Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘coal’

Don’t Look Now, But Wind Power’s Officially Cheaper Than Coal In The US

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 5, 2013

It truly is. From an editorial in the October 4, 2013 Virginian-Pilot:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration produces an “Annual Energy Outlook” that attempts to predict costs for power plants that come online in 2018. Cheap natural gas has substantially changed the equation in recent years, because it is the least expensive energy source, by far. Then comes onshore wind (offshore wind is frightfully expensive), hydroelectric, geothermal, and then coal.

If you’re wondering about nuclear power, it actually costs around ten percent more than coal. So much for “too cheap to meter”.

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Attacking Penny-Ante Cleantech Waste While Ignoring Dirty Energy’s $10-Billion-Plus Gravy Train

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 14, 2013

This article bashes a battery company that got stimulus money:

A company that received $150 million in government stimulus funds to build a facility to manufacture battery cells for electric cars has yet to begin mass-market production and misused some of the funds in questionable labor costs, according to the Energy Department’s Inspector General.

In a report released Wednesday, the IG found that LG Chem Michigan Inc. (formerly Compact Power Inc.) had yet to produce a single battery cell and was likely to miss the grant’s May 2013 deadline for completion. What’s more, the project created fewer than half of the projected 440 new jobs anticipated by proponents.

Compare this to the subsidies and protections the dirty-energy companies get every year:

In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually, while even efforts to remove small portions of those subsidies have been defeated in Congress, as shown in the graphic below.

But when the dirty-energy crowd exerts such influence over our media and our political processes, it’s not surprising to see the obsession with motes in cleantech companies’ eyes while the I-beams sticking out of Big Oil’s and Big Coal’s and Big Gas’ eyes get ignored.

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Surprise! Wind Now Cheaper Than Coal In Australia, Solar Soon Will Be As Well

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 9, 2013

Here’s something you probably won’t see on FOX News any time soon, even though it’s from Rupert Murdoch’s homeland:

Something interesting is happening in Australia.

A new study by the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that unsubsidized renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels like coal and gas.

In fact, it’s a lot cheaper.

Data shows that wind farms in Australia can produce energy at AU$80/MWh. Meanwhile, coal plants are producing energy at AU$143/MWh and gas at AU$116/MWh.

Unlike the United States, where energy companies can pollute and have the costs (from illness to environmental degradation) picked up by the taxpayers, Australia has a carbon tax, which partially explains why renewables have a price advantage. But the data shows that even without the cost of carbon tax factored in; wind energy is still 14-cents cheaper than coal and 18-cents cheaper than gas.  

Even better: By 2020 if not sooner, solar power will also be cheaper than coal or gas in Australia — and Australia has up to now been a heavily coal-dependent nation.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, but what about the US? Our day is coming:

According to the Energy Information Administration, looking ahead to 2016, natural gas is the cheapest energy in the United States at roughly $66/MWh. Coal comes in second at $94/MWh. But right behind coal is renewable wind at $97/MWh, which in large part accounts for why U.S. wind energy production has tripled since 2000.

And, unlike in Australia, none of those US prices account for the externalities associated with fossil fuels like pollution, cancers, military protection, or global warming. In America, the fossil fuel industry has made sure those externalities are paid for not by the coal and gas energy producers, but instead by you and me.

Got that? Wind power already is nearly at parity with coal, even in the US, even without the massive subsidies given to dirty-energy industries.

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Why Do Our Legi$lator$ Favor Dirty Energy? Ca$h. Lot$.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2011

Earlier this week, I briefly touched on how in hock our elected representatives are to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas — a fact that is keeping America from fully implementing a clean-energy future.

Over at Renewable Energy World, Tor Valenza has some data on just how much dough the dirty-energy crowd tosses at politicians: “How can you tell? Easy. Go to www.dirtyenergymoney.com and find out how much $$$ your own representative or senators are $upported by oil and coal companies.”

To no one’s surprise, prominent Republicans like Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell turn out to have got a lot of money from the dirty-energy lobby, and are quite friendly to dirty energy as well as quite hostile to clean energy. But what is a pleasant surprise, is that Henry Waxman, a Democratic congressman from California, gets nearly as much as Boehner et al do, yet manages to be a very good friend to solar energy. As the late great Texas Democratic House Speaker Sam Rayburn once told a freshman congressman who wanted to be excused from vote because he wanted to please his biggest contributors: “Son, if you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against ’em, you don’t deserve to be here.”

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

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China Rushing to Adopt Green Power, Manufacturing, and Living

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2011

If a non-trivial number of Capitol Hill legislators of both parties didn’t owe their jobs to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Nuclear, China wouldn’t be trouncing the US in green growth:

China’s production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

“The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively,” said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.

The PRC is the largest cleantech producer in terms of money, with green technologies making up more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its annual gross domestic product. The US? We’re 17th.

It’s not just that the Chinese want a monopoly on worldwide cleantech, though that would be a nice side benefit for them. They want to flat-out survive. Human-caused global warming is a direct and growing threat to China, and the Chinese elites know it.

Seeing empty deserts where glaciers once stood not so long ago — glaciers that feed the great rivers of both China and India — was a real eye-opener for the Chinese central government. The worldwide economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise as not only has it slowed down the rate at which factories and power plants contribute to global climate change (thus buying the world an extra 18 months in which to get its act together), it allowed the central government to force the shutdown and retooling of older, polluting establishments so that they would run greener and cleaner upon reopening.

Of course, this also means that China is no longer as “business-friendly” as it once was, so various industries (such as HTI, or Hutchinson Technology) are looking towards Thailand, Indonesia and even India (Foxconn, which makes Apple’s iPads and iPods and iPhones, is going to India from China later this year) in a desperate bid to avoid having to honor environmental and labor regulations. But Thailand is an unstable mess and India and Indonesia are themselves cracking down on polluters and exploiters.

The free ride for the polluting and exploiting CEOs is over. Increasingly, they are being forced to choose between cleaning up their act or attempting to set up shop in places that are either politically unstable or have no infrastructure capable of supporting a multinational business.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

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