China targets a quarter of their electricity from wind by 2030

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China is on track to generate more than a quarter of its electricity from wind power by 2030, and the figure could rise to nearly a third with power sector reforms, a new study has found.

Within 14 years, more new generating capacity – mostly clean energy – will come online in China than currently exists in the whole of the US, further cementing the country’s image as a burgeoning green giant…

Valerie Karplus, a co-author of the study…said “China is now the world’s wind energy leader by a fairly large margin…”

Investment in China’s renewable supplies may be less of an immediate priority than integrating the country’s variable wind capacity, due to an outdated transmission system hooked on inflexible and predictable energy flows.

At present, local economic incentives favour inflexible suppliers, partly because of an annualised system of must-run quotas for coal that spread across much of the country. These entitle operators to contractual guarantees and prevent amendments that reflect marginal price variations…

The Nature Energy paper analyses future energy generation and distribution. “With more extensive reforms leading China to transition to spot markets and allowing electricity providers to reflect the marginal costs of wind generation, China’s clean energy potential could be further increased,” Karplus said.

Building windfarms close to “load centres” where electricity can be easily transferred and used would also make more sense than concentrating them in wind-rich but geographically isolated territories, she added.

I admit I haven’t kept up with month-by-month progress in China’s massive task of replacing the coal used in household heating and cooking – with natural gas. It still looks like much of that conversion will have to rely upon LNG. At least until pipelines are in place from Iran and Russia.

That will eliminate half the demand for coal.

Obamacare is costing trillions – yes, trillions – less than forecast

The United States is spending trillions — yes, trillions — less on health care than government forecasters expected when Obamacare passed in 2010.

Back then, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the United States would spend $23.7 trillion on health care between 2014 and 2019.

But the forecasting agency has regularly and repeatedly revised spending estimates downward over the past six years. In 2015, it estimated that health care would cost the United States $2.6 trillion less over that same five-year period, a new analysis from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows…

This isn’t to say that the health care law caused health costs to grow slower than expected. The authors of the report make it clear that while the Affordable Care Act may have played some role, it is far from the main contributor.

Rather, the figures show that the Affordable Care Act hasn’t exploded the federal budget, as critics charge. Quite the opposite — health costs have risen modestly as the uninsured rate has dropped to the lowest level on record.

Medicare alone has cost $455 billion less than expected

One remarkable fact about the lower-than-expected health costs is that they stretch across the entire health care sector. Medicare spending has come in lower than expected…

So has Medicaid spending…

And so has private insurance.

But, hey, if you want to listen to your favorite Republican beancounter – and liar – that’s your problem. Look at all the wonders they have delivered in recent years – from the Middle Eastern wars to the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression. No doubt, you don’t mind that you will be paying for those for decades to come.

Drinking water in three Colorado cities contaminated with toxic chemicals

Invisible toxic chemicals are contaminating drinking water for 80,000 people south of Colorado Springs, one of 63 areas nationwide where the chemicals, widely used to fight petroleum fires, have been measured at levels the EPA deems dangerous.

These perfluorinated chemicals rank among the worst in an expanding multitude of unregulated contaminants that federal scientists are detecting in city water supplies, including hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and anti-depressants. Perfluorinated chemicals don’t break down. Boiling water won’t get rid of them.

Military airfields are suspected by Colorado health investigators as a point where the chemicals seeped into the Fountain Creek watershed north of Widefield, Fountain and Security. Air Force officials told The Denver Post it’s too early to tell.

It has reached the point where the water in all 32 of the Security Water and Sanitation District’s municipal wells is contaminated with PFCs at levels exceeding an EPA health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. At one well, PFCs have hit 1,370 ppt, federal data show — nearly 20 times higher than the limit. EPA officials recommended that pregnant women and small children should not drink local water

Prolonged exposure to perfluorinated chemicals is linked to health harm: developmental damage to fetuses during pregnancy, low birth weight, accelerated puberty and distorted bones. The EPA advisory also linked the chemicals to kidney and testicular cancer, liver tissue damage, impaired production of antibodies and cholesterol changes.

Perfluorinated chemicals aren’t regulated under any national water standard, although Vermont and New Hampshire have launched state-level action. Colorado has not.

RTFA for lots more scary details. Colorado’s version of Flint, Michigan.