REPORT: 42% of global coal capacity now unprofitable

Two in five coal plants are running at a loss, according to a new report from financial think tank Carbon Tracker. And the situation will not improve for the out-of-favor fuel: by 2030, new wind and solar will be cheaper than almost all existing coal plants, according to the report.

The firm says it analyzed the profitability of 6,685 coal plants worldwide, and published the results in a new "coal power economics portal" to help develop "economically rational plans to close coal plants and to understand the financial risk if they continue to operate."

Globally, coal plants represent $267 billion in stranded asset risk, and the United States could save $78 billion by closing plants in line with the Paris climate accord, according to the firm's analysis.

INITIATIVE: ELECTRIFICATION COALITION LAUNCHES CLIMATE MAYORS ELECTRIC VEHICLE PURCHASING COLLABORATIVE

Electrification Coalition Announced as Technical Partner in New Collaborative to Rapidly Electrify Municipal Fleets, Representing 409 Cities in 47 States

 

WASHINGTON, DC— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, co-founder of Climate Mayors, today announced ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that 19 founding cities and two counties have launched the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle (EV) Purchasing Collaborative. The launch of www.driveEVfleet.org establishes a turn-key, one-stop online procurement portal providing municipalities across the country equal access to competitively bid electric vehicles and accompanying charging infrastructure. The platform was developed in partnership with the Electrification Coalition, a nonprofit working to accelerate the mass adoption of EVs to reduce U.S. oil dependence.

STUDY: Climate change is making hurricanes even more destructive, research finds

The research, published in the journal Nature, used climate models to see how factors such as air and ocean temperatures have influenced hurricanes. Projections into the future were then made, based upon various levels of planetary warming.

The findings suggest that enormously destructive storms have already been bolstered by climate change and similar events in the future are on course to be cataclysmic.

INTERACTIVE GUIDE: The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond

Carbon Brief has extracted data from around 70 peer-reviewed climate studies to show how global warming is projected to affect the world and its regions.

Scroll down to see how these impacts vary at different temperature levels, across a range of key metrics. Click on the icons below to skip to specific categories and regions.

https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/impacts-climate-change-one-point-five-degrees-two-degrees/

STUDY: A Closer Look At Bat Conservation In The Canadian Wind Industry

The review provides an assessment of the efficacy of various mitigation options to avoid, minimize or compensate for wind energy effects on bats, along with monitoring considerations, and an adaptive framework aimed at improving bat conservation efforts across Canada.

The full report can be found here.

PAPER: New campaign will ask coal users to face the 'cold hard economic case' against them

RMI's just-released "Managing the Coal Capital Transition" paper describes ten financial approaches to resolving concerns like those of PacifiCorp, to "proactively" transition to more cost-competitive and emissions-free clean energy alternatives.

Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska

According to a sun index developed for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) using data provided by NREL's Renewable Resource Data Center, Nebraska is ranked thirteenth in the nation with the greatest energy potential from solar power.

In 2016, the Nebraska Energy Office's Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program made loans for 18 solar projects totalling 859.8 kilowatts. The Loan Program projects, along with the operational solar projects reported below, give Nebraska an approximate total operational capacity of over 29 megawatts.

A map is available showing the community solar projects in Nebraska.

PAPER: Carbon Removal in Forests and Farms in the United States

The purpose of this working paper is to explore the potential for carbon removal in forests and farms in the United States, to identify needs likely to arise on the pathway to large-scale deployment, and to consider ways to begin addressing those needs. This working paper is part of a World Resources Institute (WRI) publication series CarbonShot: Creat­ing Options for Carbon Removal at Scale in the United States. The series presents findings from a WRI-led assessment of needs for scaling candidate carbon removal approaches in the United States, drawing on a synthesis of available scientific literature. This paper focuses on carbon removal in forests and farms.

VIDEO: Scientists weigh public's emotional responses to climate risks

Anger. Fear. Frustration. Grief. Hopelessness and helplessness. And shame.

They’re just some of the wide range of emotions people often feel quite normally and naturally, often subconsciously, when encountering scientists’ explanations of risks posed by a warming climate.

REPORT: US almost halfway to achieving Paris climate goals thanks to city, state action

The United States is almost halfway toward achieving the goals of the Paris climate accord, thanks to the efforts of state and city government, a new report says.

The report, entitled "Fulfilling America’s Pledge: by the America’s Pledge initiative" — led by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — found current commitments and market forces will cut emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2025, around two-thirds of the way to the pledge of 26-28%. The report said city and state governments deserve credit as well as businesses, having argued earlier this year for a "bottom-up strategy" to fight climate change.

"While headlines focus on the political fights in Washington, the real action on climate change is happening in cities, states and the private sector," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Those groups are positioning the U.S. to uphold our end of the Paris Agreement, no matter what happens in Washington."

Read the full report here

REPORT: Energy Efficiency and Electric Vehicles: How Buildings Can Pave the Way for the Global EV Revolution

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is here, and countries around the world have set aggressive EV goals and targets as a means to cut carbon, improve air quality, and accelerate a renewably powered electricity grid. The cheapest and quickest way to free up electricity for EVs is to save it in our buildings. RMI’s latest report, in partnership with Signify, details key policy approaches to capture the reinforcing benefits of building efficiency and EVs.

As more EVs hit the road requiring electricity, and building energy use continues to rise, city, state, and national leaders are forced to evaluate where all of this electricity will come from, how it will impact climate goals, and how much it will cost. Capturing these benefits will require a step change in policy approaches to building energy efficiency and EV deployment and adoption.

STUDY: Falling Renewables Prices Present ‘Unprecedented Opportunity’ For Western Co-ops

“The rapid cost declines in renewable energy projects present utilities in the West with an unprecedented opportunity,” says Mark Dyson, a principal at RMI and a co-author of the report. “The falling costs of these technologies compared with the costs of fossil-fuel assets allow operators to deliver lower energy bills to their customers without sacrificing reliability, all while cutting emissions, reducing risk and supporting economic development in local communities. They deserve a hard look.”

The full report can be found here.

REPORT: THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF EXISTENTIAL CLIMATE RISK

What Lies Beneath is an important report. It does not deliver new facts and figures, but instead provides a new perspective on the existential risks associated with anthropogenic global warming. It is the critical overview of well-informed intellectuals who sit outside the climate-science community which has developed over the last fifty years. All such expert communities are prone to what the French call deformation professionelle and the German betriebsblindheit. Expressed in plain English, experts tend to establish a peer world-view which becomes ever more rigid and focussed. Yet the crucial insights regarding the issue in question may lurk at the fringes, as this report suggests. This is particularly true when the issue is the very survival of our civilisation, where conventional means of analysis may become useless. This dilemma notwithstanding, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) bravely perseveres with its attempts to assess the multiple cause-and-effect relationships which comprise the climate problem. After delivering five fully-fledged assessment reports, it is hardly surprising that a trend towards “erring on the side of least drama” has emerged.

Read the full report:  https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/148cb0_a0d7c18a1bf64e698a9c8c8f18a42889.pdf

REPORT: 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report

Key findings of the report include:

  • Nationwide, wind power capacity additions equaled 7,017 MW in 2017, with $11 billion invested in new plants. Wind energy contributed 6.3% of the nation's electricity supply, more than 10% of total electricity generation in fourteen states, and more than 30% in four of those states.
  • Increased rotor diameters have begun to dramatically increase wind project capacity factors. The average generating capacity of newly installed wind turbines in the United States in 2017 was 2.32 MW, up 8% from the previous year and 224% since 1998–1999.
  • Wind turbine equipment prices have fallen from their highs in 2008 to $800–$950/kilowatt (kW), and these declines are pushing down project-level costs. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,611 per kilowatt (kW), down 33% from the peak in 2009-2010.
  • After topping out at 7¢/kWh in 2009, the average levelized long-term price from wind power sales agreements has dropped to around 2¢/kWh—though this nationwide average is dominated by projects that hail from the lowest-priced region, in the central United States.
  • Wind sector employment reached a new high of 105,500 full-time workers.
  • With federal tax incentives still available, various forecasts for the domestic market show expected wind power capacity additions of 8,000 to 11,000 MW/year from 2018 to 2020, with market contraction anticipated beginning in 2021 as those tax incentives are phased out.

E2 ANALYSIS: More than 18,000 Nebraska residents now work in clean energy

"Unlike the other Midwestern states in our survey, there are no standards for energy efficiency in renewable energy in Nebraska.  And we’ve seen from looking at other Midwestern states that those policies can lead to growth in the industry.  The bottom line is clean energy is a significant part of the labor force and the economy in Nebraska but if we want to keep and even grow these good paying jobs, we need to pass strong policies that encourage clean energy development.”

Preskill says clean energy employs six times more Nebraska employees than fossil fuels, it’s growing and it’s the energy of the future. 

She says clean energy is a win-win because it’s not only good for the environment, but it also creates jobs and fuels small businesses.

https://www.cleanjobsmidwest.com/state/nebraska

FACT SHEET: Property values near wind energy projects show no decline

The fact sheet aims to serve as a resource for county officials and landowners looking for answers about effects on property values. In addition, the fact sheet highlights potential best practices that wind energy developers could adopt when pursuing a new project.

The fact sheet may be found at cfra.org/publications/WindEnergyAndPropertyValues.

STUDY: Rising temperatures linked to increased suicide rates

“Determining whether or not the rate of suicide responds to climatic conditions is important, as suicide alone causes more deaths globally than all forms of violence combined and is among the top 10–15 causes of death globally,” said Prof Marshall Burke, at Stanford University in the US, and his colleagues, who published their research in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Even modest changes in suicide rates due to climate change could [lead to] large changes in the associated global health burden, particularly in wealthier countries where current suicide rates are relatively high,” the researchers said. Record high temperatures have been recorded around the world in recent weeks and are likely to have been driven by climate change.

This kind of study cannot prove a causal link between rising temperature and more suicides. But the results show “remarkable consistency” over time and in many different places, according to the scientists. It is also supported by recent research that linked climate change to 60,000 suicides in India in the last three decades.

Brattle Study: Alternative Approach to Meeting Zero Net Energy Goals Can Benefit Consumers and the Environment

A flexible approach to meeting Zero Net Energy (ZNE) goals could benefit consumers and the environment, according to a study authored by Brattle economists released by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

ZNE homes are designed to produce as much energy from clean on-site energy sources as they consume each year. The study compares two approaches to meeting a ZNE goal for new housing developments: requiring solar installations on each home to offset annual electricity use or a community solar program in which homeowners receive a share of a combined solar array.

The analysis produced the following findings:

  • The economies of scale and technological advantages of community solar for new housing in non-urban areas would provide roughly 13 percent lower total solar project costs per watt of electricity generated than ZNE homes, and a 25 to 30 percent greater annual energy output than ZNE homes.
  • A community solar approach to ZNE could serve a 200-home development with a total project cost savings of approximately 30 to 35 percent relative to conventional ZNE configurations. Looked at another way, for the same amount of money, a community solar array yields an additional 40 to 45 percent carbon emission savings over individual rooftop installations.

REPORT: The Steep Price Of A Coal And Nuclear Bailout

In response to the new findings, Amy Farrell, AWEA’s senior vice president for government and public affairs, says, “This report sheds light on how costly the administration’s coal and nuclear bailout could be. The $10 billion to $35 billion this policy would take from American taxpayers to keep failing businesses open each year for the next two years is just the down payment – this misguided bailout would also completely upend the competitive electricity markets that are delivering billions in consumer savings. That’s a steep price to pay in an era of U.S. energy abundance, when independent regulators and grid operators agree that orderly power plant retirements do not constitute an emergency.”

“Giving aging power plants that are not needed to keep the lights on $34 billion just to exist – that’s money for nothing,” notes Malcolm Woolf, AEE’s senior vice president of policy. “It’s too high a price to pay when advanced energy resources and competitive markets can provide the necessary services to keep our grid affordable, reliable and secure. Independent assessments confirm that these power plants – most of which are decades old – are not needed to ensure reliability or security. We urge the Trump administration to abandon, and Congress to resist, this exercise in crony capitalism, which comes at the expense of American businesses, families and economy.”

The full report can be found here.