Wyoming Coal Country turns to Wind Farms for Jobs


Coal-rich Wyoming headed for Wind-Powered Electricity

The coal layered underground helped bring settlers to this scrubby, wind-whipped part of southern Wyoming, where generations found a steady paycheck in the mines and took pride in powering the nation.

But now, it is energy from the region’s other abundant energy resource — the wind itself — that is creating jobs and much-needed tax revenues in Carbon County.

Despite its historic ties to coal, as well as local denialism about climate change, the county is soon to be home to one of the biggest wind farms in the nation…

Carbon County shows how the energy transformation that America needs to make is possible, but may happen reluctantly, driven by pragmatism more than a desire to stop burning the coal and oil that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Here, at least, it comes down to the reality that mines are closing nationwide, and buyers of coal are simply disappearing.

Economics 101, folks. Digging something out of the ground to sell…when no one wants to buy it…is nothing more than a waste of time.

Denmark will end oil, gas extraction in North Sea


Claus Bonnerup/Polfoto

Denmark has decided to end all oil and gas activities in the North Sea by 2050 and has cancelled its latest licensing round, saying the country is “now putting an end to the fossil fuel era.”

The Danish Parliament voted late Thursday to end offshore gas and oil extraction, which had started in 1972 and made the country the largest producer in the European Union. Non EU-members Norway and Britain are larger producers, with a bigger presence in the North Sea…

Denmark has been an early adopter of wind power, with more than a third of its electricity production deriving from wind turbines. They are considered key in the transformation of the energy system and should enable Denmark to no longer be dependent on fossil fuels in 2050 for electricity production.

Thinking ahead, making clear decisions based on sound science, are characteristics of modern governance that have been on the downbound road in the GOUSA since they were targeted by the Reagan administration.

The GOUSA can afford this in a New York minute. Just not in Trump time!

Denmark announced the ambitious plan of tripling its off shore wind power production by building two ‘energy islands’ linked to new wind farms in the Baltic and North seas.

The project is rumoured to cost upwards of 100 billion Crowns (a bit more than 14 Billion $$$), and according to Denmark’s climate minister Dan Jorgensen, will be the “biggest single infrastructure investment in our history”.

Jorgensen also went on to confirm that the island project would be financed through public-private partnerships, with the majority of the funding coming from private investors.

Liberal or conservative, it’s no surprise to have national leaders direct their energies to projects which benefit the whole nation. Unless, of course, they’re greedy, self-centered thugs whose only interests are profits and the exercise of power in his name.

Region by region, switch to renewable energy continues

Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the power supplier for Southwest Colorado, announced Wednesday it plans to build solar arrays in the region as part of a larger plan to replace coal-fired power plants in Colorado and New Mexico.

Tri-State announced last week it plans to close the Escalante Station near Prewitt, New Mexico, by the end of 2020 and the Craig Station and Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. The move will eliminate Tri-State’s coal emissions in both states.

To help replace the power produced by those plants, Tri-State plans to build eight new solar and wind projects by 2024, enough to power more than 800,000 homes, Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said. The projects will increase the percentage of renewable power consumed by Tri-State customers from about 33% to 50% by 2024.

The transition is expected to drive lower rates for customers because the price of renewable power has fallen by 85% in 10 years and is cheaper than any form of fossil fuel, he said. He described the savings as a “green-energy dividend” that will also allow Tri-State to pay off its coal-power plants on an accelerated timetable…

Way too much good sense at play here for the clown show in Congress and the White House. Can you imagine for-real leadership away from polluting 19th Century technology and into renewable energy sources coming from either of the two old parties?

Trump not only doesn’t understand wind power. ..he doesn’t understand telling the truth!

” Trump referred to wind turbines as “a bird graveyard” telling the crowd that if they “go under a windmill someday, you’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.”

Facts First: Research suggests that while wind power does contribute to bird deaths, more birds are killed by cats or other types of power plants…

” Trump was adamant…”a windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true. And you know what? After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off…”

Facts First: It’s misleading to claim that after a certain amount of eagles die, the government makes wind farms “turn the windmill off.” However, there is a limit of incidental eagle deaths the wind farms are expected to remain within…

” Trump claimed…specifically that the manufacturing of wind turbines results in “tremendous amount of fumes and everything.”

Facts First: Wind power has the smallest carbon footprint compared to other energy sources, according to the Department of Energy. A 2014 study additionally found that after operating for five to eight months, the average wind turbine will have offset the energy expended during its manufacturing…

” “You know what they don’t tell you about windmills?” Trump told the crowd, “After 10 years…You got to replace them. A lot of times, people don’t replace them. They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it.”

Facts First: The government does not provide subsidies for wind turbine repair or replacement. Though wind farms receive a tax credit if they produce a certain amount of energy within their first decade, this subsidy will be phased out by 2020. Furthermore, the average lifespan of a wind turbine is 20-25 years, not 10…

” Trump claimed, “If you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50% of the price.”

Facts First: This is not the first time Trump has claimed proximity to a wind turbine impacts property values. However, several major academic studies found no statistically significant decrease in the average property value due to wind turbines in the US…

The original article is over here. You probably should read it. I imagine any Trumpublicans you engage in conversation are just like their Fearless Leader. They wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them on the whatsit!

Meanwhile, in local news…

❝ (Socorro, New Mexico) — Socorro is charged up about building its own electric utility to offer cheaper, cleaner electricity to local consumers than they get from the 75-year-old Socorro Electric Cooperative.

Mayor Ravi Bhasker and city councilors are pursuing an independent contract with Guzman Energy LLC, an upstart power provider that’s challenging the long reign of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which currently supplies all wholesale electricity to Socorro and 10 other rural New Mexico cooperatives.

❝ The city says Tri-State, which relies heavily on coal plants, charges far higher wholesale rates than other providers like Guzman can offer through solar and wind facilities that have plummeted in price in recent years.

The Socorro co-op, they add, has done nothing to mitigate those high costs, such as building local renewable systems independently of Tri-State to save money for co-op members. And that, in turn, has forced local consumers to use expensive electricity…

Expensive electricity mostly generated by burning coal, BTW.

❝ Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos, for example, pulled out of Tri-State in 2016 to sign with Guzman, and at least two cooperatives in Colorado are now following in Kit Carson’s footsteps.

“We’re not the only ones trying to get out from under Tri-State,” Bhasker said. “Kit Carson did it by partnering with Guzman. We can do it too in Socorro.”

Warms the cockles of my heart to witness the most basic of essential services being turned over to clean, modern technologies after decades of being tied economically and (yes) politically to King Coal.

Wind power now cheaper than NatGas


Click to enlargeNREL

❝ This week, the US Department of Energy released a report that looks back on the state of wind power in the US by running the numbers on 2018. The analysis shows that wind hardware prices are dropping, even as new turbine designs are increasing the typical power generated by each turbine. As a result, recent wind farms have gotten so cheap that you can build and operate them for less than the expected cost of buying fuel for an equivalent natural gas plant…

❝ Overall, that brings the US’ installed capacity up to nearly 100GW. That leaves only China ahead of the US, although the gap is substantial with China having more than double the US’ installed capacity. It still leaves wind supplying only 6.5 percent of the US’ total electricity in 2018, though, which places it behind a dozen other countries. Four of them—Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal—get over 20 percent of their total electric needs supplied by wind, with Denmark at over 40 percent.

❝ That figure is notable, as having over 30 percent of your power supplied by an intermittent source is a challenge for many existing grids. But there are a number of states that have now cleared the 30 percent threshold: Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, with the two Dakotas not far behind. The Southwest Power Pool, which serves two of those states plus wind giant Texas, is currently getting a quarter of its electricity from wind…

So while wind remains a small factor in the total electricity market in the US, there are parts of the country where it’s a major factor in the generating mix. And, given the prices, those parts are likely to expand.

So-called cultural lag is a joke when American politics is called into play. We still function by 19th Century standards of knowledge, support, guidance and, especially, profit. If coal was still as profitable as plentiful, Congress wouldn’t care if we all died of Black Lung disease as long as the money kept rolling in. Creeps like Trump and McConnell would have even fatter wallets.

World’s #1 wind-power producer budgeting almost $15 billion for US construction the next 4 years

❝ …The world’s largest wind-power producer, Iberdrola SA, has brushed off Big Oil’s embrace of renewable energy as “more noise” than action.

Major oil and gas firms have been venturing into renewable power under pressure from climate-change policy, collectively spending around 1 percent of their 2018 budgets on clean energy…

❝ However, Iberdrola Chief Executive Ignacio Galan, who has led the Spanish utility for 17 years, shrugged when asked in a Reuters interview if Big Oil represented a competitive threat.

“It’s good that they have moved in this direction but they make more noise than the reality,” he said on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland…

❝ He said U.S. states were more influential than Washington in terms of energy investment, and that several were looking to develop America’s first offshore wind farms, from Massachusetts down to North Carolina and New York across to California.

“The states are more and more committed to moving to renewables and the same is true of the cities and towns,” he said, adding that falling generation costs of renewable energy was a big driver of the U.S. adoption of wind and solar power.

Woo-hoo. I knew they were taking on the first big US wind-power project off Martha’s Vineyard. Hadn’t realized the size of their immediate follow-on commitment. [Davos has been really interesting this year and the coverage from Bloomberg TV has been stellar.]

Cheaper to build a new wind farm than to keep a coal plant running


No Coal Smoke in These Skies

Wind power costs have dropped as utilities have turned to bigger and bigger turbines, which can produce more energy. The largest turbines installed today can produce double the power they could’ve a decade ago, according to the Energy Information Administration, dramatically increasing the amount of power a parcel of land can produce. Wind and solar installation has also gotten more competitive, driving the development of more efficient technology.

The Investment Bank Lazard also noted that wind and solar farms typically require fewer people to run than a coal or nuclear plant, further decreasing their cost.

And, of course, it’s expensive enough trying to save crap coal-generated electricity, you have to add in the cost of bribes to pimps like Trump.

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens in the Irish Sea


Click to enlarge

Orsted A/S unveiled the world’s largest offshore wind farm, an 87-turbine complex in the Irish Sea covering an area more than double the size of Manhattan.

The Walney Extension off the coast of northwest England has a generating capacity of 659 megawatts and is capable of powering 590,000 homes, according to Danish company Orsted, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms.

The only functioning wind farm in the United States exists at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC.