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Published on July 8th, 2014 | by Silvio Marcacci

23

Hey Haters, RGGI Cap And Trade Powered 800 MW New Renewables in 2013

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July 8th, 2014 by
 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade system’s contributions to decarbonization are well-known: hundreds of millions in clean energy investments and lower emissions.

But a new report from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) details the extent RGGI has helped drive new renewable energy capacity additions, and hints at the potential for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan rule.

Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Northeast Region reports the Northeast U.S. added 800 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity in 2013 – a model that could be emulated across America if other state governments opt for cap-and-trade carbon markets to fulfill EPA’s emissions reductions goals.

RGGI territory

Original RGGI member states, now missing New Jersey 

800 MW New Renewables For Northeast U.S. in 2013 

The Northeast U.S. is a region ripe for economic growth through power system decarbonization. A combination of high electricity prices, large cities with high power demand, an older fleet of fossil fuel generation, and difficulty building new transmission lines have led policymakers to develop and maintain pro-renewable energy policies, and they’ve worked well.

New solar photovoltaic (PV) installations dominated the 800 MW new installed capacity, and nearly $1 billion in new clean energy finance flowed into the region in 2013, pushing it to second overall nationally in cumulative solar power capacity. Massachusetts’ solar market surged 76% to place fourth in America for new capacity, while New Jersey ranked fifth and New York State ranked ninth overall on the strength of a $1 billion solar commitment from the New York Green Bank though 2023.

Wind energy hasn’t matched solar’s growth so far, due to a lack of open space required for utility-scale wind farms, but ACORE predicts the rush of offshore wind projects in development at sites along the Atlantic coast could lead to America’s first offshore wind farms and thus, a big boost in installed wind capacity.

“To meet 21st century energy needs, Northeastern states need to assess and utilize all their renewable resource options…especially as technologies are becoming more cost-effective and widely adopted,” said Lesley Hunter, lead author of the report.

In addition, the Northeast U.S. states have led the fight against rolling back renewable energy goals, most notably Vermont quadrupling its net metering cap earlier this year and Connecticut repealing its moratorium on large wind energy projects.

Cap And Trade Pumps Pollution Revenue Into Clean Energy

At this point, you’re probably asking how RGGI fits into the equation, but that’s a simple answer: By setting a realistic cap on carbon emissions from large-scale emitters (read, fossil fuel power plants) and charging a reasonable price on emissions beyond that cap, RGGI’s cap-and-trade system creates regulatory certainty for businesses while dedicating funds to each member states to invest in clean energy, without slowing economic growth.

Make no mistake, clean energy has room to grow in the Northeast, but the resulting outcomes are hard to ignore – carbon emissions have fallen across the RGGI states 29% since the system began operation in 2009, while $700 million in RGGI auction revenues have been invested in renewables and energy efficiency. In fact, a 2013 forecast estimated RGGI revenue could hit $2 billion by 2020.

ACORE also notes RGGI’s positive effects on regional grid operators, allowing them to incorporate large amounts of renewables while lowering power costs and boosting system reliability. America’s largest grid operator PJM Interconnection could hit 30% renewables by 2026, and is on its way to doubling wind power capacity while saving nearly $7 million per year in the mid-2020s. ACORE also notes ISO New England expects distributed generation to quadruple from 250 MW in 2012 to 2 gigawatts (GW) by 2021.

Chump Change Compared To What’s To Come?

But the best may be yet to come for RGGI and clean energy. The system adjusted its carbon permit allocations to accommodate the changing energy market created by America’s shale gas boom, and permit prices have reacted positively. Auction clearing prices have risen from $3 per ton in December 2013 to $4 per ton in March 2014 and $5.02 per ton in June 2014 – with each auction selling out all available allowances.

That means carbon allowance demand is staying constant, while dedicated revenue for clean energy projects continues increasing and emissions continue declining – a win-win-win for all involved, and a success story to consider when fossil fuel advocates say EPA’s emissions proposal will harm America’s economy.

“RGGI has facilitated significant reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions in participating states since it launched, while electricity prices declined,” said Michael Brower, ACORE President and CEO. “The success of RGGI heralds the promise of positive results from EPA’s new proposed Clean Power Plan rule.”

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About the Author

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.



  • Wolfenotes

    Please explain exactly – specifically – how RGGI added any renewable capacity in NJ.

    I am not a “hater’ but am a strong RGGi critic.

  • 196ski

    So artificially raising the price of energy has tilted the balance towards renewables. Not really surprising is it?

    Not a “hater”, not sure what that means anyway, but all of this comes with downsides. Higher cost of energy means products made with that energy cost more, squeezing American manufacturers further. More for energy, less for wages, R&D etc.

    The environment? Spitting in the ocean. Emissions are skyrocketing globally, this shift will not cause even a momentary pause. That’s the reality and we all need to keep it in mind when considering impacting climate change.

    Jobs? Weak sell. We are replacing one form of energy with another but the net is zero. What matters is what we do with that energy and the wealth we generate from it.

    It’s a global problem, the answers need to be global and the steps taken to mitigate the change should be put in the context of the impact they have on global emissions. What sounds impressive can in reality be meaningless. Big problem, big answers. The UN timeline and required reductions allows for nothing less.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The solutions won’t be global, there’s no way to herd hundreds of cats to the table to sign.

      A few countries may not do their share of cleaning up emissions. At least until long into the process. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of us, it really means that we have to work harder. And countries like the US, Canada and Australia which are major polluters (based on per capita emissions) need to really get cracking.

      Jobs? Building a new renewable grid will mean lots of jobs for the next 20-30 years.

      Price of electricity? It will fall. Remember, we spend a tremendous amount of taxpayer money (about a half trillion dollars per year) covering the cost of burning coal. We’ve spent trillions on our three oil wars and homeland security. In addition, a grid that is mainly fed from wind and solar will provide less expensive electricity.

      We’re going to have to replace our aging coal and nuclear plants. Many are reaching the end of their useful life. We can spend that money on renewables and get more MWh for our expense than rebuilding large thermal plants.

      The countries that get their grids converted to renewable energy first are going to have a competitive advantage.

      • 196ski

        But to work a reduction in GHG emissions is going to have to be a global effort or it will fail. There will be no prize for “setting a good example”, this is a global problem and it requires a global solution.

        I will respectfully disagree that building a solar/wind electrical grid will stabilize our economy. Economies require the generation of wealth and increasing our GDP, neither of which comes from rebuilding the grid.

        The infrastructure in the US needs serious work, you can spend billions rebuilding existing bridges and still not grow or maintain an economy. Many people will work but the problem is the spending is a negative economic multiplier. You are simply replacing an old bridge with a new bridge but the economic activity remains the same, likewise, replacing an existing grid with a new grid servicing the same population will not generate economic activity. Germany is seeing this will the increases in the cost of energy for residential customers.

        You say that we can replace an aging nuclear or coal plant with solar or wind generation at LESS cost? Lets see the numbers. If so then it is a no brainer, we do it, pay less for energy and stimulate the economy because energy is cheaper. No need for cap and trade, it makes too much sense to go to a cheaper alternative. Absolutely countries that generate energy cheaper will have the advantage. I’m skeptical but would like to see the numbers.

        How does coal cost the taxpayer a half a trillion dollars a year? Source?

        As for the oil wars, we can easily just develop our domestic sources and have no need to import oil, which by the way, we do not use for electrical generation. If we use renewables does that mean there will be no wars? How many aircraft carriers and planes can we retire? Sadly it doesn’t work that way.

        So lets see some numbers and get started. I happen to be a believer in climate change but have yet to see convincing arguments for the alternative forms of energy replacing fossil fuels in sufficient quantities to impact the coming climate changes.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Reducing GHG to an acceptable level does not require a unified global effort.

          Europe has been getting their levels down for some time. The US peaked a few years back. China states that they will peak in the near future and head downward. Other countries have their own plans. Those countries who don’t start lowering their emission levels will come under international pressure to do so.
          —-

          “I will respectfully disagree that building a solar/wind electrical grid will stabilize our economy”

          It won’t initially. At first it will disrupt our economy by driving it higher as we enjoy cheaper electricity and less spending on fossil fuel external costs. Then we’ll level off at the new, higher normal.
          —-

          Rebuilding bridges and resurfacing roads means less fuel use and less wear and tear on vehicles, less time wasted on employee travel and shipping. Infrastructure improvements generally have benefits beyond temporary job creation.
          —-

          “You say that we can replace an aging nuclear or coal plant with solar or wind generation at LESS cost? Lets see the numbers.”

          Wind – $0.04/kWh average 2011 and 2012 PPA

          DOE “2012 Wind Technologies Market Report”
          http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2012_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf
          Wind – $0.021/kWh average 2013 PPA. Unconfirmed number but from a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
          http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Price-Gap-Is-Closing-Between-Renewables-and-Natural-Gas
          Solar – $0.05/kWh PPAs being signed in the US Southwest. Working backwards through a LCOE calculation extrapolates a cost of about $0.02 higher for the less sunny Northeast.

          Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States” http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/big-solar-now-competing-with-wind-energy-on-costs-75962
          PPA prices for wind and solar are lowered about 1.5 cents by PTC (Production Tax Credits). Both wind and solar are eligible for 2.3 cent/kWh tax credits for each kWh produced during their first ten years of operation. Half of 2.3 is 1.15, but getting ones money early has value. http://energy.gov/savings/renewable-electricity-production-tax-credit-ptc
          An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors will cost 11 cents per kWh. That is assuming no further cost/timeline overruns.

          They also stated that reactors build after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity as they would not be able to receive the low financing rates as Vogtle has obtained.
          http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/citigroup-says-the-age-of-renewables-has-begun http://www.energypost.eu/age-renewables-begun-solar-power-continues-shoot-cost-curve/
          We need cap and trade or some sort of carbon price simply to drive the transition to renewables faster. Actually we might not, but the danger of extreme climate change is so momentous that we would be wise to overreact, just in case there’s something we missed.
          —-

          “How does coal cost the taxpayer a half a trillion dollars a year? Source?”
          Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and are thus often considered “externalities.” We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually. Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative. Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of nonfossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive. We focus on Appalachia, though coal is mined in other regions of the United States and is burned throughout the world.
          http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05890.x/abstract;jsessionid=365E9E2965252CFA9FCD52C85B1B1674.f01t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

          “As for the oil wars, we can easily just develop our domestic sources and have no need to import oil, which by the way, we do not use for electrical generation. If we use renewables does that mean ther e will b e no wars? ”
          Our domestic sources are finite. We could run on them for a while, but before long we’d be back into competition with the rest of the world for the diminishing supply of affordable oil. Moving to renewable certainly wouldn’t ensure an end to war, but it would take one major driving factor out of the equation.

          • 196ski

            Here’s the problem with the cost analysis of solar and wind. The comparison is again dispatchable vs non-dispatchable sources. How much of an overbuild do we have to do to provide larger percentages of renewables and what is the cost and can it meet the industrial demand?

            Wiley online is down for maintenance. I will check the source once it comes back. Annual taxpayer costs associated with the use of fossil at 500 billion seems impossible, we will see.

            Currently those finite sources of energy are all we have, even if we used renewables for 100% of electrical generation. for transportation. It’s a global economy and we are never going to be isolationists. If we are not importing oil, and I don’t think we should be, then it will be other commodities, like rare earths, that we do not produce domestically. The war argument is without merit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I understand what you’re saying, but cost is cost. Every technology has a cost of electricity which we express as its LCOE – levelized cost of electricity.

            Beyond cost there are other considerations, mainly the delivery times of the power and whether or not the power is dispatchable.

            A source that delivers when demand is high has more value than one that delivers when demand is low. Solar, in general, has more value than wind because solar produces during hours of high demand while onshore wind tends to produce during hours of lower demand.

            Coal and nuclear are “mixed”. Being “always on” they produce during high and low demand hours.

            Hydro (some hydro) and natural gas have additional value because they are dispatchable and can fill in at any time if supply is suddenly needed.

            With onshore wind, coal and nuclear we find times when their value is very low. When we have more supply than demand. During those times the selling price for power can drop below zero cents per kWh. The cost, the LCOE of wind, coal and nuclear are still the same as other times but their value has dropped to nothing.

            So we end up with both cost and value considerations when designing a grid mix.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Overbuilding.

            Every grid (that functions correctly) is overbuilt. Demand varies from very hot sunny summer afternoons (demand is extremely high) to mild spring/fall late nights (demand is very low). The range from peak demand to annual absolute minimum demand can run 3:1.

            The grid has to be built to service that “3″, that peak-peak demand. A lot of the time we have capacity sitting idle, generation that comes on line only a few hours a year.

            And the gird needs to be built with additional capacity in order to replace any capacity that might be lost. Grid operators keep a large amount of “spinning reserve” going all the time in the event a large coal or nuclear plant goes off line without notice.

            The CF (capacity factor) for coal in 2011 was 57.6%. In 2012 it was 51.4%

            The CF for natural gas was 24.2% in 2011, 28.8% in 2012.

            We “overbuild” fossil fuel because we need that extra capacity at times.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Overbuilding renewables.

            OK, quick numbers. New wind 5c. New solar 8c. (Without subsidies.)

            Storage somewhere between 5c and 10c.

            Now assume we had only wind, solar and storage to build our grid. And, obviously, we want to keep the price as low as possible.

            If storage is 5c then it makes sense to build more storage and store a mix of wind and solar to cover the hours they are producing enough to meet demand.

            But we know that wind and solar aren’t on/off. Their output varies with the amount of sunshine and wind available. If the price of storage is higher, in the 10c range, then it would be more cost effective to build more wind and solar farms than storage.

            We can’t answer the “how much overbuild” question now because we aren’t anywhere close to the time that will be an issue. We might be 20 years away from needing large scale storage or overbuilding. Our grids could be 35% or more renewables before we need storage. Adding electricity vehicles (dispatchable load) will raise that percentage.

            What will the cost of wind and solar be by then? Wind will probably be 3c or less. Solar could be down to 2c. Cheap power. (That’s new wind/solar. Paid off will be
            1c or less.)

            What will the price of storage be? If Ambri’s liquid metal batteries work it could be “dirt cheap”. Or if no new technology works it could be around 5c.

            Overbuilding capacity is a tool we can use or not use based on how the cost of storage, the dispatchable capacity we’ve developed and how well we’ve learned to control demand.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Can we run industry off renewables? Of course we can.

            All it takes is enough capacity to generate the power needed and enough storage and/or dispatchable generation to match supply to demand.

            Use a very simple model. A grid run with only solar and pump-up hydro.

            When the Sun shines PV panels power the grid and pump water into storage.

            When the Sun isn’t shining water flows back through turbines and powers the grid.

            24/365 electricity.

            Add wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, (maybe) wave, biomass and biogas along with other forms of storage such as batteries, CAES, hot rocks thermal, and synthetic fuels and you get a reliable 24/365 grid. It’s just engineering.

          • 196ski

            Thank you. All good points.

            Now we get to the nuts and bolts.

            What is your source for 5c & 8c without subsidies? I’m not questioning you I would just like to reference them.

            The cost for any type of storage will have to be inexpensive because of the amount that will need to be stored. US electric consumption averages a bit under 500 GW/hr. Let’s say you want to serve half that with wind and solar, and maybe optimistically need to store only a quarter of that to make it feasible. Can you economically get 60 gigawatts of battery capacity online in the next 30 years? And that is optimistic on the amount of storage required. Certain locations will need less but many more will need more.

            Our best bet, if it is cost effective then let the market decide. Limited government intervention and no cap and trade.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Wind – $0.04/kWh average 2011 and 2012 PPA

            DOE “2012 Wind Technologies Market Report”

            http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2012_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf

            Wind – $0.021/kWh average 2013 PPA. Unconfirmed number but from a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Price-Gap-Is-Closing-Between-Renewables-and-Natural-Gas

            Solar – $0.05/kWh PPAs being signed in the US Southwest. Working backwards through a LCOE calculation extrapolates a cost of about $0.02 higher for the less sunny Northeast.

            Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

            “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”

            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/big-solar-now-competing-with-wind-energy-on-costs-75962

            PPA prices for wind and solar are lowered about 1.5 cents by PTC (Production Tax Credits). Both wind and solar are eligible for 2.3 cent/kWh tax credits for each kWh produced during their first ten years of operation. Half of 2.3 is 1.15, but getting ones money early has value.

            http://energy.gov/savings/renewable-electricity-production-tax-credit-ptc

            Starting with the 4c 2011 and 2012 selling price of wind and adding back in 1.5c to cover the PTC we end up with 5.5c. If the 2013 number proves to be true then new wind now costs 3.6c/kWh.

            Solar is selling for 5c in the SW which would mean 7c in the NE. Average it out at 6c. Add in 1.5c for the PTC and you end up with 7.c/kWh.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The cost for any type of storage will have to be inexpensive because of the amount that will need to be stored”

            First, yes the amount will be large. We’re in the process of a massive change in the way we power our world. It’s going to be a 30, 40, 50 year process. But if you think about it, if we stayed with coal and nuclear generation over the next ~40 years we’d have to rebuild just about every single coal and nuclear plant on the planet. Stuff wears out.

            As for expense, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. If technological advances stopped today we’d likely use pump-up hydro for almost all of our storage. It’s very hard to pin down the cost of PuHS but it seems to be somewhere around 5c/kWh. So let’s look at some numbers.

            Suppose we got 40% of our electricity directly (no storage) from wind at 5c. 30% directly from solar at 8c. And the last 30% from a mix of stored wind/solar for 11.5c.

            (40% * 5) + (30% * 8c) + (30% * 11.5c) = 7.9c/kWh

            If the price of storage rose to 10c the cost of electricity would be 9.4c/kWh.

            That’s, as far as I can tell, our cheapest way to produce new electricity. It’s cheaper than new coal and new nuclear. And, remember, we’ve got to replace worn out plants, regardless.

            Also, the process will drag out over many years. When wind farms and solar arrays are paid off their production costs drop to 1c/kWh or less so it’s not like the cost of power will stay that high.

            “Our best bet, if it is cost effective then let the market decide. Limited government intervention and no cap and trade.”

            That sounds good, but the devil is in the details.

            The fossil fuel industry is fighting for its life, it’s spending big money fighting renewables, and it has powerful friends. If we “let the market decide”, meaning we provide no governmental support for renewables then we slow what a truly free market would produce.

            I’m sure the renewable energy industries would be ecstatic if the government were to remove all support for fossil fuels, require coal, petroleum and NG to pay their external costs, and nuclear to furnish its own liability insurance. Were that to happen we’d see massive increases in renewable installations.

            My (amateur) analysis is that if we let the market decide we’d probably hit the 40% minimum emission target that the IPCC sets. We might do better.

            But we’re juggling nitroglycerin. It’s not the time to be taking big chances. It’s time to be overly cautious and move things along faster. If, later on, we’re moving faster than we needed to, then we can back off.

          • 196ski

            Then removing those price supports for fossil and nuclear is exactly what we should do. Level the playing field and then let the market decide. Fossil can lobby all it wants, at the end of the day cost is going to be the deciding factor. The 40% we might hit would be supported longer term than driving renewables thru government intervention.

            I think it is a misconception to say that only those who support a headlong rush to renewables are the only ones wanting a better environment. Who wouldn’t want something of equal or better quality at a lower price? There are lots of questions surrounding the costs and anticipated breakthroughs in electrical storage. Nothing is a certainty and advancing technologies are impossible to predict with certainty. We’ve all read about advances that have not panned out. The scale of the amount of storage we will require is mind numbing. The market will sort thru these advances and pick the winners with much better accuracy than government steering ever will.

            We are not going to meet the required reduction in GHG emissions globally. It is a near impossibility. Even meeting the 56% increase in energy by 2040 with renewables would be a stretch. My opinion.

            Reductions in US emissions are deceiving, the same for Europe. Our changes due to our mature economies are deceiving. What part is due to improved efficiencies, always a good thing, and what part is due to a recession and a trend towards shipping manufacturing overseas?

            I hope it happens Bob, but I remain skeptical that without a large move towards nuclear and and some discussion as to the population carrying capacity of the planet, we will come up far short of the goals. Further, government intervention may hurt the cause more than they help.

            I am going to take a look at the costs. Thanks for the info.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Then removing those price supports for fossil and nuclear is exactly what we should do”

            Exactly what we should do. Ain’t going to happen.

            You seem to have a very negative attitude of the US government. I’ve spent considerable time in other countries and I realize we’ve got a pretty good one. Probably not the very best. There probably isn’t a very ‘best’. Most likely a bunch of countries roughly tied for first, each of which do a pretty good job but have their own set of problems.

            I’ve got a three score and ten perspective on how well our system works. I think our government does a pretty decent job of picking winners and losers. Not that the government actually does that much picking, the market does most. Our government mostly protects us from the most greedy and (hopefully) turns them into losers. And it assists new ideas to gain a foothold.

    • Matthew

      A hater is someone who criticizes everything people are doing to make a difference while never offering even one tangible solution themselves. They fail to understand the simplest steps to address problems. Ie, look in the mirror.

    • JamesWimberley

      There is no significant net cost. There is no higher cost of energy, over a decent horizon of 30 years. (You need to account for learning curves that make costs of renewables dependent on volume, higher prospective fossil fuel prices, economic damage from fossil fuel pollution, etc.) My sources: IPCC, IEA, Stern, Nordhaus … What are your sources for claiming all these experts are wrong? Koch-funded liars and their useful idiots, I suspect.

      • 196ski

        “What are your sources for claiming all these experts are wrong? Koch-funded liars and their useful idiots, I suspect.”

        I believe this is the definition of a “hater”. You decide.

        As for my sources they are IPCC, EIA, MAGICC/SCENGEN models. Same as yours.

        Who does’t want to think there is a painless way to solve climate change? You have to sort the chaff from the wheat and without cheerleading come to realistic conclusions.
        Speaking of the EIA, I’m sure you’ve seen this right?

        “EIA projects world energy consumption will increase 56% by 2040″

        That is the reality and that 56% is not going to come from solar or wind, nor is it going to come from OECD nations, its going to come from non-OECD nations and that 56% makes the goal of achieving an 80% reduction in fossil fuels globally to avoid the IPCC moderate estimate of 3.0°C temperature rise by 2100 out of reach.

        We burned less coal last year, we also set a record for exports, no doubt we will set another one this year. WE Energies yesterday asked for a permit exemption so they could burn a higher mix of Western coal, the reason? Eastern coal prices have risen due to the higher coal exports.

        If you think we can replace fossil energy in the US with wind and solar then where is the plan? What are the costs? Changing a fundamental of our economy without a concrete plan is a fools errand. This will be painful, our economy will suffer, higher energy costs will impact our GDP, there is no getting around that.

        As for the “Koch” comments, those speak immeasurably more about you and your character than they say about me.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “”EIA projects world energy consumption will increase 56% by 2040″

          That is the reality and that 56% is not going to come from solar or wind”

          So you’re suggesting that developing countries will spend more than they have to in order to build nuclear, coal and gas plants plus stick themselves with costly fuel expenses?

          That’s interesting.

          “If you think we can replace fossil energy in the US with wind and solar then where is the plan? What are the costs?”

          The plan is right there in front of your nose. Wind and solar capacity is rising as we close coal plants. Cheap and clean replaces expensive and dirty. Good plan, I think.

          The cost, well, we’re going to have to replace worn out and dirty coal plants anyway. Most of our coal plants are nearing the end of their useful lives. Most people would understand that it makes sense to use technology that brings us 10 cent electricity.

          The plan is that the invisible hand will do the heavy lifting with some continued assistance from governments in order to get the job done quicker.

          • 196ski

            With all do respect, yawn.

            I don’t believe in “invisible hands”. “The plan is right there in front of your nose”, are you referring to the ether? This is the same as saying there is no plan. If you want acceptance then the “trust me” argument falls flat. It’s just cheerleading

            How do we replace fossil with solar/wind on a scale large enough to impact climate change?

            From an energy standpoint, where does the dispatchable energy come from if we only replace dispatchable sources with non-dispatchable ones? Aren’t you creating an apples and oranges comparison?

            All I have asked for is sources backing up the claims.

            As for the 56% increase in energy consumption, yes, with industrial consumption accounting for over half of the delivered energy in 2040 they are going to use dispatchable energy sources, fossil, mostly coal because that is what they have.

            What you are missing is I want to be wrong in my analysis but have yet to see actual sources indicating I am. We’re on the Titanic and we just hit the iceberg, do we start a bucket brigade or build a raft?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I assume you believe in market forces? All other things being equal, cheap forces out expensive
            –.

            You’re right, the plan is no plan. There’s no controlling entity that can devise and enforce a plan at the national or international level. What will happen, is happening, it that the falling price of renewables along with pushing by those concerned about climate change and pollution will shove fossil fuels into a smaller and smaller corner until they no longer play a significant role.

            The IPCC says we need to cut CO2 emissions by 40% to 70% by 2050. That’s from 2005 levels.

            Let’s use the US as our talking area. I know the data better for the US. The US has already dropped 10% from 2005. (Graph below.)

            We’re very close to switching 1% of our electricity generation from fossil fuels to renewable annually. If we didn’t ramp up the rate of renewable installation we’d switch 35% of fossil fuels to renewables over the coming 35 years.

            We have new mileage requirements for vehicles which also apply to small and large trucks. Overall MPG averages should double over the next 35 years. That would be a 50% cut in transportation CO2. Plus we’re likely to see gasmobiles replaced by electricmobiles.

            We’re 35 years away from 2050. We’ve only gotten serious about GHG emissions in the last few years. As we go forward and see more evidence of a changing climate we’re going to find more ways to cut GHG. If 40% to 70% is enough, then that shouldn’t be any great struggle.

            The rest of the developed world will do what we are doing. Europe is ahead of us. I think Europe will flip over to EVs very rapidly.

            China and India are starting to make the changes they need. The new prime minister in India just created a large price on coal and is really pushing renewables. He intends to get at least one solar light into the hands of every Indian household that now uses kerosene for lighting. Both China and India have severe water and pollution problems which will push them off fossil fuels and onto renewables.

            Developing countries, in general, will not build large thermal plants. That takes too much capital, too much organization, and too many skilled people. The World Bank and several large international banks will no longer finance new coal plants.

            Wind and solar have become very affordable and are ‘modular’. Storage should soon join them. A country that has a weak grid can add some storage, a small array at a time, to firm up their sunny afternoon supply. They don’t have to round up billions of dollars and wait years, they can get more power on their grid this month.

            Cleantech dispatchable. Storage. Biogas. Do more hydro ‘holdback’ and use what capacity we have as dispatchable rather than baseload.

            Also develop more dispatchable load. Charging electric vehicles is an excellent dispatchable load.

            “What you are missing is I want to be wrong in my analysis but have yet to see actual sources indicating I am.”

            What, specifically do you want to see that I haven’t covered? I’m finding it hard to reply to your posts because you include multiple topics. How about taking your questions one at a time?

  • JamesWimberley

    Silvio explains the lack of onshore wind in the NE states by “a lack of open space required for utility-scale wind farms.” Come on. This may work for Rhode Island and Manhattan, but I’m sure that the area as a whole is no more densely populated than Denmark, Belgium and Germany. What it isn’t is flat and treeless like Iowa or Manchuria. In south and central Germany, there has been a fair amount of wind development in hilly forests (link), using very high hubs (up to 140m) so that the rotors easily clear the treetops at 40m.

    Whether this makes sense in preference to importing wind energy from flat areas (North Germany and the Midwest) is a matter of costs and the amount you are prepared to pay for resilience and self-reliance.

    Almost all of Scotland, another big wind country, is hilly, but many of the hills are sadly treeless moorland.

    • Offgridmanpolktn

      That statement struck me too. Having come from upstate NY remember many spots on the east and west side of Seneca Lake where from the hilltops you could see for miles. Very rural areas that would seem to be perfect for turbines though there might need to be some grid infrastructure addition to allow for connection. The current governor is very pro alternative energy and have heard of grid improvements being part of the plan now, perhaps the addition of wind energy in this area is part of the long term plans.

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