A little good news






48 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Good.

  2. 2
    Cemet says:

    And this conversion has been driven mostly by economic factors, not by government requirements. That is an interesting chart. While gas supply (and cheapness) is the primary driver, the fact that these more environmentally friendly electric supply systems are taking hold (for what ever reason) compared to coal is really good news.

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    Sadly, this is about to take a u-turn in Ohio, where HB 6 not only subsidizes a couple failing nuclear plants by increasing consumers’ utility bills, but also seeks to add restrictions for renewables.

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    It might be too early for my google skills, but I’m unable to find a link to text of the bill. This page has a number of pdfs detailing costs, changes, analyses, etc.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @debbie: Trump will try to introduce policies like that nation wide.

  6. 6
    A Ghost To Most says:

    As I’ve been saying for awhile, the green new deal is already well underway. The coal humpers just won’t admit it.

    What we really need is carbon caps and trade.

  7. 7
    Another Scott says:

    Relatedly, Reuters: GE to scrap California gas-fired power plant 20 years early.

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – General Electric Co said on Friday it plans to demolish a large power plant it owns in California this year after only one-third of its useful life because the plant is no longer economically viable in a state where wind and solar supply a growing share of inexpensive electricity.

    “… gradually,then suddenly.”

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  8. 8
    Bupalos says:

    @Cemet: Not to be a downer but this is basically a chart of the rise of frack gas, not renewables. It would be like feeling better that your diabetic dad’s quinoa consumption for the first time surpassed milk duds, but it’s because he is now smoking cigarettes and chugging a gallon of Hawaiian Punch every day.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Bout damn time.

  10. 10
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Bupalos:
    Gas is used more for peak demand than base load, at least out here where wind turbines are sprouting like trees.

  11. 11
    Michael Cain says:

    Always good to remember that there are three almost completely independent power grids in the US, with very different mixes for their electricity. Last year the Western Interconnect got almost twice as much electricity from renewable sources as from coal — lots of conventional hydro relative to demand here, although wind and solar are growing fast. Last year, for the first time, all three grids got more from both low-carbon and natural gas sources than from coal. Have to include nuclear in low-carbon to get that statement to be true, especially for the Eastern Interconnect where there’s so much nuclear.

  12. 12
    Cermet says:

    @Bupalos:While certainly true (and I acknowledge that fact in my original post) compared to coal (and its ash, waste tillage, acid waste water for life, all besides the higher CO2, AND Hg emissions) gas and fracking are still far better – bad, certainly, but still better in all ways (the waste water issue of mines is often overlooked for reasons beyond me.) But renewables, increasing in giga-watts produced, are still a great trend because besides lowering overall cost of these devices it shows companies that renewables are a mature technology. This does not change that fracking needs to be reduced but that will happen whether or not renewable work out – those gas sites are getting harder (and hence, more expensive) to tap and that will, over the next ten years, drive up its real cost and further help renewables. Yes, a ways to go but the trends are in the right places and market driven.

  13. 13
    JGabriel says:

    U.S. Renewables Trump Coal

    I think we should all boycott (stop using) the word “trump” in it’s general meanings. I mean, we all know Combover Caligula loves seeing his name in print.

    What would piss off the orange shitgibbon more than retiring “trump” from the English language though disuse and ignoring it? Nothing, that’s what.

    Who’s with me?

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kevin Drum trolls some David Anderson bait: Medicaid Expansion Is Nearly Free, But Republicans Won’t Take It Anyway

    Paul Krugman writes today about the fate of the rural poor in two neighboring states. Kentucky accepted Medicaid expansion while Tennessee didn’t:

    According to a Georgetown University study that covered a seven-year period spanning the introduction of the A.C.A., the percentage of low-income rural adults without health insurance fell 27 points in Kentucky, only six points in Tennessee.

    I clicked and took a look at the Georgetown study. Here’s what the rural uninsured rate looks like for all expansion states compared to all nonexpansion states:
    ……………………….
    In 2009, the states are pretty mixed up. By 2016, however, there’s virtually no overlap at all: it’s all red at the top and all blue at the bottom. On average, the expansion states reduced the uninsurance rate of their rural population by 19 percentage points. The non-expansion states reduced it by only 6 points.

    And it’s all for nothing. Literally. Expansion cost the states nothing at the start and only a tiny amount past 2020. It was virtually free, and the funding came from taxes these states were paying regardless.

  15. 15
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @debbie:
    I saw in a newspaper story a day or two ago that the bill’s author/sponsor said he would no longer be seeking the complete abolition of the renewable and energy-saving standards of the state.

    Has DeWine indicated that he would sign HB 6?

    My asshole state legislators hold traditionally democratic seats. They won narrow victories last fall. Empty suit Rulli voted for that heartbeat bill. I have no doubt Trumper Manning did as well. I loved after the election how Rulli talked about “working with both sides”. Fuck that faker.

    I know my area tends to be conservadem, but come on! These guys seem to act like these are completely safe R seats. They were held by Dems previously for as long as I can remember

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JGabriel: Not me, I like the phrase “renewables trump coal” because he would so loath his name associated with that trend.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    clap clap clap

    some good news :)

  18. 18
    Wag says:

    @JGabriel:

    I beg to differ. I suspect that seeing is name used in opposition to his policies would drive trump crazy. I think we should use it, in the correct context, as often as possible

  19. 19
    Wag says:

    I’m not sure why I’m in moderation

  20. 20
    Wag says:

    @JGabriel:

    I beg to differ. I suspect that seeing is name used in opposition to his policies would drive trump crazy. I think we should use it, in the correct context, as often as possible

  21. 21

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve read several branding folks say that it’s a terrible idea to put your competitor’s name in your slogan.

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JGabriel:
    Why do you hate bridge players?

  23. 23
    Ohio Mom says:

    Now we need a huge push, on the level of sending a man to the moon, to create better battery storage systems.

    As I understand it (admittedly it’s a very shallow understanding) the current limits on energy storage is a big bottleneck in moving away from coal, gas, etc., and toward solar, wind, and the like.

    Of course this will require the sort of tremendous investment that only the federal government can provide, so it might be a while…grrr.

    The other day I heard an old friend has begun persisting her daughter to produce grandchildren. I was aghast. I would be pleading with her not to bring children into the coming ecological disaster.

  24. 24
    dmsilev says:

    @Ohio Mom: Batteries have been getting better fairly steadily. There are now multiple projects underway building storage banks with capacities in the hundreds of megawatt-hours, which is starting to get into the range for useful grid-scale storage. At the scale of the grid, you can also do things like pumped-hydro storage; during the day, use solar-generated electricity to pump water from a lower to an upper reservoir, and at night run hydro generators as the water flows back down.

    Renewables like off-shore wind are also less variable than solar is, which helps as well in smoothing out the supply side of things.

    It’s a hard problem, but progress is being made. Quickly enough? I don’t know.

  25. 25
    Dave says:

    @debbie: Ugh I could live with the subsidized nuclear especially if it included separate renewable incentives but actually penalizing renewables is so damn idiotic. Not surprising but mind boggling how many policies aren’t just bad or inelegant compromises but actively knowingly harmful.

  26. 26
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @JGabriel:
    Trump is the new treason.

  27. 27
    Michael Cain says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    Inexpensive big batteries seems to be a fundamentally hard problem. One of the advantages the West has for renewable power is lots of places with elevation change. I live 30 miles from a 320 MW, 1.3 GWh “battery” — pumped hydro storage — that’s been providing load balancing and spinning reserve for the last 50 years. California has some bigger ones, and even those are dwarfed by the Bath County facility along the Virginia/West Virginia border. There’s another enormous one in Michigan that manages on only about 350 feet of total elevation change. The Michigan facility was built to do night/day load balancing for nuclear plants.

  28. 28
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @debbie:
    Ohio really has gone bugfuck. Never underestimate the power of spite.

  29. 29
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Lots of promising tech for grid storage is being evaluated/coming on line.

  30. 30
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @A Ghost To Most:
    Last year we did gain two SC seats, but yeah, it’s not looking too good in Ohellno

  31. 31
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:
    My sister lives in Mentor, with her drunken bugfuck husband. She’s pretty tough, but her latest texts sounds like it’s getting to her.

  32. 32
    J R in WV says:

    Was running errands yesterday, and heard an NPR report about older farmers in Georgia selling their land to energy companies, to install huge banks of solar panels. One guy intended to graze cattle alternating with sheep among the panels. Flat ground, lots of sun, no brainer. One guy was 9th generation o the land, his kid was a daughter with no real connection to the family’s land, so goodby farm, hello energy plant.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:

    All this under the 30% tariff dipshit slapped on PV panel imports about twelve minutes after getting into office.

    Drop that and solar gains even more quickly.

    California’s real-time power supply can be followed here. Solar’s contribution around midday is quite impressive.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    @J R in WV:
    Heard that. Naturally, he had to add that he would have converted that family farm over to noo cue lar or coal, too, if the price was right.

    Still, the vast amount of PV going in is quite something.

  35. 35
    chopper says:

    @Bupalos:

    yeah, but coal is the fucking devil.

  36. 36
    Ian R says:

    @Ohio Mom: Rather than big battery installations, a lot of power companies are betting on electric cars becoming common enough that the sheer number plugged in at any given time can be used for grid balancing and storage.

  37. 37
    Kelly says:

    @Michael Cain: I have a pacific northwest pumped hydro study the Corps of Engineers did in the early 1970’s. The top three potential sites added up to Grand Coulee Dam worth of pumped hydro. At the time they were not worth the money since we had plenty of conventional hydro. Now days they would be great paired with wind power. All the sites are adjacent to existing conventional hydro.

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Michael Cain: There’s a big pumped storage facility in upstate New York, does about a gigawatt. Elevation change is a bit over a thousand feet.

  39. 39
    Cermet says:

    @dmsilev: More is being done in both Gov and Universities on batteries. Big progress is being achieved in the Lab (through, yes, that means many years away but its going). Liquid batteries are also getting far better (their energy and storage abilities are huge but require high temps and costly materials – that is being addressed.) I still consider children our future – they will fix the shit we didn’t. Look at many of the current class getting out to vote and running for office.

  40. 40
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    Comments eaten!

  41. 41
    Bupalos says:

    @Cermet: @Cermet: without getting into the ways that the externalities of fracking do indeed compete quite strongly with coal, or that leaking methane is a much more potent intermediate term greenhouse gas than co2, what I’m mostly talking about is how this chart doesn’t really show much growth of renewables at all, just a steep decline of coal.

    The market isn’t taking care of this, not fast enough, and not really at all without carbon being priced. And that’s just on the domestic consumption end, globally what matters is how much fossil fuel comes out of the ground. If the u.s. reduces its own fossil consumption, great, but even that (which again, we’re not actually doing) is offset by the extent we’re still building out infrastructure for production and export.

    It has to stay in the ground. I don’t believe the market will keep it there as long as we’re willing to distort the real externalized costs.

  42. 42
    Bupalos says:

    @Cermet: @Cermet: without getting into the ways that the externalities of fracking do indeed compete quite strongly with coal, or that leaking methane is a much more potent intermediate term greenhouse gas than co2, what I’m mostly talking about is how this chart doesn’t really show much growth of renewables at all, just a steep decline of coal.

    The market isn’t taking care of this, not fast enough, and not really at all without carbon being priced. And that’s just on the domestic consumption end, globally what matters is how much fossil fuel comes out of the ground. If the u.s. reduces its own fossil consumption, great, but even that (which again, we’re not actually doing) is offset by the extent we’re still building out infrastructure for production and export.

    It has to stay in the ground. I don’t believe the market will keep it there as long as we’re willing to distort the real externalized costs.

  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    Here’s a list of pumped storage facilities in the States.

    California DWR has long used it to reduce the cost of moving water, avoiding moving water when rates are high and emphasizing it late at night, when consumption and rates are lowest. Incorporating solar and wind oversupply into a pumped storage strategy is a natural extension of the technology.

    I don’t know what it costs or how viable it is to add pumping capacity to existing generating facilities, which vastly outnumber punping-generating plants.

  44. 44
    Bupalos says:

    @chopper:
    Well, we had a long time to meet and evaluate the real costs of coal. Mr. Fracky is still in the honeymoon stage, and I’ve met very few people who actually are acquainted with the full picture here. But I’ll just say I think “the devil” is actually the overall short-term mindset and near total resistance to actually changing these mindsets and habits.

  45. 45
    Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Cain:
    A follow-up comment on the topic of the three grids being different. The details of a reliable low- or no-carbon Western Interconnect have been studied to death (it’s a much easier problem than the Eastern Interconnect). Most of them conclude that if the regional grid were to be operated as one thing, HVDC and the statistics of resource and geographic diversity for renewables are a cheaper way to get reliability than lots of storage. The federal government presents significant obstacles to actually doing that.

  46. 46
    Bill Arnold says:

    But I’ll just say I think “the devil” is actually the overall short-term mindset and near total resistance to actually changing these mindsets and habits.

    OK, I’ll bite. Do you have anything in mind for fixing this problem? (links?)
    Riffing, I’ll additionally note that political power, both direct and indirect, is concentrated near the end of human lifespans – let’s say 20 years from death or serious mental decline. So at least two abstract approaches; (1) changing this distribution so that power weighted average (?) is further out from end of life (either by lowering ages of power relative to lifespan or increasing human lifespan) and (2) making substantial progress against (especially pathologically) selfish (and/or short-term) mindsets. (Disturbingly often I hear things like “why should I care? I’ll be dead”.)

  47. 47
    Bupalos says:

    @Bill Arnold: sorry sir this is the Identifying the Fundamental Problem Department. The Department of Fundamental Solutions is on floor 13.

    But I will say that I think whatever the solution is, it goes beyond shifting that kind of political weighting. I think it might be somewhere that all but hippies fear to tread. I kind of think that the political will to effect the kind of age-related rebalancing you’re exploring would really follow rather than lead, and that if you could do it, you wouldn’t have to do it.

    But yeah, one of the things that I think of as the darkest symptom and sign of where we are is how many people openly say that “who cares, I’ll be dead” thing. It almost sounds like a boast. Society basically can’t exist under that ethos.

  48. 48
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Bupalos:

    I kind of think that the political will to effect the kind of age-related rebalancing you’re exploring would really follow rather than lead, and that if you could do it, you wouldn’t have to do it.

    Thanks for the answer. In case it’s not obvious what I’m worried about, we (humans) don’t have a lot of time to work around the most immediately dangerous and certain risks of short term mindsets; a decade or three, perhaps, for climate change, for example. And societal transformations can be made to happen by a small committed minority. (10-20 percent?)

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