coal is on way out -- renewables starting to push gas out, too
Add Reply
2018-12-04 10:15:19 UTC

Coal Is On The Way Out -- Natural Gas Is Next

George Harvey
03 Dec 2018

Shortly after reading Tina Casey's CleanTechnica article, "New Report
Outlines Investor Risk of Supporting Coal Power," I found myself
looking at the Nov edition of the EIA's Monthly Energy Review. Of
course, I found myself connecting the two.

As natural gas has taken market share from coal-powered electric
generation, it has pushed emissions from coal down. But the EIA
document shows that natural gas is emitting carbon dioxide at a record
level, and, sadly, its own levels of emissions seem to be increasing
faster than those of coal are dropping. As I looked at information on
carbon dioxide emissions, I found myself wondering how long it will
take for the natural gas industry to go into its own steep decline.

The answer to this question may be becoming clear, and rather quickly.
There has been a series of developments in California that anyone
interested should notice.

The underlying context is a general switch to renewable energy that
has been going on there for many years. As wind and solar systems have
been added to the system, prices for electricity from renewable
systems have declined. They have pushed down wholesale power prices in
the state, especially those of peak demand times, when prices have
been highest.

As the cost of renewable power has declined, however, the cost of
electricity from fossil fuel plants has held rather steady. As can be
seen in Lazard's Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, Version 12.0, the
costs of renewably-sourced electricity have generally fallen so that
they are often below those of coal-burning and gas-burning plants.
And the fossil fuel plants have seen their profits disappear with more
powerful competition.

Now we come to a specific example of unfolding events that is
particularly revealing. In 2005, Calpine Corporation brought a new
gas-burning combined-cycle plant online at the Metcalf Energy Center
(MEC) in California. A brief history of the plant can be found at
Wikipedia. As a combined-cycle plant, it was of the type that
generally produces the least expensive power available from fossil fuels.

By 2017, the MEC was finding market conditions difficult. In June of
that year, Calpine notified the California Independent System Operator
that the plant would have to run on a reliability-must-run basis, or
it would be shut down because it was losing money. Calpine wanted to
keep the plant open and was requesting extra income, to be charged in
the end to ratepayers. To do this, it would require a special license
from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to be renewed annually.

In Nov of 2017, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC)
authorized Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to look for a less
expensive source of electricity that could replace the MEC's gas
plant. Thereupon, PG&E made a procurement request for that electric
power. And in the first weeks of last summer, PG&E announced that it
had requested approval from the CPUC for a specific solution to
reducing customer costs.

That solution included 4 battery systems, 2 of which would be
much larger than the 100-MW / 127-MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) in
South Australia, currently the largest battery in the world. A posting
of July 3 at Utility Dive said the total energy storage capacity of
the project would be 2,270 MWh, almost eighteen times that of the HRP.

In Nov, the CPUC approved the battery system. It is expected to
be the largest battery system in the world. An article at Commercial
Property Executive details this.

While all of the 4 batteries are huge, the largest is just about
mind-boggling all by itself. Vistra Energy is set to produce and own a
battery of 300 MW / 1,200 MWh, 3 times the power capacity and
nearly 10 times the energy storage capacity of HPR. To this will be
added a battery of 182.5 MW / 730 MWh, to be produced by Tesla but to
be owned by PG&E. The smaller batteries are systems of 75 MW and 10
MW, whose specifications called for 4 hours of storage each.

What I find most interesting about this is not the record-setting
sizes of the battery systems. It is that a relatively new fossil fuel
plant, of a design that produces the least expensive electricity we
can get from combustion, is being replaced by batteries, which do not
generate electricity but just store it as it comes from the wind and
sun. A gas plant is being put out of business by lithium-ion
batteries, because the energy storage costs, combined with the cost of
the electricity from solar and wind plants, are more attractive than
the cost of the least expensive fossil fuels.


We are not talking about some day in the future here. Renewables are
pushing gas out already.

Zack Labe @ZLabe 04 Dec 2018 04:11Z
Record low #Arctic sea ice area continues around Svalbard (since at least
1967 - @Istjenesten data). We still haven't even reached the average
*Sept* minimum... + Ice charts/data available at polarview.met.no
<Loading Image...>

I don't know who owns my house, alleged mastermind of tax fraud tells
public hearing
ABC Investigations, 04 Dec 2018 04:29Z
The alleged mastermind of a massive tax fraud, Phillip Whiteman, says he can't
recall the details of his business activities and doesn't know who owns the
house he occupies in the plush bayside suburb of Port Melbourne.

Federal Government and Labor strike deal on encryption laws
ABC News, 04 Dec 2018 05:29Z
New powers to allow police and intelligence agencies to intercept encrypted
messages sent between terror suspects are expected to pass the Federal
Parliament this week.

$250m cost blowout on Queensland digital hospitals plan (photos)
ABC News, 04 Dec 2018 05:37Z
Queensland's auditor-general delivers a scathing report on the rollout of a
program to digitise care in the state's hospitals, highlighting cost
overruns of $256 mn.

Explainer: Why some US Democrats want a `Green New Deal' to tackle
climate change
A growing number of Democrats in the US Congress are hoping to create
a new set of policies which would trigger a rapid decarbonisation of
the US economy, labelled as the "green new deal". So far, its only
concrete aim is get 100% of US electricity from zero-carbon sources by
2030 - enough to put the US halfway towards a global-average 1.5C
pathway, Carbon Brief analysis shows. -- Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief

Shell links chiefs' pay to green targets
Executive pay at oil major Shell will be tied to targets for reducing
the group's carbon emissions after it bowed to pressure from investors
over climate change, reports the Times. "Shell previously had set out
a long-term `ambition' to halve the carbon footprint of its products
by 2050 but had claimed that binding targets would be 'foolhardy',"
the Times adds. Shell's new near-term targets will be introduced in
2020 and will include emissions from the use of the company's fuels,
reports Reuters, which says this makes the goals "sector-leading". The
Hill and Axios also cover the news. -- Emily Gosden, The Times

Global warming from 1.5C to 2C will lead to increase in precipitation
intensity in China
Limiting warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels rather than 1.5C is
likely to lead to "an increase in precipitation intensity over China,
except for some scattered regions in the northwest and southwest of
the country", a new study says. Using CMIP5 climate models, the
researchers project future rainfall changes under 3 emissions
scenarios. The findings suggest increases in multiple rainfall metrics
under 1.5C and 2C, but a "significant positive influence on extreme
precipitation when warming is limited to 1.5C, compared with a limit
of 2C", the authors conclude. -- International Journal of Climatology

Special report: US 'clean coal' program fails to deliver on smog cuts
Tim McLaughlin, Reuters

More than 170 MPs urge Parliament's pension fund to drop fossil fuels
Michael Holder, BusinessGreen

Ocasio-Cortez: Fighting climate change will be `the civil rights
movement of our generation'
Miranda Green, The Hill

Mueller is about to drop major new details about 3 of the most important
players in the Russia probe
Business Insider, 04 Dec 2018 05:07Z
The upcoming filings will contain intriguing new details about the nature of
their cooperation and where the Russia probe is ultimately headed.

Coal Is On The Way Out -- Natural Gas Is Next
CleanTechnica, 04 Dec 2018 05:08Z
Natural gas out-competed coal. Solar, wind, and batteries are out-competing
natural gas.

Federal Government apologises to ABC journalist thrown out of Question Time
for baring arms
<Loading Image...>
ABC News, 04 Dec 2018 06:46Z
The Federal Government apologises to ABC Radio National presenter Patricia
Karvelas after she was thrown out of Question Time for wearing a half-sleeve
top, with the Speaker flagging a review of the dress code for female

Adani coal mine water licence faces Federal Court challenge over move to
bypass EIS
ABC News, 04 Dec 2018 07:45Z
The Australian Conservation Foundation launches a legal challenge to a
decision to bypass environmental impact assessment of Adani's licence to use
up to 12.5 bn litres of water a year for its central Queensland coal
mine project.

Quora, the site you probably didn't know you had an account for, has been hacked
ABC News, 04 Dec 2018 09:20Z
The popular Q&A website announces the data of its 100 mn-odd users has
been compromised. The only thing is, a lot of those users didn't even know
they had an account.

Kia Motors Corporation
KRX: 000270 - 4 Dec, 3:30 pm GMT+9
30,450 KRW +50 (0.16%) up

BHP Billiton Limited
ASX: BHP - 4 Dec, 4:10 pm AEDT
31.62 AUD -0.20 (0.63%) down

Hyundai Motor Co
KRX: 005380 - 4 Dec, 3:30 pm GMT+9
107,500 KRW -1,000 (0.92%) down

Gazprom PAO
MCX: GAZP - 4 Dec, 12:50 pm GMT+3
163.78 RUB -1.62 (0.98%) *** down 1% ***

Whitehaven Coal Ltd
ASX: WHC - 4 Dec, 4:10 pm AEDT
4.40 AUD -0.050 (1.12%) *** down 1.1% ***

TYO: 7211 - 4 Dec, 3:00 pm GMT+9
698 JPY -8 (1.13%) *** down 1.1% ***

Woodside Petroleum Limited
ASX: WPL - 4 Dec, 4:10 pm AEDT
31.74 AUD -0.42 (1.31%) *** down 1.3% ***
2018-12-04 18:01:27 UTC
Post by M***@kymhorsell.com
Coal Is On The Way Out -- Natural Gas Is Next
The underlying context is a general switch to renewable energy that
has been going on there for many years. As wind and solar systems have
been added to the system, prices for electricity from renewable
systems have declined. They have pushed down wholesale power prices in
the state, especially those of peak demand times, when prices have
been highest.
So renewables push down wholesale prices of electricity? Despite
the many lies told here by denialist scum?