Energy

Kepco for the Wind

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation will build a $9 billion, 2.5-gigawatt offshore wind farm off the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula by 2019, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement.
While this blog focuses upon U.S. wind power development, it is good to note such clean energy elsewhere in the world. This includes Asia. This blog recently noted wind power development in China and now relays information about wind power development in South Korea. A thanks to the Big Gav.

According to the ministry, the 51-percent government-owned Kepco will be buying wind turbines from eight local suppliers including Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The wind farm project will be built in three phases, beginning with a $355-million demonstration project by 2014 which will consist of turbines having the capacity of between 3 and 7 megawatts.

The second phase 400-MW demonstration project will have an investment of $1.42 billion by 2016. To complete the third phase is a $7.26-billion investment to build a 2-GW wind farm by 2019.

O.K., let’s install 200,000 GW of solar

Just re-posted the announced growth in wind power in parts of the United States, and now the Big Gav relays that  ”the technical potential of photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) in the U.S. amounts to just under 200,000 GW.”

According to a new study released by NREL, there is the potential to generate around 399,700 TWh of energy annually.

The U.S.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a new report – U.S. renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis – in which it says, technically, 154,864 of photovoltaics and 38,000 GW of CSP could be installed. This would mean, photovoltaics could generate around 483,600 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy annually, and CSP, 116,100. Refer to the table for a breakdown of the different solar technologies.

Overall, it believes rural utility-scale photovoltaics has more potential than any other renewable energy technology, due to the “relatively high power density, the absence of minimum resource threshold, and the availability of large swaths for development.” Meanwhile, Texas is said to have the ability to account for around 14 percent of this 153 GW, or 280,600 TWh annual potential.

In terms of urban utility-scale photovoltaics, NREL says Texas and California have the highest estimated technical potential, due to both their strong solar resources and high populations. With significantly less estimated technical potential, it is thought that rooftop photovoltaics will be most successful in those states with higher population densities, like California.

Wind Power Growing Fast in Parts of the U.S.

“Solar power and fracking get all the press, but wind has quietly become a major force in the U.S. power grid,” begins Will Oremus for Slate. Well, Will, that is because they are more important. The advantage of wind power is how quickly it can go up and start producing electric power. And, what you say about the growth of wind power in certain parts of the United States is worth knowing. If you are a greenie-weenie, that is.

According to a new report from the Department of Energy, wind accounted for about a third of all new electricity capacity installed in the country in 2011. That’s not too far behind natural gas, which accounted for 49 percent of new capacity amid an ongoing boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Overall, it still amounts to just 3.3 percent of the nation’s electricity demand—coal and natural gas dominate, followed by nuclear. But it has now been the second-fastest-growing electricity source in six of the past seven years, thanks in part to a renewable electricity production tax credit originally signed into law by George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Wind’s wild ride may soon come to an end, though. The tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year, and while the Senate has passed an extension, the Republican-controlled House has not.

Now the fate of the wind industry is becoming an issue in the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney on Tuesday toured a coal plant in Ohio to slam Obama for environmental policies that prioritize renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.

“If you don’t believe in coal, if you don’t believe in energy independence for America, just say it,” Romney said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “If you believe the whole answer for our energy needs is wind and solar, then say that.”

Obama hit back on campaign stops in Iowa, arguing that ending the wind credit would cost the country 37,000 jobs. He included a dig at Romney over the old anecdote that he once strapped the family dog to his car roof on a road trip. From the Des Moines Register:

“Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way: I’m quoting here: ‘You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.’ That’s what he said about wind power,” Obama told about 800 Iowans at a campaign rally in rural Oskaloosa. “Now I don’t know if he’s actually tried that. I know he’s had other things on his car.”

Despite its huge growth of late, the U.S. wind industry remains far behind that of several other countries in terms of its contribution to the nation’s overall energy supply. Denmark’s wind capacity is about 29 percent of its annual demand, and that figure is also above 10 percent in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Germany.

In the United States, Texas is by far the largest wind power producer, followed distantly by Iowa, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and, of course, Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.

Coaltopia – Coal Industry Revival Backfires On Climate

Writing for High County News, Ray Ring reports on unusual opposition, from Wyoming to India, that coal-export schemes have ignited:

The opponents want thorough evaluations that weigh all the impacts, with public hearings around the Northwest that would give time to speakers like Kimberly Larson, a staffer for Climate Solutions, a Washington group that advocates for wind and solar power.

“The coal companies need a new market for their drug,” she says, “just like we saw with tobacco companies,” which emphasized overseas sales when health warnings and taxes eroded their U.S. customer base.

Industry, however, prefers narrow evaluations — a local hearing that only weighs the construction of a new dock, for instance. And industry is optimistic: In the last few weeks, a couple of companies leased additional Powder River Basin deposits — with their eyes fixed on Asia.

Writing for the Daily Kos, Matt Wuerker falls for coal industry deception (much deception comes from a difference in perception) and encourage readers, at least in the Pacific Northwest, to think likewise. There are two grievous errors in the thinking he promotes.

While criticizing the coal industry for using a local focus, the Daily Kos article, “Our Happy Future as a Coal Corridor,” also emphasizes a local focus that lessens the focus on the total impact upon life on the planet as we know it. A quick view of current economics, and the average reader would see the need to export coal to Asia.

The second grievous error relates to the first. Wuerker wants the Daily Kos reader to see such harm in being a coal industry “corridor.” This provides coal industry representatives an opportunity to respond that this worry is wrong because the coal is going elsewhere for burning — some place other than the Great Pacific Northwest — some place in Asia, where electric power plants suffer less harassment by the government about producing CO2 emissions than the coal industry has to worry about in our country. (Sarcastically italicized.)

Meanwhile, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will rise again next month as it has since reporting started. Not just in the atmosphere in the Pacific Northwest, or wherever you are as you read this. The concentration reported in a frame on the right hand of this weblog front page is a global average. While it is a possible problem to transport the product through where you live to make money, it is not the major problem. The major problem is encouraging greater use of a product that, in the future, is leading to the end of life on this planet as we know it. Yes, one planet — this Kos critical post is avoiding a focus on Big China, other than repeating the cartoon. Instead, it attempts to ask readers to think critically about life on our planet.