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View Diary: World's Largest Coal Company Turning to Solar to Lower its Utility Bills (36 comments)

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  •  Thanks for the encouraging diary (4+ / 0-)

    However I got a sinking feeling when I saw there are only a few megawatts planned.

    Please build solar faster, Coal India!!

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 09:49:39 AM PDT

    •  Yes, the entire solar capacity (0+ / 0-)

      of India is less than ONE of this company's coal plants.

      The larger trend is evident in this headline: India will overtake US in coal use by 2017

      (and that's not because use is dropping that much in the USA, it's because coal use is ramping up quickly in India - too quickly in fact to be reliable - but that's not stopping them).

      •  Not necessarily (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beach babe in fl, Roadbed Guy, JeffW
        The larger trend is evident in this headline: India will overtake US in coal use by 2017
        Indian coal burning power plants have a big NIMBY problem; Indians don't like them.  Plus the cost of coal to fuel them is rapidly becoming unaffordable.  Look at this  http://thinkprogress.org/...  where it says:
        The best example of this is India where an enormous pipeline including 720 GW of new coal plants has been proposed. Nowhere is the narrative of coal inevitability more poignant than there. The problem is reality doesn’t match the rhetoric.

        Across India, a battle is being waged in opposition to this vast pipeline by determined local opposition who are being met with violent repression. But despite the odds they are winning. Last year a 4GW coal plant was scrapped due to farmer protest. Then came Sompeta where a few thousand villagers stood up to corrupt politicians and businesses to stop a proposed project. Then came Kutch and on and on…

        Where grassroots pressure is not enough, harsh economic realities are. A full-fledged coal crisis has hit India resulting from domestic coal shortages, skyrocketing international coal prices, and a wave of subprime coal loans so great that Indian banks worry it poses systemic default risk.

         Go read the whole thing and check out some of the links.  See also http://thinkprogress.org/...  

        Considering that India is moving toward solar, and China is pushing hard for wind and hydropower, I suspect that sometime in the next ten years the United States will resume its position as the world's biggest user of coal power.  USA!  USA!  USA!

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:34:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We'll see (0+ / 0-)

          the current problems have more to do with supply than anything, and Australia continues to ramp up export capacity so that should fade as an issue.

          China has a realistic chance to reduce coal, but not because of solar and wind, but because they're emulating our fracking ways, so if that makes natural gas dirt cheap over there as well, coal use might drift downwards, like it has here.   I really don't see coal making a big comeback in the USA in the next ten years, fracking is still going strong.

          Globally coal is doing fine, however; even in Europe where use is increasing of late against all common sense.

          •  China installed more wind than coal power (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            in 2012.  And they are planning to reduce coal use.  

            Coal still accounts for 79 percent of electricity production in China, but fortunately that dominance is increasingly challenged by competition from cleaner energy, as well as government policies and public concerns about air pollution. The Chinese government’s 12th five year energy plan (2011-2015) aims for coal to be reduced from 70 percent to 65 percent of energy production by 2015. In contrast, the Chinese government has ambitious targets for wind, solar, and hydro, and plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 30 percent of installed electricity generating capacity by the end of 2015.  
            From http://thinkprogress.org/...  Wind turbines have improved to the point that wind power is actually cheaper than coal IF (big if) generating coal power requires building the generators.  (If the generators are already in place then coal is still a little cheaper.)  But for China to generate more power, they need to build more generators.  So I expect that building new coal plants will continue to drop off and wind and hydro will increase.

            The US will become the world's biggest coal user, even while we reduce coal burning, because other nations will reduce coal power faster.  

            Renewable energy brings national global security.     

            by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 08:10:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's an interesting article, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              duhban

              it didn't really support your rosy viewpoint.

              For example:

              There is another, very sobering side to the story, though: additions to coal power capacity, even if they have been slowing down in recent years, still stood at 50 GW last year, even more than investments in wind. So it seems that some of the total coal capacity was not used last year,
              Elsewhere in the article provides information why
              Thermal power use, which is predominantly coal, grew by only about 0.3 percent in China during 2012, an addition of roughly 12 terawatt hours (TWh) more electricity. In contrast, wind power production expanded by about 26 TWh. This rapid expansion brings the total amount of wind power production in China to 100 TWh, surpassing China’s 98 TWh of nuclear power. The biggest increase, however, occurred in hydro power, where output grew by 196 TWh, bringing total hydro production to 864 TWh, due favorable conditions for hydro last year and increased hydro capacity.
              Basically, actual generation "grew" faster through hydroelectric - 8 times more in magnitude in fact than the increase in wind.

              But if the drought returns, and I've been hearing it might be, coal is going to have to kick back in to make up the difference so that could bounce back in a big way anytime.

              A mitigating factor (wrt coal use) might be that China is right now taking steps to emulate our fracking boom.  However switching from coal to NG is NOT getting off fossil fuels, in fact fracked NG is thought to be as bad as coal as far as emitting greenhouse gases go (there is less CO2 but that is compensated for by leaked methane)

            •  Another way to look at the increased wind (0+ / 0-)

              generation was that it covered about 10% of the ~250 TWh of increased electricity generated in China last year.

              Hydroelectric covered about 80% of the increase (with coal and nuclear each chipping in about 5%).

              The increase in hydroelectric was equivalent to twice the entire output of the 3 Gorges Dam - so that is clearly not something to depend on!  

              Bottom line - the headlines / focus of articles like the one you linked (along the lines of "wind grows faster than coal") are really, really annoying because both sources grew slowly, dwarfed by something else, and essentially constituted "noise" in the system).  

              •  looking forward to the expansion of your comments (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Calamity Jean

                in your first diary rbg...all you do is just negatively attack any progress no matter how small...

                Macca's Meatless Monday

                by VL Baker on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 07:55:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But there was no progress, the use (0+ / 0-)

                  of coal continues to grow.

                  And it distresses me that environmentalists get suckered in by the propaganda put out by the big polluters that "everything is hunky dory, look, we've converted one part out of 300 of our pollution to something "clean" - umm no, that doesn't count.

                  I've been following this issue for more than 30 years when the anti-nukers idiotically told us we didn't need that form of power because alternative energy was growing and would like totally take care of future needs.

                  Since then, the USE OF COAL HAS DOUBLED - and it continues to grow.  Nothing has changed.  I'm just freakin' sick of the symbolism and tokenism used to sweep the problem under the rug.

                  But obviously most others feel differently, so carry on!

                  •  Things can't go from "terrible" to "perfect" in (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    beach babe in fl, JeffW

                    an instant.  There's a transition.  The new Chinese middle class hates the terrible air pollution, and wind is economical and pollution-free.  I expect that for the next few years there will be fewer and fewer coal plants built, until one fine year soon there won't be any.  Then China can begin closing existing coal plants.

                    It's a step in the right direction, and is worth celebrating, even if the Chinese and the rest of us need to take a lot more steps in the same direction.  

                    I've been following this issue for more than 30 years when the anti-nukers idiotically told us we didn't need that form of power because alternative energy was growing and would like totally take care of future needs.  
                    I didn't know there were any "anti-nukers" in China 30 years ago.  

                    Renewable energy brings national global security.     

                    by Calamity Jean on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 02:43:40 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If things were presented that way, I'd be (0+ / 0-)

                      happy to agree.  Instead what I don't like is to be lied to, with is essentially what is happening when the tiny, tiny increases in "clean" energy are presented as being significant in any meaningful way.

                      The MASSIVE use of fossil fuels didn't really take off in China until 10 or 15 years ago, so the nuke comment clearly wasn't about them - it was more about us and most of Europe.  If we hadn't set an example of rapid expansion of fossil fuel use prior to that, China (and India) might have taken a different route.

    •  nothing positive being done is being done fast (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaughingPlanet, Another Grizzle

      enough.  we're running out of time that's why i advocate for reducing the short lived climate pollutants of methane, black carbon and ground level ozone to buy us time to reduce CO2 and to transition to clean energy etc.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 10:53:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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