Monday, September 30, 2013

Shock Fact: Bloomberg New Energy Finance Forecasts Wind & Solar Will Total 33% Of Global Generation Capacity By 2030

The scale of the global solar and wind boom is still poorly understood within the energy industry and certainly within important media and political circles.  Simply put, it is gargantuan!

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance underlines just how big the global solar and wind tsunamis are.  BNEF forecasts that wind and solar will be 33% of global generation capacity by 2030.

Today wind and solar total 7% of global electric generation capacity.  BNEF forecasts that wind jumps from today's 5% of global capacity to 17% by 2030, while solar soars from 2% today to 16%.

While wind and solar will constitute 33% of global capacity, if BNEF is accurate, they will not provide 33% of electric power produced by 2030. Due to the lower but improving capacity factors of wind and solar, they may provide between 10% to 15% of all electricity actually produced by 2030.

New York City's Clean Air Must Not Come At The Expense Of Dirty Air In Pennsylvania's Gas Fields

On Friday, a report was released that stated that New York City's air was the cleanest in 50 years, and that 800 lives would be saved each year as a result. This is obviously good news.

For its clean air, New York City can thank regulation that is forcing dirty oil burning buildings to switch to natural gas and low-sulfur oil for heat. And a great deal of the gas New York City is using comes from Pennsylvania, where residents of gas drilling areas rightly are insisting that state government make gas drillers and pipelines use the best pollution controls on engines, compressor stations, drilling sites and more.

Simply put, the clean air of New York City must not come at the expense of dirty air in areas where gas drilling is concentrated. The technology exists that can cut air emissions by 90% at compressor stations and in other parts of gas production. But this available, effective technology is not used all the time. That must change!

Those in Pennsylvania's gas drilling communities as well as New York City have a right to breathe clean air and to breathe easy. Let's make sure all do!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stunning Fact: NYC Air Is Cleanest In 50 Years, Saving 800 Lives/Year--See Why

The air in New York City is the cleanest in 50 years, saving 800 lives per year, according to a new report:

"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced New York City’s air quality has reached the cleanest levels in more than 50 years, with dramatic reductions in pollutants in the air since the launch of the Administration’s comprehensive, long-term sustainability blueprint, PlaNYC. Since 2008, the levels of sulfur dioxide (SOx) in the air have dropped by 69 percent and since 2007 the level of soot pollution (PM2.5) has dropped by 23 percent. The largest contributor to the reductions is the PlaNYC’s Clean Heat program, which phased out use of the most heavily polluting heating oils in New York City. The cleaner air enjoyed by New Yorkers today is preventing 800 deaths 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations from lung and cardiovascular diseases annually, compared to 2008."

So what did NYC do to dramatically clean its air? Regulation and gas displacing much dirtier heating oil.

"Three changes contributed to the winter season air quality improvements over the past several years. Only three years ago, nearly 10,000 buildings in New York City burned Numbers 4 and 6 heating oil, which emit significant amounts of PM2.5, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nickel and other dangerous pollutants. Through the efforts of the NYC Clean Heat Program, over 2,700 buildings have converted to cleaner fuels since 2011 and an additional 2,500 buildings are actively pursuing conversions. Second, additional emission reductions have come from State rules that limited the sulfur content of #2 heating oil to 15 parts per million (a 99 percent reduction) and City rules restricting the sulfur content of #4 oil to 1,500 parts per million (a 50% reduction). Third, the expansion of the regional natural gas supply and local gas distribution infrastructure operated by Con Edison and National Grid has encouraged buildings to save money and reduce emissions by converting to natural gas. As a result, citywide concentrations of SO2 have declined by 69 percent and nickel by 35 percent. Neighborhoods with the highest density of emissions reductions from boiler conversions – such as northern Manhattan, northern Queens, and the South Bronx – saw the greatest improvement in air quality."

The gains in NYC air are real, but they must not come at the expense of unhealthy air in gas producing areas. And they need not do so.  Effective pollution control technology exists. Regulation must require the use of the best pollution control technology on compressor engines and other equipment that produce the gas that is displacing heating oil in New York City buildings.

Building Two New Nukes By 2016 In Texas Would Be Big News, But Constructing That Much New Wind Draws Yawns

Would it be big news if Texas was building 2 nuclear plants in 3-4 years?  Of course. it would be.  And if that was happening, Texas would be doing the impossible once again, since it takes at least 10 years to build 1 nuclear plant.

But the wind industry in Texas is building by 2016 the equivalent of 2 nuclear plants, 6,000 megawatts of wind turbines, and little attention is being paid. The wind industry now makes doing the extraordinary routine! Congratulations to all the men and women involved in wind power

Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Generation Capacity Matches Retirements In 2013 Putting More Downward Pressure On Wholesale Electricity Prices

America is awash in excess generating capacity and electricity consumption is down in 2013.  Even so, new generation coming on line this year slightly exceeds the amount of capacity retiring.

Excess capacity, declining consumption, and new plants exceeding retirements are a recipe for low wholesale electricity prices.  Moreover, lots of the new capacity is wind and solar that have the lowest operating costs and so can bid zero into wholesale markets and take whatever the market clearing price is.  As such, the rising amount of renewable energy will put more downward pressure on wholesale market prices.

So far, 9,033 megawatts of new generation have been built in 2013, while 8,566 megawatts have retired.  So, what capacity is retiring and being built?

Most of the retired capacity is coal, nuclear, and natural gas.  Most of the new capacity is natural gas, wind, solar and also some coal.

Stunning Fact. Texas Adding Another 6,000 Megawatts of Wind

Texas may well be the world's biggest hot spot for wind. Texas like big, and big wind keeps roaring in the Lone Star state like a mighty storm.

Texas will add 645 megawatts of wind just between August and the end of 2013. But that is just a part of the unending, Texas wind rush. By 2016, another 6,000 megawatts will be built!

Building 6,000 megawatts of wind is the equivalent of 2 big new nuclear plants and doing it in 3 years. Stunning.

When it comes to wind, Texas is all cattle and no hat. Texas will soon have about 17,000 megawatts of wind power operating. It's become an example of what wind can do for America and the world. I will take my hat off to Texas for its wind leadership.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Natural Gas Loses 2013 Generation Sales To Coal, Wind, And Lower Demand

Natural gas generation is the big loser in electricity markets, with gas output down 100 billion kilowatt-hours through July, a 13.9% decrease.  But what is displacing natural gas generation?

Coal, wind, and lower demand together have cut the output of natural gas power plants by about 102 billion kilowatt-hours.  Coal generation is up 64 billion kilowatt-hours. Wind is up 17.5 billion kilowatt-hours. Total electricity demand is down 17.5 billion kilowatt-hours.  That adds up to about what gas has lost.

Gas has lost power sales during 2013, mainly because its price has risen above $3.25 to $3.50 per thousand cubic feet for most of this year. Yet, very recent declines in gas prices once again has improved the competitiveness of gas with coal. Coal-gas competition for sales remains intense and trends are fluid.

Shock Fact: Lazard Study Concludes Wind Power Costs Down 50% In Last 4 Years

A key to the booming wind industry in the USA and around the world is declining cost.  As cost declines, wind becomes competitive in more locations. Now Lazard finds that the cost of wind power is down an incredible 50% just in the last 4 years. That is shockingly good performance by the wind industry!

Declines in cost has not meant stalled innovation. A whole array of technical advances are improving wind turbine performance in all kinds of wind conditions. Especially important are advances that increase power production in areas of modest wind resources.

While the wind remains the same or the fuel does not change, wind power gets more productive and cheaper every year. And that is why wind has a bright future, even after 10 years of a global wind boom.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 Electricity Generation Scoreboard: Coal Up 7.5%; Gas Down 13.9%; Wind Up 20.5%

This year has become a great year for wind and solar production, a good year for coal, but a truly lousy one for natural gas in power markets.

Compared to 2012, wind generation is up 20.5% and solar 85.3%. Coal is rebounding from its knockout at the hands of natural gas in 2012 and is up 7.5%.  Even nuclear is eking out a 0.5% increase

But power markets have not treated kindly all power generation sources. The 2013 gains for especially coal and wind have come at the expense of natural gas that is down a sharp 13.9% in this year to date.  Natural gas has generated 102 billion kilowatt-hours less power, while coal has produced 64 billion kilowatt-hours more and all renewables 21 billion kilowatt-hours more.

The intensity of the 2013 competition between coal and gas for market share is increased by the fact that this year's market is slightly smaller than in 2012. The generation pie actually has shrank so far this year!

Stunning Fact: Buffett's And Iowa's MidAmerican Energy Will Be 39% Wind By 2016

MidAmerican Energy is a true heartland utility. It is Iowa's largest energy company, serving 734,000 electricity customers and a similar number of gas customers.  It is owned by Warren Buffett, the sage of Omaha.

This large, heartland electric utility will soon use wind more than any other technology to supply its customers. Wind will account for 39% of MidAmerican's electricity supply by 2016!

After wind's 39%, coal will supply 33%, natural gas 18%, and nuclear 6%. MidAmerican's wind surge continues, as it is in the process of building another 1,050 megawatts of wind!

Monday, September 23, 2013

XTO First Blames Vandals But Now Shifts Fault To A Contractor For Spill That Lead To Criminal Charges

First it was vandals. Now it is a negligent contractor. The shifting explanation comes from XTO, as to how on earth several tanks discharged thousands of gallons of drilling wastewater into Pennsylvania's environment in Hughesville, Lycoming county.  The case began in 2010, when an inspector from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found tanks spilling wastewater, and I asked the matter be referred to the Attorney General's office for its review.

XTO's blame shifting may or may not matter in the criminal case brought by Attorney General Kane. Regardless of the impact on the criminal case, XTO's shifting of the blame to the contractor is disappointing and will further erode public confidence.

Simply put, even if the fault lies with the contractor, who hired the contractor? XTO of course. And companies that receive drilling permits from Pennsylvania must be held accountable for the actions of their contractors.

To not hold accountable drilling permit holders for the actions of their numerous contractors would gut Pennsylvania's gas drilling regulations and environmental laws.  By holding drillers accountable for the actions of those with whom they contract, drillers will have a strong incentive to make sure that those with whom they do business understand the rules and follow the law.

Andrew Maykuth and Donald Gillihand have done good reporting on the XTO criminal spill case:

Both articles are good reads with important details.

Time When Electricity Consumption Increased Every Year Is Dead: 2013 Electricity Consumption/Generation Is Down

The time is past, when America consumed more electricity each and every year. And that is true even when our economy grows, 2.2 million jobs are added, and our population increases by 2 million to 3 million people, as has been the case in the last 12 months.

Though our economy and population are bigger in 2013 than in 2012, our electricity generation/consumption is lower to date. In fact, electricity generation is down 0.7%.

America's households and businesses--our economy--continues to raise the efficiency with which we use power.  Rising efficiency and then variation in temperatures can now readily lead to falls in electricity generation and consumption from one year to another. That is a new fact of life in the power business.

Friday, September 20, 2013

PA Unemployment Rate Rises To 7.7% As Number Of Unemployed Exceeds 500,000

If you need a job, Pennsylvania unfortunately is not a good place to look for one. Unemployment here increased to 7.7% in August from 7.5%. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is going up, even as the national rate continues its decline to 7.3%.
After years of having an unemployment rate below the national average, Pennsylvania's rate has now been above the national rate for a full year.

If you are unemployed in Pennsylvania, you now have more company.  The number of unemployed rose for the third, straight month and now exceeds 500,000.

The statistical details are provided courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and can read here:

Apple Is 75% Powered By Renewable Energy & Cuts Energy Usage By 35%

Apple battles Exxon for the largest market capitalization.  Though both are big, when it comes to energy, they are as different as night and day.

Apple is 75% powered by renewable energy, is committed to being 100%, and has cut energy use by 35%.  Apple soon will use no coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear for its electricity...a green apple indeed.

Rooftop Solar Saves $84 Million In New Power Line Costs In New York And Shows Off Solar Power

Solar on roofs will save $84 million for the customers of the non-profit, Long Island Power Authority and not by reducing the purchase of fossil fuels to run power plants.

Instead of building power lines to a remote part of Long Island, LIPA will put solar on roofs in the communities to which expensive lines would have run and avoid $84 million in line expense.

LIPA's use of solar to reduce grid costs is just one more way that the solar revolution is changing the energy business.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Clean Energy Jobs Boom 11.8% In Massachusetts And Total More Than Marcellus Gas Drilling Direct Jobs

The boom in clean energy jobs in Massachusetts continues, with another 11.8% growth in the last 12 months, and now 79,994 there.  That total is just direct jobs and does not include indirect and induced.

Let's put the Massachusetts 79,994 clean energy jobs total in context. It is considerably more direct jobs than has been created in Pennsylvania by the Marcellus boom.  In fact, 30,000 direct jobs have been created by gas production in the Commonwealth, according to the Corbett Administration.

Yet, another reason Pennsylvania ranks 49th in job creation is the Corbett's administration neglect or hostility of clean energy jobs.

America Produces 2.29 Million Jobs In Last 12 Months But PA Ranks 49th In Jobs Growth

First, the good fact. America created 2, 296,000 new jobs from July 2013 to July 2012.  The national jobs growth rate was 1.72%.  That's steady growth, though no boom.

And now for the Pennsylvania story and bad fact.

Pennsylvania ranks a pitiful 49th in jobs growth over the last 12 months. Don't believe it? See this:

Read and weep!  And let's remember that Pennsylvania now ranks second in natural gas production.

Voters in 2014 can decide to reject the failed economic and jobs policies of Tom Corbett and his allies.
To correct Corbett's mistakes, I have an 8-point detailed Jobs Plan that would create 382,000 jobs. See

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stunning Fact: US Oil Consumption Is Lower Now Than In 1973 Even Though US Population Is Up 102 Million

Our population was 211 million in 1973 and 313 million in 2012.  Our Gross Domestic Product was 4.95 trillion dollars in 1973 and over 13 trillion dollars in 2012, measured in real dollars.

Yet, Uncle Sam's thirst for oil is drying up, despite 102 million more Americans and a bigger GDP.

Demand for oil peaked in 2005, has fallen 14% since then, and is now lower than it was in 1973.

The fall in oil consumption is in its early stages, is already dramatic, and will go much deeper.  Substitutes for oil like biofuels,  nuclear, electricity, and natural gas are combining with growing fuel efficiency in formally oil guzzling vehicles to slash oil consumption.

To see how much oil substitutes can reduce oil consumption, just look at the role of oil in making electricity. Back in 1973, burning oil was a major source of electric power and a major part of total oil demand.

Today, the use of oil to make electricity has been reduced almost to zero, as nuclear power, natural gas, and other means of making power have displaced more expensive and dirtier oil in the electricity sector.

Stunning Fact: Dukakis Won More Counties Than Obama

Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 presidential election by 7% of the popular vote and by 426 to 111 in the Electoral College.  Yet, Dukakis won considerably more counties than President Obama who won by 4% of the popular vote and by 332 to 206 electoral votes.

In fact, Dukakis won 819 counties, while Obama took 620 out of the nation's 3,144.

Obama won less counties but won highly populated suburban counties, like Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, while Dukakis was crushed in them during the 1988 election.  The President's rising strength in the most populous counties more than compensated for his poor performance in rural and modestly populated counties.

Bottom line is that the presidency is won by the candidate who wins most votes (sort of) and not most acres.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

UT Study Measures Methane Leakage at 489 Gas Wells--Finds Low Rate

Here is the story in today's NYT about the University of Texas methane leakage study:

Here is the link to the study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science:

The study was done in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund and 9 drilling companies. It's method was actual measurement of emissions at 150 drilling sites, containing 489 wells that were all hydraulically fractured, located in a variety of regions across the United States.

The study extrapolates from its measurements to conclude that methane leakage amounts to 0.42% of gas produced, considerably lower than the most recent Environmental Protection Agency estimate.

This study is an important contribution to defining the methane leakage problem and further reducing methane leakage.  And further reducing methane leakage, as well as flaring and other air pollutants from gas production, should be a goal that most would support.

Is the study definitive or the last word? Absolutely not and more research will be done.

It took measurements at about 2% of the gas wells drilled in a year. It involved the voluntary cooperation of 9 drilling companies and has a possible self-selection bias. The methane leakage performance at these wells is good, though it could be better, and may be representative of good performing companies and wells.

As such, the study may be the best case scenario that identifies an achievable standard of excellence that should become a requirement for all gas drilling companies to meet.  Simply put, if these shale gas wells can perform at this low level of leakage, then all shale gas wells that are hydraulically fractured should be able to do so.

What the study does show definitively is that "green completions" work very well, reducing methane leakage by 99%.  And the EPA rule on green completions takes affect in January 2015. That is good news, indeed.

Stunning Fact: Coal Usage Has Grown More Than Gas Or Oil Over The Last 40 Years

Though US coal demand peaked in 2005 and has fallen about 22% since then, coal's troubles are recent.  Moreover, even with coal's recent decline, coal has done better than gas and oil over the last 40 years.

Since 1973, the demand for coal is up more than 30%, but natural gas rose just 14%.

As for oil, its consumption actually fell--down 1% since 1973.  See Table 1.3 in the link.

Though America consumes considerably more coal than it did in 1973, coal consumption has fallen sharply since 2005, when natural gas primarily started to displace coal for generating electricity. Given trends since 2005, coal usage could decline below 1973 levels in the next 10 years.

In fact, America may soon be using less coal and oil than it was 40 years ago. Remarkable!

Deutsche Bank Finds Solar Power Today Is Cheaper Than Grid In 10 States

Sunny days have truly arrived in 10 states, where solar power is now cheaper than from the grid.  And solar will be soon cheaper in another 13 states.  Deutsche Bank crunches the numbers:

What are the 10 states where solar is now cheaper on average than the grid? Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Vermont.

See Figure 3 in the linked story to see the 10 states.  Just as importantly, take a look at Figure 4 that lists another 13 states where solar will very soon be cheaper than power from the grid.  Once solar power becomes cheaper than the grid, it's cost and price advantage over grid electricity will expand and not reverse with the passage of time.

Figures 3 and 4 together show why the solar tsunami heading toward energy markets is enormous and is arriving even now.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Prof. Mann Wins Another Round In His Defamation Suit Against National Review & CEI

After the trial judge denied the defendants' Motion To Dismiss Professor Mann's defamation suit, Professor Mann has won another round in his defamation suit against National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute.  As a result, Professor Mann can begin discovery.

While the legal standard for a public figure to win a defamation suit is high and difficult to meet, Professor Mann and his legal team are moving powerfully forward. The pressure is rising on the defendants.

California Reaches Carbon Targets 6 Years Ahead Of Schedule & Creates 236,000 Jobs

Here is a piece of good, carbon-reduction news.

California's carbon reduction is 6 years ahead of the schedule established in its cap and trade program.

In other words, California's 2013 carbon emissions are down to what is required in 2019. In California, each year the carbon cap decreases so the cap is lower in 2019 than in 2013, but Californians have already met their lower 2019 cap.

The sharp fall in California's emissions are attributable to both booming renewable energy and ever improving fuel efficiency.  Importantly, as California's carbon emissions have declined, its economy has improved.

Indeed, in the last 12 months, California created 236,000 new jobs and ranks 24th in jobs growth rate.

Falling carbon emissions and rising jobs numbers can go together!

Surprise Fact: EIA Projects Gas Consumption Will Be Lower In 2014 Than In 2012

EIA continues to predict that the US will use less natural gas in 2014 than it did in 2012.  Why? Gas used to make electricity is projected to decline sharply--down nearly 14%.  EIA says:

"U.S. Natural Gas Consumption.
EIA expects that natural gas consumption, which averaged 69.7
Bcf/d in 2012, will average 69.9 Bcf/d and 69.3 Bcf/d in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Colder
winter temperatures in 2013 and 2014 (compared with the record-warm temperatures in 2012)
are expected to increase the amount of natural gas used for residential and commercial space
heating. However, the projected year-over-year increases in natural gas prices contribute to
declines in natural gas used for electric power generation from 25.0 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.1 Bcf/d
in 2013 and 21.6 Bcf/d in 2014."

More gas supply is not leading to more gas demand. That's a surprising fact, at least at this time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stunning Fact: 60,000 Megawatts of New Hydro Projects Pending Approval By Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

You have heard about the oil, gas, solar boom, and wind booms.  But, how about hydro? In fact, a hydro boom is getting started. Here are the stunning numbers.

There are 60,000 megawatts of hydro projects in 45 states awaiting final approval at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  That's a huge number, nearly as much as all wind capacity.  Additionally, last year, the highest number of licenses--25--were issued for new hydro projects since 2005.

The emerging boom in hydropower is a big deal because hydropower is a big source of energy, accounting for 7%-8% of America's power, even before any new growth.  It is the biggest source of renewable energy, but its production has ebbed or flowed, depending on precipitation levels.  Even with hydro treading water, renewable energy surpassed nuclear power in total energy provided and increased its share of all energy provided.

Hydro's renewed growth, however, would boost further the market share of renewable energy in the USA, and shorten the time before all renewables together provide more total energy than coal.

More hydropower will reduce pollution and help to keep power prices affordable for consumers. While hydropower does impact river systems, it offers more economic benefits and less environmental impact than most other sources of energy. And so the emerging hydro power boom is good news, indeed!

US Oil Production Surges To Highest Level In 24 Years But Oil Prices Keep Rising

This summer teaches the harsh lesson that the US cannot escape global oil pricing, even when our domestic oil production soars.  Indeed, US oil production in August reached the highest level since 1989 or a long 24 years ago, but oil prices kept rising all summer long.

"U.S. crude oil production increased to an average of 7.6 million bbl/d in August, the highest monthly level of production since 1989. EIA forecasts U.S. total crude oil production will average 7.5 million bbl/d in 2013 and 8.4 million bbl/d in 2014, about 0.1 million bbl/d and 0.2 million bbl/d higher, respectively, than forecast in last month’s STEO."

The US domestic oil boom is growing every month and could ultimately surpass Saudi Arabia's production.  Despite this massive and new production, EIA reports the following about price:

"Monthly average crude oil prices increased for the fourth consecutive month in August 2013, as supply disruptions in Libya increased and concerns over the conflict in Syria intensified."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

XTO Faces Criminal Charges For Drilling Wastewater Dumping And Ranks In Top 10 For Violations

XTO issued a strongly worded response to the news that a grand jury had recommended it be indicted and that Attorney General Kane had filed criminal charges against it.  Here's the rest of the story.

I was Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in 2010, when a DEP inspector found XTO tanks containing drilling wastewater with open valves. Up to 57,000 gallons was discharged into the environment. It was a serious incident that I thought the Attorney General's office should investigate.

The State Impact report to which I link also states that XTO ranks in the top 10 in the number of violations, even though it does not rank in the top 10 in the number of gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania.  The best way to avoid trouble with the law is to pursue operational excellence. XTO needs to ask itself some hard questions more than it needs to blast Attorney General Kane.

Here Is The Endorsement Statement From Dimock Area Gas Drilling Families

Yesterday, 14 people from the Dimock area and affected gas drilling communities endorsed my candidacy for Governor. I am honored to receive this endorsement.

You can read it here:  PCN aired the press conference 4 times on September 10 and September 11. We will soon have video of the endorsement for distribution.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11 Facts That We Must Remember: 2,753 Persons Murdered, Including 343 Firefighters & 70 Police Officers

September 11 requires us all to remember that day, and the facts that document the sacrifices made. I remember that I was in Harrisburg in charge of an office watching the horror unfold on television. When the news reported that a plane had crashed in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, I told everyone to go home, fearing at that moment that an attack could strike anywhere.

A murderous attack was indeed under way and it would kill 2,753 people, including 343 New York City firefighters and paramedics as well as 70 police officers, men and women who ran into burning buildings.

In Tower One, 1,402 people perished. In Tower Two, 614 people murdered in cold blood. The numbers are hard to comprehend and absorb.

New York Mag has put together "September 11 By The Numbers" in the linked to story. I commend it to you.

We must remember all those who died and who were injured.  In Pennsylvania, we honor those on Flight 93 who began America's fight back. All of us should especially remember and thank the firefighters, police, and armed forces who bravely went into the Twin Towers on September 11 and who pursue to this day the terrorists that murder innocent men, women, and children.

Key Fact: US Carbon Emissions Fall In 5 Of Last 10 Years

While global carbon emissions grow every year, year-to-year carbon emissions in the USA have been as likely to go down as up over the last ten years.  From 2003 to 2012, US carbon emissions have been both down and up in 5 years.  The down years were 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.

Interestingly, emissions declines are no longer simply a product of a contracting economy, although the deep recession from November 2007 through 2009 was a major cause of carbon decreases in 2008 and 2009. Importantly, carbon emissions actually declined in three years when the GDP grew--2006, 2011, and 2012. Declining carbon emissions, even when the economy grows, demonstrates that the economy is becoming less carbon intensive as a result of rising energy efficiency and market share gains of lower or zero carbon fuels like biofuels, natural gas, wind and solar.

Yet, just a change in the market share of coal and gas in electricity production can make the difference between total carbon emissions rising or falling from year to year. Indeed, rising coal generation in 2013 makes it highly probable that US carbon emissions will increase in 2013 over 2012.

The fact that US carbon emissions fell in absolute numbers in 5 of the last 10 years is a very different pattern, compared to the 12-year period from 1990 to 2002, when carbon emissions fell just twice. In that period, emissions fell only in 1991 and 2001, years when the economy was in recession.

With the rise of energy efficiency, zero carbon wind and solar, and the displacement of coal and oil by lower carbon biofuels and natural gas, US carbon emissions now have and can fall in years when the economy grows. That's a good fact that must be repeated.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Big Announcement: Dimock, Pennsylvania Families Endorse Me For Governor

I am honored today to receive the endorsement of families in Dimock, Pennsylvania and other communities who have experienced problems with water wells, drilling payments and who want air emissions and other local impacts of gas drilling reduced by strong regulation.  Their statement of endorsement will be issued at 11:00 am today at a press conference in Harrisburg and posted at my campaign website at

When I was Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, I worked with many families across Pennsylvania who had concerns or complaints, including those in Dimock.  And when the evidence established in Dimock, Pennsylvania that mistakes in gas drilling had contaminated 18 water wells I went to regulatory war with Cabot Oil and Gas on behalf of those who were affected.

As Secretary, I wrote the moratorium on further gas drilling in our state forests. I also enacted 5 new gas drilling regulations from September 2008 to January 2011, more than doubled the gas drilling oversight staff, and told the enforcement staff to enforce strengthened rules. In 2010, DEP issued 1,200 violations to the gas industry.

Gas drilling has benefits and impacts. Reducing these impacts, like those from compressor engines or drilling pits, is a vital role of state government and requires strong, professional regulation.

I have proposed a full plan to strengthen regulation and enforcement, including opening an office dedicated to receiving and investigating gas drilling complaints. My detailed plans are at:

Having spent 29 years working on energy and as someone living in the Three Mile Island nuclear evacuation area, I know that coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power all pose significant environmental risks, and all must be strongly regulated.  My experience also teaches that it is vital to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency to improve both our environment and economy.

Nobody has done more for renewable energy and energy conservation in Pennsylvania than me.  As Governor, I will continue to accelerate alternative energy production and energy efficiency and lay out my plans for doing so at

It is time to find common ground once again, to heal divided communities, and to restore public confidence in the oversight of the gas industry.  I will do so.

Shock Fact: Barclays Predicts Another 13,000 Megawatts Of Wind Will Be Built In 2013--Possibly New Record

This year was supposed to be a bust for the US wind industry, after setting a record for new construction in 2012.  The supposed 2013 bust, however, is shaping up as another record one.

"The wind industry posted a record year in 2012 with the installation of about 13 GW of power capacity. "This year, we expect a similar level," the Barclays analysts wrote.

Adding another 13,000 megawatts of wind power would be the equivalent of building 5 medium sized nuclear reactors. But will this happen? I will be watching closely.

Monday, September 9, 2013

US Solar Will Generate As Much Power As Today's Nuclear Plants Or 20% Of America's Power By 2026

The solar tsunami described by Deutsche Bank heading to the USA is big but only the start.  In 2016, the USA will have 50,000 megawatts of solar operating and will have built 16,000 megawatts in just that year.

If one assumes that the annual solar market will grow at a 15% annual rate for 10 years after 2016, US solar capacity will increase by another approximately 360,000 megawatts in that 10 year period and reach a total of 410,000 megawatts by 2026.  That much solar would be equal to about 102 nuclear reactors or the same as the current US nuclear fleet and would likely produce close to 20% of America's electricity.

The consequences of America getting by 2026 as much power from solar as today's nuclear plants provide are enormous and good.  Pollution of our air and water would decline further. Wholesale electricity power prices will remain affordable for consumers. Coal and gas consumption for electricity would not increase much and possibly fall from current levels, depending on how much electricity demand increases.  A decline in fossil fuel consumption for power generation is especially likely, if wind power at least doubles its generating capacity by 2026.  The odds of wind doing that are high.

But will solar reach a total of 410,000 megawatts of capacity by 2026? There are two key assumptions in the analysis supporting that number. First, it assumes that the Deutsche Bank study accurately projects that the US will have 50,000 megawatts built by 2016 and will build 16,000 megawatts in just 2016.  Second, it assumes a 15% annual growth rate in solar for the following 10 years.

Is a growth rate of 15% for a decade reasonable?  It is much slower than the 33% growth rate that Deutsche Bank projects between 2015 and 2016 and much slower than what is the current solar growth rate.  If anything, a 15% growth rate is conservative.

The size of the solar wave that is hitting shore starting is simply astonishing, and it will restructure America's energy markets, boost our economy, and improve our environment. Solar-powered days are ahead!

Volt & Leaf Charge Ahead, Setting Sales Records In August

As gasoline prices punish, more car consumers are thinking and buying electricity. Volt had its best ever monthly sales in August at 3,351 vehicles. And the Leaf did too at 2,420 cars.

In fact, all electric and plug-in hybrid cars had a great August, with more than 11,000 cars sold.  That would make a 132,000 annual rate or close to 1% of cars sold.

Sales of electric vehicles are growing and fast!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stunning Fact: Deutsche Bank Projects 50,000 Megawatts Of Solar In US By 2016 As Solar Shakes Energy World

I have been saying it since 2011. Solar will shake the energy world as strongly as shale gas.

Now Deutsche Bank is out with a study showing that the solar shock to energy has begun and will in just 2 years be spreading creative destruction far and wide through energy industries.  The Deutsche Bank numbers are simply stunning and exceed my own projections of a year ago.

It has taken the entire history of the United States for solar generation to reach this year a total of 10,000 megawatts.  But solar will be adding more than 10,000 megawatts each and every year starting in 2015, when Deutsche projects 12,000 megawatts will be built. In 2016, Deutsche states 16,000 megawatts of solar will come on line in that single year.  And most of this solar boom will be on roofs.

By way of comparison, 16,000 megawatts of solar per year is the equivalent of building 4 medium sized nuclear plants each and every year. Just astonishing!

By 2016, the Deutsche Bank study says 50,000 megawatts of solar will be operating in the USA, of which 30,000 megawatts will be distributed and on rooftops.  Of course, that is just the start of the solar boom. The days are fast coming when most roofs in many neighborhoods will have solar installed.

Solar generation at that scale will massively change the energy world--electric generation, transmission, distribution and the consumption of fossil fuels. The solar tsunami has now formed and is headed to shore, but even many in the energy business remain unaware.

Market Competition Pushes Prius To Achieve 55 MPG To Remain Top Seller

Market competition does not always mean better environmental performance. Just look at China and see what competition and a lack of environmental regulation has wrought.

Despite the environmental disaster that China has become, market competition can produce good results for the environment. A top example of how competition can spur environmental improvement is the battle to bring to market highly fuel efficient vehicles.

The 2015 Toyota Prius is expected to achieve a combined 55 miles per gallon, as it seeks to stay on top.

The linked to article describes further gains in engine thermal efficiency, design, materials, and manufacturing processes that Toyota is using to increase mileage, while likely lowering costs. Toyota knows that the Prius has won its status as a top seller by combining high mileage, excellent performance, and reasonable pricing.

And it knows that it must improve mileage by about 10% to stay ahead of its improving competition.  Improving mileage lowers operating costs and environmental impact. Indeed, the Prius even now has a smaller carbon footprint than the all-electric Nissan Leaf, if the electricity charging the Leaf comes from predominantly coal-fired power plants.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pollution Fact: TCE Is the Biggest Water Polluter About Which Most People Have Never Heard

"TCE" is the worst polluter of water about which most people have never heard anything.

The highly radioactive water leaking out of Fukushima, the massive sewage spills that regularly pollute our rivers, oil leaks, acidic water pouring out of coal mines, and pollution of water wells from gas drilling mistakes regularly hit the headlines.  But the huge damage done to ground water by Trichloroethylene or TCE dumping draws little attention at all.

As the linked to story describes why, TCE,  however, most certainly is among America's worst water polluters and should command more attention. The article accurately states:

"Used in large volumes by an array of industries, TCE is one of the most widespread contaminants in U.S. water supplies."  

That's indeed a fact.  Just in Michigan there are 300 sites where TCE is leaching into groundwater. But Michigan is far from alone.

Pennsylvania too has major water pollution from TCE, a solvent that was used in many industries for decades and that was often improperly stored or removed.  Indeed, I have helped Pennsylvanians whose drinking water was fouled by TCE dumping over decades.

In fact, TCE plumes are in groundwater all over America. And TCE is nasty stuff for human beings to ingest.

"TCE was declared a human carcinogen in 2011, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spent three decades analyzing its health risks. TCE can lead to kidney and liver cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to the EPA’s report.The chemical also may be linked to bladder, esophageal, prostate, cervical and breast cancers, and leukemia."

High Mileage Fact: Tesla Drivers Get 388 Miles On One Charge But That's Not The World Record

A Tesla was just driven 388 miles on one charge in Holland. The car averaged 24 mph or what you could expect to do in New York City.  But the European Tesla distance record is not a world record.

Apparently, the world record for Tesla range is 423 miles set by two Floridians.

Used normally, the Tesla Model S can be expected to go 265 miles between charges. And that is the key to its incredible success.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Political Fact: 6% Of Scientists Remain Registered Republicans

In the 1968 Presidential election, Richard Nixon got 43% of the popular vote and did well with scientists, winning 31% of physicists, 52% of geologists, and more than 60% of agriculture scientists.

That was then. By 2009, Pew found that just 6% of scientists remained registered Republicans.

Why have scientists left the GOP?  Perhaps, because the GOP left them, as explained by this tweet:


The Increase In Coal Generation Is 4 Times As Much As Combined Rise In Wind And Solar Output In 2013

Energy math is paradox. 

Wind and solar generation are growing much more rapidly than coal generation this year and in prior years.  But, in the first 6 months of 2013, the increase in coal electricity output is 4 times greater than the increase in the combined output of wind and solar.

Coal generation is up 72 billion kilowatt-hours this year, while wind and solar is up a combined 17 billion kilowatt-hours.  Wind and solar is growing more rapidly--wind generation is up 20% and solar 94%--but from very small totals.

Wind's production in the first 6 months totaled 91 billion kilowatt-hours and coal's 764 billion kilowatt-hours.  There are 8 kilowatt-hours generated from coal for every 1 kilowatt-hour produced by wind.  Wind is growing rapidly, but an enormous gap remains between the production from coal and wind.

When all renewable resources are combined, including hydro, coal produces a bit less than 3 kilowatt-hours for every 1 produced by all renewable energy sources together. The gap between production from coal and all renewable energy is closing but will likely take about 15-20 years to close.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Disturbing Facts: TEPCO Uses New Equipment To Measure Radiation At Fukushima And Finds Massive Doses In Water

Sometimes you read an article and just hope it's wrong. That's my reaction to the report that Tokyo Electric Power workers just got new radiation measurement equipment and immediately found massive and lethal doses of radiation in water at the site.

According to NBC News, the workers at Fukushima had been working with devices that could record only a maximum dose of 100 millisieverts per hour.  They just got new ones that had a top reading of 10,0000 millisieverts per hour.  Quickly readings of 1,800 were measured in water at the site, enough radiation to be lethal in 4 hours.  In Japan, nuclear workers are limited to 50 millisieverts per YEAR.

It's amazing to me that workers at Fukushima for more than 2 years since the calamity had inadequate radiation measuring systems. At this point, I am not sure what is more disturbing--the 2-year delay in getting the new measuring systems or the 1,800 millisiverts per hour reading they documented. Both are really disturbing facts.

Stunning Fact: 25% Of America's Residential Solar In 1 Utility Service Territory

While solar panels can be seen in growing numbers around America, an amazing 25% of home solar systems can be found in the service territory of Pacific Gas & Electric, an electric utility serving a substantial portion of Northern California. At least, that is what Business Week reports in this interesting article about how solar is exploding and undermining the traditional utility business model.

The large concentration of solar in PGE service territory reflects the fact that California still dominates the US solar market.  Indeed, about 50% of the homes that are using solar to net meter are in California.

But what started in California is not staying there.  Rapid solar growth is taking place in numerous markets, including sun drenched Arizona and Hawaii, but also Colorado, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

The on-going boom of solar around the USA means the days are numbered, when the service territory of Pacific Gas & Electric has 25% of America's residential solar systems.