Renewable Energy Is A Bargain by ja8233


									Renewable Energy
  Is A Bargain

          John Richter
           Institute for
  Sustainable Energy Education
           Energy History
           Environmental issues
           Supply issues
           Economic issues
           What you can do

Jun-2009              RE is a Bargain   2
             Exponential Growth
           in Energy Consumption

Jun-2009            RE is a Bargain   3
           Environmental Issues

                          Fossil fuels cause:
                                 Global warming
                                 Dying forests
                                 Poisonous fish
                                 Ill health

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       Michigan Fuel for Electricity
           MI Electricity Sources
                                                    Natural Gas
    26%                                             Other Renewables


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                   Global Warming
                                                     The planet is
                                                     getting warmer
                                                     The burning of
                                                     fossil fuels is a
                                                     major cause
                                                     Yet the denials

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           Polar Ice Caps are Melting
                   1979                                     2003

      NASA photos from:
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                                   Acid Rain

                                     Photo from NASA:
                                     Amateur Scientists
                                     Guide to Air Quality
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                   How Acid is Acid?
           Normal rain has a pH of 5.5.
           2/3 of SO & ¼ of NO are from power plants.
                     2              x
           The Clean Air Act of 1990 reduced acid pollutants
           significantly. Still…
           Rain in much of the NE U.S. has a pH of 4.5 – ten
           times as acidic as clean rain (western U.S.).
           Some rain in the Midwest has a pH of below 4 –
           more acidic than tomato juice or orange juice.

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           Mercury Contamination
                           48 states have fish
                           advisories due to mercury
                           contamination. Michigan is
                           one of 19 states with an
                           advisory on all lakes and
                           The EPA issued
                           regulations on mercury
                           emissions in 2005, giving
                           utilities 13
                           more years.
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                                            41% of
                                            are from
                                            Power Plants

     The National Figure is 52%
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       Mercury Hurts Our Children
                           According to the Center
                           for Disease Control
                           (CDC): 300,000 –
                           600,000 children born
                           in the U.S. each year
                           have measurably
                           lowered IQs resulting
                           from high mercury

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      Power plants and vehicles also emit tiny particles of
      unburned material called particulates.
      Particulates have been shown to cause
      asthma attacks, lung cancer, heart failure,
      and cardiac arrest.
      The American Lung Association has found
      that existing levels of particulates inhibit
      the development of proper lung function
      in children.

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                   “… power plant particle
                    pollution causes more
                    than 603,000 asthma
                    attacks per year…”

                   Source: Abt Associates: Death, Disease, and
                       Dirty Power Plants

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                   Low Birth Weights
    A study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and
    Community Health, this year concluded…
    The risk of a small birth weight baby rose significantly
    with each increase in particulate matter… during the
    first and third trimesters of pregnancy.
    Similarly, the risk of a very small birth weight baby rose
    significantly with each 10 parts per billion increase in
    nitrogen dioxide.


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                                            “Abt Associates finds over
                                            30,000 deaths each year are
                                            attributable to fine particle
                                            pollution from U.S. power
                                        Source: The Clean the Air Task Force, Oct-2000

A 2007 study found that living in high pollution cities increase
the risk of Cardiovascular death by 150%, previous studies
(above) had put it at only 40%.
   “Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Incidence of Cardiovascular Events in
Women”, New England Journal of Medicine, 1-Feb-07

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    Supply Issues

           Today                      Tomorrow
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                                    U.S. Oil Supplies

                                                                                The U.S. imports 58% of
                                                                                its oil consumption.

                                                                                The U.S. also imports
Billion Barrels


                  4.0                                                           16% of its natural gas.

                  2.0                     Production


                    1950     1960       1970       1980      1990   2000

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             Oil is Concentrated –
                 And Far Away
    Just 5 countries in
    the Persian Gulf                   World Oil Reserves
    own 63% of the                                            Saudi
    world’s oil             Rest of                           Arabia
                            World                              25%
    The U.S., the            37%
    world’s largest oil
    importer,                                                   Iraq
    has >140,000                       Iran    Kuwait       UAE 11%
    troops there (still).               9%      9%          9%

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                 Determines Policy
     Oil dependency drives us to intervene in foreign affairs
     which we could otherwise ignore.
     In January 1980, the “Carter Doctrine” was announced
     to the world:
     “An attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian
     Gulf region will be regarded as
     an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,
     and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary,
     including military force.”

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   World Oil Supply Set to Decline
      Fossil fuels are a finite resource (not renewable). We
      are burning our inheritance.
      Oil will be the first of the fuels to falter.
      The world’s oil wells will not dry up at once;
      production will peak and then decline gradually.
      Geologists are predicting this peak in the world oil
      extraction rate will occur in the next few years, if it
      hasn’t already.

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  U.S. Oil Discoveries and Extraction

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           World Oil Discovery
              is Declining
                                      The world oil
                                      extraction rate
                                      has continued to
                                      increase, but new
                                      oil discoveries are
                                      We’re living off
                                      past discoveries.

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                     A broad variety of
                     renewable energy
                     technologies have been
                     proven to work.
                     It is often said that
                     renewable energy is too
                     expensive… that it “can’t
                     This is an accounting

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                     Security Costs

                                  “Paid predominantly by
                                   the U.S., the costs of
                                   protecting our Middle
                                   East oil supplies are as
                                   high as $15-25 a barrel
                                   - that is about a dollar a
                                               Peter Hain – 2002
           USS Stark, 1987                     UK Europe Minister

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                The Iraq War
    It would be overly simplistic to say the Iraq
    war was “just about oil”. But it would be
    naive to say it “had nothing to do with oil”.
    The U.S. has spend > $670B on the Iraq
    war, and suffered >4,000 dead and 50,000
    Iraqi casualties are variously estimated
    between 50,000 and 600,000.

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Volatile Fuel Prices Make Long-Term
          Planning Difficult

           North American gas price last 17 years (Henry Hub $/Mcf)
                  Source: Guinness Atkinson Energy Brief– May 2009
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            Energy Imports Drain
               the Economy
Oil imports were
half of
February’s U.S.
trade deficit of
$26 billion.

Michigan spent
$24 billion on
imported fuels in

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        The Economic Burden of
       Pollution is Not Factored In
           Power plant pollution causes more than 5
           million lost work days each year. (Ostro,
           “…the total monetary benefits of cleaning up
           power plants to modern pollution standards
           would be over $100 billion per year.” (Abt
           Assoc., 2000)

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           The Cost of Pollution - EU
The European Union       Source             Externalities
commissioned a
study on the health         Coal             4.1 - 7.3
and other social
costs of pollution           Gas              1.3 - 2.3
from power plants.
It was called ExternE    Nuclear                0.4
and was released          Hydro
in 1991.                    Wind              0.1 - 0.2

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           The Cost of Pollution – U.S.
       The Clear Air Task Force (1991) estimates
       the medical costs caused by U.S. power plants
       at $178 B/yr, or about 4.8 cents/kWh.
       The Bush Administration’s EPA (2001):
       Reducing power plant pollution 70% will
       reduce medical costs by $110 B/yr, or about
       3 cents/kWh. So 100% would be 4.3
       cents/kWh (assuming it’s linear).
       Mercury pollution costs $2 – 44 B /yr.

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           Wind Energy is a Bargain
                      Consumers Power green
                      generation program sells
                      from these wind turbines in
                      Mackinaw and new systems at a
                      premium of 1.7 cents/kWh.
                      Traverse City’s green premium is
                      only 1.58 cent/kWh.
                      DTE Energy’s “green currents”
                      premium is 2 or 2.5 cents/kWh.
                      These premiums are significantly
                      less than the medical cost of the
                      pollution from coal power plants
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           Gov’t Energy R&D Subsidies
                             The Renewable Energy Policy
                              Project estimated
                              government technology
                              subsidies for solar, wind, and
                              nuclear technologies over the
                              past 60 years:
                                Nuclear $145.0 B
                                Solar    $ 4.4 B
                                Wind:    $ 1.3 B

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                Total Gov’t Energy Subsidies
  Considering all
  forms of gov’t
  energy subsidies,
  the Nuclear Energy
  Institute (
  still shows that
  renewables get a
  small share


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     RE Sets the World Price of Oil!
 “We've got almost 30% of the world's oil. For us, the
  objective is to assure that oil remains an
  economically competitive source of energy. Oil
  prices that are too high reduce demand growth for
  oil and encourage the development of alternative
  energy sources.“
                  Adel al-Jubeir, foreign-policy adviser to
                  Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah

   Source: WSJ, 27-May-2004, “Saudi Arabia Fears $40-a-Barrel Oil, Too”

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           What Can You Do?

                                Home RE
                                Green power
                                Get involved

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                   What Do We Do
                   With the Energy?
            Regional Residential Energy
                  Expenditures                         Most residential
13%                                                    energy is used for
           3%                                          space heating.
 18%                                                   Hot water is the
                               64%                     second biggest
                                                       energy user.
Space Heating         Air Conditioning
Water Heating         Refrigerator
Other App&Light

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              Energy Conservation
           Put an insulating blanket on your hot
           water heater.
           Replace old appliances – esp. the furnace.
           Install compact fluorescent lights.
           Have a home energy checkup done
             Implement the recommendations
           Drive less.
           Get a fuel efficient vehicle.

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           I Replaced My Refrigerator
      Old Fridge:
        1986 Whirlpool
        18 cubic feet
        Used 1090 kWh/yr
      New Fridge:
        2004 Kenmore
        22 cubic feet (+22%)
        Used 462 kWh/yr
      A 58% Savings! ($64/yr)
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           RE for Your Home
                                    Solar Thermal
                                           Pool heating
                                           Hot water
                                           Space heating
    See:                     Photovoltaics

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                Buy Green Power
    DTE Energy’s Green Currents Program:
    Consumer’s Energy
    Select “For home”, “Green Generation program”
    Lansing Board of Water and Light has a green power

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   Our dependence on fossil fuels causes environmental,
   political, and economic problems. They may not
   continue to be dependable.
   RE can provide a clean, reliable, domestic energy supply
   with fixed costs.
   At a global or social level, RE is a bargain, but nuclear
   and fossil fuels aren’t forced to pay their own way. In
   fact, they’re subsidized!
   As a result of this false accounting, RE often appears
   more expensive - a destructive illusion.

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        John Richter, Co-founder ISEE

MREA (June 19-21)
“Economics of RE” Friday, 11am, White-flag
“Limits to Growth” Friday, 5pm, White-flag
“Crude Awakening” Saturday, 11am & 12-noon, Pink-flag
“Economics of RE” Saturday, 4pm Green-flag
GLREA (June 26-28)
“Economics of RE” Friday 3pm, Tent-4
“Limits to Growth” Friday, 5pm, Tent-3
“Crude Awakening” Saturday, 3 & 4pm (2 parts), Tent3
“RE is a Bargain” Sunday, 2pm, Tent-2

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