehicle batteries and other technologies that underpin the shift to a cleaner energy and transportation future. ...
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/20/glencore-the-worlds-biggest-thermal-coal-exporter-is-capping-output.html

Cross-posted in Cars thread.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

sidd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1256 on: February 28, 2019, 12:04:04 AM »
Coal company faked mine air quality data:

" Armstrong officials removed dust testing devices early in the miners’ shifts and placed the devices in less dusty or “clean air”; that during a testing period, officials replaced miners who ran the most dust-causing machines with miners who were not wearing the dust testing devices, so that the company would pass the tests; that Armstrong officials fabricated and submitted dust sampling test results on days the mine was shut down or otherwise not in operation; that officials ordered that testing devices be run in “clean air,” before and after shifts, to skew the test results toward passing ..."

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdky/pr/one-most-senior-level-former-coal-company-officials-ky-charged-defrauding-regulators

sidd

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1257 on: February 28, 2019, 09:15:36 PM »
Coal company faked mine air quality data:

" Armstrong officials removed dust testing devices early in the miners’ shifts and placed the devices in less dusty or “clean air”; that during a testing period, officials replaced miners who ran the most dust-causing machines with miners who were not wearing the dust testing devices, so that the company would pass the tests; that Armstrong officials fabricated and submitted dust sampling test results on days the mine was shut down or otherwise not in operation; that officials ordered that testing devices be run in “clean air,” before and after shifts, to skew the test results toward passing ..."

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdky/pr/one-most-senior-level-former-coal-company-officials-ky-charged-defrauding-regulators

sidd

This is not just defrauding regulators, its knowingly increasing the incidence of lung damage to the miners. Should be a criminal case brought against those involved with long prison sentences to get the message across.

kassy

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1258 on: March 04, 2019, 11:45:37 AM »
Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater at 91% of U.S. Coal Plants, Tests Show

At a power plant in Memphis, Tennessee, coal ash waste that built up over decades has been leaching arsenic and other toxic substances into the groundwater.

The contamination, ranked as a top problem in a new national assessment of water testing at coal ash sites, is in a shallow aquifer for now. But below that lies a second aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 650,000 people, and there are concerns that the contamination could make its way into the deeper water supply the city relies on.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04032019/coal-ash-groundwater-contamination-toxic-arsenic-memphis-texas-eip

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1259 on: March 06, 2019, 05:57:40 PM »
Interesting article about the future for the coal industry in China:

https://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/energy_watch/china-will-pay-high-costs-for-coal-shutdowns-03042019101118.html

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In the latest study that may raise concerns about the consequences of coal power cutbacks, oil major BP said last month in its annual Energy Outlook report that the pace of growth in renewables, led by China, is unprecedented.

"Renewables will penetrate the energy system quicker than any other fuel ever," said BP's chief economist, Spencer Dale, as quoted by Reuters.

Last year, China's renewable power capacity including wind, solar, hydro, and biomass sources rose 12 percent to 728 gigawatts (GW). Non-fossil power accounted for 38.3 percent of total installed generating capacity, a gain of 1.7 percentage points from a year earlier, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said.

Preliminary data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) tracked similar trends.

In its statistical communique for 2018, the NBS said that coal's share of total energy use fell to 59 percent, down 1.4 percentage points from 2017, although coal consumption rose 1 percent.

The share of "clean energy consumption," including natural gas, hydro, nuclear and wind power, rose 1.3 percentage points to 22.1 percent, the bureau said.

In coming decades, the shrinking share of coal in China's energy sourcing could be dramatic.

Under its main scenario, BP estimates that coal's share in the country's primary energy mix will plunge from 60 percent in 2017 to around 35 percent in 2040.

Quote
In an earlier study, Greenpeace blamed a wave of unnecessary coal power projects on the central government's decision in 2013 to transfer approval authority to China's provinces as a way to speed development by cutting red tape.

Push for coal-fired plants

Years later, much has changed in the development of renewable energy sources and the cost estimates of overcapacity, but little has changed in the push for more coal-fired plants.

As China's economic growth slows, the demand for electricity seems bound to weaken, magnifying the problem of excess coal plants. The shift from heavy industry to the less energy-intensive service sector may curb the role of coal even more.

But a study in September by the environmental research group CoalSwarm found that unneeded coal-fired generating projects with 259 GW of capacity remain under development despite central government efforts to stop them.

Quote
The extra capacity, which is nearly equal to that of all U.S. coal-fired plants, would increase China's coal generation total by 25 percent, the study said.

The new plants would also equal 13.6 percent of China's current total of installed capacity, according to the NEA figures released in January.

Starting in 2016, China's top planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), tried to head off the surplus projects. But the permitting restrictions left loopholes, like those for combined heat and power plants, which allowed many to go ahead.

Some industrial plants have also dodged restrictions by building coal-fired generators for their own electricity needs. The "captive" generators were unregulated until 2015, and many received clearance after operating illegally, CoalSwarm said.

The study, published at endcoal.org, said that the 259 GW of continuing coal projects are "wildly out of line" with commitments to control greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate accord. Cancelling the projects would save U.S. $210 billion (1.4 trillion yuan) in capital spending, the study said.

China's rate of growth for renewables and the declining coal share by 2040 are critical to the losses that can be expected from investment in the new plants, which could otherwise operate for 40 years or more.

Quote
If all the planned or partially-built plants were halted in 2021, the losses would reach nearly 4.5 trillion yuan (U.S. $655 billion at current rates). In 2036, the write- downs would still top 2.2 trillion yuan (U.S. $332 billion), the paper said.

Higher costs were estimated for closing all coal-fired plants, including those already operating. If the shutdowns took place in five years, the cost of stranded assets would reach 7.2 trillion yuan (U.S. $1 trillion). If the closures were delayed for 20 years, the losses would still total 3 trillion yuan (U.S. $456 billion), the analysis said.

In the five-year time frame, the losses would fall most heavily on the provinces and regions of Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Xinjiang, Shanxi, Guizhou and Jiangsu. But the costs would be major for the entire economy, ranging from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent of China's GDP in 2015, the paper said.

The estimates give a glimpse of the costs that will have to be paid for continuing to build coal-fired power plants in an industry that already suffers from overcapacity.

But it also raises the question of who will pay when the time of reckoning eventually comes.

Investors in the projects at the provincial level would appear to have a primary risk and responsibility.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1260 on: March 07, 2019, 12:16:10 AM »
This story published in February 2019 summarizes the of global capital investors that no longer finance coal projects.

https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/finance-and-policy/global-financiers-fleeing-the-coal-sector-finds-report/

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New research from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reveals that over 100 major global financial institutions have introduced policies restricting coal funding.

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The World Bank announced the first-ever restrictions in 2013, with the 100th announcement in December 2018 coming from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) removing three country exceptions to its coal finance ban.

A further five policies have been announced since the beginning of 2019 with moves coming from Nedbank of South Africa, Barclays Bank UK, Export Development Canada, and Varma of Finland.

The latest move announced just last week was from Austria’s Vienna Insurance Group saying it will no longer insure new coal plants and mines.

Policies responding to climate change

Report author Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, IEEFA, says when globally significant investors act, global momentum increases.

“For environmental, reputational and financial reasons, thermal coal is a toxic asset for global investors increasingly announcing new and improved policies responding to climate change,” said Buckley.

The strong leadership of a few globally significant institutions five years ago is increasingly turning into capital flight by the many, with one new announcement every two weeks in recent years.

gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1261 on: March 08, 2019, 11:55:22 AM »
Coal lobbyists like to say electricity generated from coal will keep flowing when renewables fail.

This article seems to do a good job on showing that coal generation fails in extreme weather - hot and cold.

So has another assumption bit the dust in the face of real data?

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/as-extreme-weather-forces-coal-to-falter-where-will-resilience-come-from#gs.00fdh6
As Extreme Weather Forces Coal to Falter, Where Will Resilience Come From?
From bitter cold in North America to historic heatwaves in Australia, coal simply won’t provide the grid resilience federal officials claim subsidies would provide.

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January’s polar vortex renewed Trump administration calls to subsidize uneconomic coal-fired generation to improve grid resilience through on-hand fuel supplies, but reality is disproving this contention — coal is increasingly a grid liability during extreme weather.

The smarter way to secure a reliable grid that proves resilient against climate change impacts is through generation diversity, grid automation, distributed resources and interagency planning. This trend is already being realized by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), while remote California communities and Puerto Rico’s rebuilding grid move to test and scale clean, resilient solutions.

Coal crashes in extreme cold and extreme heat
Data from PJM Interconnection reported severe cold forced 7.3 to 7.7 gigawatts of coal generation (roughly 12 percent of the market’s total installed coal capacity, or enough to power 5 million homes) offline during January’s polar vortex. A total of 18 to 23 percent  of coal plants facing retirement, those most in need of subsidies, were forced offline — nearly double the PJM average forced outage rate of 7 to 10.6 percent during the same time. These forced outages slightly improved from the 2014 polar vortex, when nearly 14 gigawatts of PJM’s coal capacity (roughly 20 percent of PJM’s total coal capacity at the time) was forced offline due to cold-induced power plant equipment failures and frozen coal piles.

Coal’s brittle performance in extreme weather was also apparent at the other end of the spectrum in Australia’s recent historic heatwave. Temperatures exceeding 120° Fahrenheit forced up to 40 percent of the state of Victoria’s coal generation capacity offline, causing brownouts for thousands of homes, while wind and solar energy outperformed expected output.

Australian coal outages weren’t limited to its record heatwave. Coal-fired power plants broke down 135 different times nationwide during 2018, or once every 2.7 days, often due to extreme heat. “Coal-fired power is simply unreliable in the heat,” said Mark Ogge of The Australia Institute.

Solar, on the other hand, performed “the best of all energy sources” during the record-breaking Australian heatwave, according to the Australia Institute’s National Energy Emissions Audit for January. “Solar saved the day,” said Dr. Hugh Sadler, the report’s author.

Even the U.S. Department of Energy’s analytical staff found fuel security is not synonymous with resilience in 2017. DOE examined the role of baseload generation in resilience, and a leaked report found no threat to reliability from losing coal and nuclear generation based on recent reliability analyses from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, echoing similar findings from U.S. wholesale market operators.  More recently, a Rhodium Group analysis showed the grid’s wires, not its plants, were more vulnerable to climate impacts.

According to a recent study by Alison Silverstein, lead author of the DOE’s resilience report, customer strategies like real-time communication and automation, local generation for life-saving infrastructure, regional coordination, and better emergency preparedness make much more sense for improving resilience than focusing unrealistically on saving unreliable coal plants from bleak economics.
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sidd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1262 on: March 08, 2019, 10:32:55 PM »
Hidden subsidies for coal plants:

"Some utilities appear to be finding a way to undermine the competitive market structure that would have lower cost resource operate more and higher cost resources operate less. Expensive coal plants—which are objectively not competitive—are being operated in such a way that costs consumers money, reduces flexibility, and exacerbates existing pollution problems."

"coal-fired power plants incurred $4.6 billion in market losses over the past 3 years or $1.5 billion dollars in market losses each year. Most of these “losses” were incurred by power plants owned by monopoly utilities and are not absorbed by the investors or owners"

"power plant operators can choose to ignore price signals, and the owner can “self-commit” or “self-schedule,” effectively bypassing the market’s role as the independent system operator."

"The idea that a power plant needs to bypass the market’s decision-making process and self-select (as opposed to market-select) is to presume that the markets are incapable of doing its job"

"Many coal-fired power plants enter into contracts for fuel which have “take-or-pay” provisions. Utilities claim this means there is effectively no cost to burning the fuel"

https://blog.ucsusa.org/joseph-daniel/the-coal-bailout-nobody-is-talking-about

sidd

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1263 on: March 10, 2019, 06:54:24 PM »
Wyoming passes coal support bill in spate of Western action to save ailing plants
Quote
The energy proposals across the U.S. West illustrate how state lawmakers are responding to the market transition away from coal power in the face of inaction from the White House.

In Wyoming, the S.F. 159 would only allow utilities to recover the costs of building new power plants to replace retiring coal generators if they first make "a good faith effort" to sell the closing facilities. If a buyer can be found, the bill would direct utilities to purchase power from the plants back from the purchaser.

The bill comes after PacifiCorp, which owns Wyoming utility Rocky Mountain Power, said in December that 60% of its coal fleet is uneconomic, including plants in Wyoming.

In Montana, the so-called "save-Colstrip" bill would allow utility Northwestern Energy to buy a larger share of the newest unit of the Colstrip power plant for $1 and pass the costs onto its captive customers.
...
In New Mexico, coal developments come as part of a broad clean energy bill that would move the state's utilities to 80% renewables by 2040 and mandate that the remaining power come from zero-carbon sources.

The bill, Senate Bill 489, would allow utility Public Service of New Mexico to securitize the costs of closing its 847 MW San Juan plant, slated to come offline in 2022. That would allow PNM to issue AAA-rated bonds to recover stranded costs in the plant, which ratepayers would repay through bill surcharge. ...
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/wyoming-passes-coal-support-bill-in-spate-of-western-action-to-save-ailing/549753/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1264 on: March 12, 2019, 01:43:26 PM »
A longer take on Germany’s news from January.

Germany to close all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, will rely primarily on renewable energy
Quote
Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday.

The announcement marked a significant shift for Europe’s largest country — a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before turning into a laggard in recent years and badly missing its reduction targets. Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production.
...
The decision to quit coal follows an earlier bold energy policy move by the German government, which decided to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.
...
Included in the recommendations was that the phase-out target be reviewed every three years. Also, the final deadline could be moved forward, if possible, by three years to 2035.

The initial targets are considerable, calling for a quarter of the country’s coal-burning plants with a capacity of 12.5 gigawatts to be shut down by 2022. That means about 24 plants will be shut within the first three years. By 2030, Germany should have about eight coal-burning plants remaining, producing 17 gigawatts of electricity, the commission said.
https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-germany-coal-power-20190126-story.html
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b_lumenkraft

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1265 on: March 12, 2019, 02:10:34 PM »
We choose to go green...We choose to go green in the upcoming decades and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are necessary.