This is how fast energy sources can change: from all horses but one automobile in the 1900 New York Easter Parade to all automobiles but one horse in the 1913 Easter Parade.Continue reading
Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.
First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.
In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading
Tom Fanning, our genial CEO host, said some things I’ve never heard him say before like Southern Company is “pivoting towards wind” and SO’s board soon has to decide whether to go forward with Plant Vogtle “or not” probably by August. Fanning gets the first and last word in this blog post, plus a complete transcript of what I asked and Tom Fanning’s response, along with summaries of the other questions and answers.
Please hear me! I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company
While its natural gas percentage remained flat, and coal and nuclear decreased, Southern Company (SO) more than doubled its renewable energy generation percentage in one year. Maybe I’ll mention that at the annual shareholder meeting in May.
10:00 a.m., ET
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The Lodge Conference Center
4500 Southern Pine Drive
Pine Mountain, GA 31822-2593
Annual Southern Company
The same money would buy a lot more electricity through solar power than that fracked methane pipeline could generate.
Update 2 March 2017: Added tables; fixed some typos.
Ramez Naam, his blog, 21 September 2016, New Record Low Solar Price in Abu Dhabi — Costs Plunging Faster Than Expected
Start with Sabal Trail’s numbersContinue reading
According to FERC’s own figures from 2012 and 2016, my solar projections from 2013 (and former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff’s) were pretty good, and more U.S. electricity will still come from solar power by 2023. Since coal and nuclear are already crashing, and natural gas isn’t increasing even as fast as formerly projected, solar could win even faster.
I constructed table below from the 2012 and 2016 summaries of total U.S. electric power generation from all sources, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Look at the 2012 column: only coal and natural gas generated more than 25% of total U.S. electricity.
But in 2016 it’s only natural gas, because coal’s growth rate actually turned negative: utilities are shutting down coal plants, not building them. Back in 2013 I did not predict that to happen so quickly.
Now look at the growth rates, both Continue reading
Solar passed both wind and natural gas in 2016 for most new U.S. electricity installed in a year. Yet Bloomberg still doesn’t quite get it: solar is growing exponentially, and is still on track to produce more U.S. electricity total than any other power source by 2023.
Chris Martin, Bloomberg Markets, 15 February 2017, U.S. Solar Surged 95% to Become Largest Source of New Energy,
- Solar installations surpassed gas and wind for first time
- Record 14.6 gigawatts of solar panels added in 2016, SEIA says
Solar developers installed a record 14.6 gigawatts in the U.S. last year, almost double the total from 2015 and enough to make photovoltaic panels the largest source of new electric capacity for the first time.Continue reading
Back in May 2015, Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers both told me “If we can’t do coal, we have to do pipelines”. A year in the making, Southern Company bought pipeline company AGL Resources. Turns out AGL Resources is also an LNG export company, exporting through Jacksonville by LNG containers on trucks. And the plot thickens with the pending corporate takeover of CSX Railroad by the former CEO of Canadian Pacific, given that CSX depends a lot on carrying coal, which remember is what Southern Company is rapidly getting away from. Could CSX want to carry LNG? Meanwhile, LNG containers are already rolling down I-75 and I-10 to Jaxport, apparently through Atlanta, Macon, Valdosta, and Lake City.
Southern Company PR, 1 July 2016, Southern Company and AGL Resources complete merger, create a leading U.S. energy company, Continue reading
A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?
A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading
Even FPL is doing solar power now, as evidenced by these pictures John Horton sent back from Daytona yesterday. So, FPL, how about cancel Sabal Trail and help the sun rise faster on the Sunshine State?
Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World, 19 February 2016, Three solar canopies complete at Daytona International Speedway, Continue reading