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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #750 on: June 15, 2017, 02:02:24 AM »
According to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends.

World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record
U.S. demand for coal fell by 33.4 million tons of oil equivalent last year to 358.4 million, the biggest decline in the world in absolute terms, BP data show.

Global consumption dropped 1.7 percent last year compared with an average 1.9 percent yearly increase from 2005 to 2015, according to BP. China, which accounted for about half of the coal burned in the world, used 1.6 percent less of the fuel, compared with an average 3.7 percent annual expansion in the 11 preceding years.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-13/coal-s-era-starts-to-wane-as-world-shifts-to-cleaner-energy
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #751 on: June 16, 2017, 08:14:46 PM »
For this large, historic university in coal-rich central Pennsylvania, switching to natural gas last year was a big deal.

One year later: Reflecting on Penn State’s switch from coal to natural gas
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — One year ago, Penn State’s University Park campus officially switched from coal to natural gas to power and heat the buildings on campus. The “Last Day of Coal” celebration in March of 2016, which beckoned in a new era for Penn State, also recognized the major role coal played in the history of the University. ...
http://news.psu.edu/story/460837/2017/04/17/campus-life/one-year-later-reflecting-penn-state’s-switch-coal-natural-gas
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #752 on: June 16, 2017, 09:29:17 PM »
The global coal boom finally seems to be winding down
As the annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy reveals, global demand for coal has fallen for the second year in a row. ...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/16/the-global-coal-boom-finally-seems-to-be-winding-down.html
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rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #753 on: June 18, 2017, 06:54:21 PM »
No wonder India does not need any new coal-fired electricity generating plants

Found this graph of the amount of India's additional coal fired capacity per year, a picture says it so much better than words.



They seem to have seen the light, planning to overachieve their Paris INDC, although coal usage will still increase somewhat due to the need to power very rapid economic growth.

"An energy blueprint released this week by the Indian government predicts that 57 percent of total electricity capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027—exceeding the Paris Agreement’s target of 40 percent by 2030. Currently, almost 33 percent of the country’s total energy comes from non-fossil fuel, which makes the Paris target relatively unambitious—it looks like India is almost three-and-a-half years ahead of schedule."

https://www.citylab.com/tech/2017/05/will-india-ever-need-another-coal-plant/528111/
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 07:00:23 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #754 on: June 18, 2017, 08:12:37 PM »
Global wind and solar costs to fall even faster, while coal fades even in China and India

Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report (you can download the exec summary for free)

"This year’s forecast from BNEF sees solar energy costs dropping a further 66% by 2040, and onshore wind by 47%, with renewables undercutting the majority of existing fossil power stations by 2030.

New Energy Outlook 2017, the latest long-term forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shows earlier progress than its equivalent a year ago towards decarbonization of the world’s power system – with global emissions projected to peak in 2026 and to be 4% lower in 2040 than they were in 2016.

In the U.S., the Trump administration has voiced support for the coal sector. However, NEO 2017 indicates that the economic realities over the next two decades will not favor U.S. coal-fired power, which is forecast to see a 51% reduction in generation by 2040. In its place, gas-fired electricity will rise 22%, and renewables 169%."

Let's hope that emissions are a lot more than 4% lower in 2040 than now, otherwise we will already have blown well through 2 degrees centigrade. Seems Bloomberg has to keep updating its forecasts to be more bullish, so some hope there.

https://about.bnef.com/blog/global-wind-solar-costs-fall-even-faster-coal-fades-even-china-india/

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #755 on: June 18, 2017, 09:44:47 PM »
This year’s forecast from BNEF sees solar energy costs dropping a further 66% by 2040, and onshore wind by 47%

Unsubsidized PV solar in the US is averaging $0.05/kWh or less.  (That was the 2015 average and installed solar dropped 20% from 2015 to 2016.)

A 66% drop would take the price of solar to $0.017.  Less than two cents per kWh.

Unsubsidized onshore wind in the US is averaging $0.03/kWh or less.  (2016 prices have not yet been released.)

A 47% drop would take the price of wind to $00.16/kWh.  Also less than two cents per kWh.

I suspect neither will go that low as their operating costs are close to a penny.  But getting to two cents per kWh would mean abundant, cheap energy.    I do suspect we'll see those two cent prices well before 2040.

TerryM

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Re: Coal
« Reply #756 on: June 19, 2017, 03:36:15 AM »
Bob
Does it strike you as odd that we place very high tariffs on imported PV panels, even as we subsidize their use?


AFAIK no large North American PV panel manufacturers are still in business. The idea that high tariffs could help them compete perished with them, so the only effect that the tariffs have now is to raise the cost of renewable electricity in both countries.


I'm unsure how much the price of panels affects the "all in" costs of an installed system, but if it's a low percentage of the final cost, then the tariffs are ineffective as well as a hindrance to free trade. If, as I suspect, the cost of panels does make up a substantial portion of the bottom line, then PV tariffs are directly responsible for whatever CO2 is emitted by the dirty energy that it would have replaced.


There is much talk about the need to halt subsidizing fossil fuels, this is always countered by very well heeled lobbyists. Speaking out against tariffs and trade restrictions on renewable energy systems might not raise such deep pocketed opposition.


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #757 on: June 19, 2017, 05:23:52 AM »
Sunpower and First Solar are a couple of US panel manufacturers. 

I haven't been able to figure out where I stand on the tariff on Chinese panels.  If China is engaging in unfair pricing in order to force other countries to stop manufacturing then we pretty much have to do something about that. 

Utility fixed mount solar fell to $0.99/kWh in the first quarter of 2017.  I would guess paned are a bit less than half the total cost.  If the tariff is hurting installed prices then it's not hurting a lot.  Prices are down about 20% from a year ago. 

And that's 99 cents before the subsidy.  69 cents if the solar farm takes the 30% ITC. 

My big question is why we aren't seeing installation rates several times what they now are.  This is solar cheaper than the fuel cost for CCNG plants.  And a fixed price for 20 years.

There's a big market ahead for panels.  I don't know that we want to let China force us out of the business.  We can manufacture as cheaply as they can, I think.  Or at least very close and then save on shipping costs.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #758 on: June 19, 2017, 05:42:03 AM »
With electricity demand pretty much static in the US, any additional renewable capacity ends up replacing in-place capacity. So, for incumbent utilities it only really makes sense to replace close to economic end of life (i.e. fully depreciated) assets. Otherwise, they will have to take a one-time write-down of the none depreciated amount.

The exception would be if the operating losses were so great as to force the closure of a facility, or the profitability of the replacement was so much higher that it offset the depreciation write-off considerations.

These considerations must have some limiting effect on the rate of new renewables installations.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #759 on: June 19, 2017, 05:53:31 AM »
Something like 34 out of 61 US nuclear plants are no longer competitive.  Wind, solar and natural gas have undercut over half of all US nuclear plants.  Coal is probably doing a little better but a lot of coal is going to be shut because it would be too expensive to comply with air quality standards.

That said, I suspect any nuclear or coal plant that runs into a large repair bill is cooked.  Margins are very thin and if a repair bill is added it may make sense to just close down and replace with RE.

Utilities and energy companies are already writing off perfectly operable plants.  You can't take a daily loss in order to keep a plant open in hopes of recovering investment.  Expected profits are toast.

I remember my grandfather talking about what people did with their horse drawn buggies when Ford T Models became affordable.  They pulled very high quality buggies in the the field and set them on fire.  You couldn't sell a buggy, no one wanted one. 

My grandfather apparently had a very nice buggy that the family used to go to church on Sundays.  Once they got a car no one was ever going to ride in a buggy again.  And they needed the shed space for the car.

numerobis

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Re: Coal
« Reply #760 on: June 19, 2017, 01:01:53 PM »
Nuclear plants are ruinously expensive to decommission. The single plant in Quebec is costing over a billion to stop running it (the previous government decided to shut it down rather than refurbish it).

So even if you're losing money with each kWh coming out of the plant, it can make accounting sense to keep it running and delay taking that charge until the next CEO's term.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #761 on: June 19, 2017, 03:38:48 PM »
...
AFAIK no large North American PV panel manufacturers are still in business. The idea that high tariffs could help them compete perished with them, so the only effect that the tariffs have now is to raise the cost of renewable electricity in both countries.
...
Terry

Don't forget Tesla's "Gigafactory 2" (formerly Solar City) near Buffalo, New York:

Tesla is gearing up for production of traditional solar panels at its Gigafactory 2 plant in Riverbend, New York, to begin later this summer.

Tesla Energy’s solar business currently represents a quarter of the nation’s residential rooftop solar market in the United States acquired through the former SolarCity banner. Tesla’s super low-profile solar panels will be the majority of production at the $900 million Buffalo factory. In parallel to the start of production of traditional solar panels in New York, Tesla has announced plans to begin production of its newest Solar Roof tiles at its Fremont factory by the end of June. The company will eventually ramp production of the glass solar roof tile at Gigafactory 2 which is expected to be the dominant product at the facility.
...
http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-gigafactory-2-ny-solar-panel-tile-production/
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #762 on: June 19, 2017, 03:44:56 PM »
I didn't include Tesla because I'm not sure what is going to happen now that Tesla has released their solar roof tile.  It kind of sounds, in your quote, that panel production could be rolled back with tiles taking their place.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #763 on: June 19, 2017, 03:46:46 PM »
Utilities in the western U.S. abandon coal because it costs too much
“It’s all about the economics,” the expert said. “Technologies have improved to make other forms of energy less expensive than coal.”

One might figure sure, that’s some tree-hugging environmentalist arguing for solar and wind energy. But in fact, that’s the largest utility in the state of New Mexico, PNM, putting the dagger into the heart of inflexible and expensive coal generation. In April, PNM announced plans to shut the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station outside Farmington decades ahead of schedule.

And it’s not the only one. PNM’s neighboring utility in Arizona, Salt River Project, plans to pull the plug on the West’s largest coal-fired power plant, Navajo Generating Station, for the same fundamental reason – coal costs too much. One of the largest customers of Navajo’s coal-fired electricity is the Central Arizona Project, which powers massive pumps to move water hundreds of miles from the Colorado River to Phoenix. The utility figured it could have saved $38.5 million last year buying power on the open market rather than expensive electricity generated by coal from Navajo Generating Station.

We are surrounded by utilities abandoning coal faster than rats escaping the Titanic. In Colorado, Xcel Energy has dropped its coal portfolio by half in the last decade. In Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, all the big utilities are fleeing coal.

There are many arguments against coal – including the climate-change impacts of burning coal and how the local economy could benefit from renewable energy generated right here at home. But for these utilities, it is a bottom-line, dollar-and-cents question – coal has rapidly become the most expensive source of electricity.

What about our own electric generation source, Tri-State, which powers our local La Plata Electric Association? As we watch PNM, Salt River Project and Xcel all dump coal simply because it is too expensive, what’s different with Tri-State? Tri-State claims it has better deals for its coal and power plants than these other utilities, arguing that new solar and wind is still slightly more expensive than old coal.

Just a few years ago, in 2013, Tri-State and its member electric cooperatives, railed against a requirement to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Tri-State and its coal suppliers argued 20 percent by 2020 was an “unreasonably difficult” goal and created an unprecedented “government-generated crisis.”

Some of Tri-State’s member co-ops claimed renewable energy would cost billions of dollars and literally make reliable, affordable electricity impossible.

Guess what? Today, Tri-State touts the fact it obtains 25 percent of its power from renewable sources, easily besting the standard. Clearly, not at all difficult to achieve, and it certainly hasn’t affected affordability. But Tri-State still prohibits local co-ops like LPEA from generating more than 5 percent of energy from local sources.
...
https://durangoherald.com/articles/165644
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #764 on: June 19, 2017, 03:50:50 PM »
I didn't include Tesla because I'm not sure what is going to happen now that Tesla has released their solar roof tile.  It kind of sounds, in your quote, that panel production could be rolled back with tiles taking their place.

Musk has said that while solar roofs make sense for people replacing their roofs, or new roofs... folks with roofs that do not need replacing will want to install good-looking solar panels -- which Tesla* has designed and will also make.  :)

  https://www.tesla.com/solarpanels

Edit:  *Tesla/Panasonic
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 12:06:22 AM by Sigmetnow »
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Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #765 on: June 19, 2017, 04:59:45 PM »

Musk has said that while solar roofs make sense for people replacing their roofs, or new roofs... roofs that do not need replacing will want to install good-looking solar panels -- which Tesla has designed and will also make.  :)

  https://www.tesla.com/solarpanels

That is a much better look than typical panels with their aluminum frames.

I wonder how the air flow is behind them.  Will the panels get hotter and produce less?

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #766 on: June 20, 2017, 02:07:46 AM »
John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show on coal, coal jobs, Trump, and Bob Murray. ;D
(Caution: Language)
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #767 on: June 22, 2017, 03:40:03 PM »
Mississippi Regulators Veto Any More Money for Southern Company's Kemper 'Clean Coal' Plant in Stunning Vote
In a historic vote this morning, Mississippi state regulators slammed the brakes on the Kemper coal power plant, saying it will refuse to ask utility customers to pay anything for Kemper's non-functional multi-billion dollar “clean coal” gasification technology and will re-designate the plant as a natural gas facility.

In a joint press release explaining their unanimous decision, the three Mississippi Public Service commissioners said they seek a solution that “eliminates ratepayer risk for unproven technology and assures no rate increase to Mississippi Power customers,” and that they want Mississippi Power, the Southern Company subsidiary that built Kemper, to consider rolling back existing rates.

“I think it's high time we finally turn the corner on this project and also strongly protect our ratepayers, who should only have to pay for what actually delivers electricity,” said PSC chairman Brandon Presley in an interview. Presley was, until recently, the lone opponent of a bloated, runaway project that saw costs jump from $2.3 billion in 2010 when work began to $7.5 billion now. ...
https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/06/21/mississippi-regulators-veto-any-more-money-southern-company-s-kemper-clean-coal-plant-stunning-vote

Electrek says:
A $7.5B experiment with tax payer money to create ‘clean coal’ has failed. Now, regulators are telling the company to convert to gas from coal and that no more costs overruns will be passed onto electricity rate payers. Clean coal doesn’t exist. We’ve been trying to clean it since the beginning of the industrial revolution. There’s a coal plant that pumps the CO2 underground – but is this really a smart policy?
https://electrek.co/2017/06/22/egeb-clean-coal-kemper-doe-perry-study/
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rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #768 on: June 22, 2017, 06:53:40 PM »
Now, if only Saskatchewan would do the same with their "clean coal" experiment

SaskPower spending more to capture carbon than expected

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskpower-carbon-capture-1.3896487

Sask. carbon capture plant doubles the price of power

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/carbon-capture-power-prices-1.3641066

There's quite a lot of wind on the Canadian Prairies, and lots of hydro to provide load balancing.



Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #769 on: June 22, 2017, 06:59:14 PM »
Canada should rebrand themselves as the "Land of Water and Wind" and put all that other foolishness behind them.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #770 on: June 22, 2017, 07:15:09 PM »
The "Renewables Superpower" sounds so much better, but maybe a bit brash for Canada's sensibilities.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #771 on: June 22, 2017, 07:46:57 PM »
Perhaps "Renewables, eh?"

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #772 on: June 22, 2017, 07:50:42 PM »
Oh god, please no! I would have to emigrate.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #773 on: June 23, 2017, 02:32:48 AM »
Cross-post from India thread.  Seems we can't help but mention renewables when talking about coal these days.  :)

World's biggest coal company closes 37 mines as solar power's influence grows
The largest coal mining company in the world has announced it will close 37 mines because they are no longer economically viable.

Coal India, which produces around 82 per cent of India's coal, said the mines would be decommissioned by March 2018.

The closures, of around 9 per cent of the state-run firm's sites, will reportedly save around 8,000,000,000 rupees (£98m).

India's solar sector has received heavy international investment, and the plummeting price of solar electricity has increased pressure on fossil fuel companies in the country.

The government has announced it will not build any more coal plants after 2022 and predicts renewables will generate 57 per cent of its power by 2027 – a pledge far outstripping its commitment in the Paris climate change agreement.

Plans for nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the UK – were scrapped in May, signalling a seismic shift in the India's energy market.
...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coal-india-closes-37-mines-solar-power-sustainable-energy-market-influence-pollution-a7800631.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #774 on: June 23, 2017, 04:16:27 AM »
John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show on coal, coal jobs, Trump, and Bob Murray. ;D
(Caution: Language)


 Found myself checking three times to be sure this article wasn't satirical. ;D  It is not:

John Oliver sued by coal CEO claiming 'character assassination'
http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/22/media/john-oliver-coal-king-murray-lawsuit/index.html?
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wili

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Re: Coal
« Reply #775 on: June 23, 2017, 04:24:46 AM »
Wow.

My wife and I had just watched that john oliver segment.

Things are getting more and more surreal.

I guess we're about to see whether fossil-death-fuel interests 'trump' free speech...or not?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

sidd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #776 on: June 30, 2017, 07:53:08 AM »
Went thru the Powder river basin and stopped in Rozet, Wyoming and talked to the coal miners there. Down to two shifts from three, heading toward one. Saw some looooong coal trains, hopefully will be fewer and shorter soon.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #777 on: June 30, 2017, 09:40:30 PM »
The John Oliver segment reminds me of the time that the meat industry went after Oprah for a show she did on mad cow disease.

Oprah Says Free Speech Prevails in Win over Texas Beef Industry

http://tech.mit.edu/V118/N8/doprah.8w.html

The reaction was for lots of states to pass food libel laws that make it easier for food corporations to sue those that criticize them. They are know as "veggie libel laws" as they are often used against those that criticize the meat industry. Perhaps we will be having "clean energy libel laws" soon.

"Thirteen states (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas) have adopted some form of these disparagement laws. Although they all differ slightly, these laws all lower the actual malice and falsity standard set out in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. They also allow the food business plaintiff to collect punitive damages and attorney’s fees against the defendant, in addition to any economic damages that stem from the defendant’s statements.

These food disparagement laws have come to be known as “veggie libel laws” because they have often been used against animal rights and vegetarian activists working to expose the harmful consequences of meat consumption. Celebrated talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey became a victim of a veggie libel suit when the Texas Beef Group sued her and former cattle rancher turned critic Howard Lyman, for doing a show on the dangers of Mad Cow Disease. As the Oprah case revealed, these laws chill the public’s right to engage in free speech by subjecting anyone wishing to speak out about food-product related issues (such as health risks, ethical implications, environmental impacts, etc.) to civil damages and legal costs. Imagine if such obstacles existed when Upton Sinclair was exposing the safety and health risks of slaughterhouses, or others were questioning the safety of using cocaine in Coca-Cola."

https://www.change.org/p/change-food-libel-laws-to-allow-us-to-know-the-truth-about-our-food

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #778 on: July 03, 2017, 08:10:50 PM »
Seems that Japan is not getting the message about the end of coal, so much for their climate commitments. Interesting take on the struggle between the environment minister and the industry minister.

New coal power plants may block Japan's carbon emissions goal: environment minister

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/New-coal-power-plants-may-block-Japan%27s-carbon-emissions-goal-environment-minister

Japanese government planning to build 45 new coal fired power stations to diversify supply

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-31/japan-coal-power-plants/8224302

Japan spruiks 'highly efficient' coal-fired power plants as stop-gap measure to Australia's energy crisis

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-01/japan-spruiks-coal-fired-power-plants-to-australia/8577464

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #779 on: July 03, 2017, 08:12:31 PM »
China cutting coal use at home, but helping others get addicted:

As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/01/climate/china-energy-companies-coal-plants-climate-change.html?_r=0

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #780 on: July 03, 2017, 08:24:41 PM »
A significant uptick in US coal use this year, as higher natural gas prices make coal more attractive. Very easy for electricity generators to switch between gas and coal given that the plants are nowhere near full utilization rates. Also, it looks like global coal use will increase this year (including in China) so maybe a nasty surprise when the 2017 emissions numbers come out.

COLUMN-U.S. coal set for an upturn in 2017/18: Kemp

"Higher gas prices will encourage power producers to limit gas consumption as much as possible this summer and run coal-fired power plants for more hours which should support a significant increase in coal demand"

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/07/reuters-america-column-us-coal-set-for-an-upturn-in-201718-kemp.html

US Coal Mining Up By 19% In 2017 — Is Trump Fulfilling His Campaign Promise?

"US Department of Energy data as reviewed by The Associated Press reveals that the US mined a staggering 19% more coal in the first 5 months of 2017 than during the same period in 2016. This is especially surprising given the developments of last year, when US coal was clearly dwindling ...
First of all, the surge has not been confined to the US. Production in other coal behemoths like China and India has been going up too, after falling in 2016. Through May, mining increased by no less than 121 million tons in the 3 countries combined, amounting to a 6% overall annual growth rate compared to last year.

That is not to say that the revival in these three countries, together covering 60% of global coal production, is due to one and the same cause. For China, analysts point to its higher than expected economic growth and therefore electricity demand, as well as the relaxation of stringent policies aimed at cutting back oversupply on the Chinese coal market. For India, coal growth is part of a larger push for increasing access to a stable electricity supply to more of its inhabitants, as 260 million Indians still are not connected to the grid. So far, the surge has thus been driven by strong global energy demand and coal’s ability to supply that in a quick and artificially cheap way.

In the US, where coal growth was concentrated in the mining states of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, other factors have been at play as well, but those have little to do with Trump’s presidency. The combination of above-average energy demand resulting from a cold winter and spiking prices for coal’s substitute, natural gas, instigated the 19% mining increase. But with the USA’s large natural gas supplies, analysts don’t expect this to last much longer.

These recent developments do make clear that coal isn’t dead yet. When energy demand spikes, coal plants can quickly scale up electricity generation in response, preventing blackouts at low financial but high social costs by massively polluting the air and warming up the climate."

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/06/26/us-coal-mining-19-2017-trump-fulfilling-campaign-promise/

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #781 on: July 03, 2017, 08:26:51 PM »
China cutting coal use at home, but helping others get addicted:

As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/01/climate/china-energy-companies-coal-plants-climate-change.html?_r=0

I don't understand this.  The Chinese government has made some strong statements about being a world leader in fighting climate change.  China understands that their country will suffer a lot as temperatures rise and deserts grow.  They know that it doesn't matter where the coal is burned in terms of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

Perhaps they see coal as a way to build up the economies of some underdeveloped countries as China has done.  And then to switch to renewables, closing those coal plants after a couple of decades.

I'm not sure that strategy will make sense with the rapidly falling cost of wind, solar and storage.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #782 on: July 03, 2017, 08:29:39 PM »
US coal consumption increase is only noise in the system.  We're continuing to close coal plants while building no new ones.  As time goes along there simply won't be places to burn that much coal.

And we continue to install lots of RE.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #783 on: July 03, 2017, 08:47:52 PM »
Current US coal plant utilization is around 50%, so even if the US closes one third of all its current coal plants it could still burn the same amount of coal by increasing the level of utilization. That's just the reality of the previous investment decisions that were made. There may be a lot of flipping between natural gas and coal as the relative prices change over time.

All governments, including the Chinese, suffer from multiple personality disorder. They want to be green, but they want to keep growing their economies - in the case of India and China at very fast rates. As in Japan, a bit of a fight between the environment and the industry ministries.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #784 on: July 03, 2017, 09:29:18 PM »

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #785 on: July 04, 2017, 12:25:07 AM »
China (3,546 metric tonnes), India (922 Mt) and USA (661 Mt) combined were 2/3 of global coal consumption in 2016

All three seem to be growing consumption in 2017, so looks like coal consumption will go up this year. Its all about Chindia.

https://yearbook.enerdata.net/coal-lignite/coal-world-consumption-data.html

Very cool site for energy statistics, you can scroll back and forth between years for each energy source against each country.

« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 12:40:34 AM by rboyd »

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #786 on: July 04, 2017, 01:01:09 AM »
Global coal peaked in 2013.  Down in 2014 and down again in 2015 and again in 2016.

Where are you seeing 2017 increases?

vigilius

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Re: Coal
« Reply #787 on: July 04, 2017, 02:57:03 AM »
Just in case anyone missed it, this episode of National Geographic's new show about coal is free online for a limited time:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/from-the-ashes/videos/from-the-ashes/

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #788 on: July 04, 2017, 06:22:56 AM »
Global coal peaked in 2013.  Down in 2014 and down again in 2015 and again in 2016.

Where are you seeing 2017 increases?

I am not saying that its coming all the way back, but the decline may be halted for a while.

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/06/26/us-coal-mining-19-2017-trump-fulfilling-campaign-promise/

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/07/reuters-america-column-us-coal-set-for-an-upturn-in-201718-kemp.html

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #789 on: July 04, 2017, 07:34:34 AM »
The CT article says that coal production (mining) is up.  Electricity produced by coal is up for the first three months of the year compared to last year but down from two years ago. 

2017 3-Month Total 292,465

2016 3-Month Total 278,408

2015 3-Month Total 367,915

I'd call it noise created by variation in fuel prices.  One  can't tell too much by looking at only a few data points.  I haven't updated my coal graphs for awhile but here's what has been happening with coal overall.  (As of about a year ago.)




Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #790 on: July 04, 2017, 08:20:15 AM »


There  has a been a bit of a bounce back up recently. 

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #791 on: July 04, 2017, 07:04:30 PM »
The big global cuts in coal usage in the past few years were in the US (837 Mt reduced to 661), China (3969 Mt down to 3546 Mt) and the UK (61 Mt down to 18 Mt), with a bit in Germany (247 Mt to 226 Mt). The rest of the world increased their coal usage.

The U.S. change was predominantly a switching from coal to natural gas, with some impact from renewables. With coal now more price competitive with gas in the US, a slower rate of reduction driven by renewables most probable. With Germany closing down its remaining nuclear plants, will need significant growth in renewables just to make up the gap. The UK has nearly no coal left to shut down.

So, its all down to China's ability to grow 6-7% a year and cut coal usage through a combination of energy efficiency and renewables. The Indian trajectory is for lower growth in coal usage than planned, but there will still be growth. They have a huge amount of unused coal capacity, so no issue in burning the stuff if they need to. So global coal usage may bounce a bit in the short-term, then have a slower than previous decline for the next few years at least.

The Japanese situation is just plain crazy. You would think that they would be driving renewables flat out to be a leading player in the industry, rather than building coal plants.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Coal
« Reply #792 on: July 04, 2017, 07:49:33 PM »
I suspect aggregate coal/NG/oil declines will accelerate as RE and storage prices continue to fall and EVs become more common.  Between falling prices, increasing awareness of the cost/health damage created by fossil fuels, growing concern about climate change, and more affordable EVs there will be a lot of forces pushing us away from FF.

Progress will almost not be a straight line, especially across each country.

The rest of the world increased their coal usage.

20 countries increased coal usage from 2015 to 2016.  31 countries decreased their coal consumption.  Most of the increases (and some of the decreases) fall into the 'noise' level, annual variation.  Here's a list of countries that increased coal consumption greater than one million tonnes oil equivalent:

South Africa  1.7
Philippines  1.9
Malaysia  3.0
Turkey  3.7
Other Asia Pacific  3.7
Ukraine  4.2
Indonesia  11.5
India  15.3

Here are the countries which cut their coal consumption more than one million tonnes oil equivalent:

US  -33.4
China  -26.0
United Kingdom  -12.0
Russian Federation  -4.9
South Korea  -3.9
Spain  -3.3
Germany  -3.2
Mexico  -2.9
Italy  -1.4
Brazil  -1.2
Other Africa  -1.1
Israel  -1.0
Vietnam  -1.0


I suspect Japan has a cultural 'follow the leader' problem and, at this point in time, their leaders have a 1990 mindset.  (If not earlier.)  As things progress Japan will likely get shamed into place.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #793 on: July 07, 2017, 04:44:31 PM »
NTPC plans to invest US$10bn to build new coal-fired plants (India)

Will  be interesting to see what happens with this:

"The Indian power utility National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) announced it will set aside and invest US$10bn for the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the next 5 years. NTPC plans a first phase with three supercritical power stations reaching a combined capacity of 5,000 MW, which is almost twice the capacity of those currently being phased out or mothballed. However, the investment plan has not yet been approved by the government.

This announcement comes just after the Central Electricity Authority, India’s electricity regulator concluded through the December 2016 Draft National Electricity Plan (an assessment of the domestic electricity market) that India does not plan on expanding its coal-fired capacity over 2017-2022. This plan does not take into account the facilities which are currently under construction."

https://www.enerdata.net/publications/daily-energy-news/ntpc-plans-invest-us10bn-build-new-coal-fired-plants-india.html

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #794 on: July 12, 2017, 01:32:07 AM »
In an economic death spiral: West Virgina is America's worst state for business in 2017
- West Virginia hit the bottom of the CNBC Top States for Business for the first time.
- In 2016 West Virginia's GDP shrank 0.9 percent.
- A decline in coal production has hurt West Virginia's economy hard.
- Mining employment is down 40 percent in just the past five years, with some parts of the state losing as many as 70 percent of their coal mining jobs.
...
While production has ticked up slightly from a year ago, West Virginia produces roughly half the coal it did in 2008, according to a new report from West Virginia University's Bureau for Business and Economic Research. The report predicts modest increases in production and overall stability over the next three years, followed by steady declines below 80 million tons per year through 2030 and beyond as natural gas continues to supplant coal as the major fuel source for power plants. Production peaked at around 182 million tons in 1997 and for the most part has been declining ever since, according to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.
...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/west-virginia-americas-worst-state-for-business-in-2017.html
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #795 on: July 13, 2017, 03:52:18 AM »
The Kemper County clean coal plant project turns to natural gas (US)

"The US power utilities Southern Company and Mississippi Power have decided to suspend start-up and operations activities involving the lignite gasification process at their 582 MW Kemper County IGCC power project in Mississippi (United States) and to operate the project as a standard natural gas-fired power plant.

The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Kemper project, which is already under construction, was originally designed as a gasification plant that would transform lignite into synthetic gas (mostly hydrogen). It was also meant to include an amine-based carbon capture and storage (CCS) system.

The facility was proposed in 2006 and was intended to be a flagship project for clean coal and CCS technologies. However, the plant construction suffered from construction delays and cost overruns (more than twice the projected costs). After having invested 7 years and US$7bn into the project, the two utilities now plan to simply cut off the clean coal part and turn the facility into a standard combined-cycle gas-fired power plant."

https://www.enerdata.net/publications/daily-energy-news/kemper-county-clean-coal-plant-project-turns-natural-gas-us.html

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #796 on: July 13, 2017, 07:17:21 PM »
China's coal futures forward curve turns bullish as mercury rises

Looks like China's coal consumption is increasing due to increased temperatures in the north (air conditioning) and lower water levels in the south reducing hydro-electric output. More data points toward an increase in Chinese coal use on 2017.

It may be a short-term blip, but also points to many of the short-term factors (higher than normal hydro output, warm winter in Northern Europe, coal to gas switching) that lead to the reductions in global coal use in the past 3 years. We may be on a "bumpy plateau" that lasts for quite a while.

"Temperatures in northern China have been higher than usual since May, raising residential air conditioning use and spurring coal-fired power demand while hydropower generation in the south, the nation's second-largest power supply, has fallen due to low reservoir levels"

"A coal futures trader in Beijing said he had expected hydropower to help replace coal over the summer once the rainy season in the south replenished reservoir levels. But in recent weeks, we look at extremely low reservoir levels and think hydro output for summer won't be good and enough to replace coal power," he said."

https://www.reuters.com/article/china-coal-prices-idUSL1N1JD096

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #797 on: July 13, 2017, 07:23:27 PM »
Poland thermal coal output to bounce back but EU emissions cap poses a risk

Seems just like the Japanese, the Polish government is not 'getting' the need to act on climate change, nor the possibilities of the alternatives. Looks like there will be a blow-up between the EU and Poland at some point as Poland continues to increase coal usage.

"The Fitch Group company is forecasting coal production to increase by 1.6% this year, after a 2.5% decrease in 2016. The country produced an estimated 134.5-million tonnes in 2016, which is expected to increase to 136.7-million tonnes this year. Positive growth is forecast until 2021, by which stage coal production should be 142.8-million tonnes.

However, EU regulations regarding carbon emissions pose a downside risk to the forecast, particularly for thermal coal production. “We expect the Polish government's efforts to reinvigorate the coal industry to face increasingly stiff resistance from EU regulators as they look to impose caps on carbon emissions,” BMI states, referring to the European Commission’s so-called ‘winter package, which will commit the bloc to reduce emissions by 40% before 2030, as per the Paris Climate agreement."

"Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski announced in early 2017, that the government intends to build more coal-fired power plants, unveiling a plan for State-controlled entities to add 10 GW of capacity by 2025 and introducing a capacity market mechanism that will pay power producers to keep their plants available, in order to protect them from potential losses."

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/poland-thermal-coal-output-to-bounce-back-but-eu-emissions-cap-poses-a-risk-2017-06-23/rep_id:3650

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #798 on: July 13, 2017, 07:28:52 PM »
Coal had comprised only around 2% of the UK's total energy mix in May, at just 0.48 TWh, according to Platts data, which appeared steady into June based on preliminary figures

UK coal imports are down 10% year over year, seems to be sticking to plans to get coal down to 0%, not much left to go.

https://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/london/uk-may-thermal-coal-imports-drop-to-four-month-26771275

rboyd

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Re: Coal
« Reply #799 on: July 13, 2017, 07:37:37 PM »
Coal to be India's energy mainstay for next 30 years despite renewables push, says NITI report

"India would like to use its abundant coal reserves as it provides a cheap source of energy and ensures energy security as well," the report said. It was written by the Indian think tank NITI Aayog, which advises the government on policy issues and is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Institute for Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ)."

"Imports could rise to as much as 62 percent by 2047 from over 25 percent now if the country doesn't make its coal mining more efficient, the report said. India aims to generate 175 gigawatts of electricity through renewables by 2022 and boost natural gas to 15 percent of its energy needs, from 6.5 percent currently, as it plans to use cleaner fuels for power plants and transport. NITI Aayog estimates renewables will account for 10-17 percent of India's energy demand in 2047, up from about 4 percent now, while the share of natural gas could be limited to 8-10 percent."

Written by a think tank that is chaired by the Indian Prime Minister. Modi does not seem to be getting the message.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/coal-to-be-indias-energy-mainstay-for-next-30-years-despite-renewables-push-says-niti-report-3447276.html