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Annual Coal Report 2013

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Annual Coal Report 2013
Source: Energy Information Administration

Highlights for 2013:

  • For the first time in two decades, U.S. coal production fell below one billion short tons to 984.8 million short tons in 2013 from 1,016.5 million short tons in 2012 (3.1% lower than 2012).
  • Production in the Western Region, which represented about 53.8% of total U.S. coal production in 2013, totaled 530.2 million short tons (2.4% lower than 2012).
  • U.S. coal mine productive capacity decreased 2.5% to 1,252.0 million short tons in 2013, a decrease of 32.4 million short tons compared to 2012.
  • Average number of employees at U.S. coal mines decreased 10.5% to 80,396 employees, a decrease of 9,442 employees compared to 2012.
  • U.S. coal consumption increased 4.0% to 924.8 million short tons, an increase of 35.6 million short tons. The electric power sector consumed about 92.8% of the total U.S. coal consumption in 2013.
  • Average sales price of coal from U.S. mines decreased from $39.95 per short ton in 2012 to $37.24 per short ton in 2013 (6.8% lower than 2012).
  • Total U.S. coal stocks decreased 16.1% to 200.4 million short tons, a decrease of 38.4 million short tons. Electric power sector coal stocks decreased from 185.1 million short tons at the end of 2012 to 148.0 million short tons at the end of 2013 (20.1% lower than 2012).

The Adoption of New Smart-Grid Technologies: Incentives, Outcomes, and Opportunities

January 26, 2015 Comments off

The Adoption of New Smart-Grid Technologies: Incentives, Outcomes, and Opportunities
Source: RAND Corporation

Studies in the academic and gray literatures have touted the potential large-scale benefits of a smart grid for the United States. Despite an overall lack of technological constraints, however, the empirical evidence shows a potential gap between ex ante expectations and ex post realizations of the benefits of modernization, as well as some reluctance on the part of utilities and consumers to adopt or use the technologies as expected. The surge in technological deployment during the early 2010s, in fact, was a result of federal funding via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In this report, RAND Corporation researchers review the current technical, regulatory, and economic context of the electricity market and theoretical benefits of developing a smart grid. They then discuss some of the entrepreneurial opportunities associated with smart-grid data once the grid is fully modernized. Next, they examine the existing empirical evidence related to smart-grid adoption and implementation and investigate the potential reasons for these experiences. Finally, they offer some policy suggestions that might help overcome the identified barriers and discuss their relative merits.

Solar Industry Creating Jobs Nearly 20 Times Faster than Overall U.S. Economy

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Solar Industry Creating Jobs Nearly 20 Times Faster than Overall U.S. Economy
Source: Solar Foundation

The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, today released its fifth annual National Solar Jobs Census.

The Census found that the U.S. solar industry employed 173,807 Americans in 2014, a figure that includes the addition of more than 31,000 solar jobs over the previous year, representing 21.8 percent growth in solar industry employment since November 2013. Solar employment grew nearly 20 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.1 percent in the same period.

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Green Growth: Environmental policies and productivity can work together – OECD Policy Brief (PDF)
Source: OECD

  • Stringent environmental policies can be introduced without hurting overall productivity
  • Letting up on environmental policies would not necessarily support a recovery
  • The design of environmental policies is key, emphasising the importance of flexible, market-based instruments, such as taxes, in the policy mix
  • Sending a strong signal to the market through stringent policies that do not create unnecessary barriers to entry and competition, will allow new, cleaner technologies and business models to develop
  • To help policymakers set the right balance, a set of new OECD environmental policy indicators has been developed: Environmental Policy Stringency (EPS) and the Burdens on the Economy due to Environmental Policies (BEEP)

See also: Productivity and long term growth — Do environmental policies matter for productivity growth?

Shale gas and EU energy security

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Shale gas and EU energy security
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

While the United States has abundant supplies of cheap gas thanks to the ‘shale revolution’, the EU remains dependent on gas imports. The Ukrainian crisis has given rise to increasing concerns about the security of the EU’s gas supply. At the request of the European Council, the European Commission has analysed the situation, and published a European Energy Security Strategy. Among other elements, the strategy focuses on increasing energy production in the EU and diversifying external supplies.

This briefing addresses the question whether, and to what extent, shale gas can contri­bute to European energy security. Some European regions have significant shale gas resources, but more exploration is needed to find out whether they can be developed commercially. Most analysts agree that shale gas in Europe will be more expensive than in the US, due to different geology and the need to address public acceptance and environmental impact. Shale gas will not resolve short-term energy security issues as exploration and development will take 5 to 15 years. In any case, the volumes produced will not make Europe self-sufficient in gas, but could help to reduce gas prices.

Offshore Energy by the Numbers: An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Offshore Energy by the Numbers: An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic
Source: Oceana

Oceana’s report finds that offshore wind would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. The report, titled Offshore Energy by the Numbers, An Economic Analysis of Offshore Drilling and Wind Energy in the Atlantic, challenges recent claims by the oil and gas industry that opening the East Coast to offshore drilling will lead the United States to energy independence, generate millions of dollars in revenue for states and create thousands of jobs in the process. Oceana’s analysis instead finds that the benefits projected by the industry appear to be exaggerated due to the inclusion of oil and gas resources that are not economically recoverable, thereby inflating the potential benefits. Industry estimates also rely upon an assumption of a state revenue-sharing system that does not exist.

Oceana’s report also finds that offshore oil and gas development along the Atlantic could put at risk some of the nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product that rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation. In fact, Oceana says the threats of offshore drilling would begin far before a rig is ever put in the water. In July, the Obama administration announced its decision to consider proposals for the use of seismic airguns that make dynamite-like blasts to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.

CA — Despite dramatic increase in oil tanker traffic, number of oil spills has significantly decreased

January 21, 2015 Comments off

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