Shipping’s Growing Carbon Gap

Transport's Carbon & Energy Future

sinking_container_ship

On the face of it, Shipping is the most efficient of freight transport modes. Intermodal shipping containers kick-started rapid growth in trade globalisation 60 years ago, and container ships, tankers and bulk carriers have been getting bigger ever since. Carrying more freight with less fuel on a tonne-mile basis, shipping has the highest energy productivity of all transport modes.

Yet looks can be deceiving. While international shipping contributes 2.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, business-as-usual could see this explode to a whopping 18% by 2050. As trade growth increases demand, today’s fleet burns the dirtiest transport fuels, and a new report shows the market doesn’t reward ship owners who invest in the latest fuel- and carbon-efficient technologies.

When you consider the scale of the sector’s emission reductions that need to start now to contribute to the COP 21 Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C to 2°C global warming, there’s clearly an…

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Is Utility-Scale Solar Power the Economic Choice to Residential Solar Power?

Originally published on Solar Love. A new study has concluded that utility-scale solar PV systems across the US are “significantly” more cost effective than rooftop solar PV systems. Sp…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: cleantechnica.com

“[…] the study, conducted by economists at global consulting firm The Brattle Group, found that utility-scale solar PV systems were more cost effective at achieving the economic and policy benefits of PV solar than rooftop or residential-scale solar was.

The study, Comparative Generation Costs of Utility-Scale and Residential-Scale PV in Xcel Energy Colorado’s Service Area, published Monday, is the first of its kind to study a “solar on solar” comparison.

“Over the last decade, solar energy costs for both rooftop and bulk-power applications have come down dramatically,” said Dr. Peter Fox-Penner, Brattle principal and co-author of the study. “But utility-scale solar will remain substantially less expensive per kWh generated than rooftop PV. In addition, utility-scale PV allows everyone access to solar power. From the standpoint of cost, equity, and environmental benefits, large-scale solar is a crucial resource.”

The study yielded two key findings:

  1. The generation cost of energy from 300 MW of utility-scale PV solar is roughly 50% the cost per kWh of the output from an equivalent 300 MW of 5kW residential-scale systems when deployed on the Xcel Energy Colorado system, and utility-scale solar remains more cost effective in all scenarios considered in the study.
  2. In that same setting, 300 MW of PV solar deployed in a utility-scale configuration also avoids approximately 50% more carbon emissions than an equivalent amount of residential-scale PV solar. […]

The report itself was commissioned by American thin-film photovoltaic manufacturer and utility scale developer First Solar with support from Edison Electric Institute, while Xcel Energy Colorado provided data and technical support. Specifically, the report examined the comparative customer-paid costs of generating power from equal amounts of utility-scale and residential/rooftop-scale solar PV panels in the Xcel Energy Colorado system.

A reference case and five separate scenarios with varying degrees of investment tax credit, PV cost, inflation, and financing parameters were used to yield the report’s results.

The specifics of the study’s findings, which imagined a 2019 Xcel Energy Colorado system, are as follows:

  • utility-scale PV power costs ranged from $66/MWh to $117/MWh (6.6¢/kWh to 11.7¢/kWh) across the five scenarios
  • residential-scale PV power costs were well up, ranging from $123/MWh to $193/MWh (12.3¢/kWh to 19.3¢/kWh) for a typical residential-scale system owned by the customer
  • the costs for leased residential-scale systems were even larger and between $140/MWh and $237/MWh (14.0¢/kWh to 23.7¢/kWh)
  • the generation cost difference between the utility- and residential-scale systems owned by the customer ranged from 6.7¢/kWh to 9.2¢/kWh solar across the scenarios

The authors of the report put these figures into perspective, including the national average for retail all-in residential electric rates in 2014, which were 12.5¢/kWh.  […]”

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Airplane Contrails Boost Global Warming by Trapping Earth’s Heat Energy

The warming effects of aircraft vapor trails could be eased with fewer night flights, especially during winter, the report says.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: news.nationalgeographic.com

>” […]

Nicola Stuber, first author of the study, to be published in tomorrow’s edition of the journal Nature, suggests that contrails’ overall impact on climate change is similar in scope to that of aircrafts’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over a hundred-year period.

Aircraft are believed to be responsible for 2 to 3 percent of human CO2 emissions. Like other high, thin clouds, contrails reflect sunlight back into space and cool the planet.

However, they also trap energy in Earth’s atmosphere and boost the warming effect, the study says. […]

Contrails are artificial clouds that form around the tiny aerosol particles in airplane exhaust.

They appear only in moist, very cold (less than 40ºF/4ºC) air—usually at altitudes of 5 miles (8 kilometers) or higher.

Some contrails can last for a day or longer, though they gradually disperse and begin to resemble natural clouds.

Contrails Mystery Scientists disagree about the extent of contrails’ climate impact.

“The jury is out on the impact of contrails,” said Patrick Minnis, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Langley, Virginia.

David Travis, a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, notes that some recent studies suggest that contrails have little impact on global climate change but have a greater regional warming impact.

“I prefer to think of contrails as a regional-scale climate problem, as they are most common in certain regions of the world, such as western Europe, eastern and central U.S., and parts of eastern Asia,” he said.

“This is due to a combination of dense air traffic in these areas and favorable atmospheric conditions to support contrail persistence once they form.”

Because of their locations and short life spans, contrails are a difficult study subject.

“The greatest impediment to understanding the contrail impacts on weather and climate is the poor state of knowledge of humidity in the upper troposphere [3.8 to 9.3 miles/6 to 15 kilometers in altitude],” NASA’s Minnis said.

“Until we can measure it properly and extensively, and model it and its interaction with cirrus clouds and contrails, we will continue to have large uncertainties about the effect of contrails.”

Winter is Contrail Season

At the high altitudes favored by commercial airlines, the air is much more humid in winter, so contrails are twice as likely in that season, study co-author Stuber said.

“We also found that flights between December and February contribute half of the annual mean climate warming, even though they account for less than a quarter of annual air traffic,” she said of her U.K.-based research.

Study leader Piers Forster, of England’s University of Leeds, suggests that contrails’ current impact on the atmosphere is likely to increase as air traffic grows. […]”<

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Jet Contrails Worse for Climate Change Than Aircraft Carbon Emissions

By John Timmer, Ars Technica

Air travel has come under fire for its potential contributions to climate change. Most people probably assume that its impact comes through carbon emissions, given that aircraft burn significant amounts of fossil fuel to stay aloft. But the carbon released by air travel remains a relatively minor part of the…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.wired.com

>” […]Others include the emissions of particulates high in the atmosphere, the production of nitrogen oxides and the direct production of clouds through contrail water vapor.

Over time, these thin lines of water evolve into “contrail cirrus” clouds that lose their linear features and become indistinguishable from the real thing.

Although low-altitude clouds tend to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight, high-altitude clouds like cirrus have an insulating effect and actually enhance warming.

To figure out the impact of these cirrus clouds, the authors created a module for an existing climate model (theECHAM4) that simulated the evolution of aircraft-induced cirrus clouds (they could validate some of the model’s output against satellite images of contrails).

They found hot spots of these clouds over the United States and Europe, as well as the North Atlantic travel corridor.

Smaller affects were seen in East Asia and over the northern Pacific. Over central Europe, values peaked at about 10 percent, in part because the output of the North Atlantic corridor drifted in that direction.

On their own, aircraft-generated cirrus produces a global climate forcing of about 40 milliwatts per square meter. (In contrast, the solar cycle results in changes of about a full watt/M2.)

But these clouds suppressed the formation of natural cirrus clouds, which partially offset the impact of the aircraft-generated ones, reducing the figure to about 30 mW/M2. That still leaves it among the most significant contribution to the climate produced by aircraft.

Some reports have suggested we might focus on makingengines that emit less water vapor, but the water is a necessary byproduct of burning hydrocarbon.

We’ll almost certainly be accomplishing that as a result of rising fuel prices, and will limit carbon emissions at the same time.

The nice thing is that, in contrast to the long atmospheric lifespan of CO2, if we can cause any changes in cloud formation, they’ll have an impact within a matter of days. […]”<

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California’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade Fund Attracts Energy Industry Project Proposals

With California’s growing cap-and-trade program expected to yield a budgetary bonanza, lawmakers and interest groups have ample ideas for how to spend the money. Floating proposals ahead of a pivotal period for budget negotiations, they say they want to fund port improvements, pay for heavy-duty trucks and ferries, nurture urban rivers, sponge up carbon in soil and provide discounted bus passes.

Image source:  http://mammothlakeshousing.com/120-million-available-through-cap-and-trade-funds-for-affordable-housing-in-ca/

Source: www.sacbee.com

>”[…] Seeking to counteract climate change, lawmakers in 2006 authorized California to establish its first-in-the-nation carbon auction program, compelling businesses to purchase allowances for what they pump into the atmosphere.

By this time last year, the system already had generated hundreds of millions of dollars that were parceled out via the budget, including a controversial annual outlay to support high-speed rail. But this year is different: Oil and gas producers have been obligated to buy permits for the first time, likely generating a multibillion-dollar influx.

“With transportation fuels coming under the cap, there will be more money for years to come. That changes the dynamic,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. “Because there’s going to be a lot more money, there’s going to be that many more projects competing for dollars.”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s January proposal underestimated the amount available in the coming fiscal year by as much as $3.9 billion and most likely by around $1.3 billion, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The updated numbers will come this week in Brown’s May revision.

Per a formula established in last year’s budget agreement, 60 percent of the auction dollars will flow to areas such as high-speed rail, urban transit and housing. The remaining 40 percent is up for debate in the Legislature.  […]

The competing proposals raise a larger question about what type of project qualifies. Money spent out of the cap-and-trade fund must verifiably work to curtail the greenhouses gases that fuel climate change.

“It is a fee, and we want to spend it appropriately,” said Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who carried the bill establishing the program.

Critics assailed Brown last year for directing revenue to the high-speed rail project, arguing that carbon reductions wouldn’t materialize for years. Legislative leaders are scrutinizing ideas this year and filtering out proposals that don’t pass muster.

At de León’s prodding, a Senate bill seeking to clean up urban watersheds was amended to seek funding from a different source. Another proposal floated by a range of environmental and community activist groups argued for subsidized bus passes.

“We know that the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California is from transportation, so there a number of ways we are addressing that, and one way of getting cars off the road is improving the choices in public transit,” said Magavern, whose organization was among those making the proposal.

In his January budget, Brown proposed using the money over which lawmakers have control on an array of areas, including energy-efficiency upgrades for public buildings, waste diversion and fire prevention (forest fires pour huge amounts of carbon-thick smoke into the air). That largely holds the line on last year’s proposals.

A potential addition would direct dollars to help water resources. As a prolonged drought has prompted extraordinary conservation mandates from Brown, the administration has been studying the ways in which energy and water overlap.

There, too, policymakers have experts working to quantify how much energy is used in transporting and heating water. If they can establish they’re reducing emissions, they can tap into the cap-and-trade money.

“There are a lot of really smart people working on getting this right,” said Pavley, who has a bill directing the state to study the energy footprint of water systems. “I think it opens up an amazing possible win-win for expenditure of auction revenues.”

With a growing pile of money spurring interest, Pavley said, officials must be vigilant about keeping their focus on cutting greenhouse gases. Sacramento suffers from no shortage of ideas for spending money, but not all of them fit that framework. […]”<

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IMF Reports Global Energy Subsidies are Unmanageable, Inefficient and Reinforce Inequality

A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged policymakers the world over to reform subsidies for products from coal to gasoline, arguing that this could translate into major gains both for economic growth and the environment.

Image Source:  http://bit.ly/1LO0yQb

Source: www.imf.org

>” […] In a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C., marking the release of the paper, IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton noted that “subsidy reform can lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, which will help spur higher economic growth over the longer term.” Removing energy subsidies can also strengthen incentives for “research and development in energy-saving and alternative technologies,” he said. He also noted that, while intended to benefit consumers, subsidies are often inefficient and “could be replaced with better means of protecting the most vulnerable parts of the population.”

“The paper shows that for some countries the fiscal weight of energy subsidies is growing so large that budget deficits are becoming unmanageable and threaten the stability of the economy,” Mr. Lipton said, adding that IMF research shows that 20 countries maintain pre-tax energy subsidies that exceed 5 percent of GDP. For other emerging and developing countries, he said, the share of the scarce government resources spent on subsidies remains “a stumbling block” to higher growth and fundamentally impairs their future. “Because of low prices, there is little investment in much-needed infrastructure. More is spent on subsidies than on public health and education, undermining the development of human capital.”

Energy subsidies also reinforce inequality because they mostly benefit upper-income groups, which are the biggest consumers of energy. “On average, the richest 20 percent of households in low- and middle-income countries capture 43 percent of fuel subsidies,” said Mr. Lipton.

At the same time, Mr. Lipton warned that an increase in prices which can result from subsidy reform can have a significant impact on the poor and that “mitigating measures to protect them as subsidy reform is implemented” must be an integral part of any successful and equitable reform program.

In addition, Mr. Lipton noted that “subsidies aggravate climate change and worsen local pollution and congestion.” The study finds that eliminating pre-tax subsidies would reduce global CO2 emissions by about 1-2 percent which would, by itself, represent “a significant first step in reducing emissions by delivering about 15-30 percent of the Copenhagen Accord’s goal.” As for advanced economies, he noted that subsidies most often take the form of taxes that are too low to capture the true costs to society of energy use (“tax subsidies”), including pollution and road congestion. “Eliminating energy tax subsidies would deliver even more significant emissions reductions said Mr. Lipton, reducing “CO2 emissions by 4.5 billion tons, a 13 percent reduction.” […]”<

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Climate Change, Carbon Reduction and Mitigating Natural Gas Use in the Electricity Sector

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan offers states the opportunity to curb rising natural gas use in the United States and achieve steeper carbon-pollution reductions by investing more aggressively in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Source: www.americanprogress.org

>” […] In the United States, electric utilities are the largest source of carbon pollution. Therefore, the reduction of power-sector emissions needs to be a central component of any meaningful climate mitigation strategy. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, released a landmark proposal to establish the first-ever carbon-pollution standards for the nation’s power plants.

This proposal, the Clean Power Plan, establishes a “best system of emissions reduction” based on four building blocks that combine to make the nation’s electricity system more efficient and less reliant on carbon-heavy coal-burning power plants. […]

One of the Clean Power Plan’s central elements is increasing the use of lower-carbon natural gas combined cycle, or NGCC, units to generate some of the electricity now produced by higher-carbon coal-fired power plants. States can use this approach to achieve relatively quick carbon-pollution reductions starting in 2020 while ramping up the deployment of programs that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The EPA modeled two compliance scenarios to understand the costs, benefits, and potential energy-related impacts of the Clean Power Plan. This modeling suggests that the electricity sector’s natural gas consumption will increase sharply at the beginning of the Clean Power Plan’s implementation period as states shift power generation from dirtier coal-fired plants to cleaner-burning NGCC plants. The EPA also predicts that states will build new NGCC plants to replace retiring coal plants and to help meet their carbon-reduction targets.

By 2030, however, the EPA’s models forecast that more renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs will come online as states continue to implement the Clean Power Plan. Electricity generation from renewable sources will displace some generation from NGCC and coal-fired power plants. Energy-efficiency programs, meanwhile, will reduce electricity demand, slowing generation and curbing carbon pollution from the power sector as a whole. […]

While natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it is still a fossil fuel that releases carbon pollution. In addition, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, can escape throughout the natural gas production and supply cycle. For these reasons, several recent studies by prominent researchers have questioned whether natural gas can form the core of an effective climate mitigation strategy. […]

By acting decisively to implement ambitious renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, states can help ensure that the United States does not overcommit to natural gas and that it continues on a path toward decarbonization of the economy. […]”<

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Commercial ORC Used for Waste Heat Recovery on Industrial Electric Arc Furnace

Turboden, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has implemented the first ORC-based heat recovery plant on an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) in the world

Source: www.pennenergy.com

>” […] The heat recovery system was started up on December 2013. It is connected to the off-gas treatment system of the melting electric furnace. The recovered energy reduces net power consumption, allowing significant CO2 reduction.

In addition to electricity production, the remaining portion of the steam is fed into the Riesa Municipal steam supply system and used in a nearby tire factory production process.

Turboden designs, develops and implements generation plants, allowing reduction of industrial energy consumption and emissions containment through heat recovery from unexploited residual heat streams and exhaust gases in production processes and power plants.

This technology is best applied in energy-intensive industries such as glass, cement, aluminum, iron & steel, where production processes typically generate exhaust gases above 250°C.

These new plants not only provide advantages in terms of environmental sustainability, emissions reduction, increased industrial process efficiency and improved business performance, but they also represent opportunities for increased competitiveness.”<

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6 Schemes to Implement for Plant ISO 50001 Certification

During a webcast  […] representatives from the US Department of Energy and Underwriters Laboratories walked through the details of the just-released energy management standard, and how companies can get on board, quickly.

Source: www.greenbiz.com

>”When the standard achieves widespread adoption, it’s estimated that ISO 50001 could influence up to 60 percent of the world’s energy use.  […]

ISO 50001 requires continuous improvement, but not specific requirements, which is where the ITP program comes in, to have specific requirements of improvement. The value of the certification, Scheihing said, is that for the first time it provides a framework for continual improvement for facilities on energy performance, and across the entire organization.

To be certified, you have to conform to the ISO 50001 management standard, and you have to improve your energy performance, and get both aspects certified under a third party. There are 24 companies working in the pilot mode of ISO 50001, across all types of manufacturing sectors and at all sizes.

Between 2008 and 2010, five initial facilities in Texas were piloted, and have been certified to date. Scheihing said the energy improvements achieved at the facilities ranged from 6.5 percent to 17.1 percent over a three-year period.

Among the initial feedback from the pilot project include the benefits of having a cross-functional plant energy management team that goes beyond just operations or engineering means that energy management becomes a shared responsibility, and that makes it much easier to incorporate significant changes in energy use.

One of the biggest shifts that the pilot projects found was that as a result of going through ISO 50001 certification, energy management became a way of doing business, instead of a project-by-project undertaking.  […]

 

Scheihing laid out six steps that any organization can take to get started on ISO 50001 today:

Secure support from top management;Collect, track, and analyze energy data;Identify key energy uses;Establish a baseline;Identify energy-saving opportunities;Prioritize opportunities

The Department of Energy has created a new website for energy management, which lays out an overview of ISO 50001 and offers case studies and tools to help companies undertake those first steps.

Jerry Skaggs from UL DQS followed on Scheihing’s presentation to walk through each of the six steps, as well as a checklist for organizations to follow once they’ve gone through the process to ensure proper implementation and follow-through.

In the end, there are a number of benefits to effectively implement an energy management system, including:

• Reduced operational and overhead costs lead to increased profitability
• Reduced air emissions, such as GHGs
• Increased efficiency of energy sources
• Increased assurance of legal, internal compliance
• Variables affecting energy use and consumption are identified
• Increased understanding of energy use and consumption via defined methods, processes of data collection

UL DQS, which brings the Management Systems Solutions division of Underwriters Laboratories together with DQS, a German management certification company, offers a number of specialized services for helping companies assess and implement opportunities for energy management, including ISO 50001 certification.  […] “<

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Energy Management Standard ISO 50001: Case Studies Document Energy And Cost Savings For N/A Industrial Plants

Three North American industrial plants that recently deployed energy management systems (EnMS) are highlighted in new case studies from the Global…

Source: www.plantautomation.com

>”Washington /PRNewswire / – Three North American industrial plants that recently deployed energy management systems (EnMS) are highlighted in new case studies from the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) Energy Management Working Group (EMWG). These latest entries in the growing GSEP series explain how two Canadian plants, IBM and Lincoln Electric, and one U.S. plant, HARBEC, Inc., deployed ISO-compliant systems to manage their energy more efficiently while boosting competitiveness. GSEP, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, publishes the series in an effort to improve energy efficiency and mitigate carbon emissions around the globe.

U.S. Case Study HARBEC, Inc. improved the energy performance of its specialty plastics manufacturing plant in upstate New York by 16.5%, primarily by managing its combined heat and power unit more efficiently. The plant’s verified conformance with the international energy management standard ISO 50001 and its sustained improvements in energy performance earned HARBEC Platinum certification from the U.S. Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program, administered through the U.S. Department of Energy. […]

The USD$127,000 invested to implement SEP was paid back by the resulting operational energy cost savings within 2.4 years. The EnMS now saves the plant 6 billion Btu (6,300 gigajoules) annually and lowers energy costs by USD$52,000 each year at prevailing energy prices. HARBEC’s real-time automated system continuously monitors plant equipment to sustain and continuously improve energy performance. […]

Canadian Case Studies: (1)  IBM implemented an EnMS at its manufacturing facility in Bromont, Quebec, which helped it to reduce energy consumption by 9.2% and save CAD$550,000 in 2013. The savings came from 36 energy efficiency projects implemented as part of the EnMS. Tool modifications generated approximately 27% of the savings, while heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and exhaust reduction projects generated the other 73%. Equipment throughout the plant is now monitored using dashboards that show real-time energy use. View IBM case study.

With the support of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), IBM Bromont was certified for conformance with CAN/CSA ISO 50001 in 2013. NRCan’s Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation provided plant staff with various energy conservation tools and services that assisted with EnMS development and certification.

(2)  Lincoln Electric became CAN/CSA ISO 50001 certified after implementing an EnMS at its facility in Toronto, Ontario, which manufactures steel welding wire and industrial diesel-driven DC generator welding machines. With the help of NRCan, Lincoln Electric developed an EnMS that reduced the facility’s energy consumption by 22% in 2013. […]

Plant management was initially interested in an EnMS as a means to maintain competitiveness and reduce risks associated with volatile energy prices. The company learned that its successful EnMS implementation owes much to its corporate culture that actively encourages the identification of energy improvements and conservation measures. The plant expects its EnMS to lead to continuous improvement in overall plant energy consumption. […]”<

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