Quotable enegy quotes

“Coal’s competitive advantage is fast evaporating. It cannot compete with renewables on cost, and storage and smart management of the grid have made the need for new baseload redundant. Coal is yesterday’s technology – the only thing new coal has going for it is inertia.”

– Kobad Bhavnagri, the lead author of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017 in Asia-Pacific report.

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“The whole utility paradigm has shifted. We really are doing our ratepayers a disservice by not considering all viable options.”

– Reiko Kerr, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s senior assistant general manager of power systems, regarding a decision by the utility to put a hold on a $2.2 billion plan to rebuild several old natural gas power plants while it studies clean energy alternatives.

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“The cost declines that we are seeing with these technologies are so steep that it becomes a matter of time as to when they start crossing over and becoming competitive in different ways. These things are getting cheaper faster than we thought even a year ago.”

–  Seb Henbest, lead author of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest annual New Energy Outlook report, discussing the predicted dominance of solar, renewables and lithium-ion batteries in the global energy mix by 2040.

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“A lot of West Virginians understood that they were rolling the dice with Trump. …  [They] realize there is not going to be a gigantic return of coal.”

– West Virginia professor and historian Chuck Keeney, who has written extensively on the state’s coal industry and its miners,

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“I’ve not spoken to a single utility that’s truly holding on to a future of more coal.”

– Brian Janous, who directs energy strategy at Microsoft, quoted in a story about the effect that Fortune 500 companies are having on the electricity sector as they commit to running their businesses on 100 percent renewable energy and pressure utilities to provide them the sources to do so.

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“When [coal-fired power plants] are only running at 50 percent, the math just doesn’t pencil out. The business plans that justified them no longer exist, so they are just not profitable in current conditions.”

– Rob Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming, explaining how coal is being forced out of energy markets across the country, especially in the East, where cheaper energy like wind and hydro, always sell first on the open market.

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“It’s the least cost renewable we can add to our system by far.”

– Stefan Bird, CEO of Pacific Power, whose parent company plans to build a major wind farm in Wyoming, one of several massive wind projects planned in the state to serve growing demand for clean energy on the West Coast.

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“We are making investments to create a smarter, more resilient and efficient grid that supports the integration of new technologies and cleaner resources to meet the energy needs of our customers.”

– From American Electric Power’s 2017 annual report, which details the utility’s plans to invest $13 billion in transmission and distribution systems and $1.5 billion in new renewable energy, as it dramatically shrinks its coal portfolio.

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“Even though we are in the foothills of coal country, it was not outrageous for us to look at energy efficiency and renewable energy as one of the pathways to helping this community transform.”

– Bobby Clark of Midwest Clean Energy Enterprise.Clark, on efforts to rebuild West Liberty, Kentucky with a master plan based on green buildings and renewable energy after much of it was destroyed by a tornado in 2012.

Image: KY Court of Justice via flickr creative commons license.

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“We have got a big appetite for wind or solar. If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we’re ready to do it. The more there is the better.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to investors at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting.

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“When are we ever going to be economically free, not serfs to the coal industry, unless there is economic diversity?”

– Filmmaker Mari-Lynn Evans, whose documentary “Blood on the Mountain” explores the troubled history of West Virginia’s coal industry, as quoted in a story about the state’s efforts to revitalize its economy independent of coal.

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“Market prices were kept low and highly competitive by improved hydro-electric conditions, moderate loads and the addition of about 2,300 megawatts of summer capacity — consisting mostly of solar generation.”

– From a market report by California’s grid operator showing that wholesale power prices fell 9 percent in 2016, spurred by a decline in natural gas prices, improved hydropower conditions and about 1,900 megawatts of new peak summer generating capacity from solar resources,

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“If you are tied to coal, you’ve got problems.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Image: Fortune Live Media via flickr Creative Commons

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 “The future for coal in the United States? There is no future.”

– Former Duke Energy CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers, speaking at the release of a new report calling coal’s decline one of the most “spectacular market collapses in equity history.” The combined market value of the four largest U.S. coal companies fell from $33 billion to $150 million in five short years.

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“Responsible policymakers should be honest about what’s going on in the U.S. coal sector – including the causes of coal’s decline and unlikeliness of its resurgence – rather than offer false hope that the glory days can be revived.”

– From an analysis examining the prospects for a recovery of U.S. coal production and employment, which concludes that President Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations are unlikely to materially improve economic conditions in America’s coal communities.

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“At the end of the day, West Virginia may not require us to be clean, but our customers are. So if we want to bring in those jobs – and those are good jobs, those are good-paying jobs … we have to be mindful of what our customers want.”

– Chris Beam, the new president of Appalachian Power, on historic changes in the electric power industry and why his company is not planning to build any more coal-burning power plants, choosing instead to emphasize cleaner sources of power.

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“Our statutory duty is to produce electricity at the lowest feasible rate. … We weren’t trying to comply with the Clean Power Plan or anything else. What’s the cheapest way to serve the customer? It turned out to be retiring those coal plants.”

– Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson on how little Donald Trump’s pro-coal policies are likely to affect his utility’s plans. TVA is on track to retire five of its original 11 coal-fired power plants by the end of 2018.

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“Market forces are driving a rapid evolution of energy resources, and the current data clearly supports the replacement of the coal in our portfolio with an energy mix that includes more renewables and natural gas as the best, most economical path to a strong energy future for New Mexico.”

– Public Service of New Mexico President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn in a statement regarding the utility’s integrated resource plan, which calls for completely shutting down one of its two biggest coal-fired power plants by 2022 and exiting from coal completely by 2031.

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“If you’d told me I’d be working in solar, I would’ve never believed you. I always thought I’d bounce from coal job to coal job until all the mines closed and I had to leave.”

– Former West Virginia coal miner Robert Atkins, who was retrained as a solar technician after being laid off from his coal job and now works as a crew chief overseeing installations for startup developer Solar Holler.

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“In 10 years, a rooftop that doesn’t have solar will look funny and will look out of place.”

– Mike Foley, head of the Department of Sustainability for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, reacting to an analysis showing that solar industry jobs doubled in the Cleveland area from 2015 to 2016.

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“[T]he world is moving beyond coal, just as we moved past horses and buggies, landline telephones and cigarettes.”

– From commentary by Danny Kennedy pointing out the huge inconsistencies between President Trump’s energy policies and the direction of energy markets.

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“People realize that coal isn’t going to be around here forever and people need to re-tool themselves and get occupations within newer industries.”

– Lee Van Horn, the son of a coal mine worker, who is manager of the 64-turbine Locust Ridge Wind Power Project in central Pennsylvania.

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“Page [Arizona] is ready for a change. … We really have the ability here to capitalize on how beautiful the area is, and the only black eye on this beauty for a long, long time has been that power plant.”

– Twist Thompson, the owner of three restaurants in Page, in reaction to news that owners of the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal-burning power plant in the West, plan to shut down the plant no later than 2019.

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New wind turbines are “the most cost-effective way to meet our anticipated energy needs of our own customers.”

– PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely on his company’s plans to spend $3.5 billion on 2,000 megawatts of new and upgraded wind turbines, mostly in Wyoming, over the next 20 years.

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“If [NGS] were to shut down tomorrow, we wouldn’t have any problem keeping our costs fairly low in this market.”

– Ron Lunt, director of operations for the Central Arizona Project, on how a surplus of natural gas generation and a deluge of California solar have thrown the Southwest’s power market into flux, including the announced closure of coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. CAP anticipates annual savings of $38.5 million by getting power from cheaper sources than NGS.

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“I think we need to look at something a little bit different [than coal].”

– Beattyville, Kentucky Mayor John Smith, a staunch Republican and Donald Trump supporter, voicing his doubts about the return of coal to the region, despite promises by the president.

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“Wind energy is a renewable, more cost-effective resource that will lower the carbon footprint of these [7-Eleven] stores as well as operating costs.”

– Ben Tison, 7-Eleven’s senior vice president of development, on an agreement that will see 425 of the company’s stores in Texas get 100 percent of their electricity from Texas wind farms.

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“Wind power economics are driving coal generation up the dispatch curve and into earlier retirement.”

– Moody’s analyst Jairo Chung in an investment note on the effects of low-cost wind in the Great Plains states, where an average contract price of around $20 per megawatt-hour is outcompeting operating costs for coal-fired power that average higher than $30/MWh.

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“No one’s looking for new coal reserves. The decline in coal demand has meant existing reserves will last a lot longer.’’

– Robert Godby, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming, commenting on how the Trump administration’s rollback of a moratorium on federal coal leases may actually do little to help the coal industry recover.

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“Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community.”

– Abita Springs, Louisiana Mayor Greg Lemons in a statement on the town council approving a resolution to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, the first municipality in the state to do so.

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