Snip from a 2nd Quarter 2018 NextEra Energy Earnings call Transcript:

Stephen C. Byrd – Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

Wanted to just follow up on storage. You had provided some good commentary in your prepared remarks around storage. But just stepping back, I know you, at your analyst event, laid out your trajectory on where you see costs going. I guess we continue to get surprised just by how cheap storage is becoming, but I’m just curious from what you’re seeing out in the marketplace for storage, is the trajectory at all surprising to you in terms of the cost reductions? Where can it head from here? What’s your general outlook on where costs may go for storage?

John W. Ketchum – NextEra Energy, Inc.

Yeah. I mean, the way I think about it, Stephen, is how we’ve been pricing it into our PPAs. I mean, roughly on transactions we’ve done over the last six to 12 months, you can think of it as roughly $0.015 a kilowatt hour. That is probably going to move, with what we see with the significant investment being made in electric vehicles and the cost declines that we expect to see on the solar side. Early in the next decade, mid-next decade, it’s going to probably be about $0.005 a kilowatt hour add, maybe $0.01, but probably closer to about $0.005. And so if we find ourselves in a marketplace where we are selling wind right around $0.02, I mean, a combined wind and solar product probably looks roughly around $0.025. Solar, into the next decade, probably looks more like a $0.03 product, sub-$0.03 in some markets. You add half a penny on that on the high end, you’re probably at about $ 0.035 a kilowatt hour. Depends on the market and land costs.

Leo Hickman tweets a comparison between BBC climate coverage in 2018, and 2008.

A number of Brits, including skeptics,  have made the connection between this summer’s extreme heat, and the severe heatwave of 1976.

The Guardian published a comparative global temp graph, showing the marked difference, globally,  between then and now.


Below, Newsnight from 2008.  Climate scientist placed as an equal with denialist shill.

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Heroic piece in Medium by Wendy Siegelman  pulls together the story of Russia’s huge investment in Arctic fossil resources, and how to make sense of the current global crisis in terms of oil, gas, ice, and climate.


Below is a story about sanctions, oil, gas, the Arctic & how speeding up climate change could mean big $ for Russia.

Igor Sechin described ambition of Rosneft/Exxon project as “bigger than sending man to outer space or flying to the moon” !!!

“Experts say that this project, in terms of its ambitions, exceeds sending man into outer space or flying to the moon,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, a key architect of the partnership, told a briefing for analysts in New York.


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Seawater inundation projected for New York City by 2033 and its effect on internet infrastructure. Anything in the blue shaded areas is estimated to be underwater in 15 years.

University of Wisconsin:

Thousands of miles of buried fiber optic cable in densely populated coastal regions of the United States may soon be inundated by rising seas, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Oregon.

The study, presented here today (July 16, 2018) at a meeting of internet network researchers, portrays critical communications infrastructure that could be submerged by rising seas in as soon as 15 years, according to the study’s senior author, Paul Barford, a UW–Madison professor of computer science.

“Most of the damage that’s going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later,” says Barford, an authority on the “physical internet” — the buried fiber optic cables, data centers, traffic exchanges and termination points that are the nerve centers, arteries and hubs of the vast global information network. “That surprised us. The expectation was that we’d have 50 years to plan for it. We don’t have 50 years.”

The study, conducted with Barford’s former student Ramakrishnan Durairajan, now of the University of Oregon, and Carol Barford, who directs UW–Madison’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, is the first assessment of risk of climate change to the internet. It suggests that by the year 2033 more than 4,000 miles of buried fiber optic conduit will be underwater and more than 1,100 traffic hubs will be surrounded by water. The most susceptible U.S. cities, according to the report, are New York, Miami and Seattle, but the effects would not be confined to those areas and would ripple across the internet, says Barford, potentially disrupting global communications.

National Geographic:

Scientists mapped out the threads and knots of internet infrastructure in the U.S. and layered that on top of maps showing future sea level rise. What they found was ominous: Within 15 years, thousands of miles of fiber optic cable—and hundreds of pieces of other key infrastructure—are likely to be swamped by the encroaching ocean. And while some of that infrastructure may be water resistant, little of it was designed to live fully underwater.

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Keith Schneider, who I interviewed last year, has just returned from another swing thru Southeast Asia. I’ll be talking to him next week.
His observations above are on the mark for today’s news.


Hundreds of people are missing and an unknown number dead after a dam under construction collapsed in south-east Laos, state media reported.

The collapse at the hydroelectric dam in Attapeu province late on Monday sent flash floods through six villages, Lao News Agency said.


Snapshot- BBC’s “Most read” articles for today.

More than 6,600 people have been made homeless, it added.

Pictures showed villagers stranded on the roofs of submerged house and boats carrying people to safety.

“The disaster has claimed several human lives [and] left hundreds of people missing,” the agency reported.

Construction of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam began in 2013 and it was due to begin commercial operations next year.

The main Thai stakeholder in the project, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, said it had received a report from the dam’s operator that a “saddle dam”, measuring 770m long and 16m high, had collapsed.

It said continuous rainstorms had led “a high volume of water” to flow into the reservoir.

“Currently, Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company Limited and related agencies have evacuated the people who reside around the area,” the statement added.


Nightmare scenario.
November 2018, Election night thrown into chaos as blackouts descend across blue states on the eastern seaboard, and throughout much of the Midwest.


The Cyber-Cassandras said this would happen. For decades they warned that hackers would soon make the leap beyond purely digital mayhem and start to cause real, physical damage to the world. In 2009, when the NSA’s Stuxnet malware silently accelerated a few hundred Iranian nuclear centrifuges until they destroyed themselves, it seemed to offer a preview of this new era. “This has a whiff of August 1945,” Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, said in a speech. “Somebody just used a new weapon, and this weapon will not be put back in the box.”

Now, in Ukraine, the quintessential cyberwar scenario has come to life. Twice. On separate occasions, invisible saboteurs have turned off the electricity to hundreds of thousands of people. Each blackout lasted a matter of hours, only as long as it took for scrambling engineers to manually switch the power on again. But as proofs of concept, the attacks set a new precedent: In Russia’s shadow, the decades-old nightmare of hackers stopping the gears of modern society has become a reality.

And the blackouts weren’t just isolated attacks. They were part of a digital blitzkrieg that has pummeled Ukraine for the past three years—a sustained cyber assault unlike any the world has ever seen. A hacker army has systematically undermined practically every sector of Ukraine: media, finance, transportation, military, politics, energy. Wave after wave of intrusions have deleted data, destroyed computers, and in some cases paralyzed organizations’ most basic functions. “You can’t really find a space in Ukraine where there hasn’t been an attack,” says Kenneth Geers, a NATO ambassador who focuses on cybersecurity.

Wall Street Journal:

Hackers working for Russia claimed “hundreds of victims” last year in a giant and long-running campaign that put them inside the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities where they could have caused blackouts, federal officials said. They said the campaign likely is continuing.

The Russian hackers, who worked for a shadowy state-sponsored group previously identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, broke into supposedly secure, “air-gapped” or isolated networks owned by utilities with relative ease by first penetrating the networks of key vendors who had trusted relationships with the power companies, said officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

“They got to the point where they could have thrown switches” and disrupted power flows, said Jonathan Homer, chief of industrial-control-system analysis for DHS.

DHS has been warning utility executives with security clearances about the Russian group’s threat to critical infrastructure since 2014. But the briefing on Monday was the first time that DHS has given out information in an unclassified setting with as much detail. It continues to withhold the names of victims but now says there were hundreds of victims, not a few dozen as had been said previously.

It also said some companies still may not know they have been compromised, because the attacks used credentials of actual employees to get inside utility networks, potentially making the intrusions more difficult to detect.

Experts have been warning about the Russian threat for some time.

“They’ve been intruding into our networks and are positioning themselves for a limited or widespread attack,” said Michael Carpenter, former deputy assistant secretary of defense, who now is a senior director at the Penn Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “They are waging a covert war on the West.”

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Fraunhofer Institute:

Until now, acreage was designated for either photovoltaics or photosynthesis, that is, to generate electricity or grow crops. An agrophotovoltaics (APV) pilot project near Lake Constance, however, has now demonstrated that both uses are compatible. Dual use of land is resource efficient, reduces competition for land and additionally opens up a new source of income for farmers. For one year, the largest APV system in Germany is being tested on the Demeter farm cooperative Heggelbach. In the demonstration project “Agrophotovoltaic – Resource Efficient Land Use” (APV-Resola)” led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, solar modules for electricity production are installed directly above crops covering an area of one third hectare. Now the first solar harvest of power and produce has been collected on both levels.


Last November, CleanTechnica brought readers news of an experiment by Fraunhofer Institute For Solar Energy Systems that combined solar panels with agriculture. Fraunhofer calls its unique installation, which mounts the solar panels high enough to allow farm equipment and animals to move freely underneath, agrophotovoltaics or APV. The results from the first experimental program near Lake Constance in southwestern Germany found combining agriculture and farming increased the output of the land by 60% over what it would be if the same land was devoted 100% to farming or 100% to solar panels.



“From the perspective of agricultural science, agrophotovoltaics is a promising solution for increasing both the land use efficiency and the share of renewable energy provided by the agricultural sector,” says professor Iris Lewandowski, who heads up the department of biobased products and energy crops at the University of Hohenheim.

Since last year, Fraunhofer has applied the lessons learned from the Lake Constance experiment to three agricultural environments in Chile and a shrimp farm in Vietnam. In all cases, the benefits suggested by the first pilot project in Germany have been confirmed.

Three Experimental Farms In Chile

According to a Fraunhhofer press release, three identical 13 kWp APV systems were constructed in various locations in Chile. Researchers were interested in finding out which plants benefited from the shading from the APV array. Sensors measured meteorological data like solar radiation, humidity, soil moisture, and ground temperature.

The first APV system was installed on a farm using very professional methods to grow broccoli and cauliflower. The solar electricity was used in the production process to clean, package and cool the produce. The second APV was installed on a family run farm that grows herbs and other crops.

The third system was set up in a remote region where access to the electricity grid is available but service is frequently interrupted. The APV plant provided electricity for seven families while providing power to an incubator for hatching chicken eggs, among other things.

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“Glacial” used to mean changes that took place imperceptibly over long periods of time.
That no longer applies to the natural world, but it does describe Republican’s ability to catch up with science.


Climate change is starting to become a political worry for some Republicans.

The big picture: For years, Republicans could ignore the issue or outright question mainstream climate science without political worry. That’s starting to change. Some congressional Republicans are beginning to find it in their political interest to at least acknowledge climate change and oppose efforts to weaken existing policies.

The subtle but significant shift is fueled by disparate factors, including a stronger economy and President Trump’s dismissive policies on climate.

“Moderate Republicans running this cycle are going to look for places to distance themselves in some places and appeal somehow to the middle, and [climate] is a fairly safe issue to do so.”
— Adrian Gray, Republican pollster

Unlike the backlash Republicans face for disagreeing with Trump on many issues, Gray says his polling shows that most Republican voters don’t penalize their lawmakers for acknowledging climate change is real and a problem, even though Trump openly mocks it.

This distinction comes despite the fact polling shows climate change remains a low priority for most voters, said Gray, who has done work for environmental groups.

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo embodies the moderate GOP mold considered key to Republicans keeping control of the House. He represents the tip of Florida, a swing district whose residents regularly experience rising sea levels, one of the clearest and most present impacts of climate change.

  • Climate change is a top priority for Curbelo, who has regularly criticized Trump on several issues.
  • He’s introducing legislation today that taxes carbon emissions, with at least one fellow Republican, Curbelo said.
  • He’s a co-founder of a bipartisan House caucus that acknowledges climate change.

Inside Climate News:

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution denouncing the idea of a U.S. carbon tax as detrimental to the economy, one week before a Republican-sponsored bill to create a carbon fee is set to be introduced.

It was a win for a coalition of groups funded by the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers and other wealthy, right-wing opponents of climate action. And it revealed weak resolve for bucking GOP leadership among most of the 43 Republican members of the Climate Solutions Caucus.

If the bipartisan caucus had held firm, the resolution would have been handily defeated.

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Above, a meme from an anti-wind forum inexplicably draws a connection between wind turbines and Obamacare.
It’s an example of the confused, misinformed, aimless anger and hostility that the fossil fuel industry seeks to harness to slow the unstoppable economics driving renewable energy across the American Heartland.

Below, really good profile piece from a midwestern Ag Journal – this accurately reflects what I’ve been observing close-up.

Michigan Farm News:

Dig deep enough in the right spot, and you’ll find remnants of a wind pump foundation buried on most established Michigan farmsteads.

Electricity eventually rendered the ingeniously practical, if not stubby lattice-work designs inefficient and obsolete, since during the hottest, calmest days of summer, livestock demanded water that couldn’t easily be moved without a benevolent breeze and a downhill flow.

It appears that changing entrenched opinions about modern wind towers is like pushing water uphill too.

It’s not for lack of trying from both sides. But no matter how badly farmers need the income, and no matter how much rural township officials tout the benefits of increased tax revenue, decreased reliance on fossil fuels and the government-mandated need for wind-generated electricity, politics spins its massive blades.

When social media blows its often emotional and partially informed hot air into the mix, political messes turn into personal attacks, recall threats and, as is the case in Isabella County, divided communities.

It’s all happened before, of course. Opposition to wind energy in five Isabella County townships (Gilmore, Nottawa, Denver, Isabella and Vernon) in which farmers are currently signing agreements to establish a 180-tower wind project is not sheerly a widespread grassroots effort.

Outsiders agitating?

Opposition comes primarily from the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition (IICC), which describes itself on its website as a “non-profit corporation dedicated to raising public awareness of the potential impacts from the construction of industrial wind turbines in our region.”

The description of the coalition then asks for a “generous donation” and in a much smaller font, explains that it is not a tax-exempt non-profit corporation, and warns that “your donation is not tax deductible.”

While there is some local animosity toward IICC and its perceived “outsider” meddling in Isabella County, Kevon Martis, its director, said his concerns over wind energy are “fundamentally safety issues,” and contends that IICC is “not fossil-fuel funded” despite his “Senior Policy Fellow” listing for a Washington lobbying group called the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which seems to be a politically right-leaning group of attorneys. It calls itself the “national leader in strategic free market environmental litigation.” However, accusations persist that it has ties to the oil and gas industry.

Martis denies such allegations, and said his involvement in Isabella came when one township supervisor invited him to give balance to the information provided by the wind project developer, Apex Clean Energy.

“The developers like to play the game that we’re outside agitators,” Martis said, “but I donate my time to (fight wind development) because of what it did to my community (in Lenawee County).”

It’s difficult to argue that wind projects divide communities, but it’s also difficult to deny the economic benefits of harvesting wind, especially for farmers.

In Gratiot County, where two wind projects currently operate, “wind development has provided numerous benefits including a $330 million increase to Gratiot’s tax base and an additional $10.37 million in tax revenue since 2012,” according to the county’s information.

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Open Mind:

At a town hall meeting near Philadelphia, 18-year-old Rose Strauss had a question for Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania:

You’ve said that climate change is a result of people’s body heat, and are refusing to take action on the issue. Does this have anything to do with the $200,000 that you have taken from the fossil fuel industry?

Wagner responded by calling her “young and naive” in a way that seems to me to be shamefully condescending; judge for yourself: (above)


The 18-year-old environmental studies student offered a sharp rebuke during an interview Friday afternoon:

“The governor doesn’t have to be a scientist, but he needs to understand science,” she said.

That’s ultimately why Strauss, a Chester County resident and student at the University of California-Santa Barbara, is working for the Sunrise Movement, a nonpartisan nationwide organization dedicated to stopping the climate crisis. The organization has Pennsylvania locations in Philadelphia, Downingtown and Lancaster and “builds an army of young people” to share facts on climate change and holds politicians accountable for accepting contributions from the fossil fuel industry.


Strauss was working for that organization Wednesday when she attended her first town hall and said to Wagner, “You’ve said that climate change is a result of people’s body heat, and are refusing to take action on the issue. Does this have anything to do with the $200,000 that you have taken from the fossil fuel industry?”

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