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Rocky Mountain Institute study shows renewables are kicking natural gas to the curb

by Steve Hanley, Clean Technica


Highlights

  • New research from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) shows that renewable energy is leading natural gas as the preferred choice of new electricity generation 
  • The study looks at energy projects from two of America’s largest electricity markets — ERCOT and PJM
  • RMI argues that there should be a shift away from utility monopolies and an embrace of open competition 
  • Over the past two years, there has been a transition away from building new gas fired plants towards more renewable energy projects as they are performing better within electricity markets 
  • Since 2018 the demand for clean energy projects has doubled while gas project demands have been cut in half, leaving over $30 billion worth of gas projects canceled or abandoned 
  • Voting in climate champions will promote federal policies that prioritize clean energy and help appoint the right people into government agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/10/03/rocky-mountain-institute-study-shows-renewables-are-kicking-natural-gas-to-the-curb/

Can China go net-zero? Two charts show just how ambitious Xi Jinping’s goal is

 


Highlights

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that his country aims to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060
  • A newly released blueprint for the country’s energy transition was created by the Tsinghua University’s Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy
  • To reach their carbon neutrality goals, there will be a projected 587% increase in solar energy generation between 2025 and 2060
  • Many are skeptical that China will reach their goals by 2060 as coal-fired electricity won’t be phased out until around 2050
  • Coal, oil, and natural gas would still be generating about 13 percent of the country’s energy in their new plan

Image from Grist

  • China would still emit 200 million tons of CO2, nearly 3% of the United States’ carbon emissions in 2018

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://grist.org/climate/can-china-go-net-zero-two-charts-show-just-how-ambitious-xi-jinpings-goal-is/

Storebrand dumps oil and mining stocks on climate change lobbying

Chris Flood and Attracta Mooney, Financial Times


Highlights

  • Multibillion-dollar Nordic asset manager, Storebrand, has dropped ExxonMobile, Chevron, Southern Company, BASF, and Rio Tinto from its portfolio after these companies lobbyed against stricter environmental standards
  • Investors of oil companies and other industries that deal with fossil fuels are pushing these companies to lobby against climate-related standards
  • Jan Erik Saugestad, chief executive of Storebrand says the company will pressure others reliant on fossil fuels to change their behaviors (quote from Financial Times):

“BP, Shell, Equinor and other oil and gas producers cannot rest easy and continue with business as usual. We need to accelerate away from oil and gas. Renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, are readily available alternatives…”

  • Storebrand has sold holdings worth about $17.9bn and divested from 22 more companies that have been slow to stop using coal in its operations

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://www.ft.com/content/00af52b7-381c-4a5d-91f1-3b3d4ce04256

"Powerplant" by Nucho is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

New Mexico’s plan to shut down coal without leaving people behind

by Julian Spector, Greentech Media


Highlights

  • The Public Service Company of New Mexico plans to build 650 megawatts of solar power and 300 megawatts of battery capacity to divest its share of the San Juan coal plant in 2022
  • New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich advocates for solar and storage instead of any new gas facilities in New Mexico, and put emphasizes the importance of economically supporting the areas where coal plants will retire 
  • New Mexico has three coal plants and has allocated millions of dollars for the communities where these plants are and have established rate savings for customers as coal phases out
  • Sen. Heinrich notes that solar jobs don’t require as much full-time operational staff compared to traditional energy plants and says the solution needs to be broader than just the energy industry:

“Your economic development policy, it’s wise to diversify that, and not be reliant on any single economic driver for a community,”

  • A study from Energy Innovation shows that municipal and cooperative utilities could exit 22.5 gigawatts of coal power in favor of solar by 2025 while saving money for their customers

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform. The Climate Center’s guiding principles in achieving our goals include striving to close the climate gap and ensuring a just transition for workers.


Read More: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/new-mexicos-plan-to-shut-down-coal-without-leaving-people-behind

U.S. renewable energy consumption surpasses coal for the first time in over 130 years

By Mickey Francis, US Energy Information Administration


Highlights

  • In 2019, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources exceeded coal consumption for the first time since before 1885, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
  • Compared with 2018, coal consumption in the United States decreased nearly 15%, and total renewable energy consumption grew by 1%, largely comprised of wind and solar
  • Natural gas consumption in the electric power sector has significantly increased in recent years and has displaced much of the electricity generation from retired coal plants
  • Since 2015, the growth in U.S. renewable energy is almost entirely attributable to the use of wind and solar in the electric power sector
  • In 2019, electricity generation from wind surpassed hydro for the first time and is now the most-used source of renewable energy for electricity generation in the United States on an annual basis
  • Coal is still being used within the US to generate electricity; 90% of coal used is in the electric power sector and the rest is in the industrial sector

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 


Read more: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=43895

Coal isn’t dying. It moved to Asia.

by Nathanael Johnson, Grist

In the United States, coal, that supervillain of fossil-fuels, is in a death spiral. But on a global scale, there’s no spiral, just an arrow pointing to Asia. Turns out coal isn’t dying; it’s moving.

A report out Tuesday from the International Energy Association reveals the extent to which coal has provided the power for Asian countries like Indonesia and Vietnam as their economic growth pulls millions out of poverty. The world burns 65 percent more coal today than it did in 2000, according to the IEA’s new report. Coal accounts for 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more: https://grist.org/energy/coal-isnt-dying-its-moving-to-asia/

US eases Obama-era coal ash pollution rules for utilities

by Matthew Brown, AP News

DENVER (AP) — The Trump administration on Wednesday eased rules for handling toxic coal ash from more than 400 U.S. coal-fired power plants after utilities pushed back against regulations adopted under former President Barack Obama.

Environmental Protection Agency acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the changes would save utilities roughly $30 million annually.

The move represents the latest action by Trump’s EPA to boost the struggling coal industry by rolling back environmental and public health protections enacted under his predecessor.

read more: https://apnews.com/a056fca327ae4ae69eedf745b2746f83/US-eases-Obama-era-coal-ash-pollution-rules-for-utilities

One of the world’s biggest insurers is ditching coal

by Brian Kahn, Earther

Earlier this week, one of the biggest re-insurance companies in the world started implementing a policy reflecting the growing risk around new coal projects. Swiss Re announced on Monday it would no longer insure companies that get 30 percent of their revenue or generate 30 percent of their power from coal burned for energy (known in energy parlance as ‘thermal coal’).

It’s yet another sign that economics are turning against coal. The re-insurance giant, which underwrote $35.6 billion in non-life insurance contracts in 2016, is the latest in a string of re-insurers pulling back from one of the dirtiest sources of power generation on the planet. These companies aren’t doing it from the bottom of their hearts, though. This is about cold, hard cash and actuarial tables.

read more: https://earther.com/one-of-the-worlds-biggest-insurers-is-ditching-coal-1827399113?utm_source=earther_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow&utm_campaign=socialflow_earther_twitter

This developer just won a fight to make California a massive coal exporter

by Jackie Flynn Mogensen, Mother Jones

A federal judge ruled Tuesday to overturn a ban on coal shipping through Oakland, California—which could pave the way for the city’s port to become one of the largest coal-export facilities in the country.
Judge Vince Chhabria determined Oakland’s coal-shipping ban, instituted in 2016, violates a contractual agreement between the city and developer Phil Tagami, who filed the suit against the city and was working to move millions of tons of coal from Utah, through Oakland, and off to Asia every year.

Chhabria said the Oakland City Council didn’t have enough evidence when it put the ban in place to validate its rationale for the measure—that coal shipping would pose a significant danger to residents—and in his decision, he wrote that the city’s records are “riddled with inaccuracies, major evidentiary gaps, erroneous assumptions, and faulty analyses.”

The port handles about 2.5 million shipping containers per year, holding all kinds of commercial goods, including food and clothing. In 2012, Tagami won a contract to build a multi-commodity shipping facility, Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal LCC (OBOT), on the former Oakland Army Base. At the time, he assured the city he had no interest in shipping coal. Then in 2015, his company sought a $53 million deal with coal-mining counties in Utah which would raise US coal exports by an estimated 19 percent, according to the Sierra Club.

As Mother Jones previously reported, the 2015 deal was met with immediate opposition:

A wave of anti-coal protests followed OBOT’s deal, and the next year the city passed an ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal, citing “substantially dangerous” health conditions caused by coal dust. City neighborhoods, including West Oakland, already “bear the brunt of health-related impacts” caused by industry, the ordinance says, and see disproportionately higher rates of asthma, premature births, and cardiovascular disease.

In response, Tagami sued—but his victory this week is somewhat complicated. Tuesday’s decision overturns the coal-shipping ban, but the city is still free “to pursue future regulation of the project so long as it complies with its legal obligations, including any legitimate contractual obligations to the project developers,” writes Chhabria. The city has not yet announced if it has plans to appeal the decision.

“Oaklanders understand that a coal export terminal will have horrific impacts on the health and safety, indeed the very lives, of West Oakland residents, particularly children, who are disproportionately African American and other people of color,” Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker told Mother Jones in an email in January.

source: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/this-developer-just-won-a-fight-to-make-california-a-massive-coal-exporter/