Renewable Energy Capacity Now Exceeds Coal in the USA


Dept of the Interior

❝ Renewable energy now generates more electricity in the United States than coal. Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal totaled 21.56 percent of U.S. generating capacity as of April, according to a report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Coal, meanwhile, accounted for just 21.55 percent of capacity, down from 23.04 percent last year…

Coal capacity has dropped to its lowest level in 40 years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than half of the U.S. coal mines operating in 2008 — when coal production peaked — have since closed. Natural gas, however, continues to grow, accounting for more than 44 percent of U.S. total energy capacity in April.

Add together the Fake President, his Oberst-Gruppenführer McConnell and the Do-Nothing Dodo Brigade of Republicans in Congress – they still couldn’t save something as backwards as coal-fired electricity.

“World at Crossroads” — which most of the world understands

❝ Four senior figures behind efforts to limit climate change have warned that the planet “is at a crossroads” as key talks opened a day early in Poland.

In a rare move, four former presidents of the United Nations-sponsored talks called for decisive action…

❝ Experts say that drastic cuts in emissions will be needed if the world is to reach targets agreed in Paris…

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change…

❝ …For the likes of China and the EU, the meeting is critical. They will want to show that international co-operation can still work even in the age of President Trump…

❝ Others involved in the UN process say that real progress is being made in tackling one of the most complex problems ever faced by the world…

“We have a $300bn renewable energy economy at work today – it’s not peanuts, it’s an energy revolution that has unfolded on the back of, yes, a sometimes sticky climate negotiation process.”

RTFA for many details affecting a planet-size crisis.

Outdoor Recreation Beats Big Oil in Growing the U.S. Economy


Click to enlarge

❝ Spending on outdoor recreation outpaced Big Oil’s contribution to the U.S. economy according to federal statistics released Thursday, prompting critics to renew their attacks on Trump administration policies of ramping up oil and gas leases on or near public lands.

Outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent of GDP at $412 billion in 2016, statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Activity indicate. The oil and gas industry meanwhile accounted for $162 billion in economic activity the same year, or 0.9 percent of GDP.

❝ The data – representing the first time the bureau has compiled detailed economic information on outdoor recreation – give ammunition to critics of the Trump administration’s industry-friendly approach to public lands.

Real economic growth doesn’t matter a jot to our Fake President. What is accomplished on behalf of the brokers who own the Republican Party decides the policies of someone who is consistently bought-and-sold to the highest bidder this side of the Moscow Exchange.

Trump wants to charge consumers billion$ more for clean energy

The wind and the sun may be free, but Trump’s energy regulators want you to pay the same price – or more – for clean energy than what we pay for electricity from our country’s aging, dirty coal-fired power plants.

The Republican-dominated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave states and utilities just 60 days to weigh in on how to do this in nation’s largest wholesale electricity market serving 65 million customers in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

❝ “We’ve never seen this kind of federal intrusion in the energy industries,” said energy consultant Rob Gramlich.

The proposed changes could cost consumers billions of dollars more. One estimate for a narrower proposal said it could cost utility users $14 billion to $24.6 billion roughly over the next 10 years. That’s between $216 to $379 for each of the 65 million people served.

Bad enough Trump pimps for carbon-heavy energy producers. Now, he wants us to pay more than needed for renewables – even as the cost of construction and production come down and will continue to do so over time.

I wonder where he’s stashing his payoffs. A worthwhile topic for another special prosecutor after his butt is pushed out of office.

Coal-fired electricity now crashing faster under Trump


Click to enlargeplanetenergynews.com

❝ More coal plants are now projected to retire more quickly than experts thought a year ago, according to energy-industry analysts who gathered in Chicago…

Three alternative energy sources — wind, solar and natural gas — are expected to divide up the spoils, they said at the American Wind Energy Association’s Windpower 2018 conference…

❝ The projection changed in part because of more announced retirements, Bruce Hamilton said, “but more importantly, the fundamentals of the economics of coal have gotten worse, with costs going up, while the competition for coal—that is, gas, wind and solar—has all gotten cheaper. So it’s getting to the point where huge swings are forecast. You can see it will be throughout the decade.”

NatGas is replacing dewatted coal powerplants faster than any source, so far. That’s also a good symptom for renewables. NatGas plants can swing online faster than any coal or nuclear plant could. That aids fill-in for downtime from renewables like solar and wind power.

When you elect a thug he brings along more thugs – and pimps – to government


Joe Craft behind Pruitt’s right shoulder – enjoying the results of his payola

❝ It was one of the biggest games of the University of Kentucky basketball season, and Scott Pruitt had scored two of the best seats in the arena: a few feet from the action, in a section reserved for season-ticket holders who had donated at least $1 million to the university…

But there was more to the game last December than a superfan experience for Mr. Pruitt and his son, who joined him. They sat in seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Mr. Craft and his wife donated more than $2 million to support President Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.

A major contributor to Mr. Pruitt’s campaigns in Oklahoma when Mr. Pruitt served in state government, Mr. Craft saw Mr. Pruitt at least seven times during his first 14 months at the E.P.A., agency records and emails show, and they were scheduled to appear together on at least two other occasions. That is more than Mr. Pruitt has met with representatives of any environmental group.

RTFA for more of this corrupt pay-for-play relationship. Not a surprise – though how much more has been hidden will be up honest folk in government to uncover. Presuming there are any remaining after Trump’s spell in the White House.

Coal companies still own Trump and his conservative bubbas


Rick Perry [L] and Robert Murray [R]

❝ Scott Edelman’s pictures show Robert Murray, who donated $300,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, give Perry an “action plan.” Murray’s company has previously lobbied the Trump administration to end new federal public health protections for greenhouse gas emissions and smog pollution, loosen mine safety rules, and cut the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency by “at least half.”

Perry and Murray shook hands, hugged and agreed to get it done. Then they kept everything that happened that day a secret.

If this raises a few flags for you, then you understand the predicament I was in when I was still employed at DOE in March 2017. I thought about it and decided to release the photos and the story to the public, after which I was placed on leave and then fired. My personal laptop was seized (though it was recently returned to me), and I was subjected to intimidation tactics from DOE staff.

❝ Some of the policies Murray’s company has advocated for have been faithfully executed without research, thoughtful public comment periods or policy input from public health professionals. President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement on climate that cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions globally, and his administration gave notice of repealing the landmark Clean Power Plan, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants nationwide. The Trump administration attempted to delay, but was eventually forced to proceed due to lawsuits, clean air protections against smog pollution. The President also nominated a coal company consultant to oversee national mine safety and began cutting EPA scientists and other career agency staffers in droves.

Who expects different from Trump – or the Republicans in charge of Congress?

“Old” Energy buys into “New” Energy

❝ A decade ago, EON SE and RWE AG were two of Germany’s most valuable companies and their businesses were roughly similar: they generated power (much of it from coal and nuclear), ran energy networks and sold electricity to end consumers.

The complex asset swap and share issue they announced over the weekend — including the divvying up of RWE-controlled Innogy SE’s assets — is the last death knell for that all-encompassing model. EON will become a company focused purely on energy networks and retail customers, while RWE will combine the two companies’ renewables businesses.

❝ If EON and RWE can prevail, other utilities may follow. Utility investors would then be able to decide what future they believe in: a world where solar and wind energy is cheap and so what matters are cash-generating networks and end-customers (EON). Or one in which the whole economy is electrified and the electricity generator is king (RWE). At least we’d have a choice.

Either road, we consumers, citizens of Planet Earth, stand a better chance for an affordable, long and healthful life.

Old King Coal doesn’t stand a chance

❝ Despite plummeting wholesale electricity prices in some areas of the US as well as essentially flat electricity demand in recent years, natural gas and renewable capacity is still being built…

❝ In 2016, the Energy Information Agency notes, natural gas-fired electric generation in the US increased by 3.4 percent; non-hydroelectric renewables like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal increased by 15.7 percent; and conventional hydroelectric power grew by 7.5 percent. Coal electric generation, on the other hand, fell by 8.4 percent in 2016.

RTFA for details. Still, unless you believe the rant of fools like Trump, you shouldn’t be surprised.